Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15: Holy cow-- I'm an Israelite! .... Sister Andelin's Last Letter as a Full Time Missionary


We worked our booties off this week and were so incredibly blessed.

We had the most lessons we've ever had.

Set 3 people with a baptismal date for January.

Had Taylor's baptism and confirmation on Saturday. Beautiful service!

Found some really cool potential new investigators on the streets.

Had a really cool mission tour with E. Lawrence and his wife.

Had my departing interview with President.

Spoke in both wards' Sacrament meetings yesterday. And various people that I've taught and served with throughout the valley came and supported me!

And then Sister Reed got her transfer call--- she's havin' a baby!!!!!!

I can't think of a better way to end than have an awesome week like that!


I'd like to make a shout-out to the Holy Ghost! Hey! Thanks for everything, buddy! You're pretty cool. Sorry you're frequently over-looked! You're kinda like the sound/lighting guy for a theatrical play. No one thanks you for your service or recognizes your service, until you're not there. Then they beg for your help. 

Alright. Maybe you're wondering why I wrote that I'm an Israelite. Well that would be because, Sister Lawrence gave us a 2 1/2 hour lesson on the House of Israel at our mission conference. It was pretty legit. I'll have to share more with ya about what I learned. But a common misconception in our faith is that we are "adopted into the House of Israel." Which you CAN be, but more often than not, you are a LITERAL descendant of Israel. That is why in our Patriarchal blessings, we are not assigned lineages, we are declaredthem. Unless you're a gentile and then in your blessing, it specifically says that you are adopted in and that you will receive your blessings through Abraham. I never knew this! 

So as missionaries, we are LITERALLY gathering the descendants from Israel. She talked about how those of the House of Israel are the believing blood. And that because of their faithfulness in the premortal existence, they were selected by God to be born into these blood-lines, because they have the greatest chance of accepting the gospel and returning to live with Him. They are a covenant-making people. The more they have in them, the higher chance they have for accepting the gospel. Now this isn't to slight the Gentiles at all- God doesn't love them any less- and their opportunities to join the gospel are the same as anyone else; however, they typically don't have any interest. There was one missionary in our audience who used to be a Gentile but was adopted in. It has become an inside joke in our companionship now, that whenever we get rejected by people, we mutter under our breath "Gentile." Haha. Probably blasphemous. 

I also learned that Ephraim was one of the lost tribes of Israel. But has been found first, because their primary role is to gather Israel.

Also- no other religion can relate and link the Old Testament to the New Testament, to our day like we can. 

Cool stuff, cool stuff.

Well. I love my Las Vegans. They are some of the most beautiful people I've ever met- member and non-member alike. President Ahlander told me in my interview, "You left home to come on a mission. Now you're leaving home, to go back home." I started crying because I realized this really has become my new/ second home. I love these people. I love those that I serve. It's kind of funny because, in all honesty, I hated Vegas at first. I thought it was too hot and too ugly. But then I met the people. (And then it cooled off exponentially. Haha) And I fell in love. 

I've been surrounded with the absolute best of the best of mankind. I have the best mission president and his wife in the world! I have the best leaders. And the best missionary friends. They have literally been some of the best human beings I've ever encountered.

But the people I've come to know the most in the last 18months has been my Savior and my Father (and the Holy Ghost) (Can't leave Him out)(But he isn't a people. He's a personage.) I love the Lord. I love His work. I love serving Him!

I know that I was supposed to serve a mission at the exact time I Ieft. And I got called to the exact place I needed to be sent. I have had some of the most sacred moments of my life out here. I've also had some of the most humbling. And hardest. And best moments. I've had times where I was too exhausted and too weak to get up off my knees, so I stayed there. For a long extended period of time. Pleading with the Lord to give me the strength I needed to get back up. And He did. Somehow, I got back up. And pressed on.

I've had some of the funniest experiences of my life. I don't think I've ever laughed so much-- the good hearty side-aching kind of laughs, where eventually your face starts to hurt because you've been smiling so big and then it becomes all the more funny because you say in your mind (or outloud) "My cheeks hurt!" And you think of butt-cheeks too. 

