Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you so much mom for always writing me faithfully, and for being so great! Know that talking to you guys yesterday was the highlight of my Christmas as well! It was so awesome to hear your voices and see your faces. I love you guys so much, and I´m so priveleged to have such an incredible family supporting me as I serve here. I´ll admit, I was a little trunky for a few hours after the phone call, but I´m good now! haha, it was REALLY fun to talk to Jarrett in Spanish! I´m definitely not fluent, but I would say that I´m conversational, which is honestly a miracle, considering the amount of Spanish I knew before my mission. It will be really cool to see on Mother´s day how much I will have improved. I hope the rest of your Christmas was good, and that you felt the joy of the celebration of the birth of the savior. He loves you, and so do I. A LOT! Have a wonderful week, and I´ll talk to you next year! Lol
Love, Elder Anderson

We talked with Tanner via Facebook Live on Christmas Day at 3:00 pm our time, 6:00 pm in the DR.  We were able to talk with him for and hour and a half.  Truly the highlight of our Christmas as we were able to hear his voice and see his face.  He is happy and working hard.  We couldn't ask for anything more and feel extremely blessed as a family. 
talking w/ Elder Anderson on Christmas Day 2016                                      He is holding an avocado. Yes, it's as big as his head!

Family Christmas picture 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Explosions, and more!

Well, this week was a crazy one! One thing about our companionship having callings in the branch is that I feel like we´re always doing stuff for the branch and with members and we don´t ever have a ton of time for contacting or for investigators or anything. That's okay though, because we are definitely kept busy with all of the other stuff.
Quick story, Saturday morning we had an activity at the church, and when we arrived people went inside, and everything was good. The light usually comes on at 7 o'clock, and when it arrived, there was a big explosion-y sound. Well, we went out, and the little concrete shed thing that houses the propane, and the electrical box was cracked down the side, and the roof was off, and there was smoke rising up. After some investigating through the day, and some people from the capital driving out to take a look at it, we concluded that there had been a leak of propane, and when the electricity arrived, it sparked the explosion. The problem was that the propane should have been housed somewhere separately, and not in such a non-ventilated space. The good news is, everything still works, and no one was hurt, but man was that a crazy start to my day!
Other than that, I am still just getting used to my assignment. I counted tithing on Sunday for the first time, which was super frustrating because the branch counselor did not want to go through steps to verify each slip with the amount in the envelope, but my Spanish has progressed enough that I can give boches when I need to (A boche is pretty much a stern talking to, Synonym of spitting fire), and we eventually got on the same page.
Haha, things are great though! I really do love this area, and the branch, and my comp, and my roommates! Life is good, and I can not wait for Sunday! Merry Christmas!!!
-Elder Anderson

Monday, December 12, 2016

Welcome to Neyba York

Hey everyone! This week has been nuts, but it´s been good. It´s always kind of tough to transition to a new area, new branch, new comp, new house, but this place is pretty awesome! The assignment as Branch Secretary kind of came as a surprise since I´m so new, but I think that I´m starting to get the hang of it. The toughest thing is that my comp explains everything that I need to do in Spanish and so I do it the best I can and pray that I understood everything as well as I thought I did! Oh, by the way, we had to transfer my membership to this branch so that I could receive a calling here, so yeah!

Neyba is awesome though! The members are great, and even though it´s super hot all the time, it´s a nice, chill pueblo. The highlight of my week though was the temple trip. And since we´re a part of the branch presidency, we got to go with the branch! The gua-gua ride was more than uncomfortable because it was filled to the brim, and after 4 and a half hours, it was nice to be back at the temple block. It was amazing to be able to sleep in one of the rooms there. Air conditioning, no mosquitoes, CARPET. Wow I miss carpet. Also, the temple was incredible as always. I got to be a witness for baptisms which was pretty cool!

 I really love the Light the World campaign that the church is doing. (Here, it´s IluminaElMundo) and The video gives me chills every time that I watch it. 

The new assignment is definitely a challenge, but I wouldn´t want anything less than a challenge! I think one of the hardest things will be feeling like I´m not doing as much missionary work because

I´m trying to help support a branch at the same time, but I know that this is where I´m supposed to be, and I´m going to magnify this calling the best that I can. 

That´s about it as far as my week goes though. Learning peoples names. Trying to speak Spanish. Everything´s all good! 

I´m so pumped for Christmas, and I can´t believe it´s only 2 weeks away! Every time I remember it´s December I just laugh, because there is no way it´s December in this heat. Haha, but that´s about it! Life rocks!
Love, Elder Anderson

A few pictures from San Juan:

Monday, December 5, 2016

¡Adios San Juan!

Dear Family, Friends, and family friends,
     So, transfers came in, and I had felt pretty secure about the probability of me staying in San Juan at least another transfer. Well, jokes on me! Real fast, let me educate you on the layout of the mission. There are 10 zones.  Five zones are in the capital, and they're all really close together. Then we have 5 zones in ´´the south´´. The Capital has La Sirena (a huge supermarket), wards and stakes, and American fast food. The south has a more cool climate, and it consists mostly of branches and districts. Well, I was kind of hoping to at least stay in the south, and I am! I'm being transferred to a little pueblo in the zone of Barahona that's called Neiba. My companion's name is Elder Torres from Guatemala, and he's the Branch President. Also, I've been called to be the Branch Secretary! I'd probably feel pretty chill about that calling except I'm still trying to learn the language so it'll be interesting!

Our Noche Blanca went well! It definitely wasn't as big as I expected it to be! The goal was 20 baptisms, and we had 5 total. 3 from my companion and I, and 2 from the hermanas in our zone. I was really happy to see our 3 though! One of them I've talked about before. Hironelis finally got married last week which was awesome! Except for the fact that her husband showed up drunk... I felt really bad about that. Then the next day, she was able to be baptized, and her husband showed up drunk to that as well. Then, the next day she was confirmed in church and her husband wasn't there. I am very proud of her though. She's been coming to church as an investigator for 2 years and finally she's a member!

