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Friday, August 31, 2012

blog this por favor

Hey everyone,
Today and yesterday--and, actually, everyday since last Saturday when I wrote--have been absolutely crazy. Tomorrow night, I'll write. I will send you all letters. I haven't had time and I'm on new drugs that are making me a little more loopy.

I'm okay.
The procedure went fine, but they couldn't find anything.
I love you all so much, all of you who have sent me letters, they have been so so helpful during this hard time.

Thanks a million,
Your friendly neighborhood Spidersam

Thursday, August 30, 2012

P.S.

When you are writing to me, if you do, and please, please do, include my whole name - Elder Samuel Blake Anderson because I don't know if I'll get it if you don't. My mailbox number and mission code will probably change a bit. So no more sending letters to "Sister Anderson" box number 298... they might never get to me if you do!
Thanks. I love and miss you all. 
Adios!

uhoh

This is gonna be a crazy letter, sorry. As you can probably tell... it's Monday which is not the regular day for writing.
So do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Okay, I'll begin with the good news then!
I have to stay in the MTC for 2 more weeks. 2. More. Weeks!

The bad news?
I have to stay in the MTC for 2 more weeks. 2. More. Weeks!

So that's the news. It's only good news because I'm trying not to lose my mind and by telling other people that it is bittersweet, maybe one day I will be able to actually believe it.
The other bad news? I have to get a colonoscopy on Thursday. Which means starting Tuesday night I'm on a liquids only diet and then starting Wednesday at 3 it's a laxatives only diet. I'm not too excited about it. This is all becasue they are not sure what the spots are and not sure why I have all the pain or the tenderness. Dr. Brown is a nice guy but he isn't the best at breaking the bad news.

The other kind of good news?
You all can write me still, and it's free! and by this I mean please, please write me!
Hahahaha. Just serious.
This means that I have to join a new district and get a new companion as well. Which is not a huge deal but it will be a large adjustment for me, and my new companion. I'm up for quite a new adventure I think. It will be interesting. One bonus is I requested to be with a missionary that is struggling and in a trio so it can just be he and I for the two weeks and I hope to be able to help him get better at the spanish and the teaching and as well to be more confident.

This has all been really hard because when the doctor told me that he was delaying me and signing me up for a colonoscopy I wanted to so bad say that I was fine and wasn't in any pain at all. It was so tempting so I could just get out and start. It's been hard to convince myself that this is all for the best. I'm still trying but it might take a little while to start believing it. I don't know what else to write. So much has happened since my last email, but I am quite a large bit depressed that I won't be in the field Wednesday.

Connor! Thank you so much for the letter. I loved it. Like a whole bunch. Today has been a hard, depressing and scary day and your letter was a real help. Thank you. A lot. Write me again soon and give me your address so I can write you back!
Grandma thank you also for the letter I hope I can find that list when I come home and start reading them. Cultural influence is one of my favorite things.
Dad, your letter helped today too. You got most of the references but I think there were a few you missed. Some of them are pretty shameless, but you missed them anyway.

We dropped Elder Noyes off this morning and it was actually way harder than I thought it would be. Nine weeks of constant contact really builds a pretty tight bond but he was excited to go and I'm really excited for him to be out in South Carolina.

Okay I kinda of lied. There wasn't any real good news this week. I was so ready to get out of here and staying here longer was hard to hear.
I'll write more on Friday. I just wanted to say that I have to stay longer and that more letters like Connors would be muchly apprectiated!
I might have a few funny stories of the colonoscopy but hopefully I won't remember it.
ew.
So that's pretty much all.
Hakuna Mattata.
Sam.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Letter number - LAST AT THE MTC


Okay, so this has been the craziest week.
As you can tell because of how late I am writing [10:24 am].
I also don’t have any of my notes or letters to respond to so ‘ladies and gentlemen’, I’m free ballin’ it.
Here we go.
I’ll start with something good.

This week someone told me that I have a great smile and that I need to use it to help people feel comfortable and to feel the spirit. They said some more too and it made me feel really good. I can probably count the times that people have just sincerely told me something like that randomly. It definitely made me smile. I think I’ll build her a cake or something. So that was one of my highlights of the week definitely. Another cool thing was right after I sent my letter last Friday I got my travel plans!!
I leave Wednesday morning at 5 am. I will be at the mission home before companionship study time is over. How crazy is that? I am super duper excited to get out in the field. Well, excited and scared.

Looking back on the MTC, it has been such an interesting experience. I don’t know where to start or what to say. But I could say a lot I think. I’ll try to highlight a few thoughts I've been having about it without being too all over the place (yeah right). I really do like it here. I like that there is a little bit of stress and we are working hard. I also like the knowledge that I am working as hard as I possibly can all day long. I tried pretty hard in college to get good grades and occasionally I try hard at other things but here I can honestly say that I have been working my butt off. It’s a good feeling, but sometimes I forget that my mission isn’t ending Wednesday, it's only starting hahaha. The problem with working so hard is that I always am thinking about how much better I need to be. A double-edged sword, definitely. I always know what I need to work on, but sometimes I feel like I will never be as good as I want to be. And that is true. Everyone always wants to be better right? Idk what I'm saying.

Back to reality. For some reason we got unlucky and all our teachers change this week so we will be having substitutes on Monday and Tuesday, which doesn’t make me the happiest camper. I really, really have liked my teachers, even the long-term substitutes. I feel like I have gotten very close with some of them and I wouldn’t jump out to say this but I think since our district has been so small we've gotten very close to a lot of the teachers that have been teaching us. I know everyone says stuff like this but I truly believe that when Hermano Urquhart said that we were his favorite district, he was telling the truth. Maybe that just shows how good of an orator and how good his rhetoric is. Maybe. I could be convinced of that but I think we really did have a special bond with him, and all our other teachers. I'll miss them. I hate sounding like I'm easily impressed or easily impressed upon, but it's true, I have enjoyed being taught by them and I will miss that 3 hours of classroom time. Other things to write about the MTC... I'm not sure right now, maybe I’ll think of something and remember! I will write back if you ask me questions and such. (That means you Emily and David and the other people I haven’t gotten to. I haven’t forgotten about you) so.. moving on!

