Monday, March 28, 2016

Blood and "Cribs"

Hey Mom!

Too late to tell me not to send my winter boots, they're pretty much home now. We actually didn't get any snow this week, and the forecast is all in the 50s and 60s this week, so it doesn't look like we'll be getting any more anytime soon. The members here fed us a good Easter dinner yesterday, and PacSun was having the Blue Dot Sale (Dallas walks up to PacSun, sees "Blue Dot Sale" on the window, *Tiger-sized fist pumps into the store*) for Easter weekend, so I was able to get an awesome deal on a cool sweatshirt! Since we live in Morton now, the mall in Bloomington isn't as accessible, so the Lord was definitely taking care of us with the sale! #PrayForBlueDot 

It was another amazing week of teaching--we had two lessons with Shannon (who is a 13-year-old investigator from a part-member family), and she's keeping all of her commitments and coming to church! Even with all of her sports, she's still making time to meet and to put church and mutual first, which is pretty awesome! Hope had another lesson with us this week, and it was another killer lesson on the Plan of Salvation, and now she's got another appointment set up for Saturday right before Conference! 

Jerry has made some really good progress this week--he came to the Meet the Mormons movie night our ward had on Tuesday (which was my first time seeing the movie, and I thought it was pretty awesome), and he watched the live stream of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's performance of the Messiah this weekend as well. He still has the struggle of coming to church, hopefully he'll be able to overcome the fears he has of change here in the next week or so!

So here's a pretty good story for the week: we were having dinner with a member in the ward, and got talking about some of the gang activity here in the Peoria area. Now, it's funny that this topic came up, because we've had a few people ask about my forehead this week, and another guy talk to us for 30 minutes about how we as missionaries should be able to carry guns to protect ourselves (LOL sir, the Lord's protection and my pocketknife will be enough, I'm pretty sure). Anyways, we get on the subject of gang violence and places to avoid after dark, and this member says, "The gangs here are pretty much like the 'Cribs' in L.A." He meant the "Crips," but his son would not let him live it down, and made jokes about the "Cribs" the rest of the night, haha!

We helped the Peoria Zone Leaders close up an apartment in Monmouth, and you know what that means: bring out the couch moving crew! I didn't get a picture with the couch, but snagged one in the recliner, which was a close second in my opinion. Also, when we were driving on the freeway to take everything to storage, we drove right next to the Sunday Night Football truck, which tells me that the sports world of ESPN and NBC are still watching out for me for when I get off my mission.

Thanks for the email Mom, I'm glad you were able to have a good Spring Break and spend time with all those guys! Hope that you have a great week, can't wait to talk to you guys next week, and hope that you all enjoy Conference!

Elder Dallas Anderson

#CatchMeOnNBC #HighlightReel

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Hey Mom!

It was another really great week for us here, highlighted by a couple of good lessons with Shannon! We were able to teach her several of the commandments on Wednesday, and the Plan of Salvation on Sunday, and her progress is coming right along! Hope set up a lesson with us this week on Wednesday, so we're way excited for that! I guess to answer your question about what makes lessons effective, it's a lot about how simple and short you can get across--less is definitely more. It's also a lot about how well you and your companion switch back and forth, the types and timing of your questions to investigators, how and how often you get the members involved in the teaching, all the little details like that. What are some of the things you've seen in the missionaries that makes them seem more/less effective?

To add some excitement to our week, Elder Bennett and I went on splits this week with members (that's not the exciting part, FYI). Brother LeCheminant and I were stopping by some less-active members in East Peoria, when all of the sudden, the tornado sirens start going off. Now the weather had been pretty bad for the hour previous, there was a lot of lightning in the area, but the winds starting getting really bad, and since we were just down the street from a less-active/part-member's house, we decided to ask if we could take shelter there, which they were very welcoming (Tip for future missionaries: A less-active/part-member family's house is not a bad place to be for an hour and a half when you're waiting out a storm.). Long story short, a couple of tornadoes touched down in Peoria, only a few miles from where we were! It's all good though, we keep working even in the midst of the twisters. #CantStopWontStop

If that story isn't good enough for you, later this week, we had just finished talking to one of our potential investigators named Bailey. We were coming down the driveway, and Elder Bennett went behind the truck to back me up. Out of nowhere, a rock comes flying from across the road and hits me in the forehead! Just kidding, what actually happened is that Elder Bennett started to say something to me, so I turned to look at him while stepping into the truck. On the way in, I slammed my head on the door, causing a pretty nasty cut to the forehead. After driving to the nearest gas station to get it all cleaned up, I determined that it wasn't bad enough to go get stitches, although I might get some scarring action in the future. It's pretty gnarly, and I've got some swelling about the size of a quarter around the cut, but I feel fine. Battle scars ain't keeping me from doin' the work. I ain't even phased. #CantStopWontStop

That's about it for this week! It was a couple of game changing events this week that kept me on my toes, but you know we always come out on top! #CantStopWontStop Let me know if I can do anything for you guys, thanks for all you do!

