"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, December 31, 2012


Dear Friends and Family,

I don't know if you were there, saw, or took notice of what my mother said this week when I talked to her. And keep in mind she said it in a nicer way than this, but she said basically, "Caleb, you're forgetting the people at home here in your big emails. They are getting shorter. Get your act together." Long story short here is to start with this: quite honestly, you can do whatever you want in the mission. Someone will always say something about what you do, good or bad. But your progression is really up to no one else but you. Sadly there isn't a lot of guidance and President has even related that we, as missionaries are lost. (More in the sense that people who are ready to hear the message are all around us, but still). And so yeah, maybe I did lose a bit of my focus on you guys and I'll try not to neglect you and report back to make sure I'm focused and progressing. It's hard to really say you've progressed when you are still in the picture yourself. So, I'll try to do better mom.

The topic this week then is persuasion. Read D&C 121 if you need, but it fits me well to just say that persuasion is a virtue of the priesthood. Now that may sound odd, and maybe even a little sacreligious. But if you can take it with the right heart, then you can understand that with the priesthood, you can be the instrument that guides the Spirit to persuade others (or vice versa depending on how you look at it). Long story short that takes us to our first miracles of the week:

"Ésta semana tuvimos un bautismo de una niña inscrita--asignado a nosotros por el obispo. Tal vez pareció como una pérdida de tiempo en el principio para nosotros como misioneros, pero lo hicimos por nuestro obispo. El bautism salió muy bonito yy fue el medio para algunos milagros esta semana. Dos personas que asistieron al bautismo nos aprocharon y ellos dijeron que quieren bautizarse. Una de esas personas fue Karen, una niña que cayó porque no tenía el permiso de su mamá. Este bautismo tocó el corazón de la mamá de Karen que también asistió y ahora tenemos planeado a bautizar a Karen este fin de semana."

["This week we had a baptism for a child of record--assigned to us by the bishop. It may have seemed like a waste of time at first, for us as missionaries, but we did it for our bishop. The baptism went very beautifully and it was the cause of some miracles this week. Two people who attended the baptism approached us and told us they wanted to be baptized. One of the people was Karen, a girl that fell because she didn't have her mother's permission. This baptism touched Karen's mother's heart, who had also attended, and now we have planned Karen's baptism for this weekend."]

Y despues [and later], I'll share an example of something that hit me hard with the persuasion of the Spirit in my life. I didn't plan on ever sharing this, but someone needs to hear it. To start out I took my lacrosse stick to the MTC because I was a college athlete, I needed it and I would have time to practice each morning as we worked out. Was this such a bad thing? Of course not. But, I took it out one night to share it with a friend I had made in the MTC. We had a good time and everything was appropriate and everything went well. I returned to my room to brush my teeth and get ready for bed only to find a member of another Branch Presidency in the MTC in my room talking to a few of the Elders from my district. But how did I return to my room? Well of course I was cradling my lacrose stick reminiscing in the old days of when I was loving life as a lacrosse player. I entered my room, the Branch President's back was turned and all the other Elders saw me but he did not. I quickly threw the stick in the closet of another Elder and hid the stick. Of course he would have said something if he had seen the stick and even though he did not, and neither did anyone in my district, I still heard the message loud and clear of what I needed to do. I at that moment felt I needed to focus my two years more on what I was to be doing now and not what I had already done. So, I sent my lacrosse stick home. I have no doubt I was prompted by the Spirit to do that. I can also tell you that to be 100% honest I have no idea why I needed to do it. I was persuaded by the Spirit. This is how we need to learn things for ourselves and I'm forever thankful that my parents helped me to let the Spirit always persuade my choices and not force me one way or another. Forcing choices impedes growth. Agency is the only way to grow. Also, I got to pay for a package with stamps. That was cool.

"Did you not tell them they were the Lord's chips?"

Love you all,

P.S. Sorry Mom.


"President" refers to Caleb's mission president, President Castañeda.
"Child of record" refers to a child that was raised in the Church and chooses to be baptized at age 8.
"Aprocharse" is a false cognate. Instead, Spanish speakers say "se nos acercaron" for "the approached us."
"Branch Presidency" is the leadership of a small congregation.
The quote at the end is from Nacho Libre.

Sending the lacrosse stick home.

Using tons of stamps to send the lacrosse stick home.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elder Andrews' Christmas Call 2012

Here's the call with everyone, completely locked down for only immediate family to view. If any immediate family is unable to view it, please e-mail Derek to gain access.

