Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Those who do not learn from the past..."

     Buenos dias a todos! Another weeks has passed by so fast it´s just crazy. Things are going well here and Hermana Belt and I are loving our area. Lots of good things have happened this week! For ejemplo we put a baptismal date with Hno. Juan Vicuña for August 17th at last! He´s so ready, he comes to church every week and we can see him progressing. Funny story is that we were at his house yesterday and when I opened up my backpack to pull out my scriptures I saw that I had accidentally put a remote control in my backpack... We had put on a video with the family that we had just come from and I didn´t realized it and put the remote in my backpack! Hna. Belt and I started cracking up and then we explained to Juan that we needed to run something back... so we went running through the streets of Lima to take back an accidentally stolen remote control. Haha good times!
     This week I feel like had so much to do with the past. We went this week to visit a joven in the ward who is leaving on his mission to Argentina soon, and we talked to his dad who is not a member. Hna. Belt invited him to come to the church on Sunday and he started explaining the last ten years of his life to us, and all the experiences he´s had with members of the church. Basically he told us that he couldn´t forgive people for what they had done in the past. We gave him the talk by Elder Holland that´s called ¨Remember Lot´s Wife,¨ but we haven´t gone back yet to see how he liked it. We should LEARN from the past, but not LIVE in the past. Elder Holland talks about how we need to let those old mistakes go, our mistakes as much as others´ mistakes. 
     In the mission now we have the privilege of using the internet for one hour to get on to do the family history work. And we had the coolest experiences this past week! First of all we found in both our family lines kings from Germany, France, England, and Denmark! And I found out some of our family on mom´s side comes from Ireland! I had no idea... I read some stories from Ireland and Scotland that they shared and it was way cool. Then I found that our ancestors are all the kings of Judah, like king David! We traced our family all the way back to Adam and Eve! It was crazy! We were kind of yelling in the internet cafe cause we got so excited ha. It would be great if you could get on familysearch and look at our family tree and read some of the stories, cause they´re awesome! 
     Today is Independence day for Peru so we´ve got a P day even though tomorrow is the reunion of cambios (spanglish I know). We´ve got a ward activity in the church so we´re running over there after writing here. We went there this morning a little to help set up and one of our investigators, Gabriel, was there to help. Then we saw his family walk by on our way here so we´re excited to see if they´re in the capilla! 
     Welp I think that´s about it for this week. Missionary work is exciting and I´m try to make the most of what I´ve got here in Peru. Everyday an adventure! I love you guys! Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Anderson


Monday, July 21, 2014

Ordinary Miracles

     Saludos a todos! Hola familia, thanks for all your letters this week. We´ve had a great week! To sum it all up, I´m happy and healthy and learning lots. I am grateful for all the little lessons that I learn each week. We´ve had some pretty crazy experiences this week, as well as little ordinary miracles.
     This week we finally got a ward directory! Whoo! Our baby ward is growing up. This week as we went to visit the members we had some pretty cool experiences. For example, when we visited the hermana Julia Flores she thanked us for coming and almost started crying when she said that missionaries had never come to visit her in her new home before. Another hermana, Lucy, also thanked us for coming and said that she was going through a tough time with her teenage sons and health problems. She felt alone and scared and had prayed to heavenly father for help, and then we showed up at her home. Another menos activo, Francisco, told us that in the week he had felt overwhelmed with all the work he had to do, but then our voices came to his mind with words of comfort. This week Hermana Belt and I have really left like we´ve been instruments in the Lord´s hands-- not only for investigators, but for members and menos activos who have needed a hand and just a plain old hug. That might sound silly, but really this week we´ve just seen a ton how God has been directing us to strengthen his children and comfort them in times of trial. We heard several times people calling us angels, and it´s very humbling knowing that God is working through us.

     This week, yesterday actually in church, we put a baptismal date with Celso!! When we invited him (in english) he got all flustered and was like, don´t look at me! Are you really asking me? But he accepted the date for the 16 of August. We´re excited for him! 

     I know every week I talk about the familia Vicuña, but this week I learned yet another amazing lesson from Eliane. When we went to visit them the other day Eliane was in the middle of her physical therapy.  Her physical therapist was helping her do exercises with an exercise ball, and it looked pretty rough for Eliane. Her mom was sitting on the floor next to her. At first the exercises were light and she didn´t need much energy, but as the exercises progressed Eliane started to cry out in pain. She looked up at her mom sitting at her side as if she were saying, ¨Mom, why aren´t you helping me? Can´t you see I´m hurting? Why don´t you do something?¨ But her mom would just tell her, ¨Breathe. Be strong, I´m right by your side.¨ It was really powerful because we were all silent, the only sounds were Eliane crying and her trainer telling her to stretch farther. At one point Eliane´s mom had to leave her side, to let Eliane focus and be by her self. Eliane kept going, taking a pause every now and then to wipe her mouth with a towel. I likeded it to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Sometimes when we´re hurting, going through a hard trial, we look up at our Father and ask, ¨Can´t you see I´m hurting? Do you not care? Why aren´t you helping me?¨ But our Heavenly Father knows that in our trials we grow strong, we grow our spiritual muscles, and we can´t grow to become strong like him without them. Hermana Belt and I just felt like crying several times cause it was so hard watching that little girl struggle like  that, and I´m sure it´s hard for our heavenly father too. But he knows it´s for our good. 