Elder Dallas Anderson
#CantStopWontStop #ThatDontPhaseMe

P.S. Can't tell if Helaman's Warrior, or Elder Anderson. #EarnYourStripes #BattleScars

Monday, March 14, 2016

The ABCs of MLC

Hey Mom!

Looks like you had a fun trip to Moab, although you're right: I didn't feel bad missing the bike riding or camping. And that's brutal that you took Landon through IKEA...I went there for the first time on my mission when I was in the YSA Ward (a couple of the members took us to dinner there), and I can see how you can be in there for hours.

To explain the acronym for you, MLC stands for Mission Leadership Council--it's where the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, Assistants, and Tech Elders get together and receive training and council together regarding different topics. For MLCs, the zone leaders are usually in charge of coming up with a few positives and a few struggles their zone has been seeing over the past month (since MLCs occur the first Friday of each month), and you present on that for about five minutes.

Our zone had a training meeting this week, and Elder Bennett and I had a good training on working with the bishop to make missionary work more effective. We also repeated a demonstration from last zone conference where we had a missionary from each companionship go out in the hall and write down the monthly goals that they set (after taking away their iPads to make sure they couldn't cheat), to see if they knew what their goals were. It was really rough last month (which was the purpose of the activity, because we were training on goal-setting and planning), but the missionaries did much better this transfer remembering their goals.

We never did hear back from Bri in Normal, but we had two lessons with Shannon this week, and were able to put her on date for baptism on April 16th, so that's super exciting! We also had an awesome lesson with a potential investigator named Hope (one of the best lessons that Elder Bennett and I have both had on our missions), but unfortunately, she told us that she wants to study on her own for the time being, rather than continuing with the missionary discussions.

The zone has been on fire this last week, though! It's not about the numbers by any means, but the key indicators that are reported weekly have been higher than they've been in the zone in probably close to eight or nine months. There are lots of companionships that have people on date, and missionaries are starting to work more with members, it's been pretty awesome hearing about the different miracles that are going on!

Elder Bennett and I have had a couple of pretty fun preparation days the last couple of weeks--last week, we went Frisbee golfing, and the course was in the middle of a forest, so it was freakin' hard, but still pretty fun! This week, one of the members of our ward had us over, and he has a pottery wheel and a kiln, so we made bowls at his house with some help, and that was pretty cool!

This month is going to go by crazy fast--we've got General Conference, stake conference, a Mission Tour, transfers, hopefully a baptism, and hopefully a temple trip here in the next five weeks! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, March 7, 2016

Big Plans in the Place of Pumpkins

Elder Bennett and I got to Morton on Tuesday night, and it is awesome to be here! Fun fact about Morton for you: it is the pumpkin capital of the world--supposedly 80% of all of the world's pumpkins pass through Morton at some point. As a result, most of the restaurants here (including fast-food restaurants) feature pumpkin-flavored desserts (shakes, pies, cookies, breads, etc.). 

Anyways, the Morton Ward is awesome! The bishop and ward mission leader are both really enthusiastic about the work, and that fire has spread to a lot of the members, who are inviting friends to activities, to meet with the missionaries, etc. Although we weren't able to teach any investigators this week, we spend a lot of time getting to know some of the members, and we set up a couple of lessons for this next week. We're hoping to start teaching Shannon this week, and she's probably the most solid of anyone in our teaching pool. I'm really excited for this transfer though, because I think by combining our efforts and the members' efforts, we're going to see a lot of miracles happen!

We had MLC at the mission home this week, and there was a lot of good training on working with the bishops and ward members. Elder Bennett and I have zone training on Friday, so we'll get to train our missionaries on working with members as well, so I'm excited about that.

Besides that, I don't have a lot to report on this week. We'll be searching out some service opportunities during the week, so hopefully it doesn't take as much time and effort to find service as it has in the last two areas, because it's been a joke. But however long it takes, I'm feeling really good about being here in Morton, Elder Bennett and I are going to get a lot of good things done!

Love you Mom, I hope that you and the boys get feeling better soon. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys! You're always in my prayers!

Elder Dallas Anderson