Sister Jena Anderson

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

62 years????? Just wow!

Happy Anniversary Grammy and Grampy!!!! 

Thanks for being you and for all the love you have for each other and all the love you share with others!
If I could draw some kites in this note, I would. :)

Love your missionary grand-daughter,
Sister Jen in Japan

The work is sooooooo good!

Dear Family,

AHHH! I love you so much! Are you having a great day? What did you do this morning? Did you have cereal for breakfast? So fun to hear more about Christmas and the celebrations! Happy birthday Spencer Roger and congrats on your ordination today! Congrats to Scott on becoming an Eagle Scout! You both are getting so tall! Sounds like so much fun with Hwasung there and Spen and Rach and the kiddos. I am so happy to hear that you are hobbling around without crutches Nate. You rock Pooks! Give everyone hugs from me. :)

Life is so sweet. There are always unexpected things, but it's just as Heavenly Father wants as long as we are just going on the path. It's so amazing! I love the Gospel. I love teaching it, reading it, I love prayer. I love teaching my investigators. I learn so much when I am teaching! I feel like I am the one being taught so much. I still feel so “osanai”, so young in the Gospel...I know I don't even have a grasp of what we have and yet, I love it so much!! WE HAVE THE GOSPEL OF THE ETERNAL GOD ON THE EARTH. Isn't that amazing? I loved studying about it this morning.

So, transfers come on a Wednesday this week, so I have no idea where we'll be next week! (I'm putting in some o-negai's for staying in Takamatsu...) Izumikawa San is looking great. She is doing so well. She and all of her cute boys came to Church on Sunday!!! Ahhh. Such a great feeling. This Gospel is meant for families. It is amazing to see the Spirit work in someone's lives. This mission has taught me so much that it's not ME, not me changing them—I just get to, as our President says “set the table for the guests”--our investigator, the Holy Ghost, and us. The most important ones at the feast are the Holy Ghost and our investigator!! It has been so neat for me to see the change in Izumikawa San's life. We went to our lesson last week and Dobson Shimai said, “she has such a light! She looks so different!” I am so humbled and amazed that Heavenly Father lets us do this work. It truly won't fail. My missionary friends, you can do it. No matter how skilled or unskilled you feel—it is the Lord's power, and He is all powerful. This will be the most wonderful adventure of your life.

So, we have a transfer next month that is only 4 weeks to accommodate all of the missionaries coming into the field. Our capacity is about 140 right now as a mission (for missionaries), it is projected to eventually be up to 250!!!(President was saying... that means, everyone get ready to train! Ha ha.) Our coming home date will be moved up 3 weeks, which means our new date is June 7. (I will be home for Father's day! Isn't that weird and fun?!) Something else wonderful, Yoshiko San got baptized in Akashi yesterday!! My district leader from the MTC is the missionary there who baptized her. :) Isn't that great! Rekimoto San (who got baptized when we were there) is now blessing and passing the Sacrament, and another investigator is moving towards her baptismal date there. The field is RICH. The work is GOOD. It really is about losing yourself and focusing on Him.

I love you!! Try to find a way to PUT ON THE GOSPEL TODAY! It's the best.
Sister Anderson

We had a Christmas taikai and sang the 12 days of Christmas .. this is the partridge in a pear tree. ha ha
 Christmas gifts to give away... the best kind!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Through His in abundance...

Merry Christmas! 
With love and gratitude 
Scott and Angelle
and Sister Jen in Japan!  

My Dearest Family, 

I love this work, and I love you. I love to look at pictures of you all, and just count myself so blessed to be all wrangled in with you for eternity. You are so all so beautiful, every one of you!  So many accomplished children, who are sprouting up so quickly, it is just such a delight. I have received so many sweet birthday packages and Christmas packages and letters (thank you Grandpa and Grandpa Jan, The Georgia Anderson's, Soulier Fam, and Spen and Rach fam just this week!)  And so many others!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful love, support and prayers! Can I just say I love you all? And happy birthday to all of you who are celebrating in December! So glad to hear that Nate is on the mend after his surgery! :)

We have been reading Jesus the Christ frantically at mealtimes to try to finish by the end of the year, and I think the crowning hope the Savior has for us is just to love each other, to share the gifts He wants so much to give us to lead us back to our Father. Our Heavenly Father wants to bless us so much!

We had (are having) a pretty amazing spiritual experience with our investigator. We have been working for months on that faith bed, through prayer, scriptures, teaching for her--and we taught her the Word of Wisdom this week! I love studying principles again and again, if I am ready to learn, the Lord enlightens my mind with new ways to teach. We taught the Word of Wisdom a little bit to another investigator as well, and I had her put her hand out and close her eyes, I touched it lightly with a pen. She then put on one glove, two glove, three gloves, (blue fish?), and we tried again. She let me know when she could feel it. I touched it probably thirty times, and she said "hai" maybe three. One of the reasons we have these commandments is that we can feel the influence of Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost! We get to, throughout our lives and covenants, though we are not perfect, to take off those gloves--and receive that gift. No wonder it is a prerequisite to baptism! In Japan, breaking the Word of Wisdom is culturally.... approved, exalted, more than normal. We taught it to one of our investigators and she said, "But I love alcohol!" "Tea is my hobby!", and yet, she has been living it this week--because that is what Heavenly Father, Her Father has asked her to do. It is pretty incredible to watch these people change (this is Izumikawa San).
 She and two of her boys were able to come to Church for the first time this week, we had 4 investigators there and two others, it was pretty wonderful--just like the Christmas party, where you close your eyes, and just feel Heavenly Father's joy that His children are at His house. WOW. (not a pun for word of wisdom) (Even Ushiroda Shimai came, who we haven't met in a long time, and I sang in Church while Dobson Shimai played... we made a medley of "Away in a Manger" and "He Sent His Son," who knew they were in the same key right?)

So! That is an awesome story, we are teaching her tonight and she is moving right along--it is just such a testament that He knows who is ready. Our Rachel is also just progressing along, she is doing so wonderfully. She is so funny, and she is building such a wonderful relationship with the members. 
In this picture she is with her daughter. She is one of the funniest people I've met, and we are talking about some things from her "Rachel Kyo" (Rachel's Church) doctrine, but her problems go away so quickly. She was meant to come here and feel His love, and she feels it so well and so quickly. The lessons are just exploding out because we want to teach her so much, the Gospel has the answers to those questions. The work is moving right along, even though it is the last week of the transfer. So many other miracles, like an investigator the Elders had who wasn't doing well when we came, but came on Sunday and said he wants to know why we believe personally, and hear more about the Book of Mormon. We went caroling yesterday and it was so fun. Rachel San is also studying English as hard as she can even though she is in her 70s, I wish you could meet all of our investigators. Some other investigators dropped this week--we had two lessons in one day, one where someone testified that they knew that the Book of Mormon was true, and one where they could not accept it.  That is so hard - I know it is true! I love that book. You cannot get away from the witness of the Holy Ghost if you seek it. The fullness of the Gospel has been restored, which matters because of a babe born in a manger in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Oh, to sing to our King at this Christmas time. I would like to add my testimony to that in the Doctrine and Covenants 76 "This is the last testimony, that He lives! For we saw Him, on the right hand of God..." I testify that He has prepared a place for us there if we will but exercise our agency and choose to follow Him. This is the biggest adventure in the history of the world--what you are living now--more than movies or video games, all shackles of the biggest truth and adventure: You. Your life. Your experience on earth. Let us use what we have been given and follow our Savior. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39). My last testimony, too, is that He lives. Our lives we live can be gifts to Him, never to repay as King Benjamin reminds us, but as solemn, wonderful gifts of gratitude and devotion: let us live. As our Savior Jesus Christ has said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

My wish for you, my sweet family and friends, is that first you feel that love from Him for you--and then, together, we go forth in sharing that gift so other may live in Him, that we may attain that abundant life together and eternally. (what a message!) I am your companion and servant in this great work, let us go together. I love you all, Merry Christmas--for it is about Him, it is worth celebrating. 

"God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son." -The First Presidency, "The Living Christ"

Love you forever, because of His love,
Sister Anderson

Santa came to the ward party! Isn't he cute?
 I am soooooooooooo spoiled!
 Thanks Dobson Momma!
 Thanks family!
 Christmas town!
 The Takamatsu Shimai, rocking the new looks!
 My gifts from Spencer and Rachel, Ella, Caden, and Claire!  They had my name for the sibling draw! :)

To my Colorado Family: Thanks for the Christmas!! You are so sweet, and your kids are getting so big!! Thank you so much for thinking of me this Christmas season! I LOVE YOU! Love, Sister Jen

 The new mini "hand size" PMG!  
In our humble apartment...
celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is coming!!!! The Gospel is true!!!!

Hey Fam!!

Merry Christmas to... me? You are so sweet!! Thank you!  Grandma and Cami - the divinity and caramels are soooooooooooooo yummy!!!!  You know how to cook it up!
Today needs to be kind of quick because we are limited on computers, but can I just say I love you! I know that anything that comes to us in life can make us stronger, so many of you have shown me that. That is all through the Lord. Because of Jesus Christ, we do not have to face life alone. Isn't that amazing?
Some of our investigators are doing really well, and others not so much, and others aren't listening any more. I love Heavenly Father so much. I can't imagine seeing your children feel your love and still want to leave, I can't imagine what that would be like as an earthly parent, nonetheless a Heavenly Parent. 

I cut my hair today, but only a little bit! (It will be long when I come home, don't worry Dad.) Christmas is such a special time of year. We are teaching an incredibly special investigator. I know that the Lord truly is preparing His children, that there are forces on the other side helping us. The sweet, funny grandmother we met we are now teaching, and she came to the Christmas party on Saturday.

 The ward did a beautiful play illustrating the effect Jesus Christ can have on our lives. She came the next day to Church from that play even wanting to hear MORE about God!! She likes to be called "Rachel" because that is the name she picked, and is a kindred spirit for those who catch it. She researched up on Mormons even though we just started teaching her and is a little hesitant about giving up her Frappacino, that is the only thing she can't decide if she should give up or not. She uses every English word she knows when she talks. She is so great. Special experience of the week: We were teaching her and I pulled out a little picture of the Savior, and she picked it up so carefully, and said: "I have this feeling that this is my older brother." Tears came to my eyes. She had had another experience that would make her feel like that too, but I am just amazed at the people He is preparing. They are valiant and they are waiting.

Other than that, we had a kokan this week, the Christmas Party was so fun, we tried to play hot and cold with the 60 people there, and I think that might be kind of an American game... not to mention one of the Bishopric members said (after I used a word I'd found from my dictionary that day), "The missionaries use hard words! What they meant is..." ha ha ha. Christmas is so soon, so excited to talk to you, I'll forward you info about the call, but your Christmas day, between 8 and 11 in the morning here, feel free to email the Dobson's maybe... 

I LOVE YOU! The Savior is THE reason we are. We are so incredible blessed. Keep our beloved investigators in your prayers and for us to find those He is preparing.  We also got a referral this week from a member who became on investigator! Starting the journey!

I love you. His work is true!
Sister Anderson

PS Nate, my prayers are with you!  I hope your knee surgery goes well and you recover quickly!

PPS I loved all the pics of the Christmas parties - so fun!  Happy birthday to all of you who celebrate in December!  I can't believe Seth is five!

PPPS  Thanks to all my sweet friends and family members who wrote to me this week!  I LOVE YOUR LETTERS!!!!!

Here are the answers to Marissa's questions:

.what is your companions whole name? Nicole Allyse Dobson
.where did  you get your bed where you sleep in Japan? It was in the apartment already!!
.are Japanese foods spicy? Some of them are! Like curry! Sometimes you can choose how spicy too. :)
.could you tell me some Japanese words? Love-ai tree- ki Marissa-Mah-rii-sah -Heavenly Father--Ten no Otosama. (Ten no Otosama wa Marissa chan o ai shite imasu!) means* Heavenly Father loves Marissa!

More food pics for anyone who loves food! Look at how cute they are in Japan... I know a lot of you foodies will really love these pics!

 Celebrating! Sister Missionary exchange...
A lady we are going to start teaching who is half Mongolian and grew up in Russia but speaks Japanese... and likes hats!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Isogashikute Tanashiku Seikatsu Shite Imasu! (Livin a busy and fun life!)

Watashi no Ai suru Kazoku e!
Wha, konshu wa isogashikatta! And so fun! The work is a work of miracles. The Chivore couple, a new investigator, and a potential investigator came to Church on Sunday! We were delighted! We've been trying to work toward the goals set by President as our mission standards, and we are so close!! It is so wonderful. I had an amazing birthday, thanks so much to you!! I loved loved loved the pictures you sent, and wasted no time in selecting some to keep with me and introduce the family I love so much to a people I love, too. I love the people here. I am so grateful for this work and the Lord's help. Time goes by so quickly, and it startles me sometimes seeing pictures of you, and remembering all of the wonderful times we've had and are having. Life is so joyous! I try to imagine what the Celestial kingdom is like. I imagine it is a lot like the feeling we feel as we serve and sacrifice to follow Jesus Christ, mixed in the beauty of eternal families and relationships. I can't comprehend the depth or perfection of His plan. We are so incredibly blessed. Dad wrote me about lighthouses today, and I want to be that. I want so much to guide others to Him. 

We had a miracle on Sunday. We called a man from the Area Book who said he would come to Church. He was so nice, and came to all of Church, and we got to teach Him after. It was an incredible experience. I testify that goals give us direction, even ways to help these beautiful people progress. Our first lessons are always about God's love, and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That is our focus as a mission, everyone is practicing and working on their first lesson plans almost daily. His was wonderful. So often, a picture or way to teach comes to me and I just want to introduce it to the ones I love--always thinking, would this help them? Is that easier to understand? The Spirit is incredible. I have gained an even greater appreciation for the Spirit this week, protecting and guiding us. I know Heavenly Father knows us intimately and personally, my sweet brothers and sisters around the world, never forget that. We taught Him about this path that goes to God. He wants to have a clean heart. We described God's love and He said he felt it at Church. The Lord had prepared Him so much, that this time, we asked him to be baptized, and he said he wanted to be. We set a date that first meeting. He said he can meet Sundays, and also weekdays. :) President has been saying if they feel God's love, it is so powerful that they will want to feel it again. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love what it means to me, so mortal and so needing Him, and yet rejoicing in this beautiful work. This IS the only way. This is the only way to return to live with Him, and it is all through Jesus Christ. I love them. I love spending so much time thinking and talking about them. I love you all so much. I can't remember what it is like to study other things, on missions we live in this spiritual realm where that knowledge just gets deeper, conviction and experience, a drop and day at a time. 

Izumikawa San's boys are praying with her. They asked her a question about heck, and she explained the three kingdoms to them. It is so fun to see them start progressing as a family. She said in their prayers, one of the boys said they were grateful that they had come to learn about God that day. Heavenly Father really does know everything. 

And Yamashita Chorro came this week! 

He and his wife taught all in English, it was so great to see their examples and perseverance. They said it was for the Japanese Elders and Sisters, to know they could etc. It was such an example to me. (His English is great though!) It was so special for me, because his talk helped me so much after I got my call. He taught some about customs in Japan and the doctrine of Christ, which is actually the method we used to teach Nishioka San (the man who came on Sunday!) It worked! For part of it, they asked us to go out in 15 mins and find someone who would hear about the Gospel. We prayed and I remembered a cute lady that had served us when we'd eaten there, and ran and asked her if she would hear a message. She said yes and we set up an appointment for the sisters in the area. I know He knows His sheep. 

I got to see Elder Lythgoe again, too! So great.

So many miracles my sweet family. You are so close to my heart. I came out on my birthday to find my futons out again

 and breakfast waiting there.
I almost started crying! Some "bird" had told my companion about our family tradition of serving breakfast in bed on birthdays. It was such a special day, our Elders called, the ward brought flowers, the sweet Relief Society president remembered a cake store we had asked about and bought a super expensive cake from there and brought it, 
and an Eikaiwa student brought a cake,
and my companion gave me 22 things with 22 reasons she loved me -so cute! She is the best!!! 

I got such an awesome package from my family including tons of pictures for my little "intro" photo fun! Thanks so much for all the love in those gifts!!!!!!!

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes - I love all my friends and are the greatest!
Just celebrating life, and I am so grateful to be here. The work is true! I LOVE IT!!!!!!

Love you all!
Sister Anderson

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Guest at His Feast, a privilege to proclaim His birth!

Dear Fam,

Thank you SO MUCH for all of the birthday wishes! I can't believe it's this week! ha ha. Things come so quick these days! You are all so sweet to think of me and send all those THOUGHTFUL greetings - you made my day and my birthday week!  You are the greatest!!! Thanks for all the updates on the happenings in your lives...from "Back to Bethlehem" breakfasts to ball games...and even a new driver's licence (what...Mook? ahhhhhhh!) to church service and travels, parenting and grand-parenting, school stuff, birthday celebrations, competitions and concerts, cute things the little ones say...and everything in between! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from my loved ones!  Happy birthday to all of you who celebrate your birthdays with me in December! And...Merry Christmas month!

What a week! Time is flying, I can't believe it's preparation day again. I feel like I turn around and here we are again, planning for another week, or here we are again at the computers. Life is so wonderful. The weather in Japan hasn't been too cold, only sometimes (like this picture that my comp took of me this morning... when we were pretty much out of everything but salad and ramen and the weather was a little... chilly... ha ha) I love Japan!
Yes, we are gearing up for winter around here!
On top of that, today I polished my shoes, (do you think they needed some attention?)
and now they look like they've only been out three months. I was so happy!!

My time, as the mission has gone on, has become more and more devoted to how I can help my investigators understand a certain principle, how I can teach, how I can organize my visuals, etc. Love it! It is so wonderful. I love this work with all my heart. 

