Monday, November 25, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 26 - Baton Rouge, LA

2 Ne 4:35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Hey everyone!

We had a really good week this week!  We doubled our lessons from last week, so that was nice. Our goal is to do it again!  I just prayed that we would receive help this week, and that we would find more people to teach.  The miracle is, is that it wasn't like we were biking on the street and God just put someone in front of us with a large neon sign that said TEACH ME!  It came from the people that we have been teaching for awhile.

One of these sweet miracles was Blas.  Blas has always liked to talk to us.  This week we had three lessons with him.  
1. We taught Blas "the pole" lesson using Proverbs 3:5-6.  It went really well.  He got it right of the bat.  At the end of the lesson, I had the prompting to ask him if he wanted to go on a chapel tour.  We had talked about doing one a long time ago when I was with Elder Drollinger, but the spirit brought it up again and so I offered and he said that he would love to do that, and so we planned to have a tour the next day
2. Next day, we went to the chapel, and had a really sweet experience.  There is no feeling like there is in the chapel.  During the tour, we showed him the primary room, relief society room, cultural hall, family history room, the font and last but not least the chapel.  During the tour we showed him the three part mormon message called Patterns of Light by Elder Bednar.  It was sweet, and I think really applicable to him.  
3. We taught him a few days later about the Book of Mormon and he brought up some concerns. He rambled a little, and that is really hard for me sometimes, because I get distracted and then don't really listen, but I have really seen that if we listen, we will better be able to help them.  So in his rambling, he talked about how he believed there were only two churches.  WE explained that the Book of Mormon talked a lot about that, and gave him an assignment to read in 1 Nephi 13-14.  He said he would read, which he never really has done before, so that was pretty sweet. Can't wait to follow up.

Well, another sweet thing happened this week.  The sisters (Sister Marks, who was in my MTC district, and Sister Burns, whom I have served along with since I got here) have been teaching Tanya, the niece of the Wilkersons, whom I know pretty well.  Anyways, Brother Wilkerson has ptsd from his time in Iraq, and so had been struggling lately, so we went with the sisters just to help if we could.  Turns out Brother Wilkerson had gone somewhere else, and so we talked with Tanya, and she asked me if I would baptize her.  I was kind of surprised.  Anyways, the baptism is this week.  That will be sweet.

We also saw Lauriano, who we taught about attending church, but his work schedule is kind of crazy, and he wasn't able to come.  That was kind of sad, but I know that if he will just do what he can to come to church, he will receive the help he needs to come.  Even though he wasn't able to go to church, he is doing well.  He still really likes what is being taught.

We saw David this week!  It had been over a week since our last lesson.  He is kind of addicted to video games. It is so strange to see how in a way I was like that.  With technology as advanced as it is, we can not let it get in the way of our spiritual progression.  Among the ordinances necessary to return to the kingdom of God, there is not a requirement to have beat a video game.  We will do what we can to help him.  What he really needs is a good friend.

Saturday was awesome!  We got fed four times!  That is definitely a record.  That is pretty much how it has been my entire mission.  When I get fed, it is all in one week, and then I go for like a month, and then it happens again.  Anyways, we went on saturday with president Estrada to do service at a house on the other side of LSU.  We made the mistake of going through LSU, which was getting ready for the LSU vs Texas A&M game.  It was crazy.  Seas of tents and cars!  It was a sight to see!   After an hour, we made it to the ladies home.  It was crazy old.  It was a mess as well.  The crazy thing is is that they said that they had made a ton of progress cleaning.  I don't really want to know what it looked like before.  Anyways, we were there with Presidente Estrada and Eric Ramos, a recently returning member who is an electrician.  We helped them figure out some wiring issues, and were only able to fix a little bit with the time we had.  After, presidente took us to Jack in the Box, which is back after they had a bunch of people die from food poisoning from their taco meat.  

After that, we went to Hafiz's home, because we had planned to go to futbol, but it was too cold and rainy and so he fed us instead.  He is from Nigeria and fed us chicken and rice with some good sauce.  

Then we went to Hermano Silva's home and he fed us as well.  Chicken and rice hispanic style with tortillas.  It was all good.

Then we went and taught Lauriano and Blas was there as well and fed us chips and milk and then left. 

Well, Sunday was Hafiz's mom's birthday, and so as we were coming in for the night, they gave us more food and cake.  They are super nice.  

