Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

Holy cow, I can't believe another transfer is over!!!  That one flew by!!!  And it's almost July. I've been out 7 months and I'm 19.  This is so weird!!!! 

That makes me feel a little better that it happened to Tracy as well.  That is so funny but it's just crazy that  people have such strong of feelings against the jumpsuits!  Graciela is doing incredible.  The change we have seen in her has been incredible!!  She was a fireball before but ever since the baptism she has been nothing but smiles.  She came to church this week just with the biggest smile on her face and so nice and happy to everyone.  She was crying after she recieved the Holy Ghost and just looked at us and said "Thank you" with tears streaming down her face.  It was INCREDIBLE!!  She has been doing amazing!! 

Rafael is still a machine.  We only had one lesson with him this week and he couldn't come to church this week or in the week that is coming, but he is done with his job in 2 weeks so he will be "free for life" as he told us (he said it in English) haha but he will be able to come in two weeks and we are planning on him getting baptized week 4 of the transfer (3rd week in July). I wish you could meet these incredible people.  They have become some of the closest people to me, and I love them with all of my heart. 

I will be keeping the dagger with me!  It will be fine in my suitcase:)  haha!  I have not been able to track down the package yet.  I don't know what to do about that one.  I have not received my birthday package either, but if it arrived or arrives before Wednesday I should get it at district meeting next week!!  I really hope I get it!!  (ha I typed the last sentence and was a couple paragraphs down when I got a call from President Jackson and he and Hermana Jackson sang to me and she told me she got it and said I am so sorry it's impossible to get it to me today but I will get it Wednesday at district meeting for sure, so I will be gettting it!!) haha the song they sang me was hilarious as well!!  I have the COOLEST mission president and wife.  They're incredible!!!  haha  And with transfers there were no changes in our ward!  Elder Christensen and I are together for another 6 weeks! 

Thanks for the birthday wishes and for everything:) 

It was an okay week.  My comp and I got sick and we were out for a few days.  We had to go to the doctor but we're feeling a lot better now!!  Basically the only lessons we taught all week were at a Family Home Evening Monday.  Graciela was there and we talked about the spirit and it was really good!!  She was so excited to receive it and like I said earlier, she was just beaming all day Sunday. I am so excited for her.  Tuesday we had a lesson in the morning with a girl named Jessica.  It was really good, she's Evangelical and doesn't see the need for one church but we explained the authority, and the apostasy, but specifically how Christ established one church and how there is order in God's kingdom.  Good lesson. Things went south Tuesday though and we didn't feel good.  We were basically out Wednesday and Thursday as well.  Friday we went out in the morning and started feeling better.  We visited some members that night and then went and played futbol with some members as well.  Saturday was really good as well!  we taught Rafael that morning about the law of chastity and of course, he already lives it.  He was like yeah, it just makes sense and it's just right, of course it's a commandment of God.  He loves looking at the pictures in the pamphlets we give him and he's like  "This couple looks so happy.  I want that.  I can't wait to find a wife in the church who has the same beliefs as me and will live the gospel with me."  The guy is INCREDIBLE!!!  Then we went to Alcobendas for some interviews Elder Christensen had to do.  When we got back we went and taught Laura.  She's doing extremely well and is excited for her baptismal fecha for the 3rd of August.  She's reading and continuing to do everything she needs to.  But we are just waiting on her divorce papers to go through in Peru.  So we hope those go through soon!! 

Sunday, church was really good!  Graciela got the Holy Ghost, I spoke in Sacrament about understanding the atonement and how if we understand it we find the desires to share this message.  I shared what Elder Gentry shared with me in one of my first weeks out about the story of Elder Ballard  -We do what we do because we understand what happened in Gethsemane.  It was super powerful and I don't know how it was for them but at least for me, it was powerful and a huge testimony builder.  We visited Alina, Javier, and the Bueno family last night as well!!  We still have yet to have Javier's wife listen to us.  She told Javier she doesn't like us, so we are kinda bummed about that and don't know what to do.  I'm super upset about it, I just want her to listen and feel for herself that this is true and can make her so happy.  It was a really mediocre week and I haven't felt 100% with being sick. But!!  The lessons and the work we did have was amazing. Even though it was a rough week, I'm still so happy to be out here and I love it so much!!! 

