Monday, March 27, 2017

Water's Back! Maybe...

So, we finally got our water back, and I think that this time, it´s for good!  Well, I thought it was permanent, but then this morning I woke up, and turned on the sink to brush my teeth, and I about lost my mind because the water was gone. But! It just came back about an hour ago, so we´re good! Haha, this week was actually a surprise because of the amount of water we had in the form of precipitation. To give you some background, the past 3 and a half months that I´ve been in Neyba, the most rain I´ve seen is 5 minutes of sprinkling, and that happened twice. But the past week, it rained HARD for like, 3 days in a row. It was a really awesome change, but rain is the most effective way to clear a Dominican street in like 10 seconds or less. Everyone says that rain makes them sick, and they put plastic bags on their head because if the rain touches your hair, that´s what causes sickness. I don´t understand, and I´ve gotten tired of asking questions, because no one really has any good answers for me.

This week, I actually had a super cool lesson. It all started a couple weeks ago, when I was walking to the chapel with my roommate Elder Tuddenham, and some Haitians were building a house, and one called over to us in English and said "I need Jesus in my life!" At first, I thought it was just someone heckling us, because all the time people are saying things in the street like "Quieres Café?" (Do you want coffee?) or people that don´t think that we believe in God will sarcastically tell us God Bless, and almost any occasion when someone tries to speak English. So this dude calls us over, and we say hi, and he says "I need Jesus in my life, and I was wondering if you guys can help me with that?" So I told him, "Yeah, we can help you with that!" Then he said "Also, I want to get baptized. Can you guys help me with that too?" And I said "Yes, we can help you with that too!" Haha, so, we talked with him, and I gave him a Spanish pamphlet, but he told us that he doesn't speak Spanish yet, and so I told him that we´d stop by his house sometime and bring him one in Creole.

So this week, my comp and I started teaching him, and this guy is AWESOME! His name is GiveLord. Yup. GiveLord, and he´s from the other side of the border. He lives here with his wife and brother. He speaks Creole, French, and English, but not Spanish; and his wife and brother speak Creole, French, and Spanish, but not English. So we´ve been teaching GiveLord in English, and it is so weird! It just doesn´t really feel as natural to talk about the gospel in English anymore. Even Praying in English is weird, and I always have Spanish words coming to mind instead of English ones! My comp speaks a little English, but not a ton, and his accent is pretty thick, so I do the majority of teaching with him.  When his brother is there. I teach in English, and then my comp teaches his brother the same thing in Spanish, and we´re talking about a pamphlet that´s in Creole, and sometimes Givelord and his brother talk in Creole, so we are having Trilingual lessons over here! They are really awesome though, and I can see them progressing really well. 

Something surprising that I´ve gained here, is a love for the Haitian people. Obviously this doesn´t apply to everyone, and there are many exceptions, but a lot of Dominicans I´ve met are fairly impatient, brash, and prideful. In contrast, almost all of the Haitians I´ve talked to are extremely kind, humble, and just wonderful people. There´s a lot of stigma in this country about the Haitians, and I´ve had to give a few boches (a boche is like a stern talking to, or a chastisement) to some Dominicans who have said racist remarks that I disagree with about Hatians. Yes, there are some people in Haiti who practice voodoo and witchcraft and there have been stories of cannibalism, but you can´t judge an entire race, culture, or country, based on the actions of a few people. (As a side note, I think that´s a huge problem we´re seeing in America with Islam) All in all, I love Dominicans, and I love Haitians, and I think that some people here need to cut Hatians a break, because there are some good people over there.

Other than that, we had our Branch Conference this week, and I thought that it went really well. It was hard to count everyone at church on Sunday, which is always a good sign! Also, I am SO pumped for General Conference. I´ve been pretty thrifty with my money so that I can buy the colmado out of every snack it has while the two other American Elders and I watch conference in my office. (I´ve got an air conditioner in there) haha, not to mention how excited I am to hear the words of the living prophets. 
Conference is always great, and I´ve gained a newfound love for it, in addition to everything else gospel related on my mission. 

