Josh’s testimony part 3

Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Doctrine and Covenants 82:10

10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

Oh if I could go back to the beginning of my mission I’d be better at one thing: obedience. Obedience brings blessings and I didn’t learn that for a long time. Obedience protects us as well, both physically and spiritually. Perfection isn’t required necessarily, but effort is and when a missionary (or a person) strives to be more obedient to Heavenly Father, that missionary (or that person) is blessed! Because I can’t go back to change my mission, I try to help other missionaries see what I see now. I tell them to be exactly obedient, and if they are, they’ll have no regrets.

When I got to Texas I wasn’t exactly the 100% obedient missionary. I was thrust into an unknown world of rules that were trying to rip “the world” out of me. And I fought that. I looked for ways to bend the rules or do things how I wanted them to be done. Mind you I wasn’t a disobedient missionary, just the little nit-picky kind of things are what got me. Either way, I wasn’t being as obedient as I should have been.

One day it clicked. It dawned on me that one of the reasons why I came on a mission was to be changed, but the mission couldn’t change me unless I did exactly what it required. I started being more obedient. The little rules I didn’t care for became important to me. My companion at the time thought I was going crazy because it was almost overnight that this change happened. I wasn’t perfect, I’m still not perfect, at being obedient but I was getting closer to perfection then I’d ever been on my mission. I loved it! I loved how I felt when I was obedient! I loved the blessings and success that I was receiving.

Then I had another “dawning” moment when I realized that I didn’t want to be obedient because of the blessings and the success, but rather I wanted to be obedient because I loved God. It was a process getting to that point, but I finally got there. I am obedient because I love God. Everyone should be obedient because they love God. John 14:15

Alma 5:7, 14, and 26

7 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

When I was going through the changes in my mission to become more obedient, these verses of scripture were shared with me by my favorite zone leader. This zone leader was a great friend and had been watching me change the entire time and had been wondering what happened to me! He shared this with me because he thought this is what took place in my heart. At first I was like, “wow, thanks man. So you thought I was going to hell before?” and he laughed and tried to take it back cuz it wasn’t playing out how he thought it would. So then he explained to me about why he thought it described my experience.

Starting with the first verse to the last, we talked about a change of heart because that is what I was experiencing. God had changed my heart. I awoke unto God. I was being illuminated by the light of Christ and his everlasting word. I was being spiritually born of God. I was receiving his image in my countenance. I was experiencing that mighty change in my heart. And I could in that moment still feel that change happening. I still feel that change happening every day as I continually repent!

A change of heart is so important to achieve. Everyone should strive for a “change” to occur within them so that they can be transformed into who Christ wants them to be. I desired that change at the beginning of my mission, but then I resisted it. When I finally gave my will to God, he was able to change my heart and truly change me.

There was a point on my mission where I felt sad and a little depressed because I wasn’t seeing myself progress. Then God opened my eyes and as clearly as I see this letter I saw myself back at my desk in my apartment, months before, writing in my journal. I was able to perceive who I was when I was the missionary writing in his journal and then who I was at that later moment in time. I had changed a lot in a few months! I was focusing on changing on a day to day basis and that was like watching a redwood tree grow. When I thought about the change that had occurred over weeks and months, that is when it became more realistic. It was a cool experience I’ll never forget.

My mission has in a way been a refiners’ fire, but I needed it to be that way. My mission president told us that when he was a mission he’d say this phrase: “Fire burns wood, and fire tempers steel. I am made of steel” I am made of steel, and the experiences I’ve had have tempered me to make me stronger. I have loved my mission and the experiences it has provided me with.

John 1:12

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Doctrine 1:17

17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7

7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

Sometime during the beginning of my mission I was told to compare the way Christ talks to Joseph Smith, and about Joseph Smith, at the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants with the way He talks with him, and about him, near the end of the Doctrine and Covenants. I did what was asked and found this interesting yet subtle change of words. Christ addresses Joseph as his servant and then later calls him his son. I don’t exactly know why that is the way it is, but I think about what it says in John 1:12 and how we are given power to become the sons of God. Of course we are all the literal spirit children of God, but to become the sons and daughters of God physically we must be born of God and be changes; we must submit our will to the Gather, give him our heart and all that we have, keep his commandments and be born again, or in other words, be baptized. So there is my little gospel sermon on that matter, but what I really wanted to talk about is being a child of God.