Spiritual thought for the week! We all have heroes and like Pres. Eyering talked about with our "Priesthood Heroes" we need to think about who we look up to.  There are so many idols and people to look up to and we need to be sure our idols lead us to live like Christ.  We talked about this and shared Alma 48:17 with some people this week.  Moroni was that kind of idol.  My challenge to everyone this week is to look at who your heroes are and think to yourself if this is a Moroni type hero.  Something simple, but if our heroes inspire us to live like our Savior then we are on the right track. 

I love you all!!!!  Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!!!!  We spent it in downtown Madrid - the metro stop "Sol"- pretty sweet!!!  Just walked around and saw a cathedral, the Royal Palace, and just a bunch of random things.  Crazy, a year ago, today, is when I officially decided to go on a mission before school and who would have thought in a million years that a year later I'd be spending my birthday wandering around downtown Madrid, Spain.  Great day!! and it's going to be an amazing week!!!!  Thanks for all you do!!! 

Elder Anderson

¡El reino de Dios o nada!
Downtown Madrid - P-day and B-day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Brittany is Pregnant!?!?

Dear Mom,

First off, I want to thank the family for informing me that Brittany and Geoff were going to have a baby before it happened. hahahaha!!  Tell them congrats!!  I read that and I was like what!? They're having a baby??  hahaha.  I'm sure girl's camp was SO much fun!!!  That's super cool everyone was saying how funny Hannah is!  Doesn't surprise me one bit:)  That's sweet!!  Does tanner just drive in to Momentum or what?  Holy cow it's already scout camp time.  crazy stuff!!  Hope Hunter has a great time!!  It's super cool every one is getting into tennis!!  Tennis is so much fun!!  Super cool for all the people getting the mission calls!!  Tell them all congrats if you see them and keep me updated on who continues to get calls!!  Oh man, Janzen gets his call!!!  I am so pumped!!!!!!  Spain Madrid baby!!! 

Yeah, we heard from some members Spain got destroyed in their first game.  Keep letting me know how the World Cup goes.  We don't really know anything about it.  hahaha!  Just occasional scores we see on the metro system.  I should receive the package soon!!!!  I will let you know when I get that!!!  Thank you so much!!!:)  Speakingof packages, you all should be receiving a giant one in 6-8 days from Toledo and it may or may not be the Sword of Laban.  We went to Toledo this morning and this sword is SOOO COOL!!!!  Gold plated handle.  Massive.  It says the Sword of Laban on it and has an outline of Spain and says "mision españa madrid" on it.  Oh my gosh.  It may be the coolest purchase I have ever made.  So please take really good care of that for me.  It should be getting there soon!!!  I'll send a picture of me with it.  Oh and mom, I got you a Toledo bell :)

Well as for last week!!  It was a really good week.  Nothing too crazy.  It started out with just a couple good lessons Monday night.  One with Graciela and then with the familia Bueno.  They have been returning to church and he (Hermano Bueno) is helping us out with all sorts of lessons so it's been super cool.  Tuesday morning we taught Rafael.  Oh my goodness.  A reference machine.  We were walking by this guy and Rafael said to him,  "Hey what's up? these are my friends, the Mormons, and they have a message of the word of God you need to listen to.  Can they teach you?"  It was a friend of his and he let us teach him lesson one.  He didn't really have much interest but Rafael still has the fire to share it.  Then we taught Rafael lesson 3 and it was amazing.  He's so ready.  He couldn't come to church this Sunday because of work but he's planning on coming this next week.  So we are extremely, extremely excited for him!!!  That night we met with Javier and then Graciela.  Javier came with us to Gracielas and shared his testimony on dropping coffee.  Because she hasn't had any coffee in a while but was getting frustrated and didn't know if it was worth it.  Javier came in with the clutch and it was just amazing.  Javier's wife still hasn't listened to us.  Still working on that but it will happen.  Keep praying your hearts out for them, especially for her to open her heart!!!  It will happen.  I know it will.

