Monday, January 27, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 35 - Baton Rouge, LA

Moroni 6:9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.

Hey everyone! 
So, this week has been pretty crazy!  My new companion is Elder Glauser from Redlands California.  He is awesome.  He went to the Mexico MTC.  His accent is pretty good, and his vocab is pretty good too.  He is doing really well.  Some interesting things are going on with our district.  We got two more Elders up helping the Baton Rouge East Elders.  So that means our district has six Elders and two sisters.  That means that our district consists of Elder Glauser and I in the south; Elder McCutcheon, Elder McMurray, Elder Mastache (who will leave the same time I do), and Elder Peltzer (Elder Glauser's MTC companion) in the east; and Hermana Astle and Hermana Toleafoa all over.  Everyone seems to be adjusting nicely.
This week we had a breakthrough with Blas!  We watched the Mormon Message, Reclaimed.  After that, we talked about the Atonement.  He than said that he had a question that he had been debating talking with us about for like two months.  He then talked about how his wife had left him because of some decisions he had made.  He wondered if he could change and be remarried someday.  We told him that he could.  It was sweet.
Another cool miracle was that we had a lesson with David and his dad Mario.  Mario never is home.  We read with them in Mosiah 18:7-14.  It was sweet.  We started out by having Elder Glauser ask them to look for two things: 1. What we promise to God as we are baptized, and 2. what God promises us if we keep our baptismal covenants.  It was sweet!  WE committed all of them, including Mario to come to church and do what they can to progress towards making this covenant.  Mario said he might come to church, which we figure is better than no.
We had Stake Conference this week, and we didn't see Mario there.  Stake Conference was really good though!  I bet y'all can guess the main topic.  It was Hastening the Work!  It was awesome!  I just really felt the realization that the Lord's work is moving along, and what a privilege we all have to be a part of it!  
Well, we had a sweet district meeting with everyone!  The crazy thing is, is that we are now forced to bike, since the East has four Elders and only one open seat, and we aren't allowed to ride with the sisters.  What made it more crazy is that as we biked, it was SNOWING and there was ice everywhere!  It was gorgeous, sketch, and cold!  We made some good memories though.  At district meeting, we talked about our district goals.  We made a list on the board and talked about the things that really stuck out to us from the instruction given by Elder Perkins.  Once we made our list, we divided the things on it and made our goals.  our goals are in the photo.  Part one is that we will make weekly planning a revelatory experience by 
  1. Focusing on the needs of the people
  2. Making a vision for each person
  3. Using the area book daily
Part two was this evaluation that we do daily and will follow up with at district meeting.
  1. Am I bold?
  2. Am I humble?
  3. Is there urgency in the work?
  4. Am I an instrument or a tool?
  5. Do I enjoy the work?
  6. Am I becoming converted to the Savior? 
All of the stuff is on the picture.  It was cool as district leader to see everything just work and see the spirit guiding the district to make some solid goals.  It was also awesome to bike in SNOW.
Well, life is great!  I love you all!  Keep on keepin on!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 34 - Baton Rouge, LA

Omni 1:26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

Hey Everyone!
Well, this was kind of a crazy week!  First things first.  I am not leaving Baton Rouge South. That is kind of crazy!  Elder Hale and I, and really everyone else thought that I was a goner for sure. However, the Lord has other things in mind for me.  Oh, I am also going to train again!  That is going to be awesome!  I can't wait to meet my new companion!  I really have loved training in the past, so I am quite excited to do it again!

