Thursday, August 1, 2013

Friday July 28th,

Whew. This week has just been absolute insanity. This week was changes week. Changes week is like armageddon for the office elders. It all started Monday morning. A truck came to our house to pick up a ton of stuff to take to some new areas that were opened this week, and to a few areas that now have trios. From there it was just all day, every day getting ready for changes. I had to get out money from the bank because at changes all of the missionaries want money for something or other. And I had to give a presentation to the new missionaries about how they are going to receive money and deal with financial issues for the next two years. I also had to make and sign contracts for new houses, get signatures from President Glazier, and ship them off to get signed by the homeowners. I had to make checks for the security deposits on those houses. I had to help the other Elders here with some of their responsibilities. But there was one thing that made this week more than difficult. Saturday night, before this all happened, Elder Cifuentes woke up in the middle of the night with abdominal pains and ended up going to the hospital. Turns out he had a kidney stone. A kidney stone the size of a jellybean. So they operated on him to remove that stone. So he was in the hospital all week, and one of us had to be with him the whole time. So we had to do all of the work with fewer missionaries. It was crazy. And we had changes in our areas (amongst the office elders). Elder Vaughan (my trainer as financial sec.) and Elder Rodriguez (Elder Albrechtsen's trainer as general sec.) both left, having only trained us 4 weeks instead of 6. So basically I am still learning how to do all of this stuff, just by myself. My new companion is Elder Muñoz. He is from Chile, and he is the migration/travel secretary. We had already lived in the same house for the last 4 weeks, so its not like he is a stranger to me or anything. He spent a lot of time in the hospital with Elder Cifuentes this week because he had less to do, at least until Wednesday night. Tuesday night the new missionaries all slept in our house. There were 19 elders...and it was crazy. They did not want to go to sleep. We, on the other hand, having worked like crazy in preparation for changes, did want to sleep. Then Wednesday night, the missionaries who are going home having finished their missions stayed the night in our house. They left a ton of stuff in our house because their bags weighed too much, and now we have a house with stuff all over that we have to clean. Being in the office during changes is also different because you know all of the changes beforehand. It really takes the stress out of being at changes meeting. I did get to slow down a little bit yesterday, because it was my turn to stay with Elder Cifuentes in the hospital. We studied a bit together, did some practices of teaching the resoration and extending the invitation to pray about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. That was a good opportunity, because we havent had time to study this whole week. We've been in the office from about 7:30-8 in the morning to 8ish at night. Elder Cifuentes came home from the hospital to the house last night with a drain still in (high drainage!!), but he woke up at 4 this morning hurting, and by about 6ish he needed help. So I called the doctor, who told me to go to a pharmacy to buy a certain type of pain killer. So Elder Muñoz and I suited up in normal clothes (not missionary clothes), loaded up in a taxi, and went to get that stuff. While we were out, he got worse, so we bought the stuff, went back, and took him straight to the hospital, all 4 of us still in normal clothes. I had called President and Hermana Glazier several times during all of this to keep them updated, and they arrived at the hospital about 45 minutes after we got there. We then arranged a way so that another missionary in the zone who is in a trio will be with him today and tommorow so that the rest of us can be in the office working. And yes, today is P-day, but we are working. How lame is that? We haven't had time to do anything else this week. Not even teach. We got in one lesson monday night. ONE LESSON IN THE WHOLE WEEK. It really is crazy. Elder Albrechtsen (the other new guy) and I have set goals to be better prepared for the next changes than our trainers were so that we can still have time to work in our areas. I have to say that I am more than a bit jealous that you guys are on a cruise, just having a great relaxing time. But reading your emails really helped me to slow down, so I guess I am enjoying a little bit of what you are experiencing. Mom, I definitely would have gotten in the water with you. You know I don't need a reason to do stuff like that. And if I were there I would have made Dad and Zach do it too. I even got Dad in the water in Antarctica! And if you are serious about going back in 2015, go ahead and book the trip. I would go in a second. But I guess we do have to figure out what I am going to be doing then... I still don't know if I am going to be coming home to go to school or not. I guess that will be a decision made between me and whoever the new mission president is at that point. Anyways, hopefully things will calm down around here in the office so that we can get back to teaching and working in our areas. Now I feel even more stressed about having time to work in the area because I am now senior companion. And District Leader. Stressful! We are supposed to have a district meeting tomorrow, but I don't even know if we'll be able to. We are so behind from Elder Cifuentes being in the hospital that we need to come in to the office tomorrow. So now P-day and weekends are being eaten up by this craziness. But that is just how it goes. Anyway, my thought for you this week is this: Why do we pray? I talked about this with Elder Cifuentes while I was there in the hospital with him. We invite people to pray all of the time as missionaries. Why? Most people have learned how to pray before we meet them. But people learn to do things differently, and that is just how it is for them. There is a lot of...confusion here about what prayer is. A lot of people think that to pray you have to speak really loudly (pretty much yelling) to pray. Others think you have to say certain things, that you have to speak eloquently, or that you have to talk about how bad everyone has it and that they need to try to fix the world. It really is hard to teach people who already have certain ideas that those things do not constitute a prayer. A prayer is a simple expression of gratitud and need. Why do we pray? Really think about it. YOU specifically, why do you pray? Sometimes we fall in the habit of praying because that is what we have learned to do, and we just do it out of habit. But if we think about why we do it we can see that there is much more for us to take advantage of than just a few minutes of silence in the day. We pray because we are imperfect people with needs. We have things we can't do for ourselves. We have struggles that no one else can help us with. We pray because there is someone to whom we can express ourselves openly and honestly without worry of judgment. I'll admit that sometimes I don't express myself as I should in prayer. Prayer should be simple. It should be meaningful. I have a lot of work to do in learning how to pray. And I have to learn how to really do it if I expect to be able to teach other people to do it too. I invite you to think about why you pray, and then work on making prayer an essential part of your life, not just a routine that is done a few times a day. I pray that we will have success as we do so. I love you guys. See you in two!

Elder Andreasen

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