Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Area...Laureles!


OK, I have very limited time right now. Here are some of the highlights and answers to your questions.

1. My area is Laureles, in the Anáhuac Stake. My companion is Elder Somerville. He is Mexican, and yes, I understand that it is a weird Mexican name that he has! He loves to work and be obedient. My area is in Ecatepec. It is in the State of Mexico.

2. We can almost never go to the temple. As far as I know, we can go on Christmas...sometimes. And if we have recent converts entering, we can accompany them. It is very weird though because soon this temple will close for 18 months. That will cover the rest of my mission.

3. I have not received the package yet.

By the way, I am not secretary anymore. I am just a normal missionary, trying to teach every day like I did with Elder Cardona. I love it. We have a great number of lessons every day so I am happy.

Sorry, I do not have a lot of time. I am doing very great. I am happy and working hard. We have a goal to baptize 8 people in September and I am determined to do it. Also, we will work in 2 wards! Laureles and Olivos. We will be extremely busy. I am so excited!

Sorry this isn't much, but I want to work!

Spíritual thought:

I have learned something about faith. My other companion, Elder Loveland, taught me something. In lessons with other people, we take an object. It could be a pencil. We place it in front of the people and ask them to move the pencil with their faith. Of course, this surprises them. They often smile, laugh, and say that they dont have the faith to do it. We often ask them why not. And they often say that they simply can't. I love this example because of what happens next. My companion or I say that we can move the pencil by faith. We then stretch forth our hand, touch the pencil, and move it a few inches with our hand. The people we teach often laugh when we do this. And then we explain the purpose of the example.

FE ES ACCIÓN. Faith is action. If we want to move a pencil, then move it. If we want solutions to our problems, work. If we want to move our spiritual mountains, then move them. We too often think that faith is a passive belief. But rather, it is a belief AND an action. We must work. If we don't have the grades we want in school, we don't pray for help and then hope everything improves. We pray, and then we do everything we can to improve. Sometimes, I think, we don't need to wait for God while sitting in our chairs waiting for inspiration (I highly encourage all of you to read Elder Oaks talk on revelation in this month's Ensign). We need to ACT. We need to get up and get to work, and then God will provide the way. In 2nd Nephi, I think, we read that God's grace comes after ALL THAT WE CAN DO. I love this. I invite you all to work, to act. Many people feel that to move the pencil, they need mind control. Well, that would be incredible, I will admit. But we don't have that. But we do have hands. We do have legs. We have Spirits. We have hearts. Let's use them.

I am learning SO MUCH that we are here to LIVE THE GOSPEL. Everything else we do must be of lesser importance. The Gospel is everything. We often are blinded by the things of this world, but if we open our eyes, we will realize why we are really here.

I testify this is true. I know it.

I love you all BASTANTE (Bastante is my favorite word..it means A LOT!!). Be happy.


Love, Elder Anderson

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



I had a great week. We worked hard. I will mention a few highlights of the week.


The office flooded! A pipe was broken so we had wet carpets, walls, and destroyed books. There is something quite amazing though. The Mexico City temple basically has an army of workers and security. We received help almost immediately in trying to get everything cleaned up, and that was quite amazing.

I am being transferred tomorrow! I am packing tonight. I don´t know where I will go nor with whom I will serve. I don´t know if I will be secretary still or not. I just know that I am leaving Zaragoza.

(As his mom, I'm handling this news like a pro.  Telling everyone who will listen, driving Doug crazy wondering where he is, hyperventilating, eating waaaaay tooooo muuuuuuch, staying busy... my house is spotless... and enjoying my time waiting for the next letter while biting every single fingernail I have.  So see, I'm doing just fine... thank you.)

This story did not happen this week, but I forgot to mention it earlier. An inactive family showed us the pit bull that they have. Trey would love this dog. I wonder if it is pure evil. No, I don´t really wonder that! It is huge, and crazy. I think that if it had been released upon us, I would be in the Spirit World. But luckily, this family is incredibly nice and they had the dog on a chain and muzzle. It was really upset, or confused, or scared...something! They managed to get the dog close to us and we tried to pet it. It went crazy and started trying to attack us but they reeled it back and put him somewhere else. Trey would love this dog!


Fredy and Aarón: Both of these men are amazing investigators. Both of them are extremely close to baptism. My companion will have to be sure and baptize them, because I won´t be in Zaragoza anymore. Fredy is probably one of my best friends ever. HE IS INCREDIBLE. My family would love him and his family. He is an amazing person and I want to stay in touch with him and his family forever.

Hermano Sadot: Brother Sadot has been less active for awhile. But, he has gone to church twice in the past 3 weeks I think. I see progress and hope there. He too is an amazingly humble and kind man.

