Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Slidin' on through...

S/O from Chi-Town!

Elder Campbell and I had a good week this week going around the mission; zone training meetings started, which meant we went to Joliet and Peoria to fix and update apps on everybody's iPads, and we audited all of the iPads as well. Also, we presented not once, but twice at New Missionary Training on Tuesday (once on Online Proselyting, once on the Areabook app). It was my first time ever presenting in the mission, so might as well go off of the deep end and do two presentations instead of one.

We met with Anand this week, and he's doing well, but still struggling with the Word of Wisdom and has concerns with the Law of Chastity as well. The good news is that his parents are now home from out of town, which means he'll have a curfew that will keep him out of trouble, but it's also harder for us to meet with him, because his dad doesn't really like the missionaries. We plan to see him later tonight though, so hopefully that lesson ends up going well! 

Besides Anand, we haven't been able to get in contact with Diamond, but we did see Justin this week! He's doing well, but his friends are not having the best of luck...His best friend got shot last week, and another one of his friends got stabbed the next night. Justin said that there has been a lot of gang activity in the area lately, so definitely keep them in your prayers. As for me, I love that part of town, because that's where people are the most real. They are super funny and talk the language of the streets. For example, we talked to one guy who was busy, and when we asked if we could come back to teach him more, he said, "Yeah! When you finna be back, just slide on through!" We also taught lessons to a couple of less-active members of the ward, and they're doing pretty well!

Another interesting thing that happened this week is that I got to go on my first exchange in the Spanish program. Let me just tell you, I gained a new level of respect for all of the missionaries that learn a new language on their missions. You can just say that after the exchange, I pretty much knew Spanish backwards and forwards. #ComoSeDiceFluent Gotta give a quick S/O to all those missionaries speaking in other languages, and specifically Elder Brockbank, because he's not even completely immersed in a Spanish-speaking culture but he's tearing it up. 

That's about all that I've got for the week, I love you, and I hope that you have a wonderful week. 

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life in the Tech Zone

President Fenn (far left) at his homecoming meeting.
This photo is of all 8 bishops who have ever served
in the Ensign Peak Ward.


I'm glad to hear that President and Sister Fenn's homecoming talks went well, I can't imagine how packed it must have been, that would have been insane. It's like the complete opposite of the YSA ward here; we get around 30-50 people each week for church. Speaking of church, Anand came yesterday, and he seemed to really enjoy himself. We weren't able to teach him last week, but we had a solid lesson on the Word of Wisdom this morning. He's still dealing with some personal issues, so we haven't been able to put him back on date again, and we won't be able to for a couple of weeks, but he's still progressing, and he's pretty determined to get his life on track.

Other than Anand, not a lot happened this week for us. The biggest thing that happened was Mission Leadership Council on Friday, where all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders met at the mission home with us (the technology elders), the assistants, and President and Sister Griffin. We discussed how the missionary work is going in each zone and how we can make improvements. It was a pretty good meeting, and I learned a lot being there.

A little bit about the schedule that we have as technology missionaries: so we generally spend two days (usually Wednesdays and Fridays) working in the office, and the rest of the week proselyting. We don't ever go tracting, because the odds of you finding a YSA-aged person knocking each door is about 1 in 10,000. Instead, we go street-contacting in the downtown areas and stop by less-active members and former investigators to try to find people that are interested. Some weeks are different than others though, because this week, for example, we have meetings to go to on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in different zones in the mission, so that will mean that we have a lot less time to proselyte in the upcoming week.

Thanks for all that you do for me, I appreciate it! 

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, July 6, 2015

Workin' for the Weekend

And hello again!

It's been a good few days since the last time I was able to email: Anand came to church and had a good experience! We're going to try to put him back on date in about a week, he just has some personal things that he has to clear up first, but he still has the intent to be baptized. We haven't been able to get ahold of Diamond recently, so hopefully he's still doing okay. Most of the people we're teaching live in or near the ghettos, which is actually quite fun to serve near, because you meet some characters! Don't worry though, we had to be inside by 7:00 on the 4th of July, so safety wasn't a concern there.

We had a miracle happen on Friday: a less-active member called us and told us that he wants to start coming to church again and meeting with the missionaries. We saw him the next day, and he's a stud! He's super missionary minded, and has a really strong testimony for someone that hasn't been super active in the Church! He came to church on Sunday as well!

Also on Friday, I got to go back to Bourbonnais, because there was a YSA-aged man that got baptized that is thinking about giving the YSA a shot. It's tough for people in that area to come to the YSA ward, because it's about a 70 minute drive. It was fun to see some familiar faces, I saw Brother Anderson, the Beyers, and Bishop Freedlund.

Elder Campbell and I got matching t-shirts today at Dick's, so you can say the level of companionship unity is on point!

Talk to you again soon!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What Even Is P-Day?!

Elder D, President and Sister Fenn

Hey everyone!

So if you're wondering why this email is coming in so late, I'm going to explain. I just want to clarify that I'm not breaking any rules sending this email this late in the week. Preparation Day will be next Monday like it usually is (at least that's what we expect). A little new information about my new area: I'm working with Elder Campbell, who's from Layton, and he's way chill, I love working with him! He went to school at the U before his mission studying computers, so at least one of us knows what they're doing with technology. Our apartment is in Woodridge, and there is one place in our area (it covers two stakes if you remember) where we can see the Chicago skyline, so that's pretty sweet!

