Monday, June 2, 2014

Hey guys!                                                    June 2nd 2014

I'll start by telling what happened with my towel because I forgot to tell you. When I say towel, I mean my sweat rag. The one I bought in San Miguel. We were walking in the rain and I put my backpack in front so that it wouldnt get wet, and somewhere along that walk I lost my towel. But don't worry. I bought 2 others. I do sweat a TON here as well, though it is not even close to how hot it was in San Miguel.

Mom, you have had good reason to be worried about El Salvador. Things are so messed up here right now. but it never affects us. We just shut ourselves inside when things get wild. This week, we were in at 7 on Monday2pm on Friday, and 6pm Saturday and Sunday. There have been TONS of police and soldiers around patrolling, and, unfortunately, their presence is more dangerous for us missionaries because the gangsters dont bug us, but with police around we could get caught in a firefight. so we just avoid anything that could turn crazy. But, don't worry about anything, we are fine.

Friday I had interchanges with Elder Caldwell. Which was interesting because we spent the whole day in the house. We talked a lot about the challenges in our areas and in the branch and with our companions. Both of us have companions who are relatively new. We need to be EXPERT teachers if we are to have power in our words like Alma and the sons of Mosiah. They studied the scriptures, fasted and prayed, and as D&C 11:21 says, the word plus the spirit equals the power of God  unto the convincing of men. So I talked about the need for preparation, experience, and evaluation, and how those 3 things have to be repeated constantly to be able to teach with power and authority. We also need to find a lot more people to teach. So we have lots on our plate for the moment. But that is good. We always need to improve. Slowly we are getting this area to be like it needs to be, but a lot of current challenges in the branch are challenges that we as missionaries dont have the responsibility or the authority to take care of. So I am trying to work with President Glazier to take care of some of that. But we are helping in ways that we can so that the members can be a little bit more converted and active in the church.

Lots of work here. Hope all is well there. I am doing great and things are happening very quickly here. Love you guys. Have a great week!

Elder Andreasen

May 26th 2014
Well, another week is gone. They seem to always get away from me. I will try to get right down to what has happened this week.

Things have been a little bit dangerous here lately. Remember Zacatecoluca where I was before they pulled us out? That is about 40 minutes away from here, and on Friday, 33 people were killed. However, the area presidency does not want to pull missionaries out of there again, and they say that there has never been a serious incident with obedient missionaries, so they just have to take the necessary precautions. Saturday and Sunday all missionaries were in their houses at 6pm. But it looks like now we are set to be working until late again.

In other news, I did interchanges or exchanges or whatever you want to call it with my zone leader on Friday. His name is Elder Corleto from Guatemala, and he is great. He told me that the focus of the exchange was to put baptismal dates with some of their investigators. He said that as leaders we need to lead by example, and he and his companion had been fasting because they had no baptismal dates. So we went to work. Pretty much everything fell through. So we got to the house and analyzed the day and planned some practices for the next mornings studies. However, the assistants called in the night, informing us of the 6 oclock curfew, and we were up until about 11:15 working on getting that news out. The early curfew meant that we would need to work in the morning and do the studies at night, so we got another shot to go out and try to put dates with some people. Everything started to fall again. However, as we got to a house (that would be the last visit because of the time that we needed to end the division), a man opened up and quickly invited us in. We chatted for a bit and found out that he received the missionaries 5 or so years ago. We started to teach the restoration, and quickly the Spirit was there, and strong. That lesson was INCREDIBLE. Poderosisima! He asked all of the right questions, we taught all of the right principles and gave all the right testimony.....perfect, textbook lesson 1 guided by the Spirit. We invited to baptism---he accepted, with a date. We left so excited that we were smiling and laughing and rejoicing. We said a quick prayer of thanks and we were off to meet up with our comps to end the exchange.
 Pray for him, pray for me.