We also had a girl named Katherine! She has some special needs, but she asked us a few weeks ago when she could get baptized and we got permission from President. Lessons were very simple, and we taught her about Jesus Christ, Baptism, and what commandments are. She's a very sweet girl, and I'm so happy I was able to teach her. We also baptized a girl named Rayza. She was a reference from her cousin and she's a very cool girl. We also had a member named Melanio baptize her, and he's awesome! His name is Melanio, and he teaches with us twice a week! 

Although it was a little sad to say goodbye to everyone here in San Juan, I'm very excited to see what my next area's like. It was a weird thought, but some of these people I may never see again in this life. Something that really touched me was when I said goodbye to this little old lady named Argentina. She's in a wheelchair and she was baptized about 6 or so months ago. I told her I was leaving, and she gave a little speech about how much the missionaries mean to her. She said she never had any brothers and that the Elders are her ´´Hermanitos´´ Then she looked at me and my comp and said ´´Ustedes son mi esperanza´´ with tears in her eyes. I didn't really feel as though I had done enough to be called someone's hope, but as I think about it. As missionaries, we are representatives of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only true hope any of us have. So even though I haven't done anything personally that gives someone hope. Christ has, and my job is to bring that hope to others. Our message is the light and the hope of Christ. 

Thank you for all your support! I love you all so much! Love,
Elder Anderson

Monday, November 28, 2016

Last Week of Training

Wow wow wow! Time's moving quick! I can't believe I'm almost done being trained! Livin la vida loca! Haha, but this week had its ups and downs. We're getting people ready for baptism and that's our main focus this week because the noche blanca is this Saturday. Anyway, so at the beginning of the week, we had like 7 baptisms that we were planning on having on the third, then one by one, they started to fall... One of Manuel's kids doesn't have a huge desire to be baptized with his brother and dad. Then on Sunday, half of the people with fechas didn't come to church. That's one of the hardest things here is that people just do not keep the commandment of the Sabbath Day. Sunday was a pretty rough day for my comp and I because we had such high expectations, but they didn't show up. 

We also ended up dropping two recent converts this week. One of them was probably the most frustrating lessons I've ever been in. He told us that he felt like his life was super hard and that he didn't feel like he was being blessed. We told him that the Lord wouldn't give certain blessings if he didn't go to church or pay his tithing, but he argued and we told him what he had to do. There was also another kid who hasn't been going, and each time, it's a new excuse. The thing is, our branch would be FILLED if all of the members in the area attented, but SO many people are inactive... 

So... because our investigators didn't come to church, we now only have 3 baptisms for Saturday. Which is great, and I'm so excited for those who are being baptized, but also super sad for the others. Also, super sad for me, or Elder Garcia, depending on who's transferred because most likely one of us won't be around to see the others baptized. But! The important thing is that they make that covenant eventually. 

My spiritual thought this week is my testimony... I want to let you guys know that the more I share about this gospel, the more I have faith in it. Faith is a principle of action, and the more I act, the more faith I have. But I truly believe in this work. I know that our Father in Heaven is there and that he loves us. I know because I've talked to him. I talk to him every night and every morning. I pour out all of my feelings and thoughts to him. His spirit has been with me here, and I've seen the difference his gospel has made in the lives of people here. I know the book of mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know these things are true, and I wish I could just make people believe. But then It wouldnt be faith. So I'm going to help as many people that are willing to come to gain that faith and knowledge for themselves. I love Christ, I love this gospel, and I love this work.

Love, Elder Anderson

Another letter we received this week in response to some questions I asked:

Thanks for the recipes and for the go ahead on the packages! I am now really excited to open them! So, to answer your questions:

1. My training's going really well. I think one of the toughest things has been realizing that I'm not very experienced and I need to rely on someone else. That was an internal battle for a while, because I'm used to being the one leading, and in charge, but I think I needed to learn some humility. As far as transfers, I feel like I'll probably be the one staying here in San Juan. Which, I'm a little nervous to show someone an area, but I'm sure it'll work out well. 

2. The apartment is great, and the other two Elders are awesome! We have a lot of fun! And! There's another trainee here, who came a transfer after me, so I'm not even the newest Elder in our house, or our district! (Our district is just us 4 in the house)

3. My comp hits 17 months in a few days, so he came in a year and a month before me. When I arrived, he'd been in the area for just a transfer, so he's now been here about 4 and a half months

4. It is a third world country, but I've been surprised by the technology. The majority of people here have cell phones (sometimes pretty nice ones too) even if their house is just a few rooms. There are definitely some poor areas here in San Juan, and it's pretty sad to see. The branch building is pretty small. Just a chapel, and a few rooms. It's like a minute from our house though, so that's super convenient!

5. Like I said, the branch is pretty small. And there are so many inactive members. The branch president's wife is like, 1st counselor in the primary presidency, but she's the only active member, so she has to do everything alone. On average, I'd say we only have like 50 people in the branch on Sundays. 

6. My favorite experience has been our baptisms, and finally seeing the fruits of our labors, or seeing Manuel quit smoking. (He's been smoking for 40 years, and now hasn't smoked in two weeks) Seeing lives change is incredible.

I just want to let you know that I hope your talk went great! I heard good things about it from Dad! I sent you a letter, but I have no idea when it'll get to you. Hopefully by your birthday! I love you mom, and I really can't wait to talk to you on Christmas! Oh, and things are good here!  Don't even worry because I know that I'm being obedient, and I know that's the key to happiness. Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey hey! How's it going? Hope this week was great for everyone! For me it was pretty similar to most weeks here. Just been working hard every day from sun up to sun down! Not much happened this week to be honest! We've been working hard with our investigators, and trying to get them ready for their baptismal fechas. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but I'll try to eat a lot of food on Thursday anyway! 

