Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sister Andelin's July Letters

Hello everyone! This is Taylor, Melissa's younger brother. Here are Sister Andelin's last 4 letters.

Hello From P-Day



(Please sing that to the popular High School Musical song)

SO. Where to begin.

Firstly, I really wish I had more time to write emails. We only have an hour each Monday. And I wish I could write more meaningful letters with stuff. But I'll keep trying to send at least one picture every week and a letter.

Also, the key to our mailbox doesn't work, so I haven't gotten any physical letters at all this week. Not that I'm expecting to actually have gotten physical letters, but at least if the key worked, I would know I hadn't gotten any physical letters, instead of just daydreaming about the mounds of mail sitting all alone in my mailbox, unread. Depressing. I don't know how we're going to go about fixing that either. (Prayers haven't worked...yet)

So I find myself once again sitting in the public library. But today there are over 20 missionaries here. Super awesome...I'm pretty sure LDS missionaries are the only reason public libraries are still  in existence. Or at least, they are their most frequent visitors on Mondays. But I just ran into an MTC buddy- Elder Mosquito- and so that was exciting to see a familiar face.

I am in the Southern Highlands ward.

July 4th was a fun day. We ate dinner with members, but had to be home by 6 because we didn't have anywhere else to go and that's a rule on holidays. BUT IT WAS AWESOMEEEE because there is a baby mountain behind our house that overlooks the city of Vegas and we hiked up it and sat there for a good 30 minutes and watched TONS of fireworks. So we had our own little party. It was also precious b/c Sister Dewey and I wore red, white, and blue all that day. And the patriotic necklaces and bracelets you gave us Mumma- which thanks by the way.I loved the package. WEEEEEE

Let's see. Want to know what I learned this week? Any disillusionment I might have previously had about missionary work is now gone. Missionary work, is just that- work. Hard work. We get lots of people that shut the door in our faces. So my comp and I are going to start a competition to see who can smile the longest at doorsteps.  

This past week, since we are both new, we have been going around to less actives homes and also to houses that the Relief Society president gave us and really just trying to get to know the area. We actually have a couple of appointments this week...if people keep them. I'm excited to start teaching.

Yesterday was our first Sunday. The ward is very small. But the members within the ward are very strong. The members are so good to us and just solid families. We just need them to trust us and give us referrals. Yesterday, I bore my testimony about an experience that happened earlier this week. So my comp and I had decided to climb the baby mountain behind our house. (We named it Andelidewey). What we didn't realize, was that there was a giant death pit of rocks in front of it. So we had to carefully climb over the rocks and not die. Then we climbed the mountain. Once we got to the top, we realized that there was a narrow cement path along the rocks. So I related this to life. It wasn't until we had reached higher ground, that we realized the way. And then I bore my testimony about how God loves all of His children and wants them all to know about the cement path. I said how so many of our brothers and sisters are slipping among the rocks, because they don't know there is a path. And then I said that because we have the greater knowledge, we have the greater responsibility to share that with others. And the best way is through missionary and member efforts combined.

I love you all.

The gospel is true. God loves each and every one of His children. Missionary work is the Lord's work. 

Give referrals to your local missionaries. Stop being scaredy cats. Pray about who would be willing to hear about the gospel and get an answer and then give it to the missionaries. People won't be offended if you're doing it with the love of Christ and with the love of them in mind.

Me being all patriotic

My comp and I being all patriotic

Hyrum and I at a new missionary meeting this past Friday

Hello From The Sister Elder

Being a missionary is very interesting. Especially being a sister missionary.

We're still kind of a novelty, even here in Las Vegas. Because of that, many people don't know what to call us. We've been called "elders." Last night for dinner, a little boy was blessing the food. In his prayer he was thankful that the "sister elders" could come over. Some people know that we're called sisters but have never seen any before. At church, a boy came up to us and said "Woah! I've never seen sister missionaries before!" So we introduced ourselves and shook his hand and then we said "Well now you have!" But I love it. I also love all of the parents that bring their little girls up to us and introduce them to us and then proceed to tell their little girls that one day they can be a sister missionary, too.