Love you all!

Sister Melissa Nicole Andelin.


Elder Andelin and I at the mission tour!

Taylor's el was reading his scriptures when we walked into the lesson! haha

My crazy girls!!!

I love Tay!

With my girls!

Love this family! They took my comp and I out for brunch

Tay's baptism!!!

This is how we are 99% of the time

Karyn and her crew! They came to my last Sacrament meeting

Momma Paul

Sister Brook and Dennis!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 8: Conversion Story

Here is my conversion story that I wrote this morning. We have to turn it in to the office as a gift for the Ahlanders at Christmas-time.

These are my exact words.

" Sister Melissa Andelin's conversion story:

Well hello, there. Hopefully my jumbled thoughts that are racing around in my mind, make it into a coherent story on this page. If not, I do apologize. Ever since I was a little girl, I've always felt a special connection with God through His spirit. My natural reaction and instinct is always to first communicate with my Father through prayer. I was fortunate enough to be taught the proper way of communication with Deity from early childhood, because I was raised in a loving, gospel centered home. I always felt pretty close with God and experience after experience has proven to me that my Father is a loving, all- knowing Father. Because of that love, I never really doubted what it was that I was taught. God blessed me with a solid understanding of gospel truths and I was firm in my beliefs. However, I have (just like any other human being) had doubts where Satan has tried to deter my course. But through communicating with God after begging and pleading and studying His words, my faith was restored. It wasn't until my mission though, when my faith was truly tested. It's kind of weird, but I realized I left out a key element in my conversion and faith- that is, faith in Jesus Christ. Like I knew who He was, but I really only thought I could have a relationship with my Father- not also with my perfect Brother. And as I learned about Christ- studied Him and tried my best to follow Him- was when I didn't just believe in Christ anymore- I believed Christ. I believed and still believe that He is my Lord and Savior. He loves me, too! (So much lovin'!) And it is only thru Him that I can be saved! That knowledge, partnered with the knowledge of the Atonement, has completely changed my perspective on this life and my life. I've found myself happier, less anxious, given more meaning to life, and peaceful. I've come to realize that the choice to follow Christ, is just that, a choice, a choice we make every single day of our lives. And thru Christ we can change. It's beautiful, isn't it? Conversion is a process, because becoming like Christ is a process as well. And conversion comes when we act on what we know. Like, while it's important to know or believe or have faith- it's more important to act on that knowledge, belief, and faith! Man. I feel like I need to bear my testimony here and now! Haha. But that is my conversion story- I'm being converted slowly, day by day, by every choice I make! "

I had an awesome week this week! I got to go to the temple with all of the departing missionaries. That was really weird. A really really really weird moment. What was even weirder, was that after we had dinner and dessert (at Yogurtland) I was standing outside with President and 2 other elders. And President totally tried to set me up with one of the elders going home. It was super awkward and funny. When we got back in the car, I turned to President and said "President! What the heck?! Where did that one come from? I'm still a missionary!" And he just laughed and dismissed that and basically said I was almost home anyway! And Sister Ahlander said that he isn't new to the matchmaking business, that he found one of his son's his wife. And that he likes doing it. HAHAH.

Now I'm going to avoid that poor elder at all costs.

My ability to sit still and focus, has been completely lost and shot at all costs. I think I have developed severe ADD. Haha. Well I think I've always had it, it just is way more blatant. 

Hey random thought, we should invite the missionaries over for dinner on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas day. Or some other time while I'm home.

We have found more people to start teaching! Three of the cutest teenage girls ever! We met them on the street and they welcomed us into their home and we then met their auntie and cousin. We are going back this week! 

We've seen so many miracles! I love it! I love the work. And I love my Savior, Jesus Christ!

Love you all!

Sister Andelin

With Bishop Stephenson

The Panda (Taylor) playing with my hairs

Sister Reed's amazing hair skills

The Ahlanders and I chillin' at the temple!

My MTC roomies!

MTC Comp!

December 1: Gangsta Song

Here is a song the lovely Sister Reed and I have written together. We like to think of it as the gospel in Ebonics. 

