Sunday, August 31, 2014


August 31, 2014

Well, it is OFFICIAL!!! I am in my second area and I couldn't be more happy!! As hard as it was to say goodbye to all my investigators, recent converts, and the members in Cogeo, I know that Morong is the area that I am supposed to be in. On transfer day, Elder and Sister Johnson took both Sister Sanders and I to our new area here in Morong. As we were driving and hit the Morong boundaries, I was overwhelmed. As I looked around and saw the rice fields and just the beautiful scenery, I just felt a sense of belonging- it was like I was finally home! 

My new companion is Sister Taufa from Utah. She is a rock star!! This is her last transfer in the mission, but she is not letting that bring her down one bit. We are working so hard- like so so hard! We rarely come home at all and are working from sun-up to sun-down. We get along so well- like better than I have ever gotten along with someone in my whole life! She is so full of faith and she really is so amazing at following the Spirit. We don't have too many progressing investigators right now, but we both feel that we are here to build up this branch. Morong is the highest baptizing area in the whole mission, but it also has the lowest retention rate. There are supposed to be about 600 people or so in this branch, and only about 125 attend. We have our work cut out for us!!

I LOVE THE BRANCH! On saturday night, we had a branch family home evening. I was able to meet all the leaders and quite of few of a members and I feel like I have known them forever! It is such blessing how comfortable I feel in this area because it will really help me to just dive right into the work. I am really trying to go above and beyond what my responsibilities as a missionary are here to really be able to help this branch grow. I am so imperfect and have so much to improve on, but I already can see that miracles are happening here.

On Saturday was the baptism of both Brother Laurence and Sister Imelda. It was wonderful! We didn't have to worry about filling up the font, making the programs, making sure people came, nor baptismal clothes!!! I was STUNNED!!! Oh man... I wish everyone in the world could have witnessed the baptism of brother Laurence... The man who baptized him was probably about 6'4 and weighed 275, and Laurence is this little 5'5 man, weighing like 120. They looked so funny in the font together, and the man who baptized him had never baptized him before. He said the prayer perfectly and then dunked Laurence in the water. I guess he didn't realize that after you put the person in the water, you have to pull him out... So instead, he just kept pushing him further and further down in the water! Laurence just stayed in perfect position as he was being plunged deeper and deeper, not flinchin even once. Roars began to errupt from all the members as Laurence had been under the water for what felt like a solid 15 seconds.The baptizer began to look around, not knowing what to do next and then people shouted, "get him out!" oh it was priceless!!!!! But, he was baptized so that's all that matters!

I have already been fed by the members twice since being here- that's like more than my 6 months is Cogeo! Haha. Last night we had dinner at the Susa Family, who's father is the first counselor in the branch. We had a really inspiring lesson with them about saving the one and we committed them to make a family mission plan to help reactivate the members in the branch. Sister Taufa and I are really excited to access the support of all the members to really build this branch!!

Fun things about Morong:

1.Our toilet doesn't have a flusher, so we get to flush it with a bucket.... it's a lot harder than it sounds to get everything down!

2.We get to shower using that same bucket that we use to flush the toilet! No shower head here!

3. The spiders in our house are on steroids and we've already found 2 spiders in the past 3 days that are the size of a man's hand. But I am brave and I chase them out of the house with a broom:)

4.Our house is INFESTED with ants. And I mean invested. I probably kill about 500 a day- no joke. They are everywhere- on the walls, in my clothes, in my bag, in my food... yup! Protein, right?
Well Morong is so amazing and I am so excited to continue to work hard. I can really say that I am losing myself in the work, and there is no greater feeling! I love you all! Ingat po kayo doon sa America!!

