Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's Fun to Stay at the YMCA...

October 27, 2014

Hi all:

So my area is great, I love it here. Elder Engler and I spend most of our time in Kankakee. From the history I've heard, it used to be a nice town, but when the government shut down the projects in Chicago several years ago, Kankakee was one of the main places that most of the homeless and needy people came, so it's become run-down. The good part about that is that there are lots of people that are just out walking around that we can talk to, so we don't have to do a ton of knocking. On Saturdays, Brother Anderson, a member from the ward who's just the nicest guy (he reminds me a lot of Uncle Ray), takes us down to Watseka, a little farming town which is about 45 minutes south of the Bourbonnais/Kankakee area. Although I couldn't ever live in either Watseka or Bourbonnais, it's a great area to be serving in.

So our schedule varies from day to day. We wake up at 6:30, exercise, shower, and eat breakfast before 8:00. We have studies in the morning from 8 until 11, then lunch from 11-12. After lunch, we'll visit investigators, go tracting, meet less active members, etc. until 8:00. At 8, we come home and have dinner, plan and set goals for the next day, and go to bed at 10:30.

For transportation, we have a car for half the week, and we walk and take the busses for the other half of the week.

The ward here is awesome, although it's pretty small. It's about half the size of the Hillcrest Ward. But there are several people that make 45+ minute drives to get to church, which makes me really appreciate how lucky we are to have churches so close in Utah.

Last night we had dinner with the Langfoss family. They're probably my favorite family in the ward. Dirk, the dad, is the CEO for the YMCA here in Kankakee, so he gives us free passes to come work out on p-days, which is awesome! They have 3 boys in their family--one is going to school at BYU (he served a mission in Brazil), one is in his senior year of high school and one is in his sophomore year of high school. They're just an awesome family to talk to!

So for p-days, we come to the YMCA and play racquetball. It's such a fun game, and I can see how you really enjoy it! After that, we either shoot some hoop or lift weights, it's so great.

My district has 8 people in it: 4 elders and 4 sisters. Elder Jones from the MTC is in my district, so I get to see him every week, which is really cool. Laundry is going well, and so is cooking; I usually just make soup or sandwiches, so it's pretty easy to make.

Love you, and I hope to hear from you again soon!
#GoCowboys #GoAvs
Elder Dallas Anderson

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Let's Begin in Bourbonnais

October 16, 2014

Hi Guys!

So I'm emailing you to tell you that I made it safely to Chicago (I got special permission from President Fenn saying I could email you on a day other than P-Day)! Unfortunately I can't call you, but it's always good hearing from you via email. I got your package today, and I just wanted to thank you so much for the blanket and for the sweats!

I'm in a city named Boubonnais, it's about an hour and a half south of Chicago. Unfortunately, we have to start our missionary work pretty much from scratch, because we weren't left with any investigators. From what we've heard, there's a lot of work to be done here!

My companion's name is Elder Engler, and he's from Logan. He just finished serving as an Assistant to the President, and he's been out here for 23 months, so he'll be a great trainer.

It's really weird being here in Illinois without all of you, but I'm making the adjustment. It's been raining pretty much ever since we've gotten here, which is a downer, but oh well. Last night, Elder Engler and I met with the bishop and ward mission leaders; they both seem like fantastic people! I'm excited to be a part of their ward.

My P-Days are on Mondays, so I'll get to email and write you then. I'll send the memory card from the camera to you on Monday in a letter, so you should get it later this week! I love you all, and I can't wait to here more from you soon!

Elder Dallas Anderson

DOES DALLAS KNOW? Bourbonnais (with the Frenchy pronunciation of bur-bun-NAY) has a population of 19,000 and is home to the NFL Chicago Bears summer training camp.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicago, Here He Comes!

Landon, thrilled to get his first letter direct from Elder Anderson.

October 9, 2014

Thank you for all the letters and packages everyone has sent. Getting mail is one of the highlights of my day. As the district leader, it's my responsibility to check the mail daily, and seeing ones addressed to me always makes me smile!

I hope you enjoyed General Conference last weekend. Yes, it would have been cool to have been a part of the MTC Choir, too bad I missed it by one week!

Mom, you'll be happy to know that I eat fruits and vegetables down here every day. I make sure to get some carrots, a banana, and a cup of mixed fruit for almost every meal. The food down here is soooo good though, it's a buffet every day, and they've always got good stuff for each meal.

I hate waking up so early every morning, but I'm getting in the habit of it, so it's getting easier. You'll also be happy to know that I've gone to all my classes, and that I've been doing some good studying. I'm learning a lot down here, a lot more than I did at mission prep. One of the biggest things that helps me when I teach is the motto: "We teach people, not lessons."

My teaching skills are really coming along well. I think it's a lot easier for me than it is for other elders in my district to teach, because I usually connect with the investigators we're teaching quickly and build rapport with them. I think that is what will help me most in the mission field, because it's much easier to tach people that trust you. My companion and I are still getting along really well, and we're learning more and more how to teach by the Spirit.