In other news, the Martinez family is ready. Their fecha got moved to the 20th because he cant go to church the 15th and so he would have to wait a week to get confirmed, so we just pushed it back to Friday the 20th. That will be a wedding-baptism combo. Like how we did it with the Jimenez family almost a year ago. Remember that? They are already a part of the ward and we are so grateful for them. Laura......alli tenemos problemas. Laura is great! She loves everything about the church (in fact tonight she is going to give a family home evening lesson about the word of wisdom), but she is not married to her boyfriend, and they live together...She wants to marry him and get baptized, but he doesnt want to. HE IS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH, AND HE DOESNT WANT TO. He is holding her back, and she is quite frustrated, as are we. So that is the stumbling block with Laura. So that date for the 14th is likely to fall unless some kind of miracle happens. We are praying for that miracle. Feel free to join us.

We have some WAY COOL PLANS for strengthening the branch (which have come to me by pure revelation) and we are working to get them going with the branch leadership. We really hope that the members get on board and that it makes a difference, because if it works out like my vision of it, we will have the most converted members who are excited about living the gospel and sharing it with others. As of right now, it is called Proyecto: "Levantando La Torre". It makes me excited just thinking about it!

Well, I love you guys and I hope you have been able to leave vegas and its filthiness behind. I hope you are reading the Book of Mormon, and I will be sending you information so that you can follow along with the plan to strenghten member families by keeping simple commitments. I'll keep you posted. Love you, have a great week!

Oh, and mom, I got the backpack!


Elder Andreasen

May 19th 2014
So I am in my new area! It is called "La Torre". And it is a branch! It is the cutest little branch ever! But it isnt THAT small. But, Dad, the building was built in '84, so if you ever served in any new chapels in your mission, this one has got to be just like those ones. I honestly love it.

So anyway, La Torre is in San Vicente. Close to Zacatecoluca where I got emergency evac'd. I never thought I would be back here, but it is nice. The city is pretty well established, but some of the places that we visit and where people live are kind of jungly. Sweet! And people here say it is hot, but it is NOT EVEN CLOSE to San Miguel. We have a select few really good investigators. Firstly, the Martinez Family. They are AWESOME! It is a couple with 2 kids, one 12 years old and the other 3 years old. They have a baptismal date for the 14th. They are going to get married and baptized on the same day. Then we have Laura. She lives with a member family, and she is awesome!  Anyway, I chatted with her for a minute about it and with the help of the members, (one of which being a previous branch president), she accepted the date. Woohoo!
Anyway, there was not a ton of proselyting time this week due to the "semana de la familia" and all of its activities. Did they do anything for Family day there? I imagine that they did. Anyway, there was a funny little thing that Elder Amado from the Area presidency said. Dad, help out with the translation and why it is funny, He said "cuando aprendemos a leer, necesitamos aprender el alfabeto: A B C D.... Pero como santos de los ultimos dias, necesitamos aprender otro alfabeto: O B D C" Ba dum, tss. He is a funny guy.
I am happy, healthy for the most and doing great.
Before I came here, President wanted to chat with me. He told me that I was going to La Torre because the branch needs to be strengthened and built up, and that we are going to do it! There are two companionships in the branch, and we just have to start finding out what needs to be done. I have a few ideas and we have chatted with the branch president a little bit, but there is still lots to do. Pray for the branch. Pray for the members. Pray for us (Elder Caldwell, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Miranda and me). And pray for the people of San Vicente! This place is really special. I hope to be here to see big things happen.
Love you guys. Have a great week, see you in two!
Elder Andreasen

