Monday, April 28, 2014

Prayer is Made up of Heart Throbs

     Hey family! It is so good to hear from all of you! This was one of those growing weeks I have to say. Where not much has happened in the sector but I personally have learned a lot.
     On Tuesday we had interviews with President Borg and received training from the asistants. We did a lot of practices which at first always make me feel a little uncomfortable, but they´re always great to learn from. We practiced a lot with asking good, inspired quetsions. I was reminded that before we can ask the investigators to come up to where we are, we have to go down to where they are and understand where they´re coming from. Hermana Borg also gave us a little training, she is so sweet, I just love her so much! She showed us a video that someone had made from a speaker in a BYU devotional with one of my favorite songs in the background. It´s a song from a movie, and the song is called ¨the letter that never came.¨ What happens in the movie is that three kids lose their parents in an accident, and they feel like their parents have abandoned them and left them with nothing. But then, the orphans receive a letter in the mail from their parents with stamps from all over the world. They realize that their parents had never left them alone, just that their letter and their love had been lost in the mail, lost in the process. This has been one of the biggest themes in my mision, that when it seems like the blessings aren´t coming, we just have to be patient. The blessings always come, but sometimes they get lost on their way to us. But they always come! In my interview with President I asked him what he expected from me as a sister training leader, and he told me to just be myself. He told me, I hope you know you´re very special. It really touched me, it was exactly what I needed to hear, especially with what had happened with Irma last week. Things have been a little slow in our sector and we´ve been struggling to find new people. On Monday we received a whole bunch of references from the office, but found out that they were meant for other sectors or that the people didn´t want to receive us. I was reading in Jesus the Christ and Elder James E. Talmage writes about the Lord´s prayer, and how it should be our perfect example of praying to the Father. Talmage says, Prayer is made up of heart throbs and righteous yearnings of the soul. That phrase really hit me, and I´ve been trying to have more meaningful prayers. I´ve just been trying to pour out everything to my Heavenly Father and it´s helped a lot. I know that prayer is real and that God does hear and answer our prayers. 
     I know that I am in this sector for a reason and there is something that Heavenly Father wants me to learn. Alma 36:27 "He sido sostenido en tribulacions y dificultades do todas clases... si, Dios me ha librado de la carcel, y de ligaduras, y de la muerte, si, y pongo mi confianza en el, y todavia me librara." Sometimes I find myself worrying about things that don´t matter, and have to refocus on the things that matter most. I love you all so much! I hope you know that. I am so excited to talk and hear from you for Mother´s Day! I hope you have a great week. Until next week!
Love, Hermana Anderson 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

If God Be for us, Who can be Against us?

     Hola seres queridos! I hope you all had a happy Easter yesterday! I had totally forgotten about the John Danker song until relief society when we started singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," and I started laughing out loud. I tried to explain it to Hermana Gomez, but it's just not the same :)
     Well, this week actually felt more like a month, because so many things have happened. On Monday, Augusto had his baptismal interview and passed! Irma also had her baptismal interview on Wednesday and also passed. She even took us out to lunch and was super content. Then, Thursday morning, we got a call from Irma, who told us, "Hermanas, I've still got a few doubts, and I can't go through with a baptism." The first thing that came to my mind was one of our famous family quotes: "That would have been nice to know yesterday!!" We asked Irma if we could come over to her house to answer some of her questions and help her with her doubts. So, we went over and Irma explained that she really didn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith and didn't believe in commandments like the word of wisdom or the Law of Chastity. I'll be honest, I felt just a little irritated. Irma had never expressed these doubts to us, and had been reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church every week. We asked her if she had prayed to God to know if these things are true. She said that she didn't believe that she needed to pray to know, so we taught her the prayer of prayer and about the Holy Ghost. We read with her of Joseph Smith's experience with prayer in the Sacred Grove, but Irma stopped us and told us she didn't believe that God would tell Joseph that every church was wrong. She believes that every church is good and that it's "totalism" and "discrimination" to say that there's only one true church. In the end, we realized that Irma had not developed a testimony through the power of prayer and the Spirit. We left her house feeling discouraged and confused. She had been so sure in her decision to be baptized! All day long I was thinking about Irma and felt sorry that she wouldn't be baptized on Saturday.
     This week I learned that we can't control the actions of others, and we can't force them to know the truth. I also learned that God blesses us, he always blesses us, but maybe in the way we don't expect. Friday morning we met with Augusto one last time before his baptism, and he told us he'd never been so happy in his life! He started crying and thanked us for helping him find God in his life. Augusto was baptized on Saturday and was just grinning from ear to ear. One of the assistants, Elder Thorsen, baptized him, and even though not very members came to the baptism, it was a great service. 
     Hermana Gomez and I were asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, and I talked about the obra misional with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was an awesome experience studying about the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ at Easter time. I felt nervous to get up in front of everybody, but when I started talking the words just came and it was so natural to bear my testimony of the Resurrection. What a blessing it is to know that we will live again! Not even death has power over us because of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
     President and Hermana Borg invited us over to their home Sunday night along with the assistants and the other elders that work in the office to meet their son and his family that had come to visit from Draper. We played games and ate cake that Hermana Borg had made and ice cream from the states. It was super super good. I felt like I was right at home with family and friends, and it was a nice way to celebrate Easter away from home. I love you all so much and appreciate your letters you send each week. Yo se que vive mi Señor. Yo se que el nos ama y que por medio de el podemos vivir otra vez. Esta vida no es todo. Love you guys! Have a great week! 

