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