"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 25, 2013

Life of a [Missionary]

The mission never gets boing. There is always something new happening. For instance, this week we got called to a Zone Class on Saturday and we went with our district. Which made me realize that our district has the oldest missionaries in the whole Zone. I'm the third oldest in the Zone in terms of time in the mission! Whoops. Its a bit scary to see it that way. But, we got up early so that we could run down to the bus station to catch the 6 AM bus to make the what turned out to be 3 hour trip to Tenosique (where the Zone Leaders live). I say turned out to be because no one knew how long it would take since they just divided the Zone and no one had ever made that trip before. We simply left at 6 because it was the only bus that left. And when I say bus, I mean, Mexican super-mini-van. When we left the bus station we had 5 people inside, but while picking up random people along the way I think we had 30 people inside at one point. It amazes me how it is not ilegal, but I have learned to love it.

So, with that in mind, I will tell you another story where we can see that by not complaining, something was learned, and someone was blessed. My mom was always right about "Your attitude makes the difference" and all that nonesense.

While riding in very crammed space the Zone Leaders called my District Leader who was traveling with me and asked to talk to me (since I still did not have a phone). At about 7:30 they asked me to speak in the Zone class at 9. Normally I would have said no and hung up, especially since I actually had a rule before my mission about denying desperate last second appointments to do something. But, both my Zone Leaders are Brand new so I figured I would help them out and accepted, although I did make sure they knew that they could do better. :P So, I wrote up an instruction class there in the bus. It's a funny thing to imagine, but just imagine how you would study with your books all over a table, well that's what I did in the bus, but my table were random people. It was difficult to write since it was one of the bumpiest roads I think I have ever been on, but somehow I managed to get a few things written down.

When we showed up, we turned out to be the first ones to arrive, which was interesting because we live the farthest away. By a lot. But eventually we got started with the class. Eventually it came my time to talk and I shared a story that I normally always share in: The North Wind and the Sun with DyC 121. It is probably my favorite thing to share, especially since both my Stake Presidents shared it with me before I left on the mission. For the most part, I already shared it with you. But I hope you take from it that in the mission you learn to love on a different level.

The impact of that class I can't really share with you yet, but it was a change you could feel in the room, and things to come in the Zone.

Which brings me to another point. When talking to one Elder a few months ago he told me that when he gets a new companion he usually stays quiet for a few days to try and gage what his new companion is like and adapts to how his companion is. It was a good thought to be able to endure the mission, but to me it didn't seem like quite the right idea to enjoy your mission. When you serve a mission you should never give up on who you and or shape yourself to others, but rather let yourself grow into what the Lord has planned for you. This Elder is one of my good friends, but people that adapt to their surroundings are very boring. You need to be set on who you are. But do not think you are avoiding conformity by denying truth. Otherwise you are conforming with Satan. It may sound odd, but it is true. There are only so many options, and each one has its opposite.

May we all allow the Lord to shape us, and develop the humility to show love to all while on our journey.

Elder Andrews

Monday, November 18, 2013

Transfers: A Journey Through Life

There will never be enough time to type everything you should know about what has happened in the last week of transfers. So many stories with so many twists I could never get them all in. But we'll start somewhere as to give my mother an explanation of why in the world I would have taken out so much money from the ATM at 2 AM. I'm actually surprised she didn't ask.

So, Tuesday morning Elder Rangel and I get up early at 5 to head out early to Villahermosa and pick up our brand-new companions and make a few packing adjustments to put away the clothes that were still drying. It rained the previous day and so they never got the chance even with our fans blowing on them all day. Sadly, not much changed with out fans blowing on them all night either due to the continuing rain. But, it was time to go so I packed all my clothes wet. And so we make our way outside our second story apartment to find a taxi to get to the bus station. Still raining harder than ever I thought little of it all because, well, the inside of my suitcase was already wet from the suitcase, no? So we made our way down and set all my stuff under a rooftop out front. When to our surprise the streets were flooded. Our new Zone Leader called us to inform us that everyone could stay home until the rain passed, except for us two because we had to be in Villahermosa for a special meeting. How nice, right? So we crossed the river of water to our knees in search of some car that might take us to the bus station. All to no avail. Long story short, we were hopeless with abandoned cars with flooded-engines all around us. So, we decided to ask a huge favor from a member. We ended up waking him up to get him to take us to the bus station (commonly known here as ADO). But when he finally arrived with his brand new truck he had a surprised expression to see that we were wet. Haha. He had just bought his truck so he is still babying it a bit--not too hard to understand. So, we bought some garbage bags to cover the luggage and stuffed two other missionaries in the house across from us in his truck and Elder Rangel and I rode in the back making sure the luggage didn't fall out into the flooded streets. 30 minutes later we arrive to catch what happens the be one of the last buses that ever made it out of Mina that day.

So we made it to the meeting and that is a whole other story that I don't have time to share, so maybe we'll share it later. My new companion is Elder Rime from Huntingdon Beach, California. He is having a pretty rough time, but doing a lot better than I did. He gets down on himself a bit, but not without cause with what we would go through next. My eagerness towards Psycology has come in handy a lot.

