Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2013

Kumusta Pamilya Ko!!

This week has FLOWN by! OH my heavens, it was insane how quickly it went! I knew my mission was going to go by quickly, but I didn't think it'd go by this fast, and I'm not even in the field yet! 

How's everything at home! Thanks to everyone for all of the packages and uplifting letters. I really look forward to reading them all. I wish I had more time to reply to them all, but just know that I'm trying!!

On Wednesday I got to be a host for the incoming missionaries! It brought back a lot of feelings and emotions, especially since I had only entered the MTC 3 weeks prior. I hosted two sisters- Sister Baker and Sister Taylor. They both seemed excited and a tad nervous, so I did everything in my power to start their missionary experience off great. I also took it upon me to comfort their moms, both of whom seemed to be struggling. I hugged each one of them and told them how much their daughter is going to love the MTC and that she will definitely be taken care of here. They were both extremely appreciative, and I hope I made the drop off a bit more enjoyable... if dropping your child of can be enjoyable!

Anna McConkie, Hailey Belle, and Tanner Cook all came into the MTC this week and I see them quite frequently. There are 6 of us here right now from Highland alone... The Lord really is hastening the work and I feel so privileged to be apart of it!

This past week we taught our investigator, Tatay Abner, a few more times. We spent almost 45 minutes in one lesson alone teaching Him about prophets. He really responded to our message and was so excited to hear that we have a prophet on the earth today who leads and guides us. At the end of the lesson, Sister Fewster and I felt prompted to invite Tatay to be baptized. He said he would, and we set the baptismal date for March 10. Even though this is all role-play, the Spirit really is in our lessons as we teach and testify of Jesus Christ. During our next lesson with him, we focused on the restoration of the gospel, through Joseph Smith. We recited the First Vision to him, and explained that God called another prophet to teach His children. We then taught Him about the Book of Mormon, which he had been reading and invited Him to say the closing prayer. I asked him if he would pray to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. As he prayed, I know for a fact he felt the Spirit. There was such a tender feeling in the room, and I know the Holy Ghost was testifying to Him that this gospel is true. After he finished, he looked up and said, "I know it's true." This really is what this work is all about- helping others come unto Christ. I know the Lord's hand is in every single detail of it, and I'm so grateful for His constant guidance.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to do TRC again. That morning when I woke up, however, I had this bizarre feeling that the language was going to be a struggle for me. I didn't really understand why I was feeling this, but the Lord prepared me for what was to come. The first person we met with was Trent Anderson, who is from Eagle, Idaho and says he knows the Lees. Anyways, as we started teaching Him, I for some reason couldn't even put sentences together. I felt so helpless, especially since we had a whole 20 minutes to teach. That may not sound like a lot, but it is when you can't communicate with them. I was praying so hard that I would be able to speak, and I felt so discouraged when my mind was just at a blank. After our lesson, one of my Teachers, Brother Langer, asked us how our lesson went. I came right out and said, "I feel like the language is such a barrier for me." I don't know why, but I started to cry a little. I don't really remember what he told me, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt the Lord speaking through him, and I know that struggling with the language is necessary in order to receive the gift of tongues. Brother Langer reminded me that I hadn't even been here for four weeks, and that I really am progressing so well. I am so grateful for his uplifting words and for his constant example. He definitely pushes us as missionaries, and when we teach the lessons to Him, he speaks as fast as he would to a native, and asks questions that a really investigator would ask. I wouldn't trade him as a teacher for the world though. He has helped me so much, not only with the language, but with all of my struggles and hardships here at the MTC. I know that he. as well as all of my other teachers were given to me for a very special purpose.

