Monday, August 25, 2014

First week in the mission field!

Hola from the jungles of Panama!
I don´t even know where to begin with this one. there´s so much to tell and so little time. Excuse my grammar, the keyboard is spanish haha. Anyway. So when we landed in Panama on Tuesday I felt the greatest feeling of peace. So calm and no fear whatsoever. The humidity was and is gross but I´m rolling with it haha. So they put us hermanas up in this way nice hotel that first night and gave us pizza haha little did we know that would be our last even somewhat american experience haha. Our worlds changed SOO much that next day but it´s all good. 

Let me first tell you about my new comp, Hma. J. She´s gringa which I had said in the CCM that I wanted a latina comp, but now I am SOO grateful that I have my gringa because we can actually talk to each other! It´s made all the difference for me this past week. She´s from Utah and has a year in the mish. She´s the sweetest most selfless person EVER. I want to be her when I turn a year old in the mish. She´s seriously so great and I thank Heavenly Father every day that he put us together. Cool story about that by the way. When we met the mission pres he told us that he hadnt yet decided our comps and that he would during our interviews with us. Super cool. So I was the first to be interviewed because I volunteered because I was ready to go haha. So he asked me a few questions about myself and my family and then he just sat there for a minute looking at his ipad and he tells me I´m just waiting for the spirit to tell me who I should put you with. SUPER COOL RIGHT? So it was like half a second after he told me that and he´s like okay you´re going to be with Hma. J. Guys, Heavenly Father knows us all so well. I know he knows me sooo much better than I know myself because He knew I´d need to have Hma. J as my trainer. I don´t know what I would´ve done if I had gotten a latina comp and not been able to talk to her. It would be even more <difficult>than it already is. 

Which brings me to my next point. This is HARD. I´m living the hardest days of my life right now up to this point and that is a super difficult realization to come to. Suprisingly, it´s not really hard because of not knowing the language because I know that if I work hard to learn it, it will come. What´s hard is the culture shock. This is a different life than I´ve EVER experienced or will ever experience again. Also. I think I stink. haha. Like all the time. This humidity is a killer and you sweat constantly. Literally the only time I´m not sweaty is during the 5 minutes right after I´ve showered. You can´t smell anything really in Panama because all the smells just blend in together, but I know that if I were in the states right now no one would want to be near me because I´m sure I just smell so nasty and sweaty haha. But it´s honestly so great. The mission is humbling me so much and I´m having to rely on the Lord SOO much. I could NOT do this without Him. He sent me here for a reason and I know that He also sent me here because He knew I could do it. I´m here for Him and I´m here for the people who I need to share this wonderful perfect gospel with. I KNOW I can do this and I KNOW I´m going to learn so so much. I´m excited for all that is to come.

I LOVE the people here already. I´m going to try to send you some pictures that I´ve taken. Mom, don´t freak out about the surroundings in the pictures. My casa is a really good casa and super safe. This entire place is so safe and I really am so happy to be here. Panama is a great place for me to be serving my mission! Anyway, about the people. They are just so kind and loving and welcoming! I love them so much and they try their hardest to talk to me, and are so patient when I don´t understand what they´re saying. I´m getting super good at acting things out haha. Also, the children are the BEST. I have so much fun with them, even with the language barrier. I teach them english and they teach my spanish. It´s the greatest. When I leave them I say chowwww and they say byeeeee haha. It´s the cutest thing ever. 

It´s insanely beautiful here. So so green. I wasn´t kidding when I said I live in the jungle. Smack dab in the middle of it. It´s fantastic. I love my life here, even if it is hard, it´s so so worth it. Plus my comp has experienced every feeling that I´m having right now and she helps me a lot. I know that I´ll become better adjusted to this new life of mine day by day.

Hma. H <previous MTC companion in Provo> is in my ZONE!!! She´s actually sitting next to me right now. It´s the BEST. We´ll see each other at least once a week for the next 11 weeks while we´re in this area, possibly longer if we stay in Colon longer. Colon is my area by the way. So we were both born in Colon. As a missionary. You´re born in your first area and it´s called dying when you go home so if I ever talk about a missonary dying, I don´t actually mean they´re dying. My comp freaked me out with that when I first got here haha. 

