Tuesday, September 24, 2013


How is everything this week? Golf games, mountains to climb, lectures to endure...I always love hearing that you are busy and happy. To follow up; the tropical storms didn't pass this way. They got blown off in a different direction, and we only got some rain as they passed by. Thats too bad....In other news, today marks 7 months for me. Isn't that crazy?? In the office we are acutely aware of the calendar. Regardless of that fact, time still flies. But anyways... This week was another tough one in terms of the missionary work part. Our zone leaders have been pushing and pushing for more baptismal dates. We are just trying to find people to teach! But I am really enjoying myself. Elder Soza is awesome. He is just on top of things. 2 days of training and he is already thinking 2 changes ahead to field any potential migration issues that could arise. His learning and ability to settle right in have been pretty impressive. I am really happy about the office situation right now. We are such good friends now, it really makes work fun sometimes. Occasionally there are...disagreements...in the other companionship, but that just happens because Elder Albrechtsen is a workhorse and he expects everyone to keep up. I like that about him. He is the unofficial office leader (because he is the general secretary pretty much in charge of everything but our more specialized responsibilities), and he keeps everyone on their toes. He is a great guy. Right now our current situation with the area is like a reality tv show. We talked to Manuel, the husband of Lilian. He told us about how things are a bit difficult right now because of his drinking, and that he really shouldn't have come home that way last week. Lilian has been swamped with work (she works in a hospital as a childrens doctor specialized in kidney issues) and we met her son David last night. If we can keep teaching them, things should be awesome. We also are working with a less active family who has a 10 year old who has not been baptized. That situation is tough because the father told us that he was baptized out of curiosity  and that he doesn't really know that the church is true. We have been working with them, and we tried again this week to set a date for baptism, and it was rejected again. So theres more work to be done there. This week we also did a little service project for a family of "investigators". We helped them clean up their house. They are kind of like us missionaries: they only are there at the house at night to sleep, so things get dirty fast. I felt super weird wearing regular clothes, but my nametag made me feel alright. There were cockroaches everywhere and lots to do, but we helped as much as we could. Then they wanted to give us something to eat, but we were already running late. We couldn't say no, so we just ate fast and left. We had to run the whole way, but we made it with a few minutes to spare. I'm still sore though... I got some letters from Dawn and the kids this week. That was pretty cool. It felt nice to hear from people who I haven't heard from in a bit. I don't really have a spiritual thought this week. I haven't had too much time to study this week actually. Between migration appointments and early morning trips to buy stuff for a few areas, we haven't had a full study time this week. But keep reading the Book of Mormon. I have slacked a little bit lately, but I am in Alma 6 and am still on track to finish. I love you guys. I hope that you are seeing the blessings of the gospel in your lives. I am. Things are tough, but I am happy. I have great friends, a great companion, and we work hard. I have opportunities to help people all of the time, and I am grateful for the special assignment I have to serve. Have a great week dudes. Be good. Love you. See you in two!

Elder Andreasen

Thursday, September 19, 2013

There's a Storm Comin'