Ridin' in our hoopty, sayin' whattado,
Preachin' da word, two by two.
Holla at yo neighbor, holla in da hood.
Dunk 'em in da water, 'cause this is good.
Aint no time to worry. Ain't no time to wait.
Come on little shawty, set a date.
Now you be forgiven. Now you be so clean.
Foo you be livin' a celestial dream.
Next step is da temple. Don't you miss a beat.
Convert yo baby mama and save her a seat.

Please. Take a moment and absorb the artistic creativity in this song. Relish in it.

Thanksgiving was a fantastical time. We had our annual mission Turkey Bowl. It was fun to have our entire mission together for a couple of fun, competitive games of good ol' football.

Then I got to eat dindin with my favorite family ever- the Diaz's! They are doing awesome and are still on track for the temple for either this month or next. They shared with me their talks that they gave at Stake Conference. So cute and tender.

Heads up--- please forgive me Mumma, but I'm practically going to leave/give away most of my clothes in a few weeks. Mainly because I'm sick of the same 10 outfits that I have. Also-- I'm prob gonna leave behind all my bedding and such, too. I also will be mailing home a package prob with some random junk. 

Elder Andelin and I sang a song last night at the musical fireside. It was a song that E. Carson and Sister Reed wrote. Pretty cool song. It was fun to perform with Elder Andelin, too.

We've been working hard. I told Sister Reed in comp inventory that it is "time to sprint." We are gonna pick things up even a notch higher. She was like "Oh dear. I'm gonna be tired. But let's do it." So we gotta sprint to the end-- ain't no time for trunkiness. 

I love "I'm sorry's". Even though they can be hard to do. But when you swallow your pride and say it-- things always get better. And forgiveness. That's a nice thing. 

Oh! Have you heard about the Church's new Christmas initiative? If not, you must be living under a rock, but that's ok. Let me tell you about it. The Church has an awesome vision of putting "Christ" back into Christmas and helping people understand that Christ IS the gift, therefore, they have started a 3 step program.

1. Discover the gift.
2. Embrace the gift.
3. #Share the gift.

They have created a new website--

with a new video.

They want missionaries around the world to be a part of this program and use these special new pass-along cards to start conversations about Christ and Christmas during the Christmas season. They want us handing out at least 10 a day. It has been super fun to talk to people, especially during this time when people's hearts are typically softened and more willing to talk and listen.

This is revelation from God. It's gonna work.

How are YOU gonna #sharethegift this Christmas season?

I love yall!


Sister Andelin

November 24: Good 'ay matey!

Things are going splendifical.

We had the opportunity to go to the temple this past week. I love the house of the Lord. It is such a peaceful reverie where you feel so close to Him. If your mind is foggy or hazy, it is like the sacredness of the temple lifts that from your mind and you are left with a clearer vision and added strength and energy to face whatever comes your way.

I don't think I ever shared with yall a special story that I shall now like to share. Our mission recently banned all forms of music except for MOTAB. So our options are MOTAB, MOTAB, MOTAB, AND listening to talks from the general authorities. SO a couple of weeks ago, we were listening strictly to talks from my man, Elder Holland.

His most recent talk that he gave this past general conference, "Are we not all beggars?" was on the CD. It really penetrated my heart and inspired me. Later that evening, a member took us out to Cafe Rio. Afterwards, a man approached me asking for money. Rarely, do I ever give money to people on the street. But my mind went back to that talk I had JUST listened to hours previously. I debated within myself, especially because as missionaries we are not supposed to give money out. I told him "I'm sorry, but I don't think I even have any money." But I felt the spirit prodding me to give him money. I looked through my bag and found a $5 bill. I gave it to him. We talked for a couple of minutes and I had the opportunity to share a couple of gospel truths with him. He said he would be willing to listen more and I got his information. 

That experience really bugged me for a couple of hours later. Sister Reed thought he was a panhandler, but I wasn't sure. Especially because I felt so strongly to give him money. We tried calling his number, but it was a bad number. Then we went to the address that he gave us. 

Well on our way to his door, a man named Eric, approached us. He said--

"Hey are you guys Jehovah Witnesses?!"

