Monday, June 29, 2015

Hi, Hi, Hi!

I've already been a missionary for a whole month?! This is going by way too fast. It seems like it is just Monday and then it's already Sunday again!
This week has been so great! I don't even know what all to tell you guys cause so much happens everyday.
On Thursday we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders and I got to go to Helena for a bit! I was with Sister Cutler, she is an amazing missionary. We got to go to a baptism, my first baptism I've been to on my mission! haha I love to watch their face as they come out of the water.That might sound weird, but they just look so happy! It reminds me of how I felt at my own baptism :)
It has been So HOT lately! It has been near 100 for the past few days! Tracting has been deadly haha but also it has been good for tracting because people feel bad for us and they offer us water and stuff so it is easier to get talking with them!
On the 4th of July all of our zone is going to be in the parade! haha. It is going to be so very hot, but I am excited! I don't know if we get to watch fireworks or not yet. It doesn't get dark until like 10:30, but I hope we do! I heard that last year they could if they watched them with an investigator, so I hope that it is the same! I don't know why but I love the 4th of July! (that's a rhyme) It will be different to not be in Richfield, But this place kinda looks like Richfield so that works! :) Oh and for dinner that day one of our members makes homemade ice cream! That'll be good.
On Friday our whole zone got to be a part of the youth conference! It was the coolest thing ever! We were at these indoor fair grounds and all of the youth were up on the bleachers and all of us missionaries were behind the curtains where they couldn't see us. So first Captain Moroni came and rode around on his horse, then he got up on this thing in the middle and said the title of liberty and waved the flag around and said "whose with me!" and all the youth (500 youth/5 combined stakes) got super into it. Then they had all of the youth come down and separate into their different stakes, they all got shields and a sword and then it was war! All of them went and fought each other, and once they got hit 5 times then they would lay down dead. Once everyone was dead then they started playing the Army of Helaman song and all of us missionaries came out from behind the curtains singing that song. Then the youth that were going to be seniors next school year took off their shirts and underneath they had a white shirt on with a 'future missionary' tag on it. And us missionaries went around while we were singing this song and we helped up all of the 'future missionaries' and we all gathered around in the middle around captain Moroni and finished singing the song. It was such a cool thing to be a part of :)
The 'P' family is doing great! The last time we were with them we talked about the what and the why with temples and the spirit was so strong. They have recently lost their dad so letting them know that they can be with their dad/husband again, forever was so comforting for them :) The daughter even started to cry a bit. I love love love this gospel and sharing it with others! It is so amazing to watch people as they apply the gospel to their lives and to see the many blessings that come from it.  
Being a missionary is the BEST!!
Love, Sister Anderson
Jumping for joy!
 Last zone picture with President & Sister Mecham
The Sisters of the Zone, and what a good looking group!
These rabbits are everywhere!  Jacob would love it here =)

Monday, June 22, 2015

So this Week Has Been Great!

We have gotten to know SO many people and have some really awesome investigators! Two of them have a baptismal date now! So cool.
I don't think I will be using any full names and stuff just for people's privacy and such. So one of our investigators that we met with, 'D', is so awesome! She has just started meeting with the missionaries a couple of months ago and love love loves the missionaries! Well the sister ones.. haha she's like 50ish and love loves giraffes (I think I mentioned that last week) she’s in a wheelchair because she only has half of her right leg.  Anyways! She is great! We taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ the other day and how we need to have faith and repent and how those principles lead/prepare us for baptism, then we showed her the video of Christ being baptized and asked her why it was important for Christ to be baptized. Then we just saw on her face that it clicked! She realized that Christ was baptized to show that ALL of us need to be baptized, and that she too needs to be baptized! It was so cool to see that click in her mind as she understood it for herself. She says that she is not ready yet, but she has never thought about baptism so much in her life before. Also that she has been having dreams about being baptized! We meet with her again today so that will be fun.

We also met with the 'P' family. They have been taking the lessons for a couple months now too and have really noticed the difference that it has made in their lives as they have been learning from the missionaries. They have had a pretty hard life and are going through a lot right now. Last Monday is when we really got to know them for the first time. They are really nice to teach because they know that when we come over we talk for a couple minutes, but then they know that we are there to teach them and they are ready to learn! Usually people like to talk and talk all about everything and it can be hard to keep them focused, but they are great. I can’t exactly remember what we taught that day, but we invited them to be baptized and set a date for them! They still have a ways to go, but now that they have this goal in mind it has really been pushing them more to do the things that we ask them :) So that's exciting!

Our ward is amazing and everyone we go to have dinner with always says something about how we can come over whenever we need to, and to tell them if we ever need food or anything that we can just let them know! They are so involved with missionary work its great!
On Thursday we went to Helena for a Mission Leadership Training which is like an hour and a half away. It was with a few other zones, and was also the last time that we got to see President Mecham and his wife since we get a new President in a couple of weeks. We learned a lot and had some yummy food. We also split into our zones and Sister Stacy and I led the discussion for that and we taught about the pamphlets and inspired questions and did some role plays, it went great! Then President and Sister Mecham said their final testimonies to us and we took our pictures with them and everybody cried and it was sad. But we are also really excited to meet the new Mission President and his wife.

Our ward does a pot luck thing every month and it’s so fun!  We had it on Friday, yet right before that, we ate a big dinner with a member who had this a taco bar.  I couldn't just not eat! There was yummy deserts and stuff, so we were VERY full after that. And the 'P' family came! And same with a few of our other investigators and even a new one we didn't know about! It was great!
Oh and on our way home from Helena we noticed a little deer on the side of the freeway about to walk out as we drove by and then we looked back at the elders driving behind us and the deer walked out and they hit it!! Hitting deer in this mission is a pretty regular thing, but it is still never good! They were okay though, the deer died and it messed up the car’s hood pretty good. But it was exciting! haha
Also there is a surplus of squirrels and bunnies here. They are everywhere!

I don't really know what else to tell ya about.  Umm I use a knife to cut my meat, I'm real careful when I am opening up ranch, the "pink palace" I believe has some mold or something growing in it because it smells real bad.
When we go tracting everyone is really nice and respects what we are doing, most of them say they already have their religion which is usually catholic or something.  There is a church on probably every corner around here.
Um um um I think that's all for this week!
Thanks for all of your prayers! I can really notice them helping me every day :)
Love, Sister Anderson
With her trainer Sister Stacey
Her first zone
Ok now do something crazy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Letter from Uncle Ken

Hello Sister Anderson,
I don't usually write to missionaries, but I figure this is good practice for writing to Katelyn later on.  It was good to see the pictures of you on the Frontrunner.  I hope all is going well for you in Montana.  It's good to get up there during the most beautiful time of the year.  But I guess that could be any time of the year, especially if you think snow is beautiful.  Thanks for setting a good example for Katelyn and all your younger siblings and cousins.  They all look up to you.  I've enjoyed your letters.  They certainly are inspirational and uplifting.  Looking forward to hearing of your adventures in the mission field.
Love, Uncle Ken
Jessica's reply:  Hello Kenny! it's good to here from you! 
I've been with sister Hodgson a lot! So that's cool! She and I are in the same district now!
I gotta go, but thanks for writing me!
Love, Jaja 
Jessica's aunt & uncle Ken & Carolyn Beutler are good friends with Sister Hodgson's parents in Sacramento.  Sister Hodgson went into the MTC the same day as Jessica, both going to Montana.  Small world out there.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I'm in Montana!

It seems like it’s been months since I was in the MTC! So weird. But its great here and the sky really is bigger! I like it a lot. So WAY back on Tuesday. We woke up at 4ish to make it to the leaving office place and then they said that we didn't need to be there for an hour. So that was cool and we just went to the cafeteria and ate some cereal. But then I found out that I was the travel leader haha I don't know whose great idea that was, but there was two of us and I was over the ones going to Montana and he was over the ones going to Panama and a couple others were going to London. So I was over like 13 missionaries and this other stuff. We had ALL of our luggage and needed to get on and off of the frontrunner and the trax in like 30 seconds. The elders were literally throwing our suitcases on and off of the trains as fast as they could! We wouldn't have made it in time if they weren't there haha we got kinda lost and went up and down some escalators with all of our HUGE luggage. That wasn't necessary, people were staring, it was fine, but we all got on the plane and we made it! haha 

Once we got off the plane and down to the bag claim our mission President and his wife were there! They are SO nice, I love them. and there was also a couple of elders one of them looked SO familiar then he asked me where I was from and turns out we're both from Salem and went to high school together for a bit! Elder Curtis. There are a lot of people from Salem in this mission its great! Once we got to the mission home we ate some REAL food and it was so good and then we had training at the stake center, which is very small, then we went back for some more real food, had a testimony meeting, which was great, and then all of the sisters stayed at a hotel for the night! Then the next morning we went to the temple! it is SO pretty! I love that place, it’s great. We also took some pictures and such. Then we went to the church for some more training and sister Van Ausdale was there! (Also from Salem) we took a picture, hopefully I can figure out how to put that on here. But then we went to Golden Corral and then I had to say bye to Sister Pearson :( cause she was off the her area in Wyoming. 

OH! Earlier though President had us spin a wheel to guess where we were going for our first area haha, I was wrong but I am in Great Falls!! And my companion is Sister Stacey! Anyways so that evening they sent us to downtown Billings and paired us up, gave us a Book of Mormon, and some pass along cards and told us to meet back at the van in an hour and a half! So I was with Sister Johnson and we went on our way! haha So we saw some guys crossing the street and they asked us if we were crossing too and we were like sure! Ha they asked us about who we were and what we were doing and one of them was interested in hearing about the Book of Mormon! So we were like great! But the other guy was totally drunk. Ha, and only was talking to me, so Sister Johnson was teaching the other guy while this guy was telling me how he just got a ticket cause he was drinking and was like "I’m an Indian! Indians can’t get tickets!" I asked him what his name was and he said "I am two moons" and showed me these tattoos on his arms that were like half burned away because I guess one night he and his brother were cold so they kept burning each other to stay warm and awake! He went on and on and said "I am two moons. I fight against the police on the front lines. I fight for my people." He said that probably 5 times. And he talked about the moons and vampires and Zeus. I don't know, he wasn't all there. But then this cutest/nicest old homeless guy came by! He's like "are you guys the Mormons? I know Mormons!" Then he told us about this one time how he had a warrant out for him and he saw some men in white shirts and suits and thought that they were the FBI coming to get him so he ran onto the bus, but they came and sat right across from him. One of the men reached into his pocket and he thought that they were going to pull out a gun, but then he just pulled out a Book of Mormon haha he said "and that's how I met the Mormons!" Ha he was a funny guy. The other guy goes "I like your smile. i don't like his smile, or really his smile either" then the homeless guy smiled and all his teeth were gone hahaha then the drunk guy started talking about marriage and I was like We gotta go! And we got far from there haha turns out the elders saw that they looked kinda sketchy and they were watching us from around the corner in their car haha so we were good.  Then we met another homeless guy and long story short he has had a really hard life and has probably never had a real home, but we talked to him and he knows that God loves him and we gave him a book of Mormon and it was cool.  Most other people we noticed would walk slow or fast or pull out there phone or get in there car just so we wouldn't talk to them haha then it started pouring down rain so we went back, but it was cool!

The next day we all got in a big van and we were off to our areas! For me it was about 5 hours of driving. Then I met Sister Stacey! She is great! Kinda not super talkative, but it's cool. I am learning a lot from her! She is an awesome trainer! We are both new to this area called Portage and so these past couple of days we haven't taught many lessons because I guess all of the appointments that the other sisters set up for us weren't official appointments? So we have been just getting to know A LOT of people! Everyone here is so nice! Especially the members! They love the missionaries and are so involved with the work it's awesome! The Bellessas are the first people that we ate with and they are our ward mission leaders! Oh on Friday we ate with the Jackson's and BBQ up some elk that they shot and it was so yummy! But I didn't have a knife haha and everyone else did and at first I didn't want to say anything.  So I tried to cut it with my spoon and fork.. haha That did not work. Then the husband started laughing and I asked them for a knife haha then I opened up the ranch and It EXPLODED all over my face!! Oh man... haha but it was a good time. 

This is a long letter sorry! I need to start rapping this up
We live in an old apartment and it's pink, they call it the pink palace haha I like it.  We have our own washer and drier so that's nice! 
Oh there are a lot of Native Americans here who are very into their native tribes and all that comes with that so that is always interesting. 
On 10th avenue, which is like the main street, there are 39 casinos. 
A lot of different churches. Everybody has their religion, mostly Christian 
This place kinda all looks like Richfield! But a lot more houses and not as small. Probably 50% of the streets are one way streets and there aren't very many stop signs so you just look and keep going haha. 

I've also realized how allergic I am to animals! Everyone has at least one dog and there it is snowing cotton everywhere so I am sneezing all of the time haha. 
Also older ladies are very into their cookie jars and glass animals and antique stuff like that. They are all over there houses! Usually they have a specific animal too. Like one of our investigators has like 200 giraffes all over her house! Another common one is frogs.  I’ve probably only been in maybe 2 houses that were clean. Nobody has a clean house here. But they are all great people! 
Oh and I saw Elder Rowley (also from Salem) and Sister Sewifinewa (don't know how spell that) 
Welp things are pretty good here! Sometimes it's hard, but I'm for sure trying to get use to this missionary life style.
This week we actually have "official" appointments, so we will get to teach a lot of lessons!  So that'll be fun! 
The gospel is true and the book is blue.
Love, Sister Anderson
Jessica & all the incoming Sisters
With President and Sister Mecham
With Elder Curtis & Sister VanAusdal also from Salem and serving in Montana

Note to Mom & Dad:
Thanks for emailing me mom and dad! I don't have much time or else I would write you back, but you can send real letters and I'll have more time for those! But I like these too! 
Oh and if you want you can send me a CD called lower lights? It's a good one.
I'll write a letter to you guys so you have my address cause I cant remember it right now.
I LOVE YOU! Thanks for all of your prayers I can definitely feel them helping me along.
Love, Sister Anderson

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm on my way to the Airport!

Jessica and her companion Sister Pearson riding the train bound for the Salt Lake City airport from the MTC this morning.  A kind gentleman took some pictures and sent them to family.  She was put in charge of the 11 missionaries in her group to make sure they all made it to the airport on time, and they all made it! =)
She was also able to call us from the airport.  It was so good to hear her voice, she sounded so happy, excited, and a bit nervous all at the same time.  Dad had a hard time saying good bye once again, getting all choked up.  But so excited for her!  

Click image to enlarge

Monday, June 8, 2015

Last Letter from the MTC

Hello Hello!
I dont even know where to start! I cant believe that it has already been 12 days! I feel like I have been here for 5 hours! I love it here SO much! If they wanted me to stay another week I wouldnt even mind! haha Just kidding. I am So SUPER excited to get to Montana! I leave to the airport at 5:30am tomorrow morning! The MTC is just the greatest place ever though. I love when we have devotionals and all of the missionaries get up and sing! You can just feel the spirit SO strong. it's the best. So for the devotional on Tuesday Elder Christoferson (not sure how to spell that) came! We sang and it was so pretty He gave a great talk just answering questions that missionaries usually have and I learned a lot! He even talked a little about Elder Perry. He said that Elder Perry would call the 5 youngest of the 12 brotheren the 5 little boys. and whenever they had a job they needed someone to take care of he would say "give it to the 5 little boys! they'll take care it!" haha I didn't even know that he passed away. But we all got special permission to watch the funeral so that was cool! 

This week has just gone by so fast I dont even remember anything that has happened!
But I'm doing great! I LOVE my companion and my district! We are all pretty different, but we all get along so well and are probably laughing 80% of the day. All of the sisters in my Zone are going to Montana so i will still get to maybe see them a bit  throughout my mission, but all of the Elders are going to Tampa Florida! It's going to be so sad saying goodbye to them tonight.  We have all gotten so close and I feel like I have known them all of my life! Which is weird cause we've only known each other for 12 days, but we are really like one big family and i love it! I just love 'em. So our zone had 16 people in it last week ( 8 people in each district) this week we have had 18 people in our zones ( 2 extra elders), so we have just had 2 districts in our zone but this Wednesday all of the high schoolers start coming in more and they are adding 4 districts in our zone, which is adding 47 people to the zone and there is 12 people in each district! which I think is crazy and I dont know if I could handle that many people! I think I hit the MTC at the perfect time haha The new missionaries that we got this week are great! It's weird that I am in the "old" missionary/departing missionary group now. And it is so crazy how much that I have learned here. They call us the "12 day miracles"! haha 

We haven't found any more spiders in our food, so that's cool.  The food is getting real old real fast, it's fine. 
Oh for sunday dinner we have potatoes and carrots and meat of some sort so its kinda just like home! but not nearly as good.. but close enough! We just got back from the temple and it was so great! I love that place.  Also on sunday we always go on a sunday walk up by the temple, which is so fun and we take probably 253 pictures everytime we go, but its so fun! Sunday's are for sure my favorite day of the week.  And this Sunday was fast sunday so in sacrament our whole district got up to bare our testimonies and the spirit was so strong. It has been so cool to watch everyone change so much in these 12 days together.  Our testimonies have grown so much and we have learned SO much. When I first got here and saw how much time I was going to spend just sitting in a chair and learning and going to devotionals I thought that it was going to be the longest 12 days of my life! which the first 3 days were like 5 months long.. but the rest have gone by SO fast. 
Everything is going great here! I love it I love it I love it! 

My investigator asked to see some of my family pictures and the only ones that I had with me were their school pictures! and if you haven't seen Jacob's school picture then you need to.. SO I just pulled them out not really thinking and she just laughed and laughed and then she said that he looks just like me. then I didn't know what to think about that. but it was funny!

Last night we watched meet the mormons and they asked me to say the opening prayer in front of all of everybody which was kinda scary, but it went fine haha I thought for sure I would trip coming down the stairs or something, but I didn't! so that's good news.  I love that meet the mormons, but once the missionary on it was saying goodbye to his family and they were all crying and stuff, that wasn't cool, cause it made me think of saying bye to all of you guys and same with all of the other missionaries in there. everyone just started looking around and had tear in their eyes, and then we all kinda started laughing cause it was kinda funny at the same time haha  
Welp i can't think of anything else to say! I try to write these as fast as I can so hopefully it makes sense.   
I love you all! thank you for all of the Dear elder stuff and packages! I don't really have any time to write letter back, but ill try.
I love ya I love ya I love ya! 

Sister Anderson

A walk to the temple
Hi everybody!  From the MTC district

A little craziness before leaving the MTC

At the train station waiting to catch the front runner to the SLC airport.  Wow that sun was bright!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

First Letter from the MTC - June 1, 2015

Hello family and friends!
Thank you thank you SO much for all of the Dear Elder stuff that you send me! I get so many letters and I feel kinda bad for the other people in my district cause they only get a couple and then they watch me get all of the letters from you guys, but they just make fun of me and say that I bribed you all to be writing me haha but I love hearing from you guys! Ima try to write you back if I this email doesn't answer any of the questions that you asked me in those letters, but I really never have any time to write letters while I am in the MTC. But ill try!
So the MTC is great! I love love love it here! the spirit is so amazing here! i love it.
so the first day was crazy and right once i walked into the building they sent me from this place to this other place to another place. and then to my classroom and that's where i met my companion! She is great. her name is Sister Pearson. She is from this ity bity place in the middle of no where in Nevada. a town called Peoach or something? She is 100% a farmer and dirt bike rider. she has 13 brothers and sisters and is right in the middle of them all! she is great though and I love her lots.  The food here is alright. the chocolate milk is my favorite!  Dont drink the orange juice. EVER.  Oh and today I was eating these grapes and then I found this icky gooey stuff connecting all of them..not okay. then another sister in my district was eating her grapes and there was a SPIDER in her grapes! so we are never going to be eating grapes ever again. And my district is AWESOME. I love ALL of them! there is me and sister Pearson, sister Granados, she is from Orem and i Kinda-ish know her and Sister Harris is from Richfield! and then there is Elder Menlove and Elder Cutler they are great and from somewhere in Utah. then there is Elder Jones from somewhere and Elder Willden also from Richfield area! I love them all! our teachers are great too! Oh so on the first day we had this "people and your purpose" thing where everyone (40-50 missionaries) all act as if we were two missionaries just teaching this one investigator who is at the front of the class. So we did that and it was kinda all over the place cause everyone had different ideas on where they thought that the discussion should go, but it turned out alright, but at the end the guy (investigator) before it ended he looked right at me.. and I was like Oh no what did I say...what is he going to do.. Then he's like "ginger high five!"  and it was so funny and we had an air high five. and then he's like " Mormon gingers have a soul?" and everyone just laughed and he's like "Or do you get a soul for going on a mission?" haha it was funny. I get a lot of jokes and stuff on my hair. I'm use to it.
The other day we were in gym time and playing volleyball our district against the other district and it was so fun! but one of the elders on the other team was just thinking that he was really good at volleyball and thought that he could just slam on us, so once I got to the front row I decided that he needed to be humbled a little bit so I blocked his next hit and that calmed him down a bit and everyone really liked that haha 
Oh attention attention. So the sisters in my district decided to be in the MTC choir! my comp wasn't too into it, but I think that she is actually liking it :) the song sounds so good. But we are singing it on Tuesday at the devotional and they always have great speakers, like last week they had Elder Holland, and when it is someone big like him then they broadcast it. We don't know who it is but they are going to broadcast it! So I dont know how of if you guys can watch it, but you should try! you might see me in the choir! so that's cool.
So with teaching with my companion at first when we started teaching our first two "investigators" (my teachers, but very real like) It was kinda hard for us to be on the same page with things cause we use to think so differently, but Saturday we taught a member that came in for TRC like I use to do, and they don't act like anyone or anything, it is all real. but when we taught them we were totally on the same page and the spirit was there so strong! we taught these two 40ish year old people they were just friends, we taught them about the restoration and well, mostly on family and the importance of reading the Book of Mormon, and as I was saying my testimony on the Book of Mormon I looked at the man and tears started coming out of his eyes and the spirit just got stronger and stronger and then they said their testimonies and more tears were shed and it was just all so great! i loved it.
Yesterday was probably my favorite day. we said goodbye to some of the members in our zone, our zone is just one more district and they are hilarious  i love em so much. the rest of them leave tomorrow at like 3 in the morning, so then its just us! until Wednesday. im so excited to meet the new missionaries! anyways so yesterday sister Perry came and talked to us and she was so good! and really funny! we sang this medley that she made and the efy medley song. I love when we sing that song, the spirit is SO strong.  then after that we watched Films and our district watched The Character of Christ. its from a few years ago when Elder Bednar came to the MTC on Christmas morning and you can ONLY watch this film in the MTC. it is life changing! He talks all about how the character of Christ is to completely forget ourselves and be outwardly serving everyone and and to loose ourselves in service. It was great.   
Welp everything is pretty great here! Thank you so much for all of the prayers! I can definitely feel them strengthening me throughout my day.
This letter is probably all over the place and maybe doesn't make any sense.. but oh well. 
catch up with ya later! 
Sister Anderson

With her companion Sister Pearson & Jamie (middle)
Her MTC district
Sister Granados

MTC Zone
Elder Andres (BYU B-ball player) with Sister Granados