Monday, March 31, 2014

Spiritual and Social Conversion

This week's been an exciting one. And although my brain felt fried as I tried to help my 2 new companions learn the area that I don't know fully yet, (in my mere six weeks here) it wasn't too bad. The Lord definitely blessed me with increased strength and remembering things and perseverance. Anyone who knows me knows my planning skills were dismal, to say the least before the mission, but I've definitely improved in that area in the last 6 months. We were still productive this week even though I had to lead planning and think of everything we needed to do because my companions were brand new. We got where we needed to be, we found everything okay, and we didn't run out of car allotment of miles for the month. I've also been blessed with great companions that helped me adjust to everything and are loving and supportive and great teachers. They are Sister Pugh (say pew) and Sister Harrison. Sister Pugh was in the MTC with me, and Sister Harrison has been out for 9 months. It feels like they've been here longer than just a week, but it's flown by and we're learning and getting better at working together every day.

Some fun things this week:

We've gotten to do lots of service projects recently. We helped paint a couple people's houses, (practiced my contortion skills as I painted inside a closet with shelves), put down sand and bricks to make a sidewalk, filled flower beds with dirt, not to mention the roofing we did a couple weeks ago.

The last night my companion was here she requested crepes. We were at our WML's house for dinner. So I got to help his wife make crepes. Thankfully I've had lots of practice with that (thanks grandpa S!) and it was really fun and quite delicious with nutella. 

We had dinner with an older couple in the ward, the Bailey's, and come to find out they served a mission in New Zealand! They were on the South Island though, so they said they didn't know G&G Sessions, but they showed us a lot of cool NZ things that reminded me a lot of G&G. They had a noah's ark carved by an islander and all the different animals were out of a different wood native to NZ, it was interesting and beautiful.

The highlight of the week was Sunday. We had an amazing woman come and be a guest speaker in our ward. She was in my new companion's last area, and she's a missionary guru. She had amazing experiences to share and tons of amazing insight. The main principle she highlighted are the different roles of full time missionaries and member missionaries in hastening the work of salvation. When people join the church they have to go through 2 types of conversion, spiritual and social. Full time missionaries are responsible for the spiritual part. We know how to teach the lessons, what order to teach in, how to testify, invite and build testimonies. It's all we do, all day every day. You members on the other hand can do what we cannot on the social end of things. We're in an area for a few months, which makes it really difficult for us to do the job of building friendships. Missionary work is most effective if "You bring 'em, we ask 'em" If you invite your friends to activities, and make the missionaries aware that you have a friend with you! we'll do the hard stuff, we'll invite, we'll teach, but sometimes we don't know who's who yet, so let us know if you have a friend, and tell us what you need us to do. Remember, you succeed when you invite! And it usually takes 3 Nos to get a Yes. As both members and missionaries get to understand their roles better and we work together, the work can move forward more effectively. I'm excited to increase how well we work with members. 

As someone said in the women's meeting on Saturday to not only love more but love better. I'm excited to not only work more but work better and help the members see the joy that comes from missionary work.

Love you all!

Sister Andreason

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fulfilling your Purpose and Roofing

There are some weeks where I'm better at being a missionary than others. There's days and weeks where its easy to talk to everyone, your companionship works in unity, you're working hard to achieve your goals and you see the hand of the Lord a lot in the work. There are other days and weeks (fewer and hopefully far between) where it's easy to get distracted, to loose the focus and be less and fall short of the highly effective servants of the Lord we're striving to be.

This week was one of the latter, unfortunately, and I feel like I've been stagnating a little. I'm not progressing and growing in the way I hope to, and I'm not helping others progress and come closer to Christ either. Looking back on the past week has caused me to reflect more on my purpose as a missionary and to rededicate myself as the full time missionary I'm trying to be. My purpose is to, "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." It should be fairly simple, right? If something I'm doing helps me do that, keep doing it. If it doesn't, then stop! Preach My Gospel even gives us ways to judge if something fulfills that purpose or not by some of the goals we set. So why is it hard to do that sometimes?
In relation to fulfilling my missionary purpose, I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of our life on earth. We're here to learn and grow and become more like Christ. "This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God." However, how easy is it to get distracted from this clear purpose in the bustle of every day life? It's easy to just think about the next thing we have to do, or the next place we have to be instead of remembering the commandment given to love God and our neighbor. To forget to involve God and look for His influence in our lives.

We met this guy in Target earlier today and had a wonderful conversation with him about God and his role in our lives and the way we ought to live. We talked about church and missionary work, and he said, "Well, they're 2 different things. You go to church to fill yourself up, and missionary work is about pouring yourself out." I found his comment not only very poetic, but highly instructive. I haven't been pouring myself out as much as I ought to. My sacrifice and consecration has not been complete enough to merit all the help I want and need to succeed in this great work I'm supposed to be engaged in. So I'm trying to rededicate myself and renew my focus on sharing the message of the restoration and all the incredible blessings that come as we embrace that message.

There were a lot of good things that happened this week though. In addition to me refocusing on my missionary purpose, we got to talk to a couple wonderful couples more about the gospel and hopefully we'll continue meeting with them. And I learned how to roof houses on friday! It was super fun! One of the Elders in our ward did construction before his mission and had roofed a lot before, so we went and helped one of the members of our ward repair his roof and had a lot of fun clambering over the roof and ripping staples and nailing down shingles. I love you all! Take some time and think about the ways we can fulfill our purpose in life.


Sister Andreason

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spirit of Elijah

I can't remember everything I've written to y'all that's happened to me, but one very important thing I think I've neglected to write about is that I ate cow tongue from a taco truck a couple weeks ago. It's actually quite delicious, and made for a great, very cheap taco.

We got stuck in the mud last Tuesday and had a little miracle because a family stopped to help push us out right before it got dark and started dumping buckets. On Tuesdays, we also volunteer for a food pantry and I'm the official freezer packer because I can fit everything in the freezers better than others. I think it's a skill I picked up from watching dad pack the car for trips all growing up.

We had some exciting appointments this week. We had dinner with a nonmember family husband, wife, and 2 year old (the husband is actually studying to be a minister) and we had a great time with them. We taught them about Family Home Evening, and then had FHE with them. We had a wonderful discussion about the role of Christ in our life, our favorite passages of scripture in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and some other great topics. They are just the greatest people and wanted to give us a little taste of home because they know we're far away. We played dominion with them and just talked about God. It was wonderful! I hope we can continue to learn from each other.

We had another great lesson with another wonderful woman. We had our Ward Mission Leader's wife come with us, and she was just able to really see the needs this woman had as we were teaching her and connect and testify so much more powerfully than we were able to do. You members are so great! The missionaries need your help in this great work, whether it be teaching lessons, finding, fellowshipping... you do so much :)
This week we had Zone Conference where we got to listen to our mission President had been inspired to teach us. He talked specifically about the spirit of Elijah and how important it is in missionary work. When the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, the first thing he told him about was the Book of Mormon. The second thing he talked about was the prophecies in Malachi of Elijah turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. In missionary work the Book of Mormon is our most important tool, but Family History should be our second. There's a really amazing quote that was shared, " So often we think of our responsibility to do something for those who have gone before. We need to understand that probably one of the most important benefits of preserving our heritage is what is does for us today. If we want our problems to be solved, one of the surest ways of doing that is to search for our past, for therein we receive strength, guidance, and understanding. All of you here today are giving an added eternal dimension to your lives as you learn and study the past. We can receive strength and help from those who have gone on before. To raise our families today, we need to do family research and genealogy." (Elder John H. Goberg, Quorum of the Seventy).

We also talked about how important unity is in our ward, and the things we as missionaries can do to help increase unity (because it's a 2 way street). We also got some advice from Stake Presidents in the area on how we could be more unified and gain greater trust from the members. Some of the things they said were, "Live as representatives of Jesus Christ, people are always watching." "Members must see you as men and women of God. They need to feel the Spirit when you speak and when you are around them." "Bear witness of Christ frequently and let members know of your love for the Lord." So I've been trying to do more of that lately. I think that advice applies to missionaries, but it also applies to all members who are trying to bring others closer to Christ.

This morning I was reading in Alma 31, starting in verse 26 where Alma is praying for those he's teaching and serving with. He prays for comfort, strength, patience, wisdom and for all those he serves with individually, as well as the people they're trying to teach. It was a good lesson for me to remember the importance and powerful effect of prayers. The last verse says, "And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith." 

Don't underestimate the power of prayer and the power of your example. The Lord can do miracles with you as you ask Him for it and as you're willing to sacrifice in His service. Love you lots!


Sister Andreason