Monday, November 30, 2015

Great Week in Naperville (and a great story to Boot!)

It was an amazing week for us in the Naperville YSA Ward this week! We had two lessons with our investigator Brittany this week, and she's probably the most solid investigator that I've met in my life--she's prayed about her baptismal date and got an answer that January 16 is the day for her, and she's doing a 90-day Book of Mormon challenge with one of her friends that is a member of the Church! We're having a lesson with her next Sunday, and she'll be at church again, and coming to the Christmas devotional!

Although Jose missed the sacrament portion of our meeting Sunday, he has been doing amazing with his reading assignments and is part way through Mosiah and 13 chapters into Jesus the Christ (he started reading that on his own)! We had a great lesson with him yesterday and answered some of the questions he's had about Christ and His characteristics and attributes. We also talked to him about the importance of church attendance, and he committed to being at sacrament meeting next week. The super cool part about the lesson though is that we asked him about his baptism, and he said that he's more sure of baptism than ever, and that he feels like he's gained a lot of the wisdom that he felt was missing! We're super excited to be helping both him and Brittany towards baptism!

One of the best parts of the week was Sunday night, we had the chance to teach Anand again! It was one of the most intense lessons that I've had on my mission: we were teaching about prophets and priesthood authority, and before we even talked about apostasy, he asks us the question, "So you're saying that your church is the only one that has the authority to baptize?" We responded that it was, and he was torn at that, because he really enjoys the church he is currently attending. He said that he didn't want to have to be torn, and that he was thinking about being baptized in the other church. We talked to him a little bit about the apostasy, and how the Book of Mormon was evidence of a restoration of lost truth. We read Moroni's promise with him, along with several other scriptures, and he said that he felt is was scripture, and actually committed himself to reading AND praying about the Book of Mormon before we could invite him to do so. It was really cool to see his whole attitude change throughout the lesson from, "I think I'm good with the church I'm going to," to "I'll try this out before I make any decisions." It's truly amazing how smart Anand is, especially for someone his age. Everything clicks in his mind before we even explain it, it's pretty incredible!

On Thanksgiving, the Mathers had us over for dinner, and we enjoyed some good food, but there was no pie to be had for Dallas that day. #FitForTheKingdomIsLife #NoSecondsNoProblem

Our boundaries are absolutely enormous, it's pretty much impossible for us to leave them. We cover both the Naperville and Joliet stakes, which cover between 1/3 and 1/2 of the mission. To be honest though, we hardly ever go more than 30 minutes away from the church building in Woodridge (Bourbonnais being one of the few exceptions), because we figure that most people don't want to drive more than half an hour to get to church.

Here's the story of the week (AKA: laugh at Dallas moment; AKA: total garbage): So we got a call that Clemonte (AKA: football beast; AKA: total stud; AKA: the next Chicago Bear) was moving, so we headed down there to help him out. He's heading to the city, so it was really great to see him one last time before he left, since we handed him over to the sister missionaries a couple of months ago. 

But anyways, we get done packing the moving truck and head back to our van (AKA: the silver bullet; AKA: soccer mom swag), and there's a parking boot on it...WE WERE PARKED IN A VISITOR SPOT AND GOT A PARKING BOOT. The police officer told us that it was a city ordinance that you need a visitor pass to park in the visitor spot. #AreYouForReal #GottaBeKiddingMe We start walking to the van to see if we have money to pay the ticket then (which was $170), and the police officer tells us that if we touch or tamper with the boot, it is a federal crime--like we're going to try to get it off in the first place, especially while he's sitting right there... Yeah I'll just be sitting in prison someday with a guy that's in for murder, and he'll say, "What're ya in for?" and I'll respond, "I'm doing 45 years to life for looking over the lock on our van's parking boot." #CriminalLife #YoungAndReckless 