Okay so Elder Andersen came to speak to the MTC on Tuesday, which was pretty cool. He gave a great talk about Thomas S. Monson because it was his birthday. Of course being a sucker for service, I loved the talk because half of it was about being happy and trying to make other people happy. But what I want to share is what I saw. Kids these days. So the rest of our district is in the choir so on Tuesdays and Sundays Elder Harvey and I get a bunch of time to just chill by ourselves. By chill I mean study but it’s chill study time, ya feel me? Anyway we were walking from our classroom to the gym where the devotional was held and we saw some elder running up the stairs behind us. I didn’t notice right away, but he was companionless which was my first flag that something weird was happening. He blew past us and stopped to catch his breath at the top of the stairs and tried to get into the gym but the police officer stopped him at the doors and said "where is your companion?" without looking back the missionary said that he was right behind him. The police officer just said again, where is your companion? The elder turned around and saw no one else behind him (we had made it to the top of the stairs by now and were waiting to watch and see what was going on) when he did he said "FREAK!" as loud as I've ever heard anyone yell. It was like he was Gandalf yelling at the Balrog, except I guess it was the police officer saying "you! shall not! pass!" anyway. He screamed freak at the top of his lungs and then yelled it again and threw his notebook at the ground. It practically exploded and papers went everywhere and pages flew out. Then he like just dropped to the floor. Kind of like he was doing a down up but he was trying to see if he could see his companion. When he could, he yelled freak again, and then jumped up, fuming, and tried to push past the black knight, I mean the police officer. The officer said that he needed to have his companion and the elder just yelled "he always does this!" the officer asked him what and he just, super vaguely said "I told him to keep up! FREAK!" He then related to the officer that someone asked him to get their suit coat from their residence and he agreed and took off running. He said to his companion keep up and that was all. Then he ran for a few minutes, got the coat, and ran back and then ran to the gym. He didn’t look back once because "I thought he could keep up, that lazy bum!" The police officer made him leave to go find his companion and the elder jumped down the stairs and ran off. Elder Harvey and I went inside. This elder was probably 6'6" and pretty well-built and a kinda of scary looking guy. I was afraid he was gonna start messing with the policeman. When Elder Harvey and I were sitting down after a while we saw him on the gym floor flanked by 2 policemen and someone who we assumed was his companion. They were all escorted to a corner where the policemen dropped them off with an elder who seemed like the district leader. Then for like the next 5 minutes the big elder just screams at his companion. In front of practically the whole MTC. He even had his (now torn) notebook folded in half and was using it to jab his companion in the chest. Let me describe the companion. He was a small guy. Like 5'6" and tiny. Kind of like a blonde and not quite as cute Will Haymond. The companion looked almost in tears. Finally the bigger elder finished his tirade and the little elder tried to apologize and tried to give him a hug but the bigger elder jabbed him in the chest with his elbow and turned and walked away to their seats. Then, when, they got to their seats (e' Harvey and I were pulling an Aunt Petunia and watching the whole thing) the big elder yelled at the smaller one when he tried to sit next to him. It almost made me cry. I was so hurt to watch this elder practically beat on his companion. I was so torn between going down there and trying to understand what was going on and what deserved this public humiliation. I still don’t know if I should have. It certainly wasn’t my place and probably would have only made the big, defensive elder more defensive. But it made me very sad. I kind of wanted to just go up and yell "hey! there's no fighting in the war room!" or something like that. Thinking deeply back, I should have gone down and tried to talk to the other elder. I don’t know. Now I'm questioning myself. Anyway point of story some people are jerks and I know the kind of missionary I don’t want to be.

I was planning on sharing a couple scriptures and my take on them and the insight that my time in the MTC has brought me but... I didn’t bring my bible and Book of Mormon so I can’t. Maybe next week, j.k. next week I’ll have too much to type about. Maybe in one of the upcoming weeks I’ll talk a bit about some scriptures I like or new ones I’ve been reading or those kinds of things.

For now just be happy with Hebrews 5:13. A real gem. Some people might not like it as much as I do, but it’s becoming one of my favorites.
And in a totally different vein I like 1 Corinthians 13:11 (I think its 11. I'm not sure)
They are both bible verses but whatcha gonna do?
So yeah. better scripture talk later. pwomise.
Now the fun stuff.

I don’t have too much time but I'm, going to tell you all the awesome story of my week of record breaking.
I broke the MTC record of most times visiting the clinic in 1 day (4). It’s not a written one, but three different people told me I did, so I'm gonna start telling everyone that too. That was a long day.
It all began last Sunday night. It was a good Sunday, most are. Except they tried to feed us roast beef. I would have loved it if it was an MLT, when the mutton is nice and lean. I was lucky enough to remember MTC proverb number 1 "thou shalt not eat the roast beef for the day therein that thou eatest thou shalt surely die" and I was further strengthened by MTC proverb number 8 "the beefs roasted are not for the belly but for the flames of the infernal pit." So I wasn’t having any of that. Literally and figuratively. I think I ate some green thing called a salod? solod? zalad? I'm not sure. IT was green and crunchy and I haven’t eaten too many. I think it was a lie: it gave me no nutrients. Anyway idk if anyone will think that was funny, but hopefully someone will, if not, sorry. NO, but seriously Sunday night after dinner I had to do my priestly duties and meet with the branch president and talk. He asked how I was feeling and of course, I said I was doing "super bien" and then he asked how I was feeling health-wise and I (white)lied and said that I was doing great. He noticed that I had lost a lot of weight (the grand total is now at 32 pounds) and asked me again if I was sure I was feeling okay and I opened up and told him about my stomach and abdominal pain. He was really worried about me and thought I might have?/be? celiac. So he got me set up with a drs appointment on Monday morning. I went in and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong so they had me come back to see Dr. Brown later. (I don’t have my planner with me now so the dates and smaller details might be wrong) I went back later and he looked at me and we talked about normal things, doctor things and then some of the more awkward doctor questions. Then he had me lie on the bed so he could touch my stomach. I don’t know why doctors push so hard. I know they are always trying to help but man, when I say it hurts, it hurts. But of course he had to spend like 5 minutes poking my very sore stomach and my very sore abdomen. I didn’t like that very much. He told me he didn’t know what was wrong so he set me up for an Esophogastroduodenoscopy, EDG for short. But so on Wednesday I got to leave the MTC for a bit! Wahoo! At 6:45 am e'Harvey and I went to the front desk and we got driven to Central Utah Surgical to they could stick tubes down my throat to check and see if I had ulcers. They knocked me out to do it so I don’t remember much of that morning or day. But I do remember coming to and still being super messed up but no one was around to talk to so I was kind of scared. I spent like 90 minutes by myself because they accidentally took Elder Harvey somewhere else, so when he finally found me I was normal so no funny stories. But for the 90 minutes I played with the hem of my shorts..... I don’t know what is wrong with me but for some reason that was like an awesome thing. Oh yah I forgot to say that on like Tuesday they took some blood to do more tests. So then after my little procedure I went back to the doctor then next day (Thursday) and we looked at the results and I don’t have ulcers! Yay! But the bad news was that they didn’t know what was wrong with me so he went all sage on me and just looked me in the face for like 30 seconds without saying anything. Half way through I got so uncomfortable I said sorry but he just said, no, no, you’re fine. Another 15 (felt like 1479079017) seconds passed and he said "okay we're gonna get you CT scanned." He then like rushed to set one up the next hour. When I was talking on the phone to one of the people at the imaging center she asked me "do you smoke or drink?" I said "no ma'am" and she said "I know honey, I was just joking" I felt like an idiot. But so we went to the Riverwoods Imaging center and I got a CAT scan.

When we went back, I went to see Dr. Brown and he said, "you have some spots on your stomach, and we don’t know what they are. So I want you and your companion to run to the BYU health center right now and don’t talk to anyone just go straight to the lab.”  So Elder Harvey and I ran. It was kind of scary to hear "spots ... don’t know ... and run" all in the same phrase so Elder Harvey and I booked it. We were kinda scared. As we ran people were waving to us and honking at us. I think some were happy to see the missionaries and other I think thought we were escaping. So we went to the Health Center on BYU campus and they drew more blood and did a few more tests on me.

Then we went back to the health clinic at the MTC and the doctor said that they rushed the tests to see if the spots were anything urgent that needed to be taken care of right away. They weren’t. I guess they were not the spots they were looking for... so I’m going back on Monday. That’s where I’m at now. I have unidentified spots on my stomach. They won’t be killing me (although Dr. Brown did give me his home number and said to call him [because he knows my situation] if I faint, vomit profusely, or vomit blood, so that was a little unnerving) but Monday I get more tests and that good stuff! So that's the story of the health clinic. Sorry it’s written so quick and probably hard to understand I’m writing as fast as I possibly can.
I'm not too worried...

I got to be a host this week too! That was cool. I got to introduce four new missionaries to the MTC, which was a fun experience. It reminded me of being a BCS ambassador and giving tours of Seaholm. I loved doing both of those, except this was a lot more like trying to help four people get used to, and love prison. It was a little different. For the first two, I was trying to help them see why the schools were so great. For hosting, it was explaining to shell-shocked teenagers why they didn’t want to run away. Overall, it was a fun experience and it helped me to think about why I have liked the MTC and I was also able to pass along a few of the tips that I have leaned in my 9 million years here. One sister that I was escorting was balling like a baby and I didn’t know what to do. I tried my best to console her, but I failed.

It was interesting to see all these people sending off their kids and to compare it to my experience entering the MTC. It feels like a lifetime ago and in a lot of ways it was.
This is like the longest letter ever. I only told two kind of silly stories so I hope it’s a good one. I always feel lame after writing. Like I didn’t do a good enough job.

Anyway. I leave Wednesday morning, so if you want to Dear Elder me, Monday is the day to do so. After that I might not get it. And if you're gonna write me a handwritten letter... well send it to the mission home because
.
.
.
I'm going to Vegas baby!
I’m really excited to go out and start doing some real work. Someone told us the other day that we are not here to help others. I don’t think I'll go to hell for saying this (and if I do maybe it’s where I belong) but I am here to help. That's my goal. Help people and make some people smile.
Oh fun fact, I learned that my ears are totally different sizes. I couldn’t figure out why my sideburns looked so uneven and then we figured out that my sideburns were straight but that my ears are just different sizes... sigh. One of them is actually smaller than the other, but you cant really tell, especially when I twirl them...
I found out when I got a haircut today. It’s soooo short. So short. Like I know for a fact I was born with more hair than I have now. I feel a little bit... naked.
So that’s pretty much it. I have written a lot and I hope it is discernable somewhat.
I love you all so much!
I miss you guys a bunch too
To infinity and beyond!
All is vell.
Sam

P.S. I threw a bunch of silly movie references in here. If you find them, write me and tell me what ones you found. Some are super easy... some are harder. I hope you peeps have fun searching! If you are bored or something. No promises that it will actually be any fun
peace. love. mtc 2012.

