Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The beginning of this letter goes over some fun things, but the last half is what I really want you to read if you're like me and don't have much time and just skim through a lot of things. Love you all! Merry Christmas!

Monday: made candy Holly wreaths with a part member family. They are the greatest. They're going through a lot right now, but they all still come to church pretty regularly and are some of the nicest, hardest working people I've ever met. It was so fun to be able to go over there and do that with them. We've been giving out the 12 or so wreaths we made to some of our investigators, less actives, and former investigators. It's helped open doors and has been an easy expression of how much we really do care for these people we've found.

Tues and Wed: helped sort toys for a toy drive run by the fire department which was busy and fun, visited some people and went caroling with another great family. The kids took us to their friends houses and we got to sing with them. People's faces light up when we start singing, and the kids loved it too. It was such an easy way to share our testimonies. Not everybody was interested in hearing more, but everyone appreciated our visit. Don't be afraid to share what you know. We also helped an older lady decorate her apartment. She has such a wonderful spirit about her too. I'm meeting such a variety of people here than I ever have before, and I'm gaining such a love for them. I have such respect for how much everyone here does, both for the ward and just in their day to day lives, it makes me want to be better.

Thurs: Thursday was exhausting. We helped out at a food bank taking orders and loading boxes of food into people's cars as well as making more boxes of food and making the boxes themselves. I am a boss at making boxes.These aren't just the ones where you tape them a couple times, they have to be folded and tucked the right way and it makes a sturdy little box with a lid. I can make them in about 15 seconds on average. Yes, we timed it. But it was so good to work with the people there who are doing so much good. There were some members helping us as well as many nonmembers that we got to talk to. Then right after that we went and helped one of our members who was moving that day. And then we also got to teach a couple lessons.

Fri: Went to the Christmas party with the elderly Korean people we teach Korean to. I have such respect for these wonderful people who are all probably at least 70 and are still willing to come and learn English twice a week. Fridaynight we had a lesson with our strongest investigator. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it, coming to church, and he's noticing how it's blessing his life. The Lord's promises are sure. The Book of Mormon really does provide so much light and direction and blessings do come as we strive to obey His commandments.

Sat: got a last minute call to go help with more service with the Spanish missionaries, which was kinda weird, but it was still rewarding. We visited a couple more people who we hadn't seen in a while. One of them was a member who's just had a lot to deal with this past year, she's taking care of her sick husband, her house flooded, in-laws died... just so many things and she's still truggin along. The members have been great about helping her too. When we are faithful in doing our duty, everything works our and everyone is taken care of. I'm so grateful for good home teachers and visiting teachers. Y'all don't know how much that helps everyone, and it sure gives the missionaries more time to focus more in other areas where they're needed.

Sun: We had a wonderful Christmas program, the organization struggled a little bit, but it all turned out okay. My companions and I were asked to sing What Child is This about 10 min before Sacrament started. We all kind of smiled nervously, but said "yes" and went to practice. 2 minutes before it started somebody came and said, "Oh wait, we actually need you to sing Away in the Manger" So we did. And we weren't awful. I even harmonized for the entire song. I'm so grateful we've been singing carols as a companionship the past month (not away in the manger though) and had some practice, and that I'd practiced the harmony to Away in a Manger at some point during the last week. That was definitely a miracle since I've never considered myself a singer and both of my companions sing less than I do. It was all of our first times singing in a Sacrament meeting, but it's given me confidence to do so in the future!

If you're going to read anything read what follows:

Christmas Zone conference was yesterday which is why this letter is going out on Tuesday instead of the usualMonday. Our mission has doubled in the number of missionaries here since the last year, we've got about half sisters of 280 missionaries. The main focus of the meeting was on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I love getting to listen to our Mission President teach us. He is so kind and Christ-like himself and puts his all into missionary service. If you think what missionaries do is a sacrifice think about the hundreds of Mission Presidents all around the world. Anyways, our mission president is phenomenal and taught about understanding the Atonement better and applying it more personally. There's a quote from Preach My Gospel that says, "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." I've been trying to increase my own understanding of the Atonement. I felt it more personally and comprehended it more fully during our time yesterday than I ever have before. We watched some of the Bible Videos produced by the Church during our missionary Christmas program yesterday. The last one we watched was this He is Risen:     and as I watched it all I could think was that's my Savior, that's my Savior. I would encourage each of you to think on the Atonement of Jesus Christ more this week than you have lately, especially because Christmas is tomorrow. I am so grateful for the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ that lifts us higher than we could ever go on our own. His grace is the power by which we can improve and His Atonement is how he has provided us access to that. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the Lord's Church. His Gospel has been restored and I am so happy to be a part of His work in sharing it with others. There is so much happiness to be gained and blessings to be had from living the way He has asked us to live and from following His Gospel and His Prophet. I add my testimony to what our living Prophet and Apostles have said, "Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son." May we remember Him now and always. Merry Christmas!


Sister Andreason

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holidays Houston Style

I sure love the holidays. We've been able to do so many more things during this season than we normally would be able to. We've gone caroling just as missionaries and with members to the houses of their friends; we've shared Christmas messages; we've had lots of activities to invite investigators and less active members to; we're planning on making treats tonight with some members of our ward to take to those we visit... There are so many opportunities and little ideas that the Lord gives us of how we can do more with this wonderful season and the phenomenal people we serve with.

