Monday, December 23, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 30 - Baton Rouge, LA

Ether 2:25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?

Hey everyone!  

This week was rather interesting!  We did a TON of random things.

Monday was sweet.  Elder Hale and I were in charge of Family Home Evening.  We taught about the Doctrine of Christ.  It was awesome!  As we taught about each principle, we ripped a piece of paper off and wrote each of the parts: Fe en Jesucristo, Arrepentimiento, Bautismo, Don del EspĂ­ritu Santo, y perseverar hasta el fin.  We then cut out the numbers one to five, and made a path around the room.  We then had Felipe try to use the papers of the Doctrine of Christ to travel around the room.  The only way to do it is to walk along the pieces, and pick up the pieces that you have already stepped on and put them down and use them again.  Therefore, the path is like life.  As we go through life, we must continually be doing the things that make up the Doctrine of Christ.  We must always be acting in faith, repenting, partaking of the sacrament, and following the spirit.  If we do that, we will endure to the end.  It was a sweet lesson and we had an awesome discussion after.

Tuesday I had planned on finishing the Role Play Roulette.  Everyone last week had chosen a teaching situation with a certain person and put it on a piece of paper.  We then took turns drawing one and then this week we were going to do them.  However, the sisters had a part of the Christmas Devotional the mission did, so they were in New Orleans for that and me and Elder Hale didn't know, so with some divine inspiration, I decided in the middle of the opening song to have a group study of the Tree of Life.  It was super awesome!  Something that I thought was interesting is that when Nephi asks to know the interpretation of the tree, the angel shows him Mary, and then asks Nephi what he sees.  Nephi response is super honest.  He says that he saw a "A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins."  He didn't know who she was, or what it meant.  That is also shown when the angel asks him "Knowest thou the condescension of God?" and Nephi says "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."  Because Nephi was honest, the angel was better able to help him learn, and see many miraculous things.  Something else that was cool was the angels question "What desirest thou?" What an awesome question!  Wouldn't it be great to know what those we teach really want?  It would sure help us be able to help them to progress.  Anyways, it was an awesome meeting.  I know that when things happen that aren't along with the plans we had, it means that we just need to adjust and move along.  The spirit will be there to help guide us in the correct path.

Wednesday we met with Lauriano and Blas, and shared with them a Christmas message.  We watched the Bible videos regarding the shepherds and wisemen.  It was sweet.  We then talked about being a wise man today and seeking Christ in our day.  We invited them to read and come to church, but they are still kind of flaky. 

Thursday was the Mission Christmas Devo.  It was pretty much the same thing as last year.  It was like a live Joy to the World play thing.  It was sweet.  There was good music and the acting was funny.  President and Sister Wall gave us flashlights so we could let our "lights" shine this christmas, as well as a little temple recommend holder with the Baton Rouge Temple on it.  That was so thoughtful of them.  Sister Wall is always creative with what she gives the missionaries. After the devo, we went home, and saw a car that had bottomed out turning right on one of the ditches that always run by the roads here.  The Plaquemine Elders had given us a ride and we were all like, "we got to help them!"  So we all got out, another truck stopped, and another truck blocked the road and turned on his hazards.  They put the car in Neutral and we shoved it out of the ditch.  That was sweet.  

Friday we went caroling and had a blast.  We found several cool people in our area and gave them all a wrapped copy of Joy to the World.

Saturday and Sunday there was a tornado warning.  That meant bike areas had to stay indoors. That was terrible.  I was bored out of my mind.  We studied a lot.  Watched the Doctrine and Covenants videos, watched Joseph Smith, prophet of the Restoration, and played a four hour game of Monopoly.  Elder Hale won because he had all of the railroads and I landed on them a lot.

Today the zone shall get together to play basketball and volleyball and have a white elephant. That will be a blast!  Well, I love you all!  Gotta go!  I get to talk to home this week! So excited!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 29 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 5:44 For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the holy order of God, which is in Christ Jesus; yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are to come.

Hey Everyone!