     Next week I might not write til Tuesday cause Monday is Peru´s day of independence and the internet might not be open. And plus on Tuesday we have cambios! I can´t believe how fast this cambio has flown by. Next week I´ll be giving my testimony in front of the whole mission, bearing testimony of the things I´ve learned in my mission. I can´t believe this time has already come. But hang in tight next week and I´ll write on either Monday or Tuesday.
     I love you guys! Hope you have a great week! Chau!

Love, Hermana Anderson

Elaine (14 years old)

With Healing in His Wings

     Good morning from Lima Peru! I hope you´ve all had a great week this week. Thanks for your emails-- I love hearing about your experiences. Things are going well here in Escardo! 
     This whole week has seemed to have the same common theme: the power of the Lord to heal. Hermana Belt and I have had quite a few experiences this week with people that told us stories of healing, physical as well as spiritual. We met a man named Eduardo who works as a security guard in an apartment building. Eduardo told us that he had had an accident and was blind for a year before he realized that he needed God to help him restore his sight. He said, I started to go to church again and I started to pray. My sight was returned to me without the help of any doctor. When Hna Belt and I left after talking to Eduardo that night, I started thinking to myself, What does it really mean to be healed? Just to be fixed and made better? What does someone need to do to be completely healed?
     I started reading in the scriptures and in my trusty Jesus the Christ to help me out with my questions. I read about the miracles of healing that Christ performed throughout his mortal ministry. One of my favorite stories is in John 5 when he heals the crippled man at the pool of Bethsheda (sp?). Christ asked the man, ¨wilst thou be clean?,¨ perhaps reminding the man of his long forgotten hopes of being healed. Christ tells him to ¨rise, take up (his) bed, and walk.¨ The man is immediately healed and goes to the temple to offer his love and gratitude. Christ meets him there and then tells him, ¨Behold, thou art made whole.¨ The man had been healed physically of his malady, but it wasn´t until he had gone to the temple to give thanks that he had been made ¨whole,¨ or spiritually healed. Being healed doesn´t mean being put back together again. Being healed means that we are made ¨whole,¨ we are complete. The maladay, whether it be physical or spiritual, is cleaned away as if it had never happened. We are made better than we ever were before.
     Another story of healing that I love is the woman who touches Christ´s robes in the throng of people, believing that if she can only just touch his clothes, she could be healed. Christ stops and asks who has touched him, for he perceived that ¨virtue had gone out of (him).¨ Talmage explains that this virtue is literal power, that when the woman touched the robes of Christ ¨there was an actual giving of His own strength.¨ Faith is a principle of power, the Lord is and was influenced and in great measure controlled, for he ministers according to the law. I was a little shockdto learn that faith gives us so much power, but it´s true! Faith is a divine law, and if we have sufficient faith that Lord is bound by our obedience and faith to bless us. I don´t want to make it sound like we control the blessings that come from the Lord or that we can tell him when we have enough faith. What this means is that we have to give everything to Him, sacrifice every drop of doubt we might have and ask not, ¨can Christ heal me?¨ but rather ¨Will Christ heal me?¨ In Mark ¨6:5 we read that Christ ¨could there do no mighty work.¨ Every blessing that we receive is first based on our personal faith and obedience.
     In all of my reading of healing I read words like ¨fully restored,¨ ¨restored whole,¨.  Just like in the story of the woman who touches Christ´s robes, we can be made ¨whole of (our) plague.¨ We can receive personal strenth from the Lord Jesus Christ and from his perfect love. His atonement and love are our ¨balm of Gilead,¨ and we can be made whole again, the slate wiped clean as if we were never stricken with our enfermity.
     Confidence is a stepping stone to belief, which in turn is a stepping stone to faith (Jesus el Cristo 321). In Doctrine & Covenants we learn that our confidence will wax strong if we are clean and virtuous before the Lord, so in order to have that sufficient faith we need to first do the little things: read the scriptures, say our prayers, and go to church. Then will our confidence wax strong which will lead us to sufficient faith.
     Last night we went with one of the counselors in the bishopric and his wife to give Eliane a blessing of health. For me it was another manifestation of the power of priesthood. The priesthood is real. It is a power that is also bound by the personal worithiness, diligence, and faith of the person giving the blessing as well as those present. I know that in the Lord´s time Eliane will be healed. In the meantime the Lord is helping her family to be healed spiritually, giving them his own personal strength and love.
     I love you all so much! It´s a little scary sometimes thinking about all the new things coming up-- all the changes and everything happening around me--bt I know I´ve got the love and support of you all :) Thanks for everything! Hope you have a great week. Peace!
Love, Hermana Anderson

