Monday, August 25, 2014

Have We Not Great Reason to Rejoice?

     Well, I can´t believe I´m saying this, but this is it! I´ve got these last couple days in the mission to visit my sectors and say goodbye to so many people I´ve come to love. Yesterday I went to Las Brisas to say goodbye and it was a very emotional day--happy, but sad, exciting, but heartbreaking. Everytime I try to explain my mission experience in words I just sound really cliche, and I probably sound really cliche right now... But I just want to say that this experience has been one that has changed my life for the better. I don´t know who I´d be or where I´d be if I hadn´t had come on my mission. I have met wonderful people who just love me unconditionally, and I have learned from them how the love of our Heavenly Father must be. I have seen miracles, and I have seen God´s hand in this work. I am so grateful for every experience I´ve had, even the tough ones. I was reading in Alma 26 today and I feel like it sums up most of my emotions about the mission. Thanks for always writing and being good examples to me. I love you SO much and can´t wait to see you in a couple days!!!!!! I know this church is the true and restored church of God. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it was translated by the power of God by the prophet Joseph Smith. There is not a doubt in my mind that these things are true. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that He knows what we´re going through, He´s felt everything we will ever feel, so He knows how to lift us up when we fall.
     I´m excited to see you all. I hope you have a great couple days!  See you soon!

Con mucho amor, Hermana Anderson

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Give me this mountain!

     Hola! Saludos a todos! I´m gonna write this letter more like a journal entry because everyday has just been jammed pack with stuff!

Monday: We went to Larcomar for P day and rode bikes on the playa. It was really pretty and it was nice to get away from the city for a bit. Hermana Belt will be sending pictures ha. We had to pedal up big hills and I realized how completely out of shape I am!

Tuesday: We woke up in the morning and realized not only were we completely sore from riding bikes for 2 hours, but we were both sick with the cold. The cold air on the beach had really gotten to us. But that day we were supposed to have exchanges with the hermanas in our ward, and I decided I wasn´t going to waste a day in bed sick, so I just took some medicine and we went out to work. Hermana Belt was pretty sick, so she stayed in bed with Hna. Santillana and Hna Castillo and I had to cover all the set appointments in both sectors. So we were walking the whole ward limits. When we started out I I thought, ¨we´re probably going to have a great day, because I could be sitting in bed resting, but we´ll be blessed for my sacrifice.¨ But as the day went on, we knocked house after house after house, and nobody opened for us. We actually started laughing because even the set appts. fell through-- all of them! And then we got a call from one of the hermanas in the zone who said that her mouth was swelling up because she had had some kind of allergic reaction. We had to call hermana Borg and get her to the doctor. All of that together in one day made me wonder, ¨Why aren´t we seeing the blessings?¨ But, just as I´ve learned on so many other occasions in my mission, we can´t tell the Lord when we think the blessings should come. They come in their own due time, when the Lord sees best. 

Wednesday: On Wednesday we went to my last multizone meeting. President Borg told us a story from the old testament that has become my new favorite theme. When the children of Israel were walking around in the desert, Moses sent spies to Canaan to bring back a report. Ten of the spies came back and said it would be impossible for them to enter into the promised land. Only Joshue and Caleb came back saying they would be able to enter with the Lord´s help. Well, after 45 more years wondering around in the desert, the children of Israel finally were able to enter into the promised land. Caleb, after all his loyalty towards the Lord, and after having to deal with the children of Israel for 45 more years in the desert, is given his own portion of the promised land, a mountain infested with giants! But the only thing Caleb has to say is, ¨Give my this mountain! ...for my strength is in the Lord.¨ (Joshua 14). We all should have the same kind of attitude when faced with any trial, ¨Bring it on!¨ Give me this mountain! We really can do anything if our faith and trust is in the Lord.

Thursday:  We had another exchange and a brand new north american hermana came with me, Hermana Amis. I´ve only trained once and she already spoke spanish, so it was interesting being with a brand new sister and having her look at me every minute to know what they were saying to her ha. It totally reminded me of my first few months in La Legua. Thursday was also a challenging day and we didn´t have much success entering into people´s houses. 