May 12th,   2014
So this week was seriously odd. But awesome. I am going to start with some of the crazy stuff that is happening with some investigators. We are teaching a man named Miguel. He lived for years and years in the states and was deported---more on that later---but he has been here for the last 13 years and is really quite a smart guy, a little weird, but a good guy. But when we visit him he loves to just talk and talk and talk and talk. It is really a challenge. But this week we visited him. And we focused the conversation a little bit by talking about the Book of Mormon. We read Mosiah 3 with him and talked about Christ. He didn't understand the Atonement (like what it is, what it does) so I explained that briefly. He then asked us if God will forgive every sin. As missionaries, that question gives so much hope to us but also strikes fear into our hearts. Lots of people here have done a lot of messed up stuff. However, he clarified that he has never killed anyone, but he was a cocaine dealer in California. The undercover narc cops set him up to get caught, and he ran!! He was pulled over eventually (he had thrown the money out the window during the chase), and used his one call to tell his dealer buddies where he had thrown the money and they got him a lawyer and everything. But he got deported. So he has had drug and alcohol problems (among others) but he is clean now and pretty positive actually. He now really likes the Book of Mormon and committed to read it. Secondly, we had a crazy experience with a fairly new investigator. His name is Jorge. We are visiting him and his wife and son, but they were not there when we got there this week. So we chatted with him for a few minutes about Christ and about His gospel and the blessing it can be in our lives. We talked about prayer, and we invited him to pray. He didn't feel comfortable, so we taught him how, and he said he would give it a shot. He started with  "Padre Celestial", and from there he was already crying. He didn't say anything for like 2 minutes. I debated opening my eyes and helping him out, but the Spirit told me not to so I just prayed for him. He got out a few more sentences and ended the prayer. He then told us that he had never had an experience like that before. So we really hope things open up there for us.

Changes are this week. We'll see what happens.  It is possible that I or my companion will have changes. But I should know before I skype you tomorrow, so I'll let you know. I wish I could say more to you guys, but my mind is now empty of other things. Mom, I love you. Happy Mothers day!! I miss you guys, but not too much. Just enough to want to find families here! I love you guys and I will see you tomorrow!

Love, Elder Andreasen

P.S.-- Mom, it might be time for me to get a new watch... this one is kind of beat up and gross. Also if you could get me a small english hymnbook, that would be great. Hymns are good in spanish, but there is a marked difference. There was a sacrament talk about developing our talents and I have seen that I am not singing enough. Other than that, I think I am good, but remember not to send to the old office address anymore. Send to the post office address. Love you!

May 5th 2014

Good Morning guys!!!!!!

This week was a good one. The definite highlight was the multizone we had on wednesday. It was awesome. President talked about the Jews and the six hundred and something rules they had with the law of Moses and how those rules prevented them from really progressing because they were "compelled in all things". He then took a page that had the 73 additional mission rules on it and ripped it to pieces. He said that when he arrived to the mission, they needed those rules, but now those rules only prevent us from doing good things of our own will and being obedient because we understand why we need to. So now our only rules are the missionary manual rules. It was awesome. I had felt that way my whole mission. But now we can really be free to choose. We can not live below the higher law.  In other news, we had a few small miracles happen this week. We are currently teaching several  people with drinking problems. I know....but unfortunately they are the ones who are more inclined to listen to us. One is named Wilfredo. He has gone 3 weeks without drinking. But he couldn't read very well without glasses, and couldn't read the book of Mormon. We had been thinking about how to get him glasses or if we should just buy him some (he doesn't have money to buy them), and this week we found a pair in our house. They didn't belong to anyone, and we just found them in a random place. He came to church this week, along with 2 other investigators and an 18 year old inactive member who was baptized as a child and left the church years ago. We had a very powerful lesson with him this week, we read in the Book of Mormon (the Spirit told me in the moment EXACTLY where to read with him) and he committed without hesitation to come to church with us. When we arrived at his house, he was ready. Also a few funny things happened. I got attacked by a dog, but I smacked it in the face with my agenda and it went to the ground as if I had hit it with a right cross. Also, Elder Hamilton is super scared of snakes and spiders and as we were walking, he almost stepped on a tarantula, and later a snake. He FREAKED out. It was hilarious. Anyway, have a great week dudes. Im out of time. Love you

