Monday, August 25, 2014

Master Teaching

Hey Y'all!

So this week was Zone Conference which means we get to come together with a bunch of other missionaries and learn from our Mission President. It's pretty sweet. We learned a lot about the Restoration and biblical history, but it was so cool to understand so much more about it so we can help others! I just kept thinking, "Do we know what we have?!" We have the Truth. We have the Priesthood. We have living Prophets. I am a representative of Jesus Christ as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we bear testimony of that those we teach will feel the Spirit testify to them because His role is to testify of Truth.

We also focused a lot in teaching in the Savior's way--Master Teaching is what we call it. It involves asking really good questions that help lead the investigator to their own answer, kind of like the Socratic method if you're familiar with that. So at Zone Conference we practiced this for longer than I've ever practice-taught anything at a missionary meeting and it was so great!! It's a really hard adjustment to how I have been teaching, but learning to help others come to their own answer is a skill I am excited to develop. You learn and retain so much more when you are really taught by the Spirit and find answers that way rather than just having information pounded into your head. So I'm learning to talk a lot less in lessons and ask a lot more questions and it's been really good, although I'm still learning how to do it well. Have y'all had experiences where you've gotten answers to a question in a different way than you expected but that stuck with you longer? Pondering precedes revelation. So I've been trying to take more time in my studies to ponder, or start with a question in mind, something I'm seeking answers to. It brings a lot of enlightenment. You should try it! :)

We had some kinda crazy experiences this week. We taught FHE on Monday at a family's house to a group of 20 people or so with like 5 non-members. The family also decided to invite 3 sets of missionaries over... singles ward missionaries and their home missionaries for it. It was really confusing at the beginning trying to figure out who was teaching and how we were working things, and what was happening with FHE because we didn't really know what the family was planning, but it turned out really well! We had a good lesson and are hopefully meeting with a couple of the YSAs that were there.

We also got invited to do service at a nursing home! We've been looking for more service opportunities so this was great! The lady who asked us just wanted us to go talk with some of the people for a little while and share scriptures with them if they wanted it. We were excited to do it and got to hear some great stories from some of the people there and read some verses with them. Old people are great. A little different than YSAs, but at the same time we're all more similar than we realize.

A couple updates: We got a new ward mission leader because our previous one just moved to school up at college station, we'll miss him, but our new wml is great too. Frank is preparing for his mission and we're still meeting with him. We're studying PMG and helping him practice teaching. I love it. It's so fun to seem him growing and learning and to see his excitement for missionary work building! :) We also saw Charlie, finally!!! We brought him cookies and got to talk to him briefly. He'll come when he's ready. I'm pretty sure there's some opposition in his life, and the adversary knows how great he can become and is working hard against us. We did hear that he attended his grandparent's ward yesterday--maybe that'll be better for him. I just wish he just knew how much joy the Gospel can bring to his life and how much we want him to have that joy. Agency is great and all, but sometimes it's really frustrating to see someone struggling and not be able to do anything to significantly help them.

We've got several other amazing people we're working with. Christina is getting baptized this Saturday and she's already been talking to us about how she wants to serve a mission. She broke up with her boyfriend who introduced her to the church so that he could focus on his mission. She's incredible.

We said goodbye to Taylor as she headed off to school. We'll miss her, but we'll keep in touch. We also found out that she read the entire Book of Mormon before her baptism.... just a tiny detail we failed to realize. How incredible! She is going to do amazing things.

Me and Taylor

Anyways, I'm super blessed to be here. Next week is labor day, so idk if I'll be emailing that day because nothing will be open. Also, transfers are next week and I've got a feeling I'm leaving. We'll see where I go. Who knows? 

Love you all!

jen tovar, she was a teacher at the MTC, super awesome missionary. she just got married 2 days ago, 
good friend

Me and Tara at the temple.
She's getting baptized in a couple weeks and just went to school at college station

Monday, August 18, 2014

Family History and Temples


So one of the highlights of this week was being able to attend the temple with Taylor, our recent convert, to do baptisms for her first time. She has gotten very involved in family history and had researched 5+ generations of work within the past week and she was able to take those names to the temple. It was really powerful to go with her and see the powerful connection she had with her ancestors. There are people on the other side who care about us and are working to help us, especially as we are trying to help them by doing their work in the temple. In addition to Taylor there were 4 other recent converts there for the first time between our ward and the other singles ward. What an incredible experience to witness them moving forward in the gospel and helping their ancestors as well. There were so many people who attended that night that there was not even room to sit. I wasn't able to do baptisms there were so many people, but I brought 16 names of my family members who needed their work done and got to watch that happen. I'm excited to be able to do more of their temple work. The temple is an amazing place. There is so much peace and direction to be found there, and there are so many incredible blessings as we do family history. I never really realized how incredible that could be until I learned more about it on my mission. Don't let those blessings go unclaimed by you.

