Sunday, August 28, 2011

August 25, 2011
 This week has been one of the coolest weeks here at the CCM so far so strap yourselves in!!! Monday the awesomeness began with my purchase of a pocket protector. You know, the little plastic sleeve you stick in your shirt pocket so pens won't leak and stain your shirt? The cool part is I didn't even buy it as a joke but because I actually have a legitimate concern for my shirts. So Monday was the day of the pocket protector and I have vowed to never look back to the dark days when I did not have a true knowledge of the awesomeness that therein lie. Tuesday I had the opportunity to meet with the Argentine Consulate. He is this Argentinean guy from Buenos Aires who comes and meets with each of us individually as a part of the visa process. Argentinean law requires individual meetings with the consulate in order to obtain a visa. So I got a little interview in Spanish and he signed away on my visa and I think that means I'm pretty much in, but I guess I'll have to wait and see. It was super cool just being able to meet face to face with a real live Porteño!! He was really cool and I learned a lot from him! This week we got a new Branch President or Ecclesiastical leader. He is a great man and really teaches us a lot about how to really feast on the word of God. Not just read or study, but to feast. He is an incredible man. Thursday was quite possibly the best soccer game I've ever played in my life. I got drilled in the face with the ball four separate times, jammed three of my toes and got my hand stepped on. Needless to say, I don't think I’ll be playing goalie anymore. It turns out that being goalie is not as fun as some people make it sound.
I've had a really hard week with my study though. I have been struggling with being able to find in my studies answers to my investigator Gloria's questions. She posed the question to Elder Martino and I, "Why do bad things happen to good people." It really got me thinking. I believe with all my heart, in fact I know, that our Father in Heaven is a loving and Compassionate God. And as such it seems contrary that we should have so much pain and hurt in our lives. In my studies I came across 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7.
 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
This scripture for me was the answer. We are partakers in tribulation with Christ. We have to grow through hard times and bad times in order to love more as he does. Christ suffered all and therefore has a perfect love for us. As we suffer we are able to develop empathy for those that are in similar situations. We are able to reach out with a more Christlike understanding love, a more perfect love, and bring others to the Messiah as we love as he does. We suffer so that we may become more like our Savior-more loving, more understanding, and more full of hope.
This week I got a postcard from my pseudo older sister but really she is my older sister Masa Kat Ferrin who is on a mission in Latvia right now. It was so awesome to hear from her. It was just another confirmation that I am where I need to be, and that the harder I work and the more effort I put in, the greater missionary I will become. She is an incredible example to me and I hope to become as effective a missionary as she is.
Some chistos from this week:
 My companion Elder Martino is from Texas (which means that he is always wrong but always thinks he is right and will fight anything to the death).  It is so awesome! I love Texans! So easy to ruffle their feathers! So we were sitting in our room before bed and he was reading a letter from his Dad. He looked up and said "If it stays above 100 degrees for the rest of this week in my home town, it will set the WORLD record for the hottest it has ever been in TEXAS!" Apparently if it beats a record in Texas, it beats it in the entire rest of the world too! I never knew that! :) Funny how the world revolves around Texas! (Insert sarcasm here).
 Another funny is that everyone in my district is getting sick, including myself, and as I was studying some flash cards this week, I was standing facing the wall and leaned forward resting my head on the wall. After about two minutes I fell asleep standing up, with my face smashed into the wall! You know you are working hard when.... :)
My Spanish is coming along great and I am loving it here! I am growing more and more confident in my speaking every day!! The gospel is so true in Spanish!!! Favorite Spanish word for the week: misericordiosamente. It means mercifully. So awesome! Who knew a word could be so long!!
Pues, I love you all and I hope you are doing well. The gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing! I encourage you all to study it and share what you study! The sharing will bless your life more than you can imagine!!!! I Know that this is true!!!
 The Church is true, the book is blue, see you in two!
Élder Anderson

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 18, 2011 Hey Vosotros!