“I am a child of God, and He has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with him some day.” How many problems in the world could be solved if everyone knew this hymn and understood its meaning?! Yet for so many people, members and nonmembers alike, it’s so hard to remember this one simple trust: I am a child of God.

This knowledge has helped me in multiple ways during my mission. One thing that I do not like is endings. I hate endings. Well, ending to good things which the majority of my mission has had. It is hard to leave an area you truly love. It’s hard to leave companions you get along with. It’s hard to leave investigators and members that you love. It’s hard when good things come to an end. This cannot be truer than when we have to experience the pain and suffering that comes when a loved one’s life draws to an end. Why is this? Why is it hard? Because we are eternal beings. Eternal beings cannot comprehend endings because they are not a part of us! We existed before this life and we will exist after this life. But this life is full of endings that we have to endure and experience.

That’s where our knowledge of being children of God can help us. The time I serve in a certain area and the time I serve my mission will come to an end. The time I serve with companions and with fellow friends and members will come to an end. The time I serve in certain church callings and responsibilities will come to an end. The time I and everyone have in this life to live will eventually come to an end. So we should all be depressed right because everything will eventually end? No! Experiences end, but as children of God we will never end. I will have the opportunity to stay in tough and visit with those I have met during my 2 year mission. I will be able to still talk to my companions and missionary friends. I will be able to serve the Lord in additional callings and responsibilities. I will live again after this life. Though ends look dark and bleak, there is always a new beginning that follows. As children of God we can learn from our experiences and the endings in our lives and use the knowledge we have learned to help us later in life and even in the life to come. We need not fear endings but rather embrace them and joyfully wait for the beginning that will follow.

Let me be the first to say that people should not try to find out who they are during high school. Are you kidding me?! That’s the worse time to find out who you are! Now, on the other hand, let me be the first to recommend that people should try to find out who they are during a full-time mission where all of their time is spent serving others. What a great time to discover who you area as a child of God when your life is so full of the Spirit of the Lord! That’s what I feel like I did. High school didn’t help me figure out I was a child of God, in fact it tried to do the opposite. I would encourage every young man and young woman to serve a full-time mission for the Lord. It can and will help them to remember their sacred and diving nature as children of God.

I love my Father in Heaven and all He has done for me. I know I am His son and that He cares about me and that He loves me. I am glad that my knowledge of this has been reinforced while I have been on my mission because I know it will be a treasure for me and an anchor for my soul.

Alma 7:11-13

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

Moroni 10:32

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

The number one thing I have learned to appreciate during my mission is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have seen it work in my own life as well as in the lives of those whom I have met. I know and acknowledge that I still don’t understand the Atonement completely, but I know enough to be able to use it in my life and help others use it in theirs. It truly is glorious what the Savior and his Atonement can do for us.

I love this scripture in Alma. It is definitely my “go-to” scripture when talking about the Atonement. Personally, the reason why I like it so much is due to the things it mentions and the order it mentions them in. Pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, death, infirmities, and then finally sins, are the things that Christ suffered for to save us; and that is the order in which they appear. Christ suffered for everything! Most people get caught up in how Christ saved us from sin, which is true and important, but look at everything else he suffered for. We can use the Atonement to help us endure any and every thing stated in that scripture. It is amazing and powerful to realize this because when we do we know that Christ has already felt what we’re going through and therefore can help us endure and persevere.

Moroni 10:32 is my favorite scripture and it has been since I was first asked, “What is your favorite scripture?” That is my “go-to” scripture for how to use the Atonement. In this scripture we are asked to do three things: come unto Christ, be perfected in him, and deny ourselves of all ungodliness. If we do these things, that is when his grace can take control and change us. I love Brad Wilcox’s talk on grace because he explains so perfectly what grace is and why it’s so important. We are all saved by grace, but what truly matters is if we are changed by grace. “Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly.” Therefore, we must be changed by grace, by the Atonement, to be able to receive all the blessings and comfort offered by Christ through his sacrifice.

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what the Atonement means to me, but it means a lot. I love my Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for all that they have done for me. I know that my Redeemer lives and that knowledge truly comforts me. I am so grateful for the Atonement and for how it has changed my life. I know I can never repay Christ for what he’s done for me, but I’m grateful that I could serve him for 2 years to show him my appreciation for him and what he has done. It’s been worth it, every minute has been worth it.