Elder Andreasen

April 28th
Another tough week. But that is how it goes. We have a bunch of things we need to improve and change and evolve and we really need to find more people to teach. This week we have had ups and downs. Our investigator marvin drank again, our less active Luis didn't come to church, William and July didn't come either and we havent been able to visit them in the last week and a half. We did have a new guy come to church, his name is Jose. He is a friend of a member, and he is more or less positive. We also found a few others in the week, but there is no real news (except one of our  investigators read up until half of Alma in just a few days). I am pretty sure he was while he was reading, but his wife and daughter are really great and they really want us to be able to help him. They are currently not receiving us, but there is the possibility there.
 Like I said about Luis, he didnt come to church even though he told us he would... and he is still not really wanting to live the gospel. We were a little bit firm and told him that we love him and we want him to be happy again and such, but we will have to see how he chooses to act. 2 Nephi 2 has been a kick in the teeth to me this week. People have agency, and they have EVERYTHING that they need to make good decisions but they DONT. And they let themselves be 'things to be acted upon' by their own circumstances that they have built for themselves and they just complain but dont help themselves or let themselves be helped. and it is FRUSTRATING! But we do have a few really positive people. One young couple, Reyna y mauricio, are so awesome. Her dad was super positive, but last night he told us not to talk anymore about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or anything. He has had a ton of questions, but he has taken all of them to his pastor, and obviously is not getting any help there. I helped him to notice that he is putting his trust in this pastor and not in the Lord, but he doesnt want anything. But Reyna blew up and chewed him out about his stupidity and about his hard-heartedness and after a few minutes of that, he just got up and left. It was pretty powerful, but now they are fighting in the family and that sucks. But she loves us and so does mauricio, so we are going to keep working with them. They really are great and they have a little baby that is sooooo cute. Every time I see a cute little kid I always tell Elder hamilton that I am going to take them with me. He gets a kick out of that. Anyway, I love you guys. I love our family. I love living the gospel. I love that we avoid the problems of the world because the Lord's restored gospel provides the path that leads to the tree of life. I wish more people would open their hearts to it so that God could help them to turn things around. I am so grateful for how everything has worked out in my life, and I know that obedience has almost EVERYTHING to do with it. Thank you for teaching me to be good. I love you dudes, and I will see you in a bit. Mothers day!!

Love, Elder Andreasen

April 21st 

Hey guys!!

This week was a LONG one. We've been having some struggles with our investigators, we only found 2 new investigators this week, and we dropped half of our baptismal dates. We're still teaching them, but we just need to put new dates with them. But it has been a rough week. The highlight of the week was that we had interviews with President Glazier. I LOVE PRESIDENT GLAZIER!! But basically we only get 15 minutes with him for interviews. I asked about receiving personal revelation. He showed me some really cool quotes and asked me to sum it up all up in one word. I said "experience". He said "practice". He said it is like shooting free-throws. You've got to shoot a few thousand of them to really get good. When we finished I gave him a hug and told him that I had many more questions that I had wanted to ask him. He said that I did ask him a few good ones. I then told him that I had told Elder Hamilton "The man I want to talk to for 3 hours only has 15 minutes to chat with me". President then asked me, "Elder, if you had 3 hours to talk to me and ask me all of your questions, how self-sufficient would you be?". He is right. I need to learn to find answers to my own questions, and every few months if there is something that I can't figure out, I can ask in my 15 minutes. But that was the last interview that I will have with him. So sad today :(  But hopefully I will be able to see him after the mission. Anyway, we also chatted with Hermana Glazier about the Book of Mormon. She bore really powerful testimony about the power of that book and invited us to read it every day of our lives until we DIE. She said that the times are coming when every family that is not based on the testimony of Christ that the Book of Mormon provides will fall, even some of "the elect". So lets get based on that testimony!!

Anyway, I had a really cool experience with a less active member. We saw a picture of him drinking, so we had an intervention-type lesson about the word of wisdom. I felt so clearly guided by the Spirit in that lesson as we talked to him about repentance and about forgiveness, and he just took it all in. He also gave us all of the coffee (here it is sold in single use little packets that you just dissolve in water) that he had in the house and we got rid of it. He is a great guy. He lived in the States for a long time and then they deported him. That was one of those "free-throw" experiences that I really needed to kickstart my learning about revelation. Anyway, we started the Book of Mormon this week with the plan to finish before the day President Glazier leaves. You can join in if you want. 8ish pages a day.

Love you guys. Chat with you next week! 

Elder Andreasen

April 14th
Hey guys!!

