Sister Jena Anderson

Sister Jena Anderson
Entered the MTC December 28th, 2011 and left for Kobe, Japan March 12th!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Konshu honto ni sugokata desu yo!

(pic from Sister Dobson's blog - thanks for sharing!)
My Dear Family,

Konnichiwa! Wow, what a week. I love you so much. I am so grateful for
all of the love, notes, pictures, letters from nieces, nephews,
brothers, sisters, that I have been receiving. Thank you for much for
sharing your families and the "goings-on" with me in Japan! I love you so much
and can't believe how big the kids are!! And, I am always amazed by your
testimonies and your diligence. Ganbatte Kudasai!!

Do miracles ever cease? I think, so often, like President Eyring
talked of in Conference, it is we who turn away from that opportunity.
Like it says in Mormon 9:20... "And the reason why he ceaseth to do
miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in
unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom
they should trust." I have learned so much about that trust recently.
The Lord really can work to the putting away of our stumbling blocks
as we RELY ON HIM. I know that this is crucial. The well of my faith,
step by step, is getting deeper. I love Jesus Christ. Through Him, we
can return to Heavenly Father and live forever. I love this Gospel!!!

I got to speak in Church this week, and I knew my Japanese probably
wasn't the best but I got to testify of Jesus Christ. It filled my whole soul. It
is amazing as missionaries to receive messages for someone else, and
just to act as a messenger. That is what I want to be all throughout
my mission, and throughout my life. Our prophet is so great at
exemplifying this, being "on the Lord's errand." My family, I wish I
could tell you of the blessings and miracles involved in God's work. I
testify that this is His work.

This week the PI family we have been trying to teach (since we came
here) finally became investigators! She is so amazing. Their husband/dad 
was a Church member who passed away... and last night we had such an
amazing lesson, unlike any first lesson we've ever had--but the Spirit led
it. Sometimes you just naturally love an investigator so much. I know
the Lord has prepared this family, I'm so grateful we get to teach. That was 
an incredible miracle. The Lord has been in her life, preparing her so much 
for this.

am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am realizing more and
more the security we should, and can, feel with the Holy Ghost at our
side, within us, teaching with us. We have the best third member of
our companionship! It is so true. The Holy Ghost is incredible. I
strive to constantly simplify my teaching, to understand the doctrine
more, but when it comes down to it--I know the Holy Ghost bears
witness to the hearts of those we teach. Only the Gospel can heal the
wounded world, only Jesus Christ is strong enough. I know that balm is
there. I got to testify about the healing power of the Atonement
yesterday, and just cried through the whole thing. A cute sister came
up after Church and gave me some friendly feedback...that maybe it would
be better to talk on the same tone/level... I'm not sure they are
quite used to those kind of talks and testimonies! But how I love Him.

We get to teach our two new families today. The work is so delightful, 
life is so delightful. I think of the Savior's promise to draw from the well of 
"living water," that doesn't have an end... and He is that. I know it is true.

Other things: we were asked to do games at the ward Halloween party,
and we flew in like witches! ha ha. 
We had the members do a plastic bag fashion show and make 
witch outfits - the final products were hilarious.  
We had such a great time!
We also found a delicious place to eat called Santa's diner...
homemade hamburgers!
 I didn't think I missed American food until I ate at SANTA'S!  ha ha!
I LOVE YOU SWEET FAMILY AND FRIENDS! Congrats to cousins who got
mission calls, and to those who will get them soon.  We are all in this together!
It is SO WONDERFUL!! This is the best time for missionary work in the history 
of the world. This is the best time to be a Latter-day Saint, in these last days.
I love this work!!

Love you Fam! I know the Lord has slipped into my heart and made a
better home there, and through the Spirit has worked to help me develop
into the person He hopes I will become. I know He loves you and
watches over you and I pray for you!! Through the Spirit, we can do
whatever the Lord requires... let us rejoice and enjoy in the sanctuary 
He offers us.

I love you!
Your extremely blessed Sister Anderson

Dearest Daughter,

Thanks so much for your GLORIOUS letter including the pic of you and your 
cousin Elder Lythgoe!  We are so happy that you finally met up with each other
and that he is your ZL! How fun!  Two cousin missionaries from Utah serving in 
Japan with all their might, mind, and strength! Who would have thought?

And you will be joined by another cousin, Emmy Anderson, who just got her call 
(drum roll please...) 
Sister Anderson, You are hereby called to serve a missionary of The Church of 
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the 
France Paris Mission. 
She enters the MTC on January 9, 2013. What about that????!!!!  There is more.  
Your cousin Lindsay Castleton (age 19)  has put her papers in and will receive 
her call probably this week!   And...your cousin Brandon Garlick (age 18) has his 
papers in and is also awaiting a call. Drew Hunt (a sort of cousin) is awaiting 
his call, too!


Is it getting colder there?  The rains are pouring down in abundance, I hear. I can 
just picture you sitting on a back road in your rain coats, eating your cold rice while the 
rain descended upon you and your bikes. What troopers! Unstoppable!!! And the Lord 
led you to two families.  How are they doing?  We are excited to hear. How incredible that 
you found a member so close by who knew Japanese sign language and could help you teach.  The day of miracles has not ceased!  Especially in Takamatsu. You are so right, 
the Lord does know His sheep and they are numbered! You and Sister Dobson are His sheep and He knows you.  He is guiding you to other sheep and you are finding them. 
He is so grateful for your service, and so are we!

In case you didn't know it, our picture (taken at the Institute) is on the header for - you are famous! What an amazing organization - one that is truly doing "more good" than we can fathom.  
And is now translated to Japanese -WOW! What a blessing that will be to missionary work there, and to the saints. Quoting my daughter: "This is the most wonderful, exciting work in the history of the world. We are involved in the work of Salvation, helping invite people unto Jesus Christ, working directly leading people to access the Atonement in their lives. What a work, what a promise."  Amen!!!

There is a lot of Halloween fun around these parts lately.  And... happy Halloween to you next week!!! Its a crazy holiday - but the kids sure do love getting candy...and getting dressed up in costumes. We do, too!  Dad and I became Mr. Darcy and Lizzy (in their later years, of course) for a YSA dance.  We were stunning!  And yes, Dad says he is still bewitched - body and soul!  And me...I love love love him!  
The BAC play was this last week-end - the Legends of Sleepy Hollow.  Yes, Legends.  It was not that well written, but the cast had fun and did well.  The costumes were amazing, of course!  I asked Seth if he liked it and he answered that the people were sort of weird.  Then he said, "I want to write a play. it will be about cowboys...and cow girls. It wouldn't be a bad play it would be a good one. I will put it on at Grandma Jan's on Monday and Wednesday and Thursday...and Friday." Is he one of the clan or what???

I just returned from the YSA stake where Dad taught Sunday School for a combined block meeting of four wards.  He taught from 3rd Nephi and it was powerful.  I know that he is working miracles with the young adults, and that this is exactly where the Lord wants him right now.  He was the only member of the stake presidency there for the meetings - the other two are out of town.  But, you know Dad - he held his own and presided well on the stand by himself.

Is there anything you need?  I will work on a few more family history stories.  I feel so close to some of our ancestors lately.  More than likely they are the ones who have been by your side so many times.  I am so grateful to them. Won't the reunion be sweet when we finally are with them again, and we will know all about the connections and the great love we have for each other? The veil seems so thin sometimes.  I was reading today in Moroni and had such a marvelous time contemplating the work of angels.  His father, Mormon, says in chapter 7:

 25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God, men began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

and in verse 37 - Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

And another personal favorite reference:
3 Nephi 17:24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

2 Nephi 32:3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.

Elder Holland: (Ensign October 2008):

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”  (Moroni 7:36). On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (D&C 84:88). In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” (D&C 90:24). Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God..."

