Monday, January 28, 2013

Year 1 - Letter 34 - New Orleans, LA

Alma 26:28 

And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.

Hey everyone!

I am finaly emailing on a Monday!  The first time in weeks!

Kind of a crazy week.  First part is the exchange that I had with Elder Pope, who was the trainer of my trainer, Elder Gillett.  That was fun, and interesting to work in a different area than New Orleans.  He works in Fat City, a part of Metaire.  

We didn't actually do much teaching, because Tuesday and Wednesday, we attended the viewing and funeral of a sister in our ward, Hermana Villanueva.  She has a lot of less active and non active family members, so one of her requests was that missionaries be very involved with her funeral.  We ended up singing as a choir for the viewing and the funeral service, and got to talk to a lot of people.  It was so cool too, because her son in law is a returned missionary, and he gave an awesome talk about how Hermana Villanueva loved to read the scriptures, and explained what is the Book of Mormon.  Really powerful!  Another thing they did in the service was read her testimony, as well as some of her favorite scriptures.  She was a missionary even after she passed away!

So, after all the funeral stuff, I returned to New Orleans.  Because of the funeral, they had to cancel some of our appointments, which made it hard, because one of the appointments was with Jose, Areli, Patricio, and Manuel, all who have dates to be baptized the 23 of February.  They are hard to schedule with, so that was kind of sad that we had to reschedule, and for way later.  Otherwise, they are all doing good, and we are super excited for them!  

OK, the last crazy thing is that Mardi Gras has started, and it is nuts.  For those of you who don't know what Mardi Gras is, it literally means Fat Tuesday in french.  It was started because fat Tuesday is the day before ash Wednesday  a day in the catholic (I think) religion when people give something up until around Easter   Fat Tuesday is the day that they all gorge on whatever it is they are giving up.  This has basically gotten way out of proportion and now is Mardi Gras, a two week party.  And this year, because of the super bowl, it is three weeks.  This means that not this week, but next week, we will not be able to get the car past the main street Saint Charles, because all the parades in uptown go down saint Charles   Therefore, we have to park the car on the other side and walk a mile home every night there is a parade.  Crazy.  All for a big party.

Well, that is pretty much it for now!  Hope I live through Mardi Gras and don't get run over by a float!  

Elder Scott T. Andrews

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Year 1 - Letter 33 - New Orleans, LA

Ether 12:6

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

Hey everyone!

Crazy week!  One of the highlights was that we committed four people to be baptized in one lesson!  We had a lesson with Jose and Areli, a family that me and Elder Gillett had found quite a while ago, and whom we hadn't seen in a while.  Anyways, when we got there, they invited their roommates to come listen as well.  We taught the doctrine of Christ as we had planned, and then committed them all to be baptized the 23 of February   The spirit was so strong, and I am so glad we went with the lesson we had planned.  Our other investigators are doing well.  Daniel is going strong, but work has been really hard for him.  He really wants to be baptized though, so we are going to be there to help him.

I talked in church this Sunday!  in Spanish!  I spoke on how the true church is organized, and it was interesting.  The talk went well, but it was interesting because right before I went up bishop signaled to me that I only had five minutes to talk instead of ten.  So, I had to summarize everything, and shorten it, all in Spanish.  It went well though, so I was happy!

Yesterday I was able to sing in a choir of missionaries the national anthem for the New Orleans Hornets!  It was so cool!  One of the English members has a connection somewhere, and gave us the opportunity.  The game was alright, the hornets led the entire time by at least ten, but still fun to watch from our nose bleeder seats!  

Right now I am on an exchange with Elder Pope, Elder Gillett's trainer.  So far so good!  We are talking a lot in Spanish, so it has been really fun and helpful!

Well, me and Elder Larsen have an interesting relationship.  Lately we have been butting heads, but it has been a time to really humble myself and I have really learned a lot.  I know that if this wasn't the Lords work, we wouldn't be able to get anything done, but frankly, it is His work, and we are blessed because of it!  I love you all! Thanks for all you have done to help me out here! Until next week!

Elder Scott T. Andrews

Singing the National Anthem at the NBA Hornets game.
(You can see Scott's head between the 2nd and 3rd sister on the front left.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Year 1 - Letter 32 - New Orleans, LA

Helaman 12:23

Hey everyone!  Emailing again on Tuesday, sorry!  Transfers this week.  I will try not to make this a habit :)

Good news!  No one in our district is getting transferred!  This means that next Monday, I will get to sing the national anthem at a Hornets game with all the other missionaries, and that I will be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras!  From what I have heard, it is pretty crazy.  I have heard that, and that you stay away from the French Quarter.  And dodge coconuts being thrown.

We had a good week this week!  Lots of service opportunities!  With helping Robert, one of the English Downtown NOLA Elders sons move. I think we got something like 16 man hours this week, probably more.  Crazy, because it feels like this is the first Preparation day that I have had in 2 weeks!

Elder Packer says hi to you all!  Elder Packer of The Seventy, the son of President Packer.  He was super cool!  He talked about what we need to do to help the work continue.  One of the ways he did this was he showed us that of every twenty investigators we have in our teaching pool, the statistic is that one of those will be baptized.  For our mission specifically, it is one out of every 13.  Therefore, what we need to do is find more people to teach, and then teach better!  How do we teach better?  WE TEACH MORE!  The goal he gave us is 20 lessons a week.  That is quite a bit more than our usual 12 or so.  We can do it!  So far so good!

One of the coolest things ever was that President Wall chose me and Elder Larsen to be one of the few that got to have a one on one interview with Elder Packer!  He was so nice, and asked me how I liked the meeting, and to say hi from him to my family, and thank them for all they have done to help me be a missionary.  One of our less active members, Roberto Barahona, said the same to you all, so thank you!
This last week I went on an exchange to the East!  If you look at a map, you see downtown New Orleans, and then if you go up to where New Orleans meets the Pontchartrain, then go east till you cross a canal, you will be looking at the east.  The east has a huge hype for being a place that has almost nothing going on, but I was super glad to go there and serve with Elder O'Donnel for a little and prove that wrong. We met with three or four people.  One was a young man that is going to turn in his papers really soon, and we helped him answer some questions he had.  Then we went to teach an awesome restoration lesson, and the spirit was so strong, and the investigator was super excited to learn.  He had read everything they had given him, and then more in the Book of Mormon, so that is awesome for them!

This week was a little tougher for us here in New Orleans.  Not as many lessons at the beginning of the week, but the other day we went to Jefferson, and talked with Jose y Areli, who we haven't seen in forever, because his phone wouldn't work and they where never home.  They where super excited to see us, and told us we had better come back sooner!  We also did some contacting and found a super old contact that the area book said had a ton of potential.  That was cool.  We have a return appointment with him and one of his friends.
After that, we where off to Osmond, a less active member, who was also excited to see us.  Usually he isn't home, but we got to have a lesson with him and all of his family, which is the first time I have ever seen that!  They where really shy, but that is OK.  We will work on becoming their friends!

I get to talk in church this week!  I am so excited!  I know that I can do it!  I have the topic of talking on the organization of the church of Jesus Christ!  It sure will be interesting!  I always get interesting topics!  Like this, or indexing!  Pray for me, and that I will be guided to know what I need to say!

Well, that is pretty much it for right now! Life is great!  I am so happy to  stay here in the Big Easy!

Elder Scott T. Andrews

PS.  the picture is of me and Daniel Barahona, and the next is me and Elder Larsen, my MTC companion on christmas eve.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Year 1 - Letter 31 - New Orleans, LA

Mosiah 2:17

Hey everyone!
Crazy week, hence you are getting this email on a Tuesday, but good.  New years was interesting.  It was our Preparation day, so we had all of the morning to do whatever, like a regular Preparation day, and then we were on lock down in our apartments, so it was pretty much like we had a day off, which was so odd. We had a nice time talking about the past year, and then going to bed at the usual 10:30.
With this new year, our mission is changing things up quite a bit.  It is kind of crazy.  Lots of new goals.  My favorite is one of our zone's goals.  It is that every day, we will read the Book of Mormon, and receive revelation from it.  Then, another goal is that every day, we use this revelation to teach others.  Already I have seen the myriad of blessings from this. One example is that 1 Nephi 7 totally is talking about a less active family.  Ishmael is the less active.  It clearly explains what we can do to help these people.  I LOVE the Book of Mormon!  
Our investigators are doing well!  Daniel is AWESOME!  He was telling us the other day that someone asked him about the Book of Mormon, and questioning why he wasn't reading only the Bible.  He said that the Book of Mormon was the word of God.  When his coworker was talking down the Book of Mormon, he told him that he should read it before he judged it.  We have worked with him on helping him build his testimony for the Book of Mormon, and it really has grown!
One of our other investigators, Lourdes Nunez, has a baptismal date for the 2nd of February!  Sadly, we had to hand her over to the sisters, because she lives alone, but I am so happy and excited for her!
Some other cool things are that we have been trying to get a hold of a man named Manuel since my first week here, and we finally had a lesson with him!  So awesome!  We have been praying for help, and it has been a miracle to see it come!
Another miracle.  One of our less actives, Roberto Barahona, came to church.  In sacrament meeting, he realized his daughter was there.  He hasn't seen her in years!  That was probably one of the most awesome things I have been a part of.
Ok.  Now it is time to explain why this email is coming on Tuesday.  Yesterday, we had the opportunity to help Robert, one of the Downtown english's investigator's son, move, and so we took it. It went well, and i know that we are truly happier when we are in the service of our fellow beings.
Last thing.  Next monday, we get to sing in a Hornets Game!  The National Anthem in a NBA game!  It is gonna be awesome!
It is so crazy to be a missionary!  Whenever I sit back and take a look at what is going on, I just laugh.  Two young missionaries, that have only been speaking Spanish for like 7 months, if that, are in charge of the missionary work for New Orleans, the Big Easy!  I have no doubt that we are not alone in this work.  I know that the hand of the lord has helped us in more ways than we can possibly know.
Thank you for everything you all do to support me out here!  Thanks to all of you who sent me packages and cards for Christmas!  It was nice of you all! 
Elder Scott T. Andrews