Wednesday, September 25, 2013


 Did the subject catch your attention. It sure caught mine.

On Saturday, I received a call from the APs. They informed me that Sister Thornock and I are not getting transferred.

The end.


There is more.

We're staying. But our car is transferring!

Yup. That's right, folks! Sister T and I are going on the bicycles.

The problem was/is we don't have any bikes.


We're pretty stoked to go though. It's gonna be a fun, new adventure. Skirts and bikes probably aren't the best combo. But we'll figure it out. In fact we have to figure it out, because there aren't any other sister missionaries in our mission on bikes, so we have no one to seek for advice. We are the guinea pigs. The experimenters. Pioneers. Explorers. I know that there are other sisters on bikes in other missions, but not here! We're pretty excited.

No one really believed us when we told them, too. And then when they finally recognized that we weren't joking they were really surprised.

Alas. The bike dilemma. So we aren't sure how long we'll be on bikes, so we don't want to spend a lot of money on a bike. Luckily, our ward is awesome and we have found two different bikes we can borrow in the mean time.

But Mumma, could you see if you can find any bike clips online? We're going to check out Wal-Fart today.

Another crazy story. I am in need of pepper spray. It is sketchy here sometimes. We had an investigator tell us that he wanted to see Sister Thornock again and that he was sorry for being so honest. The problem is, he is in his 40s. We called our ZLs to see what we should do and they were like "Don't go over there again!" The investigator said he was just trying to be funny. But...I dunno.

Not just with him, but I hate creepy old men. There are a lot of them here in Vegas. And they wink at you. It gives me the "hee bee gee bee's" (spelling?) So that is super frustrating. And that is how we came to the conclusion that we need pepper spray.

Shout out to Sister D! If you're reading this. Hello. :) The D's are still awesome as usual. They're getting baptized October 19th at 11am. They found out about the zoo last night and they're determined to come out to VA when I get home. I told them they could stay with us. Hopefully that's ok Mommy :) I really hope they do, though. I want yall to meet them. I love them so much. I don't know if I could love them any more than I do. We taught them about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy last night and Sister D exclaimed "Yes! This is so awesome! This is exactly what I wanted to hear! I've always wanted a family day!"

Also. Funny story. Today we went and helped a lady unload her moving truck. And I accidently broke this giant piece of glass that is for a table top. Oops. I stepped on it. I felt bad. But it was kind of funny.

Hmmm...well. I'll have to let you know next week if I like to ride a bike or not.

Hey is Justin's birthday October 8th?

Alright. I love you all. But I love the Lord more.

Sister Andelin
P.s. I tried a humidifier last night for the first time and it has helped me feel sooo much better today! My sinus's were like "BAM! Clear. Open." I don't think my body knows what to do without humidity.

More pics of loverly Zone

Spring Mountain Zone

Gorgeous sun set

There was a big drought and then magically one day, it rained. a lot. of letters.

His first time kneeling for prayer. Such a cutie. He is a member of the D family and is 2 years old

September 9

Patience, muchacho. Patience.
I need more patience. I need lots more patience. I need more patience for myself. I need more patience for everyone.  I need more patience for patience. Hopefully when I come home from my mission, I'll be the most patient person in the whole world. Okay I'm done talking about patience now.