We had a wonderful lesson with our investigator Christina on that same subject last night. It's inspiring to be around her. She shares her testimony and conviction with us frequently. She is reading the Book of Mormon and loving it more and more. We got her a family history account yesterday and she's excited to do that as well. I am just so grateful to be able to be with such great people. I feel like I get taught more when I meet with her than we teach her.

I also went on a couple exchanges this week. The first one was just for an hour. My companion and one of the other sisters who live with us were both feeling really sick, so Sister Ae (who came out with me) and I let them recover and we went to a park to go talk to people. It was great!! We actually only ended up talking with 2 people, but that's because we had amazing conversations/lessons with both of the people we talked to. One of them was recently made the president of a group of elderly Lutheran singles. We had an amazing conversation with her and gave her a Book of Mormon which she is eager to read! She also said her group of single seniors likes learning about different religions and they toured a Jewish synagogue recently. We offered her a tour of the temple grounds which she liked. So who knows? Maybe we'll teach a big group of Lutheran senior singles about the temple! :) My other exchange was in Inwood (one of the ghetto areas) and it was super great. The people down there are so willing to listen and we taught a bunch of new people.

We also had an amazing miracle last Monday. We usually attend one of the 4 FHE groups because there are usually non-members who come that either we or the members have invited. But last Monday several of the groups got moved to different locations so we drove around unable to find one and then decided our time would be better spent talking to people at a park. As soon as we got out of our car a member who was at this park motions us over and introduces us to his friend!! We had a super great lesson with them Saturday. We're passing him to the Spanish missionaries because we think that's where he'll flourish best, but it was so cool that the Lord placed us there at that time. Also, this family fed us dinner before the lesson and the dad complimented my taco-eating skills. He said I built and ate my tacos like a Mexican. Fun fact guys. Also one of the funniest compliments I have ever received. :)

We got to tear out carpet this week to help one of our ward members. Super fun. Also had the best/ healthiest green smoothie of my life there. Half our ward is leaving because summer is ending. It'll be a fun adjustment! We're going to try to contact Charlie again this week. Please pray for him and for us. Thank you for all you do! 
Love you lots!!!


Sister Andreason

Monday, August 11, 2014

Texas Houston Mission Mission Statement

I learned a lot about leadership this week and about understanding the purposes behind why we do things and what the objective really is. It's been enlightening.

I had the opportunity to attend missionary leadership council (MLC) where President Mortensen taught us and we learned more of what we can do to help the mission. President Mortensen has an outstanding vision of where this mission can be and how to get us there. He sees our potential and is doing everything in his power to help us live up to our privileges.

We now have a mission statement for the Texas Houston Mission:

"Our discipleship is settled. We are faithfully prepared, exactly obedient, and lovingly bold. We will see miracles and accomplish our Missionary Purpose as we unite with the Lord in hastening His work. We are the Texas Houston Mission."

I love the principles in these few sentences. 

"Our discipleship is settled." We know who we serve. That's not even a question. We are in the service of the Lord and by definition (Mosiah 2:17, Matt 25:40) we are in the service of others. 

"Faithfully Prepared" This reflects our diligence in our studies, the effort we make to focus on the individuals we teach, and even the preparations we made before the mission.

"Exactly Obedient" Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles. There is power in obedience. God works according to our faith and one of the most significant ways we show our faith is through our obedience to His commandments. Slight tangent here, but it applies... Saturday my companion and I decided to focus our efforts on talking to as many people as we could. (the goal everyday is 25, and we haven't gotten close to that lately) So during our time Saturday we talked toeveryone (25+). It was empowering! We got better at talking to people throughout the day as well. That evening we went to a YSA activity/party and our efforts that day resulted in some of the miracles that evening. We met a lot of non-members who we had great conversations with and at one point my companion and I were sitting next to each other teaching 2 different people. Our efforts didn't just bring the miracles, but they also prepared us to use the opportunities well. I've heard that luck is when preparation meets opportunity--I feel that miracles often work in the same way. God is preparing us and helping us to become better and he will continue to bless us with as much as we can receive.

