Monday, September 30, 2013

August 29th, 2013

Dear Family,

Well today is my first and only P-Day here at the MTC! When you dropped me off, I guess I left rather quick because my temporary companion had to tell me to turn around to say goodbye to you. I really enjoyed getting your care package! I love them, so keep them coming! Also, I get the dearelder mail every day, so if you send it then I will get it that day or the next day...hint hint. I have ran into SO many friends here! I have literally lost count, but I will name a few of the ones you will recognize Nick Bjorling, Christopher Molinari, Jared Cordon, Emily Bell, a girl from the Rocklin YSA Ward, a girl from my old humanities class, about 4 or 5 friends from pageant. I never cease to run into friends! My poor companion has to meet all of them.

Speaking of companions, my companion is Sister Havens from St. George Utah. She is 21 years old and we get along great. We didn't quite click the first day, but I just tried my very hardest to love her and be super nice to her and well look at us now! We get along great! It wasn't that we didn't first get along but it wasn't as automatic. We have taught two investigator and get a new one tonight! I am very excited to meet him. Planning lessons is a lot of work but really is worth it. It is amazing to be able to feel the Spirit so strongly when we are teaching! 

Something that I learned very quickly at the MTC was that missionaries work VERY VERY hard! They are always working, always moving! I had no idea how busy we would be here. I get up at 5:50-6:20 every morning and don't get to bed until 10:30-11ish, but it is so worth it. The sisters in my district (the same ones in my room) are amazing! They are so inspirational and everyone gets along great. We study, role play, get taught, all day long but we learn so very much. The first few days, I was exhausted, but that was ok because I was doing what I wanted to be doing, where I wanted to be. When you try your very hardest, the Lord will do the best. I quickly realized that I needed to trust that God would give me the strength do His will if I tried my best and he has!

The best advice I recieved at the MTC was from an old devotional that we watched given by Elder Bednar which was "It's not about you." That really helped me to not focus on me but on others. I am here to serve the Lord and teach his children. This changed everything! When I studied, I learned alot, but when I studied for my investigator I learned more. I decided that if I was tired, so what! If I wanted a break, so what! It's not about me. I know that when you start focusing on others before yourself that you will be so much happier in life!

On Tuesday, all of the MTC both the West and Main campus went to the Marriott Center where Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke to us. It was amazing when we walked in the room because everyone (roughly 3400 missionaries) stood up very quickly. As he walked in all the missionaries were singing "I know that My Redeemer Lives" while we waited for the devotional to start. I was able to sing in the giant choir for him! We sang "Lead Kindly Light." The devotional was broadcast to all of the MTC's around the world either live or by recording. He spoke about love and sacrifice how we love the things we sacrifice and sacrifice for the things we love. Then when it ended, we were asked to stay inside the building because there was a lot of rain and lighting, so we were trapped in the building with an apostle! Then Elder Andersen walked through the isles shaking hands. Then we all sang "Called to Serve" for him and the excitment was tangible in the air! While at the devotional I ran into Elder Bjorling and Cordon from pageant as well as Sister Lopez from the Rocklin YSA singles ward. It was great to see them!

On Sunday, we were able to have Brother Allen the managing director of the Missionary Department come and speak to us. He got the whole audience interacting and really spoke straight to us! That same day for Relief Society we had Sister McConkie, 1st Councelor in the YW General Presidency, come and speak to us. It was great! She also brought her husband, President McConkie. He shared this story with us:

When he was a young boy he was at his Grandpa's house in his study. He was looking around and found a Book of Mormon and on the inside cover he found about 50 dates. He tried and tried to figure out what they all were. He thought maybe they were birthdays, but there were too many. Finally he asked and found out that each time his Grandfather read the Book of Mormon he wrote the date inside of the cover. On his way home from Grandpa's house in the car, he told his Father about what he had found utterly amazed. Then his Father told him that next time he was at Grandfather's house he needed to look around is study and open up all of the other Book of Mormon copies that lined the wall and see what he found. His Grandfather had read and reread that book. President McConkie bore testimony that his Grandfather knew and loved that book as he does.

