Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014

Dear Mom :), family and friends,
I have to say this week has been rough. I think it's rough because we have had to hand over a couple investigators to the other sisters since they moved to their ward. We have also had to hand over some less actives who want to go to the college branch. Almost all of our investigators are no longer progressing and its hard. We have definitely had success in other ways, like with less actives and our ward but they have had 6 baptisms in the last 3 weeks. It's hard because I know that I can always try harder, and I am trying hard. So I tend to think "What am I doing wrong?" even though I know it's not just our fault. I can definitely do better though. It's hard to see other missionaries and their success and not get too down on myself. That has really been stressing me and sister Austin out. Therefore we have been driving each other crazy! 
Oh my goodness its been a hard week. But about 2 days ago we had a really good companionship inventory. I remember Travis and others always saying how awkward those were. Maybe it's cause I'm a girl but they are not awkward hahaha. They really help a ton. After being complete girls and expressing our feelings we went to go see the Taylors. Who were reactivated last week :) 
Brother Taylor still will not read his scriptures, he is so stubborn and we had one of the best lessons ever with them. We have tried to talk to him about the Book of Mormon before and he always gets upset. This time we still tried to talk about the Book of Mormon and talk to them about how we must read it every day, and study out of it. The Book of Mormon will bless us. We learn from it, we gain testimony from it about the gospel and all the parts of the gospel. Well we asked him to study from it. He then said "I know I need to, I understand it is a good thing, and I will" We were taken back, and then he said, "I will study it, not read." That was the difference. Heavenly Father has us say study instead of read. Such a simple thing and it clicked for brother Taylor. He didn't want to read from cover to cover but he was willing to study out of it. How amazing is that. Heavenly Father saw we were struggling and we really tried to just let Heavenly Father use us as instruments and by doing that Heavenly Father helped brother Taylor understand. That was so special to experience. :) This man who was and is stubborn, finally decided he needed to study! :)
Yesterday we spoke in church :) I am not a speaker and we had to speak on 3 Nephi 9:15-22 which is not very missionary related but I decided to make it missionary oriented. We only had 7 minutes each cause a missionary just came home and spoke, and they wanted to give him most of the time. I was so grateful it was only 7 minutes cause well like I said speaking scares me. I have born my testimony in sacrament a ton, and that is fine, but speaking scares me so much. Plus we had no time this week to prepare really and so we prepared it the night before. Luckily it turned out decent..but still it was scary! Rylee, the RM spoke last and oh my goodness he is what I want to be at the end of my mission. I have grown up a lot spiritually but oh my I have so so so much more to grow. He served in Fort Worth Texas. His homecoming talk was different than most. Most share lost of stories, and he shared a couple. But what he talked on was what a preach my gospel missionary was and what a disciple of Christ was, and how there was no difference. If we are trying to be a disciple of Christ we can be a preach my gospel missionary. He talked about how we all can be a preach my gospel missionary, we don't have to have a badge to say we are. He shared some experiences and bore his testimony and I was glued. I want to be like him when I come home. So I decided to change up some things. For my personal study instead of just reading out of the Book of Mormon and squeezing a few things in. I decided to start studying the lessons more. I have taught them a hundred times and am used to them and Sister Austin pointed out that sometimes I teach them the same way to everyone. Therefore I have decided to study them more so that when I teach I can fully teach by the spirit and teach the person rather than teaching a lesson, which it talks about in Preach My Gospel. I had gotten in a rut and hearing Rylee talk, and the last two weeks of my mission really got me thinking and I have started to try harder and learn more. I tried hard before, but it was time to up the level. Like when you get used to running 2 miles and yes your working, but you're used to it, and so you have to bump it up to 3 so you can continue progressing. That is kinda how I feel right now and I love pushing my self more. My studies have become so much more purposeful and Sister Austin and I are learning more. I am so thankful I had that eye opener. 
Today while I was making my bed I started thinking about what my friends might be doing right then, and I realized it's probably just their usual thing. I am on a mission, and yes making my bed and having my daily routine is usual, but right now, our lives are different and my life is not the same as theirs, at least not right now. I am on a mission for the Lord. I have learned so much and have never been so sad, and never so happy and  full of joy. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father and my Savior who help me every day. They help comfort me, they help guide me, they help strengthen me. I was not a very courageous person before coming out, and oh boy I have a lot to learn. But these last two weeks I have been trying to be courageous and just asking people straight up about why they don't read, or come to church. I know that, that strength is not mine at all. It is my Heavenly Father. I know that I am only able to do what I am doing here as long as I am letting the Lord use me for an instrument. Just like Ammon in the Book of Mormon when he talks about how is is not his strength but his Gods and he will boast of his God. I love Ammon, he is so cool. Anyways I just rambled on. 
I love this gospel. I love seeing the miracles the Lord performs on a daily basis. I love my Heavenly Father and I love His children. I know that the Book of Mormon will provide us with the strengthen we need to get through the day, to helping us learn Christ's teachings. I know that with God all things are possible. I know that Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. I know Heavenly Father is my Father. I know that we can be a family together forever if we keep our covenants we make in the temple. I love my family so much. I love all of you. I am grateful I have an eternal family :)
              Love Andrea

