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