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