After TRC, Bro Langer shared with us the story of the Stripling Warriors. I've always loved this story, but as I read it this time, I was really able to apply it. This scripture was written for me!! The stripling warriors were all young and quite inexperienced, especially to the Lamanites who knew how to fight. Just as the Stripling Warriors, I am young and I really don't know much, but because of that I have the amazing opportunity to be able to rely completely on the Lord. The Stripling Warriors practiced EXACT obedience and were faithful to the end. I know that I cannot do everything perfectly, but one thing I can do is being exactly obedient and always faithful. The Lord did allow the warriors to get wounded and scarred along the way, and he allows me to get hurt as well, but he will NEVER let me perish. I know the Lord is constantly watching out for me and that through all of my ups and downs, he will be fighting alongside of me.


During class the other day, Sister Fewster turned to the rest of our district and said, "Did you know that Martin Luther King paved the way for the restoration?" We were all so confused and tried to explain to her that the restoration happened about 130 years before Martin Luther was even alive, and that Martin Luther King paved the way for Civil Rights. Sis Fewster was SO determined that Martin Luther King played a huge part in the restoration, and it took her about 5 minutes to finally understand that it was Martin Luther from Europe who helped pave the way for the restoration.. Not the black man from the United States. It was HILARIOUS!

Bro Poole, one of our teachers, had us each choose our favorite scripture, and try to translate it into Tagalog. Sis Fewster was working so hard and then had Bro. Poole come see how well she was doing. He sat there so confused at first. and then said, "What scripture did you choose," She told him and then he started laughing so hard. She had chosen Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding." She didn't use the correct word for "lean" from the English- Tagalog translator and her sentence ended up like this, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and SKINNY not to thine own understanding." Yup.... wrong type of "lean". We all still get a kick out of it!

GUESS WHAT?! I memorized the entire First Vision in TAGALOG this week!! It took lots of time and practice, but I've got it!! HUGE tender mercy!!! 
ALSO... GUESS WHO GETS THEIR FLIGHT PLAN ON FRIDAY?!... ME!!! So next Monday, I'll let you know all of those details.. Isn't this insane?!
OH and yesterday, Sister Fewster and I were called to be the Sister Training Leaders for our zone

Last night we had to say goodbye to one of the districts in our zone, who are heading to Bagio. They were some of my biggest sources of support here at the MTC, and it was sad to see them go. We all congregated in one of the classrooms and sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and then had a group prayer. The Spirit was so strong and there wasn't a dry eye. I'm really going to miss them- they were my big brothers I never had. I also had to say goodbye to Elder Medeiros who reminds me EXACTLY of Luti.. it's kind of freaky. It's so weird that I only knew these people for 4 weeks, and yet we all became so close. I said goodbye to Hailey Jones as well- I'm going to miss not having my BYU roomie here. She has AMAZING things in store for her though, just as all the others who left. 

I LOVE THE MTC and EVERYTHING about it here!!! It has been such a wonderful experience and one that I will cherish forever! This week is going to be a great one, and I can't wait to here from you all soon!!

Sister Anderson

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mahal Ako Sa MTC

Kamusta Pamilia at Kaibigan!

Kamusta pa kayo?! Mabuti po ako! Mahal ako sa MTC! 

The MTC has been such an amazing experience so far! I absolutely LOVE it and I'm trying to enjoy every little bit of my time here, because before I know it, I'm going to be on a plane to the Philippines. I leave 3 three weeks from today... Isn't that insane? I'm really excited to go though and finally meet the people I've been dreaming about! 

The work here is so fun. rewarding, tiring, and a blessing. I have never been so tired in my life. About 70% of the time, we have to get up before 6:30 due to early morning service, or other demands, so when I get to sleep in until 6:30 it's a dream come true! The other morning when I woke up, I knelt on top of my bed to say my prayers. I ended up waking up 10 minutes later. Whoops! I just can't seem to get enough sleep, but it's all good! I love the work here and the opportunity to be a missionary, so I wouldn't have it any other way!

I was having a difficult time about something this week and I couldn't sleep. I went outside my room, and looked out the window and saw the "real" world. I got on my knees and said a prayer to Heavenly Father, asking Him for help, guidance, and comfort. As soon as I knelt down, I felt God wrap His arms around me and I knew that angels were by my side. I know that I am not alone in this work, nor should I think I can do this all on my own. I can received so much strength from the Lord during the past three weeks, and I have truly felt many prayers being sent my way. I know that the Lord is aware of each of us individually and he is waiting with His arms open for us to draw near to him, so He can draw near to us.

