Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 52 - Baton Rouge, LA

2 Timothy 4:6-8 

Hey Everyone!
Whoa.  It is kind of weird to think that I have made it to this point in my mission.  This is my last proselyting day.  Looking back I know that I have accomplished what I needed to do here in Baton Rouge.  I don't really think that I can say it better than Paul does in 2 Timothy 4:6-8.  
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
This week was awesome!  My last Monday Preparation day was fun.  We went to the Snowman Snowball shack on burbank with all of the Elders.  The sisters were busy or something.  We invited but they couldn't make it.  It was just us all together walking.  It was fun!  
It is really weird.  Looking back on this week it just seems like a blur.  I can't remember what things happened what day, so I'm just gonna make a list.  kay?
  • We were biking down good ole GSRI when a car stopped in front of us.  The guy told us that he had been a Mormon for 10 years and he knew that it wasn't true.  I think that that happened for me.  I testified that I knew the truthfulness of this, our wonderful message, and that I could not deny what I knew.  The man kept arguing, and Elder Glauser pointed out that contention is not of God, and so we were not going to argue, and we left.  After that we biked a little way away and said a prayer to just bring the spirit back.  Seconds later, a friend we met, Jose, stopped next to us, asked us if we were alright, talked to us a bit about English classes, and then gave us each a Mountain Dew.  If that doesn't make you feel better, I don't know what will!  It is nice that God takes care of His servants; sometimes from some of His other children.
  • We went out to lunch with Sandra and Monica at the mall.  That was fun.  They have been less active for awhile, mostly because of work and just hard trials, but they are coming back, which is awesome.  Anyways, they just wanted to thank me for everything that I had done for them.  That was sweet of them.
  • Saturday was the baptism of Joanna Wilkerson!  She is nine years old, and since she turned eight, we have been trying to help them let her be baptized.  What was crazy is that the day of, they asked ME do baptize and confirm!   It was probably one of the best experiences of my life!  Joanna was just so sweet and the spirit was SO strong!  I took pictures.  I'll show y'all later.  : P
  • Monday, we had Noche de Hogar, and that was awesome!  As always.  I shared what I had read in the talk "The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship" by Elder Holland.  What stuck out to me was where it talks about the kind of God that some people want, and why we have the God that we do.  I know that God loves us, and wants us to become like Him.  The only way we can do that is by following His commandments.  It was a sweet lesson.  It was kind of triste to say by to everyone!  I got everyone's contact info so I will be able to keep in touch.
Well, that is it.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  I know I have learned so much that will help me to be a better me.  I know that this is Christ church, and that it bears His name.  HE is guiding this work.  I have seen that every day!  What a blessing it has been to be a part of it!  I know that I have gained a greater appreciation for the Book of Mormon.  It has guided me so much in my life on the mission, and it will still do that for me after!  I love you all!  Thank you for everything that y'all have done to help me!  I cannot express the gratitude that I feel for y'all!  
Well, this is it!  Elder Andrews signing out!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 51 - Baton Rouge, LA

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Hey everyone!

Wow, it is kind of crazy all of the things that are going on right now!  I am in my last full week of my mission!  I never felt or believed that I would come to this time in my mission.  You see other missionaries do it, but it never feels like you will.  I'm doing OK though.  I will keep on going until the end. 

Well, this week was pretty awesome!  It started off with an awesome BBQ with the zone.  We bought a ton of chicken marinated in orange juice and other seasoning, like 35 pounds worth. That is a lot!  We only ended up using half.  Plus, we had a bunch of other snacks.  It was awesome! There was a forecast of rain, so we ended up at the church playing basketball, but it was OK.  We all had a great time.

We had an awesome Family Home Evening.  We read in Joseph Smith History verses 8-13.  I love the story of the first vision, and I really love the steps that Joseph Smith gave us that he took to have that world-changing experience.  We talked about how each and every one of us at Family Home Evening had to read the scriptures and "ask of God" to know if it was true.  We all had to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true.  We all have received an answer.  What we focused on is that that does not have to be a one time experience.  Someone shared with me a story about a missionary in the MTC that had told the MTC President that he didn't have a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon.  The MTC President in turn asked a visiting apostle what he should do. The apostle told the MTC president to tell the missionary that he (the apostle) had prayed the night before, and had received a confirming answer, and that the missionary could do the same.  We need to continue to "feast on the words of Christ" and receive that confirmation.  We then had brought all of the left over chicken to Family Home Evening so we could use it there as well and save Felipe some money.  It was good.  Again.

This week we also had an awesome exchange with the east elders.  Elder Howald came with me and Elder Glauser went to work with Elder Peltzer, his MTC companion.  Good for them.  Me and Elder Howald went to translate for a friend, Marco, at traffic court.  The court building is VERY nice inside.  Elder Howald forgot he had a bike tool and a camera, and security caught him and so we had to walk back to the car.  Once in the court, we went to the court room and they had us come forward to the stand, and the judge was like, what is your full name, so we gave it, and then a guy at the prosecutor's table told what was the charge, and she asked Marco if he would plead guilty, and he did, and had to pay a 204 dollar fine.  What was crazy is the court got 155 dollars of the ticket.  For their 5 minutes of service.  Crazy.

After that Marco took us to Subway to get those flatizza things.  Mine was crazy hot and a pepperoni slid of and stuck to my lip.  It burned my lip pretty bad because it wouldn't come off. Now my lip is peeling.  Fun!

Elder Howald btw is from Tri-Cities Washington.  He is only 18.  YOUNG!  In his area right now they are doing a lot of contacting, because their teaching pool is pretty empty, so we went and knocked doors a little in a new place, and had some success.  We found Jose from Mexico, who was pretty cool.  We just sat and talked with him, and he said we could come back another time to have a discussion, so that was cool.  We ended up arguing a little with this other guy who wouldn't believe in the Book of Mormon unless it spoke of the Book of Mormon in the Bible.  We showed him Ezekiel 37:16-17, which talks about the sticks of Joseph and of Judah.  Bible is the stick of Judah, and the stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon.  We then testified of the Book of Mormon and that if he read it and prayed about it, he could know for himself.  He wouldn't take it, but he has his agency to make that decision.

My front tire also gave out.  It was cracked all over for a long time, so we went to the bike shop and got it replaced with a new tire to match the back one.  We really have become good friends with the guys at the bike shop.  Clayton,one of the workers we know really well, when we entered the store, was like, "Whats wrong this time?"  Funny guys.  :)  Well, we got that fixed and it was about time for us to head home. We talked with this really cool guy on the bus who is legally blind.  He can see figures, but that is pretty much it.  We talked about how we believe that we have trials for a reason, and that someday, all that is wrong shall be made right, and that some day, he would have his vision back to normal.  It was really cool.

Saturday we had an another bbq!  It was for mothers day.  It was awesome!  Presidente Filadelfo Gonzales cut and marinated the meat, and it was awesome!  We threw a frisbee around a bit and had fun.

In church this sunday, I taught priesthood, which went well, and then gave a talk on developing your talents.  I was SO DEAD after church!  Everything went really well though. People participated in my lesson, and the spirit was there during the meeting, so I can't complain.

Well, that is pretty much it for this week!  Here we go to the last week!  Crazy!  I love you all! Thanks for everything!

Elder Scott Turner Andrews

Monday, May 12, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 50 - Baton Rouge, LA

Moroni 7:47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Hey Everyone!
It was so great to see my family yesterday!  Everyone is looking so good (even you Hill, although you are sick).  This letter is going to be a bit short, since we have a kind of integral role in the Zone Preparation Day that we are going to have.  We got five dollars from everyone and with that we were able to buy 35 pounds of meat, a bunch of tortillas and some drinks.  It should be fun. Who doesn't like a good bbq?
Well, I am going to list some of the highlights of the week.
1. We had an awesome time going to New Orleans on Thursday with Hafiz, who passed the bar and was getting sworn in.  It was awesome to go back to the "Big Easy" one last time.  Hafiz's family is awesome too, so it was just good to be there and support them all
2. We got caught in the rain twice.  First time we went to the bus stop to get a bus to go up north. One of our PI's Marco drove by and was like, hey, y'all want a ride?  So he gave us a ride.  We got into see Antonio, from Mexico, but lives in Texas.  He is here in Baton Rouge for work for a month and a half.  We watched Finding Faith in Christ.  It was awesome and the spirit was there. He asked some good questions about what made us different that we answered in part, but will go back to really give a good answer.  On the way home from Antonio, it started to rain and the bus was late so we were in POURING rain for like a half hour.  We were drenched.  It got to the point where we were trying to see how far we could get from the road and not be splashed by the cars. We were like 6-7 feet away.  We got wet.  Second time was the next day biking back from the trailer parks.  Wet wet wet!
3. Zone Training Meeting.  It was awesome.  We talked about loving our companions and listening to them.  Really inspired stuff that I think will help us all out here in Baton Rouge a lot!
4. Skyping home.  That is always a treat!  families are the greatest blessing!
Well, that is all for now!  I love you all!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Year 2 - Letter 49 - Baton Rouge, LA

Doctrine and Covenants 18:33-36 

 33 And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
 34 These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
 35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
 36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.

Hey Everyone!
Things are going so well here in Baton Rouge!  This week has been particularly exciting.  
The Gladys Knight Fireside was incredible!  The music was awesome!  they sang songs like Blessed Assurance, I am a Child of God, and more.  The spirit was so strong!  Gladys' husband spoke, and he had some REAL talk with the people.  He told his conversion story, and how He owned a hotel, and Gladys would come, and all of the workers would tell him, "Gladys is here". Finally he asked them "Why do you keep telling me she is here?"  They responded "We think she likes you."  Eventually they were married.  Gladys was a member, and worked with him patiently. He was raised baptist, I believe, and his father would read every night from revelations when he was a little boy, and he would always say, "Is there more? There has to be more!"  Eventually he took the lessons and was baptized.  He just really opened up to the African American Community. He talked about how if you were going to restore a 1959 Chevy Chevelle, you would go and get the parts, the same parts that were used in 1959, to restore the 1959 Chevy Chevelle.  Then what would you have?  A 1959 Chevy Chevelle in 2014.  We have the Church of Jesus Christ, with all of the same parts that it had at the time of Christ today in 2014.  So awesome!  We didn't really get any Spanish referrals, but had about 110 self referrals in Baton Rouge alone.
We had a good Preparation day playing basketball and then an awesome Family Home Evening led by Elder Howald and Elder Peltzer.  They used an awesome object lesson.  The lesson was that they had a cup of rocks and each person in the room choose one.  We then each had to describe what made our rock different from any other rock.  After everyone had the chance to do that, we put all of our rocks back in the cup.  He then dumped the rocks out on the ground and everyone was able to find their rock.  Moral of the story is that if we as humans can recognize which rock is ours, so can our Heavenly Father.  We really are his and he knows us individually. They used Romans 8:16
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
We really are His children!  He loves us and knows us!  I thought it was an awesome object lesson.  It works the best when you have a medium size group of people.  Pretty cool.  
Tuesday, we had district meeting.  We studied the talk Your Work Is Not Yet Finished by Glenn L Pace.  I really tried to focus on Urgency.  In this talk, he says that we don't know how much time is left.  However, as missionaries we do!  That gives us a responsibility to stay focused and urgent.  In life, us knowing that our time might be up soon but not knowing when gives us a sense of urgency.  We have a work to do and a set time to do it!  Shall we falter or shall we finish!  It was a sweet meeting.  Elder McMurray led the discussion.
We also took the bus to go by bus passes!  That was fun!  We were told that the mission will refund us for bus passes so we went and bought a pass that will last until I go home for both Elder Glauser and I.  The bus has been awesome!  Only one small hitch.  We tried to put our bikes on at the same time because the driver was getting impatient and a piece of my left shifter broke.  It was still kind of working but was a bit sketch.  The little thing that you use to adjust it snapped in half.  So we went to a different bike shop than usual and the guy had pretty much made it worse and then didn't have the correct piece, so we jimmy rigged my bike so that the front gear was constantly on the big gear and we left.  We went and saw Bella, a less active whom we hadn't ever really gone and seen because she lives north of LSU, and we said hi, and she just dumped all of her problems she is going through on us, but it was good to listen and figure out how we can help her.  Her home is falling apart and the branch has done some service that we still just need to finish.
Wednesday we went to our friendly bike shop, Capitol Cyclery on Essen and Perkins (by bus, of course) and they luckily had the piece and fixed it all up.  They had to replace the cable and cable housing because the other shop stole that.  They had to take apart another shifter that they had in stock in order to get the right pieces.  My friend at the bike shop asked me if I wanted to pay.  So nice!  I told him I would, but he still gave me an awesome deal.  really genuine guys there at Capitol Cyclery.
We also had Taco Bell for the first time in FOREVER!  It was good.  :)
We also finally got in with Peter!  He is from Belize and is awesome!  We watched Finding Faith in Christ and #BecauseofHim.  It was awesome!  He was like, I definitely need this in my life.  I hope he will continue to do what he needs to in order to progress.  
Saturday was fun!  I scored the first goal in soccer, which was fun.  
Sunday was cool!  We had a good time at church.  I bore my testimony and expressed my appreciation for the Branch, and my feelings towards knowing that Christ lives, and leads this church.  I know miracles are happening every day in this little branch, and that they will keep happening.  Some miracles are that of all the people that are endowed in the branch, like 95 percent have current recommends.  We have an activity rate of 55 percent total, which is better than any of the other congregations in Baton Rouge.  I really love this branch.  Sister Garcia in her testimony shared that when I first visited them, I had said that I wasn't sure of what to say. She said that now my testimony had helped them and many others to become stronger.  That was cool.
Well, later on, we went and said hey to the Wilkersons, and they wanted us to go on their trampoline and show them how to do flips.  Stephan, the youngest who is about 4 or so can pretty much do it which is funny.
On the way back home, we ran into Bridgit.  She is Native American from Montana, but was a foster child and was raised in Flagstaff Arizona.  Her foster parents were Mormon, and so she knows the church.  She wasn't opposed to having missionaries over.  That was pretty cool.  We also met Salvador from El Salvador who is a less active member.  He has been here nine months and has been working like crazy.  We gave him info about church, and he said if he finds time he will come.  
We also met Santos and Roger (pronounced like Royer in when in Spanish).  Santos had come to church like 2 months back and is pretty cool.  We never were able to get where he lived.  Both are Catrachos, by the way.  Hondurans.  Roger said that pretty much all of his family is Mormon. We asked him why he wasn't, and he just said he wasn't.  Both said they were interested to find out more, as well as coming to English class.  It was awesome!
Well, That is pretty much it!  Life is great!  Thanks y'all for everything!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews 

One last thing!
Why I titled this email Doctrine and Covenants 18:33-35!  A good friend of mine that I hadn't met until I was on my mission, Brother Dave Bang, sent me a letter, as he does every now and then, and it talked about this scripture.  As we study in the scriptures, we are truly hearing the word of God, as if spoken by his own voice.  As we read, we can hear His Voice!  I know that I have heard the Voice of God!  I love you all so much!  Take care!
Elder Scott Turner Andrews