Sister Jena Anderson

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Watashi no Kazoku e! Happy holidays!

Dear Fam,

I love you so much. Time is just flying, and it is so fulfilling being in the work of the Lord. Transfers came and went...drum roll please...and I get to be with my wonderful doryo for another transfer!! I am so happy - miracles are happening in Takamatsu, it is so fun to work together! I decided riding over on my bike this morning that all I want for Christmas is... another 6 months in Japan! ha ha. :) Takamatsu is so great. 

Sounds like you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving celebration! Thanks for all the fun pics. Here is our Thanksgiving feast!!!

So for the past like three months, I have been using this word in Japanese I found called "tokken," which is "a privilege." So I was always saying, "we feel like it is a privilege!" when people on the street would tell us how hard what we were doing was. So my comp, my trainee, said that to a man who stopped us.  We had met before, and he said, "that is saying you have special authority!" ha ha ha. We've been saying, "that is the special privilege that only we have, the right and special authority that only we have." ha ha. So funny. :)

MIRACLES ABOUND. The work is awesome. We had a pretty neat miracle on Sunday. This girl from China walked into church after Sacrament meeting. She doesn't speak Japanese super well and doesn't speak any English, but she had walked to the Church yesterday from where she lives but no one was here. We got to teach her just a little bit, and we will meet with her again this week!

The Spirit is awesome. We felt like we needed to look in the Area Book, and we called a lady and it was the wrong number... but it was another man from the area book we'd wanted to call! We met and taught him and his beautiful wife this week!  they are both from Zimbabwe and strong Christians. We have just been studying tons this week to try to get ready for their lesson. In the end though, it really is all the Spirit. My testimony has been strengthened so much of the Bible and the Book of Mormon testifying of the same truth, but at the same time the vital need for the Book of Mormon to correct false doctrine and cure contention. But this couple is so wonderful!! I love the scriptures. Heavenly Father has been so merciful to us to give us the words of Prophets, about His Son, and so that we can receive His personal guidance. The scriptures are so amazing to me. It seems like on my mission truths I learned my whole life have just sunk down, just gotten deeper, to my very bones and through them, taking away even fear. I love Jesus Christ, I love His Restored Church. I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God's Church is on the earth again. We can know about life after death, eternal families, the things we naturally hunger for (like continuing relationships)--Heavenly Father has prepared a way for that through His restored Gospel. 

It was so weird to teach in English! I know that this Church was restored through Joseph Smith, that every truth, the fullness of the Gospel, has been brought back to the earth. Shall we not rejoice in this eternal truth? We have, as the Savior taught the woman at the well, water that will quench thirst. The world is starving. "Only the Gospel can heal a starving world..." (PMG) It is true. It is so wonderful. We can know for ourselves, and it just keeps growing. There is nothing like the Gospel. This is LIFE, this is the truth. 

There is nothing like sharing something you love so much. One of our other sweet investigators (mom with three children) said she wanted to be baptized this week. She is so incredible. She went from a place of almost no faith, to knowing Heavenly Father. It has touched me so much to see her grow. She prayed this week to Heavenly Father, and she was talking to someone she knew. She was talking to someone she knew before, someone she was close to, and we felt that. It wasn't about us anymore, she had received her own light and knowledge. Can you believe the beauty of this Plan? Even many who love Jesus Christ so much are missing the fullness - still in the dark about where we go after death, about families, about God's plan for His children. I testify that there is a point. I love this work, and I love you!!

You are all so wonderful. I wish I could just bring a little camera on my shoulder to some of our lessons, to have you feel the sweet spirit that comes as these beautiful people discover that God does love them, and there is a plan for their lives. As our investigator said in her prayer, "Father, I am thankful for this wonderful plan. I am so excited." 

It is an exciting work.

I love you!
Sister Anderson 

PS Some sweet family sent a birthday package  - first class no less!!!  

Thanks mom and dad!

English Class

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yutaka na shukufuku o ukete imasu (Receiving abundant blessings!!)