Sister Anderson

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cheers to New Adventures

August 25, 2014

Well it is official... I am being transferred! After 6 months here in Cogeo, my time is up and I am off. I have been fasting and praying that I would be at peace with whatever news I got this morning about transfers, and I can honestly say that Heavenly Father has heard and answered my prayers. I will be transferring to Morong, the 2nd most province-like place in the mission. My companion is Sister Taufa from Utah, and I couldn't be more excited! I don't always adjust well to change, but I know that this will be a great change and an amazing opportunity to get outside of my comfort zone.Cheers to new adventures!

 Cogeo... oh Cogeo... I have loved serving here. This really is my home and I have made relationships here to last a lifetime. As hard as it is going to be to say goodbye to everyone tonight, I am at peace because I know without a doubt that my work here is done. I learned a lot.. a lot a lot a lot and the person I am today is because of everything that has happened to me these past 6 months here in Cogeo. I have learned to rely on the Lord, trust in His timing, and let go of my own will. I have learned how to eat spam, cook rice, and wash all my laundry by hand. I have learned to really study the scriptures and seek fervently for answers to my prayers. I have learned how to not crack under stressful situations and how to plan, prepare, organize, and run a baptism with no one elses help. I have learned how to love people without using words. I have learned to actually communicate in Tagalog. And last but not least, I have learned that Jesus Christ is my Savior, Advocate, and Friend. I have been changed forever because of this area.
This past week has been one filled with great lessons. We were able to teach Leonard and Renald again last Sunday and it was amazing. They both said that they prayed about out message and that they know it is true. It is amazing how prepared these two men are. They make our job as missionaries so easy.
Norma and Agosto are also doing so well. We only have like 2 more lessons to teach them and they will be baptized on September 13th. They are so dear to me and I am really sad that I won't be able to attend their baptism, but I know that I did everything I needed to with them. I feel so privileged to be able to have met them. I didn't teach them, they honestly taught me.
This Saturday is Richard Agana's baptism! As much as I wish I could be here for it too, I know that I am not needed here in Cogeo anymore. Time to fulfill my next responsibilities.
I am so sad to leave Sister Alfoja and Sister Faasavalu, but they are going to rock it here in Cogeo and baptize sooo many people!!!! I feel so blessed to have been able to serve with them here!
WELLLLLL here I go!!!! Off to Morong! I love you all soo much and am so grateful for your prayers! Love you!!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The More the Merrier

August 17, 2014
Hello hello!!!
Things here in Cogeo are still going amazing! I cannot even begin to explain the progress that has happened here in just the 5ish months that I have been here. This ward has gone from being almost nonfunctional with like 80 members (80% of which were little kids), to completely functioning with the chapel filled to the brim every week. What a miracle it has been!

This week has been great! Norma and Augosto are still doing just amazing and they are so excited to be baptized. We have finished almost all of the lessons with them- they just need to get the 4 weeks in a row coming to church, and then will be baptized next month!!

Norma's sister, Lita. is doing just as great! We have been teaching Lita's daughter Michelle, and Michelle's female friend, Dyline. Turns out Michelle and Dyline are in a homosexual relationship... Fun stuff!!  It makes things so hard! Michelle is extremely potential and she even told us that she feels like our message is true... Sister Alfoja and I have been DREADING teaching them the Law of Chastity and we both literally had nightmares of teaching them that lesson. We decided to face our fears and teach Lita, Michelle, and Dyline the Law of Chastity this past week. Turns out Michelle and Dyline are going on vacation for a month and so they aren't going to be here, so we ended up just teaching Lita about the Law of Chastity. What a relief!!! Heavenly Father really does answer my prayers;)