Well, that is pretty much the week!  Life is great!  We are keeping busy, which is such a good thing!  I love you all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Oh!  One other crazy thing!  I got this email!  It is from Maruf, the guy that was baptized in December that I found in the Referral center!  I sent him an email last week.
Hi Elder Andrews, what I surprise buddy. How are you? I do remember you very well. How long left from ur mission? I have called by the bishop  as a word missionary as he think I am already working as a missionary! Lol. Coz I have invited some of my class mates other day to the church and they are having their lessons more often. How ever I wish to talk to you. Anytime people wants to hear my testimony I have to mention ur name. U guys did such a great job to introduce me to the church and help me out at the beginning. Maruf

Yep, well, living the dream!  Love yall!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 25 - Baton Rouge, LA

D&C 58:4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

Hey everyone!
Well, this week was particularly hard, but that is OK.  We will just keep our heads up and keep on keep-in on.
Some great things that happened:
1. We went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  I was with Elder Knowlton, who is awesome.
2. We had an awesome couple lessons with Lauriano.  He is sweet.  We taught him the restoration again, because he didn't really remember some key parts.  We really focused on teaching about modern day prophets.  The next lesson, we shared President Monson's talk from the recent conference.  It was awesome.  He said that he felt good about what he said.  He then said that he had a question for us.  He was kind of sheepish in asking his question, so the first thing that we explained was that our purpose there was to answer his questions.  That made him feel more open.  He expressed concern that we talk about the Book of Mormon a lot more than the Bible, and that he didn't really understand where the Book of Mormon came from.  We explained that we talk about the Book of Mormon so much, not to take away from the Bible, but that the Book of Mormon is the way we can find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's church.  We then explained the introduction of the Book of Mormon, and that answered his questions.  He then had a super sincere question.  He asked us how he should study.  Should he study only the Book of Mormon?  We told him that he should study both, and showed him the footnotes that help us to do that.  I really felt like we helped him better understand the Book of Mormon.  That was cool.  He also likes President Monson, so that is cool.  He said that he sounded really sincere, and that he talked and taught from his own experiences.
3. I was freezing with Elder Knowlton out on our bikes, and so we went to a local sports outlet named Hibbett Sports, and they had an Under Armour jacket that was from 2012 that they were trying to get rid of, so they were selling it for 97 cents.  That was a blessing.  What made it even more miraculous is that they only had two left.  One was Elder Knowltons size, XL (he is really tall) and a large that fit me really well.  That was a tender mercy.
4. We were able to teach the Garcia family, a less active family we haven't been able to visit in a while, so that was sweet.  We used an object lesson where you have a pole and first you have them try to balance it by looking only at your hand.  You can't do it.  You have to look at the top of the pole.  Life is like that.  If we only try to live by focusing on what we can do with our own hands, we will not be able to do it.  However, if we look up to Christ, we will receive guidance.  The lesson was kind of awkward, they don't really respond at all, but that is OK.  It was good to be with them.
5. Not this last Sunday, but the Sunday before I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting.  It was on the scriptures.  It went well.  I just used an outline, and it went really well.
6. We had an awesome movie night and watched Los Incredibles (The Incredibles).  That was fun!  I haven't watched anything but the church produced films and the Other Side of Heaven for a year and a half!
7. This Sunday was the primary program.  That was super funny and just a spiritual boost!  There was one girl who her line was this: "God made aaaaall the animals.  My favorite is the giraffe."  It was awesome.  Reminded me of all the primary programs I have seen in the past.
8. We got together as a district and had a partial group weekly planning.  It was so awesome!  The spirit was there guiding us, and it was awesome.  
One of our missionaries expressed concern with loving the people, and that for him it is all work work work, and that loving people is hard because often it is just taking time.  We talked about how that was what the Savior did, and in a way does.  Our mission is a mission that Loves, Serves, and Teaches.  We have to love these people, or we won't be able to do anything else.  Sometimes loving people is hard.  We, as the prophets of old, know how the Gospel can bless the lives of these people, and when people make decisions to stray from the Gospel, it hurts.  I think that when that happens, we can get a glimpse of what Heavenly Father feels on a much larger scale.  It just makes me want to work harder.  I have what these people need.  Me and Elder Hale.  I know that we can do it!  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  I love you all!  Thanks for your support!  Lets get to work!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Hey, some Pics!
First is me eating dinner.  We do alright.
Next is the Louisiana Gospel Choir at a veterans day thing we went too.  The pianist played the bass and the keyboard for a song.  It was awesome.

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 24 - Baton Rouge, LA

Luke 12:11 look at footnote b And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought (GR don’t worry; don’t be anxious about) how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:

Hey everyone!

Life is good here in Baton Rouge!  Sorry I didn't email yall yesterday.  The libraries are all closed on veterans day here. 

