Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just Chugging Along

April 29, 2014
Magandang Umaga Po!!

How is life back in the states! Hope all is well and that things are going great! Thank so much again for all of the emails and support that you are all sending my way. I am so blessed!!
This week was temple week, so I was able to wake up this morning at 4 to go to the temple. I love the temple and I feel so privileged that I get to attend once a transfer. Temple week always seems to come when I need it most and when I am in need of an extra boost. I am grateful that we all have the opportunity to attend the temple and receive the many blessings that await us all in doing so. It is so easy to feel Heavenly Father's love there, and going to the temple always helps to put my life back into perspective.

This week we got to go to a birthday party for one of the Less Actives in our ward. She is the mother of 2 special needs children and her husband, who is also a member, recently became very anti-Mormon. He wouldn't even come downstairs to celebrate his wife's birthday with everyone because he knew that the missionaries were there... It is so sad! I pray that he'll have a change of heart and remember the feelings and testimony he once had. The party was really fun though! There was soooo much food, the people were so nice, and they were all doing karaoke.. Filipinos, (generally speaking), are pretty tone deaf, but they all LOVE to karaoke! It's so great!

Things with the Honrejas Family are doing great! The parents have come to church twice, and they are really enjoying it! We are now really trying to focus on getting all of their kids there so that their whole family can be baptized. I love to see the changes and progress they make each and every time we visit them. I know that the Lord has prepared them and I feel so blessed to be an instrument in His hands to do this great work.

Judy Ann and her family are still really struggling. They are completely out of food still and I don't know what to do. I feel so limited as a missionary as I can't give them money and food, but at the same time, if we don't do anything about it, who will? It is such a difficult spot to be in and I wish I could do more. Judy Ann, who is already skin in bones, is just withering away. All the food she gets she gives to her kids, and she honestly looks sickly. It breaks my heart!

This week has been kind of hard because I have been sick. It started on Easter when I started getting a little cold. I tried to not let it get to me and just kept working. Everyday kept getting worse and then on Saturday night when we were having a lesson with on of our less active families, I got so sick! I tried to keep a smile on my face and did my best to share a message. After doing planning when we got home, I climbed in bed, hoping that I would be able to sleep it off, but I couldn't sleep at all! My head was so full of fluid and pressure, which carried a bunch of pain down to my jaw. I was up all night blowing my nose, and then to top things off, I had a fever. When morning came, I literally looked like death and felt like it too. I texted the Mission President's wife and she told me to get some antibiotics. We went and got the medicine and went straight to work. It was AWFUL!!! My temperature was 101*F and then walking in the heat here made me want to die. I felt like my skin was boiling and I kept looking down to check to see if I was steaming yet because I literally felt like I was on fire. We went to church and made all of our appointments that day. I honestly have no idea how I was able to make it through! Heavenly Father was definitely blessing me!! I still felt pretty sick on Monday and by the time we came home for the day, I felt really sick again. I went to gradb my toothbrush so I could brush my teeth and get to bed, but of course- being the klutz that I am- I totally slipped in a huge puddle of water on our floor and landed flat on my butt. I seriously just wanted to sit there and cry... It was so sad... Haha but I am feeling much better now!! Thank heavens! Just got to keep chugging along no matter what!!

We met with a woman named Belle this week for the first time. Out of nowhere, she turned to me and asked, "Do you believe in enchanted places?" I was totally caught off guard and asked her to repeat her question. She looked at me again and said, "Do you believe in enchanted places? Like dwarfs and those kinds of things?" I couldn't help but start to laugh... and then I realized she was being completely serious... Whoops. I had to explain to her that I don't believe in those things... It was super awkward because she told me that she was convinced that "enchanted places" have healed her illnesses... Some people!!

