Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First-rate Transfers and Last ZTM Testimony

Hey guys!

The good news for the week is that Elder Giolitto's family in Italy is okay, they were not affected by the earthquake at all. And Dallas lost the weight he gained from the cake shake. Besides that, our teaching went pretty well this week, especially considering our area was split in half (there is a set of Sisters that covers the other half of the ward now). We had a couple of good lessons with less-active members, taught a part-member family, and had a lesson with a former investigator over at the bishop's house. We saw Patience yesterday at a lunch appointment/birthday party that we shared a group message at, but weren't able to teach her in an appointment specifically for her unfortunately.

Transfers were a breeze this time compared to six weeks ago, very few hiccups in the system this time. Everyone got where they needed to be, and we didn't have very many things left behind, and we were pretty much right on schedule with transfers, which never happens, so that was awesome! Elder Giolitto and I gave a training to the new missionaries on using Preach My Gospel effectively that went pretty well.

We had an even better training on Friday at MLC, where we were given the topic "Using the Book of Mormon to Resolve Concerns." We started off our training by giving an example of how NOT to use the Book of Mormon, and Elder Giolitto played the part of the missionary, and I played the part of a non-member who got agitated when he just kept telling me I was wrong about my beliefs. Long story short, as an unplanned part of the training, I ended up yelling at him in Italian, and everyone thought it was hilarious.

Our zone had the opportunity to attend the temple this morning, which is always awesome as a missionary! We had a member drive us to and from the temple (since we can't drive the mission vehicles outside the mission) and he even bought us lunch on the way home!

This week should be just as crazy as far as our schedule goes--we have three different exchanges planned, as well as a zone training meeting where ya boi has to give a departing testimony. LOL, just ask me how excited I am about that...not even the slightest. It's crazy, because one of the missionaries that came out with me, Elder Hendricksen, left on a flight home today for school, so it's just weird thinking that that's not too far away for me either. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR ANY OF YOU TO GET TRUNKIE ON ME. I ain't done with my mission yet, I still got a transfer to work hard and see those miracles happen!

I'm thinking about changing up my letter format next week, and I'm open for suggestions! It might be another rap, it might be a hashtag frenzy, I don't know, but if you guys have anything specific that you want to hear from me, or if you want any specific photos, let me know and ya boi can try to make that happen.

I love you guys, and love hearing from all of you! Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you. Talk to you again next week!

Elder Dallas Anderson

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Up All Night

Hey Mom!

Pretty crazy week this week, ESPECIALLY with the transfer situation. The great news is that Elder Giolitto and I will be staying together for another transfer, which I'm super excited about! What made things interesting is the timing of everything: usually, President gives us the finalized transfer board on Friday afternoon, and we have until Sunday evening to finish it. This time, we worked on transfers a lot longer, and President didn't feel good about things until Saturday morning at 11:00, so we had a lot less time to work on things. On top of that, we had appointments on Saturday and Sunday that made it even more difficult to meet the Sunday night deadline. But you already know that the Woodridge 1st Elders don't quit, they don't stop when it's hard. And we worked, and we typed, and we brainstormed, and we revised, and we got a cake shake, and we worked some more, and typed some more, all that good stuff, until we got the work done. As I've had the opportunity to serve as an Assistant to President Griffin, I have come to learn how much goes on behind the scenes than I had ever thought possible. We worked on car-shares, travel arrangements, meeting agendas, transportation plans, and the like until about 12:35 a.m. on Saturday and about 12:55 a.m.on Sunday. The blood, sweat, and tears put into these things have helped me gain a greater appreciation for the leaders of the Church and the behind the scenes work that we don't often recognize even happens.

We picked up the new missionaries from the airport today, and it's always fun to see them step out into the missionary world. I had the chance to take one contacting this evening, and he told me that I was super good at contacting, which was weird to hear, because I don't feel like I'm that great, but it helped me recognize that I've made some improvements as a missionary.