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week, and that you all know how much I love you! 
If you want to know what every single Evangelical churchgoer says when we talk to them, just look up 2 Nefi 29:3. Lol.
Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, March 20, 2017

No Water, No Problem

The heading of this letter is a lie. Not having water is actually a huge problem for us here. This week, we were without water for three days. Had it again for two days, and then lost it again. It´s so true that you don´t really know what you´ve got until it´s gone. When you don´t have water you can´t: Shower, wash dishes, use the bathroom, get a haircut (because you´d have to shower), wash clothes, brush your teeth, mop the floor, or wash your hands. A few of the things (like brushing our teeth, and washing hands) we just use our jugs of drinking water for, and as for going to the bathroom, we just have to hold it until we go to the chapel. Oh well though! There´s not really anything we can do about it right now, so we have to just keep working, and then check if there´s water yet when we come home. 

This week wasn´t entirely uneventful, we went to Galvan, which is a little pueblito about a 25 minute guagua ride from Neyba. We have 1 active member from there, and she gave us a couple of references, so we went to go meet them and start teaching them. So, we started teaching this one lady. We start with a prayer, and we start talking about who Jesus was and what he did. Suddenly, she excused herself to talk with some girl (we were teaching outside on the street) and all of the sudden, the two girls (the one we were teaching, and the one who she was talking with) started to fight. Not just a small fight either! These were pretty big girls, and they were pulling hair, and one of them slammed the other down on the hood of a car! About 5 seconds later, there were about 30 people around, trying to pull the two girls apart. 30 seconds later, the crowd got them apart, and the two began yelling at each other. Needless to say, we didn´t end up finishing that lesson!

I asked my comp if I could give a talk on Sunday about the pioneers, because nobody seems to know who they are, so I did, and I thought it went really well. I think it´s so important for everyone to learn about the history of the church, and a huge part of that is the pioneers. Even though nobody here is related to them, I explained that it´s a shared heritage of everyone who is a member, and that they can follow the example by being pioneers in here in Neyba. We have quite a few pioneers here in Neyba. We´re preparing the branches first group of missionaries ever. The first missionary left about a month before I came to Neyba, and we have about 6 youth that are going to leave within the next year. I´m excited for all of them!

It was a crazy week, but a good one. I´m so glad to be serving here in Neyba, and in the Dominican Republic. There are some good people here who have desires to change, and I´m trying to find and help those people. I love you all, and I wish you a great week!

Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pretty Neat Week

I had a good week here in Neyba! On Wednesday we had our district meeting, and afterwards, I went on splits with Elder Mayhew in Duvergé. You guys actually met Elder Mayhew at the airport, when you gave him the letters you had for me. 
He´s a way cool guy, and he works hard, so we went to Duvergé, and contacted for about 6 hours straight! It was pretty fun though. I always like contacting, because you always get to meet a few crazies, and I think almost all of the crazy mission stories come from contacting! Then when Elder Mayhew and I got to his apartment, we got ourselves a pizza (not quite as good as Little Caesar´s, but the best pizza I´ve ever had in this country), and we reflected on how crazy the difference was between when we contacted in the CCM, and now that we´ve had a bit of experience out here. I´ll tell you what, the difference is HUGE! There were moments when I thought I´d never learn the language, but everything comes with work, time, and the Lord´s help.

Later in the week, we ran into this preacher/pastor that lives next to our chapel, and he started asking questions about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, so later on in the week, we swung by to answer some of his questions. We  decided to give him lesson one so that we could answer his questions, but we never even ended up getting past the first 2 pages of the pamphlet. We basically had a bible bash that wasn´t really a bible bash with him. We started talking about prophets, and then he would ask what we thought a prophet was, who were some examples of prophets, and he´d explain to us that moses was a prophet, and did lots of stuff, and we´d be like: "yeah, we know that, but let´s get back on subject", and he´d be like "oh yeah, sorry" and we´d explain a tiny bit more, and then he´d cut in again. It ended up being an alright lesson, but he got hung up on a bunch of things, so we´ll see how it goes with him. I think he just invited us over to try to prove us wrong or something, but it´s not a huge deal, because he didn´t know a TON of what he was talking about. As the dominicans say, he told us a lot of "pura vaina".

