Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First Week in Vegas!

Hello! This is the first letter we received from Melissa in Vegas!

I am here! I made it alive!

Describe Vegas in one word, you ask?


Describe Vegas in two words, you ask?


My feet get burnt when I walk on the pavement. Like I'm sitting in a library right now and my feet are still on fire from when I walked outside 20 minutes ago. Ok, that was a little dramatic. But still. You get the point.

I know that the Lord loves me. Want to know why I know that? Well because he knew that I did all the stretching I could do regarding companions at least at this point in time and he blessed me with Sister Dewey. I absolutely love her! She is from all over the place..she moved a lot as a child- so she doesn't claim any particular place as home. She is 22 and graduated from BYU. And she is a cute little red-head. And she has been out for 9 months. She loves fitness and sports and has a great personality and a similar sense of humor. This morning we went to the store to get food and we both reached for the same cereal to buy- Great Value Raisin Bran. We are going to get along just fine.

I am currently in the Spring Mountain Zone in Las Vegas! We are the 4th double transferred missionaries to this ward this year. (It essentially means "White-washing" but the last elders were actually really awesome, so they left on good terms. But apparently the ones before them, weren't super awesome so we have some work to do to build the members trust) We are also the first Sister missionaries in this ward for like 7 years! Everyone in the ward is excited to have sisters.

Also, people in Vegas LOVE the missionaries. Well at least the ward members do. Like I'm basically guaranteed to have dinner appointments every single night. And if you don't then..well that's kind of awkward, because then they probably don't like you. ;) So I had my first dinner appointment last night with the P's. They are really cool. Their daughter entered the MTC the same day as me, but she is still there because she is going to the Philippines.

So in addition to making dinner, the P's sent us home with a whole EXTRA plate of food and dessert. So when the Elder's came to drop off our luggage at our house that night, we made them eat the desserts. Apparently that is standard practice- to send missionaries off with extra food...I don't want to get fat.

Speaking of "our house," we live at a member's home. But the members don't even live there. Like apparently they live there only a couple weeks out of the year, so essentially we have a two-story house all to ourselves. Super nice. Although when we first walked into the house, it was a sauna because they haven't lived there in a while and the AC was off. So we cranked that baby up. Also, we almost died, because the gas burner of the stove was on (but no fire) when we came in and we didn't realize it until later. So it probably had been on for a while. But we kept commenting on how the house smelled weird and then we finally figured out what it was.

So I wrote a hand-written letter that the mission office will be sending, so I don't want to repeat anything that'll be in that letter. But be expecting it- and a picture with me and the mission presidents- the Ahlanders- sometime this week.

But the airplane ride was pretty quick. We got picked up and then shipped to the mission home via mother van style.

President Ahlander and I got to meet before I met my new companion and he said that I have a special personality that draws people in. He said to keep smiling and relax and everything will be good.

So they sent all the new missionaries to wait in the chapel behind the closed giant slidey door thingys and then they would announce the new missionaries one-by-one to their new companion. Then the AP's would swing open the doors and you'd walk out and people would clap and cheer and you'd meet your new companion. I felt like I was in the Hunger Games or something. Except no one killed me.

I got to meet Elder Ringer who is a good friend from BYU's older brother. That was exciting. He said he was looking out for me, because she warned him of my impending arrival. He leaves this week though so that was the only time I'd see him.

Funny story about the package(s). Everyone was freaking out because I had 4 packages. Like people kept coming up to me and saying "Are you Sister Andelin?" "Yes" "Well people sure do love you, because you have a bunch of packages." Anyways, little did they know that 2 of them were just sheets and a blanket and a pillow. (Which I'm still grateful for though).Thank you Louisa the package! I absolutely LOVE the shirt you sent me and also the food items and pen and your mailing address card- you're such a cutie. Also, I'd ask for your old email, but by the time I write again, it'll pretty much be time to send it to your mission email. BUT THANK YOUUUUUUUUU. Also, thank you MacKay's for the package! Karen- the cookies were scrumptious. And I loved the mints, Swedish fish, and nail polishes! Also, Laurie, that's awesome about Thomas! I'm so proud of him! Man, I have such talented cousins!

Thank you everyone for letters, emails, and packages. They mean so much to me and I really do read all of the letters and try to respond to them.

Good luck Mark ;) Go get 'em, er... I mean her ;)

We have a couple of appointments set up to meet with the Bishop and Relief Society president. We are waiting to hear back from the ward mission leader. Also, we have our first appointment with the R's. From what I understand, she is a former member and wants to be rebaptized. Her husband isn't a member and is interested in joining the church. But the elder's haven't had much success because their appointments fall through a lot. But I have faith that they'll keep their appointment with the sisters :)

Here are a bunch of pics. Um they're pretty self explanatory, except for the random van. That was a random van I saw this morning on the way to Smiths. And then I took a picture.