Sooo we went contacting the other day and had the coolest experience. We were about to start and we were on the corner writing our names and phone number on our pamphlets and this man pulled up in his car and asked us IN ENGLISH if we were looking for someone. We said no and told him that we were missionaries. Come to find out he lived like two houses down and we asked if we could come visit with him and he said yeah so we went and seriously had the greatest lesson. He´s super heavy catholic, but he said he´s been wanting to know if he´s on the right path in his life, and he felt like we are an answer. It was so good and he spoke english so I got to contribute so much more to the lesson than I usually do. We´re meeting with him again on saturday so hopefully he keeps the appt. and opens his heart to our message because I can just see him in white!!

Anyway, I gotta get going on sending pictures, but know that I´m doing great and I´m powering through! I know my Father in Heaven is mindful of me, just as He is of each and every one of His children. He has so much love for all of us. I don´t have time to respond to any other emails today since I had so much to write about, but for those who emailed me, I´ll try my best to respond next week! Love and miss you all so much!!

Hermana Anderson

Friday, August 15, 2014

MTC Final P-Day


These last week at the CCM has been sooo great. First of all, last Friday we found out that we would be getting new teachers for our final week at the CCM because of some administration change. We LOVED hma. Young and Hmo. Stewart so we were pretty bummed about it at first, but our new teachers hma. Noyes and hmo. Glock are pretty fantastic, too, so we're pretty happy about that. 

Sunday's devo was so cool!! We had the same speaker that we had our first devo here, but instead of speaking to us he actually had two missionaries who have been converts to the church for just over a year come up out of the audience and share their conversion stories with us. The first was a girl who just started to read the Book of Mormon because she hated this LDS girl at her school and wanted to find out what she believed so she could make fun of her for it haha. But jokes on her because she ended up getting baptized and becoming best friends with that girl, and now she's on a mission! It was such a cool story and she was so funny when she was telling it. And then the next was an elder who grew up in Utah, but who was just introduced to the church formally by a couple of super rude business men haha and now HE'S on a mission. It's just so crazy to hear these stories from real converts because it testifies to me of how Heavenly Father truly knows ALL of his children and has a specific plan for each and every one of them. 

On Tuesday, we got to ... devo and there was security outside the door and there's never been security before so we were all convinced that it would be someone from the Quorum of the Twelve. Turns out, it wasn't haha, but the speaker was from the Seventy and his talk was really good. He spoke a lot about submitting our will to God's will, which I can always be better at. Being on this mission has definitely been a whole lot of my submitting my will to God's will, and I've never been more grateful for anything in my life. I love being a missionary and I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is God's plan for me. I know He loves me and has a plan for me that I NEVER would've been able to plan for myself. My companions and I were just talking about that last night, and we were saying how much we'd miss out on if WE were the ones who decided our plan instead of God. It's SO important to submit our will to God's. That's something that I will always be a huge advocate of because it's just so so important. It's difficult, but SO MANY blessings come when we're able to do it.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my companions. I seriously can't say that enough. We have SO much fun together and we learn so much from one another every day. I'm going to be so sad when we have to separate next week, but we'll just pray that we'll somehow be able to be companions again in Panama eventually! Hma. Patrick and I have already made plans to live together at BYU-I after the mish, so we're really going to try and make that happen. :)

We leave for Panama on Tuesday!!! We can barely stand the excitement. It's super scary because it's going to be all Spanish all the time, but it's also so great because it's going to force us to really pick up the language. None of us can believe that we'll be falling asleep in Panama City, Panama on Tuesday night. It's insane and it's so wonderful. I can't wait to teach and love the Panamanian people!! :) I know there are going to be people there who are SO ready to learn about and accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have never been so happy in my life.

