Monday, September 26, 2011

Sept. 22, 2011 Not much going on here. Just the same old boring.....

Sept. 22. 2011
Not much going on here. Just the same old boring.....
Hola Familia!!!!
 So not much happened this week except for the fact that I got my TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!! I'M ACTUALLY LEAVING TO ARGENTINA!!!!!! So here is what it all looks like. I'm flying American Airlines all the way. We meet at the Travel Office here at the MTC Monday all ready to go at 3 AM!!!! That is THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING PEOPLE!!!!!  Turns out God is merciful but sometimes the scheduling department is not. So we leave Monday morning in the madrugada around 3:30ish and our flight leaves at 6:20. We Fly to Dallas Texas and get in there at about 10:00 their time. That is 9:00 mountain time so I'll call home around ten or elevenish! Super excited to talk to you guys!!!! It'll be really cool!! So then we leave Dallas at 2:05 their time and get to New York City, Kennedy airport at 6:40 NY Time. At this point you should all be saying WHAT?!?!?!? Yup we fly salt lake, to Dallas, to NYC, THEN to Buenos Aires. So we then sit at Kennedy for about 3 hours till we leave there at 9:50 pm. We then have the "Blessed Opportunity" to fly all night long, 12 hours, to the Beautiful City of Buenos Aires. We will arrive there at 9:15 am. Needless to say I am peeing my pants excited to be in Argentina and not at all excited for getting there. I don't really do well or sleep at all on planes so this could be SUPER interesting. Oh ya. I forgot to mention that I am also the travel leader for my group. That means I am personally responsible for 14 other missionaries getting all the way to Argentina. So ya...not stressing out about that at all.
So apart from all the travel info coming in and all that, it has been a pretty regular week. By a regular week I mean to say that we were taught by another apostle, Elder Russell M Nelson, I taught another 14 lessons in Spanish that were 40 minutes each, and I didn't say a word of English (okay maybe a few words slipped) for two days straight. Ya. Only in the MTC can that be considered a regular week. It was incredible. Elder Nelson spoke to us about the new October Ensign or monthly publication of the church. This month, the revista is dedicated to the Book of Mormon. I loved reading it! It was so beautiful to hear so many testimonies of the truthfulness and power of this sacred book. For those of you that have never read the Book of Mormon, I'd invite you to get on and order a free copy. Read the introduction and begin reading the book. This book, the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel or "la plentitud del evangelio." I know that we can come closer to God by reading this book than by reading any other book. But you don't have to take my word or anyone else's for that matter. In the book there is a promise. In the book of Moroni, the Book of Mormon is sealed with a Promise. That if you will read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent and Ask God if it is true, he will tell you that it is. It is the only Book I know of that contains such a promise. If we pray to ask God if it is true with all our heart, HE WILL TELL US! I promise you that same promise. I have asked and received my answer and it has changed my life, now it is your turn.
So that is it, my last email from the USA for the next two years. I leave Monday and I am so EXCITED!!!! God has blessed me so much. I can't even describe how excited I am! So what this means for all of you, is that I will have a new address. My mom has put that up on the blog so ya'll can start mailing to Argentina!!!! I love you all so much. Can't wait to hear from you and can't wait till next week when I get to tell you all about this CRAZY adventure called the mission.
Elder Anderson

Sept. 15, 2011 Tminus and 11 Days!