August 18, 2011
Hey Vosotros!
 So it has been another awesome week here at the CCM! Working hard, praying harder, and just doin’ my very best! As of yesterday I have officially been on a mission for 3 weeks! One third of the way done with my stay here at the MTC! The MTC is great but I just am more excited about getting to Argentina cause that is gonna be AWESOME!!!
So from my last email I got some questions about who Gloria is. Gloria is actually one of my instructors. My instructor acts as her. She taught Gloria on her mission and brings up the same doubts and struggles for when we teach her. It is super cool and real in the sense that we are dealing with real problems from real life. We teach her EVERYDAY in Spanish for about 45 minutes, and we’ll do that for all nine weeks. Every Saturday we go to the Teaching Resource center, TRC, and get to teach two people we have never met for about 30 minutes also in Spanish. I'm getting to the point where I can do almost all the lessons in Spanish pretty fluently.  It is super exciting!!!! I'm really excited every opportunity I get to teach someone. I realize they have heard it all before, but the Gospel never gets old, and since the Atonement of Christ covers EVERYTHING it never hurts to hear it again and recognize where you can apply its healing power in your life.
For my mother and Grandmothers and all the mother figures in my life, I just want to tell you that I eat a salad or wrap for lunch every day. I'm starting to enjoy veggies more with the help of a lot of ranch and bacon. So no worries! I'm eating well and staying healthy!
Something I read this week that really struck me was Moroni 10: 3-8. It is an amazing promise to us that no matter the question, we can receive an answer if we ask in faith. Going on in vs 7 and 8 Moroni pleads with us not to deny God's power in our lives.
 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
 6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
 7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
 8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
 So that is my message for all of us this week. Simply that we must not limit God's influence in our lives by the things we do. I heard a quote that said "You are not entitled to lower God's standard, neither are you entitled to raise it. Never expect more or less of yourself than God does." The beautiful thing is that God only expects us to give our best, and only I and the Lord know what my best is. So only I can be a judge of how I am doing and see if I am limiting how active God can be in my life by expecting too much or too little of myself.
I've really had a lot of time to think about how awesome the atonement is lately and the lessons I have learned is that we are all great sinners but God is an even greater forgiver! So head up and just keep truckin’! That's what we as missionaries tell ourselves every day over and over.
Also something to check out is my Mom's SWEET profile. I searched Jennifer Colorado and it popped up. Super Awesome Mom! Thanks for being such an awesome missionary!
Thanks to all of you that sent pictures! I have them all up in my room and it is fun to practice my lessons to you! I sit there and talk to ya'll about the atonement all the time!! Hope you hear me once in a while!!!
Got to go to the Provo temple again today! I'm not gonna lie, I think it looks like a spaceship and is not very attractive in comparison to other temples, but inside it is so cool and you can really feel the Spirit there just like any other temple. God has walked those halls!
 Tuesday we got to hear a devotional from Bro. Evans of the Quorum of the 70. Super awesome! He talked about just being really good missionaries and never giving up. It was good to hear.
 A fun thing that happened this week was the birthday of one of our roommates Elder Wadmen! Super awesome! We ate smashed cupcakes and "splurged" and went and bought sodas. It was the best 15 minute party before lights out I've ever had. This place is crazy ‘cause you go to bed exhausted and wake up even more tired than when you went to bed. I guess that is good ‘cause it means we're working hard but it is still a trip!
Some quick P.S's.:  If you gave me your address so I could write you....I don't have it anymore. So yah, sorry, whatever you wanna do about that… Also I'll send pictures as soon as I can!
 I love you guys!   Elder Anderson

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Semana Dos

It is so awesome to hear from all of you so often! I love getting news from home! Getting letters here is always the highlight of the day!

This past week has flown by! It seriously has been 2 weeks already! I'm already 1/52 of the way through my mission! Can you believe that?! Everything here is really good. This week, Elder Martino and I started teaching an investagator named Gloria. She is Colombian but lives here in the states. She is an OBGYN who can no longer work due to cancer. She had a severe surgery done on her neck and is unable to move around much. The Gospel is very new to her. Understanding the concept of a Savior such as Jesus Christ brings her so much Joy. She has a hard time with the concept of an afterlife though. Lucky for us we get to address her doubts (in spanish) everyday for the next seven weeks. It is a huge blessing to see the gospel enrich and make a difference in people's lives. I read a scripture this week that really hit home. It is in Alma. Ammon is preaching. In Alma 26: 12-16, it talks alot about how I feel about the gospel.
 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
 13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?
 14 Yea, we have reason to praise him forever, for he is the Most High God, and has loosed our brethren from the chains of hell.
 15 Yea, they were encircled about with everlasting darkness and destruction; but behold, he has brought them into his everlasting light, yea, into everlasting salvation; and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work.
 16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
Some new things here! New missionaries for starters! They are hillarious to watch with their dazed faces and blank stares when you speak to them in Spanish. I love it. I was there only two weeks ago! My spanish is improving SOOO much! After studying for litterally 12 hours a day, I guess it should! I love the Spanish language, and I've gotten to the point that I can speak for an entire day and communicate all my wants and needs! It is super cool to learn and stretch. The greatest day ever though, will be when I can tell a joke in Spanish and people will both get it AND think it is funny!! I am working for that day!
Some things that I've resolved to do this week have been:
Only pray in Spanish and speak only spanish from 6:30 till 4 everyday.
Another is to never eat enchiladas here again. They do a number on your body AND your soul!
Find atleast one new "favorite" scripture everyday.
Wear matching socks (it's amazing how when they are all black but the patterns still stick out).
Forget myself and lose myself in the work.

