Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Holla for the Hawks (but sadly, it was not loud enough...)

Zone Conference in Woodridge
What's up everyone!?

Really good week here in Woodridge--the transfer process went well and all of the missionaries got to their new areas without problems. The departing missionaries was a little bit of a different story, as their plane was having technical problems, and all of them got home 5+ hours behind schedule (one companionship had to spend the night at the airport), but they all made it home safely. 

My new companion's name is Elder Cluff, and he's from Queen Creek, AZ. He is an awesome teacher, and even better when it comes to instructing groups. Not to mention, he's a stud and a stellar companion! The two of us got to train for about 15 minutes on using Preach My Gospel effectively to the new missionaries that came in this week, and it went really well! We also had the chance to instruct a group about about 55 priests and laurels from the Naperville Stake last night in a youth fireside at the mission home, and that was a blast! I was able to see a lot of familiar faces, as members from the St. Charles and Naperville 1st Wards were there. Ryan Boswell was one in attendance, and it was fun to see him again and talk about his family. We trained again on the importance of Preach My Gospel, and how the youth can study it now to prepare to serve missions.

We had zone preparation day today, and it was one that was different than any other than I've had on my mission, but it was a blast! Brother Manning (WOOOO!) of the Naperville 1st Ward came and gave us a 2 hour lecture on Joseph Smith and the Restoration, and it totally blew my mind. I learned a bunch of things I didn't know before. What was really neat though, is that he taught all of it, but then told us that no matter how cool the history was, or how much our minds were blown, that what was the most important was to follow Moroni's promise and get a testimony of the Book of Mormon that way, because that's the only way to obtain a lasting testimony of the gospel. Brother Manning is the man! AND, he even catered Portillo's pasta and salad for lunch for our zone!

We had a lesson with Toby & Z this week, and hope to put them on date for baptism here real soon! We also met a family of five, and have a lesson with them on Wednesday night, so we're really looking forward to that. Besides that, we've been working with the members a lot, and hopefully a couple of their friends turn into referrals that we can teach soon! When Elder Martino was here, he taught us to ask members about people they knew who were going through life-changing situations (death in the family, break-up/divorce, new baby, moved recently, wayward children, etc.), as those are the people that most likely in a position that cause them to ask the questions of the soul (see chapter 5 in Preach My Gospel). So, if you know anyone that is struggling or going through a change in life, be a friend to them, and they'll probably ask you some questions that you can answer using the Book of Mormon.

Also big news for the week: the people here are pretty fired up after these Hawks games! We finna take the series! Here's a joke for you: Why was St. Louis so Blue? Because THE HAWKS BEAT THEM IN GAME 7! OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! *Turns on Hawks theme song* *Puts on Patrick Kane jersey* *Fist pumps multiple times* *Goes nuts* 

I love you all and hope that you're having a fantastic week! Know that all is well, because the Hawks are gonna take it to the Blues tonight! WOOOOO! #GoHawks #Repeat Just as an added side note, I gave Patrick Kane the S/O in our training to the youth yesterday (yes, it fit in with the training; NO, it was NOT trunkie)! #RepAllDay

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's AP Test Time...

Elder Bennett, Elder Martino, and Elder Anderson
It was a crazy week this week, with some cool teaching miracles, and highlighted by a baptism! That's right, Shannon got baptized in Morton this week, and it was amazing: the ward was super supportive, there were two superb talks given, Shannon's whole family was there, and Shannon was so excited and happy! The only downside was that the water in the font turned out to be a yellow-green color, who knows what that was all about...I am super grateful for the opportunity that I've had to teach Shannon, she's amazing, and has such a great spirit with her. She's been talking about serving a mission in the future, and has already been a great missionary in being an example for her family members. I'm glad that I got to attend the baptism, because it was looking for about half the week like it wouldn't happen. But because my new companions are total studs (more on that next paragraph), they made things happen so that we could drive down to Morton on Sunday for the baptism.