In other news, I went to Haiti today! There was a market going on in a place called Elias Piña, which is on the far west end of the country. So our zone went, then we walked to the border! I stuck my foot under the gate a bunch, so I've basically been to Haiti and back like, 7 times! haha

But anyway, that's about the extent of the news I have for you this week! By the way mom, I got my packages, and it's killing me right now to have to wait to open them! haha, patience is a virtue though! But I'm really excited to see what's inside!! Anyway, have a great week everyone! Love you!

-Elder Anderson

Monday, November 14, 2016

¿Cómo se dice Miracle?

Hey mom! It's been what feels like just a couple days and I'm already emailing again. The weeks pass by pretty quick! This week was as always... really great! Quick story... my comp and I were walking down our normal route to go visit some investigators and Elder Garcia said that he was thirsty, so we went a different way so that we could get some water from a colmado. Well, after that we kept walking, but on a different road than usual. We decided to contact a house there, and the lady there said her husband would be home at 6:00, so later, we came back, and it turns out that there were previous investigators about 6 months ago! They had scriptures, and hymnbooks, and at one point they even had a baptismal date. I think that maybe they weren't ready back then, but the Lord must feel as though they are prepared enough now to give them another opportunity for baptism. It's amazing to see the hand of God in this work.

Man, an experience not as fun happened while on intercambios with Elder Varela from my zone. Well, we were visiting a house in his area and at the end of the lesson, the lady was kind enough to offer us some food. I was pretty hungry, so I gladly accepted. Well, I wished that it had never been offered because I couldn't tell if it was a plate of rice, or a plate of ants! I smiled while eating from the part free of them, while trying to brush off as many as I could. I don't know how many ants I ingested that day, but I know that the number´s pretty high. The worst part is that I finished, and I was feeling like such a good servant of The Lord, being grateful for my ant infested food, and then I started to feel the ants I had brushed off coming back for vengeance, they were all over my arms, and down my back. I tried to get out of that house as soon as I could. I'm pretty sure I can still feel them crawling on my arms. Not fun.

Other than that, this week was fairly uneventful. I gave another talk in sacrament meeting, and I wasn't given a whole lot of notice, so I hope that someone got something out of my terrible, spur of the moment spanish discourse. 

Finally, for my spiritual thought, I'd like to focus on the power of prayer. But not necessarily our formal prayers that we say before meals, at church, or after we get up in the morning, and before we go to bed. I want to talk about the power of a prayer of the heart. Nephi said that ye must pray always, and not faint, that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.(2 Nephi 32:9) So I've taken that principle to heart this week. Every single time I feel an inkling of anger, or of discouragement, or antything, I say a prayer in my mind and in my heart. Not only has this helped me to feel the spirit always, but it helps me keep my mind focused on my calling, and on who it is that I'm serving. I testify that God will listen to us whenever, and that if you are ever in doubt, the Living God is never more than a prayer away.

I love you all, and I hope this week is great. I hope the U.S. is okay without me there. 

Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, November 7, 2016

Big News!

Well, yesterday was a big day for me, because right after church, we had a baptism, and I was asked to perform the ordinance! It was an amazing experience, and even though I was scared to death that I'd mess up the words in Spanish, I did it! Her name is Anyara, and her older brother was baptized last year, and we've been teaching her ever since we got to San Juan. It was really cool to experience though, and it was one of those moments that I now feel like I'm a real missionary! Like, I'm actually baptizing people! Kind of a cool feeling. We have the noche blanca in December, so we should have at least 4 more baptisms as a companionship at the end of the transfer. Man! Time is flying though! The weeks go by so fast!

Spanish update! I feel pretty self sufficient in my Spanish. I've begun to understand people a ton better, although it still takes a lot of concentration. I am able to learn new words now though, just by listening to the context, which I think is something that will help me improve tremendously.

Anyway, other than that, it was a good week! Sometimes I feel a little down, or a little unmotivated. (In Spanish it's Desanimo) but when the hard times come, I just choose to be happy. Because there's so much in life to be happy about! God loves us, and he is so good to us! Men are that they might have joy! (2 Nefi 2:25) So when the hard times come, count those blessings! I love you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Anderson

Elder Garcia, Elder Anderson, Anyara

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Well this week just flew by! It feels like Monday was just yesterday! Happy Halloween. They don't celebrate halloween here, which is kind of too bad. They don't have Thanksgiving either obviously, so because Christmas is the next big event, people start getting ready like, early to mid October. I've already seen so many Christmas lights, and trees, and Feliz navidad signs. It's kind of funny! Haha! We've even sung Christmas songs at church, lol.

Not a whole lot happened this week. We're mostly just working with our investigators with fechas, and preparing them for baptism. Some days I'll go on exchanges with another Elder, and sometimes that Elder is Hispanic, so I'm forced to just speak Spanish with them, which is tough, but it's good! I can hardly believe that I'm able to do it! The mission is great, because our days are never the same. There's always something different that happens, hitchhiking from one area to another, the crazy lady that wouldn't let go of my thumb, and kept telling us she was American, and LOTS of frecas (girls that cat call us in the street) haha, it's a crazy life! 

I don't know if I've said this, but laundry machines here are very different. You but water, detergent, and clothes in a part of it, and there's a little spinner at the bottom that spins it for 15 minutes, and then there's a little centrifuge that spins SUPER fast for five minutes to get the water out, then we hang our clothes to dry. It's a fun process, except when it rains on your clothes that are hung on the roof while you're gone. 

