Monday, June 27, 2016

Mom's Son and the Gun

Hey guys!

Another good week of exchanges, moving furniture, and baptisms! I had a brand new experience never-before had on my mission to this point, so we'll get into this thing! #GunsBlazin

I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Limary this week, and it was a lot of fun being with him again! We talked to a few people on the street, and had a crazy experience where we'll just say the Lord was watching over us with safety in mind. Long story short, after knocking on a door, we had a guy come out of his house with a gun in his hand looking to see who we were. #GunsBlazin Once he figured out we were just the missionaries, he put the gun down, so everything turned out okay. I'd give you more details, but I think some people would get too freaked out. #DontTellMom

I went on another exchange as well with Elder Chidester, and the day went completely different than the plans we had originally made: we helped a family move apartments, and went on a hunt (unsuccessfully) for baptismal suits for the Howells' baptism that was the next day. Elder Chidester is actually flying home tomorrow, and we are taking him to the airport tomorrow morning--he needs to be there by 6:00 a.m., then we'll have an exchange that begins just a couple hours later. #NoSleepGang

The baptism for the Howells was awesome! They had over 100 people RSVP for the baptism and the baptism/adoption celebration at their home. The room where the baptismal font was filled to standing-room only! The kids really enjoyed themselves, and we're giving everyone high fives after they came back from being baptized. Brother Howell and Sister Van Uitert had a cool story from the party--they had a neighbor that came that was asking about the Church. This neighbor recently moved into the area and is looking for a church to attend, so we are going to try to set up a lesson with those neighbors sometime in the near future!

S/O to the man Scott Boswell for bringing a package out to me from the 801, I really appreciate it! 

I hope that you all have a fantastic week, I appreciate all of your love and support! Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys. Remember that the Lord blesses the obedient, in ways you can't even see sometimes. Eat some good food this weekend, enjoy some fireworks, and stay off the streets of Chiraq at night.

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson
#GunsBlazin #DontTellMom

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Traveling, Trading Companions, and TopGolf

What is up guys!?

First off, gotta give that S/O to Papa G for Father's Day yesterday! Hope Dad got to watch some good sports and eat some good food to enjoy himself!

Super busy week this week: I don't really even know who Elder Cluff is anymore, because we were on four exchanges this week, so we didn't spend a lot of time together. There were a lot of good things and cool miracles on the exchanges though, so let's get into this!

Monday night was a late one, because President informed us that a missionary broke his arm, so we had to be ready to help out if necessary (good news is that he'll be fine, he's staying in the mission for surgery). Tuesday, I spent the day in Rockford with Elder Weigel. We had an awesome experience contacting downtown where we waved a guy down across the street, then went over and contacted him. It turned out that his girlfriend had kicked him out of the house that morning, and he was looking for someone to pray with and for him. We did so on the street and got his contact info!

On Wednesday, I was on exchanges with Elder Hastings here in Woodridge, and it was probably the least exciting day of exchanges. We pulled weeds for a member in the 95 degree weather (with high humidity) and helped some recent converts in the ward get started on their family history work.

Thursday took me back down to Morton, where I spent the day with Elder Heiner (I was sad not to be with Elder Bennett, but Elder Heiner's a good man too). It was fun to see the area again, and particularly to interact with a couple of the members. We gave a man named Matt a church tour, and he's pretty much getting baptized, because he asked in the middle of the tour, "So when would I start paying tithing?" And that was just the first lesson the Morton Elders had had with him!