"Lovingly Bold" As President Monson says, "love is the very essence of the gospel" Love needs to be the driving motivation behind all we do. Charity, the pure love of Christ, is what opens hearts. Charity never fails. If those we speak with can feel our love then we can and should also be bold. As we endeavor to help others to "come unto Christ" we will be bold in the things we ask them to do because we know that our testimony is strengthened when we act, and that this life is about progression. We're not just trying to return home to God, but also to become like Him. We are thankful beyond measure that we are saved by Grace, but we also need to be changed by it. As we are lovingly bold we can help people come closer to Christ by making those changes in their life.

As we do all these things and focus on our missionary purpose of "Inviting 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." then we will unite with the Lord because this is truly His work and there are miracles happening!!

Another principle that I finally understood this week is that the purpose behind everything we're asked to do is to help us and to help our those around us. The invitation to act and become better is an invitation of love. The purpose of inviting 25 people a day to learn is to further lose ourselves in the work of the Lord and to find those who are prepared. If those things aren't happening we need to re-evaluate why and how we're doing things.
Our investigators are amazing. I don't know how I am so blessed to be here right now, but I am surrounded by incredible people. I know this was a very missionary focused email, but I would invite you to think of how the different principles in it apply to your life and the things you are involved in. I love you all!! Thanks for all you do!


Sister Andreason

This is my companion and a good friend, Jen, who is getting married in a week. she served her mission in Australia and was here this summer interning at exxon

Monday, August 4, 2014

Patriarchal Blessings

Dear Family and friends

This week I had one of the greatest experiences of my mission as Sister King (my last companion) and I got to accompany Frank, a recent convert, to get his Patriarchal Blessing. It was incredible! It was such an honor and privilege to be there with him and the Spirit that was felt there was indescribable. The Patriarch took a lot of time at the beginning to explain to us the importance of the blessings and the different elements in it, more than I remember at my blessing at least. He talked about gifts we are given, promises extended, but I learned most from what he had to say about the declaration of lineage in our blessing and the significance of it. The tribe that we are from is how we receive many of the blessings God wants to give us, primarily because as we assume and fulfill the responsibilities given to each tribe of Israel, the promised blessings also become ours. Ephraim, for example, is given the privilege of bearing the message of the Restoration of the gospel to the world and to gather scattered Israel. (Bible Dictionary, Ephraim). As we fulfill that responsibility through things like missionary work and temple work we gain the blessings associated with it.

I learned so much about how we can learn from our blessing and the importance of studying it so that we can continue to receive greater guidance from it. I had a glimpse of the eternities as I listened to the blessing being given to Frank. Patriarchal blessings are eternal and the Lord knows who we are and who we can become through His help. There are incredible promises given to each of us as we follow God's commandments. He is so eager to bless us and our potential is greater than we realize. It was enlightening and helped me understand more fully the love our Father in Heaven has for me and for you. Y'all should go read your Patriarchal Blessings again and if you don't have one, get one soon.

This week was also Transfers, and it's the first time in my whole mission nothing has changed. I have switched companions, gone to a new area, or gotten a 3rd companion. Its still just Sister Nielsen and me. It's kinda weird, but I think this is "normal" missionary life. Along with transfers my trainer, Sister Allred went home. She finished her mission and I will miss her dearly. I had the chance to talk with her a little last week before she left it was great to see an overview of her mission. Every mission is different, but they're all a lot the same. The Lord gives us very personalized challenges experiences and blessings to teach us, tailored for our needs. I've seen that intensified on the mission, but it happens everyday in normal life too. Missions fly so fast! When I first met Sister Allred she had been on her mission as long as I have been now, and now she's gone. There is soo much learning and changing and experience that comes from a mission and going home seems so far away, but I know it will come quickly... its weird to think about. One of my bffs Maggie finished her mission this week too. Weird.

Along with this transfer I was called to be a sister training leader which means basically means I go to an extra meeting, then help teach something at another meeting, do a couple exchanges with other sisters and help with sister problems. Should be fun! So this first meeting is tomorrowand I'm supposed to come with ideas for how to take our mission to the next level in this season of "hastening".  Good gravy that's a hard question, and it's resulted in a lot of introspection in the past hour or so since I read an email from President about it. What I can do to take myself to the next level to help the work? Food for thought... What can each of us do in our sphere of influence to further hasten the work of the Lord and gather Israel?

Christina is still amazing! She reads the chapters we give her and then asks for more to read! Tara is learning and growing. Please continue to pray for Charlie! Love you all!


Sister Andreason

PS: One of my favorite people in the ward, Kevin, takes us to the coolest places ever. He took a day off from work and then paid for us and the elders to go to this place called top golf. look it up. it's incredible. it's like bowling kind of, but golfing, maybe the picture will give you a better idea :)