Elder Craig Anderson

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Open House

Craig will be arriving home from Taiwan in just a few short hours. He is expected home late tonight- Dec 22, 2009. Anyone who wishes to join in welcoming us home can come to the Anderson home Dec 23, 2009 from 2:00-5:00pm for an open house.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Props to the Elder Anderson Cheersquad and Dan Jones- Dec 19, 2009

Two years ago I started off as a 19 year old kid that didn’t know a thing. Two years has come and gone and now I have become a 21 year old young man that still doesn’t know much, but I am working on it. Many missionaries refer to their time on their missions as the “the best two years.” It is an interesting phrase to use; I think it is true to an extent. However, the Gospel is all about progression and becoming better. For me to this point in my life, it truly has been the best two years, but I believe that the following two years will be even better.

So what do I say to you all in the last email I will send to you as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do I tell you a funny story or do I take this last chance to bare my testimony of our Savior? Hopefully I can do a little of both.

I have truly enjoyed the emails, letters, and packages that you have all sent to me. The support from home has been the second most comforting gift I have been given on my mission. The first most comforting gift has been the companionship of the Holy Ghost. On those days where I felt tired, ill, homesick, and down, your letters have always helped to cheer me up.

Working in the mission field has been the single most rewarding experience of my life. I have gained a stronger testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned how to enjoy the most difficult experiences and I have learned to cherish the family and friends that the Lord has given me.

I think it is ironic that we as people truly do not appreciate the things we possess until we do not have them anymore. Whether it is our comfortable living habits or our friends and family by our side, we can never fully appreciate how much they mean to us until we have left them or they have left us. Just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate you now.

Well now that we got all that gushy mushy junk said, lets get on to what happened this week. I am training my replacement, Elder Canann to take over my position. He is doing a great job and I am sure he will do just fine. We are so busy! Probably the busiest I have been on my mission. I am still trying to finish everything up so that he doesn’t have any loose ends. I had a lot of projects going and now it is time to wrap them up. We are having a mission Christmas activity on the 24th and even though I am not going to be there I still have to plan for it. Not to mention we have been closing down lots of apartments recently because the number of missionaries is going down slightly so we have been using the Frummer to transport all the stuff out of the apartments. You would be surprised how much stuff you can fit inside of a VW Van.

Last night, we had a caroling activity downtown. We have it again tonight and Sunday night. I am in charge of the sound and the video presentation. I think I told you about the crazy wiring job I did to get the sound to work. It was really fun, but really cold! I am not kidding, you are probably laughing thinking that I am going to freeze to death when I get home. It really was cold though. Below 50 degrees! I am so excited to see snow and go skiing and be freezing and drink hot chocolate and sleep in a nice warm bed in our freezing house. That is assuming I don’t get hypothermia tonight. I have 2 more nights in Taiwan. To be honest it feels like I am getting ready to go on vacation. The main reason being that I feel like I am leaving home and work, it is a weird feeling. Mostly sweet, I have always liked new things. So it is just on to a new adventure.

We just got back from the caroling activity. It went really well. We met a lot of great people and it was a very good way to introduce the Church to the people here. Several people stopped and sat down with the missionaries right then and there. I taught a couple for about 45 minutes while the choir sang in the background, I had to get up a couple times to go adjust the projector and sound, but besides that it was a really great lesson. I had a choir singing in the background, which was pretty cool. Anyways, I got the man’s email and so now we are going to be pen pals when I get back.

I wanted to leave you all with a final testimony and picture. The attached picture is from our “Dan Jones” activity. Dan Jones is one of the most amazing missionaries of all time. He went to England many many years ago and stood on soap boxes in the city and shared the gospel. Well we also do that here in Taichung. We go to the night markets and stand on our boxes to share our witness of Christ to all those that hear us. You would be surprised how effective it is in Taiwan. We have lots and lots of good contacts.

I know that Christ lives. He is our Savoir. At times it may seem so hard to grasp, but it is truly so simple. He loves us, he wants us to find happiness in this life. By following his teachings and abiding by his laws we WILL be happy. There are no exceptions! Everyone that obeys the commandments of God will be happy. And it is not a temporary state of happiness, but a permanent one as long as we continue to follow his guidance. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet in this day in age. I know that he saw God, the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, I know that they literally appeared to him in the flesh and at that time selected Joseph as a leader of the Church of Christ in our day. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers every one of our prayers, and I know that He can give us instruction if we are willing to pray to him. I also know that Heavenly Father has giving us modern day prophets that may direct us through the spiritual dangers that we face in our society. And I know that if we trust in the Lord and listen to his messengers that we will be able to cross over any trial or tribulation that may come our way. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we all will be resurrected. I also know that families are forever. Death is not an end but simply a waiting period. Death cannot separate our loved ones from us forever.

Coming on my mission has been the most important decision I have made thus far in my life. People may think that the 2 years missionaries spend is such a great sacrifice, but I know that it is not so. I feel that I have grown in ways that I never would have been able to, had I not come. Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies. What more can I say, Jesus lives and has once again restored all of his truth to the Earth as promised in ancient times.

Attached is the last picture I want to send you, it is me in the night market, standing on my soap box. Hope you like it.

With Love,
Elder Craig Alan Anderson
Taiwan Taichung Mission
January 9th 2009 – December 22nd 2010

Pictures for Taipei

Swearing Nuns and My New Taxi Company- Dec 12, 2009

What another great week on this beautiful island! My replacement is coming in on Monday, so I have been trying to wrap up all the loose ends. There are a lot! There are just so many little things going on. Since Christmas is almost here there are a lot of little details that I have to keep track of. Not mention rigging the wiring for the Christmas performance. Everyone was very impressed by my splicing techniques. Thanks Dad for teaching me that one! Who needs to buy a cord when you can make your own right?

On Wednesday I went to the Taipei Mission Office. That was fun! I saw one of my old friends from the MTC. We were in the same district during our training at the Missionary Training Center. Anyways, I have now served in every mission office in Taiwan! Pretty cool huh?

I met this really funny German guy this week. 3 TIMES! If you run into the same person twice it is pretty rare, but 3 times, now that has got to be a message to him. Anyways, the first time he was a little rude, but I simply smiled and tried not to argue with him. He couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I was American, I had to tell him several times, “Listen, I am not a representative of my country, I am a representative of Jesus Christ.” He wanted to talk about politics and started whining about the war in Iraq. I simply said, “As missionaries we do not talk about politics, we share a message about the love of Jesus Christ for each of us.” That is when he told me he was atheist. He even looked up in the sky and yelled “Where are you God?!” Then he laughed and said that if there was a God why did he let such bad things happen. He was 65 years old and seemed a little stubborn, this is just the kind of guy that I am good at getting too. Do you remember my 65 year old Jewish convert from Philadelphia? I like the older guys, they know a lot.

Anyways, 2 days latter we were walking down the street and he saw me. He literally jumped into the air and waved to me. So we biked on over and started talking with him again. Apparently, he must have enjoyed our first conversation because he was very ecstatic to see us. My poor companion can’t participate very much since he doesn’t speak English very well, so he just listens quietly and occasionally says something brief. By the way he still won’t tell me his name, he thinks it is a game. I don’t even ask now, so I just call him my German friend, and he likes that just fine.

Just a minute ago we were eating at our favorite vegetarian restaurant and sure enough, my German friend was in there, I was thinking about yelling out “Hey Hanz!” Just to see if that was his name or not, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance. It is like with Middle Eastern men and the name Mohammad, or Hispanics and the name Pedro. In the end I let “Hanz” eat in peace until he got up to leave and then I waved him over and we chatted for a second. I am going to get him to church, one of these times his old stubbornness is going to crumble.

My companion’s teeth are hurting him so we are going to the dentist in about half an hour. I have been to the dentist once since I have been here. I thought I had a cavity but in the end they found out it was nothing and just cleaned my teeth for me. I should probably get a check up when I come back.

Tomorrow my amount of days in Taiwan will be in the single digits. As of December 22nd I will have served for 713 days which is the equivalent to 17,112 Hours, or 1,026,720. So mom if it feels like I have been away from you for 1 million minutes, don’t worry it really has been 1 million minutes!

After today I should have one more chance to email you, maybe 2. Are there any last requests you have for me? Any advice? And no at the moment I am not accepting post-mission dates. The signup sheet has not been posted yet. Tryouts will be held on January 2nd! 

Oh boy I am going to have to work on my sense of humor. I think it may have been contaminated. That is okay as long I think my humor is funny that is all that matters. It is going to be so hilarious, I will make a comment and start laughing my head off and the rest of you are going to be looking at me like, is he crazy? That was the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I think he ate to much MSG when he was in Taiwan! The must have put the wrong kind of shrooms in his chicken foot soup!

Be patient, in time you will change and think it is funny too!

