Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 30th

Funny Story:  I wore my nightgown all day. Yepppp. Check out the pictures for evidence. It was genius because all I had to do was put a skirt on over it, and it looked almost like a normal outfit! The very best part was that when I got home, I was already ready for bed! I highly recommend this technique to all.

JPEG ImageMiracle: For those who don´t know, it was a bit hectic to arrange my MTC experience. A lot of
changes occurred and finally my mission president intervened and had the last word about me arriving mid-transfer. Not only was this compatible with my strong sentiments that June 18th  was the perfect date for me to leave on my mission and that the 2 week Spanish training at the MTC was the right choice, but it has also proven to be a divine intervention in the mission-field. 4 of the 6 other people in my district (who I work with almost every single day) were transferred this week, 3 of them are transferring OUT of the mission, as in they´re going home. I feel that the hand of God was definitely present in getting me here to Bonao those 4 weeks early so that I could get to know those 4 missionaries and learn from them. I also wouldn´t have had the trainer that I have now and I know that the Lord has put us together for a reason. It has been a long-term miracle that the Lord worked out my arrival here in Bonao. 

Amazing thing: Marcos is getting baptized THIS Saturday! Huzzah! I am so proud of him and I know he will be such a strong influence for the church here in Bonao.
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Massive plate of food and a nightgown

Sometimes in the DR people offer you refreshments. Some days you get no food. Some days people provide you with FEASTS ALL DAY AND THEN YOU WANT TO EXPLODE. Such was the case earlier this week. 
JPEG ImageJPEG Image A member surprised us with lunch by ordering us huge empanadas (fried dough stuffed with cheese and occasionally other delicious and fattening things) and strawberry milkshakes and an ENTIRE cheesecake.
 After the empanadas we couldn´t even take one bite of cheesecake, it was THAT filling. Like do you understand how badly I wanted to eat the cheesecake? And I couldn´t because I was soooo full. Then we went to a wedding and they fed us spaghetti and plantains and rice and chicken and as we´re eating the elders are like, "we gotta go" so everyone shoveled as much food as possible into their mouths. Then we went to the branch president´s house and he had the table set for dinner! And I had to eat ANOTHER meal of chicken and rice and fritos and delicious fresh juice and ohmygoodness it was just so much food that day. Delicious, but overwhelming haha.
JPEG ImageIn other news, the moquitos here don´t like me very much, but the Maya do. And they are the WORST. They look like gnats, so it doesn´t seem so bad and then OHMYGOODNESS DO THEY IT
CH OR WHAT!? They get HUGE and my legs are constantly begging and pleading with me to scratch them and  I have to keep saying "no Little leggies, nooooo because then I won´t be able to stop" and it´s just not very fun at all.

Highlight of the week (carnal): definitely drinking freshly made cherry juice. Oh my heavens I cannot even describe.

Highlight of the week (spiritual): during our zone meeting we had an awesome testimony meeting because a lot of the elders were going home and it was just lovely.
Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23rd

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This week I saw how Satan tries really hard to stop the work of the Lord. He almost stopped Marcos from being baptized! Marcos' dad has been super cool with Marcos taking the missionary lessons and being baptized. All of a sudden, he told Marcos on Sunday that he couldn´t be baptized in the Mormon church. We were mad and frustrated and defeated. He was sooooo close! We prayed and prayed and continued to teach and visit Marcos this week. As of now, Marcos is still Scheduled to be baptized this Saturday. But please pray that everything will work out!

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Sisters Colton, Anderson & Parker
Another thing that is slowing down the work is that darn Chikangunya! That cursed plague! It really is an awful illness. When you get it you get a rash that makes your skin look like pinkish reddish cottage cheese, a fever, chills, and worst of all this TERRIBLE ache in all of your bones. You´re bed-ridden for sure. Some people don´t get all of the symptoms and some people have it for a few days and others for a few weeks. But so many of our appointments are falling through because people are so ill. The worst part is that they´re all uninformed. We know that it comes from mosquitos because we have fliers from doctors and from the mission president and everything. But the Word on the street in Bonao is that it is really a contamination in the air (wrong wrong wrong) and they don´t believe us when we say it´s mosquitos. So they don´t wear repellent. So of course they´re getting sick! So far, the three of us have been spared from the wretched disease, and hopefully we will continue to be blessed with this unlikely immunity.

