Friday, October 25, 2013

Buenos días queridos! 

This week was fairly normal (not so normal for us, but normal for missionaries). We had time to study 4 of the 7 days, which makes this week a record-setter. It is so AWESOME to have time to sit down and study the gospel for a few hours. I could literally feel the difference those days. We also had time to go out and work in our area. Elder Soza and I learned something a little bit sad this week. We had gone so long without contacting anyone in the street that we were actually a little bit scared or intimidated to do it! That was definitely an attempt by Satan to try keep us from talking to people. One day our plan and backup plan fell through and we were left with basically an hour with NOTHING to do. So we just walked to our next appointment contacting like crazy along the way. It was hard at first, but it got easier and easier. I figure it is like riding a bike. If you haven't done it in a while, you just have to get on and go. We ended up getting 6 references that day, which is a fairly decent number even for missionaries who are in their areas all day. That just further backs up what Mom always says: "I can do hard things". Our investigators have been a little bit tough this week. That is probably because we didn't visit them for a while, but we are having to work our butts off with them. Wilfredo has, as preach my gospel puts it, found himself backed up to the wall of faith. He is still actively involved in his catholic church, even though he doesn't believe that their doctrine is all true. He believes that there is no true church, and that Christ came to do away with all churches. He has fallen into the seemingly universally accepted misunderstanding that "we are the church", and that any group of people that talk about God is, in that moment, Christ's church. So now it is up to him. He needs to pray about it, wanting to receive an answer. Our other investigators are progressing, just really slowly. They aren't coming to church yet because of "other commitments" on Sunday, and we will just have to keep chugging along with them. Also, something crazy happened this week. We were in our correlation meeting with the bishop (the ward mission leader has recently inactivated) and ward leaders when someone came in and said that there was some kind of fight going on outside. We all went out and there was an inactive hermana who was just ripping into a nonmember teenager who was there. We didn't get involved at all, and we didn't completely know what was going on, but basically she didn't want her kids anywhere near this other kid. She then took her kids out of the mutual activity and they left. We had been passing by to bring those kids to church (they're members) and the other companionship had just started working with their family, so we will see what happens. It is a shame that social stuff like that can get in the way of what is important. Anyway, in happier news, Elder Duncan from the area presidency is coming to meet with us here in the mission. We have put a choir together in our zone to sing a special number for that meeting, and we have had to be at the stake center at 7am two days this week (2 of the 3 days we have missed study time). We are singing "La Luz de La Verdad" (I think it is called Hark all ye nations in english), and Elder Albrechtsen, Elder Soza and I have a special part along with one or two other elders. It sounds awesome, and it should be pretty cool. That meeting should be pretty amazing too. That is pretty much what I've been up to this week. When you send a package next Mom, will you put a bike tire patch kit in there? just one of the little ones we had somewhere in my room or in Zach's room. There is a tiny hole in my waterproof backpack, and I want to patch it up. Water doesn't get in or anything, but I want to prevent that from happening. Also, send pictures of our family. Lots of them. That is one thing that I don't really have enough of. You can send them by email if you want, I can take them to a Kodak some P-day and print them all off. That would be faster. I'm glad you guys tried pupusas!! You guys even get to eat more than we do. We can't eat revueltas or chicharron, and we can't eat curtido either. Apparently those are some of the biggest causes of parasites in missionaries here. But find a good pupusería there so that I can eat pupusas and chat with the pupusa ladies and cry about not being in El Salvador when I get back. I love you guys, and I hope you have an awesome week!! See you in two!

Elder Andreasen

WHEW!! Changes week is officially over. This was a crazy one. We didn't sleep much this week. The average hour of going to bed was about 12:15ish, with one day being after 1:30. There was just so much to do between coordinating new house contracts for the new areas, coordinating what materials are needed in what zones, and helping the missionaries who went home get everything ready to head out. They didn't even show up at our house after spending the day with President until after 11:30... But we survived and everything turned out ok. It always does. There were big changes this time around though. There are several areas/wards that are struggling big time. The church isn't very strong in some parts here. So President made a new program to change that. Now there are special assignments in wards that have more than one pair of missionaries. They are called "misioneros de liderazgo y rescate" or leadership and rescue missionaries. These missionaries train ward leaders how to have successful ward counsel meetings and how to coordinate their presidency meetings with the goal of growing the ward, and they focus their missionary efforts on less-active families. The percentage of members who are active here is pretty low. Our ward has just under 450 inscribed members. Weekly attendance averages in the 90's. So Elder Albrechtsen's companionship has this special assignment. And there is other news there; Elder Cifuentes is training a new registros secretary this change. His name is Elder Silva. He's pretty cool. So we are 5 now in the office. We basically have spent no time in our area in the last 10 days, so we have a lot of recovering to do this week. Hopefully things will be back to normal soon. Sorry there isn't a ton to write this week. I enjoyed getting emails from each of you this week. I'll see if I can find some pictures to send to make up for not having much to say. Love you guys. Have a great week!! See you in two.