I loved that story! He committed us to read it more. We also watched the BEST fireside every given by Elder Bednar at the MTC on a Christmas Sunday entitled "The Character of Christ." You HAVE to read that devotional, it is all about the attributes of Christ. I will try and find it for you. In the fireside, Elder Bednar told us to get a cheap paper back copy of the Book of Mormon and read it with one question in mind and then when we were done right a half of page on what we learned. He said we should read the Book of Mormon, doing that, 400-500 times in our life! Crazy huh! I better get started! 

Well, I love the MTC but I am ready and excited to leave on Monday for South Carolina! There are 25 missionaries in my transfer, 18 sisters and 7 elders. I am was put incharge of getting everyone through the airport and onto planes. We are going to have so much fun! I am going to bring cookies for everyone.

I love you all and am very happy here! I feel the Spirit strong so here and know that this is God's work! Love you and be good!

Sister Anderson.

September 16th, 2013

Dear Family and Friends!
Life is great here in South Carolina! There are SO many people to share the gospel with. Well, to start with some funny news. Everyone thinks that I am 15. Everyone! Yesterday, Sister Lundholm and I taught a lesson in primary. Apparently, as I was walking out a lady asked who the new primary girl was, then she was told that it was the new missionary! Haha I have been called 15 year olds about 3,4, or 5 times now, but I don't mind because it gets people talking to me...then I can share the gospel with them!
Miracles do occur! Everyday! I don't believe in luck anymore, I believe in blessings. There are just too many things that happen. Friday:
We went biking and I handed out a pass along card to a man. Then I turned around and found him taking to my companion. Turns out it was a man we have been trying to contact for a week! He came to a baptism that night!
Then we went and visited some investigators, some who were there and some who weren't. On our way home we were stuck at a stoplight for a few seconds when we turned our head and saw the couple we had just taught the night before. They flagged us down and we spoke to them. Pamela, the wife, said that she had just been thinking about us and wondering how we were doing, then she saw us. Miracle, right?! We had met her and her inactive husband the night before. She was very receptive and wants to come to church but has to work on Sat and Sun...Well when we ran into her, she had just gotten off of work so we invitd her to a baptism and she came!
As we were leaving them, I passed out a pass along card to a man stopped at red light. Then as he was driving off a girl starts flagging us down from across the street at a stop light. She said " What are ya'll handin our over there?" Well, I was sure glad to let her know!
These moments all happen within seconds of each other! God is in every aspect of our lives. The other day, I was on splits with a ward member and everything was going wrong! We lost addresses, people canceled or didn't show up. Finally, the ward member was hungry and need to stop for food so we went to McDonalds. I felt guilty not working, but I knew she needed to eat. So while there she got me an ice cream and I tried to share the gospel. I spilled the food down my face (so embarassing) and get this. Another person calls the ward member and says "I see you at McDonalds.." she replies letting her know that she is there with a missionary! I felt so lazy, but I was handing out cards like crazy. So as we leave I try and get everyone in the restruant and share a card and a message with them. On my way out, I notice that there is a long line of cars, so I walk down the drive through handing out cards. The last lady I talk to I say " I am a missionary....we believe in God and in families" ( because she has big family) turns out she had been praying all day for a new church! These moments happen all the time. When every someone prays for a new church or have a bad day, we just run into them. Blessings! I love being a missionary!
Here are our top 4 most heard lines:
1) "I can promise, that I can't promise that I might not make it to church."
2) "I don't want to lie to ya...."
3) "Ya'll be careful out there." (Everyone says that. All the time! least we know they care."
4) "Can I be baptised?" (Well that one is one they say internally...)
Love Ya'll, Be Good!
Sister Susan Anderson
(write me a letter!)