MTC PHOTOS

Elder Sam and his district

Elder Harvey, Elder Noyes, Elder Anderson, and Hermana Ishan (sorry about the sideways shot)

Elder Anderson's district and some other friends from the MTC

Elder Noyes, Elder Anderson, Elder Smith, Elder Harvey

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I don’t know who you can forward this too.. and I don’t remember anyone’s emails

Hi!
You know things are boring when the biggest thing to write about is something that hasn’t happened yet. Elders Noyes and Harvey and Sister Isham got their travel plans today. I unfortunately did not :(. But I’m praying they will come. I can understand why now ex-elder Johannson didn't write very long letters. There isn’t too much to talk about. The days are all about the same. Not too much different happens each day. I feel bad that I don’t have great stories of miracles or great jokes or things like that. So I guess the most exciting thing is that I might get out of here. Still not sure because I don’t have plans yet. That might mean I’m taking a bus ride to Vegas....

I saw Elder Safsten on Sunday night which was pretty cool. He said he was looking for me which made me feel really happy. He seems to be absolutely loving it here. I also had a nice long chat with Elder Mayo on Tuesday which was nice. Elder Noyes and the Hermanas were at choir and Elder Harvey and I talked with Elder Mayo and his companion for a while. It was good to have more time than just a rushed hello, or how are you. Elder Mayo seems to be loving the language. He always shares some cool thing he learned or a great word or phrase. It always reexcits me about Spanish, even though I love Spanish.

Speaking of Spanish, I really do love Spanish. I honestly have no idea who reads these letters but Elizabeth would be proud of my Spanish growth since senior year. According to Hermano McCleve I am fluent and can teach; now I need to be focusing on the role of Spanish in my future. That warmed my heart up a lot. He says I've got all the grammar down I just need to learn the phrases to speak faster and then start expanding my knowledge. That was good to hear. Since about Sunday, Elder Harvey and I have been speaking almost all Spanish. In fact we spent two hours straight singing in Spanish to the tune of some hymn. We didn’t stop. The lyrics were about everything. Cats, the future subjunctive, we even sung a few psalms, and from the Spanish missionary handbook. It was good practice but we were both pretty hoarse afterwards because we were belting it.

Before I forget! Thanks to the primary for the adorable picture and card. It made me smile.
Sunday night I watched "Mountain of the Lord." I'd never seen it before and as most of you know Mormon movies were never a big part of my life, except “The Work and the Glory.”  I used to like that one a lot. But anyway, I watched that and I really liked it. I try to not get sucked into the propaganda if that makes any sense. Writing that sounds bad. I liked the movie a lot and it was really interesting. Although I would like to read the journals and stuff of Wilford Woodrufff, that’s crazy how meticulous he was about record keeping. Maybe if I was better my letters would be interesting.. But over all we've been watching a bunch of movies Sunday night and I’ve liked them all a lot. They are good stories and the church people have good directors and stuff. Although Elder Noyes really hates whenever there is kissing. It kind of reminds me of the little boy from Princess Bride. He says stuff like him all the time during movies. I swear he almost lost it during the Testaments.

Before I forget this to, Grandma Anderson I don’t mean to stress you out anymore than technology already does but whenever I get your letters half of the words are only one letter if that makes any sense. I get like three Dear Elders from you because in the middle of a sentence and often a word the line ends and there is just one word on the next line and then a bunch of letters going down the side of the page. I dunno why it happens but it’s kinda weird.

Okay I have kind of a cool story for you guys. I hope it’s as interesting to you all as it was to me. And I promise it’s not a singing cookies joke or anything like that. On Tuesdays we have some personal time to write letters or take a nap or do things like that. To maximize that time we get up before 6:30 to do our service projects and then we get to have an hourish nap (which is amazing) and then we have time to do other things and then study before gym and lunch. On Tuesday during the nap I had the weirdest dream (at the MTC. I've had some pretty weird dreams in my time).  The MTC got invaded. I don’t know by who but overnight the place turned into a war zone. The church flew in with these giant helicopters and dropped of giant steel reinforced bunker trailer things everywhere. Some were full of weapons, others food, and others like medical supplies and that kind of stuff. The trifecto got a letter from the 1st presidency reassigning us to the "Special Ops Mission" and we had to like be the behind enemy lines guys. So we like snuck into this giant underground tunnel and had to like blow up this caravan of bad guy trucks. I think part of the inspiration for all this was the scene in 'The A-team.' We were stowed away on the last one and had to plant charges on all of the trucks. In the dark tunnel we would jump from truck to truck placing explosives and pouring gasoline over all the moving vehicles. We got all of the trucks and snuck back to the last one. Then we tried to detonate them but it wouldn’t work. Our detonator thingy was broken. So then we tried to throw these grenade things to set off the charges but that didn’t work. None of the grenades blew up. We were all getting frustrated when suddenly Elder Noyes grabs the last grenade and pulls the pin and stuffs it in his shirt and run and jumps onto the next truck. Elder Harvey and I were whisper screaming at him to get back here and that he was going to kill himself. Suddenly the charges blew up and we couldn’t see Elder Noyes anymore. It turns out they weren’t grenades but they were like smoke signal things so it was super smoky. Somehow Elder Harvey and I survived and made it out of the tunnel. We found Elder Noyes alive but dazed because he inhaled so much of the smoke. There was fire everywhere but somehow we saved the day. Then the next day President Brown showed up at the residence to give us our medals for saving the day. He also said that we could have whatever was in his power to do. So Elder Harvey wished that his girlfriend, Kristen, could be his companion for his whole mission. I forgot what Elder Noyes and I asked for. Then I woke up. When I shared my dream , Elder Harvey and Noyes both were looking at me funny. Elder Noyes had had a dream that he was on fire and couldn’t see anything and was really scared and Elder Harvey, get this, had a dream that he and Kristen were companions! Itwas crazy! I think it must be the food or something. Or maybe me not being human I just exude some crazy dream aura. Whatever it was, that was a cool experience.