Last Sunday (a week ago) was stake conference for us, and President Griffin asked if he could meet with me afterwards. In the meeting with him, he asked me to be his next Assistant. Because transfers wouldn't happen until a week later, I wasn't supposed to make anyone aware of it except Elder Bennett. This is where the crazy kicks in: so we have the meeting with Elder Martino on Thursday (the meeting went really, really well; he taught us a lot about uniting with members in missionary work), and I needed to be all packed and ready to go to stay with the Assistants from Thursday on for the rest of the week. So I get with them after the meeting, and we get started on transfer stuff immediately. President worked on transfers longer than he ever has before, so Saturday night in particular was stressful getting things done, but we made it happen! Also, fun fact about the transfer process: we have a checklist that we do every transfer, and part of that includes the Assistants going to Portillo's to get a Cake Shake on Saturday night. You'll definitely have to get a Cake Shake when we come back here, because they're amazing!

Being President's Assistant is a calling that excites me greatly, yet makes me nervous and anxious at the same time. What's been incredible to me though, is that before I was given this assignment, I loved the missionaries in our zone, but now, I have love for missionaries that I never thought was possible. In a sense, I feel like the Grinch--his heart grew three sizes! Hopefully I'm NOT like the Grinch in my attitude, but that increase of love was a pretty good comparison. One of the things that I've learned throughout my mission is that when you are called to any position in the Church, the Lord already sees you as qualified. A lot of the time, we get so caught up in thinking we aren't good enough to fulfill an assignment, and we forget that the Lord qualifies whom He calls. Not that you should be arrogant or cocky, but He's already qualified you, so you should think about magnifying your calling, rather than trying to qualify yourself. (Ether 12:27--"I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.")

My new companions, Elder Cluff and Elder Adams (who are great men) and I met one of the coolest 9-year-olds ever this week--his nickname is Z, and he's probably the wisest kid I've met in my life. We're teaching the Restoration, and we have just read the First Vision with him, and his dad asked how he felt about it, and he responded, "Well, I think it's good, but I think I need to know what Joseph's question was, and what answer he got." BOOM, like this is a 9-year-old we're talking about! Later in the lesson, we're teaching him about the Book of Mormon, and we gave him a copy of it, because we didn't have a children's Book of Mormon, and he said, "This is the word of God? Then that's all I need!" And then after the lesson was over, we told him how smart he was, and asked how he was doing. He replied that he had a few D's in school, and when we asked how he planned to fix those, he said, "The word of God will help me." LIKE HOLY FREAK KID, YOU'RE 9 AND YOU UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMANDMENTS MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE 25+ YEARS OLD. It was incredible, so much fun teaching Z. We set up another lesson with him this week, so we're looking forward to that!

Transfer stuff was crazy this weekend--we put together car-shares, made travel arrangements, picked up the new missionaries from the airport today (super weird going to the airport after 18 months, just FYI #NotEvenALittleTrunkie), took new missionaries out to lessons with active members tonight, and, my favorite, enjoyed deep-dish pizza (although the pizza we had was Lou Malnati's, which is of the terrestrial glory, below the celestial standard of Giordano's)!

That's been most of my crazy week--I'm probably forgetting some things, but my mind is all over the place, so that's about as good as I can do! I love you all, and hope you have an awesome week! Remember that the Lord doesn't expect you to do it all, He just expects you to do your all.

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Binge at the Burger Barge

Hey Mom!

We had two more lessons with Jerry this week, and he was able to come to the Saturday evening session of stake conference, although he wasn't there Sunday, which was a bummer. He's developing a lot of good friendships with ward members and has good intentions, but is fighting some demons with the Word of Wisdom and his anti-Mormon family members. On the other hand, Hope continues to thrive, and she attended both sessions of stake conference, and is more than willing to live the Word of Wisdom! She still hasn't told her family members about her decision, but is getting more and more excited about her baptism. Shannon continues to amaze us as well--we were very impressed at her knowledge and understanding of fasting when we taught her this week. She passed her baptismal interview with flying colors this last week and is all set for her baptism on Sunday!

