Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 2nd

"Behold, this is my work and my glory; to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (moses 1:39)
I declare with all of my heart that this IS God´s work. Every day of my mission I have seen His hand work in the lives of those around me and every moment of every day I have felt His presence as He presides in the work of spreading abroad His restored gospel.
I testify that this is His Church and that He has prefectly established it so that we may be prepared to receive eternal life and that He may be glorified.
I know He loves us each perfectly and that He gave His life to repair all of our flaws and failings. I know that He hears your prayers. Always.
I know He lives. It has been an honor to wear His name over my heart as I have served a mission for Him.
"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side and the prints of the nail in my hands and feet. Be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherent the kingdom of heaven. Amen." (D&C 6:36.37)
Hermana Anderson

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 25th

Heres the weekly update

Gendraily got baptized on Saturday! But let me tell you about the horrific ordeal that went down behind the scenes.....

...It was Saturday morning when my companion and I went to clean and fill the font for Gendraily´s baptism. As we opened the doors to the font we were shocked to see about 4 inches of water in the font--dirty water. "Stinking Elder´s can´t even drain the font right!" I thought to myself. The stench of the dirty water was a little hard to bear, but we got to work trying to unstop the drain nonetheless. Despite our best efforts, the water remained. I called the Elders and explained the situation and one told me, "Oh yeah this is the worst font ever, the drain hardly works. Last time my companion and I used the plunger to get the water down. Try that. We´ll be there to help in a minute." Whelp. My companion and I got the plunger and as she was plunging awañy at the drain she started to shreek, "Compa! Compa! What IS that?!" I looked at the drain to see that dark, cloudy filth was seeping up from the drain, turning the dirty water even dirtier. As the water became darker and darker the stench grew stronger and stronger. We could no longer bear it. Retreat! Retreat! We figured that we had unclogged whatever was in the drain and decided to wait a few minutes--far from the font and the foul smell--to see if the water would go down. The Elders showed up and when we went to examine the font it looked the same. The valiant elders got into the water with buckets and begain to bail all the dirty  water out for us. When there was just a teensy bit of water and filth left, a member suddenly showed up. As she examined the scene before her with her eyes and witnessed the stench with her nose, she pieced together what had somehow managed to escape four foreigners. "Elders!" she shouted. "Get out of the font! That is POOP WATER!!!!"  Ahhhhhh!!!! The poor elders spent a good long while washing their legs off with some bleach in the bathroom sinks. But wait. There´s more. Now that we could see the drain clearly, it became evident that the poopy water continued to surge upward into the font little by little, coming from the RIM of the drain. That meant that even if we could manage to remove all water and filth, disinfect the font, plug the drain, and fill it with clean water that little by little poopy water would seep in and contaminate it all over again! And you just can´t baptize somebody in poopy water--it defeats the whole symbol of baptism!
The miracle was that we were able to hold the baptism in another chapel and it all came together quite nicely :) Gendraily is such a rockstar.

My ponderizing scripture this week is about cheerfully doing all in your power and that´s my goal for the next few days (let´s not count, okay?). DO ALL I CAN!

Love you all. Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great week!
Hermana Anderson 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 18th

We have a baptism this Saturday! Gendrailyn is 13 and is soooo prepared for the gospel. We are very excited for Saturday. in other news, we are teaching lots and lots of families with loads of potential. I feel so happy that I will be able ot leave La Vega in a good condition for the next missionary, even though I won´t get to stay to see all the progress of these people :( I really feel as though my heart belongs in this country and with these people. Can´t I just split myself in two and let one half of me stay here forever?

I love you all and I love learning to love more. That is the most important thing I am learning right now: how to develop the love of the Savior and how WONDERFUL it is.

My scripture for ponderizing this week is D&C 97;8 which talks about how we need to have honest and broken hearts, contrite spirits, and be willing to make ANY sacrifice the Lord would require of us to be accepted of Him. This verse helps me understand how I can gauge (I can´t remember English words anymore) if I am humble enough before the Lord. For example, if I feel that something is too big a sacrifice and it is hard for me to make that sacrifice for God, then I know that something needs to change in me and I need to break my heart a bit more and make my spirit more contrite. I know that it is thrugh our sacrificies that the Lord gives us our greatest blessings.

Have a great week. I love you all!
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November 11th

I can no longer count months left in the mission; I count weeks.

I feel a certain need to be profound since these will be some of the last messages written as Hermana Anderson. To be completely honest, I feel an incredible amount of pressure to make everything I do profound and meaningful right now. I think I finally understand what people mean when they say, "live like you're dying." I want all of you to know that I am safe and sound and that I absolutely love what I am doing. Most of all I want you to know that God lives and that I see miracles at His hands EVERY DAY. Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me! 

