Merry Christmas!

December 30, 2013
Hello, hello family!

Christmas Morning
What a pleasure it was for me to talk to you this past week! I couldn't believe how much fun that was! I was very glad to hear your voices and have them so easily recognizable to me even though I have not heard them for quite a while :P My companions were talking about their little brothers' voices and how they sound completely different from what they did when they left haha. Kelsey's voice was the same :P

[What did you do on Christmas Eve?] So on Christmas Eve we did some fun things but not too much out of the ordinary. We got home after meeting a super cool new investigator and just video'd us making up Christmas rhymes. We gathered around the tree to do that with our presents under the tree. It was very enjoyable and I will always remember it.

Kelsey's hooded towel gift
[What did you do on Christmas Day?  Tell us about the family you had dinner with.] Christmas was a little bit more fun. We woke up to our presents and we opened them just like everyone else on Christmas and then we went on a run with Bro Hovermale in the ward. It was a lot of fun and much needed.

Miracle Doritos
Christmas loot!
I loved all of my gifts and I didn't feel like I was missing out at all, thank you! I even got three giant bags of Doritos on the doorstep on Christmas morning. Christmas Miracle!

Then we went to the Beamer family's house to call and have wonderful french dip sandwiches! They are one of the favorite families I have met on my mission and the mom is actually from Guatemala so I get to practice Spanish with her. It was wonderful to eat and be in a nice home for a bit and watch a nice mormon message about Christmas.

Elder Stoddard

Afterwards we went to the Loose family Christmas dinner and that was way fun filled with excellent food! The Loose family is wealthy and we met their son and some of the extended family. They are the nicest people and Mrs Loose asked to be our Anderson mom a while back :P They take good care of us. They run a mortuary here in town but they sure are lively. hehehe They want us back after the new year :D

[Have you received the "Dear Elder" letters yet?] I have not recieved any dear elders last week but maybe I will today :) I won't find out til later though because mail gets here so late but on the bright side I am going bowling! Woo-hoo!

Don't think I forgot dad!
Best 40 cent gift ever! Happy Birthday!
[We've heard rumors that this is a 5-week transfer week and transfers are scheduled for Wed. I don't think this effects you. Does it?] So for this transfer it's still 6 weeks but for those that are going home they get to leave a week early. So there will be a week before the new missionaries replace them. And transfers are on a Tuesday I believe. 

[What advice would you give to future missionaries to prepare for a mission?] The advice that I would give to anyone preparing for a mission is to read the Book of Mormon daily and on top of that, study Preach My Gospel a lot! More than anything study chapter 3 (the lessons) and know the scriptures to use for each point of doctrine. Then you can practice everything that goes on top of that. Also, study chapter 1 and remember that your purpose really is to baptize. These people can't really go anywhere without it. We always invite people to be baptized on the first lesson. That is evidence that you understand your purpose.

Elder Stoddard, Fivas
Reynalda, Hanson
So that's it for the questions yeah? Here are some of my thoughts :)

Elder Hansen
Elder Hansen is an expert missionary so it really is a pleasure for me to report what I have learned recently. I also learn great missionary skills from Elder Stoddard so some of these things I have learned from him. I can more easily get into a door now when we are 225ing. [225 is a method of tracking where you contact the neighbors of a member 2 doors to the left, 2 doors to the right, 5 doors across the street]  It turns out that when you have built a relationship on the doorstep, people will usually let us in if we just ask to share our special message! So simple! 

Elder Seegmiller (left) and Elder Beckman
are two of my favorite people ever!

Being a zone leader really puts you in the driver's seat and the other missionaries look to you for an example. I was not used to that entirely and Elder Hansen sure is a good leader. I have learned from him to make decisions, to use wisdom and look at the deeper questions people have, to recognize the principles in the questions, and to meet needs with doctrine and scripture. He has shown me how when teaching investigators and with the missionaries in the zone. 

Goal setting is such an intense and eternal pattern and I am learning more about the power that it has on an executive level. I have learned to worry about others' goals and situations and how to coach them through planning to achieve their goals effectively. I can help other missionaries by discerning their needs and meeting those needs with training or encouraging calls, boldly loving, or going with them to set the example. 
Elders Stoddard, Hansen, Fivas

All in all I see more of the organization of a mission as a whole and I am striving to work through the spirit to excel in my responsibilities and help others excel too.

Elder Hansen has instilled in me more of a killer instinct as well. I am not near as easily deterred when challenges or rocky paths come my way. He can baptize. He has taught me to just go out and get our investigators baptized and push through all of the challenges. (The way God would of course)

I have seen that in action as we've baptized three people together this transfer! How blessed are we!

So I am still growing, excited for every day and excited for the future, and a much better Elder than I was 4 weeks ago.

I sure love you family! 
Elder Fivas