I went to the city of Peoria on Friday, and we saw probably the coolest miracles of the week there (keep in mind that this is an area that's been struggling with the work for a long time now). Elder Harvey and I tried to stop by a member, who wasn't home. On the way out of the apartment building, we contacted a man and talked to him for 5-8 minutes, giving him a brief overview of some of our beliefs, getting his contact info, and committing him to come to church on Sunday. In the middle of this contact, the member we came by to see walked in, and just stood down the hall and watched us have this interaction. He came up to us afterwards, invited us to dinner on Wednesday, and told us that he'd invite his friend over for dinner. I'm not 100% sure, but I would bet that if the member hadn't have seen us working, he wouldn't have invited his friend over. If you're a member and want to get excited about doing missionary work, go spend time with the Elder or Sisters in the area and watch how hard they work. Later that evening, we had another member come out with us to stop by a potential investigator, who also turned out not to be home. Elder Harvey started talking to the neighbor, who told us about all these hard trials that have been going on in her life, and how she was also looking for someone to pray with her. She's committed to come to church on Sunday too. I think the coolest part about both of these stories is that when there are members around, miracles happen to missionaries. It might sound crazy, but almost every time a member comes out with missionaries, you meet someone you were supposed to meet, or have an awesome spiritual experience with someone.

Saturday was an awesome day: HOPE GOT BAPTIZED!!! Since I was already in Peoria, President gave me permission to go the baptism. Hope was just so happy, it was an awesome day for her, and the ward support was on point yet again. I'm so happy for her, because she felt really good about the decision, and is going to do big things for the ward and the Church in the future!

Highlight of Preparation Day today--Elder Cluff and I took President & Sister Griffin out to the driving range to have some fun today! It wasn't just any driving range though, it's a place called Topgolf: an arcade-mode style of driving range with targets to hit at with micro-chip-tracked golf balls that total up your score. The venue is three decks high, and it was a BLAST! I would do it again in a heartbeat! You'd be glad to know ya boi still has a little game after shaking 21 months of rust off the clubs. #StepAsideTiger #EarlyReleaseDateForTheUSOpen #TransferredToBrazilForTheOlympics

The Howell kids are set for their baptism this coming Saturday, so that's super exciting! Please keep them in your prayers, because they go to court today to finalize their adoption. We met with Toby and Zee yesterday to teach them a new member discussion, and it went well! Zee is going to North Carolina for the summer to live with his aunt, so we'll see him for the last time next week when we meet with him.

That's about all for our week! It was exhausting, but there were so many awesome stories and miracles that came out of it. On top of that, now you know that I still come in the clutch with the golf game, so you're welcome. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys! Take it easy, and have a great week!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Monday, June 13, 2016

All About the Awkward

Hey Mom!

It was another good week here in the mission! We had a couple of good exchanges, an eventful zone training meeting, and a couple of unplanned road trips that made for a busy week.

The confirmations for Toby & Z went really well, the ward is doing a pretty good job supporting them as new members. We are in the process of teaching them the new member discussions, and are working on getting Toby to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. We taught them about family history this week, and they plan to meet us at the family history center to work on their pedigree chart this week! Besides them, we also had a lesson with the Howell kids (the adopted kids from Guatemala), and they are looking good for their baptism that's coming up on the 25th!

Super small world that Bryan and Kyle ran into the Castos! Elder Casto and I were in the same zone for a transfer when I was serving in Morton, and he's a stud! Super hard worker and awesome attitude, definitely one of my favorite missionaries that I haven't had an opportunity to be companions with.

You asked about the new sock rule in the mission. Now you can't wear any bright-colored socks, so D-Rose is currently on the shelf. #SorryDerrick #HowsTheBench

Elder Cluff and I weren't in attendance at all at the youth conference, so I haven't heard anything of that matter. As far as the mini-missions go, what happens is the young men and young women from a ward or stake are assigned to a companionship for a weekend (usually Thursday-Sunday). The mini-missionary is expected to follow all of the missionary rules, including keeping the mission schedule and living without a phone. They study, plan, and go to appointments with the missionaries as well as dinners with members. Pretty much, they just live the missionary life for a weekend.

