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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mission Conference, Minnesota and More

Hello family, There is like a lot and nothing that I want to say. This week went by really fast, I felt like I just wrote.
Today we went up to the Minneapolis sculpture garden and took pictures and rode around on our bikes. Then we went to the Nicollet mall and wandered for a bit. I love the city but it's definitely a once in a while thing. I'm getting good at locking up my bike though. It was fun. Shopping with Herman Scholl is funny though because she likes to look at how the clothes are made.... Now we're sitting in Curran's eating pie and sweet potato fries while we email. I will send pictures next week.

Funny story from this week, we went to a members house for dinner, she made sopes, which is basically a tortilla with a cream and meat. She also brought out some salsa. Homemade Mexican salsa is the BEST. But, like an iiiiiiiiiiidiot, I didn't test the salsa before I slathered it all over my sopes. I was dying. Eyes watering, nose running, mouth on fire, Hna Argueta and Hna Scholl thought it was pretty funny. Moral of the story, always always always test the salsa before you put it on everything.

Hna Scholl and I got a long better this week than we have. At mission conference they talked a lot about charity, and I have been studying a lot about it. I feel like it's the number one thing I need right now in my work. It's hard for me to let myself just love people. It takes more humility than I have. I am works really hard on charity, and it
really has made missionary work easier. At mission conference, Elder Martino talked to us about finding. Basically, knocking doors is ineffective, and what we need to do is focus on the part members, children of record, and prospective elders, teach them and their families and baptize the world. Simple enough right? We are excited
about the goals we set. Elder Martino challenged us to baptize three people per companionship by the end of the year. We think we can do it. We have a lot of potential people, but it will be interesting to see what happens. Also our musical number went well, it was pretty simple, but it turned out.

We found a family this week looking for Delfino, who I talked about last week. We went to find Delfino for a lesson, but he wasn't there. Instead, Carlos met us on the porch, saw Jesucristo on our name tags and said something like, "Jesucristo? Praise the Lord!" Literally just like that. The next thing he did was read us a psalm in Spanish, and then asked if we had an invitation for him. At this point we were so shell shocked we didn't know what to say. First, he was talking to us in English, second, he asked if we had an invitation, which obviously, we do. We were so confused. Luckily he was fine so he invited us in to meet his wife and one of his kids. Turns out he's an aerospace engineer for Boeing, basically worked his way up from nothing, and is really religious, he attends different churches every week with his family. And he invited himself to church. Coolest dude ever. He didn't
come to church, but it's ok, we have a lot of hope for them. The thing with Spanish work, is that they will just tell you what they think you want to hear, and then never ever commit. But we work through it. It just always takes way longer than you would think. Jose from last week is reading the Book of Mormon regularly, so that's awesome too. We also finally got back in contact with two other families that we lost contact with for a while, we're excited about them.

My Spanish is getting better. I am feeling more confident in talking to people and in lessons. It's far from where I want to be, but it's a good start. Hno Benjamin tells me all the time that I can't be afraid to speak. I have this problem where I just really don't like it when I feel like I am obligated to speak Spanish when it's just sister Scholl
and I, so we don't practice very much. I don't know how to fix that really, except to just do it.

It sounds like everybody is doing good. I got my winter clothes, I love my sweaters:) I will probably be sending a big box home of all the stuff I haven't used/don't use. It will be interesting when I have to pack my suitcases again.... My bet though is that this next transfer, I will be taking over the area, and Sis Scholl will be leaving. She's been in this area for nine months! We talked about the iPads this week a lot because I have to finish the training on them, but basically technology is a tool for us, nothing more. It is a means by which we move Gods work forward. They should never be a distraction for us. It's easy to fall back into old patterns on technology especially when we're bored or tired or something. But I think part of why they give us technology is so that we'll learn to use it as a tool, to act instead of be acted upon, and learn the skills to do so, for the future. Not for now, even though it's helpful, but so when we go home, we will be more productive than we were before.  Interesting thought.

I love you all! Keep on keeping on.
And if you're looking for birthday ideas, anything winter. Especially
tights, hats, gloves. But for real, not too much, because I keep
thinking of how I'll have to pack it at some point:) 

Hna Andrus

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

After the trial of your faith

I feel like every week I have nothing to say and then once I start writing, I don't have enough time to say everything that I want. 