As a missionary, you're always being watched. We were visiting an older lady in our neighborhood who said she had seen us earlier in the week, walking down the street. A parent told us that he was telling his son in church that the sister missionaries were wearing red and blue shirts. In one sense or another, you're always under the public radar and you're actions are being scrutinized. I guess it comes from wearing a badge. The ultimate badge with Jesus Christ's name on it. It makes me want to "try a little harder, to be a little better" or for my purpose be  a lot better.

Good news. This girl with a badge can now receive mails! I was so elated to open the mailbox and get letters! They weren't even hypothetical letters- they were tangible, sweet paper letters. So if for any reason my telling you last week that we couldn't get mail, discouraged you from sending any more, please reconsider! ;)

         I want to share now a really cool story. Before I begin though, I want to share this scripture. It's 3rd Nephi 18:32. (You should look it up) But basically, it's about never giving up on anyone, because we don't know when their hearts will be changed. This happened to me last night. But also I should probably share a little more background information. Sister Dewey and I have so many lists. Lists of ward members- actives, less actives, part member families. Lists that the relief society president gave us of people to visit. Old lists. New lists. Lists. Lists. Lists. (That word looks really weird right now)

So a couple of days ago, I decided to consolidate our many lists into one- a "People we want to visit" list. On that list, was obviously people that we want to visit. But I gleaned information from all of the other lists to make this list. On one of the lists from the RS president, were people who didn't want any missionaries coming to their homes. So I wouldn't put those people on my list. After a good lengthy amount of time, I had a beautiful list organized by neighborhoods and areas, so that we could quickly visit everyone we wanted to visit according to their location. Well there was a less active family we set out to see last night after dinner. No one answered. Sister Dewey suggested that we use my handy list and visit the other 2 families in that particular neighborhood. So we went to the other street with the intention to visit the other 2 people.

We knock on door #1. At first no answer. We waited a little bit and then heard footsteps. And then the unlocking of the door (which actually took like 3 minutes because there were 3 locks on the door and she was having a difficult time opening it. It was funny.) Out came a friendly lady. She started friendly conversation, but didn't seem to want to let us in. After a minute or so though, she offered us water. In Las Vegas no one declines water. Especially missionaries. So she invites us in. We get to talking. I actually was able to use Grandpa in this story. I told her how I had just lost him. But I knew I'd see him again. Then she started opening up to us. She has lost 4 loved ones in the past year and a half. Her mother, brother, sister-in-law, and grandma. She started crying. Her whole family is LDS. She grew up LDS, but left the church when she was a young adult. She hasn't been active for over 20 years. She called herself the "black sheep of the family." (She had an excellent sense of humor) This is her second marriage- he is Catholic. But he is actually against our faith. She regrets that her children don't even know about our religion. She knows she needs to come back, but she hasn't had the courage to do so. She told us that she doesn't feel worthy of God's love. She has made too many mistakes, she thinks. I told her that it is never too late to come back. I bore my testimony that she is always worthy to pray and that her soul is precious to God.

I shared the D&C scripture about the worth of souls. She said that she always turns missionaries away. In fact, she called to tell the ward that she doesn't want missionaries to come over. Come to find out, she was on that list that the RS president gave us and sure enough, it said "No missionaries" on it. But when I was making that list, I either didn't see that or forgot. (Both of which are very likely possibilities considering my weakness of both forgetfulness and clumsiness.) But God was looking out for her. I asked her why she let us in when she had turned away other missionaries. She said that it was partially because of this time in her life when she has lost so many loved ones and also because it was sister missionaries. Before we left, we had a chance to pray together. She was hesitant at first, because we asked if she would like to offer the prayer. But then she accepted the invitation and she offered a beautiful heartfelt prayer. I could see in her a desire to change. She said she is tired of how she is living and she wants to come back.