Perfect opportunity. 

We explained who we were and taught him outside on the street.

He seemed genuinely intrigued. And he replied "Cool. Do you have a book or something I could read?"

Do we have a Book? Do we HAVE A BOOK?

Why yes, sir, we have a book. Let us give you one.

(Those were just the thoughts going through my mind. Don't worry, I handled it a little more tactfully than that)

Anyways. That is Eric.

We have been teaching Eric now for about 3 weeks. He loves it. He grew up Jehovah Witness but was never baptized, because of some questions and concerns he had. He has been listening to the BoM online now and in the time span of about 2 days, he is now in 2nd Nephi. (He is waiting for his new glasses to come in and so he can't really read right now, that's why he is listening.) We are meeting with him again tonight. He is going to FHE with us. And then we are going to have a lesson with him afterwards.

Well Eric has a cousin. His name is Dewayne. Dewayne found out that Eric has been studying with "the Mormons" and asked us to contact him. He has always been interested in learning about the Mormons. 

Dewayne came to church yesterday for the first time.

He was pleasantly surprised.

All of this came to be because of a $5 bill.

Are we not all beggars?

In reality we all are beggars. There are physical needs to be met in the world. And oftentimes, you can see those that are struggling. But more important than physical, are the spiritual beggars. There is a spiritual famine happening. And everyone is affected. Everyone. We all have a spiritual hunger that has to be satisfied. And the only way-- is through Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of Life.

Love yall!

I love this area. I love my comp. I love my wards. I love the work. I love Him.

Sister Andelin 

November 17: Another Week Full of Twists and Turns

We had a fun week this week.

One of our lessons fell through, so we stopped by a potentials. She came to the door, but only her head was visible. She explained that she didn't have any clothes on because they were all in the wash. So she closed the door and ran and put a towel on. We still proceeded to teach her a lesson. On her doorstep. While she only wore a towel. Haha.


The lovely Sister Reed had to get a wisdom tooth yanked from her head this past week. Thankfully, Uncle Alan did it free of charge for her (so amazing!). She wasn't put under or anything, so I was kind of disappointed because I wanted to film her being ridiculous. Instead, I should have been filmed. Because when we got home, her mouth was really sore and painful, so she went to go take a nap. Before she did that though, she joked about waking her up if there was a fire. We lol-ed. She went to bed. Not only 5 minutes later, as I was experimenting cooking a tostada in the oven, it slipped through the rack and caught on fire. I started panicking and dancing around. I turned off the oven and ran into the bedroom and yelled

"Oh my gosh! There is a fire. I'm serious. I just started a fire. Uh....I don't know what to do!" And then I ran back out to go examine whether or not the fire was growing or dying. 

She hopped out of bed and somehow put it out. I don't really remember exactly what she did, because I had run to the door and was swinging it open and closed to let the smoke out so the fire alarm didn't start.


We also had a neat experience after we taught a less active girl. I saw a "U-Haul" truck in a driveway catty corner to this girl's home. I had a thought to go help them. No one was in the truck. So we knocked on the door. Turns out, this cute young family just moved in from Arizona. Just had a baby. And are looking for a church to go to. We shared a scripture with the father. And we are going back tomorrow night! We have already assigned some different ward members in that neighborhood to go deliver them some cookies and welcome them to Vegas.


Ok. Now here is the funniest story of all! We had stake conference this past weekend. We went to the adult session that Saturday night. It was pretty neat, because Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, the presiding bishop of the Church was there to speak. Just some background infos-- so there are about 20 missionaries that serve in that stake. Sister Reed and I are the only sister missionaries there. Well President and Sister Ahlander were there as well, so before the session, we were chatting. They got called up and were invited to sit on the stand because they'd be speaking. Well while they were up there, I was making my typical silly faces at them. And then President signaled that he was going to have me go up there and speak. I mouthed "No way!" And I gave him the universal death signal-- you know, the one where it looks like you're cutting your neck with your hand while simulatenously making a wide-eyed face. He just smiled and mouthed "Yup." I rolled my eyes.

So President Ahlander gets up to speak. I'm nervously waiting for him to call me up. He doesn't.


