Monday, February 23, 2015

Power of Deliverance

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been a little crazy, one of the craziest of my mission. I thought I knew what this transfer was bringing, my companion is going home, and I only have a transfer left (6 weeks), so naturally I thought I'd just stay in this area and finish it off. Wrong! President called us Friday night asking us if our area could sustain loosing both of us because I could be useful in helping another campus in Houston get off the ground. We have several campuses in the mission, many community colleges and things and this is the only one we can't proselyte on yet. 

So after lots of prayer and discussion we arrived at the decision that I should be transferred. It seemed a little sudden and drastic, but I feel a lot of peace with it. The Lord needs me somewhere else for 6 weeks, and though I don't know all the reasons why I am eager to find out. I feel like the Lord knew I needed a little more refining here at the end and things weren't hard enough to make me really turn to him as I ought to, so these last few weeks are going to help me learn how to really rely on the Atonement again. We got a new companion Saturday night and she's going to take it over with a new basically white-washing (2 new missionaries in an area together) thank goodness she's been here on exchanges a bunch before and is somewhat familiar with it, so the hand-off isn't completely cold. I'm excited for the new adventure of a new area!

We also got to go to the temple this week with a couple of our recent converts. We were able to work with them on Family History before hand and they both found many names and really caught the fire of the work and finding their ancestors. It was a wonderful thing to be a part of and so nice to be in the temple and find the peace that is there. I wish I had more to share, but it's really just been a whirlwind of change this week and a lot of adjusting and making sure the area is ready to go and everything is in order. I did have some cool insights in my studies today, and found some questions, so maybe y'all can help me answer them and add any insights you have :)

I was reading in Alma 4:13-14 Alma is sad because the people are again becoming wicked, it reads "Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy; Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death."

So while reading that I had a couple questions come to mind. What does it mean to do something for Christ's sake? How do we do that? Why do we do that?

Also, the importance of retaining a remission of our sins. Mosiah 4:12 talks about how we do that, and D&C 20:31-34 also talks about how salvation is not a one-time event. It is a process and requires that we are consistently and continually turning to the Lord and allowing Him into our lives. We need to continually avoid temptation and use the Atonement to help us transform into what Christ would have us be. Matt 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." It's a journey and He'll be with us every step of the way. He's the one that has power to change us. He has power of deliverance. look for that phrase in Alma 7:13, Alma 15: 2-3 (vs 3, no deliverance), and Alma 9:28, 1 Nephi 1:20, and 2 Nephi 11:5. Food for thought. 

Tell me what you think.

 Love y'all bunches!! 

Sister Andreason

Monday, February 16, 2015

Visions, Goals, Plans

So we did some exciting things this week. We went church-tracting. You might be reading this thinkin I'm crazy, but it was actually President's idea and it turned out way better than I expected. In Alma 26:28-29 says,"And now, behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world—not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them." So we've been going house to house, why not church to church? So we made a list of the churches in our area (a giant several pages long list by the way) and set out to go introduce ourselves and see if we could do any service for them. Everyone we talked to was super friendly and even if they didn't need service it was still really good for us to introduce ourselves to them. I think we'll have more success in giving service to some of the smaller churches rather than the mega ones, but it's been really great. Hopefully we can do a little more of that this week. We also went to the campus service fair looking for more opportunities to get involved which I think was a really good opportunity. Hopefully we can build some good relationships from that.

Also, at dinner a couple nights ago some members showed us a clip of these scripture videos made by church people and it's called Liken the Scriptures. It's pretty hysterical. We watched a clip from Jonah and the Great Fish and the premise is a parent telling their child a story from the scriptures to help them with some struggle in their life and then the story gets acted out. It's ridiculously cheesy and I love it. I don't know what it is, but I really enjoy terribly cheesy things. It was quality singing and pretty good dancing, but so overdone in such a funny way. I fully intend to buy some when I get home.

As far as more spiritual matters are concerned, we had an amazing Zone Conference this week where we learned more about and practice the "Gospel of Jesus Christ" lesson which talks about the principles of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End and how that process brings us closer to Christ. It was really good. One of my favorite parts though was President's explanation of Vision, Goals and Plans. He drew it on the board like a cake shape with Vision on the bottom, then Goal, then Plan. He helped us understand how that applied to God and us. God's Vision is Moses 1:39. To bring to pass the Immortality and Eternal Life of man. The Goal is that we return to Him, and the Plan is the Plan of Salvation. As missionaries we our vision is our purpose, to invite others to come unto Christ. So we need to set goals and make plans to accomplish that. Our purpose needs to be the foundation of all we do, we need to catch the vision. Goals are vital, they require personal introspection and change/repentance. Where there are no goals, there is no progression or refinement. There is no becoming. And becoming is the central purpose of our lives. We are to become like God.