I love and miss you all so much!! Next time you hear from me, I'll be in PANAMA! :)


-Hermana Anderson

Saturday, August 9, 2014

MTC P-Day #4

Well heyyyyy!! ... I'm already in Alma 40 in the Book of Mormon!! I should definitely have it finished by the time I leave here if I'm able to keep this up. Which I will because I'm determined to finish it. I'm learning SOOO much and my testimony of it is growing so so much. The Book of Mormon is SO true!! It's the true Word of God and I love it so much. Read it!! We read Ether 12 last night in class together and we couldn't even get through half of it because we all had so many promptings of things to say. But I think that's partially because of other things that happened over the last few days to a couple of our Elders. It was so great though, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start with the end of last week (I bring my journal to e-mailing to help me remember what I did over the last week haha).

I don't know if I told you this last week, but we decided that West Campus is WHERE IT'S AT. It's like BYU-I compared to BYU (which is Main campus in this analogy haha). The spirit is just different and it's just more close knit. We love it and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Last week was a little interesting because it seemed that our teachers were chastising us like every time we had class. Probably because we deserved it haha. We all have a lot of fun together, which sometimes distracts us from the Lord's work, but we've gotten so much better since those talks from our teachers about knowing the right time and place for fun haha. We love our teachers soo much!! They know the perfect balance between love and structure in the classroom. If that makes sense. It's just perfect and we really couldn't have asked for better teachers. 

Last Sunday was good, as always, but it was Fast Sunday (one down!), so our schedule was a little different so we all kinda felt a little off all day. But it was still great. One of our Elders was being really quiet and sad, which if you knew him that is completely abnormal. He's also the kind of kid that when he's feeling off, the entire district is feeling off. Also, the strange thing that happens (but good thing) in the mission is that your job is to constantly analyze the people around you and make sure they're doing okay. So we're all hyper-sensitive to any abnormal moods of anyone in our district. We all were worried about him all day because he didn't really open up about anything to anyone, but it ended up being a really uplifting Sabbath regardless. 

Monday was also weird because again this same Elder was having a tough time so we were all kinda down and just feeling weird. Like I said, you become hyper-sensitive to the feelings of others when you get on the mission! At least we all have. But he ended up going to go talk to someone in the branch council and when he got back he told us everything was great and he was back to his normal self, so we were all grateful for that. So get this. We do TRC (Teaching Resource Center, I think?) every Monday night, which is where we teach a member of the church. Like they aren't acting like an investigator or anything, they're just themselves. It's still in Spanish, which is great practice, but every time we do it, we feel like they end up teaching us more than we teach them, which we personally LOVE. :) So this past Monday was our first time doing Skype for TRC and we were told they'd be from somewhere out of the country or something ridiculous like that. Well the lady we taught was from, wait for it, SURPRISE, AZ. Haha what are the odds of that? And guess what else. She's in Willow Canyon Ward! Isn't that your ward Whit and Gun? I wrote her name down but I left it at home so I'm trying to remember it. It's Maria and Oscar for sure but I can't remember their last name. ... I don't know. But I told her about you guys and you should find her! She'll tell you all about how bad my Spanish is haha. I thought that was so crazy though. 

Now we come to Tuesday. It was a really good and normal day until Tuesday night. We have Devo on Tuesday nights, and this particular Devo was about temples and why missionaries go to the temple before they go on their missions. I loved it. I love the temple. We went this morning. I can't get over my love for that place! Anyway, pardon my side track. After Tuesday Devo, we go back to the classroom for Devo review with a member of the Branch Presidency. Basically we just spend the time going over how we felt about the Devo. Kinda like a testimony meeting. Well this week we had our Branch President come to ours and he's a little bit of a talker haha so we were all prepared to just listen, because he really does have great thoughts. He's pretty interesting to listen to. Apparently, though, someone told him to stop taking over meetings (probably his wife haha) so he opened it up to us to share our testimonies.


Hopefully we'll have a fairly normal week this coming week since the last two have been a little crazy! I definitely know why I'm here in Provo though, and it's because I needed to be here with this district. We have been able to help each other through soo much and I KNOW that the Lord wanted us to be together during our CCM stay for that reason.


