Friday, June 30, 2017

Welcome Home!

Welcome home (Elder Lovgren), Andrew!! We're glad you're back!! He's back and faces the blank canvas of creating his adult life. We love you and welcome you home, you did it!

Elder Lovgren

Friday, November 25, 2016

2nd Week Six - Celebrations

Elder Lovgren celebrated his birthday last week and people in his mission took great care of him! He also had an awesome week serving the Lord and here are some things he said:
  • It was my birthday this week, I'm 23; I don't know how I'm that old all of a sudden! It was celebrated multiple times this week, and on one occasion I thought you all would want to know: I ate a 32 oz. steak, that's two pounds!...I'm not kidding you, I couldn't walk!
  • It's so sick that I can touch people here; we use our talents to glorify God.
  • We met with [investigators/friends] and had Pho with them and it was so sick...they opened up...I've never had investigators want to hang out with us this much. They're not even investigators, they're buds.
  • There's a family in the Ward that [we and our buds] have been over to a couple times. We connect on a level of music and it's so sick. I wake up in the morning and I'm just stoked.
An assortment of Elder Lovgren's birthday celebrations!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2nd Week Five - The Little Things

This week Elder Lovgren told about little things like his area, his apartment, and what he eats. Here's some of what he said:
  • My area is big - it's one of the bigger areas - but the actual civilization part is really small. (It's about as big as when I served in Irvine.) There's one tiny shopping center with a Smart and Final, which is a grocery store like Price Chopper, and then a couple restaurants and then a CVS, and then there's four gated communities right next to it. Then there's one normal community - where we live - then you drive down this canyon road and you're in the woods and it's a completely different culture and people.
  • With daylight savings time it's brighter in the morning so more light comes through our apartment and, for me, it just helps in the morning to have natural daylight shine in; I don't know what it is but I just feel happy.
  • As far as what I'm eating. To be honest, this week all I bought was a watermelon. That's it. I just bough a big ol' watermelon, chopped that thing up, and have been eating it all week. I usually don't eat lunch - I'll eat a bowl of cereal and drink some ginger tea in the morning but not eat lunch - and I kind of like it because I feel more in tune with the spirit because I don't have food to block it out. And I don't feel hungry, I just feel full from that, then at dinner members like to feed us a lot.
Elder Christensen and Elder Lovgren reppin' KC while doing some service!

Friday, November 11, 2016

2nd Week Four - Good Times

Elder Lovgren had a great week last week! Here are some of the things he said:
  • It's so crazy how some weeks are the slowest and some weeks the fastest! This week was for sure a quicky. Does it feel long that I've been gone now?? Shoot only 3 weeks and it feels like that haha but it's gone quick!
  • Well missionary work is the best, really. It's such an amazing privilege. Everything has come together real nicely this week. I feel very integrated into the ward and I'm starting to be more of me! There's always that kind of weird adjustment time trying to "fit in" sort of... but once that's over, the work really starts.
  • We said a prayer before leaving and during I got this vivid image in my mind of us walking 2 doors down and knocking on a door. So as soon as I got up from the prayer, I knew exactly where we were going and why we were there. I then felt prompted to grab a plan of salvation pamphlet that teaches about Gods plan with pictures and such. So we walk over and knock, boom, a 30 year or so old woman answers and shes super happy to see us! We small talk for a bit then I just said, you know, we just felt prompted to come over here, not sure why but we want to share a short message with you about Heavenly Fathers plan of happiness for all of us. We then shared some things about where we came from, why we're here, where we go after we die, etc. and I shared with her that I absolutely KNOW families can be together forever. She then told us a little bit more about herself and some heavy trials she's had in her life. I asked her who she lived with thinking she was married. She then said, "I live with my parents! Reason being... my moms upstairs in bed dying from pancreatic cancer, and it's bad." When she said this I was just in awe. I couldn't believe how orchestrated these events were, the timing, the message, everything! I then promised her again families can be together forever, you will see your mother again when this time passes. I then gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon with my testimony written inside and promised her the comfort it would bring to her life and she was so thankful!! It was such a miracle to see how easily just by following the still small voice of the spirit, those tiny little promptings, we can truly be effective work tools in the Lords hands! He knows best. He knows what each of his children need and he calls those who are worthy of it to be angels at the right place at the right time. 
  • Another rad thing that happened this week actually totally got me stoked about being in RSM and this area. So on another exchange, it was around 8 pm and we're at this lake sitting on a bench talking and such. I then hear a snap! And I knew from a mile away someone was skating, so way far away I see these two dudes just chilling, both with skateboards. So of course... I ask them to play skate! Every time when I ask that in shirt and tie and dress shoes, people laugh and just know they'll smoke me right? Well I did a few tricks and these kids were dyin hahaha. Thought it was crazy I could actually skate. So they were then pretty interested in what this is all about. So I told em I've skated forever and that I've worked with a lot of people in the industry they know etc. So they're super shocked at this point. Then music came up and one of the kids, 18 years old named AJ pulled out some demos of his band. No joke, fully 80s synth kinda psych poppy stuff. Pretty much exactly DCA. So already we're just nerding out about it all. I then told them they have to hear my synth I brought out since it's THE 80s synth. So the next day, AJ invited us over to his place where all his homies were. Now this whole term of events was pretty hilarious and quirky to me haha! Eliminate the whole music thing and this would've never happened... We walked up to his house, it's me and 3 elders, shirt and tie right and this dude walks out, real hard pressed fully tatted gnarly biker guy. Looks real mean, he says, "you the guys with the music?" We're like uhhh yeah? He's like cool!! I'm AJs dad he's inside!!! His mom then welcomes me in and 2 of his sisters and they're all just happy to see us. Then we go to the basement and 5 of his homies are down there. AJ then introduces me to his buddy Jordan on guitar. He brings over an amp for me, I plug in and start playing some chords and such. And I don't even know how but all of a sudden in like 2 minutes we're just jamming in his basement. Like dream jamming!!! This dude is just ripping on guitar and it all sounded amazing. So we just jammed and made jazz stuff for like an hour and then we had to grab a ride quick so we kinda ran out of the house. But the whole dynamic of just these surf bois and these elders in this small basement making the sickest music! It was so epic. I've now got all of their numbers and we're planning every week to record music and then teach a little bit about the gospel. It's so sick!!!! This whole thing really made me so happy to be here. I hope I get to stay for a while so I can meet with these kids every week since they're not in school or anything, they're just trying to figure out what the futures lookin like. Very blessed for that experience. Makin me happy!!
  • So these were just a couple crazy lil things that go on on the daily out here! Love you all foreal. A lot! Can't wait to hear what this new week brings for you. Please tell me everything!!!