One very interesting thought from this week: throughout all time there have been several prophecies and promises made. The first and biggest was that Christ would be our Savior and atone for our sins. Second, there would be an apostasy. Third, a restoration would be brought about. 4th, Israel will be gathered. Last of all, Christ will come again to reign on earth. Do you realize that we are in phase four? Here{s another thought to top it off: who is in charge of phase four? The 12 apostles are special witnesses of Christ, and it is their duty to spread abroad the gospel and direct the gathering of Israel--but they have chosen to use full-time missionaries to help them accomplish this great work and fill their responsibility. It is such an honor to be a missionary!

I love this work and I love you all!
Hermana Anderson

November 11th

I can't believe that I am down to WEEKS left in this incredible time of my life. I love and miss all of you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November 4th

This was my LAST transfer day. I remember not-too-long ago I was starting every journal entry, "today was my first..." because everything was so new! Today begins the period of "lasts" of my mission. It is quite depressing to be in that mindset.

News: I am staying to "die" in La Vega. I have a new companion! Hermana Macías de Mexico. We are looking forward to this month together! 

Great moment from this week: We sang Estrella de Luz at Tita´s baptism and she loved it so much that she gave us a round of applause when we finished, haha. It was perfect. 

We are teaching a guy named Julio Cesar (yes, that is Julius Caesar in Spanish).

I am ponderizing D&C 84:106, what about you?

I love being a missionary and I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

Have a great week,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October 28th

This week went by really fast! I am not even sure what to talk about actually. Well, I will start with the scripture I am meditizando (ponderizing). D&C 82: "For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation." I feel so so so so blessed to be someone unto whom much has been given. I was blessed to be born in a wonderful country, into a loving and happy family, and within the covenant of eternal marriage. I have been given MUCH--and the grandest of all of the things I have received is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. According to this scripture then, I am expected to do grand things with this grand gift. It is a great reminder to me that as I receive more and more from God I also become more and more accountable unto Him.

WE MOVED. That was the big thing this week. So I sort of neglected to mention that since I have moved to La Vega we have had running water about 5 percent of the time. It has been uncomfortable to say the least (but on the bright side I have learned to become VERY resourceful and will be really good at camping trips from now on). But let me just revel in the glory of our new apartment for a minute. Not only does it have running water ALL the time, it also has HOT running water. I think I might have to bathe myself 5 times a day just for the joy of it! It is a lovely apartment and I am so happy to be there. My apartment at BYU won´t be nearly as nice as this one. To celebrate the new house I made some M&M cookies with the candy mom sent. They were a hit with everyone, mom THANKS!

Hey I love you guys all so much and I want you to know that I feel SO honored to be a missionary. I love this work.
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 21st

It´s been another great week in La Vega, full of lots of travel! I got to go visit Bonao and say good bye to my family there. It was absolutely wonderful. I also got to go to Constanza and do intercambios with Hermana Blanch and her new companion. Hermana Blanch and I went out running in the morning (just like old times "nostalgic sigh") and we were trying to be adventurous as we trotted along, so what was originially a short jog turned into the Constanza 5K. But it was very scenic so that was good.

One of the greatest things from this week: seeing how how my talents can bless others. Twice this week I felt that I was simply in the right place at the right time and that someone´s life was blessed by the
simple help that I was able to offer. For example, we were on a bus and I overheard some people trying to tell the chauffer where to get off and it sounded like they didn´t understand each other so I asked "Do you speak English?" and I was able to translate and help them get off at the right place. On Sunday there was a choir practice and I went with the intention of singing in the choir but ended up volunteering my piano talents (though limited) and helping everyone learn their parts and accompanying for the rehearsal. I felt so grateful in both circumstances for all of the practices and moments in my life that allowed me to be capable of helping. It felt so gratifying! So here´s a big thank you to parents who encouraged a very stubborn teenager to stick with piano and to the teachers who patiently taught me and to the Spanish teachers over the years who sought to open doors through language for me and my classmates. I owe it all to you guys!
I have finally been able to upload pictures, so check them out! Highlights:
-Bonao reunion (and rainbow!)
-yummy food I have made and/or eaten
-a kitten that perched on my shoulder for an entire lesson
-a Book of Mormon that´s much older than I am! 

Oh, this week I am ponderizing D&C 67:2, look it up!

Hermana Anderson 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October 14th

This week´s scripture is Doctrine and Covenants 50:34 "He that receiveth of God, let him aaccount it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive." I love this verse so much. It teaches so many principles! We need to recognize that all things we receive truly do come from God and we need to THANK Him. We also need to feel thankful that we acted in a manner worthy to receive. That means that we also need to be constantly living in such a way that we are worthy to receive more! God wants to give us blessing after blessing, so be sure to live worthy of them and make certain that you rejoice as you recognize His hand in your life.

What scripture are you ponderizing this week?

Funny story from this week. So in the DR it is very very common for everyone´s name to NOT be their actual name. You meet them and they tell you their name is "Dulce" but then you find out later that their name is "Carmen Altagracia Rosario Jimenez" and that Dulce is just what everyone calls her. Such is the case with a man we are teaching named Moreno. Or I guess I could better say that he is CALLED Moreno. We wanted to know his real name so we determined we´d ask in the next lesson. We got there and only his wife was home and we sat on the porch, and I watched in horror as three boys swam, submerging their faces and everything, in the filthy canal water. I don´t even want to go into what sort of waste lurks beneath the surface of that water. Apparently I was so engrossed in this horrifying scene that I completely missed the conversation going on right next to me. My companion asked what Moreno´s real name was and they continued to have a conversation about how Moreno´s real name is Luis Alberto and how all of her sons are Jose Luis and Juan Luis and Carlos Luis so that they all have the name of their dad. That conversation was allllllll about Moreno´s name. They must have repeated it a million times. And when they stopped talking I focused back in and we were about to start the lesson and I said abruptly, "Wait! Before we start! What´s Moreno´s real name?" My companion looked at me with a face that said "Is she being serious?" And when she realized I was, she burst into laughter. Upon seeing my confusion, she explained that they had just discussed that for 5 minutes and then I stupidly repeated the question as if the conversation never happened! Lesson to all: don´t let your children swim in filthy canals.

Have a great week!
Hermana Anderson
(sorry no pictures, they won´t upload)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October 7th

So how was your GENERAL CONFERENCE experience??? Didn't get to see it? No worries, you can check it out here:
You will love it, I promise! My General Conference experience was wonderful. I testify that when we go to the Lord with questions, sincerely seeking answers, with real intent to act according to His will, he sends us personal revelation. It is so marvelous to me that God sends these revelations through prophets. Even though these inspired men are speaking to all the world, I know that at the same time their words move the Spirit to reveal wisdom to me personally. I know that it is just one of the many ways that God speaks directly to me. 

I especially enjoyed the talk about Ponderizing scriptures! What's your scripture this week? Mine is Doctrine and Covenants 24:8. Tell me about yours!

Apart from the spiritual feast that was General Conference, this week was great and full of...animals. From a kitten that followed us around to a puppy that fit in my palm to a milipede that was as thick as my thumb and as long as my forearm (not exaggerating). Lots of critters! 

Have a great week and keep reviewing and watching and ponder(iz)ing the messages of the Lord's servants!

Hermana Anderson

Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 30th

How many sister missionaries does it take to kill a cockroach? The answer is four. Four sister missionaries and a bugspray, and an automatic-lighter-flame-torch, and a flip flop, and more bug spray, and the pole of a mop. Don't worry though, after much squealing and squirming and creativity we finally got the not-so-little bugger.

Who's pumped for General Conference??? I AM. Don't know what General Conference is? Watch it! Here: at that website you can see the session for Women and this Saturday and Sunday you can watch the following sessions in which the PROPHET and his 12 apostles (3 new ones!!!!!) will address us with inspired messages to draw us closer to Christ. I hope to hear about all of your favorite messages next week.

Please enjoy the pictures from this week. Especially the one that features three girls showering with rainwater that is draining from their roof (it was quite practical since running water is scanty). There are great pictures of our carwash (except no one has cars here so it was a motorcycle wash) and also of our faces when someone served us pears and grapes after a lesson (that is the ROYAL treatment).

Love you all!
Have a great week
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23rd

I am once again in a TRIO! My new companion is Hermana Landaverde from El Salvador. That makes her my 11th companion as I begin my 12th transfer!

This week we had a great visit from Elder Claudio Zivic from the Seventy (also in the Caribbean area presidency). He and his wife came to teach us during a multi-zone conference which was phenomenal. It started off with a big shock for me, though. After the opening hymn my zone leader announced that an elder would speak for 4 minutes on the Restoration and that I would then speak for 4 minutes on the Plan of Salvation. I wish there had been cameras filming my face. We had been advised to prepare a message of 4 minutes on EITHER the restoration OR the plan of salvation (unfortunately I had opted for the first) but I didn´t know that I would be asked to stand up in front of Elder Zivic and his wife, my mission president, and 3 zones of missionaries to speak!!!! But I think I spoke well (Elder Zivic said he liked it, so at least I got a compliment out of it). Oh and dad, you´re always asking about my spanish. Elder Zivic emphatically told me that it was "brillante" and since he´s a general authority it´s basically scripture that I speak good spanish ;)

A nice surprise was that after the conference we got to have a meeting wtiht he Zivics and the Castillos as leaders (8 missionaries) and it was very personal and enlightening. Another great surprise was that on Sunday, Elder Zivic and his wife came to our branch´s sacrament meeting. I think it´s safe to say that I´ve never been more nervous to play the hymns in church, ha ha. I loved the story that Elder Zivic shared in the conference:

Elder Pace was once on a small jet with President Spencer W. Kimball and a few other people. During the flight there was severe turbulence and it seemed quite likely that the jet would go down with all of them in it. The commotion in the cabin was great--things falling from the overhead bins, people shouting. In the midst of it, Elder Pace saw that President Kimball and his wife were calmly seated, holding hands. After the jet regained stability and the passengers regained their composure, Elder Pace asked President Kimball how he had remained so calm during the ordeal. He wisely responded that he knew that his life was in the hands of the Lord. To him it didn´t matter in he were to live or die because, as he told Elder Pace, "I have my life in order.¨ I think that this is the true key to peace: to have our lives in order before God. If we know we are in good standing with Him, then we will be able to have peace, no matter how rough the turbulence of life. My challenge to all of you is to do something today that puts yourlife more in harmony with God´s will for you. I promise it will bring you a greater measure of peace.

Hermana Anderson

Thursday, September 17, 2015

September 16th

It´s been a beautiful week full of travel. I have decided that my new dream hobby is to have someone drive me around the world and pull over whenever I want so that I can take pictures of beautiful, cooincidental things. Few things would make me happier.

The highlight of this week was going to Constanza. I am almost certain that it is the highest point in the Caribbean. It´s a gorgeous, verdant valley tucked away in the center of the island and my whole time here, people have always said that Constanza is cold. "Ha! Cold! In the DR? I don´t think so." But I am now a witness. Constanza is cold! Well, I think I would go with chilly. But I felt chilly all day long and it made me really nervous for returning home in December, haha. 

The trip to Constanza and back was a perfect example of what I like to refer to as "The Dominican Treatment" because of the fabulously courteous and generous way Dominicans treat everyone! Here´s the story. 1. I chat with a man who is cutting squash and asks if I like squash. I tell him I do and he tells me he will cook it for me for dinner 2. In the evening we are teaching his neighbor and he sends over a plate of cooked squash and scrambled eggs 3. The mother of the girl we are teaching was also cooking dinner and prepared us plates of food 4. In the morning we went to say goodbye to a friend who then called a friend to pick us up and drive us to the bus stop, free of charge 4. He calls his brother who is a chauffer up and down the mountain who comes to pick us up 5. I ask him if it´s true that they sell fresh stawberry jelly on the mountain and he says yes and pulls over at the best jelly stand with the lowest prices so I can buy one 6. At the next bus stop we are chit chatting with a man who proceeds to tell us where he lives and lets us know that if we ever need anything we are welcome to stop by his house. Everyone should give the Dominican Treatment to everyone! (The thing where people tell us where they live and that they are at our service is something that happens multiple times a day actually.)

I love being a missionary in this country! Check out all of the spectacular pictures (and don´t judge because they were taken from a truck window as we winded up and down a mountain, haha). 

Love you all
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September 9th

Things are swell here in La Vega. The Elders had a baptism on Saturday. Lizandro is 9 and just great. His aunt has been bringing him to church for years and he loves it. After being confirmed on Sunday he was the second person to get up to bear his testimony. He said, "I know the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." It was so simple and so sweet and probably my favorite testimony of the whole meeting.

This week I made bread! It was my first time trying and I think it turned out pretty okay. There will be further attempts to come as I fully anticipate becoming a highly qualified housewife and granny. 

Funny story of the week: We went to contact a reference that the Assistants gave to us last week. They were in town and I guess they ran into someone who was interested about the gospel. So when we showed up we asked how Kathy met the elders and she said, "they didn{t tell you?" and proceeded to tell the story. She needs to get baptized so that one day she can tell her conversion story. It would go a little something like this, "When I was 21, I didn{t really know what I was doing with my life. Then one day the gospel of Jesus Christ hit me like a truck...a big white truck with a missionary at the wheel." Yeah, they literally RAN into her. She was fine. It was a minimal contact incident. And it turns out she{s really cool and she and her boyfriend want to learn a lot more about the church. God has a strange way of bringing miracles to pass.

I want to share a quick testimony about the power of prayer. I really don{t think there is anything else that brings us closer to God than communing with Him throughout the day. Keep praying. I promise He is always listening.

Much Love
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September 3rd

For some reason as I sat down to write this update, the words of the song Tonight Tonight came into my head because it starts out "It´s been a really, really messed up week..." which is weird because that is not at all how I would describe the week. It´s been a really, really rainy week! Why? Cyclones!!! So as I said last week, we did evade the first one (Dan) BUT THEN there was a surprise. Hurricane Erica! Seriously, I had no idea becuase I HAVE NO ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY. But yeah it hit the south of the country kind of bad, but here it was just like an April shower all day long. So I can technically say that I proselyted in a hurricane :) Don´t worry mom, it was totally safe. Supposedly there is another one? Could be happening right now actually because it is POURING RAIN and thundering a bunch. Thank goodness we got to the internet center first! Tender mercies, my friends, tender mercies.