Then, on Saturday we had our baptism! It was kind of funny, because she decided to ask Elder Capellan (the other Elder in our district) to baptize her. Oh well! It doesn´t really matter who performs the ordinance, what matters is by what authority it's performed.  It was really neat, and I´m really happy for her! Also, this week we had "El Domingo de Invitados" (Sunday of invites) and it went REALLY well! We normally have about 90 people maximum in our ward, but yesterday we had 138 people! It was great, and I think that a lot of those people are some great future investigators! The only problem yesterday, is that we had 3 talks, and two of them went for about half an hour each, a choir number, the sacrament for 138 people, with only 3 trays, and 4 confirmations, AND we started sacrament meeting a little late, so instead of ending at 10:00, we ended at about 11:00. Haha, yeah... I just hope we didn´t scare people away from ever coming back to another sacrament meeting. 

But yeah! That was my week! It was a success, and we worked hard! There´s nowhere I´d rather be than right here in Neyba York. It´s been interesting for me in the mission because I always thought I knew everything about the gospel, until I had to teach it. And do it all in another language. I´ll tell you one thing, I have learned a LOT, and I´ve still got a long way to go, but one thing I really enjoyed finding this week was the way Moroni explains the gospel of Christ, and the connections between all of the principle in Moroni 8:25-26. It was a lot of fun to look through that, and figure out when he´s talking about which principle. I´d highly reccomend a mini study of those two verses. 

Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for being the best family in the world. I love you guys so much, and I hope your week is incredible!
Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, March 6, 2017

Every Day is a Surprise

Dear Mom,

 First of all, I am so glad to hear about the results of everything back home, it sounds like everyone did really well in all of their various activities, and I'm so happy to hear about everyone's success!

As far as my week, it was good! We're finishing up teaching Joanna right now, so we'll have her baptism on Saturday! We're also working with a few news that we have right now, and I think this week, we're probably going to have to do a bit of an investigator purge, and weed out those who aren't progressing at all. Now that I´ve seen the beginning to baptism process of a few converts, I want to start working more efficiently with those who actually have the desire to learn and progress. A problem that we run into a lot is people here prefer to let you into their house and "listen" to your message than to refuse us altogether. So sometimes, it's hard not to waste your time with some people.

Well, one surprise that we ran into this week was the following: We were at the chapel Saturday morning, reviewing the calendar for March, and we were about to leave for an appointment we had with the Mother of a member of the branch. We had taught this lady once before, and she's pretty old, and blind, but we were planning on bringing the Book of Mormon on audio disc, so that she could listen to it. Well, the appointment was at 11:30, and just as we were about to leave, we got a call from one of her neighbors telling us that she had died. So that was definitely the saddest way I've had one of my appointments fall through. 

That was the sad part of our week, but the rest of it was actually really good. I feel good about the work that we did, and I can't wait to continue working with the branch, and the investigators that we have here!

To answer your question mom, we got one new elder in our house this transfer. His name is Elder Tuddenham, and not a single person here can pronounce his name even close to what it is. He's A cool guy, and he's from Utah as well (from Wasatch). Also, in our district we got an Elder from my MTC group. Elder Mayhew. He was one of my good friends from the MTC, so I'm really pumped to have him here with us!

But that´s about it for my week! It had some ups and downs, but things always have a way of evening out on the upside! I love it here in Neyba, which is too bad, because I don´t know how I´m gonna get a better area after this one! Haha, love you, and I hope everyone has an incredible semana!

Love, Élder Anderson