Monday, June 23, 2014

New Opportunities are Usually Disguised as Hard Work

Querido Familia,

     Just when you think you´ve got everything figured out and know the best way to work in a sector, the mission throws you a curve ball and you have an unexpected transfer. Which is what happened this last week! Dad and Colton, I´m glad to hear I´m not the only one who had a crazy week. So, on Monday we got the call for cambios and I was super surprised to hear that I had cambios! I had only been in Santa Cruz for 2 transfers so a cambio was not in the game plan. But, on Tuesday, day of cambios, I got a new companion, a new sector, and a new ward! And I mean brand new, as in we´re opening a new sector in a brand new ward that was just created yesterday! So, what they did is they created a new ward from two existing wards, and now we are the missionaries who are starting the new barrio. So, my new companion is Hna. Belt, which I am so so happy about! Hna. Belt is from American Fork, Utah and has about a year in the mission. We have a lot in common and get along great. Something cool is that she is Native American from her mom´s side, from the Zuni tribe. They come from New Mexico which is where I served the first part of my mission, so that is pretty cool. 
     So, Tuesday after transfers we got in a taxi with all our suitcases and headed over to our new sector. Oh, our sector is called Escardó 1 (it´s pronounced escargo), in the zone Maranga (I totally jinxed myself last week when I said I should just move into the Maranga zone ha). Hna. Aguero (the hermana from Argentina that I trained!) is also in our ward, and she is training a new hermana, so I now have a ¨nieta¨ in mission terms. Whoo! Entonces, Hna. Aguero helped us get to our new room. We got all our suitcases in and Hna. Aguero said, Okay, good luck, we´ll see you! and then left. Hna. Belt and I just looked at each other and laughed at the situation. We had a brand new carpeta, with 0 registros, 0 nombres, nada. The first few days we honestly just walked around our sector, contacting in the street and writing down the names of the streets because our map didn´t have all the little street names. We didn´t even have a ward directory because we are starting a brand new ward, so one doesn´t exist yet. The first few days we just enjoyed the adventure and walked around all day joking and laughing, contacting, and drawing our map. Finally, we met up with the elders and got some registros to work with. I´m sorry, registros means... registers? (The paper where we write the information about investigators, less actives, and recent converts ha). SO, we finally had something to work with and started to visit a few investigators. This is what we have so far:

*Gabriel: Gabriel is a 15 year old who has been taking charlas from the elders for quite a long time now. We found him at home and taught him for just a few minutes, and then invited him to come to church. On Sunday he showed up in a white tie and shirt (which the elders said he´s never done before), and he was there half an hour early waiting for us to arrive! He is awesome and we´re excited to teach him more.

*Flor: Flor´s daughter Ana is a member and was baptized in Nebraska when she was a teenager. Flor loves everything about the church and considers herself a member, but says she doesn´t need baptism to be a good christian. We explained that even Christ was baptized to be our example, and when she heard that her face changed and she said, I never thought of it like that. I guess you´re right. She agreed to let us come over to the read the Book of Mormon with her, so we are going tomorrow to read with her. We´ll see what happens!

*Familia Vicuña: The Vicuña family is a very special family. They suffered an accident in their family when their 14 year old daughter was hit by a car 6 months ago. The daughter, Eliane, is doing physical therapy to recuperate her ability to walk and to talk. Right now she is in a wheelchair and can move her hands to communicate. She is the cutest girl ever, and I have never met such a humble family. They are not mad at God and know they are passing through a trial of their faith. They have come together as a family, and throughout our whole visit Eliane´s parents never left her side or stopped holding her hand. We taught them about the Atonement, and that thanks to Him, all of our suffering can be swallowed up and made better. It was a very powerful lesson and the Spirit was very strong. They promised to come to church next week as a family. We are also very excited to teach them and see them grow as a family.

     All in all, this week was quite a different one. It was full of new experiences, new people, new companion, new ward, new zone, new district, new bishop... but it was also a week full of miracles. And it´s only been the first week! I know this transfer will be tough since we´re starting from scratch, but I´m excited for the challenge and know that with Heavenly Father´s help, we can do all things. It´s a new adventure and I´m ready to learn what Heavenly Father has in store for me personally. 
     Thanks for all your letters! And thanks for the birthday package you sent!! Hna. Belt and I have been thoroughly enjoying American candy. I also got a letter from Amy Jarman, could you tell her I will try and write them a handwritten letter today? Tell them thank you, they are the greatest! 
     I love you SO much! I´m glad Court made it back safe from Fiji. It sounds like she had a blast and had lots of good experiences. Welp, have a great week! Chaufa!