This week Yamashita Chorro will come to our mission! (And I turn 22, which means in 3 years I will be 25... which sounds so old for me to be! Ha ha. I can't believe how quickly time goes. My life has become all of those feelings I felt at Christmas each year, the constant, warm soft joy—it is the Holy Ghost who takes care of us, and I love Him! It has been so fun throughout my mission to feel even closer to Heavenly Father, to learn how we can access that power depending simply on what we choose, especially to do with our time. Isn't the Gospel plan amazing?) I love you dear fam. I just want to give a shout out to all of you who have put up with me so long. It has been so delightful. The cache of my memory bank is so full of wonderful YOU, and I love this earthly experience. I am just so grateful that I get to spend it with you...and eternity, too!!! :)

I had an experience feeling the JOY of missionary work all over again this week. It is so amazing to feel like you need to go house in an area, to house for so long, and find who you are looking for. We found this young grandma who said, “I want to hear your message! I want to hear your message! That's what you came here to share, right? I believe we are all children of God and God loves us. I am not really Buddhist or Christian, but I think that Japan is God's country too...” and on it goes. I was so touched and humbled after our short interchange that as I rode my bike back to our apartment, the joy swelled up inside of me and I just laughed the whole way home, rejoicing in the glory of the work with Heavenly Father. Even now, tears fill my eyes. We truly have the most precious message in all the world. 

Today we get to start teaching Yuki San's boys, we are so excited. The Lord has helped me so much over my whole mission to find fun ways and simple ways “wakariyasui” (easy to understand) ways to teach. I am so grateful for every investigator, every day that has added to the preparation for today. And just imagine what the future will be like if "what a past" led to the here and now! I love it and I love you.

There are so many little miracles every day, answers to prayers, being led by the Spirit, having the chance to be obedient, laughing with your zone and learning so much. I love swimming in this, an Elder in my district calls it “spirit juice”... so we say that a lot now. I love Spirit juice!!
Our district didn't change with transfers (I don't know if I told you!) and I just love it because our district is so close, they are like our brothers. It is so fun. The work is just FUN right now. 

President is encouraging another type of dendo style where you just tell people you are a missionary for Jesus Christ's Church and that we'd like to share a message with them next week for 20 minutes about God. It has been pretty incredible. I realized again this week, thinking back, that I know this work is not about me. I rejoice in these opportunities, just to be a part of it. I love investing myself, I love hard work and dedication! I can't imagine how joyous Heavenly Father must be, how perfect the Savior must be, what examples they are to us in ALL of these areas—perfect! With the beautiful promise that as we trust them, they will sculpt us into magnificent castles. What a blessed life this is. I can't express my love for Jesus Christ, my Savior, for my loving Heavenly Father. I just want to testify wherever I can. I can't believe how blessed I am to be in this work. Today I am working on organizing my teaching materials, and I am so excited! Heavenly Father helps us so much, and is always helping me change and hone to help these people with whatever individual gifts we have. Isn't that amazing! The Lord loves us enough to let us, our beautiful individual selves, help others and interact with them—but that will never be enough. It is us coupled with HIS power, with complete dependence on the Lord. I am so grateful that I have knowledge of Him. I am so happy and joyous that I get to be part of His work.

You are beautiful, all of you! We had a miracle this week where one of our sweet investigators (Ushiroda Shimai) who has been doing a lot of thinking, called us and said, "I will be baptized!" Our days are filled with such wonder, because it is His work. I testify it's true.

I love you now and forever, because Jesus Christ came to die for us so we could live in Him. What a privilege. What a life.

I love you!

Sister Anderson who is eating beans in bread... they love that in Japan, and it definitely has grown on me.  haha! Beans!

breath-taking sunset in my beloved Japan!

Note from Sister Jen's mom:
She is so excited to have Elder Yamashita come to her mission and there is no question why!

Click here to read ELDER KAZUHIKO YAMASHITA's conference address from October 2011 (Ensign November 2011)

Treasure of the Church

Quote from his talk:
"I would now like to say a few words to the missionaries currently serving missions around the world. Your attitudes and the love that you show toward others are very significant messages. Even though I didn’t immediately grasp all the doctrines that the missionaries taught me, I felt of their great love, and their many acts of kindness taught me important lessons. Your message is a message of love, a message of hope, and a message of faith. Your attitude and your actions invite the Spirit, and the Spirit enables us to understand the things that are important. What I want to convey to you is that through your love, you are imparting the love of God. You are a treasure of this Church. I am so very thankful to all of you for your sacrifice and your dedication."