Here's the call with just Caleb and Mom and Dad. Mom, Dad, and Caleb have access to this private video.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Week

Primeramente, aquí está algo que pasó en éste mes. Ya lo escribí en español. Perdón:

[First of all, here's something that happened this month. I already wrote it in Spanish. Please forgive me:]

"Tuvimos otro milagro este semana. Por todo mi tiempo aqui en Carmen no tuve yo un Líder Misional de Barrio. Estábamos mencionando eso con el obispo mucho, pero no progreso apareció para mi. Pero un día hacía algunas semanas tuvimos un miembro muy activo que decidió a asistir nuestro clase de Principios del Evangelio un domingo. Había algo en su ojo cuando estaba yo enseñando (sí esto fue antes que usted me corregió en esto) que pensé a mencionar su nombre al obispo como un candidato para un Líder Misional o Misionero de Barrio porque él no tenía un llamamiento.

[We had another miracle this week. For my entire time here in Carmen, I personally have not had a Ward Mission Leader. We were mentioning this a lot to the bishop, but no progress came about for me. But one day a few weeks ago we had a very active member that decided to attend our Gospel Principles class one Sunday. There was something in his eye when I was teaching (yes this was before you corrected me on this) that I thought to mention his name to the bishop as a candidate for Mission Leader or Ward Missionary because he didn't have a calling.]

Ahora él es nuestro Líder Misional despues de un ayuno de nuestro obispo.

[Now he is our Mission Leader after a fast by our bishop.]

Nuestro nuevo Líder Misional compartió su testimonio con nosotros en nuestro primer reunión y dijo que él tuvo un impressión muy especial de la obra misional ESE MISMO DÍA. (Para mi, no es coincidencia). Él estaba en este cuarto este día porque de verdad él estaba perdido pensando que fue la hora del sacerdocio (sacerdocio reúnan en esta misma cuarto durante la tercera hora). Pero algo tocó a su corazón y quedó allá y sintió que necesitaba ser parte de esta obra. Dos días después, él fue llamado como nuestro Líder Misional."

[Our new Mission Leader shared his testimony with us in our first meeting and said that he had a very special impression about missionary work THAT SAME DAY. (To me, this is not a coincidence). He was in this room this day because truly he was lost thinking that it was time for priesthood (priesthood meets in this same room during the third hour). But something touched his heart and he stayed there and felt that it was necessary for his to be part of this work. Two days later, he was called as our Mission Leader.]

If nothing made sense so far, go back and use Google Translate. Who knows, maybe you'll get some Spanish each week to read! Anyway, as for this week, we have been as hard at work as you can this Christmas season. Not a whole lot is really different during the Christmas time as a missionary. But maybe that is more just for the climate. It started off hot this week. Sweating a ton each day still. But then we got a storm during the night. It woke me up. Mainly because the rain drenched my legs. Thankfully that was all. But still, really wet. Second time that has happened to me. And really only the second time it has TRULY rained here on the island. We get a lot of sun. Although after the storm the weather has tamed down. A lot! It got freezing cold. Everyone is wearing jackets and sweat pants and it's pretty insane. It got down to 70 degrees fahrenheit when we woke up one morning! Imagine that. One day I hardly even sweat. It was rather odd.

Today we got our haircut at 6:30 in the morning and then ran 30 minutes to the grocery store. On the way we got stopped by a member to help move gravel (over 30 wheel barrows worth). They gave us breakfast afterward, so that was nice. Also, they were building in there house. It made Elder Pack ask, "Why did I ever play with Lego's when I could have built a house?" Because the houses here are just a bunch of cement blocks and cement. I was sad the world didn't end becuase I even got a Book of Mormon in Mayan and was studying to be prepared.
I also made a make-shift Nativity set with my Book of Mormon action figures. Hope you enjoy that one.

Love you all,
Talk to the Family tomorrow at 5 PM (my time),
Elder Andrews

Notes: Caleb is serving in the heart of what was once the Mayan civilization.

Elder Andrews reading The Book of Mormon in Mayan "just in case."

Elder Andrews' makeshift Nativity from his Book of Mormon action figures. Which ones can you name?

It appears that Elder Andrews played a part in the Ward Christmas Party.

Elder Andrews may be trying to cool down the dog a bit.

Monday, December 17, 2012

America in Mexico

Today I made the trek to the local supermarket where I planned on buying a cool glass bowl. Pretty insignificant, but you learn to get excited for little things. Especially since the bowl was to make jello. Of course I bought American. It was a 1L PYREX glass bowl. It didn't have a price. Turned out it was 160 pesos (about $12 USD). Needless to say I didn't buy it since it cost more than my food for the week. Bummer, eh? Had the money, you just learn to be smarter. I'll be making jello like a Mexican then. Still need to figure out how I mean exactly.