Teaching is going great, and we're in the process of teaching Pedro (The old man whose girlfriend of 40 years is trying to get baptized, and he had that dream, and he's trying to quit drinking) and the other day I shared a story from the book of mormon with him. It's found in the last part of 1st Nefi 3, and it's about when the angel appears to Laman, Lemuel, Nefi, and Sam, and tells them to stop beating them with the rod, and that they're supposed to get the plates.  Well, after the angel departs, Laman and Lemuel, immediately doubt saying: ¨How is it possible that we can get the plates, when Laban is so powerful?¨ So, I related this story to him, and if there's something I've learned from my trainer, it's that sometimes, you have to be bold. So I was very frank with him, and I told them that he has a choice. He had an incredible spiritual experience with his dream, and he can either be like Nefi, with an attitude of ´´I will go and do´´ Or he can be like laman and Lemuel, and immediately after his experience, doubt the power of the Lord, saying ´´How is it possible that the Lord can help me quit drinking?´´ I told him this, and when I was finished, I was actually surprised by how easily I had said it, and I truly felt like the spirit had guided me in that moment. He was pretty receptive to it, and told us that he was not going to drink anymore, so, I hope it works out!

For those of us, who may not receive answers in the forms of dreams or visions, we can relate it to the truths that we do know. We can commit to ourselves not to doubt the Lord. Not asking how it is possible that we can choose the right, or resist temptation, but we can trust in the Lord, and go forward with faith. That is our decision. 

Thank you all for your love, Hope this week is great!

Love, -Elder Anderson
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

First transfer... Check!

Hey everyone! Sounds like you guys had an awesome week at Lake Powell! Haha, that sounds so fun, and I'm glad you guys got to go! As far as this week goes, it was pretty uneventful to be honest! We taught a lot of lessons, contacted A TON and we got transfer calls yesterday, (I'm staying in San Juan to finish my training). My  comp and I are on fire though! We're always talking to people, and teaching and joking around in the streets. Life is so good here! 

BTW mom, I made your sloppy joes, and although they were really good, they didn't quite have the Paula touch, ya know? So your cooking is something I definitely miss! Haha, also I'll try to send a picture of a prank I played on the other Zone Leader in our house. So, every time it rains, there are a bunch of snails that start coming out in the streets. Especially near areas full of foliage and stuff. So, Elder Sisemore though it'd be funny one night to put a snail on my chair. The next time it rained, he thought 4 snails on my chair would be funny, and THEN he got the bright idea to put a few snails on my bed. He's getting transferred today, and so thank goodness last night it rained, so I had a chance to get some revenge. Which came in the form of: 60 snails on his desk!!! Haha, it was pretty funny, and we had a good laugh about it! 

My spiritual thought comes from a lesson we were having with a 16 year old named Jorgie. He's come to church a few times and we've taught him, but he was having trouble understanding the first lesson, and receiving an answer. So my companion compared asking for an answer to going to colmado when you want a Coca-Cola. He said, you wouldn't just go in and ask for a refresco, but you want to be specific. Because a specific question, like: "Is the church, or the Book of Mormon true?", is going to get a specific answer. Once my comp said that, I thought of something and shared it immediately. I said that just like if you're buying the refresco, you don't just get it, but you have to pay the price for it. And what is the price? A sincere heart, real intent, and faith in Christ. (Moroni 10:3-5) And that's the formula for any answer from God. Because through the power of the Holy Ghost, you can know the truth of all things.

Thanks for everything, and for all the support! I love you all!
-Elder Anderson

This is the letter he sent to his dad this week:

Hey Dad! Sounds like this week was great for you guys! I bet Lake Powell was so fun! My week was good too! BTW, I'm sorry I didn´t reply to you last week, but I thought a lot about what you said about teaching Sophia about the scriptures. It really is incredible to teach people about the things of the gospel. It's incredible that it's full of stories and principles simple enough for a child to understand, and yet, you can go a lifetime, and keep learning things about the things of the gospel. The more I learn, the more amazed I am. The knowledge and intelligence of God are amazing. Thank you for teaching me about the gospel Dad. I can never repay you for that. I only wish I would have talked with you more about gospel things. (Haha, if only 16-year-old me could hear me saying that) But I really do love the scriptures here, more than I ever have before. I'm so happy, and I love this work. Hope your week is great dad. Love you so much!
-Elder Anderson

Monday, October 17, 2016

Contacting for daaaaays

¡Hola familia! I want to apologize for last week. I wasn´t able to write a ton of people because the computer was suuuuper slow. But this week I don´t think I´ll have the same problem!

This week was great! I had my first zone meeting and I understood most of it, so that's some progress. My companion is a zone leader, so he and his ZL comp told us about the goal they have as a zone. On December 3rd, we're having what's called a noche blanca, which is where we are trying to have a bunch of baptisms on the same day. There are 7 companionships in our zone, and the goal is 20, so that's about 3 baptisms per companionship. I'm really excited to work after that goal!

So, as part of that goal, we decided to make some daily and weekly goals as a companionship. We decided that each day, the contacting goals that we made, we would complete no matter what, and that we wouldn't come back home at night until we had contacted and met our meta. So it's been tough, but as a result, we've had SO many new investigators and we've already begun to see the fruits of our labors. 

Real quick Spanish update for you. I've realized that the hard part of language learning is that sometimes you're learning a lot even if it feels like you've plateaued.  Day to day, it doesn't always feel like I've improved a lot, but if I look back, I am amazed by how much I've learned and I am able to do! I think our characters are really similar to that. God isn't going to take someone, and transform them into their full potential immediately. It has to be step by step. I write a quote in my planner every day, and last week I had one that said: ''Our only concern should be to do better than we did yesterday. Step by step is the law of growth. God does not expect an acorn to be a mighty oak before it has been a sapling'' -George E. Carpenter 

I do feel like I've improved a lot. I can teach lessons pretty fluently with my companion (although I'm sure it's riddled with grammatical errors) and yesterday, I gave a talk in sacrament meeting! (my strategy was to use lots of scriptures, because those are very well worded) and I actually got a lot of compliments afterwards, so I don't know if I had the gift of tongues, or if everyone just felt bad for the gringo! Haha!