My testimony is that I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. I know the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in the year 1820 and that they called him to be the prophet to restore the true church to the earth today. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth today and that it has the authority and power of God to perform saving ordinances. I know the church is led today by a prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is scripture, just like the Bible is. I know that families can be together forever and I know that God loves each and every one of His children personally. I am so grateful for these two years I’ve had to serve my Savior and King in the Texas Fort Worth Mission. I share these things in the name of Jesus Christ,

Elder Joshua B. Andersen

Joshs Testimony part 2

Enos 1:4

4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice gigh that it reached the heavens.

Prayer changed my mission. Prayer changed me! Being able to know tha ti can literally talk to my Father in Heaven whenever I need to has been such a blessin. I have pleaseded  for my own soul. I have pleaded for others. I have prayed so much that two pairs of pants got holes in the knees and had to be thrown out. It has been a source of divine help in times of trial and it has also been a great tool for me to be abel to thank my God for all He has done for me. Growing up my mom used ot always say that we should pray always, even if we didn’t wan to, and if we didn’t want to we should pray until we want to. I agree with that with all of my heart. But I want to add to it, that you should pray until it changes you! Prayer has the power to do that.

Moroni 10:4-5

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost     5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God and the only way to receive that knowledge is by putting the promise found in Moroni 10:4-5 to the test. Growing up my dad and I would watch the discovery channel and we enjoyed talking about science and history. A reoccuring topic that we talked about a lot was how no one can ever prove that something does not exist; he or she can only prove that something does exist. That’s why I love Moroni’s promise because he tells us to ask, “if these thing are not true.” To prove something does not exist is technically impossible because new discoveries could theoretically disprove the first conclusion made, and vice versa, but either way effort is required.  Work is required to find out if the Book of Mormon is not true. Ironically enough, thourough investigation of this sacred book will more often than not lead a person to believe it to be true as long as they search with sincerity, real intent, and they have faith in Christ. If a person does exactly what is asked of them, they will receive  a witness from God that he Book of Mormon is true. I have seen it time and time again on my mission. I have also applied it to myself and I know personally that the Book of Mormon is true. Knowing that the Book of Mormon is true leads to a person knowing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It also leads that person to know that Christ has restored his church to the earth through him.

I know the Book of Mormon is true and my testimony is based on that knwledge. I have heard many things over the course of my mission about the “Mormon church” and “Joseph Smith” and many other things. There have been times when I have pondered if this is the true church, and there have been times when I questioned what I beleied. But , like President Uchtdorf has counseled, I have doubted my doubts before I have doubted my faith. And I have  stayed strong to my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I remember one night after being “anti-ed”, I sat on my bed and literally had to say to myself out loud, “Josh, you know the Book of Mormon is true. What does that mean? That means that Joseph Smith was a prophet , we have God’s authourity in our church which is the restored church. That’s all that matters.” I’m grateful for that testimony because without it, I don’t know where I would be.

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.

Another good week in Texas

So this week was a little different but it was good over all. 🙂 It kept us on our feet!!! 🙂

So Monday we had a good day with pday and then after we had dinner with the L family and then finalized the service we were going to be doing for them the next day. 🙂 Then we had lessons with S and R and then with R and C. 🙂 They were pretty good and we were able to start going over the Plan of Salvation with them. 🙂

Tuesday we had a fun day of service!!! And I missed doing service….I haven’t done service, like actual service, for like 3 transfers!!! So… 4 months. O.o yea…that’s a long time!! But we were able to help the Lunas paint the inside of the house and the Hewitt elders were able to help us out with that. 🙂 We didn’t think it’d take that long, but it took up all the time we had planned for and then they graciously fed us some dinner!!! 🙂 The Hewitt elders were LOVING having Puerto Rican food. 🙂 hahah I couldn’t stop laughing!!!!! Then after we had a few good random lessons with people. One that really stuck out to me though was with a less active family! She also told me that I apparently was the first missionary in 2 years that sent her a message/called her to see where she was when I didn’t see her at church on Sunday, and how she liked that because she felt important to God! And then apparently I’m the only missionary that has shared a personal story from my life that actually related to their lives and it helped them somehow I guess. It was just one of those days that I felt like I was being an instrument in the hands of the Lord without really noticing it or thinking about it. 🙂 So it was comforting.

