Monday, April 28, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 48 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 20:4 "in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things"

Hey everyone!

It has been a pretty good week.  Just trying to do my best.  Preparation day was awesome!  It was the first time that we were able to have the entire district together.  We had everyone together and waxed the cars.  It was fun.  I actually like waxing cars for some reason.  It was just good to be all together and have a good time.  We also had an awesome Family Home Evening this week.  It had been awhile since Elder Glauser and I had assisted the regular Family Home Evenings Felipe holds in his home.  We shared #Gracias a El.  It was awesome.  We watched the video and I tied things that are said there with some points from the BYU Speech "His Grace is Sufficient" by good old Brad Wilcox.  It was super cool and the spirit was really strong.
Tuesday was fun.  We had an awesome night at English class.  We had one person show up. Rebecca.  It was her second time coming.  We took her around the church building and just taught her what some every day things were in English.  We also gave her a tour of the church building, so that was cool and pretty clever of us, I must say.  She even asked us when we had church!  She didn't come, but it was still pretty cool.

Wednesday we had an awesome Zone Conference.  The main part of the instruction were three talks from General Conference. Following Up by Elder Ballard, Love—the Essence of the Gospel by President Monson, and Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease by Elder Bednar.  Following up is such a crucial part of Missionary work!  If we don't follow up, our commitments really are hollow.  If we give out a copy of the Book of Mormon and never ask about it again, does that show that we really care about if they read or not?  Are they likely to read again?  Probably not.   When we talked about President Monson's talk, we focused on companionship unity.  It was cool! We talked about how in order to show our love for God, we also have to love our companion. One thing we can do to love God is to be obedient with our companion.  I love a phrase in the white handbook. It is one of the only things I think I have underlined in the Missionary Handbook.  "As you obey with a willing heart (see D&C 64:34), you will show the Lord your love for Him..."  When we are obedient, it helps our companion to be obedient too.  Then we can both really show the Lord that we love him.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I really liked what was said about Elder Bednar's talk as well.  Elder Bednar is probably one of my favorite people to hear speak in General Conference.  One of his really common themes is the enabling power of the Atonement.  The Atonement is not only for our sins, but to help us become better people.  It is not only for the sinner, but also for the saint.  As a missionary, we have a really big load.  However, this load will help us to become better saints.  Along with that, I don't have to pull my load alone. I have the Savior, the creator of the universe pulling along with me.  That is such a powerful thought.  I do not have to pull alone.  This morning I was reading a BYU speech by Elder Bednar when he was President of BYU I.  It is called "In the Strength of the Lord".  In this talk, he uses Mosiah 3:19 to demonstrate more about the Redeeming and Enabling powers of the Atonement.  I would invite y'all to take a look at this talk if you haven't already.  If you have already, another look wont hurt.  It is awesome.

We also had an instruction on car safety because we are supposed to on a quarterly basis.  That day, or the next day, some sisters in the zone were in a preventable accident, so on Friday we had an emergency district meeting were we focused the entire time on safety again.  We made it fun. I took everyone outside, and we got in the cars and I put one car at the end of the parking lot, and then I got in the other car and pulled it up to the back right corner of the other car so I could demonstrate blind spots and how far you need to be to have enough space to pass.  If you can't see their headlights in your rear view mirror, you don't have enough space!  We also practiced backing, because we are supposed to have a backer when we have the car in reverse, so we made sure that they understood what signals the backers were going to use.  If we have backers, we shouldn't have backing accidents.  They told us the church spends around one million dollars repairing damage to the backs of cars from backing and bike rack damage.  Crazy.  

Well, we had an awesome lesson this week with Leopoldo.  We showed him this Video from the old scripture resources.  It is called The Plan of Salvation.  It was awesome.  We just had a real good discussion about the Plan of Salvation and what it meant for us and him.  He had a question about if we believed in hell, and we explained about the degrees of glory.  It was cool.  The spirit was there and it was awesome.  He bought us ice cream and we helped him weed some of his planters.  After we played a little pool with him.  It was awesome.  

Well, that is pretty much what happened this week!  I love you all!  Take care and keep on keepin on!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 47 - Baton Rouge, LA

Alma 7:11-13 

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

 13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Hey Everyone!

Well, this week was awesome!  We have been going crazy inviting everyone to come to the Gladys Knight performance, and sharing the video Because of Him.  Both of these things are/will be awesome!  

