Elder Anderson

Elder Anderson

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Christmas yesterday was so awesome. Probably one of the best ones so far. Everything that everyone said about it was totally  true. It started out with an awesome chance to email my family in the morning. That was great even if it was only for a few minutes. I loved getting to speak with them and can't wait to call them on the phone in a few weeks. Time sure flew by here. I've already been here 6 weeks. It seems like just last week that I was getting dropped off on the  curb. 

Later in the morning, there was an MTC-wide talent show. They told us about auditions and stuff last week and I tried out to be in it, but I'm obviously not talented enough. Oh well. The talents that were in it were awesome. My favorites were a sort of rocked out version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen on the piano and violin, a really cool guitar number called Drifting, a magic act, and a Yiddish Bottle Dance. How awesome is that on Christmas day?

After the talent show we had a great Christmas meal which was much welcomed after all of the mediocre food we eat here. But then shortly after that we got to hear from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. We didn't know who it would be until the very second that he walked in which was really exciting. Turns out, it was the one and only Elder David A. Bednar. That was so awesome. Since I've been here I've heard three or four of his talks/devotionals and they are so good. Watching him walk in the door was like watching Captain Moroni or Nephi himself come into the MTC. He's one of my new heroes. He spoke a bit about how we are agents to act and not be acted upon, but most of the devotional was a question and answer type meeting. The coolest thing about it is that the way he had us submit our questions (since the devotional was broadcasted to all but 2 of the MTCs) was that they handed out 200 cell phones to the audience and we could text our questions to his iPad. So if anyone wants to get ahold of Elder Bednar, I totally have his number. 
Since it was a question and answer meeting, there wasn't really much of a theme, but I kept hearing one thing over and over again. He talked about how one of his favorite Book of Mormon characters was Nephi because when he had faith to act without knowing beforehand what he should do. And before that, he said that revelation comes line upon line, precept upon precept and that sometimes we have to act, and the Spirit will help us make slight corrections to ensure we stay on the right path. And then before that, he said that becoming a perfect being is comparative to a jar of black sand. On each end of the jar, there is a whole big enough for one grain of sand to go in or out. Each time we do something to improve ourselves, we put one grain of white sand in and one grain of black sand comes out. It doesn't make a significant difference, but the more we work at making ourselves better, the whiter our jar becomes. This was one really big lesson to on having faith to act on the decision that seems the most right, and then over time, the Spirit helps me make that good decision into the best decision. This whole concept is really well summarized in a series of videos on lds.org called Patterns of Light (also by Elder Bednar. He's the man.)

After we heard from Elder Bednar, we got to go to a devotional type activity with this super awesome Jazz Band. So awesome. I feel bad that the Lord decided to give me such an awesome Christmas gift and everyone else got like socks or whatever else. It was exactly what I've been needing to hear some nice Christmas Jazz music. 

Our final main activity on Christmas, was that we got to watch the 2012 MoTab Christmas concert. It was so good. If you get a chance, look it up on youtube. There is this man that is featured in it who is some super famous baritone who won like a Tony and is some other kind of renowned, and I don't remember his name but I wish it was Anderson Elder. So good. 

Also on the highlight list from this last week, Heilein Elder and I talked to this man at the MTC who is an investigator (obviously an actor but we treat it like its real and therefore it is) and his wife. Their names are Nick and Gabby and we set up an appointment to meet with them this next week. It was pretty terrifying but so super cool. I can't wait until I have to struggle through doing it in Hungarian. Speaking of, the other other day, during class, our teacher, Runnells Testver, had us practice street contacts in Hungarian. It was hard. But I love doing things like that so much. It makes me feel like I'm an actual factual missionary leaving for the real world in a few weeks rather than just a student learning Hungarian and Missionary Theory. I'm super pumped.

Well I hope everyone's Christmas was wonderful. I hope you didn't miss me too bad and that you all got to think about Christ. One of the thoughts that I had over the last week or so is how Easter and Christmas are essentially the same holiday. The whole point of both of them is that now, because of that beautiful baby that was born in a humble manger, we can all individually be saved from our sins and find comfort in our trials. A couple times when I thought about that, I just wanted to sing Hosanna to the Lord like the angels that appeared to the shepherds in Luke 2. I sure love Christmas.

You're all wonderful. I wish you the best.


Anderson Elder.

P.S. turns out I've been saying Christmas wrong for like 3 weeks. Its actually, Boldog Karácsonyt.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Spencer: thanks so much family. I love you all a ton. I wish I knew what to say to you other than Merry Christmas. I wish I could be with you all or even call you but this is good enough for now. I hope all is well with you.
Family:  Hey son, we miss you and wish you were here with us also.  We're going to Poci later this afternoon for dinner with Doyle and Pauline.  We are going to go out with Mom and Meg and I for a little breakfast and then back to the house for opening presents.  Meg did such a great job decorating the tree and our house.  You'd love it.
Spencer:  That's awesome. I'm so happy this Christmas day. I woke up and just felt peace. Even writing you right now, I don't feel too upset. Just happy to be able to think about the Savior and all that he does for me. Christmas is the best and I'm glad I've been able to spend this one in the MTC.
Family:  That's so cool.  We are a little bummed that you got your little Christmas package so early and did not have anything to open today, but it sounds like your peace and happiness is a special gift from a loving Heavenly Father.  And how do you beat that?
Spencer:  That's alright. I got to enjoy a bunch of other Elders opening some cool gifts and even give a few of my own. For me, getting to talk to you now and getting to hear from an apostle later is probably the best gift today. And feeling the Spirit and thinking about Christ.
Spencer: I gotta go. But I can email again tomorrow on my P Day, then call you from the airport in about 2 1/2 weeks. It's gonna be sweet. We've gotta talk about travel money and stuff but don't worry about it right now. I love you all.

Also, I've been saying Merry Christmas wrong this whole time.

Boldog karacsonyt!!!

Sok Szeretlek

Anderson Elder.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dear Everyone,

I have really good news. An Elder let me borrow his picture attaching device and I will send you pictures with captions today. It's gonna be sweet.

This last week has been very missionary esque. Rather similar to the weeks before except the number between Dec. and 2013 is different. However, the day right after I sent my last email, we were in class and our teacher showed us this super awesome talk by Elder Holland. It was from General Conference in 2003 and it might have changed my life a little bit. Its called The Grandeur of God and you can look it up on lds.org but here's some of my favorite parts.

Basically, in order to love God and keep His commandments, we have to understand who he is. That's kind of a difficult thing to do because there's only like 3 times in the scriptures that we actually hear His words and they are few. Also, a lot of the time that we hear about God in the Old Testament they are talking about Jehovah who is Jesus. However, Elder Holland talked about how we can come to know God by coming to know the Savoir. We can do this because of what Jesus said that, "I can do nothing save that which I seeth the Father do" (sorry I don't have the exact reference on that. It might not even be an exact quote. Sorry.) 
The most important part of what we need to know about God, is that He loves us. He loves us more than we can even comprehend. Read in Moses 7 about Enoch and his vision that he saw of God. You can really see how much God loves us all and wants us to be happy and is so sad when we sin. It's actually quite a tragic chapter, but it's very touching. 
Anyhow, I'm obviously not portraying the meaning as well as Elder Holland did, so go watch his talk. Its so good.

On Sunday, we got to hear from the BYU Men's Choir instead of our usual devotional. That was pretty awesome. There was a guy in it that had this awesome beard and made me wish I could grow one. The more I shave, the more optimistic I become about being able to do so one day but until then, I guess I'll just have to comply with the MTC guidelines. We also had a cool devotional on Tuesday (that's how it works. One on Tuesday and one on Sunday) from Elder Ronald A. Rasband. He was a really neat speaker. It was good to hear from him. He spoke on Spiritual Gifts and opened it up to sort of a question and answer type thing, but my favorite part was from his wife. She told this neat story about a missionary from the mission that they used to be President and wife over. He said he always wanted to get his shoes shined and one day he got the opportunity from this grubby looking old man who didn't have any good equiptment or a chair to sit in or anything but he did a great job. He asked that the Elder pay him as much as he was willing to pay and the Elder related this to the Savior, shining our souls. How much are we all willing to pay to get our souls shined? That was a pretty quick summation but I hope you get the main idea and feel warm inside.

You're all the best. I got a bunch of great packages and letters this week and those always make me think of you all. I hope the holiday season goes well for you and you all keep your thoughts on the Savior. He's the man (In the most reverent respectful way possible.)

You're favorite missionary, or at least one of your top ten,

Anderson Elder.
This is a self portrait of me in five years. I drew it the other day during additional study. I'll probably never look like that though. Bummer.

 I found this while doing laundry. Its on the laundry detergent dispenser. Kinda funny.

Sweet temple shot.

This is the two districts of Finnish missionaries that just left this week. I never talked about them much, but they were awesome. They were like the big kids to all of us new Hungarians and we miss them a lot. Their names, if you care, from left to right are: Elder Coffey, really cool  guy, used to be in a band in high school, Elder McKnight, Elder Larson, he's gonna play football in college, his brother plays for the Ravens, Elder Thomas, Elder Smith, Elder Hatch, really fun, we played basketball a lot, Elder Stimpson, really good singer, Elder Hunter, so awesome, probably one of the coolest, free spiritest people I know, Sister Woods, Sister Thayne, Sister Pack, Sister Dixon and Sister Bitner.

This is Elder Gray and I. He's not actually in my district or anything. He's going to Albania and he's really cool. We play basketball a lot and get along well. #presh #duckfaceelders #missionaryselfie #thisisrightafteraserviceprojectwewereassignedtodobutishoweduplatewhichiswhyimwearingasuitandhesinasweater

Társom and I found out that our suits look way cooler if we wear them inside out. This is gonna be the album artwork for our first boy band album.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hello to family and friends and other interested parties,

My life here at the MTC has been exactly the same as in previous weeks. Have a nice day.

Anderson Elder.

P.S. I did just remember that we heard from an apostle of the Lord on Tuesday. His name was Elder Quentin L Cook. That was pretty cool. He said a lot of really good things and these are my favorite 3 points:
1) We cannot judge anyone on our missions or in our lives. It will get in the way of what the Lord wants us to do if we have any kind of preconceived notion of a person's personality or whatever else you might judge. Moroni 7 is a really good chapter about that. Specifically, read verse 18 but ponder it in respect to the fifteen verses before that too. It's kinda neat.

2) God will help us as missionaries find the people that He needs to carry out his work. Elder Cook told us a story about when he was on his mission and one night he and his companion were about to go home, when they got a prompting to stop and proselyte the block they were on. They stopped at 5 houses and 3 of the families got baptized and went on to become branch presidents and relief society presidents. On the other side of that, we have to know that our will is not always God's will. Just because we think that a person fits whatever bill we might think they fit, does not necessarily mean that they are ready or that they are the person that the Lord needs at that time. When our will becomes His will, we will be able to bear our burdens and trials more patiently and be more successful in whatever we choose to work for. D&C 46:30

3) Elder Cook quoted President Hinckley in saying that the more faith we have, the more successful we will be. We might measure success in a different way that the Lord does, but in the end, our faith is what decides how happy we are about it all.

Prophets are the best. we will probably be hearing form a few more in the next few weeks, so I'll be sure to keep you updated. 

So the other night, we celebrated a German holiday in my dorm room. We did it because my companion is from Germany and another one of our roommates is from Austria. Anyhow, it was St. Nicholas day. I guess in Germany, on the night of the 5th of December, they leave their boots outside and St. Nicholas brings them gifts. Then, on Christmas Eve, an angel comes and brings them all presents. So one of the days this week we left our shoes outside of our dorm room and someone totally left a bunch of candy and such in our shoes. It was awesome. I have a picture of it, but I still can't figure out how to send them too you. Sorry you'll just have to go without. 

I've been at the MTC for a whole month now and I can't hardly believe it. It feels like I just got here. However, I'm planning on stepping it up a notch and being a better, more diligent missionary. Társom and I will probably baptize everyone in Provo before we move on to Hungary. No big deal. 

Thanks for being so supportive. I got an awesome package last week with so many great letters and I loved it. I hope I hear more from you all. Email me you're mailing addresses so I can send you all letters. Or not. It's whatever. 

Love you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dear Everyone,

Thank you so much for the packages, letters, thoughts, prayers, and whatever else you might have done for me. It's always so great to hear about you're lives and to feel your love. Sometimes at the MTC it feels like there isn't anything else going on in the world. Getting letters and emails is a nice break from constant missionary work.

Speaking of, my Hungarian is coming right along. My companion, Heilein Elder, and I have been teaching two investigators, one named Gábor and one named Ádám. They are both actually teachers of ours role playing as investigators that they taught on their missions. Our first few lessons that we taught were garbage. We couldn't understand a word that anyone said (including ourselves) and were extremely limited in our vocabulary. This last week, though, we have gotten so much better. We can teach things that are mostly understandable and aren't quite as limited with what we can say. We also understand what they are asking us a lot better, even if we have to ask them to repeat it a couple of times. So yeah. The gift of tongues is real and I have seen it in the last three weeks of my life.

Other than that, MTC life is great. Basically, we go to class twice a day, have an hour of gym time either in the afternoon or the evening, have TALL time for an hour (TALL is like Rosetta Stone made by the church), go to devotionals, eat, study a lot, and teach all day long. Its pretty intense and I think the strict schedule makes the days go by faster. I can't tell the difference between today and yesterday and it seems like I've been here for almost two years. However, it seems like just yesterday that I was getting out of our car and stepping on the curb here at the MTC. I think that's a feeling that I'll have for two years. 

There's not a whole to write about living here at the MTC. My life gets a little monotonous. It would be kind of funny if I just wrote the same letter every week but maybe I'm the only one who thinks that. Write me and ask me questions if you wanna know anything I haven't talked about. Or just write me cuz you love me. I don't really care what your reason is. 

I love you all and want you to know that I know the church is true and that God loves us all. I know that the atonement is real and that the only way for us to be happy is by taking advantage of it everyday and working to make ourselves better through it. I love you all.

Anderson Elder.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hello everyone,

Good news, I'm already weird. I knew that when I got home I'd be a bit of an oddball, but I didn't realize that the transformation took place so soon. Not that I was really normal before but I can tell by the things that I think are funny and other things that I say or do that I'm already a weird missionary. Oh well I suppose it's a good thing. 

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was really neat here at the MTC. We started off the day with a great devotional from none other than the one, the only, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve. That was pretty awesome. As soon as he walked into the room you could feel the Spirit. I've been having a hard time staying awake in some of the devotionals or even my classes but not that one. I was wide awake and taking notes the whole time. What a cool person. I also heard that we will be hearing from more General Authorities throughout December and especially on Christmas. Later in the day, we had a nice Thanksgiving program where people played some musical numbers (not necessarily spiritual but certainly fun) and Sister Roach, the wife of a member of the MTC presidency, directed a nice little Thanksgiving skit. Afterwards, we participated in a service project where we prepared 350,000 meals for local children who need food. We also got to watch a movie, Ephraim's Rescue. That's part of what made me realize that we're weird already because I saw that show before I came out here and specifically remember a couple of parts not being funny that we laughed at whilst in the MTC. Good old missionaries.

Things have been going really well with my new companion, Heilein Elder. He works really hard and wants to learn the language really bad. We spend most of our free time reviewing vocabulary or conjugating verbs or preparing for the lessons that we have to teach in Hungarian. I sure appreciate him. Also, when I get home and start a band and become famous, he's gonna join me. So it'll be Jake and I, two very white Americans, and Heilein Elder, one medium white German. We're gonna go places. 

We got two new investigators this last week, Adam and Gabor. Our lessons with them have been 100 times better than our first couple lessons with Anita and Peter. However, that doesn't mean that they're good, it just means that we can now express our ideas and thoughts in a way that they probably understand. However, our Hungarian continues to get better and better every day. I have faith that the Lord will help us learn it and that we'll know everything that we need to by the time that we leave. I just hope I need to know plenty. 
I have a question related to our investigators that I would like to pose to anyone with some advice. In class one day, we were talking about why someone would need to get baptized, and I couldn't think of a single reason. I mean, sure its a saving ordinance and it'll help us to be happy, but how do you explain that to an investigator or anyone who doesn't understand eternal life and thinks that they already have a happy life? Its something I've been pondering a little bit and would like to hear some feedback on. Thanks very much.

The other day, I was in a leadership meeting and an Elder shared a scripture from Jacob 5. I'm pretty sure it was Jacob 5:20-24 or there abouts. It's talking about how the servant says to the master, why would you plant in such terrible ground? And the master says something to the effect of "I knew it was poor ground but it will bring forth much fruit. And look at that spot of ground, it was more terrible than this and it brought forth much fruit." I'm not sure exactly how it goes but the missionary talked about how before he came, a lot of people said that he wouldn't be successful because he was going to Finland. I remember having a lot of the same thoughts thinking about my mission in Hungary. But when he read these verses, I realized that the Lord might just have plenty of people to convert in Hungary after all. Maybe he doesn't and I'll still come home with brand new baptism pants, never before used, but regardless, its His work not mine and I'll do the things He asks me to because He's trusted me to do it.

I love all of you. Thanks for your well wishes and you're prayers. 

Send me letters. I like them.

Boldog Halaadas.

Anderson Elder.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dear Everyone,

There are so many unforeseen blessings that come into your life from serving a mission. The other day, I noticed some really masculine looking hairs growing from my chiny chin chin. I shaved them off and felt like a real man. The church is true.

I love the MTC so much. I even kinda like the hard parts which doesn't really make sense, but something about the Spirit makes things make sense that otherwise shouldn't. For example, my first companion's name is Bauer Elder. He is a nice enough guy from Snowflake, Arizona. He had this habit of running away form me on occasion and not wanting to obey the rules all the time. I had a really tough time getting along with him for the first few days, but then a couple of things happened. 1-I found out a little more about him and where he comes from and some of the things that he likes or doesn't like and really got to appreciate who he was rather than what I didn't like about him. 2-I heard this talk from Elder Bednar about how to be more Christlike and it changed my whole outlook on my mission. I no longer think about how I'm having a hard time or feel sad or unappreciated or can't learn the language or can't be patient with my companion or whatever and instead think about how the Savior would treat that person or act in whatever situation I'm in. It has helped me to have a much better attitude about the work I'm doing here. 

I was called to be the district leader over about 9 missionaries. Actually 8. But I'll explain that in a second. My first companion's name was Bauer Elder (in Hungarian, the title comes after the name. Freakin cool). I already explained a little bit about him. I've never loved someone so much that was so different from me, that I didn't really get along with and that I'd only known for a week. But unfortunately, he got sent home this morning. I hope he gets his life together and gets back out here as soon as he can. My new companion's name is Heilein Elder. He is from Bevaria, Germany and he's way cool. I love to listen to his accent and talk about music with him. I can't wait to work with him a little more while I'm here at the MTC. Whats cool is that he's not even the only foreign missionary in my district. There is another elder who is from Austria. His name is Hoferl Elder. He is really funny and really good at speaking Hungarian. He probably knows the language better than all 8 of us other missionaries combined. He is also a really hard worker and pretty spiritual. His companion's name is Loveland Elder. He is from Virginia and is a little bit of a different kind of guy. He studies the language really hard, but it usually doesn't relate to gospel topics. He loves looking up words that relate to wolves and none of us really understand why. Whatever though. Some knowledge of the language beats no knowledge of it. The other two elders in the district are Driggs Elder, from Orem, and Barbour Elder, from southern California. Driggs Elder is a really cool guy with probably the driest most sarcastic sense of humor I've ever heard. Barbour Elder is cool too. He is a pretty stereotypical Californian. He has blonde hair, good looking kinda guy, surfs, and loves to have fun all the time. We also have two sisters in our district. Their names are Naegli Nover (Sister Naegli) and Erlandsson Nover (I'm sure you can figure it out). Naegli Nover kinda reminds me of Tegan except she's blonde and is a little bit older. I like em all though.

Hungarian is probably the most difficult thing that I've ever tried to learn. After being here for a week, I feel like I don't hardly know anything. On the very first day, they taught us how to say our testimonies kinda. Then on the second day, we learned how to pray sort of. Then on the third day, we taught an investigator in Hungarian. I felt really bad that we damned his soul to eternal suffering because of our terrible language abilities (we seriously could only bear our testimonies poorly and say a weaksauce prayer. I don't think we even said hello.) but it turns out he was just pretending to be a missionary. He is really one of our teachers. I would rather learn French, Spanish, and German at the same time than try to learn Hungarian in 9 weeks. It all makes me miss Mrs. Early. However, I'm doing the best that I can and I've learned that the more you put into studying the language, the more the Lord puts into you. I also learned the all I can do is the best I can do. I heard that in a devotional on Sunday. The lady who was speaking said that she went to the Philippines on her mission and in her first lesson she only said a few things but the Spirit helped the investigator hear that a young boy named Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. He translated the Book of Mormon, which is true scripture, and restored the fullness of the gospel to the Earth. I hope that I'll be able to speak with that kind of spirit in Hungarian one day.

Thank you all for you're prayers and your support. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you. Also, if you feel that way inclined, I really love mints.

I wish you all the best wishes that can be wished. 


Anderson Elder.