Funny story- so I just heard a phone ringing and it has your same ring tone Mumma. So I thought that was funny. And then I realized it was coming from my bag- I forgot that I have a mission phone now.

Also they might potentially start letting the sister missionaries wear sandals in this mission. Pray really hard that they do indeed decide to do this :)

Also, I probably won't end up riding a bike. Which I'm a little disappointed by. Except I wouldn't want to ride it in the summer, because it's too hot right now.

Also, what is Rachel Fairholms email?

Also, Megan, I forgot to mention this in the other letter, but I tried your door approach on one of my MTC teachers. This is how it went.

<Knock Knock>

"Hi, we have a question to ask you."
"Um, ok?"
"Do you know the gestation period of a giraffe?"
"Uh.. no..."
"18 months! That's just as long as we will be serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."
<Door Slam>

She didn't find it funny. But our district did. :)

I love you all! Keep making good decisions and do what is right. I know that is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only way we have a chance for salvation.

Sister Andelin (I'm still getting used to that)

The seating on the plane was done by alphabetical order... so that
means both the Andelins got to sit next to each other!

~Whale Trainer Taylor


MTC Week!

                Hello everyone! It's Taylor. Melissa has allowed (and trusted) me to update her blog and Facebook while she is away on her mission in Las Vegas! Melissa went into the MTC on June 19th and left on July 1st! This is the first letter she sent to us:

Wow! It has been a whirlwind of crazy here at the MTC!
Firstly, I would just like to thank everyone that wrote me/sent me packages this past week! I have the best family and friends in the world and I feel so supported and loved. My district is convinced that I have tons of boyfriends ;)  

Let me now describe what the MTC is like. I like to think of it as a spiritual bootcamp. I feel like I've been emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained, but only to be emotionally, physically, and then spiritually revived. Missionary work is all about selflessness. Forgetting yourself and getting to work. Yes Mumma, I am getting up on time every morning- I'm like super tired every day though and I pray for energy lots. Also, Jiffer was 100% spot on. The food here completley messes with your digestive system. I probably spend an average of an hour and a half in the bathroom on an average day. I actually think I've been losing weight, because I can't keep anything down. 

Um my district is a total of 8 people. None are from Utah. We are all going to the same mission. We are all a bunch of crazies. I've come to realize they send the crazy kids to stateside english speaking missions. I'm trying so hard to learn patience. Funny story here- Elder Howard is one of my zone leaders. One day, I was upset and was crying (we had a really unproductive first TRC) anyways he looked at me and said. "Wow. Sister Andelin, you look like a hot mess." Our district leader, Elder Lahti, got mad and came over and said "Elder Howard that was really inappropriate and flirtatious. Don't do that again." And then they started to argue. Elder Howard said "I don't see how that was inappropriate. Look at her. Her face is all red and she is crying and she looks like a hot mess." It was kind of hilarious.
Oh! I got to meet my mission president! He and his wife are incredible. You were right Mumma! They are entirely perfect for me. They have the perfect combination of love, humor, and good-naturedness while still stressing obedience. I got to hug my mission mother, Sister Ahlander and I know that I will be taken such good care of during my mission. They go down to Vegas today and we will be their first set of missionaries- they said we will be their favorites ;) Sis Ahlander is really excited to cook us a nice big breakfast for when we come. Speaking of, we leave THIS MONDAY!!!! Super early in the morning-- like 4am-ish. There are 21 of us.

I see Hyrum all the time, by the way! I stinkin' love him. He gave me a blessing earlier this week. I love him and am so grateful we are going to the same mission. Cool side note- Hyrum's companion is Elder Hartsock. His older brother plays basketball for BYU and when he gets back he is going to play as well. He is 6'8!

Also, so part of the reason I LOVE the MTC is because I have seen over 20 people here from BYU or home or for other weird connections. 

Well I'm running out of time. AAAHHHH! Um so I was not actually in the conference at all. They wouldn't let me join the choir because it was too big. I was there...just never on camera. I wore my blue suit and a pink shirt. :) It was such a cool conference!!!

Thanks for the cookies Mumma! 

I know that this is the restore gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the Atonement is real and He can help fix us. I love missionary work!
Sorry this is so scattered and such. Hopefully the letters will get better.
I love you all!
-Sister Andelin

Here are the pictures she sent to us in the email:

here is a name pronunciation chart i made for the missionaries in my district

Elder and Sister Andelin

me and my companion

me and sister roberts--she just left for france

~Whale Trainer Taylor