Monday, April 28, 2014

Gratitude and Garage Sales

Wow, so lots going on this week and short time to write it all. Most exciting was our neighbor investigator coming to all 3 hours of church this week! The ward was super friendly to her and she had a great experience. We taught Gospel Principles because our ward mission leader who usually teaches it was driving to Disneyworld for the week with his family... which is not such a bad place to be. We taught about the importance of covenants and what they are. We focused a lot on baptism and the sacrament and we think it was really good for her. When she left she told us she had a lot to think about, which I'm sure she did. We're excited to talk to her again this week, and we're also going to a Bible study with her and a bunch of people also in our apartment complex on Wednesday. Should be exciting!

Also, our new ward is great. They're putting things back together after the split, but our new Bishop is from one of the greatest families in the ward and he's all gung-ho about missionary work and advocated for our suffering meal calendar. Yay! We've been trying to visit a lot more of our members (having meal appointments helps such things) and teach them the lessons from Preach My Gospel. The theory is that we'll get to know them better and they'll trust us more as they see us teach. It's starting to work and I really love working with a ward who loves us.

We also had specialized training and interviews with our mission president this week. I love being able to talk with President! There's so many of us that we only get about 7 minutes with him, but it's so nice to get his advice and counsel and encouragement. I had questions on how I could regain some of the fire and energy I feel like I've lost since the beginning of my mission and he gave me some good suggestions that really helped me. He told me to focus on gratitude and look for ways to sacrifice for others. I've started writing good things that happened each day on a little index card again. It's something my trainer and I did back in November that really helps me focus on all the blessings I have and the hand of the Lord in my life. President Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk on the importance of gratitude this past conference. If you're doubting the significance of gratitude, go read that talk.

Final fun thing of the week. We went yard-saleing all Saturday morning and afternoon! Now before you ask, "what does that have to do with missionary work?" let me tell you. It's the best way to find lots of people to talk to, especially in Magnolia where there's not a lot of places where large amounts of people gather. So we went yard saleing and got to talk to a lot more people than we've ever gotten to in other efforts. We even taught a lesson to a member's neighbor as they were doing a yard-sale together! Also, we found stuff for our apartment that we really needed for really cheap. Score! Garage sales are my new favorite way to contact people; too bad they only happen on Saturdays.

Love you all! Look for ways to be more grateful this week. I promise it'll make you happier.


Sister Andreason

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

So this whole ward splitting thing turned out to not be such a big deal for us. We're still in Magnolia 2nd and we basically just lost the western half of the ward where not that many people live anyways because it's pure Texas boonies. Try to picture it.. it probably looks exactly like what just popped into your head. Anyways, most of our investigators live over on the east side of the ward which is where we live too, so we lost a few people from the ward, but it wasn't too traumatic for us. The Elders we share the ward with may or may not still be in the ward... its still being decided, but they're really sad if they leave because most of their investigators are over on the east side too.

This week leading up to Easter has been great, we've been able to teach and help people keep moving forward. Our neighbor investigator is so sweet and took us to get amazing pizza, and then we talked to her about the Restoration and the conference talk she read. (We were printing one at apartment lobby and she was there and said, "oh print me one too! so we did. and she read it!) She has been talking with a lot of people about religious things, but she loves us and she's excited to read the Book of Mormon. What an incredible woman. And that wasn't even the best part of the week!

Me and my companions in our Easter outfits

Easter Sunday was the day they did the ward split. We actually had an investigator come, which was probably a different experience than most, but it was good to teach her about the organization of the church. We didn't really have an Easter program because of that, so our ward did an evening fireside to replace it. So at 6 we were back at the church, and there was this nonmember family there! My last companion and I had dinner with them a month ago. Their kids have been attending mutual for years, and they've had all the lessons previously, but they said they weren't really interested in joining (well, the dad's a little hesitant, the kids want to serve missions). One of the families in our ward invited them and they came, and although the music wasn't perfect and attendance was a little sparse, they still enjoyed it. We were talking to them afterwards and they said they wanted to start coming to church every Sunday!! ....What!?! Totally caught me by surprise. How exciting!!
As we were talking they said we probably need the help because we're short on numbers because of the split, and they have good friendships with most of the members already. It was such a miracle and it wasn't from anything I had done. It wasn't from the lessons previous missionaries had taught them or our dinner together. This decision came because of the friendships from the members and simple invites.

 My mom shared some experiences she's had recently as she's acted on promptings of the Spirit this week that have allowed her to bless others, she said, "you don't have to be doing some grand and glorious thing that the world considers grand and glorious to take the little steps every day to be a light and a service to someone to 'bring them One step closer to Christ'" As you act on promptings to serve and help and lift and bless others you can be an incredible tool in the hand of the Lord to further His work and His purposes. You can be a part of incredible miracles just by the little things you do. Moroni 7:35-37 says, "has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought." Don't be afraid to exercise your faith and act on the feelings you have to serve and bless others.

Happy Easter to everyone!! What a wonderful time of year to celebrate our Savior and His Atonement and resurrection. May we always remember Him and consistently be doing what He would have us do. Love you all!