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Embodiment of Freedom

     Greetings loved ones! Sorry we weren´t able to write yesterday, we had to change our P day to today because we´re going to a museum that´s not open on Mondays. Hermana Belt and I have had another great week here in Escardo 1. Hna Belt and I are getting along great and I feel like it´s a great blessing to be able to serve with her. This week was busy and full of meetings and trainings.
     On Tuesday we had our meeting ¨consejo de la mision,¨ which is like mission counsil with all the zone leaders, assistants, President y Hna. Borg, and the STLs. I know I´ve mentioned before that it´s my favorite meeting, and this one didn´t let me down. We were talking about what our mission needs to start progressing, because we´re having success but President feels like we´re not reaching our full capacity. We were talking about things like baptismal dates falling, people not coming to church, investigators not keeping their commitments, etc. I was reminded of all my years of softball, how in the game there are physical errors, and there are mental errors. Physical errors are the things that we can´t control, like a bad hop, the wind, the sun- but mental errors are the things we can control (knowing where to go before the play in every situation). I applied these errors to the mission. We can´t control for example the accions of other people, they have their agency and these are only physical errors in the game. What we can control are the mental things-- our attitude, our obedience, the way we serve others with humility and love. I made the comment of the analogy I made in the meeting and President Borg, along with all the elders who have played baseball, agreed that it was the same :)

     On Wednesday Hermana Belt and I, along with the zone leaders, taught the zone what we had discussed in the mission counsel and we set goals as a zone. Something I´m learning in the mission is how to set real goals. Goals are the desire of our hearts, and if we put a roof on our goals we´re only putting a roof on our desires! We still need to be realistic, but we shouldn´t limit ourselves on what we´re capable of.
     On Friday for the 4th of July, we went over to the chapel and celebrated with a tres leches cake, investigators, missionaries, and members. I taught everyone how to play octopus, which is a game I used to play with Blue crush back in the day. Everyone loved it and it was way fun! Afterwards we taught about how we were celebrating freedom, but not just for the United States, but for the freedom that the gospel of Jesus Christ gives each one of us. I read in Jesus the Christ that ¨the gospel of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of freedom,¨ that it´s what frees us from temptations, trials, and death. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us, through Him that freed us. It was a great activity and it was great for the investigators as well.

     Celso: Celso came to our activity on the 4th of July (he´s actually the one who brought the cake). Celso´s family is from Peru, so that´s how he decided to come here to work. He works in the airport for a Peruvian airline I think. This week we also taught him the plan of salvation and he´s excited to be sealed to his family, who are all members except his dad. Celso gave to me and Hermana Belt a piggy bank and colored pencils as a 4th of July present. He´s a crack up, but really wants to learn more and take that step to baptism.

     Joseph: Joseph is a new investigator that Hermana Belt and I found yesterday! He was a contact of the elders in the neighboring sector, and we went over to visit him and his mom yesterday. Joseph´s mom is Catholic, but Joseph says he doesn´t believe much of what his mom believes. He had lots of questions and we were excited to give him a Book of mormon. Joseph´s eyes lit up and I loved seeing him flip through the pages and look at the pictures at the front. I never get tired of teaching about the book of mormon or the restoration-- I love seeing the light of understanding in people´s eyes as they hear the truth. Joseph also said that He didn´t understand why God would let so many hard things happen, especially to people who are doing everything right and are praying for help. That´s the million dollar question. We bore our testimonies that God does hear prayers and will answer in his own time. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ everything can and will be made right. Our heavenly Father has a plan for us and loves us SO much. We´re going to go back on Saturday to teach Joseph and I can´t wait! 

     Juan Vicuña: The family Vicuña was pretty busy this week with Eliane´s therapy, so we didn´t get to see them until Sunday. Also, they´re now putting Eliane´s case on TV since the taxi driver who hit her 6 months ago just drove off and they feel that´s unjust. On Sunday we were able to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Juan said he wants to take the step to baptism but around the end of August. He´s so concerned about Eliane right now it´s hard to find time to just sit down one on one with him, but we can´t blame him for all that´s happening with his daughter. We need to find a way to help him know that it was unjust what happened, but that Christ paid for all that as well with Atonement. I love the Vicuña family so much and I just want them to have the light and hope of the gospel in their lives. Poco a poco.