Love, Hna. Anderson
At transfer meeting with Hna Rodriguez.  She's training so I have a new sister!!

Me with Hna Belt.  She's so cute.

Our brand new room.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Continue Ye In My Love"

      Saludos! Well, this past week here in Santa Cruz has been... memorable. We´ve had such a mix of emotions these past few days, it´s hard to know where to start. It was definitely a fun week, a good week, but at the same time a week of learning and changing. 
     This has  been the last week of the cambio, tomorrow we have our transfer meeting (when I say cambio I mean transfer), and it is my second to last transfer meeting in my mission. We finished the cambio with two exchanges, and I left the area both times. On Tuesday I went to Callao with Hna. Wolfgramm who is another norteamericana from Florica. I have to admit, after three months in Miraflores I think I got a little comfortable with my shopping malls and fancy restaurants. I felt like the city girl heading into the ghetto when we met up with the hermanas in Callao. But, it was a fun day with Hna Wolfgramm who is the ¨hija¨ of Hna Nuñez, she´s only got one transfer less  than me in the mission so we´ve known each other for a long time. We had fun and she also will be going to BYU, so we´ll also see each other up there.
     On Thursday I headed over to Maranga with Hna Barreiros from Buenos Aires, and I realized it was my fifth time in Maranga for an intercambio! Ha I don´t know what it is about Maranga, I just always end up over there for some reason or another. It was cool to see that the hermanas are working hard and that some investigators that I visisted in past intercambios have baptismal dates. So that was also a fun day and I loved getting to know Hna Barreiros better. It´s a fun part of being an hermana capacitatadora (sister training leader). 
     On Wednesday was my big day and it was definitely a day I will never forget!! Haha so first of all, we had zone meeting in the morning, and the zone surprised me with a birthday cake. In our zone we have the tradition of the ¨mordida,¨ which is basically getting your face smashed into your own birthday cake. The whole zone started chanting ¨mordida, mordida!¨ so I went to take a little bite, and my zone leader and another hermana cake and smashed my face into the cake! Don´t worry, I´ve got pictures :) Later on in the night time, a family in the ward surprised me with a little party in their home with the elders. We ate cake and then Elder Castro (Uruguayo) asked me if I wanted my fortune read for my birthday. Unfortunately I said yes, so he ¨read my fortune,¨ but really I just ended up painting my whole face with black candle wax... I´ll send pictures and you´ll understand ha. It was a fun night and a very unforgettable birthday!! I feel blessed for the members here and all the love they have for us.
     So all of that was the good part of the week. We started out the week with five investigators with baptismal dates, but then ended the week with only two with dates. 

*Darlene: Darlene was supposed to have her baptismal interview on Thursday, but due to a cold front here she got sick and couldn´t make it to her interview. She didn´t come to church yesterday either, and wouldn´t answer our phone calls. She finally sent a message thanking us for our time, but saying that she wants a little time before coming to church again. It was a complete and total surprise, and we were completely thrown off track with her change of pace. We are going to visit her tonight to see what happened.
*Pedro and Nelly: Pedro also got sick this week due to the cold front and we haven´t been able to see him at all. We talked to his wife Nelly and she wants to take things slower with their wedding. Their wedding has been a little harder than we thought, because we are having trouble finding thier birth certificates since they are both from little pueblos in the north of Peru. We are praying for them and trying to find a solution.
*Alejandra: Alejandra is a 16 year old girl who has been attending church for about 6 months, but doesn´t have permission from her mom to be baptized. We put a date with Alejandra for her baptism, and she was SO excited and said she was going to talk to her mom again. Then next day she came and told us that they are now going to move to a different city in a week or two.
*Julio: Julio has been a real blessing this week. He found us in the street about a month ago, and told us that before he had been hearing the lessons and wanted to be baptized! But, we lost contact with him until this last week. He finally came to the church and has a date for the 12 of July!
     With all the things that happened this last week I found myself asking, Why aren´t things going better? Why can´t the people see this? Why don´t they want to change? Then, I remembered one of my favorite talks by Elder Holland, Missionary Work and the Atonement. We are missionaries of Jesus Christ and we are doing his work. We are wearing his name over our hearts and representing him everyday. If we are asking these kinds of questions, we need to remember that someone a lot greater, and someone a lot better has already asked them. If we are representatives of Jesus Christ, we have to at least experiment a little of the pain he felt, shed one of the tears that he shed for us. Salvation is not a cheap experience, and missionary work is not easy for us, because it was never, never easy for him! I have especially been thinking that now, closer to the end of my mission, things are going to be harder, much harder. Those final days of the life of Christ were his hardest, so these will be probably be among the hardest days of my mission. Elder Holland says in his talk that if we understand the atonement of Christ, his atonement will be able to carry us through our mission. I am so grateful to wear Christ´s name over my heart, and I know I will never, ever experiment anything close to what he suffered for me, but to be able to serve side by side with Him, I have to pass through something of what he passed through. It was a great lesson for me this week to remember that the purpose of my mission, and the purpose of life really, is to learn to become more like Him.
     Well, thanks again so much for the birthday wishes and your words of love and encouragement. I love you all so much!!!!!! It was fun to see all the pictures of the guys at Happijac mom haha. Tell them all thank you!! I´m so glad Court had a great time in Fji!! Send pictures if you can. Love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Anderson
P.S. John 15:9 ¨continue ye in my love.¨
The whole district in the last district meeting of the transfer
Elder Castro preparing to ¨read my future¨ 
My future looks pretty bright

