Friday, September 26, 2014

September 22, 2014

Dear Family,

This week has been really awesome, we went on exchanges this week and so I had Sister Lemmon with me and we were able to do so much work, like so many people that we have been trying to contact we finally met and got a hold of. I had a really cool experience. While on exchanges we went to try the Tinjum family. I had met Sister Tinjum once before, and this time I met Brother Tinjum. I am always nervous when talking to people for the first time, but talking to him I was 100% relaxed and calm, no nerves at all. I know that that was the Holy ghost. We just stood at the door and his daughter who is about 10 came over and was talking to us also. She told us she goes to church with her friend, they go to a non denominational church, she is the cutest thing and was asking us sincerely about how we know what Jesus looks like and also she was telling us about how she loves to pray, that when she has a hard day, or just whenever, she loves to go in her room and just talk to God and try to feel him, she bore testimony to us without even knowing it that she knows God lives and that she feels him around her. She is such a powerful girl. Brother Tinjum was very kind and we were able to talk to him about where he stands in the church and he opened up, which doesn't seem like that happens often because the ward doesn't even really know who he is. He told us he grew up in the church and was super active til about 2 years ago. Then he started telling us that everything he based who he was on, was on money.  He wanted to have the most money and  the nicest car, and about 2 years ago he realized that was wrong and that his whole life was centered on money, and he had twisted good in his life to be pride. He told us that he wants to know the Mormon church to be right.  He loves it, but he is trying to completely start over, cause he doesn't want anything to be founded on money and pride. He is really trying to find God again. His little girl asked about the Book of Mormon and we talked about it and he told her what a wonderful book it was. It was so powerful. I have heard so many excuses on my mission, but his was real, like he is trying not to be prideful, I can't explain it over email, or even talking, but I felt how truly sincere he was. He really opened up with me and we were talking and I asked if we could come over again, and he said yes and that he wants to talk, because he felt that I was not fake, but I was sincere as well, and that he would love to talk with someone who was sincere. Brother Tinjum is wonderful, The sprit that was there while we were talking was and is undeniable, I know the Holy Ghost was there to soften him as well as to help me not be nervous so I could truly be my self and talk with him. This was one of the most amazing moments of my mission :)
 The last couple weeks have been full of people and anti stuff also...I have never run into anti really, except a couple of times, until the last couple weeks, and it seems like people just keep finding it. The same stuff that John was reading that I told you about last week, Lisa Pino found it, we went over to their house last night and she told us church was just "eh" but it was such a powerful meeting totally centered around Jesus Christ and the atonement, which is what she wanted. But when she told us she had gotten on the internet I immediately knew that is why she did not enjoy church, cause she had all this anti crap in her head. But we sat down and had her ask her questions and we answered them. We tied everything back to her needing to read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart. We told her the only way she will know for her self is to go straight to the source, and read the Book of Mormon, not to the internet where there are so many lies and half truths that twist and change the true doctrine of the gospel and history. We told her also that we can share with her everything, but even that is not enough, she needs to read the book, because she can not use what another person says, but she has to read it herself. In the end she felt better and said that she could read. I am so thankful for my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that I know it is true and that the Holy Ghost will show others that is is true.  That is a promise and it will happen if they read with a sincere heart. I have seen this on my mission time and time again. The people who do read and sincerely want to know , receive an answer from God that the book is true, and these people change and progress and become closer to God, But the people who don't read and try take to easy way out, with just listening to us, or even going to the internet, never receive an answer, and it is because they are not reading the Book of Mormon. So if anyone gets anything out of this email today I want it to be that there is no easy way out of God's promises, if we want an answer we have to fully dedicate our selves to finding the answer and reading the Book of Mormon, and i am not saying 5 minutes a day, I mean sincerely pondering and praying and reading the Book or Mormon. I think about how in a college paper you have to sight your sources and they all have to be legitimate sources, from actual texts, not just someone's opinion, or Wikipedia.  It has to be a true source, and that source in the gospel is prayer, because is a direct link to GOD, and the second source is the Book of Mormon, because it is the book that everything we believe is wagered on. I love the Book of Mormon, I know that is it true.
Oh! Zack! Zack is awesome! He went back to Billings this week.  Oh my we are going to miss him, we were able to get through almost all the lessons before he left. He told us he wants us to come to his baptism, but we don't know if we will be able to, I would love to though. He is evidence  that Heavenly Father prepares people for the gospel. God also has a plan that is for sure, It was Zacks last day at the food bank for his internship, and we just happened to volunteer that day, and he felt comfortable to talk to us. His Wife is LDS they happened to move to Billings cause that is where the internship is based, and there is temple there. God's hand is in our lives that is for sure. Zack has such a powerful and dedicated testimony. I will have to send pictures of him and us sometime next week :)
I love all of you and pray for you daily. I love this gospel :) Have a wonderful week, I am sorry that this email is short, but I can't think of much to say. Love you all!    
Love Sister Andrea Draudt

