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