Sept. 15, 2011
Tminus 11 Days! 
So happy to have heard from so many of you lately! I love getting updates on how you and your families are doing!
This week has been another incredible week. I've been thinking a lot about the scripture that says "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10 It's been a week where I've really been able to contemplate, what my relationship is with my God. I know without a doubt that he loves me and knows who I am personally. I am so grateful that he loves me so much, that he was willing to give his son. John 3:16 says God so loved the world, but I want you all to take time to read that scripture and insert your name where it says the world. I can promise you that God knows you and loves you personally. And if you do not know that for yourself, I challenge you to get down on your knees and pray with a sincere heart and real intent. Pray to feel his love for you. I PROMISE that he will answer the sincere prayer of His children. We are Children of a Loving Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love him. Something that I've been impressed with is the mind and the analogy that our mind is like a stage and it can only entertain one thing at a time. It was interesting to me when my Branch President, or Ecclesiastical Leader here, made the comment, "Thoughts can come from three places. They can be your own. They can be impressions of the Holy Ghost, or they can be whisperings of the Devil. As such we must discern in our times of trial which is which. That is where the notion of being still comes in. Be still, and know. Take time to think of where your thoughts come from, and as such, how you should react to each. I've been struggling with not being the great teacher I want to be. Thoughts have come to me that have really burdened me down with self doubt. And yet thoughts have come to me of hope as well. It's been very interesting. That is kinda deep, so sorry if I confused you!
 Other things that happened this week:   Well for one thing I can start counting down on both hands how many days I have left here in the CCM. If all goes as planned I should leave here early in the morning on Monday the 26th. We're really starting to wind things down here and GET PUMPED for flying in a super fast jet plane to ARGENTINA!!!!!!!! I can't really describe to you how excited I am except by saying I just peed my pants from the sheer joy!!!! Just kidding. But really, I've come close a couple of times! I'm going to get there and not understand ANYONE!! That is gonna be way sweet!! And whatever I say will be Hilarious because it will be total gibberish! It is like a dream come true for me! Everyone will think I'm funny!! We haven’t gotten our travel plans yet but they should come tomorrow, so you'll all know by next Thursday all the sweet deets (deets= details).
 Something totally awesome that happened this week was that Elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us! No big deal but I got to hear talks from Apostles twice in the past few weeks! I feel like the luckiest Elder in the world! They have such sure incredible testimonies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I love listening to them speak and feeling the Spirit they bring with them. They love us all so much! It was interesting to me, Elder Holland has a testimony of Christ that reminds me of the phrase "He is the Lion of Israel" and Elder Ballard has the testimony "Of the meek and lowly Lamb." Such different views and yet, when referring to the Savior, they work in such Harmony!
 I was thinking the other night about my Family after reading in 1 Nephi 1 where Nephi talks about how he was raised by goodly parents. I definitely had the same experience as Nephi. And something that struck me that was REALLY COOL was that when I get back and see my Dad, we can take a picture of both of us wearing our Spanish missionary name tags. So look forward to that Dad! It'll be really cool! You are such a great example to me of being a strong and dedicated missionary! Thank you for being a goodly parent!!
 I love you all and pray for you often. Vaya con Dios!
 Elder Anderson

Monday, September 12, 2011

So Close To Argentina I Can Smell It!!!!

So another week has passed here at the CCM and yet again I have little to nothing to complain about! This place is so great. I guess the only downer would be having a cold now for a few weeks that I just can't seem to shake. Other then that, life is good!
So excited to hear about my "Super Mature" and "Grown Up" little sister turning 16! So proud of you Clo! I love ya so much! Just don't date stupid boys now! Boys are lame and they smell bad!! : )
This week has been really interesting to me. I've been studying two themes that are incredibly important to missionary work, repentance and obedience. Our devotionals this week (I don't think this is coincidence) were on repentance and Obedience. I really found some great insights.
Obedience is the first law of the gospel. Meaning that all other laws are predicated or based on our ability to obey. I think of the Israelites, when Moses went up into the mountains for 40 days and upon his return with the tablets containing the commandments he found the Israelites worshiping a calf of gold. If you recall, Moses, seeing this, smashed one of the stone tablets of the law and gave unto the Israelites only the 10 commandments. What incredible and beautiful truths from God did the Israelites miss out on because they were unable to obey and only worship God. Likewise in our lives, how often to we disobey the simple things in life like not lying or having impure and unholy thoughts and miss out on the blessing God WANTS to give us. And now this is where repentance comes in. I challenge everyone to pick one thing in your life, and repent of it. Simply stop and say to yourself "I DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE!"  I think when people think of repentance they think of it only being something for those who sin, and while repentance does cover sin and that is very important, likewise it can cover anything. Bad habits, inconsistencies in our behavior or thoughts that are a little off color can be repented off. For me, this week I repented of always having to be right when it doesn't matter. I said "I will not argue on inconsequential things anymore." It is something small, but for me I have really noticed a difference. My relationships with people in my district and just the overall mood wherever I go seem less contentious. It has been great for me. And on Sunday, I will choose another thing like that to repent of and just stop doing it.
So I hope ya'll got my pictures I sent home!!! I'm real sorry for not taking too many. I'm gonna do better! I promise. The photo printing machines have been broken for the last three week and so I haven’t printed any off but I'll keep sending home SD cards.
This week has kinda been a week of mile stones for me. I finished an entire missionary planner which is for 6 weeks each. That was totally cool. I also finished an entire Journal, 150ish pages since I got here. Apparently I have a lot of thoughts. I don’t think I wrote that much. Kinda suprised me.
Funny story for the week. Elder Wadman in my District and in my room, was called down to the travel office yesterday. If you get to go down to the travel office, generally that means you are leaving. So he gets called down and they tell him "Elder Wadman, they need you in your mission in the Dominican Republic. Please go and pack, you are leaving tonight at 8:30." So he freaks out and is stoked and runs back, tells all us and goes and packs. He comes back to class about four hours later totally packed and ready to go. We were about to start taking a district picture before he left when he got called down to the travel office again. He gets there and the lady looks at him and says "Never mind, you aren't going anymore." Now I love the MTC, and it is a great place, but I would give my left arm to get out of here and get to Argentina. So I can only imagine how much this totally stunk for Elder Wadman. He comes back to the class and breaks the news to us and says another Elder showed up unexpectedly in the Dom Reps and the spot is filled so he is here for another three weeks like the rest of us. Being the kind, considerate, caring people we are, we all start laughing hysterically and tell him how bad it sucks to be him and that was the end of that. Moral of the story. The MTC really plays some SICK AND WRONG jokes on people sometimes.
Hope all is well and you are all doing awesome!!!!!
Vos Amo (But not in a weird romantic kinda way cause I'm a missionary),
Elder Anderson