We also went to teach a less active this week, but when we got to her house she was having Bible Study with a missionary from the Iglesia Church. So since we couldn't teach her, we tired to just tell her that we would come back another day... She did not like that idea though. Her daughter who is in her 40s, made us come into the house and sit down. She thought that we would like to know more about her brother who passed away in January, and so she turned on a DVD that had her brother's funeral recorded on it.. So we watched a funeral. Thank you, sister! That is exactly how I wanted to spend my morning- watching a funeral!

Well that is it for now- sorry there isn't very much exciting stuff! Hopefully there will be more next week. Thanks for all the prayers you are sending my way- I am DEFINITELY feeling them. There is so way I could be doing this work without the strength of the Lord. I feel so blessed to be serving and I am so grateful that I have this amazing opportunity to be serving in the Philippines. I love it so much here and the people are amazing. I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had so far, and all of the experiences that are to come. I love the gospel so much and I hope I will be able to share this love with the people here. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you soon!

Ingat po kayo!
Sister Anderson

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cat Eyes

April 21, 2014 
Hello Hello!!
How are you all? I Hope things are going well and that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Life here is going well! I did not get transferred, so that means at least 6 more weeks here in Cogeo. I am super excited that I didn’t get transferred because I feel that I still have a lot more work to do here. One of my kabahays, Sister Houser, is getting transferred though, so that means we will be getting a new sister in our apartment. I am so sad Sister Houser is leaving- she’s honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever met! She was so full of love and encouragement and she always gave me great advice, especially concerning the language.

Well the work here is going. It’s definitely hard, but it is good as well. One of our investigators, Imelda, who had accepted a baptismal date with her two kids, is really struggling. We went and visited her Sunday morning, and as soon as we got to her house, we saw her walking slowly up the hill. She was completely drunk. She invited us into her house and she began to sob because of the decision she had made. She really was not stable and we just helped her realize that through living the commandments and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ she can overcome this trial and find joy and peace. We think that her husband is the source behind this problem, and we are going to go back over again tomorrow. We tried to go back yesterday and help her figure out a recovery plan, but her husband was home so we weren’t able to. I have never felt so much sorrow for someone as I did when we were talking to Imelda and I want more than anything to help her see the power of the Atonement in her life. She is kind of giving up on herself, but we won’t let her.

We went over to Philip and Judy Ann’s this week, and when we got there, we noticed that one of her daughters was gone. They are completely out of food again and so they had to send their oldest daughter, Julianne, to live with Judy Ann’s parents for a while because they cannot feed her. This completely breaks my heart! The bishop has been providing some food for them, but they run out of it in a day’s time. We think they have been sharing it with Philip’s brothers and their families who live right next door. It is so hard because if they can’t even get their basic needs met, there is absolutely no way that we can continue this work. It’s so awkward to go to teach and they talk about how they have no food, and then we are like, “Can we share with you about repentance?” It’s definitely a hard situation, but they are staying faithful.

The Honrejas family is doing amazing!!! I am sooo excited for them! The lessons with them are going great and they even came to church on Sunday. We haven’t been able to teach a lesson with all of the kids there, so that’s our next goal. They have 6 kids, 5 of which are of baptism age. If all goes as planned, their whole family will be baptized on May 24th! 7 of them! I am so excited! It’s so miraculous the see the change in their lives since we have been teaching them. There is a new joy that is there and there family is so much stronger. I feel so privileged to be a part of their conversion experience.
Eunice and Shanin are still doing great and their friends still always join us in the lessons. It’s so cute! They all take turns saying the prayers, and we help them each time. They are so adorable!!Their parents gave the OKAY to be baptized, and so they will be on May 10th!! It will be my very first baptism and I am so excited for them! They are so strong and their examples shine far brighter than they know.

On Saturday we went back up to Cluster C to do another service project for them same man as last week. He’s rebuilding his house, so we went to help with that… Ya… did not work out to well. He just had the sisters sweep all of the leaves and what not from the pathways above his house, and then we just ate coconuts for the rest of the morning. It really was such a waste of time, but at least it was fun!

I hope your Easter was good! If my companion and kabahays wouldn’t have reminded me, I would’ve had no idea! Even at church, there was no mention of Easter… It was so bizarre! One of the Hymns was Easter related, but that was it. We worked just like any other day and no special Easter dinner for us. We were in meetings after church until 7:30pm and then just went out and taught. That’s okay though! Missionary work really is work! Even on Easter! Sister Racaza and Sister Houser were so cute though and made a little Easter egg hunt for Sister Judd and I and completely trashed our room with candy! And we made nachos for lunch which is completely out of the ordinary here, so all in all it was a good day! Holy Week here in the Philippines though is crazy… Did you know that they do real crucifixions here?! Insane, huh?! Google it! Or not… it sounds kind of scary! But they were doing them only like 20 minutes away from our house. Insane!!
Well the language is coming little by little. I never understood what a process this would be. I think I had really unrealistic ideas when it came to learning the language, and it has been such a humbling experience for me. It is so amazing how even though I am so far from perfect, the Lord is using my weaknesses as a strength for me to do this work here. I know that learning the language is going to be a long, frustrating process, but I know that it is something that I need to go through. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this beautiful language of Tagalog and share the gospel with the people here in their native tongue.

We went and visited Sister Saulan this week, one of the members. As we were talking she stopped and started looking really deeply into my eyes. Then out of nowhere she said, “You have cat eyes!” Uhhh… thank you?? She then had her grandson go and grab one of their cats so she could so me the similarities between us. I don’t know if I should be honored or offended. Another man, Brother Mamboy, also told me this week that my eyes look like a cats’. Some people!! They are just too blunt!

Well that’s all from me this week! Keep chugging along and know that there is someone in the Philippines who loves you so very much! Thanks for all of your encouragement and sweet letters! I wish I could respond to them all. Love you all and can’t wait to hear from you soon!!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 13, 2014

                                                                                                            April 13, 2014

Magandang Umaga!!

How is everyone? Thanks for all the sweet emails that you are sending me! My absolute favorite part on Pday is opening up all these emails and hearing how you are all doing! I love knowing what is going on in each of your lives and it is so fun to stay involved!!

I hit my one month mark of being here in the Philippines!! Can you believe it? I can't! And next week is already transfers! I have a feeling though that I will be staying here in Cogeo for quite some time though... I am totally fine with that though because I feel that I still have a lot more work here to do!!

On Monday night we went over to Rex and Connie's house for FHE and dinner. That was the second time we have been invited over for dinner by someone here and it was so fun! Rex recently became reactivated, and his wife Connie is an investigator. She is amazing! The other sisters in our area, Sister Racaza and Sister Houser, are teaching her and she is really progressing!

On Wednesday I got to go on splits with Sister Houser. I was kind of nervous and first because I am so new and I really don't know the language very well, but she totally put all my fears and inadequacies at ease. I had such a great time with her, and she gave me the encouragement that I needed, especially when it came to the language. She kept praising me and helped me to see how far I've really come. Heavenly Father answered my prayers through her. She gave me the perspective and outlook that I was in dire need of. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father answers my prayers. I am grateful that we each have the opportunity to also be the answer to others' prayers as we live worthily and strive to stay in tune with the Spirit.

On Friday morning we had an awesome opportunity to do a service project! We took a tricycle about 10 minutes past Cogeo Loob and entered Cluster C. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. It was exactly what I had pictured when I imagined serving in the Philippines. It was so green and jungly, with windy dirt paths. For our service project, we collected bamboo and then helped the Less Active man build a fence out of it. HOW COOL?! I really don't think I was much help, but it was sure fun trying and it was so amazing to experience the beautiful scenery. We worked with the missionaries in our zone, as well as some of the recent converts, and ward missionaries. One of the ward missionaries decided that we all  needed a drink, so he took it upon himself to climb up multiple trees and chopped down coconuts for each of us. Can you say cool?! I seriously am serving in the most amazing place ever!! Oh... and I fell again as I was carrying bamboo down the hill... no surprise!

Our investigators are doing well! Eunis and Shanin, the 2 young girls, are still doing great! They are so adorable and their friends still join us in the lessons. Whenever we ask questions, they all reply in unity and it cracks me up! I have never met a more well-behaved group of kids! We are going to extend a baptismal date to them next visit.

One of our other investigators, Imelda, is also really progressing. We met her when we were up visiting one of our less actives. She agreed to stay for the lesson, and now we have been meeting with her ever since. She has accepted a baptismal date and two of her kids, Madelyn (12) and Justin (8), also told us that they would like to be baptized. We invited them to come to conference, but did not think they would come, BUT they did! It was a great experience. We were able to tech her again last night and she said that she prayed and knows that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. You can literally see the change that has developed in her heart. I could not be more excited for her!


Judy Ann is doing amazing. Her faith is so strong despite the terrible circumstances in which she lives. She went to conference with us on both Saturday and Sunday and stayed for all 4 hours. Even though her 2 little girls can be hard to handle, she did not let that keep her from hearing the prophets voice. She is so amazing! We are hoping to get the marriage plans in order really quickly.

Speaking of conference, IT WAS AMAZING! It felt like Christmas, anticipating the time when we got to listen to the Prophet. I went into the conference with a prayer in my heart and many questions. I am so happy to we have a living prophet. Through his words, and those of his apostles, my questions were answered. My very favorite talk was President Uchtdorf's- the one on gratitude. I can't wait to study these talks in more depth.

The language is coming!!! It really is!! I am still soooo far from fluent and it don't understand a lot, but I am getting a better hold on it! Last night we met a lady named Rhosalin. Sister Judd was talking to her neighbor, and so I decided to speak to this sweet women. I was able to understand her and we talked back and forth for about 15 minutes.. WHAT?! It was amazing! I gave her a pamphlet and she kept thanking me over and over for stopping by and talking to her. It seemed as if she is really yearning for something more in her life and I know that the gospel can be the answer to everything in her life. We had a great time conversing, and when I walked away, I could not have felt better. I could understand her, I was able to say everything I wanted, and the Spirit was there. I feel so grateful that Heavenly Father really is blessing me with this gift.

Well nothing very funny happened this week... Too bad! But I am enjoying every minute here!! I love serving the Lord and I love being on his errand. It is definitely hard- the hardest thing I have ever done, but I have also experience more happiness than I ever have. I know this is where I am supposed to be and my heart is so full of gratitude to have this opportunity. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers each and everyone of our prayers. I love Him, I love the Savior, and I love serving the people here.

Thanks for everything! I can't wait to hear from you again next week!