Ahhhhh, I am in Japan, doing the best work in the history of the world, eating rice, laughing, planning lessons about the first prophet of the Restoration and about Jesus Christ, finding people whoa re ready to hear, seeking every day to have my actions be a little more like my Savior's, Jesus Christ. I love this work!!!

I forgot to say last week that... we had a talent show! Ha ha. I tap danced!!! I figured no one really knew tap so it was safe... my doryo has a video I will show you one day (maybe) ha ha. 

We are in the midst of some of the sweetest people on the earth. I love Takamatsu. I love the Lord. I am so grateful to have the chance to labor here. Can I tell you something amazing? The sweet family that would buy the groceries for the missionaries in Tokushima came to the stake conference on Sunday (yesterday). The sweet sister came to me and asked if we were going to go shopping tomorrow. I told her yes, and she said to call Tashibu Shimai (in our ward), before we did. We came to the church to find FIVE BOXES OF FOOD they had bought as a Thanksgiving present. We will not need to shop for SO LONG. 

They are so sweet. I can't believe how like the Savior these sweet Saints are. We are in the midst of heaven, my Japanese brothers and sisters have taught me so much about Him. I almost couldn't help but cry looking at that pile. The sweet man who works at the Church, brought us a little snack for lunch as we email, the members constantly are asking how they can help. They are so incredible. Our ward mission leader stopped by to show us the Marugame Castle before we went home yesterday, and the huge bridge that connects Okayama to Shikoku. Amazing!

I am in awe at this little piece of the world, and so in awe at the workings of Heavenly Father. Let me tell you a few more things that happened this week.
We've had kind of a hard time teaching the family that is deaf so far. We stopped by to visit them because we were close, and she started talking to us, saying that lots of missionaries, even Christian missionaries come to her door, and they say “God this, God that...”, but it's kind of like there is a wall there, she says she's busy, they can be scary, etc. But when we came, she held up her hands and pushed them toward her face. She had felt we were different. That is the power of the Holy Ghost. Now she wants to know why, and we are teaching the Restoration tonight. That is all such a testament to me that, as the scriptures say, the Lord CAN do His own work. We went to another appointment where we weren't sure how much she was understanding, and she had read 8 chapters from the Book of Mormon when we haven't even asked her to read, and was studying the pamphlet, referencing the definitions a lot. She didn't understand a lot of it, but she wanted to know more. THE SPIRIT IS AMAZING. We cannot succeed in missionary work unless we have the Spirit, and when we have the Spirit—miracles happen. We could not have been there, we did all we could to help those two, but in the end, it wasn't much more than us being there, passing things, then the Spirit worked miracles in two of our investigators this week. Wow, what a testament to me.

So my cute companion decorated our room for our weekly planning session and i find chocolate leading to my chair, where it says "senkyoshi of the transfer."
So fun, huh?!

If you talk to her parents tell them thank you for raising such a great daughter! She is so wonderful and a great example. I just love her!!!!!

I have realized how important it is to the Lord for us to WORK. I used to feel like work sometimes was just to work, and then the Lord would give miracles, etc... but I am starting to realize more of the Plan of Salvation in my heart. Heavenly Father wants us to become. We are here to grow. That is why we have the Gospel of Christ, chances to use our agency. Without good and bad, we wouldn't be able to exercise our agency. What we DO have control over is WHAT WE CHOOSE. Isn't that amazing? We are expected to “do many good things of our own free will and choice.” Heavenly Father wants us actively GROWING, helping that cyclical process move UP, but we can't do that without the Savior. That is the other part of the Atonement, as Elder Bednar quotes, “to make bad men good and good men better and to change our very nature.” It is all about what Brother Wilcox says about how we are here to learn heaven, not just earn heaven. Our work matters and is sufficient to Him as we are giving our all to Him, our full heart, devoted work. He is aware that it won't be perfect, that is not the objective. The objective is to craft a people who can live with God again, return to Him. Isn't the Gospel amazing? Not only will the Savior make up the difference, He is the difference! He stood in our place to become our creditor, so as we meet the terms He has set, we can qualify to access His power in sanctification. The Gospel is so beautifully simple and incredible. I am learning more and more what a message of love it is. And, to help others come! To become and help them become, to help them become closer to Him. I love learning. Wow.

Dear friends and family, the Lord wants to work miracles in our own lives. What keeps us from that is the use of our agency. As we turn to Him through action, choice, active faith, He will work miracles in our behalf. This is obedience. This is faith. Why are these important? Because He loves us enough to want us to grow. I love my Father in Heaven. I love my Savior. I am so grateful to love many more years on this beautiful earth. We have the truth. As one of our sweet investigators said when we told her that we could live with out families again after we die, “Then it isn't scary, is it?” We have the answers, because we have the Restored Gospel. I know it is true.

I love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and your examples of turning your life to Him through choice and action. I love you! I am grateful for this work.

Love always,
Anderson Shimai

P.S. loved all the pics and updates!! Thanks everyone! I hope Chuck is doing better, I have been praying for him. Looks like the wedding was so fun, tell Alicia congrats! Happy birthday to all who are celebrating this week!!! So glad the YSA stuff is wonderful! For Christmas, I might just buy those few things here... packages are expensive, no worries at all! If I buy boots I'll buy them here... the weather hasn't been super bad recently, it gets bad sometimes though ha ha. Shoes...they are still holding in there! I'll let you know ha ha. I'll check out boots here maybe... let you know... we are running to a store today. YOU ARE THE BEST!
The pumpkin pie looks lush! I love you all so much, thanks for your prayers and support. Congrats to Chae and Josh and Tay and Kara! So great. The Gospel is true!












I can do anything good! 

(but it's all true) :)

Love you, time is flyin!

a pic from zone taikai with two of my doki... dont we look good?

PS Reference to the above:
Jessica's Affirmation (so like Sister Jen in Japan!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Our blessings are hard to count this week...

Ritsurin Koen

Beautiful Family,

There is so much to report!! I'm pretty amazed at how FAST time flies by. I feel like just a few days ago, yesterday even, I was sitting here telling you how wonderful Zone Conference was (which was yesterday too, wasn't it?). The leaves are changing here in Japan, autumn crept in, but is being given quite a nudge by the winter, heralded in by the beautiful Japanese productivity which quickly replaced many of the cold drinks in the vending machines with hot cocoa and some other Word-of-Wisdom no-no's! ha ha. IT'S ALMOST THANKSGIVING, and having that said...I am so thankful for you all! :)

Sounds like the YSA Stake conference was incredible! That is so fun that Brad Wilcox spoke about the atonement.  I love his clear explanations, and the fact that he has helped so many people understand, appreciate and use it. Tell him thank you from me! was one of those anticipated great moments when Elder Wilcox and I finally met!! He is an AWESOME missionary!  It really is a small world - who would have ever thought that we would be serving in the same mission?

Congratulations to Jeni and Branden on their mission calls!  Wow! And happy birthday to Grandma Jan, Steven, and Kristy! And anyone else I missed! 

Our blessings are hard to count this week, let me tell you about an amazing change that is going on in our investigator's heart. She came to one lesson and wasn't ready to be baptized, still not quite ready to take that step. We finished half of the Plan of Salvation lesson, and she really wanted to hear the rest, (she picks things up SO FAST). So we were able to meet two days in a row. I am amazed at her strength. We asked her to read in Alma where it talks about the atonement, and I asked her to read the few verses following about baptism. It is so great, because we didn't plan it and it wasn't an overpowering feeling, but she she came the next day, she'd read and written about it!   She said she wanted to have faith and be baptized!!! I almost started crying in the lesson. She said the scripture says to put away your fears and be baptized, so she wants to have faith and be baptized. It was an incredible day to be a teacher, but just evidence to us of the many times that we had felt prompted in preparing lessons, the way the Spirit led us to teach her, emphasizing so much to me that we just get to have a part in it, and that the Spirit is privately tutoring her. She came with all these concerns, read and prayed about a scripture, and came back in her own way, faithful and deciding to work towards baptism. I cannot believe her faith. I feel some of what Ammon must have felt when teaching King Lamoni's wife sometimes, I am so amazed by the people we teach.  It is just such a privilege to teach her. She finished one of my sentences with correct doctrine that first lesson, (God wants us... "to become like Him.") I was astounded, "How do you know that? Isn't that hard to understand?" Most of our lessons we just sit and say, that's right! You're doing great! Your faith is growing! It is amazing. The Spirit is incredible. I am filled with peace and joy and determination as we teach these our sweet brothers and sisters in Japan. This is SUCH A PRIVILEGE. Her baptismal date is December 23. :)

