Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Not Digging the Digging

 Hey there!

This week was pretty slow on the teaching side--we had two lessons with recent converts in the ward that went well, but didn't find any new investigators and weren't able to connect with any of the potential investigators that we found last week. We had two zone training meetings that we attended where we audited iPads and updated apps on them, and we have a meeting tomorrow with all of the new missionaries and their trainers where we're presenting for 20 minutes or so. Our topic is "Dos and Donts" of Facebook, and we'll probably have to throw it down a little bit, because missionaries are getting pretty relaxed with what they are posting on Facebook.

A couple crazy experiences this week: Tuesday, I'm sure you probably heard about the tornados here in Illinois that happened. Well the storms that came with them were unbelievable, easily the worst storm I've seen in my life. Elder Campbell and I were driving (I was at the wheel) to a lesson, and we were going 12 MPH on a 55 MPH road, and there was a layer of rain always on the windshield, literally the wipers could not go fast enough. Everyone was driving with their emergency flashers on for better visibility, and there were over 12 cars that pulled off to the side of the road because it was nearly impossible to drive. You couldn't see any of the different lanes, so pretty much you drove wherever you wanted as long as you stayed on the road. We ended up canceling the lesson and driving home, because we got a tornado warning on our phone. If that wasn't crazy enough, a tornado touched down in Joliet, which is where we were earlier that day, and one started forming in Oakbrook, which is exactly where we were. Fortunately, we're all safe and sound, it's a real blessing that we didn't get hurt or stuck in the storm.

The other interesting thing that happened this week, maybe you saw it on Facebook, is that Elder Campbell and I helped a member build a privacy fence in his backyard. I swore that after helping build the fence in our backyard, I wouldn't do it again, but this experience just solidified that you couldn't pay me enough to build another fence...Here's the story: Joe (the member) rented an auger (a fence post digger), and it was pretty heavy, probably 80-100 pounds. Now here's the thing, you're probably like, Dallas, 80 pounds is nothing, that's a joke. But when you've got to lift it up and down over and over, and adjust your grip several times, and the machine's vibrating like crazy, it gets heavy real quick. Anyways, Joe wasn't home (his uncle was), but he had us start so that when he got home, we could finish up faster. So Elder Campbell and I are starting to dig with the auger, and the first hole goes okay, we're trying to get the hang of it, but we get it done. The second hole, we dig down to about 38 inches or so (we were digging down to 42 inches deep) and the machine locks up in some clay, and we can't get it out of the hole, because it's stuck. Now the machine doesn't have a reverse button, so we had to get a big pipe wrench, hammer a 3-foot piece of metal to the end of it for leverage, and manually unscrew this thing from the clay. It was freaking exhausting, and it took us about 2 hours to do that. But the story doesn't end there, that wouldn't be good enough. We finally get it out and finish digging the hole and move on to the next hole. We start digging this hole, and get about 20 inches down, and the machine plugs again, which means that we have to get it out by hand, round 2. After another 30-60 minutes finally getting that out, we discover that it's an old garbage pile from the previous home owners, so when they built the new house, they threw all the garbage in the backyard and just buried it. So while Elder Campbell is working with Joe's uncle to cut through all of the garbage with a saw (we found tons of glass, pieces of metal window frames, yard supplies, cans, etc.), I'm starting to dig the next hole in the corner by hand. I actually got that one 100% done, and got the next one down to 38 inches by hand by the time they finished with the other hole. So you know, digging by hand is exhausting too. But, we get done with those holes, and we get the courage to try the auger one last time. Fortunately, we got the remaining 5 holes done without an issue, but we were super sore by the end. And that, my friends, is why I will never build another fence again.

Well, that was pretty much my week. Hopefully we can start finding some new people to teach. We are going to try signing up for service at a couple of different places and seeing if that allows us to meet new people.

Well Mom, I love you and I hope you'll let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!

Elder Dallas Anderson

P.S. Here's a picture of my haircut! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Will the Jogger Trend End Before Elder Dallas Gets Home?

(Editor's note: Elder Dallas' initial comment is in response to a photo of Landon during back to school shopping. He's wearing a pair of jogger pants -- of which Landon obviously does not approve.)

