Monday, January 12, 2015

Fasting and Funnies

Happy New Year to all!

This week has been great. We've done a lot of finding and following up with people on ward lists to see if they exist or not. I went tracting New Years Eve and we met this amazing couple. We knocked on the door and this little man comes to the door. We told him we were missionaries and he just starts preachin' to us in this booming voice "Christ-ian-ity..." Turns out he's 89 and retired, but he was the epitome of old southern black preacher, in a good way. :) After chatting on the door step for a few minutes we got invited inside and he turned the TV from football to TBN (trinity broadcasting network) and started talking to us about various preachers and Billy Graham (super famous preacher). He quoted scripture and at some point in the conversation we quoted the entirety of Psalms 23 together back and forth with each of us taking a line--so fun. We also got to share 2 Nephi 25:26 and Alma 26:11-13 and talk a little about the Book of Mormon with him and he was excited to read it. After talking for a while we got up to go and said goodbye to him. His wife up to this point was a disembodied voice somewhere near the back of the house, but I wanted to go meet her. After taking a few steps into the kitchen I saw her, this little old women sitting in a chair by the stove with the oven door open and all the burners on the stove and the oven turned on to full blast. Guess she musta been cold. She was super sweet and we stayed hearing about their family for another half hour before we left (married for 52 years with 34 great-grandchildren). I love crazy experiences like that :)

I've got a couple other funny stories this week. 

I went on exchanges to Brenham this week. That's where the Bluebell factory is...someday we'll make it on a tour there, free ice cream is kind of important, but anyways, we were in a tiny little town and super spread out area. While finding we ran into a pagan which was new. I've never met anyone who claimed to be pagan, we also met someone who was interested in reading the Book of Mormon but who didn't believe in prayer, highly unusual. I think the funniest part was tracking down a referral we got 20 miles away and driving across this guys field to the address only to find a grumpy old man. It was pretty funny cause it had rained recently and we were in a little chevy cruze (everyone else in their district has a truck). We made it okay and gained some evidence for our case of getting a truck over there :P

We had MLC this week and I'll tell you more of the spiritual stuff in a minute, but while we were down there we stopped by the mission office for supplies. We had to leave earlier because, as President put it, we're "distance challenged missionaries" and we had a long drive ahead of us. So we got to the office earlier than most. Now earlier this week we had been debating what to do with this Taylor Lautner cardboard cut-out the elders found in their apartment. So, of course after much deliberation we decided to try to stick it in President's office. Somehow it worked out that we got the keys and the elders snuck it in there and it put it in President's chair at his desk. We haven't heard back about what happened, but just imagining what his reaction was is pretty funny, and we needed to get rid of it anyways :P I'll send a picture later.

The spiritual part of MLC this week was also so great. We talked a lot about finding and fasting, and I think we taught it well at Zone meeting a few days later. President came to our zone meeting which was slightly stressful, but really good too. I wanted to share some of the insights we gained from Isaiah 58 which is all about the blessings of Fasting and the Sabbath day. We're going to be looking at 58:5-12

Is it such fast that have chosen? day for man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
So the Lord asks, "Do you think this is what I had in mind? Do you think fasting is supposed to afflict your soul? Let me tell you what it's actually meant to do..."
Also, think about it in relation to not just yourself, but others whom you love.
 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go freeand that ye break every yoke?
What an amazing gift. You mean, we can loose bands of wickedness and free those who are bound as we fast in faith?!
 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungryand that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked,that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
 ¶Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, anthine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; thglory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.
Look at the pronouns, thy light shall break forth.
 Then shalt thou calland the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry,and he shall say, Here am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
Thou shalt call and the Lord shall answer. What greater promise can you have!?
 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungryand satisfy the afflicted soul; then shalthy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
 11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in droughtand make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like watered garden, and like spring of water, whose waters fail not.
 12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places:thou shalt raise up thfoundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Raising up the foundations of many generations. What an interesting promise. It's applicable in so many ways, as a missionary, parent, friend. Your influence as you fast affects so many.
The repairer of the the breach. Isn't that what Christ did? He brought us back to God? Isn't that what covenants do? They bind us to God. As we fast we can restore our brothers and sisters to covenants that will bring them such great joy and repair the breach.
I'd love to hear what other insights you have about this chapter, I just shared a few :)
I send my love to all. Behold, I am Sister Andreason, your missionary. And thus ended the 2014th year in the city of Houston TX in the land of America. And thus I close mine epistle.

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