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sept. 1, 2011

Aloha and Hola!!!!
 I've been here at the MTC over a month now and in 25 days I'll be heading out for Argentina. IT is a surreal thought that hasn't really hit me yet. I'm working hard and learning a lot though. This place is crazy, how fast you learn and how much in such a short amount of time!
The most incredible week has been for me here in the MTC. Elder Jefferey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came and spoke to us on Sunday. He is an incredible man and I was in awe and so humbled to be able to listen to him. He is so wise. He spoke to us of the importance of our mission. He said "My mission meant everything to me!"  He talked about the immense work that we are taking upon ourselves. In all the world, every restoration of the fullness of the Gospel has ended in Apostasy. We are in the only time that will not end in a falling away from the truth. At the end of this dispensation, Christ will come in glory and majesty. That is so beautiful to me. He talked about how we are the most prayed for people on the planet earth and that “That should help get you through a hard day." He was so honest and forthright. He said "If you are struggling, welcome to life!" It is hard and sometimes it stinks really bad, but he also made the point that we are never alone and it is always worth it.
The thing that struck me most from his discourse was this. "People have given their life for this work! The most recent being 4 hours ago!!" He was crying and looked completely devastated. On Tuesday afternoon a missionary somewhere in the world was killed for this work. It is a humbling, and in some ways a terrifying thought. The thought that immediately went through my mind was "is it all worth is?" And I want you all to know that it is. I would give everything for this work. It is the work of God bringing souls unto Christ. How great the worth of souls!!! Now don't get all worried! I don't think I will be required to die for this work, but it is a humbling thought that made me really reflect on why I am here.
We were then able to ask him questions. One of which was, what does Christ want me to know right now? His answer was "He told the truth. Everything he said was true. Every word he spoke will be fulfilled. You can trust in the Lord with all thy heart!" I love it. It is a fact that I am reminded of everyday. I can't learn Spanish and learn how to teach all on my own. On my own I will fail. But lucky for me, I am never alone. I have Christ, My Heavenly Father, and the Holy Ghost on my side. I can do it with their help!!!
 On a lighter note, I thought you'd love to hear about one of my classic Spanish teaching blunders! So this week we are teaching Gloria and I begin to talk to her about what it takes to truly repent, explaining that this is a process that takes real time and effort. We can't just say sorry and be done with it! So I'm explaining this to her, it is totally serious stuff! Out of nowhere she starts busting a gut laughing at me! Repentance was the funniest thing she had ever heard about apparently. I am obviously super confused and thinking "What on earth did I just say to her?" Turns out I started teaching her about the Patos de Arrepentimiento instead of the Pasos de Arrepentimiento. If you don't know what that means, ask a Spanish speaker or do a Google translate. It was hilarious once I found out what I'd said. So yea. Oh! And another classic blunder. We are all pecadores NOT pescadores. There is a big difference!
I hope that make s you all laugh a little and can imagine my red embarrassed confused face!
 I love Spanish, I love teaching, I love being a missionary, I love my Savior, and I love you! I am so excited and humbled to serve the people of Argentina. I am already growing to love them and I think I've met a total of 5 Argentineans in my entire life! I love you and pray for you always. Please pray for the family of the missionary who has sacrificed all so that others like me can serve. This week and always, I am so grateful for his sacrifice.
 I love you all,
Elder Anderson
Note: Here is the news link about the sister missionary that passed away: