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

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