Well, on to the week!  We had an AWESOME visit from Elder Perkins of the first quorum of the Seventy!  He was really cool!  Before he came we all filled out a survey about the mission and how we were all doing, and he used that a lot.  It was pretty cool.  What really stuck out to me was his focus on being more bold.  He drew a chart up on the white board and put in the middle the word BOLD.  We then talked about how being to bold is overbearing and not being bold enough is timid or fearful.  We need to be bold as missionaries.  We have the message of the Restoration.  We are the only ones with all the truth.  He also focused a lot about teaching investigators about ordinances.  It was interesting.  Everyone had to prepare a 10 minute lesson about ordinances with a commitment invitation.  It was sweet.  Elder Hale and I didn't get chosen, but we did get ten minutes to practice the lesson with another companionship.  When we teach baptism we often focus more on the results of baptism, like that we will be clean, etc. Sometimes, however, we drift over the fact that baptism is the only way we can start the journey to our Heavenly Father.  How important that is!  We definitely made that a goal to share that with our investigators.  President Wall also spoke and it was sweet.  President Wall worked as publisher with Deseret News.  In that position, he met with the First Presidency and Apostles a lot.  He told the story of the Construction of the City Creek Shopping center close to Temple Square.  He told of the Vision that President Hinckley had, and how he passed that vision on.  He talked about how they had to destroy the previous mall.  He then related all of that to missionary work.  Sometimes we have to tear down what is "good"  so we can construct what is better.  I thought that was cool. It was a sweet meeting.  I also got to be part of a Leadership Meeting afterwards.  We talked about the things that we were influenced to carry into our vision, and how we could do that. Elder Perkins shared a story about member missionary work.  He said that the Apostles don't just preach, they do.  He said that Elder Ballard on a vacation to California gave away something like 18 copies of his book, Our Search for Happiness.  He then talked about a trip he had with Elder Perry to Omaha Nebraska.  As they sat down to eat dinner, the waitress asked if they would like wine.  Elder Perry said, "Wine?  We don't need wine!  We're Mormons!  We are the happiest people on earth!  We don't drink wine!"  After dinner, the waitress asked if they would like some coffee.  Elder Perry then said, "Coffee?  I thought I told you!  We are Mormons!  We are the happiest people on earth!  We don't drink coffee!"  Elder Perry later on was talking to a man they ran into.  Elder Perry asked the man if he had ever talked to Mormons.  The man said he had. Elder Perry then asked if he was baptized.  The man said he wasn't.  Elder Perry then said" Well, you should be!"  WE have good examples among the quorum of the twelve and our other leaders.

This week we had an awesome lesson with David.  We asked if he had read, and he hadn't.  We then talked about baptism, as we talked about at our Zone Conference.  It was sweet.  We gave him a date, but he said he didn't know if he would be prepared.  We told him that if he would read and pray, he would be ready.  We talked a bit about how our job was to help him get ready.  We do that by extending invitations.  LIke reading the scriptures!  He laughed at that.  We then committed him to read every day, and to set a specific time aside to study.  He said that he would. We just need to follow up now.

Elder Hale and I have also been helping this less active guy Roberto.  He has a girlfriend who doesn't speak Spanish, and he doesn't speak English, so that has been kind of interesting.

Well, that is pretty much it!  Still kind of shocked that I'm staying here!  Kind of glad though! Things are looking good!  Well, gotta go!  I love you all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 33 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mosiah 24:15-16 

15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

Hey everyone!

This week was pretty much the best week ever!  So, to start off, we had a really good district meeting.  We talked a lot about how we could be better at following up with our investigators. That was pretty cool.  It was neat to see how the lesson that I planned ended up being way different from the lesson that I taught.  We ended up talking a lot about how we could be better at extending commitments to our investigators.  One thing that really caught my attention is that we talked about how well we really know the people that we teach.  We spend so much of our time helping these people, that we really get to know them, and what kind their reactions will be to our message.  Sometimes we get complacent with that.  We don't extend a commitment because "we know" that they will just tell us no.  However, one thing that we realized is that that doesn't mean that we shouldn't give them commitments.  There is a sweet quote in Preach My Gospel that says "People will not likely change unless they are invited to do so." How true that is!  So simple, yet so profound.  If we don't give these people a chance to change, then they aren't going to.  We need to invite them to change, even if we just expect a no; and really who knows!  We might even get a yes once in awhile!  Once we give the commitment, we need to be sure to follow up.  It shows that we really value what we committed them to do, and that we care about them. Anyways, it was a sweet meeting.

Next awesome thing, was that we went on exchanges this week!  I went with Elder McCutcheon to serve in the East part of Baton Rouge.  It was awesome!  We definitely saw some sweet miracles.  One o f them was that we had a sweet lesson with Walter and Alma.  They are a young couple with a newborn baby, Rachelle.  He is an investigator and she is a less active.  He talked to us and told us that he has a vision of where he wants to be in the next few years, and that that includes baptism and marriage.  He hadn't ever opened up to us like that, so that was sweet.

