Monday, February 24, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 39 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mosiah 15:14-17 

Hey Everyone!
Well, this last week rocked!  We saw a lot of people and got a lot done, so that was pretty cool. One of the coolest things that happened where a bunch of new callings in the branch.  Most of it was sparked by the English's leaving and not being replaced.  The Englishs are the senior couple that have been helping out the branch for the last 18 months.  Elder English was the ward mission leader, so our Second Counselor, Brother Ricardo Garcia was called to be the new Ward Mission Leader.  Taking his place in the Branch Presidency was Juan Rodriguez, one of the most awesome members we have and was originally the secretary.  Taking his place as secretary was Felipe Robles, our old elders quorum president that has us over every Monday for FHE.  Taking his place as Elder's Quorum President is Filadelfo Gonzales from Gonzales Louisiana.  His counselor is Martin Alvarez.  He is a sweet member that moved into our area recently.  Pretty much all of our active priesthood have a calling in some kind of leadership position.  It is going to be awesome to help them learn.  We have been assigned to study "Teaching, No Greater Call".  We will then help to teach our new leadership.  That is going to be sweet.  It is awesome to be here in a time of growth for the Spanish Fifth Branch of Baton Rouge!
Well, this week we had something like 5 new investigators, due to all of the contacting that we have been doing.
First on the list were Leo and Juan.  We just started talking with them about a week and a half ago while they were working on their truck.  They both have papers and said that they were going to take one of their trucks to Mexico to sell it, but that we could come back after and visit.  Well, Thursday we went back to visit, and they invited us in, and were able to share with them about the Book of Mormon.  They asked us where the name Mormon came from, so we gave them an answer, and they told us to come back again, so that was pretty cool
Second, we taught Chito again.  Twice.  Chito is a sweet guy from the Philippines.  On Monday, we taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it works with the Bible to confound false doctrine.  We read in 2 Nephi 3:12 where it talks about the writings of the Jews and the descendants of Joseph will work together to confound false doctrine.  Chito had a lightbulb moment which was cool.  He understands what the Book of Mormon is.  When we came back to Chito last night, we shared with him Alma 32:21.  Elder Glauser asked him what he thought faith was.  He said it was not walking by sight.  He had seen a little clip on TV where a blind person said he was going east.  Another person asked him how he knew where east was if he couldn't even see.  The man said he didn't walk by sight, but by faith.  We then read in Alma 32:21 and he liked that a lot.  Pretty much solidified what he thought.  We then asked him if he had the faith to try to read the Book of Mormon.  He said he would.  We will visit him again with the English Elders so he can go to the right congregation and everything.
Third was Leopoldo.  We have had so many opportunities to teach Leopoldo, and never have.  It was like we were getting slapped in the face and finally we are reacting.  Anyways, Leopoldo is awesome.  He had some interesting questions about an Antichrist, and what that meant.  We told him we would do more research.
Well, life is great!  The Garcia's had us over on Saturday to have tilapia and rice.  It was really good.  It reminded me of when we did the Halibut in the tin foil boats.  They marinated the fish in lemon juice, cilantro, chicken bullion, and I think that is it.  It was really good.  Well, I love yall! Thanks for everything!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Monday, February 17, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 38 - Baton Rouge, LA

D&C 61:3 But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief.

Hey Everyone!

Life is grand here in the good 'ole south.  The weather here in Baton Rouge is quite bi-polar.
Early this last week it was freezing cold, while right now it is warm.  I think that we still have a few more cold fronts coming in, so I guess that we shall see.  Well, Elder Glauser and I have been doing a lot of contacting.  Elder Provost's time with us really changed the two of us.  We had around six solid contacts this week.  I'm gonna do the whole bullet point thing again, because it is an effective and organized way of saying what I want.
  • First was Luis and his family.  Luis is a little kid that is probably around 8-9 years old.  He was outside and we started to talk with him and his cousin Fernando.   I talked with Luis while Elder Glauser talked with Fernando.  Luis asked if I had a testimony.  Quite an interesting question for an 8 year old.  I shared my testimony that families can be forever.  He told me that he worried about what would happen to his family after death.  I explained the principle that God loves all of us and that families are ordained of God.  I also shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with him, and gave him Alma 40.  He was super excited to read.  He went in to his home, and talked with his mom, and his mom invited us in.  We couldn't go in because his dad wasn't home.  We will go back today probably.
  • Next was these two guys on the road by where Luis lives.  I can't remember their names off the top of my head.  They contacted us.  There was a Honduran and a Salvadorean.  The Honduran was like, hey, I want to come to your church!  I just need a white shirt and tie.  We told him we could arrange for him to have a shirt and tie.  We would love for the two to come to church!
OK. so I also went on an exchange this week.  I went to Baton Rouge east to work with Elder McCutcheon.  while on the exchange I saw a couple of guys, and was like, hey lets go talk to them.  Elder McCutcheon consented, and one of them was a less active that had moved from Texas.  The other was a friend that also had moved from Texas.  Both seemed decently interested. Cool cool.  We went to this place called the Bolsa (the bag).  It is this place called Prescott street. It is a rather interesting place.  Kind of old and trashy, but hey, that is pretty much where we are most of the time.  So the Bolsa is full of Hispanics and members, active and less active.  I met this guy Jason who is an English investigator that Elder McCutcheon was checking in on.  He had a really good taste in music.  Loves Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Styx, Boston, Kansas, etc.  he was playing Santana when we walked in, which sparked the conversation.  It was cool to relate to him. He is a guy that had a rough past and is doing a lot to change.  He was fixing his bike, so that was something that I was able to help with.  We also saw Cristobal, who spoke in sunday on the scriptures.  We went to help, and his roommates were in the midst of a sweet barbeque.  They shared with us and so we had awesome bbq shrimp, chicken, and chorizo.  Cristobal also did really well on his talk.  For pretty much everyone else we saw, we did an assignment that Elder McCutcheon and Elder McMurray have received from Presidente Estrada that is to get the members working on Hastening the Work. We showed the video We Are One.  We then shared some scripture that we felt prompted to share.  One of my favorites is Doctrine and Covenants 33:7-9, which was the title of my last email.  We need to open our mouths!  If we do, He will be with us.

