Wow what a week it has been! Salt Lake City is amazing, I love it so
much. Tuesday night we spent the night at the mission home which is
actually in the Salt Lake City East mission haha across the street
from the mission Home is President Thomas S. Monson's home! He no
longer lives there but he still owns it President Spendlove's son told
me that he would watch him feed his pigeons every Saturday morning up
until about a year ago. Wednesday morning we went to a church building
had breakfast then a few hours of meetings preparing us for the field.
We were then assigned to our trainers I am in a trio with Elder
Workman from Kansas who has been out 9 months and converted 2 years
ago, and Elder Vano from New Zealand who has been out 17 months and
has a full ride rugby scholarship to BYU and played for the All Blacks
U19 team before his mission. They are super cool and great trainers.
President Spendlove challenged all the new missionaries to give out a
Book of Mormon that day and invite someone to be baptized by Sunday.
Once we got to the field we went to the church to set up my iPad mini
2, then we went out to eat since we didn't have a dinner appointment.
After that we went tracking to meet new people and place my Book of
Mormon. Utah missions are unique because everyone knows who we are,
many people dislike the church and reject or ignore us. On the other
hand there are lots of members who love us and as we walk down the
street cars honk and wave at us haha. When we started tracking Wednesday
I was scared to talk to other people. I feel the same that I
did before my mission and thought of going up to strangers and talking
to them was weird. After the first person I talked to I began to warm
up. We had tons of rejection but the more people we talked to the more
motivated I got. We planned on going to the church building at 9:00
for nightly planning and it was around 8:45 and I still had not placed
my Book of Mormon. At 8:58 I knocked in a door and talked to a man
named Jon, he is Catholic and said he was not interested in our
message or a Book of Mormon. As he was closing the door I began to
testify of The Book of Mormon and the power within it, he opened the
door back up, I testified how it has impacted my life and brought me
closer to Christ than any other book I have ever read. I then
challenged him to read it. He then accepted it at 8:59 haha I was so
excited, I am looking forward to following up with him!
Wednesday evening we also met with the ward mission leader of the 21st
ward, he was super cool. He then took us to Sister Walker's apartment.
She is the daughter of the former Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson and lives
in the same apartment that he did I when he was in the quorum of the
12 apostles! She was so kind to us and gave us ice cream, I used a
metal spoon for the first time in 10 years haha. I was a little
hesitant but I overcame my fear hahahahaha.
We cover the Emigration Stake. Our area is about 10 blocks east of
Temple Square. There are 9 wards and a care center and homeless
branch. President Spendlove has moved many of the missionaries out of
high member populated areas to closer to downtown. He is also putting
most companionship in 1 or 2 wards. Our main focus is going to be in
2 wards, the 21st and 21 north wards, if we tried to be actively
involved in every ward we would be spread too thin and would not be as
productive. Our area is pretty big and covers the UTAH campus so we
have done a ton of walking. Saturday we walked over 10 miles, but it
was great! When we arrived our area book was basically empty, we had
only one investigator and no set appointments so we set up meetings
with all the bishops, stake president and ward mission leaders. We
have met with most of them and talked about the vision for the
missionary work in the stake and where our focus should be.
President Prickett told me that the Banz family in the 27th ward has a
son in the Brazil Goiania mission, where Scott serves, Elder Banz is
currently an AP and probably knows Scott pretty well because they are
both in the office haha I haven't got a chance to meet them yet but I
will for sure stop by this week and talk to them about it!
Saturday night we walked a mile and a half to he University of Utah
campus to meet a college student who filled out a paper in the guest
book at conference and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately he was not
home. On the way back we decided to track in an apartment complex. The
first door we knocked on we were graciously accepted and let in (being
let in feels amazing after being rejected over and over haha) they
were a young married couple named the Köevens. Sister Köeven returned
from her mission in Washington in January and Brother Köeven returned
home from his mission in the Spain Madrid mission in February. They
met a few days later at a DI, got engaged 2 months later and married 2
months after that, crazy! They were so nice and invited us to dinner
Sunday night, it was such a blessing because we did not have a dinner
appointment Sunday night and only had Ramen at our apartment haha they
are super cool! He told me all about his mission in Spain! It was so
fun to hear because Portugal is pretty similar!
Sunday we tracked into many awesome people both members and
non-members and a few potential investigators! We met one member,
Brooks Finlinson who is a professional snowboarder and is sponsored by
like 10 companies! North Face is one of them. We have an
appointment with him later this week. Later that night I practiced
teaching the Restoration to a Brazilian woman in our ward. My
Portuguese is pretty rough but I am so grateful that I have her to
help me practice and she is grateful that she has someone to to speak
Portuguese with! After nightly planning at the church building, we
were walking home and realized that we didn't have the keys. We walked
back to the locked church where the keys lied on the couch. We waited
outside the church for a little while until a bishop came and unlocked
it for us at about 10:20 haha we definitely learned a lesson.
I read President Ezra Taft Benson's talk in the November 1985 ensign,
"Born of God" in study this morning. I love his quote, "The Lord works
from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world
would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of
people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world
would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who
then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior,
but Christ can change human nature." I am so incredibly grateful for
the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and his power to change the
hearts of men.