                                                                      September 13th, 2013


Weeks are going by so fast right now that it's getting hard to remember things to write! Things have normaled out a bit. The office tasks have settled to the point that now we can really see how things are in our area...not so great. Within the two weeks that we were not able to visit our investigators, things have changed drastically. Both of our baptismal dates have dropped. But more on that later. This week was kind of fun. We found time after nightly planning to do stuff. One night we spent an hour or so cleaning one of the bathrooms. It was crazy. But afterward, it was spotless. We were very proud of our work. Another night we made our own pupusas! That was my first time making pupusas. I only made 2, but I am basically a pro. They tasted good, so we were pretty proud of that too. This week we visited with some less active/inactive members. It has been so sad for me to see how their families have begun to just be complacent and apathetic. The saddest part is that they are complacent in their unhappiness. They don't realize that they can be, and deserve to be much happier then they are now. There is a member kid in the ward named José. He is 12 years old and is pretty much the only active member of his family. He is at church every week (often alone), and sometimes he brings his 3ish year old sister with him. He is a great kid. He reminds me a lot of Coleton. His personality is just that way. Dad, you said in your email that I might be in the office one more change... I doubt it. President really likes his office elders to get to be really experienced, and he often keeps them in the office for 8-10 months. There have been office elders in the past that have been in the office for 9 changes. That is over a year. I honestly don't know how long I'll be in the office, but I figure I'll be here until at least the new year. You also said that President VanCott said that net positive changes are hectic...Because I arrived at the spit of the mission, EVERY change has been a net positive change. The biggest group that has left was 5. The smallest that has arrived was 24. I wish there was a similar time in which we would need to focus on our areas like we focus on the mission during changes. We would get so much done. We would probably baptize! But I need to just find a way to give what I can when I can. For the rest of my life, I am going to have to balance work and family and all of that stuff, so it's good practice. But during that kind of work, especially in work that allows you to meet and talk to many people, much good can be done during the work day in having a positive influence on people and sharing the gospel. Here in the office, with just us 4, there isn't much room for talking to people. I'm glad you went and did stuff for Dad's birthday, even if it was just going to eat sushi with the Lum's. Any dinner with the Lum's makes for a good time. AND in the picture, I could see the Tokyo Sushi lady in the mirror. So that was a good little reminder that not TOO much has changed. And I am glad that you got to eat Wendy's for lunch. I probably need to STOP doing that. I have been gaining weight, and that just adds to my stresses. And was very impressed that you went and did a temple cleaning session from 9 to 11 at night. Not many people would do that. That kind of example makes me a proud son and fuels my "my dad could beat up your dad" mentality that I have had since I was very young. I guess in this case it would be more like my dad could beat your dad in a scripture mastery battle or in teaching a missionary discussion. The result is the same - I am a proud son. Happy Birthday Dad! I got your letter out...this morning. You'll be getting it in a week and a half-ish. So back to our investigators. We found out that one of them is a drunk. Didn't see that coming. But before we knew that we passed by to take him to church. He wasn't there. But his wife was, and we asked her to come and she just said that she needed 15 minutes to get ready. We had never met or talked to her before. But she came to church with us. Then we went by to teach them, and she answered the door crying and explained everything to us. EVERYTHING. The whole story of her life. She said that it is hard to believe that she is a daughter of God when she has asked him to change things so many times and she still has to sit inside and cry because her husband came home drunk again. So we have an appointment with them tonight. Should be kind of crazy, but she could definitely be a great investigator. With another investigator, we just did some service this week. The dad is a member, and his daughter has not been baptized. She is the investigator. And they are hoarders practically. So one day when we passed by, they were "organizing" a little bit because he got a new dresser and they needed to make space for it. So we just cleaned for 45 minutes or so. It felt good. We could at least see the floor when we left. That happened right after we had a rather frustrating encounter with the bishopric of the ward, so that helped relieve a little bit of what I am ashamed to say was anger. They don't respect us. We are full-time missionaries, and they don't have respect for us. FRUSTRATING. But this week, I found a verse in the Book of Mormon that made me see how ungrateful I am for complaining. Mosiah 25:10 says, "And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God." I like the phrase "the immediate goodness of God". I think a lot of times I expect certain blessings right now, and I get frustrated when there is no immediate result. But we can ALWAYS

(excuse the interruption, it just sent by itself!) We can always see the immediate goodness of God if we look for it. I need to do better in looking for the immediate goodness and waiting patiently for answers to prayers. I love you dudes. Zach, good luck in school. Study hard. Focus. Alix, same goes for you. You said you'd be at BYU when I am a senior there. Work hard now, and I'll see you there. Mom and Dad, you are awesome. I was reflecting this week talking a little bit with Elder Soza about our families and I realized that you guys are pretty much the best - the best parents, and the best friends I have had. Keep finding time to serve the Lord, whether it be on splits with the missionaries, visiting members of the ward, or just being good influences on people. I will do the same. Love you. See you in two!