Wednesday we had zone council down in Temple and it was good!! 🙂

Thursday we had a good planning day, kinda the norm, but we went over what we talked about in zone council and how we could apply it into our area and what not. 🙂 then we had a good dinner as well!! It was with the C family, who invited their daughter to church the first week that we were here in Waco! 🙂 We had tried to go over and visit them, but we hadn’t been able to get in touch. But right then and there, Hno C called his daughter and set up an appointment with us that night at 8! It was AWESOME!!! 😀 hahahaha so we went and taught her and her family!! we also had a lesson with R and it was AMAZING!!!!!! I basically just asked the question, ” do you believe that these things we are teaching you are true?” And this was also after she had kinda opened up to us and been talking about random things and her just being super happy about what she was learning. 🙂 And then…. word for word she said, “If I didn’t believe in these things, I wouldn’t keep inviting you over to share more with me.” I couldn’t stop smiling. 🙂 🙂 And so we talked about it and then we talked about the plan of salvation and all that she could say about it (because she read all about it in the pamphlet we gave her) “it’s so beautiful.” 🙂 It truly is though, the Plan of Salvation is Beautiful!!!

Friday we had a crazy day….like super crazy…..we were suppose to exchange with the zone leaders that afternoon at 3:30, I was gonna stay here and Elder L was gonna come be with me…but then their service that they were doing was going a little too long…..and so then it got pushed back to 5…then at 6:30 we finally exchanged…and I went down to Belton instead!! 🙂 hahah so EVERYTHING was turned upside down but it was good for Elder M because he had to learn how to adapt in circumstances that aren’t ideal, and he hadn’t really prepared for the lessons that we had that day because he didn’t think he’d be there. 🙂 So it was a good experience for him, I think. 🙂

I had a good long night with Elder L. We taught one of their investigators who is surprisingly progressing!!! He is a very confused soul but he is elect and it is awesome how he is accepting the gospel. 🙂 The gospel truly is for everyone!!! But anyway, after an interesting lesson and giving him a blessing, we forgot our car keys there….and so our exchange had to drive us back and forth to get the keys and what not so it was a long night. 🙂

Then we exchanged back on Saturday after the baptism that the Hewitt Sisters had. 🙂 Baptisms are awesome!! 🙂 and after we all got Freddy’s Frozen Custard for lunch and we had a really good council about our areas and the zone. 🙂 And we also had fun just as missionaries do when we are together. 🙂 Then we came home and planned for the day…… But it worked out!! That night we biked all around Waco again. 🙂 I like biking because we talk to more people!! And then we had our follow up appointment with Ml!! And she was there and was SUPER open to what we taught her. 🙂 She has been looking for a church and has good feelings about this one. 🙂 and she is super smart about the Bible as well!! Like the reason why she stopped going to the other churches is because she found stuff in the Bible that wasn’t coherent with what was going on in those churches. So pray for her that she’ll see how we are the true church!! 🙂

But that’s my week!!! 🙂

Love you to the moon and back forever and ever and always!!!! 🙂

Love you!

Elder Josh Andersen 🙂

It’s always darkest right before the dawn. :)

So this week was an eventful one, in a good way and a bad way. 🙂

So Tuesday we had a pretty good day. 🙂 We had a good lesson with a super active member whose husband goes to church EVERY Sunday but isn’t a member.

Wednesday we had interviews and like always they were amazing!!!!! 🙂 It took forever though…..like they normally do. 🙂 Hahahaha when our zone was suppose to start the zone before us was like an hour and something behind already. So I was finally interviewed about 5ish. 🙂 hahaha instead of the 3:30 like originally planned. 🙂 But President and I talked about a lot of cool things!!! Oh and my 15 minute interview may have turned into a 30 minute interview…. but the first 15 minutes were just to talk about “logistics…” Which means that I talked about President about going to ASU and signing up for classes, etc, and then about when I am going home. So… I had a feeling I needed to talk to him about it and it was good that I did. Because he had in his notes that I was going home on January 9th, in the middle of the transfer. So… he looked at me and said, “Ok Elder Andersen what do you want to do?” So I had the awesome opportunity to have to make that choice right now. I could have extended my mission for another 6 weeks from what we were thinking, and then just go home like 3 weeks after the day I actually started my mission. But…obviously I couldn’t do that so I talked to President about it and we both decided that for school I need to go home on December 18th, so that is FOR SURE when I’m going home now. And now I feel bad for President because he has to do what he did with me with every Spanish speaking missionary in our mission because for us it’s a little different with the timing and transfers, etc. But I feel good about the decision and know that it is what God wants me to do. 🙂 So….just an FYI you’ll be getting my flight plans and what not sometime soonish…. don’t know when exactly, but I got “the trunky call” on Thursday morning asking which airport I was going to be flying in to.