Some things that would be super awesome, is pictures!! Please send (real live, through snail mail) pictures of you and your families!! I realized when I left home that the only pictures I have are of my "older sister" Kat Ferrin in Latvia on her mission! So please! I'd love to see your faces! Also please pray for me, my companion and all the missionaries in the field. I'm gonna give it to you straight. Being a missionary is the best thing I have ever done, but at 6:30 in the morning when that alarm goes off and you already have a migrane from dreaming in spanish, it can be kinda hard! So please pray for all of us! I pray for you!  Thank you so much to all those who write me! And if you don't...START!!! I'd love to hear from you.

Some pearls of wisdom. We are happiest when we serve others. Hard work is incredibly satisfying. Sometimes your work doesn't pay off how you want it to, but it always pays off!!

Some really funny things have happened here lately. I've come to love rice even more here!! They still have it at every meal so I can still eat it for breakfast! Today I got to see Chelsea Christensen who works here and didn't even think about giving her a hug :) Only a few weeks and I'm already getting awkward around girls. I'm starting to understand why Return Missionaries are the way they are. All in all, I'm getting stretched and it is way awesome!

I love you all! The Church is true, the book is Blue, See you in two,
Elder Anderson

Friday, August 5, 2011

First week at MTC! It's awesome!

This first week has been totally crazy and wicked awesome!! My first day was a whirl and I got my name tag!!!! So awesome! I felt like I had finally grown up! Then we had our very first investigator or opportunity to teach. Within the first hour of being here, I was already teaching. Talk about overwhelming! At least it was in English. That night I found out who my companion was for the whole time at the MTC. His name is Elder Martino and he is from Denton Texas. He is an awesome guy and an incredible missionary! He is 20 years old and is going to Buenos Aires Sur just like me! Plus a super cool deal was his Dad and my Dad served in the same mission too! Panama and Costa Rica. So Dad, do you know of an Elder Martino? He got called to be our district leader and I got asked to be the Senior Companion, which means that I have no responsibility or power :) Our District is made up of 8 Elders and 3 Hermanas or Sisters. It is an awesome group! We're all pretty fun and super hard workers and so it is really incredible to work and study with them. We set as a district a few goals. It was pretty cool because the first day we decided that we would only speak in Spanish everyday till noon and increase it by 2 hours each week. It'll be super good but is super hard! We speak Spanish till 2 now everyday and I go to bed every night totally exhausted. It is crazy. Everyday we have 6 hours of class time and 4 hours of study. Te get an hour of gym time and a few hours total for food and showering and what not. 16 hour days, everyday, working 100% all the time, until we drop dead!!! It's an awesome life and I love it! My Spanish is really coming along. Already we have taught 4 lessons in Spanish that were 30 minutes long each. It is challenging but I can tell we are improving and that God is blessing us for our efforts.
On Sunday and Tuesday we had Devotionals that were awesome. The first was by the Director of Missionary services and he talked about how we really need to love. On Tuesday we heard from Gerald N Lund who wrote the work and the glory and other books. He talked about the steps and Process of Faith. Which is what I have been studying whenever I get a chance (which is for about 10 minutes everyday). I keep finding all over the scriptures the same theme, that faith moves us to action. That if we are complacent in our faith and do not take the "leap of faith" to do the lord's will, then our faith is dead. In James 2:17 it says "Faith if it hath not works is dead." That is so true. I encourage all of you to find something in your life that you know is right and the path you need to take but that you have not yet pursued and do it! It is so hard but it is so worth it! I know that I am supposed to be here on a mission and in the MTC right now. I took my leap of faith and it is really paying off. I feel the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ here so strong and I know that this gospel is true! I know it more than anything in my life, especially Spanish!!
I want you all to know that I think of you often and if it takes me a while to write back or respond to emails it is not because I do lot love you!! My preparation day is Thursday, so it is the only day I can RESPOND to letters. I can GET letters any day and read them. I love getting letters and hearing about you!! So PLEASE send them. And if you feel so inclined, packages are the most blessed thing EVER!
So to sum this whole email up, I'm Alive, I'm doing well. I love it here at the MTC! It is kicking my butt, but i am determined to learn Spanish and talk to people in Argentina!!! I WILL SPEAK SPANISH IF IT KILLS ME...which it might. My companion is the bomb, we study hard and love the gospel. The Church is True, the Book is Blue, See you in Two!!!!

~Elder Anderson