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Continent of Undiscovered Character

   Hello everyone!! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! On Wednesday I´ll be one year older and wiser too :) We´ve had a great week here in Santa Cruz and seen a bunch of progress in our investigators:

*Darlene: Darlene has a date for the 21 June but still struggles a little bit with the word of wisdom, especially with her coffee. We went in this week to teach her again the word of wisdom, and she said she understood that the commandments are given to us because God loves us, they´re not just things to restrain us and limit us. She agreed to live the word of wisdom with a stronger determination. I also felt impressed to have her watch the conference talk for Presidente Uchtdorf ¨Forget me not,¨ where he talks about the worth that each one of us has for Dios. 
     Later in the week when we stopped by to visit her in her office, she popped her head out of her cubicle with a big smile on her voice and motioned us over saying, ¨look! look!¨ We went over to her desk and saw that she was watching the movie ¨Joseph Smith prophet of the Restoration¨ all on her own! She told us she had listened to the talk by President Uchtdorf and after had watched several other videos. Darlene was so impressed by the sacrifices that Joseph Smith and Emma had to take to bring to pass the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. She told us that she felt more and more ready for her baptism every day, and that she can feel that she is progressing spiritually. We were so happy for her!! She´s so ready to take the first step on the pathway to Dios, and ready to progress even more. 

*Pedro y Nelly: We went to visit Pedro y Nelly this last week and planned to teach them lesson 3, the gospel of Jesus christ. We taught them about faith and repentance, and when we got to baptism, Pedro looked up at us and said, ¨Well now I know what we´re lacking in our family. Baptism!¨ He said, ¨We have faith, we´re trying hard to repent, now we just need to be baptized!¨ We promised them that they would have more family unity and amor in their home if they were obedient to the commandments of the Lord, and we invited them to be baptized. Pedro said without hesitating, ¨well, as for me, I´m going to be baptized.¨ Nelly is a little bit quieter and we don´t always know what she´s thinking, but she said she´d support and follow her husband in his decisions. They need to be married first, so we offered them two different wedding dates that are close to here. Pedro basically proposed to Nelly right then and there and asked, ¨Ok dear, when would you like to be married?¨ As of right now they are getting married at the end of June and getting baptized at the end of July. They still have a few things they need to sort out before their baptism, but now they are progressing and were so happy with their marriage date. We´ve just gotta keep praying for them!

     One day this week Hna. Nuñez and I were standing outside of a referral´s house, and all of a sudden we felt the ground start moving and the fence behind us start rattling. A little temblor (earthquake) came rolling right on through Miraflores! We moved into the street away from the buildings, but it only lasted a few seconds. But it was pretty strong! I think they said it was a 5.5 on the richter scale. 

     On Saturday we had an activity called Puertas Abiertas (open doors) that we´ve been planning in consejo de barrio (ward counsil?) for about two months now.  It turned out FANTASTICO!! Each organization had a room and themed it around what they do each Sunday in the capilla. There was such a spirit of unity in the church among all the members! We were all helping and supporting each other and cleaning and preparing all week long. Any time anyone came walking into the church everyone ran to their places and were so excited to welcome in their friends and strangers alike. It wasn´t so much the number of people that came as much as the actual people that came. Darlene came with her 18 year old son Jesus who left contento with a Book of Mormon and some church DVDs. Saturday night a woman came walking in who lives right next to the church. She heard all the commotion in the church and decided to walk in. Her name is Violeta. When we talked with her about the baptismal font she went quiet, and finally said, I never imagined anything so beautiful. The spirit overcame us so strongly it was almost tangible! We were about to close the doors and end the activity when a family of mom, dad, and three kids came walking in. They also live in front of the church and had actually been invited by one of the young men knocking on their door. The dad was just blown away when he heard that Christ had come to the Americas. They also loved hearing our message of how families can be together forever. All in all it was a great day and we get some fantastic new references. I am very happy here in Santa Cruz and even though it´s very hard work being a missionary, it´s all worth it.

