"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

Monday, November 26, 2012


This week, was an odd week. Many things happened, while at the same time really nothing. To cut to the chase, Mario decided not to be baptized. We had divisions among missionaries, so I don't really know what happened with all of that, but we will still be working with him hard this coming week.

So, while I was in divisions in Barrio (ward) Carmen, I got hit on. Again. That makes it a solid every time that it has happened when I work in that area. Except since we don't contact on the street any more, who were the culprits? That's right, none other than the Relief Society. They were convinced that I was brasileño, and they assured me it was a good thing. That's all I really have to say about that one, but I got a pretty interesting journal entry that day. Today a 14 year old girl said I have beautiful eyes. There have been lessons where I can't look at certain people because they just stare at me, and it's not because of my accent. At least I can't be too fat, or maybe its just the eyes that can't get too fat. And that leads us to the most interesting story of the week: Karen.

Karen is one of our investigators (9). She's a good little girl who is super excited to get baptized. The only problem is that she has the retention span of...something very small. I taught her a 30 minute lesson all about baptism. 30 minutes of just this: "Baptism is a convenant. A covenant is a promise with God. The promise you make when you are baptised is to help others." After 30 minutes she could finally repeat it all. We went back the next day and she forgot it all. Needless to say, I will be improving my teaching abilities this next transfer. BUT, she comes to church every week and even brought her super inactive mom this last week. She came up to say goodbye to me after church while I was copying down the list for Comida for the month of December. I shook her hand and said goodbye. Then she kissed me. It was super weird, even though kind of normal. Everyone kisses each other here (just on the cheek, ya know?) but still, as an Elder there is a giant X on my chest for that. Don't worry mom, I'm staying out of trouble. But it's not easy. 

While on divisions I got the chance to plan the day. Since we haven't had many investigators, my planning consisted of opening the ward directory and randomly choosing names I'd never seen before. Random, or guided? What resulted would be nothing less than biased to guided. I went with an elderly woman named Francisca. How old? Old. 90+, walker and all. She's awesome though. Hadn't been to the church for 5 years since her husband died. The first thing she said to me? "What a miracle you are here". She then continued to recite to us what happened over the last 5 years (many difficulties) and that during these 5 years she watched the missionaries walk by her house nearly every day. 5 years she just wanted them to stop to talk to her, but her voice was too soft, her body too frail, and she could never time it just quite right. So where is the miracle? Well, I'll get back to you on that. But know that she is happier and helped us find new investigators to teach.

Elder Andrade is getting transferred tomorrow. My new companion is named Elder Pack. I was the first gringo in this area for the last year (not quite) and now we will have two. We'll try not to get robbed too much. Hopefully he can learn to run as fast as me. So, I'll pick him up from the bus stop tomorrow and we'll hit the ground running. He will end his mission in 3 months, and I could quite possibly be with him for the rest of it. And so it continues, on the island.

Until next week,
Elder Andrews

P.S. Love you.

Oh yeah, also my camera broke. You'll be able to tell what happened from one of the pictures. So, before I spent 3 months worth of money for food I tore apart my camera and put it back together. It works now. Not really sure how.


Barrio = Ward or Congregation
brasileño = Brazilian
Comida = literally "food," but in this case it means "lunch"
gringo = US Citizen/North American; this comes from the Mexican American War when the US Troops wore green uniforms and the Mexicans yelled phonetically in Spanish "¡Grin go!" meaning "Green, go away!"


"Divisions" are when missionaries trade companions for the District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Assistants the the Mission President can work with missionary companionships

It is very common in Latin America for girls and women to kiss each other--and men--on the cheek when greeting one another or leaving. Male missionaries are often instructed to not kiss any girls, while some missions allow this greeting for girls under age 12 and for really old grandma ladies (Francisca would certainly qualify).

It's worth noting that Caleb mentioned that he had the opportunity to plan the day. When with his trainer--or first companion that essentially shows him the ropes of being a missionary in his specific mission--Caleb starts out as the junior companion. His trainer is the senior companion. While it is preferred to have both missionaries contribute to the planning, this often falls to or is otherwise dominated by the senior companion.

Another picture of Mario?

Caleb doing laundry and writing letters.