We had a couple of exchanges this week--I worked with Elder Riggins (who came out with me, but was home for a few months for medical issues), and that was awesome! It was fun talking about our times in the MTC together and brought back old memories. I also had the chance to work with Elder Stewart-Chester from the Aurora Spanish Ward, but we worked here in the English area. This time it was his Spanish skills, not my playing-with-toys or mad-futbol skills, that came in the clutch, as we happened to meet a member in our ward boundaries that only speaks Spanish, and Elder Stewart-Chester was able to give her a blessing that she needed, because she had hurt her back just days earlier at work. Besides that, we had a really good day walking around in the heat and humidity street contacting, and met a few really solid potential investigators!

It was also zone training for the Naperville zones, and our zone leaders asked us to put together a 15-minute training on it the afternoon before the the training occurred, but Elder Cluff and I were on exchanges that day, and after getting together and driving home, we didn't have a chance to sit down and start planning the training until almost 10:00 P.M. The training went fine, but the highlight (or lowlight) was that in our zone breakout, there was a practice where you had to practice turning casual subjects that members talk about into missionary opportunities that they have had lately. 

Elder Cluff picked a real-life situation for me that happened about a month ago. Basically, we were having dinner at a member's house with a newly-married couple that just moved into the ward. They were asking us about how long we have been on our missions, and when they learned that both of us had been out longer than a year, they started talking about a cousin that just graduated high school and how we need to date her and stuff like that. The red lights are on BIG TIME for us, but the member takes it a step further and shows us her high school graduation picture. In the dinner, Elder Cluff and I are looking at each other like, "What the heck is going on? What do we do about this!? BUT THEN, THE MEMBER WENT FURTHER by saying, "She's coming out for a trip this summer, we'll be sure to have you over for dinner then so that you can meet her." *Facepalms while writing this story* WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!? We've met you for like 20 minutes and you're already trying to hook us up to get married! #RedFromEmbarrassmentNotFromSunburn 
Of ALL the scenarios Elder Cluff and I have been through together as companions, that's the one he picks for me to do the practice on... #ThatDontPhaseMe #MyHeartsOnLock

Anyways (after getting all fired up about that), we were called upon for our unofficial Tech Elder skills this week. The assignment: get loaner iPads from missionaries from foreign countries and replace them with the new Samsung tablets that our mission is a test mission for. It just so happens that the missionaries with the loaner iPads are serving in places about as far from the mission home as you can get (like in Peoria, Rockford, you get the idea). So Elder Cluff and I had to take a couple of road trips to acquire the loaner devices. #TechElderSkillsInTheClutch

That's about all I've got for the week here, not nearly as exciting as the baptism last week, but still some good stuff! I hope that all is well back in the 801! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys!

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Big Baptism, Mini Missions, Zero Sleep


It was a KILLER week here in the Woodridge 1st Ward, absolutely incredible! I'll just jump into things by the big highlight of the week: Toby & Z's baptism on Saturday! It was a super good experience for them, and the ward came up big in the support, there were probably 45-50 members in attendance. No mess-ups or redo's necessary on either of the baptisms, they both went according to plan! Following the baptism, Toby took Elder Cluff and me, as well as the other Elders that are in the ward with us, to Famous Dave's for dinner, and he treated us to a MASSIVE dinner consisting of brisket, ribs, chicken, corn, fries, beans, Texas toast, cornbread, coleslaw, you name it. That was all included in the party platter at Famous Dave's, and Toby got 2 of them for us to share...#ByeByeCalorieCount

If you don't recall from last week's email, this week was set up to be absolutely crazy, and it did not disappoint in the slightest. Besides the baptism, transfers happened Monday through Wednesday, so we picked up new missionaries Monday and took them out to proselyte that evening. We had dinner, and then they were trained by some of the Sister Training Leaders and Sister Griffin later that night. After all of that training was over, Elder Cluff and I had to go to the mission office and work on picking companionships for the youth of the Rockford Stake to go on mini-missions (we didn't receive a call until Sunday of last week telling us that we were responsible for anything in their mini-missions). But we got that done late and headed home for the night.