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 20, 2014

Dear Family, friends,

Everything is going well. This last week feels like it was 3 weeks. We worked hard, but not a lot came out of it sadly. Oh we got a call yesterday for transfers, and I am staying and so is Sister Austin, which is good.  There is a lot to get done here. Haha.

This week we had zone training up in Thermopolis and a ward member there gave a talk on superman, which might sound silly, but it was one of the best talks I have ever heard. It was about superman and the gospel. I might have just liked it cause I love superman, but it really impacted me.
So Brenda is not doing so well. She's really struggling with smoking.  She won't let us take her cigarettes either. We asked on Friday if they could go until today without smoking.  Anthony and Brenda both said they could..so we will check on them tonight. I pray that they have.
Saturday must have been the longest day ever. It is totally because we had no lessons planned at all! Bleh, I remembered why I hated days like that. We tried so many different people and had no luck. Finally at 7:30 at night we were driving past these apartments where we have a referral, but we have been trying to contact this referral for a month..and no luck, it seems like no one lives there. We didn't even think about trying it on Tuesday night. Well we drove past on our way to another place and sister Austin scares me by yelling "there is a car!" we go past..and there is Not a car, she just thought she saw it.. but we decided..might as well try, so we pull up..and there is a light on! Oh my goodness gracious I could have cried. We knock on the door and this adorable like 23 years old girl answers! I didn't even know what to say, but luckily words came out haha. We set up an appointment for tonight! She said she was really excited to meet with us. Pray for me and Sister Austin tonight. I really think that Ashley is prepared and I am so excited to get to know her tonight. Anyways that was my miracle on Saturday. It's like right when we were to the point of being done, and so down, that we contacted Ashley. Heavenly father likes to do that it seems, test your faith, then gives you success. 
Remember that referral I told you about last week, Eric and Alexa Nowland?  Well we had a first lesson with them, and we didn't know if they would actually be there so we just prepared a scripture thought. We also got to know them. We found out that Alexa used to have missionaries  who came over for years and then one day they just stopped. So I am really excited to start teaching her. We asked if we could start teaching them, and they agreed :) wahoo. We have appointment with them on Friday. Which I am excited for. 
We were asked to speak in church next Sunday.. that should be good. I am excited..actually it's more like I am telling myself that I am excited, luckily it is a homecoming and so we only have to speak for like 10 minutes each haha and then the RM will take up the rest. Oh my goodness that reminds me, Sunday was great! Dawn came to church for the first time! And a couple days ago we answered a couple of her questions about the Book of Mormon. I asked her about baptism again and she said "I still feel like I am suppose to be a mediator between religions, I believe this is true, but also God wants me to be a mediator" WHAT? Two things were going on in my head. The first one was she finally told us she knows that this is true. She told us she believes it!  But then the second thing was she still won't be baptized..and it's heart breaking. We told her to pray about it.. I really don't know what to do. I am trying hard to listen to the spirit cause I am lost on how to help her. Hopefully she will realize she needs to be baptized.
On Sunday Sister Arlinda Olson came to church also. If she can come to church anyone can, no one has an excuse. She has yet to come while I have been here, and she has a legit excuse. She has Parkinson's and can't walk and can't talk very well at all. She has had this for over 20 years and no medicine is working anymore and she is in constant pain. She still tries to come out when she can though. Her husband who is not active and refuses to come to church drives her to Church since she can't, but he doesn't come himself. Seeing her at church was so special. It was really interesting, cause normally she is constantly moving, weather it is her legs bobbing up and down or  moving her arms around. She was completely still, she was comfortable and calm! It was so amazing. I hope she noticed it also. That was a miracle. I felt the spirit so strong seeing her there. We previous in the week had a lesson with her, since her husband isn't listening to us anymore and I didn't have a lesson or anything to share, so I opened my scriptures and I shared a scripture on being an example. I didn't think it was a powerful lesson or anything, we talked to her about how she is an example of her husband, by still reading scriptures and praying and living the gospel. Then she came to church. I realized that we needed to share that scripture, and so the Lord helped me just open up to it and it was what she needed. I am so thankful that when I don't know what I am doing, and even if I do, that I can completely rely on the spirit and if I do, that what needs to happen will happen, even if I don't recognize. That also reminds me of Opa (grandpa).  