We are on the front lines of the rest of our lives. We are in a battle against evil that GOOD WILL WIN. We get to pick what team we are on, as Elder Holland has said. I am so impressed with the simplicity of the Gospel!! As a mission, we are studying Preach My Gospel Chapter 3 and drawing out: main principles (8), commandments (2), connections to Christ and His Atonement (3), blessings to promise (3), short, powerful sentences (3), heartfelt examples/stories/testimony (3), and commitments (2). It has been AMAZING. The Spirit is so incredible at teaching us how to teach as we study this inspired book. This is a WONDERFUL way to internalize the doctrine and find the simplest way you can teach it. I would recommend it to anyone preparing for a mission--I wish I had known about it before! The Gospel is so wonderful. 

Thank you for your examples and love. I am amazed at all of you and your goodness. Thank you so much for your sweet, personal letters. They continually uplift me and inspire me! I feel so close to all of you and I am amazed at all of the good you are doing in your own families and communities - building the kingdom wherever you are. I am reminded of Elder Ballard's beautiful talk about Christian goodness, about the one-twelfth of one teaspoon of honey, and I do feel like I am a bee buzzing around sometimes doing my tiny part! ha ha! I just want you to know how great I think all of you are. Thank you for your prayers in my behalf. I had a specific prompting this week that a lot of the help I'm receiving is because of the prayers of my family. I love you! Isn't this work amazing?!

The Lord sends a multitude of tender mercies at every beck and call, as we learn to open our eyes, we will feel His love even more... and the Spirit will open our hearts to ways that we can share it.

Onward and upward!
Love, Sister Jen

Zone great!

More pics of beautiful Ritsurin Koen and our trip there last week. 
It is a half hour from our place by bike!

Note from Jen's dad's letter to her:
We had Brad Wilcox come to speak at one of our meetings for the YSA stake conference. He is such a wonderful friend and we are so grateful that he was willing to do this for our young adults.  I owe him big time! He is such an influence for good. He shared thoughts, stories and feelings about the atonement. "We don’t try to earn heaven, we try to learn heaven." He said some of his Christian friends have continually asked, “Have you been saved by the Savior?” and he always answers, "Of course!" Then he would ask, "Have you been changed by the atonement?" Or he would ask, "Saved for what?" Many don’t really have an answer for this thought. It is so wonderful to have the restoration that has meaningful truth that can guide and direct us in all we desire to do. There was so much more and so much that we could apply. I love the atonement and its beautiful and peaceful power. During his talk he told everyone that you and their son had met. He mentioned that Elder Wilcox’s companion said that you are the genkiest missionary!  In fact he told Elder Wilcox, "Sister Anderson is even more genki than you!"

genki = enthusiastic, energetic, lively

Brother Brad Wilcox at the conference
 Our winter wonderland front yard 

Sister Jen's Grandma Jan turns 79 today!

Sister Jen's birthday is December 7th.  Any birthday wishes can be sent to us and we will forward them to her! (hint hint) :)

Drum roll please.........

Dear Elder Garlick, (Sister Jen's cousin Branden, son of Tammy and Michael)
"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Sweden Stockholm mission."

Jeni Bowman (one of Sister Jen's BFFs and our neighbor and friend)
Alma 29:9
“I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.”
"I have been called to serve in the Brazil Florianópolis Mission! I report to the Brazil MTC on April 10th!
For those of you who don’t know, or need a reminder, my twin brother is serving in Brazil!! Even cooler? The Brazil MTC is INSIDE of his mission! I am SO excited!"

(this is where Sister Jen's cousin Will Garner served!)

More missionaries on the Lord's team!  So many young people are feeling the fire grow in their bones and the front line soldiers are being prepared and entering the field at a remarkable rate.  So great!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fire in my bones...

Ritsurin Koen in Takamatsu

To the Sweetest Family in the Entire World--

I AM ON A MISSION!!! Right now! It's Christmas Eve! (or Christmas month eve). I love you all so much! Wow - what a big week at home!  Birthdays, parties, ordinations, and Marissa's  baptism. Not to mention all the mission calls!  I am so excited for Lindsay and Emmy - please tell them! And Drew Hunt, too. Let me know when Brandon and Jeni get their calls. Thanks for the pics and congratulations to everyone! What joy!!!

This week was AWESOME. Our investigators are so incredible. We had an amazing Zone Taikai yesterday, and a Zone Meeting on Friday where I got to see Cousin Elder Lythgoe again! So great! We are so full of dendo fire and haven't had that much time to do much more than attend lately!  It has been so amazing though. I was so spiritually fed!! The training we received was so incredible. The theme was about "remembering..." President said he didn't want us to learn anything new, but to remember (and apply). It was so good for me. I felt my missionary purpose sink deep into my heart. I felt the Spirit. I love the Spirit! 

Today the wind knocked over our bikes at the dollar store after we'd brought groceries and some things got a little squished and... cracked the eggs... ha ha.

The investigator that came to church was the ten year old daughter of the investigator family that is deaf. They sent her with the neighbor, and it was so great to see them come in! She and her little sister came. They were to leave right before Sacrament meeting ended to be home on time. We were able to send a little note home with them (with help from the member) for the family, pass her a little card with an attached note of how to pray, somehow get little treats, little notes for each of them. The Lord is so great. I definitely am making a "mom bag" for Church as we are preparing, praying, and hoping our sweet investigator families can come! Any great ideas sisters and mom? We got some stuff today that I think will work great. 

The Lord truly knows His sheep. We had another experience this week where we were walking in a quiet neighborhood and this young lady was walking down the street out of nowhere. She was going to work and we chatted for a bit, and said we could share a message with her. We have an appointment this week. Isn't the Lord so amazing? I count so many of my lucky stars when I think that I get to be on a mission, and that I get to serve my fellow men, and then I get counting again when I get to be in this incredible, obedient mission. It is amazing. I love Japan, I love the Saints, I love their respect, I love their sweet, giving souls. I love Heavenly Father's part of the vineyard here. It's amazing how the Lord just makes a spot in your heart for a place you didn't even know before, you know?

So, our Preparation Day became today because of the taikai yesterday... and here we are! We went to Ritsurin Koen today, it is famous in Japan and everyone said we had to go if we lived in Takamatsu. We will include some pics next week! We went today with our incredible investigator Ushiroda Shimai. She is so wonderful, and has no daughters, so she is becoming (one of) our Japanese moms. She is so great!! Her lessons were SO AMAZING this week. She taught the Gospel of Christ back to us perfectly. It is SO FUN to see someone have it CLICK so much, so quickly. She is alight with the Spirit of the Lord. Her family is a little against the idea of church, we want so much to help them! Pray for us to find a way into their hearts. We had a miracle this week. The mission united in praying and fasting, specifically, by name, for those with opposed family members... and right after, a heart was softened, a mother said her son could be baptized, and she wanted to hear more. The Lord prepared them in a situation where they were asked if they would like to receive Priesthood blessings, and after she received one she said he could be baptized, and called the Elders later to ask to hear more!!!!!

I am so amazed at the Lord and His goodness. I wonder how often we live under our privileges! I am amazed at His bounty, and how He keeps reclaiming us back. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! An Elder shared yesterday a quote from Elder Eyring stating (in part) that we should have NOTHING LEFT by the ends of our missions, that we will need to be taken home in an ambulance from the plane—and I want to be that much more dedicated. I am so happy! I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so much. I have been thinking a lot about how to explain that to my brothers and sisters here. Simply put, the Savior provided a way so that we could return home to our Heavenly Father. He suffered for our pains, sins, and death. We can become new through Him. Something comes alive in my heart when I think of Him. Our wonderful Zone Leaders are so inspired, and we are reading Jesus the Christ as a zone now. I want to testify that I know He lives. He can heal broken hearts...heal us.He is alive and well and “needs volunteers.” Mom and Dad, get the ambulance ready!! ha ha. This really is the best work in the entire world. We are shaping history today, in the eons of time this is the work that will be in books to be told in future councils. I love it! I am imperfect, but I am a disciple of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will be His witness whenever and always, and as He calls on me.

So, I just would love to share with you everything, to plop you down in our cultural hall in Takamatsu and have you listen and feel the Spirit of this great work, hear of the miracles, see the beaming faces of those teaching us these last few days, and feel Heavenly Father in His Church. I know this Church is run by Jesus Christ at the head. Wow! Our commission IS “above the kings of the earth,” like Elder McConkie says. I don't want to go home. I don't want to be done. I want to save souls, to tell them how they can feel that balm. I love Jesus Christ! I love Him so much. I love my sweet brothers and sisters in Japan. I wish you could know them. I wish you could see the little man in his eighties that comes and sits on the front row, who can hardly hear or read, but comes every week to pass the Sacrament because he made a promise with God. There are so many stories like that here! 

There is a fire in our mission, a fire in my bones, to find those who are ready. I am so grateful that my brothers and sisters are patient with my Japanese. I am so grateful to be born of goodly parents. I am so grateful, like Elder Holland says, that I have something to give, that I have "more mission in me." This is the best work in the ENTIRE WORLD. It is a privilege and hardly a sacrifice to leave things behind, but I want to sacrifice! I am giving my all to this work.  We have this life TO GIVE, and give 100%, and a little extra. I love my God. I love my Redeemer. I am so grateful He has saved me from death, from the pains of "heck."  I love you all! I am so grateful to be a missionary at this time and in this dispensation. 

I love you fam! Thanks for your examples. I got to sing at taikai yesterday! Way fun, but the Spirit was so strong, standing there I knew the Lord's love and my inadequacies and how purely I wanted to rededicate myself to His service. I am so grateful to still have time in this beautiful country. I want to “Let [my] light so shine," teach people of Him - for it is His light, and keep witnessing miracles!

Have a great week, sending prayers for everyone and especially those who were in the hurricane's path.

Love forever,
Sister Anderson

Sister Jen's cousin Lindsay Castleton...
"Feeling extremely blessed to have been called to serve in the Chile Vina del Mar mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Leaving January 16th."

Sister Jen's dear friend and ours - Drew Hunt...
"I don't even know what to think right now, but I'm soooooooooooooooooooo excited to announce I have been called to serve in the Mexico, Culiacan mission!!!:) And I report to the MTC February 20th~:)"

Here is a note form the last post:
Sister Jen's cousin Emmy Anderson's mission call:
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. 

Sister Jen's niece. Marissa, (daughter of Angeli and Evan Child) got baptized November 3rd!
Sister Jen's nephew Joseph (son to Jana and Jeff Christensen) turned twelve  
on Nov. 1st and was ordained a deacon November 3rd.
Quincy Warne (Sister Jen's first cousin once removed) was ordained a deacon November 4th!  This pic is of Quincy and Joseph.
Sister Jen's nephew Eli (son of Angeli and Evan Child), turned twelve on November 1st and was ordained a deacon on November 4th.

 Sister Jen's nephew, Coy Christensen (our oldest grand child), turned 18 on November 2nd.

And...Sister Jen's Aunt Crys had a birthdaythis last week, too!
Did we miss any other relatives????  Very fun and busy week!