Transfers turned out really good!  We have gotten Elder Billings back, which is awesome!  He served here in Baton Rouge my first transfer being switched here.  It was good to see him again, and a pleasure to serve around him.  We also got another Sister, Hermana Bailey.  So the sisters in our district are in a trio again.  Spanish sister's always get put into interesting situations.  They will do fine though.  Elder McCutcheon is a Zone Leader now down in Metairie.  He will do really well there.  He is a solid missionary.

We had an awesome lesson with Leopoldo this week!  We went and showed him Because of Him, and he loved it!  It was so cool!  We talked with him and explained that because of what the Savior did for us, we can change and become better!  So cool!  We gave him a pass along card, one of the ones with Jesus walking out of the tomb.  We then had him write on it some goals he has to come unto the Savior.  He wrote something like pray more, and obey all the commandments.  He wasn't able to make it to church, but we will keep helping him.

On Friday, we went and visited with la Familia Garcia.  Hermano Garcia is our Branch Mission Leader.  He is awesome!  We had a sweet lesson earlier in the week were we invited them to share #GraciasaEl with everyone.  So, on Friday we followed up.  They hadn't shared it yet, so we recommitted them.  That was so cool!  We also talked a little about the parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.  Something I had never realized is what was meant by the weeds.  What do they mean?  I had always thought that they were some outside thing keeping the soil from helping the seed to grow.  The last time I read I realized that the weeds are things that we (the soil) give place to that get in the way of the word.  What do we have that distracts us from what is truly important?  The weeds can be a lot of things!  We just need to be careful and take preventative measures.

Saturday was crazy.  We went down to Presidente Estrada's home and helped him out.  We built planters and using the gardening knowledge that I have from years of growing a garden in Mesa with my dad (thanks dad)  we figured out where would be a good place in his yard that would get lots of sunlight and water.  We then planted something like 16 tomato plants.  He didn't have anything else he wanted to plant, so we just did tomatoes.  

Sunday was awesome!  Church was fantastic!  I taught in Gospel Principles and we used chapter 12 on the Atonement.  It was awesome.  There was this guy Jacob from Honduras who was at church for the first time.  He got super into it and said he really enjoyed the class.  That made me feel good.  the spirit was so strong.  That has to be one of the best parts of teaching.  I was guided to share so much in class yesterday that I didn't even have planned.  One cool thing that I did have planned was to give everyone a pass along card with a post it note on the back, and write what they had been given, "Because of Him".  We then watched Because of Him, and then we got into the chapter.  We finished with the video He is Risen.  It was so sweet.  We also read in Alma 7, probably my favorite verses to share when I ever talk about the Atonement.  Priesthood was OK. It always consists of splitting into groups, reading the sections, and then giving a summary.  We are really trying to work with everyone in helping them learn how to teach.  It is a work in progress.  :)

Sacrament was good!  Juan Rodriguez conducted for his first time as second counselor and he did such a good job!  We also heard from Presidente Filadelfo Gonzales, the Elder's Quorum President, and from Hermano Tigre, first counselor.  Everyone was so good!  It is so awesome to see the progress of our little branch!

Thanks everyone for the support!  Life is so great!  I absolutely love serving here in Baton Rouge! Y'all take care!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 46 - Baton Rouge, LA

Mosiah 18:23 And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.

Hey Everyone! 

Well, I'm staying here in the South of Baton Rouge!  Elder Glauser is staying too!  I can't wait to make this the best transfer ever!  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve here in Louisiana.  I plan on making this last bit the very best that I can!  I have only served in two areas my entire mission.  I have thought about that for a long time.  Why me?  Why did I not get moved around like pretty much every other missionary that I have seen here?  I know that I have truly seen the hand of the Lord in that decision.  I have truly come to love the people in these areas that I have served.  I have really learned to appreciate the little miracles in peoples progress.  It has been interesting to see the people here gradually progress.  I know that I might not see the fruits of everything I do, but I have come to know that what I do is important.  That what I am doing now will help Elder Glauser and other future missionaries to help these people make the covenant of baptism.  I know that I have been doing a great work here in Baton Rouge, and I will keep doing it until my time has come.  "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."- John 9:4.

Well, this week was interesting.  Pretty much it was a big long week of meetings.  Elder Glauser and I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders.  It was really cool.  I was with Elder Campbell in his area, which is really our area, but speaking English.  He is from just outside the Salt Lake area.  He is awesome and goes home the same time I do.  He is even going to BYU Provo.  We will definitely hang out after the mission!  To start off the exchange we went and did some service at the African American Museum.  It was interesting.  It is mostly outside, but they have this little home that is the museum.  It is right underneath the Hwy 10 overpass.  Most everyone cleaned these bricks that they had in piles but Elder McMurray and I went and helped to transplant sugarcane. After that there was this puddle that came from the overpass that runs over the museum and so I went and dug a ditch that took the water out of the puddle and over to this big gully behind the museum.  That was fun.