This week was pretty interesting!  So we had some pretty sweet stuff go happen.  First things first. We were invited to go to the transfer meeting and a leadership meeting in the morning.  Both were awesome.  In the leadership meeting we talked a lot about being a good example to our district members.  We also talked a lot about being spirit lead.  I really loved a quote in Preach My Gospel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks at the end of the chapter How Do I Recognize and Understand the Spirit.  

“[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but … unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.

“We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation” (“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 13–14).
I thought that that was pretty sweet.  It is good to rely on the spirit, but we need to use our own brains as well.

The transfer meeting was sweet too.  I was able to see Hermana Walker and Hermana Marks off. They were the sisters in my MTC district that came to Baton Rouge.  Hermana Burns and Hermana Marks played God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen, and it was gorgeous.  I love that song!
Well, this week was a lot running around.  We were able to get in to see David, which we hadn't done for awhile.  His "step sister" of sorts had just gotten here a week ago and it was her birthday party.  We randomly showed up and helped them set up a little bit.  

One really cool thing that happened was the Nativity that the English wards set up.  It was huge. They set up a stage along one of the long walls of the cultural center and it was very well done.  It was neat.  We even got Lauriano and Daniel to come!  That was the best part!

We went and saw Lauriano and Blas on Sunday.  What was crazy was that there were another 5 guys there.  We just walked on in, and asked if we could share a message.  Blas said sure, and so I asked the others if they would like to listen.  They said they would.  So we sat down, and I felt to share nephi's account of the tree of life and the iron rod.  We were able to testify of the Savior, and that he really is the Tree of Life, and that the Book of Mormon is the iron rod, that will help us get closer to Him.  It was a super cool experience, to be able to testify to so many people at one time.  We left one younger guy who was there with a Book of Mormon because he was interested.  We offered the others copies too, but they said that they could borrow one from Blas or someone and wouldn't take it, so we gave them cards.

Well, that is pretty much the highlights of the week!  I love you all!  Merry Christmas!


Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 28 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 37:34 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.

Hey everyone!

Well, Elder Hale and I haven't been called by anyone, so that usually means that we aren't having any changes.  The only change in my district will be Hermana Marks, one of my MTC amigos from my first district, will be going home.  Therefore, someone will have to take her place.  That is so crazy.  I have hit 18 months!  It is super sad to see Sister Marks and Sister Walker, her MTC companion, go.
Well, this week was very very wet.  Some cool things that happened were that me and Elder Hale found three new investigators in one day!  That was awesome!  We have been praying that we would find more people to teach, and it is awesome to see that our prayers are heard and answered.  

The first one is Mario from El Salvador.  He lives in a home of a former investigator that we went out to check on.  We knocked on the door and he answered and I asked if the former, Mauricillo was home, and he said he had moved.  We then started up a conversation about where he was from, if he liked Papusas (the main dish from El Salvador), and stuff like that.  we then explained who we were, and asked him if he would be interested in hearing our message.  He said that if we found him home, he would love too.
The next two new investigators came together.  We went to check on Carmen and Arnold, and as we left, we saw Hector and Edwin get out of their car.  We said hi, and their response really hit me for some reason.  It wasn't like they just said, fine, thanks.  They responded in a way that really started a conversation.  It was pretty sweet.  Hector is from Honduras and has been here awhile, and Edwin is from El Salvador, and has been here a week.  Both are legal, which is kind of interesting.  They invited us back the next day, and we had a good conversation about the Book of Mormon.  They said that they would read it, and we could meet sometime the next week.  It was awesome!

This week we had Zone Training.  It was awesome!  Elder Brockbank and Elder Knowlton are sweet.  Elder Brockbank is the other type one diabetic in the mission, so we relate.  We focused the entire time on finding.  I know that if we will follow the spirit, we will be guided to those who are ready.  One of the LSU sisters, Sister Ogden, shared the Temple Square contacting model, that the sisters use there in Salt Lake.  She served with a sister that was called there and came to Baton Rouge for her time in the regular field.  I can't remember it all off the top of my head, so I will include that in my next email.  I have to take a look at my notes.