THE DISTRICT: Hermana Garcia will leave for Argentina on Wednesday. No one else, with the exception of me, has transfers in our district. When Hermana Garcia leaves and I leave, our district will be completely wiped out of all source of life from March of this year. Or in other words, everyone that was in my district when I first arrived will officially be gone. The others are dominating our district!

Elder Loveland. He is my companion. He is amazing and I love him as my brother. I get a little nervous when I think about the fact that we won´t be companions anymore. He is a powerfully spiritual man in the faith.


Pozole is amazing! I am pretty sure that this kind of food exists in the U.S. It is a soup, and I love it.


There is an active volcano close to Zaragoza. Some people say that it can explode soon. I don´t know if that is true or not, but it is interesting. We can see it when we go on Alan´s roof. This brings up another point. The roof of almost every house here is merely, so to speak, the top floor. It is completely accessible, and people are on their roofs very often. I think that is interesting.

We are staying busy and happy. We are filling up on tacos (probably is not very smart, nor healthy), working hard, and laughing. Funny things happen here! I need to be better at writing them down so I can remember them!

My spiritual thought for today is, as my cowboy-of-a-companion taught me....WHEN YOU FALL OFF YOUR HORSE, YOU GET RIGHT BACK ON AGAIN. Sometimes when we fail, it is hard to get back up and keep going. But it is something we have to do. We need to do it every day, in some cases. We need to experience the pain of falling, and the utter joy of getting up. I am trying to be better at that. My companion said that his dad taught him well to keep trying. When he fell of his horse, he was told to get back on.

It is hard, but joyous and worth it. Or as we say here, VALE LA PENA. The word PENA means many things. It could mean embarrassment, pain, suffering, or things of that sort. So this phrase in Spanish literally means IT IS WORTH THE PAIN. I love that. Really, getting back up again is worth it. I know it.

I love you all and hope you are doing the best you can to follow God.


Love, Elder Anderson

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mud, Broken Teeth and Still Alive to Tell About It


This week has been incredible. I think the past week has been the best week of my entire life. As a matter of fact, I am certain that it was the best. We were working so hard, and getting so many things done. I will highlight some of the events that have occurred today.

District Meeting -

This meeting is a time for each individual district to have a class. A district consists of about 6 to 12 missionaries. Mine has 7. We get together and learn about a lot of things. We have these every Tuesday with some exceptions. The people in my district are...

Elder Anderson (Hey, that's me!)
Elder Loveland
Elder Long (District Leader)
Elder Alva
Hermana Garcia
Hermana Tagle
Hermana Barraza

You may have noticed that there are three sisters. That is because it is a trio. Sister Garcia and I are the only people that were in this district since March. The others have been transferred at different periods of time into our district. All of these people are incredible. Elder Long is a humble, funny, and spiritually powerful missionary. Elder Alva is from Mexico, and is a very funny and energetic missionary. And he is great at soccer. Sister Garcia will be going to Argentina soon...she is currently waiting for her visa. Sister Tagle and Barraza are relatively new, so I am still getting to know them. But so far they are great.

Soccer -

For P-Day today, we went and played soccer. There were about 7 of us there, and not all were missionaries. As we were walking to the fields, a man approached us and asked if some of us wanted to join a soccer game that he and his friends were having. We agreed. We all went. After seeing their jerseys, the referee, and the size of the field, I realized that these people were probably near-professionals. I started to get a little scared, because they just invited us, and some of us are Gueros (Do you remember this word? It means "white boy".) So, I realized that me, a Gringo, would probably fail in a game with very skilled Latinos. My companion and I joined in. The field was very, very muddy in one area. I began to realize even more that these people were very, very good at soccer. They had positions and rules all figured out, and they were quite serious about the game. The game eventually started. I had no idea what I was doing. I kept running back of forth trying to do something useful. But these people were good! I couldn't really do anything. Once, I found myself running very fast toward the ball, which another person had in his possession. And soon, I realized that I was running on mud. I think I tried to slow down, but it was too late. I slipped and fell into the mud, dirtying my face, shirt, shorts, name tag, watch, legs, and shoes. The right side of all of these things was generally dirtier because that is the side I fell on. So I was dirty. It is a good thing that I was in normal clothes and not a white shirt and tie. The game continued. My companion did very well, but he fell probably 3 times! We eventually went to some basketball courts and played there, and it was very, very fun.

I am getting better at soccer. I find success when I play like I play in basketball, but using my feet instead!

The ward has had a huge boost. My companion and I have worked hard, and the ward is very active in spreading the gospel...with less actives, recent converts, and sometimes non-members.