     Ok well that´s it for this week. Dad, I can´t remember when you´re leaving, but have fun in Guam! Well I don´t know if fun is the right word, but you know what I mean :) It sounds like you´re all having a great summer. Have another great week! I love you soooo much!

Love, Hermana Anderson
Fourth of July gifts from Celso

Sister missionaries with Celso

Enjoying ice cream at the zoo

Our zone at the zoo

Friday, July 4, 2014

See the World Through Him

     Hello family and friends! I know I probably say the same thing every week, but this was another great week here in Escardo. Every week and every day actually I learn so much. There´s no way I can write everything that happens or all the impressions that come to mind, but I hope I can highlight at least a few of the great things that happen here.
     Well first of all Hna. Belt and I are loving our new sector and seeing lots of improvement in our new investigators. This week we went and visisted Juan, whose daughter Eliane was hit by a car and is now handicapped. When we stopped by their house to visit, Eliane was in the middle of her physical therapy, so the family showed us how they needed to massage her weak muscles as part of her therapy. They asked us if we wanted to learn so we said sure! We massaged the muscles in her face, neck, arms and legs, and it was crazy feeling her tiny little muscles. She´s recuperating pretty fast they said, but she still can´t do anything on her own. She´s completely dependent on her family. When Hna. Belt and I were giving Eliane her massages, her mom was in the next room cleaning. She asked us to sing some hymns, so we started singing in both English and Spanish. Any time Eliane wants to talk about God, she always crosses herself (her family´s Catholic so that´s the sign she knows to talk about Christ), and while we were singing she pointed to us, crossed herself, then pointed to a picture she has of Christ on the wall. Hna. Belt and I looked at each other and just smiled. It´s such an amazing feeling to wear Christ´s name and be representatives of Him. I know that if He were here we wouldn´t hesitate to help Eliane in any way He could. Eliane´s family just adores her and I think that will help her in her healing process. Eliane´s dad, Juan, came to church yesterday so now has 3 attendences and is ready for baptism! He has a date for the 26 July, so we are helping him strenthen his testimony to be ready for that day. 
     This week Hna. Belt and I also had our first exchange with two hermanas in our zone named Hna. Chaparro and Hna. Zavala. In the past I´ve had 7 or even 8 companionships under our care but this transfer we´ve got 5, so it´s nice to be able to have just one exchange in the week. Anyway, I went with Hna Chaparro to her sector and we had a super great day! Hna. Chaparro is from Logan so it was fun to have some things in common. We taught an investigator of theirs named Jenny-- Jenny is 17 and when she started reading the book of mormon she said she felt something in her heart telling her it was something good. She had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith, so we explained more about him and she said he must be a very special person to have seen God the Father and the Son. We invited Jenny to be baptized and she said yes without hesitating! I think when someone feels the spirit that strongly they just can feel that it´s right and it´s what Heavenly Father wants them to do. It was a great experience with Jenny and I´m grateful for all the opportunities I have to meet such amazing people! 
     On Sunday was our first Sunday as a brand new ward, and the turn out was awesome! We got a new ward mission leader that had served for almost 3 years in his old ward as mission leader, so he´s excited to work with us. Yesterday in church we were in the middle of giving the class when a young guy walked in, around 23-24 years old. He told us that he was an investigator, that he had just walked in and the members had told him to come in our class. Hna. Belt and I started talking to him, and he told us his name was Celso, that he was from Georgia, and that he wanted to be baptized. We said, Okay then! Ha Celso is so, so funny. He told us his family and his girlfriend are members, but he had just never felt like it was his time to be baptized. He had come to Lima to work and had met a member in his job--the member told him there was a church nearby so he came on Sunday and feels like it´s time to be baptized. He told us that he had a doubt though, something about the church that he had looked up on google but he could never figure out. He asked, ¨Why is it that all the Mormon churches have a basketball court? Do the guys in Utah really like basketball or something?¨ Haha he´s super funny and just has lots of ¨ganas¨ to learn about the gospel (he´s really excited?). Sorry again that I can´t speak in English sometimes ha.
     This week a thought popped into my head, I don´t know if I heard it in a song or if it just popped into my head, but the phrase is, ¨See the world through Him.¨ If we can see the world, everything that happens to us, all the hard times, heartaches, disappointments, everything, through the Savior and his sacrifice that he gave for us, everything can be made right. Everything will make sense if we try and see it through the Savior and the plan of salvation that God has for us. I know that Heavenly Father loves each one of his children and is just waiting to bless them. Sometimes we´ve got to wait til the fourth watch in the night, when it seems like the very last second, but the blessings come. 
     Thanks so much for your letters! I love you guys more than you know! Hope you have a great week and are enjoying summer. Until next week.
Con mucho amor, Hermana Anderson  
*Next project, Escardo 1!!
*with Hna. Chaparro and Jenny
*Pic with Celso on Sunday