September 30th, 2013

Hola Everyone!
This week was great! We saw so many miracles! Starting with a baptism of Jessica! It was amazing to have taught her and had her baptized. She was also baptized with another lady, Sister Gorman who is an older lady and wants to finish her life following Christ. We are NEVER too old or too young to choose to follow the Savior-it is never too late!
This quote gets me so excited!!! Please read it, becuase this is what I am going to help do:
"President Spencer W. Kimball stated: 'Make no small plans, they have no magic to stir mans souls. This is the Vision I have for teh South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people into the church than all other English speaking mission in the World together. There are hosts of marvelous Baptists, members of the Church of Christ, Methodists, and Catholics, who are honorable people and ahve fiath int he Lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see their church veering off to the right of the left of those basic teachings, they will begin to search for truth. And as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds, and thousands, tens-of-thousands, in your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be Temples plural in the South State. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people.' " - Vaughn J. Featherstone.
I know that this can happen! We have seen so much growth in our area even since being here. I am honored to get to help in this great work.
I have been very blessed this week to do a lot of teaching. We visit a lot of less actives and investigators, sometimes they move forward and sometimes they don't but either way I know I gave it my best shot. As missionaries, we don't always minister with words. Sometimes, we simply do service and talk to people. Our actions really do speak louder than our words, so make sure and do some service. Reminds others, that there are still nice people in the world  or what we hear in our case "young folks who know Jesus and are doin good." I love em sothern folks.
President Holm, our Mission President, took my district out to lunch this week! It was amazing! Also, I get to go to some conferences in Irmo for Wednesday and Thursday this week. It will be great!
Miracle Moment: We met a lady while biking, Faith. We got her info. A few days later went to an appt for her and she wasnt there. Then a few days later we went out to lunch with President Holm and she was our waiter! Set up another appt for next day,she wasn't there. Then we were drivning down the street later that day and passed her and was able to talk and teach her. I know that God is aware of us and where we are!
New Vocabulary Word: "Grans" means grandkids.
I am so excited for General Conference!! I can't wait! Invite someone to watch with you. You never know until you try! Well, I loveall of you! Have a great week!
Sister Susan Anderson
P.S. I am only getting called a teenager once or twice a week now!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 23rd, 2013

Hello Ya'll":
We have our first baptism this week!! I am SO excited! It has been a lot of work and prayer to get to this point, but we are finally here!! Our ward is great, we share it with Elders; counting this Saturday, we will have had two people baptized every weekend for the last three weeks! (Elders: 5, Sisters:1) [ We have a good amount scheduled for October!!!]
I love the South! Everyone is so open to talking about religion, to talk about Jesus mainly. Also, everyone sits on their porches here (just waiting for the missionaries..), which makes it easier to contact people. I had the opprotunity to visit Myrtle Beach and Sumter on exchanges recently and there was not nearly as many people outside with porches, so I feel very blessed to be in this area! We are working very hard to invite everyone to come to Christ and be baptized!
Something that I have learned is that exact obedience does bring miracles! We have most of our miracles occur when we decided to stay our the extra few minutes and visit people instead of drive home a few minutes early! That's when we find everyone.
Our first Sunday, we had an inactive familiy walk into church and say that they want to prepare for the Temple and have their 3 children baptized! The parents had been inactive for 16 years and the night before, the husband felt prompted to google the LDS church, drive to it, and then attend it on Sunday. Now, three weeks later, we are still teaching them and they are amazing! They are so committed to living the gospel. People can change and they do change. Keep that in mind. Some people, like the Daniel's family do it in a moment and some do it slowly, but people do change! I am so grateful for the Atonment and for the knowledge that we can change and be better!
Miracle Moment: We stopped by house to visit a lady, Ebony, whom we had taugh the week prior about the Plan of Salvation. She wasn't there, but her father and two cousins were. We taught them restoration and commited them to baptism! Charles, the father, had been wanting to find a new congreation; really he had been wanting to be able to follow God better but didn't quite know how, so we are now helping him and his family. He has been going through some hard times and this will help him enormously! We were talking to him for a little while (on his porch of course) and we were about to pray to start the lesson, then I explained that this was a family message and asked if there was anyone in his family whom he would like to join. He said yes and told his children to come (they said yes sir-good o'l southern manners). At first the 16 and 18 didn't seem intrested, but by the end they prayed to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet (in front of us) and are excited about the Book of Mormon.
You never know how people feel until you ask! I thought they weren't intrested, but it turns our they were! Don't judge a book by its cover. Also, invite EVERYONE. Had we not invited Charles to invite his family, they would not have come outside to listen. Moral of the story: INVITE EVERYONE. Love people enough to not judge whether they want the gospel by their actions and appearance. Give them the chance to decide on their own. You can't baptize unless you first invite. It's their eternal salvation at stake, so don't be afraid to be bold or to interupt what they are doing. Pass along cards are great! Ask your missionary for some, they would love to share them with you!
Also, on a side note. I finally named my bike! Her name is Esmerelda, but I call her Jasmine.
Love you!
Sister Susan Anderson