I had a really cool experience this week that really reminded me how important it is to listen to the Holy Ghost. It was something very simple, but in the end it made a huge difference. President Hoer called and asked me to go pick up a missionary at the train station. We were only going to pick up one missionary so normally we would take the smaller car. In the office we have a rule that as soon as you are done driving the cars you have to put the keys back. So if you aren’t using the car the keys are to be put back in the cupboard immediately. Anyways, as I went to grab the keys to the small SUV I had an impression to grab all the keys. You have to understand how strange that seemed to me at the time. Taking all the keys at one time would be breaking a rule (my own rule.) I followed it and decided to grab all the keys. As we walked at of the office and ran to the parking lot, I was thinking, “That was really stupid of you to grab all the keys. What if somebody else needs one of the cars?” I just ignored it and started to get in the SUV, and then I had a feeling that I should drive the big van. Once again I was thinking, “Are you serious? We are picking up one person? Why would I need the van?” I took the keys out of the ignition and we hopped into the VW Van (My Ferummer, as you might remember (that is Ferrari Hummer for those of you that may have forgotten)). My companion even asked me “Why are we taking the big car?” I just ignored him and we started to drive off in the van. The whole way to the train station I kept thinking “This is ridiculous, we are picking up one person, why am I driving this Semi-truck?” We pulled in and picked up the one sister that we were supposed to take back to the office. As we pulled out of the train station out of the corner of my eye I saw a silhouette of 2 missionaries. I turned my head and sure enough there they were! Two more missionaries that looked lost. I waved them down and parked the car in the middle of the road. We started throwing their luggage into the back of the car. Just as I loaded the last bag I saw another set of missionaries, and then another set! The 1 missionary that I was originally supposed to pick up turned into 7! I crammed them all in the van, luggage and all and headed back to the office, grinning the entire way for the inspiration that the Holy Ghost had given to me.

It made me realize that even the small little things can be important enough to have the assistance of Heaven. Making some missionaries take taxis to the office would not have been the end of the world, but it probably saved us quite a bit of money and time. Not to mention, some of them may not have been able to figure out how to get there. You are all probably laughing thinking how silly this story sounds, but it was so weird. I rarely go against my own logic, but for some reason, I decided to listen to those promptings and sure enough I really did need the big van.

Remember to listen to those soft promptings that you have. I know that if we are worthy we can have those soft promptings daily.

Oh yeah, I got yelled at by a Buddhist nun today! She was the meanest Buddhist nun I have ever met! Usually they are somewhat nice, they don’t smile much, but at least they don’t yell. But today I met my first yelling nun. We were in a jade market buying some things and we ran across her, I said hello and she muttered something under her breath, then my companion asked how are you and she started saying “I’m terrible, life sucks!” Then she called my companion a devil and walked away. I stood there in shock along with about 5 other people. It was weird. Of course we weren’t preaching with her all we did was say hello. My companion and I just kind of smiled and shrugged it off. We looked at the bystanders and they just looked us and shrugged like, “That was weird.” Next time she comes back I will have to do some of my Kung Fu on her. Nun or not you don’t call my companion a devil! Just kidding I would never fight anybody for yelling at us. If I did I would have to get in a fight almost every day because people like to yell at us. It is fun though! You get to learn all sorts of new words that missionaries shouldn’t learn!

Love you,
Elder Craig Anderson

My Hummer and Taoist God- Dec 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!
So all of you that forgot it is my mother’s birthday today, might want to pick up the phone and give her a call. She is the best mom and always remembers when it is everybody else’s special day cuz she has such a sweet heart. So you better go do something nice for her or I will kick you when I get back. Yeah Ali, I will kick you, my kicking foot is pretty good now to since I have to beat away the wild dogs that always try and eat our legs when we ride our bikes. Watch out!
Love you mom, don’t think of it as getting one year older, think of it as you becoming one year wiser. I sure hope dad remembered!!! Yikes!!! Just kidding I am sure dad has some great plan involved where a flying elephant circus swoops in performs a show and then carries you off to the Mediterranean to go ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet.
I love how creative dad is with trips and celebrations. I remember one time when we were in Malaysia; we had been trekking across asia for about 2 weeks and after staying with the Iban head hunters in the middle of the Sarawak rain forest our next adventure was supposed to be some monkey jungle quite a ways away. As we all piled in the car to head back to civilization, I remember the topic of screaming monkeys pulling our hair came up. I think someone suggest that it might be best to skip the monkey abuse and go straight to Thailand for a little R and R on the beaches. In the end the monkeys lost and we were on a plane to Koh Sumai.
So I am getting transferred to the Taipei Mission! Crazy huh? Only for 1 day though. On Wednesday I will be going up there to install their new computer referral system for them. It should be kind of fun. I am going to be super busy right up until the end. Not many people get to serve in 3 different missions! Usually you only get to serve in 1. We had to get special permission for this assignment from the area presidency, normally missionaries are not supposed to leave their mission area unless there is an emergency or some other reason, but we got the go ahead so off I am to play with computers in Taipei.
I know I have mentioned to you all about what it is like driving in Taiwan before, but honestly this week was even crazier. I drove the huge VW van through gaps that anorexic super models couldn’t fit through. Seriously, I was rubbing on both sides, didn’t even scratch it though. I like to call it the precision fender bender, without the bender. My companion is Taiwanese and has never driven a car before, so he always freaks out when we are doing some crazy maneuvers in the van. He has finally learned to trust me, but occasionally he will emit an involuntary yelp when he thinks our young lives are about to be extinguished. I normally wouldn’t tell you this, because I am sure it makes you worried, but hey oh well, you only have 2 more weeks to worry about me. If you don’t drive like Jeff Gordon over here, everyone will steal your spot, so you have gotta drive like you are a Ferrari and push people around like you are a Hummer. That is why the church came out with the Ferummer (AKA the VW Transporter). It gets the job done!
Are you getting excited for Christmas? I am! I love Christmas and the cold and the snow. I just can’t wait to jump into a big pile of snow and eat a snowball! Yes, dad I know not to eat the yellow ones! Thanks for the tip.
I am still working hard, I am excited to come home, but my bags are far from packed. I am not trunky! Lately, I have been taken down a lot of phone numbers and emails for people all over Taiwan. Everybody I meet I try to get them to email me when I get back. I want to find a way to continue to share the gospel with these people. Plus all Taiwanese people love to use instant messaging and email so that will be perfect, even after I come home I can continue to do share the gospel in Chinese. Elder Bednar the Apostle instructed us missionaries to continue to use the gift of tongues that Heavenly Father has given us to preach the Gospel in the Chinese language. What better way to do that then thru emails! Not to mention, thru emails I could speak with Cantonese people too. Cantonese and mandarin use the same characters, but Cantonese does not sound anything like mandarin. I can hardly understand 5 words in Cantonese. It is okay though, most of Asia speaks mandarin.
We met a Brazillian man last week! So we took him to the office to see if we could find a Portugese Book of Mormon and sure enough, there was one in the back room on a shelf. Who would have thought that we would have Portugese Books of Mormon in Taiwan? Miracles do happen. He was very excited to read, it seemed as if he hadn’t had any contact with religion for quite some time, but he sounded eager to start again. His English was very good, and I was thankful that we were able to communicate.
Did I ever tell you about the Iraqi guy I contacted? That was awkward! I was really nice to him, but I don’t think he liked me very much, once I found out he was Iraqi it made a little more sense. I wanted to tell him, hey I wasn’t the one who decided to invade your country? At first I talked to him in Chinese, but then we started talking about religous stuff and he didn’t understand, and I didn’t know what to do, however he spoke very good English so we switched and started talking in English, his English was very good, much better than his Chinese. I found out he was Muslim and we chatted for a second, but I think that I offended him by simply talking to him. It was probably the most awkward thing that has ever happened to me. I contacted a Muslim Man a long time ago and he yelled at me in Arabic. The first guy I contacted I didn’t know he was Muslim because he was wearing a helmet.
This week we met with a man named Zhang Jia Hao. It was such an amazing lesson! Jia Hao believes that there are many Gods, he believes that if we follow one God we will get the blessings from one God. My companion asked him if he thought God was perfect and he said no. So the next question we asked was “What do you think it would be like to have a perfect Heavenly Fahter?” he thought about it for a second and said great. Then my companion made a great point. He said if there is more than one God and they are all imperfect Gods, what would happen if one of those Gods woke up one day and decided he wanted to start doing evil things, since according to Taoism Gods are imperfect they will make similar mistakes that we make. Obviously, God could not be God if he made mistakes. Jia hao thought about it for a while and finally came to the conclusion that a perfect God would be the best one to follow. He still believes that there are many many gods, but at least now he thinks there might be a perfect God. There is a perfect God. He is our creator! It is really neat to think about that! We were all created by a Perfect Being who does not make mistakes. We are created in His image just as Genesis 1:27 says. It would be so hard for me to believe in a God that does not have a form, it is clearly stated that we are created in God’s image. If God was a cloud of intangible mist then that is what we would be too, but we are not! We have 2 arms and 2 legs and 10 finger and 10 toes, just as he has.
I saw some great changes happen to Jia Hao as we taught him. You could see his previous misconceptions about God start to melt away and you could tell from the look on his face that he was truly pondering about what it would be like to have a perfect person, that looks just like us, that loves us and wants to care for us, as our God. He has been coming to church for the past 4 weeks and has changed so much. I sure hope he accepts this message and lets it change his life.