Wednesday we had zone meeting and it took FOREVER to get there and back so we didn't have a ton of proselyting time but it was a really good meeting, as always, it was very powerful.  We talked about the gift of discernment and how we need to prepare ourselves before lessons to be able to receive it.  Super good.  We taught Alina (a recent convert) and we had a chat with her on modesty in dress.  She doesn't like it because its not "elegant" but we are working on convincing her and helping her understand it's what God wants.  So little by little. But in other news, she went to Dublin Ireland and she got us shotglasses from Dublin. hahaha  Super funny, but super sweet.  haha she's really cool and is just kinda like an older sister to us.  Just doesn't dress modestly.  But!!  That's gonna change and we´re on that!  Thursday we had Graciela's interview for baptism.  It was interesting to say the least. She kept saying,  "I'm in a hurry, I have to go.  They lied to me this is longer than 15 minutes!!!"  (to help you understand Graciela: she is very feisty.  She is prepared for baptism, but she is just very pushy and wants everything to go her way.  Just a very strong personality)  The interviewer finally had to call President for some things and she was mad but he calmed her down and things went good from there.  It all worked out in the end.  She passed the interview.  We had another lesson with Javier and then went to a member's house  that night and ate and worked on getting the non-member daughter-in-law to listen. She's cool and eventually she´ll listen to the missionaries.

Friday, the greatest thing happened with Rafael.  Oh my goodness.  I was with one of the assistants on an intercambio and we were teaching him when one of Rafael's friends came up and Rafael said to her,  "Hey you should listen to them.  They're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormons.  They're called Mormons because they have this book!"  He went on to explain the Book of Mormon, where it comes from and everything.  Then says to her, "You can take this book and then another day they will come teach you more and help you know more about the word of God."  Oh my goodness, who is this guy!?  It's incredible.  Friday was a longer day.  Not much happened apart from that experience with Rafael.  Saturday, we met with a girl who is so ready and is super open!!  She has a friend serving a mission in the U.S. and really wanted to know why we had a second book and now she is going to read it on her 2 and a half month trip to Peru. Yeah, shoot but I should still be here when she gets back so hopefully we can get a hold of her in August/September.  (fun fact: if you look at the pictures of Madrid City you will see the big giant buildings and then the two leaning towards each other, those are in our area and we taught her underneath the two leaning towers.  Pretty sweet!!!)  That night we had a lesson with Javier and Anahi and she was kinda upset about the whole modesty thing.  She thought it was too extreme and we were explaining it to her but then said,  "What does your father think?"  He said, "Well those on the street, they don't know the Laws of God.  It may not be right but they don't know any better but you sweetheart know better and you know what God wants.  You'll know what to do."  She was being a total teenager and was complaining about it but we got a text from her that night that said, "I want to tell you what just happened.  I  was kinda angry and never have I questioned a commandment but I knelt down and prayed to the Lord and I asked why and right as I did it  I heard a voice, my own voice. and it told me it's for your protection.  You may not understand now but you will later on looking back and I knew right then I needed to follow it.  I have never felt so connected to the Lord before. It was amazing!!!!!"   Wow.  It was amazing.  That girl and her dad are incredible.  The Lord is so happy with them right now.  Absolutely amazing.

 Well Sunday!!!  We had an incredible day at church and then we had the baptism!!  So it almost didn't happen.  If you knew Graciela personally it would make sense.  We gave her the jumpsuit because it's all we have.  There is like no baptismal clothing at all.  She put it on and the sister missionaries were in there with her and she started to get angry and said no. No way and started to take it off.  She was like I will not get baptized if it's what I have to wear.  So they came and told us and we were freaking out trying to figure out what to do.  She was refusing to get baptized because the clothes were ugly.  It was crazy.  Finally we calmed her down and started the baptism 45 minutes late but it ended up being extremely powerful.  She bore her testimony and started crying and said, "I know without a single doubt that all of this is true."  I was fighting back tears it was SO powerful!!  and worth all of the hard, hard work to get her to that point.  It finally happened and she has a testimony.  Our God is a God of miracles.  So basically what I learned this week is the women in Europe do not like to dress modestly or in jumpsuits.  It is horrible outside with what the girls wear or more of what they don't wear.  But oh well this world is just a scary place sometimes. 

