Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas at the Garlicks


I spent much of Christmas Day at our Institute Teacher, Brother Garlick's house



Making Artisan bread

Happy New Year!

It was so good to see the family on Christmas!!! What a wonderful time to talk and catch up a little bit. Thanks for your questions and telling me about all the great things that are happening in your life. It was cool for me to reflect on how I've grown as Monterrey just left (cousin) and Caleb (brother) leaves soon. Our Christmas day was pretty great. The Garlicks were kind enough to invite us over because everyone else in our ward was gone. It was fun to spend time with them, we made bread and played Quelf, had a delicious meal and skyped our families! We did a lot of caroling this week and met a lot of sweet people. This week has gotten really cold. We biked a half hour to church yesterday in the cold and rain, but then as I was reflecting that this was a pretty cold day for me I realized that this would probably be a warm day for Caleb and I stopped complaining :P
We went on exchanges this week too and split to go help some of the sisters in the surrounding wards focus on the YSAs in their area. It was pretty effective and we got to talk to a few people. We also spent a good chunk of time just calling all the people on this giant list of YSAs that are on the records of the surrounding wards. We found a whole bunch of numbers that either don't work anymore, or that are the wrong number, we found a few people who would be interested in coming to Institute, and a few that had moved, but that we got forwarding addresses for because we called! I wonder why we don't just call down the list more often, it's amazing the things you find!

I hope y'all have a wonderful New Year! Sister Flanery and I invested in some martinellis and we're excited! As the New Year approaches I would invite you to watch this video cause it's awesome, and then read this talk that it's based off of. Remember, Faith is always pointed toward the future.



Tell me what you think and what you changed because of it! 

Love you lots!

Sister Andreason

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas

So I have to brag about all the wonderful people in the ward and my wonderful companion for how well they took care of me on my birthday. I woke up that morning and went to open the door (6:30am) to see how cold it was outside only to be drowned in balloons! Brooke headed the effort but the night before at FHE they got a bunch of people to sign balloons and then they put plastic around the door frame and filled it with 80 balloons!! So when I opened it, it was quite a surprise. Then my wonderful companion made me breakfast and we went to go talk to people on campus!

We have a huge fold-out board that we've used for various initiatives in the past, so this time we had it all decked out with "He is the Gift" stuff. Several of our members came out with us and one brought her Ipad so we could play the video and Tiffany and Melane who were just recently baptized were super gung-ho about handing out cards and inviting people to come write something to put on the board. I was so impressed and proud of them. They are doing amazing things and growing so quickly. Also, as we were talking to people a huge tour group walked through and Elder Visser convinced them all to sing me happy birthday! What a surprise! And then I got a surprise lunch from Laci and Haylee, and flowers from dad, cards and gifts from people. And I have legit cowboy boots now!!! It was a really wonderful day. I don't think I've ever been so well taken care of on my birthday.

That evening we had dinner with Taylor, one of our recent converts and we got to sit and talk with her and her roommate, Tia and read the Christmas story from the Book of Mormon and gain additional perspective to see what was going on there. Isn't it wonderful to have additional light and knowledge and Truth from the Book of Mormon. We were talking with Kelly the other day and she told us how she tried to explain the BoM to her brother. She said, if you tried to tell the history of WW2 without the American side, it would still be correct, but you'd miss a lot of important details and depth. It's very similar to why we have the Book of Mormon. It provides so much depth and additional insight to what we already have. I love the Christmas story because the Nephites were about to die if Christ had not come, but He came that night, as he said he would and his first act in just coming to Earth was to save people from imminent death, and isn't that His entire mission?

Our Christmas Conference this week was wonderful. The entire mission got together and it was a lot of missionaries. They really put a lot of effort into it--we each got handmade TX stockings with notes from home and a little gift, what a wonderful time. We had a sing-along with Christmas carols and seasonal songs, but I really liked just listening to President Mortensen teach us more about the symbolism of shepherds, especially as portrayed in the Christmas story. 

The shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over the flock (sound a little like missionaries?) The angels came to them to tell them the good tidings and then they went with haste to spread the news of a Savior, of Jesus Christ. There's a lot of symbolism there, but that might get you started. There is great depth to the scriptures that sometimes we miss when we think we know the story well.

I've also been thinking about consecration a lot recently, really turning our will over to God because our will is really the only gift we can give him. I'm reading through the Book of Mormon right now looking for how consecration (aligning our will with God's) leads to transformation, and how much God can really shape us and perfect us when we let Him.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!! I love y'all!! Enjoy the season, share the gift!

Love,

Sister Andreason

Monday, December 15, 2014

Temple Trip

Lately I've taken to making bread at the Institute. We made mom's artisan bread a few weeks ago as part of the free lunch on Fridays after one of the Institute classes and it was a hit! So Brother Garlick, our institute director thought it would be a good idea to do that a lot more often, so we have. He actually does most of the work now, but artisan bread is becoming a favorite among many here. I need to figure out some varieties, right now we've just been doing whole wheat :)

The Christmas season on campus is an interesting thing because most people are stressin over finals and then heading home soon, so we're trying to talk to people about it as much as we can before they leave. President Mortensen is really pushing the YSA work and we just bought 9 A-frames to put signs in and use on all the campuses in the mission. This area is really the pilot area for the rest of the mission and so anything we're experimenting with to see if it might work we try up here. So we've been brainstorming ideas with Brother Garlick and coming up with new ways to find and invite others to "come and see" to come learn more. It's super exciting. The Christmas break is our time to prepare and to sharpen the saw so we can hit it hard when school comes back in session :) And even though most people are leaving we still have some phenomenal investigators who will be here over most of the break that we get to keep teaching and I guess we're going to be doing a lot of calling to help all of our recent converts stay strong over the break, it's a very unique situation for sure.