Love you all,
Elder Anderson

Chinese Joke

A little over 100 years ago in Mainland China, the family outhouses were all located on the banks of rivers to keep the environment clean. One day there was a young school boy who was walking to school. As the boy walked he passed by the outhouse and noticed a very pretty butterfly that had seated itself on the roof of the outhouse. He struggled and stretched to reach the butterfly and just when he had almost grabbed it, his weight started to stress the wood on the outhouse and the outhouse started to collapse. He quickly jumped back to the safety of the shore and watched as the outhouse tumbled and dipped in the river. He knew his father was going to be upset, but he still had school so he hurried off to school. During the day they learned about American History. They studied about how George Washington cut down his father’s cherished cherry tree. When George Washington told his father what he had done, his father calmly forgave him and was appreciative of George’s honesty. George Washington said that this experience in his life was one of the moments that turned him into such a great man. When the young Chinese boy heard this story he became very excited, he knew his father was a great man, and he hoped so dearly that his father could show such love and understanding as George Washington’s father had shown.
After class the boy hurried home to talk with his father. He found his father reading and asked his father if he could have a minute to speak with him. The father agreed and the boy said “Father I am so sorry this morning I knocked the outhouse into the river.” The Father looked at the boy for a moment and then spanked him. The boy started to cry and said “Dad, why are you mad, I wanted to be honest, when George Washington cut down the cherry tree, his father forgave him?” The dad looked at his son and said “George Washington’s father wasn’t in the cherry tree when he cut it down now was he!”

My companion tells everyone this joke and he thinks it is hilarious. It is kind of funny, hope you enjoy it.

Buddhist Nuns and Thanksgiving Hamburger- Nov 27, 2009

ately we have been visiting the Xiao Family. What an interesting family. They have 2 kids who are the most well behaved Taiwanese children I have ever seen. The dad is hilarious, he chews Beatle nut, smokes, and drinks all at the same time. I was quite impressed. I can’t imagine that it tasted very good though. We don’t visit them that often because they are hardly ever home and we don’t have time most nights to go over to their house. Even though we try and go work from 6pm to 9pm sometimes stuff comes up. These past couple of weeks a lot of stuff has been coming up. But thankfully last night we had the chance to swing on by the Xiao Families house.

Mrs. Xiao is very religious and she wants he family to be too. She is Buddhist, but is very open to all good religions. The husband however, is basically the opposite, he thinks religion is silly and doesn’t really want anything to do with it. He like us though, mostly just because he thinks we are funny. The kids love us too, I always teach them some English.

Last night we shared with him the organization of Heavenly Father’s church. He said, isn’t there only 1 Jesus Christ? Then why are there so many different Christian churches. He brought up the fact that a perfect God would not have that many different sects. We agreed which seemed to make him a little dumbfounded. It was like a deer in the headlights, he didn’t know what to say after we said, “Your right Mr. Xiao, a perfect God would not create that many churches that teach different things.” My companion and I didn’t say anything for a couple seconds just to make sure he absorbed what we had just said. I couldn’t help but smirk a little bit from the expression on his face. He shared with him a brief message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and introduced the Bible and the Book of Mormon to him. At this point he threw his hands up in the air and said, “ I can’t read this, if I read this I will fall a sleep and my mind goes numb.” Mr. Xiao isn’t exactly the kind a guy that likes to sit down and read a book. Actually, I am not entirely sure he can read. He told my companion it’s too bad that you all don’t have a movie that we could watch about this, because there is no way that I can read this scripture. As he said, that my companion reached into his bag and pulled out a DVD about how the Gospel was restored. We popped it in and watched it. Mr. Xiao seemed to like it, but I am not sure he took it very seriously. That is one of the problems with showing people religious stuff through TV. A lot of people are so used to seeing fake stuff on TV that they are not able to recognize the difference between what is real and what is not.

After visiting with Mr. Xiao, we went over to visit Grandpa Zhang. He is another really awesome 85 year old man who loves Buddhism. We don’t really teach him a whole lot, mostly we just visit him to keep him company and share a brief message with him. He seems to like our visits a lot though. In his house he has a speaker that constantly repeats this Buddhist prayer over and over and over. The prayer has a tune to it and it makes me sleepy. I had better be careful, I might get hypnotized by the Buddhist monks and kidnapped. Hahaha… seriously though, those monks are dangerous. I learned something interesting about monks the other day. In Buddhism a monk came become a monk 7 times. So if he wants to he can quit and go back to normal life, then years later he can go back and become a monk again. However Buddhist nuns can only do it once. I admire the Buddhist nuns a lot more now.

After getting lullabyied to sleep by the Buddhist man we headed home to start our 9 o’clock work in the office. At 10 we headed over to close an apartment that was about 40 minutes away. We loaded everything up and headed back to Taichung to put all the stuff in our storage unit. Finally at about 2:30 we headed to bed. The reason we do it so late is because if we do it during the day we will create traffic jams. We have to park the car in the middle of the rode to put the furniture in it. Since the alleys that the apartments are on are usually pretty small we have to go at night so that we have a place to park the car. Taiwan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Driving a big old van here is a nightmare. I am pretty used to it now though. Once you learn their driving style it’s not a big deal. So that is basically what we did yesterday.

I know I promised you pictures of the Christmas lights, but I didn’t get them off of President Hoers camera yet. When he comes back I will get them.

I hope you ate a lot for me at thanksgiving. I ate Burger King to celebrate my birthday, it was pretty good, but they put to much mayo on it. I think I am going to become a vegetarian when I get home. Hahaha… yeah right? The vegetarian food over here is so good, but I am sure it is really hard to find back home not to mention I bet it is super expensive.

Love ya,

Elder Craig Anderson

Christmas Lights and the Long Night of Apostacy- Nov 20, 2009

Let me tell you a thing or two about Christmas lights. First off, I don’t know who invented the if one bulb goes out they all go out Christmas light strands, but they drive me crazy. I have been putting up all the Christmas lights around the church buildings and I am going crazy. I have spent a ton of time trying to find that one bulb that is out. There is one good thing though, the lights we have only go out partially, so only about half of them won’t light up. That makes it a lot nicer because then you can eliminate the number of bulbs you have to inspect by half.

Yes, we are getting ready for Christmas. Since I am an activities coordinator of sorts I get to do all the planning and preparation. It is pretty fun, on Thursday we had about 14 missionaries come and help string up the lights. I planned out where we were going to put them all and then they came and strung ‘em up. It was like I had 30 little hands of my own.

We still have quite a bit left to do, so I will send you pictures next week when I am done. Well Happy Thanksgiving! I am sure you are all headed to Grandma Woods’ house for turkey. That sounds really tasty! It’s okay I will go out to eat somewhere nice to celebrate. Plus it will be a double whammy with my birthday and all. That means I can spend twice as much and eat twice as much too! Oh snap!

This week we had some really spiritual lessons. We had a lesson with a man named Nelson Lin. He is 62 years old, retired, and single, so he is very willing to meet with us. Another great thing is that he is Christian already so all the really basic things we teach to people he is like “Oh, yeah, I already know.” He is awesome and we are getting to be pretty good friends. Anyways, he has been coming to church for a while know and we have been sharing with him about Prophets and Apostles.

Yesterday we talked about the Nicene Creed. He had heard of it but didn’t really understand a lot of what had happened. It was really fun being able to talk to someone about the history of Christianity. If I were to talk to our other investigators like that they would all fall asleep and be really confused.

Anyways, we talked about how in 325 B.C. a group of Christians got together and debated about the nature of God and his church. I told him very frankly that many people that attended and influenced that Creed were not true disciples of Jesus Christ and in fact did things quite contrary to the Gospel teachings. However, some of these not so righteous people had the greatest influence as to the outcome of that meeting.

The outcome was a lot of truth mixed in with a little bit of false teachings. I felt the spirit so strong as I testified to Nelson that Heavenly Father, had once again restored the truths that were lost many years ago.

I know that God loves us, just as he loved the people of ancient times. I know that because of this love for us he has given us his Prophets and Apostles, to guide us through these last days. Right now more than any time in history we need the guidance of God inspired men. Our generation lives in a time when the spirituality of man is constantly being attacked. I find it hard to believe that Heavenly Father would not provide the same organization and support as he did in days of old. The good news is that he does provide that support, but just as in the ancient times, it is up to the people to listen. Just as Moses brought the people out of Egypt, we have a living prophet that through the direction of God can bring those that are willing out of the Spiritual danger that they may be in.

Many will say that after Christ there was no more revelation. Who was Paul? Luke? What about John? Didn’t they receive revelation and inspiration for the people of that time long after the Crucifixion of Christ? They did, so why is it so hard to believe that in the last days Heavenly Father would send forth his messengers to fight against the evils in this world?