I sent missionaries and they did not get a hold of him, but they left a note and Opa called back and said he was not interested, which I kinda expected, but at least a seed was planted. I am so thankful that those missionaries who tried Opa, and they might not see what that seed does, but I know that it will help. I am so thankful that they contacted him even though they don't know Opa, and I know I don't know him very well either but he is my Opa and I love him and I am so thankful that they planted that seed. 

I love this gospel. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, I know that he completely understands us. When we have hard times he understands it, he knows how to help us and I have learned that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are the best listeners. They listen so perfectly and know us so well and can help us. I love that I can always turn to them for guidance and help. I know that it is on us to keep our relationship with him progressing. Cause he is always doing his part, he is reaching for us and doing his part, but we have to do ours as well. I love that he is always doing his part. I know that if we just open the door to let him in he will bless us drastically. I think about Alma 32:27  "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." If we just desire to believe, if we just act on the faith that we do have and open that door, or if we open it up wider and trust in him he will bless us. Heavenly Father and his Son love us so much, we just have to be willing to let them in so they can help us. I know that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints " is the one and only true church on the earth.
                       -love andrea :)

ps I love you all :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 13, 2014

Dearest Family and friends,

Well that is so crazy that Brother Willmore is now Bishop Willmore. I think that it will be amazing. He's a pretty cool guy. What is weird to me is that the whole Bishopric has changed since I left! It is weird that I will be coming home to a whole different bishopric and stake presidency.
Everything is just dandy here haha. I have realized how much I really love it here and I really hope I am not transferred this next week. I have been kinda wimpy this week and I realized that yesterday and I think it's because I have been scared of people saying no..since last week that happened a lot haha. But I decided enough was enough and I shouldn't be scared so we went to contact this referral. So we tried this referral, who's husband is less active and she is not a member. They just moved in a couple months ago and guess what her name is? ALEXA...therefore I know I would love this referral haha. We knocked on the door and she answered and immediately invites us in. We only had a couple minutes till dinner, so we set up a time to come back and I am super excited to go back. They are so stinking sweet!
 This week has been kinda slow, nothing really cool happened. Except yesterday at dinner we had dinner with the bishops family, and last time he wasn't there.  He is really busy and never has time, so we have yet to have an actual meeting with just him. Well after dinner we talked to him and got so much done! I can't even explain how happy I was. Cause ward counsel is awful usually, like yesterday we showed up and talked for not even 2 minutes and then it was twisted into other peoples agendas and so not missionary efforts happened. I was really frustrated after yesterdays ward counsel cause it happens every time, but then we met with the bishopric. This next week, we decided will completely be dedicated to getting the members acting rather than just talking. So last night we went around to different members and it was awesome. We also saw Brenda :) who I just love. 
So I have to tell you all a story. On Wednesday night we had the best mission correlation ever since being here and it was phenomenal. Well we had it at the Bakers house (where we live) so that Brother Crook could fix the wifi on the laptop we use for progress records. Well we were on such a spiritual high.