Spiritual thought this week!! I have been thinking a lot about how the Savior really was the ONLY one who could have brought about the atonement.  In the first chapter of the Pearl of Great Price the Father says to Moses.  Mine Only Begotten Son who is and shall be the Savior.  This was before the time of the Savior and I love the fact that the Lord not only said shall be, but used the present tense IS.  He really was foreordained to His great work and the Father knew He would never falter.  He walked a road none of us have to walk and did it knowing He was the only one who could do it.  If He had failed, or faltered once it was all over but He was perfect and I know He was.  He had the full trust of the Father from the beginning and I hope we can all strive to gain that trust of the Father.  Through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can!  I know we can!!  I love you all!  Have an amazing week!!!!!:)

Elder Anderson

¡El Reino de Dios o nada!

A Few Pictures to Share

Laura, E. Christensen, Vanessa, E. Anderson, Manuel

He found the Sword of Laban!

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Well it was a long week.  We saw some miracles and worked hard, but it was just a tougher week.  We moved Graciela's baptism back a week but that is for the better.  She needs a little more preparation but she is doing amazingly well!!  We have seen so many miracles with her. 

We didn't get to Toledo today.  We had no way of finding out bus schedules until last night and we just decided to go next week.  So we will be heading down the final week of the transfer.  Yeah, next week the transfer is over.  It's insane. 

Monday we had a lesson with a lady who is a Testigo de Jehova (Jehovas Witness) and it went really well!!  She's the one we taught last week and it was the miracle cause we left early.  It was sad though because she is not going to progress.  She is too into the testigos and is not really willing to change.  Sometimes I want to get rid of agency. like for real. but then I have to remember that is Satan's plan and agency is the greatest gift we have in this life, but it would be awesome if they couldn't reject this gospel.  Tuesday, we had a good morning with Demiter and we are for sure going to be teaching his mother!!!  He left for Bulgaria for the summer this morning and he told us the only thing he wants to see is his mother baptized when he gets back.  So keep the mother of Demiter in your prayers.  We are so excited for this one and she has SOO much potential!!  We also taught a 20-year-old girl named Jessica.  She is evangelical and is super deep into her church.  But!!  We taught lesson 1 and it was powerful!!!  She is interested and we have been praying a ton this week  that she will open her heart.  She couldn't meet all week but we have a lesson with her tomorrow... and it's going to be amazing.  We are extremely excited.  Just need the faith and help her understand its all based on her desires.  Other than that we haven't had many other investigators.  We've found a few in the streets but its been a lot of 1 lesson and done type of investigators. 

BUT!!!  We did have the miracle of the century, we found him in the street this last week and his name is Rafael from the republica dominicana!!!  We contacted him in an hour of contacting we had after we tried to have a lesson with this lady but she gave us a fake address.  Yeah, super cool, but it took us straight to Rafael.  We hardly ever spend time at this metro stop but we came across him at the perfect time.  We meet with him every other morning basically and he is beyond ready.  He is so open and basically said I'm here to learn about the word of God because I know you guys have it.  He told us in the second lesson that, yes, the Book of Mormon is true.  We asked him how reading was in it and he basically told us everything that happened in 3 nefi 11 and talked about how he gave nefi the authority and went over everything we wanted to review with him in the lesson and then said how he cannot wait to get out and preach this.  His dream is to be in front of a bunch of people telling them he found the truth in this book and how he wants to share it with all his friends.  What in the world!?  It's a miracle we found him,  it's a miracle, an absolute miracle. He has a baptismal date for the 22nd of June and it has been the most incredible thing I have ever seen.  Angels are truly preparing their hearts.  I do not doubt that one bit.  I know it for a fact.  We are not alone in this work and Rafael is the proof of that.  We literally have to go with the spirit, teach and he understands.  It's a miracle. 