Nelson of course brought up the last verses of Revelations that says
“ 18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Many people including Nelson believe this scripture to mean that besides the Bible there is no other scripture. Interestingly enough John was on the island of Patmos when he wrote Revelations. Not only did he not know that the Bible would later be compiled into the Bible that we know today, but since we don’t even know when John passed away the book of Revelations could very well have been written before the other Apostles wrote other portions of the Bible.

We talked about how the Bible was compiled very similarly to how the Nicene Creed was compiled. A bunch of people got together and decided what things they wanted in the Bible. They also decided on meanings of scriptures, the order and chronology of the Bible and what parts to include and omit.

No wonder King James took it upon himself in 1604 to compile a more complete more accurate version of the Bible. Since that time subsequent version have been published, however, if Chapter 22 verse 18 of Revelations really means what a lot of people think it means than any alteration or so called “translation” of the Bible would be a sin.

Nelson seemed intrigued by our discussion and was willing to study and research the topic more thoroughly, we set a baptismal goal with him for next next week. He said that if he receives a witness that Heavenly Father has given us a restored Gospel, then he will be baptized on that day. I am excited for him and it is so fun to see his eyes light up when he realizes a particular Gospel truth that he never understood before.

Well I have got another Ping Pong appointment with my Ping Pong friend. He is the best person I have ever played in my life. I have played with a lot of people here in Taiwan and he is the best by far. It is gonna be a good game today.

Love you all,
Elder Anderson

The Why Child and Why You are So Trunky- Nov 13, 2009

So I appreciate the fact that everyone is counting down the days until I come home. That lets me know how much you all love me. Are you all trying to make me trunky? Hahaha… I am doing fine. We stay so busy in the office that even if I wanted to be trunky, I just don’t have time to be. Right now I am in the process of stringing up the Christmas lights for the office. Not to mention planning for Elder Watson the Asia Area President to come on Monday. Then we have zone conference Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And then on the 4th I am helping Taipei install the new referral system that I have been working on for their cell phones, consider it my birthday present to mom. And then if I make it through all of that I have to get everything ready for Christmas, including planning all the choirs and making sure the Missionary Conference goes well. When you have 180+ missionaries it takes a lot of work to keep everything all organized. I am loving being busy, it makes me feel like I am making a difference. You should see my office right now; it is covered in Christmas lights and cell phones. If you thought mom had too many Christmas lights, think again. We have more here, I guarantee it. And they AREN’T the good kind that don’t break. They are the kind where if one goes out half of them go out. It’s okay though I am getting pretty good and finding the broken ones. Oh I forgot to mention that we have to close down 6 apartments too. We just closed one down the other night and we were out until 2am finishing it all up. Then we had to get up at 5am to help the returning missionaries get up to Taipei. There was one normal missionary that was with us on that day and he was ready to pass out. All of us in the office were just giggling because of how tired he was. Despite the fact that I like to sleep, I have realized that you don’t need that much of it, as long as you have a good attitude and are taking good care of yourself you will hardly be tired. Attitude has a lot to do with it, if you allow yourself to be tired you will be.
I have a ping pong appointment in a couple of minutes so that will be fun. It is hard to find people to play ping pong with me. Before I came I thought that every Asian could play ping pong and do kong fu at the same time. I guess not. Oh well as long I can play ping pong.
We got a referral from the California missionaries last week. They faxed us the information for a man that they had been teaching there in Richmond. I called him up and he is super nice. At first I thought that he probably spoke English since he was meeting with the missionaries there, but then I realized he didn’t speak at all. I was really confused! He must have been meeting with the Chinese Speaking Elders there in Richmond. I have several friends from the MTC that went to California Chinese speaking. Anyways this guys name is Lin Jing and he is awesome. I talked to him on the phone for about 20 minutes the other day and he seemed to me to be a real thinker. I love thinkers, they are the best ones to teach. A lot of people just listen and then after you finish the meeting they stop thinking. But thinkers, they absorb everything you say and think about it. They think up questions and they try and spot the areas that aren’t that clear. Well this Lin Jing was a thinker. I could tell he put lots of thought into everything the missionaries had told him before. He had all these questions. The key to learning is questions, if you never ask the question, you never get the answer.
As a kid I remember being a “Why?” child, I am sure that my parents can attest to that.
“Why does the TV hum when you turn it on dad?”
“Mom, why do dogs wag their tails when they are happy?”
In Chinese we call these the “move your head questions,” meaning that you have got to put a little bit of effort into the question. Of course we all know, what you put in is what you get out. If you want to get the answer, then you have got to ask the question.
The same law applies to the Gospel. If you want to know why Jesus had to come to earth to perform the Atonement, then you have got to ask the question. The only problem with the “why child” situation is that the “why child” is asking an imperfect parent (Sorry mom and dad, but for this example you have to be imperfect.) When the why child ask mom or dad why a certain thing is the way it is they get an imperfect answer. However, when we as children of Heavenly Father ask the “why questions” we get a perfect answer. Not only is the answer perfect factually, but it is also perfect as far as the timeline of Heavenly Father is concerned. There are certain questions that a young child may ask that a wise parent my simply leave to a later date to completely answer. Heavenly Father works the same way, sometimes it is not the correct time to answer our questions. Sometimes he will answer part of it and let us continue to ponder. Then once we have reached a higher stage of spiritual maturity, He will finish answering the question.
Oh ya, don’t let me forget to tell you about my companions sleep walking story. I will wait a couple weeks to tell you this one. It was hilarious, and I know I wouldn’t be able to do it justice in an email.
Gotta go love ya,
Elder Craig Alan Anderson

Intellect of Man and Footprints in the Sand Nov 7, 2009

Here is some news for you. I am staying in the office for this last move! Crazy huh? I am a little bummed, but at the same time I am really excited to be able to use my talents to serve the Lord. I think I will survive 6 more weeks in the office. Elder Alexander is moving out of the office, which is too bad. There are 2 companionships in the office. So the 4 of us live together which is fun. Elder Evans and Elder Alexander are gone a lot, but it is still fun having them around. Especially since my companion is Taiwanese it is fun to be able to talk with him about Taiwanese stuff and then talk with the other Elders about other stuff. Elder Alexander is a New Zealander, but I have almost got him converted. Give it time and he will be moving to the States.
I think I have told you before but a lot of people think I look Asian. Weird huh? They will always ask me if I am from Taiwan. Lately I have been speaking with a Hong Kong accent so everyone thinks I am from Hong Kong. On the street I always let people guess where I am from and about 3/10 will guess Hong Kong. President Hsu would be proud that is where he is from.
I got my Halloween package! Wow Halloween is great isn’t it? I think I like the fact that it means winter is coming. I love the winter, it is so cold and clean and fresh. Not to mention the snow is just so much fun to play in.
My last 6 weeks in Taiwan. What the heck? Where does the time go? It does seem like a long time since I have been home, but it is still weird to think that my time here is coming to an end. I am sure I said that 4 weeks ago but now the date is just creeping up on me.
We have been teaching a Mr. Gao lately. He is a security guard at a big apartment complex. He loves having us come but last night we had a very interesting lesson with him. He got in a car accident 4 days ago, but didn’t get hurt, which is actually quite amazing since he was riding a scooter and the other person was driving a car. Anyways he told us that he thought the Buddhist god was punishing him for learning about Jesus Christ. I asked him, how do you know Heavenly Father wasn’t protecting you when you got in that car crash? It could have been a lot worse. That reminds me of why it is important to be optimistic. If you think everything is a trial you will fail to see the blessings.
Like Mr. Gao for example, he is so focused on his accident being a punishment that he overlooks the miracle that he was not severely hurt. It is weird how change of attitude can change the situation. When we see ourselves as the victim, then we will forever be the victim, but if we see ourselves as the victor or whatever you want to call it that is exactly what you will be.
So the new office couple is here. Elder and Sister Greene! They are great! Elder and Sister Dowse are leaving in two weeks and the Greenes will take their place. Right now the Greenes are just getting settled in. As a matter of fact I just went over to their apartment to get their internet setup for them. Elder Greene is great, but when he told me he used to be a Highway Patrolmen I started to get a little worried. Hahaha… I think you all know how I feel about the Highway patrol. He is great though and is slowly changing my mind above those highway patrols guys.
Tonight the other Elder Alexander and Elder Evans have a baptism. It is a nice 30 year old guy from Tennessee, named Josh. We don’t usually see to many foreigners get baptized over here, mostly because there aren’t very many of them. About 2 months ago, he came to church with one of his friends. He has a great story, he was in the process of becoming a Catholic Priest, but the more he studied and prepared the more confused he got. In the end he decided to come to Taiwan and work for a little bit to give him some time to clear his head. Well it just so happened that one of his coworkers is a member of the church and started sharing with him. He figured he had a lot of time on the weekends so he might as well come to church. He came, liked it, met the missionaries and started meeting with Elder Alexander and Elder Evans. They gave him a Book of Mormon, he read it cover to cover the first week and said that he had never felt such a strong confirmation from the Holy Ghost that what he he was reading was true. However, for a while he wasn’t sure if he wanted to get rebaptized. Finally, two weeks ago the elders shared with him the importance of baptism by immersion. Josh said that when they shared this with him he knew without a doubt that what they were saying was true. Elders Alexander and Elder Evans testified to him that they are personal representatives of Jesus Christ sent forth to preach the Gospel by the power of the spirit to help those that are willing come unto Him.
What I love so much about this experience is how apparent it is that conversion is not because of the missionaries ability to speak with elegance, but because. So many people think their way out of believing in Christ. Of course it is important to ponder and wonder about the mysteries of God, but when we start thinking that our own intelligence is greater than that of Heavenly Fathers we start to get into dangerous waters. I know that is why Heavenly Father selected 19-21 year old boys to go forth to preach the gospel. In the scriptures it says “That the afulness of my bgospel might be cproclaimed by the dweak and the simple,” I know that this is true. We missionaries are not the most educated group of people in the world. Most of us have not even graduate from college. So why would Heavenly Father call us to take his gospel to the entire world? Well I think it relates a lot to Josh’s story. You cannot be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by intellect alone. The Spirit is the most important factor in the conversion process. We may be weak and simple as missionaries, but we carry a fullness of the Spirit. The power of the Spirit is more powerful than all the intellect of man. In 1 Corinthians 1:25 it says “The afoolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
It is so true! When I read this scripture it reminds me of how Satan will try and convince us that we are so smart. In the Book of Mormon 2nd Nephi 9:28 it says “O that cunning aplan of the evil one! O the bvainness, and the frailties, and the cfoolishness of men! When they are dlearned they think they are ewise, and they fhearken not unto the gcounsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their hwisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.”
I have seen this on my mission so much. People want to rely on themselves without looking to God. In the world that we live in now it is so easy to completely forget how much we need Him. We live in a comfortable time, because of our daily comforts we develop a false sense of security. We begin to feel like we are in control of our lives. We begin to feel as if we don’t need anybody else to help us. When this happens people start to turn away from God and it is not until we are brought back down to our knees before we realize that we have needed him all along.
There is that poem that I have always loved.
One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him
he looked back, at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.
He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied:
"My son, My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you,
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

What a comfort it is to know that despite our stubbornness and pride Heavenly Father will always be there to carry us if we are willing to follow him. I hope that all of us will never assume that those solitary footsteps in the sand are our own. But I hope that we may remember that they are his.
Thanks for everything
Elder Craig Anderson

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hacker Frogs and Circus Sea Turtles

sorry for not emailing you all last week.

Chinese Lesson 02
There once was a frog who lived in an old well that nobody used. One day he was sitting on the top of the well enjoying a nice breeze when he saw a turtle walking by. He waved to the turtle and the two started talking. The sea turtle asked the frog where his home was. The frog started talking rapidly about the beautiful well. He said “My well is the best! When it is hot outside I can go to the bottom and hide in the shade, and then when it is cool, I can come bask in the sun. If I want I can swim and play in the mud, or else I can sit on the wall and sleep. I have the best home in the world! Nobodies home is better than mine! Mr. Turtle why don’t you come take a look.” The turtle agreed and proceeded to enter into the well.
After putting his left foot into the well he realized he was too big and wasn’t going to fit. He tried with all his might to get himself into the well, but no matter what he did he still could not get in. The frog started talking saying “That is too bad, this well is the best place in the whole world. You don’t know what you are missing.”
Finally the turtle had had enough. He looked at the frog and said, “Actually my friend, if we take your well and the ocean that I live in and compare the two, your well is quite inferior. 10 years ago, it rained and rained and rained and all the land was flooded. It was flooded for years and years, until finally the big drought came. During the drought all the land dried up and every living thing died. All land became a barren waste land, nothing could take the heat. And do you know what happened to the ocean during that time Mr. Frog?”
“No,” the frog replied.
“Nothing,” said the turtle. “Absolutely nothing.”
“During the floods I was swimming around enjoying life, eating the plants I wanted and enjoying the nice cool under currents. During the droughts do you know what I was doing Mr. Frog?”
“No,” the frog repeated again.
“I was eating the plants I wanted and enjoying the nice cool under currents.”
The turtle politely said goodbye to Mr. Frog and headed on his way back to the open sea.

There is a phrase in Chinese that derives from this story. It is jing di zhi wa, which translates to the frog at the bottom of the well. Or in normal words, somebody that can’t see what is really going on outside of their own little world. My friends, don’t be frogs!! Go explore somebody else’s ocean!

Well there is good news! It could be my last week in the office! The bad news is that it is possibly not my last week in office. I should know on Monday. I hope that you all liked the Chinese idiom. I have been reading a lot of Chinese idiom books lately. Some of them I don’t really get because they use a lot of ancient Chinese characters which I don’t know yet. But they are fun and they have a lot of meaning.
In a couple minutes we have to go over to the hospital to stay with an Elder who has appendicitis. Yikes! He is doing great, but he can’t leave the hospital for about 4 days and he needs someone to be with him. We are going over in a second to keep him company. I have been so lucky on my mission, I have hardly had any healthy problems. Accept for the ingrown toenail thing. That was pretty gross. I don’t dare email you pictures, I will show you them when I get back.
Speaking of pictures here are some pictures that I just took! Oh yeah happy Halloween, I am mad at my bike right now so I was gonna throw it at something. Piece of junk.
This week I did some fun stuff. I rewrote a program for the referral system that we use. It is in JAVA and I don’t know the JAVA language but I was able to do it with the help of Google. I went through some online tutorials so that was fun.
Then Sister Hoer, President Hoer’s wife, has a talk that she was giving so I prepared a 20 minute long video about how to conduct a good Sunday school lesson for children. She had a friend film primary Sunday school back in the states and then ship it to us here. She gave us a lot of video but it was hard to find good pieces to show the people here. In the end it turned out pretty good and I think it will really help the teachers here improve their classes.
I installed a new hard drives into President’s laptop. Installing hard drives is one of my least favorite things to do. It is easy to do, but it is hard to get the persons settings and programs all reinstalled properly. It went smoothly though so that was good.
I hacked into our wireless network here at the office, no one knew the password and it wasn’t written down anywhere it seemed like a fun challenge to me. I even called the man that is in charge of all the churches computers in Asia and he didn’t know it either even though he set it up. In the end though after about 2 hours of hacking I got it.
I am pretty set on studying Electrical Engineering when I get home. I need to talk to Joe Bond our neighbor, I know that is what he studied but then he went back to school and became a lawyer. Apparently he must not have liked it very much so maybe I should talk to somebody else.

Love you all,
Elder Craig Alan Anderson
Taiwan Taichung Mission

P.S. - I could be in the missionary circus with stunts like these.

Rubber Band Balls Thanksgiving

Well I am emailing a little later in the day today because I got really busy. You probably want to know what was so important that it took me 2 extra hours to right an email to you all. Well rubberband balls of course.
There is a family that came into the office the other day and they saw a rubber band ball that I had on my desk. Whenever you eat lunch in Taiwan you get a paper box filed with rice and stuff. To keep the box closed they wrap it with rubberbands. So everyday I get a couple rubber bands and add them to my ball. Usually I take a couple off everyday too to use for things. Anyways, this family saw the rubber band ball and they thought it was the coolest thing in the entire world. I promised them if they came back on Saturday I would teach them how to make them. I guess no one over here has ever made a rubber band ball. They thought it was great. The mom and the 2 kids were so amazed at the rubber band balls. They were talking and the little girl was like “My friends are going to be so jealous, they are going to want my rubber band ball.” Anyways, so here are some pictures that you might think are funny.
This week was another interesting week. I am now officially driving on an expired international license!! Hahaha… its okay though I drive so fast the police can’t catch me. I am just kidding. But really though my international license is going to expire soon, its such a pain. You have to get a new one every 6 months.
Rick from Ping Dong came and visited me in Taichung. It was almost a year ago exactly that we has baptized. Now he is doing awesome, he has the Melchizedek Priesthood and is a Sunday School teacher for the Gospel Principles class. There is no better way for someone to learn more about the gospel. In preparing his lessons for Sunday, I am sure he learns a ton and his testimony grows stronger.
I am still doing what I do in the mission office. I am just glad that I don’t have to do the accounting for the mission. Right now we have an older couple, Sister and Elder Dowse, they work here. But before they came it was a missionary that had to do it. It is so great to have these senior missionaries come and work in the mission field. Since many senior missionaries are not physically able to go out and be a normal missionary, it is perfect because they can take the place of a younger missionary and then that missionary can go out into the field and be a normal missionary.
Well Halloween is almost here. That is fun! The younger kids here celebrate Halloween, but not on the large scale like we do back home. Halloween is my second favorite holiday. My first is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the best, grandma always cooks some amazing food and we can escape the cold in Utah to go to California for a while. Plus, when it is thanksgiving time, it is also usually my birthday!
I am starving, I didn’t eat breakfast so we are going to go eat lunch now!

Love ya,
Elder Anderson

Mountain Movers and Gamblers

Chinese Lesson: The Old Fool Moves a Mountain
Thousands of years ago in Mainland China, there was a man who lived in the mountains with his family. He was a hard working and very diligent in everything he did to provide for his family. As he worked day in and day out he began to realize that there was a enormous obstacle in his way that prevented him from being able to provide well for his family. That obstacle just so happened to be an gigantic mountain.
He decided that he must move this mountain so that his posterity could have a smoother path. Every day after he performed his daily labors he would go to the mountain and shovel for as long and as hard as his strength would permit. He did this everyday for several years. People walking by would stop and tell him that he was a fool, he was stupid, there was no way he could ever move an entire mountain. Nearly every day somebody would come and try to convince him to stop his foolish digging. But this old man continued.
Finally after years of digging, the mountain showed no sign of change. However, the man did not care, he was determined to move the mountain, so he kept digging. The Chinese god’s watched this man everyday and were so dumbfounded by his wasted efforts. After seeing the old man struggle for years to move this mountain, the gods were so moved by his determination and persistence that they moved the mountain for him.
Old fools can move mountains.
I may not be that old, but sometimes I do feel like a fool trying to move a mountain by myself. There are so many great things that I love about this Chinese Legend. I am not going to even tell you why I like it, read it yourself and pick out the parts you like.
This week we were really busy preparing for Zone Conference. We hold one conference here in Taichung and one in Kaohsiung. Since they are in 2 different places it is a pain to prepare for, but it is over, the mountain has been moved.
Last night when we were contacting people on the street, I ran into the most normal homeless man I have ever met in my entire life. Normally, the homeless aren’t that normal. But his guy was completely normal. He told me his story. He said:
“Several years ago I was a very wealthy business man. I had a wife, 2 kids, a great job, a nice car, I had everything, until I lost it all in one night.”
After he said this to me I was so intrigued that I had to listen. He continued and said, “I used to love to play Majiang (Chinese Checkers), I would play on the weekends and sometimes at work when we had a break. After playing for a while me and my friends would go to watch the professionals play and we started betting. First we started betting small until finally we were betting in upwards of 10,000 USD. My good friend told me that there was a big match coming up and that he had the inside scoop, so we could bet and make a lot of money.”
Little did this poor man know that his friend had rigged a game. This guy bet everything he had and lost. He told me at first he didn’t even know what had happened, he thought how could it be. It wasn’t until several weeks afterwards that he found out that his so called friend had cheated him.
Anyways, long story short. This guy is very intelligent, very hard working, but since the economy is terrible right now he cannot find a job. He wants to find a manual labor job which is weird because he is so smart. The most interesting thing about this man was that he was very happy. I even asked him, why in the world are you so happy and he smiled and said. “it’s my own fault, that I don’t have any money, and I only have 3 options. The first option, I can be mad at myself for being so stupid, the second option I can be mad at my friend for cheating me, or the third option I can forget about it and start over.” He chose the third option. This man was amazing, he didn’t even ask for money or anything. He flat out told me “I need to pay the price for my actions, so I will not borrow money from my family.” It was almost like he was teaching himself a lesson. Another sad thing about his man was that they wouldn’t even let him in the homeless shelter here. To get into a homeless shelter you have to have your Government ID. Anyways, the workers at the homeless shelter said that he couldn’t stay there because he was from Taipei. Isn’t that crazy? You can only go to a homeless shelter in the city you are registered in.
He is coming to Church on Sunday! I normally am a little apprehensive to bring homeless people into the church because the majority of them are a little crazy. But I am telling you this guy is just like you and me. Average Joe who did something really stupid.
Go move some mountains!
Elder Craig Anderson

Grapefruit and Beetle Nut

I have a new companion. He just moved into the office to take Elder Li’s place. His name is Elder Chou. Great guy! His whole family has been member since before he was born. Most of my native companions were not that lucky. Some of their parents were opposed to them coming on missions. I don’t know why though, making a 19 year old kid, spend 24 hours a day thinking about others is so good for them. Now that I am 20 I am not like those 19 year olds hahaha…
I heard a weird noise outside of our house 2 nights ago so I ran out to look and see what was going on. Since we live above the office we are always on alert to make sure no one breaks in and steals all our computers and passports. Anyways, I went outside to inspect what was going on and there was this poor old man with his head against our gate making a whimpering noise. It was late at night, and we often have drunks that walk by and make weird noises, but I could tell that this old man was different. I went and got my companion and we went down to talk to him to see what was wrong. I asked him, “Hey mister? Are you okay?” He was a little startled at first but once he saw that we were missionaries, I don’t think he was scared. He humbly asked if we had anything to eat. I thought about it for a second that we had some fruits that someone had given us the day before. We gave him 3 of these giant grapefruit like fruits and he was so excited. He kept thanking us and thanking us. I wanted to go get more, but we can’t leave that late at night to go buy more. People ask us for “food” all the time, but what they really want is money. Of course if someone needs food we are more than willing to buy some for them, but as missionaries we have a rule that we can’t give out money. Anyways, I thought about it for a second, said a little prayer asking Heavenly Father for us to find a way to help him more. After thinking for a moment I realized that there was an entire box of food I had for prepared for the next couple Sundays (since we can’t go buy food on Sunday). We ran back upstairs, grabbed the box of food and took it downstairs to give it to this man. Since the box wouldn’t fit through the slits of the gate we had to hand it to him piece by piece until he got it all on the other side. He began to quiver with excitement and even though it was dark he looked at us with a face that radiate with a sense of gratitude. Once again he thanked us and began to gather his new treasure together. My companion and I went back upstairs. My companion went back to bed immediately, but I couldn’t sleep. I stood up against the window and watched this old man as he inspected every package of crackers and noodles as if he was inspecting a diamond. I felt guilty for how ungrateful I am. I few tears fell as I pondered the poor journey that this old man still had ahead of him. As I sat there for the next hour or so, I reflected on the sacrifice that the Savior made as he suffered in the Garden of Gesthamene so that He may understand every pain and temptation that each of us will feel during our life here on this earth. As I continued to ponder, the words of a hymn came to mind,
A poor wayfaring Man of grief,
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
He that can lift should lift. All of us are in a position that we may lift. “Lift up the hands that hang down… strengthen feeble knees.” As we find opportunities to serve those around us we will feel the love of our Heavenly Father. We will find more peace in our lives and we will become closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “Faith without works is dead.” You can read and pray all you want, but until you go do something about it, it doesn’t do any good. The knowledge of the Gospel is not enough, living the Gospel and applying it is the only way that we may find true happiness and peace in this life. Anything else that we think brings us happiness, is most likely only temporary.
I hope I didn’t rattle on too long there. I just wanted to share this special experience with you.
On a much lighter note, I thought I would tell you about my good friend Huang. He is a great guy who does all the shipping for our office. We do a lot of shipping, we ship Books and Bikes and Luggage and all sorts of stuff, hundreds of packages every month. I work a lot with this man. Well Mr. Huang is a very nice guy, he is what we might consider a Taiwanese Redneck. He comes into our office and smells so strongly of beetle nut (the stuff that is like tobacco) that it makes it hard for me to breath when I am around him. When I am working with him I often have to take a couple steps back and breathe and then start again. This Mr. Huang is such a nice man, I wish we could just get him to quit all his bad habits. He loves us so we are always encouraging him to quit smoking and chewing. He is very respectful to us and I think he loves the feeling he gets when he is in our office. I am sure all his friends are like him, so when he come an office that is filled with well-dressed clean cut people, you would think he would feel out of place. But it is the opposite, we treat him like he should be treated and he completely changes. He works everyday but we are trying to get him to come to church. We often run into him outside, and he will wave us over and talk with us for a little while.
I have another friend here that is a lot like Mr. Huang. He is always hanging out with his drunk friends, he has got tattoos over his whole body and is usually chewing beetle nut. 2 nights ago, we were in his neighborhood so when I drove by his house I waved and he got so excited he chased after us. I stopped and started talking with him. Since buildings here are all 5 or 6 stories usually the bottom floors are businesses and then the top floors is where the owners live. So here we were on this busy street. My friend is not wearing a shirt, he’s teeth are red from the beetle nut and he is smoking at the same time. I shared a little bit with him, asked how his prayers were going, and then I noticed that about half the street was just staring at the 2 of us in amazement. Hahahaha… I guess it would be a pretty funny site to see. Me standing next to this half naked man, with his drunk friends in the background hooting and hollering. I like this guy though, he is young, he has already come to church once and he loved it. We have just got to get him out of where he is living and working!
Well, love you all.

Elder Anderson

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sea of Heads Sept 26, 2009

As I pull up to the stop light I look over the tops of the sea of heads bobbing around as everyone positioned themselves for the long wait of the red light. As a missionary in a country over populated by scooters, you quickly learn how to recognize your companion from the helmet that he wears. There could be over 100 people waiting at a single stop light and you can only see the tops of their helmets. There he is the black and gold helmet with the white strip. Now that I found him I can relax and look for somebody to talk to. I start talking with the man on my left, no response. He won't even look at me. I always think this is the most fun because the more they refuse to look at you the louder you can talk, after about 10 seconds you are screaming "Hey mister, how are you?" "Can you see me?" Finally, everyone is looking at the man that I am talking to like "Come on man, just talk to him!" It's fun! It is even funnier when they refuse to look at you but you can make them laugh. You tell them a joke and they look straight ahead like you aren't even there, but then they will start to giggle. It is the best when you make the old guys laugh. I figure if I can make somebody smile, then that is a success.

The light turns green, now I have got to maneuver quickly so that I don't get stampeded by the horde of busy motorist behind me. With a few close calls I manage to pull away without getting turned into a clean cut, well dressed, pancake. Once again I started scanning for that helmet that I so readily know. Target Locked! 50 meters ahead right hand side! My good ol' companion Elder Li. Missionaries aren't missionaries without their companions.

We bike over to a little convenience store in the neighborhood to do a little contacting. I run into a guy that is a doctor, really nice, thinks he is too intelligent for religion. That comment makes me smirk, thinking about all the insanely intelligent people that were all very religious, all of which I am sure were much more intelligent than this man. It is okay though, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about the power of intellect but about the Power of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ. I continue to chat with this doctor to see if he is willing to at least come try and understand. He says he has no time. I smirk again, he must have forgotten that he mentioned he had retired 2 years ago. Finally, I hit him with one of my favorite questions, “So how do you know that our religion or any religion for that matter isn’t true?” On the street many people will try and prove that there is no God. It is so interesting, they will claim that they know that there is not God through the same illogical ways that believers of religion claim that they know that there is a God. Usually, it is something along the lines of, “I have read a lot of books and I just feel like there isn’t a God.” Feel? I thought you said that you knew there isn’t a God? At about this point I like to respond with “Really? Me too! Except I am the exact opposite. I have read a lot of books and I have felt that there is a God who loves us. We are his children and he wants us to find time to get to know him.” Finally, I ask a follow up question to this doctor “So how can you be sure that the message we are sharing is not from God?” The doctor thinks about it for a second and comes to the conclusion that majority of people who are asked this question come to, he says “I guess I would have to come understand a little bit about it and then make my own decision about whether it is true or not.” He sets up a time! Now the ball is in his court, if he comes he may hear the most powerful message he has ever heard, if he doesn’t he has missed out on a great opportunity to learn of our eternal purpose and the importance of families in this eternal plan that Heavenly Father has created for us.
Where is my companion? Once again I repeat the searching process as I look for my companion at one of the corners of the intersection. President Hoer has suggested that we contact people on our own so that we can talk to twice as many people. Very rarely do we contact together. Quite often people will remind me “Hey aren’t there usually 2 of you guys? Where is your partner?” Despite the fact that most people are not interested in our message, they do admire us and tend to look out for us. I have had people ask me if I was lost because they had never seen a missionary without his companion by his side. Usually my companion is no more than 30 yards away, but if you aren’t paying attention it would be easy to only see one of us. Especially since I am American, I tend to stick out a little more than my native companion.
Well it is getting a little late so we decide to head back to the office. 9 o’clock, we do a quick little plan for the next day. 9:30, nightly reports, I start talking with all the Zone Leaders to see how their Zones are doing. With about 9 Zones in South Central Taiwan, I only have time to talk to each Zone for about 3 minutes. I type up a quick report to let President Hoer know how the Zones are doing and highlight any areas that they might be struggling.

10 o’clock I start working on little projects that I have going on. The projects vary from week to week. Sometimes fun and exciting, other times boring and tedious. They are all important though. Currently I am selling the Mission Offices junk. I am sure some of you that have lived with me might remember looking for something that you had put down in storage, only to find out that months earlier I had sold it on ebay. Hahaha… well I am basically doing that to the mission office right now. Of course I don’t keep any of the money; it all goes back into helping the missionaries. I have already sold old cell phones, extra computers, hard drives, monitors, old bicycles, recyclable metals, network parts, etc. Who would have thought that I would be able to use this talent of mine to help out the mission office? I guess we are all under that obligation to use our talents and special skills to push forth the work of the Lord. I just never thought that I would use my dejunking ability to help save money for the mission.
I was thinking about why I had this skill the other day, and I came to the conclusion that in all things there is a positive and a negative. Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. Mom, loves to save things! Even mom will admit that she hates to throw things out. She is so cute, she will save every card that we have ever given her. I hear she is better now, but before, the house policy was, “We might be able to use it later.” I guess when I was younger I got tired of waiting for “later” so I started selling our junk on the “black market,” known to many as ebay. After several months of this underground life of mine, I was discovered when an old GPS system that had been placed down in the basement for more than 90 days disappeared. Poor dad must have thought that there were little Gremlins in our house using our GPS to circumnavigate the globe. I should have stuck with the Gremlin story, but finally I decided it was time to come out, I was cornered, there was no were left to turn. And that was the day I told my parents I was a dejunker.
I kind of function like the US Postal system, anything after 90 days is declared a lost item and may be discarded or sold, if after 90 days no one claims the package the workers, get to rip it upon and have a free for all. I’m not sure if President knows how much I like to sell junk. I have always had this fascination with selling stuff that I think is useless and watching people pay money for it. Mind blowing!
11 o’clock rolls around, I am tired. My eyes hurt, my legs are sore, even my ears seem to ache. We lock up, close the safes with all the passports and mission money, bolt the doors and windows, and arm the alarm system. Luckily, we only have to walk to the second floor to find our beds. I take a quick shower, dry off, eat a muffin from Costco!! (Yeah you read that right buddy, the Dowse’s buy me Costco muffins and MILK!!!) Do you have any idea how hard it is to find good milk in Asia? I have tried to tell the dairy farmers here, you can NOT feed a cow RICE!! Cows need good stuff like grass and hay maybe a little oats, that will make some good milk! They don’t listen they still feed the poor things rice, Costco cows must not be rice cows because it is pretty good milk.
After my muffin and milk, I climb into bed set the alarm for 6:30 and say my prayers. To be honest half the time I fall asleep in the middle of them. I think Heavenly Father understands. Usually, I wake up the next morning and finish them.
BEEP BEEP BEEP! I am gonna throw my companions clock at the wall. Could anyone find a more annoying alarm clock? I doubt it. Just so you all know, I still hate mornings! Time to get up and do it all again.
Wash, rinse, and repeat!
Love ya,
Elder Craig Anderson
Taiwan Taichung Mission


1.Andy's Baptism, i can't remember if i sent it to you.
2. The before and after shots of the network that i rebuilt.
3. The typhoon got so bad that we couldn't pedal our bikes so we ran into this really nice restaurant and spent a lot of money. ($10 USD per person) At least we were safe. It was a little embarassing because we were dripping wet and there were little puddles every where we walked. A worker brought us some towels and followed us around to mop up behind us. I felt so bad, but at least i wasn't getting ripped apart by the typhoon.
4. Goofy picture of the network afterwards.
5. at the beach in kaohsiung. there is a giant ship in the background.
6. the final result.
7. It looked like a bunch of High School kids threw together this network in their Technology class.
8. a typically stop light NOT during rush hour.

Empty Nest and Spankins Sept 18, 2009

Hey all,
Today I decided to send you some “Peace.” Since I can’t light a bunch of Chinese lanterns and make them fly to America I just decided to send a picture. On the side of this lantern it says “The Peace Light.” I thought that was a neat thing to have written on the side. So here it is, your Peace Light. I hope it brings you peace this week. When I saw this lantern it made me think of St Matthew 5: 14-16
“14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
I know I have shared that scripture with you all before, but I thought this little lantern was pretty cool. I hope that it reminds you to let your light shine baby!! Hahahaha… go do some good stuff this week.
Well, I had a great battle this week with the network here at the office. I can hear you groaning how boring!!. No my friends, not boring at all! I thought it was quite fun. I ripped apart the old networking for the office and installed a brand new server. It looks great. Some of you might be wondering, what does it take to keep a Mission Office running. Well, we have 12 Computers, 2 network printers and a wireless router. Not to mention we have our own personal web server that I am setting up. Pretty sweet huh? I will send you some pics next week maybe.
Lately Mom and Dad have been emailing me telling me that they don’t know what to do with out Ali around. Well don’t forget that even after your kids have moved out that you aren’t done raising us! (I know that the correct term there would be rearing, but I think it sounds funny. Tell my English teacher I don’t care what she says rearing still sounds like something dad’s do when they get angry at their kids and they can’t find the belt to spank them with.
“Honey, I can’t find my belt, get my Rearer!”
“Come here you little brat I am gonna give you a rearing!”
”See look when kids are bad they get a rearing, how does your rear-end feel after that rearing?”
”You will think twice before you do that again won’t yeah?”
Anyways, I think that this whole pretending to be sad that all the kids are gone thing is all a front for their excitement to have a some time to relax. Yes, dad no more getting toilet papered by Ali’s friends on Friday night. Yes, mom you do not have to kick the Ali’s hoodlum friends out when it starts to get late. And yes no more random explosions near the house (Well at least not until December 22nd). It will be fun! Rest up now, plus you never know when it will be your turn to go on a mission!
Well, I didn’t get in any dog fights this week. I wasn’t attacked by any drunk men. I also was not hit by a car. It was a good week, a bit uneventful but good.