I love the mission field, nothing I have ever done in my entire life
has compared to what I am currently doing as a missionary. It has been
challenging but I am the happiest that I have ever been in my entire
life and I absolutely love Salt Lake City!! I hope that I get to serve
a full transfer here! There have been so many miracles and tender
mercies everyday that continue to testify to me that I have a Heavenly
Father who loves and cares about me. I love what I am doing and am
glad that it is only the beginning!!
Dallin's wasn't able to send pictures for some reason (he said he had several...hopefully next week). BUT a kind mom sent us a picture she took of Dallin with his companions and her little boy with special needs! And, in the mail this week we received a card from Dallin that he wrote to us from the mission home, and it included a picture of him with his mission president and his wife (The Spendloves). So, I'll include them below!
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I arrived in Salt Lake City around 4 in the afternoon with 11 other missionaries, there are a few other visa waiters for Ecuador and India. We split into 2 groups one for interviews and one for Temple Square. I went to the mission office for interviews first. President Spendlove is really cool I really like him. He told me that he will put me in a trio so when my visa comes I will leave for Portugal Immediately as long as it works out for President Tavares also. After the interviews we went to Temple Square, it was awesome! We can visit Temple square on our P-days and teach investigators there, I am so excited! I love Salt Lake City, there is a lot of work to do here and I am ready to get started. I am spending tonight in the mission home and will enter the field around 1 tomorrow. I can't wait. My P-day is still going to be, so I am looking forward to your letters then!
Monday, October 24, 2016
It has been a great final week at the MTC, I have enjoyed my time here and it has flown by! I have studied the Gospel and the Portuguese language for hours everyday, but yet still feel unprepared. I know that it will be hard, but I am excited to enter the mission field and get to work!
Last P-day I was feeling terrible. I felt like I had the flu. It was miserable. I got a blessing from Elder Joder andI felt 100% I'm not sure if I was actually getting the flu or something else but I know that the blessing and prayers helped! I was so grateful for them! 4 new Elders arrived in our zone , they are all super cool and are waiting for there Brazil Visas. the Zone gets 44 missionaries! A bunch of them are going to Portugal, then some are going to Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique. Grandma Anderson sent me some candy and 2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. They were awesome! I shared them with the zone and everyone loved them!
When we were walking back from Lunch yesterday I ran into Christian, now Elder Thomsen. He went to West Georgia last year and we were in Brother Kimball's seminary class. It was so fun to catch up with him, he is doing great and loves it here. He has been here for 2 weeks and is preparing to serve in Hungary!
Yesterday we had the Departure Devotional. The MTC Presidency and their wives spoke about the mission field, they told us that we determine our happiness and success throughout our missions. After we had thenight Devotional by Steven Allen, it was awesome. He asked us why we were here and asked a few missionaries state their reasons. There are missionaries that are here for all kinds of reasons. He asked us if we are here for the right reason. I am here because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, it has blessed my life so much and I want to spread the Gospel and help others find peace and happiness in their lives through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Elder Joder and Elder Cortez left to Lisbon this morning, they have layovers in Denver and New Jersey. I am excited for them! Elder Martel is having surgery to remove a lymph node so he is staying at the MTC for 2 more weeks. We went to thesession at the Temple this morning it was great, I have really enjoyed going to the Temple throughout the MTC. I am excited to leave to the Mission field , Thanks for all the prayers, love and support!
My Temporary Reassignment call
Treats from Grandma Anderson!
Elder Christian Thomsen
Elder Chugg and Top going to Mozambique and Angola
Monday, October 17, 2016
Another week has flown by, only 8 days until we leave to Portugal. We got our travel plans. We fly from Salt Lake to Amsterdam, have a 4 hour layover then fly to Lisbon. With the Time change it will be 24 hours or Travel. I am so excited for the field!
Last night we had a Devotional by Vai Sikahema, He played running back for BYU in the 80's and was on the 1984 National Championship team. He then was drafted by the Cardinals and played 8 years in the NFL. He now is a News reporter on the NBC Sports network. He was the first Tongan ever to play in the NFL. The first thing he told us was to put our notebooks away haha He told some amazing stories about his experience playing football and how it blessed his family's life. He talked about how the Philadelphia Temple construction was held up for 3 years and how it was eventually approved. The story was amazing. He also told a story about Scott O'neal, the 76ers and a NHL teams CEO, and his conversion story to the church. It was so cool.
Monday, October 10, 2016
miracle of my mission occurred. My Dad's sister got married morning at the Provo City Temple which is near the MTC. My Dad flew in and was only staying 2 days. I knew that they would be driving by after the wedding so I glanced out the window a few times hoping to see them drive by but never did. After dinner we had exercise time, half of our zone played volleyball and half went to the field to play soccer. I had played volleyball everyday that week. As everyone went different ways, I was like its a nice day out here, might as well enjoy it and play soccer. We played soccer with the Russians again, it was a lot of fun.