In our finding this week, we weren't able to meet with either Patience or Adam, but we had an awesome member that invited two of her non-member friends (that she recently took to Nauvoo) over for dinner, and we were able to answer some of the questions that they had about the Church. One of them was pretty closed off and skeptical about the things we taught, but the other, her name is Kathy, was awesome! She straight up resolved her concern that people came to the Americas by saying that there are pyramids in the Middle East, where the people spoke Egyptian, how it makes total sense that the Book of Mormon was translated from Egyptian, and how it makes sense that a people migrated from Jerusalem to the Americas, because South America is the other place in the world that has pyramids like the Middle East does. #WhereDidThatComeFrom #WhoAreYou #HeresMyNametag

I've recommitted myself to Fit For the Kingdom this transfer, I'mma get so fit (cheat day = Giordano's & Portillo's)! Besides that, I'm feeling really good about this transfer, we're working super hard and I know that we'll start seeing miracles here soon.

I love you guys, thanks for your support, and for your prayers! If you guys need something for me, or need an extra prayer thrown your way, let me know. Thanks for your letters and emails, I'll talk to you again next week!

Elder Dallas Anderson
#LateNightTransferProbs #NoSleepGang

Mr. Clutch


First off, an apology to the missionaries on the other team in our zone activity, as Mr. Clutch walked off the soccer pitch fist raised with the game winning goal belt under his belt and onto the basketball court, where he was raining threes on the defense. Teammates got towels waving on me to try to cool me down, but I'm all up in here ending games in walk-off fashion.

As for the missionary work (this is what you probably actually came to hear about): we taught a sweet lesson to a man named Adam this week, but he's having trouble setting up another appointment because his schedule is so slammed, so pray for him, because he is golden. Patience's schedule has also been busy, although she re-confirmed her desire to be baptized with us at church yesterday! Besides those two, we don't have a lot of people that we're teaching right now, but hopefully this is the week that we can get some good contacting in and reel in the new investigators. Lots of good work to do before transfers come up this weekend!

Elder Giolitto and I finished up with zone conferences this week in the Naperville & Schaumburg zones, and everything went really well. Elder Roper & Elder Frehner in the Schaumburg English Zone put together a very powerful training on the Prophet Joseph Smith (the mission focus for the month of August), and it was a real testimony strengthening moment for me, the Spirit was very strong in their training.

Besides investigators and zone conferences, we had a big week working with recent converts and less-active members. Here's your funny story of the week: we had a new-member discussion with the Howell kids last night after a dinner, and the Howell family had invited two other families over from the ward, so there were like 12 of us for the lesson. Anyways, since the Howell family just got sealed, we were teaching on the temple and eternal marriage, and we were helping the kids understand the importance of the temple, so we said, "The temple is God's house." Literally half a second after we finished the sentence, we hear "THIS IS MY FIGHT SONG" as one of the member's phone ringtones. The funny part (besides the timing) is that the member's phone was on the counter behind us, so all of the members totally thought the music was coming from our iPads, and that it was on cue with what we were teaching. Haha, it was a pretty funny moment once we got it clear that it was definitely not our music, but the member's.

Elder Giolitto and I are really getting along well, and he's promised to make me some authentic Italian food, which is dangerous, because I'm all about that pizza and pasta life, but I don't want to get fat... #TheStruggle 

Anyway guys, I'm too busy scoring game-winning goals in soccer and nailing three-pointers in our zone preparation day, so shoot me an email if you've got any specific questions you want to ask me or anything like that. Know that I love you all, and that I'm reppin' the 801 so strong in Chi-Town.

Elder Dallas Anderson

P.S. Post-game selfies. #WorkHardPlayHard

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tech Trials, Meetings, and Miracles

Sup guys!

What a week it's been here in Chi-Town, crazy busy and stressful, but we're good to go. Here's a brief rundown on a week packed with meetings and miracles:

Tuesday was New Missionary Training meeting, which included Elder Giolitto and myself giving two twenty minute presentations. The first was on the "Do's & Don'ts of Technology" (which involved a demonstration of me falling onto an air mattress that was hidden on the stage), and the second was on "Finding: A Mindset, not an Activity." We went straight from the meeting to a dinner appointment, to MCM that night. We were then supposed to plan out our Zone Conference trainings that night, but Elder Giolitto's back was giving him problems, so we went to President's house to give him a blessing and he got his back worked on a little bit. We didn't end up home until about 10:30, which meant no planning for the training that night, haha.

