"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, June 24, 2013

Meet My Family: The Rodriguez Family

I'm sure I have mentioned Oscar and his family before. They are the miracle family we have been teaching. They couldn't make it to church this week since some family came to town, but they did watch the broadcast with us. It was pretty cool to have them there for that. We are working in the Book of Mormon with them and we are going to go over Lehi's Dream tonight accompanied by the Stake President and his family. It raining really hard right now which will make things interesting. 

Life is a journey. We haven't had water in our house for a while now and our clothes are on top of a member's roof. Pray for miracles I suppose. But it's all good. We're enjoying what we can and laughing it off. Tomorrow we are going to Zone Conference where we will say goodbye to Pres. Castañeda since President Morales will get here Saturday. 

Not a whole lot has changed here. Except we are getting ready to send two more missionaries off in the coming months which will make it 5 from this ward. Insane. None of them are my converts, so I can't say I really did anything, but they chill with us a lot, so that's cool. Elder Sanchez likes it because while they aren't looking he passes the food he doesn't like to their plates. Haha. 

But we are working hard and having fun. But I gotta run to teach my English class. We have about 20 kids eager to see us 3 times a week. 

Love you all,
Elder Andrews

P.S. Finished the Triple-Combination in Spanish for the first time (in any language I believe). I did it so that I knew what was there. Or maybe to say I had read it. But it is not the same as true dilligent study. Get more out of your studies. Don't just read. Now all that is missing is the great stories of the Old Testament. Stay strong.

Monday, June 17, 2013

It's Not Easy, But It's Not Hard

As promised, I tried to think a little more about what to say today. So, in the past week I was thinking about this topic of adversity and yesterday in sacrament meeting a Stake High Counselor helped when he said: "It's not easy, but it's not hard." 

Think back to the many times I've hinted at that saying in what I write home. 

Let us not be slothful because of the easiness of the way. Alma 37:44;46

The pattern is simple, but not easy to follow.  President Henry B. Eyring (Act In All Diligence)

This week we were really trying to hit it hard with the Book of Mormon. Reading here in Mexico just doesn't happen, so reading the scriptures... even less. We always make the same committments, they always say yes, but never any progress seems to be made. So, we had a little talk with one of the families. This family involves a girl of 18 who has plans to get married to another returned missionary of the ward. 

We tried to explain that she would not be able to teach her children what she did not know. But she quickly had a reply. "Isn't that what the spouse is for?" Thankfully her boyfriend was there and disagreed. She said then, she would look on google, ask on the internet, or ask a friend. Now stop here.

What honestly takes more time. Spending your time collecting answers, putting them together, trying to find the right one and forming a report to give to someone else, or simply reading a few verses or pages a day. We cannot pass life with SparkNotes. That's not even a question. Would you waste your time on SparkNotes if you had the answer sheet right in front of you? The scriptures are the answer key, not the test. 

But, as with anything else in this life, it is a matter or desire--or "want to". The question is, do you want to? Whether you agree with me or not that you chose to come here in the pre-earth life or you'd rather believe you evolved from some organism, the point is, that at one point of time, at least a part of you said, "Yes, I want to."

"He who wants to arrive, looks for the way; he who doesn't want to arrive, looks for excuses." Vicente Cassanya

23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the amastery is btemperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible ccrown; but we andincorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I akeep under my bbody, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Life is difficult so that you might learn. Whether you believe in scripture or science, there is always an opposite (2 Nephi 2:11 or Newton's Third Law). The opposite of life is not easy is not that it is hard. Life is not hard. 

Do not slaken your strength because of your many afflictions. (2 Nephi 4:29)

You were chosen in the furnace of affliction. (1 Nephi 20:10

Just as glass is put under extreme heat and pressure so that it can shine and be purely, transparent, so are your difficulties refining you.

In lacrosse and football. Music. School. Whatever it may be. I have seen teams and people that should come out on top lose. I have beaten better teams than I should have. I have lost to a few I shouldn't have. Everything is based on your desire. Life is a test to see what you will do. Life is a test to be worthy and be pure so that you can one day return to live with Him. "So run, that ye may obtain."

Elder Andrews

Monday, June 10, 2013

Never Enough Time

There is just never enough time to tell you everything that has been happening.

I'm pretty sure I forgot to tell you about Oscar and his family. We started teaching him and his wife about two weeks ago. At the end of this last week we finally united the family and are teaching the whole family of five. We are starting English classes in there house in about 20 mintues from now where we will get to meet the rest of their family. By that, I mean the rest of their family. When we found them we were wandering where no (Mormon) missionary had been before. They were a reference of a reference of a less active convert. They happen to live on a ranch hidden behind our house a ways with about 100 of their relatives that, up to this point are very open to the gospel. Oscar has already met with missionaries of practically every other church you could think of because he has been looking for the true church for about 2 years. So, wish us luck.

About the Hernandez Family. We have EARNESTLY been trying to help them as much as we can, but to no avail. I call nearly two times a week, with no success. This week when we went to the waterfalls (close to where the family lives) I ran into Elder Hernandez' dad! He bought me, my companion, and the sister missionaries drinks. (attatched photo below). So, we're working with what we've got there. 

Here is a photo of my hammock. It looks a lot better here. The Royal Blue and Turquoise kind of ran together. But I think it looks like the Little Mermaid colors. So, I learn to love it for what it is. Who cares, it sleeps well. 

Also, I took a sweet picture so that you could all use it as your background on your computers. It is pretty sweet. 

Mom, today to get to the waterfalls we crossed a shaky metal bridge (about 300 yards long) it didn't have guardrails because they were just making it. Why? Because it recently fell down. It was fun to cross even though I will admit I am a little scared of heights. Especially when you jump over random holes or the metal moves below you. But, I'm alive. I even took video for a while until I got to the middle where it shook a bit more.

I'll have something more spiritual to share later.

Also, a few weeks ago I had my first baptismal interviews. Both of them left crying, which scared the Elders who taught them because they thought I made them cry, but they were crying because they were happy, so no worries. They both got baptized about a week ago. Real good people.

Love you all,
Elder Andrews

Elder Andrews in his hammock.
Everyone's new desktop background.
Elder Andrews with Hermano Gonzalez.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Be Still

This week was an interesting one with the new missionaries coming in. It is quite a change and an big opportunity to grow. We had some troubles with the rules this week, not breaking them, but obeying them. We aren't allowed to (or suppossed to) travel with single sisters in their cars. But at the last second the jóven [young man] that was going to accompany us decided not to. But we had an appointment very far away and the sister had already volunteered to drive us--after all it is her half-sister. So, we went, but we also took the other Elders with us. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me why we are allowed to do it in four and not in two, but its an option that the mission has given us, so, we took it. She is super stoked to get baptized, although she couldn't really say yes to a date to be baptized because she will be giving birth around the date of her would-be baptism. I figure its ok to wait a little bit for that. 

We also found a little ranch hidden about 10 minutes or so from our house. We have a few families to teach there that have never heard of the Mormons but have been looking for the true Church for a few years. They are super excited every time we go there, so we hope it continues that way.

Short for time (again of course). Had a lot of run around today. 

One of my favorite songs from this week is one that my brother Derek showed to me "Be Still" by...some girl [Hilary Weeks]. 

Sometimes just listen to soft music. That's what I do to relax. And that's when it hit me: " Be Still, and know that I am God."

May you all find your peace in the fact that God lives. Let Him influence your life for good always.

Love you all,
Elder Andrews

Translation: jóven = youth, but specifically "young man" in this case

"Be Still" by Hilary Weeks