We have been working hard with Laura and Manuel and they are planning on saving the 100 Euros to get married and are trying to prepare themselves for baptism on August 3rd!!  We are so excited.  They are showing slow signs of progression and are doing what they can to follow the Lord rather than doing the easy thing.  Slow progress, but that is what the Lord asks is progress.  So they're doing awesome!!  Graciela is also doing incredibly!!!  She has dropped coffee!!  She bought eco and she got rid of her coffee!!  She then told us in a lesson, "You know, maybe I haven't recognized my answer yet because I'm not praying with enough faith or doing my part.  I need to listen."  The spirit was so strong and she is basically good to go for next week getting baptized.  It was a long week but we saw the hand of the Lord so much in it!!  I know this is His work and I am so grateful to be His servant.  A representative of the Living God.  I take it for granted sometimes. 

Spiritual thought!!!!  I have loved the theme going back and forth between us about positive attitudes.  It really is the key to life.  We are really agents unto ourselves to choose and it is true what Abraham Lincoln said,  "Most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be".  This is so true.  It is simply a choice and the key to making that choice is to remember what this life is about.  This life is part of the Plan of Happiness, this gospel is the good news, our Father's entire purpose is to bring about the eternal life and happiness of us. We are everything to him and we simply need to remember who we are and why we are here.  So smile.  In every moment.  Throw your head back and enjoy the rain.  This life won't always seem as perfect as we want it and sometimes things happen that may not be enjoyable.  But if we simply remember that things aren't really as bad as they seem, we have a loving Father in Heaven, and he wants us to smile.  So the invitation for the week, is to wake up every morning this week with a smile, and find the joy in life.  I love you all!!!  and so does our Father in Heaven!!!  Have an amazing week!!!!:)

Elder Anderson

¡El reino de Dios o nada!
Elder Christensen, Javier, Anahi, Elder Anderson

Javier (a recent convert) - Baptized his daughter Anahi

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I can't believe that it's June already!!  This is insane.  It's getting super hot here in Madrid. Its super exhausting walking around in this heat sometimes so good thing we have the metro. haha!  That's hilarious about the birthday month.  I will try and celebrate it as much as I can:) 

Thank you so much for that advice and it means a lot to hear the support from you.  It means the world to me.  It was actually super cool because we got to go to the temple on Wednesday and he was there and we gave each other a hug, and I've been able to forgive him.  There are absolutely no hard feelings toward him whatsoever, as I tried my hardest the first few nights to pray for him and bless him in leading the zone.  Then, giving him a hug in the temple, it all just went away.  It was an incredible experience.  Forgiveness is a lifting of burdens on both sides and it was such a growing experience for me. 

As for this week, it was a great one. filled with miracles.  We had a baptism this Sunday!!! Anahi, the daughter of Javier the recent convert.  It was so powerful, Javier (the father) baptized her and oh my goodness I have never seen two people so happy in my entire life.  Javier bore his testimony in church about how one more of his family is coming into the church and how through their faith and prayers that his wife will accept it and they will be able to be together forever.  It was incredible!  We were fasting with them for her and she also bore a powerful testimony at her baptism and it was just the happiest day ever!!  I also gave the Holy Ghost to Vanesa (the girl who was baptized last week) during sacrament meeting.  Powerful experience. 

Don't worry about the SD card and USB.  I got the SD card package and we can't find the USB yet.  What were the names of the couples?  We will get this tracked down.  I will probably just buy one as well.  It won't hurt to have 2 USB drives.  I guess they didn't go there, or I don't know what happened.  But it's okay, no big deal:)  I will try and send some pictures next week!  I accidentally left my cord in the piso.  I will get on that next week though. 