We ended up planning our training the following morning, and it was okay on Wednesday, but we made some adjustments for our trainings on Thursday and Friday, and they were both pretty solid. The topic we were assigned to teach on was "The Role of the Book of Mormon in Conversion." Probably the best part of our training included having each missionary write their testimony down inside the front cover of the Book of Mormon, then challenging them to hand it out within 24 hours (more on that later).

Definitely the most eventful day was Wednesday, which was zone conference in Joliet. President planned to show part of a Church DVD at the different zone conferences, so we brought the projector to make it work. Now, here's some background to the situation: First, the Joliet chapel was designed extremely poorly in the sense that the screen for projected images comes down on top of the pulpit, so you have to set up a table that rests on the pews 4-5 rows back to put the projector on. Besides that, the computer that President has doesn't have a CD/DVD drive, so you need to borrow a TV from the church building that has a DVD player that you can connect the projector to. 

At this point, your projector is smack in the middle of the chapel--the issue is that nobody in their right mind puts an outlet in the middle of the room, the closest one is on the stand, so we connect an extension cord and power strip to that to get the DVD player, projector, and computer plugged in and ready to go. To add to the mess of cables, we've also got a 20 foot long HDMI cable hooking the TV (at the front of the chapel to get power) to the projector (middle of the room) running underneath the pews as well. Now, we've finally got everything ready, hooked up, sound connected to the system in the chapel, and we go to turn the DVD on, and one of the office staff missionaries who came for lunch had taken the DVD back to the mission office (which is 45 minutes away)... *Facepalm* *Beats head against wall* LOL, why do I even bother with these things... On the bright side, President gave some impromptu remarks, and we got out of the meeting 30 minutes early, which is unheard of.

The next day was zone conference in Peoria. Elder Giolitto and I wanted to complete the challenge we had issued in Joliet for handing out the Book of Mormon with our testimony in 24 hours, but our night on Wednesday was completely booked, and we were driving all morning on Thursday, so we didn't have a good chance to do it before the meeting. We decided in the meeting that we would go out for the first 20 minutes of lunch (the last 20 minutes of our 24 hours) and see if we could complete the challenge. Directly across the street from the church was a family unloading groceries from their car. We offered to help them take their groceries inside and ended up having a nice conversation about what we do as missionaries. They accepted our copies of the Book of Mormon and commented that they'd been wanted to check out the church across the street for a couple of years now! What an awesome miracle! Our training was right after lunch, so we were pretty fired up giving it and sharing the experience that we had doing it ourselves. After the meeting, the Peoria mini-missions kicked off, and Brother Ringer from the Normal Ward was in charge of it, so it was good to talk to him for a couple of minutes. On our drive back to our apartment, the Albrechtsens in Normal invited us over for dinner, so it was a lot of fun spending some time with them as well!

We had Rockford's zone conference on Friday, and got all of the technology set up and working, but ran out of time, so we didn't even need to use it anyway...

Saturday brought a very neat circumstance; as you are aware, Elder Giolitto is from Verona, Italy. His family sent him a picture of the missionaries they had over for dinner a couple of weeks ago, and one of them happened to live in our mission. This missionary emailed his mom, and she set up a lunch with us so that a role-reversal of parents feeding missionaries could take place in the Western Hemisphere. The Grizzell Family (Elder Grizzell is currently serving in Verona) took us to Barbakoa for lunch, where I had a carne asada torta with guacamole that was amazing. #TheyCallMeBrockbank

As far as our teaching this week, we were able to see the Dunne twins, as well as a couple of other less-active members that we hope to see return to church at some point. Patience had work yesterday, so we weren't able to meet with her unfortunately, but we have an appointment set up with a man named Adam this week, and hope to find a few new investigators with the time that we have in between more meetings this week.