Elder Lovgren and Elder Christensen

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2nd Week Three - Life's Assortment

Elder Lovgren's area is very diverse. On one hand there are people who live in gated communities, and on the other hand there are people who live in the canyon. Here are some things he said this week:

  • At one point I had a story that I wanted to share which was about a scripture that really stuck out to me in the Book of Mormon that was how I gained my testimony but instead I felt totally prompted to share the reason why I wanted to come on a mission, which was three years ago when I needed to...Mom, I was with you and we were driving in the car and I told you I wanted to go on a mission. The day before, the missionaries came over and totally brought the spirit in our house and it felt super good. I was struggling, didn't really know where I was going, and had decided I wasn't going on a mission. But then I told you I wanted to go because I had watched a wedding film about the temple and about how families really can be together forever. I had that experience where I was telling you about it and the sun was shining super bright in my eyes and I just knew "Okay, this is definitely the right thing to do" but I had lost sight of that decision. I told him the reason the gospel means so much to me is because it blesses my family-brings me closer to them, brings me closer to my heavenly family; to my brothers and sisters-to all of you. And he just started smiling and I was just like man this feels so good! 
  • Ive been trying to stay focused. I've been praying a lot trying to understand how I can change my life because I feel like I'm in this transition period right now where I feel like I need to get back on track. Feeling the spirit is something I want every day.
  • There's this guy who has a guard goat in his front yard! You have to be nice to him and pet the top of his head or else he'll ram into you and push you over. The guy is super nice, but I thought it was so funny that they had a guard goat! That's the kind of stuff that goes down in the canyon. The other day I caught myself saying "Howdy" and I thought what am I doing?! Who am I now?! It was funny.
  • I'll find myself being really quiet and bummed about the fact that everyone's in their houses during the day and there's really nothing to do. (The people in the canyon aren't very nice, sometimes you get the door slammed in your face, and you get in a rut. It's a mental game, you know?) I find that when I'm quiet it's because I'm thinking about myself-I turn inward-I think why me? This is totally affecting me. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... When I look over at my companion and think about the issues he's going through a lot of that goes away. I just have to constantly remind myself to care about others all the time, to really try to stay busy in the work but be interested in other people-be concerned, and care, and sincerely try to help them. 
  • I shared my favorite scripture that starts with "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost." I read that in the Missionary Training Center a year and a half ago at a time when I wasn't sure if I could keep going. I read that scripture "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." My initials are ANGL and I felt like that scripture really spoke to me that "Andrew, you'll speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Read the scriptures-feast on them-and you'll know what to do in your life." That totally comforted me so much when I didn't know if I could keep going. I was looking at them and I could see that they were smiling and they could feel the spirit so much and I was like this has been a week that I've been thinking about family a lot-the kind of father I want to be, raising my kids, providing a home for them. (I think it's inevitable on a mission-you're always teaching those things.) It was really amazing to teach in such a simple way and see the impact it had on them. Maybe it will be something that inspires them in time to come, and it makes missionary work so sweet.
Elder Christensen, a friend, Elder Lovgren