Ok. Funny story time. Sooooo. We had our first baptism(s) this past week! In this email, I've included some pictures from it. It all went pretty well. Moana and Tala are a crack-up though. Moana got baptized first and as he was going into the font, Tala says to him- " Moana! Moana, is it cold? Is the water cold, Moana?" Everyone in the audience starts giggling. Then it comes time for her to go in and the first thing she does is let out a dramatic gasp and say "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! It is so cold! Ahh!" Leave it to Tala to provide the comedic relief at a baptism. Afterwards we were talking with them and I asked Moana if it was cold. He said "It was cold when I first got in, and then after I went under the water and came back up, I felt really warm." I then proceeded to tell him that he was feeling the Holy Ghost.
We officially got dropped by an investigator this week. That was an interesting experience. It made me sad. And it made me wonder if I could have done more- been a better teacher, follow the spirit more, ask better questions.
Something I'm learning- the spirit truly is the converting power in the gospel. It isn't visions. It isn't miracles. It isn't ourselves. It isn't the teacher. It is the spirit. There were plenty of people in the scriptures that saw visions or even had angels personally come to communicate with them and they still didn't believe. Even when Jesus Christ was here on the earth, people didn't believe in Him. Even when He was right there with them. Even when He was performing miracles. Teaching. Serving. People still didn't believe. It is the spirit that converts people. That is why the spirit is key to all things pertaining to the gospel. Otherwise, the gospel is mere information. If the spirit isn't involved in that learning process, people don't experience lasting conversion. It may be good information to them, but they need to feel the spirit to enable them to start on their process of conversion. Also, conversion isn't a single, isolated event. Or at least it shouldn't be. It needs to be a continuous personal conversion. Read Alma Chapter 5 sometime. It's a good self-checker to determine where you are currently at in your conversion journey.
Sorry this letter is short.
But I love you all.
Thanks for your love and support.
Sister Andelin

Cute Family

Tala, Me, Moana

The 3 missionaries who taught them. (I didn't realize I was in the middle until after the shot. Ooopsies)

Random nasty couch in desert.

September 3: The Thunder Rolls and The Lightning Strikes?

One thing I really miss in general, are natural disasters/ cool weather. I know that probably sounds odd, but the only thing Nevada gets are thunderstorms and rainstorms. When I first got here, people tried to warn me about driving in the rain. I laughed silently in my head because I grew up in VA, the mother of rain, second only to Portland Oregon. However, we have actually been getting some decent thunderstorms and rainstorms around here recently. And now I understand why rain actually is a hazard 'round these parts. Floods. Even if it rains for like 10 minutes, there is a flood somewhere. There is no where for the water to go- rocks don't absorb water. So flooding is actually an issue here. But so I've been kind of bummed that there is no potential for a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, snow, or pretty much anything else.

AND THEN- we were in an appointment Saturday afternoon. I get a phone call from R. He says "Hey, so my neighbors across the street..I'm pretty sure they're Mormon, because I've seen you both down at his house. Yea well his house just got struck by lightning and is on fire right now. There are about 6 firetrucks outside of his house. And I'm pretty sure he is out of town. I just thought I should let you know." Sure enough, we show up at the house, and it is the less active guy we've been trying to get a hold of for months now. We were prepared and had our handy dandy ward list with us and we approached the firemen. We told them that that house belonged to a member of our church and we had his phone number if they needed it. It turned out to be perfect, because the guy was out of town and the firefighters had no way to get in contact with him. Luckily, the house wasn't too bad. In fact, I think there was probably more water damage from the firetrucks, than frying from the lightning. We are hoping that maybe now, when he gets back in town, he will actually talk to us. Kinda crazy how that all turned out, huh?
The twins are getting baptized this weekend! YAY! We are super stoked.
I'm running out of time. jpioewrjpesjrspeorjkperkopeok.
Oh cool story- Elder Andersen is coming next Tuesday and is going to talk to both Vegas missions! YAY!
The house that got fried

Ice blocking with the zone yesterday---the 4 girls wanted to do a train

We failed

August 26: I Love My Mission!!!

Christa and Kp sent me--- beef jerky (of course), gum, ramen noodles, fruit snacks, letters, lotions, hand sanitizer, nail polish (super cute colors), and nail filer stuff. It was pretty much awesome.
Good luck to Jana and Ty. I'll keep them in my prayers.
Also, I should like some artwork from Ryan and Ashleigh and Addison sometime. And some more from Fae and Lexi. :) And just pictures. I like to get pictures because then I can put them on my wall of two pictures. 

