Monday, December 29, 2014

Hear, Hear! Elder Dallas

Dear Family!

It was so great being able to talk to you all on Christmas! Although... I wish I could have been there to celebrate with everyone. It's really crazy how fast that two hours went, time never seems to go that fast on regular days, so I couldn't tell you why that was. I'm glad that you liked my package, and that everything came in okay. (That was one of the reasons why I didn't have time to write home.) The boat is money better spent than college, so I think you're making the right choice. (;

EDITOR'S NOTE: [Elder Dallas sent home a SkyMall Magazine asking for this needful item upon his return in 2016.]
The Seabreacher Customized Boat
allows the vessel to jump over, dive under,
and cut through the waves.
Starting at $85,000

I didn't have time to report that last week, I went to the doctor because I couldn't hear out of my left ear, and I had a pressure and a throbbing pain in my left ear for several days. WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT. At the doctor's office, it was determined that I did not have an ear infection like I had previously thought, but that I had a bunch of earwax in both ears that was blocking everything up. So they flushed my ears out with a hydrogen peroxide solution, and a ton of little pieces came out of both ears. The gross part was that I had a chunk of wax in both ears that were about half the size of a penny. The total amount of wax that was flushed out of my ears could have probably filled one of the measuring cups you use for liquid medicines... Anyways, I can hear again, so CHEEYAH!

This week, we had a part-member family come to church that we've been working with for the whole time I've been out here on my mission, and it was their first time coming in what sounds like years! They were really going through some rough times last week, but they figured out that the happiest their family ever was was when they were attending church, so hopefully that keeps them motivated to come in the future! The family consists of Nina and Jason (the parents), Zach (13), Erik (11), Kayden (10), Madison (9), Harley (7), and Jackson (2). Zach and Erik have both been baptized, but aren't priesthood holders, and Kayden and Madison haven't been baptized, so there can be a lot of great work done with this family! It seems like every time we visit their family, one of the kids ask what they have to do to be baptized. Nina said that she had a really good experience at church on Sunday, so hopefully this gets the ball rolling for future progression in their family!
Also this week, we were able to teach lessons to French, Mark, and Ray. Although none of them made it to church on Sunday, we hope to continue to teach them this week and see them progress as time moves on. Saturday, Elder Olsen and I tracted into a woman named Mrs. Bell, who let us right in. We taught Mrs. Bell and her family a short lesson on the Book of Mormon, and even though they are Baptist, they agreed to read together and to have us back to discuss what they read. She asked us questions like, "Do you celebrate Christmas?" and "Do you think Jesus was baptized by immersion?" She seemed really surprised that we share some of the same beliefs that she does.

I forgot to ask on Christmas: are there some favorite scriptures that you guys have that I should memorize? I've been trying to memorize scriptures, and I'd love to add a few more to the list if there are some that you'd recommend!
So the picture at the top is of me and Shawntae! He's so chill!
I think that's it for the week! Let me know if you have any questions for me. I love you all!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Our Christmas Conversation with Elder Dallas

Joy to the World! We had a great visit with Dallas on Christmas Day via FaceTime. He looks and sounds even better than we'd hoped: happy, handsome, and immersed in his mission. 

In general, he wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and sends his love. Plus... he provided these answers to your pressing questions:

- To answer Aunt Nic's question: I politely swallow down the food I'm given, even though I don't like it. I don't mind broccoli, so it's not really something that's hard for me to eat. The two foods that I've really had to choke down out here are catfish (I pretty much drowned it in lemon juice so that I wouldn't have to taste it) and mushrooms that were stuffed with cheese.

- To answer Aunt Angie's question: I don't really know the song, but I believe I've heard it once or twice. However, I do know that it alludes to the Great Chicago Fire, and that the story goes that the cow (I think the cow's name is Mrs. O'Leary) kicked over a lantern, which caught the barn on fire, and the fire spread and caused a lot of destruction. 
EDITOR'S NOTE: We don't think the cow's names was Mrs. O'Leary...

- Elder Dallas lives in a house that has been converted into four apartments. His neighbors are all very friendly, although he knows more about all of them than he would like as the walls are very thin. He says regular movie nights over one neighbor's awesome sound system are somewhat detrimental to companion planning.

- The missionaries had a big Christmas fireside with 60-70 missionaries in attendance. One of the zone leaders dressed as Santa and passed out gifts -- which the missionaries then opened at their apartments Christmas morning. He sends his thanks for so many cards and presents!

