"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Friday, July 27, 2012

Letter #4

So, this week has been interesting. First of all, it has seemed extremely short. I am pretty sure it is because of Pioneer Day (the Post Office was closed) and we tend to measure the weeks by how often we check the mail. Just a thought. But, things here at the MTC are going well. We went to the temple this morning and it was nice. Our district really has become like family because we do practically everything together. Which brings me to my next point, since the gym has been closed for so long (they are re-doing the floor) we have developed our own district soccer team (and then a few stragglers come with us). But we have never lost! Except for twice--when we were obeying the Mission Handbook and didn't keep score. :P Anyway, sports are rough here at the MTC because its hard to remain Christ-like sometimes. I won't go into the details, but just know that I am ok, and so is everyone else that I have ever played against. One of the new Elders in our district (two moved up from the beginners class last week--forgot to tell you), Elder McKinley (he looks like Steven Erickson, Allyson's Wife, the whole district agrees)...anyway, he mentioned how someone in his old district got kicked in the shin, broke it, and he was on his way to serving 19 weeks in the MTC. Imagine that. Rough thought to say the least. Thankfully, that has not happened to anyone at our gym time.

You get the weirdest ailments as a missionary too. Most of mine would take too long to decribe, so just know my health is doing well--and maybe read my journal upon my return. But. I have had a pretty nice cold this whole week. So thank you Kari and family for all the tissues. I haven't had any bloody noses so I guess that is a blessing. Somehow I have had the strength to do everything that has been required of me despite my illness--going back to my point about how I am able to move throughout this mission because I am not relying upon my own strength, but the Lord's. I even lost my voice, which made it pretty hard to speak Spanish if you can imagine. But it was cool, because it was very briefly and my voice got so deep, I could have sang Come Come Ye Saints with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I also took a study challenge from Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel that said to read 5 specifc chapters and highlight every time it mentioned the Savior or God. So I did! But, I also read it wrong. So, after reading those 5 chapters, I highligheted every time it mentioned Christ or God in any way throughout the whole Book of Mormon. Whoops. I suppose it might come in handy one day though. I don't feel too bad about it cause it was interesting to see just how many time they was mentioned and, I bought a really cool highlighter here.

The Ecuadorians also left our district on Tuesday morning for the Peru MTC, so, Elder Milovidov (It's Russian, but our teacher, Hermano Walton remembers how to spell it with: My Lovey Dove-funny story.) is our new District leader. He is definitely the most like me in the district, and we already plan to be roommates upon our return to BYU.

Also, I really thought that I would enjoy my MTC experience, or at least make the best of it by enjoying the clean water before I head of to Mexico. I had been drinking a lot of chocolate milk at first, so I decided to detox and go with just water for the past maybe two weeks. I guess I should have asked more specifically for water without disease, because it truly is "clean" water here. And by that I mean it smells like Toilet Bowl cleaner. At first I thought it was the glasses I was using, and so I would smell each one before I would fill them up (people would look at me weird, but I would not be duped again!). Yesterday marked my 7th and 8th times experiencing the joy of Toilet Water. How did it get me so many times you might ask? Well, that was the worst thing about being sick. You don't really smell things correctly when you have a stuffy nose. So, I usually found out after I started drinking it. So, I think it is safe to say that I know what Toilets taste like. And they tend to make you lose your appetite, so I would not recommend it. Long story short, I have since switched back permanently to Chocolate Milk at meals and am a happy camper. I still drink water from the normal water fountains, so don't worry, I'll drink some water still.

Then, last Saturday, Elder Cox and I went to teach at TRC (Training Resource Center). Here a bunch of members come and you just give them a lesson. Some might pretend to be a different religion, but this week they decided to be nice and we just openly talked to them and it was nice. Our second, and last visit was with a Mexican man roughly 60 years old who, as it turns out, was baptized not even a week before. So that was really neat. We were able to give him some good thoughts and even answered his question about olives or something (its hard to phrase his question in English under this pressure). Long story short, we referred him to Jacob 5 and showed him how to find answers using footnotes. I already knew Jacob 5 would be his answer when I heard "olives", but we cheated and looked at the footnotes anyway.

Also, we do speak some English throughout the day--mainly at night--just so you know. Class is strictly Spanish though.

Take care, and I love you all.

Con amor,
Elder Caleb Andrews


Hermano = brother
Con amor = with love

Friday, July 20, 2012

An Interesting Week

It's been a great morning here at the MTC. Our district decided to go for a walk to the temple (even though it is closed)--well, Elder Cox and I decided we were going to and everyone else tagged along. I never liked the Provo Temple. I guess its just cause I remember it being so weird looking from the highway when I was small, but it truly is a great place. It was interesting to look down and see that LaVell Edwards Stadium looked so small and sat a lot lower than the temple. It also looks over Utah Lake and West Mountain and all. I never noticed that before. We spent about an hour just sitting on the grounds of the temple and taking things in. So, I guess that's my challenge for all of you this week. Take some time to go sit outside a temple and take in what is really there. Mormon or not, you can sit outside a temple and enjoy the setting.
Anyway, Elder Cox and I had to leave earlier than everyone else because... Well, in the past 2 days my nose has been bleeding. 3 times now. Not even really a full 24 hours yet, actually. The most recent time happened to be at the temple, this time just because, but it might be because of something that happened yesterday. Long story short, I was marking my scriptures last night and someone called my name. So, naturally I stopped and turned my head to look their way. Only to get rocked in the face by a bottle of lotion or hand sanitizer thrown from across the room. So that was another time that may have caused this one this morning, I don't know. But, here I am trying not to bleed on the Provo Temple Grounds, so, naturally my blood gets all over my face, hands, and yes, my white shirt. (I can't send pictures from the MTC, apparently, but I did take a picture.) It was an interesting 10 minute walk back to our residence with my face looking like that of the character of the old-school Doom video game. Long story short, Fels-Naptha (or whatever it is called) saved the day. No more blood, and I haven't even washed it yet. So thank you Marianne/Grandma Andrews/Mom for making me take some.
Also, I don't know what has been going on truthfully because I also have an injured foot. I recently realized that the Reebok tennis shoes I have aren't exactly made for cutting in every direction while playing soccer. I thought I got a blister, but it turns out I just split open my foot. No worries, I took a picture of that too, but it should suffice to simply know that it runs about from the tip of your pointer finger to your second knuckle (on a grown adult with normal sized hands) and is a few centimeters wide. So, I guess I know how Scott feels, cause I don't notice my limp, but apparently it is fairly bad. Anyway, I am even MORE greatful for my shower shoes now since I have an open wound. So thanks again dad for the awesome sandals that you loved.
Also, I was dissapointed not many people resonded with their favorite scripture. To those people, please read Alma 37:46 "Do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way." And I'll just leave it at that for that topic.
I ran into Mark Kennedy a few times already (another kid from the State College 1st Ward), he is doing well. It was fun to speak to the new guys in Spanish, cause they have no idea what is going on. Also, Elder Ben Miles, the lacrosse team manager is here, and it just so turns out that he is headed to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana mission Spanish Speaking--where my parents now live. So, that was kind of interesting to hear.
Among my few "afflictions", I think I am in good health though, so don't worry. Also, I now carry with me some paper towel, just in case. I'll probably pick up some tissues later.
Life at the MTC is definitely changing. Mostly for the better. Hermano Walton--who we used to know as Juan Carlos (remember that?)--is actually my teacher, which blew our minds. He is a really good teacher and served his mission in Bolivia and then Peru (I think) because the Bolivian government had some reason where the missionaries needed to leave. He has really halped Elder Cox and I form questions that involve the investigator more instead of just talking at them--which we tended to do since we were trying to say everything perfectly in Spanish.
Also, I now sympathise for the stereotype that many people in Latin America cannot sing (especially Hymns). It is very hard to keep your singing range while speaking in a different language. Especially since almost none of the songs have a dirrectly translated name from English, so you really don't know what song you are singing until about the last verse. It can get a little painful. Especially when singing the Hymns that are ONLY in the Spanish Hymn Book. But, it is what it is.
I'm sure I am forgetting something, as I usually do, but that will have to do. I hope all of you are doing well, and I hope to hear from you soon. Take care in all that you do.
Your favorite:
Missionary, Brother, Son, Grandson, Uncle, Friend, Person,
Elder Caleb O. Andrews


Hermano = brother

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Remember Lot's Wife"

So this week has been pretty interesting. To start off, every day, I have thought that it was a day later (ex. I thought Tuesday was Wednesday and so forth). I couldn't get it out of my head. Maybe it's just because I am super excited to get my Spanish scriptures back (I turned them in to get them engraved). I still lose track of time here at the MTC and it still seems long, but not really in a bad way anymore. Everything seems like one long day. It's hard to remember what happened each day, but I'll try to see what I can do about that later. Did I mention my preparation day is on Friday? Cause it is.
Yesterday I got some food in the mail from Rachael, and also Kari. Elder Cox was eyeing it and so I offered to share with him later. But he just declined and said, "No thanks, its my favorite thing to watch you eat." And then he smiled. Haha. We have a similar sense of humor sometimes that makes certain situations unbearably funny. Especially in Spanish. When we say stuff in Spanish everything just gets so much more funny.
Also, for our service activity on Tuesday(?), we cleaned the bathrooms. I now have a hightened gratitude for my shower shoes! I honestly cannot go in the bathroom without them anymore. I feel bad for missionaries that just don't bother. But they'll feel bad about it too, later. :P Another odd thing that I noticed about the bathrooms here is that there are no urinals in the residence halls. Only stalls. At first I was kind of annoyed, but once I realized what the food here does to you, I became very thankful. I am loving the chocolate milk, but I have to take some meals just with water--just to stay safe.
Hanging out with the district makes things a lot more fun and entertaining. The first few days we were all kind of lost so we sat alone. But meals together are the best. Except, we've had a heated debate over the past few days. One of the sisters that always ends up sitting near us (I think) looks like Christine from Phantom of the Opera. But half of our district thinks Christine has black hair and the other thinks she has dark brown hair in the movie. This Hermana has brown hair, so we are still conflicted between whether or not she looks like Christine or not. Hermana May, who is a sister in our district, came to the table a little bit late the first day we were talking about this and thought we were comparing her to THE Phantom of the Opera. She felt so bad before we could explain to her what is really going on. It's weird eating meals with the Hermanas because its pretty taboo to talk to them if they aren't in your district (which is why we can't ask HER what she thinks). Trivial problems I suppose.
Anyway, I met with my Branch President here, President Evans. He is a way cool guy and he gave me the scripture that I put as the subject, "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32). I love how you can take scriptures in so many different dirrections. Cause this could mean so many things, but most recently it seems to me, not to look back longingly when you know that you are going in the direction you are supposed to. The next scripture is also pretty powerful, so if you get a chance you could read it too.
I really don't have much time to write letters (sorry), so if you write me, please be happy with maybe one back a week. But also, I would love to know all of your favorite scriptures (Mormon or not). Don't really want scripture mastery verses, but something more unique that means something special to each of you, and maybe why (if you don't mind sharing). I am marking all of them in my scriptures (hopefully) in orange (just cause I had orange). Also, I think it would be cool to have a little piece of each of you to remember in my scriptures. Maybe I'll feel so impressed to share your experiences with an investigator? Who knows. So if you want to write a little insert for me to tuck into my scriptures and send that to me, I might even keep it there next to your verse.
I'm sorry I'm not sending pictures, we still haven't figured out how to with all the safeguards on these computers. So, maybe you won't get any until Mexico, sorry. But I will see what we can do.
Another topic at lunch our district likes to talk about is Math (specifically Calculus), and maybe some Chemistry thrown in there. So, knowing this, please don't judge me for thinking about what color someone's hair was in a movie. Elder Molovidov (a more athletic Elder) and I just kind of sit there and eat quietly when the Math comes up. "This isn't my idea of fun" (From "Swan Princess", yes Derek) comes up a few times in my head. But it's more funny now. It's weird hearing people sing more "popular" music here. I swear an Elder was singing from "Grease" in the shower today. Lol
Elder Molovidov and I have consequently gotten pretty close. We have a weird connection. Turns out he and Elder Castro lived in Wyview too, just the next building over. And they were both in my mission prep class. And I actually talked to Elder Molovidov after class once. Also, Chaille Jensen, a girl I went to Smith Jr. High with in Arizona (who also went to BYU) seemed to be interested in both Elder Molovidov and me. Keyword: seemed. She would always text us wanting to hang out and whatnot, and we would text back for a while and all of a sudden she wouldn't text back until about 2 am....a few days later. So it was funny to hear that the exact same girl stood us both up in the same way, at the same time. So Elder Molovidov and I took a picture together, and Derek, you'll need to post it to her FaceBook wall. :o
Anyway, my time is up. I hope you all know that I love you. And most of all that your Savior, Jesus Christ loves you.
Your son, brother, friend,
Elder Caleb Andrews