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 15, 2014

Dear Family and Friends :)
      I love all of you so much, just want you to know that :) 
      This week has been great! Every week is great though. To start off I will tell you all about zone conference, and well it was amazing! We went to Helena for it and I learned so much. We were in break out groups pretty much the whole time. We walked into the group we were assigned (Sister Harwood and I), I walked in and guess who was in that group! Elder Gordy! (Randy) from my last area. It was so cool to hear his comments and just the way he was as a missionary, he is doing good work. He had 2 baptisms last week in Great Falls where he is. He is really dedicated to the Lords work and doing everything he can. It was a tender mercy to see how he was doing because I was kinda struggling with Bozeman, like it seems like everyone we teach is not in our ward, or is moving to another ward and we have been having a hard time finding people who want to learn and progress in the gospel, there are a lot of less actives but they just want us to come over an hang out and they don't want missionaries they want friends who will not push them. So I just was struggling, but seeing Elder Gordy, just reminded me of Billings and that miracles happened there and they will happen here too. Plus Zone conference was just amazing. The first break out group we were in was all about finding and how we can find and it just really motivated me to find people, cause that is like the hardest part of missionary work, but without it missionary work could not happen. The other break out groups were awesome also. I was able to see a lot of missionaries that I used to work around so that was awesome!
      So last week I think I wrote about the Pino's, well they are still awesome! We had a stake potluck this week, and we could not get a hold of them so we wrote them a note on a flyer and left it on their door. We totally did not think that they would come, but they did! Lisa is so cute she brought some banana bread for it. I walked with her to get a knife so she could cut it up. She gave me one of the sweetest compliments of my life. She stopped me while we were walking and said "I want to tell you that after you left on Sunday, Roy and I were talking and we both feel the spirit so strong with you, not with the man (our member present) and not with the other sister, but with you. (I know they felt it with them too) Roy is very sensitive to the spirit and I am too and you had it, very strong." Oh my goodness how sweet of them. I am happy they could feel that I have the spirit through me, it just gave me some hope that I am doing a good job, even though I have been struggling a little just hoping that I am doing a good job and It was so sweet to have them say that it was another tender mercy :) We had them meet so many people at the potluck, there is no way they did not feel loved haha. Roy knew a lot of people actually and it was really awesome! Lisa was talking about her church but she said "our church" bahahaha so she is considering the gospel which is so cool.
      Yesterday we had our 2nd official meeting with Roy and Lisa and we were able to teach the restoration to them. The restoration is so powerful I love teaching it because the spirit that comes with it. Especially when Sister Harwood shared the first vision! So powerful, and they felt it, we asked them how they felt and Lisa did not know what to say, but Roy just started expressing this peace. It was so amazing. I was able to invite Lisa to be baptized, and she has to really think about things so we invited her to pray about it. It was really neat because after the lesson instead of having a ton of questions which she usually does, she just talked about how she loves this gospel because we believe God loves all of his children, that he came to the Americas as well because he was not going to leave anyone out. This is also one of my favorite aspects of the gospel. That we have the Book of Mormon, that is evidence that God loves all of his children and he is doing everything he can to make sure we return to him. I know that this is true, that God understands us completely and that he can and will help us, no matter where or what has happened in out lives ,or what choices we make. He will and does help us, we have to let him though. God loves us. I just love Lisa and Roy :)
        Zack is just awesome also! We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and he loved it.  It made sense to him. We invited him to be baptized and to set a goal date. He went home to Billings this weekend and while there he met with the missionaries in that ward and went to the temple grounds! How awesome is that! He is so awesome! I am so happy for him and for his wife, in a little over a year they can and will be sealed in the temple :)
         Ok now to the funny story. So we met this guy named John, I wrote about him last week. Well we went back over this week and brought Amber, a young women in our ward. Well we are at his house talking to him and his mom and it was awesome, then he says "I am going in to the game room" So we follow him and while in the game room he tells us "let's play pool" and then he turns on Ed Sheeran..I think that is his name. So like good music from back at home. So we are trying to not focus on the music and how are we supposed to have a serious lesson with pool and music. So we start half playing..not really though.  Sister Harwood and I just start trying to turn it to the gospel right away. And luckily it works and we end up just standing and talking about the gospel, however he then pulls out his phone and starts reading off all this anti stuff he found and asking these questions and saying stuff like "The Book of Mormon doesn't even talk about what you believe, it doesn't teach the doctrine you believe, your own bible doesn't teach what you teach." He has all these crazy comments and questions and did not really want to hear what we had to say. We tried our best to listen and to help him understand and not to argue. But we just felt so bad for Amber, like what a weird lesson, he has music and tries to get us to play pool and then argues with us. I just felt so bad for her. We were so concerned this whole week and yesterday her mom said "She loved it and wants to go again" and we were like "huh?" haha but apparently she loved how we talked with him and how it was. Thank heavens she loved it haha cause we were so worried.
        Well anyways I love all of you I hope you have a wonderful week :)
             -Love Andrea
 ps. keep Austin in your prayers, (the phone investigator), he is struggling and doesn't know if he wants to keep learning. I don't know what happened. He is awesome. Pray that he receive answers to his prayers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 8, 2014

