Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27th

Esperanza has been overcast for the last few days. The dark, sun-blocking clouds and the stormish winds have been my daily miracles. And finally, FINALLY it rained this week! For the first time since I got here in April! It was glorious :)

We had a great P Day hike today which featured grown women hitting on the elders, lots of lizards, thoughts of hitchiking, a wide variety of beautiful island flowers, and a small waterfall which we all took turns showering under (minus the shampoo and whatnot of course). It was pure, cool mountain water and never has anything else been SO refreshing. See the pictures.
Other highlights of the weekÑ playing domino with some old men at a nursing home, inventing mango cream french toast, our pancake date with Marianny, seeing the evidence of the miracle that was the non-burning of the Elders´ apartment. The apartment next door was incinerated completely. The Elders´apartment had a slightly singed door. That´s all. MIRACLE. 

Hermana Blanch and I spent a lot of time talking this week about how you can be happy in all situations. It is amazing that most often we look back on embarassing moments, failures, and general hard times with fondness or with the ability to laugh about it. That makes me feel confident that even in the present I can learn to enjoy whatever it is that may beset me. And no matter where you are or what you are doing, there are so many miracles of God to be admired, appreciated, and given thanks for. Life is splendid, thanks to Him.

Have a great week,
Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20th

Great news everyone, Hermana Blanch and I are staying together for another transfer! It will be a two month transfer because partway through a new mission president will arrive. This is going to be great.

I think my emails will continue to mention mangos for a while. We just can´t seem to go a day without being gifted with a bag of mangos, mango juice, or my new favorite, mango milk! (Evaporated milk with mangos in the blender.) Believe it or not, mangos never get old ;)

We are seeing lots of miracles. One of which was that the Elders are alive! Apparently their neighbor is crazy and lit his apartment on fire a few nights ago. Fortunately the Elders were still awake and got out really fast and were totally unharmed. The apartment is a bit scorched, but they are doing great! God watches over us all.

Here´s a funny story for you. So in Esperanza there are inumerable hoards of fowl. I refuse to be more specific than that because each creature is some hideous mutation of several very ugly birds. You thought turkeys were ugly? You should see the "turkeys" of Esperanza. Anyway. There are lots of them roaming around and many of them have an adorable clan of chickies that follow them around. (It truly is a miracle that with such physically repulsive parents the young offspring can achieve even a semblance of cuteness.) Hermana Blanch and I walk past the baby birds all the time and always coo and say "I want to catch one and cuddle it!" So one day we decided to try. Of course we were running around like lunatics as the baby birds scattered all over the narrow dirt lane. Suddenly there was a car and two motorcycles, each going a different direction, all coming toward us and the frantic chicks. We jumped out of the way quickly and I slapped my hands over my eyes as I heard a cacophany of tire skidding and chick squawking. The noise receded and I asked "are they all dead? they´re all dead aren´t they?" Hermana Blanch said, "Look" and so I warily opened my eyes, expecting to see the feathered remnants of the birdie massacre smeared across the dirt. Instead I saw the whole feathered familiy safely on the other side of the lane. How Dominicans manage to drive so recklessly and yet mar nothing will always remain a mystery to me.
Don´t try to catch birds in the middle of the road, folks.

Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Anderson

 Please pay special attention to the picture award winner for the year. I have titled it "buttflection"

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May 13th

It is a bit difficult to remember much of what happened this week because my mind is full of turquoise and white foam water washing up onto soft sandy shores. My throughts are jumbled up with palm trees and forested paths with tropical flowers and thick, humid air amidst the cloudy summit of the teleferico. We just got back from Puerto Plata and it was GREAT. This island has never ending beauty. My pictures don´t cut it. (though I still recommend taking a look.) We took the cable car up to the highest summit in Puerto Plata to see the city and enjoy the fresh green forest. We were IN a cloud almost the entire time. Then we enjoyed a very quiet beach. I cannot wait to be able to SWIM in these Caribbean waters!

As we walked the shore and looked on at all the vacationers it made me think of peace. The world would tell us that peace is sun bathing on a beautiful lounge bed with a canopy of palms next to the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean--free from work, responsibility, and cares. I would agree that that is peaceful. But I think true peace cannot be achieved by those things alone. If that is how you chase peace, you will never ever catch it. True peace comes from being close to God and feeling that He is pleased with you. We feel that peace through the Holy Ghost that He sends to us. It is a confirmation of His love amidst times of hard work, burdensome responsibilities, and the frenzied cares of the world. Perhaps one of the greatest promises given to us in mortality was one spoken by Jesus to His apostles, "Peace leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled." (John 14;27)
May each of you feel more and more of the peace the Savior promises you in your lives.

Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May 6th

I could tell you about the baptism we had this weekend. I could tell you about a crazy man we met who taught us some new "doctrine". I could tell you about a  host of fabulous meetings we´ve had or about the PERFECT family we are teaching. But I´d rather just tell you about how I ate the best mango in the world. Words cannot describe this mango. It was beyond juicy. More than succulent. Above and beyond delectable. Ah the ecstasy! The best part is that this mango was one of about 30 or 40 mangos that someone gave to us. I spent the last 30 minutes peeling and blending and juicing them all and now there is a FULL pitcher of mango puree chilling in the fridge waiting for me to come home after a hot day of Dominican sun. Oh the tender mercies of the Lord!!!

I decided I will also tell you about the baptism. Winiffer is 16 and incredible! She has taken it upon herself to learn everything possible about the church and is doing quite a great job. She has a super fun family and I love them all. I think they´ll one day follow her example. 

The crazy guy is named Felipe Antonio. He is the neighbor of someone we´re teaching and has taken to sitting in the lessons with us. Apparently he is a member, as he told me that yes, he was indeed baptized "mormonically". He also told me that the apostasy was "after Jesus, then Joseph Smith and all the children of God dominated the earth" and that one of the two personages that appeared to Joseph was Mosiah. And in Sunday School he repeatedly referred to the prophet as "Joseph Smith Washington" haha. He is making everything more interesting!

The Familia Guzman is PERFECT. The family that every missionary wishes they were teaching! They are on the road to baptism. Please include them in your prayers.

Other highlights:
Wheelchair racing in Navarrette
A WHOLE PLATE of fritos for dinner!
Free milk, eggs, bananas, and mangos this week
Riding in a MARGARITA (it was like being on a Dominican Disneyworld ride!)
Making El Salvador Empanadas for the Zone :)

This week try to reflect the love of the Savior by serving those you live with! Put them before yourself and you will see a marvelous change!

Hermana Anderson