You are His emissary. Take heart in knowing you are not alone. This morning Dad spoke of standing in the circle during the setting apart a sister missionary.  He was her Bishop, and had just spoken of how he felt there were unseen visitors so interested in her mission that were in the room.  When she was set apart, she was told that those spirits in attendance were the ancestors of those to whom she would bring the gospel message.  Wow!  And this morning in Sacrament meeting, a letter from the First Presidency was read that was so much about doing temple work for OUR ancestors when we possible can.  I LOVE FAMILY HISTORY AND TEMPLE WORK!!!! Remember when you attended that family history class with me? I think you were in Jr. High. I told you how grateful I was that you were my helper.  You informed me that I had it wrong...I was YOUR helper!  Amen!  And we will always have fun doing family history work together!

Thanks for being you and for being ours. Onward and upward sweet little missionary - you are doing more good than you could possible know!

With love from your helper,

Hug Sister D. for us!

Quincy turned 12 last Wednesday, Eli will be 12 on Thursday, and Joseph will be 12 on Saturday.  They will all be ordained on Sunday!!!
Marissa is now 8 and will be baptized on Saturday!
Coy is turning 18 on Friday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Missionary cousins!!!

Sister Anderson and Elder Lythgoe - the cousins finally meet!

Dear Fam,

Wow, it sounds like things have been fun at home! Thanks so much for the updates and notes, everyone! I love you so much. What amazing mothers and fathers you are in Zion, what amazing missionaries you are wherever you are. Thank you for your examples and your love!

This week has been pretty amazing. We got to go up to Okayama for interviews and I met my cousin Elder Lythgoe for the first time on our missions!! As requested from his father, I gave him a hug... written on stationary! ha ha! He is my Zone Leader, isn't that crazy? He is amazing! Like i said before - he is legendary in Takamatsu! :)

We have seen miracles and the work moving forward before our eyes. Our sweet investigator is doing well, her family is not excited about the idea of the Church, but I know the Lord knows her enough to strengthen her, and provide a way. Apart from that, we rode out to this area in the rain... it was so funny because it is about an hour bike ride and it was raining hard. We packed a lunch and found a hidden back road to sit in our raincoats, eating cold rice in the rain... but the Lord led us to two families. We taught them both on Saturday and we are meeting with one again today. It was pretty amazing, let me tell you about one of the experiences.

We met this beautiful family, the little girl came to the door and went to get her mom. When her Mom came to the door, we quickly found out she was deaf. This beaming, bright woman with her little girl translating between us, invited us in. The Spirit was so strong in that room. She had met missionaries before a long time ago, and they were so kind to her. (That is such a compliment to all of the wonderful missionaries wondering about people they didn't see entering the waters. You planted so many seeds!) We knew a member in the ward who knows sign language, and my companion had the thought we needed to ask her to come to our next appointment. Four doors down, we knocked on this door and... the member came to the door! She lived right by both of these beautiful families, and speaks Japanese sign language. We met the father on Saturday, he is deaf too, and they are both so pure. The whole family is just beautiful. I've never known love like I feel for our investigators. I've never felt a love so directly associated with salvation. The other family has three boys and let us in, and said we could come back. I am overwhelmed at the mercy of the Lord. Just think of it, two gaijin girls running around in Japan, speaking a foreign language and in a strange (to us) culture, and the Lord working miracles through us. Someone asked us why Joseph Smith, why so young, etc. I feel just like that sometimes, asked to do something bigger than me, and I relate with Him so well--even though His feelings must have been so much deeper! I know that man was a prophet of God, and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is His work, my sweet family. He is working miracles in the vineyard. Lately I've been thinking a lot about relying on the Spirit. It is just beginning to sink into my heart, to have that penetrate so deep--I am starting not to fear. I am starting to realize the majesty, even if just a little bit, the competence of my Maker. This is the greatest work in the world. He lives, we must share it for the world to know.

We had another miracle with the woman we couldn't find (at first) who been on an old PI list from years ago. We tried and tried to find her, couldn't find the house, and decided to knock on the doors of one little complex randomly before we went home. The second door we knocked on was this family. We felt guided and kept returning, always at the door, gave them the Book of Mormon another time... last week we went and the husband said he hadn't really looked into it, to come back in a week. We came back and he had studied and researched on the net all about the Church. He knew about temples and where they were, and had some wrong information too... (it made me happy for what "More Good" is doing! Getting wonderful things, true things, on the internet!)... so we passed him the right information on our websites, I AM SO HAPPY AND GRATEFUL THAT BECAME AVAILABLE IN JAPANESE JUST LAST WEEK! Pretty amazing. He says he will study one more time. I know that we are led to those the Lord wants us to talk to. I know He knows His sheep. I know that we did what we were supposed to. It is so amazing to feel the influence and confidence that comes with the Spirit, so you can testify in a way to help our brothers and sisters return to God. Wow, I love the work. He said he'd studied as hard as he could because we'd worked as hard as we could. It is so humbling just to get to be part of the work in these latter days. We have divine gifts, divine help.