My favorite part of this week though, was going to the temple, once for endowments and once with a bunch of our recent converts for baptisms! We went on Thursday with our Relief Society President for her second time ever. (she's getting married in 2 weeks) and with Bro Garlick's daughter who just got back from her mission in Peru! She hadn't been to the temple in 18 months! Whew, I am so grateful to have one in my mission and to be able to go so frequently. I'm so excited Caleb gets to go and receive those blessings this week too! This trip was very insightful for me. I went looking for patterns of becoming. Something that hit me was the same pattern God used for creating the earth, he is also using to create me. I am still very much in the creation process, still growing and developing, and just like God separated the light and the darkness in the earth's creation, He can do that for me. Also, when God put plants on the earth, he didn't just transplant full grown plants and *poof* the earth suddenly had plants everywhere. He placed seeds there to grow and develop. Just like God placed seeds in the earth, he has placed them in me and in you. We have so many talents and so much potential that needs to develop. The process of creation is glorious and God is turning us into something beautiful.

The baptism trip was also amazing. We had 3 people who went for the very first time and the temple president came and talked to our group for a bit. He talked about some of the symbolism of baptism and how much we can really learn through symbolism as we are seeking and asking. Our recent converts loved the trip and it was incredible for me to be able to talk to them and hear of their testimonies and the Spirit they felt while they were there. That will definitely be a strength to them, especially over the holiday. This Sunday was also really great because it was our Christmas program. I performed in 2 of the numbers. I did the medley of What Child Is This and Carol of the Bells that I've played before and then I accompanied someone else as they sang Oh, Holy Night. Both pieces turned out pretty well even though I had a lack of practice time. The best part of that program for me was the speaker. Bishop spoke at the end, and Jacob gave a talk after only being baptized a month and it was phenomenal! I was so proud of him and so happy to be there! :) We also taught part of the lesson in Relief Society on missionary work with a couple of people who had never taught before. I am so happy to be a part of this ward and to be working with leaders in the Relief Society who are inspired to ask people to try something new and help them be successful. Making someone feel needed is an incredible way of helping them.
I hope your Christmas season is great! Share the love and the light with someone else, reach out and help someone succeed. Invite someone--member or nonmember to come to Christ.

love y'all!

Sister Andreason

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tiffany's Baptism and Transfers

So big news I forgot to mention last week is that Sister McLean got transferred. We get calls Sunday night, pack Monday and leave Tuesday morning. It's a little crazy. So we were just running around saying goodbye and getting everything done that we need to. I am going to miss her dearly, she was one of the greatest companions and friends ever and we had a lot of fun and got a lot done while we were together :) My new companion is Sister Flanery! She's from Layton, UT and was going to Utah State before she came out, so she's now a double Aggie I guess :P and she is just as sweet as can be. She's on her last 2 transfers...so there's a possibility I could stay in this area until the end of my mission! But speculation will be the death of me, so lets not go there. She's never been to a YSA before and it's definitely an adjustment. I was reading past journal entries about my first time in a YSA and it's given me more empathy for that transition, sometimes it's just hard to remember so thank goodness for journals. I haven't missed a day of writing in it on my mission which I think is a real accomplishment.

Anyway, so transfers are always stressful, not just if you're moving and packing and have to say goodbye, but also for the one who's staying (that was me this time) because your knowledge of the area is tested, you have to provide everything that goes into planning and following up with everyone until your new companion gets her feet under her and learns a little bit more about the area and who we're working with. To make it even weirder we were in limbo with another sister in our area for a couple of days as she was waiting for her new little trainee to get here. Transfers happen tues and we don't get the newbies till thurs, so it's a weird couple of days for those who are training. But despite it all I think I handled it okay, and it turns out I know the roads and the area better than I thought I did. It's really been interesting to look back on when transfers happen on my mission, and they always come right as I feel myself start to plateau in my progression and the Lord sees fit to put something else on my plate :) I've gotten to the point this week where I feel like I can handle things on my own and so now there's the challenge of balancing with my new companion and catching her up to speed. I think the transfers where I stay in the area have been harder for me looking back in mission history, but this one should be good and I've gotten better at this whole transfer thing over time :)

Sister Flanery complimented me on my organization yesterday and told me I was one of her most stressed companions. Now that could partly be from the week of transfers, but it was also slightly shocking because anyone who knew me before the mission could tell you that I am not a stressed person, nor very organized for that matter. That weakness is definitely something I have seen the Lord make into a strength since being out here. At the same time I think I've lost some of my other skills, or they've gone dormant to make room for this one. It's a hard balance, but I'm glad to learn so much and to see the results of over a year of effort on the mission.

Tiffany got baptized this Saturday and it was phenomenal. Sister McLean got to come back and it was nice to see her again so soon, if only for a little while. The whole baptism went smoothly even thought it was at a weird building because they were setting up for the Christmas concert at our normal building. She bore her testimony on Sunday about her conversion experience and then the whole rest of testimony meeting was on missionary work. It was so great. I just love serving here with so many incredible people. :D

Also, the Christmas devotional last night was amazing. Y'all should go watch it if you haven't. Elder Christofferson's talk was my favorite. He talked a lot about Christ's condescension and how we are to follow His example in that. The night before we went to a Inter-faith Musical Celebration of Christmas concert thing at our stake center. There were many people from other faiths in attendance and performing and it was wonderful!! There was an all black family from a Baptist church that sang that was by far my favorite. They got every one clapping and just sang with power! I was sitting next to a recent convert, Taylor, who grew up in a church like that, so that was such a cool experience seeing her get into that too :) Another beautiful part of the evening was walking through an exhibit of nativities. I have very fond memories of doing that as a family and really love the unique depictions of Christ's birth. 

Merry Christmas to y'all! Hope you're enjoying the Christmas season. This season is one of the greatest times to share with others what means so much to us. Take some time to share that with a friend #SharetheGift :)

Love,

Sister Andreason

Monday, December 1, 2014

#SharetheGift

MLC
Mission Leadership Council is always awesome. I learn so much and always leave wanting to be better, but also having ideas and ways to do that and principles to focus on in helping lift, encourage, inspire, and bless others, especially other missionaries. Something we're trying to focus more on is keeping track of all our new converts and making sure they are getting follow up lessons and care and attention and love and a calling after they're baptized. The ultimate goal is receiving all the blessings of the temple, so we're tracking their progress until they get there. Another part of that is helping them to find the joy that comes from sharing the gospel, especially since they are such a ripe source of finding. They have tons of non-member friends and we need to be asking about that. Most of the time when I go hear President speak it's things that should have been startlingly obvious to me, but that don't really come to mind till he talks about it.. and then I'm like, "oh, duh! why haven't I always been doing it that way?" It happens all the time. #3 is focusing more on the Book of Mormon as the tool for missionary work. Picture working in a wheat field. If we're gathering them in, the Book of Mormon = the sickle. There's no way we can gather effectively without it. So I'm trying to focus on that more and help those around me realize the importance of that too.

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving was super awesome. It's different being away from home and comfortable traditions, but it's fun to be with new people and see new traditions. It was warm enough that we ate Thanksgiving outside. I don't know how many of you can say that :P But we were at the house of Brooke, one of our recent converts and her family (22 of them there at the house), Brooke, Melane, and 8 missionaries. It was super fun. Some of the dishes were different than home, but still good, and let me tell you, Texans know how to do their meat. They had 3 turkeys and a ham and 1 of the turkeys and the ham were slow cooked in a smoker for hours--mmhmm and then they fried 2 of the turkeys--whole turkeys in a fryer. Soo good. It was good to be with so many friendly people and learn new traditions.

Maddie
So Maddie came to the Mission President's Fireside last week and loved it and has since been meeting with the family ward missionaries. She and her husband went to church this Sunday in the family ward. I am beyond excited that they are learning and growing and for the truth and light and happiness they are finding, and I am so happy for Melane for having family learning about the gospel after some of the initial opposition she had. The Lord works in simple ways :)

Laci
The biggest miracle of this week is probably Laci though. 2 of our members, Blythe and Brian met her at an inter-faith dinner. Laci has a boyfriend on a mission and was excited to learn more. So we got in contact with her and she came to church and we met her and she stayed all 3 hours, and then we talked after church for 2.5 hours! We were waiting to teach the Restoration till Blythe and Brian could be there in the evening, so we just answered questions and talked about the Godhead and ended up going over the baptismal interview questions and setting a baptismal date before we had even taught the first lesson! She is so funny and thoughtful and enthusiastic and eager to learn. As we talk about things they "just make sense" It is so wonderful to be able to teach her and I only met her yesterday, albeit we had 2 lessons totaling 4 hours :P

I am also grateful for the Christmas season and the additional opportunities it gives us to share our beliefs with others. What a wonderful time of year, and what a wonderful message we have. The church has put a lot of effort into the #SharetheGift initiative, so hop on board! Discover, Embrace, Share! christmas.mormon.org has the video, it's on youtube. Check out Youtube Dec 7th, the church will be the main ad. Whoo!! :D Let me know how your sharing goes this season and who you can touch or what miracles you see.

Love, 

Sister Andreason


Monday, November 24, 2014

A week to Remember/ Taylor & Kelly's Baptisms



The Gang: Elder Su/a, ME, Brooke, Sister McLean, Melane, Patrick, Michael, Elder Visser, Mason, Elder Neville, Elder Weaver, Preston




I keep forgetting to bring my journal to emailing which has all my stories in it, so I'm remembering based on my planner which provides minimal memory-jogging. But anyways, there were some pretty incredible things that happened this week. The past few weeks have been some of the best of my life and mission.

Kick-starting Brenham
So in case you didn't know, Brenham is where the Bluebell factory is located, haven't gotten to tour that yet, but I've been to the town a few times. It's also the site of another community college and we happen to have a couple sets of missionaries down there in our zone. President has this vision and fire of the potential of YSA wards. They really are the greatest place and there are so many people in that age range who are really seeking and prepared to receive the gospel and change because of it. So in order to proselyte on many of these campuses, you have to have a club for it. The church has one all set up, LDSSA, we just have to get it up and running on the campus and get people to get involved in it. We need at minimum 7 people. So we got permission to set up a board and talk to people in one of the buildings on that campus at specific hours, so we did that, and at President's suggestion, we went to help the other missionaries kick start the area. There were 8 missionaries talking to people for a couple hours while we were down there and we got 71 people to sign up as interested in joining the club that first day, and they've had a lot more success since then!!! Truly the Lord is in this work. It was so exciting to be out and talking to people, there's nothing quite like it. It was also rewarding to see the fire that came to the missionaries down there as they were successful in inviting and as they took on the challenge of making this work and following up with the huge amount of people we had.

Caldwell
The next day I went on exchanges to Caldwell which is an even tinier town than Brenham and way out in the boonies of Texas. For example, the sister drive a truck out there because many of the roads are dirt, all of them are one lane and their area covers an insane amount of just area with not many people, I can't remember the actual number... I also gathered eggs and fed goats while I was there, just to give you a picture. But I also learned a lot. It was very different from the Traditions YSA ward and being up by campus. The people there live very humbly and it was a wake-up call for me to realize how blessed I am in my life, but also for the area I'm in as well. It takes a really special person to work in an area like that and the sisters there are doing amazing work. I am really truly grateful for the miracles I get to be a part of here and for my area and companion and the members.... there is so, so much.