It was an EXTREMELY crazy week last week. So transfers got all messed up because of bad weather in Chicago--one flight with new missionaries got in at 1:00 A.M. Tuesday morning (10 hours late), and the other didn't get in until 1:30 that afternoon (22 hours late). The whole transfer schedule got screwed up: usually, the new missionaries come in in the afternoon, and there is a 8-9 hour training session at the mission home, and the technology missionaries have plenty of time to get all of the iPads set up. With this transfer, we only had 3.5 hours to set up all of the iPads, and our presentation was cut out of the training session, so we didn't get to present any of the iPad restrictions and regulations. At the end of transfer day, there is a meeting for departing missionaries, which the tech elders are invited to attend. Since everything was running like 4 hours behind, the meeting started 4 hours late, and we didn't get home and get to bed until like 1:00 in the morning (which makes it tough for the following day, because we wake up at 5:45).

Friday was a mission conference on the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; it was kind of a last hoorah for President and Sister Fenn before their departure on Monday (more on that later). President created a 87 slide Powerpoint presentation, so Elder Campbell and I went through and edited everything and made it look good for the final presentation. We actually got permission to stay up later than usual to help him the night before the conference. Now back to the actual conference: so we had lunch before the presentation, but President Fenn had an allergic reaction to a trace of nuts found in the sandwiches. He was debating whether or not to go to the hospital and abandon the slideshow, but he felt impressed like he needed to give the talk. Wow, was it a powerful one! It started off not too hot, you could tell that he was in serious pain and having major difficulties, but by the end, he was speaking with his regular vigor and power. It was really a testimony to me of how the Lord gives strength when it is needed most. The conference ended with us singing "Praise to the Man," and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had with a hymn. After the meeting, President gave me a hug (which is really special, because he doesn't give out hugs often--it's the only one I got on my mission) and told me that he loved me, which was pretty cool. I even got a photo with him and Sister Fenn!

Teaching-wise this week, we met with a young man named Anand, who's 17 years old, but one of the smartest kids I've met, especially when it comes to the gospel. He made a profound statement at one of the lessons where he's noticed that when he does what is right, it becomes easier and easier to do right, and the voice in his head telling him to do wrong goes away more, and vice versa. Really bright, intelligent kid. He's scheduled to be baptized on July 11th, but has some concerns with drugs, and he's on parole, so definitely keep him in your prayers. Also, we taught another young man named Diamond, who we put on date for August 1st. He's super cool, and he came to church on Sunday and had a really good experience. Funny side note about Diamond, he sounds EXACTLY like Chance The Rapper (Landon will get who I'm talking about). We had a drop lesson with a woman named Marcella, where we're going to give her some time off from the missionary lessons, because she's not really acting on the invitation to be baptized, even though she has been taught everything and feels that it is true. Besides that, we had a miracle with a man named Keith on Sunday--he doesn't have a working phone, and we stopped by, and as we were leaving, he came home and we set up a lesson with him. If we had have been there even a minute earlier, we would have missed him entirely, so that was pretty cool.

As far as technology goes, I'm making the adjustment into the position, and I'm starting to get the hang of a lot of the things we do. We get tons of phone calls and emails asking for help with the areabook app and different stuff like that. Just so you know, I might have to come home with glasses though, because the tech elder before me told me that the computers and iPads just ruined his eyes, and now he wears glasses. Hopefully that's not the case, but we'll see how it turns out!

On Monday, President Fenn had about two hours to sit down with President Griffin and give him as much information as possible about the mission. After that meeting, President and Sister Fenn were off (President is driving back to Utah in his new BMW), and President and Sister Griffin were in charge. It's pretty crazy, because President Griffin is actually taller than President Fenn, which is saying something, because President Fenn was 6'3" or so. President Griffin is probably 6'4"-6'5", which is pretty cool! We had a meeting where we got to know President and Sister Griffin today, and they're both great! President Griffin is from South Carolina and sounds a little bit like the coach from "The Blind Side." In the meeting, we had to each introduce ourselves and tell everyone a hobby or two that we had. I said that my hobby was writing jokes and posts for Twitter, LOL.

Now we come to the title of this letter: What even is P-Day!? "I don't know," I would respond. You see, since President Fenn left on Monday, Elder Campbell and I had to help him transfer every single file and personal information off of his computer to his personal iPad and hard drive, and everything from the mission iPhone to his personal iPhone, because we had to wipe the phone clean for President Griffin. We were in the office doing that all of Sunday night, all day Monday (except for the two appointments we had), and Tuesday morning as well.

President Fenn told us that we could do P-Day on Tuesday since we helped him all day Monday, but that didn't work, because we had to help set up everything for President Griffin. We went to the mission home and set up a brand new computer for him and installed all of the cables and accessories that he needs to make that work properly. Then we helped him set up his phone with all of the mission information. Besides that, we've had to send out the area email accounts for all of the missionaries in the mission, and we've been approving everyone for online proselyting through Facebook. That meant preparation day on Tuesday was gone. Wednesday, we had a lesson with Anand, a lesson with Marcella, and had to work in the office some more and accomplish more tasks (like compiling all of the Harvester documents President Fenn ever wrote into one single document), which saw a Wednesday P-Day go out the window. Then Thursday was the "Meet President and Sister Griffin meeting," followed by a lesson with Justin, followed by work in the office, followed by dinner with a member, topped off with institute, which was one of the greatest lessons that I've ever heard! So, after all of that chaos, I'm finally getting a chance to write home today, even though we don't get a full preparation day.

Anyways, I'm stoked that you got to see James this week, he's my man. Definitely tell him hi for me! You'll have to tell Carleigh hi for me when you see her next as well! That's pretty much it from me! I love you all back in the 801, and I
hope that life is treating you right!

Much love,
Elder Dallas Anderson