We are excited to work with her. After we left, I was in awe- I didn't even know what to say- I  was at a loss for words. I know Heavenly Father wanted us to be in her house last night. This is truly the Lord's work. It is moments like these that make all of the hard times worth it. They overshadow everything else.

This truly is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It brings so much happiness to my life and I love being a missionary.
Sister Andelin

These are my lovely ankles that have yummy blisters and sores all over them <3 Sympathy picture? Why yes of course.

A Time Of Miracles

Thanks for sharing about Grandpa's funeral. That must have been really special. Did Grandma get my letter in the mail?

Don't have too much fun at the beach without me. Take lots of pictures and send them to me. Was Ty able to go to the beach?

One of the many blessings of being a missionary, is being able to witness miracles happen all the time and I feel privileged to be a part of it. It just gets reaffirmed and reaffirmed to me that this is God's work and he is very aware of all of His children.

I should now like to share with you one of those miracles that happened this past week. My companion, Sister Dewey, had a training meeting she had to go to on Friday, so we did exchanges with some sisters from Pahrump. So I was companions with Sister Baker for a day. We went to some LA's and did some visits. After leaving one of the homes, I was at a loss of what to do. (We may or may not have planned out the day the night before....the other sisters stayed the night at our house Thursday night so we were distracted...stop judging me ;) ) And the most logical thing for a missionary to do is obviously to pray. So Sister Baker and I pulled to the side of the road and prayed to know where to go next. Not more than twenty seconds later the name "Madelyn Smith" (It really wasn't Madelyn Smith, I just changed it. Also this is my shout out to Delsa. Hello.) came to my mind so clearly. I wasn't even sure if a Madelyn Smith existed, let alone was in our ward list.

So I turned to Sister Baker and said, "The name Madelyn Smith came to mind. I don't even know if this person exists, but I'll check it out." Sure enough, I open the list and read "Madelyn Smith- letter only." Granted, I probably had skimmed her name before, but she wasn't on our list of people to go see so I was surprised to read her name. But when you get a prompting, you ACT.

So we went over to Madelyn's house. We didn't have the gate code, but someone pulled up behind us and typed in the code (Funny side note: Almost every community here in Vegas is gated..even the trailer parks. Ironic?) Well turns out the car behind us that let us in was Madelyn's daughter KP (also not her name. Hi KP!). We caught KP in like a 2 minute window of time because she was just returning to her house and was about to leave to go dog sit. Anyways we get out of the car and start talking to KP. Her best friend, Mel (not her real name. Hi self.) was with her. So we get to talking to KP and Mel. KP's grandma is an active member. Her mother has been baptized but is not active and KP has not been baptized. She is interested in learning more. Anyhew, we set up an appointment to start teaching KP and Mel this Tuesday. It was just an overall really cool experience that strengthened my testimony that this is God's work and he is very aware of each one of his children.

Well...that is all I can think of at the moment. I hope everyone is doing swell. Does anyone have any burning questions they want to ask me? I'm pretty much an open book..... Ummmm... I ate way too many cookies last night. Oh I have a bizone activity today and we are playing basketball. That should be fun. Again, don't have too much fun at the beach without me.

I am grateful to be serving as a full time misisonary here in Las Vegas, Nevada--the devil's backyard-- I mainly say that because it is just so stinkin' hot here. But in all seriousness, I love being a missionary and never want to come home. You look at people differently as a missionary. You look at the world differently. You look at yourself differently. And I never want to lose that. I suppose there is a time and a season for everything though and soon enough 18 months will come and go. I'll just make the most of the short time I've got.

Sad news...appartently your MTC time doesn't count towards your mission time for stateside, english speaking sisters and so I am going to miss 2 Christmases. My tentative time to come home is December 30th. So I'll miss Christmas by  days. I wonder if they'll change that though for my transfer....

The card reader isn't working..so no pictures this week. Sorry.

I love you all.
Sister Andelin

Warriors for Christ

I enjoyed seeing all of the beach and funeral pictures. All of the nieces and Ryan look so big! I've only been gone 6 weeks and they look like they've already grown so much. That makes me happy that Lexi misses Meme. Give all of them a big hug and kiss from me. I miss being able to snuggle with kids and babies.

HOLY COW MUMMA! You are disappearing away! You look so good! Can you fit into my clothes yet?

So this is crazy news...I might be training next transfer. I don't exactly know how I will, because I won't even have finished my own training. But we have a large batch of sisters coming out and they need a newbie to train. And when the President said that people will be training sooner than they think, he glanced over in my direction. And my trainer and another sister were speculating that it'll probably be me. Meh. I don't really even feel prepared at all. And I'll miss Sister Dewey, but I'm just going to trust in the Lord and that he knows best and not worry about it because it isn't even definite.

Some interesting things happened this past week.

First off, tomorrow two elders from my zone- Elder Short and Elder Hunsaker- and I are singing a really cool acoustic version of "Brightly beams our Father's Mercy" for our opening of our district meeting. It actually sounds really sweet and I'm excited. They both have really nice voices, hopefully I don't detract from it too much ;) (They needed an alto and I think I'm the only one who sings alto in our zone. Our zone has four sisters by the way.)

Now let me explain why my subject for this week, is what it is.

Last week, we were visiting some less actives. On our way to our next visit, we saw a guy out washing his car. Naturally, we went up to him and started talking. He said "I know a little about your church." We said "Oh really? Well tell us what you know." He proceeded to tell us- he actually knew a decent amount. Then he said "But what makes your church different?" So we explained and had the opportunity to teach him some stuff. Afterwards he said "Alright, what do ya have to give me? You've got some stuff? Pamphlets? A book?" So we give him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet. He was a super cool guy- really friendly and nice. He told us he had been feeling spiritually empty lately. We invited him to church- he said he wanted to come. Then he starts getting pumped and says "You girls, you girls are warriors. You are warriors for Christ in a war against evil. Every time you knock on someone's door, you are fighting in this war. Now I don't want you girls to go home and cry because I'm scaring you." At this point he is pacing back and forth, and he is a stocky guy. We reply "Oh no, you're not scaring us, you're pumping us up! Keep going!" So he continues on his little tirade. He says "You know all these people want to go to Africa and stuff and save people, but they aren't even willing to go to their next door neighbor and talk about Christ." Next ward mission leader? I think yes.

I've had some other really cool experiences talking to random people. One of the guys we talked to, his son is dating a girl in our ward. We had a really good discussion with him. He said "My address __________. But don't stop by." So we were like "Oooookay." Then he said "I have a really sweet dog. She loves people and is so kind. (Pause) But she eats Mormon missionaries." We told him he did a dangerous thing by giving us his address.

Also, the girl I was telling you about that is moving to Portland Oregon... SHE ISN'T MOVING ANYMORE! We stopped by her house and she decided to stay with her mom here. And so I think we are going to get to teach her!!! I am so super duper excited.

I'm excited to get the shoe cleaner, shoe laces (Way to go Nordstrom!), and Ipod. Speaking of the ipod, there is a really cool CD I'd like..it's called "Lower Lights" and it has cool church music. Do you think you could order that for me and any other cool music? It gets pretty boring listening to the same 5 CDS for 6 weeks. And did I tell you how I only have to have the ipod cord?

I've really strengthened my testimony of the power of fasting. The power of the fast is real. Personal revelation is real. God wants to answer our prayers, although it isn't usually the way we want him to answer them.

I love you all so much! Thanks for all the support!
-Sister Andelin

There was a really cool lightning storm one night, so we
climbed on top of a wall outside of our house and watched it

 A new definition to "feasting" on the word of God

We didn't actually knock on the door. But I wanted to SO bad

--- Whale Trainer Taylor

~ Smells