Elder Andreasen

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hey guys,    October 4th

What a week! It seems like I was here writing just two or three days ago. The weeks have started to really move. And this coming week is the week before changes, and then the week of changes. So there is no hope that things are going to slow down within the next little bit. But I have gotten used to the quick pace of things, and I kind of like it. Sleep is now only a hardly sufficient, but crucially necessary recharge for a few short hours. It seems like after our knees hit the floor for a few minutes we are up and running; trying to get in a few minutes of exercise (basically just pushups for me), a few minutes of breakfast, a quick shower, a quick study if we don't have to leave early, and then we are out the door. It seems like there is not enough time to do anything. Not enough time to get ready, not enough time to study (that part is actually true...there isn't enough time for that), not enough time in the office to get everything done, and not enough time in the area to do what we want/need to do. But everything always works out. How it all works out is one of the mysteries of the universe. This week we had interviews with President Glazier. Those minutes are precious. This time was absolutely amazing. After I had explained a little bit about how I am doing, and after expressing some frustrations, he just sat back and thought for a good 2 minutes. The whole time, I was just grateful that Preach My Gospel has taught me that silence does not scare me. He then addressed my concerns and just made me feel wonderful. He told me some things that made me see that he sees me a different way than I see myself, and that he is grateful for all that I do. He is truly a man that is called of God. So this week we didn't have a ton of time to visit people. But we still had success. We visited Nelson, but only for a few minutes. We basically just gave his grandma a blessing and invited him to conference. We couldn't find Irma and Manuel in their house (the weird lesson where they were both on completely different pages) this week, so we will see what this week brings. We did find a new family. When we first entered the house, there were kids running around, and it reminded me of our house when there are kids running all over the place. We met the parents, Jose Luis and Edith, and they are awesome. She is the warmest person, and she loves to just talk to us about whatever. We have a baptismal date with Jose Luis, she just isn't ready yet. But we read the Book of Mormon with her last night and she is starting to open up. We also met an older lady, maybe 60-65ish. She cracks me up. She is super direct. She even told us that she likes to be direct. She says that whenever people tell her that they are christians, she tells them that they aren't, because if they were, they wouldn't do the things they do (she specifically mentioned drinking, smoking, and having other women). She said that she attended our church once or twice a few years ago, and she was impressed by our "discipline". She was a chatter, but by the end of the lesson, she was listening more and talking less about random stuff. She accepted the date to be baptized on November 9th. So the work moves along. We are going to have to work and pray and be good like crazy to have these dates work out. But luckily we aren't in charge of this work. That is the job of someone perfect, someone more understanding, more powerful, more loving. He leads the work. We just have the blessing and opportunity to help out for a bit. I love you guys. Be good. Read the First Presidency message and think about who you can rescue. Have a great week. See you in two!!

Elder Andreasen

September 27, 2014

Good morning!

This week was pretty busy. They always are... We have been out of the house before 9 almost every day, whether it be for migration appointments (Elder Soza has to go to all of those, and I go with him) or for helping Elder Albrechtsen prepare and send materials to areas that don't have everything they need, or whatever else. So I haven't had much study time this week :(. And on top of all of that, Elder Soza woke up sick one day... Vino la gripe. Here in El Salvador, there are two kinds of sicknesses. Dengue and Gripe. If you are sick and it isn't dengue, its gripe. It is kind of funny because people have all sorts of beliefs about how and why people get sick, but it almost always boils down to one of those two unluss a doctor says otherwise. Anyway, Elder Soza was struck with gripe. He looked pretty miserable. Two days later, Elder Cifuentes woke up sick. The next day, I woke up sick. And I felt pretty miserable. That was 2 days ago, and the gripe hasn't let me go just yet. But it was a good week nonetheless. We met some new people. One of them is a man named Nelson. He grew up in the States, so he speaks English (almost better than Spanish). In fact, we gave him a Book of Mormon in Spanish, and he asked for one in English "in case he doesn't understand some parts". He has an interesting religious history, and a pretty interesting history in general. He was deported for criminal activity, but has since left all of that behind. Right now he is kept pretty busy between work and taking care of his 87 year old grandmother who is confined to her bed. No one else in his family will take care of her, so he has taken that responsibility upon himself. He is a good guy. Every time we leave I just think, "He is such a great guy!" We also met a couple that has been...interesting. The fist lesson was an unusual and unreal experience. They were on COMPLETELY different pages. She was receptive to everything and he was just being difficult. And they didn't even seem to notice that the other was feeling the exact opposite! It seriously felt like two completely different lessons going on at the same time. I wasn't exactly sure if I should extend the baptismal invitation, but I figured, what the heck, this can't get any weirder. He didn't even flinch. He just started talking about some random other stuff, and to be honest, I wasn't particularly listening to him anymore. As he kept blabbing I just directed the question at her and asked again. "Y usted hermana? Sera bautizada? And she accepted. I then asked if she would prepare to be baptized on the 2nd of November. Again, she accepted. After that, we had to pull the two separate parts back together so we could finish with just one closing prayer, and we left. We met some other people, but that is the news for the most part. I am pretty happy with the results of this week, as it has been a very busy one and we had very little time in the area. The mission is really pushing baptismal dates right now. Our district has 1 baptismal date, and it is the date that we put this week. So we will have to start really pushing and praying and working to get more baptismal dates in our areas. That is pretty much what's going on around here lately. Oh, and last night a missionary in the other mission was shot (in the leg). The area where it happened was the old area for the office elders before the division of the mission. Crazy. But I'm safe and I love you, and I'll see you in two.

Elder Andreasen