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