HOWEVER, then Bishop Stevenson gets up. And he starts talking about missionary work. He tells the missionaries that we must have done something in the pre-earth life to be serving in that wonderful stake and have President and Sister Ahlander as our mission president and wife. (Agreed). He then talks about how many sister missionaries are in our mission--45. And then he asks for the sister missionaries to stand. And come up. (That's me and Sister Reed)

When the presiding bishop of the church invites you to come up to the stand, you obey. 

When we got to the stand, he put his arm around me and asked "Now, how long have you been out?"

I pause. And look out at the vast audience. "A LONG time."

Everyone laughs. 

He says "So that means you're going home soon? Let me guess...you have about a month left?"

I say "Yes."

Then then asks Sister Reed how long she has been out. She says "About the opposite."

Everyone laughs.

He then asks us where we are from. And what ward we are serving in--

I said "Aviary Park whoop whoop (while also throwing my hands in the air for "Raising-the-roof" effect) and the North Star YSA ward."

Then he invites Sister Reed to share her testimony and for me to give a talk on how missionaries and members can work together. (Now remember, that is my favorite topic.)

The first thing Sister Reed says is "Well, I have been compelled to bear my testimony...."

She then proceeded to give a beautiful testimony after that comedic relief. 

I sat on the stand and tried to quickly throw something together in my mind, while silently praying I'd be led by the spirit.

This is basically what I said--

"I'm so grateful for a great companion. You know, I'm supposed to be training her, but she is really training me. And you know, I'm actually speaking in the YSA ward tomorrow on this very subject and my notebook back there has my talk in it-- can I just go back there and grab it? Nah, I'm just kidding. You know I had a feeling I was going to be speaking. And the Spirit never lies."

Then I got silent. For about 10 seconds. I choked because in that moment the past 17 months of my life flashed before my eyes as I looked out at the hundreds of people. I saw the other 18 missionaries sitting in the audience. And I realized "I'm going to miss this." I also was thinking "Man, when will I ever get this chance again? I should probably say something really inspiring or important."

When I finally recomposed myself I said "Brothers and Sisters. The Lord is hastening His work. There are over 88,000 of us missionaries out around the world. But it's not enough. We NEED to work together!"

Then I touched on how they are the full time finders and part time teachers and the missionaries are the full time teachers and the part time finders.

Then I shared the story of giving 2 names as referrals to the missionaries before my mission and how I was a coward when they asked if they could use my name. But how the Lord had someone else prepared.  And then being on the opposite end of that and this time being the missionary asking for referrals. And I briefly related the Diaz's conversion experience. And how they are going to the temple right before I go home. (Sister Diaz texted me the other day and asked when I was going home, because they are planning their temple sealing so I can be there!!!!!)

At some point, I turned around and asked Bishop Stevenson, "How much time do I have?" People laughed and he just motioned for me to just go ahead. I actually wasn't really trying to be funny, but I realized I could just go on forever and ever and he never gave me a time limit.

Anyhew, then I finished up and bore my testimony. I know I was definitely led by the spirit, because I could feel it working through me and most of what I said were not my words at all.

When we went back down, Sister Reed turned to me and said "Who is that?"

And I said "Bishop Gary E. Stevenson. You know, only the presiding Bishop of the the whole church."

She said "Oh."

Funny stuff.

I got to get a picture with the bishop after the meeting with Sister Reed, on his cell. He gave me his email address and told me to shoot him an email and he'd send me the pic. I asked him if I was too bold (I felt a little bold up there), but he said that it was great and not too bold.

The response from the stake was amazing. I think in that sole instance, that experience has done more to build member trust than anything I've ever done on my mission. We had SO many people come up to us and thank us and tell us how impactful that was. And even the next day at the general stake conference, we had prob over 30 people come talk to us. One lady was even trying to set me up with her son who goes to BYU!!! Hahaha. Too funny. The stake had this beautiful arrangement of flowers that they cut up every year and then give the different boquets to people and they gave Sister Reed and I both our own boquet. It was so kind!!

Well I love yall! I love the Lord and His Church. 

Sister Andelin