My spiritual moment is this: We were teaching the parents of a kid named Joan, who's a recent convert. They're always very kind when we teach their son, and so we decided to teach them too sometime. So last night, we were teaching them about the restoration, and we got to the part where we invite them to pray about the message and ask if it's true. So we were talking about how they could receive an answer and the mom said ''Oh, I already know that it's true! I had a dream a while back, and I was told that you're church is true'' So me and Elder Garcia looked at each other, and we were like: Whaaaaaat! It was at this point, where my focus kind of drifted off, and when it comes to understanding people, I've got to kind of be in the zone, right? So the shock of this news kind of got me out of the zone, and these people started talking, and about 5 minutes later, I was lost as far as what they were talking about. All of the sudden, I got an impression, and it was like: ''Commit them to baptism'' and I was like: ''Ummmm, that's not the best idea, cause I have absolutely no idea what's being talked about right now'' and I kind of shrugged it off as just one of my own personal thoughts. Then, I thought of a talk that I heard from Elder Bednar in the CCM about how to know when it's a spiritual impression, and the conclusion I came to was that it would be better to do it even if it's not the spirit, than to not do it if it is. So right in that moment, I asked them to be baptized, and I felt really strongly afterwards, and I testified as a representative of Jesus Christ that it was the right thing to do. They looked and me, and thought for a second, and they agreed. So it worked! Afterwards, I asked my comp what was happening while I was lost, and he said that they were talking about stuff that bothered them, like polygamy, and that my comp was about to have a sort of bible bash with them, that he would have regretted, when out of the blue, I came out and challenged them to baptism. Kind of a cool experience. 

Guys, I know that the church is true, and I know it more and more every day. This work is amazing, and I'm so happy to be a part of it. I love you all so much, and I'm so glad we are an eternal family. 

-Elder Anderson

P.S. I went to a Haitian market the other day, and I got a flippin' machete!!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

First 2 baptisms!

First off, we didn´t really get hit much by hurricane Mathew, but it did DUMP rain on us on Tuesday and Wednesday. We tried to go out proselyting for a while, but eventually, the streets were basically rivers because the drainage system here 
isn´t the greatest, especially when we don´t have paved roads, so we ended up having to retreat back home early for some extra study.

On the bright side! On Saturday, I experienced my first baptism! The service was for two siblings: Ezer and Izari. Their parents are less active members, but their Aunt and Uncle are awesome, and their uncle was the one who actually baptized them! It was a really cool experience and after the ordinance, Izari, the 11 year old girl started to bear her testimony and just broke down and cried. That really touched me. And, I think it touched her parents too, so maybe, just maybe, they´ll start coming back to church! 

In other news, Ironelis is a  lady who´s been investigating for a while (like 2 years) and we almost have everything ready for her to get married so that she can be baptized! Then, if that wasn´t good enough, the other night, her husband had a dream in which Jesus told him to follow his wife´s example, and join the Mormon church, so now he´s being way more receptive than he ever was before! It´s incredible! Although, we went to teach him last night, and the dude was absolutely drunk. So we´ll be having a word of wisdom lesson real soon ;) 

Anyway, this computer´s real slow, and I have to go, but I hope all of you have a great week! I´ll keep McKenzie in my prayers. That was pretty sad to hear about, but I´m so glad she´s alive and responsive! God is a god of miracles, I truly believe that. Love you all! 

-Elder Anderson

Monday, October 3, 2016


So, I had a pretty good week this week! On Tuesday, I did an English fast, and I thought that it went really well! For the most part, I spoke Spanish all day, which is honestly kind of incredible! The work here is going really well, and we have a brother and sister that are set to get baptized within the next couple weeks, so that´s really exciting!

So for the hurricane, we´ve been hearing about it since Wednesday that there was a hurricane supposed to hit on Friday. Well, Friday was like the least rainy day we had this week, but during general conference at the end of the priesthood session, we were told that the hurricane changed directions, turned into a category 4, and was headed right for us, but nothing happened. Even last night we got a phone call from president saying that we needed to be prepared to evacuate if necessary, but nothing happened. I don´t know if anything will ever happen, haha. Sometimes something small will happen, like it´ll start drizzling a little, or the wind will blow, and we´ll pretend to freak out like: Oh! It´s the hurricane! But we haven´t actually felt any of its effects.

General Conference was amazing, and my comp is awesome, so he hooked it up in English for us! So I got a ton out of it! Probably the most I´ve ever paid attention to conference in my life! So I´d like to share a little of what I learned. One of my favorite talks was President Uchtdorf opening the conference with his message about the plan of salvation. I´ve been teaching about it a lot, so it´s begun to be a subject very near and dear to me. He said ¨It should fill us with unspeakable and profound joy to know of the plan of salvation¨ and then he gave the advice that if it doesn´t the solution to that is to study it more, and learn more about it. I am going to take that advice this week and strive to learn about and study the plan so that when I am teaching someone about that perfect plan, I can feel of the unspeakable and profound joy President Uchtdorf describes. 

Anyway, that´s it for this week! I´m ready for another week of being one of the Lord´s servants here in San Juan! Love you all!

-Elder Anderson

The guagua ride to the temple 


Chicle Soda

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hola, Buenas Dias!

Hola, buenas dias! This week was pretty good! First of all, I was totally gonna send some chevre pictures to you right now, but we just came from our p day activity of playing dominoes, and I don´t have my sd card reader. So next week for sure!! Speaking of dominoes, that´s like the game of this country. I´ll be walking down the street and you see old men without shirts on, outside of a colmado yelling about their domino game. So my comp (Elder Garcia), and Elder Sisemore and Lopez play it all the time in the house. I was pretty terrible at first, but now I´m getting pretty good! We played it on Saturday for a branch priesthood activity and me and Elder Garcia even beat some dominicans! 

So, I forgot to tell you guys this last week, but my first couple days in the field I already met a pro baseball player! We met him while we were ordering some empanadas (which are incredible) and he started speaking english to us! We asked him where he learned, and he said he learned from his teammates on the Minnesota Twins. His name is Fernando Romero or something if you guys want to google him! 