We've had some other amazing miracles in the people we're teaching. We got to read 1 Nephi 13 with an investigator this week and her love for the Book of Mormon grew as we showed her the truth it taught and how it complimented and supported the Bible, and she is eager to learn more. The Book of Mormon is key. I think I've been understanding that more and more lately. We've been slowing down the lessons to make sure they're really grasping the significance of the Book of Mormon and that they're actually reading and praying about it before moving on to other lessons. We also had a former potential investigator text us asking if our church does baptism because he wants to be baptized. We're meeting with him on Wednesday and hopefully we can help him understand how amazing that decision can be. Love you all! Thanks for your ideas on A-frames and for your support and love.

All the best,

Sister Andreason

Monday, February 9, 2015

A-Frame Ideas?

To the wonderful people who read my letters,

This has been a great week. I got to do exchanges with the Bryan Sisters and be companions with Sister Hassell again for a day (we were previously companions in Magnolia) She's a great missionary and it was great to be together again and see how much we both have grown in a year. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I guess it has! We got to go and contact on Blinn College Campus which is a community college right down the road from A&M. We had institute class going on there that afternoon and so we got to talk to people all morning and invite them to it and it was great! We had 4 non-members in class that day and a lot of wonderful conversations and miracles.

We went contacting on campus a lot this week. Some days were beautiful and pretty warm, like 60s, almost 70s! But the day that we decided to do most of our outside campus work was the day where it was in the 40s and windy. Naturally. Despite the cold we had a lot of success and one of our ward members took pity on us and brought us hot chocolate. :D. We also got to pull out our new toy and use it for the first time! Our mission President invested in A-frames for all the campuses in the mission so that we can use it to more effectively contact. We've just been walking around talking to people up until this point and it was cool to see what we could do with the A-frame. Eventually We'll have some gospel art-work to put on it as well, but for now we just had white-boards that we put some information on. I'm excited to see what ideas we can come up with to utilize that tool better. Do y'all have any ideas? Is there anything that would make you want to stop and talk to missionaries that you saw on an A-frame? Or anything that would catch your interest more? Would simple information about activities be better and we could just talk to people who walked past? Food for thought. But seriously, I'd really appreciate feedback on that. We've been brainstorming for weeks.

This week has also been great because we've been able to teach so many recent converts the new member lessons. They love us and we love them and it's just a happy time. We had a really powerful lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Tiffany and I shared my paint-stained carpet/Atonement analogy. We really just talked together and bore testimony on the principles of the gospel. Tiffany is doing so much in living high standards despite opposition, it was so edifying to just sit and talk with her about how we come closer to Christ. One of my other favorite lessons this week was meeting with Laci. We sprayed her with a spiritual fire hose but she just soaked it up! We went over the Plan of Salvation, but we're teaching her in a little more unique way. She has a friend that's asking her questions, so we started teaching her how to teach and she's a boss. She's so good at it and taught us a fantastic Restoration lesson the first time. We talked about questions and the order of things and scriptures and pulled out PMG... It was great. And our PoS lesson was equally amazing. She is still just so eager to keep learning and open to the spirit. She is a joy to teach. (Also, she made a trip to Dallas and brought us back some Trader-Joe goodies :)

We had a couple more miracles in the form of new investigators. We hadn't found one yet on Saturday, so we decided to go see who we could talk to on campus and prayed to find who the Lord had prepared and we found someone! It's amazing how miracles happen and how prayers are answered. We had another amazing lesson with one of the Bryan Elder's investigators who came to church. They decided it would be better if we taught her, so we taught her the Restoration after church and set a baptismal date! She is just so incredibly prepared and seeking and sincere. The great promise of the scriptures is to those who seek. If you seek you will find. God wants you to succeed in righteous endeavors. He wants to guide you. I have seen that over and over again in the lives of those I've interacted with here on my mission.

I hope y'all are having a fantastic week as well! Really, I'd love feedback on the A-frame idea.

Love you lots!