Well, that meeting was sweet.  After the meeting, we had a district leader counsel.  We talked about how a good leader helps the district progress, and they gave us some great ideas for district meetings.  They then had a maze set up in the relief society room, and one person had to lead two people through the maze while the two were blindfolded.  It was sweet.  The zone leaders were making noises and saying stuff to distract, but the leader got us to the intended location.  could the blindfolded people have plowed through the maze of chairs and tables? yes.  But as they listened to their leader, they were able to accomplish the task with ease, and without bruises.  It was a cool lesson.  Well, I gotta run!  I love you all!  I have really enjoyed reading the letters in the advent calendar!  Thank you so much to all who were a part of that!  

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Year 2 - Letter 27 - Baton Rouge, LA

Matthew 6:9-13

Hey Everyone!

Life is great!  So, one really cool thing was that Saturday was the baptism of Tanya Ramirez! Both me and Elder Hale were in the font because she is pregnant, and therefore a little bit more heavy and unstable.  It was a really cool experience.  The spirit was just so soft and peaceful.  It was really neat.

Well, this week was pretty much awesome!  
Monday we went to Brother Shute's home, and we taught about trusting in the Lord using the broomstick.  Brother Shute had made us a Turkey.  He doesn't like turkey at all, but he gets one every bishops storehouse, so he made it for us.  For a guy that never eats turkey, it was delicious! After that, we went to Presidente Felipe's for another Family Home Evening.  It was awesome. We taught the same lesson again, and had an interesting conversation.  We asked what we could do to better trust in the Lord.  At first they talked about the simple things, like have more meaningful scripture study, more fervent and frequent prayers, etc.  Then it got to missionary work, and it was cool that if we will just trust in the Lord, and go to work as he would have us, it will work out (kind of like what you were talking about mom! He IS mightier than all the earth! see 1 Nephi 4:1 and  "Doctrinal Commentary on The Book of Mormon" by McConkie and Millet) It was a sweet lesson!

Tuesday I got a package of letters from my family for thanksgiving. Thank you all so much!  I love you all too!  I saw something interesting in the lyrics of the song Count your Blessings that my dad included in his letter.  The 3rd verse in the lyrics, it says
Count your many blessings; money cannot buy 
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.
If you look at the punctuation, it says count your many blessings: (PAUSE) money cannot by your reward in heaven nor your home on high.  I just sat there and just thought how profound that is. Money CANNOT buy the things that matter most.  That is something that I have really seen from the people that I have taught.  All a lot of them do is work, and that is it.  Money is only important in sustaining our families.  We can't let it get in the way of what matters most.

Thanksgiving was awesome!  Presidente Estrada put me and Elder Hale in charge of organizing sports.  We went to Burbank Fields and played some soccer.  We got a lot of people there despite it being on the cold side.  And that is another thing!  I never would have thought that Louisiana would be cold!  Last week it got below freezing!  I have been very grateful for the sweaters and jacket that have been sent from home!  Thanks again!

Thanksgiving dinner was in the church with a bunch of the single guys in our ward.  Me and Elder Hale made garlic mashed potatoes.  They were so good they reminded me of my dads! They were a hit.  It was a good dinner, and the company was better.

Saturday was awesome!  We went and did a bunch of service at the house we went to last week, except we did painting. Elder Hale used Felipe's stilts, to scrape the old paint on the ceiling.  I tried and just could do it. We got a lot done though.  And then the Baptism.  That was awesome. Elder McMurray confirmed her on Sunday, and that was sweet.  A good first transfer experience for him.  

Well, life is a gift!  Thanks for everything!  I love you all!  Hasta luego!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

1.Me Elder Hale and Tanya
2.Me and Elder McMurray :P  haha, jk On the right is Felipe, and on the left is Martin, who is going to move into our area soon, which is sweet.
3.Service, and you can kind of see Elder Hale's Stilts.