For valentines day, we did service.  We went to an investigator of the zone leader's home which has an acre or so of property that was overgrown and had a shed that he wanted torn down.  So I spent most of my time wielding a machete and a sledge hammer.  It was awesome!  My hand hurts though...

Well, that is pretty much it!  Gotta go!  I love y'all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 37 - Baton Rouge, LA

D&C 33:8-9 

8 Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.

 9 Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.

Hey Everyone!

This week was probably one of the most memorable on my mission!  We had an awesome week! 

First off on Tuesday we had a day that was kind of like hit and miss.  We didn't find anyone home, and we mad a door contact that didn't really seem like it went anywhere.  A girl in her 20's answered and kind of gave us a lukewarm response.  She didn't really commit to anything, and just told us we couldn't come in because her brother in law and sister weren't home.  So we went home just kind of feeling down.  The next day we went out and the girl was walking outside our apartment!  She was like, when are you going to come back?  We scheduled an appointment for Saturday.  Her name is Nadia, and her brother in law is Mateo.  They ended up being really cool! We had an awesome Restoration lesson with them.  The spirit was super strong, and I know that I was guided to say certain things that I normally wouldn't have.  I was sharing about how the gospel blesses families, and I testified about the plan of salvation.  That really caught Mateo's attention.  After the lesson we asked if they had questions.  Mateo asked to know more about what happens after death, because we had touched on it a bit.  We invited him to read Alma 40 and that we would have a lesson all about that when we will go back to visit again.  When we left, we asked them if there was anything we could do to help them.  They said no, and I asked if they had any trash we could take out or dishes that we could wash.  Nadia jokingly said there were some dishes.  We were able then to do some dishes for them, which they were kind of surprised we actually did.

For most of the week we were with Elder Provost, who goes home in two weeks.  He is a one of a kind Elder.  He takes talking to everyone to the extreme!  I learned a lot from him.  We talked to about 97 percent of everyone we saw.  It was amazing!  We saw so many miracles from it.  He really helped Elder Glauser and I to see how natural missionary work can be.  When we saw Hispanics, he would say Hermano, yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero.  That was pretty much the extent of his Spanish, so we kind of had to step in.  I learned a lot from his example.  I have never taken talk to everyone so literally.  The more we talk to others about the gospel, the more natural it becomes.   Practice makes perfect.  The gospel has to become a part of our vocabulary. 

A few cool contacting situations:
  • We knocked a door and a nice lady named Priscilla answered.  We shared what church we were from and asked if she had beliefs in Christ.  She said that she did and that Christ had really helped her a lot in her life.  She also shared that she had just moved in and told us that she was looking for a place to go to church.  She asked us when and where our church services were.  We told her where church was on Bluebonnett and Highland.  She said she was thinking about a church that was on Highland and Bluebonnett.  As you can see above in a street view, there really aren't other churches anywhere around.  So she said she would come.
  • Nadia, whom I have already talked about.
  • Salvador.  He is from Mexico, and currently lives in Alabama but is working here in Baton Rouge.  He said that he was looking for a church and had seen us around, but never had talked to us.  He said he felt like he needed to talk to us.  He was a little buzzed, but we shall see what happens.
  • Chito.  He is from Manila.  It was cool.  I told him that you served there dad.  That was cool that I was able to relate to him a little bit.  He had talked with missionaries about two years before.  He said that his life had been a lot of up and downs, but Christ had helped him a lot.  He also said he had a copy of the Book of Mormon.   Elder Provost then did something I have never ever seen.  He pulled out John 3:5 and testified that baptism was the way to come unto Christ.  He asked if Baptism was something Chito would like to do.  He said it was.  Super cool.  
I learned so much from the last week.  It has seriously changed my mission and my life.  