But the rest of Wednesday was good! 🙂 we had good lessons with S and R and then C and R. 🙂 They are both progressing really well!! We started teaching about the Plan of Salvation with them both. The lesson with R and C was SO spirit filled too. Basically, the reason they wanted to start meeting with us was to find out a question of the soul, “why does God allow evil and suffering in the world?” And lets just say I was completely alone in the lesson because Elder M was lost with the Spanish and our member who was with us had NO idea what to say. She didn’t understand why God would even allow that to happen to her family. For a long time she gave up on God and now she’s trying to find out more about God and return to him because ever since she gave up on God life has been a lot harder, and she didn’t need it to be harder because that’s when she was going through everything .PLEASE KEEP THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS!!!! But lets just say that I am happy because I felt like an instrument in the hands of the Lord as I tried to answer her questions. I talked about how Zachy had brittle bone disease and how that was hard and not fair but how we learned from that experience and are stronger because of it. It was such a unique lesson, I’ve NEVER had to talk about things like that or have to share such intimate stories from my life and from my family to help them. But afterwards R and C both thanked us profusely for coming over and helping them understand more about God and understand him and his plan for them and what they need to do. 🙂 So I felt like a successful missionary after that lesson for sure! And my love for them just increased exponentially!!

Then the Thursday of bad luck came along. It started with my “trunky call” which wasn’t too bad, haha, and we actually had an AMAZING planning session for our investigators, and then we went out to bike…and that’s when the bad luck started. So I just took my GPS out of the protective pouch in my satchel, and it was cracked. Like bad cracked like I couldn’t see anything but white and black when I turned it on….so….we were lost. O.o Thankfully we made it to dinner….they kicked us out after 30 minutes though because they had other stuff to do so we couldn’t even share a message with them… but then we had a little extra time to go find a few pawn stores and I tried to get a GPS that would work so we could get home (still don’t know Waco that well, but it’s getting there) and all the ones we tried didn’t work….so….that was frustrating. Then on the way to an investigator, I got a 1 inch nail in my tire…. BUT 🙂 It didn’t make my tire go flat until we got home!! 😀 So God truly blessed me and helped make the best of the not so fun situation. 🙂 But yea…. my tire did go flat when we got home… 🙂 lol perfect timing right?? 🙂 I still need to fix that…haha 🙂 So it was a very humbling day and I learned a lot personally. 🙂 a LOT of prayers were said that day. And I felt like I was definitely guided by the spirit in every aspect of my life that day.

Friday we had to go buy a GPS from Best Buy because without it we wouldn’t be able to get ANYWHERE in Waco, at least not to the majority of the people we had appointments with that we’ve only visited like once. So…we had to do that. 😛 And that was pricy… but it’s for a good cause and it is to help the work of the Lord move forward! But…then that night was good. 🙂 We had a good lesson with S and R. KEEP THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS TOO!!!!! So we were able to testify about eternal families and keeping an eternal perspective. Which I actually had an AMAZING study on that this week too just random thought. 🙂 You should study that topic too if you get the chance. 🙂

Saturday we had DLC and that was good. 🙂 Ever since I’ve been having SO many thoughts come into my head about how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ and how I can continue to develop Christ-like attributes and what not. 🙂 It was a good “take a step back and look in the mirror” moment. 🙂 Especially because this time it wasn’t all “you need to work on EVERYTHING” but instead I had this very calm feeling come over me and tell me, “look at what you’ve accomplished. You have improved and you can still improve, but don’t overlook your accomplishments.” 🙂 So yea, this was a SPIRIT FILLED week for me. 🙂 I felt like I got a LOT closer to the Lord. 🙂 The rest of the night was kinda up and down with visiting people…a lot of people punched on us…but we didn’t get discouraged. 🙂

