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i’ll see you on the dark side of the moon…

elder nickolas robert andersen
montana billings mission

dates of service: october 11, 2006 to october 16, 2008

areas served in: 8
bozeman, mt – 3 mo
shelby, mt – 3 mo
bigfork, mt – 6 mo
hamilton, mt – 3 mo
great falls, mt – 4.5 mo
billings, mt – 3 mo
butte, mt – 6 wk
frenchtown, mt – 6 wk

number of companions: 13
elder daniel benjamin jensen
elder david alan clark
elder darin robert canova
elder degen bradford perry
elder alexander ethan hayer denney
elder jason edward jensen
elder jason william hutchison
elder douglas brack mulliner
elder hugo israel velazquez
elder james milton riner, jr.
elder david gordon egbert
elder alexander ian green
elder jeffrey christopher kulesus

coldest recorded temperature: -30 plus windchill
hottest recorded temperature: +106

things i will miss about montana:
– “coupla three”
– a hardcover cabela’s catalog in every home
– wild game for nearly every meal (exaggerating, of course)
– “used-a could” and “might could”
– 75 mph speed limits
– being able to say “THE store”, or “THE street”
– homemade huckleberry jam
– the big sky… it really is bigger here, i promise
– people wearing their best, newly-pressed, blue jeans to church
– “purtineer”
– seeing 4-wheelers and horses on the main highway
– no sales tax
– having to dodge bears, deer, elk, moose, etc. on the main highway
– people showing off their arsenal all the time
– cutting down my own christmas tree with a hatchet
i could go on forever…

it has truly been an incredible two years. on saturday i will have been on a mission for exactly 24 months. it seems somehow surreal to me. however, i have a tendency to get really excited at times, and really depressed right afterward. like my dog died the day i went to disneyland. montana is my second home, but i’ll never live here again. the people have been genuinely amazing, and i have developed friendships that will last beyond the farthest reaches of eternity.

thank you all for the continued support, letters, money (especially), baked goods, etc. everyone within the sound of my electronic voice has contributed in some small way (even kyle moffet, with the never-failing, always-make-you-trunkie list of new music, gadgets, movies, and genius comedy). thank you all… it has been fun here in montana.

plus, the food was great.

till we meet again in person, from the big sky country of montana (for the last time), this is elder (but not for long) andersen, signing off…

– nick

all that you touch, and all that you see
all that you taste, all you feel

all that you love, and all that you hate
all you mistrust, all you save

and all that you give, and all that you deal
and all that you buy, beg, borrow, or steal

all you create, and all you destroy
all that you do, and all that you say

all that you eat, and everyone you meet
and all that you spite, and everyone you fight

and all that is now, and all that is gone
all that’s to come, and

everything under the sun is in tune
when the sun is eclipsed by the moon….

…. ….

…. ….

there really is no dark side of the moon….

matter of fact it’s all dark….

(that’s right, my memory still works after two whole years… this whole email was written straight from memory. i didn’t even look up the song lyrics, or companion’s middle names or anything)

watching some good friends scream…

let me out!!!

thank you all for the birthday wishes. they arrived in billings promptly on monday, then were forwarded to our p.o. box in frenchtown right as we left for four days to superior. so, on sunday, when we checked our mail, i got week-old birthday wishes. it’s a good thing nobody made the mistake of sending baked goods.

but it was a good week. miracles do happen still, in case anyone’s wondering. remember last week how i said it would get better – it always does? well, of course, it did. we went to superior on thursday, and did a bunch of tracting and some good old hard work. we even helped some members split wood on friday. then, the blessings started pouring down. we contacted one of our potential investigators… again… but this time she was home and not busy and her husband was there and interested and they asked questions and listened to us and the spirit was present and it was a marvelous experience. so much so that i’m willing to go against all grammar laws that i was ever taught and write a huge runon sentence about it.

then, on saturday, a couple we’re teaching in superior got married, and it was a joyous occasion. now the family (minus the dad, he’s a member already) can get baptized, and sometime in the next few weeks, all five of them will get baptized. whether i’m here or not doesn’t really matter, i’m just happy to see it happen.

then, as if the weekend wasn’t cool enough… on sunday, a new family in the ward decided to bring their friend to church. he stayed during sacrament meeting, then we asked him if he’d like to learn more during the second hour of church. he said ok, so we created a gospel principles class on the spot and taught him the first lesson. he was excited to read the book of mormon and said it all made really good sense, and is excited to watch conference this weekend (as are we, coincidentally).

and so, the second to last week begins with the right foot forward, and elder kulesus and i are working our you-know-whats off to get the work moving forward here in frenchtown.

it’s been fun. and so, this is the last time i can say…

till next time, from frenchtown montana, this is elder andersen, signing off…

nick

tune in next week for the greatest excitement yet… elder andersen’s last email from his mission… ever.

for what it’s worth, it was worth all the while

whoa, getting ahead of myself. still a few weeks left. phew…

last thursday i attended my last zone conference ever. whoa. talk about getting super trunkie all at once. i gave my departing testimony, and despite the popular “tradition,” i stayed under five minutes and didn’t even cry. it was great. we’ll see if i can do it one more time three weeks from now.

so, as you might imagine, a flood of trunkiness engulfed me at the moment that i finally realized that life as i know it is going to end pretty soon. so, it’s a battle to work hard, but we’re still doing it. i think the best medicine was staying inside all day today for preparation day because we don’t have the miles to go anywhere. i got cabin fever pretty darn quick and decided that it won’t be too hard to motivate myself to get out and work. sitting inside is boring, though i did take an amazing nap and elder kulesus and i studied some cool gospel stuff. (you know you’ve been on a mission way too long when you find it fun to study the gospel on your day off)

the birthday was good. it was rainy and gloomy all day, and our only appointment canceled on us, and only one person was home when we went tracting. the icing on the cake happened when our dinner canceled on us because there were sick kids there. but all that was overshadowed by the fact that i know somebody is watching out for me. as we came home around dinner time to fix some mac and cheese, the mikkelsons (who we stay with) came downstairs and said – “elders, we heard your dinner canceled on you tonight. can we take you out to eat?” so we went into town and had fuddruckers. it was amazing. we even sat in a booth with beatles pictures all over the place. no matter what happened the rest of the day, it was a good day.

plus i got a sweet poster from the fam. i taped it up to the wall, but it fell down a few hours later and i haven’t put it back up yet. but i will.

in other news… it’s starting to get cold. suit coat weather. i despise suit coats. but i can deal with it for a few more weeks. shouldn’t be too bad.

well, not a whole lot of spiritual stuff in this one. sorry. not a whole lot of spiritual stuff happened since zone conference. the adversary is definitely working on us right now, because the work is starting to pick up. so, we’re plugging through the mud, and hoping and praying for some better stuff to happen. it will. it always does.

oh, i did remember one good story. on sunday, we went tracting (like you do) and everybody was home. of course, nobody was interested… until the last door. we knocked, and a couple came out and said, we’ve just been reading our bible together. would you like to come in? (that’s like asking a missionary – want some food?) so we came in, expecting a bash (because i’ve definitely seen this situation more times than once), but they were very nice, allowed us to share the message of the restoration with them, asked a few questions, and carried on a great discussion with us. it was great. we left them with a book of mormon to read, and though they weren’t interested in a return appointment, it was a good experience nonetheless.

somebody’s watching out for us.

till next time, from frenchtown montana, the thriving metropolis of 200 people… maybe, this is elder (not for long) andersen signing off…

nick