After that Elder Campbell and I went to Lance's home.  He is from Alaska, but is here while his wife Candice is finishing college.  They are both super cool.  He served a mission in Salt Lake, which, for him, was an interesting experience.  Elder Campbell was telling me that he had to put up with a lot of crap from the members.  They would be at the store on preparation day, and people would come up to them and tell them that they weren't supposed to be shopping because it wasn't their preparation day, even though it was.  That was hard on him.  They are married but not in the temple.  They really want to go to the temple though.  I know they will someday.  Lance has a hip problem that needs a really complex surgery, and they are talking with a surgeon in California to see if he can do it.  Otherwise he might need a hip replacement.  To help him out, the Elder's go and play frisbee golf (or frolf) with him.  It was fun!  A lot harder than it looks though.  I can throw an ultimate disc fine, but those ones for frolf are really hard!  After that we had a lesson about the temple.  We talked about some experiences that we had had in the temple.  Elder Campbell out of the blue asked me if I had an experience with the temple that I could share.  For some reason, I thought of Gramps.  Grandpa Clyde.  I remember right after I had heard that he had passed away, we went on a temple trip in the MTC.  I remember just being in the celestial room and being completely at peace.  I knew and now know that Heavenly Father loves Gramps.  He will do what is best for him.  I know that He loves me too!  It was cool.  I hadn't even thought of that experience for the last two years.  I know that Lance needed to hear that.  On the exchange we also went to check on a media referral they had received that lived in a really nice part of town.  There home was gorgeous, but they weren't home.  We also went to this awesome jamaican taqueria.  They had all of these really good tacos, and I even had a fish taco with Maji Maji that SO good.  What was crazy about that was that we met the guy that does the voice overs for scooby doo and shaggy, Scott Innes.  A really cool guy.  He even payed for our food!  That was a miracle!  After the exchange was over, we pretty much had a week of meetings.
First, we had specialized training.  I did well with my instruction.  It didn't go exactly as I had planned, but I have come to be OK with that.  It was cool because President Wall was there. We had a role play with President Wall.  The scenario was that President Wall hadn't seen conference, and our goal was to get him to go and listen to and read it online.  Elder Glauser and I shared 2 Nephi 32:3 with him, and invited him to feast on the words of the prophets from conference.  When we reviewed it, President Wall pointed out something that was really cool, and demonstrated it by switching places with Elder Glauser and I.  He started out by just talking with us.  He asked us what was going on, and what was hard in life.  If we had concerns.  He then asked us that if there was something that could answer our concerns, if we would take it.  We said we would.  He then read 2 Nephi 32:3.  He emphasized how the verse says that the words of Christ will show us ALL things that we should do.  He then explained that we had the chance of listening to the voice of the Prophet's the servants of Christ.  It was so easy to say that we would read conference!  It was so cool!  President Wall counseled us to never ask an investigator a question that he would say no to.  So cool.
Thursday we also had the interview of Jose Velasquez for his baptism.  It was my first one to give.  I was a little nervous, but I spent a little time instructing about the importance of baptism and what it meant to take upon us His name.  It was awesome!  He was SO ready.  I was glad to be a part of it.

Friday we had Zone Training.  It was awesome.  We talked about being creative in what we do. We were all given a sheet of paper that we are to decorate and show how we are being creative, and to show successes and failures.  That is going to be fun!

Saturday we had the baptism of Jose Velasquez.  It was awesome!  President Wall came, and we had a few members who came later than we wanted, but hey, they came.  It was a pretty baptism, and Elder Glauser gave the talk on the Holy Ghost.  The other Elder's had asked me, but I told them to ask Elder Glauser.  He did beautifully, and I think he is feeling more confident in his Spanish.  So awesome!

Sunday, I got a call telling me that I had been assigned to speak that Sunday, but the person who was to assign me never did.  I was to speak on the Holy Ghost.  Luckily I had a talk about the Holy Ghost from the Baptism of Esmerelda.  It was in outline form, so it was pretty much ready to go.  I felt like I did a good job for such a short notice.  The spirit was strong.  I also taught Gospel Principles.  That rocked.  We talked about agency.  I used the stuff in this video a lot.  It is one of my favorites!

Well, that was pretty much the week!  Life is awesome and I am going to live it to the fullest! Love you all!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 45 - Baton Rouge, LA

1 Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Hey Everyone!  

What an incredible general conference!  I got so much out of it!  It is quite hard to really choose a favorite from all of the messages.  I felt that all of the speakers were so inspired.  Here on the mission, I have learned to always go to meetings with a question in mind.  My main question was what do I need to do in this last bit of my mission, and as a go home, how do I keep what I have learned.

I did love President Uchtdorf's talk on Sunday Morning about gratitude, and how "In His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."  (thanks Hill for sending those quotes) That quote in particular really stuck out to me.  Eventually, I will go home.  I will be released as a Full Time Missionary.  That is inevitable.  However, I will always be a missionary.  I will always have the lessons that I have learned.  I will be true to who I am becoming.  I also loved Elder Ballard's talk on missionary work and follow up!  Follow up is SO crucial in everything we do.  I have really been thinking on how we can better follow up with investigators, other missionaries, and even myself.  I can't wait to go back and study all of the amazing talks that were given!  What a blessing it is to have prophets and leaders called of God!

Well, the rest of the week was awesome!  We went on exchanges.  Elder McMurray was here with me and Elder Glauser went to be with Elder McCutcheon.  Elder McMurray is awesome. Originally from Mexico, he is now from Utah.  We went to see a few people that he knew from a prior exchange that we have been trying to find, but hadn't been able to see.  One of those was Carmen and Arnold.  They have been busy lately, but they let us in, which was cool!  We just talked with them about life, to see where they are at.  Carmen is going to join amway, which is interesting.  A lot of people in our area are affiliated with Amway.  I don't know how they sale much with everyone being a vendor.  Ah well.  Anyways, they are doing well.  I hope we will be able to get in since Elder McMurray is no longer here in Baton Rouge south.  We also went to see Lauriano.  He is as sweet as ever.  We have been using a lot of videos with him lately.  He can't read well, so it really helps him to understand what we are saying and reading in the scriptures. He LOVES the Bible videos.  We tried to get him to conference, but he wasn't able to make it. After conference yesterday, we went to see him, and we talked about the restoration.  It was awesome!  We testified of the truthfulness of the message, and we gave him an assignment to watch "The Restoration" and pray to know if it is true.  I know that the spirit is guiding Elder Glauser and I so much with Lauriano, because it has been hard in the past to really get Lauriano involved in the lesson without him being able to read on his own.  

Well, we are going to have to be a bit more patient with David.  We know that he will some day be baptized, but April 12 isn't the right date for him.  We haven't been able to really talk to him for awhile now, I feel because he doesn't feel ready for the 12th.  We will just go and love him. :)  
Oh, we went to the Wilkersons but Roberto wasn't there.  They recently got a trampoline, so Elder Glauser and I took of our shoes and showed them how to do flips and play some old games like crack the egg, dead man dead man, and others.  When we got off, we found that their neighbors 3 month old pitbull, Israel, had stolen and hid one of my shoes!  It was funny!  Tanya and the kids were running around looking for it, since I couldn't do much in the mud and wet grass.  We found it in their neighbors yard.  Silly dogs.

Oh, I almost forgot!  We watched all but the Sunday Morning session at the stake center.  Sunday morning we went to the Wall's with the other elders in our district and the assistants.  The assistants came and picked us up.  On the way out to the truck, I found a 100 dollar bill.  Happy birthday from the ground.  We tried to see if anyone was looking around for it, but didn't find anyone.  I will probably deposit it to keep it safe and wait and see if I find anyone looking around.  Conference at the Walls was fun!  they made us brunch.  We had a Fritada, with tomatoes, broccoli, cheese, and other good stuff.  A great breakfast!  It was fun to see President Wall and Sister Wall just at home.  They are awesome.  A great example.  

After their home, we went to give a blessing to one of the Assistant's less actives.  That was an interesting experience.  They had like three cats so I kind of just kept my hands to myself.  We ended up giving two blessings.  The first to the less active lady, and the other to an investigator.  the investigator was pentecostal.  She was all like, I have the spirit and the gift of tongues.  She started to kind of babel and Elder Asuao from Samoa was like, "what did you say?" and she said she had prayed.  Interesting.  So, we left and were off to the stake center for the last session.

Well, life is great!  While I have the time I am going to continue to "run the race!"  I love you all! Thanks for everything!  Take care!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

ps.  The cookies were amazing!  Thank you so much!  I love you all!