Well, me and Elder Hale had a good week.  We had a few really cool experiences.  The first of all was us having a lesson with Carmen and Arnold.  We went out with Elder English,  who is a senior missionary that has been assigned to work with the Spanish Branch.  We started the lesson by just talking to them more, and she said that she really only wanted to study from the Bible.  I told her that we could do that.  So I started to teach about how the Bible is evidence that God loves his children.  I explained that the Bible is truly a miracle.  We talked about how it was the prophets that wrote the Bible.  We then talked about how she had gotten a testimony of the Bible.  She said it was through studying, fasting, praying, and that she could just feel that it was true.  I then took her to Galatians 5:22-23.  she said that was just what she felt.  This is when I turned the lesson.  I explained that the Book of Mormon was a miracle just like the Bible was. I explained that the Book of Mormon is evidence that God loves all of his children.  I testified that there were people in the Americas trying to follow God, and so he gave them guidance through the prophets.  I testified that if she would read, she would gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon just like she did of the Bible. It was so awesome!  Elder Hale then testified and it was sweet.  

She then explained a concern she had for the scripture in Revelations 22:18 that says to not add to this book.  What was funny is that she didn't know where it was, and so I told her.  It really isn't hard to explain why.  All you need to explain is that when it says "this book"  The book of Revelation is ment, not the Bible as a whole.  John wrote revelation seperate from the Bible.  However, I helped her explain that we would help her find the answer to her question.  I really don't like arguing with people.  I made sure to say that.  She seemed OK with my response.

The next thing that happened is she talked about baptisms for the dead, and how she didn't see how that was supported by the Bible.  Elder English took over for that, and it was awesome.  He covered authority, and how many people don't ever have the opportunity to hear about the gospel.  Baptisms for the dead is evidence of God's love for all of his children.  It was a sweet lesson and the spirit was super strong.  We asked her to make a list of questions, so as we teach her family the lessons, we will make sure to cover her concerns.  It was awesome.

Next cool thing is that we went and saw the Murillos with President Estrada, our branch president.  It was OK.  President talked a lot, but it was all good.  We talked about what he needed to do to become an Elder, and eventually enter the temple with his family.  It was good.

We had a lesson with Lauriano as well.  We taught the restoration, and he says that he believes it all, so that is sweet.  He has such great faith!  It is so neat to see that.
We also saw David, and read with him because he hadn't read the last few days.  It was sweet.  We read the last chapter of Nephi's Vision.  It was awesome.  It talks about the two churches, and how there really is no middle ground.  You either support one or the other.

The Wilkersons are doing well.  We went and helped them instal a toilet, because they had redone their floor in their bathroom and needed help putting it in.  It is a good thing that Elder Hale's dad is a plumbing contractor.  He knows what he is doing when it comes to plumbing.

Well, we just had an awesome district meeting.  It is so cool to see how it just comes together.  I didn't really know what I wanted to instruct on when I woke up, but I remembered that the Zone Leaders had asked us to instruct on weekly planning in chapter 7.  I decided to go ahead and do it.  We started out by having a discussion of what made a good weekly planning, and some things we wanted to change.  That was sweet.  We really saw that it is all about attitude.  I shared the quote that is in Hillary's bathroom.  Attitued is everything: Pick a good one!  We then each took a point of the weekly planning points, and I asked them to look for something they hadn't seen before, that they wanted to change.  It was sweet.  We came up with a lot of good ways to change.  I then asked if they would read through all of the points during weekly planning, and they said they would.  It was a great meeting.

Well, that is pretty much everything!  I know that the Lord qualifies those whom he calls!  I love you all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Monday, November 4, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 23 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 5:49 And now I say unto you that this is the order after which I am called, yea, to preach unto my beloved brethren, yea, and every one that dwelleth in the land; yea, to preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.

Hey everyone!

This week was a pretty good week!  Wednesday I said goodbye to Elder Drollinger at transfer meeting, and hello to Elder Hale.  Elder Drollinger went to Metairie north, which he will love, and Elder Hale came from downtown New Orleans.  Elder Hale and Elder Drollinger were companions in the MTC.  That means that of all the companions that I have had, I have also served with their MTC companion.  Elder Gillett and Elder Thomas, Elder Drollinger and Elder Hale, and Elder Larsen was my companion.  pretty crazy!

Well, after transfers, we went around and introduced Elder Hale to everyone.  He is from Hawaii on the Big Island.  Dry side.  He said that he has spent half of his time there and the other half in Utah.  He is sweet.  I really have liked working with him so far.  He has all of this candy from Hawaii that his friends and family have sent and all is pretty good.
Well this week we went and saw David a few times.  They are still working on extending their visa.  We went by Halloween day and it rained really hard, and by the time we got to his home, we were drenched.  They were nice enough to let us in and dry off a bit.  They fed us tamales which are a traditional Dia de los Brujas (how the hondurans say halloween.  Literally means day of the witches) dish.  Hondurans make them with a banana leaf instead of the corn husk.  It gives it a different flavor.  Anyways, David is doing alright.  We didn't really get to have a solid lesson with him, because he had to run, but he is so close to being ready for baptism.  He just needs to get to church.

We also went and saw Lauriano.  He is doing well.  He brought up a question of "which of all the churches is the true church."  We briefly explained the restoration and how Joseph Smith had the same question.  We had to leave to go to a meeting, but I can not wait to go back and teach the restoration.  One problem that we have had with Lauriano is that we didn't know how to help him get a testimony of the Book of Mormon, because he only made it to 2nd grade, so reading is not one of his strengths.  The answer that we got was that we can help him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by using it in everything we teach.  He also loves pictures, so we will definitely use the pictures of the Book of Mormon stories.  Lauriano is sweet.

One really cool thing that happened is we went over to see Blas and Lauriano one day this week, and instead of finding them, we found some of their family that was staying in their home for work.  Their names are Lisman and something like Anjelia.  Anyways, she had a sweet testimony of the Bible.  She had prayed and fasted to know, and she said that she felt something special.  We helped explain that that feeling was the spirit.  she was super receptive, and he was as well.  We saw them two times this week.  The first time we introduced the Book of Mormon and she told us about her experience with the Bible.  We promised that if she would do the same with the Book of Mormon, she would also get an answer.  The second time we saw them, we taught the restoration using the cups, and they understood it really well.  They have returned to New Orleans, but we gave them the missionaries information, because they don't really have a phone or a set home right now, so I hope that all works out alright.

Yesterday was terrific.  We double worked our area with the East Elders, Elder McCutcheon and Elder McMurray.  We covered a lot of ground.  I went with Elder McMurray on bikes and Elder McCutcheon and Elder Hale had the car, and checked out some places a bit farther away from home.  Elder McMurray is from Mexico, but when he was 11, moved to Cali, and 3 years ago, moved to Provo.  His step dad is white, hence the name McMurray.

We had some exchange miracles to be sure.  Me and Elder McMurray went to try to see Blas, but he wasn't home.  However, next door moving in was someone I had contacted a couple transfers ago!  Her name is Lourdes and her husbands name is Wilson.  Anyways, she was like, Hey!  you need to come over!  We set a time for Wednesday.  Such a miracle.  Next, I felt like we should go to a former investigators home.  Outside of their door were a couple, Carmen and Arnold.  We said hi and knocked on Maria's (the Former investigator) door and her daughter said she was sleeping.  The usual.  So we started talking with Carmen and Arnold.  She knew a lot about us, and I asked how.  She went on to tell us that when she was 12, her mom married a mormon in California, a bit to the south of Sacramento, and she was never really into it.  She said something about how the leadership floundered.  She also had some doubts about temple work.  She said her and Arnold had been talking about finding a church to go to a few days before.  I hope we can help her overcome her doubts.  We will go back next Wednesday.  After that, we went back to the apartment because my knee was kind of sore, so we sat for ten minutes or so, and then went back out and had our second lesson with Lauriano this week.  The one where we talked about the Restoration a bit.  It was a sweet lesson.

Well, this week is stacking out to be a really good week!  Elder Hale made a few appointments as well on their half.  

Well, Sunday I had the lesson in Gospel Principles, since Elder O'Donnell left the district, and it was on the Atonement.  It went really well.  We read the parable of the Debtor and the Creditor.  How great it is to have a Mediator like the Savior!  Then, due to an idea that came to me in sacrament meeting, we split into two groups of six and had them use an object that they had on them to teach each other about the atonement, and to also share a scripture.  One of them used a light, and said that the Atonement and Jesus Christ help to guide us and and help us return to the correct path.  They then shared John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

The next group used an erasable pen.  They marked a piece of paper, ans said that sometimes we sin, and then erased it, and said that the Atonement is like the eraser, it can erase our sins.  What was interesting was that it took a little bit of effort to erase the ink.  Sometimes sin is that way as well.  They used Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

I know that teachers receive revelation.  It was sweet to see the members get up and teach each other.  

Well.  It was an awesome week!  I love you all! Thanks for your love and support!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

ps. weird bugs here in Baton Rouge.  Not sure what this is.  Cool pic though.

Me and a sweet truck on LSU Campus