Friday, August 23, 2013

Hey guys,
So this week marked 6 months... It is pretty hard for me to believe that things have moved along this quickly. It seems like the last thing I remembered was Zach and Berrett and Scotty and Mike going back to BYU for winter semester. That semester has come and gone, and the new year is about to start. That is pretty crazy. I'm sure a ton more will happen in the next little bit and it'll still be just as hard to believe how fast the time goes. This was a better week. I took the advice of one of the sisters from my MTC district and 'pulled my pants up to my armpits and got to work'. We have really been pushing lately in our area. And we are seeing the fruits of our labors beginning to blossom. This week we found an inactive family (just a father and daughter) who lives in our area. The daughter is not baptized, and the father stopped coming to church because his wife was diagnosed with HIV and the members of the ward basically shunned them. He told us that that was a hard time. He and his daughter had to get a series of tests (both of them tested negative), and on top of the stress of the diagnosis and the testing, the bishop told them that none of them could use the drinking fountains or the bathrooms (even just to wash their hands). As they fell (or were pushed) away from the church, his wife ended up leaving him for another man and took one of the daughters with her. We taught the plan of salvation and how our earthly experiences fit into the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us, and we committed his other daughter to be baptized next month. They are going to come to church for the first time in 8 years on Sunday. We also started teaching a man who we had found in the street a few weeks ago. I learned an important lesson about forgiveness from this situation. When we found him on the street, he started to 'bash' a little bit using his knowledge of the Bible. We decided to do the wrong thing (we were a bit frustrated after days without success, but that is still no excuse...) and respond with our knowledge of the scriptures. We got to the point where he saw that we were 'right' and just gave us his address as a sign of giving up. We tried to contact the reference a few times, but we couldn't seem to find the house. I wrote on our list of references to remove him from the still-active list, but in the moment I felt that we hadn't tried hard enough. I learned that that was a prompting from the Spirit when we went to try again. We found him in the street near his house. He showed us where the house is, and told us he had a few minutes to talk to us in the street. So we taught a very simple version of the Restoration, and he was quite receptive. He told us that he doesn't feel very good in his church, and asked us how he would be able to know that our message is true. Perfect question. We answered that and a few other questions and scheduled a return appointment. In the return appointment, we committed him to be baptized. Now we are focusing on finding more people to teach. We printed 300 invitations to an activity in the ward tomorrow at 6. Yesterday we passed out the last of them. Today we printed another 100 to pass out tonight. We are going to watch a movie about the life of Christ and play games. We are hoping and praying for a big turnout. We have invited pretty much all of the members, active, less-active, and inactive and we told them to invite all of their friends. So hopes are high. We finally have representatives from a few organizations in the ward attending our correlation meetings, and we are starting to make plans to work with the ward a little more closely. Anyway, that is the news here in Los Lencas. I don't have a thought put together for this week, so I am just going to invite you to watch Elder Hollands talk 'the first and great commandment'. We have a version that he gave years ago in the MTC, which is basically the same thing just WAY MORE INTENSE. Maybe I'll put it on a flash drive and send it home. It will change the way you think about a lot of things. He invites the missionaries in the MTC to really think about the question that Jesus asks Peter: 'Lovest thou me?' Do we really love Him? How do we show it? Do we feed his sheep? Or do we simply 'go back to fishing'? I love Him. And I love you guys. That is a big part of why I am here. I hope you all have a great week, and that you reflect on those questions.

Elder Andreasen

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