I have seen an incredible growth in this man. I will miss him dearly when I leave. He is almost fully active now, and is actively magnifying his calling as ward missionary. Times like these, when you see men and women change, are times that testify to me that miracles truly exist.


Freddy is very good at reading the scriptures. I have asked him what he is learning from the Book of Mormon, and he has laid out the story of what he has read, almost perfectly. He is doing very well in his progression.


She is doing very good as well. She has family home evenings with other members so often. The ward members invite her so many times to participate in these activities, so she is very busy with things like that.

Julio Cesar

I dont think I have talked much about this man. Julio is a spiritually powerful, caring, rock star-type person who plays the drums. He is also a ward missionary and is doing very well.

Brother Sadot

Brother Sadot went to church 2 Sundays ago! I think that is the first I have ever seen that in my time here. He didn't come yesterday, but I see a spark of hope for him.

Hey, Mom and Dad? Do you remember how you would tell me to not eat very fast? I now have a testimony of that. This happened about 2 weeks ago, but I forgot to mention it in the other letter. I was eating French toast that my companion and I had made. And I was eating very fast. Well, soon, I bit down very hard and immediately felt a cracking sound. I bit the fork. I went to the bathroom, in a little bit of pain, and realized I moved one of my front teeth. But dont worry. It is almost nothing. It hurt a little, but it is fine. It is a little tiny bit loose, and it is a little more forward that before, but all is well. My companion says the root will grab hold of it again and it will be solidified soon. My mouth has adjusted to the change. I just thought that I would mention this. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way when I don't learn them the first time!

I love Spanish. It is so much fun to speak. I am learning to adjust the way I speak so that it is more Mexican. Because as an English speaker, there are some things that I would say certain ways. But I am trying to mimic more what others would say, so that I can speak more fluently. I am not fluent yet. I still have moments where I think...¿QUÉ DIJO? (What did you say?). I feel I am getting close. Rolling my Rs is getting easier. My vocabulary is expanding, slowly, but it is progressing nonetheless. I even feel (I could totally be wrong, but I dont know) that my accent is getting better. I really have no idea. I probably sound more gringo the more I try!

By the way Mom, I remember that you always used the phrase Ay! Chihuahua! I dont know if that is spelled right. But people here say it all the time!

I love you all. Sigan adelante, y el Señor los bendecirá con cosas que sus imaginaciones no pueden comprender ahora. (Go forward, and the Lord will bless you with things that your imaginations cannot comprehend right now.)

I know that God loves us and cares for us. If we do our best, He will take care of the rest. I know it.


Elder Anderson

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lots of Learning


Here are the answers to the questions...

1. I am in the Zaragoza Ward, Montezuma Stake.

2. Elder Loveland is the senior companion, partly because he has office experience and is teaching me. By the way, I learned that the mission office DOES pay the rent. I never knew, because Elder Cardona would always give money to the sister that owns the house. So I simply assumed that the money was his in the first place. But I have learned that that money came from the offices, and was put onto his card in order to pay the rent.

3. Yes, I realize that my mission is 1/4 done. This fact scares me a little.

4. The offices are extremely close to the temple. I could walk there in maybe 6 or 7 minutes. There are 3 elders in the offices. Me, my companion, and Elder Hicken. Elder Hicken and his wife are a senior couple that you all in Arizona would love. They work here as well, but will leave in September.

And yes, our mission is almost all in the major city. After the division, our mission is incredibly small. Do you remember that map that I received when I got my missionary call? You could probably put your two thumbs on the map, and you would have probably easily covered the scale of our mission, as it is now in the present. It is small, but filled with thousands of people.

Freddie: Freddie is the wife of Junue. He is opening up quite a bit, and I can see excitement building in his character. I taught him once with a member from the ward. My companion was in another appointment with another member. We did these divisions because the appointments were at the same time. In this lesson, I invited Freddie to be baptized. He refused, unfortunately, but helped us understand that that could be an option after he has felt the joy and peace that we are promising him. He hasn't felt these feelings to the degree he would like, so wants to feel those feelings first.

By the way Mom, Junue is looking for you on Facebook. Keep an eye out for her! Her name might be spelled Yunuen.

Aaron: Aaron is doing well, but I am worried. He continues to go to church every Sunday, but I feel that his progress has leveled off, and the next step is probably baptism. But he is hesitant about accepting the invitation. He wants to be absolutely sure, and wants to feel that he is ready.

Maximo: Maximo is the father of Leonor. He is a new investigator.

The parents of Junue: These people are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. They are the parents of Junue. We have visited them 3 times, I believe. We face a few obstacles with trying to convert these people. First, the mother is Jehovah Witness. Like us, the people in this religion are often very firm in their beliefs. The other obstacle is their love for talking. They love to talk so much. But my companion and I both felt that we should keep visiting them, and try to help them feel the power of this message of the gospel.