- At every mission meeting, the opening song is "Called to Serve" and the closing is "The Time Is Far Spent" -- one of his new favorite hymns.

- Elder Dallas' area consists of three cities that kind of blend together (sort of like Murray/Midvale/Cottonwood). The Spanish sisters are in the newer area, Bourbonnais, and they share a car with the elders. Elder D and his companion are in the Kankakee section, where as white boys, they really stand out. Kankakee has consistently been on the country's top 10 of areas least able to bounce back from the recession.

- Although his family has sent him a couple of gift cards to McDonalds and Subway (because they're everywhere, right?), there are no McDonalds or Subways in Kankakee. The sisters have all the restaurants in their area. (Don't worry, he's keeping his stockpile of gift cards to eat really well after a transfer or two.)

- The members are taking good care of the missionaries. Brother Anderson has taken Elder Anderson under his wing; it was from his home that the elders called home on Christmas.

If you didn't get your Christmas Wish of an answer about the Chicago West mission, please let us know! And from Elder Anderson, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Questions for Christmas

Family, friends and fans of Elder Dallas:

We did not get a letter from Elder D this week on P-day, but we are really looking forward to talking with him on Christmas Day. I know he wishes he could talk with everyone, but since that's not possible, here's the next closest thing.

If you'd like, please send ONE question and/or one greeting that we can share with him over the phone. We'll take note of his responses and turn them into a post. Be creative, he'd love to hear your personality come out in your question/comment.

Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks for your support of this and every missionary!


Email your question/comment to or add it to the comments section of this blog.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Polar Express (our party, not our weather)

Hey everybody!

I was glad to hear that Landon had a good birthday, and that you had some fun parties at the house this week! And if you see Ciera again, you'll have to tell her hi for me!

So this week in the greater Kankakee area, we taught a very nice young man named Travis. He belongs to another church, and we don't know if he's really interested in joining our church, but he loves our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and has a sincere desire to serve them. He's already been on two service missions in his life, and he's planning on going on one, maybe even two this next year. Anyways, we had a really good discussion about the Book of Mormon and how it gives us the fullness of the gospel alongside the Bible. Besides Travis, we met a great guy named Anthony, and he told us that he'd be interested in sitting down with us and talking more about the gospel.

We had an exchange this week, and I was in charge of running our area with Elder Payne (one of our Zone Leaders), while Elder Olsen went out to Ottawa with Elder Staheli (our other Zone Leader). All of the set appointments we had this week fell through, which was no good, but we still saw several of our investigators briefly, so that was good.

Also, Saturday was the ward Christmas party, and it was a blast! The theme was the Polar Express, and the cultural hall was decorated like the North Pole, and there was a big cardboard train that was made for decoration, and the hallway was decorated like the inside of a train, where you could sit and drink hot chocolate and watch the Polar Express movie. It was a really good turnout, I would guess that there were probably over 100 people there. And the food was fantastic!

So I've mentioned before there is a member in the ward named Brother Jim Anderson, and he's just one of the nicest people that you will ever meet. He reminds me a lot of Uncle Ray, because he's got the same really genuine, kind personality, he dresses really classy, and he just loves what he does. He goes out with us a lot, and he's got a great testimony. But anyways, he gave Elder Olsen and me Christmas stockings this week. The stockings had fruit, candy, a Christmas CD from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a journal, and a tie in them. It was a really kind gesture, and I just love Brother Anderson. Good name.

I don't think I have any real good or funny stories from the week, so sorry about that...

I love you guys, and I'm praying for you!
I hope to hear from you again soon,
Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Elder Everyone Wants...

Hey everybody!

So this week here in Kankakee, we were able to have another lesson with Shawntae! We read 2 Nephi 31 with him and talked about baptism and why it's important. He told us that he wants to be baptized at some point, but isn't ready to set a date to be baptized on yet because he wants to get his life cleaned up a little bit first. He'll have to make some big changes in his life, but I know if he really has the desire to be baptized, that it can push him to overcome any obstacles that might get in his way. 

Besides Shawntae, we met a few new potential investigators named Travis and Alecio. We're hoping that we'll be able to teach them later this week, because they both had some questions for us. Also, we met with Loretta yesterday, and although she wasn't able to sit down with us then, we set up a return appointment with her later this week, so we should have a lesson with her! Unfortunately, we still haven't been able to sit down with Jermaine. 