Sunday was scary at first and a little discouraging. But I realized that I am a very hopeful person now. When things look gray and dim, I don’t give up and I try to see the brighter side of everything! This was something that dawned on me this week that I do this. 🙂 so I didn’t lose hope that none of our investigators that said they’d go to church didn’t show up. Then 15 minutes before Sacrament starts, we get a call from R!!! 🙂 She was outside!!! 😀 and she was even dressed in church clothes. 🙂 Remember how she said that she didn’t wanna go because she didn’t have the right clothes?? But she came!! And she had a great time and she got really close with a bunch of members!!! C couldn’t come because his family came into town last minute and he had to stay and entertain them, but next week he’ll come. 🙂 We were SO excited for her and it was well worth the patience and hope. 🙂 And then the rest of the day was just interesting contacting people and being handed Jehova’s Witness stuff to go pass out to more people because for some reason we looked like Jehova’s Witness. 🙂 yea, I don’t know! hahaha

But in the end it was an amazing week. 🙂

I did get the little package on Saturday. 🙂 They just left it by our door because the apartment complex is closed weekends. Thank you for it!! And I love the tie. 🙂 haha I was joking with Elder M that you were gonna put like $200 in the package because you are super in tune with the spirit and so the spirit was gonna tell you I’d need it for a new GPS. hahaha but thank you for what was in the package. 🙂 I love you!

Today we have just same ol same ol pday plans. 🙂 We are doing a pday activity and then going to dinner in Robinson with some members and then we have lessons with R and C and then S and R.

Laundry isn’t too bad. We do it in our complex and just have to wake up early. We put our load in the washer then go on our mile run, BTW I CAN RUN A MILE IN 7 MINUTES NOW, OH YEA!!!!!…. and then finish our workout and go back and change the laundry to the dryer, then go get ready and go back down and get our clothes. 🙂 It ain’t too bad. 🙂

And we do not do Noche de Hogar here or English classes. We did have a few members offer us their houses to start teaching the lessons to Rosa there. 🙂 So we’ll see how everything plays out this week!!! 🙂

But that’s my week!!!

I love you to the moon and back forever and ever and always!!! And I am SO SORRY THAT I HAD TO BUY A NEW GPS….YOU DON’T KNOW HOW BAD I FEEL…. 😦

Love you!!

Elder Josh Andersen 🙂

 

P.S. I know how many days I have…..and that’s weird that I am almost in the double digits again. O.o ……….. Sister N took my planner and wrote down on every page how many days I had left….so….I know for the rest of my mission now. Haha 🙂 love you!DSC01294 DSC01296 DSC01297 DSC01298

Ice Bucket Challenge. You can cross that off of my missionary bucket list.

So maybe it is because I am whitewashing, but we are seeing SO many miracles here in Waco!!!!! 😀 I love it!!!!! 😀 Such an AMAZING time to be a missionary. 🙂

So this week. 🙂

On Monday we had a fun pday with the elders and sisters in Hewitt. We go down to Hewitt to help out the elders (because they are bike elders) with shopping and what not, then we go to the stake center and play basketball, volleyball, and scatterball. 🙂 It was fun and everything worked out for a first pday here. 🙂 Then that night we had a lesson with S and R. 🙂 At first things looked a little gloomy because our exchange cancelled and then there was bad traffic getting back into Waco, and a few other things, but a member that we called last minute came out with us and the lesson was amazing!!!! S and R are SO ready for the gospel right now. 🙂

Tuesday we had an exchange with the Temple elders, Elder Jand Elder T. Elder T and I stayed in our respective areas, so we just traded new missionaries. 🙂

Wednesday we had district meeting and it was very interesting since it’s only me, Elder M, Elder T, and Elder J…and this time Elder L (since we always have one of the Zone Leaders there). We did as much of it as possible in Spanish and then when I started getting blank stares….it was L’s turn to share his training in English. 🙂 haha and it was AWESOME to just watch him follow the spirit. 🙂 It was a very spiritual meeting as we tried to help these new missionaries understand the mission focus and the purpose behind district meeting and how we are there to help ourselves improve as missionaries so that we can help our investigators progress. 🙂 But district meeting overall was good. 🙂

Then I HAVE to tell you about Wednesday night!!! 😀 So, remember how I told you about how R’s sister and brother in law were in the lesson on Sunday night? Well the follow up appointment that we had with them was for Wednesday night. And they were there waiting for us and expecting us!!! 😀 It was an amazing miracle!!! 😀 They accepted everything that we said well just like S and R, but they question things a little more because they want to know FOR SURE that these things are true. 🙂 It was an AWESOME lesson though!!! And then afterwards we actually had a lesson with S and R again. 🙂 hahaha