A little bit about my pueblo. San Juan is pretty awesome, and it´s a fairly small town and I guess that our house is one of the only houses in the mission with hot water. So that´s a blessing! Also, you obviously can´t drink the tap water, so we have giant blue jugs of drinkable water that the colmado delivers every week. We don´t sleep in mosquito nets and I haven´t been bitten once since I got here. The power doesn´t go out a ton, but sometimes it does when it´s raining. We have ceiling fans, so that´s nice. Also, we live so close to the chapel that you can see it from out our window, which is really great. The branch is pretty small, but the members are awesome! And as much as I hate to say it, mom you were right about the piano. They asked me my first week here with a gleam of hope in their eyes if I played piano, and I had to tell them that I didn´t because I didn´t take my mom´s advice, and I quit. Sorry mom! I realize that I mentioned Colmados earlier, so I should tell you what those are. They´re just little shops that are basically on every street corner, that sell various snacks and stuff. They´re really handy when you need water which you can buy for 10 pesos (like 25 cents). My favorite thing to get though, is a soda brand called red rock, and they have chicle soda, which is bubblegum flavor. So that stuff is awesome! And to answer your question mom, I have seen a couple mango trees here! Also a ton of banana trees. People sell fruit on the side of the road, and the mangos and avocados are HUGE. The avocados are the size of mangos, and the mangos are absolutely monstrous. Also, I´ve used my Roxberry skills and I´ve made some mango and chinola (passionfruit) smoothies. 

As far as lessons went, this week was good! I´m starting to understand most of what´s happening in lessons, and my comp can just look at me, and I´ll start teaching from where he left off. I can´t really understand much of the small talk before or after the lesson, but I know most of the gospel words, so I can understand and teach the lessons and share scriptures! One lesson in particular was really good! Remember the man and his sons that I challenged to baptism? Well, we´ve continued teaching Manuel (the dad) and Robert, and Elias, and they´re really receptive! Manuel has had an addiction to smoking for like 35 years, and he´s in the process of quitting right now. Well, we were talking about the atonement, and his smoking problem came up, and I saw an opportunity to teach about the enabling power of the atonement. I told him that not only is the atonement for a remission of our sins, but it gives us the ability to strengthen ourselves from sinning in the future. Elder Christofferson said in a missionary devotional ¨The Atonement not only helps us become spotless, but sinless. When we sin, it changes something inside of us, the Atonement helps us to put it back¨ (That was a paraphrase, but a pretty good one) I hope Manuel and all of us take that to heart. I think that the enabling power is often overlooked when talking about the Atonement, but it´s so important and can help us immensly in our lives. Manuel said that that day was the day he quits smoking, and I´m so excited for him. Their baptismal date is October 22nd, so let´s hope it works out for them! 

Well, that´s all for this week! It´s so great to hear all the news from back home! And I hope everyone´s doing great! Love you all!
-Elder Anderson

Monday, September 19, 2016

First Week in the Field!

This week was... kind of a shock!

So, we left the MTC early Wednesday morning and drove to a chapel where we received a little instruction about the field. Then the trainers arrived and we got paired up with them. My new companion is Elder Garcia from El Paso, Texas. He´s such a cool guy, and a great trainer! I´m his first kid, and from the moment they announced our two names he´s like: That´s my kid! That´s my kid! He´s Mexican, and he´s known both Spanish and English since he was a kid, so it´s kind of tough to learn Spanish, because he never really had to put a ton of effort into learning it. 

Oh! By the way, my first area is a Pueblo called San Juan! It was like a 4 hour gua-gua ride from the capital. Also, I guess our house is the nicest in the mission. We have hot water, which is great!  So, as far as the day to day, we teach about 5 or so lessons a day. And we walk to all of them (There are no bikes or ipads in the mission to answer your question) but we go around teaching. In the lessons, I sit there and try to understand, but it´s pretty tough to do. My companion will sometimes look at me, and I´ll share a small portion of the lesson, or a scripture with them. (In really terrible Spanish, of course) 

The best part of the week was when we were teaching a man named Manuel and his two sons. My companion gave me the opportunity to extend the baptismal invitation, and when I did, they accepted! It was amazing, and there was an incredible spirit present. They even wrote their baptismal date on the wall of their home in chalk! It was really neat! I hope that they keep progressing and attending church so that we can baptize them on October 8th! 

So, besides that, we aren´t supposed to eat with members unless they absolutely insist, so we usually cook for ourselves. 
I´ll sometimes make rice and beans, or we´ll have spaghetti and salami. Sometimes we´ll wake up at 6 and go running at a nearby track! Everything is great though! I love it! I love teaching people even though it´s tough to understand what´s happening and to speak. Anyway, I don´t have a lot of time, but I´ll send some pictures next week. I love you all! 

¡Vida es bien, Dios es mejor! 

-Elder Anderson

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Final Week in the CCM

Well, this is it for my CCM experience! It's been great, but I'm SOO glad it's almost done! I leave here on Tuesday, and I'll head like 5 miles to the mission office! On a sad note, P-days are on Mondays in the field, so you won't hear from me for 11 days, so don't worry if you don't hear from me! Then I'll officially start proselyting full-time! Speaking of which, last Friday, we went on splits with Elders from my mission, and it was awesome! I was with an Elder from Brazil so Portuguese was his first language (I told him about Sophia), Spanish was his second, and he was in the process of learning English as a third. So we mostly communicated in Spanish, which was hard, but kind of fun! I can hardly believe I can communicate in another language now! 

So, for the splits we left from a chapel nearby and got on the metro (Jarrett would be proud) and rode for a while, and then we left the metro station, walked under a bridge, and through some streets to our first appointment. Have I mentioned the roads here are crazy? There are so many motorcycles, and the cars are constantly honking, haha, it's awesome! So, the first appointment, the person wasn't there, so we waited a few minutes and left (I've heard that happens a lot here) but the second appointment, we went and taught at someone's house. Let me tell you, it was very humbling to see some of the houses here. It was also very humbling to see how fast Spanish can be. I said the opening prayer, and my companion asked me to explain what covenants were, and the rest of the time, I just sat and tried to understand what was being said. I can't wait to understand more fully! We rode back to the metro in a taxi, and the backseat has three seats, but there were six of us back there! It was a little cramped, but fun! Then we rode the metro back and got to the CCM at 8:00. It was a fun day! I can't wait to do it all the time!

