Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday May 27th 

Holy Cow! This week has been somewhat interesting. I have learned for myself now that things can be a little rough and different after changes. I love Elder Castillo, and he is a great missionary. But he sees things a little bit differently than we had seen them before, and we have had to make several compromises. But I think it is a great opportunity to learn and grow and gain some experience. I have been stressing a little bit lately about what is going to happen to me at the end of this change. I could literally go anywhere. I could be a junior companion, I could be a senior companion, I could be a trainer...The list goes on. OH YEAH, and I could be any of those things in either this mission or the new mission, because I will be changed just days before the mission splits. I have no idea what to expect. So I have decided to trust in the Lord's will and the revelation given to President Glazier and 'go and do' wherever I am needed. I am just excited to be a missionary. This week we picked up our zone uniforms (see the attached picture)! Elder Martin designed them himself, and we had them custom made, and for really cheap too. It has been raining a bunch lately. But don't worry, I have a cheapy little umbrella that has been doing alright and will do the job just fine for now. I put all of my scriptures and stuff in ziploc bags in my backpack, and the work goes on! I have come home with dry feet every night, so no worries there. It really isnt so bad because we have appointments pretty much all of the time and we are only outside in the rain in between. But lately we have been contacting new references, and sometimes they arent there (as in not home, or just that the address doesnt exist...), and in those cases we are in the rain for a bit longer. I have been super hungry all of the time lately. But I can't complain because I am back to what I would say is perfect health, and we have investigators that we are working with and there are many blessings that we receive every day. And I get to eat pupusas every now and then, which is awesome. It seems I am always craving them. We have a bunch of baptismal dates coming up on the 22nd of June, and a few between now and then that we need to work on. I think the ones in between will have to be delayed or dropped; they have not been progressing lately, which is a little bit disheartening. But we are doing everything we can so that they can receive the blessings of the gospel in their homes. I have a little thought I want to share this week. In 1 Nephi 7 when Nefi and his brothers are coming back through the wilderness with the family of Ishmael, his brothers start to murmur and rebel, and Nephi starts asking them what we call in the mission 'inspired questions'. I only have my spanish copy on hand, so I'll cite the references in Spanish and do my best to translate. Nefi asks in verse 11: ¿Como es que habeis olvidado cuan grandes cosas el Senor ha hecho por nosotros? which means, 'How is it that you have forgotten what great things the Lord has done for us?' He continues in verse 12: ¿y como es que habeis olvidado que el Senor tiene poder de hacer todas las cosas segun su voluntad, para los hijos de los hombres, si es que ejercen la fe en el? which means, 'and how is it that you have forgotten that the Lord has power to do all things according to His will for the children of men, if it is that they exercise faith in Him?' I think sometimes we forget the great things that the Lord has done for us, and that we forget that he has all power to do help us in our trials if we would just exercise a little bit of faith. At the end of verse 12 he says, seamosle fieles, which means 'lets be faithful to Him.' Lets take this suggestion to heart this week, and be faithful to the Lord, remembering the great things that he has done for us. I promise that as you remember the wonderful things that He has done for you, you will feel inspired to seek and do His will for you in your life, and that you will find greater happiness and a more appreciative attitude as you continue forward in faith. Esta semana, seamosle fieles. Love you guys.

Elder Andreasen

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20th 2013

This week has been a little bit crazy. We had changes last wednesday. Elder Garcia left. So that was a sad day. But we got a new companion - Elder Castillo. He is from Puebla Mexico. My first latino companion! Because of that, my spanish has gotten way better. I have to use spanish all day now, and it is really good practice. I have some letters I need to send. Sometimes we dont end up having time on pdays to go to the post office, so they stack up. So i have a few, including one for Zach that is for his birthday. Apparently, letters take 8 days to get to the states from here, so I still have some time. I love letters. KEEP SENDING THEM. Mom, I have gotten a few from Granny Duncan. Tell her that I really appreciate them, and that I love that I have really appreciated her testimony at the end. This week was better in terms of my health, but my digestive system has taken a beating. The viciously fighting cats are no longer in my stomach. But I did have one experience this week. We were out running errands, when all of a sudden it was time to go. So I told my companions that we had to go NOW and we went home. I BARELY made it to the bathroom in time. That was a scary, sucky experience, but afterward we just went back to work as if nothing had happened. Also, Elder Martin got sick this week. He threw up a bunch and we ended up staying in a whole day. It was a great study opportunity, and I really enjoyed that time, even though we couldn't work. This week I gave my first blessing in Spanish. I was nervous like crazy, but it went really well, and I am much more confident in my Spanish at this point. I had another prompting this week. We were walking along the street and I was prompted that we should talk to a family who had their door open. We taught a little lesson and set up a return appointment, but they didnt seem super positive. I don't know exactly why I have been prompted to talk to certain people when they aren't that positive, and we haven't had anything come of it, but I know that it is more important that I listen to and follow the Spirit, and that perhaps the Lord has purposes and plans for those people that I will never see happen. One thing that I want to encourage all of you to do is have Family Home Evening. If you aren't a member, ask my family if you can come by one night to see what exactly FHE is. If you are a member, have FHE each week! They can totally be fun, and it is a great opportunity to strengthen your testimony and your family relationships. Also, invite friends to FHE and ask the missionaries to come. This week we had FHE with a family who invited a friend and yesterday we invited her to be baptized and she accepted! Also, don't forget my invitation to read the Book of Mormon. That book is amazing in ways I can't even explain. Read it. So...today I have 3 months in the field. CRAZY!! It has gone by so fast, and it is hard to believe that I only have 7 more periods of time as long as this last bit. I love you guys! Thank you for your support and prayers. You are the best. Here's something to think about this week. 'Walk peacefully. Walk confidently. Walk without fear and without envy. Be reassured of Heavenly Father's abundance to you always. As we do this, we can help others, calling down blessings on them even as they make supplication for us.' - Jeffrey R. Holland.  I'll be doing a lot of walking this week, so I will have time to put this in practice. I invite you to do the same.

