Monday, February 23, 2015

Caring for People, Caring for Plants

Hey everybody!

Well I'm in Naperville now -- so long to St. Charles. My new companion's name is Elder Sonzini, and he's from Kaysville, UT. He went to Davis High. He's pretty cool, it should be a fun transfer working with him! 

Our new apartment is super nice! The sisters that we whitewashed moved in about a month and a half ago, so it doesn't have a lot of the furnishings that other apartments do, but it's a lot bigger, and a lot nicer. I will send pictures of it next week! And you better believe that I'm one of the cleanest missionaries, I've got to do everything I can to keep the #WifeMe status up, haha.

Elders Sonzini and Anderson

The ward here is fantastic! At transfer meeting, President Fenn told us that he thinks it's the ward that's the closest thing you can get to a Utah ward, and I would say that's probably true! There are a ton of active members, and the ward has the smallest boundaries in the mission (about 5-7 square miles), but it is one of the strongest wards in the mission as well. Our bishop is Bishop Boswell, and he and Brother Gutierrez, our ward mission leader, are both awesome! It was a little hard to leave the last area just because there were a lot of great members there.

I feel like I did okay with Elder Sonzini on his first day here, especially because neither of us knew anything about the area or knew any members of the ward. We were able to attend the baptism of four 8-year-olds on his first day here, which gave us a chance to introduce ourselves and meet a lot of the ward members, which was really good! I took him shopping to get bedding and a few more basic supplies, but there weren't any good stories that came out of that.

So the interesting things that have happened this week: 

1) On the first door that Elder Sonzini took the lead on for the door approach, and I'm not even kidding, it was the VERY FIRST DOOR, the lady let us come right into the house to share a message. HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN!? 

2) We have a super nice ward building that we meet in, it's actually the Naperville stake center (I'll try to send pictures of it too), but the chapel is spectacular, because there are live plants up on the stand, behind all of the seats (and it's not just a few, there are a lot). The history behind the plants is that Elder Oaks from the Quorum of the Twelve served in this area either in the stake presidency or as an area authority, and he had the idea to put these plants in. Now this was before the Church came out and said not to have live plants in the buildings any more, so nowadays you can't just put plants in the church, but since these plants were in place before that rule was made, we are allowed to keep them in the church building. But if they die, we can't replace them. Our assignment from the ward is to make sure that Elder Oaks' plants don't die, so once a week, we have to water and take care of them, so that's pretty cool!

Anyways, we're working hard, and we've been able to set up a few appointments over the next weeks, so we're excited to teach those! I'll let you know how it goes!

I hope that everything is going well for you at home, I love you guys!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whitewashing and Greenies: The Missionary Color Code

 So thank you for all of the winter stuff, it's really coming in handy. There hasn't been any snow lately (I don't count 5-10 minute flurries), but it has been brutally cold. I'll attach a picture with the temperature from last night. (See that 2 degree mark?) It's currently about three degrees outside, and we've received severe wind chill warnings for the past few days. The boots I have are fantastic, and they must be like the best boots that you can buy, because people from the ward are always telling me things like, "Those are some sweet boots!" so thank you for those!

First off, I've got some big transfer news! I am whitewashing an area in the Naperville 1st Ward (if you don't know what whitewashing is, it's where they take both missionaries out of an area and put in two new missionaries, rather than only swapping out a single companion), because I was called to train a new missionary! I don't know who it is yet, I'll find out tomorrow at transfer meeting, but I'm super excited! This is really crazy though, because this is my 4th transfer, and it will be my 4th companion, 3rd area, and 2nd time whitewashing. I guess I'm just to much for President Fenn to handle, LOL.

The Smith family in St. Charles ward
We had a really good week here in St. Charles! Elder Morgan and I have been working very well together, and he taught some of our best lessons over the last few days. Last night, we were able to put James Minerly on date for baptism on March 7th, and we're working with Barbara to get her on date as well. She is a little hesitant on being baptized, but James has definitely received an answer to his prayers, and is super excited to move forward, so that's great! We weren't able to teach Tim, because he is out of town for the next couple of weeks, but we did email him a list of scriptures to read, because he wanted to learn more about the apostasy. We had a great lesson with Brother Weber on Sunday, where we had to be really bold with him and tell him that if he wants to learn, it's going to take effort on his part, he's going to have to study the scriptures on his own. He told us that the Spirit hit him really hard, and so he'll work on being better at studying.