 Well this week was good!!  It flew by!!  Monday we visited a less active lady and I gave her baby daughter a blessing of health.  We then had a Family Home Evening and this lady named Alina (recent convert) brought a friend and now we´re going to be teaching him!!!  We are super excited!!  His name is Gustavo.  Tuesday we went over to Demiter´s, as usual, and we are helping him talk to his mom about the gospel and she came to sacrament meeting yesterday!!!:)  It was so awesome!!  So we are going to start teaching her on Saturdays.  It was perfect timing because he finally got her to come his last Sunday here in Spain (he's leaving to go back to Bulgaria for the summer) and so that was a miracle.  We taught Anahi the Word of Wisdom and she was incredible.  Literally so prepared.  She's like it just makes sense, and God commanded it, so yeah, of course I'll live it.  She is so prepared and it made me think of the scripture in Alma 13:24 and my setting apart blessing when President Allred said that angels are preparing the hearts of the people in Spain for me to teach.  I have truly seen that.  The people I have taught have been so prepared it's been unreal, especially Anahi.  It's been amazing.  There truly are angels preparing these people.

 We also met with Carolina, she had some problems with finding work and she was going to go to England to live and find work but we prayed and asked for something to be able to work out and she found a job within a couple days (which is incredibly hard in Spain with the crisis) and she is staying here!!  Oh my goodness it was such a miracle!!  We have been working with another family Laura and Manuel (the mother and boyfriend of the mother of Vanesa)  They live together unmarried and so they cannot get baptized so we have been talking a ton about keeping the Lord's commandments and they have shown progress and are starting to take the steps towards getting married so this is awesome.  They can be baptized and join the church as soon as they just get married or move out. They just don't have enough money for either.  It's super tough but they are starting to figure out what to do because they know it's a commandment to get baptized and against the commandments to live together so that is little by little but it's happening.

Thursday we had a lesson with a man named Edgar and he just wanted to argue and it was so eye opening to me.  I was so prepared to just simply testify and invite to read and pray and it was so cool to look back and see that we haven't had much of that here in Madrid.  Yet that's all that A Coruña was, nothing but people wanting to argue.  But now I've been well prepared for when I do encounter it.  Bible Bashing is pointless, so I came out of that lesson feeling pretty good.  Knowing I was just able to testify and do my job.  We had another lesson with a lady named Cecilia and we taught her the plan of salvation and I felt so good about it!! I just let the words flow and taught my heart out.  It was amazing!!  The Lord has blessed me so much with the gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues  but it took so much work and struggling on my part.  It just takes faith and continuing to do my part and he will bless us! 

It's been an amazing week though:)  I've felt the Lord's hand in the work so much and the people are amazing.  I love them so much.  If there is anything I have learned it's how to truly love people.  That's been the theme of my whole mission.  The love of the Father for His children, and i have felt it personally.  This isn't easy but His love is what carries us.  It's our hope in good things to come through His son, Jesus Christ, that lifts us.  And why did he send his son?  Because He loves us.  I know He loves us more than we can imagine.  I know it with all of my heart.  I know our Father lives.

For this week's spiritual thought I want to share with you something from Preach My Gospel. I've been applying it and it's been so cool.  I may have shared this before with you guys but it's an incredible exercise.  As missionaries we simply invite everyone to read and pray about the Book of Mormon based on the promise in Moroni 10:3-5.  In Preach My Gospel it says we should all apply that promise into our lives regularly to fortify and strengthen our testimonies.  So in the words of Moroni:  I would exhort you, my family, to read some in the Book of Mormon, and after you have read, I would exhort you to ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true.  And if you will do it with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you.  I know by the power of the Holy Ghost you will strengthen your personal testimony of this amazing book we have.  And if you know it's true you can know that Joseph Smith was called of God, that this is the Lord's church, and more important than all, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  I know these things are true without a doubt.  Joseph Smith was a prophet, this is the church of the living God, and Jesus Christ lives.  I know it because I've had it witnessed to me again and again.  So I would exhort you to put the Moroni challenge to the test.  As we say in Spanish ¡haced lo! (do it!)  It will be an amazing experience, I promise. Hope you all have an amazing week!!!  I love you all!!!! 

con muchismo amor,
Elder Anderson

¡El reino de Dios o nada!