As missionaries we have little goals we make and try to complete every day. For example, we try to have a certain number of lessons taught with a member of the church present and a certain number taught without a member present. Well, Hermana Reyes and I have determined that we need a new goal category "lessons with Oscar" because he goes out with us all the time! We´re just walking down the street and he sees us and he´s like "hey wait a sec!" and then he trots to catch up with us and he walks with us from house to house for hours. Did I mention that Oscar is a dog? The most missionary dog the world has ever known! I think we´re going to have to make him a missionary tag...

Today we enjoyed P Day at a waterfall in Jarabacoa. Jarabacoa is this mountain town that reminds me of Utah ski towns in a way. Just mix the loggy feel with tropical vegetation and you´ve got it. I think in my dominican vacation home fantasies I would live there. Anyone thinking about a DR vacation should totally check it out! 

Other highlights from this week were
Seeing a toad as big a navel orange
Giving my first sacrament meeting talk since my farewell (dont know how I managed to fly under the radar for so long)
Getting mail
Not getting really sick after proselyting in a hurricane! MIRACLES!

Have a great week!
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26th

This past week all people were talking about was the cyclone that was coming.  Every day people asked if we knew and were prepared. It seemed that the storm kept getting postponed and as far as I know, it´s not coming our way or no longer exists...BUT our district leader played a pretty funny joke on us. We were about to have our district meeting and he stepped outside to answer a call. He came back in saying "that was the zone leader. Apparently the strom that is coming tomorrow is a lot bigger than we thought it was, so you are all to go buy water and food and get your houses ready. Meeting cancelled." Everyone in the room was incredulous. Hermana Bradford said, "really? so does this mean i don´t have to give my lesson?" and as we were packing our things to go he said, "I´m just kidding, sit down and let´s get this meeting started!" It was such a good joke though because as missionaries we have no access to new or weather apps and so we completley believed him! We had no way of knowing!

Highlight of PDay: Star Wars Party! Elder Epperson turned 21 and so we threw him about as much of a party as you can get with missionary lifestyle! Unfortunately the pictures will have to wait for next week--stay tuned!

I had an interesting thought today. We live in such a bubble. Our life is our own world and for the most part, we don´t mix spheres with others. We are totally unaware that for one neighbor it´s the anniversary of their mother´s death today. For someone else, it´s the day of the biggest job interview of their life. For another soul it is the day their first child is born. Somewhere in the world, someone is making an investment that will permanently redirect the course of their life. All over the world there are people whose lives are changing in drastic ways and we are totally unaware. Today is just Wednesday to me. And yet, God is somehow aware of every single change in every single person´s life. He, through His Atonement, is perfectly familiar with the whirlwind of change that sweeps through each of us every now and again. I am baffled by the thought of how He can simultaneously comprehend each of our struggles and strifes and joys and triumphs simultaneously...and yet I  know that He does. He just does.

Love you all,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19th

My companion is a Dominican pioneer descendant. Her grandparents were baptized six months after the country was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel. Really, there are so many people in this country who have pioneered the work of the Lord. They are brave souls who have made many sacrifices. They saved their money for years to be able to fly to Guatemala and receive their endowments--and they are now blessed to host the only temple in the Area del Caribe in the capital. They are stalwart saints and it is an honor to learn from them!

I really like La Vega (everyone here makes jokes about how it is the dominican Las Vegas, even though I´ve not seen a single casino or hotel). I´m in a branch once more, but the building has two branches, with four missionaries in each one and about 10 or 15 minutes away there is another branch with four missionaries. SO MANY OF US IN SUCH PROXIMITY. It´s kind of great actually. 

One really cool thing I am learning is how we are really all the same. Sometimes you teach people who sleep on the floor and don't have bathrooms in their home and barely own enough clothing for their family. They live in the humblest of circumstances. I see them at first and think, "how unfair that they have to live in such miserable circumstances" but then I realize that they´re not miserable. Sure, they struggle much more than most of us, but they still have come to this earth to get everything they need. They have bodies that work just as well as mine, they have families and memories just as precious as mine, and they know God exists just as much as I do. Why does indoor plumbing make any difference? It doesn´t. We are all children of our Father in Heaven and He loves us ALL. 

Have a great week!
Hermana Anderson

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 12th

Some thoughts and advice from the week:
How do you know when to stop sweeping a dirt floor? Meaning, at what point can you consider it well-swept?
Advice. LOOK BEFORE YOU EAT. The other day at someone´s house, my hands were occupied, and so as Matias walked around munching on what I THOUGHT were chips, he kindly offered me one by holding it to my mouth so I could eat it. Right before that thing was in my mouth I realized that it was not a chip. It was a piece of fried pig skin. Know how I recognized that it wasn´t a chip? BECAUSE OF ALL THE PRICKLY BLACK HAIRS. So folks, look before you eat. The quick glance probably saved my life.
News! I have been  transfered from Esperanza to Primavera, a branch in La Vega--really close to my first area! I am now an "hermana leader" which basically means that I go on exchanges with the other sisters near me. This means I get to visit my old area, get to know more missionaries, and I get to see the most beautiful parts of the country because of the region taht I´m over. So happy! My new companion is Hermana Reyes. She is from Santo Dominigo and I loved her when I met her months ago! I´m really looking forward to this change :)
In my studies this week I really enjoyed a scripture I stumbled across. Jeremiah 32: 38-42. I hope you will give it a read and that you will like it as much as I did!
Have a great week!

Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5th

Coolest thing that happened in Esperanza this week? The members of the church were gospel superheroes. Every day we invite members to come with us to help us teach and to fellowship the people we are visiting. Usually it is a nice bonus to a typical lesson. Every now and then the member is a total rockstar and I just want to excuse myself from the lesson and let them have a one-on-one power-talk with the person we´re teaching. The people here are truly remarkable and have such strong testimonies. My favorite lesson this week would have to be the one we had with Jose Miguel (a 19-year-old convert with a year since his baptism) and Yoselyn (his mom). Jose Miguel is quite possibly the church´s best 19-year-old convert (not to brag or anything) and when we taught his mom I can´t even begin to explain the feeling of the Spirit as he powerfully, unabashedly testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and the need for his mom to accept it. I think what made it so different from other lessons was the fact that it was a son-to-mother message, and not a i-just-met-you-but-let´s-be-friends message. It just underscores to me the eternal importance of families. Jose Miguel GETS that. He KNOWS that his family can be eternal and he wants to be with his mom and his dad and his sister forever and he knows that the ONLY way for that to happen is through the temple and in order to get there, his mom needs to accept the gospel first. And he is fighting for her. The incredible part was that with every plea and reassurance that he gave, Yoselyn had a perceptible change. She, though unfamiliar with it, could feel the Spirit and I could sense her heart being slowly thawed by the heat of the love of her son. People here always say, "salvation is individual" and I always tell them "Yes. And the gospel is for your FAMILY." That´s why we´re all here, folks. To be in families and to make more of them and to take them all with us to the Kingdom of Heaven. I am so grateful for the restored and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches and makes possible the eternal family. 

Hermana Anderson


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29th

Once upon a time there was a strong man who decided to be a lumberjack. He found a company to work with, got himself an axe, and went to work. His first day was a great success; he cut down 18 trees! His success made him excited for the next day of work and he started chopping with even more vigor than the first day. Strangely enough, he was only able to cut 15 trees that day. He thought that perhaps he was physically exhausted, and figured that if he got up earlier than all the other lumberjacks and worked an hour or two longer, he could surely chop more trees. The next morning he was the first lumberjack in the forest and he chopped as hard and as fast as he could. At the end of the day, he was surprised again--only 11 trees. Determined to overcome the problem, he awoke early the next morning, went to work harder than he ever had, and chopped faster than ever before. He only cut 6 trees that day. Despite renewed efforts his number was lower the next day as well. And the following day, the lumberjack only cut 2 trees. Exasperated and hopeless, he went to his boss to tell him that he was quitting. Fortunately his boss was a wise man. As the lumberjack related what was happening, his boss paused to ask him a question, "When was the last time you sharpened your axe?" The lumberjack responded with a hint of frustration, "I don´t have time to sharpen my axe--I´m trying to cut as many trees as possible!" His boss invited him to try one more day, but to sharpen his axe as he went to see if it made a difference. The lumberjack decided he could give one more day a try. He set out the next day to work, and after chopping a tree he paused to sharpen his axe with care. When he chopped another, he again stopped to sharpen the axe. Chop, sharpen, chop sharpen. At the end of the day the lumberjack totalled his timber to 36 trees chopped.

I love this story. Sometimes we think that all we need to do to endure to the end is keep working hard--same routine, same steps, same motions. We forget that we need to finetune ourselves too. We need to sharpen our axes--this can be symbolic of developing a talent or learning new things or repenting or seeking to do the will of God continually. Whatever it may be in your situation, there is a way to sharpen your axe today and perhaps you can´trecognize it, but you have a "wise boss" too, your Heavenly Father. He knows exactly what you need to be successful and efficient and complete just like this lumberjack. If you ask him, he will tell you how to sharpen your axe!

Have a great week
Hermana Anderson

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 22nd

Did you know that in the DR you don´t have to go to the orthodontist to get your braces done? They just send a 26 year old guy to your house with rubber gloves and a couple tools and he adjusts all the brackets for you while you sit on your couch! Why haven´t Americans caught that wave yet?

Hermana Bonilla and I are having lots of fun! It´s been very hot, so we just buy mangos that are the size of your head and eat them nice and chilled. 

I also drank water straight out of a coconut this week! 