On Thursday night at about 10:45 our phone rang. I was like 80% asleep and just let Sister Alfoja answer it. After a quick 1 minute conversation of the phone she woke me up and told me that our companionship is turning into a trio... What?! We are getting a new companion?! We were told that they were doing Emergency Transfers and that the new sister would be at our apartment the next morning at 9am. I was so nervous! Change is not my favorite thing in the world, so I was kind of anxious of what the new sister would be like! She arrived the next morning and turns our she is super great! Her name is Sister Faasavalu- she's 22 years old, originally from Samoa, but has been living in Hawaii for the past few years. She is just a transfer behind me and really is such a sweet sister! I was worried that a threesome would be hard because there is always one that is left out, but the three of us are doing awesome! The more the merrier, right?! Our apartment can only technically fit 4 sisters though... we only have 4 beds, 4 desks, and 1 bathroom for all of us, so I think someone in our companionship is leaving next transfer.... and all the members keep telling me that I am leaving... and I think I am too... Transfers are next Wednesday, but we will find out next pday who is staying and who is going. Man. I LOVE this area and we have 13 progressing investigators and 11 of them have baptismal dates for next transfer... how I really want to stay.. But I guess the Lord knows best!!
Yesterday we taught the most amazing lesson ever- like EVER! Last week 2 men in their mid to late 20's showed up at our ward, one of which was referred to us by some sisters in another area. We wanted to teach them last Sunday, but in order to teach males, we need another woman present, so we were not able to. The two of them, Leonard and Renald, showed up at church again yesterday and had a great time! In the evening, Joan Honrejas worked with us so that we could teach the two of them. They are GOLDEN!! They are so open and honest and they are literally hungering and thirsting after the truth. The Spirit was so strong as they explained to us why they want to be taught and their reasons for wanting to come closer to Christ. The words just seemed to flow off my tongue and we all 3 companions taught in great unity. They Spirit was ultimately the teacher though, which is why the lesson was so powerful. Near the end of the lesson, a distinct impression came to me that I needed to invite Leonard and Renald to be baptized. I tried to brush the prompting aside because I didn't want the two of them to be overwhelmed because after all, this was our first visit with them. But then Heavenly Father gave me a nudge and reminded me, "Sister Anderson, as a missionary, your role is to invite others to come unto Christ and to repent. If you do not invite them to be baptized, you are denying them the opportunity for them to draw near to me and enter into my kingdom." Wow. Now I really had to do it! So at that moment, I testified to them of the truth of our message and then said, "Brothers, once you have prayed and know for yourself that these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" There was a long silence as both of the men set with their heads down pondering. The Spirit was so thick that you could almost hold it. Leonard then looked up at me and said that he would. After abut 10 more seconds, Renald looked me in the eyes and too said that he too would be baptized. We extended them a date for October 4th. From this experience, I have really gained a testimony of following the promptings of the Spirit. I was a testament to me that Heavenly Father does use the weak and the simple things/people to do his great work. Through following the promptings of the Spirit, miracles will happen.
Life as a missionary couldn't be better! The area is progressing, the investigators are progressing, the ward is progressing, my language skills are progressing... just everything is looking great! There are still struggles and frustrations, but great things happen when you really understand your role as a missionary. It makes all the trials seem so small in the big scheme of things.
Thanks for all your prayers. I literally felt them a lot this week and your prayers keep me moving when I don't know if I can go much longer.
Mahal na mahal kita!!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Man in the Mirror

August 10, 2014

Good Morning from Good Ole' Cogeo!!

Things here are going wonderful and this area is just so fruitful! I cannot even begin to explain how wonderful this area is doing!!! AND to top things off, it hasn't rained in 4 days! 4 DAYS PEOPLE!! This is a new record!! I am only soaked with sweat now, not rainwater! Wahooo!!

We extended two more baptismal dates to our investigator Lailyn and her 18 year old daughter Shimar.. and they accepted! We had a WONDERFUL lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation and I am so excited for this journey that they've begun.

Augusto, Norma, and Lita are basically the most GOLDEN investigators anyone could ever ask for. They live in really rough circumstances and they are extremely poor, but their love for the Savior is bigger than anyone I know. We had a lesson the other day with them about Tithing, something that could really test someone's faith especially if they don't have much money. At the beginning of the lesson, we followed-up to see if they had read the pamphlet we'd left about tithing. They responded that they did, and then Augosto basically went on to share his testimony about tithing, as well as the importance of it and the blessings that come from sacrifice. I could not even believe it! The faith of the people here in the Philippines just blows me away!