Wow I can't believe yet another week has gone by. I have 2 weeks left then I will be off to Portugal! We should get our travel plans either today or tomorrow. Yesterday I was released as District leader and my Companion Elder Joder is the new District leader. Elder Cortez and Elder Martel are the new Zone leaders because Elder Goes and Elder Barnes are leaving to go to Boston tomorrow. When I got here they had only been here 2 weeks, now it is crazy to think that they are going and we are older than most of the Districts here.
Last night we had a Devotional by Brother Heaton, one of the administrators at the MTC. He brought his son who has Down Syndrome, he was cool. He talked about our call as missionaries and how we are called to declare repentance, how repentance is a good thing that draws us nearer to God and makes Him happy. He asked us is our goal to make God more or Less happy? Repentance is not just something we do when we commit major sins, but yet a way of life, something that we use and apply in our lives daily. I really enjoyed his talk.
After the game we happened to have the far side of the field so we were some of the last ones up and were asked to help clean up. We went to help put the far goal up and Elder Joder even helped clean up for longer than we were asked to which held us back a few minutes. We then headed back to the Residence a few minutes after the rest of the missionaries had left. We missed the crosswalk signal by about 10 seconds of so so we had to wait a minute. When the cross walk signal said walk, we started walking across as a Green Astro Van pulled up to the light. I was like wow that van looks familiar (grandma and grandpa's van). I then looked and saw my Dad and Uncle Spencer. I couldn't believe it. I ran across the road as my Dad jumped out of the car and gave him a big hug. Uncle Spencer parked the car on the side of the turn in lane into the MTC and got out and I gave him a hug too. I was in shock. I was so happy to see my Dad who I knew was close by but I thought there was know way I would be able to see or talk to him. It was incredible to be reminded of all the support I have from family and friends. It motivated me to work harder in the MTC and to be a better missionary. I talked with Dad for about 5 or 10 minutes then said goodbye a second time. I was so happy to see him. It made by day.
I know that God knows and loves each one of us personally. He cares for us and understands our desires and concerns. There were a hundred of little things that could of gone different and I wouldn't of been able to see him. It was literally perfect timing. I didn't have a prompting to play soccer, but the Holy Ghost guided my thoughts to do so. I know that I have relatives and ancestors watching over me who helped to orchestrate this remarkable event. It was truly a miracle from the Lord.
The MTC Draft
The Portugal Flag, I was so happy to get it!
Candy from home!
I was so blessed to get awesome packages last week!
Kyle Lemperly, BYU Vocal Points main singer, he served in the Portugal Lisbon Mission and was our substitute teacher .
The Provo Temple
With my Companion, Elder Joder
The Boston Elders
(Mom inserted pictures of the miraculous event below!)
Here is what Jon posted about this truly awesome experience: Just had one of the best experiences in my life. My son Dallin is in the Missionary Training Center preparing to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was not going to see him until he returned in two years. I am in Utah for my sisters wedding and drove past the MTC after the reception. We stopped at the light in front off the MTC and some missionaries were crossing the street. I looked up and there stood Dallin. I jumped out of the car and had the chance to talk with him for a few minutes. What a gift! So proud of him. He is happy and doing well! Love that kid! #tendermercy
Monday, October 3, 2016
Things are going great here, I can't believe I am already emailing once again. Every week just goes by faster than the previous. The temple this morning was great, Our whole zone went to the 7:20session. It is getting cold up here so it was a long and cold walk all the way up to the temple but I really enjoyed it. Portuguese is rough but is coming slowly, I can't wait for the day that I am fluent.
General Conference was fantastic! I enjoyed all of it. I loved all of the talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is truly amazing. When Dean M. Davies spoke I was like wow he looks familiar, then I remembered that when we went down to Louisiana a month ago to he spoke in Sacrament meeting and I talked to him after about my mission! My favorite talk of all of conference was LeGrande R. Curtis, Jr. it was the single most focused talk that I heard all throughout conference. I loved how he told many stories and testified of the truth and power that lies in The Book of Mormon. I loved listening to the MTC choir at General Conference. They did great. A few of my friends got to sing in it. I was a little jealous haha
Last night we had a special devotional. They announced a special music number and wanted everyone to be seated by 6:25 so everyone figured that it was someone famous. We got there just after 6 and the floor seats were already pretty full, fortunately we were able to sit on the floor. When Vocal Point walked in everyone got so excited! The 9 of them each shared a story about their mission and then sang a few songs. It was amazing! One of the singers served in the Atlanta Georgia Mission and their main singer Kyle, served in the Portugal Lisbon Mission! He said that it is the best mission in the world haha I can't wait to see for myself. I talked to him and a few other of the singers after, it was sweet! Three missionaries in our zone got their visas and left this morning to go to the Sao Paulo MTC. I talked to 4 Elders this week that are going to the Atlanta Georgia Mission. I am so excited for them! I actually have one more week as District Leader, I thought I was getting released this week. haha
Elder Cain who is from Ft. Lauderdale and left to the Brazil MTC this morning
Irmao Brad Sears from our Powder Springs, GA stake
When the field and Gym is closed...
The Atlanta Elders
At the temple this morning