A long time ago dad sent me a quote from Elder Holland I believe that said, "There´s no growth in the comfort zone, there´s no comfort in the growth zone." That quote has been really influential in my perspective while serving my mission. I think as disciples of Christ we all need to learn to accept that we´re not anywhere near perfect--and that should make us uncomfortable. The key is finding a balance between allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable enough to be humble and repent and not losing hope that growth is a process. The road to perfection is a long and uncomfortable one, but it should also be a happy, humbling, and enlightening one. Oh and don´t forget that the end destination is perfection at the right hand of our Father in Heaven. 

Have a wonderful week
Hermana Anderson

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 16th

Transfers happened! Hermana Blanch got shipped off to Constanza, the only place on this island that isn´t sweltering hot (the lucky duck!) and I received my nueva compañera, Hermana Bonilla. She is Nicaraguan by birth, but has lived in Guatemala her whole life. We are excited to work together!

Interesting thing I learned this week in my studies: repenting is super different than simply satisfying the law of justice. I kind of always imagined in my mind that if someone died without repenting they would pay their debt in suffering and the scales would be balanced perfectly and that repenting did the exact same thing and that the only difference was that repentance didn´t involve suffering. But I learned that repenting is SO much more than that. If I take the opportunity to repent, I GROW. I am CHANGED. Someone who doesn´t repent simply pays to balance the scales and remains the same unperfect someone that they were and will always be. Christ didn´t perform his great atoning sacrifice so that we could maintain our human frailties with debts paid. He atoned for our sins so that we could OVERCOME them with his help and so that we can be perfected. "What manner of me ought ye to be? Even as my Father" we are to be perfected through repentance because of Christ´s atonement. So don´t put off repentance ever. That is essentially putting off the opportunity to be more like God. Who would choose to do that? 

The Guzman family is doing great! Just waiting on a couple documents to get married and baptized. We played a game at church last night and one of the questions we had to answer was "if you could visit anywhere in the world where would you want to go?" And Brother Guzman said the temple! Everyone else was saying Egypt or NYC and he picked the temple :) 

Sorry I didn´t write yesterday by the way--there was no power ALL day! Well until 7 or 8. But it´s back now :)

Love you all
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8th

Happy belated fourth of July to everyone! After having lived in a 3rd world country for a year I think I have a new level of gratitude and understanding of how blessed we are to be Americans. We enjoy so many freedoms and such a high level of comfort in basically all aspects of life. Our country truly is a blessed nation. I´m proud to be an American!

I love the DR very much too. We celebrated the 4th with cheeseburgers and mango juice. We also had a fun weekend as we sent off a missionary (Luis Pena) from the ward. It was surreal to watch the family spend their last week together (we live on the second floor of their house) and to see a farewell and to remember having the same experience last year. It is kind of bizarre that a whole bunch of young people from all over the world decide to leave their families, friends, and lives behind to go to unknown lands to work their tails off. They make no money, they put their studies and jobs on hold. And why? It´s because the gospel is true and it´s worth sharing. In fact, it´s our duty and privilege to share it. The missionary force of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is just one of the many "good fruits" that can be seen from Christ´s true gospel. It is a marvelous work and a wonder!
Funny story of the week: Last night Hermana Blanch and I were going to make some hot chocolate. I was boiling the little chocolate bars (they don´t use powder) in water with a a bit of cinnamon for a while. After it was all melted it still was a little tasteless so I went to add a couple more dashes of cinnamon. The smell seemed off and so I looked at the bottle....I had grabbed the Cajun seasoning instead of the cinnamon. I drank a few sips of it while it was still piping hot, but once it cooled down and I could actually taste it I had to dump it down the sink. I wasted a whole pot of hot chocolate!!!! Read labels, everybody. 

Have a great week,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1st

What a week! Lots of funny and quirky things have happened here like always. The work is going well. The summer is hot. My companion is the bomb. I can't believe it's JULY. But let me tell you about the miracle of the week:
EMILIA AND GERBINSON ARE GETTING MARRIED. They are a GREAT couple we are teaching and they love the church but wanted to wait until December to tie the knot. We kept encouraging them and so did all of the members to not put off their baptism. We were worried we had pressed the issue too much so we held off for a bit. But on Sunday when we brought it up again, expecting them to tell us no once more, they said YES! They will be married and baptized this month. I cannot describe the sheer bliss that overtakes my heart when moments like that happen. Two more of God's favorite children are taking a big leap back toward Him.
I am studying a lot about the Atonement of Christ right now. I just want to encourgage all of you to take a moment to meditate about what the ATonement really means to you. Where would you be in your life if it didn't exist? How can you utilize it more? As Jospeh Smith taught, all things other than the Atonement are just appendages to our religion.