Zone Conference
So, this was amazing, as always. President is awesome and gets us all fired up. We're focusing a lot on mastering our teaching skills. Pres. Mortensen said, "There's a difference between learning and reading and Mastering. We need master the material." So we're really trying to master the lessons and be better teachers so we can be really prepared for the blessings the Lord will give us. It's our job to prepare as best we can to help those we teach really understand so they can make the correct decision. This time around we focused on the the Plan of Salvation and teaching it with clarity and power. I've been working a lot on my teaching now. It's changed how I do things and I'm having to break some of the habits I've had to develop new ones, but Sister McLean and I are excited to work together to perfect Master Teaching. As missionaries we also got a heads up about a campaign the church is launching. Remember the video "Because of Him" that came out at Easter? Yeah. There's another one. This is about Christmas!!! It's called "He is the Gift" #ShareTheGift. Get ready, it's coming out the 28th, and it's phenomenal. Discover the Gift. Embrace The Gift. Share the Gift. :D

Double Baptism!!
Kelly and Taylor got baptized on Saturday!!! Whoo!!! This is the first double baptism I've had where both of them have been people I've taught. Both of them are incredible people and it has been such a joy to interact with them and teach them. They have both been prepared in many ways and have come to where they are now because of the interactions they've had with members in the past and a simple invitation. Don't be afraid to invite!!! You never know what may happen. You succeed when you invite, regardless of their choice to accept. Miracles happen based on faith and your desire to share the joy you have found is definitely an act of faith. Miracles will follow your efforts as you seek the Lord's direction and ask to be an instrument in His hands to bring someone closer to Christ. I promise that as a representative of Jesus Christ, as His missionary. There is no greater joy.

Mission President's Fireside
This whole week has been amazing, but there were tons of miracles packed into this fireside Sunday night. We got a call Sunday right before church asking us to ask Brooke (who had been on the back up list of recent-convert speakers) if she would speak that evening because the other speaker got pneumonia. We felt bad asking on such short notice, but felt that she would be great, so we asked her and Melane to speak together and although they were a bit stressed (understandably so) they both accepted. The topic was how the gospel has blessed your life. There were several recent convert speakers, all of whom had been members no more than 2 months. It was incredible. But Brooke and Melane were my favorite. We practiced with them that afternoon and they just shared their stories. They're best friends so they both stood at the pulpit and spoke with one voice and told how they had both come to the church and their simultaneous, but unique journeys. They spoke and testified with confidence and power and I was so proud of them. They moved me to tears. I got to sit up there with them because all the missionaries sang in a choir and I was just full of joy and love at their accomplishment and growth and the Spirit they carried with them. There is nothing better than seeing an individual become better in the hand of the Lord. I am so blessed to have seen so many change so much. The fireside was powerful and Brooke's family came as well as Melane's sister-in-law. If for no other reason, I know they were supposed to speak for the people who came because they felt something. (not to mention the personal growth they had). Maddie, Melane's sis-in-law is now eager to learn more and we talked with her earlier today. What a miracle!!

I am full of thanksgiving. What a blessing to be here among so many wonderful people witnessing the hand of God work miracles among His children. What are the blessings in your life? How have you seen the hand of the Lord recently? Love you lots!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

love,

Sister Andreason

Taylor and us at her baptism

Monday, November 17, 2014

Drive-through Safari and Melane's Baptism

Sorry guys this is gonna be short. I got to go to a drive-through Safari today #onlyintexas


This was the craziest coolest place ever. Texas has very few laws on exotic animals, so there were all kinds of animals out on this patch of land in middle-of-nowhere Franklin Texas. You go and pay and buy a big bucket of feed and they give you some plastic cups and then you drive into the animal enclosure and the animals come up to get food and stick their heads in the car windows. It's so cool! So we had goats and sheep and weird deer of several varieties, bison, water buffalo, camels, alpacas, ostriches.... all come up to the car and get food from us and follow our car around. Some of it was kinda scary, but they were all super nice animals, a little pushy, and it was super fun. Best P-day adventure yet. We went with some members in our ward and we all had a lot of fun.

This week has also been full of miracles. Melane got baptized this week too!! It was so great. She has such great faith and is so sensitive to the needs of others and caring. Her baptism was really powerful, as was her confirmation, and you can see a difference in her. There is confidence and clarity that has filled her since acting on her decision to be baptized. She bore her testimony on Sunday of the peace that she felt and Sister McLean and I were just so happy and proud :D

We also met this girl who grew up Atheist but who is so eager to learn the gospel. It's very different teaching her than most other people we teach who have such a strong Christian background already. She's such a little baby in the gospel and it's been an interesting challenge making things as simple as possible to help her understand. Life is good!! Love you all lots! Thanks for all the good you're doing!

Love,

Sister Andreason

Melane before her baptism

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blessed Beyond Anything! Whoo!

Jacob's Baptism. He is with his girlfriend Kayla who is now on a mission herself.














I am the most blessed among missionaries. I've been avoiding saying it because there's probably people that might disagree, but I believe it's true. I have a wonderful companion who works so well and hard and works well with me. I am in an OUTSTANDING ward with amazing people, activities and such and I get to associate with people who I hope to maintain friendships with throughout my life. The work is blowing up, and it's a huge responsibility, but I am grateful over and over again for the INCREDIBLE people we get to teach and work with who just seem to come out of no where. How did I get to be so lucky? Let's look at a few of the AMAZING things that are happening here.\

Jacob got baptized on Saturday. Through a series of miracles including meeting friends from a neighboring school in Louisiana at a airport in Germany, he met Kayla who introduced him to the church. Jacob sought us out once he came to A&M and kept learning more and he got baptized yesterday! Kayla is leaving on her mission in 2 days!! She spoke at his baptism and it was just the coolest thing. My favorite part of baptisms is actually on Sunday. The confirmation is powerful, and our Bishop set a precedent that those newly baptized bear their testimony after they're confirmed in Sacrament meeting. Jacob's testimony was rock-solid and powerful. He shared his story of coming to the church and his conviction of the Truth of the Book of Mormon and the church which espouses it with great confidence. I was blown away, and I'm surprised my heart didn't explode I was so happy.

Melane is all ready to be baptized this Saturday. She's been through a lot of family resistance which has been hard for her, but she told her mom she was being baptized and listening to her account of it to us was inspiring. She had grown in confidence, and she explained the truth she knew and understood really well to her mom. She had changed from the experience. Truly a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it. Confidence in the gospel comes as we stand up for it. That was the case with Jacob and Melane, and Lauren. If you're struggling with something, try testifying of it, you'll be surprised how much it can do.

Alex and Abby are phenomenal. We met Abby at a sorority food fiesta fajita fundraiser a couple weeks ago. (Tangent on sororities: they are not what you seen in movies. There are many here that are super great, not crazy, and provide fellowship and service opportunities to many people). Anyways, one of our other investigators was involved in this and invited us to get dinner there so we went and we talked to Abby in line and invited her to learn more and so 2 weeks later we were finally able to meet, and her friend Alex heard about us meeting and was really excited to come and learn more too! So we taught them both the Restoration and it was one of the coolest lessons I've ever been in. They took notes and asked really good questions like, "If I don't get the Holy Ghost till after I'm baptized how can I get an answer that the Book of Mormon is true through the Holy Ghost?" Wow. So we explained power and influence vs. Gift. It was amazing.

We have other investigators asking really deep questions and easily accepting all the implications of our concept of eternal progression and potential... We had dinner the other night with an amazing member who is working miracles through her diligent Visiting Teaching, and I haven't even told you about Tiffany, Taylor, and Kelly who are all planning on being baptized on the 22 of this month!! Can I get a hallelujah!? 

Also, Congrats to my wonderful brother Caleb going to Helsinki Finland on his mission!! We get to be missionaries together for a bit too! Whoo!

Love you lots!

Sister Andreason


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Most Important Thing (MIT)


So, in case you're wondering why I'm writing on Tuesday instead of Monday, it's because we got to have a member of the 70 come and tour our mission! Elder Corbridge and his wife came for a few days to help the mission. They did a fireside for new and returning members on Sunday night and then they had 2 zone conferences with half the mission in each of them yesterday and today. In case you're wondering if you've ever heard anything from a certain Elder Corbridge, you have! He spoke in the April Conference of this year and his talk was great! If you want to read it... https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-prophet-joseph-smith?lang=eng
you can click on the link :)

He also wrote a really famous talk that circulates among missionaries, it's called The Fourth Missionary. I read it towards the beginning of my mission and it change my perspective drastically. It's a good thing to review often. It's also 24 pages... but it's phenomenal. If you have the time to read it I would encourage you to do so.

Since I've last written a lot of things have happened. I went to mission leadership council, Halloween was last week, we went to a fireside in Houston Sunday night, and we had specialized zone conference with Elder Corbridge yesterday.... lots of meetings and trips to Houston. I think after tomorrow I will have spent 15 hours riding in a car to or from Houston in a week and a half. Oof. But, on the bright side, they've all been excellent meetings, we just live in the boonies.

So, to sum up what I've learned in everything that's happened...

We spent all day Saturday trying to coordinate this trip to this fireside on Sunday, but we ended up getting 2 full cars to go down with a couple members, us, 2 recent converts, and 3 investigators! :D We had a fun road trip and we all learned lots from the meeting.

Elder Corbridge mostly talked about our focus and on doing the best things. He talked of the profound regret that will come looking back on our lives when we see the wasted opportunities and lost potential. It hit me pretty hard and made me want to really focus on the best things. He talked about the Most Important Thing (MIT) that we need to understand, and that others need to understand, and that is "Through Christ we can be redeemed from sin, endowed with power and have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and eventually receive eternal life." I don't have my notes with me, so that's paraphrasing, but if you think about that statement as the 'why' as our destination, where we're going, and then you think about the 'how' or the route to get there (If you keep my commandments ye shall have my Spirit for example) then the conclusion of 'what' we do become pretty self explanatory. "I will keep the commandments so I can be forgiven, empowered and have eternal life." This works with any principle we teach, we first have to help others understand the MIT, the destination, the why.

Going along with that, in our leadership council we learned about helping our investigators understand revelation, and about being bold when inviting others to be baptized. As a STL I got the chance to go to that meeting and then teach the things we learned there to the rest of the missionaries in the zone. My companion and I practiced together and tried to demonstrate the power of that principle well. I thought we did a good job explaining it, and having practiced that in our area we had "moral authority" which means we were doing it, so people could believe us more.

I wish I had more time to write and send some pictures our our ward halloween party. We got to go for a bit because we had some investigators there and there were some great costumes, maybe I'll get to that next week. Everybody is doing well! We met some great new people last week. Jacob is getting baptized this Saturday! Life is good. I'd invite you to consider the things you spend your time on and where your focus is. Think of a lake vs a river. The latter has greater focus and because of that it leaves a much greater effect on the world than a lake does. What are the best things in our life? Are we focusing on what will make our life better? How can we help those around us do the same?

One of the things I saw emphasized over and over in both Sunday night and Monday was this, "The Lord expects you to make a difference. To be fruitful." One of the purposes of our life is gaining salvation, but another very important part of it is helping others do the same. Blessing lives. That was a huge reason why I came on a mission. How can you bless lives where you are?

Sorry my thoughts are so scattered today!

Love,

Sister Andreason

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anastasia's Baptism, Identity, Purpose and Gratitude

Howdy Y'all!


Anastasia got baptized yesterday!! It was a beautiful experience. The last baptism had a couple glitches, so sister McLean and I put together a comprehensive list of all the things that need to happen for a baptism here and what needs to be communicated, and then we were very clear with everyone involved and it turned out nicely! Hopefully the upcoming baptisms this month will be even better! I got to help sing in a musical number for the baptism, usually I'm the pianist, but we found a pianist and needed a singer so I jumped in and it wasn't too bad! It was a duet of Nearer My God to Thee and I sang alto. The spirit was so strong, and then we went directly from that to the font and the Spirit was almost tangible. 