Anyways, so the policeman offers one of us a ride to the Walmart to get cash (yes, the ticket had to be paid in cash), and we tell him that as missionaries, we have to stay together. He responds that we'll have to walk to Walmart then because he doesn't want to get jumped... #ThanksOfficer #SoccerMomsWalkAnyways Luckily, Walmart was pretty much next door, so we walked over there and got cash back (NOTE FOR MOM: Hence the $90 transaction from Walmart on Saturday, Elder Gentry didn't have his wallet on him, so I had to get some money for him too...I'm so sorry about this Mom). We came back, paid the ticket, and offered the police officer a pass-along card. It was surprising how he loosened up after we told him about what we do as missionaries. He told us that he appreciated what we were doing, but he didn't cut us any slack with the ticket. I honestly think our companionship did a pretty good job trying to focus on the positives and thinking about what Heavenly Father wanted us to learn from this rather than dwelling in frustration for the rest of the night. Lesson learned from all this? Don't touch the parking boot, it's a straight shot to prison. #TheRebelliousness

I can't wait to talk to you for Christmas, it's going to be super exciting! I'll talk to you again next week (and it's transfer week, so it might come a couple of days late)!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Elder Dallas and Clemont.

When It Rains, It Pours (Good and More Good Out of Naperville!)

Dallas and his birthday umbrella. #MakeItRain
Hey everybody!

So the really cool thing that happened this week is that we were able to teach Anand again for the first time in several months, and he's doing awesome! We're trying to figure out the logistics for getting him baptized, because he lives about a block outside of our area, but we'll figure it out. We asked him to be baptized on January 19th, and he asked if there was any possibility that he could be baptized sooner than that, so we invited him to baptism, on December 26, and he wanted even sooner than that! We had to help him understand that he'd need to come to church a couple of times before he gets baptized, so we'll have to see when he can start coming to church.

We had an investigator named Brittany come to church on Sunday! She has been meeting with missionaries in a family Ward, but wanted to try out the YSA Ward just to see if she liked it, and she said that she actually liked the YSA more than the family ward, so we'll have to see if she starts coming to the YSA each week now. We have a meeting on Wednesday morning with her, so we are excited for that!

The Mathers (a family in the bishopric) are having us over for Thanksgiving dinner, so I'm really looking forward to that! Other than that, no major plans for Thanksgiving, just doing our weekly planning and proselyting after dinner. I just know that I'm not getting seconds on Thursday, because I'm too FFTK for that!

As far as my birthday goes, I totally forgot to mention that in my last letter, but Scott Boswell called me to wish me happy birthday, and he learned that we didn't have a dinner appointment, so he immediately invited us over, and I got to have dinner with the Boswells, who I love so much! It was super nice of them to have us over so last-minute.

Unfortunately, missionaries are not allowed to go Black Friday shopping, so I'll have two extra years to catch up on next year... I mean, all the YSAs are probably out and about at that time, so it's a legit proselyting purpose, right? LOL, just kidding.

Today for preparation day, both of the Naperville zones got to attend the Chicago Temple, so that was neat, because going to the temple doesn't happen too much when you're on a mission. It was really fun to be around a lot of the missionaries I've served with/around and talk with them. And as an added bonus, President and Sister Boswell gave us a ride to and from the temple, so we got some good time to talk with them, which is always great!

We FINALLY got some snow this past week, it snowed for about 20 straight hours on Friday and Saturday, but we only got about an inch and a half that stuck, and now it's all melting today... I absolutely love the snow (and just the Christmas season in general), so I hope we get a tons more here soon! But I do have to say that it's getting colder--the day after the snowstorm, it never got above 25 degrees, so the -40 degree days are not too far away. Don't worry Brockbank, I'll hold don't the fort concerning winter for the both of us. You just enjoy the Cali life of 60-70 degree winters for us both, because California knows where it's at.

Thank you so much for the birthday packages, I really, really appreciated them! You better let Landon know that I'll be rockin' some Bulls joggers here soon!

I hope that you have some good plans for Thanksgiving this weekend, even if it's just filled with hockey! I hope the boys get to do a Turkey Bowl or something fun with their team.  Thanks for your letters, I can't wait to talk to you again soon!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Week's Phone Funnies

Hey Mom!
We taught a man by the name of Chris this week; he is a referral from the Wheaton Sisters, and he's super nice, but the teaching process will probably go very slowly because his level of comprehension is not super high. But he's interested in learning, and is quite the character! There will be a story on him later in this email.