For the first time in the past 8 weeks, I can honestly say:
I Love My Mission.
This realization dawned on me last night as I left the D home. It was like a burst of inspiration that came over me.
You see, I liked my mission before. It was good. But I finally can say-- I love my mission. And I don't love it because it's easy, because it sure as heck isn't easy. I don't love it because it's fun- even though it can be fun. I don't love it because there are so many rules- there are a lot of rules. I don't love it because of the location- most of the time it's just hot and dry and barren here. I love it because it's worth it. I love it because I get to help people. I love it because I can see how the gospel blesses families and individuals. I love it because I am a first hand witness of the power of the Atonement and of Jesus Christ. I love it because I am doing what I need to be doing right now. I love it because it's worth it.
So back to my realization. We had just had a wonderful dinner with the beautiful D family. The parents and the 5 kids and the mom's sister who was in town and Sister Thornock and I all sat around their dinner table and we enjoyed Armenian/Persian food. Afterwards we had a lesson. During the lesson their oldest 2 girls also expressed a desire to be baptized. So all those eligible in their family are going to be baptized. Together. Then the girls ran upstairs to go get something. They came back downstairs with two identical gift bags. Sister D had made both Sister Thornock and I a really cute gift bag with an assortment of things- shampoo, conditioner, lip gloss, toothpaste/toothbrush, a bookmark she had made, and some books. I just wanted to cry. It was so sweet. And for the first time with us, she prayed aloud. It was beautiful. And in the prayer she thanked the missionaries for helping her and her family in her life. I think I did start to tear up a little at that point. Then it came time for us to leave and the older two girls didn't want us to leave. So I just left their house and realized how blessed I am to be here in the Las Vegas West Mission, in the Spring Mountain Zone, in the Southern Highlands Ward, serving among wonderful children of God who have been prepared by the Lord and are ready to receive His word.
Yesterday in general was just a good day. Our new investigator R, came to church with us. He is the Warriors for Christ guy. He thoroughly enjoyed it. We have our first official appointment with him this week. A less active guy, T, came to church as well. And another lady we've been working with, that has some health issues, was able to make it to church as well. 
I want to tell you about the T family. We had an apt Monday night with a lady, but we show up and she isn't there. Surprise! That never happens. So on our way back to the car, we had parked further away, I see these two guys in their garage with the door up and they're just sitting there enjoying the cooler weather we've been having recently. We get in the car. I turn it around to leave. I have a feeling to go see those two guys. I pull a 180 and we get out of the car and proceed to go up to these guys. They're both Samoan and one is smoking. They've got beards and tats. I'm feeling a little intimated, but I preserve.
"Hello! Enjoying the nice weather out tonight?" -This comes out of my mouth
"Yup." -Him
"Are you Lakers fans?" (There is Lakers memorabilia all in the garage. See what I did there?)
"Yes. Hey we're Mormon! Don't mind our smoking." -Him
To my astonishment, they are both LDS- less active. But they had moved recently (approx. 6 months) from Hendersen and their names weren't on the official ward roll yet. So we get to talking with them about why they're not coming to church. That is a whole nother story, but anyways we commited Bro. T to coming to church and he did! Yay for spiritual promptings.
Training is going well. I think? I got a blessing from the ZL and that was really helpful. I'm just feeling stressed right now, because we are preparing 6 people for baptism and I've never done that before, so I just want to make sure they're ready.
Life is good. God is great. And the mission is crazy.
(It's a country song that I just modified and likened to myself.)
I love you all.
Thanks for all your love and support.
<3 Sister Andelin

Me and Sister T at Zone Conference

Me and the Mission President and His wifey

Me with the bag from Sis D

August 22: Temple Day!