Tuesday, Elder Cluff and I did some training for the new missionaries and trainers on Tuesday morning on the topic of using Preach My Gospel effectively, headed up the transfer travel arrangements on Tuesday (just FYI, all the missionaries got to their new areas safely), then went in for an emergency dentist appointment on Tuesday. #WaitWhat Yeah, Elder Cluff had a tooth that was bothering him, but fortunately, it was the same problem that I was diagnosed with last year--he's probably been grinding his teeth, and they've become more sensitive than usual. Got that comp unity right there though, you know how we do!

Anyways, back to the transfer madness: Tuesday night, we have the departing testimony meeting for the missionaries that went home, and it was the first time I've ever been to one of those meetings where we've been done before 10:30. So we got to bed that night at an actually decent hour, which was much needed, because we had to get up early the next morning to take all of the departing missionaries to the temple, then to the airport for their flights home. DON'T GET ALL TRUNKIE ON ME NOW! After dropping them off, we went to the mission office so that we could plan out our training for the Naperville mini-missions that started on Thursday. Well, that didn't actually happen, because since some of the restrictions came off of the iPad during this last transfer, there are no more Tech Elders in the mission, so everyone now calls us with their technology questions and concerns. #WhatEvenIsiPad #ReinstatedPretendTechElder #ElderCluffIsTheRealTechElder What happened instead on Wednesday (instead of figuring out mini-mission stuff), is we spend 2 hours on the phone with different missionaries helping them with Areabook and all sorts of other problems (including one tablet that was unresponsive to even a hard reset, that through some crazy luck, I'm sure mixed in with some divine help, we managed to help the missionary reset his iPad over the phone by having him press a bunch of different buttons). Those types of things, as well as a dinner that night, was the rest of our Wednesday.

Thursday was also nuts, because MLC was the next day, and we had had literally ZERO time to prepare for it all week. So we spend several hours in the office putting together statistics, graphs, successes, and struggles for the month of May to present at MLC on Friday. We also hadn't had time to plan out our training for MLC, so we took a little bit of time to do that, but we couldn't spend much time on that because the Naperville mini-missionary kickoff meeting was that night, and we still hadn't planned for that either. So we took the time to plan that out, and headed over to kick it off (the Naperville 1st mini-mission was even complete with curbside drop-off similar to the MTC). Elder Cluff and I trained the youth of the Naperville 1st Ward on contacting, and it was one of the most fun trainings I've ever given, it was a blast! The youth had fun, and we got them all assigned and off to their new areas for the weekend. My companion and I had to go back to the office that night to finish up the MLC reports.

Friday was MLC, so Elder Cluff and I finished putting together our training in the morning, and we were able to teach for 30 minutes in MLC on developing Christlike attributes. It's not a super easy topic to train on, just because it's simple to talk about, but harder to teach the application part of it, but it went pretty well, the Spirit was pretty strong.

Sunday was church and the confirmation, and we had dinner with some members before going to the concluding meeting of the Naperville 1st mini-missions. We had a testimony meeting, and it was awesome the miracles and experiences that each of the youth shared, every single one of them learned something from either the joys that they had or the disappointments they faced this weekend. I don't think I've ever been around a more solid group of youth, they absolutely killed it with their testimonies!

That was our super crazy week! On top of all of this, we helped a couple of non-members move a bunch of things out of their house this week as they are moving to Vegas this upcoming weekend. We didn't sleep much, but that's alright, because 50-Cent said that "sleep is for those people who are broke." Just tryna get those baptisms, you know what I'm sayin'? Haha, for real though, it was the busiest and most exhausting week of my mission, but that don't phase me. Keep powering through, nobody needs that sleep anyways!

I love you guys, thanks for putting up with the length of the email today. Hope that you are all having a great week, and that you're off to a hot start with summer. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you, you guys are great!

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson
#WhatEvenIsSleep #NoSleepGang #IDontEvenCare