We have a few progressing investigators now who are doing so well, they're reading, praying and coming to church, and continuing to learn and grow. One of these people came to chuch and stayed all 3 hours. He really enjoyed it and we're meeting with him frequently. He has such good desires to do God's will and to continue to become better. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses our lives no matter what our situation may be, and as these people listen to what we have to share and act on it, they come closer to Christ, their faith grows, and many more blessings. One of the most rewarding things about missionary work is seeing the positve changes that come to people's lives as they listen and act on what we have to teach. Besides those who haven't ever heard our message and are learning about it, seeing those who once knew it and have forgotten come back is so wonderful as well. The gospel is true. Repentance is real. This is the Lord's work.

The ward I'm currentlly in is unique in that we have about twice as many people who don't come to church as those who do. There are so many people in this ward who do so much. I am coming to appreciate all the constant work that the members do here. There are so many incredible examples of selflessness and sacrifice.

On a fun note because our car got backed into it's getting fixed this week so we get to drive a big ol truck. I get more and more Texan every week :) (for Aedan's sake it's a Nissan Frontier). We also had a Relief Society social this Friday that was so beneficial in getting to know more of the sisters better. We also got to go help out the sister who's house it was at. We helped her decorate (we've helped so many people decorate--so fun) and she fed us cinnamon rolls. She had an incredible amount of Christmas decorations. She and her husband have a room in their house specifically dedicated to Christmas all year round--they've got a collection of little lit up Christmas themed houses and a bunch of pictures of Christ hanging in there. So we helped her decorate and as part of that climed up a ladder to the 15 ft landing above her entry way and put a Christmas tree up there... it was a slightly precarious job as the landing was about 4ft wide and 8 ft long with a little more room in the cornerns, but we weren't about to let her climb up there (and she has in past years!) Hopefully I'll get some pictures of the adventure to you at some point.

There's also a winter wonderland set up a couple streets away from our church. There's probably a million dollars worth of lights and displays set up on this street, it's incredible.

Next week we have Christmas zone conference. Our mission has so many missionaries that they have to split it into 2 conferences, so ours is on Monday and I will write on Tuesday (Christmas Eve) next week. I love you all! I encourage you to look for ways the Christmas season provides greater opportunites for sharing the gospel and bringing people closer to Christ, and then act on those ideas. The Lord will bless your efforts.

Lots of Love,

Sister Andreason

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Dear Friends and Family,

This week has been great. As is every week really, I can't imagine a better time to be a missionary or any work that is more rewarding. So here's a list of exciting things:

The girl who got baptized last month is teaching us the new member lessons with her returning to activity husband. She's studying Preach My Gospel and learning lots. She's sharing the gospel with her friends at work, and eager to continue learning. She's "hungering and thirsting" after knowledge and she will find it. It's an example of me of how earnestly we should desire to continue learning and growing.

I know the streets so much better now and can find where I'm going without having to rely too much on the GPS. Because my companion is Sister Training Leader we go on a lot of exchanges, but its such good experience for me. She left for a day last week, so I was the one with the most experience in the area and had to step up and take the lead more in planning and going about our activities that day. It's nice to be able to take little steps toward that rather than suddenly having to do it all at once. I'm pretty sure my trainer is leaving next transfer, so I'll be the one with most experience in the area and still training. It definitely motivates me to keep learning fast.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with a single woman in our ward. We helped her prepare it, and then her non member kids and grandkids came over and we got to eat with them and teach them. We also got to make my family's traditional applesauce which was so nice (although I forgot how long it takes to cook) and I got to take lots of leftover applesauce home MMMmmm.

We went tra-orling. (A combination of tracting and caroling) It was so much more successful. We'd go knock on a door, and then when they were opening it we would sing a Christmas carol, after which we'd ask if we could share a message about Christ with them. We taught several lessons on doorsteps, had someone invite us back, and found a less active member that wasn't on our records. I'm so glad I've learned how to harmonize a little. Caroling is so nice to do with a trio, and I can carry a harmony for "Angels we have Heard on High" so it sounded great! I'm sure the acoustics of small doorways helped us out too, and I have got to practice some other songs today--I love that hymn too much to get sick of it.

Update on the lady I told you about last week: We visited her and she almost came to church this Sunday, she's progressing. I know God is going to work a miracle for her, and I think my new companion is the beginning of that. She has epilepsy (the same condition as this woman's son) and was able to relate to this investigator on a very personal level and encourage her, it was so powerful.

We also have a new investigator we're teaching. Al is great. He is so prepared. We met with him and had a good lesson Saturday night, he came to church on Sunday, and we're meeting with him again this week and he said yesterday he wants to come to church again next week. Huzzah! We've just got to keep following the Spirit as we're teaching him to know how to best meet his needs.