Sister Andreason

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sarah's Baptism

Dear Family and Friends,

Sarah was baptized this week!! She was a pretty miraculous investigator. She came to church exactly a month ago yesterday for the first time because somebody invited her. She bore her testimony despite it being her first time at the church and then we got to talk to her afterwards. She has been to 20+ different churches looking for Truth. She came to FHE the day after her first time at church and then we met with her on Tuesday and 3 other times that week and she was just so eager to learn. She started reading the Book of Mormon from the first time we met and she hasn't stopped and she has been so consistent! That builds great faith. Despite the challenges she's had she got baptized on Saturday and again bore her testimony this Sunday as a member! I continue to be amazed by the miracles the Lord puts in my path so consistently, they never stop coming. I was so happy to be a part of her journey :)

The rest of this week was a little bit crazy. We had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) in Houston on Tuesday which usually consumes most of our day, and then we had Specialized Training and Interviews with President on Thursday plus another crazy event which took all day, and then we had Zone Meeting on Friday. We taught both the meetings on Thursday and Friday so there's been a little bit of stress and lots to do this week. MLC was really good. It's so inspiring to get to meet together with the other leaders in the mission and council together with our mission president about the issues of the mission and how we can help the missionaries in our various stewardships. It's probably my favorite meeting that I go to. I always get a little bit of a call to repentance by the Lord as I listen to the Spirit while I'm there, and I always leave wanting to be better and with ideas and goals of how to do so. We talked a lot about the importance of members in teaching. I shared some insights into the story of Ammon and the sheep in a previous email. Ammon is the shepherd (missionary) leading the sheep (others of God's children) to the water (Christ). Something interesting to note is that Ammon knows that the enemies are waiting by the water and so in an effort to help protect the sheep and help them get to the water, he has others encircle the sheep. So we talked a lot about how important it is to have members help us to encircle the sheep that we're bringing to the water. Let me ask you something: how many people does it take to encircle someone? More than 1 for sure! Probably at least 3, more would be preferable. Members are so key in helping investigators and new members fight temptation and the hard times that will come as they make their journey to the water.
Another thing we talked about was Family History, which is what I taught on in our meeting on Friday. (our Friday meeting is based off of the Tuesday meeting. We take what we've learned and re-teach it to our zones). I have gained such a testimony of the power of family history on my mission. We all have ancestors on the other side who are eager for our success and every. single. person we teach has ancestors who are waiting on them to complete their work. When investigators understand their privilege and responsibility to help their family in returning home to God, family history becomes motivating and encouraging! Their progress is no longer just about themselves, the cause is greater, and they are needed. It's such a wonderful thing. More people need to understand the importance of it :)

The third focus point was on overcoming fear. Our mission president shared a phenomenal talk by Elder Uchtdorf that was given to the mission presidents last year, and it's only available to mission presidents, so good luck finding it online, it's not there! I felt super privileged to get a copy, maybe I'll get y'all one at some point. Anyways, the point of the article was that we are disciples of Christ and we need to fear not. He told the story of Peter's transformation from before Christ and after Christ and how he went from denying Christ 3x to boldly proclaiming the Gospel. I am reminded again and again that this Gospel is all about becoming. We are to grow and change and become more like God as we do our best to follow Him each day. There's so much to learn still. Missions don't make you perfect (unfortunately) but I am grateful for how much my mission has taught me already and the knowledge I have of how to continue to move forward. I feel like I know my strengths and weaknesses better now, but I also know how to go about fixing them and how to work on things with the Lord. He is always willing to help us. Most of change is resisting it, once we finally decide to turn our will to Him we are transformed.
A Couple of funny stories before I end here. So Thursday was comprised of 2 meetings one at 8 and one at 1. Our zone was split in 1/2 so President could interview everyone. We are in charge of most of the training for several hours as Pres pulls people out one by one to interview them. So we did that. I was the first to be interviewed before teaching and I was made aware of a situation that required one of the sisters in our zone to be moved that day, so after interviews were done we drove way out to the Boonies to facilitate this ET (emergency transfer) and then because our van could fit a bed in it with the chairs folded down we drove a bed out to one of the areas where one of the sisters was going. As we were driving back we were super tired from the long day, it was late and we were 30 min from home, driving down this tiny 1 lane freeway and suddenly we come upon this giant house on wheels! It was being transported somewhere but it was going 30 mph in a 70 mph limit. 0.o So we got stuck behind it for a while and what can you do but laugh in those situations? Life is funny sometimes even when it's stressful. Keep on keepin on.

 Love you all!

Sister Andreason