Another one of our investigators came at the end of Church even though he was sick, and we were able to teach him. The work is pretty amazing. I know that I need a lot of polishing, but my "confidence is waxing strong in the presence of God." He knows His sheep. We have been led to areas where we were supposed to be through prayer--beautiful, simple things the Lord has given us that WORK. I know that His work is real. 

I love you Fam! I was studying this week and delighting in the Gospel. It is SO WONDERFUL. I promise, no matter how many times you have read the Book of Mormon, you will learn more if you read it again. That book contains what it is necessary to gain salvation. as the prophets  have promised. this is the most exciting time to be a member of the Church in all the history of the world--it is! What a blessing we have. I love this work, I love you. Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support.  

"Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"

Love always,
Sister Anderson

Guess whose door we found??????
Note from Sister Jen's mom:
To learn more about the More Good Foundation referenced in this letter (and to see Sister Jen and her parents in the TEAM PICTURE in the header) click this link:

Monday, October 15, 2012

The field is white!

My Dearest Family,

I just want to start out by testifying that I know this work is true.
I know that it is true in so many ways, I can't number them. Something
from the daily living, those little, consistent choices, something so
deep that only those little choices can drill into the very
fiber of your bones--your spiritual bones, so deep it almost hurts - but
it's good, with your whole frame you know it's true!

We had an amazing experience this week, but before that... wasn't
Conference awesome!!  I was just so amazed at the glory of God 
at that Conference. Missionaries get to go earlier!!!! Wow - just wow!
That truly will go down in history and change so many things! The Lord 
is gathering His sheep ever faster, and because that He has saved 
those who can be ready to come join the ranks, to fight for the right on
the front lines... it is incredible. 
I am so excited!!! If they only knew what awaits them! Angels build us up
and walk with us, preparing the way (Alma 13:24). I've never been so 
changed in my life. I have hard the hardest times on my mission and the 
deepest joy.
in all--the Lord forges our character on our missions. He knows exactly 
what we need. I would echo those who have taught us that that every 
worthy young man should serve a mission. I would echo and invite the 
wonderful young women who desire to go. The field is white. It is prepared. 
The Lord WILL gather His sheep, we get to help in preparing for the Savior. 
Sweet friends and family, prepare and GO!  I loved Elder Holland's guided 
study of that passage--reminding us of our own priorities. I rejoiced in Elder 
Eyring's talk. I am amazed at the grandeur of Conference. I loved every talk 
I heard!!! Has it always been like this? Has it always been this magnificent? 
I love having my eyes opened a little bit to my own unknowing-ness. This is 
His Church, led by His Apostles with authority from Jesus Christ.  loved seeing 
the sweet apostles and prophets, and something changed even a little bit more for
me this Conference. I realized I am gaining an appreciation for living the 
gospel through experiences here. Its amazing! I had been studying about 
prophets and apostles right before Conference, and I received a witness 
again that these are men of God with the authority on earth that binds us
to heaven. We would be lost without the Priesthood. We would be in 
darkness without these men, a clear beacon asking us so intently to come 
unto Christ and participate actively in His Gospel. These men are men called 
and placed on the earth for the "salvation of [God's] children." Do we
know what we have? I love those sweet reminders. It is true. Those
sweet men, so humble and magnificent, are the representatives of God
chosen to be on earth to testify of Jesus Christ at this time. I
sustain President Thomas S. Monson with all of my heart. I know that
man is a prophet of God. I guess I am learning more and more what that
means for us on earth. What a man, what a legacy, what a joy that the
Gospel is restored. This truly is the greatest message every shared!

So...our amazing experience this week. We had been fasting last week
and found a woman who wanted to hear. We went to her house this week
and she wasn't home. We housed a little bit around her house, and were
preparing to go when we "decided" to ring her doorbell one more time.
She came to the door and invited us in. She is SO PREPARED. I feel so
blessed to have an investigator! We said the opening prayer and opened
our eyes, and she was crying. She said she likes to come to church and
came to two sessions of General Conference. She is the mother of 3
boys, and we got to teach her about God's love on Sunday, so much like
the love she has for her boy from whom she is separated. I began to
cry when I talked of my mom, and how much I love her and how hard it
is to be away. She cried with me. I got to tell her that Heavenly
Father's love is even greater. It is such a privilege to be a gospel
teacher in the gathering of Israel. I love the land of Japan. I love
these sweet people. I know that Jesus Christ loves these sweet people.
We felt like we could have taught her more, but we are teaching her
again on Tuesday. Thank you so much for your prayers, my family! I
know that you helped find her. I know that God hears and answers your
prayers, and mine. I know God lives and loves us. I know that nothing
we experience cannot be turned to our gain, and I'm so grateful that
things aren't always easy because it makes knowledge deep; it is the
fire that burns experience into our bones. I wouldn't trade it. I
realized that while watching conference. How incredibly grateful I am for
experience, especially the experience that makes us stretch. I would
take a gentle reminder to any within the reach of this letter that He
knows better than we do, and would cite to C.S. Lewis (as I remember it):

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. 
At first you understand what He is doing, He is fixing the roof and
getting the drains right, you knew those things needed fixing so you
are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking about the house in
a way that hurts abominably, and you wonder, what on earth is He up
to? The answer is simple. You thought you were being made into a
decent little cottage, but He is building a palace.

To all my cottage builders out there: I love you. I love you so much, 
and I know God is helping you. I know our Heavenly Father knows every 
weakness and strength we have, and that He is working to turn us into a 
palace. For those deciding whether or not to go on a mission, I would say: 
GO.  "The opportunity of a lifetime is yours." (President Monson). It will be 
the greatest cottage to castle renovation you've ever undergone (citing 
Jana Christensen), and it is so worth it. The field is white. Every place in 
the world is being prepared for the sound of your voice, for the tread of 
your shoes, for the dedication of your work, for the zeal of your spirit. This 
is His vineyard, the earth, and He will give you a corner of it to tend and
to learn how to become a little bit more like Him in this short time.
I promise you He knows you better than you do. He knows your strengths
and your weaknesses, and He loves you. (This is getting a little long
for the nieces and nephews, huh?) I know this work is true. God will
burn a testimony into you so deep that "earthly power cannot separate
it from you." I love you future troops!

I LOVE THIS WORK, I love my Heavenly Father, I rejoice in His
goodness, I am aware of my pavilions and my inadequacies, and I am
grateful for His patience. I know that Jesus Christ lives, that He is
"the Jehovah of the old testament and the Messiah of the new." (The
Living Christ) I love you sweet family. This gospel, authority, Church
is on earth so that we can return to God as family units, and the
Gospel is best in families. We are having miracles out here. We are
still talking with the PI family and they came to a little bit of
conference! I made a fancy bingo board but they didn't use it... ha
ha. Teaching is so great though. The mom wants her kids to know about 
the Church, and I think she is still moving that direction herself. ;)

The Spirit is amazing. After knocking again on the door of the sweet
lady we started teaching (who is now a progressing investigator!!), my
wonderful companion had the impression that we should go back to a 
door we'd knocked on before. As we were going, I said hi to a lady across
the road, and when she crossed and found out who we were, she said
something like, "Oh missionaries! Where is your Church? Can I come
sometime?" She then proceeded to hand us her business card with her
information and left because she was working. I know the Lords is
preparing hearts to hear in every land (go on a mission! subliminal
messaging from me to you!)... It is our privilege to share it.

Life lately:

Well, among other things, I zealously killed a cockroach in the
bathroom, we started Eikaiwa that has now gone all English, official
JAPANESE!!! It is so awesome and we are so excited! I am just so happy 
that things are starting to be translated. This country will eat that up. I love
that! I want to help my Japanese brothers and sisters so deeply. I LOVE 
THEM. They are a piece of me, inside me all of the time, thinking about
how I can help them, how I can teach simply, how to help them understand... 
which I felt this week is ultimately the Spirit. I love the Holy Ghost. That is 
THE BEST gift we could have. We are not alone in the mission field.

This really old man in our ward showed up on Sunday with
three pictures he'd taken while I was teaching Eikaiwa - so funny!
Our sink broke and will periodically squirt our whole
outfit down well if we don't remember that it is slightly broken. I
will send you pictures of our apartment, we passed our cleaning check,
I have a white bike that gets me around. Dobson Shimai and i love working 
together! I am so blessed. I love studying the scriptures and speaking 
Japanese. Its all sooooooooooooo good!

I love you sweet family! This week I read the calling of Jeremiah and
was so impressed. I love that the Lord calls the "weak and simple" to
declare His message. His is the voice of thunder and the quiet voice,
He is my Lord and Master, My Redeemer and Savior. I love Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your prayers! I have really felt them. I know that you
are praying for me. I love you! Choose the right and enjoy this life of living 
on the front lines, in the last days... what a mission is ours to fulfill.

I LOVE YOU! The work is true. What a joy it is to have a call to labor
in the vineyard.

With love,
Your sister, daughter, grand-daughter, aunt, niece, cousin and friend,
Sister Anderson

typical Japanese bread... we love beans here!

(funny food story... sometimes the milk will make your stomach make
noise and we were in a lesson like two weeks ago, and our stomachs
were just like... gurgling! it was like... and we know that'S true...
gurgle gurgle gurgle... families are important... gurgle gurgle...
she asked us,"did you eat breakfast?" ha ha ha. so great. 
I definitely will not drink milk that often anymore.

Welcome to apartment 203! 
(The front door is featured at the top of this post).
 Ok, so when we transferred here, we found these gooey pink cupcakes that
look like Lisa Frank things on our fridge, which is funny because it's
been an Elder's area for ten years as far as we know...haha!
study space
 Our snuggly fold-up beds...
 We were in charge of buying drapes and getting reimbursed. You would be so
proud, mom! We found these at the recycle shop, 100% polyester and...
they were 600 yen and 700 yen.... altogether around 15 bucks! woo hoo! 
 kitchen (with fridge minus gooey cupcakes)
 laundry room 
 work space...

At the shotengai  商店街 (a Japanese commercial district running along a certain street). 
This one has a pet cute! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trekking on in Takamatsu! Onward and upward...

Thanks for the package Spen, Rach and kids!
My Dearest Family!

Oh how fun and how envious, you get to be watching CONFERENCE!!! What privilege, how fun that is!!! YAY CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh we are so excited. My companion and I have anxiously been awaiting this next weekend, when we will get to watch it. We love Takamatsu!  We got transfer calls today and... we are staying here! Which is such a blessing. I love it here. I love my companion!!! The members are gems, they are working so hard to help the work and so efficiently, so Japanese! I love them so much.

This week our investigators dropped a little bit, one of our investigator's daughter had an operation and can't leave the house for 3 months or have any visitors. So sad.  The other one is probably a "no" right now... and we've been trekking around Takamatsu, trying to find potential investigators from the area book, trying to make out Kanji on signs, getting lost so much...haha... and not finding a ton, but doing the work of the Lord! It is pretty amazing. We were trekking yesterday, and felt like we should go to this area where the apartments didn't seem to be lived in.  We crossed the street trekked on and, as usual, didn't get let in very much.  But, we met this mother of three who has met the Elders before. The contact was guided to be just the right speed for her. At one point, I was talking, and the Spirit stopped me and just prompted me to ask her what she thought. I'd only testified in 2 or 3 sentences, hardly at all. She sat for probably one minute, occasionally saying things like... "well" or "what should I say" kind of things... and then she said that she thinks she wants to listen. We were like... what?... a little shocked and asked her if that would be now or another day. She told us a day this week she would like to meet us. Wow.  It was such a miracle! We went a ways off and just said a prayer of thanks to the Lord for preparing this beautiful woman to hear about families and Jesus Christ. I love Him. I love His work. I am so grateful that even as He is the amazing Creator of all, the maker of the universe and worlds without number, He is my personal Savior and Friend. I need Him so much. I am so grateful for the power of His redemption, for the power of His love. That is real. The only way we can know how deep is to draw on it from experience.  I know His love. I know how deep that goes. He is so wonderful! 

We've had so many miracles. The Lord led us to another woman. We had been searching for her house. She was a potential investigator listed in the area book from years ago, and we couldn't find her. The house wasn't even on the map. Even the man with a map who we asked for directions couldn't find it exactly. We were leaving and stopped at this yellow apartment complex, it was small and we said we would just house it before we left. As Dobson Shimai rang the doorbell, I recognized this woman's name on the door. Isn't that amazing? She is Phillipino and said we could bring back a book in Tagalog... :) I love the Book of Mormon!

The most recent guidance from President has been about honing our skills on how to begin teaching our first lessons... and we are so excited to be having some of those soon. :)

It is amazing how much the Lord numbers His Sheep, all of us and those we are searching for. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be in His service. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am amazed at His love. I want so much to love a little more like Him. What an example He is to me in every way. I love His work. I love His help. I love Him! I know that MY Redeemer lives. My beautiful friends and family, that love is so personal. He loves us so dearly. Like Mosiah says, our full service is yet "unprofitable"... because we will never repay that love. But we can rejoice in it every day. And keep working!

Thank you so much for your love and prayers. You are so wonderful, all of you! I hope you feel His love so real for YOU, today. I hope you can close your eyes, for just a moment, and know that He lives, now, and loves you. I know He descended into our difficult times, our personal struggles, and came out on top so that we can too--as we trust Him. What a miracle it is to have Jesus Christ. The world is starving for the knowledge, and only the Savior can heal them. "God be thanked for the matchless gift of his divine Son." (The Living Christ) I love you, too, my sweet family! Thanks for standing as witnesses of Him. What a privilege it is. He really is the reason. I love Him. I love you!

Have a wonderful Conference time, hearing from these men called as spokesmen of God to help us return to Him. What a privilege! And how many more young men and women will get to go on missions with the age change, WOW! What a shock! That is wonderful! WOW. I was so surprised. It's great! Missions are incredible. "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"

Onward and upward...

I love you!
Love, Anderson Shimai 
Nato anyone?
Soy beans that are fermented.  It looks like beans in caramel and has the same consistency. It is definitely an acquired taste, but if i keep eating it I just may live to be 100!!!
 My district! 
It just switched, so if Elder Lythgoe didn't transfer, 
he should be my new ZL!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Over the hill and still going up! are walking, and then... you see this guy above the drink machine
and everything gets easier...hahahaha!

Dear Family,

Thanks for all the updates!  How I love to hear about all the families and the 
goings-on. The performances, high school dances and parties (Mook is 16!!!),
track meets, triathlons, half marathons, gymnastics, theater group, the 
marriage retreat at Aspen Grove (my old stompin' grounds...and the family's
too!), harvesting and canning, Lolly and Rob's new house in CA, trips, school,
hikes in the beautiful mountains, etc. etc.
I love all the news...its like sitting around around our kitchen table for a 
moment or two, eating together and laughing, sipping apple juice...ahhhhhhh!
I love you so much! I'm so grateful that the Lord sent me to such a wonderful 
family. You are all such examples to me. I am so proud of all the good you are 
doing, and all the faith you have. i want to be like you! 

I've been thinking a lot about goal-setting - even long-term goal setting, 
and it is amazing. "Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision 
of what we can accomplish." (PMG) And then... they "transform our hopes 
into action." If we really set a goal with Heavenly 
Father and let that influence our daily lives in bite-sized portions, we begin
living to fulfill the potential He has created us to fulfill. We will become
the tools and servants He needs us to become. Sometimes I turn around
and think, "I definitely would not have had that thought before my
mission," So there is my essay for today! :)

This week has been so incredible. We were asked to speak in Church on 
Sunday, and the Lord just poured down and helped me with what I wanted 
to say.  It was a day especially when I knew I couldn't do it alone, and the 
Spirit came in and picked up the rest. i am so grateful!

The members are on fire with the work. I love this little branch. You would 
not believe how incredible these few saints are in Takamatsu, I love them 
so much. We really are so blessed. The Spirit is pouring out not only upon 
the land of Japan, but it is so evident here in Takamatsu. The Lord is pouring 
out "His Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children
of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught 
among them at the time of his coming."  And we, His servants with His 
badge on, sometimes with wet hair from the rain, a wrinkle or two
from the bikes, but with the song of His redemption in our hearts, are the 
ones who have the privilege to introduce Him to them. I am so blessed. I am
privileged to be here. I just love it. I love it so much. I love missionary work!!!

We are working with a wonderful family that we hope will become investigators
this week. The father was a member and recently passed away. The Lord has 
really put us in situations (the two times we have met) to be able to strengthen 
our relationship with them. Also, after our talks on Sunday, a sweet less-active 
sister who had just been beaming during our talks, ran up with one of the 
wonderful "missionaries" (our members are missionaries), saying her daughter is
not a member and she wants us to put on a mini-concert for her to
hopefully begin taking the lessons! It is amazing, because the Spirit 
just bore witness so powerfully to me that this is a prepared place AS I was 
speaking. The members are prepared to not only see miracles, but facilitate them. 
There is one of the sweet members mothers who comes every week who is not a
member, who is SO SWEET and just loves Church. Her memory isn't super but we 
are going to try to do everything we can for her. "This beginning of miracles
did Jesus in [Takamatsu]." (Luke 2:11, paraphrase)

Oh my dear family, I wish you could meet this place. I wish you could
meet these people. I wish you could feel the love of the Lord for them. I wish 
sometimes we COULD stand on the corner with a trump (like Alma), just so 
everyone would have the chance to know, to feel His love. It is so real, so pure 
for them, for these children of His... so many who do not want to listen, but still He
wants so much to just tell them, to give them the chance to choose.
This is a place prepared for miracles.

We had another amazing experience one day when we had been out all day, 
and our investigator we had talked to could not meet with us, and couldn't
come to Church. We'd been housing and no one had really wanted to listen.
Then we knocked on a door, and a woman was there who began listening.
Some contacts are just guided. My companion started, and I just began praying
for the Spirit. It started pouring into my heart. It was such a powerful contact,
I don't even remember all of it, but the feelings there were so strong. We testified
of the Book of Mormon and about how she could truly know that God wasn't the 
strict, impersonal God that she seemed to think He was. Things changed, and 
where she hadn't wanted to take it and said she didn't have time to read it, she 
said she would read it, even if it was a little bit at a time each day. That moment
was transcendent. The Spirit definitely worked through us. i felt no fear in 
testifying what I know to be true! She can know of Jesus Christ through that
magnificent book, restored so that we know Heavenly Father's nature and His 
beloved Son, our Savior, our Exemplar, our Best Friend and Redeemer. He is 
the best missionary, and through the Spirit we can teach what He would have 
them know.

I love you fam! Time is short, and it's so fun to see Elder Lythgoe's
name all over the area book - he certainly left his mark here! Sister Zinke 
was saying what a great missionary he is as we drove down here together. :)
Its fun to let everyone know we are related. I hope that I can be a great 
missionary like my cousin here in Takamatsu. :) I love the work and my Savior,
I love you sweet fam, and you are so close to my heart. Thank you for your 
prayers and love! 

Sister Anderson

 Everyone takes such good care of us...

 The view from our apartment window.
 Thanks for the "hump day" package...especially the miniature candy bar poster and party stuff!  oh yea...and the "over the hill" items..haha!
Over the hill and still going up!!!
 My doryo with a very original borrowed helmet from the ward. They
are so cute to us, they loaned it to her while our bags were coming, she
is just looking a little bit like she is in the army...

 Thanks for all the letters to celebrate my hump day...or as Dad calls it, 
my "double dedication day!"

Random blue hats we found in our apartment in Akashi...just had to wear them to clean the apartment before we left...and just had to bring them to Takamatsu with us!