For our Pday last Monday we had a little fiesta as a district because our DL, Elder Aquino finished his mission this week. He is from Wisconsin, and he sent me a picture of him and Elder Larsen! Small world. At our fiesta, Hermana White made tinga (meat on a crispy tortilla with lettuce and cream and other stuff), and we all made pupusas (a Salvadorian corn and cheese pancake thing) together. Yay Hispanic food! I love it.

This week has been interesting because I feel like it has been one of the hardest weeks so far, but we also saw so many blessings. We spent a ton of time finding this week. We have made it a goal to do at least an hour a day, and wow. It's like fun and not fun at the same time. We also had a lot of appointments or joint teachers fall through which is really hard. Probably the most frustrating thing for me is how noncommittal the Hispanic world is. It kills me. I am getting better at rolling with it. But anyway, finding. There was more than one day this week where we were out in the rain knocking on doors. I prefer knocking houses to apartment buildings, but it is harder to find Spanish speakers that way. This week though we found a family as we were knocking (in the rain) and we have another appointment with them this week. We found another family, knocking in an apartment building after trying to find joint teachers for almost an hour, who we talked to the mom for a while, and she said she had been thinking about God when we showed up. Cool right? We have an appointment with her too. So lots of hard things but also a lot of good stuff. 

More blessings this week came totally out of the blue. We met two guys, Delfino and Jose, my first week here, literally almost seven weeks ago, and we stopped trying to contact both of them after a couple weeks because they weren't responding or not acting interested. But this week, out of nowhere, Delfino texted us his new address and set up an appointment. And then, when we drove out to Eden Prairie where he lives, he wasn't there. Shopping took longer than he thought it would or something. As soon as we got off the phone with Delfino, We get a random call from Jose who said he wanted us to come over that night! We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and he was really excited to read it. Crazy. 

Yesterday there was a big block party on Nicollet, where our church building is, so they closed the street basically all day. We combined with the English ward for sacrament meeting, and then everyone had to go home before they closed the street. Then, we set up a canopy and passed out cards and gave tours for six hours. It was awesome. I loved contacting on the street. I think total the missionaries gave more than thirty tours. Then we again walked through the rain back to our car haha. There was a lot of rain this week. 

Sister Scholl pulled out a Christmas CD yesterday which is fine, except that it's awful. Ugh. Like the singing is bad. Shudders just thinking about it. I let us listen to it once through and then suggested something else. I need to download stuff for myself. On the other hand, we also listened to a production called Lamb of God, which is basically the text of the Gospel of john in production/Broadway sort of form, and it's actually incredible. We have mission conference tomorrow and our zone is singing a musical number. and gueesss who was put in charge of it. Meee.... I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's ok. We're singing A Child's Prayer, and I think it will be good.

I was thinking this week about how important our covenants are and what they mean for us. As a covenant making people, we do not have the option to regress into our old habits and our old styles of living. Especially a a missionary, I'm realizing more and more that coming home and being the person I was isn't an option. Because once e receive so much light and so much knowledge, we do not have the option to turn back. Having put our hand to plow, we can't turn back. I was reading in Alma this week about Alma and Amulek, and the scriptures that stood out were 9:19 "For he will not suffer you that ye shall live in your iniquities, to destroy his people. I say unto you, Nay; he would rather suffer that the Lamanites might destroy all his people who are called the people of Nephi, if it were possible that they could fall into sins and transgressions, after having had so much light and so much knowledge given unto them of the Lord their God" and 9:23 "And now behold I say unto you, that if this people, who have received so many blessings from the hand of the Lord, should transgress contrary to the light and knowledge which they do have, I say unto you that if this be the case, that if they should fall into transgression, it would be far more tolerable for the Lamanites than for them."
There's no going back! Keep moving forward! Never look back!
Mucho amor
Hermana Andrus

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy One Transfer!

Chicarron...aka dried pork rinds. It's actually delicious.

Our district: Elder Aquino goes home this week. He has given us some wonderful guidance this transfer.

Happy one transfer everybody, I'm not dead yet! The last six weeks have floooowwn by. I seriously had no idea that time could move so fast. And apparently it gets faster. I have no idea how that is even possible.  I can't believe that everyone has their own room now. I had a small panic attack this morning when I realized that when I get home, Sara will be 18, Lauren 16, and Morgan 13. Not okay.
I am so excited for Sam. That is the perfect call for him. He will love it I'm sure. I'm assuming English speaking? I absolutely want to hear where Mitchell is going too. I found out this week that my RA from spring term that one time, Poppy, is coming to this mission next transfer. I had no idea. I saw her picture on the wall at the mission home, they put up all the newcomers as soon as they know who they are. So awesome. I am so excited.

I feel like this week was pretty average. Nothing super exciting really happened. It's been more mental than anything. What I mean by that is that the changes and major things that have happened this week have been realizations or great studies, things like that. My Spanish felt so much better this week than it has before. It is still not even close to perfect, but I was able to understand so much more this week than in past weeks. It's getting better really fast. It's frustrating sometimes not being able to communicate as clearly as I would like, but I am happy with the progress I'm making. My goal by the end of my mission is to not sound completely like a gringa.
Sister Scholl and I are hitting our stride a little bit. Like I said, we are just so different. I get frustrated when I have to explain myself, because I feel like it's so obvious, but our brains don't even work on the same plane. We are constantly asking each other why, because we honestly have no idea where the other is coming from. More often than I should, I get frustrated and annoyed when I don't explain something clearly the first time. From both of us, things get tense occasionally, but it works out. We're doing well. We did have a breakthrough this week. We were sitting in the camp chairs in the hallway at Hno Benjamin's apartment (because we can't go in without another mujer) and we thought of the same movie moment at the same time. It literally hasn't happened until this week. Major breakthrough. 

Two of the people we are meeting with had babies this week. Hispanic babies are sooooo cute. 
Something I loved from church yesterday: the stake Relief Society president came and spoke to the ladies in our ward. She doesn't speak Spanish, so one of the ladies translated. There is a stake activity coming up and she was there to invite the Spanish ward to come. There has always been a divide in the stake because of the language barrier, and I think a lot of feelings have been hurt and a lot of negative feelings exist because the Spanish ward feels uninvited or second class at the stake activities because most of them don't speak English. This president though bore a powerful (translated) testimony of the love the Savior has for all of His children and of her love for the sisters. She told us that it is time for change and time for the stake to be united regardless of language. Many of the sisters were openly weeping, and others, like myself and the other missionaries, were tearing up. As the Spanish missionaries, we especially feel this love for the Spanish sisters, and we definitely see the divide. It makes us so happy that they are invited and loved by the stake. We are looking forward to being at the activity to help translate and bridge the gap. They have designed the activity to be dual lingual, and I hope it is a good experience. 

This transfer I have been studying the desires of our hearts and how that changes how we pray and act on a daily basis. There is scripture after scripture that tell us that we will receive according to our righteous desires and according to our faith. Mormon 9:21 says "Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth." As missionaries this is important because if we have desires to baptize or teach or find, we will receive according to our desires. But if we have no desire to work or don't have the faith to find, we won't. There are countless examples in the Book of Mormon. I just started reading Mosiah. I think my favorite time of day is when I have time to just sit and read from the scriptures. 

Keep reading your scriptures! Everyday, everyday, everyday. 

Con muchisimo amor,

Hermana Andrus

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do you want to have a wedding?

New skirt

Hello my favorite people, Happy Labor Day, I hope you're having a fat BBQ or at the lake or something. I love getting updates on how everyone is doing. Ryan, I officially added you to my mailing list, so like it or not, you'll at least to have to acknowledge my existence. I want updates. Especially about ESPN girl. Actually mostly about tennis, but your life in general would be good. 

Hearing about volleyball makes laugh/be sad. Their team could be really good, they have talent, but wow. Lauren and Morgan, email me about how it's going? What are you working on? What do you like? How's your team? Is it hard? Sara, what have you been up to? How's school?

I wish I could do seminary again. I missed so much the first time around. I've been reading the New Testament and Book of Mormon again, and wow. Let me tell ya, something about being a missionary does things to you, because I swear I've never read any of it before. It's all so enlightening, and I wish I had hours and hours to just read. I can't wait to go back to BYU and take an Old Testament class. There's one called Writings of Isaiah that I really want to take. Ryan are you taking a religion class? Is it Old Testament too? Duuuuude write me. 
Dad, how is not doing volleyball? Do you miss it? What do you do instead? Please tell me you're teaching Sara how to golf. 