Camera malfunction

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Pelea la buena batalla de la fe" - 1 Tim. 6:12

[Subject translation: "Fight the good fight of faith" - 1 Tim. 6:12]

Friends and Family,

A story to laugh at: So, this week I still have my rash. So, I got sent back to the doctor, seeing as it may not be a rash. Not to foreshadow, but did you know you can get herpes from the sun? Well apparently you can. Thankfully, no mother, I do not have herpes, but that is what was scaring me to death as I waddled across the island to the doctor. It's still just a rash, but man is it a good one. So, the real funny part is, well, remember how I loved to talk about Pearl Harbor in my emails while I was in the MTC? Well, my mission is turning out to be more like that movie that you could imagine, I mean, I'm on an island that has great value to Mexico (apparently 75% of Mexico's income comes in through the island because of the oil--it doesn't stay here though). Also, remember back to the immunization scene with all the nurses? That happened to me too this week! (exaclty, watch the movie and you'll understand). Except instead of Kate Beckinsale, it was a very very large Mexican man. We're talking huge. Thankfully he was good at injecting people. But it killed like crazy, which didn't help my waddle.

Another story to laugh at: I love actually SERVING people, so I volunterred us to help a member shovel gravel after we got done teaching a lesson to his neighbor. Elder Andrade is not much for physical labor, so after a few wheelbarrels full of gravel he threw down the shovel and started periodically picking up rocks by hand and throwing them in. It was hilarious at the time, but we were both more tired than ever the next day as we tried to study with our backs aching. Thankfully we didn't quite fall asleep though.

As for Mario, we are still working hard with him, he is still making good decisions, but he still isn't quite sure about his desires to be baptized and follow the Church for all his life. He would like to, it just seems like a lot to him right now. He is only 16, but he is awesome, when he gives his word he keeps it, at what seems to be guaranteed always. So, you can sympathize a bit that he wants to wait to make sure for himself. As for us, well, Elder Andrade is almost for sure gone when transfers come next week, so he is spamming out a little bit. As for me, I'm trying my best that he can feel the desire. Sometimes it seems like we are just sitting there beating him with a metaphorical stick saying "Get baptized, get baptized." since he already knows everything and has already seen the blessing and knows that its all good. As for our job now, we are hoping to just fortalize [strengthen] his faith this week, although he already has more than a lot of people I know.

So that brings me to my studies this last week. I'll try to guide ya through it:

First, read 1 Tim 6:12.

Then read Alma 44 (in the Book of Mormon)

Then go back to the Bible in 2 Tim 4:7

One day, I will be able to stand in front of you and recite the latter. I hope that in that day you will be able to say the same. Until then, "fight the good fight of the faith".

Con amor por cada uno de ustedes,
Elder Andrews

Can you include this? Also Thansgiving doesn't exist in Mexico. How lame.


Pelea la buena batalla de la fe = Fight the good fight of faith
fortalize = Spanglish from "fortalecer" meaning "strengthen"
Con amor por cada uno de ustedes = With love for each one of you


While Thanksgiving is a US holiday, the way to say it in Spanish is "El día de acción de gracias."

A Picture of Mario

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Week on the Island

Family and Friends,

First off, a story you can laugh at me for; well, long story short I've had a pretty bad rash for the last month. One that even Gold Bond three times a day could not battle. I'll spare the rest of the details, but imagine the worst rash you've ever seen and watch that person walk around all day. I bought some special cream, mom, it's tamed a little since then. No need to worry, love you.

Spanish lesson: when you say you like someone (as a friend) you say: "Me cae bien". Literally "he/she falls well with you". Me gusta is common for things that you like, but with people it is almost as if you are lusting after them. No, I have not made that mistake, but it is just nice to know for the following story:

Mario. Mario is Elder Andrade and my last ray of hope together. This change in how we do missionary work in the world has taken a toll on our success together. Instead of being the highest baptizing companionship on the isla, we are... quite honestly I think still the highest. But we haven't been having much success at all lately. It's been rough to put in full days and have nothing much to show for it at the end of the day. Elder Andrade is almost certain to leave in two weeks seeing as he will cumplir 9 meses en el fin de este cambio. Entonces, voy a quedarme aqui por seguro, tal vez. :P [complete 9 months at the end of this change. Then, I am going to stay here for sure, maybe.] But, the point is, with the raised bar and everything, it is harder for people to just pop out of the wood work for baptism. Anyway, back to Mario. Mario is the brother of Franklin, (11) a boy who decided not to be baptized the day before his fecha por causa de algo que dijo su papá [date because of something his dad said]. It was a sad day. But Mario (16) was curious from all of this going on around him--more skeptical really. So, we have made sacfrices to adjust to his schedule the past few weeks to teach him (since he is really our only progressing investigator). Things are great and he enjoys talking with us, he sees us more as friends than some insane teenagers wearing white shirts and ties when it is so hot outside. He even walked with us home once. Él tiene mucho confianza en nosotros, es muy bueno. Le cayémos muy bien con él [He trusts us very much, which is good. He likes us very much]. But, the problem is, today we woke up and on our way to wash our clothes he sent us a message saying he didn't want anything more with the church. He loves hanging out with us, but has been not feeling the restrictions of the "rules". He always keeps his commitments, which is awesome, but he is getting more careful about what he gets himself into. He is definitely converted to us as friends--he loves hanging out with us--which is great, but when you are working towards a lasting conversion to Christ, well, it could be more ideal another way. 

So, with all this rough stuff happening lately I have tried to start loving people more. I think the people here are nice, sure. But I couldn't say I really love them. They are helpful, they care about me (they were scared to death for my family when the hurricane hit New York, because I always used New York to describe where Pennsylvania was). But they are glad to know that my whole family was safe from the storm. I hope I can say the same about the rest of you, my friends. But, Mario is 16, just 3 years younger than me. And I can honestly tell you that I love him. I almost feel like his father sometimes because I get so worried about if he is choosing the right, if we taught him well enough that he actually knows what to choose. It is draining to love people that much, ya know. My mission lately has been just that though, the things that people willingly put themselves through when they love you is, to me, inspiring. To give you a better example, look to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our mutual Eternal Father. "For God so loved the world", no? And Christ loved us so much that he willingly submit to bleed from every pore and be crucified. I have done nothing even close to that, but I have gotten a taste of that love.

Elder Andrews


caerse bien = to like someone/think they are cool; literally "to fall well with someone"
gustarse = to like something; when used for a person it means you like them romantically


Remember that the "raised bar" refers to the fact that the missionaries are to focus on only teaching. The members are to contact friends, family, and neighbors for them to teach.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Letter #9 from Mexico

Dear Family and Friends,

Mom, did you know there are so many missionary rules that aren't in the handbook? It's a good thing they're not, because if I followed them all, I would be so dead right now. Love you. One that I learned a few weeks ago that doesn't really exist is that as missionaries we are to wash our hands before AND after using the bathroom. Hope I didn't learn that one too late. But on a brighter note, I bought the first dispenser of soap our house here has seen in the last year! So, now we have clean hands and pure hearts. Or at least we are working on getting there. It's still a rough rule to follow, cause when you have to go, well, you have to go.

Some things happened this week that pretty much set my life track back to becoming a psychiatrist upon my return. Something worth noting. Nothing big really happened. I talked to a member who is actually a pilot and he told me I didn't want to become one. Maybe that's because all this time I had seen him I thought he would be an awesome investigator--even though he really is a member. I just have never seen him at church because he tends to get stuck in other places while flying. He's a cool guy.

This week we were Chinese. And by that, it means, well, just that. We gave a Chinese Book of Mormon to (of course) a Chinese man. We ate Chinese food today for lunch--which surprisingly tastes exactly the same as real Mexican food. Rice, some type of meat that they usually call chicken, and some vegetables. I'm sure we did other Chinese things, but eating all the food with tortilla chips was easier than chop sticks. Thankfully we didn't have any of those. It's hard enough to cut steak fat with a spoon.

We have a new investigator, Alejandro, 42. His "wife" is just a few years older than me--not sure how many. Point is they aren't married. She's a member though. Don't judge, just go with it. Anyway, them and another couple we've been working with (members that also aren't married) showed up to church where I taught my first Gospel Principles class all by myself. It was nice. But the preparation was awkward. Why? Because of course the lesson was on the Law of Chastity. Whoops. But all went well, and we learned a lot. We're helping them all get married (in the normal way...) whether they know it yet or not.

Hope you all are doing well. The hurricane that was coming didn't really, well...get here. Heard New York and Dracula heard a different story.

Love you all
Elder Andrews


Caleb typically only gets a spoon to use for his meals in Mexico.
"Gospel Principles" is a class that goes over the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.