Speaking of the spirit being strong...We got the privilege to go to the temple today!! What a blessing. Taylor (recent convert from Sam Houston) drove us down there early in the morning. I love the temple. It had been so long since I had been, yet I know I'm so blessed because most missionaries don't have the privilege of going that often. The temple is truly a place of peace and joy and revelation and there is a power that is felt there that continues with you even after you leave, especially when you get to take a family name like I got to this time! 

I went pondering on the importance of understanding our purpose and identity. We had recently discussed that principle in institute. When Jesus is teaching in the temple at the age of 12, he tells his mother, "wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" In that short statement we can clearly see that Christ understands very clearly His identity and purpose. I think understanding ours gives us greater power and focus and enables us to bless many more lives. I think that as our investigators really understand those thing that they will begin seeking and recognizing answers much more and they will progress. 

We are children of God. He loves us and we have a work to do. We are not just here to piddle around, or even just to get back to God. If that was the case, why did we leave in the first place? We are here to gain experience and to learn and to be tested in a fashion that we could do no other way. This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God and by so doing become like Him. This is the day for us to help others in the same endeavor. Part of this life is to touch and bless the lives of others.

I am so grateful to be able to associate with so many wonderful people. I am glad to serve how I can to be able to bless the lives of those I get to teach and work with and meet in the wards here, but I am incredibly grateful for how my companion, investigators, and members teach me. I have learned so much on my mission thus far and I hope I can keep learning and growing and sharing.

November is coming (when did that happen! time flies) and something I did last year the whole month with my companion was take the time every day to write things we were grateful for, good thing that happened throughout the day, etc. We filled a 3x5 card every day of Nov, and although some days it was easier to think of good things than others, the exercise helped us to focus on the good and to practice gratitude. I would invite you to do the same thing this month and let me know how it changes you. Invite someone you know to do it with you. I promise you will see things in your days that you wouldn't have noticed before. You will see the blessings of the Lord, and you will increase in gratitude, and thus in happiness. I love you lots!!

Love,

Sister Andreason

Fun Photos from Fall in College Station, TX

This is a super cool way we find people to teach.  We have it set up on-campus at various club fairs. 

Preaching the Gospel to every creature :)

giant mango. i know they don't compete with the ones in Ecuador (shout out to Lars) but this one was pretty dang good. thanks to HEB


Patrick, one of our members took us to Shipwreck grill and we ate oysters (he made us) but they weren't too bad. Can't really say they're a favorite yet, but it was an experience

tandem bike! bucket list. check.


Monday, October 20, 2014

More Baptismal Dates


Man! It's been a busy week. I wouldn't want it any other way.

I've apparently got a reputation as someone who can play the piano, so I was asked to accompany a musical number and learn the song in a week. A little stressful, but we did it! We performed for ward conference and it went well! But let me back up and talk about some of the people we've seen this week.

We started teaching a girl named Kelly who has been coming to Institute for a while and we got to start teaching her this week! She's been going to the D&C class with a friend because it was the only one that fit in her schedule. She didn't grow up super religious so I thought it was interesting that she's starting with the "capstone" of our religion, but she loves learning there and she has really been prepared! We asked her about baptism and she said she's been thinking about it for a couple months now. Our bishop asks those who are just baptized to bear their testimony in sacrament meeting on the day of their confirmation. She was there when Tara bore her testimony and has been thinking about it since then! It is so important to just be aware of non-members when they come! Brother Garlick, one of our institute teachers has gone through all the nonmembers enrolled in institute and we've been reaching out to them as well.

I think I talked about Anastasia a while ago, she's read the whole Book of Mormon and feels good about it, but had some concerns about other things that were holding her back. Brother Garlick (he's so great) had the chance to talk to her and help her put her faith first and recognize that although she may have some concerns, they shouldn't be enough to keep her from what she knows is right. It will be easier to work through them once she is baptized as well. So after his great conversation with her we went in and sat with both of them and set a baptismal date for a week and a half later! So she's getting baptized on Friday! What a miracle!

Melane is best friends with Brooke who just got baptized last week. She's been learning and knows it's true, but has been experiencing a lot of family opposition which has been really difficult for her. We met with her again and talked a lot about the significance and blessings of baptism and over the course of several meetings helped her find the strength and faith to set a date for baptism and move forward. The next hurdle is communicating that to the resistant members of her family. She has great faith though, and it's growing. She is acting in faith and I know she will be helped and blessed.

We have seen amazing miracles with people accepting dates to be baptized, but it's a result of encouragement and correction from President about the importance of it and our decision to be bold and invite in faith. After considering that the most powerful messages we have to share are in the first 2 lessons, and after re-learning the principle and power of goal setting, Sister McLean and I decided  that we would extend dates to everyone no later than when we taught the Plan of Salvation, and look at the miracles!!

Other fun things this weekend... We had a ward temple trip and since Brooke was baptized and we made getting her a temple recommend a priority. So we got to make the trip down to Houston to go do baptisms with her for the first time. Since it was a large group we didn't do any baptisms, but we got to dress in white and help coordinate names and people and help out in that way! It was so great to be useful and still be able to be there with Brooke for such a special experience. We drove with her and Patrick to the temple and then got lunch at Steak n Shake on the way back! Apparently they have those in Texas, it's not just an Ohio thing.

I've also been thinking a lot about stewardship this week. I feel an incredible responsibility for the spiritual welfare and progression of all those that have been entrusted to us by the Lord for us to teach and help along the path back to God. It takes a lot of planning and organization and study and prayers and relying on the Spirit to help you know what to say and how to say it in every situation. I have also been thinking about the sister in my zone that I have a responsibility to help. I feel like I've been slacking a little bit in that regard and I'm resolving to do better to seek their welfare as well. 