Our week was pretty good here, lots of meetings for Elder Campbell and I, which meant Elder Gentry got to go on exchanges with different sets of missionaries while we went to the zone conferences. In one of the meetings, Elder Campbell began our presentation by talking about how he's been serving in the YSA Ward for about 8 months now, so when he goes on exchanges to the family ward, it's hard for him to teach kids because he isn't accustomed to them. He then related that to receiving revelation to use the iPads effectively. After he was done, I said, "I testify what Elder Campbell said is true. *Pause* Teaching kids is hard." Haha, I thought it was pretty clever, and the two zones at the meeting thought it was pretty good too!

It was a week of comedy though, especially over the phone. I don't know if you remember Anand, but he was someone that we were teaching about 3 months ago, and we just made contact with him again! He told us that he's had a really good recovery, and that he wants to be baptized in the future! The funny part, is that when we were on the phone with him, he told us an experience he had where he helped his friend, and he said, "I saw my buddy the other day, and he was high as a... something pretty high." Haha, I don't know if he was looking for the word 'kite' and just couldn't find it, or what, but that was pretty funny.

Other funny things that have happened: We were trying to set up an appointment with Chris, and he wanted to meet at the library, but we thought it was closed, so we texted him and asked him if it was closed. He texted back, "Actually it probably is. Lets get food I recommend pizza" LOL, I think it's funny because investigators never say stuff like that. The other text we got, is we were trying to set up an appointment with a potential investigator named Thomas, and he responded back asking who was texting. We responded that it was the missionaries, and his text said, "O. whats upppp" Haha, the stuff you get as missionaries, there are some real characters out here, let me tell you!

Well that's all that I have for this week, I really appreciate all of the birthday wishes! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you! hope that you have a fantastic week, and that hockey goes well for the boys this week! (And that school doesn't get cancelled again, because that's Busch league.)

Elder Dallas Anderson

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Mini Golf Master

Hey everybody!

I'll start this email off good with a report on our mini-golf last week: as expected, our group DOMINATED the rest of the groups, setting the course record with 29 shots. The next closest group was 39, so domination is not an exaggeration in the slightest. I was definitely rockin' the Tiger Sunday red for it though, so maybe that's why I was able to play so well. The holes were all designed by the YSA members, and they just used a bunch of different, random objects as obstacles and hole boundaries (ex. shoes, cups, chairs, hymn books, stuffed animals, etc.). It was a pretty fun activity!

Elder Gentry has been doing a good job so far as he's worked with us. Unfortunately, there aren't any Swedes out here that we've found yet, so he's on his own for practicing and studying. It seems like he's learning the language well when he prays in Swedish, but TBH, he could be saying anything and I wouldn't know.

As for teaching this week, Elder Gentry and I were able to teach Jose the rest of the principles in the Commandments lesson (Elder Campbell was on splits with a member). He is doing really well with his reading, and continues to impress us with questions that he asks, but has been struggling with church attendance. He won't be able to make it next week, but we hope that he'll be able to come regularly after that so that he can prepare for his baptism in December.

Besides Jose, Elder Campbell and I had an interesting experience this week: we were at MLC (Mission Leadership Council), and we got a phone call from a member in another ward. This member has a daughter that is YSA-aged, but is less-active, so neither or us had met her before. As it turns out, she has a boyfriend that had a couple of questions about the Church, and he was over at the member's home, so we booked it out of MLC over to go teach him. This man's name is Josh, and our lesson with Josh could possibly have been the most interesting and difficult lesson that I've had to teach on my mission. Josh is an atheist, and has a really hard time with the principle of faith, because he wants factual evidence. We taught him about exercising small particles of faith, and left him with the invitation to pray to know if God exists. He wouldn't make a solid commitment with us, but did give us his number, so we plan to follow up in the next week and hopefully meet with him again!

Elder Campbell, Elder Gentry, and I had an awesome lesson with one of the members in our ward yesterday. He's one of the nicest people I've ever met, and has such a positive outlook on life, which is really hard to believe, because he's been through more trials than probably anyone else I know. He was the starting pitcher for a D1 college here in Illinois, and tore a muscle in his shoulder, ending all of his hopes to pitch in the minors, or even the bigs. He was driving several years later, and a drunk driver hit him, and it tore up his back really bad, so bad that he needed surgery. Months later, he was at work, and re-injured his back, again requiring surgery, after a fluke accident on the work floor. Then last week, he was in physical therapy, and ended up tearing the same muscle in his shoulder again that he did before. And while this whole thing is going on, his best friend passed away at the age of 26 a couple of weeks ago. The amazing thing about this whole story, is that he's able to see the bright side of EVERY SINGLE SITUATION. It has truly been inspiring to meet with him, because I've always thought that I had a good attitude most of the time, but I could do so much better, I have no doubt.