Thursday we had a very good and productive weekly planning session!!! I felt like “I got planning” as we were doing it. 🙂 That was a good feeling because I really felt like the plans that we were making were going to truly bless our investigators!!! And it was actually cool, so we made plans that we were going to having set appointments with C and R every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then do the same with S and R, same days, just at a different time. Well, that’s what we planned to do, and we proposed the idea to them and they accepted and were actually thankful that we proposed the idea because they wanted to know so that they can start planning to do other things on the other nights of the week. 🙂 So that was COOL!!! 🙂

Thursday night we had a pretty good night trying to find new people to teach, other than that I don’t remember it. 🙂 hahaha

Friday we had an exchange with the Zone Leaders and I went with Elder P to Belton with him and Elder L stayed here with Elder M. It was an AWESOME exchange. 🙂 We learned a ton!! And it was really good for Elder M help him build up his confidence in the right places. That make sense? He was all alone in his new area and the only Spanish speaker. I remember my first exchange like that and I was nervous!!! But he did really well from what I heard. He was able to go by R and C, and then by S and R, with Elder L. 🙂 Elder L loves them!!! hahahah 🙂

Saturday we finished off the exchange and I had a good time in Belton. Then that night when I got back to Waco we went by all of the people who told us they’d go to church and we were able to get ahold of all of them. 🙂 and a lot of them said they’d be going to church!!!

Sunday was a good day too. 🙂 We called people before church and had a few people tell us that they were DEFINITELY going to church. 🙂 And then 10:30 goes by, then 11….then 12….then 1:30 and whoa…church is over. 😦 and no one came…..so what does that mean?? We go find them and figure out why they didn’t come!!! We would’ve left during church to find them but we were part of the classes and then I also had to give a talk during sacrament meeting…yea it was 25 minutes long!! hahahahaha 🙂 It was good though, at least that’s what the members told me. 🙂

But so anyway, we went out to go find our investigators!!! S and R were in the hospital with breathing problems….so they had a pretty good excuse for not going to church…..and then we went by C and R and they told us they were sorry but 5 minutes before they left they read the pamphlet that we left them and how it talked about wearing “sunday best” to church….and they didn’t have that….so they didn’t go because they thought they HAD to go to church dressed like that and they don’t have that kind of clothing. So…we had the logistics talk with them and how they can come however they want, but how we try to show respect for God, so they should try to wear the best that they have. 🙂 And they are coming this week for sure!!! 🙂 They are awesome. 🙂 And S and R should be coming too, but she just got a job and doesn’t know her schedule so….we’re not sure. But we talked about changing their baptismal date to sometime in October and they were like, “yea of course!” And!!!! S got an answer!!!!!! She told us that as she prayed she got goose bumps all over her body and that hasn’t happened to her in forever and she knew God was answering her prayer!!! I love God and how he does everything he’s promised he’ll do as long as we do our part. 🙂

Then we had a good pday yesterday too. 🙂 We had a few fun activities that we had pre planned to do. Then for dinner we went to Waco lake with a family in the branch. They were there with a bunch of non members and the Sister introduced us to one of the non members that she had met that day and already become friends with and we started teaching her and now we are going to start teaching her and her husband with the family that we ate with yesterday!!! 😀 Member work is AWESOME!!!!! 😀

And that was my week. :

And yea…so now that you have seen the pictures, one of the pday activities was the ice bucket challenge!!! 😀 I, Elder O’Brien, Elder Smith, Sister Nelson and Sister Johnson did it. 🙂 It was SO fun!!! I have videos and pictures of ALL of them. 🙂 Mine was basically like 2 challenges because I had my feet in one bucket while the other bucket was poured onto my head and then the bucket that my feet were in was poured onto me. 🙂 It was FREEZING!!!!

But you have NO IDEA HOW COLD IT WAS!!!! There was over 100 pounds of ice in those buckets!!!

But it was totally worth it and we all loved doing it afterwards!!! 🙂 haha 🙂

Thank you for the package btw!!! 🙂

Pray for the people I mentioned that they will be able to go to church this next week!!! 🙂 They are amazing!!! 🙂

And the whole week was a miracle. 🙂

I love you to the moon and back forever and ever and always!!! 🙂

 

Elder Josh Andersen 🙂

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