Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ark City

Does anyone know what this is?

I'm super happy to be serving with Elder Colemere. I don't know if you heard,but the KWM ( Kansas Wichita Mission) is one of, if not the most, baptizing  mission in the US. In January or February there was like 68 baptisms. Our goal for March is 62 but it doesn't look like that will happen. In fact there was supposed to be 3 baptisms in our branch on Saturday but they all fell through.

We have a lot of potential for this month though. Elder Colemere and I could possibly get 4, but we will for sure get at least one. We are aiming for the 16th, but he has to stop smoking. Which is a huge problem out here, as well as drugs and alcohol. His wife and son were just baptized last month and they are incredible. The mom has given up a ton for the gospel, including smoking, drinking, and coffee. And she is seriously the nicest lady, she is almost like a mother to us. Her son is way cool and like best friends with the missionaries.

There is a family we are starting to teach where the Mom is less active and her two kids and husband aren't members, and it really seems like we hit the jackpot with them. They are a way close family and it is way easy to see how the gospel would bless their lives. We've really been working with their son. We've built up a pretty good trust with him. Hopefully we can get one of the young men from the branch to come with us and help with some fellowshipping.

So my companion, Elder Colemere is actually a Spanish speaking missionary, so occasionally he has a lesson is Spanish. I haven't seen it yet, but I don't know what I'll do when that happens, which will be this week.

Ark (Arkansas) City is just one big miracle, so are so many people who are just waiting for the blessings of the gospel. It's so exciting to see this work moving forward. The mission goal is to bring 100 of our brothers and sisters into the waters of baptism each month as we unite in hastening the Lord's work, and I know it's something that we can do.

This is the best mission in the world, everyone says so, and I agree. President Bell is the bomb, he expects so much out of his missionaries, and it seems like everyone lives up to his expectations. And the members here are the best, I've already had two dinners with members and one picnic lunch. The Branch president fed us lamb yesterday and it was awesome.

Love you so much and don't worry, I'm doing good, and my mission will be great.
-Elder Andrasko

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Last Day in the MTC

This is from Wednesday - March 23, 2016

So today is my last day in the MTC, it's actually kind of a bitter-sweet thing, I grew so close to everyone here and it will be hard/sad to leave them all behind. But I am also really excited to fly out to Kansas and grow to love everyone there.

So Friday I actually left my district and went to an "In Field Orientation" where they just tell us important stuff about what we need to do in the mission field, it was super boring. But it was informative, I think..? There was some play that was pretty funny.

Saturday, what would usually be a really relaxing day, is now just the same as any other day. We go to class, we go to gym (except we took a nap Saturday cause the gym was closed), we eat crappy cafeteria food, and study a lot. But it's all good! (except for the crappy food part)

SundaySunday was definitely the highlight of the week, we all got to go to the first session of the temple dedication and for a lot of Elders and sisters it was their first time seeing a temple dedication. So there was a couple days in the past week when I was thinking about the song "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" during Sacrament meeting there was a sister who sang it for a special musical number and it was incredible! After Sacrament we had a special departure devotional for those missionaries leaving in the next week, me included, and the same sister sang that song again! THEN during our Sunday evening devotional there was a special musical number and an elder same that same exact song! But this time he was accompanied by a piano and a violin.

The Sunday devotional speaker was Merril J. Bateman, he was a former president of BYU and stuff. He talked about temples and the importance of having them in our lives. 

So there is this program at the MTC called the TRC, yeah they really like three letter abbreviations here, and it's basically where you get to experience what it would be like to teach real investigators. Everyone there is paid, and most are already members, but there are times when there are real investigators looking into the church. Anyway on Monday we started teaching two new investigators, Aaron and Nathan. Aaron is a very enthusiastic story teller and has had A LOT of experience with other religions. His biggest question was why do all of these people from different religions have these same spiritual experiences and why do we think the spirit in our church is so much different. I don't really remember what we said, but I think it was good.

Then there was Nathan...Oh boy. He was 100% not a member, so it was 100% a real life teaching experience. He asked a lot of hard questions, like "where does God come from?" or "If God is our Heavenly Father, who is our Heavenly Mother?" and other questions that are really hard to answer and too long to write down in my email. But by the end of our three days with him we answered most of his questions to the best of our knowledge and ability, and it seems like he really came to a new knowledge and understanding of God and our purpose here. So that's good.

Tuesday was a lot of the same, crappy food, service, gym, and classroom instruction. We also lost the other half of our zone, so that was sad. Later in the evening we had a special Tuesday night devotional the speaker was Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the presidency of the seventy, he gave a really good talk about repentance. His talk was titled "Preach Repentance, Baptize Converts"

Today, Wednesday, was dramatically different. We still had gym time and a crappy breakfast but lunch...lunch was great. We had these delightful personal pizzas, but right as we were finishing up the fire alarm started going off! Those poor missionaries, and missionary moms, who were just arriving and alarms were going off and nobody could go inside the main building. I also didn't have my coat with me so I was rather cold. There has been a lot of goodbyes today and they have been really bitter-sweet. I am most definitely going to keep in touch with some of these missionaries.

My bus leaves the MTC at 3:30 in the morning and I still have stuff to pack. So that's all folks!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week One - MTC

MTC? It's a little meh. Food is okay, I'd much rather have some home cookin' but nothing's wrong with a little questionable food.

Anyway everything has been going pretty good, they made me District Leader so I have a little more added responsibility. Mostly just assigning other people to do the stuff I don't want to do, like give lessons or say prayers. But it's fun I get to check the mail, so it's always exciting to open the mailbox and see something that is for me, especially when it says I have a package, thanks for that by the way!

Anyway the MTC is mostly just class time, it's basically school, but for your soul. But I sit right next to the window, so occasionally I'll look out the window and see people having a life, like today I saw some dude riding his roller blades around without a shirt on, he looked like he had an exciting life. But I am happy that I get to devote my life, the next two years of it anyway, to the Lord. 

Sunday was a super neat experience, so every Sunday there is a devotional, and this week happened to be President Stephen B. Allen, who was the speaker when I was here in July. And everything that happened after that I credit to him, so I basically got to hear from the man who changed my life, I made sure that I could go shake his hand and thank him. I also went to choir practice, which I never thought I would do in a million years, mostly because my voice sounds awful, but it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had. The song we practiced was "This is the Christ" it was pretty hard for me not to cry the whole way through it.

The best part of my days here at the MTC might just be the hour of exercise time that we get, I get to unwind and play some ball. Although I learned on Tuesday that I shouldn't go too hard, it makes the rest of the day so much harder. But it's nice to just get out of the classroom and run around for a bit.

My companion is a nice guy, his name is Elder Hyatt, he's not related to the hotel chain though, and he's from Texas. We get along pretty well, and his testimony is really helping mine. The first counselor in the Branch Presidency felt that it was important to tell me about his girlfriend, and that she is planning on going on a mission. So I learned that much more about him. 
Tuesday was another devotional, it was the night that the choir was able to perform, although I sounded awful everyone else helped pick up the slack, it was really beautiful. The Speaker was Elder Zkdfnkl, or something like that. He is from a different country so his name is really confusing and I don't have my journal next to me so I can see how it is spelled.

Oh I also found out that I am leaving nearly a week earlier than the rest of my district, guess they need me out in Kansas.