What are some of your stewardships and how are you helping those around you? Something I have seen over and over again out here are people we are made aware of that are struggling that you never would have guessed. People who seem great, but who need a lot of love and help. We are often too quick to judge a situation, either "that person's kinda weird" or even "that person seems fine" Everyone is in need of help and love and we have a responsibility to get to know them and understand them better, especially if we have a stewardship responsibility.


Thanks for all you are doing! Thank you for your faith and prayers in my behalf and on behalf of the missionaries everywhere. 

Love you lots!!

Sister Andreason

Monday, October 13, 2014

Brooke's Baptism

Howdy!!


Brooke and Melane at Brooke's Baptism
This has been a fantastic week. Brooke got baptized and about 20 of her family and friends came to the baptism. It was so wonderful to see her make that commitment that day. Baptisms are always spiritual highlights. I am grateful for all the preparation people put into making those successful, it takes some serious coordination
sometimes.


Another highlight of this week was specialized training/interviews with President Mortensen. This was the longest interview I've ever had because we did training in smaller groups of missionaries. It was nice to be able to talk a little bit more with President, he always gives great advice. One of his strengths is being able to look at a situation and see what is causing what and then fix the problem, not just the symptoms. That's something I realized recently--we live in a society that treats the symptoms most of the time, but if we really want to fix the issue we need to go to the root and fix the problem. If you're overwhelmed you need to plan and organized...etc.

As a STL I got to help teach part of the meeting on Chapter 8 of PMG (using time wisely/planning) Isn't it funny how when you get asked to speak on something in sacrament or teach a lesson its usually you who needs the lesson the most? I love a solid weekly planning, it makes life a whole lot easier, but sometimes we're so busy that we neglect to make time for it and we try to squeeze it in during other random hours. It doesn't really work. If it's important (which it is) then it needs to be a priority in our scheduling, and not just get the leftovers. So that's something Sister McLean and I have committed ourselves to do better this week. :)

Another amazing miracles is something that I've never had happen in my mission up till this point, but which is super amazing. I'm coining it: "progressing-investigator-present lessons" Jacob, one of our solid investigators heard we were teaching another Freshman in the Corps and was so eager to fellowship him and come to one of his lessons, so of course we said yes! What better way to strengthen your testimony than by bearing it? What better way to understand than by learning again and helping to teach? What better fellow-shipper than someone who's gone through the same process just weeks ago? It's the best. In addition to Jacob reaching out like that, Brooke and Melane have been reaching out to Taylor, another one of our investigators, and she's been helping them as well!! I guess Brooke is a member now, but Taylor and Melane come from very similar backgrounds and it's so great that they can help each other through any struggles :D I feel so blessed to be able to teach so many amazing people, and to have enough investigators who are similar enough that something like that can happen. So cool.

this is what is written on the arches to get out of the quad (where the Corps people live) it's pretty sweet


I went on exchanges this week which was great. I'm learning more and more what it means to minister, and its a skill I'm trying to develop. It's helping me be focused on the individual, not just with investigators, but also with all those around me.

Shout out to Hayley, an Aspen Grove friend who I got to see in College Station! Small world.



Hope y'all are doing great! Still want to hear what you learned at conference and an action plan, I'm working on one too.

 Love you lots!

Sister Andreason

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Showering of Blessings & Conference

This has been a busy, exciting week full of miracles and Conference was phenomenal!!

Fun things first: 

We played a glow-in-the-dark game of ultimate frisbee. Best thing of my life. Cool night air, a legit light-up disc, teams with different colored glow bracelets and the field outlined with glowsticks...hard to beat. It was also cool because most people got passed to--it's hard to judge who is who if you can't seen anything but a glowing bracelet. 



Also, I am the foosball champion. I have played all the missionaries, and many ward members on the foosball table in the institute building in the past few weeks when we have a spare minute. I don't know how I got so good because all I remember about foosball is Caleb beating everyone, me especially. But somehow I have beaten everyone I've played more than they've beaten me. I owe Caleb a match when I get back :P

This week we had MLC (mission leadership council) and I learned a lot. Good leaders start with the end in mind--so as I'm teaching and talking to people, to remember where I'm headed in the lesson, and in helping an individual progress towards baptism and to come closer to Christ. Vision is so important in being able to lift others higher and to move forward yourself. Understanding is so important. I can't count how many times I've said "If they only understood what we had to offer." If people really understood our message and the significance of it, is there any doubt in our minds what they would do? Understanding is one of my favorite subjects, so I enjoyed studying that more and teaching about it in zone meeting a few days later. 

If you want a list of scriptures about the importance of understanding, here it is: (what: Prov 4:7, Prov 9:10, Eph 1:18, Eph 4:18. why: Alma 13:23, D&C 20:68, Matt 13:19. how: Psalms 119:129-130, Nehemiah 8:8, Mosiah 2:9, 12:27, 2 Nephi 31:3, D&C 1:24, 3 Nephi 26:1) I don't expect y'all to read all of those, but they're really insightful if you want to learn more about understanding.

This week we also had the opportunity to teach Institute. Both the teachers were out of town for a conference, so we were asked to substitute. The topic was Matthew 26-28 which includes such things as The Sacrament, Garden of Gethsemane, Cross, and Resurrection... talk about a hefty topic. But it went really well! I learned so much from the student manual and it was a joy to take the time to study more about the Atonement of our Savior. 

One of my favorite parts of the lesson was studying the symbolism of the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane, a garden of olive trees, means "oil press'. Olives are pressed to produce oil, and when Christ was there he was pressed with the weight of our sins, and produced blood from every pore. It is intriguing to look at the symbolism between olive oil and Christ's blood (The Atonement). What is olive oil used for? Things like food, anointing, fuel/light, lubricant (make it easier to move), ointment for healing.... the list could go on. What can we use Christ's blood, The Atonement for in our lives? Think about it.