The ward here is really starting to do missionary work. Really, missionary work can be very, very hard when the ward doesn't help. I love it when people come to us and tell us that they have family home evenings planned that they want us to attend. When the ward works, lives are touched, and missionaries have their agendas filled a lot more.

The past two days of my life have been some of the best that I have ever had. Our lessons are filled with the Spirit. I would like to emphasize again the power of a mission. Young men, if you truly want to learn how the Spirit works, GO ON A MISSION. I have learned incredible things from God, especially about how the Spirit works. My companion has helped me a lot to understand these things.

The mission is a lot of work. Looking back, I see that I have been gliding on Gods guiding hand the entire time. There have been times on my mission when I have looked back at a trial and have thought something like, HOW DID I GET THROUGH THAT? I think about the things that could have gone wrong, and I marvel at the fact that God was there the whole time so that most, and sometimes none, of those things really would go wrong. I have learned about the Spirit. I have learned about the plan of salvation. I have learned about peace. I have learned about true joy. I am discovering that joy. Why do we feel certain ways? Why do certain people cross our paths? How can we truly be happy forever? These are questions that I am finding answers to.

I learned some new phrases...

Ni Modo = it doesn't matter

De vez en cuando = every once in a while

en cuanto a = As for...

I will be honest, Nacho Libre is very accurate. There is a part when he gets smacked and is called a "Guero" (There is supposed to be two dots above the U but I dont know how to put them there on the computer...this word is pronounced like this...WERO). This word means White Boy. This word is extremely common here in Mexico, and I am called it all the time. I do not think that it is rude. Sometimes, I think it could be. But more often than not, I feel that this word is just an indication that I am white, but not in a rude way. Also, in Nacho Libre he is always eating corn with a lot of spice and sauce and cream on it. That is very common here as well, and it is delicious.

I can't imagine my life without the mission. It has been hard, but it has been worth it. I am convinced that if a young man is worthy, but does not choose to go on a mission, that man is making one of the worst decisions of his life. The progression I have experienced is phenomenal. God has taught me many things. He has taught me how to prepare to be a father. He has taught me how to be a friend. Many of the lessons I have learned were not without trials. The mission is not a walk in the park. But it is worth it. The mission changes lives. I stand all amazed at the things that happen here.

Work in the offices is going well. We have so many things to do, but we are getting it done.
Work in Zaragoza is progressing. We had a 24 people jump in attendance at the chapel last Sunday, if I remember right. The ward members are helping us. 
One of the most incredible things that I have taught is this...IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE HAPPY. Every day can be the greatest. I don't know how He did it, but God has opened my mind and eyes to things that are incredible to me. 

Yo testifico que esta vida es una vida de felicidad. Nunca olviden que Dios nos ama, porque es verdad. No importan los desafíos que tengamos. Dios nos ama y nos ayuda. Si nos enfocamos en las cosas más importantes, esforzándonos con todo que tenemos, con una sonrisa siempre, podemos ser felices. Yo lo sé. De hecho, este es el propósito de Dios....hacernos felices. La oración no sólo es un grupo de palabras que tiramos en el aire. Es comunicación con Dios. Y Él nos escucha. Las escrituras no sólo son buenas historias. Son testamentos de Jesucristo. Yo espero que todos nosotros podamos encontrar la felicidad que Dios tiene para nosotros todos los días. En la vida preterrenal, Él quería que estáramos felices y fuertes. Por eso nos envió aqui. Como dice el himno, Soy un hijo de Dios, Él me envió aquí. Me ha dado un hogar y padres buenos para mi. Guíenme, enseñenme la senda a seguir. Para que algun día yo con Él pueda vivir. Yo sé que este es verdadero. Ahora es la prueba. Hoy. Haga este día el mejor día.

TRANSLATION. I testify that this life is a life of happiness. Never forget that God loves us, because it is true. It doesn't matter what challenges we have. God loves us and helps us. If we focus on the most important things, putting forth effort with all that we have, always with a smile, we can be happy. I know it. In fact, this is the purpose of God...to make us happy. Prayer isn't just a group of words that we throw into the air. It is communication with God. And He listens to us. The scriptures aren't just good stories. They are witnesses of Christ. I hope that all of us can find the happiness that God has for us every day. In the premortal life, He wanted us to be happy and strong. That is why He sent us here. Like the hymn says, I am a child of God, and he has sent me here. Has given me an earthy home, with parents kind and dear. Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must know to live with Him someday. I know this is true. Right now is the test. Today. Make today the best day.


Love, Elder Anderson