So many people don't have faith that the natives can change. We had a conversation with a family about it for a half an hour..and well it wasn't really a conversation because we just sat and listened.  The spirit was not there and I didn't want to say anything because I did not want to argue. Finally we went down stairs and we both were so hurt and sad and distraught. Yes, I know they have problems but it's not completely their fault. Read in the Book of Mormon, they are a cursed people! But once they get out they can stay out. It makes me so sad that no one has faith in them. People need faith! Anyways me and Sister Austin said a prayer after and then felt better. That was a rough night though. 
Yesterday we saw Brenda cause she was not at church. We went over and found out that she is not doing well at trying to quit smoking. The problem is her son. He smokes about 4 times as much as she does and he purposely does it around her and offers her a cigarette! Gah he made me so mad when he told us that he offers her them. We talked to her about the problem of her smoking and then about prayer. I mentioned how she has to act on the prayer. Right then she burst into tears. I have never seen her cry before. I felt awful. She then started telling us all the awful things that are happening to her. She feels like she is being pulled down and has been forever.  No matter what she does there is this bock and something always is pulling her down so she cant get over it. Brenda has really made a great life for herself considering where she began. She has alcoholic parents, she has had a hard life. But no matter how hard she tries she can never get past this block. We just listened and she cried and cried. I don't know how much comfort we gave her, we read some scriptures though. It is so sad to see her like that. She is suck a sweet lady. She is going to try to stop smoking again. I really hope her son doesn't mess her up again. Keep her in your prayers please. I was thinking about how Brenda is trying everything and cant get passed this block, and I thought about it and how that is the curse. It is Satan working ten times harder on her cause she has so much good to offer. It makes me so mad that people don't have faith in people like her. She is trying so hard and I know that if she had faith in that she can do it.  She needs others to have faith in her also though. I do, I have faith she will get out of that situation.
Oh a cool thing that happened, well to me it was cool. Well the beginning is not cool. So Dawn, the lady who we decorated her Christmas tree went out of town for Christmas and then came back, and then her Mormon aunt died. Which made me panic a little cause she had us praying for her aunt and I was scared that since her aunt didn't live that she would think our prayers were not working. Well she told us she would call us when things calmed down. Well like you all know, when people say they will call you, it never happens. Well on Thursday morning Dawn called us and set up a time for us to come over! And not only that, but we have been trying to get her to read the Book of Mormon for weeks and she told us that she has now read the testimonies of the 8 witnesses and the 3 witnesses and will keep reading through the first chapter of Nephi before our appointment with her! Wahooo I am so excited and that is an answer to my prayers.  She has began to read and I know that if she keeps it up she will gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and understand how true this gospel is! So that is an amazing blessing that happened :)  Anyways that was my week haha. I love you all so much :)
Love Andrea 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December 30, 2013