Also, another cool side note: the Cannon family from Bourbonnais that Elder Olsen and I reactivated has two kids I taught that were put on date to be baptized on March 21, so hopefully I will be able to attend that as well as the baptism for James!

So I'm pretty sure I told you that St. Charles is a pretty wealthy area. Well, last Monday I had my first real experience where I saw money come into play. So a lot of the members of the ward own companies of some kind (some own real-estate agencies, there is a couple that owns a restaurant chain, some own their own health care practices, etc.). There is a member of the ward, his name is Brother Temple, and he's so cool, I love the guy. Brother Temple is the owner of a hearing aid company that has over 200 locations across the country, and his company is worth over $65 million (we learned that from our ward mission leader, because Brother Temple is too humble to say anything about it). They had us over for dinner last Monday, and it was EASILY the nicest house that I have ever been in: it has an entrance room with a curved staircase like you see in the mansions in movies, the house has about 25-30 foot ceilings, it's just incredible. He has a Ferrari, a Porsche, a Range Rover, and at least one other car, and he's pre-ordered next year's Ferrari already! I guess owning a business is the way to do it, because he says he pretty much stays home all day and makes a few phone calls and texts, so maybe I can do that someday!

I love you guys, and I really hope that everything back at home is going well. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you or for anybody else at home.

Much love,
Elder Dallas Anderson


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Short on Message, But Not on Snow

So we had another pretty good week this week! We were finally able to sit down with Barbara and share a lesson with her. She's about 40 years old, and she lives with her brother James, who came into the lesson at the end and told us that he wants to start being taught as well, and we have an appointment this next week! 

We weren't able to meet with Tim this week, because he was busy all week, but we have an appointment set up with him on Wednesday, so it will be good to see him again! 

We had a really good lesson with a less-active member in our ward yesterday. He's a really nice guy, but he doesn't have very good self-confidence. He has a real desire to learn the gospel, and to learn deep doctrine, but he gets frustrated at himself a lot, so we're trying to teach him really simply, and we hope to start getting him to seminary classes over the course of the next week or so. 

It snowed some more this week, so Elder Morgan and I were able to shovel some snow for service. We ended up shoveling like 6-7 driveways over the course of a few days, so that was good!

I hope that things are going well for you back at home. I pray for you every day. I love you! Talk to you next week!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super-snow Sunday

Notice the snow depth -- my boots are in it to win it.
Hey from Chicago!

So I'll just jump right into the details of our week! Yesterday, our church was cancelled because it snowed all day (literally, it didn't stop from the time we woke up until the time we went to bed--we got about a foot and a half). President Fenn didn't want the missionaries out driving in the bad road conditions, so we stayed in and studied all day. 

The studying wasn't bad, but it gets a little boring after you stay in the same place for 16 straight hours. I seriously had time to watch two and a half hours of Mormon Message videos, study two full chapters from Preach My Gospel, read from the Book of Mormon, write down 7 pages of notes from past meetings in the mission, and memorize two more scriptures. The killer part of the whole deal was that it was Fast Sunday, so even though there was food around us in the apartment, we couldn't eat any of it!

For the first time in the four weeks that I've been in the St. Charles area, we saw some success tracting this week! We met four new potential investigators that we have times to meet with this next week, and we met another man, Tim, who let us right in when we knocked on his door, and we taught him the Restoration! Tim just lost his job, so we recommended LDS Employment Services to him, and we scheduled another teaching appointment with him this week! Besides all of the people that we tracted into, we have gotten permission to teach two 12-year-olds that are the adopted son and daughter of members in the ward. It should be a great week, I'm excited!

You asked about teaching via Facebook. We teach lessons by messaging people. It's not nearly as effective as talking with people face to face, but I've done it a few times now, and you can still have a good lesson with them by teaching principles and showing videos and things like that. Our mission was one of about 15-20 pilot missions to use Facebook (that's why we have the iPads and almost no other missions do yet. 

One thing that I don't think I've mentioned before: President Fenn really turned this mission around obedience-wise. This mission used to be one of the least-obedient out of all of the missions in the world, but now it's one of the most obedient. That's why the Church chose this mission to be a pilot program for Facebook and for the iPads.). 

Anyways, I love you all, and I hope that all is going well at home! 

Elder Dallas Anderson