Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015: Our Toilet Floweth Over...........

X Adventures, Toilets That Don't Work, and LOTS of Chili!!!!

Hello family!! You all sound like you're doing great!!! And busy...holy, I can't believe February is almost over!! Time flies, but it's also slow. I really miss you guys, but hey, I love it here too! :)

Well, this is week six of the cycle. Hermana Zepeda's training is coming to a close! I can't believe it! I always tell her she was my child born in the wilderness of my afflictions ha-ha (See 2 Nephi 3:1). December was a very rough time, I'm so glad it's over. We stuck it out like champions. We are nervous to see what will happen with the next cycle because we want to stay here together. Just a fun thought about my companion: she's a Justin Bieber fan. I'm not sure why it makes me laugh so much. I would have never guessed she would be one!

Okay, the two parts of my week: spiritualness and adventures. First, spiritual things!!!!!! :) Maria de Jesus and Jaquelyn are progressing nicely! We went to their house on Saturday to confirm they were coming to church. When we walked up the stairs, we saw Maria washing her tennis shoes to come to church with a toothbrush and a barrel of water and soap. They don't have much, and she said, "Well, we can at least come with clean shoes!!" She makes me smile :) After church on Sunday, she said that she feels very different at the chapel than she has felt at other churches. (cough cough...SPIRIT!!) We are having a sister in the branch teach her and a few other sisters how to read and write. She is super excited about it! She calls us her daughters and always tells us how much her life is changing since we came. We taught her the Word of Wisdom yesterday and she said, "Okay, I will give up the coffee, but do you think this Word of Wisdom will help me drop some weight?" LOVE HER ha-ha. So anyway, the point is that Maria needs to be in your prayers, along with Jaquelyn, Lluvia, and Abram :) I always look forward to teaching them. I'm happy with the work we are doing with her. Now we just need to find more like her!

Okay, adventures: always many, many, many - especially if your name is Hermana Anderton. We went last Monday as a district before our meeting to the "X" of Juarez. They have marathons there in October and sometimes in the spring too. I'm thinking maybe October 2016 we could make a pit stop here and run a marathon?? :) It was really fun; we took a lot of pics! But here is my Betty Boop Moment: it was super windy and my skirt caught the draft when we were taking a photo, I just about died. My luck is not all that fabulous ha-ha. But it was a good time! Hmm and this week our toilet had issues! The flusher didn't work, so we filled up our mop bucket with water so it would have pressure to drain it out until we fixed it. We were laughing the entire time at the ridiculousness of it all. We finally figured it out, something wasn't attached to the other thing, I don't know what every part is called hash. Long story short, we used a twisty-tie from a bread package to fix it. Handy-woman over here ;) Also, it's official, I'm a Mexican. I downed more chili than others in my district on Sunday. My eyes were watering so badly and my mouth was on FIRE!!! But I now have a sticker that says, "Hecho en Mexico" as my prize. I ate ice for more than 20 minutes after. You should be proud!

Well, my thought for you guys comes from a video we saw this week: The Atonement and Missionary Work. It made me tear-up. There was a talk from Elder Holland that is entitled "Missionary Work and the Atonement" from an MTC devotional in June 2000. That guy is powerful with his words. He said:

Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask: Why is this so hard? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the church? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and night in the baptismal font?

I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.

If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore and cry, “Father, if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not an easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.

When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him – the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Well, I've thought about that a great deal. And I've also thought about the sacrifices we make to serve others, the sacrifices we make to follow our Savior. They are worth the price. It's not easy, but there is no other thing I would rather do! Now, this doesn't mean we are here to only suffer and sacrifice, etc. We are here to enjoy the ride of life that our Father in Heaven has given us. We can sacrifice, and we can do so happily, with confidence that the Lord is by our side, every step of the way. Let us never be weary of well-doing! (D&C 64:32-34)

I love you all so much! Miss you all! But I'm doing great and am happy here! Keep on keeping on!!! HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Con todo de mi amor,

Hermana Anderton

The State
The Town
The "X"

District X!

Raegan's District in front of the X

X Selfie


Mexico Pride


Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015: Every Week is Fabulous!