Elder Andreasen

P.S. - I forgot to mention the title of this letter. There is supposedly a big storm headed our way. President wants every missionary to stock up on emergency supplies and be ready for whatever happens in the next few days. Personally, I hope it is HUGE. That would be so cool...anyway, Love you. Be safe.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What a week! This week was something else... It was a crazy week because this change wasn't like other changes. 9 new areas, and areas were reorganized to make a new zone! Zona Sensuntepeque. And that made things nice and interesting in the office. We had to buy and store all of the new materials. To make things worse, the temple office messed up and sent 6 foot refrigerators instead of the little ones we usually get, so we had 18 of those in the house as well (in fact we still do, they haven't come to replace them yet...). We had the entire house literally FILLED with stuff. There was a walkway about 3 and a half feet wide from the door to the stairs, and that was it. The kitchen was full, the livingroom, laundry room, study rooms...Crazy. I wish I would have taken more pictures. And upstairs all of the rooms were filled with mattresses to house the new missionaries and then the ones who finished and went home. We were up late almost every night, and one night we didnt even leave the office until 10:34. We had been out delivering stuff to new areas and had a few things to finish up at the office afterward, but don't worry, President knew and we had permission. We were home just before 11. 
Anyway, in other news, we had changes here in the office, in my companionship! Elder Muñoz left. Elder Soza took his place. He is my new companion. He is from Provo, and he has 5 months in the mission. I remember how I felt when I came into the office, and how I felt when I only got 4 weeks of training instead of 6. Elder Soza got a call Saturdaynight, and was in the office Monday. He was "trained" (if you can even call it that) by Elder Muñoz Monday and Tuesday, and then Elder Muñoz left Wednesday morning after changes meeting. TWO DAYS. He was trained for two days! And so he is still struggling and learning and stressing. But he is doing great. We haven't even left to go into our area to teach since I last wrote. Changes week seems to have that effect. But things will start to even out and hopefully we will be putting the hammer down on finding and teaching this week. We need to baptize. It's been a while. We just need to hunker back down into the somewhat "normal" schedule of being office missionaries and get out to teach at night. We have two baptismal dates still, but I don't know if they have progressed or regressed in the last week, and Elder Soza has yet to meet them. What I have seen this week is how the Lord helps us with our daily lives. I had a few situations this week that I didn't know if they could even work out. But a few prayers, handwritten checks, high-speed trips to President's house to get signatures and high-speed trips to the bank and we made it before they closed. I was so grateful that it worked out that I didn't even care that they could only give me almost a thousand dollars in $5 bills. The Lord helps us and cares about our daily, seemingly mundane wants and needs. But we need to do our part. I am coming to learn that this position in the office is good preparation for life. One day I will have to balance a job, a home, and a family with faithfulness in the gospel. I am starting to see how tough that can be. But that doesn't mean that the demands or expectations placed upon us are any lower. Hard times are given to us for growth and experience, not so that we have excuses. I think I may be making excuses - to my zone leaders, to myself, and to the Lord - because I have responsibilities in the office. My purpose has not changed, it is still "invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo, al ayudarlas a que reciban el Evangelio Restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su Expiación, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu Santo, y el perseverar hasta el fin." It is still to find, teach, and baptize. Busier, more difficult situations are only greater opportunities to decide and show what our priorities are, to be diligent in ALL things. I'm going to stop making excuses. President Glazier told me that I was called to this position to baptize. Previous office elders have looked with the perspective that our work "influences" all of the baptisms in the mission, and therefore we shouldn't feel bad that we don't have many of our own. That is true, but President didn't say I was called to influence baptisms. I just need to be more diligent. Mom, Dad, Zach, Alix - I invite you to do the same. Mom already finished the Book of Mormon. Where are we? We can be more diligent, and I KNOW that there are blessings that await our family for doing so. I love you dudes. Dad, I am sorry and sad to admit that I did not get a letter out to you for your birthday. I'm working on it. It will be late, but it will come. I got your letters. LOVED THEM. Alix, go here https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/mission-preparation?lang=eng. Study your brains out. Mom and Dad, go here https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/mission-preparation/parent?lang=eng. This new mission prep stuff is KILLER. And more importantly, I want to hear about how it goes. Will you do it? I have looked some of it over and I can see how helpful this will be, not only in helping Alix to prepare for a mission (if she chooses to go, for life if she chooses not to), but in strengthening our family. Dad, I am super proud of you for going on splits with the missionaries. You have no idea how grateful they must be for having a well-studied member like you in their lessons. Alix, I am proud of you for turning to the Book of Mormon to find answers to your personal needs. Start keeping your personal commitments you made at EFY now. Sometimes blessings are postponed, not lost. There are ALWAYS blessings for trying harder to live the gospel. Zach, I am proud of you for not giving up on your goals. You did something very missionary-like in your letter to me - you outlined your plans, and you also included a 'plan de respaldo'. Keep it up. Work hard. I love you. Mom, I am proud of you for finishing the Book of Mormon, and for being such a great Mom. I can feel it here, and I can see it in your weekly letters. Heavenly Father has a special place prepared for moms like you. I know how busy you are. But that doesn't stop you. Thank you for your example. I want to find parents and help them see how they can be parents to their children like you and Dad were to me. If I could truly accomplish that for one family, I would be humbled and grateful beyond measure. Those kinds of successes, blessings, families, are eternal. I am a proud son, and a proud brother. Love you guys. See you in two!