Another cool thing that happened is on the exchange we went to the BREC center near their apartment.  BREC is the organization that runs all of the parks here in Baton Rouge.  Anyways, they have been helping out there a lot.  So, there was one lady that works there, Miss Elizabeth. SO we talked with her a bit about her family, and then she showed us all of these religious books that she has been reading.  Then, Elder McCutcheon was like, "Hey, we have a book for you!"  So we took a little time to teach her about the Book of Mormon.  That was sweet.  She accepted it right of the bat.  A sweet little lesson. That was pretty much it for the exchange. 

Friday, we went out with the Zone Leaders in our area.  I was with Elder Campbell.  He started May 30th just like me, but left the MTC before I did, because he was English speaking. Anyways, he is sweet.  WE are a lot alike.  He loves to fly fish and his last trip was to flaming gorge, just like me.  He is also into choir and music.  We figured all of this out because right as we started the exchange, we got called by the Murillos asking us if we could help them translate at the ER. So we went and helped them for like 4 hours.  It was sweet.  Elder Campbell and I contacted a few English people there, so that was pretty cool.  We also asked if the ER ever needed help translating and gave them our number.  It was sweet translating.  I guess I never thought I would ever be doing something like that.  It was so hard for me to do that when I started my mission, but now, it is super easy for me.

After translating, we went to try a door that we had tried before the Murillos called us.  Neither of us knew why we went back, but we did.  We ended up contacting these two sweet young men. Gabriel and Manuel.  They are from El Salvador.  It was sweet to teach them.  We showed them the Restoration DVD, and they said that they believed it.  We then taught them about the Book of Mormon a bit, and invited them to be baptized.  They said yes a little hesitantly, but we explained that we would stop by and help them be prepared, and that made them a little more calm about it. Anyways, it was a sweet lesson.  

Then, Elder Campbell got a call from someone in his last area, saying that they needed a blessing and were at Our Lady of the Lake, the other one of the two big hospitals here in Baton Rouge. We went to both today.  The Murillos went to Baton Rouge General.  Anyways, the man had had another stroke.  I believe that this was his second.  He wasn't a member.  He couldn't really talk. We asked him if he still wanted a blessing.  He said he did.  I anointed and Elder Campbell sealed.  It was a sweet blessing.  It told him to be patient in his suffering, and to love those about him.  The spirit was there.  I am so glad that we can be there to help other people like that.  What a blessing it is to have the priesthood restored. Anyways, that was pretty much it for the exchange #2.

Saturday Elder Hale and I went to try Hector and Eduin, but they weren't home.  However, we found Danny there.  Turns out that Danny wasn't to interested, but it was still and interesting conversation.  He wondered why Mormon's name wasn't in the Bible.  WE explained that God's word has not ceased.  We testified that the Book of Mormon is evidence that God still speaks today, and that he could find out if what we had said was true or not if he would read the Book of Mormon and pray to know.  We said a prayer and left after that.  It was quite interesting.  

Well, between all we did this week, we got 17 lessons!  IT was a miracle, for sure!  I know that if we are patient, the Lord will bless us.

I love you all!  Thanks for everything!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 32 - Baton Rouge, LA

3 Ne 13: 19-20 

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;

 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Hey Everyone!

It is kind of weird emailing again, since it really has only been a few days.  But that is OK.  It sure is great to email y'all!

Well lets see.  I think the greatest thing that has happened this week was church.  We changed times to 12:50.  That was quite different that nine!  We had the coolest gospel principles class. We only had one person there that was an investigator, and Tanya, who I baptized about a month ago, and her little baby that she had a little bit after Christmas.  His name is Jason.  Anyways, the class was awesome.  It was Alberto's (the investigator) first time at church.  He hadn't even had the a lesson yet.  He was at one of the homes of that the sisters visit, and they randomly invited him to church.  Juan, one of our awesome members, went to pick him up, but he wasn't there.  He then called the sisters and found our where the church was and got a ride.  That was awesome! 
Anyways, the lesson was on the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.  So basically, this guy got the best first lesson ever from the entire district.  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he said that he would read it.  I shared with him how it was perfectly fine to have questions, kind of how it talks about questions in the book The Power of Every Day Missionaries (if you haven't read that, you should).  I told him that this church was restored in response to questions of the young prophet Joseph Smith, and that we could also help him find the answers to his questions.  It was sweet.  I can not wait to see what happens with our friend Aldoberto.  The branch was so kind and was great about welcoming him in to the family.  Oh, we also met in the chapel for sacrament!  That was the best!  It has been 7 months since I have met in the chapel for sacrament! The spirit was so strong!  One testimony really touched me.  She told of how in the past year that she hadn't really gone to church much until the end.  She also told an amazing story of how her daughter who was crossing to here was on her way but was caught by the border patrol. Miraculously, however, her daughter ended up getting out free from the border patrol and brought to her door.  She then said that she hadn't ever entered the temple yet, only in her dreams, and that she was going to make going to the temple the top priority.  Very sincere.  