TOMORROW WE ARE SUPPOSED TO GET OUR TRAVEL PLANS!!! I can't wait!!! We're ten days out now. I've loved my stay here, but I seriously can't wait to get to Panama and start teaching REAL investigators!!

Sorry for all the drama this past two letters hahaa, but it is what it is! The life of a missionary is ... so amazing.

I love and miss you all!!! All of you who deareldered me this week, I'll be writing you back very soon, so watch the mail! And Whit, MAIL ME PICTURES OF MY NEPHEWS PLEASE! :)

Hermana Anderson

Saturday, August 2, 2014

MTC P-Day #3


First of all, thanks sooo much for the half way package!! I busted open that sparkling cider last night since it was P-Day Eve (which I think is totally a thing now and I SWEAR I made up the expression haha. Is that a thing in Mexico Corson?) and it was SO good!! It made my week getting that package! Also, thank you Mom, Erin and Kim for the dearelders! Kim, I'll write you back in a physical letter so watch your mail! Mom, has your shoulder got any better? I was sorry to hear that that happened to you, I hope it's been feeling better. I definitely wouldn't be going back to that trainer either!

There isn't much to say about this past week since all of our days are basically exactly the same. I've been told it's a lot like a movie called Groundhog's day that I've never seen. But it gets a little old sitting in class alll day long. We will definitely be ready to get into the field in 19 or so days!! I can't remember if I told you this last week or not, but I decided I would finish the Book of Mormon before I leave the CCM, which means 20 pages a day which comes out to about 75 minutes of reading. Not bad at all! So I'm already in Mosiah and I'm learning SO much. More than I've ever learned from reading the scriptures. I'm loving it and I know that this knowledge will help me so much in the field. 

I had an experience this past week that really strengthened my testimony of the Gift of Tounges! I was doing a demonstration of getting to know your investigator for our district with our teacher Hma. Young, and we were of course speaking Spanish. And after it was done I sat down to practice teaching with Hma. Hall and realized I really didn't know a lot of the words I had used while I was doing the demonstration but apparently they made sense! It was so cool and the spirit was so strong. I'll never forget that.

Sunday was fantastic, as always. Sheri Dew spoke to us for relief society on the Priesthood and it was SO good! I love Sheri Dew anyway, but her talk was just incredible. Our devotional Sunday night was also great. It was given by Stephen Allen, who's someone important in the missionary department and he's soooo funny. He basically just interviewed the MTC president and his wife as his talk. I don't think they knew he was going to do that haha, but that made it all the more better.
Tuesday night's devo was amazing too! I can't remember the guys name who spoke, but he's the guy who that Disney Movie about missionaries "The Other Side of Heaven" is about. I remember watching that movie a long time ago, but you guys should watch it! I wish I could watch it again now. He shared some clips from it and it's such a good movie, and pretty cool that it's about LDS missionaries and distributed by Disney.

The other thing that happened this week was that we found out that the second counselor in our branch presidency, Brother Hartman, wrote the "The Color Code" or something like that, not sure of the title. But it's that thing where everyone is a different color based on their personality. I'd heard of that before the mish and I can't believe he's the one who wrote it! I had heard he was a world-renowned psychologist, but now I understand what that means. Pretty awesome. Anyway, he color coded my companions and I and I bet you can't guess what color he coded me as. RED. hahahaha I laughed a lot and you will, too, once you google it and read the characteristics of a red. I got color coded by the color coder himself so there's no more denying it haha. I'm definitely a red. But he told me such great thing's about red's and you better believe I'm gonna rock it! :)

Anyway, that's about all I have to say about this past week! Oh, we went to the temple this afternoon and it was wonderful!! I love the temple so much, and I missed it A TON last week. I don't know what I'd do if I were in Mexico and couldn't go to the temple. I learned a lot today and feel completely refreshed and ready to become the best missionary I can be! GO TO THE TEMPLE! It's SO important!!

I hope you're all having a good week! Dearelder me always!!! Those letters are THE BEST! Love and miss you all so much!!

-Hermana Anderson