And just to give you a laugh or a smile for the week, last week, I got an auto-reply email from my mom (after I emailed her last week) implying that my emails weren't good enough. It's probably 'cause I'm white. #ThanksMom #LanguageOfTheStreetsSaysOtherwise

That's about all for this week. I appreciate all the love and support from the homies back home. S/O to my buddies that have recently finished or will finish their missions here in the next couple of weeks, finish strong! You know I ain't about that trunkie life here in Chi-Town, we still going strong! Lemme know if there is anything that I can do for you guys, you're always in my prayers!

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Como Se Dice Mexican Food!

What's up guys!?

Another week on the missionary grind, and boy was it busy! Exchanges, meetings, and service kept us on our toes and running from place to place to make sure that we got everything done that we needed to.

First off, exchange on Tuesday with Elder Stewart-Chester (AKA: stud, he is an awesome missionary). We were in the Spanish program in Aurora, so you already know what's coming. #ComoSeDiceWorthless Now, their area has been struggling a little bit with finding people to teach, and their zone had a goal that before the end of the week, that everyone would have an "investigator present" lesson (a lesson with an investigator inside of a member's home). Elder Stewart-Chester's area didn't have anyone they were teaching to set up that appointment with, so our whole goal going into the exchange was to set up an investigator present lesson so that they could lead by example. We worked super hard that day (even though we talked to more black people than Hispanics) and got a lesson set up like we'd hoped to. We were feeling really good going into our dinner appointment, which was actually authentic Mexican food. **Cues Hallelujah song** (This is the first time, out of like 10 exchanges in the Spanish program, that I've gotten Hispanic food, every other time it's been like Dominoes Pizza or KFC...) It was super good, but what was even better is that a non-member friend literally walked into the apartment right as we were getting into the lesson. She sat down and told us that she's been going through some hard times. We (in all reality, it was all Elder Stewart-Chester, because I'm #ComoSeDiceWorthless when it comes to Spanish) taught her about the Restoration and set up another appointment for next week! The Lord definitely placed us in the right place at the right time, and we had a miracle investigator present!

Friday was MLC, and Elder Giolitto and I were assigned to train on effectively auditing iPads (just call me the resurrected Tech Elder, LOL). There was a big discussion on the highlights and struggles of the mission right now, which was very eye-opening, because I would've never guessed that some of the problems brought up were mission-wide problems. It was honestly pretty shocking, because there was a lot of talk about building the faith of missionaries and helping companionships that struggle to work in unity. It will be interesting to see the approach that President Griffin takes moving forward.

Anyways, so I won't give you the details, but we had a missionary that went home for special circumstances this weekend, so his companion, who is from the Spanish program, spent the weekend with us. We were crazy busy on Saturday, and went on three different splits with members during the day: there were two moves in the morning, so I went to the one at the Sonnenburg's house, and the other Elders went to the other move. We met back up and helped a member clean out his garage and basement, because a flash flood hit our area this past week. After doing that for a little bit, Elder Giolitto went to a lunch appointment with a member, while Elder Hughes and I got some lunch on our own. We got back together and went immediately to cut the lawn of an investigator. Following that, we changed clothes and went to a dinner appointment in Elder Hughes' area, which meant I was just sitting around, because the family didn't speak any English, and you already know how my Spanish is... And not that I'm complaining about members feeding us, but we got Costco pizza for dinner. In the Spanish program. What is this. Following dinner, I went of splits with our ward mission leader and taught a lesson to a less-active member who came to church the next day!

Sunday was pretty awesome--Toby got the Aaronic Priesthood! If that wasn't good in itself, Jose, the YSA kid that Elder Campbell and I taught last summer, just got back from BYU-Idaho, and he now has the Melchizedek Priesthood, so they're both doing super solid in their progress! After church was over, we had a lesson with Patience, Toby, Z (YES, HE'S BACK!), and Girlie. Patience is still doing well, and seems to understand all that we teach her. It's just a matter of getting her to move into the ward before she can get baptized, because she's been coming to church for over a month now.

Yeah, that was pretty much our week! Lots of crazy busy days and cool miracles! I love you guys, thanks for all you do for me! I appreciate all of the love, support, and prayers in my behalf. Know that I'm praying for you guys, and that life is Chi-Town is still going strong! Talk to you guys next week!

Love ya!
Elder Dallas Anderson