Hey mom! and everybody,
Oh goodness I am happy that we were able to talk, I realize though that I didn't get to talk to you as much. I talked a lot to Brian, which was great, but next time I want to talk to you more too, ok haha. Talking to you and the family made
Christmas and like you and Brian said, after I hung up, everything was fine and I went up stairs and us and the elders played dominos with the Bakers and had a blast! I think this might have been one of my favorite Christmas's and not because of the activities, like it was really fun, but that I was able to talk to you. I took being with my family for Christmas for granted before and I really cherished and appreciated the time I had to talk with you all. I also am so happy I have and ipad that I was able to screen shot lots of pics of you guys haha.
I don't remember if I told you about Christmas Eve, well it was the absolute best! I think I told you about it so I won't drag on, but we spent it with a family who has all daughters and it was a blast, they are so cute, they range from 22-3 and it was fun being around them! :) They are very active amazing members. Then on Christmas we opened gifts and then Skyped you guys :) then the elders were over so we played dominoes with them..the other sisters only showed up for like 5 minutes..lame...but then we had dinner with the Waltons..super awesome family, their youngest is on a mission in Portugal and comes home in April. Then we went over to our ward mission leaders and his wife gave us each 20 bucks! How nice is that! She is so sweet. Then at 8:30 we drove up to Gray Bull, (a 2 hour drive) and stayed with some members up there and the elders stayed with the other elders...in the morning we went to Billings..that was another 2 and a half ours...bleh but then I saw Sister Taylor so that was totally worth it! I love her..we were talking about how we are gonne be besties after the mission haha. The meeting was only 2 hours..so we drove 4 and a half hours for a 2 hour meeting...so after the meeting we went to Ross and nothing good was there it sucked..then to this place called Hu Huts...which is a Mongolian grill..and really it's not all that amazing...but everyone here loves it haha. Then we drove back...and that was the longest drive ever, but totally worth it cause when we got home it was 7:30 at night, but we wanted to work, so we went and tried some people. One was a referral, who is a less active and we don't have her records..well she wanted us to come back, and on Sunday we taught them the restoration.
Their names are Robin (member), Tyrell, her husband and Halli their daughter. Well we got a new less active and 2 investigators! Wahooo. I have been praying to teach families and we finally found them :) such a huge blessing and answer to my prayers :) then yesterday was the other awesome experience. So just to give some background we have a less active in the ward, Myco James, she reminds me of Kandi..like her looks.  Anyways her husband is not a member and when we first met her, he answered the door with no shirt on and not interested, said she wasn't home. Well later we come back and he is gone so we teach her a lesson, and at the end, he comes in and swears..and sees us and felt so bad and just apologized a ton. Then we just had a casual conversation and I complimented him on his shoes and he was very happy about that..then as we have come over, she has been gone and he has been home. We could not go inside so we just have had a short casual conversations with him on his porch, and then on Monday..last Monday we saw him at Walmart and he came up to us! So last night we go over to see his wife...secretly hoping he is home..he answers the door without a shirt..and is like.."hang on let me get dressed" which before he didn't care. So it showed us he is starting to respect us. Well we go in and we ask to share a message.. and he says, "Of course! That's why I was trying to turn the tv off."  He also says, "This is Myco's lesson though..I will just listen." So we start teaching the restoration to Myco..and slowly and sneakingly start teaching him and asking him questions and by the end it was directed to just him. He still is very wary..because he knows there is a God, but wants proof of it all. So he is really confused and we asked if we could teach him and help answer his questions.. and he said yes..it was funny though he said, "What did I get my self into...you were supposed to be teaching her...this was not the plan." Haha it was really funny. Anyways that was another answer to my prayers because I was praying to teach families and then out of the blue he lets us teach him. This is a man that disliked missionries and only did not like to be home when they were there..Myco always had to plan us comming over when he was gone. I do think part of it was when we met him he was out of work, and had been looking a lot, and no luck, and we told him we would pray..and it took like a month...but every time we saw him we showed him we actually cared and asked him about his job hunt and always told him we would pray. He finally was able to find a  job after like 4 or 5 months :) I think he knows that we truly care about him..oh his name is Dave. He knows we care and that is why we are there. We are there for him, not for us. :) He is one awesome guy! Has had a really hard life and I really pray that he keeps learning.  I really have been wanting to teach males because we need more priesthood holders and that was also and answer to prayers to be able to teach him and Tyrell :)
Oh I got a package from the Gunthers with more Christmas Tree earrings, one for me and one for my comp haha, and a fun letter :) Brother Gunther sent flashlights and pens :) bahaha that is Bro Gunther for you..I miss him! haha.
Oh I have some fun stuff with mail to talk about. I got a letter from Carla :) She is so amazing and I sure miss her from Great Falls, and I got a Christmas card from the Stephensons :) wahoo I just love them!  Also around thanksgiving I received a letter from someone in Virginia from a little kid that said do not open until Christmas. I could not wait to open it.  I thought about it everyday. Then on Christmas I totally forgot. The day after I remembered and I ran to open it. I thought it might be one of my preschoolers who moved or was trying to throw me off with an address from Virginia. Well I opened it and there was a 4 sentence letter saying something to the affect "Hi Sister Draudt, I know you don't know me, but I am a member of the church. I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.  I hope to hear from you soon. -Joshua B" I honestly was raking my brain trying to figure out how this little boy knows me...and honestly I really don't know. I had a Joshua B in my preschool class. But I don't think he moved to VA, and if so why would he say he didn't know me. Then Alexa served in primary in Virginia, but I don't know if her ward was in Portsmouth, cause that is what the letter says. Then Aubrie my friend who is serving in Washington DC covers part of VA, but I don't know how much. Anyways I still don't know who this sweet little boy is, but I will be writing him back today. It was the sweetest thing ever to receive that letter :) how darling is that! Anyways do any of you have any ideas of who this is ??? Have a good week and happy new year!
           -love ANDREA :)