Funny story: We have been teaching a Jehovah's witness which is odd because usually they hate Mormons. But he seemed to really like us and our message. Well…we have now discovered that really he only likes us…or more specifically Hermana Colton. He calls often to see when we´re visiting next occasionally says sort of weird things. But we tried to look past it because we were hoping that he was really interested in our message. Well one evening he called and it was Hermana Parker´s day to answer the phone. She talked to him and he was asking about us and our weekend and chatting and so she was polite, but shortly ended the call. A few minutes later he calls and she answers again and he asks who he´s speaking to and she´s like "it's still Hermana Parker...." and he asks for Hermana Colton and so she passes the phone over and next thing we hear is Hermana Colton saying "What!? Sorry! It´s too loud in here! I can´t hear you! Bye!" Apparently he was telling her how nice it was to hear her voice and how that was all he needed....ha! So yeah, we will no longer be teaching him.
Other funny thing. Before I got to the DR, people in the MTC told me how in the DR they have a different word for bus: guagua. I figured it was just one of those things that happens with languages in different areas. So when I heard we were taking a guagua somewhere, I was imagining like a school bus kind of thing. Guess what pulls up? A small tiny VAN. Oh but don´t worry, they still cram in enough people to fill a small bus. hahaha. They don´t call it a bus because ITS NOT A BUS haha. 

Miracle story: so we met a guy in the street named Lucas a few weeks ago. We stopped at his colmado several times the last two weeks to try to make an appointment to teach him but he was NEVER there. I was getting pretty mad at Satan for always making things so hard for us. I´d felt really good about Lucas and had basically given up the hope of teaching him. So last night something strange happened, we actually finished all of our scheduled stuff BEFORE 9 pm! that has never happened the whole time I´ve been here! So we´re walking around like "hmmmm what can we do????" and we are rattling off ideas and Hermana Colton suggests a woman we can visit and immediately I was like "that sounds great! lets go!" and so we walk toward her house. Right in front of her house is Lucas!!!! We didn´t even see him at first but he called out to us and WOW! Miracle! So then we start talking to him and he read the pamphlet we left him and said he had lots of questions and we made an appointment. And then he starts telling us a little bit about himself. He lived in New York for 20 years. 18 and a half of those years were spent in prison. Yep. He told us that before, he was all about trying to get money, money, money. But do you  know what he did in prison? He read the Bible. 8 hours a day. Yep! For 18 years and 7 months! He said that when he left a lot of people were like "how are you so different and how can you be so happy and positive about life?" and he told them that it was because he read the Bible. Now he doesn´t drink or do drugs like he used to and he said "I just follow Jesus Christ". Wow. He is really interested in hearing about Joseph Smith and I just have a great feeling about him! He is such a great example of how God really does change your life. And what a miracle it was that we found him again! God looks out for all of us and you never know when he is going to put you in the path of someone who needs you!

This week's pictures:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16th

Great things are happening in Bonao!

First a funny story: Sometimes when it rains here, it is like a flash flood. The have a terrible drainage system (and by terrible, I really mean that it doesn´t exist) and so the streets fill up with rainwater really fast. But it´s not really rainwater. I will refer to it as the mystery murk. The streets are full of garbage and refuse all the time, so when it rains and the street fills up with this murky brown liquid, it´s a mystery what you´ll find as you wade through. Hence, mystery murk. Well a few days ago it started to pour as we walked. We were drenched, despite our umbrellas and jackets. I had my raincoat on over my backpack to keep the contents dry and I had my hood up. It would be pretty safe to say that I looked like a homeless, dripping oaf. We came to a small lagoon of mystery murk and I paused for a second, looked around for an escape route (it was kind of like that story where they say “we can´t go over it, we can´t go under it, we can´t go around it…we´ll have to go through it”) and seeing no other option, I did a little hunched squat to grab my skirt, hiked it up to my knees, and plunged into the mystery murk. My companions cracked up because apparently it was quite comical to see a little hunchbacked woman do a little squat and wobble her way into that filthiness. The worst part aside from mystery objects touching you is that the murk is WARM haha. The pavement is so hot that it heats the mystery murk right up!