Sister Anderson

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Not Again

Hello po!!
How is everyone doing! I had Pday last Wednesday because it was temple day, so now I get another Pday only 5 days later! Wahoo!
This week went by so fast! I cannot even believe it! I guess time flies when you're having fun, right?
The work here is going well. Definitely hard, but I know it is not supposed to be easy. We taught quite a few lessons this week and were constantly on the go. Walking around in the heat all day everyday can sometimes be a chore, but I LOVE it. There is never a moment where I am not drenched in my own sweat and am dripping from every inch of my body, but I am so very glad that Heavenly Father sent me to the Philippines. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that I have so many things to do here that have not yet been completed. The work here can sometimes be intimidating, but I have witnessed everyday the power and strength the God gives to His missionaries. I am so grateful for His hand in my life.
So last Wednesday I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the temple. The temple here is absolutely gorgeous, and the Spirit there is even more amazing. I am so blessed to be able to attend the temple every transfer. I was feeling kind of discouraged last week, especially about the language, and going to the temple was exactly what I needed to be able to give me the strength and hope I needed to press on. I know that the temple really is the House of the Lord and it really is a refuge from everything hard, discouraging, and uncertain in this world.
We were able to get three new investigators this week! The first was Jen, who stopped us last Sunday as we were walking around inviting our investigators and less actives to church. We have only taught her once, but I really think she could be potential. The other two investigators we have are Shanin(14) and Eunice(11). These cute girls are the nieces of one of the less actives we teach- the Almusara's. The girls parents were sealed in the temple and are no longer active. They actually thought that because their children were born  in the covenant, they didn't need to be baptized. Well we definitely told them that was not the case, and the girls as well as their mom are excited for us to teach them. Both times we met with the girls, they had their cute friends join our lessons too- May-May, Rain, Al, and Princess. They even bring some of their friends to church. Even though they aren't members, they are great examples to me of what it means to be an everyday missionary.
We had Zone Interviews of Thursday so we got to go up to Antipolo for almost the whole day. We had workshops that were great and I got to meet with President Revillo. He is amazing and I feel so blessed to have him as my mission president. He is so full of love and concern and he really has a wonderful spirit about him. Just being in his presence gives me the hope that I need to keep pressing on and doing this great work. I was also able to go back up the Antipolo on Saturday to watch the General Women's Conference. It was great! I sat their with tears in my eyes the entire time and I felt so strongly the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children, especially His daughters. It was an amazing conference, and it was SO weird to see white people on the screen! I'm used to just seeing beautiful, brown, Filipinos!
On Saturday night, Sis Judd and I went to go visit one of the less actives, Sis Carmona. She doesn't like missionaries, but she let us into her house. We sat down and she went straight to her sewing machine to work on her projects. We tried asking her questions and she would not reply.. Talk about awkward! Sis Judd and I sat there trying so hard not to laugh.. I mean if you don't want to talk to us, just tell us you are busy and don't want us to come in!
The other day we were walking and a drunk old man came up to me. He grabbed my hand, put it on his bare sweaty chest and began to breath down my throat with the lovely smell of alcohol. I kept taking a step back and when I did, he would take a step forward. I literally had to pry my hand from his and tell him I had to go. It took FOREVER for me to be set free and I just had to keep reminding myself, "He's a child of God too. Heavenly Father loves him!!"
Last sunday when we were walking, two salesmen came up to us, trying to sell us coffee. We told them that we didn't drink coffee as it is against our beliefs. They went on to tell us that we should promote their coffee to all of our investigators as well as all of our family back home who isn't Mormon.. Ya, of course we will help you sell coffee! Especially to all our investigators who were are telling to stop drinking it! Some people! The best part was that the salesmen was walking around with a pink child's sized jacket with embroidered flowers, a stethoscope around his neck, and a safari hat on his head... Ya, not sketchy at all!
Sooooooo basically I am the biggest dork in the ENTIRE WORLD. Yesterday after church, I was walking down those dumb stairs... and yup... you guessed it... I fell down AGAIN... and rolled my other ankle. Not again... I seriously don't know what to do with myself! I was trying to be so careful and take one step at a time, and the next thing I knew, I was flat on my back. I think I win the biggest goof award.
Last Friday we went to one of our investigators, Sister Judy Ann, the 18 year old with 2 children. She didn't attend church last week and so we asked her why. She said that she didn't have any food so she and Philip took the girls to her Mom's house for three days so they could eat. I knew that people struggled here financially and I knew that some people didn't have much food, but I didn't understand the extent of this until we spoke to Judy Ann. They have no food. Like literally zero. If they are lucky they get a tiny cup of ulam or rice from their neighbors. It is not uncommon for them to go days without eating. They are all skin and bones, and her youngest daughter looks like she is going to evaporate. It took everything in me to not break down into tears when she was telling us all of this. I really take everything I have for granted. My life is so easy. Sis Judd and I left heartbroken and knew that we couldn't let them live like this. We bought rice and some other things from the store and took it to her. We didn't want her to get the wrong idea about missionaries and were hesitant to drop it off, but thank heavens she was sleeping when we brought the food. We placed it inside her home with a note saying that it was from the ward. I pray this food will last them and that they will be able to see the blessings that come through the gospel.
Life here all in all is going well. The language is still a struggle, but it's definitely coming! I am trying so hard to not let the language be a barrier and showing my love in deeds, rather than words. I am so grateful for the gift of tongues. It is real. There is no way I would be where I am with the language without the help of the Lord. I know he is aware of me and that he wants me to succeed. I am doing my best and He is making up the difference.
Hope all is well back on the home front. I pray for you all multiple times a day!! Keep being amazing and can't wait to hear from you soon!!
Sis Anderson

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Well I have hit two milestones this past week. The first was on March 28... The one year mark from back surgery! I honestly have not felt better. I can't believe that is was just a year ago that I was lying in the recliner, in excruciating pain, and now I am running around the streets in the Philippines. How amazing is that?! I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to the Lord and His hand in my life. It was a miracle that I was able to recover as well as I did. I know that everything I went through with that- physically, emotionally, and spiritually- has prepared me for my service here in the Philippines. The second milestone I hit was on March 29th... I have been gone for 2 months! Crazy, I know. I have already completed 1/9th of my mission. AH! It is going way too fast!!
This week was good, great, hard, discouraging, funny.. I seriously don't know how I can experience so many emotions!! I don't feel like much happened and there wasn't anything too exciting, so sorry if this email bores you to death! This past week I was able to go to the Trainer- Trainee meeting in Cubau. We had some workshops and it was pretty good. We also went to a baptism for Sister Lani. She is the cutest girl ever and I am so excited to have her in our ward.
Speaking of my ward.. guess who spoke in Sacrament meeting? Yup, I did and it was.. well... uhh.. a learning experience. My mission president and his wife just happened to be at our ward that day, so that was super intimidating.. And I could barely remember how to bare my testimony at the end. I am such a newbie!! Haha it's all good though! I am just glad that I can laugh at myself and move on!
The language is really getting to me.. I have to keep reminding myself that I have only been here for three weeks so of course I am not going to be fluent! It does get kind of discouraging sitting in a lesson though and not knowing for 45 minutes what is going on. It's all good though! It's been such a humbling experience and a great opportunity to rely on the Lord. I also have the BEST trainer ever, Sister Judd, which really helps. She has been such an amazing support and she is continually helping and serving me. I couldn't ask for a better "nanay"!!

The work has been difficult here. We are really struggling with our investigators and Less actives to keep commitments. All of them told us that they would be at church on Sunday, and we only one investigator. I know that everyone has their agency, but I really wish I could do more to help people see the blessings that come from keeping the commandments and building a relationship with the Lord. Yesterday we had set up a bunch of appointments, but were punted about 8 times because either the people weren't home or they were "busy". I am grateful that we were at least able to meet with 4 people! Better than 3, right?

So basically everyone here loves the movie Frozen, and I always hear kids singing the songs. The other day we were at Sister Wong's house and her kids were watching Frozen.. BIGGEST TEMPTATION EVER. I may have gave in a little and took a glimpse at the tv every once and a while.. I couldn't help it!! That's not a sin, right? Hahaha

Yesterday Sister Judd and I were walking down the hill by our house as we were heading out to work, and me being the klutz that I am, completely rolled my ankle. I still don't understand how it happened, but I fell hard on my hip and then went rolling down the hill.. Yup. I did. And it hurt. And I was crying because I was laughing so hard. I have a gnarly blue and green bruise on my hip, my knee is scratched up, and my ankle is swollen. Welcome to my life. It was a really humbling and "down to earth" experience if you know what I mean.. haha
Sorry that this email wasn't super great! Hopefully I will have more things to write about next week! Thanks for all of you love, support, and prayers! Hope to hear from you all soon!
Before I close, however, shout out to my AMAZING brother, Jace, who has received his mission call to KOREA!!! I know without a doubt he is going to change lives. I feel so blessed to have such a great example like him in my life. I can't wait for us to be out serving together in Helaman's Army. I love you, Jace!
Kita kits sa Lunes!

Sister Anderson


Letter From The Mission President