December 23, 2013

Dear Family and friends,

      This week we had zone conference in Billings on Tuesday so we left to go up Monday at 3pm...it was a long drive we didn't get there till 9pm...bleh Of course I have grown to like car rides, and so really it was nice, but the ride home sucked because I got car sick and it was not fun. Anyways zone conference was amazing!!!! Thank you all for the letters, it seriously made my day. Seeing Josh's letter was the best haha, it made me cry it was so funny. I can't wait to see all of you on Christmas! I think I will be skyping at noon, I think, just listen to mom, she will know the time. Oh mom I saw your missed call on skype so it looks like you figured things out. Just call that same one, and I will call also. Zone conference was full of musicals and it was beautiful, but I do have to say what a couple of my favorite parts were. The first one was right when we arrived and I was able to see Sister Taylor.  We literally ran to each other, and for the rest of the day we were inseparable, since my comp had to practice her solo with Sister Omealy who was playing the piano. I loved being with Sister Taylor. I was also able to see Elder Rust and Elder Walch! My old zone leader in Great Falls who is seriously awesome. I didn't realize it was him because he had different glasses and a new hair cut, but then I figured it out when he came up to say hi. Then all the Elders from my mtc district were there!!! So we all got a picture with Santa haha. Then another favorite thing was the slide show, I swear I had never seen that little kid picture of me. It was so funny I loved it! It was so fun seeing all these little kids pics of the missionaries I know. Then of course my other favorite part was all the letters I got..it took me two days to read them, everyone else had enough time there, but I didn't...since mine were longer haha. Thank you so much :)
On Wednesday I got that package mom :) and we stopped everything we were doing to set up our little tree, we had so much fun decorating it and putting ornaments on it. We also got the lights put up, and I think it looks pretty dang cute. All of our gifts are under it haha.
Besides zone conference not a lot has gone one this weeks, oh but on Saturday Sam got baptized, the girl that we had to hand over to the other sisters to teach cause she goes to the college branch. Well she was baptized! It was so speical..she has had a really really hard life, harder than most people ever face, and it was so special to see her be baptized and finally come closer to her Heavenly Father, and find her real dad (her Heavenly Father) since her dad is not in the picture. Her mom came also, and when the baptism was going to happen she didn't really know what to do so I had her come with me and I took her up to the font and let her watch. She started to cry, and then after she started to tell me how Sam is her miricale baby, they told her that she would not live, and look at her now. She also told me how proud she is of her and that she finally found the place she has been looking for, where she fits in. Sister Adams a older lady in the my ward started to talk to her when I had to leave, and asked if she wanted to learn more, and she said yes! I really hope she lives in our area cause I want to talk to her. She was concerned about tithing and so me and Sister Austin has a short lesson with her. She is great and I hope she calls us. 
I know this is a short email, but nothing really happened this week haha, plus I get to talk to you on Christmas. 
I love you all so much and I can't wait to see you on Christmas. I am so thankful for our Savior, I am thankful for his humble birth and for Mary and Joseph who raised him. I love my Savior so much, I often think about him and how he is our redeemer, I love knowing that he redeems us from our sorrows and mistakes and sins, and that we can be made clean again. Without that humble birth of our Savior Jesus Christ we would not have the atonement, and we would not have the chance to return to our Heavenly Father. I love my Savior and Redeemer and the comfort he gives to me, that pure happiness. The safety I feel. I love my Heavenly Father and the covenants I make with him. I so happy to know that he has covenanted with me as well and that he loves me so much, more than I know, and will never break his promises. It is all up to me to use my agency and follow him so I can keep my covenants. I love the spirit of Christmas and the REAL meaning of Christmas, our Saviors birth. I know that Jesus Christ was born, and that he lived and suffered for us. He died for us, and has been resurrected. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that he lives.
               -Love sister Andrea Draudt