     I´m pretty sure Father´s Day is this Sunday, so I just wanted to say FELIZ DIA PAPA!! I love you so much and hope you have a great day!! 
     I love you guys and thanks again for the birthday wishes. Hope you all have a wonderful week! Take care!

Love, Hermana Anderson

P.S. The title has to do with the quote that dad sent me this week that I love. Ëvery man has within himself a continent of undiscovered character. Happy is he who proves the Columbus of his soul.¨ Goethe. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In His Plan, there are no real endings, only Eternal Beginnings

     Greetings loved ones! The weather is definitely turning colder here, but it´s not any worse than what we have at home, so I´m still doing fine! Glad it´s all hot and sunny up there at home. We´ve had a great week this week! Full of fun activities and learning experiences.
     On Tuesday we had an exchange, and I stayed in Santa Cruz with an Hna Almodovar, who is from Mexico. We had a great day, walked a lot, but it was fun! At the end of the day we had a lesson on the complete other side of our sector and we were all ready running late, so we went in taxi. The taxi driver charged me more than normal, but since we were running late I accepted and we got in. I felt kind of irritated to be honest, cause I knew that he had just charged me more because I´m ¨gringa,¨ or North American. I felt the impression that I should talk to the taxi driver, but I talked back to my impression ha. I remembered a talk I have by Tad R Callister that says, Consecrated missionaries talk with everyone. So, I swallowed my pride and started talking to the driver just about the traffic, and then we started talking about who we were and why we were in Peru. He told me that he was very interested and wanting some material to be able to read. I was very surprised, but very grateful that I had followed the impression of the spirit. What if I would have let my pride get in the way of someone who was ready to hear our message? I was grateful for that lesson I learned.
     On Friday we had a Multizona meeting, which is a meeting we have with other zones. We were with the zone San Martin, which has Hna Wardle, Hna Gomez, and a whole bunch of Elders who I know. It was way fun! Hna Borg taught us how we should treat the members with respect, and she asked Hna Nuñez and me to help her with a sketch. We had to act like the ¨bad missionaries¨ who visit the members and do everything wrong. So... I started going crazy ha. Hna Nuñez was super shy, but I started asking them for food, if we could play with their kids, if we could watch TV and use the internet... I talked in ¨jergas,¨ or informal language that´s not appropriate for missionaries, I started calling Hna Nuñez by a nickname, ¨Nuni¨... haha it was so funny! Later on we also sang a musical number with two other hermanas, Hna Rivera from Honduras and Hna Terry from Orem. We sang ¨Faith in every footstep,¨ which reminded me of trek. The song actually turned out great and was fun to sing. Elder Castro, one of the assistants, also trained us about how to use family history work as a means of finding new people to teach. On Familysearch I printed off our family tree and was able to talk a little bit about how we´ve done the work in our family. So, thanks grandma Jean and grandma DeAnn for all the family history work you´ve done and are doing! It was a fun meeting and I learned a lot. 
     After the meeting, we had another exchange with Hna Bennett from Provo and Hna Sanjines from Argentina. I went with Hna Bennett this time, and it was a super fun day! Hna Bennett is one of my good friends in the mission, so it was fun to have a exchange, the first one we´ve had together. She´ll also be going to BYU after the mission, so that´ll be fun! I love all the people I´ve been able to meet in my mission and all the things I learn from them everyday.
     In my personal study this morning, I read in the Liahona the conference talk about gratitude by President Uchtdorf. He is an amazing speaker. I was comforted knowing that if we are grateful IN our circumstances, and not only FOR things, we will be able to find real JOY in this life. Being grateful in our circumstances doesn´t mean we´re content with our trials, but it means we have the hope and faith that we know we can overcome them and grow from them. I love what President Uchtdorf said, that In His plan, there are no real endings, only eternal beginnings. Endings are not are destiny. I encourage you all to read his talk again, it´s amazing! 
     Congrats Courtney on your graduation!!!!!!! I am so excited and proud of you!! Hope you have fun in Fiji!! Be safe ok? I¨m sure someday I´ll hear from Colton haha. Love you guys! Have a great week!

Love, Hna Anderson