Hey all! Happy Valentine's Day! I completely forgot that was coming up. Guess that kind of happens when you're a missionary. I remember last Valentine's Day really well, that's when I dropped the ball on you guys that I was going on a mission :) You all sound like you're doing great! Great job Kennedy on your cheer competition, and best of luck preparing for State. You will do awesome. Take it home!! :)

 This week was really good! Bueno, EVERY WEEK IS FABULOUS!! But this week was particularly awesome because we have a red tomato investigador. Por fin. Maria de Jesus accepted a baptismal date for the 21st of March. They better not change me out of the area!!!!!!! But we will see, transfers are in 2 weeks. Anyways, Maria has 3 kids and 2 of them I think we are going to try to get baptized the same day. They weren't there at the lesson because they were preparing to participate in New Beginnings with the YW! Jaquelyn and Lluvia Estrella are their names. She also has a young son named Abram. They didn't come to church this week, so we went straight there after lunch to visit them. She said, "I never want to miss church again. I'm going to set Sunday aside like you told me to and go to church every week." Perfect! She is recognizing a huge difference in her life! She is always asking the perfect questions and is really receptive to everything we teach. She always says, "So what do I need to do? I want to become better." It's wonderful because then we can easily get specific commitments with her. She is so cute!!!!! Ah! So happy when we go to teach her!!! :) Her kids love us too. Lluvia and Jaquelyn painted my nails the other day and Abram did my hair: It was atrocious!!! But they were our last appointment so it was fine. It didn't bother me too much and kept them quieter so we could really focus in Maria's questions without interruptions. It took me a good 30 minutes to brush out my hair though ha-ha. Please keep them in your prayers!!!!

 We also had a Valentine's Day activity with the zone this week in Soriana and S-Mart. We took free photos and people had to give us their addresses so we could bring them to their house. (Can you say reference overload?? Yeah, we had a different motive than just free pics ha-ha.) We talked with a million people and handed out balloons and candy,  lots of it. We got planched by a man in Soriana for about 40 minutes telling us that Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet, that President Derbez isn't directed by God, that President Monson is a liar along with the apostles, the Book of Mormon doesn't testify of Christ (umm obviously he hasn't read it all nor seen 2 Nephi 25:26...but whatever), and that we shouldn't be blinded by the craftiness of an enchanter from the 1800's. FORTY MINUTES of that junk!! I don't think he took a breath, but when his rant was over...we smiled politely and testified about the prophets, the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He wanted to start up again, but I said, "I'm not going to be shaken on this. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson is also a prophet. If you would like to participate in the free pictures we are taking, you are welcome to do so." He said he will pray for our souls. Well, I will be praying for him, too!

 Well, this week I want to extend you all a challenge: MEMORIZE THE LIVING CHRIST BEFORE EASTER!!! Don't even start to roll your eyes or start saying "Nope" in your minds. It's possible!! :) Have a little faith! You have a month!!! I'm doing it too. I set that goal about 10 days ago. So, anyways, as a family, we are going to memorize "THE LIVING CHRIST" and I want weekly reports about where you are in your memorization. I also want to extend that challenge to everyone who is reading the blog. :) And for your convenience, here is "The Living Christ" if you're not able to access one. If you have the internet, you should be able to access it. But hey, now there are no excuses: 

"As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

“I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth— “built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles— that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son."    -Quorum of the 12 Apostles and First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; January 1, 2000.

I want to add my witness that I know that Christ lives. He is our Savior. Through Him we can be cleansed from sin and overcome our weaknesses and challenges. Let Him in and let Him change you. May we follow Him and try our best to live His example!!

The mission has been the coolest and most difficult experience of my life! I love what I'm learning and what I'm becoming. I love the chance I have every day to make some type of difference in the world. It's so worth the price! We all have opportunities every day to do something good. Don't waste it! I miss you guys so much! Hope that you all have a great week! LOVE YOU ALL LIKE CRAZY!!!! XOXOXOXOXO

Con Amor,
Hermana Anderton

I always wanted a "flip phone".......
Be My Valentine!
New mission stickers!
My mom would be proud
Hermana's Anderton and Zepeda
Because I'm Happy!
Two thumbs up!
Hermana's in the park!

Oly Olivias and Children

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015: Two Goats in a House!!!!!

Hello people in Idaho!!! I'm pleased with how everyone sounds. I miss you guys like crazy!!!! :) But wow, everyone is really busy. Good luck Kennedy in the competition this week. Congrats to Ric and Sharon on their mission call, they will be fabulous!! I guess we will see you guys next May! :) 

Well, this week was really good. Elder Pieper, who is in the presidency for the Mexico Area and is from Pocatello, came to give us a capicitacion. He showed us the things our mission needed to improve on and bore a really sweet testimony about the inspiration of our callings. Did you know it now takes three apostles to assign mission assignments during the week, it only used to take one. I know that our callings are inspired!!!

Speaking of funny things, we were visiting a new investigator, when suddenly we heard, "BAHHHHH" (goat sound). We were inside of a house and I was really confused. Then all of a sudden, two goats came running around the corner. I had to hold in with everything I had not to laugh. I don't know why I found it so funny, but I was just super shocked to see two goats in Ciudad Juarez...IN A HOUSE!!!

Also, I'm really forgetting English. It's hard! We ate with a family this Sunday who speaks English. I wanted to use their bathroom, but I honestly could not find the vocabulary to ask. All I could think was "pass by" and I stumbled over my words for a minute there. (In Spanish, we always ask, "Puedo pasar por su bano?" Direct translation: can I pass for your bathroom.)

We had a pretty powerful lesson with Michelle this week. We taught lesson 2, and she said that now everything makes more sense. She said a specific prayer at the end of the lesson because she told us she wasn't receiving answers to her prayers. I asked her if she was asking SPECIFIC questions or just saying, "Help me know the stuff the missionaries are teaching me is true." She said she hadn't asked specifically. So we made a list of specific questions for her to ask. With the commitments, we always leave a specific question, but I think sometimes the people forget and just default to a general prayer. So we wrote it all down. Prayer is a really powerful thing if you use it right! We will see how it went tomorrow in our cita.

We are also teaching a family with a LOT of problems. SO MANY PROBLEMS!!! I am blown away by how crazy people's lives can be if they don't really know who they are. It breaks my heart. I've been thinking a lot about that this week, the fact that we are all children of God, if only every person could realize it and live accordingly. I was reading the end of the Ensign with General Conference...and came across the talk from Elder Uchtdorf in the Women's Conference. I also was reading in "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder Ballard in the missionary library. It was a theme for me this week about the fact we are children of God, and also something I preached a lot about this week. Three quotes I want to share, the first two are from Uchtdorf and the last one is from Ballard:

1. "Pondering this truth-that we are children of heavenly parents-fills us with a sense of origin, purpose, and destiny."

2. "He not only knows what is best for you. He also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you.

3. "Through the natural process of inheritance, we received in embryo the traits and attributes of our Heavenly Father. We are His spirit children. Some of what our Eternal Father is, we have inherited. What He is, we may become."

Our lives are so different because we know who we are. There are people out there who have NO IDEA! For this reason, we should always try to share what we believe: through our words and actions, by our examples and by who we are. We should be a little more compassionate, love a little more, and follow the example of our Savior. I know that we are children of God and each of us has a divine potential!!!!

I love you guys so much and always pray for you. I hope all continues to be well. I'm living the dream. Till next time folks!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Con todo de mi amor,

Hermana Anderton

Fruit Roll Blue Tattoo  (Dad's note: Not sure this is good for you!!!  Maybe it can be scrubbed off with some Diet Coke)

Raegan with Hermana Hinojosa  (Dad's Note: Thank goodness for mission mom's and grandma's)

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015: Oh Man, I Felt Like a Primary Teacher

Hello People! You all sound like you're doing great. I loved the pics, thanks Dad! HAHAHAHA I was dying about the legitimately running cow! I had to take a breather!!! Holy guac!!!! Kennedy, your emails always leave me laughing like a dummy in the cyber. Ha-ha if I am ever feeling a little down, I will just imagine the running cow ;) I'm sad that the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. It's okay though, next year.