Well, that's it for the week! The next time I write, hopefully I'll have a few more stories for you! Love you all! ¡Vida es bien, Dios es mejor!

-Elder Anderson

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Another Week in the CCM

All of the days here in the CCM are pretty much exactly the same right now. I crave change and I love it when we have a day of something different! Haha, mi nariz healed up pretty fast. I'm pretty much back to normal now! Which is so crazy. I asked my companion and my roommates for a priesthood blessing, and I can honestly say that it worked. The power of the priesthood is real!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the temple here was closed for all of August, so we hadn't been able to attend it until two days ago. What an awesome experience that was! I love the temple so much, and the peace and comfort that it provides! 

As far as my District goes, things are great! We're speaking Spanish as much as we can, and everyone's getting so much better at teaching. I can tell everyone's itching to get out of this place though. Someone described the feeling as the plot of the movie groundhog day. Every day is pretty much the same, but with little differences here and there. 

Something I am going to miss about this place is the food! Every day for lunch is beans and rice, and some kind of meat (usually chicken, beef, or fish) and we'll have various things for dinner like pasta, and plantain casserole. The only meal I don't look forward to as much is on Mondays we have "san cocho sopa" which is rice with soup on top, and it's not awful, but you do have to pick bones and fat off of all the meat. So that's fun!

My thought for the week is this: Recently, while I've been striving to focus on the needs of our "investigators" I've been thinking a lot about the questions that they ask and how to best answer them. Well, as I've searched the scriptures with those questions in mind, I've discovered things in them that I've never noticed before! So now, every time before I read the scriptures, listen to a talk, or go to the temple, I ponder about questions I would like answers to, and the results are incredible. If you don't know what you're looking for, how will you ever find it? 

That's it for this week! I'll keep working hard and learning español! Thanks for all the support and love back home, love you all! 

¡Vida es bien, Dios es mejor! 

-Elder Anderson

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Some crazy news...

This week has been a blur! Things are picking up here, and it's kind of awesome knowing that I'm halfway done with the CCM! Half of the MTC left Tuesday to go into the field, so I'm getting pretty pumped to get out of here! (We're now down to about 30 people) Hopefully these next 3 weeks will fly by.

Alright mom, so you're not allowed to freak out or worry or anything about this next part, but... I broke my nose. Haha, the first picture I sent is as bad as it got, I promise! The story is, we were playing basketball outside on Saturday, and there was a rebound that landed near me and another Elder on my team: Elder Shields. So, we both reached for the ball, and he's pretty tall, so he was bent down, and I SMACKED my nose on his forehead and fell backwards. Needless to say, there was blood everywhere both from the cut on my nose, and from both nostrils, but I got cleaned up and started icing it. (The second picture is right after the incident) Anyway, I talked to the Hermana Romney and the doctor here and they both said the same thing. If they were a betting man/woman, they would bet that it's broken. The good news is that it's not displaced at all, so I can breathe fine, and it's not bent. So the worst part is a little pain, and the best part is my gnarly black eyes! (third picture) Please don't worry though! I'm honestly completely fine!

Other than that it's been a pretty normal week. We went contacting with our normal companions down at the beach, and I hardly understand a word anyone says to me, but we're able to share a message and give out restoration pamphlets, so that's fun! 

I love you all! Talk to you next week!

P.S. The last picture is Elder Shields and I

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Week 2

Elder Anderson again! Things here are great, although sometimes a little repetitive. We've reached the point in class where "Ingles es muerte" so usually you have to do pushups for every English word. I'm gonna be ripped by the end of this transfer! 

My District has been doing well. We've set some goals and we're learning 17 verbs a day, and we've already memorized Our Purpose, The First Vision, and the baptismal challenge, so I'm super proud of everyone! 

We went contacting in the park across the street from the CCM on Friday, and it was an amazing experience! We paired up with a native Spanish district and I set out with my good friend Elder Zuniga from Honduras! You know in The Best Two Years when they go to buy bread, and the lady says something in Dutch, and he just freezes with a deer in the headlights look? That's kind of how I felt. As soon as I had a Dominican staring me in the face speaking rapid fire Spanish 2000x faster than the teachers speak to us, every single word I'd ever learned just deleted from my memory! haha, I kept trying though, and my job was to introduce ourselves while Elder Zuniga did most of the talking. We met a guy named Antonio, and we talked with him for a while. He started asking some of the deep questions of the soul, and although I didn't understand most of what was said, when Elder Zuniga bore his testimony to the man, I felt the spirit so strongly, and it was absolutely incredible. It was definitely a reminder to me why we're here, and it inspired me to learn as much as I can, so that I can preach to truth to people like Antonio who are searching for answers!

Everything else is pretty much the same here. It's hard work and kind of reminds me of school (ugh) but I love it! I just can't wait to get out there and start teaching. ¡Vida es bien, Dios es mejor!

Elder Anderson

Elder Anderson and Elder Zuniga

Thursday, August 11, 2016

First week in the CCM

Wow! I've been looking forward to checking my e-mail all week! That took forever. Haha, It's been a long week for sure, but it's also been a good week! My flight was long, but I made it. We were driven to the CCM, and I got room 420, so that's fun, and my roommates are all pretty chill. Our second day here, we got our companions, and mine is a kid named Elder Raps. (No, he doesn't rap, but he does beatbox, so I've been doing all the rapping) He likes singing, and he went to a year at BYU before the mish. He has a very quiet personality, but not like shy? I don't know, but we definitely have different personalities! Lol. Also, our second night at prayer meeting President Romney started calling District Leaders and I was shocked to hear my name in the mix! It's been a humbling experience trying to figure that out, but I've already learned a lot from it. 