I´ve tried lots of fruits this week! I had guanabana, carambola, guava, and chinola juice! And of course mangos and bananas. Fruit is just so tasty here!

Mom asked about washing clothes, so here goes: We have a washing machine. It is one big plastic box with two compartments—one for washing and one for “drying”. We fill up about 6 buckets of water and pour them into the washing compartment, add some detergent, throw in the clothes, and then set it to “swirl” mode for a good 15 minutes. After the clothes are sufficiently swirled in the soapy water, we put them into a homemade solution of fabric softener and water so that they smell reeeeeal nice. Then we wring them out and put a portion of them in the drying section (too small to do all the clothes at once). We close the lid and set the dryer to the “shake” cycle. You have to be prepared though! All the water that´s being shaken? Shooked? Shakooked? Whatever. All the water comes out of a  hose on the side, so you have to have a bucket ready to catch the water. Then you hang those clothes up ti actually get all the way dry and put some more clothes for the shake cycle. Then you mop, because invariably you´ve gotten a large quantity of water on the tile floor. And that´s laundry!

Miracle story: We had another person approach us and ask US to learn about the church. God is always preparing people to receive the gospel—we just have to be willing to testify! Nuther one miracle: we had 14 investigators and 16 less active people come to church this Sunday. That´s almost double the active members of the church. The room was FULL. It was incredible! We see lots of miracles every day, but one really cool thing was during an intercambio. I wasn´t there, but Hermana Colton went with a member to visit a different member´s wife. She has a reputation for being really mean and rude and just having the worst attitude ever. She often gets mad when missionaries or members try to visit her. But Hermana Colton and the member approached her very kindly and she let them in AND just completely opened up to them. It was totally unexpected! We hope that she will continue to be receptive and that we can help her start coming to church.

Dominican thing: They are very generous people and they love it when you visit them! This is great! EXCEPT every time when we are closing a lesson and indicating that we need to get to our next appointment they´re always like WAIT I HAVE REFRESHMENTS FOR YOU which is awesome. But then we´re twenty minutes late to the next thing haha. This doesn´t happen every time because not everyone gives you juice or soda or whatever, so you can´t even plan in advance to avoid it. I have determined that it is the secret Dominican way of extending the visit because they love company so much. Like in the states, someone shows up and we offer them water. But here someone shows up and you try to keep them as loooong as possible by luring them in with some delicious fruit nectar and galletas.

This Sunday we went to a branch in Los Quemados which is really close to the mountains. It. Is. Gorgeous. Check out the pictures! They have a campsite sort of thing there and that´s where they host EFY all summer. It´s super cool! Like wilderness EFY . Definitely beats out Provo EFY for sure!

I love you all, and hope you have a great week.

ALSO:  I have homework for you all. 1) read The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton M. Christensen and then 2) apply it to your lives!!!! It is seriously the most powerful book members can read to help spread the gospel! READ IT NOW!

Okay bye!

This week´s pictures:

Last week´s pictures:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 9th

I have so little time! also this keyboard is the worst and the shift button refuses to cooperate so sorry for the bad grammar.
This week has been long and crazy and great. Ester got baptized and it was amazing. She has the cutest baby boy! What a great way to start my mission though. Baptism! The day that Ester was baptized, our 12 year old investigator Marcos came and told me he was ready to be baptized this month! I almost cried! He is seriously incredible. He loves to learn about the gospel and could teach you any gospel principle you wanted to learn. He walks to church every Sunday by himself and comes to every activity. I am so excited for him to be baptized. Did I mention that he´s TWELVE? What a kid! 