Fast forward and President Morales told me to take my companion to Emiliano Zapata and stay there for the night and continue my journey to Candelaria the next day. Because we were opening a new area and there were so many missionaries they just didn't have more cell phones to give out. So we made our way there, and in Villahermosa before I left I made sure that multiple people called ahead to let them know we were coming and to make sure they would wait for us there. But, after the 3 hour bus ride to Zapata, we arrived around 10:30 and found no one. I asked one of the workers and they said the Mormons had just left not even thirty minutes earlier. So, not knowing where were were or telefphone numbers of any missionaries there, we were stuck. After trying to use the phone in the bus station that didn't get to Villahermosa for long-distance reasons we got kicked out because they were going to close. And thus, you see our picture below. What made it worse, it started to rain again and my shoes were already still wet. So, we found ourselves outside, alone, lost, and wet. But, we are in Mexico so at least I wasn't cold. 

Finding myself with a missionary on his first day who clearly didn't speak Spanish, I told him to wait near the building with the bags and to scream if someone tried to come near him as I crossed the street to the hotel to see what help we could get. I felt like Joseph looking for the Inn, except for the Inn was empty and no one really wanted to even tell me that they weren't going to help. Finally I convinced some guy to let me send a message from his phone. I sent a message to Elder Rangel saying, "We need help. We are stuck. Don't respond. Call President. E. Andrews" Given the hour, he had gone to bed and the ringtones for messages are almost silent. So, we were left to ourselves until the morning. I went to the ATM at 2 AM because I realized I was out of money to even buy a drink of water, even less for our tickets for the next half of the journey. Eventually Elder Rangel saw the message when he woke up in the morning and was able to send some other missionaries to come get us at around 7 AM. They said no one ever called. 

There is much more to say in this story, but these are the parts you need to know to really see the point I wish to make. I had been pondering much about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, how do you explain something that supposedly someone can feel and that they can't see? I have seen and lived through this experience that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is like when someone gives you a cell phone. It's yours and you see people tend to use theirs all day long. Have you ever seen what happens when you take away a cell phone from a teenager? They can't handle themselves, they go insane, they can't stay still. Take it away and they will act exactly how you would expect someone who once had the Spirit and then had it taken away from them. When I did not have a cell phone I was abandoned and left to sleep outside, alone, in the rain. The same happens when you do not have the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Just as sometimes you can borrow a cell phone and see how it is and use it sometimes, it is NOT the same as having the security and assurance that brings when you always have one with you. 

I share not these things to complain, but to show that I am learning. I am happy. I am growing.

My prayer is that each person will be willing and worthy to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost with them constantly. Do whatever it takes to have that assurance with you always. You never know when you might need it most.

My love to you all,

Elder Andrews

P.S. After all the bumps here and there we made it to "El Tigre" some ruins here in my area. Enjoy some more photos from there.

Translation: El Tigre = The Tiger

Elders Rime and Andrews spending the night at the bus stop with their luggage.
Elder Andrews at the ruins in "El Tigre."
The ruins in "El Tigre."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


So, after three transfers here in Mina with Elder Rangel we thought for sure he was gone. But late last night we got the call that they were kicking ME out! But, not without their reasons. Elder Rangel and I will now be training, making me, finally, after 16 months, a dad in the mission for the first time. Dad as in, trainer, so don't get that mixed up.

I'm headed to Candelaria, Campeche. Going in with a new missionary will be interesting, but we'll see how it goes. I'll be right on the border of Guatemala and pretty far away from everyone and everything. But I'm excited. I know that where I'm going it is just a tiny branch, but it'll be a blast being there. No chapel, lots of work.

But, since my thoughts are looking forward to my Firstborn Son and have a few things to finish up still here in Mina, I'll call it good here. 

To not make it a message without the Spirit, here is one of my favorite Mormon Messages:

Lessons I Learned As A Boy

Learn charity that you might be a true disciple of Christ.

May God bless all,
Elder Andrews

Monday, November 4, 2013

Convenient Story: The Sun

So, it is convenient that I shared that story about the North Wind and the Sun the last week, because this week we spent a LOT of time outside in the sun.

Taking advantage of the huge holiday here of The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) Which is actually two days (November 1st and 2nd) every missionary in the whole mission was camped out in where? The public cemetaries. It was a pretty good chance to teach the Plan of Salvation and help people understand where their loved ones had gone and what happens. It was a packed day. Looked more like fairgrounds than a graveyard. But we had a great time talking to the many people that were there. 

This morning we had a baseball game against the other Zone here in Mina. President Morales even drove the 4 hours out here to spend some time with all the missionaries. We won 11-8. Even though I got out in the first inning on a double-play--all my fault. Whoops. Then the other team got 5 runs right after that in the first inning still. But we held it all together and used it as a great learning experience for all the missionaries. We all had a great time.

Through the whole week I kept on thinking about your state of mind. My mom would always say something like: "Your attitude makes the difference" or something like that. And in sports I was always told to imagine myself doing a move or scoring or whatever may be the case, and after visualizing yourself doing it, you really can do it. I figure that is part of your faith. It really is everything about your state of mind. Keep your hopes high and make your dreams come true. For the mean time, check out the dream team in these photos.

Love ya'll,
Elder Andrews

Dream Team pose 1.

Dream Team pose 2.