On Tuesday we had a devotional, and I got to see Sarah Sturt and Shaylee Hughes from YMAD. It was so fun to see them and know that they're doing well. It was the "little piece of home" that I needed and I am so grateful that we are sharing the gospel together. I also saw Megan Warr who just came into the MTC on wednesday. It was fun to talk to her! I got to say goodbye to Ethan Lovin yesterday who is serving the in Netherlands. He seemed really excited and there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be amazing!

On wednesday, Sister Fewster and I got to walk down to the Student Health Center, which is right across the street from my old apartment at BYU. It was so weird to be so close to all my friends and Elizabeth, and I was secretly hoping to see someone I knew! Sister Fewster and I ran the whole way, and I know we looked pretty darn funny running in our missionary attire with our name badges. One guy on his bike saw us and exclaimed, "YOU'VE ESCAPED!" It was so fun to "escape" the MTC even if it was just for a minute!  

We've started a new diet here.. It's called "Mabuti No Cookie" to help monitor our addiction to cookies and other sweets... Has it been working? NOPE!! Valentine's Day definitely blew it for us and we are still enjoying all of our goodies! Thanks to everyone for the fun packages and letters! I feel so fortunate to be surrounded my such a great support system!! I honestly probably gained about 8 pounds just on Valentine's Day alone... Hopefully I'll just be able to lose it all in the Philippines! I am enjoying my sweets and chocolate while I can!

"Nakakatawa" (Funny)
So I don't bore you to death, here's some nakakatawa things of the weeks:
Elder Williams and Elder Torgesen of my district taught a lesson with an investigator the other day, At the end of the lesson, they asked the man if they could come back and share another message. The man said "Miercoles" (wednesday), however the Elders thought "miercoles" meant miracles. They went on and on telling the investigator "Opo, opo. Alam ko po na sa miercoles." They thought they were saying "Yes, yes I believe in miracles" when in reality they were saying, "Yes, yes I believe in Wednesdays." OH man it was funny.. We all are still laughing about it!

On Saturday morning, we got to do our very first TRC- teaching resource center. We got to go and share a message with two different people who were already members of the church and just get to talk to them. I was so so so so so nervous because of course it had to be in Tagalog, but it was the most amazing experience and I wish I could do it everyday! Sister Fewster and I were actually able to communicate with the people, laugh, and understand what they were saying! It was so GREAT!! The first girl we met with Danielle, asked us how long we'd been in the MTC. She was surprised when she heard that we'd only been here for 2 and a half weeks. She said we were doing great which was so sweet of her. I'm really loving the language. It's amazing to see how far I've come in not even three weeks. It's because of the Lord I'm able to do this. I've learned more in the past 2 and a half weeks in Tagalog than I did in an entire year and a half in Spanish class. This truly is the Lord's work. There's NO WAY I could do this without Him.

Last night we had a devotional, and guess who was there?! President HOLLAND! And I was sitting on the fourth row so I got to see Him perfectly. His son spoke to us so we didn't get to hear from the "Big" man, but it was so neat to be in his presence. The devotional was all about Joseph Smith and it was spectacular. I wish everyone in the world could have been there to listen to Matthew Holland speak and here the music. HOLY MOLY. It was so powerful. There was NO possible way that you could not feel the Spirit. Music has touched me so much while being here at the MTC, and it really helps me feel God's love. 

I love the MTC, the Lord, and the opportunity to serve. Love you all and can't wait to hear from you soon!



Monday, February 10, 2014

Perfect Obedience Brings Miracles

Well last week flew by and I can't believe that I'm already a third of the way through the MTC... AHH! There's simply not enough time to learn it all and soak it all in! The MTC so far has been really good. Dad- you were right when you said that it would definitely be a rollercoaster. I had no idea I would experience all of these emotions one after another. There's never ever a dull moment here!