It's so crazy that it's already been one whole week since I got here. In some ways, it's felt like time has gone by so fast, but in other ways it seems like it has been forever. So there are five elders and two sister in our travel group for Chicago on Monday. Besides being a district leader, I'm also the travel leader, so I assign companionships for the flight. Our flight leaves at 8:52, but we have to meet in a building here at the MTC at 3:30am. Brutal. That seems like a long time just to be briefed on the flight plans, but oh well. 

I hope all is going well for you, and that work, school, and Homecoming are great!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week One is a Wow

October 8, 2014

Hey Family!

I'm glad you got my letter, the mail down here does take a while, because they have so many letters and packages to sort through. I was excited to get your DearElder letters, your email, and especially the packages. LOL about my letter, because I know the stamp goes in the top right corner, so I don't know exactly what happened when I put it on. Look for more letters in the mail soon, I'm going to try and send another one tomorrow.

So a little bit more info about my companion: his name is Elder Jeff Jones, and he is from Enterprise, Utah. He's an awesome guy, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to meet him. He lives on a ranch, and loves riding horses. He's had a troubled past: at age 14, his parents got divorced, and he started drinking, smoking, and he even got a tattoo. He moved out the day he graduated, and moved 10 times in several months before moving to the ranch. But he recognized that he wasn't happy, and he's really turned his life around, and it's so awesome to hear his stories. We're from completely different backgrounds, but I think that really helps us teach well together, because we can connect to pretty much everybody! 

So for my days at the MTC, we wake up at 6:30, then I shower and get ready, and go down to breakfast at 7:15. After breakfast, there's a daily planning session, and then personal study is from 8:15-9:15. After personal study, companionship study takes place from 9:15-10:15. Then there is additional study time (which is the time other missionaries use to learn their language better) from 10:15-11:35, and you can either have more companion study or personal study. Lunch is at 11:35, and after lunch we have classroom lessons from 12:20-3:20. After class, we have gym time, which is the best part!! After gym, dinner is at 4:50, and then is followed by personal study at 5:35-7:00. Then we have another class from 7:00-9:30, and then we go back to our residence hall for personal time. Lights out at 10:30.

So a really cool thing has happened to me already at the MTC. Last Thursday (keep in mind, this is Day 2 for me), I was made the district leader. We have 4 sisters and 4 elders in our district. But last night, we had a devotional from Brent Nielson of the Quorum of the Seventy, and I had to lead a discussion about the devotional after it was over, and the branch presidency was there. I led the discussion, and it went really well. So well, that the branch presidency said they didn't need to keep coming back, because I could handle it all by myself. What was even cooler, was that a member of the branch presidency said that he's been at the MTC for 2 years, and that I'm the best district leader he's ever seen. It totally made my day!

I have some good pictures to send, so I'll have to write you again soon. I've run into a lot of people I know down here, so I've gotten a few pictures with them, and I also have some pics with people in my district and zone.
I hope all is going well at home! 

Love you all, talk to you again soon!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Later Letter

Preface: While we were assured by many that Elder Dallas would be writing a letter to us on his first day at the MTC, our mailbox remained empty on Thursday, Friday, Saturday…and by Monday there was much gnashing of teeth.

BUT… today, nearly a week after he sent it, a letter arrived! It turns out that despite our best intentions to prepare Elder Dallas for a mission (how to do laundry, cook, mend, study, etc.), we neglected to instruct him how to put a stamp on a letter. Apparently the post office scanner could not properly read the letter and it was hung up for a while in outer postal darkness.

October 1, 2014

I made it safely through my first day at the MTC! I miss you all like crazy, but know that I love you all.

So Wednesdays are the best days at the MTC not only because it will be my P-Day for the only full week I'll be here, but because they serve unlimited ice cream at lunch and dinner!

Today was a pretty easy day, because they're trying to ease us into the flow of things, but there is so much going on all the time.

My companion's name is Elder Jeffery Jones, and he's from southern Utah (from a town about 30 miles west of Cedar City). He's a really nice kid and he enjoys riding horses (he lives on a ranch) and working on cars.

I am in a district of 8 people: 4 elders and 4 sisters. Everyone in our district except Elder Jones and I will be serving in South Carolina.

I saw Brooklyn, Kemmer, and two kids I played golf in high school with, and met a lot of friendly new people. 

I love you all, and I can't wait to write you again next week!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Proof of Life

There have been two Dallas sightings! Sister Brooklyn Brewer reported seeing a smiling Elder Dallas in the MTC hallways and Elder Preston  Gardner caught up with our mystery missionary in the lunchroom between General Conference sessions this weekend.


Grateful for missionary friends who are doing their part. You'll find Mama Christy camped out next to the mailbox.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And he's off!

Elder Anderson was deposited safe and sound at the Provo Missionary Training Center on October 1, and his family have not drowned in tears of joy or grief. Yet.

If you would like to contact Elder Anderson during his stay at the MTC, you may email or write him at the following address. He will be leaving for Chicago on Monday, October 13, 2014.

Elder Dallas Anderson
Oct 13
2009 North 900 East #139
Provo, UT 84602