This week we've also taught a lot of really solid new investigators, I'm excited to see what happens, and I have been inspired to be more lovingly bold as I teach them as a result of conference. We have Truth. Absolute Truth and you can know for yourself. That is one of the most profound messages ever. The implications if our message is True is astonishing. Wouldn't you want to find out? We have a lot of people we're teaching who are in that process of finding out. We have a lot of people who are finding answers but experiencing a lot of family opposition. I hope we can give them strength and conviction to press forward.

Something that we've really been pushing in the mission is the importance of family history work. We've been teaching that sooner in the lessons and it's had an amazing effect. Brooke, one of our investigators who is getting baptized on Saturday is incredible. She has gotten into that and is already finding names to take to the temple the week after she is baptized. We've taught several of our other investigators and the thing about family history is that it expands our vision. The cause is greater than just one individual. As our investigators come to understand that it's really powerful. As they come to understand that our ancestors are not far away and that they are working in our behalf, it is strengthening. I have such a testimony of the importance of temple and family work and the role it has hand-in-hand with missionary work.

Wow, I've written an essay and not even talked about Conference yet. I receive many answers and a lot of direction, both for myself and on behalf of my investigators. It was incredible to realize how specifically a lot of their concerns were answered if they were sincerely listening. One of them definitely was. Taylor, who we've taught a few times, came to the Saturday Afternoon session with questions in her heart, looking for God to lead her. We met with her afterwards and she bore powerful testimony to us of the peace, purpose, and direction she had found since meeting with us and especially in the past session of conference. She told us that she had felt led to this and that it was a clear answer to her prayers. She's already been sharing about the Book of Mormon with her somewhat skeptical family, and is moving forward. We set a baptismal date with her yesterday and I am just overwhelmed with gratitude to be here as a missionary. Sometimes it's hard to fathom the trust the Lord has in me and the many blessings I have been given. I feel privileged just to be able to associate with such incredible people. I'd love to hear more about what you learned from General Conference! 

Email me, write me (401 Anderson St. #1F. College Station, TX 77840) I know that we heard the words of prophets this weekend and as we take the time to really apply what we learned we will feel of Heaven's help and become better, happier people.

Love you all!

Sister Andreason

Monday, September 29, 2014

YEAR MARK! Come seeking . . .


Well, Thursday, September 25th was my year mark. That is beyond bizzare. I'm one of the old missionaries now. That means I only have 6 months before I go home. Weird. But a time like this is great for reflection and goal-setting, so I've been thinking about strengths I still want to develop, weaknesses I need to improve and where I'm heading. I am so excited for General Conference and the time of revelation it provides. I've been thinking a lot about questions too. Women's Conference last Saturday was amazing and I learned a lot but what stuck out to me most was part of President Uchtdorf's talk where he taught the principle: Come seeking and you will gain more. I've been thinking about the importance of preparation (also taught in women's conference) and asking the right questions.

Grandpa Sessions sent me a quote I really like by Tad R. Callister: "The power of a good question is of inestimable worth. It is like an... alarm clock that awakens us out of our mental doldrums. It is a catalyst that jump-starts our mental engines." In light of that I have been trying to prepare myself more for conference. I have been trying to soften my heart and open my mind to counsel and correction, to apply every talk to myself, realizing that I need to improve in all the areas talked about because I am far from perfect. I'm trying to ask good questions, to "come seeking" so I can gain more. I would encourage all of you to do the same.


Some of the miracles from this week include being able to teach a family! Now, you might ask, "Aren't you in a student ward? How does that work?" Let me tell you. Our investigator Brooke is amazing. She also happens to be one of the funniest people I know, but that's besides the point. She's getting baptized October 11th, and has been talking to her family about the Gospel and how much it has blessed her life already. She has changed a lot in many positive ways. Her sister wanted to learn more, so we went over to her house to teach her and invited her parents to sit in on the lesson. We were originally trying to pass them off to the family ward missionaries, but they got confused on where it was and which ward, so we ended up just teaching them this first time. It was so great to teach a whole family! They were all very attentive and interested in understanding, and Brooke was such a powerful influence! She bore her testimony repeatedly to her family about various principles we taught and the Spirit was so powerful when she spoke. It was an amazing lesson.

In addition to that our investigator Jacob set a baptismal date! He's doing great, and he seems very prepared. We have high hopes for him. His member girlfriend from Louisiana came up and attended our ward on Sunday. She's super great and is preparing to leave on her mission to Colorado in November. She bore her testimony during sacrament meeting and I loved her insights. She woke up at 4:30 or something ridiculous to drive here and along the way got to watch the sunrise and encountered a lot of bugs hitting her car. Here's the analogy.

Sunrises are beautiful, but one of the coolest parts about it is watching the world turn from gray to color. The higher the sun rises in the sky, the more vibrant the world becomes and the easier it is to see. Lets think about priorities here. How high is the Son in our life? The same principles apply, the higher He is, the more vibrant and beautiful life becomes and the easier it is to see. Now, as we go through the roads of life sometimes we'll have bugs hit our windshields--sometimes there's a lot of bugs. These are like sin that obscure our vision, but thankfully we have windshield wipers (repentance) that can get rid of it, but it only works if we have the spray stuff (faith). Beautiful insights from a seemingly simple drive. 




One of my other favorite talks from women's conference was Neill F. Marriot who said we have a responsibility to add light and truth to our lives and share it with others. As we come with open hearts and put the Son higher in our lives we'll gain more light, as we come seeking we will gain more. I invite all of y'all to come seeking to General Conference. Come with questions and with the intent to learn and change. I promise you'll gain more. Love you lots! I want to hear what everyone learned at Conference, or what their favorite part was.

Love,

Sister Andreason