Cool Story: For fast Sunday I prayed that people would have their hearts softened and that we would be led to those who were being prepared to receive the gospel. That day TWO people stopped US to ask about our church. One of them had done Skype lessons with the missionaries three  years ago and decided that he wanted to meet with us. He even came to the baptism we had that evening! Then the other one was  a Jehovah's witness and he accepted the pamphlet we offered him which is crazy because apparently they usually spit at you or something. While we were walking down the street, Hermana Colton was like,"that was crazy how those people were prepared and put in our path" and I shrugged and said "that's what I fasted for" and then a second later, I stopped, turned to her with my eyes as big as golf balls and with happy incredulity exclaimed "that's what I fasted for!" ha ha ha. It was probably one of the most immediate and visible answers to prayer that I have ever seen. What a blessing.
Nuther One Cool Story: We´ve been teaching a girl named Derlin. She is 19 and is a super great investigator because she reads whatever we ask her to. I've been here 7 days and met with her 4 times. We decided in our companionship planning that she´s ready for baptism but she needs to come to church a lot before she can be baptized, so we wanted to set her up with a baptismal date. Hermana Colton asked if I would invite her to commit to a date and I said I thought I could try when we met with her the next day. So we were in the lesson and had a great discussion about how to recognize the spirit. The lesson was winding down and Hermana Colton gave me "the look" and I knew that it was the time to ask. So I mustered up all my courage and started to ask. My Spanish was poor and my nerves made it worse, but as I asked her if she would continue to follow the spirit and prepare to be baptized September 13th, she began nodding and as soon as finished my nearly incoherent mumble she said, "claro" which is like "of course". Can you believe it!? Initially I was just relieved because I had gotten the scary thing over with and I hadn´t been rejected. And then I just felt the spirit sooooooo strongly. Right now 18 months sounds like a long time. But that feeling I had in that room is worth the 18 months. Derlin is worth 18 months. Of course! Of course she is! It was just a wonderful experience.

Funny Story: In our branch, we have 7 missionaries. 4 of them are elders. 1 from Puerto Rico, 1 from Honduras, 1 from Utah but he´s Mexican, and 1 gringo from California. When I first met them the two from the states were talking to me in English and it was cool. The other two spoke to me in Spanish and I found out that they don´t speak English. Elder Morales, the Puerto Rican one, seemed really contrite about how he couldn´t speak English and kept bringing it up. Whenever we started talking in English he´d be like "say it in Spanish!!" Later we were in  room in the church and someone wrote on the board "he speak English" and he jumped up and erased it. I felt bad because it seemed like he felt super excluded when we all tried to speak English and he couldn't read it or understand it. Later in the meeting they asked me to speak for a few minutes on missionary work  in Spanish of course (talk about hazing, right?) and as I sat down Elder Morales said, "I like to pray too". I just stared at him in confusion and then turned to my companion and innocently asked "does he even know what he´s saying?" and EVERYONE busted up laughing. He was just trying to trick me the whole time! He speaks great English! He´s a total prankster and has been proving to everyone how gullible I am all week. tsk tsk tsk.

I hope everyone is having a great week!
tell Everett I hope he enjoyed the world cup as much as everyone here
tell Brendan to get highlights
tell Parker to enjoy his job and keep up his Spanish in college
tell Dad I didn´t have time to read or respond to his email (or yours) but that I printed them off and will write you later!!!!

thanks for the pictures
Con Amor
Hermana Anderson

Sister Anderson with President and Sister Douglas

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th

So Bonao is really cool! AND SO ARE MY COMPANIONS! We´re emailing today because they didn´t get to on their pday because they were being good hostesses and helping me unpack and whatnot. We´ve had lots of appointments and things to do. Apparenlty I showed up on a really busy week! Yesterday Ester y Jose Luis got married (just the legal paper signing) and tomorrow they will be baptized and there will be a reception! So neat! That means I might get to go to the temple with them in a year.