So basically every single girl in the MTC has the exact same mission bag as me. The other day I placed my bag on a shelf in the cafeteria while I ate, and when I came back, my water bottle was sitting on the shelf and my bag was gone. Whoever took my back just took my water bottle out of it, thinking that someone else had placed it in her bag on accident, and then took my bag.. There were at least seven other bags that were identical to mine sitting on the shelf so I went through every single one of them to find my bag. I eventually got my bag back, but I have learned my lesson to not leave my bag anywhere!

This past week we finished teaching our first investigator on our second to last visit with Ton-Ton we invited him to be baptized. He said yes and it was such a confirmation to me that I can do this work. I know he was just a returned missionary from the Philippines, but it was such a tender mercy that the Lord knew I needed. It gave me the confidence to know that I can do this work and despite my mangled Tagalog. The day after we finished teaching, Ton-Ton came into our class dressed in a white shirt and tie, with his name badge... Turns out he is our new teacher! I felt so embarrassed seeing him because he saw first hand how awful my Tagalog was and how much I have to improve on! Oh well! Hopefully he'll be able to know my weaknesses and strengths and help me improve. We have two new investigators now, and I am kind of stressed about teaching them. Oh well! I guess I just need to get used to it because I'll be doing this for the next 18 months!! It's hard enough to put my thoughts together in English, and so asking me to teach in Tagalog is just CRAZY! But I love it and I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to practice so much before I get into the field.

Temple walks are my favorite! Last Sunday while we were walking around the temple, Elder Vilingia from my zone was walking and completely ripped his pants. It was hilarious! We all decided to walk around with our jackets around our butts to support him. It's so fun to be able to escape the MTC for a little bit and get some fresh air. Gym time is also my FAVORITE time of the day because I don't have to stress about anything and just enjoy life. THANK HEAVENS. But gym time does come at a cost, because I have bruises all the way up my arms from playing volleyball.. but it's so worth it!

Tagalog is seriously the craziest language ever! I'm getting more familiar with it, but it's still hard. The other night while I was saying my prayers, I asked for "koloob ng mga wika" (the gift of tongues). As I asked for this, a feeling came over me that I would learn the language, but it will not happen right now. I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and keep my head held high. The language is definitely teaching me humility and I am so grateful for this opportunity to be able to come closer to Christ through learning this language- there is no way I can learn it without Him. I was reading in Preach My Gospel and it said that in order to receive the gift of tongues, one must be working hard and be struggling. I am definitely doing both of these things, and I have full confidence in the Lord that I will get the language and be fluent.

"Obedience brings blessings, perfect obedience brings miracles." I am living off of this motto and I know without a doubt that if I keep being obedient and putting full trust in the Lord, I will experience miracles.

I love you all and thanks so much for all of the packages and emails!!


Even though I'm on a mission, it doesn't mean I don't still do stupid things... Like the other day we had gym and when we came back, I took off my sports bra and completely spaced to put on a new bra, so I went the rest of the day with no bra... Yup... totally a Marissa thing to do! It was GREAT.

Shout out to Ethel for the cookies!! I wish I had her address to write her, but I don't! I LOVED the cookies, so THANK YOU!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Feels Like Disneyland!"


Can you even believe it's almost been one week?! I sure can't everyday goes by so extremely fast and I barely have time to take it all in. It was so weird saying goodbye to you all on Wednesday, but this is where I'm supposed to be! When I left you all it really did feel like I was going to Disneyland or something. I can say now that that it doesn't quite feel like Disneyland... Disneyland isn't hard.. 

It was so fun to be escorted by that sweet sister from my mission prep class. Everyone here is so fun and positive- I guess it is "The happiest place on earth!" When the sister who escorted me was walking me through campus, I saw Sister Owen who I visit taught at BYU. She is going to Finland and has been in the MTC since finals week. She took me and my stuff from there and helped me to my room. I love seeing familiar faces! It makes everything so much better.