So the last couple of weeks have been eventful, I told you how I got proposed to last week, we ran into some more crazies this week. But first, let me tell you about the state fair! We had so much fun. We woke up early (like 5) to get all of our laundry and stuff done, met our district at the church, went to breakfast at a little diner called Curran's (they have breakfast for $2.50), and emailed. We were all in street clothes because we were told that because we were biking part of the way, it was ok, but when we got to the church, the zone leaders were there, and told us we had to be in proselyting get up, so the elders went home to grab there stuff, cuz they live like two minutes from the church, and the sisters hit up Goodwill, because we live like twenty minutes from the church. It actually worked out great, we found some good stuff! We drove to the edge of our zone, rode our bikes about four miles to a members house in St Paul that lives a half a block from the fairgrounds, changed to church clothes, and went to the fair! Adventure. I ate so much food. I had walleye on-a-stick, fried cheese curds, and other stuff, but those were the important ones. There were missionaries everywhere haha.
Tuesday, we rode our bikes again most of the day, because we didn't have any appts that were far away. I also ate tongue tacos. Not bad, but not my favorite, it freaks me out if I look too closely and see tastebuds. 
Being a missionary never gets dull. One day we accidentally started knocking on people's back doors, in our defense, there were doorbells. One day, we got fed sandwiches with egg (Hispanic sandwiches don't exist without egg), bologna, lettuce, tomato, cream cheese, aaannnnddd....chocolate bagels. Not too bad actually, the lady is mostly blind, so she had no idea. They actually turned out pretty good. This week was all about food really. 
One day we had a lesson with a family we've been teaching, and the mom, Fabiola, was telling us about the evil spirits in her house. She is freaked out enough to try reading the BoM, praying, and coming to church as a family, so that's something. They're actually a really cute family. We really like them, apparently they just have evil spirits in their house. We invite them to church and the baptism we had yesterday, but they didn't come, even though Fabiola said they would be. Bummer. We have a lesson with them later this week. 

We were called two mornings in a row at 4, once because we asked a member to tell us when her daughter has her baby, and they were taking her to the hospital so she called us, one was from an investigator who wanted to call before she left for work. And then last night, our doorbell rang at like midnight, we didn't answer it. People need to stop waking me up.

Here's a good one, we met a Peruvian lady and her mother in law that invited us right in, were super nice, but the mother in law was crazy. She has been studying the Bible and all religions for about forty years, but has never joined a church because none of them consuls answer her questions. We were like "ok yeah, that's cool, we can help!" Nope. She thinks that Moses was given the Ten Commandments by aliens, that Joseph Smith (she's really studied all the religions) saw aliens, that Jesus learned all his stuff from the Africans, etc. It was by far the most frustrating lesson I've been in, she had absolutely no interest in hearing what we had to say. It was one of the only times where I was glad that I was limited by the language, because there's no way I could have avoided being sassy if we were speaking in English. Apparently, she hasn't been studying the Bible that I know of, cuz wow. Like I said, never a dull moment. 

I know I've talked about Hno Roger before, I just want to reiterate that he is awesome. He's buying me a new pillow because the one they had here at the apartment is a prison pillow. He is constantly doing things like that for all the missionaries. And it's literally impossible to refuse. He's crazy. Good crazy, but crazy.
Do you want to have a wedding? Because in three of the families we are teaching, the mom and dad aren't married, and all three of them have expressed desire to be baptized. The ideal plan we've decided is to have General conference, and then three wedding weekends in a row. I love weddings. I would love for that to actually happen. 

Dad, I figured out how to answer your question of if I ever feel unsafe. The answer is no, but there are deffffinitely places where I keep a hand on my bag and DO NOT pull out my iPad under any circumstances, because that would be dumb. But no, I have not felt unsafe at any time. 

This Friday we went to the mission home to help Sister Forbes sort through some of the stuff that has been left by missionaries in the past. I scored a coat and some boots, so don't worry about it Mom. Sister Forbes is awesome. We had so much fun hanging out with her. 

I hope you're all doing great, I love you!!
Besitos gorditos