Sorry these letters have been lame. I really want to have more interesting things to say. My letter in two weeks should be a good one. I'll have lots more to say than just about dreams and movies.
Anyway... thanks everyone so much for the letters again. If you have more questions/questions at all I love answering questions.

That's pretty much it for this week. I miss and love you all!
so... yeah.
I'm thinking about all of you!
Have a great weekend for me!
Love,
Elder Anderson

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Switzerland...

Hola!
I'll start things off with a joke!
I heard this one the other day and it was awesome. I hope that it will be just as funny read, as it is told. I'll do my best to stay true. There is a river in Provo canyon that is called Deer Creek and there are no fish in it. None. Hermano Urquahrt says (he came up with the joke) that he’s tried so many times to catch fish there but it never works. The joke takes place there.
One day a truck driver was in his truck and driving through the night. He was pretty sleepy and still had a long way to go. His music was on quietly in the background and his truck dog was asleep on the seat next to him. As he started to drive up the canyon he heard a noise coming from the back of the truck. He turned of the radio and listened closely to see if he could hear it again. A few moments later he did. It was something singing in the back of his truck. He carefully pulled off to the shoulder of the road and went back to see what was happening. He slowly walked up to the back and then through the door open to see who was singing in the truck. He couldn’t see anyone but the singing was getting louder so he cautiously climbed in and walked to the back to see what was happening. He moved a few boxes and the singing go louder until he opened a case and saw that it was full of singing cookies.
He said, “Why are you guys singing?” And they said, "Because we are lonely back here!" The truck driver told them that they needed to be quiet while he was driving and they were silent as he got out the back and closed the door and climbed back into his seat. He started driving again because he had a long way to go and didn’t have time for singing cookies. After a few minutes, he heard it again, the singing from the back of the truck. He again pulled off to the side of the road and climbed in the back.
"Why are you still singing?" the cookies didn’t answer this time. The trucker said, "The next time I hear singing from back here I am driving this truck off the road and into the river!" They cookies stayed silent and he got back in the back. He continued driving for about 5 more minutes when he heard the singing one last time. He sighed and patted his sleeping dog on the head and then cranked the wheel as hard as he could to the left and drove the truck off the road and into the river!
How funny is that!?

When Hermano U. told us we laughed and laughed and laughed. I hope its funny to read. Its not my fault if its not.
This is going to be another weird letter I’m sorry. This is what Hermano Urquhart aptly called the "Garden of Eden Week." It would be breaking the rules to leave, but we can’t really progress while we are here... I think everyone has been feeling that a lot. I know I have. Nothing really happened. We taught a lot of lessons, and I practiced a lot of grammar. That's pretty much the summary for the entire time since I last wrote. Except I did get a pretty sweet package on Saturday! It had an awesome zombie poster and a sweet Nacho Libre t-shirt. The zombie poster says, "What will you use?" But I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it yet. It scares the sisters too much to keep in the room so it’s on my desk at the residence.

To all of you who have been asking if I have met specific people, I’m sorry I haven’t yet. I've met a lot of cool people from cool places and incredible backgrounds but I haven’t met the people I'm supposed to be looking out for yet, sorry!
Something cool is, I get my travel plans next week! It's the beginning of the end of the beginning! and it feels like the end of it all! It will be weird to go back and live in the fake world once again.

This week I’ve been doing what I call "the mural series." We’ve had like 4 different teachers this week and for each one I draw a mural of them across the whole whiteboard. Some of the best were (sorry I don’t have pictures, words will have to do the 0.01% they are worth) Hermano Wood was an exterminator freeing his girlfriend from the sinful jungles of Honduras. Hermano Busath was slaying the dragon of strife to save his wife with his flaming sword of truth. Hermano McCleve came back on Monday and so his was the coolest by far. It may or may not have drawn a crowd of teachers.... (hint, it did!) It was him as the destroying angel. He was walking in a pillar of purifying fire through the valley of death (see Psalms 23) surrounded by the slimy hands of temptation and the woods of despair. They are pretty goofy when you read about them, but I made a lot of teachers feel like bosses. Everyone needs to feel like a hero every now and then, right?

A pet peeve I have discovered this week - people who think they are too good for the rules. Surprisingly(not) 19 year old boys fall very well in this category. I kid you not I heard this metaphor 3 times in one night. "The chain of command is something that is very important to me. I think it is one of the greatest things that people can understand. Good leaders always establish a chain of command. I hate when I have more than one person telling me what to do. It just make things confusing and it tells me that I don’t need to listen because they don’t understand how things should work." (this was after the other zone on my floor got in trouble for ripping a trash can off the wall when they were having a tag team wrestling match in the hallway... missionaries these days [at least they were with their companions, right]) "I don’t need the whole branch presidency to tell me what to do and have the mission presidency talk to me and my teachers! Where is the chain of command in that? It's like when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Nothing works when you have more than one person cooking in the kitchen. You get 2 people baking a cake and they forget who was adding the flour so they add it twice and you get a dry cake. Or they add the water twice and it becomes soup. That’s why you need the chain of command. When there is only one cook everything gets done right." I commend his efforts and confidence in the metaphor but this attitude is ridiculously prevalent here. I don’t know why I wrote all that. Point is, I think following rules is important and some people don’t. I don’t mean to be a tattle-tale or anything.

We had some pretty good devotionals this week. They were interesting and I loved hearing the stories they shared. One was particularly great about the blessing of faith. There was a young man (returned missionary) who was preparing to propose to his girlfriend and he took her to a little cafe called the deer creek cafe. It was a small and romantic little place on a dock that overlooked where the river and the lake connected. He had the ring in his pocket while he and his girlfriend were eating, and was looking for a way and a time to ask her to marry him. As he was fumbling with the ring, because he was so scared, he dropped it and it fell through the cracks and into the water bellow. He didn’t know what to do. His girlfriend saw his face had changed and asked him what happened. He said, "I dropped it,” she asked him what that meant and he explained what his plans were. She was surprised and was not expecting this at all. She told him that maybe it was a good thing he lost the ring because she would have said no because she wasn’t thinking about things like that right now. After a few more awkward minutes, they left and the man went back to his home.
The next Sunday, he set up a meeting with his bishop because he was sure she was the one and he didn’t know what to do. The bishop listened to his story and looked at the young man for a few moments. Then he said, “Do you think this is all going to work out in the end? The young man said yes. He said, tomorrow we need to go fishing. They drove up to deer creek to go fishing off the pier that he had tried to propose to his now ex-girlfriend at. The bishop asked him how he was feeling and the man said that he didn’t know so they pulled two chairs up to the edge of the dock and said a quick prayer. When they finished the bishop threw out his line into the water and almost immediately something bit! They reeled in the fish, they both knew that they wouldn’t be able to catch another one. The bishop asked the man if he could gut the fish and the man said of course. When they cut it open they found ....... a singing cookie!

That took way too much time. I hope it was funny and for all of you who wanted/expected a ring sorry!
I hope you laughed and this doesn’t ruin anyone's faith. Sorry for a subpar letter this week hopefully amazing things happen this week and I can tell some sick nasty stories
Thhhats all for now folks!

I love you all!
Kate have fun this summer and get those apps done!
Jacob get ready for an awesome 4 years of high school! You’ll do great!
Mom and Dad don’t rub it in too much that you guys get to go to Europe whenever you want.
alrighty!
Adios!

ps. please spelling adn grammar check this for me. inm sure its atrociuosu

Monday, August 6, 2012

SNAIL MAIL ANSWERS TO LIST OF QUESTIONS

[These are answers to a list of questions that we sent to learn more.  Sam wrote the answers and mailed them home – snail mail.]

Dear Everyone!
      Thanks for the SASE’s and such. The questions too. I’ll answer all of them and add in any other info. I feel is necessary. Thanks for doing this.
      To begin—thanks for the 14th mention of the lack of photos. I have no way to send them home. So . . . . yeah. You will get them when I can get them to you.
      And 1 more thing before I start the questions—Alma 18:
“A Wild King Lemony appears!”
Go Ammon!
Wild King Lamoni uses Meditate!
Wild King Lamoni’s spiritual defense was raised!
Ammon uses service!
Wild King Lamoni’s spiritual defense harshly fell!
Wild King Lamoni flinched!
Ammon uses mind reader!
Wild King Lamoni’s spiritual defense cant go any lower!
Wild King Lamoni became confused!
It hurt itself in its confusion.
Ammon uses testify!
Magnitude 10!
Critical hit!
It’s super effective!
Wild King Lamoni has fainted!

I hope some (all) of you enjoyed reading my interpretation as much as I enjoyed writing it.

How are the shoes you got with Grandpa? Will they work?
The shoes Grandpa and I got work great. They look good and fit fine. They will totally work, but then again the MTC is not the streets of Vegas. So we will have to see.

Do you need us to send you the other shoes?
I don’t need the other shoes. But hold on to them. I am actually super disappointed in the “missionary shoe” shoes. I have to shine them almost 2x a week because they don’t stay black. . . It’s almost scary. It might just because I am praying so much that the toe of the shoe makes more contact with the ground than my sold does! That’s just how it feels sometimes, although I do pray a lot.

Is the MTC food getting any better?
The food here is not getting better. I am just learning to use it better. If that makes sense. [Bobby] Fisher has always had the same pieces, he just has practiced and can use them better than anyone else. Not saying I’m anything like a chess champ, but I’ve found what to eat and what to stay away from.
      We have been writing some Psalms & Proverbs for the MTC and the first and greatest is “Thou shalt not eat roast beef.” That is always a sure fire bet for an upset stomach. Recently, they had mac & cheese, which was pretty good but that has only been once.

What have you been eating (still PowerAde and salads)?
For every meal, I drink 3 glasses of water except at breakfast I drink another glass of milk and the meal after gym I drink Powerade and the other meal I just drink another glass of water or apple juice. The good is pretty random but I usually go for the pastas above other things and sometimes the asian(ish) food is not bad at all. Our zone sits on the far, far right of the cafeteria, which is where the leftovers are so when pickings aren’t very good, I can just get some rice and then top it with soup or soy sauce. Exciting, eh! J


Do you need a bathrobe?
No, I don’t. It’s too hot here and I dry super fast and I just throw on shorts and a shirt if I need to cover up. I’m fine on the bathrobe department.
      Side note! Everyone here wears lava lavas. My floor started as a Spanish speaking floor, but each week new islanders get here. Pretty soon we will be the only ones left who speak English! So I’ll then wear lava lavas but lots of other missionaries do as well on P-Day. I was talking to a miss. From Africa and he almost verbatim said, “I like the breezes on my privies.” It made me think of you, dad. [This is a reference to a passage in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire].

How many are in your district - that has won the clean classroom award 2 weeks in a row? Only 5 in my district which is such a blessing. It makes class the easier and my DL [district leader] duties way easier. We don’t have the big friend group, but the 5 of us are really really close. We always eat our meals and do everything else with our sisters. They bring a great sprit and lots of fun.

How is your P-day time broken down – you have to be all done by dinner and you get 30 minutes on the computer and you do laundry – what do you do the rest of the time?
Today was the first time we got to go to the temple, so usually it is just laundry @ 2:15 and then class @ 5:30. We but than now and we do a session in the temple @ 7:00 am. Today we did one and then did an hour or so of service in the temple laundry room. That was a great experience. The rest of the time we study or eat or write or take naps. P=Days are actually more stressful b/c there is so o o o much I want to write to so many people!

What is the deal with Carlos and Tito? Are they real investigators or just “actors”?
I’ll do my best to better explain. During class time, we often do role plays as investigators. Our teacher will make up a persona or we will watch a short clip about them. WE also have “investigators.” They are not real but they are real people who our teachers taught and have been given permission to act as. We are supposed to think, pray, fast and treat them as investigators, to make the experience more real for all parties involved. I have often heard stories of the last day having the convert (ex-investigator) call in to talk to the class.) I’d love to meet Tito & Carlos.
      They are my teachers, acting, but it’s super serious.
      We also teach real members and less active members too durn TRC. Later we will get to teach paid actors for a few lessons. So no actual investigators but it still feels like it and we study like we are in the field. Real stories, real spiritual experiences, but actors.

Where did you find them?  . . . they found us J

Where do you teach them?  We teach them in classrooms set apart to be member houses.

What do you do on Tuesday &/or Friday for your service?
Tuesdays we usually clean bathrooms. It’s not that bad really. I’ve definitely cleaned worse. Fridays we don’t do service but I think we might keep doing an hour of service in the temple laundry room.

Have you seen anyone else that you know?
I’ve seen a few. A few from my BYU ward and few others that I recognize but not too many people.

What are your duties as DL? 
Meetings. Trigamys. Meetings. Meetings. I’ve got like 4 meetings during the week but I have to interview my comps and I have to interview w/ the zone leaders. Then on Sundays all my personal study time is used for branch council and leadership training. I’m always super busy but I’m learning and people look up to me and there isn’t much better than that. And I get to serve a lot too.

You leave the MTC on August 28 or 29th?   Do you have any more info about that?
August 29 is my date as of now. I’ll know more the week after next when I get my travel plans! I can’t believe I might be leaving; it seems like I have been here for 23 years.

Are there other LV missionaries in your district?
Nope! Sister Nilsen is going to Reno, thought. She and I are pretty close. As close as elders and sisters should be. I promise that’s not a King Lear reference or anything weird.

Have you seen the missionary from the airport (you met while standing in line from Texas) that is also a LV-Spanish speaker?
 Yup. I saw him once. No good stories there.

Where else are the missionaries in your district going? (Noyes - SC, Harvey - TX,
Sister Neilsen from Colorado (Denver area) and Sister Ishan from Seattle. They are both cool. They aren’t too girly, or silly, or serious or anything so its cool to have them in the District. They are both super hard workers.

How do Sundays/church work there?
For me it goes Branch Council, Priesthood, District Meeting, temple walk, Interviews, Dinner, short meeting, fireside, movie. Lots of meetings for me!

Have you had any firesides?
 Yeah. Every Sunday. Jenny Oaks Baker was fun, but the Best was this poet, actor, dude, guy, brother who recited/acted out the journal of the scribe of Joseph Smith. Very touching, very powerful. Awesome. I don’t remember the other ones.

Is any part of your day not in Spanish?
Only when I’m being “disobedient.” Or with people who don’t speak it. And Hermano McCleve said I could tell jokes in English b/c I’m not as funny in Spanish L but J.

Is gym only with Spanish speakers?
Yeah we travel and do all that kind of stuff with other Intermediate and Native Spanish speakers.

How are your volleyball skills coming?
I like playing volleyball almost as much as much as I like serving the Lord. I also like poopies. I’m getting way better. My bumps and sets are coming along and I’ve been doing way better at spiking too which makes the crowd go wild. The crowd is just the voices in my bead but they like it.

Do the new watch bands fit?
They do! I only have 3 extra holes but I’m not too fat, yet.
Hermano Urquhart who weighs about 120 now said he gained over 30 pounds on his mission b/c every time he said no someone got offended. OO I’m scared. But I’ve been losing a lot of weight here. Like 10 pounds the first week. My clothes are pretty loose. Not for long I guess.

Does the alarm clock work?
I haven’t used mine b/c Elder Noyes’ is super loud and obnoxious so I didn’t want to add to the chorus.

Any special requests for the iPod music?
 Idk. Class would rock. . . . J but movie soundtracks would be great too. Grandpa recommends Johnny Cash hahahah. Idc really I am just so sick of MoTab. Like it actually upsets me. I’ve heard that Oberheezer songs like 75 times this week.

Have you taken any pictures?
I’ve taken a few. My comps have done most. They’re gonna email me when that can the ones they’ve taken. I’m still taking some too.

What is the one thing you would use, that is in the room with you right now, in case of a zombie apocalypse?
The railing for my bed. I could do some serious damage with that thing. Light, aerodynamic, sharp and hard. It would also help that the zombies would be distracted most of you . . . mom cough. Cough!

How are your clothes/ties working out?
Good! I’d like to have more ties but it’s no biggy. I definitely went too conservative which is fine. President Brown wore a pink tie today at lunch. Clothes are all too big but it’ll be fine once I re-inflate.

Kate wants to know why you are so cute?
? She taught me how? P.S. to Kate: I talked to the work out missionaries on my floor. They said I could take pictures if I wanted but I said I didn’t want to get into the pornography business. But they all smiled. I told them they couldn’t write you.

What at the MTC smells the worst?
The walk to the mailroom. Remember in Napoleon Dynamite when he’s tasting the milk and he says “taste like the cow got into the onion patch? It kind of smells like that. But the cows also ate those rotten starfish from Mexico and then died. Old onions, curdled milk, salty death, fecal matter, rotting meat, and Indian food. I’m pretty sure it’s the same perfume they use in Anchor Man. It’s horrible.

What is YOUR ideal band?
Well obviously, Jesus on the double next electric guitar. Whiney the Pooh [sic] on the Synth. Octomom on the Drums and my man Elton John on the vocals & piano. It’s called Angel Tears.
But there are others I’ve made too.
Jacob—your band rocked.

Love you all so much!
      (elder) Sam

Where am I??

Hello everybody!
Thanks for all the support this week!

Mom you keep talking about this special package... was that the one you sent for pioneer day? I thought I thanked you for that already; it was really nice to have more food to share.... JUST KIDDING! The El Trifecto shirts are sweet! Elder Noyes and Harvey loved them so much and I do too! We wore them over our shirts that night and everyone thought they were super cool. That was a very thoughtful gift. Thank you so much. It made all three of us so happy. It was funny because Sister Harvey (Elder Harvey’s mom) sent shirts the same night so we had two T-shirts in one day- interesting the way things like that work out isn’t it.
For those of you who don’t know, sometimes companionships that are three elders instead of two are called "threesomes" and I really don’t like that word. It makes me more than a little uncomfortable when people ask me how I like it... So I renamed our companionship El Trifecto because that sounded super duper awesome and tough right??? My mom sent us shirts that have three ties and three tags with each of our names with an 'o' at the end to make them a little more Spanish. They look pretty cool.
Emily Gordy if you ever read this, they almost look like tally hally shirts! I've never had one so it was an extra cool bonus. That just reminds me I have to somehow show them to Cameron....

As my thoughts are scrambled I will just go ahead and share something Hermano Urquhart shared with us the other day. Be obsessed with things you don’t do well. Be obsessed with the things that you aren’t perfect at. That really struck home to me. I often shy away from things I’m not good at and find ways to work around the problems without ever solving them. But I really like the word obsessed. It has the perfect connotation. I hadn’t realized this before but since I’ve worked on Spanish grammar I have been obsessed with the subjunctive. (For all you Spanish speakers, the future subjunctive is my favorite tense hahaha) I have constantly used it and practiced it so that I can get better at it. And it has worked. I understand the subjective which if you ask my Spanish teachers from high school I think they will both tell you that I wasn’t the biggest fan of subjunctive, but I’ve been  working my butt of on it and I’m not so bad at it anymore. Still not worthy to use it for the Lords work, but I’m getting there.

The next thing is pretty cool for me. I'm a nice guy I think and I try my hardest to be nice to everyone. But I’ve never been popular. People liked me and I have always been so thankful for that but I’ve never had people like wanting to talk to me I don’t think. But here, for some strange reason, the native Spanish speakers like me a lot. I would go as far as to say that I am popular among them. It first started with Elder Ruiz (who always calls me "las vaygahs.") We have gotten really close, he has frequently come to my asking for help with his English grammar and vocab and pronunciation and that has made me feel really good. He likes me a lot and often comes all the way across the cafeteria to find me and give me a hug or a handshake. I was happy but never thought there would be so many others who like me too.
I wear my IYYY 1/2 Zelda shirt sometimes and one day some of the native speakers saw it (Elders Polite and Gonzalez) and started calling me Zelda and then Elder Zelda and now this whole district of 10 elders is always taking pictures with me in front of the temple or inviting me to plank with them and other stuff too. It’s made me feel really special. But there have been so many other people that have found out about me through this one district. Even a bunch that are not in my zone like me a lot and are always coming up to me and talking to me. It makes me feel good. Elder Arana and Fernandez often stop my our classroom to say hi to me during the day and Elder Arana is convinced that we are blood brothers, if not actually related, and Elder Fernandez is always giving me working overs, but the kind that help me to loosen up, not scream in pain. It's really cool. I don’t think I’ve described the situation properly, but the bottom line is that a lot of native Spanish speakers like me for reasons unknown, but hey, I’m not complaining! It’s so nice to have people who look up to me and ask for my advice and people who help me speak a little less gringo.

I hope you everyone has seen that Pokemon King Lamoni thing I wrote. I spent like a whole hour coming up with that. It was fun and I think it’s super funny. A couple of the teachers took pictures of it on their phones and one of them, Hermano Stevenson, even bowed to me. No big deal.

That pilot program I was talking to you about? It is called TRC progressing investigators and it was a really cool experience. We taught a man named Gabriel who is from, Chile. It was a totally different experience. He wasn’t speaking Spanish. He was speaking Chilean. I frequently had to ask him to repeat himself because he slurred so much and he talked so fast. But it was good. He was really excited the first meeting but wanted to talk more to us than to listen. I'm sure that is a common missionary experience but this TRCPI is so different than all the other teaching experiences we have had thus far. We will see where it takes us.

Our classroom is still super clean and getting "perfect!" and "thank you!"s in the comment boxes. I've seen some of the other classrooms and I think we are doing the building maintenance crew a big favor.
I feel like I haven’t written enough and haven’t told you all enough of what is going on. But my time is running out and I can’t remember what else to tell you all.

I feel like I write this in every letter as well but if I get zero baptisms I'll be fine. I just want to make sure that I touch people’s lives, bring families together and make some people happy. That's my goal .I hope that's not blasphemy to say that that is more important to me than baptisms. If those things all happen, maybe another missionary a couple years from now can get the numbers. Idk. That is just something I’ve been thinking about recently.
While I’ve been here at the MTC beyond preparing for my mission I’ve been keeping my eye out for even the littlest opportunities to serve people. Like today I was late because there was a family from Brunei and they were each taking turns being photographer and just me offering to take one of them all together made them so happy. To me it was just a simple little thing, but by their smiles I could tell that it was a big deal and it made my whole day.
I hope to be able to do things like that every day for people in Las Vegas. That’s what I’m really here prepping to do. Bring smiles. I'm not sure how corny that will sound on the other end, or how many times I’ve written it, but it's the most important thing to me right now.

KK! I'm overtime and I’ve really got to run!
Thanks to everyone who is reading these and super big thanks to everyone who has been writing to me! You will never know how helpful your words of encouragement and love are.
Mom and/or dad, if you could send me the lyrics to halleluiah and American Pie that would be awesome. I have been trying to sing them but I forgot the lyrics.
AIright , alright alright!
I love you guys so much!
Thanks for reading
I'll be home soon..ish
That all for now folks,
Stay classy (insert your city here)

Sam (Elder Zelda) Anderson