LOLOLOL at the back to school shopping picture, Landon is straight flexing but is trying to make it look like he's not. And joggers are totally the thing. You know I'll have a pair of those with no socks, boat shoes, and some wayfarer sunglasses when I get home, because that's totally the thing. #LandonDontKnowSwag

Speaking of swag, I got a haircut today and got a part on the side. It's the first time I've done that, and I think I like it. I might do it again next time, we'll see. And score on the pizza, that's sweet! Not as good as getting $90 of Lou Malnati's for free, but still, that's something. Have you ever Googled Giordano's pizza before or gone to their website? It's crazy good! The pepperoni is still one of my favorite, but the meat combo is amazing too, they put like 5 different meats on there!

Getting on to missionary work, we learned that Anand is back in rehab again, but he isn't in our area any more, so we won't be able to visit him. It's sad that we won't be able to teach him anymore, but hopefully it helps him move forward so that he can accept the gospel in the future. Besides Anand, Elder Campbell and I did some tracting this week and found two YSA-aged people that we hope to start teaching this week. We also found 5-6 potential investigators that aren't YSA-aged, so we referred them to different missionaries, but finding is finding, and we're glad that we found some people that were interested.

We were able to teach a couple of less-active members and recent-converts in the ward this week. The highlight was probably our lesson with Ru Yi yesterday. We had a member with us that has only been a member for about a year, but he's about as solid as it gets as a member. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and he did a great job teaching with us. Ru Yi is great, she is understanding everything and is retaining it as well. A little bit about her history: she was on a trip to Hong Kong when she was about 14, and met missionaries there. They baptized her 4 hours later, so she has a very limited knowledge of the gospel and is still working on her conversion right now.

We spent a lot of time at meetings and in the office this week auditing and writing a training guide for President for how the Technology Missionaries can get involved in the new training program that he announced at this round of zone training meetings. We also learned at the meetings that the church program, "Just Serve" is going to be coming to our mission sometime around October.

I'll email you one of our presentations that we give to the new missionaries when they come in. It talks about a few of the basic rules that we have. I'm also going to send you a copy of the Belief Window CD, we just don't have time to go to the post office today, so hopefully we can get it in the mail next week.

I love you, and hope that you're doing well at home. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you!

Elder Dallas Anderson

P.S. Mom, you would be jealous to know that I ate at On The Border this week.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Week of Weak Sleep

Coming at you live from Chi-Town!

Last week was transfer week, and it was absolutely crazy! We would have shown Wiz Khalifa a thing or two about what No Sleep really is.

So we'll start off with the Nauvoo trip, which was actually about a week and a half ago, but I'll count it just to show that we're starting off trying to catch up on sleep in the first place. That day (Friday), we woke up at 4:00 a.m. and didn't get to bed until about 11-11:30 p.m. Sunday night, we were at the office until 10:30 (more on that later), so it was another night getting to bed around 11-11:30. Monday was the day that the new missionaries came in, and we had to set up iPads and present training. We went to bed at 11:30 that night too. Tuesday we were in attendance at the departing missionary meeting to pick up the iPads from the missionaries that were going home. We went to bed around 11-11:30 again. All this being said, you have to remember that Elder Campbell and I wake up every day at 5:45 so that we have some extra time to exercise in the morning, so that adds up to a lot of less-than-enough-sleep nights. This week, we are going to three zone training meetings, and while we will be getting to bed on time, we'll have to wake up earlier so that we can make the drive and get to the meetings on time (for two of them).

Here we go with the tech update for last week: Last Saturday and Sunday, we spent several hours setting up Apple ID and iCloud accounts for all of the new missionaries coming in. There were 28 new missionaries, so that took us quite a bit of time. Monday, we helped pick up some of the new missionaries from the airport (we got to go out of the mission, so watch out for us rebels), and drove them back to the mission home for training. We had an hour-long presentation where we talked about basic rules for the iPads and online proselyting, and help set up their email accounts and the basic configuration of the iPads. After we finished presenting (about 4:30), we spent the rest of the night (until 10:30) updating the iPad software, installing the necessary apps, and adding restrictions to all of the iPads. The good news about being at the mission home that night, was that President and Sister Griffin ordered Giordano's pizza, which is my favorite! Attached is a picture of all of the pizza boxes, there were about 15 large pizzas!