Love, Elder Andreasen

My New Companion Elder Castillo and Elder Martin

Friday, May 17, 2013

 May 13th 2013
Hey all! Today is the first day of my 2nd change in the mission. A 'change' is a 6 week period that is pretty much the standard unit of time in the mission. It is at the end of a 'change' that missionaries get moved to new areas and such. I have one more change of training, and then I will likely leave Apopa and set out on a new adventure somewhere else. Or maybe I'll stick around one more change. Who knows. Anyway, there are 16 changes in the field, so I have 15 left. I'll be home in no time. This weekend I got to skype home!! That was by far the highlight of the week, if not the month. 30 minutes just didn't seem like enough though. But it was good to hear the voices and see the smiling (and very good looking) faces of each of my family members. Only 3 more times of doing that until I'm home. I'm glad to hear that everything is still moving along at home. Things certainly are moving along here. Today, I am writing early. REALLY early. We have a super P-day in San Salvador today. We are going to Wendy's and then going bowling! So that should be super fun. Anyway, there isn't a ton to write about today, and not a lot of time. I finished the Book of Mormon yesterday. I love that Book. In fact, everyone reading this should read the Book of Mormon. Regardless of religious beliefs, preconceived notions, or other circumstances or situations, EVERYONE should read the Book of Mormon. I invite and challenge all of you to do it. You will quickly see that it is inspired of God, and that by applying its teachings in your life, you can find greater stability and happiness. Ask my family for a copy. They can get one for you. Also, so that you can further see and understand just exactly what I am doing here, you should talk with the missionaries!! You could even meet with them in my house with my family. They are just normal people like me (maybe a little more normal than me...), and they really do want to help in any way they can. When you see them on the streets, wave. Stop and say hi. Tell them that you appreciate their sacrifice, and that you respect what they are doing. Maybe tell them that you know a guy that is serving in El Salvador. Remember, they are pretty much just kids like me who are far from home and who are giving up time with their families so that other people can find the only way that they can be perfectly happy forever. Think about us. Pray for us. God answers prayers. Have a great week everyone!

(PS, the picture is the view out of our front door.)

Elder Andreasen

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hey friends!!

Another week has gone by already. They seem to go so fast I can't even count them anymore! This was an interesting week. One night, we did a demo about the Atonement, I'm sure you guys know the one; the pushup analogy. So basically we brought some cake to our investigators house, and we had 11 people there. We offered cake to each person individually, and I had to do pushups so that everyone could have cake, whether they wanted it or not. My companion decided in the middle of this activity that 10 pushups per person was not enough, as I was 'not struggling enough'. So I did 15. After all was said and done, I had done 130 pushups in about 5 minutes. And I was dripping sweat (but that isn't such a rarity here...). Anyway, the next morning I woke up sore. A little too sore. My whole body was sore, and I had a throbbing, excruciating headache. We went to a district meeting, and it just got worse and worse. Basically by about noon I was out of commission. So I just slept. UNTIL 8 AT NIGHT. I woke up in the middle of a huge rainstorm. Then my companions said we had to go out. So I put on my boots and we went out. Our 8 oclock wasnt there. On the way home I started to feel really sick. My vision started to darken, and I began stumbling as I walked. I just wanted to get home, but at one point I saw some steps and decided I needed to sit down. That was an inspired decision. Within seconds I had passed out. Freaked my companions out a bit. After I came to, I got up and we just walked home. I went straight to bed. The next day I felt better and we were back to work. That night, the woman we were supposed to meet at 8 the previous night received the first lesson, and when I invited her to be baptized, she accepted without hesitation. We are working with her for the 22nd of June. I learned from that whole experience that the Lord is preparing people, and you just have to have the faith and trust that when you put yourself to work (especially after times of trial, like being sick and passing out...) you will be guided to those people who are willing and waiting to receive the gospel. It is never too late to send me letters you know... I was reading in my journal the other night, and every time I have received letters, I have written in my journal about how loved I feel and how encouraged I am to keep working hard. So get on that!! We had another baptism this week. Pedro was baptized on Saturday. He is the cutest, most perfect old man. And he LOVES reading the Book of Mormon. Everyone should read the Book of Mormon. In fact, everyone should read it in it's entirety at least once before I get home (hint, that's all of you). I am on track to finish it in the next 2 weeks. I am currently in 3rd Nephi 11, so it's about to start getting REALLY good. I hope everyone is doing well, and that they will WRITE me telling me just how well they are doing. I am doing just fine here in Apopa. Have a great week!

Elder Andreasen