The Lord is involved in this work, and I know he will be involved in the work you're doing as you seek His help. I love this quote from Elder Ballard. "Brothers and sisters, fear will be replaced with faith and confidence when members and the full-time missionaries kneel in prayer and ask the Lord to bless them with missionary opportunities. Then, we must demonstrate our faith and watch for opportunities to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to our Heavenly Father’s children, and surely those opportunities will come. These opportunities will never require a forced or a contrived response. They will flow as a natural result of our love for our brothers and sisters. Just be positive, and those whom you speak with will feel your love."  
Elder Ballard asked us to invited someone closer to Christ by Christmas. I'd love to hear of your efforts in doing that, I know the Lord will help you as you ask Him to.

One more thing. Go check out . Its a wonderful website and there's a place where people of all faiths can comment and share their feelings about Christmas. I love you all. Thank you for all the wonderful things you're doing, thank you for your letters and prayers.


Sister Andreason

Monday, November 25, 2013

Power of Prayer

Hello All!

So I've only got half a P-day because we're going to do service this afternoon, so forgive me if this letter is brief. 

The big news of the week is that Sister Allred and I are training a new Sister. Her name is Sister Seivert, and she's great. It's been interesting as a trio, both similar and different from just a companionship. I'm still learning lots, and this opportunity to train in a trio is teaching me a lot. I'm understanding more of how to keep track of everything and everyone. I'm the designated driver for the car we have, so that's allowing me to learn the roads better. I keep thinking of ways we can be more effective in our work and for ways to better myself.

It has been cold this week. I know, I know, I'm in Houston. It's not supposed to get cold here, but it has. It's been the 40s the last few days with a constant drizzle and some wind. We were walking most of Saturday because we were short on our allotted miles for the week, so we walked quickly. Needless to say it made me thankful for my hat, gloves, coat, and good shoes.

Earlier this week we went and visited one of our investigators. She's had the discussions before, and has gone to church when she lived in the boundaries of another ward, but hasn't been since she's lived in this area. She believes what we teach, and she's got a picture of the temple hanging in her house. She's very sensitive to the Spirit, and recognizes it when we come. She's struggling with some fear of doing things right now. She found out over a year ago that one of her sons has epilepsy, which has made her scared to go anywhere. So she's been trying to be consistent with prayer and scripture study, and she's asked us not to give up on her, so we keep coming.

We met with her last Monday and shared a couple scriptures on prayer. We invited her at the beginning to pray at the end of the lesson, and then we were able to talk about the importance of prayer in building our relationship with our Father in Heaven, and in securing for ourselves the blessings God is already willing to give us if we just asked. We testified that Christ knows how to help us, and that if we pray for help, he can help us with anything and everything. During the lesson she realized that she could ask God to take away this fear she's struggling with, she'd never asked him to before. She gave the most amazing prayer at the end of that lesson. She sincerely thanked God for so many things, prayed for each individual member of her family, and then asked for that blessing for herself. I know the Lord is going to work a miracle for her. I know it. There was so much power in that prayer. I know the Lord can work miracles in our lives. I know that as we are striving to do the things he has asked us to do we will be blessed. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and wants to hear from us. I have seen the power of prayer in my own life and in the lives of many others. I love you all. I am so thankful for all the good things you are doing. Be ye not weary in well doing.


Sister Andreason

Monday, November 18, 2013

I've been out one whole transfer-cycle!


I can't believe I've been out in the field for a full transfer already. Time is flying! We got transfer calls last night and my companion and I are both staying in the area which I'm grateful for. I have much still to learn from what she has to teach me.

So with transfers comes the opportunity to reflect a lot on the past 6 weeks.

We've cleaned up the ward directory (65 on the list have moved).

We've gained more trust and support from the Bishop, and we're more on the same page with him now. Just to give you a visual, our Bishop does not have a right arm, and is a lawyer. So I was a little scared of him at first. When I first got to the area, we weren't in Ward Council, and the most interaction we had with the Bishop was a handshake (left-hand) and a few short words of greeting. We had some stake leaders put a word in for us, as well as our Ward Mission Leader and our new Relief Society President, so he invited us into the first part of Ward Council. Previous to that he had an idea of another meeting to discuss missionary work with many of the same people as Ward Council, and it just wasn't happening. So 2 Sundays ago we were in Ward Council, but still treading softly and our Ward Mission Leader did most of the talking. I'd been feeling for a while that we should schedule an interview with our Bishop. This is something my amazing MTC teacher told us he did when he got to an area in his mission where they didn't have a good relationship with the Bishop. In his story it worked miracles, so I thought we should give it a try. I had mentioned it to my companion, a couple weeks later called the executive secretary but never heard back, and finally after the Sunday we were in Ward Council texted our ex-sec and got an appointment for Tuesday night.

Our interview was enlightening. I'm so glad I followed through on that prompting. We were able to talk with our Bishop (although I was still a little scared going in) and talk about how we wanted to be of service to him, and how we were trying to do the things he'd already asked us to do, and then talk to him about some of our concerns and goals. We're on the same page now. We learned that he really did have a lot of confidence in us already, it was just hard to see. We came away from that understanding our Bishop better, and with a better understanding of what he needed, how he wanted it done, and why he wanted it done that way.

We've found more progressing investigators! We've gotten some referrals, we're teaching a part member family, we've found people in our own efforts, and the work is progressing. I'm excited to start working even more effectively this transfer than the last. It's nice that my companion and I have had 6 weeks already to grow together. This is only the 2nd time she's had a companion for longer than a transfer and she's been out 8 months and trained 4 times. I'm excited for where the work can go from here.

I've learned a lot since I came out. I know how things work more in the field, and how to do things better. I don't think I realize how much I've learned, but I'm comfortable taking over our area 1x a week with the transfers we do weekly because my companion is a Sister Training Leader. I'm so glad to be able to keep working here.
We're continuing to try to work more with the members to encourage them to reach out and invite people. We're asking them to do things, and they're more than willing, they just need to be invited. We're working on following up with all the people we're inviting. I'm so grateful for all the things I've learned before I got to the field, both in the MTC and before that.

Love you all!

Sister Andreason

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Unexpected Opportunities

Every time I start writing these things I have to look through my weekly planner to see what actually happened this week and what I haven't told you about yet. I would be so lost if it wasn't for that little white book. . . . 

Hello All!

So last Sunday Bishop asked us to go start teaching a couple of the 11/12 yr old girls from less active families in our ward. One of them is about to enter Young Womens, she's a member, but has a lot to learn still. So we're working with her. The other is just barely 12, has ADD and is not a member although her mother is, and she brings her and her sister to church every week. I'm grateful for my time in the Young Women's Presidency at Aspen Grove this summer, and the practice I got teaching girls like her. We're just teaching bite sized bits, but she seems eager to learn. That was the first of many unexpected opportunities this week.

Another was our follow up on this old guy, Freddy, we gave a Book of Mormon to. He's been reading it and comparing it to the Bible, and had a lot of questions. We can't go in if it's just a single male without another female with us, but thankfully we had a member that lived down a couple doors in his apartment complex that could come with us, so we went and grabbed her, taught him more about the restoration, and we're going back this week to talk more about what he's read and answer more of his questions! So grateful for the willing member that came with us on such short notice.

We've knocked into several people that were very willing to listen and talk with us. We're trying to schedule return appointments with them and encourage them to read from the Book of Mormon. We have many potential investigators we've met this way. We're working on following up with them, and getting members to come with us so they know somebody besides just us. We've also followed up with some of our potentials we've found in the same way in previous weeks. We acted on an impression to go visit one of them, and talked to him and had a good lesson with his neighbor. Many unexpected opportunities--hopefully we can make those expected and make our lessons with them more powerful as we get to prepare more.

We were out checking up on less actives in our area. We knocked on a door we've knocked on several times before. The person who answered the door was someone the Spanish Sisters found and told us about, but she's not at the address we had for her. She's living with her sick mom who's door we were knocking on. She had been trying to get her records transferred to this ward and was so excited to see us! She and her nonmember boyfriend came to church this Sunday

We also got to go to part of Ward Council this Sunday! Although I'd like to be able to attend all of it, it's progress from where we've been.

We've been working hard. I know the area a lot better than the beginning of my stay here. I know the main roads and where they are in the area at least, although I don't know what we'd do with out our GPS, it's indispensable. Transfer calls are next week. When did that happen? Apparently I've been working here in this area for going on 6 weeks now. I'm pretty sure I'm staying in this area, but I don't know if Sister Allred is. She's been here 4 1/2 months so she might stay, she might leave. If she leaves that means I have to know everything there is to know about our area and the people here and all the tracking and records so I'm a little intimidated by that, but I think I know most of it. We'll see what happens.

I'm so grateful for all the opportunities I've had lately. I'm sure they're answers to prayer. What opportunities have you had in your life lately? How did you use those opportunities? How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life? I heard a question a little while ago that really made me think, "What would Christ do with the opportunities I have?" I'd love to hear your thoughts on your opportunities, or anything else you want to tell me about.

Let me know if you want to know anything else about my adventures out here. I'm doing well. Thanks for all you who've written, I'm trying to write you back.

Also, Happy Birthday to Caleb last week, and Uncle Adam, and all the other birthdays in November. Happy Birthday to Dad this Saturday!


Sister Andreason

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Double Exchanges--I love the mission.

Friends and Family!

I am so glad I learned how to type fast cause I don't know how I'd get to write anything if I didn't. This week has been great. I have felt so blessed with a greater portion of love, joy, confidence, and commitment this week than before. It's easier to be positive and keep working hard despite the outward results we've had so far. I know the Lord is blessing me tremendously.

I can't believe this week is gone already, and yet it seems like we couldn't have possibly done everything it says in my planner we did in just the last week.

Tuesday we had zone conference. Wonderful learning from President Pingree about how to improve our work. The number one point was doing the things necessary to qualify for the Spirit every day. So following the mission rules, planning every night, living the full morning schedule (up at 6:30, exercise, get ready, 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of companion study, and for us newbies 1 hour of training). It's really the little consistent things we do that determine whether or not the influence of the Spirit can be felt in our lives. I am so grateful for that time in the morning and the example of my companion (she gets up at 5:45 to study more). She is really wonderful. We also got to meet with our new Relief Society President in her home Tuesday night and discuss the needs of all the people she needs to be aware of, and the work we've been doing so far, and how we can help each other. She is so amazing. I am so glad she is RS Prez. It's going to be such a blessing to have her to work with.

Wednesday. My first transfer. My companion is a Sister Training Leader (kind of like a Zone Leader) so I get to go on transfers about once a week. We missed doing it last week so I had 2 this week. I got to see another side of the mission. My companion was good, but she wasn't as focused as my trainer is. The ward in that area is so big and strong! They could be doing so much more with the members, they're only scratching their full potential. The area was called Lakewood, and it really reminded me an awful lot of Centerville. The area I'm in right now (Spring Branch, which is actually a ward, it's just called Spring Branch) reminds me an awful lot of the Dayton Branch. It was so interesting to me to see the parallels. My family go to go serve with the people in the Dayton Branch for 2 years. Those 2 years happened to be the ones I was at college; so I got to visit the Dayton Branch when I was at home, but I didn't have quite the same experience they did. So to be put in an area so similar to their experience just increases my faith that the Lord has a specific purpose for me here. I have a feeling I'm going to be in this area for a while. I have great hopes for this ward and the people in it. I am so excited to be working with them.

Thursday. Weekly Planning (takes a few hours, but it's so nice afterwards) dinner with a part member family--the dad (nonmember) was in the air force and lived in Fairborn for a while--so we talked about that for a bit. We also met with our progressing investigator Sarah, and she's getting baptized this Saturday!! :D She's been wanting this for a while. Her returning-to-activity husband is baptizing her, and we're so exciting. She's really great, keeps all her commitments and knows what we teach is true. Her mom hasn't spoken to her since she said she wanted to join our church, but she's still on good terms with her sister. We pray that her parent's hearts will be softened every day. I'm inspired by her strength and faith even when things are hard for her.

Friday. Another exchange. These two companions are really struggling, so me going there was a relief for them for a day or so. Again, another under utilized ward. We were on bikes which was interesting. I am not a fan of beach cruiser, lowered frame whatever bikes those were. If I'm ever biking I am not getting one of those.

Saturday. Fall festival, chili cook off, invited a lot of potential investigators (free food!) and called and visited a lot of them before, but none of them showed up. We'll keep working.

Sunday. Meeting with our Ward Mission Leader!! He's been gone for the past few weeks. I met him on Saturday. It's so nice to have him back.

Sorry I'm wrapping things up so soon. I just don't have the time. The exchanges were really good for me. They showed me how great my companion is, and the good things we're doing in our area, and the progress we're making. They gave me perspective and greater confidence teaching. Thanks for your love and prayers! Thanks for your examples, and the letters you've sent. If I haven't written back to you, I will this week. We have to be in the apartment at 6:30 on Halloween, so I'll have some time. Love you lots!!


Sister Andreason

First Baptism--and snakes!

Hello all!

Thanks for all the emails. Thanks to Centerville Activity Day girls for their cards :D. I'm still working on writing people back. I love you, I will write you at some point. I still love your letters.

On to the nitty gritty. Saturday we had a baptism! Not that I had anything to do with it. She's been ready and waiting for this for a while, and I just got to meet with her the past few weeks. She got baptized by her husband (they're a young married couple) who recently returned to activity. It was a wonderful service. My companion and I called almost everyone in the ward directory to personally invite them to the baptism, and I think it helped the turnout! We had one guy who we haven't seen at church in a while show up for the baptism--he's in the Elder's area, and they started talking with him a little more.

My companion's family sent her this huge (probably 4ft by 4ft) November calendar to hang on our wall. We've been writing things we're thankful for everyday in Nov and putting them in the pocket for the day. It's been such a blessing to take a few minutes to look for all the blessings of the Lord in our day. As we look for His hand in our life, and expect heaven's help, we exercise our faith.

Something I've been thinking about lately is how to help people exercise faith. It's part of our purpose as missionaries, and as our faith grows, so does our desire to repent and come closer to our Father in Heaven. One of the ways we exercise our faith is by being obedient to what He has asked us to do.

Something we talk to members a lot about is the commandment we have been given by a prophet of God to become more involved in missionary work. Last conference our leaders spoke over and over about how important members are in this work. You really are. You are essential to bringing the wonderful light and truth we enjoy into the lives of others. We, as missionaries, can't possibly hope to do anything without your efforts. So lately, we've been trying to help members realize that as they set goals for themselves on how to be a better missionary, and try to act on those, that is an exercise of faith. As you pray for opportunities to share the gospel and then look for those, that's an exercise of your faith. The Lord has promised, "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find." He will help you as you ask and act. As you approach each day expecting to see His hand in your life, you will find it. As you take time to reflect on the day, you will realize more and more how involved the Lord is in your life.

This week has been really great. We've been able to contact more of our less actives, our potential investigators, and find some new investigators. People here are really open to talking about religion, and more people than you might think are willing to listen to our message, at least the beginning of it. The trick is coming back and teaching them more, or keeping return appointments. But the Lord is involved in our work, and in the lives of those we are visiting. It's inspiring to hear the little tender mercies in the lives of those we work with.

One of our investigators was looking for a kitchen table so she could help her family gather more and have family time during meals, and start to strengthen their family more. She didn't think she'd be able to find one for a while, probably not before Thanksgiving. But this week she had a neighbor sell her one for a good deal! What an answer to prayer. That's just one of the many little ways the Lord working in the lives of the people here. He is involved in your lives just as much I'm sure. Keep up the good work. Love you all!


Sister Andreason

P.S. Also. Did you go to the 100 year Scout Celebration!?!  The one at our stake center was way cool! There's a guy in our stake who has a huge collection of old editions of scout manuals and books. They had several displays, a tent set up in the gym, and a reptile merit badge person with several snakes . . .thus the picture. Thought Aedan would enjoy that. I'll  try to get more pictures to you soon. 

love ya!  

Sister Andreason

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

BYU Football Team Meets Miranda in Houston

Hello friends and family!

My mission is blessed enough to be able to enjoy the blessings of attending the temple every transfer (6 weeks) and this was our week to do it. We went with a bunch of other missionaries Friday morning to a very packed session. It was so wonderful to go there and enjoy the peace and clarity that comes from temple worship. We had stake conference this week as well, and one of the speakers was a former temple president. He, along with our stake president emphasized the importance of temple attendance in our efforts to "Come unto Christ" which was the theme of the conference.

My companion and I also got to go do baptisms with one of her recent converts early Saturday morning and guess who else was there? The BYU football team. Or at least 16 or so of their players that wanted to come. I talked with one of the assistant coaches I think? and he said that this was their new thing, and its their 3rd week doing it. So the players passed us on their way upstairs and Coach Mendenhall and his son were in the baptistery. The timing was just right that he was the one to do my baptisms andconfirmations. How cool is that?! What are the chances?

So this week, my companion and I have been working hard, and we've visited a lot of less actives, some part member families, and we've gotten a lot of potential investigators. Most of our potentials this week have come from this little section of two streets that we've visited that's right by our church building. We've talked to so many open people there (half of them are related in some way) and made a lot of new contacts. Hopefully we'll get some return visits this week and be able to teach those people more.

We're currently teaching two young women (20 and 19) who are married to less-active husbands. One of the them is in the process of getting time off work so she can be baptized, and is really our only progressing investigator currently (love her!) She has a great testimony and is trying to do what's right. The other has been meeting with missionaries for a while, and stopped meeting with us for a time because she felt we were pushing her towards baptism. She's hesitant and afraid of making such a big commitment, but she agreed to start meeting with us again; however our latest appointment fell through. My heart just goes out to her. She wants to do good things, and she wants the blessings the gospel offers, but it's hard to be consistent in the little significant things like prayer, scriptures, and church attendance without the full support of her husband. She's got a 6 month old and another on the way. Her name is Kelsey. Keep her in your prayers.

We've also visited some less actives. One family used to be super strong and now won't put forth the effort to come to church. They know it's what they should be doing, and they believe what we teach, they just don't come. They have a testimony, but they are not converted. Fear and apathy keep them from progressing, and it's the saddest thing. It's so hard to know how to help such people when they lack a desire to fix the problem, or to do things they know they ought to be doing. I'm not perfect myself, I've had similar problems as I've grown and progressed, and I've been lucky enough to have a wonderful family to help support and direct me through times when it was hard to be consistent in the little things I knew I should be doing. Maybe that's what would work with this family--additional love and support from the ward until they get to a place where they again have that desire to be better. The only problem is there's not that many other families in the ward that can help in that endeavor.
There's a lot of people who need a friend to reach out, and our resource of people to help is so small. The active members of the ward are few, and they have many of their own struggles. The Relief Society President's family is moving to Saudi Arabia for 3 years, and they seem to be everyone's friend. I feel like I'm trying to fix a car and the only tool I have is a pair of pliers.

So we're taking it a day at a time. My companion is very diligent in filling our time productively. I'm learning from her, and she inspires me to work harder. We're setting goals and talking to families. We're helping the families in the ward set goals for what they can do to increase and improve their missionary efforts. We're trying to bring those we come in contact with closer to Christ, and as the members become stronger they will be able to lift others as well. Our stake conference was inspiring and instructive. I hope that will help in our continued efforts as well. As always, thanks for your prayers. 

I would love letters, my current address is:
13330 west road #316
Houston TX 77041

Lots of Love,

Sister Andreason

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I've arrived in Houston!

Hello friends and family!!

Thanks for all your love and support, prayers, thoughts, and letter you've sent my way. I appreciate all of them (especially the letters and prayers :) Anyways, it's been over a week sine I had P-day, so I'm finally able to write, and I have a lot to say, hopefully I get through most of it.

First off. Houston is great. Love it here. Very humid, but great people similar to Ohio plus a healthy dose of southern. My trainer is great; her name is Sister Allred and she's been out for 7 months, she's 19, dedicated to the work, and loves the people. My area is Spring Branch. (the major roads are the 290, the 529, and the 6. idk if that helps you find it on a map) Our area is large in comparison to others, and we have a car which is nice. The ward has 300 people in it, but only about 100 of those are active. So, needless to say we have plenty of work to do, most of which is trying to just contact these people. We've done a lot of driving around cleaning up the ward list because a lot of people have moved, some have even been gone for several years, and nobody has done anything with the records--so we're trying to get things organized. It's also difficult because the Ward Mission Leader is gone for the next couple weeks, the Relief Society Presidency just got reorganized (the former president's family is moving to Saudi Arabia), and stake conference is next week so we don't have normal meetings. I'm just trying to get on my feet and figure out how to work best here. A lot of things about this area remind me of our time in the Dayton Branch, some of the people we've contacted, and some of the areas we visit. There's a lot of good strong members here too though, and they do an awful lot in helping the ward run. I also got to speak in sacrament on missionary work, which was great to be able to introduce myself to the ward.

Second. The people here in Houston are mostly fairly strong Christians. My purpose as a missionary is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Often we'll talk to people.. "Hi, we're missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we go around teaching people about Jesus Christ and the church he set up." Usually their response is, "Oh, I'm already Christian and very involved in my church" or "I don't speak much English" or "Sorry, I'm Buddhist" or occasionally they'll listen. People here are very open to talking about religion, so that's actually really nice and allows for good conversations, but every time somebody tells me, "Oh, I'm already Christian" I just want to say, "No! You don't understand! We are here representing Jesus Christ, and we have been called by a prophet of God to share what we know, we know that our message is true. Bring what truth you have and let us add to it. What we have to offer--the message we have to share about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring you closer to Him, and will bring you more happiness in life no matter who you are or your situation in life." 

Maybe I should say that. But sometimes that's not what's going to be best in trying to teach people. I'm working on beginning to testify and teach truth immediately. Bearing testimony allows the Spirit to touch their hearts and testify of truth and increases their desire to learn more. I feel fairly confident in many areas of my teaching, but I have so much to learn still, and I'm just starting to understand many areas as well. I'm trying to remember that my strength, my talents come from Christ. I rely on Him in everything I do. Sometimes I'll teach something well and part of my brain wants to pat myself on the back, and the other half of my brain says something like, "hold on a sec! the credit doesn't go to you! remember whose service you're in, and who is helping you." It's a constant battle against pride, and trying to remain humble so I can have the guidance of the Spirit.

Mom says she wants to know about investigators, and dinners with members. Hmm. Well, we have a lot of potential investigators we're trying to contact again and set up appointments with. There's a lot of inactives we're visiting... or trying to visit, and then there's Sarah. Sarah has been taught all the lessons and she is eager to be baptized. She's 20 and she and her (becoming active) member husband are setting a baptism date this week. She still works on Sundays, so we're trying to figure out dates so she can be in church on the Sunday after her baptism and get confirmed. She's great though. She knows what we teach is true, and she wants to do what's right. I hope we're not just baptizing her into inactivity though. The members are so important in fellowshipping new members.

The members houses I've had dinner at are great! Last night we went over to a Korean family's house and had native homemade Korean food. It was great! There's a lot of Hispanics here, so I'm sure I'll get a lot of that food too. It's a great way to meet the members, they're all very nice. We're trying to share messages with them from to help inspire them to reach out more. The ward doesn't have a ward mission plan currently, and I'm trying to figure out how we can get one made, and then help families develop family mission plans as well.

I was reading my patriarchal blessing recently, and there are so many blessings promised me as I'm doing the Lords work, so many parts that apply so specifically to my work in the mission field, it was comforting and inspiring. I was blessed with the "talents and abilities that are needful and necessary to be able to accomplish the Lord's purposes," along with other beautiful promises. I am so excited to be out here serving and accomplishing the Lord's purposes. He is hastening His Work and I'm right here in the middle of it. Love you lots!! Let me know if there's anything else you want to know in future letters. I love getting mail!

My address for paper letters is:
Sister Miranda Andreason
13330 west road #316
Houston TX 77041


Sister Andreason

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

First Letter Home

Hello family and friends!!

Where to begin?! I've learned so much already, and I can't believe it's only been a week. It feels like I've been here at least a month, but at the same time the days pass quickly. When Aunt Margie drove me down to the MTC, it finally hit me that this is it. We were a little early and so we drove by and then walked around the temple for a few minutes. I don't freak out very easily, but if my heart had gone any faster I think I would have exploded. So after breathing for a bit we dropped me off! The MTC is very efficient and I moved through, met a friendly host sister to show me where to go, got everything I needed, and then took a bus down to West Campus and Wyview/ Raintree housing. They're sending most of the English speakers there cause we're only there a couple weeks, but there's a lot of other missions here as well. I saw Alex Valencia, and a friend from Aspen Grove going to the Philippines! We eventually made our way to the classroom and I met my companion, my district, and my teachers who have all been tremendously amazing.

My companion reminds me of Sister Lauren Scott in more than one way. She is strong, motivated, spiritually in tune, a great influence on me, and has some other similarities in quirks and appearance. I love her. I could not have asked for anyone better. We work well together, and we have grown in unity and our ability to teach more effectively. We have helped each other grow, but I feel more on the receiving end. She's the heart of our whole district.

Speaking of our district, it's pretty much the greatest. We have 4 elders and 4 sisters. All the sisters are going to Houston, as well as 4 other sisters who are in our zone. The elders are going to Farmington NM and they're eventually going to be learning some Spanish and Navajo but they're only at the MTC for 2 weeks with us--crazy huh? We have grown together as a district as well and we learn a lot from each other and from our teachers.. who are some of the most incredible people I've met. Our teachers spend a lot of time preparing to teach us, and it shows in their lessons. We also get to teach them in a role play as progressing investigators. That's my favorite part of our experience here. My companion and I are teaching Brother Clegg--who's playing his friend Justin from his mission. We have had powerful experiences teaching him, and I have felt the direction of the Spirit in preparing to teach, and teaching him. I don't have time to write everything, and I'm desperately trying to organize my thoughts here as I try to convey the amazing Spirit that is here, the amount I've learned, how I'm growing, and everything else.

First, let me tell you about Sunday. I don't think experienced another Sunday quite as powerful, and spiritually enriching. I have the opportunity to be in the MTC for a fast sunday, and general conference. The only way this coming sunday could be better than this sunday was is if it were general conference... and it is! Anyway, on fast sundays we have mission conference, which means we get to hear from our MTC President, and a few other speakers in the presidency; there were talks on the Atonement, accelerating our learning, our authority and power as missionaries, patriarchal blessings, and the role of the Book of Mormon. I wish I could tell you everything, and I might be able to write more in a letter, but right now I want to focus on the talk we were given about how to accelerate our learning. I'm pretty sure this was the talk given by President Nally, and he told us that if we are consistent in this one thing that everything we do will be blessed. He said that we need a daily personal devotional and accounting to our Father in Heaven every night from 10:15 to 10:30 (for the missionary schedule) and use it as a time for accounting, gratitude, listening, and fervent prayer. Make sure everything is right between you and God at the end of that prayer, and you will finish your mission with no regrets. He said that you would never miss such an appointment with God. You would never be late for such an appointment. He promised that as we would do this, our hearts will change, and as we sought the gifts of the spirit, they would come more easily over time as we nurture our relationship with God. My prayers after this talk have been more fervent, and I have set daily goals for myself that I account to the Lord on. It is already blessing my life. I feel more in tune with the Spirit, and I am able to accomplish more.

The other experience I want to share is our third lesson with Justin. We had already talked to him about baptism in our second lesson, and he wanted to work toward that goal--we didn't commit him to a date yet, but he's enthusiastic about learning more. We taught him to pray, and he has felt God's love for him through prayer. He's been reading the Book of Mormon, although he didn't really know what it was yet. So logically I thought in our next lesson we should teach him about the restoration and the Book of Mormon. However, Sister Maughan was being more attentive to the Spirit and had a strong impression that we really needed to talk to him about families and focus on that. She kinda suggested that earlier, but I was too set in my mindset to really follow that suggestion, until she told me boldly 2 min before we were teaching him that we really needed to teach on families. Thank goodness I was humble enough to yield to her prompting at that point, and it was so inspired. It was exactly what he needed to hear. His sister had given him additional scriptures to read, and he read 1 Nephi 8, so we talked about Lehi's dream, and then families, and come to find out, his mom died a few years back, and he never knew his dad. He just saw the example of his sister and brother-in-law, and how happy they were and he wanted to learn more. I started crying. I was able to testify of the power of the Atonement, and the reality of eternal families, and how the gospel will bless families now and hereafter. I felt chastised by the Lord a little too, that I wasn't paying enough attention to recognize that prompting that my companion had. I made a promise that I was never going to be too focused on what I wanted to do that I wouldn't hear what the Lord needed to tell me. 

I have had so many wonderful devotionals here. I have learned from them, I have learned from my teachers. Most of their lessons are on the fundamentals, and how we should approach things that way. There's not too much of  a buzz about General Conference this weekend, but I'm sure everyone is excited, we've just got a lot of other spiritual things we're focused on too.

Family: I love you, I'm so glad you guys are continuing down the right path. I'm glad you're preparing questions for conference, and I know you'll be blessed when you do. I sent you 2 written letters already, hope you got them! I have some pictures I'll try to send later

Brothers: Way to go Truman, thanks for writing!! I still haven't heard anything from the rest of y'all. USE DEARELDER.COM it's like an email, but they print it for me. I love you I want to hear from you!!

Dad: I hope the questions you asked in your personal email were answered here, I tried to address them, especially since you're the only one who's asked specific things so far.

Mom: thanks for posting things to the blog and facebook!! Love you, thanks for the stamps... turns out I had one of the sheets of those in my wallet I just discovered :P but thanks!

Lots of Love!!

Sister Andreason

P. S. If any of you have any other questions about what I'm experiencing here, feel free to ask! I only get to check email once a week, and my time is limited, so I'll try to answer questions in the group email. If you write me a hand letter, or send it through, I'll be able to see it and answer it sooner, at least especially while I'm in the MTC.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's really here! I'm getting set apart today as a full time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will be serving the people of Houston Texas for the next 18 months. I'm excited and nervous and sad to leave, but eager to go. I'm ready to go and serve the Lord and join many of my friends in this work who are already serving in many different parts of the world. My mom will be posting my weekly letters home to this blog, so hopefully y'all can read them! See ya in 2015!!