Elder Anderson

p.s. the second picture is my name in chinese. i wasn't sure if you all had ever seen it before.

Rabid Dog and the Great Invasion Sept 11, 2009

Wow! Lots and lots of letters!

Thanks for all the letters that many of you sent to me last week. It was neat to hear how everybody was doing. Thanks Dad for being the one that handed out paper and pens. I never thought you would be a "paper pusher" hahaha... okay another stupid joke I'm sorry. I am not really sure what being in Asia has done to my sense of humor. As I am sure you guessed humor over here is different. It's funny, but it is just different. Kind of like British humor. I know exactly what Dad is thinking. I hate British humor. My dad is not a big fan. Don't worry dad after hanging out with me for a while you will thing its funny!

So I hear somebody ran into one of my mission friends in Utah. Elder Richter wasn't my companion, but we went on exchanges several times. I hope he is doing good. Sounds like he hasn't quite adjusted though if he is still wearing Taiwan shirts around. I think that is funny that Grandma Elaine and Tom walked up to him and said hello in chinese. I bet he thought that was great!

This week was pretty normal! Fortunately Taiwan was not taking over by the Chinese. Fewwhh... we are safe for another week.

The Taiwanese are convinced that at any moment the Chinese are gonna hop in their row boats and row themselves over here and invade. Well it hasn't happened yet and if it did I am pretty sure the ships that the US has stationed between China and Taiwan would be more than obliged to come over and lend a hand.

So I am thinking that all my friends are basically home from their missions! When does Austin get back? I can't believe it.

Since I am in the Mission office, i have been thinking about starting a TV show. Called "The Office," I know I know, it sounds like a lame name but I think it could be big. ;)

We have started preaching in a new area. Last week we stopped in one are and started in this new area. It's downtown. some other missionaries will take over our other area. Me and Elder Li are so lost, Taichung is huge and we are in the downtown. Since we just started over there, we do not have any investigators, so we don't have any really cooling teaching stories this week.

OOOO, I almost forgot! I got in a fight with a dog! Yeah, it was crazy! In the middle of downtown right out front of our office building, there was this dog, tearing up our lawn and digging and stuff. So I ran outside and was like "Hey, you little punk get out of here?" Of course the dog only speaks Chinese, so I had to tell him in Chinese. He didn't seem to quite understand so finally I yelled at him in Taiwanese and then he knew that I meant business! He started barking and growling at me and even took a lung towards me. However, I am not a new missionary, I know how to make dogs the bravest of dogs wet there pants. So I very calming bent over and pretended to pick up a rock. I lifted my arm and cranked it back all the way like I was going to hurl it at him with all my might. His eyes got really big and I think he muttered some bad words in Taiwanese, and then he bolted! Fast little stinker, all that yapping for nothing, in the end he chickened out, funny thing is is that I didn't even have a rock in my hand. I love that trick, it never gets old! I think mom taught me that one.

Okay, that story was only partially true. He didn't swear in Taiwanese he swore in Chinese.

Love ya all,

Elder Anderson

Water Filters and Mike the American Sept 6, 2009

Well I guess I should apologize for not emailing on Saturday. It is a long story, but basically I fell asleep. We got busy working in the morning and I completely forgot that it was our day to rest! To me it just felt like a normal day. Being in the office is just like that, we usually don’t get a preparation day and if we do it is just a couple hours to take a breather. So I am sorry if you waited for my email and never got it.
Another busy busy week fighting Chinese cell phone companies. And by the way, no they do not speak English, its quite funny when they try though. It is also very frustrating because they try and take advantage of us because they think the church is rich, they don’t realize that the missionaries are the ones paying for it and that each missionary only has 400 USD a month to survive. Those little scam artists. Its okay we are slowly beating them into submission.
Things have started to slow down now that I have gotten settled in. Although I was in the office before it is a completely different experience here. Back in Kaohsiung, the senior missionary couple there did a lot more than the ones here, so I have to do a lot of extra stuff, which is one of the reasons we are always so busy. Plus President Hoer is always throwing on new projects and stuff. You are probably all wondering, what kind of projects could a mission president possibly come up with? You know what I wonder that a lot too, but sure enough he seems to find ones.
Recently I have been working on getting all the water filters for the entire mission figured out. If you drank the water that comes out of the tap over here, you would most likely turn into a werewolf or a vampire, if you were lucky. It’s pretty gross stuff! I guess when you put 23 million people on a little tiny island you can’t expect the water sanitation to be that great! Anyways, so all the missionary apartments all have these permanent water filter units installed. The filters in them need to be changed periodically. It used to be that missionaries would keep track and change the filters themselves, but we have found that missionaries often forget to swap filters, which isn’t good because we don’t want werewolf missionaries, although vampire missionaries could beneficial because then we could just bite people, and they would turn into a Mormon missionary vampires. But for now we are just going to stick to our normal way or preaching the gospel, I will put in a suggestion though that in the future we could consider upgrading all our missionaries to vampire status.
That project has been going really well, we are getting all the schedules synchronized and organizing the mass amounts of replacement filters that were previously stored at every missionary’s house. Now we are storing all the filters at my house! I have to swim though filters to find my stuff in the mornings . Its okay, though, if it floods again I won’t have to worry about finding drinking water, I can just open up my doors and windows, let all the water in and use the replacement filters as straws.
Apart from the experiences listed above we had some great proselyting experiences. I ran into this guy from Idaho, he was pretty nice guy, his girlfriend who was also from Idaho was not a nice guy. She was a mean girl! I talked to him for a couple minutes and he was great, he was interested and was like “Yeah, okay, I will meet with you.” So I set up a time and then his girlfriend came out to get on the scooter with him and she was not cool. I should have told her to go back inside and let the big boys talk. Just before he was about to give me his cell phone number she hopped on the scooter and was like, “Oh we are not interested.” And I was like “No, actually he is.” I can’t stand it when people try and talk for other people, it happens all the time. Usually with couples, the husband will be really cool and then the wife is terrible. Sometimes I on the street, I will politely tell the wives that I am speaking with their husbands not them. If you do it politely in Chinese it is actually not rude at all. Anyways, I was so made at this Idaho girl, I love teaching Americans, I am sure you remember Robert the Jewish guy. He was a blast to teach! By the way he is doing good and his 2 sons were baptized 3 weeks after I left.
Mike, this guy from Idaho, was like, “Well she will get mad at me if I meet with you.” So I asked her “Hey, kaylee(I can’t remember her name now, I think my mind subconsciously wiped it from my memory) will you get mad at Mike if he comes to church?” Finally, she was like “No I guess not.” And then she started to be nice. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and our purpose here on this earth. I told them “Even if you don’t have interest in what we share you can at least come and understand what we are all about. Heck, at least you will have a cool story to share with your friends.” They laughed and agreed that their friends would think that them meeting with the Mormon missionaries would be a quite intriguing story. Sad part of the story though is that since they just got here to teach english, they don’t have cell phones yet and they didn’t want to give me their bosses number because they thought it might get them in trouble if the missionaries called him. They also don’t know where they will be moving either. I gave them my cell number and they took it, he said he would call. I sure hope they call, but the interesting thing is that people very rarely will take the initiative to get in touch with us. The few that do are usually really really really ready for the gospel, or crazy and want to talk to the handsome Americans. I hope that Mike calls!!
On the street occasionally people will say to us “Why do you go preach, everybody already knows! Leave us alone!” If everybody already knew then we would not have over 1500 baptisms a year in our mission alone mostly from street contacts. People need somebody else to take the initiative for them. Even though a lot of people are interested they would never go out and look for the missionaries. As a matter of fact, I have talked with well over a hundred people on the street that were like, “I am so glad that you stopped to talk to me, I have always wanted to meet with you guys, but I was to shy to wave you down.”
Anyways, I think the moral of the story is that, despite the fact that occasionally somebody will get angry with us for contacting them on the street, it is worth it when we truly find someone who has been prepared by the Lord for us to find. We are not confrontational usually ;), so I think it is very interesting when people start yelling at us before we have even finished our “hello, how are you?” sentence. It is fun though, I have learned that there is nothing better to do but smile as wide as you can. Although, smiling wider might make the person that is yelling at you angrier, it makes the bystanders realize that we are just nice young men trying to share the truth about God.
That reminds me of onetime when I was in Kaohsiung, I pulled up to talk to this man and right of the bat he started swearing and yelling at me in Taiwanese. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you see it, I speak enough Taiwanese to know exactly what he was saying. He made himself look like a fool, in the end though a lady that had pulled up behind us watched the whole thing. She watched as this man attempted to spit on me, don’t worry I dodged it, and then afterwards she actually contacted us and was like hey, where is your church? I want my sons to go. She even offered to buy my companion a new basket for his bicycle because his was all broken up. I’m not really headed anywhere with this, just sharing some random missionary experiences.
Elder Anderson