Elder Andreasen

P.S. This is just one room of the house with extra mattresses. Elder Albrechtsen thought he'd have a little fun amidst all of the work to put stuff into the house.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Buenos Días!!

This week was another hard one, but looking back on it, it was a pretty good one. On Saturday we had a ward activity. We watched a video (To This End Was I Born) about the Atonement and death of Jesus Christ, and then we started to play games. We set up a relay race; first, the teams had to walk a certain distance with an egg on a spoon in their mouth. Then, they had to spin around with their forehead on a pole to get super dizzy and run to the next point. Then, there were bowls filled with flour with 3 gummy worms at the bottom. Then had to get the worms without using their hands. Next, they had to get into bags and hop around a certain point and back (sack race). Then a 3 legged race. Then a water balloon toss. The first team to catch the balloon would win. What ended up happening was a little different than we had expected. The race started out great. Some people spun around with the pole and then fell right over. It was hilarious! The flour part too (see pictures). But after that, the order kind of fell apart and no one knew what they were doing. So once they started the balloon toss, things were wild. Elder Albrechtsen took a water balloon and chucked it at someone. And then there was war. We had made about 70 water balloons, and those went first. Then, people started grabbing the flour and eggs and throwing them at people!! It was so much fun but pretty crazy. Then we passed out a small refreshment and started to clean up.... It was a great activity, and we got the references of a few new families. Also, this week we presented the ward mission plan that the bishopric had asked us to make. They weren't too excited about it (we are going to start PUSHING this ward). They criticized a few things (including our activity saturday...) and basically now we have to prove to them that this is going to work. Long story short, we aren't expecting a ton of help. But the auxiliary presidencies are on top of it, and they are more or less excited. Now we just have to get to the rest of the members. With a bit of time and a lot of work on our part, we can show them that it can be done. This week we picked up a family of investigators that we had dropped. They have committed to come to church Sunday, and basically if they don't come we have to drop them again. We had several committed to come last week and they didn't. We even passed by their houses to get them. One family was asleep and didn't even come to the door after we knocked and woke them up, and another family got mixed up and was waiting for us Saturday in the morning. When we didn't show, they made plans for Sunday morning and weren't there when we did show up. A bunch of things have kept us from getting to our area to teach so it's been a slow week in terms of teaching. For example, we went to get Elder Albrechtsen his driver's license, which took from 10:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon and then we had to do some stuff in the office after. Anyway, I want to re-extend/remind you guys of the challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I haven't been able to read every day (some days I study other stuff), but I have come to see the power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon. Days that I read are better days. I can see and feel a difference. And I love it. So read the Book of Mormon! And help the missionary work in your wards! One of the things we are doing is challenging each organization to give 5 references a month between all of its members. BUT, a reference does not count unless the members personally introduce their friends to the missionaries and are present in one of the first lessons. Just as knocking doors is not the way things are done anymore, we are trying to eliminate references received from members with a name and phone number/address on a slip of paper. The real power in missionary work is in the hands of the members. Go to this page http://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/special-broadcast?lang=eng#media= and watch the video called ''I'll go where you want me to go''. Learn from how these members shared the gospel with their friends and neighbors, and pray for opportunities and the courage to follow their example. Notice how none of them just started by talking about the gospel. They were good friends and examples. And they found opportunities to love others. That is missionary work. I love you guys. Read the Book of Mormon. And I'll see you in two!

Elder Andreasen