Well, we found a family to teach. That's right. We saw Maria and her kids (Jaquelyn, Lluvia, and Abram) walking down the street when we were knocking on an investigator's door. The investigator didn't turn out to be home, so we "casually" sped-walked after Maria. The first thing that fell out of my mouth was "Hermana! Queremos compartir con usted lo que nos hace felices!!!" (Sister, we want to share with you what makes us happy.) Ummm, I can only imagine what she was thinking, a crazy blonde girl half-running after her and then saying that...I'm such an awkward person ha-ha :) After studying us for a minute, she said, "Okay, what is it about?" We visited her the next day and they were really receptive! We took them to an activity we had in the branch on Friday, Noche de Musica, and they really liked it! We talked about baptism and Maria said she wanted to learn more first, but if she felt good about it, she was willing to be baptized. She can't read or write, so we are going to teach a little slower with her and read the Book of Mormon with her at the beginning of every lesson to review what we learned the last time. Everything will be slowed down about 10% when we teach her and her kids. We are going to try to put a fecha after we teach them the plan of salvation. Her kids came with us to church, but she couldn't. Oh man, I felt like a primary teacher. (Her kids are 12, 10, and 8.) I love babies, and teenagers, and adults, but's not my specialty. It called for a lot of patience on my part. But, I now have a lot of drawings from Abram that he drew for me during sacrament meeting with my scripture markers. They are pictures of everyone at church and us visiting their house. We are going to buy some frijoles and do a faith project with them. We are going to grow una planta de frijole, and we are going to teach them that going to church, praying, listening to us, etc. are ways they give their "faith" or "plant" nutrients. We plan on doing that tonight. Should be fun!

Okay, another Hermana Anderton moment....I dropped 5 gallons of purified water on the floor last Monday night. A brand-new garafon of drinking water on our floor!!! I was so mad at myself!! The garrafon slipped off the counter and onto the floor and busted open. Ha-ha, but after I gasped and Hermana Zepeda came around the corner shuffling through the water...she started laughing uncontrollably at my face of disbelief. She told me, "Only you!!! hahaha!! Only you!!!!" In all seriousness, only me. So we shuffled water out of our apartment for about 10 minutes and had to go buy new water the next day. Also, something cool that's going on here, there is a family that usually isn't very receptive to the sister missionaries in our branch, but they seem to have taken a liking to me and Hermana Zepeda. I'm not sure what we did, but I would consider that a success. One of our goals is to be so kind to them that they offer to feed us for a day. (The members always give us lunch, and this family never gives it to the sisters.)

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk football and gospel. A man told me that the gospel was like football and all the churches were just on different teams playing the same sport, so he thought they all were good and it didn't matter. I smiled and told him, "Someone has to win the Super Bowl, and will you listen to our message." He didn't live in our area, but I have high-hopes. He seemed to like how I put it. Ah, I love sports.

Okay, just so you guys know, I'm sending the packet home this next week. We eat this Sunday with the family who will take it to El Paso for me, so she will probably send it next Monday or Tuesday.

My thought for you guys is from the Jenny Phillips song: Valiant Faith. It says:

"Too many people are just sliding by,
plugged into the world,
but missing the meaning of life.
But I was born to be a warrior of light
with faith to move mountains
and the power of God filling my life.

I want to live my life with honor and faith.
I want to return to his arms unashamed.
It's not enough for me to live it half way.
I'll follow him fearlessly all of my days.
I will live with valiant faith.

I lived for ages. I've prepared for this life.
I won't be confused,
and cross to the enemies side.
I am girded with power and truth.
I'm siding with God.
He's pouring out blessings in all that I do.

I want to live my life with honor and faith.
I want to return to his arms unashamed.
It's not enough for me to live it half way.
I'll follow him fearlessly all of my days.
I will live with valiant faith.

Valiantly, fearlessly,
I'm fighting for the mighty king.

Valiantly, fearlessly,
I'm fighting for the mighty king.

I want to live my life with honor and faith.
I want to return to his arms unashamed.
It's not enough for me to live it half way.
I'll follow him fearlessly all of my days.
I will live with valiant faith."

I really like this song!!! I think it's true. A lot of us are not living up to who we can be, or we forget or get confused about who we are. We should do our best to always remember who we are and our purpose here by praying, reading the scriptures, going to church, etc. All of the little things are our armor that we give ourselves. May we all make it a goal to live a little more valiant in the faith. On my mission, I've found out a lot about myself and have grown in my faith. I know that we have a big work to do!!!! I want to always strive to live the principles I've learned here and try to always be a little better each day. Make your goals and put them into practice!!!

I love you all so much and am living the dream! Miss you all, but I love the mission. Till next week!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

 Con Amor,
Hermana Anderton

Raegan and Hermana Hinojosa

Johnny Lingo anyone? I think the book is autographed.  One of the Hermanos in Raegan's mission was Johnny Lingo's  roommate at BYU.   

Raegan drops the jug, Hermana Zepeda cleans it up. Hmmmmmm.........

Only Raegan.....

Sara, Hermana Lupita and Anderton

Sara at her baptism