Friday:  In the morning we went to help hermana Borg get lunch ready for the multizona that day, so that was fun! That night we had a noche misional and we were going to show a video but it didn´t work, so that was kind of a bummer. Hermana Belt was pretty stressed out which made me stressed out, but we ended up having a guest speaker come and he talked about family history. It ended up turning out just fine.

Saturday: Hermana Belt and I have thought a lot this week about the worth of souls. This week I personally have really learned a lot about how much a soul is really worth, and this scripture in Alma describes it for me:

   30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the
 means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be  
the means of saving some.

The mission presents some difficult trials, but it´s all so that maybe, just maybe, we can be the means of saving one soul. Hermano Juan was baptized and confirmed a member of the church on Saturday night. He gave a beautiful testimony at the end that made me realize the importance of the work we do. He said he feels like he´s found God again, and he´s put his life in His hands. It was a tender mercy after a long and stressful week to see hermano Juan enter into the waters of baptism. 

Sunday: Last night right as we were going into a stake meeting we got a call from the assistants and they told us we had to change rooms with the other sisters in our ward because we were going to receive a third sister. Woo!! So last night the zone leaders came and helped us move, and we didn´t get to bed until late. This morning we picked up our new companion, Hermana Alvarez from Piura! (north part of Peru). She already has 10 months in the mission and will stay with Hermana Belt when I leave until transfers. 

    Well there you have it. It was a challenging week, but in spite of everything we saw miracles and I feel my testimony strengthened more than ever. I love you all so much and appreciate your letters! I´m going to make the most of my time here as a representative of Christ while I can. Love you guys! Chaufa!!!

Love, Hermana Anderson

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Recuperating the Faith

     Saludos a todos! Well, each week has its ups and downs and this week sure had some big ups and downs. The week started out good with mission counsil. That´s where all the zone leaders, sister training leaders, assistants and President and Hna Borg get together to talk about the zones and the goals we have. It was a great meeting as always and helped us realize that we need to focus on baptisms as much as on the less actives. Something great happened too! We got a new assistant and we are, finally, changing our key indicators to be just as they are in Preach my gospel. Before we had lessons in calle (street), lessons in the house of a member vs. with a member... it was so complicated before and in every intercambio I´ve had with the new missionaries we´ve had to work a lot to explain them.. but now we´re doing away with the ¨vain traditions of our fathers¨ and going traditional. It will be great for the mission! It´s already helped us to focus more on what´s most important.
     This past week I went on an intercambio to Maranga, and I think it was the 6th or 7th time I´ve been there on some kind of intercambio. All the members recognize me which is pretty funny, it´s almost like another sector that I´ve had. But it´s a great sector! I was with an hermana from Ecuador named Hna. Zumba and she´s super funny and energetic. Hermana Belt stayed here in Escardo with hna Almodovar from Mexico. They were able to put a date with Juan for this Saturday el 16 de Agosto! He accepted the principle of diezmo which in itself is a huge blessing with all the medical expenses they have with Eliane. But he realizes the blessings he will receive and has so much faith! They are such a great family and I know some day the rest of his family will follow him into the church.
     So yesterday in church we were sitting in ward counsil when the bishop announced something that just kind of threw Hermana Belt and I for a loop. Apparently this last week in a young men´s activity a cell phone went missing and they found that a young joven named Gabriel had stolen it. Gabriel is one of our investigators, he is only 15, and he had been making such wonderful growth in his conversion! Or so we thought. We´ve been working with Gabriel since we arrived here, and he´s always had trouble with reading in the book of mormon and praying, but he´s come almost every week to church! He had made friends with the young men and was involved in all the activities, he even came early to the activity on independence day to help with the decorations. It was really hard to hear that he had fallen like that. The young men´s president was really sad too, because he had grown to really love Gabriel as well. Hermana Belt and I left just feeling shocked because we had no idea. I spoke in sacrament meeting about the missionary work and the members and how they can help, and lots of people came up to me after and told me it had really animated them to share the gospel, so we´ll see! Our ward needs a little boost. But all day long we were thinking about Gabriel. Last night we stopped by to see him, and he didn´t tell us what had happened, but he opened up more than ever and told us, 
I´m not one to believe in God. I´ve just never had good luck. My dad is a person who believes in God, he´s a good person... why don´t good things come to him? Why do the bad people win?
It was so hard for me to see such a young kid with only 15 years have to grow up so fast and feel so lost. I prayed for the words to tell him and testified with the spirit that I KNOW that God lives and loves us so much, and that those bad people will get their reward someday. I told him that sometimes we need faith to carry us through. He told me, I´m trying to recuperate the faith hermana. 
  After talking to him and walking down the street, I just felt heartbroken. I had grown to honestly care about Gabriel and I had seen that he was progressing! I started asking if I had done everything I could have. I was reminded of the Lord in Jacob 5, What more could I have done for my vineyard? I think I felt the tiniest sliver of the pain that our Heavenly Father feels everytime one of his children shakes his fists at heaven in anger or sadness, or is disobedient and breaks a commandment. God loves us all SO much! I can´t explain why bad things happen, but I know one day we´ll understand and we´ll see that they weren´t stumbling blocks as much as stepping stones. We just need to trust in Him and His love for us.
     Each week has its ups and downs but all in all we saw blessings and saw the spirit guiding us. We were in the right place at the right time several times, running into people in the street that needed our help. I´m so grateful to know that the Lord is using me as an instrument in His hands.
     I love you all so much! Thanks for writing. Give Brynn a big hug for me this week!! Have a fantastic week!