Tuesday, we had transfer meeting, so Elder Campbell and I answered questions and fixed a couple of iPads that had problems going on with them. We learned that all of the new missionaries' iPads messed up and deleted their email accounts, so we had to set them up all over again...

Wednesday's highlight entailed going to Chama Gaucha, a Brazilian steakhouse, for lunch. I probably ate a couple of pounds of meat, but it was incredible. The check was something else though, because missionaries are definitely not rolling in the big bucks. It broke the bank, but was definitely worth it.

As for our proselyting during the week, we found a couple of people through tracting that were interested in learning more about the gospel. Since both of the people we met have families, we passed them off to different missionaries. The sad news of the week is that Anand called us yesterday and told us that he doesn't believe all that he is reading in the Book of Mormon and doesn't want to continue meeting with us. It's tough, but we hope that we can meet one last time to answer any questions that he has and see if we can resolve his concerns.

Well, that's about it for me. Looking forward to next week!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Saturday, August 8, 2015

And now, Nauvoo!

So my apologies that this email is getting to you so late, it's been an absolutely crazy week, and I'm going to write about it more in my email on Monday. Every six weeks brings about transfers, and so the day before transfer meeting (which falls on a preparation day), we spend all day at the office and don't really get a P-Day that week.

Last week was pretty great, we were able to teach Anand three different times, and there is a member that is really taking care of him and welcoming him into the ward. Besides Anand, we taught Mitchell over Skype and were able to have a meeting with Bishop Freedlund down in Bourbonnais and talked about how we can get involved with the YSA-aged members down there.

Another cool thing that happened last week is Elder Campbell and I were transfer-van certified! The transfer van is a 15 passenger van used to take large groups of missionaries to and from the airport and from different areas. There was a three hour training program that we had to watch videos and take a test on before we were certified, but even though I've been out of school for over a year, I still managed to pass. Next stop, Harvard! We were able to take it out for a spin, and it's actually a lot of fun to drive, but it's SUPER bumpy.

The highlight of last week though was on Friday, where we got to visit the Nauvoo Temple! So the departing missionaries always go to the temple before they go home, and the Assistants knew that we missed our zone temple trip last month because we were at another zone training meeting, so they volunteered us to chaperone the departing missionaries. We would have gone to the Chicago Temple, but it's closed for cleaning, which meant a cool trip to Nauvoo! We woke up at 4 in the morning, and made the 4.25 hour drive down there. The temple is huge though, I had absolutely no idea it was that big, but it's really neat. We also had the privilege of stopping in Carthage on the way back and getting a tour of Carthage Jail from the missionaries there.

Well, I'll write you more about what happened this week on Monday. 
Thanks for being patient with me, sorry this is getting to you late. 

I love you, and can't wait to talk to you more on Monday!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Missionary Mini Golf: Livin' the Dream

For our week this week, Elder Campbell and I had a really cool experience planning on Thursday. I won't really get into that much, but we made a few changes to what we're doing, and we've been really blessed to see miracles come out of it. We're going to keep working on improving and hope to find more people to teach this next week.

We taught Anand yesterday, which went really well!  We plan to keep seeing him a couple of times per week, so please keep him in your prayers.

A cool story for the week though: there was a record that came into our ward last week, so we reached out to her and she came to church and we had a lesson with her yesterday. Her name is Ru Yi, and she's from mainland China. She met the missionaries several years ago in Hong Kong, and his been attending church in Indiana, because she went to college there. She has a roommate named Ali that told us that she'd be interested in learning the gospel too, so we might have someone to teach there! The cool part was that I got to use some of my Chinese! #NiHaoPengYo (Hello Friend!)

Besides that, we taught Mitchell (the recent convert from Bourbonnais) over Skype and had a good lesson with Donnie as well. Donnie is teaching me to get ripped--he's a personal trainer and has about 2-3% body fat. So Landon better watch out, because if he thinks he'll be bigger than I am before I get home, he's highly mistaken.

I had a really good interview with President Griffin this week, and he was able to answer some of the doctrinal questions that I had, so that was good. I've also been getting a lot out of my personal studies lately too.

We played some mini-golf today, and I beat Elder Campbell by 3 shots, earning me a free drink! Here is the photo!

Can't wait to hear from you! I love you!

Elder Dallas Anderson