Monday, January 27, 2014

Disc Golf, Ice and Philosophy

When I left on my mission to Houston I expected to leave snow and ice behind me in Utah and Ohio. No such luck. Although we've had alternating days with beautiful weather in the 60s, sometimes 70s, Friday we had an ice storm come through. It was just like the stuff we get in Ohio sometimes--where everything is just coated. Our car was a solid block that morning. There's a lot of roads that are built up in the air, like an overpass, but go on for miles and miles. I'm so glad we dont' drive on those because I'm sure they were suuuper icy. But I can't complain too much because I know Alaskan weather is trying to take over the rest of the country.

Last Monday we went and played disc golf with some of the other missionaries in our district. I have always been a fan of ultimate frisbee and I consider myself fairly decent at the sport. Disc golf on the other hand, I think I've tried once before and I got really frustrated because the discs don't throw the same way. After some coaching from one of the other missionaries (who has done tournament disc golf stuff), I improved a little more and didn't do too horribly. I might even do it again someday.

Tuesday was great. We had interviews with President and some other training. It was all exactly what I needed to hear. I know President Pingree is inspired in the things he does for this mission.

We went to dinner at a member's house and they had invited some friends too, which is great! I think that's the first time I've been to dinner with a nonmember there too. Inviting people over for dinner is something I would definitely encourage everyone to do; however, I would also encourage giving the missionaries more than a few minutes notice that there's going to be other people there... especially when one of those people happens to be an ordained minister of another faith with strong opinions. It was a good discussion regardless, and he has honest concern for our salvation. He's just gotten a lot of misinformation about the church without taking the time to figure out our foundational beliefs. I struck a deal with him that if he would read all of 3 Nephi, I would dedicate more of my time to reading the New Testament. Lest anyone get confused, yes Mormons belive in the Bible, and I have been studying the NT, I just have a lot of other things to read too. I've been keeping my end of the deal, so hopefully we get to talk to him again and see how he's doing with his reading.

Wednesday we had some other good lessons, and talked to this one guy on his doorstep for a while, and then continued our discussion inside. He grew up in a positive Catholic home, and thinks religion is a good thing, but doesn't really believe it. He had a lot of really interesting questions about learning truth, or how we can know truth. I tried to answer the best I could, and I was so grateful for my high school, and college philosophy classes. Mr. Raisch's classes helped me talk to people out here who pull from a lot of well-read sources. When people start quoting Voltaire, Thomas Aquinas, Dante and other things, I can at least know what they're talking about, even if I don't remember as much as I would like. One of the people who I was able to keep up with is getting baptized in a couple weeks. The other person is this guy we talked to on Wednesday. The Lord definitely knows who he sends where and has a reason for all of it.

Thursday and Friday were great. We taught both of our investigators with baptismal dates and had members come with us for those lessons which always makes them better. We endured some cold and then got another bout of warmer weather. Saturday and Sunday were not as productive as I would have hoped, but here's looking forward to doing better this next week! This week is temple week, so it's definitely going to be good. I love you all! Thanks for all you're doing to move the work along and continue coming closer to Christ.

All my love!

Sister Andreason

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vehicles and Growing Opportunities

So this Friday I was sitting in a police station contemplating the things that brought me there... there was the ride in the back of a police car (very uncomfortable things by the way) but wait, let me back up to the beginning.

Friday afternoon my companion and I were doing what we normally do, going to appointments and checking up on some people. We were driving down a road in the left lane. As we approached the light we were passing a plaza and a suburban had stopped to let a car into its lane, but the car kept pulling out into our lane without looking. My companion saw it a couple seconds before I did and screamed, I was driving so I slammed on the brakes and then BAM! THUMP. POOF! blink. blink. blink.

We were going fast enough that both the air bags deployed, but our seat belts did enough of the work that the airbags just produced a lot of smoke and dust (I guess that's what happens when the air bags deploy). I sat there a little stunned for a few seconds. I had the presence of mind to put the car in park and turn it off, but then the first thought to enter my mind was, "We need to call Elder Ohern" Not the police, Elder Ohern who is the vehicle coordinator for our mission and who you're supposed to call if you ever have an accident. So we found the phone, called Elder Ohern who immediately asked us if we had called the police. Nope. "Well hang up the phone and call the police and call me back after you call them." So we did, and by that time somebody else had already called it in and police cars showed up a minute later.

The cars were damaged enough that we couldn't drive them so they got towed off the street into the parking lot. Nobody was hurt, so we talked to the police, exchanged information, called Elder Ohern again who was coming to pick us up. The police were super nice and helpful with everything and since we were in kind of a sketch area and it was getting dark they offered to drive us back to the police station so we could wait there for our ride. The Oherns (A senior missionary couple) picked us up and took us to get something to eat.
As far as accidents go, this one wasn't bad. Our car is probably totaled, but it was one of the mission cars that was going to be retired soon, and nobody was hurt, and we were able to get a new car the next morning. The Lord definitely takes care of His missionaries.

As for the rest of this week. My beloved trainer left on Tuesday, so it's back to just 2 of us here. It's been a little bit of an adjustment to life without her, and I'm realizing things I still need to learn about the area that she helped a lot with. I didn't realize how good she was at planning things until I had to do it without her and realized how much I still struggle with that although I've definitely gotten better at it since coming out here. There's so much to keep track of. I was reflecting on my time at the MTC and you learn all the important basics of how to do missionary work, and teach people well, and increase your own spirituality, and then you get out in the field and they throw lots of other things at you. You've got to learn the area, and keep track of all the members and less actives and potential investigators, and do a whole lot of paperwork, and work with people who sometimes don't really want you there, or people who want you there but have a hard time doing anything you ask them to do.

So I've been trying to focus on the basics again. Qualify for the Spirit everyday. Be exactly obedient. Pray more, counsel with the Lord. Plan as best I can. Focus on the needs of others. Pray some more. I knew Sister Allred was leaving before we ever heard anything officially because I knew I would not continue to grow if she stayed. She'd taught me all she had to teach and I was going to learn more flying on my own with my companion who's even newer to the field than I am. I knew that this next little while was going to be a period of more intense growth, and it is! I'm learning a lot, and it's a little painful sometimes, but I know that as I keep working and doing the things I know how to do and rely on the Lord. I was reviewing some of our family's lists of New Testament scriptures today and I think 2 Cor 12:9 is very applicable, " And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." I was also studying about Limhi and Alma and their people in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 24 which teaches similar principles in the story.

As we rely on the Lord and His strength especially in the areas where we are weak his strength is able to help us more in those areas than areas where we are stronger and aren't required to rely on Him as much. So I'm going to keep growing this next week in areas where I am weak and I'm going to keep growing closer to God. I'm excited to see the enabling power of the Atonement more fully in my life so I can help others see it in their lives. "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." "You cannot convert people beyond your own conversion." PMG.

I love you all!


Sister Andreason

PS This is the truck we got to drive for a little while--felt like a real Texan in that thing.