We also had the opportunity to help the young men out with some service this week by doing some aerating. Good thing I had prior experience from our young men's fundraiser, because I showed them how it's done. #AlsoHumble

One of the highlights of the week was on Wednesday night, Brother Sanchez (our assistant ward mission leader), Brother LeCheminant (our Elders Quorum President), and Brother Canova (our ward clerk) took us out to dinner at a restaurant named Burger Barge. Their menu is pretty ridiculous--not the type of place for the healthy eater, as you pretty much walk into a wall of grease entering in the doors of the restaurant. Instead of getting the Triple Kraken (three half-pound burgers with onion rings, bacon, and your standard toppings in between two bacon-filled grilled cheese sandwiches), I went for perhaps the healthiest option on the menu: a massive grilled chicken sandwich with pineapple and BBQ sauce. Elder Bennett, on the other hand, went for a local favorite and got the Anchor--a half pound hamburger surrounded by french fries, cheese, mushrooms, and onions, then coated in a layer of nacho cheese on top. It as definitely an experience though, I'd recommend it to anyone, just because of how ridiculous their menu is.

Besides that, nothing too crazy or exciting from this past week. Elder Packer from the Seventy came to our stake conference, and he gave a couple of phenomenal talks. Elder Martino of the Seventy is coming to our mission this week as part of a mission tour--we'll have a zone conference with him on Thursday followed by MLC with him on Friday.

Thanks for all that you do Mom, I love you! It will be a great week for us, and I'll have lots of good things to report next week! Hope all is going well in Colorado!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#BERNIE and other blessings...

Hey Mom!

This week we had a couple of good meetings: a specialized zone training on Wednesday on the topic of planning as well as a fantastic MLC on Friday. The big take away is that there is going to be a mission fast on Sunday to find new investigators, because that is the biggest struggle in the mission right now.

Conference week for us here was great, highlighted by our investigator Jerry, who stayed at the church for 10 hours straight on Saturday and watched all five sessions of Conference! It just showed me the importance of Conference, that if a non-member can watch all five sessions, members of the Church should be able to take the time and watch all five sessions as well. We were able to teach Shannon twice this week and watch a session of Conference with her on Sunday. Her baptismal interview is tonight, and everything is looking pretty good for April 17th! Hope also watched most of Conference, and we had yet another incredible lesson with her--all three of the lessons we've had with her have been unbelievable. We put her on date for April 30th for her baptism, so keep her in your prayers, because she'll have to stand up to her family with this decision (her dad is the pastor of another church).

Something that really stuck out to me this Conference was the importance of the family, how we are all children of God and have been blessed to be living in families of our own. The Priesthood Session had a lot of references to strengthening family relations through temple worship. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Nauvoo Temple today, and was grateful for the knowledge that families can be together forever. I'd encourage you to read D&C 84:19-21, D&C 132:15-19, and D&C 130:2 and make it a priority to go to the temple so that you can enjoy the happiness that comes with strengthened family relationships.

Now a little background to set up a good story: it's a missionary rule not to discuss politics with people. Now with the campaigning in full swing, that's pretty much all anyone talks about, and boy, let me tell you, there are some people that are not afraid to express their feelings when it comes to telling us about presidential candidates... Anyways, here's where the title of the email comes in (SMH as I write this): so we had dinner with a less-active member this week (It was the first double-dinner of my mission, and S/O to Brockbank, because how he can do those all the time and not get fat is beyond me.), and we were sharing a lesson with her (this is the first time we've met with her), and the first half of the lesson was really well--she was telling us her conversion story, we were teaching, that good stuff. But then she started talking about the Book of Revelations, and how God has a role in politics. At this point in the lesson, Elder Bennett and I aren't really sure what to do. I'm thinking to myself, "Buckle up, because this could go anywhere..." And anywhere it went: she proceeded to tell us that Revelations says that Bernie Sanders will be the next president. *Dallas fights to stop himself from banging his head on the table* But it gets better, she continues to tell us that Satan is going to raise Bernie up as the anti-Christ before the Second Coming, but how God is also voting for Bernie because he's going to bring good standards to the country (so God and Satan are now on the same team)... *Dallas has lost 100 IQ points at this point, none of which has been caused by physical trauma he wants to cause himself be putting his head through a brick wall* The lesson ended with pretty much a guarantee that Bernie will be the next president... Yeah, so that's the Bernie story... #Bernie4Prez

That was pretty much it for us here, it was a pretty awesome week! We taught some good lessons, were inspired by good speakers, visited the temple, and Dallas managed to maintain his sanity. Here's to another good week of missionary work! 

Elder Dallas Anderson

P.S. My apologies to any Bernie supporters out there if I offended you. My intent was purely to humor, not to degrade Bernie's character or political position.

Reppin' the Red Birds!