    Well this week has been awesome! Except that out of the three main investigators we have, Lazarus is going to start being taught by the elders, Zack is moving back to Billings and Austin has not answered the phone! Goodness gracious! We have been able to talk to a lot of people this week but no one is very interested so yesterday for fast Sunday we were fasting to find a family to teach, to bring a family into the gospel together. Honestly I have never focused that much on a fast before. Every time I would want to, I would complain about being hungry. I would think about why I was fasting and then we prayed a lot as a companionship and individuals for the fast. The beginning was a little rough. Testimony meeting was amazing I felt the spirit so strong and it was awesome, then at the end Lazarus got up to bear his testimony, he is a sweet heart but...he turned it into a anti abortion speech and how they should rally together on a campaign he is working on to stop abortion, and if interested to contact him. This went on for a while, and there were some really good parts about prayer and repentance, but the whole abortion part was....crazy and I almost passed out. I was so worried! He did not completely know what fast and testimony meeting is, and it's over and it's all OK, but it still was weird haha
        After church we had about an hour before dinner and so we started trying to contact referrals and less actives around the neighborhood of our dinner appointment, since our area is so spread out we need to stay in that neighbor hood to get anything done. Well no one was home and so we started tracting, and well I was not very excited to be tracting cause I was tired and hungry and stressed because of some stuff that happened that day, but we went anyways and we did not complain. The first door we knock on the man was so so nice to us, we talked about eternal families and family history he was interested  in family history but not much else, however he told us he loves Mormons because they are so nice and he has some really good friends that are LDS. We started walking to the next door and there was a young man about 22 that pulled in and was getting all of his army gear out of the car, he just came back from training. We thanked him for his service and introduced our selves, and before we could even try to share anything with him he started asking us questions about Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon and so we were able to teach a little about the restoration. He was so nice and invited us inside and we got a return appointment with him. Heavenly Father blessed us so much!, by the time we left we were a little late for dinner luckily it was right around the corner. We had dinner at Bishop's and it was so good and fun. The Bartons are such a wonderful family! After dinner we ran to an appointment with Roy Pino and his wife Lisa. Roy is a less active and joined the church in Peru. We got there and the member we invited was already there talking to them. We found out that Roy misses his church, he loves his church and wants his wife to learn more. He is honestly one of the most sincere people I have ever met. He bore testimony to her about the truth of the gospel and the book of Mormon. His wife grew up thinking we worshiped Joseph smith, but she has been learning a lot from him and they both said we could come back. They were feeding us banana bread and juice. It was the sweetest thing ever. He asked his wife if she would learn more. He seriously did like all of the teaching. He pleaded with us at the end of the appointment to come back next week, it was so sweet! We of course told them that we would of course come back. He just came back from Peru and brought back these chocolates and gave us some..they were amazing! it was chocolate with caramel and pecans in the so so amazing! After, Sister Harwood and I left we both we so excited and joyful! We could not stop talking about how our prayers and fast had been answered. That Roy and his wife are prepared. They are wonderful, I can not even express how much love I have for them, and it was a love that already was in me, like it did not start yesterday I can't explain it, but I love them! Yesterday was so amazing!
            This week, on Thursday we went to the temple as a zone also, that was so awesome! There's is something about being in a session full of missionaries. We actually met in the chapel an hour an a half before with president and sister Mecham and president Jordan to talk about temple stuff. That was really cool too, I learned so much!. In my scriptures study I have been learning a lot also, that I did not realize applied to the temple, but my understanding is growing so much! Being in Billings was pretty hard I have to say, we passed too many people's houses that I know and I could not stop and say hi. That was hard. I loved Billings when I was there and I realized how much I loved it again while I was there. There is a spirit there that is just special and I know a big part of it is because there is a temple there.
         I love Bozeman so much though! I will send pics this week for real. It is so pretty here! The people are awesome too! All the doors we have tracted have all been pretty nice, even if its just "no thanks" and shut the door, but they are not bad, except for one lady. haha funny story we were tracting in a trailer court cause we were just in that-area trying people and we had like 3 doors left on this block and everyone had been pretty nice so we get to this trailer and we figure that the front door is the one not in the garage part so we go through this gate and knock on the door. This lady answers and sister hardwood gets out "Hi we are missionaries" then there was this awkward 5 second pause and next thing we knock she is yelling at us "You woke my baby up, you knew this was my back door and you knew my baby was sleeping. I think you looked at my front door and saw the sign about my baby sleeping and you woke my baby up on purpose!" We tried to apologize and she just got louder and louder so we just slowly walked was intense...haha we were both just so scared haha. That lady was totally just trying to find a reason to yell at us...shes crazy...
            Well I love all of you and I hope you all had a great week! I love this gospel so much and am so grateful for the blessings it has brought into my life and knowledge it has given me. :) I love you all :)

All of the sisters and my companion Sister Harwood is sitting next to me
Big Sky and this picture doesn't do it justice

Richy, the sisters and Lazuras