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2nd Week Two - First P-Day (again)

Elder Lovgren's first week back in the mission went well. He's serving the people in Rancho Santa Margarita (but letters and packages can still be sent to the mission office in Irvine and he'll get them.) Here are a few things he said:

  • I'm just glad I'm here back where I know I need to be. I've been meeting some of the sweetest people ever. Truly just nice people.
  • I just feel way more clear headed now since returning home. I've also seen how much my story will be able to reach to peoples hearts. I've already connected with a lot of members through telling them that I returned home and it's turning out to be a great blessing and accomplishment. I'm so happy I did what I set out to do! Now I'm here to finish strong.
  • A cool little miracle that happened at the beginning of this week! The very first day Elder Christensen and I left the apt, we ran straight into an indian woman who came right up to us and said, you guys help people right? We nodded and asked what she needed. She said she needed a ride somewhere so we told her we could accomodate that. We got to talking more and she opened up about how religious she is and how everyday shes on the search for more truth. She attends 4 catholic masses a day...... Shes really on one! haha But shes still confused about a lot of things shes reading from her bible. We told her we as missionaries are basically guides to help her gain a stronger relationship with the Lord, that being through prayer and scripture reading, etc. She then said, "Oh yeah, that book you're holding, I've almost finished it! Maybe we can read it some time, it is very interesting..." Seriously this was the first woman we talked to since I got here. Miracle! She then went on to say how she wants to come to church! She wants to meet the bishop! She wants to be a missionary! She was really excited and honestly you could feel the spirit so strongly from her. She really was a Godly woman.
  • We were trying to explain to her that it's really your choice to be happy in this life. We all have our own agency - freedom of choice - were not forced to do anything. And so it's kind of her choice to be scared of the maffia coming and killing her and all these types of things. So we were just trying to explain to her that fear doesn't come from any good source, and that anxiety and that fear she feels to not listen to it that it doesn't come from anywhere good.
  • It's, honestly, amazing being back and serving these people. I'm feeling all the same things I was feeling before - same emotions. And I'll say it is amazing how much different the work is now that I am a different person. I really feel that there was a complete change of heart and mindset when I was at home and now I'm seeing it out here. My head isn't clogged with what's going on at home, I miss all of you and love all of you but my heart and my mind is just tuned to the people here and it's honestly an amazing feeling. I think about how when I made the decision to come home the reason was to be a fully consecrated missionary and what's funny is that I literally thought being consecrated was something else and did not understand that it meant completely giving yourself to the Lord and the work - being completely 100% immersed. It was essential for me to return home and get my mind off some stuff and now I just go throughout my day. I don't wish to be back at home, it's just kinda chill. I just go throughout my day and wherever the Lord leads us is where we go.
  • I love you guys. Pray for me. Pray for the missionaries. We're out here trying our hardest. Some people are not the nicest. Some people are totally out to tear us down, and those people I think need our prayers more - that their hearts can be softened - because at the end of the day we're all trying our hardest to move forward in this life, you know, progress and be happy. I know that I'm in a happy place and I want to share that with others.

Elder Lovgren's caption: "I'm here every day!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2nd Week One - New Beginning

We are now in AZ-got here yesterday-and Elder Lovgren got set apart last night by our new Stake President. He flew to Cali today and what a whirlwind our move and him going back on his mission has been! Our KS house got completely painted inside and all the carpet was replaced. (Our house was transformed and sold all while we lived there like nomads!) We packed two PODs and one Uhaul trailer, and completely emptied the house over three months-what daunting feat!! But it was all over when we got on the road and now we're here! We greatly thank our son, Elder Lovgren, for helping us!!

During the eight months Elder Lovgren was at home he kept himself busy! Here are some of the things he did:
  1. Spent a lot of time with me-taking me on rides, taking me to lunch, and doing things for me.
  2. Refined his project "Deaton Chris Anthony" by:
    1. Learning to sew and making many recycled and cool sweaters (20+.)
    2. Making an "It's okay to cry" backdrop featuring six girls. (The "It's Okay to Cry" documentary will be made when he gets a better computer and will feature each girl's story.)
    3. Made many hats and sold a lot of them to a store in KC.
    4. Performed "Deaton" songs in Westport, MO.
    5. Learned to DJ and did 4 shows.
    6. Released a new album (BO-Y) this morning. The first album (BB) was released last year (the day he originally went on his mission.)
  3. Helped Per and Me move from Kansas to Arizona. (Helped pack the PODs and Uhaul, helped empty the KS house, helped drive my car.)
Elder Lovgren will serve the Lord for 15 more months and will finish his mission in the first part of 2018. Per and I look forward to picking him up.

Elder Lovgren returning to his mission October 18, 2016