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Letter #1

So, today is my first time I get to write home. We have a half preparation day, but my real preparation day will be on Fridays. I only have 30 minutes to email, so letters are better to contact me by (the computer literally counts down). Not going to lie though, the MTC is nothing like what I thought it would be. There is so much run around, I hardly have time to think. We are already not allowed to speak in [English] which is discouraging because now I can't talk to the only person that I can talk to (if that makes sense). My companion is Elder Cox. He is from West Virginia around Fairfield. He platyed lacrosse but he said he platyed [sic] left-side attack (lol). We are pretty different actually, but we get along well. Its [sic] very nice to have him as a companion because we already have the same bathroom schedule! The other day we were both headed to the bathroom and I went in first. I came out and said "Buena suerte, Elder.["] Another elder washing his hands nearby just started cracking up. So I suppose our limited command of the Spanish language is comical.

I don't know how in the world I am going to make it through 9 weeks here. I wish I were already in the field experiencing everything. They say it gets better after Sunday, but still... Rather just be there. I'm almost envious of the English speaking elders, cause they aren't even here for a full 3 weeks. I ran into one of the lax kids the first day so that was cool, but he's headed to Tempe, AZ so he won't be here long. I also ran into Nate Frandsen a few times in the cafeteria (he was my college roomate headed to France). I wish I were in the advanced class so I could move on faster, but I have a feeling my Spanish will really benefit from being here longer.

They gave me so many books, its [sic] ridiculous. I don't know where they expect me to put them when I head to Mexico. Also, I'm sorry if my English doesn't make a whole lot of sense now, or down the road because I am pretty out of practice already. I am writing in my journal more than ever since I have no one to talk to. I suppose its good, but at the same time, pretty rough and sad.

I forgot to mention that Elder Cox is headed to Veracruz Mexico, and the others in my district are headed to Ecuador (where William went, but I'm not going to embarass myself by trying to spell it) and 3 others are headed to Portland, Oregon (Spanish-speaking). So, I still haven't met anyone that is headed to my mission, but when I told my teacher where I was headed her eyes lit up. So I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but she went on with something about there being a lot of work to do there (I think). All of my teachers are native Mexican Hermanas. Class is fun, but I have so much to learn and there is so much to process that it gets pretty discouraging.

One elder told me that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I suppose thats [sic] true, cause I'm three days into this and it feels like I've been here for years. These 9 long weeks seem like they will never end.

A member from the MTC Presidency was in our room last night when we all left to brush our teeth. He kind of repremanded [sic] us for listening to music (EFY Soundtrack from 1999, thanks Derek :P ). It seemed odd because it was while we were getting ready for bed but before quiet time. But, you gotta listen to him. He said we possibly would not have a time in the MTC to listen to music at all. And then that's for our Mission President to decide on when we are in the field. So that is very discouraging since I enjoy listening to something as I fall asleep. It is definitely harder to get to sleep here and I think all the sleep has just made me more tired.

Anyway, I'd love to hear from you all. You can use (or something like that) to write me for free. I'll try and write back, but I don't seem to really have time for anything at all. Also, stamps here are 45 centavos. I feel like that is high. Is it not? Who knows.

Today, we have to teach our first investigator, Juan Carlos. It will definitely be interesting. We also have to prepare a talk each sunday [sic] because our Branch President just picks out people right before. Everything has to be in Spanish, of course. These first few days have probably been the hardest times of my life, and I hardly feel like I have time to do anything. We have gym time in the middle of the day, so we have to get ready twice a day.

I hope to hear how all of you are doing. Hopefully well. Also, I don't know what address to write Kiahna back at... I guess I'll wait until they are back in CO? Well, my time is up.

Con amor,
Elder Caleb Andrews


Buena suerte, Elder. = Good luck, Elder.
Hermanas = Sisters
centavos = cents
Con amor = With love


William went to Guayaquil Ecuador South

Friday, July 6, 2012

Elder Andrews enters the MTC

July 5th, 2012 Elder Andrews entered the Missionary Training Center.
Before we dropped him off, he chose to have lunch at Bajios. 

Driving to the MTC. 

Last hugs and goodbyes.

He's such a good elder holding the umbrella for his host.

Good luck, Elder Andrews!
You will be a great missionary in the state of Tabasco. :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Llamado a Servir

Caleb reading his mission call on 21 March 2012