The Atonement is central, and as such, it deserves our most heartfelt sutdy and focused attention. Take some time this week to mediate about the ATonement. A great time to revel in the wonder that is the infinite Atonement of Christ would be as you take the sacrament on Sunday. Make it special. Make it holy. Give thanks to your Redeemer for His personal and perfect sacrifice.
Love you all,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24th

Julian got baptized! It took him a while to muster up the level of commitment he needed but he pulled through and you can tell how much he LOVES the gospel and how happy it makes him.
We are always on the run. Life moves crazy fast some days here. I don´t know if I´ll be able to accurately portray the hilarity of our almost-missing-the-guagua story, but I´ll try to sum it up. If you wanna catch a guagua (bus) you have to be waiting on the side of the road right when it passes. There are no stops. We wanted to catch the latest guagua possible (risky) and we were told it´d pàss between 6:30 and 7. Well at 6:30 we are totally loaded down with overnight bags, backpacks of scriptures, cases of food, and boxes for mailing as we´re speed walking toward the main road to catch the guagua. We are almost there when we see the guagua approaching. We both break into a run and I was shouting likea  maniac "LA GUAGUA!!!!! LA GUAGUA!!!!" we didn´t make it, but I did manage to almost get hit boy four motorcycles trying to chase it in the street (don´t worry mom, it wasn´t THAT close of a call. Totally fine!) and then we sat on the curb like hobos hoping there was another guagua. Luckily there was and we scurried on in a very discombobulated fashion very content with ourselves despite having missed the first guagua.
Today we spent the morning at the beach. See photos. Remember the commandment "thou shalt not covet" too. Don´t worry, we can go to the DR together sometime! I´ll be your personal tour guide and it´ll be great.
The Lord loves you and looks out for you. Never forget it! And never forget to tell other people the same!

Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 18th

A year ago today I was on a plane to the MTC, a newly set-apart missionary who felt out of place without her tags, roaming through airports without companions, and fearing, imagining, and anticipating the 18 months ahead of her. This year has been incredible. And fast. I think the most important piece of advice that I can share with this hindsight is that every moment matters. Every instant is precious. In every second of every day you are changing--and you must consciously decide that this change will be one for the better. Seize every moment.

Esperanza is great. We are surviving the heat by drinking lots of water and juice and keeping the fans on at high speed. I´ve officially started using an umbrella for sun protection (it is kind of a laughable thing here among the missionaries because that´s how you identify the Jehovah´s Witnesses) because I don´t want skin cancer. And it´s cooler that way! (only in the temperature sense of the word, I´m afraid.)

Highlights of the week: pancakes. Lots of them. Especially the coconut banana macadamia ones. Forget birthday cakes, that´s what I want for dessert for every birthday that comes my way.

A funny moment happened in a district meeting. The district leader teases me about being nerdy a lot (it´s cool, we´re friends and it´s the truth) and during his presentation he was talking about focus when he decided to use me as an example. He said, "Hermana Anderson, what is your mind focused on when you´re playing a spor--I mean, reading a book?" My jaw dropped open and I said "I play sports too!" hahaha the whole district was laughing.

Another funny thing. We´re teaching and there´s this HUGE rat that scurries across one of the wooden poles that holds up the tin roof. I say with surprise, "wow, that is a BIG rat." and then to lighten up the situation I guess, Miguel says "Rat? Oh, that´s just Juancito." Suddenly, Melody, who was not paying any attention, heard the name "Juancito".She looked up at the ceiling, saw the rat, and a huge smile lit up her face. She shouted with glee "Juancito!" and gave him a happy wave. Melody is 5 by the way. 

Thought for this week: remember to seek the Lord´s counsel instead of seeking to counsel Him as you pray this week. When was the last time you got on your knees and sincerely asked for revelation? Gave thanks? Made a covenant? Don´t forget the power that you can access through sincere, consistent prayer.

Love you all,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 10th

Esperanza is the town where I am serving and translated to English it means "hope". Hope is on the rise every day it seems. I believe more in people and myself and especially in the miracles of the Lord. One miracle we saw this week occurred as the people we teach decided to take a step of faith and fast with us. The most notable miracle happened to Emilia. She is investigating the church with her not-married-by-the-law husband Gerbinson and they really love the church but are struggling to decide if they are convinced enough to change their lives by getting married and baptized. They agreed to fast with Hermana Blanch and me this weekend and as we kneeled in their living room to start the fast it was a very peaceful moment. Emilia told us the next day that as we prayed she felt and saw a bright light fill the entire room and just knew that God was communicating to her that she was on the right path and that she should continue forward in this church. Miracles happen once in a while when you believe.
Two intriguing things from my week
-I met a woman who is 108 and still kickin. She uses a shortened broom stick as a cane and lives alone. For the most part she cooks and cleans for herself, using the cane to load and remove the clothes from her washer. She fluidly speaks spanish and english, effortlessly switching from one to the other. And she wrote her name and address down for me, along with the date of her 109th birthday. If I´m stil in Esperanza in September I am baking her a big cake.
-I determined that boy in the ward named Wilson strangely resembles a young Justin Bieber. Look at the photos and video from this week. 
Have a good one!
Hermana Anderson