Kristin Palmese and Christa Carle. Yall are great. Too great. I don't deserve you as friends. Thanks for the package. Made my day! :)

Yay! Everyone in the mission got to go to the temple this week. There are so many of us though that they had to divide the zones and assign them either Wednesday or Thursday for their temple day. It was such a blessing to go to the temple and it was so rejuvenating- just what I needed.
Transfers Day. I get a letter from the Thornocks from home. My new companion is Sister Thornock. Apparently they're not related. Crazy coincidence? Yes.
So my new companion's name is Sister Thornock. She is 19 yrs old and is from Michigan. She is the only girl in her family with four brothers. She is a gymnast and is really little and cute. She actually went to the zoo this past April-- isn't that crazy?! And she remembers seeing Dad. Her aunt lives in Richmond and knew what Dad looked like- sure enough he was wearing his typical safari hat.
We are faring pretty well here. It is so much harder when you are the senior companion and the trainer and you're supposed to know stuff and you're the one in charge of the area. A ward member put it pretty accurately when he said "It's the blind leading the blind." It's pretty much true though. Except I'm not completely blind. I still have 6 weeks under my belt ;)
Ok. Now let me tell you a funny story. So most of my zone is new this transfer. We had a lot of people transferred out and then in. So for District Meeting this week, our whole zone (20 missionaries) all went around and introduced ourselves and then said what our spirit animal is and why. (<---- Random, I know) So everyone takes a turn and introduces themselves and shares why they picked a particular animal. Then it gets to be my turn. I stand up and this is what comes out of my mouth:
"Hi I'm Sister Andelin. I'm from Southern Virginia and I've been out for a little over 6 weeks now. My spirit animal would have to be a pig.......because I like to eat."
Dead Silence.
People didn't know how to react to that. They're like "Oh my gosh, did a girl really just say that?" "Was she joking?" "Who is that chic?"
To answer that last question. Hello, my name is Melissa Andelin. I don't have a very good filter on my mouth and no real gauge of acceptable social statements, apparently. I really actually love to eat. In fact maybe it's a problem?
It's really fun to mess with elders, too,  because they're already so awkward around sister missionaries- sometimes to the point of dehumanization. (Ok- that's a little extreme) I  just like to add to that awkward as much as possible.

One night, I was laying in my bed pondering the deep questions of life. And then I started thinking about how a lot of members go on vacation and don't make an attempt to go to church wherever they are. (Maybe they forgot that it is a world-wide church?) And this is the little rhyme I came up with.
"If you vacation from salvation, you'll only get damnation."
Don't anyone steal that. I'm going to patent that jingle.
I just wanted to share that. It's pretty accurate though. Damnation means to halt spiritual progress. So when we stop going to church, we are stopping our spiritual progress.
Remember the D family? Remember how awesome they are? Yea, me too. They're still awesome. In fact, they want to be baptized! YAY! They are so cute. The wife told us "I really wanted to make you sisters a care package, but I ran out of time this week. What about food? Could we feed you sometime?" They're feeding us this Sunday night for dinner.
Life is still good here in Las Vegas. Working hard. Trying to channel my positive outlook. You know, that is something I've come to really understand. Life is all about what you make it. If you have a bad attitude about something, you're only going to make it worse by maintaining that attitude. You see, your attitude feeds on what you give it. Give it some positivity sometime. Try it. A little positivity can go a long way. You're spirituality is like that as well. Feed it good things- the word of God, prayer, Sabbath Day worship- and it'll grow. Like a seed :)
God is so good.
I love you all.
Keep praying for me. I need all of God's help I can get.
Sister Andelin

Greatest zone in the world!!!!!

August 12: Successfully Didn't Fail My First Transfer

I would like to share a little bit of information with you right now at this moment. This is what I've come to realize. I super strongly dislike little dogs with a fiery passion. (I can't hate them, because that would just be wrong...but it is pretty close to a hatred.) Everyone here in Vegas has yappy furry little creatures who love to sit in your lap and lick you and demand your stroke. Then when you leave the house, you're covered in their hair. It is really quite annoying. So I never want one. I was so relieved to visit a family who has two mastiffs (sp?) that are >5lbs and in fact are more like Samson and are closer to 140lbs. But I digress, the only benefit of those little creatures, is that you know if a person's doorbell works-- if it didn't, you wouldn't hear a ruckus carrying on in the inside of the house after you rang it. Anyways, I just wanted yall to know that in case you cared how I feel about dogs.