Didn't hear about that terrible shooting in Conn. But, from the perspective of another country, violence exists, sadly, it is not something that doesn't exist. In Mexico, guns are outlawed, and surprisingly, no, I haven't seen any guns here either. But the next thing you know there will be people walking down your streets with machetes. Nacho Libre meets America! Can't wait. Is it true that America legalized marijuana as well in all 50 states? If so, the Mexicans here on the island think America is a disgrace. But, we learned that even if its a legal drug its still against the Word of Wisdom. Just goes to show calling sin good doesn't make it that way. Jacob 6:12

I also got the chance to head to Villahermosa for the Christmas reunion of the missionaries. Things came up that Elder Pack and I might not have gone but in the end I'm glad I did. Not really especially for what was said or done there (I mean we're missionaries, it wasn't exactly a party) but what happened on the way home. For one reason or another Elder Pack and I couldn't sit next to each other on the way home and I got put next to some random person. He turned out to be just that, some random kid. Se llama Angel (20). He was way cool. He is even studying to be a psychiatrist. The similarites were pretty interesting. Anyway, I had the chance to teach him. For three hours on the trip home. There we talked about everything from the Book of Mormon to the pioneers. Needless to say, we talked about a lot. He'll get baptized someday.

Keep going strong. Until next week,

Love you all,
Elder Andrews

Translation: Se llama Angel = His name is Angel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Head Strong

Friends and Family,

This week has been a bumpy one. I attached a picture of our "weekly planning". It's the one of what has become famous on the island (at least for the missionaries)--the largest first aid kit there is. It just might be larger than the ones they use on the platforms. And unfortunately I haven't had much use of it. But, I still have a year and a half of bump, bruises, and sicknesses to put it to good use. I've found that as a missionary there is always something wrong with your health. But, that's where you learn to just keep on going in spite of it. 

Elder Pack has helped me pick up the pace here on the island. We worked hard to get a Family Home Evening set up for Mario and his family with some active families in the ward. Everyone sacrificed a lot to make it happen. One father drove 3 hours in from Villa that night because he promised a few days before he'd help give the lesson (commendable anywhere, but even moreso here.) Mario and his brother Franklin were there in there house across the street, but didn't feel like coming to the activity the knew had been specifically planned for them and agreed to by them. Then my fever kicked in more and I started shivering as if I were laying in snow. It was lame cause I knew it was hot outside. 

Karen is our most promising prospect, and she just might have ADHD. We were teaching her a lesson and she got up and left right in the middle of it all. She came back about 5 minutes later eating jello. 

The mission life is a lot of run around, and hopefully I am keeping up well enough. Until next week, I hope you all fair well. Sorry I kinda forgot about your birthday last week Dad. I wrote it in my journal though...

Love you all,
Elder Andrews

Notes: Caleb's reference to the "platforms" means the oil platforms.

"Weekly planning" with the mission's largest first aid kit.

Elder Pack with snowball?

Elder Andrews en las mejores fiestas (at the best parties).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Change is Change

Here I am still on the island. It has been interesting. From the looks of how things are playing out, I could realistically stay here on the island (my first area) for 7.5 months. From what President has voiced of his plans at least. So, while that is neat, it seems like a long time. But not as long as those 9 weeks in the MTC did at first, so all will go on and go well. 

Elder Pack is here on the island with me now and he is enjoying it. I'm keeping him safe, so don't worry. The English comes in handy when we get in some awkward situations when we can't let the people around us know what is going on. Island life is safe, you just gotta keep your eye out. It is rough teaching the area to someone else, I just got tired out quicker and quicker each day. But, it was amazing how much success we were able to have. I dragged him around the island and thankfully his 21 months of experience were able to carry us through the lessons. 

We have been running around a lot today, and we have got a full load ahead of us. So I'll be off and talk to ya next week.

Elder Andrews

P.S. About Mexican customs, December 12th in the day of the Virgen Guadelupe. Happy Birthday, mother! We'll be in Villahermosa that day for a Christmas reunion as a mission seeing we won't be very productive working.


"President" refers to "Mission President." Caleb's mission president is President Castañeda.

It is common for missionaries to plan other events, such as mission reunions, when local celebrations would prevent them from being productive. I am not sure if Caleb is using reunion in the English or Spanish sense. In Spanish "reunión" means "meeting."

Caleb used the Spanish word for virgin (virgen) in reference to the Virgin of Guadalupe. In Spanish, this would be  "El día de la Virgen de Guadalupe" or "El día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe" (The day of our Lady of Guadalupe).

So long, Elder Andrade!