A problem we have with many investigators here is that their phones get shut off, or they don't return any of our phone calls or texts, so it's hard to get in touch with them. It can be frustrating at times, because it's hard to confirm or set up future appointments, but we do the best we can with the circumstances we have.

The main teaching resource that we use is the "He is the Gift" video that the Church released. If you haven't watched it already, I highly recommend checking it out. The Church is going to great lengths to advertise this video, including buying out the main ad on YouTube's home page (as well as making a 30-second version of the video and showing it as an advertisement before videos on YouTube), buying multiple billboards in Times Square, and distributing pass-along cards in every issue of December's Ensign. The Church estimated that they are expecting at least 220 million different people to see the video.

The golf balls that I received in my birthday package were great! I carry one around in my coat pocket every day when I'm out and about, and they're really useful! We have a Zone Conference in Joliet on Tuesday, and the topic for the conference is Christmas, but I don't know if that's considered a party. Also this week, we have the Bourbonnais Ward Christmas Party, and the theme is the Polar Express, so I'm stoked for that!

A couple random things that have happened to me: I didn't mention this in last week's email, because I find it extremely awkward, but I guess it is kind of funny. So for the few weeks that I have been out here in Illinois, I've been hit on several times. From comments like, "Mmmmmmh, you are looking mighty fine today," to "Sweetheart, you have beautiful eyes," and everything else I've heard, I can't tell you how awkward the situations are. But a couple weeks ago was the most awkward situation that I've been in. We were at Taco Bell grabbing a bite to eat before attending a baptism, and the cashier was interested in hearing about what we do as missionaries (I don't know if she was genuinely interested in our message, or if she was just interested in seeing four guys in suits and ties). Anyways, she calls over a guy who was working the drive through and told him that we were teaching about Jesus Christ. He told us that he wasn't interested in our message, but then he pointed at me and said, "Except I wouldn't mind having you teach me."..............AWKWARD. So I got hit on by a gay guy. Easily the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

I hope all is going well at home, I love you all! Listen to some good Christmas music for me!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, December 1, 2014

Piles of Pie and other Mission Delights

Hi everybody, and happy holidays! 

So for Thanksgiving, we ate dinner at the Beyers' house (Sister Beyer is the Relief Society president). We had turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, pie, brownies, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and asparagus (you'd be happy to know that I ate some). It was delicious! There were about 20 people there from the Beyers family, and then the sister missionaries were there as well, along with a couple families from the ward. 

The fireside at President Fenn's house afterwards was great, he taught us about gratitude and remembering the hand of the Lord in all our doings, and how it is one of the promises we make in our baptismal covenant. It was top-notch stuff! They had pie at the mission home afterwards, and the entire table was covered in pieces of pie. There were probably about 60-80 missionaries there, so it was packed! We'll have a fireside for Christmas, but it will be divided up into zones, so there won't be that many people there at the same time.

I wasn't able to go to the mission office at all this week, we had exchanges at the Naperville stake center. My new companion's name is Elder Olsen, and he's from Garland, Utah. We get along pretty well, so that's good!

We didn't get to see Jermaine or Raoul this week, but we did come in contact with Kendall, and we're hoping to meet with him again this week. Elder Olsen and I also taught a guy by the name of Shawntae, who is someone Elder Engler and I found, but we're never able to sit down with him. The lesson went pretty well: we taught him about the Restoration and he seemed to understand everything. I think the biggest issue Shawntae will have is with the word of wisdom, so be sure to keep him in your prayers. 

The highlight of our week was teaching Loretta on Sunday. We taught her about the Restoration and a little bit about the plan of salvation. She had a son that was murdered a while back, and she was having a really hard time with life, but she overcame that when she saw God's love for her. Loretta bore us her testimony that she knew God loves each and every one of us, and that He's there for us during our trials. It was a really spiritual lesson, and I hope she felt the power of our message. She happily accepted our reading assignment (2 Nephi 31), so please pray that she will read and that she will know that what we are teaching is true.

Also, I got assigned to speak in church on Lando's birthday, so I'll sent you a copy of my talk afterwards.

Thank you to everyone for the birthday packages, I really appreciate it! And remember:

Wise men still seek Him. He is the gift. #ShareTheGift

Love you all!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Chillin' in Chi-Town