This Tuesday, I received the news from President Ahlander that both Sister Dewey and I will be training. So we don't get to stay together. She is going to the Meadows Zone and is actually sharing a ward with the APs. I am staying here in the Spring Mountain Zone and will attempt to not corrupt this brand new missionary's poor mind. There are a total of 30 new missionaries coming in today. 9 of them are visa waiters, so they'll be leaving in a couple of weeks/months depending on when their visa comes in and then they can go to their assigned mission. 7 of them are sisters. We had a "trainer's meeting" this past Friday and President Ahlander said that in all of his training at the MTC they counseled the mission presidents that if they want to boost their mission and bring success, they need the best of the best trainers to train new missionaries. I think he forgot that part ;) But I am the only one in this batch of trainers (there have been some previously) who hasn't even finished their own training and will be training. But he, President Ahlander, really trusts me and has faith in me that I can do a good job. Not to brag or anything, but there were other sisters that don't have leadership callings or training positions that could have trained, but he wanted me. Lol. Das funny. Now the pressure is on. Dun Dun Dunnnnnnn. I'm going to see how long I can fool my new companion into thinking I've been out longer than I have.
I am looking forward to this next transfer for a couple of reasons:
*I get a new car
*I get to drive that new car
*I really didn't want to leave the people here
*I am going to do a lot of stretching and learning
*I am actually also excited to train, even though I'm nervous
*I get to go to the temple
*I have a zone conference
Shout out to my homie, Jessica Johnson! If you're reading this- I love you. Sersly, I do.
So I just had a depressing thought..when I go home it'll be in the winter and will be brown. Just like it is here. Brown. I miss green.
The elders and I sang the "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" and it turned out pretty cool. But I don't think I can send it because the file is too large. Sometime you should send me a new memory card and then we can do that little switchy thing. Also, I know this is super big, but maybe also a GPS? Because I'm going to be driving now...and all you need to do is remember the incident a couple of years ago with the mission office in Virginia...yea...
We had another lesson with the D family. It never ceases to amaze me of the people who have been/ are being prepared for the gospel. Last night, after our lesson, Sis. D said "Everything you girls have been saying is exactly what I believe, but my whole life people have been telling me I'm wrong. People tell me that God is an angry and a mean God, but I've never felt that way. I've always felt like I am His daughter and He loves me." We bore testimony to her that she is His daughter and He does love her and want what's best for her. We invited them to be baptized as they came to know that what we teach is true and they both eagerly accepted. Just incredible.
Also J is progressing. She has some difficult life challenges right now that might prevent her from being baptized soon. But her interest is definitely there.
The twins are also progressing.
God is aware of each of us and wants what is best for us. Because he loves us, he has given us the gift of agency. It is such a beautiful concept, the ability to choose for ourselves. But because we are imperfect and Heavenly Father knew we'd mess up because of agency, he provided us with a Savior to redeem us from spiritual death. While resurrection is unconditional in that everyone will be resurrected, repentance is conditional in that we must follow the steps of repentance in order to receive forgiveness. But the beautiful thing about repentance is that, once we have sincerely repented, we ARE FORGIVEN and thus the Savior has saved us from spiritual death.
I love you all.
Sister Andelin