We had zone conference this week which was awesome and also zone training. At our zone training we listened to a talk given by Elder Holland that was one of the most powerful things I have ever listened to. He talked about serving missions and how they are supposed to be hard. They allow us to shed just one of the tears that our Savior did when he suffered for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. This has given me a whole new outlook on my life here as a missionary. When things start getting tough, I am immediately humbled when I reflect on what the Savior went through. My problems are nothing compared to what he did.

At church yesterday, we had 9 investigators! 9!!!! I am telling you- MIRACLES are happening here! We even had a referral whom we had never even met come to church and he brought his friend and his 3 year old son. They really enjoyed it and we set up a time to meet with them next Sunday! During the investigator Sunday school class though, Sister Magro gave a lesson on Honesty. She then started talking about the Michael Jackson song, "Man in the Mirror" and how it connected to being honest... She grabbed her phone and we all thought she was just going to read the lyrics to us, but then all of a sudden she started blasting the song! All 4 of us missionaries sat there with our jaws on the floor... What in the world?! Basically everyone started singing along and dancing... it was like our class turned into a Baptist Church or something... Oh the things that happen in the Philippines!

Things are going fine and dandy here on the island! Love you all! Take care and enjoy your last few weeks of summer!!

Sister Anderson


Sunday, August 3, 2014

 Taguisan Hiking

Maraming Himala

August 3, 2014
Good day my dear family and friends!

I hope life is treating you as well as it is treating me! Things are going so well and there really is not a more exciting time than now to be a missionary!!! Can you believe that I have hit my 6 month mark? I sure can't!! It is going by tooooo fast!!! And I still know absolutely NOTHING!

Last Monday my kabahay and I went hiking in there area of Taguisan. It is totally jungley and  we got to walk overhanging bridges and a really sketchy bamboo bridge! AND we got chased by a crazy lady wearing a construction hat and carrying a saw!! She was completely mentally insane, singing and dancing all the way down the trail as she followed us. At one point, she got in front of all of us and out of nowhere pulled out a saw and said, "I just sharpened it!!!" and then started laughing uncontrollably and chased us back over the hanging bridge. BUT we are alive and well and I will never go back to that area again in my life:) 

This week was a week of maraming himala- or lots of MIRACLES. WOW! Heavenly Father is just DUMPING loads of miracles in our area. We got 12 new investigators this week, all of which are really potential. One of them is the 23 year old neighbor of Eunice and Shanin. She has three young kids, her husband is a drug addict, she probably weighs like 65 pounds, she used to be a prostitute, BUT she is SOOO AMAZING! Like wow!! She even accepted a baptismal date after only our second lesson with her! As we taught her the message of the Restoration, you could literally see a light turn on in her, and everything just made PERFECT sense to her. After I shared with her the experience of Joseph Smith, you could tell she was really touched and she is so excited to pray and ask if he's a true prophet.

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life! Sheen, Kevin, Richard, Dayanara, Mar Lou, Norma, Lita, and Augosto all came to church!!! It was better than anything I could have wished for!!!!! Sister Alfoja and I have really been stressing to Augosto (the 28 year old son of Norma) that he needs to come to church in order to know if what we are teaching is true. The past 3 weeks he has made excuses to come, but then yesterday he came!!! I cannot even begin to explain the joy that I had when I saw him walking up to the chapel in his red-checkered shirt. And he absolutely LOVED church and he felt the Spirit so strongly! We went and taught Norma and Augosto after church, and to our surprise, he had already read 2 Nephi 31, Alma 32, took a bunch of pages of notes and bore his testimony about some of the verses that he ready. He and Norma even accepted a baptismal date earlier this week for September 13th! We taught them the Word of Wisdom yesterday and they understood it so well! They are so prepared- Augosto has absolutely no problems with the Word of Wisdom which is so uncommon for a male here in the Philippines. Ah, they are GOLDEN!!

We hadn't yet extended a baptismal date to Norma's sister, Lita, because we had only taught her twice. We actually were planning to invite her to be baptized in our second lesson, but didn't feel prompted, so we didn't. After church yesterday though, Lita was talking to one of the members, Sister Saulan, and then Sister Saulan beckoned Sister Alfoja and I over. She explained to us that Lita wanted to be baptized when Norma and Augosto are. We were shocked! So right then and there we extended her a baptismal date- September 13th! And she gladly accepted!

After church we taught Kevin Dapena, who is the 18 year old nephew of the missionary who converted Sister Alfoja's family. It was only our second time teaching him, but he is so golden! He went to both the morning and afternoon sessions of church and loved it! He has so many questions and is probably the most sincere young man I have ever met. We also committed him to be baptized on September 20th and he also said "yes!!" 

We are also teaching Sheen who is a referral from the Wong Family. She is 22 and has a four year old daughter and looks a little rough around the edges, but she is so golden too! We were able to extend a baptismal date to her as well and she also agreed!!!!! I cannot even begin to explain how much the Lord is blessing this area!!!!!

Brother Richard Agana was able to have his baptismal interview yesterday and passed! Now he just needs to be interviewed by President because his situation in complicated... There is no such thing as divorce here in the Philippines, and so the woman that he is living with right now, Nancy, was already married before, so she cannot be divorced from her previous husband. This month,however, marks the 5 year mark since Nancy and Richard have been living together, and because they have been living together for 5 years, Richard can be baptized. Ya, the laws here stink, but he is going to be BAPTIZED!!!!

Maraming himala dito sa area po namin. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to the Lord for how much he is blessing this area. The church is true!!

Mahal kita!!
Sister Anderson
 Eunice and Shanin

Just Another Good Week

July 27, 2014


Answering everyone's question... YES!!! We have water and electricity now!! Right after we came back from the temple last Wednesday, we had electricity! The blessings that come from serving in the temple:)

Nothing extremely exciting happened in the past few days.. I got to go on exchanges with Sister Alailima though on Thursday which was fun! We got punted a lot and did not have too many lessons, but we still had a great time! For our last appointment of the day, we met up with Sister Alfoja and Sister Rupp and taught the Honrejas Family about missionary work! That Family is doing amazing!! Brother Allan received the Priesthood last week and he is so strong in is faith. Ah, he really is awesome!!

At church yesterday, Bishop Villasis was released. He served for 8 years and was really burned out, and Brother Dabu was made the new Bishop. HE IS AMAZING. Holy moly. And he is just what the ward needs! He met with us right after church and laid out a plan to help the Honrejas Family stay involved in the ward and be prepared to be sealed next July. My prayers have been answered! I have been so worried to leave the Honrejas Family because they didn't have the support they needed, but now I know they are in good hands!

We have a new investigator, Sheen, who is the neighbor of the Wong Family. She's 21 and a little rough around the edges, but is so great! Last Friday we taught her the Restoration and I told the experience of Joseph Smith. A huge grin appeared on her face as I explained it, and I know that she felt the Spirit. It was a really neat experience for me too, as I really felt the power of my calling and I felt that the Spirit was really working through me. I LOVE being a missionary!!

Guess what I ate for lunch on Saturday?! Rice and...... PORK BLOOD!!!!! And guess what?! It was sooooo goood! Like so so sooooo good!!!!! I'll have to get the recipe so I can make it for all of you when I get home!! Oooo and I tried fish balls for the first time this week too! The food here is just too good! No wonder I am packin' on dem pounds!!;)

Sorry this was so boring... Hopefully something more exciting will happen this week! I love you all! Stay strong in your faith!!!


Sister Anderson