Sister Andreason

Monday, April 14, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,
So we found out yesterday that they’re taking Magnolia 1st ward (huge. Average attendance 300, 360 last week) and Magnolia 2nd (my ward, fairly normal size ≤200 normally) and they’re going to redo boundary lines and make a Magnolia 3rd ward! So we’re going to have 3 small wards after the split which happens next week. We were talking with our leaders about this and why the Lord works in this way. In smaller wards people have greater opportunities to serve and to grow and develop, so when a ward gets too big and there is less opportunity for growth, the Lord inspires His leaders to change something so that we can all continue to grow and serve in the way we need to. I’m interested to know where the missionaries are going with the split. There’s sisters and elders in both the 1st and 2nd so we’ll see I guess. I'm eager to work where the Lord needs me and for the new challenge that this ward split will be.
This week has been amazing. We’ve been working hard and the Lord has blessed us enormously. We found 5 new investigators this week, 4 of them are part of the same family! I am so excited to teach a family! I think the 5 new investigators we found this week is more than the past couple months of my mission put together, and given that, I've been trying to figure out what we did differently that brought such a miracle. The only thing I can think of was that we were really good with setting our goals before we planned and referencing our weekly goals every time we set daily goals. We worked to achieve all the other lessons we wanted to teach, and tried so hard to get more member presents, and as we were doing that we found so many new people to teach! It's funny because our goal this week was just 2 new investigators, but as we made the plans necessary to achieve our goals for the lessons we could teach everyday (something a little easier to plan specifically for) we were blessed enormously with new people to teach. It was incredible. In addition to planning we tried to really talk with everyone. We found the family tracting, but we’ve found a couple of other good people just by talking to our neighbors and others in our apartment complex. We even found an investigator for the ASL missionaries! It’s certainly built my testimony of planning and working to meet goals and that the Lord is preparing people for us to find.
I also had the opportunity to go to a baptism in my past area of Spring Branch on Saturday. A wonderful sister drove me down there (She reminds me more and more of Grandma Sessions as I’ve talked with her. Mission in New Zealand, sweet grandma, good stories…) We picked up my trainer Sister Allred on the way down and it was so good to see her! The trip was supposed to take us and hour, but ended up taking 2 ½ because of insane traffic. We barely made it in time, they stalled it as long as they could for us, and singing the extra verses of some of the songs really does make a difference! It was so sweet to be there at the baptism. The man getting baptized was a gentleman I’d talked to in a parking lot on the way to an appointment and he said we could come back. We taught him, and then I got transferred, but sisters helped him quit smoking and he’s been coming to church regularly and has been so great. It was so sweet to see him take that step forward and make those promises with God. It was also so nostalgic to see everyone in my past area. Not everyone was there, but a lot of the people I was close with were and it brought back so many memories. I really love all the people in that area. They are working so hard and doing so much in a little struggling ward. They are incredible examples of faithful, diligent service.
I am loving the work here. I love my companions, they are incredible examples to me and inspire me to be better. I am grateful for you and your love, letters and support. Keep up all the good things you're doing. Look for the good in others. Something I was talking about with my companions today was our nightly prayers. We have a personal accounting to the Lord every night when we pray before bed. As I've been doing that I've tried to ask for things I could have done better and listen for answers. But something I've done recently was to ask what I did well and what the Lord was pleased with in my efforts that day. I have felt His love and encouragement as I've done that and I'd encourage y'all to do the same. Listen for answers and write them down. I know the Lord will speak to your heart as you do that. Love you all!

Sister Andreason

Monday, April 7, 2014


Wasn't General Conference Spectacular!?

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a church conference that happens twice a year in Salt Lake City and is broadcast to the whole world! What a wonderful opportunity to learn from living prophets and apostles in our day.

I usually try to listen to conference with a few questions on my mind because when I do I get very specific answers from a couple of the talks that are given. I also find that the more time I've spent contemplating questions the more direct my answers are. 

So I was trying to prepare questions weeks before conference came around. As I was doing this, I'd write down a question and then go study about it during our study time in the morning. And guess what happened? I found answers. So then I didn't have a question to take to conference anymore! So I'd come up with another one and the same thing would happen. It was almost frustrating, but who complains about getting answers? I'm certain that that process was the Lord helping me understand how to continue to find answers when there's not General Conference in the near future and it was an enlightening way to study, and one I hope to continue.

I finally gave up on a question for conference and just went with a topic. I wanted to learn more about love. I've been trying to learn how to love the people around me more, how to love my companions, how to show that love to others and I think one of the big themes of Conference was love.

Our Prophet, President Monson talked specifically on that topic, but it was also covered by many other speakers. I learned to try to be more aware of the needs around me and respond to them. President Monson also taught that we are to love and serve this portion of mankind--those who are around us and with whom we interact with day to day. He emphasized love as the very essence of the gospel. 

As missionaries we get training from our mission leaders every so often, and this week we had training about the first principle we teach people. God is our loving Heavenly Father. Everything else in the gospel builds upon that understanding. As we understand God's love for us we learn to love Him and those around us. As we show our love to those around us and for God we feel His love more fully in our lives. It's an amazing cycle.

Also, in accordance with Elder Ballard's invitation for all of us to study Preach My Gospel, I want to share something from there and invite you to study the topic more, see what you can learn from Preach My Gospel. PMG pg 32 has many scriptures about the nature of God and His relationship to us, first and foremost that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I love 1 John 4:7-9 which says, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."

I have felt that love more for the investigators I have the privilege of teaching as we've listened to their concerns and help them understand how to know truth for themselves and how to continue to come closer to Christ. In addition to my answer on the topic of love I also got answers for those we're teaching here in Magnolia. 

Truly the Lord is aware of us and our needs and the needs of others we may be able to help. I am grateful for you and all you do and your examples of love and service to others. Keep up the good work and continue to look for ways to add a little kindness to the world. I love you!


Sister Andreason