I always feel like so much happens in a week, but when I sit down to write, nothing come to my mind...Luckily I have written a few things down that I wanted to tell you. Firstly, I have been a little bit sick lately.... Not like in my first area or anything, but I have been just a tad under the weather. And this past weekend, we fasted. Fasting here is really hard. Like REALLY hard. So after church we quickly went home and ended the fast and went to lunch. And for some reason or another, Elder Hamilton and I both got pretty sick fairly quickly. We went back to the house, and I thought I was going to throw up, but I couldn't. I wanted to with all of my soul because I felt so sick. But no luck. So we ended up laying down for a while, but then we decided we had to go out and go to our appointments. We walked around with NO success in getting into even one house until 7:30. We had set high goals for the day because we thought that the fast would help us to do lots in the day. Nothing. But, we saw the blessing in the 7:30 appointment. We visited a young couple that has a baby, and the Dad of the young woman. We taught the first lesson, and it was great. They understood everything, they listened to us, and we invited them to be baptized. The Dad and the young man said yes without hesitation. The young woman didn't say anything. But then her dad started talking to her about how much she needs this and how much he had been looking for this because he wanted her to find religion, and he basically told us about her worries and needs, and he convinced her to accept the baptismal date. So in one appointment, we had 3 new investigators and 3 new baptismal dates. Which was definitely the blessing we needed, because yesterday we also dropped 3 of our baptismal dates (we are still working with them, but we feel that we should not count them as baptismal dates anymore). So that was pretty incredible. The Lord can do more in one appointment than we can in a whole day's work, and the blessing came after we showed that we were willing to work the whole day for one appointment. We left that appointment feeling very excited and very grateful. In other news, we should be having a baptism not this saturday, but the next. She is the daughter of a less active family that we are working with. They have been coming to church and even came to general conference, so we are working hard there! Hopefully I'll be sending those pictures in a few weeks. DAD - write me about stuff you learned in your mission, or about preach my gospel stuff that you are learning. Mom did last week and it was awesome. Keep me pumped! Help me to find things that maybe I am not seeing. And send me a picture of the jag! I'll probably be sending a more detailed account of the proceedings of our area in a handwritten letter because I will be able to have the area book there to remind me of all that is going on. Love you guys! Stay out of trouble, Alix. President Glazier challenged us to finish the Book of Mormon before he leaves. You guys should too. Especially you, Alix. I wish I would have read it more before I left. Time is a very big limiting factor now. Do good things this week! And I'll see you in two!

Elder Andreasen

April 7th 2014

Hey Guys,
So, I'm back! What a quick 3 months... It all goes quickly now. Which is not so much fun when you feel like you still have a lot to learn and a lot to do and not so much time to do it. But that's life. So now I am in Occidental, a ward in the hot, eastern part of El Salvador. Temperatures have been over 40 degrees celcius, which is kind of a big deal here. HOT. But the people are more or less receptive and we just have to work like crazy to get this area opened up. We don't have many investigators yet, but we do have 7 baptismal dates. they aren't all super sure dates, but we are going to work like dogs to get them to keep commitments and gain testimonies. There aren't many members in our area either, active or inactive. So we are breaking new ground and hopefully the missionaries in this area in 5 years will have a lot more to work with. This week Elder Villalobos went off to Usulutan and I got a new companion; Elder Hamilton. He is from Napa, another californian. He has only been here in this area a few days, but we are already up and running(ish). We just need to find a new house for us because we are living in a room in another companionships house... We moved our beds into the kitchen because the room we were in was just WAY TOO HOT! But last week we found a young couple, William and July (gringo names, right?) and they are great! they accepted baptismal dates in the first visit and said that they would come to church. They ended up having to leave town to go pick up their kid so they didn't come, but they are set for next week. They are our most positive investigators, along with the cousin of a member, who is an alcoholic who was deported from the States, but who is pretty positive and just needs a little bit of stability in his life. He also has a baptismal date for the 17th of May. We found a man named Jose Leonidas Diaz who is also super positive. He says that he is a man of little faith, but because he sees that religions have made sacred things normal and don't really focus on the faith of their members. So he is learning and progressing. I don't have any more time, so I'm going to finish here. We now have an hour to write, but I had to respond to birthday wishes. Love you guys! Have a great week! See you in two!


Brady Ross, I mean Elder Andreasen

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