On a totally different topic, let me get my personal rant out of the way here. We got the Fit For The Kingdom results back this week, and I have to say, I think it's complete garbage! There was a missionary that said he achieved all but 10 of the possible points. Now I understand that there were people that probably did better than me (like there are a couple of college athletes in the mission, and there's a nutritionist as well), but I also feel like there were people that were EXTREMELY lenient when it came to giving themselves points, which is frustrating to me, because if there was a point that was even questionable on the day, I wouldn't give myself the point. That's my rant. But I'll tell you that the program isn't necessarily about the competition, it's about getting in better shape, and I was definitely able to do that! I lost five pounds in the first six weeks and have lost another pound in the last two, so it's definitely working. I've been able to control my diet more and I feel better about myself physically. I'm just excited about the next few weeks that are ahead, for Fit For The Kingdom round 2! Watch out!

I love you tons, and hope that you have a great week! Can't wait to hear more from you next week!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Week, New Weight, New Wins

So this week we were able to teach Jose twice, and he continues to make steady progress in his reading, and he came to church this week to, so everything is pretty good for him! We taught him about the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, and he has no problems or concerns with either of them. He decided that he wants a little bit more time to study and get a gospel knowledge before he is baptized, so he moved his baptismal date back to December 19th. But we're excited for him and will continue to work with him and answer any questions that he might have!

The new missionary that is with us is named Elder Gentry, and he's from St. Geezy (S/O to my boy Kener down at Dixie!). He is actually waiting for his visa to come in so that he can serve where he got his original mission call, which is to Sweden. He's a very nice kid, and we all get along pretty well, even though the three of us have pretty different interests. It's been pretty crazy so far trying to work out our schedule, but I think we're slowly figuring everything out.

For Halloween, President Griffin wanted us to be inside our apartments by 4:00, and he had an activity for all the missionaries in the mission to have an accelerated reading of Mosiah 23-Alma 40 (about 125 pages) between the hours of 4-10 on Saturday, and then an additional four hours on Sunday. We were supposed to look for characteristics of good missionaries and keys to their success. It was pretty cool, there was a lot of stuff that I learned from those chapters, but my brain was totally fried after reading...

With the end of transfers last week, it was the end of the first Fit For The Kingdom challenge. While the results haven't been announced yet, I am fairly confident that I will place in the top 5 in the mission! The good news about the whole thing is that I lost five pounds over the course of the six weeks that it's been going on, so it really has made a difference. I've cut down on candy and unhealthy snacks about 99% (the 1% is because Mom keeps sending in gummy worms and candy in packages, even though I tell her not to), and even when YSA members take us out to eat, I eat a lot of salads and lean meats. It's been really great, and the second Fit For The Kingdom challenge started again Tuesday, so I'm looking to keep up the good eating and fitness habits! Any words of encouragement or health advice/tips would be fantastic!

We have a super-fun FHE lined up for tonight--different YSA members are setting up holes in different rooms in the church building, and we're playing mini-golf! I'mma be tearing it up tonight, holes-in-one ALL DAY! I'll let you know how it goes next week!

To answer your question about the Chi-Town fans: the funny thing about the Cubs fans out here, is everybody went NUTS when they made the NLCS--people were painting their lawns, flags were everywhere, and everyone and their dog (yes, literally dogs too) had Cubs apparel on. But it was funny how fast it all went away, and how fast the attitude changed from "this is our year" to "we're done" after they lost the first two games of the series. I felt bad for them though, I wanted them to go all the way (which is hard for a die-hard Cards fan to say).

Lando's hockey week sounds like a ton of fun, I think it's super cool that they announce the names of the players in Breckenridge, that's pretty sweet! 

I did get the Halloween package, and wanted to say thank you for that, it was awesome! Shout out to Grandma and Grandpa C too, because they sent me a package as well.

Love you!
Elder Dallas Anderson

P.S. LOL that Landon's using my Oakley backback, I see him! #CantGetThatByMe

P.P.S. We did some more service at Feed My Starving Children this week, helping pack food for kids in Haiti and Peru!