Beautiful desert morning

baby cacti

my first zone

my district (minus the elder laying across the elders) at a pday activity

August 5: Awesomeee Beans

Let me tell you why. I learned some lessons. Two in particular. Here goes:
1. Firstly, missions prepare people for marriage. Well at least I would assume they do. I've never been married before. But ask me in a few years and I'll confirm or deny that claim.
I think naturally when you are with a particular person 24/7, 7 days a week you are bound to have rough patches. Sister Dewey and I experienced that this past week. We had a movie-esq moment in the car where we both lost it and started yelling at each other. And then 5 seconds later, felt bad about it. Anyways, we had a really good talk and know we are all good. I knew that is was inevitable, considering we hadn't had a real argument before then. We took care of it though and we're back to good. But you are just stuck with that person and have to make decisions together. And when things are bothering you, you can't let it fester inside of you like we did. Because then you'll explode. And explosions are bad. You have to actually talk about things. Like outside of your brain and into the air. Luckily, in marriage, you get to choose your companion and it'll be a boy ;) But anyways...missions prepare people for marriage.
2. Secondly, missions prepare people (women) for childbirth. I've never had a child before. But ask me in a few years and I'll confirm or deny that claim.
Let me explain my reasoning... you knock on so many doors or visit so many types of people. Some mean. Some bitter. Some indifferent. And it causes a deep pain in your soul when they completely reject your invitation to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And then you knock on that one door or visit that one person that restores your hope in humanity. And all of the pain you've been feeling is just washed away, by the joy you feel in their acceptance. So just like childbirth is extremely painful (well one can only assume it is painful, considering a baby comes out of your body), your pain is washed away as soon as you hold the baby in your arms. And this is how a mission is like childbirth--- the most pain you'll ever feel and the most joy, combined into one beautiful, jumbled experience of emotions.
Ok now let me share some cool experiences.
This week we have 4 new investigators!!!!
That is the number 4. As in a quad. Or like 4 wheels on a car. Or 4 peas in a pod. (Just kidding about that one)
We have been working with a Samoan part member family. The two youngest kids, twins, are 9 years old. And they want to be baptized really bad! They are so precious. The first time we went, we challenged them to read from the Book of Mormon. Right before our return visit, Sister Dewey and I were doubtful that they actually read because they're little kids. But when we came in, they were so excited to tell us all about what they had read. In fact, T summarized the chapters she had read and I think she got more out of her reading than most adults do. We are really excited to work with them. They have such sweet spirits. We are planning on a baptism the end of August.
Another investigator is J. She is awesome. She has already read most of the BOM and is ready to go. She is actually in the Somerset ward, but wanted to be taught by sisters and so we are working with her. She is so willing that she'll text us and ask what she should read/do before our visit. We haven't officially taught her a lesson yet, but we have one scheduled for this Wednesday night.
Then we went to a referral given to us from someone in the ward. We had our lesson with them last night. They are the D family. They have 5 kids. They are also really receptive and ready for the gospel. We taught most of the first lesson and showed the Restoration video. The father was really excited to learn. He has been searching for a religion, but hasn't found one that fits his beliefs. He is Catholic right now, but he disagrees on the Trinity. So he was so excited to find out that we believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate entities, but united in purpose. As we were explaining our doctrines, he would nod and say "That makes so much sense!" We left them with two BOMs and the invitation to come to church, which they accepted. Super stellar family. But I don't know if they would have let us in, unless we had said that the H family thought they would be interested in learning more. THAT IS WHY WE NEED MEMBERS!
But right now we are working with a total of 8 investigators.
Remember the story about M, the girl we saw on the side of the road that I knew we needed to talk to? Well so she was on vacation, but she texted us last night and told us that she is coming home earlier than expected and she invited us over on Saturday for a bbq she is having. We are pretty stoked about that.
All in all, I can't complain about anything. I had an awesome week. I got a package in the mail (Thanks family! I love the smelly lotions. They are delicious to the touch.). I am actually still getting letters in the mail. My companion and I get along. We have an awesome area. And we are finally starting to see some of the fruits of our labors and see some success.
But the main reason I can't complain is because I have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. And that is such a priceless treasure. I am eternally indebted to my Savior. And I love being able to serve Him full-time for 18 months of my life. I love the Atonement. I love being able to change myself all the time and become better. I love being able to witness that change in others as a representative of Jesus Christ. I love the peace the Atonement brings in my life. There is no other way we can attain true peace in life, except through the Savior.
I love you all.
Sister Andelin
For a couple of days we got no mail. And then one day, we saw a letter and we got really excited. And then it was that junk mail.

Sister D and I at district meeting. I wore her matching skirt and we were twinsies.