After I put my stuff in my room, I went into a building to complete a survey that only took about 15 minutes. I then was sitting in a room with my District and the teacher was ONLY SPEAKING TAGALOG. WHAT?! I thought maybe they'd speak in English and then tell us how it translates in Tagalog, or maybe we'd have lessons about "Preach my Gospel" in English and then have a separate time to have a language class. NOPE. It's ALL in Tagalog. This language is unreal and I can't believe the Lord believes in me enough to be able to learn it. I just need to keep putting my trust in him and PRAY PRAY PRAY for the gift of tongues!

Sister Jones, my roomie from BYU, lives right next door to me so I get to see her all the time which is so fun! I also saw Taylor Jolley a lot, but he left this morning for the field. I've seen Elder Lovin quite and few times, and even saw Ian Anderson last night. It's so fun to know that we are all on the Lord's errand.

My companion is Sister Fewster from England. She is such a sweet girl and has the most beautiful accent. Sister Lopez and Sister Oyler are the two other sisters in my district and we get along so well! I'm so grateful that the Lord blessed me with such great examples all around me. My district is AWESOME. We are all going to the Philippines and all learning Tagalog. We speak in the language as much as we can, although to the native speaker I'm sure we sound like jibberish! We sure have a fun time trying though!

On Saturday, Sister Fewster and I taught our very first lesson... in ALL Tagalog. I'd only had like three days worth of vocabulary, but we did well with what we had. We taught Ton-Ton, a man who moved here from the Philippines. I know he's just acting, but he acts just like a real investigator. He spoke Tagalog really fast and we had to keep saying "Paki- ulit"- please repeat. We invited him to pray everyday to ask if he had a Father in Heaven who loved him. He also said the closing prayer to our lesson. In the little Tagalog I know, I was able to teach him the steps to pray, and it was so neat! All in all the lesson was kind of fun but also a bit stressful. We teach him again tonight and I have no idea what we are going to say. We just really need to let the Spirit guide. 

Yesterday was Sunday and we had a full schedule of meetings. I felt pretty down and discouraged. Everyone told me "make it to Sunday the you'll be okay." We had meeting after meeting and I didn't feel much better. At about 3:00 we had sacrament meeting with my zone, and it was the biggest tender mercy ever. We do everything in Tagalog- sing, pray, talks, etc. Since it was fast Sunday though, I had the most amazing opportunity to bear my testimony in Tagalog. I bore it straight from my heart and I think I did relatively well. It was amazing to hear all the Elders and Sisters testimonies and know that they are having a difficult time, but that we can be a support to one another. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I feel so blessed to know that I can do this.

Later on, we had a devotional that was great, and then had the opportunity to view Elder Bednar's talk "The Character of Chirst". Boy was it powerful. This mission is NOT about me. When I feel sorry for myself or discouraged or frustrated with the language, who cares. This is the Lord's work, and He has His timing. He is preparing me for something greater and I need not be negative about what is going on. I need to turn outward and focus on the needs of others, rather than my own. By turning outward and expressing compassion, love, service, and kindness, and disregarding the natural man's tendency to turn inward, I will become like Christ. This is the only way. I'm so grateful that I have to opportunity to be better today than I was yesterday. Becoming the "Character of Christ" will take SO much hard work and effort, but I will do it. I want to do it. I know I can do it. Heavenly Father is already trying me so much and putting trials in my path during my mission so I can learn to develop the character of Christ. I'm grateful that it's difficult though, or else I would learn absolutely nothing!

Who wants to hear something funny?! I know you do! So to say "good" in Tagalog is "mabuti" (Like my booty) and to say water is "tubig" (Like too big). So when you say "good water" its like saying "My booty too big". It gets me every time!! You just have too appreciate the little things here in the MTC!!

I love you all and I wish I could write to everyone individually, but I don't have time. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep writing! I love you all and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve. 


Sister Anerson