The weather here is definitely amazing! It rains all the time, and I've already been completely soaked more than once! It's a dream come true :) The humidity isn't bad at all in the CCM, but outside it really gets to ya. I sweat even when it's raining! It's a beautiful country though and I already love it even though I've hardly been able to see any of it.

As far as the language goes: Español es muy dificil! That being said, I've learned more in a week here than I did with two years of high school Spanish, and I don't know whether to thank the gift of tongues or my excitement for learning for that one. Either way, I'm learning tons every day, and I'm constantly learning new words! I talk to the Latino missionaries a lot, and they're always so funny! I just can't wait until I don't have such a hard time understanding anymore!

Some fun things about the country: The food is great, I love rice and beans, and we pretty much have that every lunch and dinner. The  soup is crazy, they throw corn cobs in, and yucca root, and stuff like that. Outside of the temple grounds, there's always garbage on the sides of the streets, and there are a lot of high rise buildings that it looks like they started building, and then just gave up on. Also, they have backup generators here, but even then the power goes out all the time, and we just keep having class or whatever, so that's interesting.

Finally, I just want to say that things are great and I'm learning lots. Sometimes when we have practice investigators, there is a lot of awkward silence because I don't know how to say what I want to, but I keep getting better every time. I feel the spirit a ton here, and I've had some cool experiences. We watched a devotional in which Elder Neil L. Andersen spoke about faith and the spirit, and something that stuck out to me is what he said about praying with real intent. He said something along the lines of: Real intent is not asking just for curiosity, but is asking with a sincere heart, and the intent to act on the answer that is given. (That's a paraphrase, but a pretty good one) So that's my thought for the week, if you really want to feel the spirit testify to your heart, intend to act on the answer that you receive! I love you all, and I'll talk to you again next week! Vida es bien, Dios is mejor!

Love you!
Elder Anderson

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The World is Full of Good People

This is Elder Anderson's Mom:

I just have to add a little post here even though this blog is supposed to be Elder Anderson's letters home.  When you are on the receiving end of another person's kindness it is hard to express your gratitude.  Here is my attempt.

Tanner had only been in the CCM for a few days when I received a phone call.  On the other end of the line was a man in the Dominican Republic saying he had met my son and just wanted to let me know he was doing fine.  As I spoke with him I learned that he was in the DR for work and that whenever he meets missionaries, if possible, he likes to contact their families just to let them know how their missionaries are doing.  We spoke for a few minutes and I thanked him for his kindness.  That would have been enough and could have ended right there, I was floating with news of my son!   Imagine my surprise when he called me back a few minutes later and said, "I forgot to tell you when I spoke with you a few minutes ago that my wife will be flying to the DR in a few days and I wanted to let you know that if you'd like to send a package to your son, my wife will be more than happy to take it with her and I'll deliver it to him."  

I didn't know where this man was from but found out that the and his family only live about 20 minutes from us!  I put a package together and delivered it to his wife and they then delivered it to Tanner.

 I am so grateful for his kindness and thoughtfulness.  I am amazed by his generosity and for taking the time to do something that might have been a little thing to him but was a huge thing for me.  He even took the time to send me some pictures and to let me know that he had heard him teach a lesson in Spanish to a teacher in the cafeteria at the CCM and that he was doing just fine.  One of the best things for a mom when you have a missionary serving somewhere in the world is to know that there are wonderful, kind people looking out for them.  It makes my mother heart so happy to know they are being watched over as they are in the service of the Lord.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CCM and First Letter - August 3, 2016

Hola Madre y Padre! 

I just got to the MTC! (well...CCM I guess) Sorry I didn't call you guys in New York. I guess the existence of payphones is endangered in our society. There wasn't a single one I could find in the airport. Long day of flying, but it finally came to an end and my passport now has it's first stamp! It's kind of funny, the Dominicans have a tradition of cheering and applauding when the plane lands, so as soon as we touched down in the DR everyone was yelling and hollering. It was kind of fun! Then, we got our luggage and met the rest of our group, loaded up a couple vans and a trailer, and drove to the CCM. 

It's super awesome here, and the country is beautiful. It's very unique, and the building styles vary from area to area, but it's very cool. It's obviously humid here, and I can feel it, but it's definitely not unbearable. Anyway, this isn't supposed to be super long. Just to let you know that I made it safely! I've got to go unpack now, but I'll send a real e-mail next week. (P-days are on Thursday, but not tomorrow.) I'll talk to you next week. Bye!

These were sent from the CCM (MTC) President and his wife, Elder and Sister Romney.

Sister Romney, Elder Anderson, President Romney

District Lehi

Saying Goodbye

Time to say goodbye.... I think saying goodbye is almost always harder on the family than the missionary.  At least that's been the case in our family.  Elder Anderson was excited to get started on his new adventure and new life as a missionary.

He was set apart by President Knudsen on Tuesday, August 2nd at 1200 pm.

Since his flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 11:59 pm we had a lot of time to spend together that evening.  We went to dinner and Temple Square for the evening before heading to the airport.

Saying goodbye doesn't get any easier even when you've done it before.  Lot of tears shed tonight.  Especially for one little girl who's going to miss her brother so much she has been his constant shadow for months.  Even thought we will miss him there's no place we'd rather have him be right now.  We know he has made the right decision to serve the Lord and we are grateful for his willingness to serve.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The "Farewell"

Tanner spoke in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, August 31, 2016 in the Ponderosa Ward of the Erda Utah Stake.  He gave a great talk about the importance of being obedient and used Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk from October 2014 General Conference titled Choose Wisely.  He gave a wonderful talk and made us all laugh at the same time. So grateful for all of Tanner's amazing, wonderful friends!!  

 We had friends and family at our home afterwards for lunch.