Love, Hermana Anderson 

Hna Gomez and I riding bikes on the beach at Larcomar.
P day of ice skating. 
Augusto's baptism! Elder Huber to the right of Augusto is from New York, and Elder Thorsen is from Dallas. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Empty Nesters y Pura Vida

Hola familia! I think this letter will have to be a little like a journal entry because so many things happened each day this week.
Starting with Monday, for P day we went to the beach and rented some bikes to ride along the coast. It was so fun and a nice P day, but after I was sooooo sore after not having ridden a bike for about a year. Still lots of fun though! Monday night we went to a family home evening that an hermana in the ward had invited us to. When we got to her house she said she had invited a couple in their 20s from California that were renting a room in her house for their honeymoon. At first I was kinda nervous cause I thought a young couple on their honeymoon would not want to take time to listen to the missionaries and were only doing the family home evening to be nice. But the husband came in first and was very nice and talkative explaining how he and his wife had met and their religious background. He is named Jeremy and his wife is named Destiny. Destiny´s parents are from Cuba and so she spoke and understood a little spanish, but Jeremy understood nada, zero ha. Hna Gomez doesn´t speak English at all but can understand, so the whole lesson ended up being pretty much all in English. It was Amazing. It was soo different teaching and explaining everything in English, but it was so cool! Jeremy and Destiny had so many good questions and we ended up staying for almost 2 hours talking with them. They had both grown up with the idea of a God, but had never really attended a church. They had so many questions about the purpose of life and the book of mormon that I asked if they would have time another day. They invited us to come back the next day.

On Tuesday I went on an intercambio with Hna Hollberg, the hermana from Salt Lake. I think you´ve seen her blog before. It was perfect cause we were gonna teach Jeremy and Destiny in English. It was another great lesson with them and the spirit was so strong. They are super prepared and the nicest couple ever. We invited Jeremy to offer the prayer at the end of the lesson and he said something like, ¨We are grateful that we now know completely, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt that you exist and that this is the right path for us.¨ Hna. Hollberg and I were just beaming!! They gave us their direction in California and said they would be home in two weeks. So some lucky pair of missionaries will have the opportunity to teach them there in the states. They live in Hawthorne, I was thinking where is McCall serving or McKenzy Mackay maybe. It would be so cool!

Tuesday night we got a call from the assistants saying that an hermana was returning home for health problems and that her companion would be coming to stay with us for a few days. La hermana Melendez from Costa Rica came and stayed with us and she is awesome! She was teaching us some expressions in Costa Rica like ¨pura vida¨ which means awesome or cool. It was fun being a threesome!

On Thursday we were still with Hna Melendez when the assistants called us again and said that an Hermana was going to enter the mission in the middle of the cambio and that she would come stay with us too. So, Hermana Astudillo from Chile came and we were 4 staying in the same apartment! Just for one night though, cause then we had to go drop the hermanas off in the office to meet up with their new companions. After we had dropped them off Hna Gomez and I were joking around that we were like empty nesters, cause now we were just 2 again and we didn´t know what to do with all our time ha.