One incredible thing yesterday was teaching a boy named Marcos. He´s been investigating for a while and walks to church every Sunday by himself. The sisters told me that he was Smart and a really great investigator but WOW. That kid almost brought me to tears when he was telling us the things he knew and had learned by Reading all the pamphlets. It was just unbelievable. He´s 12 years old. Hopefully he will decide to be baptized in 2 weeks. He is definitely ready!

So far no cockroaches in the house. No spiders. The power has only gone out twice. And just for less than 30 minutes. The shower Works when the power is out, so it´s okay. but the wáter is ICE. Which is sometimes nice...but not always. Also, we have a moth friend who likes to fly into the apartment and chill on the Wall. he is huge. Like, the size of a small bat. But he just keeps to himself on the Wall, so it´s all good.

Sorry for the bad spelling, the computer thinks I´m writing in Spanish and is taking the liberty of correcting a lot of my words.
Oh and I don´t have a single mosquito bite! Knock on Wood.

Yesterday there was an apocalyptic flood. The day before it was super overcast and seemed like it was going to rain really hard but then it only rained a Little. But then yesterday it got overcast and there was a torrential downpour. We were at the church building for some interviews and I was having the time of my life in the rain. We caught a taxi home with the elders (we fit all 8 of us in the sedan. very normal here) and I didn´t know if the car was going to make it because the streets had become sooooo full of water! It was spraying all over and making waves big enough for wáter sports. All the people on their motos were still driving through the wáter though. It was pretty exciting. The wáter was flowing so fast over the streets that on parts where there were bumps, it looked like there were rapids up ahead haha. I guess this happens a lot when it rains here. But it´s not so bad because within an hour, it´s pretty much all gone.

This internet café doesn´t have a place to put my SD card, so I can´t give you pictures this time. Maybe on Wednesday.
But just know that in the spirit of the 4th of July we are all wearing Red and White and Blue!

Con amor,
Hermanan Anderson

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3rd

Oficina de La Misión Santiago
Av. Estrella Sadhalá #10 2do piso
Frente a Univ. UTESA
Santiago 51000
Dominican Republic
+1 809 241-1145

July 3, 2014

Jamie Anderson
13055 Invergordon Street
Bristow VA  20136
United States

Dear Sister Anderson:

Your daughter, Sister Chloé Irene Anderson, arrived safely in the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission.  I am pleased to have her here.  Her trainer is Sisters Aubrie Colton and Brittany Parker from Holladay, Utah and Round Rock, Texas.  They are an excellent missionary and will take good care of your daughter.  They are assigned to the Bonao 2B Area in the BONAO Zone. 

I appreciate so much the enthusiasm and desire your daughter has to serve her fellow man.  She now has the opportunity to serve donating 100% of her time to the Lord.  We ask you to help her cherish her mission, to work hard, to fight discouragement, to love her companion and the people she is serving.  She will need encouragement and support.  She will experience trials that will strengthen and profit her eternally.  Weekly letters are very important in maintaining a missionary’s enthusiasm.  We would request that your letters to her be uplifting, spiritually edifying, and mission centered.

I will do everything I can to help your daughter serve a successful mission.  I thank you for your support and look forward to time serving with your daughter. 


John L. Douglas
Mission President

July 2nd

I made it here safe and sound! It's very muggy here and reminds me a lot of Cabo. My first area will be Bonao which is basically the center of the island with a whole bunch of rice and coco fields. I'll be in a trio with Hermanas Parker and Colton (dos Americanas!) for 4 weeks until the new missionaries arrive. President and Sister Douglas are just wonderful and I feel very blessed to have them as my mission presidents. Sister Douglas will probably try to appease your fears of the dangers of missionary work in Santiago by telling you about a lot of dangerous things that happen everywhere. Which probably will be of no comfort to you, so don't freak out. I think what she means is that our risk perception is flawed. She's not trying to scare you! So far the only  scary thing is the traffic, but what are you going to do?
My P-Days are Wednesdays, not Mondays. I can't wait to get to Bonao and meet my companions and get started!!!

Much love,
Hermana Anderson