Love, Hermana Anderson 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Time is short

     Helloo!! I wrote my title line not because I am ¨trunky,¨ but because I literally have ten minutes to write today! Our P day went a little longer than we thought...

Here are the highlights for the week:

   On Tuesday was my last transfer meeting of my mission. I am staying here in Escardo with Hermana Belt! Hermana Aguero had cambio which was sad, but the new hermana is way nice. This was the transfer meeting where I gave my testimony in front of the whole mission. I was feeling nervous and all, but then when we all got up on the stage and sat down, and I saw Hermana Madsen get up to bear her testimony, it just hit me. I started with Hermana Madsen in the MTC, so to see her get up to bear her last testimony really made me realize that this is it! This is my last transfer as a servant of the Lord! I, who usually don´t get all emotional, started crying when nobody else was crying! When I got up to bear my testimony I will still kind of emotional, but I bore my humble testimony that this is the true church. I know that Joseph smith was a prohpet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. I have seen countless times in my mission that if the blessings don´t seem to be coming, they are just right around the corner and we need to have faith in a bright future. I have learned that the family is the most important thing, and that I have the most wonderful family. I bore a simple but sincere testimony and as I listened to the other testimonies of my friends who have served along side me for almost a year and a half, I felt a calm and peaceful spirit. It was a great spiritual booster to be able to give my all this transfer.

     Celso has kind of gone A wall for the last 2 weeks... we have no idea where he went to! Hermano Juan didn´t come to church for the first time in 2 months yesterday so we´re worried about him and Eliane. We haven´t been able to find them yet. We had a miracle this week when we met up with the elders and they passed to us and investigator they had who lives in our sector. His name is Jesus, and he is the only person in his family who is not a member. He told us he finally just felt like it is his time, and his family is thrilled that he is taking that step. We are going tomorrow to verify if he will be in town on the 16th to have his baptism. It was a blessing to be able to teach him!

     Last night we had a charla with Elder Uceda, who is the President of the area of northern South america. It was for all the young people in our whole mission, and it was awesome cause I got to see friends from my previous wards! I saw Angel who was baptized in February, and I got so excited to see him that I was kind of bouncing up and down haha. It was just so great to see him active and happy in the church. I also saw Natalia and Mauricio, two of my good friends from Miraflores. It made me so happy to see my good friends, but it also made me realize how hard it´s going to be to say goodbye to them all. BUT I´m not thinking about that yet...

    Well, sorry there´s not much time! I love you all! Please tell grandma Jean thank you for writing and I loved her letter. I will write her back next week. Thank you so much!! Chau!

Con amor, Hermana Anderson