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