We are seeing miracles here in Santa Cruz. This Saturday there will be two baptisms in the ward, the hermana Irma that we´ve been teaching, and another hermano who´s case has been a little different... his name is Augusto. He´s an older guy, about 60. He came to church one day all on his own and the elders started teaching him cause he lives in their sector. But the elders have zero time in their sector, so asked us to take over for them. So we started teaching Augusto and he also had a baptismal date for this Saturday. The elders told us that Augusto ¨counts¨ in the records as a baptism in our sector, so now we have two with fecha for this Saturday! We are so excited! This has been a great week with some great lessons and we have seen the Lord´s hand here in our barrio.

Thank you so much for all your letters and support. I got a letter from Kyla this week which was awesome! I´m glad to hear you´re all doing well. I hope you have a wonderful Easter Sunday as a family. Se que Jesucristo dio su vida por nosotros y que el resucito el tercer dia para librarnos de la muerte. I miss you and love you! Until next week.

Love, Hermana Anderson

P.S. We still haven´t had time to buy a new cord to send pictures, but next week for sure I will get one!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Take up the Joyful Burden of Discipleship

     Hola familia y amigos! This week flew by and was jam packed with lots of events. On Monday we had a family home evening with President and Hermana Borg in their home, since they live here in our ward boundaries. We taught a recent convert and her nonmember friend. We were pretty nervous to teach in President's home, but it turned out great and we had lots of fun. We played uno and ate banana splits at the end, which was awesome! 

     On Tuesday, we had a leaders meeting with all the zone leaders and hermanas capacitadoras. The assistants trained us and also President and Hermana Borg. We talked a lot about setting goals in faith, and how we can motivate the other missionaries to work hard and set good goals. It's always fun to see friends in the missions that are in other zones and to learn together. 

     It sounds like you've heard about the two big earthquakes in Chile. We got a tsunami warning here but they turned out to be false alarms. But, everybody says that the earthquakes messed up the corriente del niño or something like that, meaning that it got cold really fast, and I got sick with a cold. We are also super close to the ocean here, so the cold humid air got me sick pretty fast. So don't worry mom, you're not the only one! At the beginning of this week we also found out that one of the hermanas that's under our care has been having lots of problems with her joints. This hermana is a good friend of mine in the mission cause we served together in the Magdalena zone for about 4 months. We went out to Callao to visit her and she's in a lot of pain. We've been talking with President and I think they're making plans for her to finish out her mission in the states. That's been hard for me this week, mostly cause she's a good friend, and also cause she's an hermana that I'm supposed to be taking care of. Hna Gomez and I were supposed to start our exchanges this past week, but with me being sick and everything that's happening with the other hna, we'll have to start this week and be a little behind. 

     Needless to say I was sooo excited to hear general conference! I knew that the messages from the prophets would help me move forward in faith and hope. And I wasn't let down! This conference was amazing! 

I especially liked Elder Holland{s talk when he talked about how people these days want "comfortable gods." They want a god who tells them just to relax and go out and pick maragolds all day. But Christ's gospel is not that way. As always, Elder Holland motivates me to be a little better than before.

I also loved Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk about religion, that all our actions should tie us back to God, especially in our Sunday activities and attitude. 

Elder Uchtdorf's talk was amazing!! I have learned here in the mission to be more grateful, but I loved what he said about being grateful IN our circumstances, and not being grateful "for" things. I loved the phrase, "Endings are not our destiny." The fact that Christ overcame death should be our source for happiness and hope. What other reason do we need to be happy and grateful?

Elder Bednar's talk was also amazing. Dad, I think I win the conversation about the free firewood now :) I loved how Elder Bednar talked about how it is the load in our lives that gives us the spiritual traction to move forward in life. It was a great talk!

I noticed a few commitments that the prophets left for us as families:
1. Study the scriptures daily as a family (Linda S. Reeves)
2. Every member should have and study a copy of Preach my Gospel (M. Russell Ballard)
3. Assess our own personal load and study the doctrine of the Atonement (Elder Bednar)
4. Wake up each morning with a determination to respond with love (President Thomas S. Monson).

