Elder Josh Andersen Testimony Part 1

My mission has been such a blessing for me for the last 2 years. I’ve learned how to draw closer to Christ and how to really listen to the voice of the Spirit, and thats why I’m writing this letter. I have been impressed to write about topics or subjects that have been highlights for me on my mission. they are in no particular order, but just the order I feel impressed to share them.

John 13:34-35

34  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.            35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

When I walked away from my family in the airport the day that I left, many thought were going through my head, but the predominant thought was that of love. I loved my family. I loved them so much and it was hard to leave even though I knew it was right. I’m sure that’s how we felt when we left our Heavenly Father for our “earthly mission”. I didn’t think that I was capable of loving someone so much, and it was amazing to me at that point in time how much I loved my family. And then I started my mission and I began to see how the Savior can love so much and love so many people.

It took some getting used to, and a lot of prayers for charity (and I still pray for it), but now I can say that I have a greater capacity to love others than I ever have before. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have times where I have a hard time loving people sometimes, but I’m  trying to improve day by day. I am amazed at how I can love someone that I just barely met on the street! Then I love how that love grows and I genuinely care them and want them to succeed and be better. To love as the Savior loves is such a great commandment. If we could only see people the way Christ sees them, life would be so much easier!

Mosiah 2:17

17  And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27

27   Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.

I came on a mission because I felt the Spirit prompt me to go and serve right then and right there. I basically rode that wave of a spiritual prompting without putting too much thought into it. But hey, it got me out here and I’m so glad that it did!

I have loved serving the good people of Texas, both the English-speaking people as well as the Spanish-speaking people. I love the spirit that comes from serving others and the happiness that it brings.

Over the course of my mission, I have served in many ways other than just sharing the gospel. I have raked leaves, mowed lawns, trimmed bushes and tress, and any other landscaping beautification you can think about. And I am eternally grateful for my dad teaching me so much about how to take care of a yard. The countless hours he spent teaching me did not go wasted, and it truly helped me and came in handy. I’ve painted and built fences, painted entire houses and I’ve even helped people clean their own houses. I’ve helped people move out of their house one day and then help a different family move into that same house the next. And that was all just in one area. In other areas I’ve done similar things, but I’ve also volunteered at a soup kitchen, helped a man redo the foundation of his house, help with a clothing drive and teach people both English and Spanish. I’ve volunteered at libraries and also at a theater to help shelf books and build sets. I’ve helped rebuild sides of houses and I’ve gone grocer shopping for a disabled man. My mission has been full of service and I know that the service I did softened some hearts  for them to be able to accept the better service that we offered; sharing the restored gospel with them.

Being able to share the gospel with others has been an amazing experience. Growing up my dad always told me that when he tutored someone in school, he learned more than the person he was teaching. I whole-heartedly believe in that! I feel that I’ve learned so much as I’ve been able to teach others about the gospel. I’ve been able to study questions or concers that people have and find answers int he scriptures. I’ve gained a stronger testimony of the Restoration, of the Atonement, and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony of Joseph Smith has been put to the test as well as that of the Book of Mormon. I know that as I’ve helped others draw closer to Christ and God, that I have truly been blessed. And I loved seeing the light the gospel brings enter into those that I’ve taught. The “lightbulb moment” of “oh, I get it!” is priceless. The gospel is amazing.

Moroni 10:15-17

15 And again, to another, all kinds of tongues;                                                                                                                       16 And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues.                                                       17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ, and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.

Another subject that I wish to write about is the opportunity that I’ve had to learn how to speak and understand the Spanish language. I was very excited to be able to learn Spanish when I received my call. Then When I was in the MTC I was still excited and grateful, but I started to see the difficulty of the task at hand. Learning a language isn’t easy, especially in 6 weeks! I remember thinking how cool it was that I was part of the first group of missionaries to learn Spanish in 6 weeks instead of 9 weeks, and then I got to the field and was like, “No! Wait! I need the 3 extra weeks!!!” I was overwhelmed and discouraged.

I feel like I learned to rely on the Lord for help during this time, abut I feel like I could’ve relied on Him more. Spanish didn’t come to me as fast as I wanted it to. So I looked for help. I heard from an elder in the first area that I served in that President Hinkley made a promise to missionaries that if they read the entire Book of Mormon out loud in their mission language, then by the end of their reading they’d be fluent. I had no idea if that was really something that President Hinkley said, but I clung to that hope I was then given with all the energy of my heart!

I dedicated as much time as possible to reading the Book of Mormon out loud. It wasn’t easy and it definitely took me awhile. I prayed everyday, multiple times a day, for the fit of tongues as well as for the “promise” to be fulfilled because I was doing my part. After many months I finally finished it and I thanked Heavenly Father for the experience. I’d realized that while reading aloud, I’d learned so much and in turn I was becoming more and more fluent. It was amazing!

People say its not about the destination but its all about the journey. I can say that this can applied to my experience of learning Spanish. I know that the gift of tongues is real. I distinctly remember times where I spoke and taught in Spanish with words I had neither heard nor said before in my life. The same goes foe the gift of interpretation of tongues. There were time where I understood things that my companions (Who’d been speaking Spanish for a lot longer than me) didn’t understand. I know that my ability to speak Spanish is a gift from God and I’m grateful for it.

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