We had a sweet lesson with David about reading the scriptures.  It was awesome!  It wasn't what we had planned to share, but the spirit was there, and I know it was what he needed to hear.  We now that we should read, and do a lot of other things, but a lot of the time, we don't know the why.  If we can help people understand the why, they will want to do the how.

Well, life is great!  Thanks for everything!  I love you all!  Take care and keep on keepin on!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 36 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mormon 9:15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.

Hey Everyone!
So this week was crazy!  

First of all, the snow/ice came back.  It was insane.  Missionaries everywhere in Louisiana weren't allowed to go out on bikes or in cars, or walk on or near big roads.  So, that was rather interesting.  We had the East Elders over, which means that we had six missionaries locked in our apartment.  We ended up going to El Tio, a Hispanic tienda close by home.  We set up a table with sever copies of the Book of Mormon and some pamphlets and other stuff.  I don't have my camera on me, but I have some great pictures of all of that.   It got down to like 29 degrees, which, when you have been in Louisiana as long as I have, is really cold!  We found a few really cool people around so that was neat.

OK, just wanted to say that this was pretty much the longest week ever!  I keep thinking about us in front of the Tio and it feels like it was forever ago, but it was only a week ago.

Anyways, Wednesday was awesome!  We had interviews with President Wall, and instruction with Sister Wall and the assistants. Elder Asuao and Elder Heile.  We went to the instruction first. We talked about the Atonement, and the purpose that we have serving.  It was interesting seeing how my purpose has changed while I have been out on my mission.  I really kind of started out being on a mission because that is what I had planned to do, and I wanted to help others.  Now, I serve because I just love the people here.  I want to do all that I can to help these people come unto Christ.  I know that what I am doing here has eternal significance.  It was a cool instruction. 

After that I had my interview with President Wall.  I got my recommend renewed, which was kind of cool getting it from President Wall.  President Wall is the best.  I think that I will really miss our interviews and just seeing him around.  Anyways, after my recommend interview, he asked me if there was anything I wanted to talk about.  So we talked about me being a trainer, and things that I can do to be better at that.  Then, President Wall asked me a cool question.  If I had a magic wand, and could wave it and get anything, what would I ask for?  Baptisms?  Investigators? Lessons?  I then said time.  I would ask for time.  He then asked me what I would do with that time.  I told him to keep doing what I was, and that time has just flown by.  He told me that he had been thinking of time lately as well.  He talked about what he would do if he knew the day he would die.  Would he live it up and then repent the last two years, or continue to do good?  He then told me something that I think has completely changed my perspective on life and everything.  He told be to think of time as a resource.  I had a big warehouse full of boxes of time.  Boxes of hours, of minutes, of seconds.  I only have a limited amount of these "boxes". Once they run out, they run out.  That is it.  Now, when I go about doing something, I think, is what I am about to do worth the time that it would cost?  Because once it is spent, it is gone. Yes, you could do something that isn't the best use of your time, and then use more time to do what is the best, but then we have used more of our time.  Why should we fill our time with things that are only good, or better, when we could have the BEST of everything?  That is what I want.  I want the BEST.  Good doesn't cut it.  A cool thought.

Thursday, I was biking from the Library on Bluebonnet  on our way to an appointment, and the cable to my front derailer snapped and sent my chain into first gear.  That was crazy.  I figure it was from the crazy weather going from freezing to warm and humid in a couple of days. Anyways, we struggled back to the apartment and called the zone leaders who gave us a ride to the bike shop to get that fixed.  We went to this place on Essen and Perkins called Capitol Cyclery.  It is a really cool store.  They know us missionaries.  Anyways, they switched out the cable, and because a piece of the cable was stuck in the mechanism on my handlebars, they put on a brand new one.  All for 14 dollars.  They didn't charge for labor.  Cool guys.  It is fun to talk to them about bikes.  Bikes are the best.  So are people.

Well, this week we had a good visit with Blas.  We talked with him about how it is important to pray to know truth, and that he could do that with the Book of Mormon.  We gave him an assignment to read in Alma 7 and pray to know if it is true.  I really hope reads.  Sometimes people remind me of the people that Moses dealt with.  He held up the Brazen Serpent and invited the people to look.  All they have to do is try!  We come to people and invite them to accept a message that will let them live with their family for eternity, and return to their Heavenly Father.  Not only that, we promise that the gospel will bring happiness NOW.  Wouldn't you look into that?  Maybe there is a better way to present that?  We need to let people know what we have!

We also got in contact with a bunch of people that we had lost contact with, so it will be good to get back with them.  

We had a great lesson with David.  We talked with them about where they wanted to be in 5 years, and that in order to get there, there are things that they have to accomplish now in order to get there.  We explained that it is the same with the Gospel.  We must do things now in order to receive certain blessings later.  Elder Glauser shared a scripture and did a wonderful job.  His Spanish is good.  He has a good testimony too.

Well, life is great here!  I love you all!  Thanks for everything!  Keep on keepin on!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews