Monday, July 29, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 9 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 30:34 And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?

Hey everyone!  

Life is as good as ever here in Baton Rouge!  I really like it here!  I feel like we are really making a difference.  This week wasn't the best in the terms of numbers and such, but I still feel like it was a productive week.  I went on my first exchange this week.  I was with Elder Billings.  He is from Utah and has been out like nine months or so.  We had a good time and got a lot done.  We did a lot of contacting and less active work.  I had a really cool experience with the Garcia family.  We opened up to one of my favorite stories in the Book of Mormon; the story of Nephi's bow.  It is in 1 Nephi 16. Where we wanted to start reading was in verse 18.  However, I had them start reading verse 13.  It reads like this:
 13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer.
 14 And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea.
 15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones and our slings.
 16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.
Not quite what I was going for.  However, as I discovered, there are hidden gems in all of the scriptures.  I saw that we can directly compare the journey of the family of Lehi to the journey of life. We sometimes have to travel through the deserts.  Trials will come.  What we need to do is to keep traveling in a straight course towards the goal, and stop now and then in the "more fertile parts of the wilderness" to gain the things we need to keep going.  In our deserts, there are always oases (spelled correctly, by the way oases(pronounced "o way seas") is the plural form of oasis).  What are our oases?I would say wherever we can receive the nurturing influence of the spirit.  This little gem was exactly what la familia Garcia needed to hear.  It was a super cool lesson and I felt the spirit strongly.

OK, another cool story that happened on this exchange.  Me and Elder Billings went by the house of the clan and Hector was outside talking to someone.  This "someone" is named Rene, and he is awesome.  We talked to him forever about how God has influenced his life for good.  He immigrated to the US several years ago, and I'm the meantime, a friend offered him fake papers from Puerto Rico.  He took them and used them to get work.  Next part of the story takes place a few years later.  He had been pretty successful, and had made quite a bit of money, so he returned to Guatemala in order to get his residency.  He was there for about a year waiting to get his green card, just living off of money he had saved.  After this year, he only had 400 dollars in his account, and was worried about himself, and his kids in the US.  He then read in the Bible a verse that said something about children being cared for, not sure which one.  He then got a phone call and was told that his papers were done and he could return to the US.  On the plane ride home, he said he sat on the isle and a gorgeous lady sat next to him. He said that this "lady" had a black name tag like ours and was doing the same thing. We offered him a restoration pamphlet and he said he already had one and went and got it of the dash board of his truck. This guy is prepared.  I can not wait to go see him.  

One last cool thing is that we had a movie night Saturday and it rained all day so no one was working and we had an AWESOME turnout.  We watched the testaments, and Rene was there with his kids, and Hector was there too!  It was awesome.  Bany has been working weird hours, and so has Blas. Daniel came to Family Home Evening on Monday and that was fun.  He also had us over to eat catfish stew.  It was good but really bony.

Oh, Sunday was Elder Thomas' birthday, and Friday there was a surprise party for him.  It was awesome.  

Well, that is pretty much it!  Thanks for everything!  I love you all!  


Elder Scott Turner Andrews  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 8 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mosiah 26:22 For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.

Hey Everyone!

So, something really cool happened this week, and it has to do with the scripture in the title.  I heard this week that one of the people that I found and taught for my entire time in the referral center, Maruf, from Bangladesh but living in London, was baptized in December!  I had been thinking about him and wondering what happened, and then I came online and found that he had been baptized!  That made me so happy!  I know that the Lord's hands are in this work!

Well, it was a pretty awesome week!  Tuesday we had an appointment fall through and we decided to go and check on Maria, a potential investigator we have.  Turns out she was home and Tuesday was her day off for the week!  We had no idea that it was her break.  We talked to her for a bit, and made an appointment for the next day to visit her before work.  We went by and had a nice little lesson and talked about what was impeding her from being baptized.  Pretty much it is just her husband.  We are going to do what we can to get him on board.

Next is "the clan".  The clan is Bany, Blas, David, Elizabeth, Christina, Hector, Maria, and Daniel.  They are all investigating, and are pretty much awesome.  We went over Wednesday and had a trout stew.  It was pretty good!  I was kinda sceptical (trout is not really my favorite thing), but it was really good.  So far, I have liked everything I have eaten except we found these weird cookies that have this orange molasses stuff on it that looks like mold and tasted really bad.  That has been a huge blessing.  I am not pick any more at all.  Anyways... The clan is doing really well.  Bany couldn't come to church because he was away visiting his in-laws whom he has only seen one other time.  He is progressing though.  We watched the Bible Video of The Baptism of Christ, and talked about how if Christ needed to be baptized, than we sure do.  We used 2 Nephi 31:4-9.  He got it.  I always feel the spirit really strong in the lessons we have had with him.  Blas is doing well.  We ate the stew with him, and helped him with translating some financial stuff.  David, Elizabeth, and Christina we can never find together.  We had an awesome lesson with David about the Book of Mormon and later on in the week Elizabeth and their daughter Christina made us pollo frito con arroz.  Everyone has been wanting to feed us lately, and I am fine with that!  Hector we promised a gatorade, so we got that to him.  He is a mechanic that works out of his home, and is super funny.  Well, the whole clan is really funny. Maria is David's wife, and she is always watching peoples kids.  They never seem to have time.  Daniel.  Daniel is AWESOME.  He is SUPER funny.  He does this thing where he twitches the corners of his lips at ya and it is so funny.  We talked about what he things of the Book of Mormon and drove with him to fedex to pick up a package.  Well, that is it for the clan!

We work with them a lot during the week, since they live next door.  That is the greatest!  We also visited Jose Deli, a less active.  We read with him in 1 Nefi 1 to help him start his Book of Mormon study.  He liked it.  We helped him understand that there is more to scripture study that just reading a book through.  We also visited the Murillos.  They are interesting.  They always have to get the last work in so one talks, and then the other, and then the other, and then the other, etc.  That is hard, but they are nice.  Hermana Murillo is addicted to this herbalife thing that is some sort of pyramid scheme selling health products.  Herbalife and another one that a lot of hispanics here use called amway, are kind of a problem here.  I don't know if the product is bad or good, or if they make money doing it, but all I see is that it really pulls people away from the church.  They focus more on Herbalife and amway than things that are eternal.  That has been an interesting obstacle.  I know that if these people will put the Lord first, they will receive blessings both temporal and spiritual. They just need to do what matters most!  

Well, that is pretty much it for this week!  Life is great!  Take care everyone!  Thanks for everything!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Monday, July 15, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 7 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mosiah 18:8-10 

8  And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9  Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

10  Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Hey everyone!

Things are going great here in Baton Rouge!  I really love it here!  The people are awesome, it is so green everywhere, and I absolutely love the work!  

First off is the people.  The Lord really is guiding us in this work.  We have so many awesome people we are teaching.  Some of the greatest are Bany, Blas, David, and Daniel.  They all live together right next to our apartment complex, so we see them a lot.  They are all really good support for each other. Bany even has a date for August third to be baptized!   We are so excited for him!  We went over with Elder English to invite him to church to come and listen to Elder English give a talk, and we started talking about baptism and what doubts he had.  He wanted more knowledge.  We helped him understand that baptism isn't the end, it is the beginning of the journey.  We also talked about how if he read in the scriptures and came to church, he would receive the knowledge that he is searching for.  We then read in Mosiah 18:8-9.  We asked him if this was what he wanted.  He said that it was.  We then read verse 10 and asked him what he thought was in the way.  He said nothing, and accepted August 3rd.  Such a cool experience.  We also visited a bunch of our less actives whom I have never met.  I love visiting less actives.  They at one point in time knew why church attendance is important, the key is to help them remember why!  Bany gave us a ride to church, and another less active, Eddie, came to church as well.  It was awesome!

Baton Rouge really is lovely.  It reminds me of Cancun.  You will be on a road and there will just be a wall of trees on either side.  It is so beautiful!  It has been interesting biking here though.  Not that much room on the side of the roads.  Haven't had any issues yet, and I don't plan on it, so all should be good.
Oh, one crazy thing we have been told: Missionaries can't wear backpacks.  We all were like, what?  Missionaries have always had backpacks!  We can only have sidebags now.  Good thing that is what I already have!

Well, life is good!  One funny story.  I was with Blas, Bany, and the gang that lives there and Blas showed me some Hispanic rhythms on the guitar.  He handed me the guitar and I played them, and everyone was super impressed.  It was just funny because they were all like, WOAH!  They are fun guys.

Well, thanks for everything!  I couldn't be out here with the support I get from y'all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Monday, July 8, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 6 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 5:61-62  

And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you.

I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

Hey everyone!  

Life is good here in Baton Rouge South!  It has been so much fun!  Me and Elder Thomas are just working hard and having a good time doing it!  I really do love it here and love the people we are working with.  We had an awesome lesson with Bany, Blas, and David.  Bany I have talked about before, and Blas is an older man that lives with Bany and David lives next door.  All of them are awesome!  We taught about what that Book of Mormon was and kind of the story that is in it.  In order to do this, we used all of the pictures at the front of the paperback Book of Mormon.  It was super awesome!  When we talked about the picture of Samuel the Lamanite, right next to it is the picture of Christ in the Americas.  I had the revelation that comparing the two would be really cool.  It was.  We talked about how we have to want to listen to the prophets.  If we go carrying our weapons, we will not receive any knowledge (almost typed conocimiento).  However, if we come unto Christ like the people in the picture of Jesus Christ, we will receive more blessings and knowledge than we could even imagine.  They all were super into the lesson, and the next day at soccer, David was like, "hey, that was an awesome discussion we had yesterday."  That was so awesome!  The spirit was super strong the entire time, and all of them said that they felt it.  Blas was saying that he just sees a difference in us from other people.  I love those guys!

Church here is very interesting!  We are part of a branch that only has about thirty or so people, which is crazy different compared to where I came from!  Way different from home!  We meet in the relief society room.  It is all really small and personal.  We have an awesome vision here and the leadership to make it happen.  The President, President Estrada is on board, and so it our Ward Mission Leader, Elder and Sister English (ironic, they are serving Spanish).  I am so glad I am here!  Well, I gotta get going!  Love you all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

1. From left to right: Elder Billings, Elder Thomas (my companion), me, and Elder O'Donnell (he flew with me here and served in my district for a long time)
2. tallest state capitol, here in baton rouge

Monday, July 1, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 5 - Baton Rouge, LA

1 Ne 2:20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

Hey everyone!

I guess the first thing that I should tell yall is where I ended up after transfers!  I am currently serving in the Baton Rouge zone, south Baton Rouge Spanish area, which is on bikes. My companion is Elder Thomas, who was Elder Gillett's MTC companion, and trained Elder Larsen.  Small world!   It has been awesome so far!  I got everything to the apartment, and am doing well!  So far, I love Baton Rouge!  It is a lot more like home.  It isn't like we are out in the boonies or anything, there are plenty of stores around.   It is all just nice and spread out.  I really like the scripture I put in the title and really feel like it applies to me here.  I think I have come to "a land which {God has} prepared for {me}".  I have really been able to relate to the people I have met.  The first people I met were brother and sister Wilkerson.  Brother Wilkerson is a type one diabetic.  He was diagnosed about a year or two ago.  It was really cool to relate to him.  Sister Wilkerson is really cool too.  She came to church yesterday!  Brother Wilkerson didn't make it though.

Next really cool thing was meeting Bany (pronounced bah-knee).  Bany is honduran.  He is super chill and had some great questions about the sacrament that Elder Thomas answered quite effectively.  He still had some doubts though.  Next lesson, we talked a bit about baptism, and the Holy Ghost.  It was really cool.  The most awesome experience I have ever had with the gift of discernment.  I all of the sudden had this thought that he did not understand the difference between the influence of the Holy Ghost, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  I taught the difference by taking apart Elder Thomas' pen and saying that the influence of the Holy Ghost is like this ink cartridge.  I then touched the ink cartridge to the pen casing.  I told him that the spirit can "touch" us and influence us but will not always be with us.  I then put the cartridge in the pen, and told him that when we get the gift of the Holy Ghost, we can have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.  He said that that answered the doubt he had.  It was really cool to see the spirit work through me to help someone else.  

Saturday was really cool.  It was when we had this awesome lesson with Bany and in the morning we had Bishop's storehouse service.  Every other week, there is a bishop's storehouse in one of the chapel.  They set up a lot of tables in a square with tables only on three sides of the square.  Then a huge truck comes with a lot of food.  We organize the food on the tables, and then take shopping carts around and fill out orders.  It was pretty cool!  it is awesome to see that the church is so organized and everything worked perfectly.  I had no idea that the church did anything like that!

Well, that is pretty much it!  I love it here in the "red stick"  (Baton Rouge in English).
my address is
8911 GSRI Ave. #1343
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

I love you all!  Thanks for everything!  Keep on doing the basics!  

Elder Scott Turner Andrews