Well, that is pretty much the highlights of this week.  We have kind of hit a point where we have to figure out who is really interested and who we need to kind of let cool down a bit.  It is kind of hard, but I know that the Lord will guide Elder Hale and I to make the correct decisions.  I love you all!  Thanks for all that you do!  I love you all so much!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 31 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 32:43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.

Hey Everyone!

Sorry that this is way late!  The libraries were down on Monday, and closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  They are actually still down today, so we are here in our local Family History Center where the Schexnayder's said that we could use the computers to write our families.  So, here we are.

Well, a lot has happened lately!  Christmas was awesome!  It was fantastic talking with my family!  It was so good to see that everyone is doing well.  Peter is getting tall.  That is crazy.  Sadie is growing up, and Mom and Dad, you still look young as ever.  

Well, after we talked with our families, Elder Hale and I went to Sandra and Monica's for dinner. We went with Felipe, who is our Elders Quorum President.  He is solid.  We had a really good time.  Sandra and Monica are from El Salvador, and have been kind of off and on lately, so it was huge that they had us over for Christmas.  They had the Christmas Story going on the TV when we walked in.  That made me smile.  Good movie.  We didn't watch it, however.  Not supposed to do that you know.

Oh!  Thanks again family for sending the sweater and other goodies!  I have really enjoyed them! The sweater is actually pretty warm.

New years eve was fun!  In our district meeting we had President Wall sit in.  That kind of made me nervous at first, but we had a good meeting.  We talked about unity.  It was sweet.  I used the scriptures to help share what I wanted to convey.  I focused a lot more on the blessings of unity verses examples of dis-unity.  The only example I shared was the example of miscommunication that we find in the epistles of Moroni and Pahoran.  Pahoran didn't really communicate with Moroni what was going on in Zarahemla, and so all Moroni saw was that he wasn't getting any help from Pahoran, which made him angry.  However, once they started communicating again, they were able to get rid of a situation that could have been really bad.  I wonder what it would have been like had Pahoran been writing to Moroni the entire time.  Interesting.

Anyways, we then went to the Adjusting to Missionary life booklet, and looked at some advice it gives for getting along with your companion and leaders.  All really good stuff.

After District Meeting, President Wall took us to Casa Maria, a little hispanic restaurant nearby. Not very authentic, but good.  He talked to us about adding missionaries in the branch, and also a bit about New Orleans.  It was an interesting conversation.  Then he had to run.

Oh!  New Years Eve was Elder Hale's Birthday!  he turned 19!  Our little youngster!  After district meeting we went out and delivered some triples to some less actives that asked for them. After that, we weren't allowed to proselyte, so we went to Hunan's with the members for Elder Hale's birthday and to celebrate the new year with some good Chinese food.  The food was good, but the people were better!  We had Danny and Tuan serving us.  Tuan has been in the US for 20 years, since he was 11.  He is from Vietnam.  Danny's parents are from Vietnam as well, but Danny was born here.  They were both interested in our work as missionaries.  They didn't have any other tables while we were there, so we invited them to sit with us, which they did.  They were awesome!  Really kind.  When they figured out that it was Elder Hale's Birthday, they got him an entire pineapple cheesecake.  It was terrific!  And cheap.  cheap is good.

Well, we are FINALLY back to normal!  The last few weeks have been kind or hectic with all of the holidays and stuff.  Plus this is the first day in 3 days that it hasn't rained, so that is nice.

OH!  Last night I had my first flat tire on my mission.  That was crazy.  I was riding, and all of a sudden, I just knew I had a flat.  It was a pretty slow leak, and we were really close to home, so that was good.  

Well, all is well!  Life is great!
the wrong shall fail, the right prevail!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews