Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25, 2015

Hey hey! Glad to hear from a lot of you! Sounds like all is well and everyone is having a good time! This week has been super cool and hectic! It was transfer week and we had a baptism(!!!!). I got my new companion (Elder Johnson) and we have been tearing it up! He's been out
about three months, but is a smart kid and is always looking for ways to improve! We teach pretty well together so it has been fun! This last Saturday we baptized Surona, and the day after (on Sunday), she was confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The spirit was so strong at both times! My previous companion got to baptize her and I had the opportunity to confirm her! It was the coolest thing ever!

This coming week is going to be crazy busy! We have a ton of exchanges
and tons of appointments set up.

Because I lack in memorizing and quoting scriptures I have been trying to make an extra effort during personal study to get a couple down.

Shout out to my Uncle John! He sent me a cool scripture that I have been trying to get down. It's in Alma 37:6-9. I'm working on just verse 9 right now though. It talks about how missionaries are basically useless in teaching without the Book of Mormon and I'd like to add, the Holy Ghost. There was a cool quote I came across and it said something like (paraphrasing): if by the power of man, someone convinced you the Book of Mormon was true, then by the same power you could be unconvinced. Luckily, we don't teach by the power of man! We teach by the power of God. I have already seen the influence of the hole spirit on people I have taught. This young girl who was baptized this last Saturday is already showing to be a great influence for good for her family and it has influenced a dramatic change for her grandparents whom she lives with! Super cool to stand back and watch the spirit work wonders!

One thing I have been thinking about is how much I miss the Tongan ward!! They were some amazing, charitable people!! Talk about an influence to me!! The work is going good! Love you all.

Elder Andrew

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Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

It's transfer week again!!

The past six weeks have been all over the place. I will be staying in the Rocky Butte Ward, and focusing my efforts in that ward alone. The Rose City Tongan ward is getting a couple of my past companions! They are gonna light it up. It was an amazing experience serving in that ward. My new companion's name is Elder Johnson! I haven't met him yet, but I'm pretty sure he has been out for a long while. The trio has been super fun! Never a dull moment! We all got along and taught well with each other. The transition will feel a little weird, I assume, going back to just two elders!

President Taylor has been feeling better, but we have been updated he won't be back on his feet for a month at minimum! The surgery went well though! His efforts and counsel will definitely be missed for this short period. They are bringing someone in his place for the time being. I'm thinking it's going to be one of the Area 70.

This week we were able to attend a child of record baptism which was awesome! But our convert's baptism won't be held until this coming Saturday! It's going to be so cool!!

We were discussing the
atonement after sacrament yesterday, and in our discussion, Elder Thomas relayed a story he was told and I would like to relay it to you all:

Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing.
Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagle belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms.

"Don saved my life," says Czenkusch. "How do you respond to a guy like
that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you
remember him.

Because of the love and outstretched arms of our Savior, we can repent
and be baptized. The greatest act of charity was the atonement, which allows us all to enter into the gates and be eternally happy.

For someone that has saved my life, I would hope my gift back, out of
appreciation, wasn't a "used climbing rope". I'm stoked for all those at home looking to serve a mission within the next year or so. You are going to have the time of your life!! I love you guys! Keep on praying for missionary opportunities!

Elder Andrew

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 11, 2016

So, this week has been all over the place!!

First, a couple days ago our mission pres had a heart attack and is going into heart surgery today. Keep him in your prayers!

We also had a ton of exchanges (splits) and I feel like I was in my area for not even half the week!

Regardless of the absences of an area's missionaries, the work seems to
keep progressing! We have a baptism this coming Saturday!! Her name is
Sorona and she is ten years old...been taking the discussions for a
while now! She has a strong testimony for her age and is very excited
for her baptism - as are we!

Last night we had dinner with the 'almost' mayor of Portland. Later that night we came to find out there was only
three that ran! Hahaha. She was super funny though and didn't let us know that, we found out from a member! That was pretty funny.

We have been having a lot of inactive members and non members showing up to church! People have been coming out of the woodwork and baptisms are
on the way!

By the looks of it, I will probably be staying in the Rocky Butte ward with a new companion this next transfer. I'm pumped to work my butt off. It's gonna be a good one! Plus, we just got a
brand new ward mission leader who seems pumped about the work as well.

Nothing much has gone on today so far, got a hair cut, went pawn
shopping...the usual...gonna play some ball!

Something my comps and I have been talking about lately is despite our efforts sometimes, we notice we may not always see the fruits of them. No matter how hard we try and do our part, the work at times has felt like it's at a slump.
We had been trying to come up with an explanation to this, and figured
sometimes the lord doesn't bless us in the way we expect to get blessed always for whatever effort we put in. Maybe we are looking at it completely the wrong way. Shortly after I came across a scripture (Mosiah 2:21) "I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has
created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day,
by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to
your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I
say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be
unprofitable servants." This scripture made me think of why I came out
here in the first place - obviously to help others and myself...but
ultimately it was because I felt indebted to my Savior and Father in
Heaven. They incomprehensibly have done so much for me and all of us! I shouldn't be looking for rewards or extra blessings. I should be that unprofitable servant and expect my daily efforts to just be my reward. This is the Lord's work. He provides us with baptisms
to make us feel accomplished. If he wanted to he could do it all himself. I need to stop whining when I feel like 'my work' isn't progressing. Haha. The work is awesome. Love you guys!! Have a great week!

Elder Andrew

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4, 2015

Hey how has everyone been doing!? This week has been super cool. 

First off, I didn't think it snowed up here...yesterday we woke up to all the roads being covered in ice and a few inches of snow and the wind was super strong! Both bishops texted us early letting us know we didn't have church or any meetings that day!! In Utah I remember they didn't cancel church for anything! So I was kind of thrown back. Basically, we were told by our mission president to stay in yesterday and make good use of our time studying or making calls or whatever we could find to do that was productive. It was a long day!! That night we decided we wanted out of the apartment so we tried driving over to our dinner appointment. There are no snow plows or anything for this kind of weather in Oregon so by this time, all the roads were ice rinks. Somehow we made it there and back in safety!

The work in both areas continues to progress. We have been meeting a lot with active members, which has been working out pretty well actually. People are starting to get in the 'let's baptize' mindset with us, especially the Tongan ward we work with! Everybody is super happy and energetic and you can tell that they really have internalized the gospel. 

We had a pretty cool experience I can't seem to get out of my head that happened Wednesday. It was towards the end of the day and we decided to make one last visit to a single lady in the ward. Brief background, (I had been told this by another missionary, not by her), she is in her late fifties, recently divorced for selfish reasons on the husbands side, lives by herself in an unheated and unlit home, and her family lives far away while her children have disowned her and left the church. We go up and knock on this door, we see someone with a hoody peek through the window then the door opens and she let us in. She had a hood over her head and if I didn't know otherwise, I would have said she was late thirties by the way she moved and looked. I was looking around her home as we were greeted in and I saw  bare walls, no electronics or tv or anything, besides a couple peices of paper on the wall that had her goals (spiritually, financially, physically,...the whole nine yards in detail). From the moment she opened the door, she seemed ecstatic to see us with the biggest of smiles on her face the whole time. As soon as I walked in her home I could feel a different kind of spirit than the one outside. We begin talking and she told us she has been working on schooling to be a real estate investor. In her family room she had a few notebooks and books for school and her laptop to do everything online. She was also telling us she had been giving out Books of Mormon left and right and wanted more copies. The whole time smiling and being joyful, so much so I wanted to laugh, I could not believe how happy she was, especially given her circumstances. I couldn't take it, I flat out asked her how she was so happy!! Haha. She said, from a general perspective she has gone through a lot and she doesn't have much temporal things. She said in its simplicity, she wanted to internalize the principles of the gospel! She might not have every scripture memorized, or have a highly involved calling or whatever...but she took very seriously the basics and fundamentals that we all learn in primary and really applied them to her life. She said in all honesty she could having nothing and she would feel like the luckiest most happy person alive to have the knowledge we do in these latter days! I want to be like her. Maybe it was her culture that helped, the Tongan people seem to all kinda be like this. I asked myself am I striving to be the most charitable person I can be. If I'm not that happy inside, I'm now just gonna take it as I haven't internalized those principals yet. Sorry I went off on that, but she is a perfect portrayal of what the gospel can do for lives. I hope the new year has been good for you all so far!! Again thank you everyone for the Christmas wishes! Keep working towards those goals!! Love you guys!


Elder Andrew

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