I know that the prophet and apostoles are men called of God, and that their priesthood keys were restored from God through his prophet Joseph Smith. I know this church is true. I know Christ rose from the tomb and is a resurrected being, and that by him and through him we can live forever in the precense of God.

I love you all so much!! Thanks for your letters and your love. Let me know what you thought about conference. Have a great week. Chaufa!!!

Love, Hermana Anderson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tale of Two Cities: Pituclandia, Limatamland

     Hola seres queridos! Welp, I´m sure you´ve been waiting all week to hear of the transfers we´ve had around here. And man oh man have the changes been big! I was transfered to the area Santa Cruz in the zone Limatambo with Hermana Gomez from... Buenos Aires! Everything I had ever heard from other missionaries was that the zone Limatambo is where the ¨pitucos¨ live. ¨Pituco¨ is the word here in Lima for super rich, and my new area Santa Cruz has the nickname among the missionaries ¨pituclandia¨, cause it´s where the wealthy live. I had that image in my mind already, but when I got here I was almost in shock! We are in Lima still, but in a little suburb that´s called Miraflores. Here live the people who come from Europe- for example this Sunday I met people from France, Germany and England, and also a couple from Canada and a couple from Utah! I´ve talked in English with people other than missionaries in these past few days for the first time in my mission. The people we teach here are just a little different. Our investigators are hotel owners, taxi company owners, directors of businesses... I have felt a little overwhelmed these last couple days, just cause everything´s so different here! 
     My new companion Hna. Gomez is awesome! She just turned 28 on Thursday so is more mature, but loves to laugh and joke around with me in the street. For her birthday a member invited us to eat on the rooftop of her apartment building and we had a view of the whole city and of the ocean. We share a ward with the assistants, and I came in with a brand new assistant, Elder Thorsen. He came from probably the humblest zone in the mission, so we were both just in awe at our new sector! At first I felt a lot of pressure being in the same ward with the assistants, but they´re both excellent missionaries and it´s fun learning from them.
     What else has been new this week? Because this area is a lot nicer it´s harder to find new investigators with the same easiness as before. We´ve been doing a lot more ¨open your mouth¨ this week, talking with people in the street and knocking. It´s not the easiest thing in the world for me to walk up to a stranger and start talking about the gospel, but I´ve learned sometimes in life you just have to square your shoulders and do hard things! The best is when we find someone who recently had a hard or interesting experience and they tell us that we´re an answer to their prayers. 
     We have an investigator named Irma who works as the owner of her apartment building. She is very educated and believes in rights for women and things like that. She has a date for the 19 of April and is progressing well. She just needs to pray to receive a testimony of the book of mormon from the spirit, and she will be a strong member of the church!
     On Sunday there was a baptism of a 23 year old girl named Alexandra. Alexandra lives in San Borja, but comes to our ward because her boyfriend comes here. Her boyfriend is from Spain and is 50 years old. The missionaries from San Borja (they´re from a different mission) have been teaching her there in San Borja, but because Alexandra assists here she wanted to be baptized here. We had to get permission from the assistants of the other mission (lima este I think) for her to be baptized, and she almost wasn´t baptized because of a whole bunch of rumors that people in our ward were spreading. President Borg came to her baptism and had to approve everything. In the end, everything turned out ok and Alexandra was baptized. Whew!! It was a crazy day yesterday. There are so many more responsibilites in this area. We are still sister training leaders of 8 companionships, but we share a ward with the assistants so I feel like we are always helping them with their assignments. If they can´t make it to a teaching appointment we go and help them out by teaching their investigators. I think these next few transfers will be a great adventure! I´m excited for what I will be able to learn working with such great leaders in the mission.
     Sorry if this letter has just been information overload! But I feel like Mormon sometimes when I can´t even write the hundredth part of what happens here. Every day is an adventure and is filled with hard things, funny things, wonderful things, sad things, and blessings. I love my new change and feel so grateful for the trust that Heavenly Father has in me. I hope that I can learn from Him what he wants me to learn and to serve his children with my whole heart. I love you all!!!! Have a great week!!!