Thursday, November 10, 2011

How much does Heavenly Father love us? pt. 1

I was thinking the other night about the incredible proof of Heavenly Fathers love for us - collectively as His children, but also individually and personally. If there is one thing that I know - it is that I am a daughter of God and He loves me. My thoughts have molded into 2 different posts. Here is number 1: a reminder.

We learned in this last General Conference from President Uchtdorf (pictured below) about the truth that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us and He loves us. If I could - I would force every one of you to click this link right -> here and watch this talk - just to soak it up.

President Uchtdorf reminded us: "wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.

Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are the daughters of His kingdom.

The Psalmist wrote:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? …
“For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psalms 8:3-5)

God loves you because you are His child. He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes.

He also urged us to "always remember—you matter to Him!" (Talks found here and here)

If there is just one thing that I could drill into anybody's head today it is this - you are a child of God. You are literally His child and He loves you. He will never stop loving you. No matter your circumstance. No matter anything you may have done in your life. He. loves. you.

Don't believe me? Ask Him.
Just ask. He will answer you. You are His dear child that He has been anxious to hear from.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Testifying Tuesday: Sister Kahrs Too Can Testify

Hi! I am Sister Kahrs!
(Sister Kahrs: full-time missionary from Las Vegas can be found writing over HERE)

Hello to all that read Hermana Anderson's blog! Isn't she amazing!?

I am so grateful to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It has been such a great strength for me in my life. It has brought a deeper understanding and relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This book, this sacred book, testifies of Him and who He is and how much He loves us. This is another testament of Him. I have felt that so much in my life. As I have gone through trials and struggles in my life I have turned to prayer and The Book of Mormon, especially as a missionary.

Our Heavenly Father is aware of all our struggles and He gives us the Book of Mormon to help us in those struggles. There was one time I was doubting my testimony of God and knowing if he was really there. So I decided to put all that I have been taught to the test. Then one day, not right away, I came across the scripture in Alma 30:44 - It says that all things denote there is a God. When I read that I just knew that He was there just by looking around me.

I know that He lives and loves us and gives us the Book of Mormon to help bring us joy. I have seen that in my life and I know that all men everywhere can as well when they read and pray about it. The Book of Mormon is how I know that there is a prophet on the earth and that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I will never wash my right hand again...

There are no concrete rules and guidelines for the creation of a persons "bucket list"
(sidenote:  Bucket List = a list of items a person dreams of accomplishing or experiencing before they "kick the bucket")
(2nd sidenote: Kick the Bucket = dying)

I, too, have created a bucket list in my life. Mine is several pages long and contains such dreams such as "ride in a hot air balloon" and "finish an entire Chipotle burrito" and "finish an entire Chipotle burrito while riding in a hot air balloon"

There are 3 people that have made it onto my extremely exclusive Bucket List - 3 people that I simply must meet before I die.
2 of them will be kept secret right now but the THIRD, and possibly most important (as it is the only female) is Sister Julie B Beck:

A couple weeks ago I was sitting with my past and now far away companion, Hermana Rupp, after planning and we were discussing my love, nay obsession, with this woman.

I told her about how back home my family wouldn't flinch when I would say things such as "I was hanging out with Jules today and she taught me this awesome thing" and proceed to share something that I heard learned from studying one of Sister Beck's talks. (I like to refer to her as if we are great friends, because I feel that we are with all that she has helped me understand about myself, the divine role of womanhood, and the world around me. Although the appropriateness of nicknaming dear Sister Beck in the comfort of my family dinner table is still up for argument)
I really do feel like she is one of my dearest friends, somebody I can rely on to guide me in my life. She has shaped my perspective and been the instrument of me feeling the spirit many times.

Hermana Rupp and I continued to talk about our love for this woman and I ended the conversation with a loud "ONE DAY I will meet her. I just have to"

Fast forward to this morning. The same Hermana Rupp is standing to my right and I am looking into the eyes of this dear friend of mine. I barely muster a "good morning, Sister Beck" as she shakes my right hand.

As we listened to her speak this morning I marveled at her Christ-like manner in wishing to care and nurture to "the one". She wished to focus on each of us individually. It hit me yet again that this woman is a woman from God - a defender of the family - and I remembered yet again the kind of woman I wish to become.

My favorite talk from Sister Beck can be found here: Teaching the Doctrine of the Family

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Favorite Weekend

My top 3 weekends include:
1. the first weekend in April
2. the first weekend in October
3. if Christmas is on a weekend

Why? Four words:

Living Prophets and Apostles.

Every 6 months The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has what we call General Conference.
General Conference is when all members of the church world-wide (it is broadcast in 92 different languages) come together to listen to the prophet and the apostles teach us the word of God.


You can watch conference live from your computer HERE

Sessions broadcast:
Saturday at 10am (MST) and 12pm (MST) with Priesthood Session at 6pm (MST)
Sunday at 10am (MST) and 12pm (MST)

Make a video of your conference experience HERE

Have conference activities for your children (or yourselves) HERE

We are blessed to have the knowledge and comfort that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever - that He guides us, His children, through a living prophet. We have the amazing opportunity this weekend to hear from our dear prophet, Thomas S Monson, as well as the other apostles. (More information about the organization of the church can be found HERE)

I think of the thousands of people that gave up great sacrifices, even their whole lives, to be able to hear a prophet of the Lord speak. I dare say that I would do the same to hear these great men of God instruct us on how we can become more Christ-like, what Heavenly Father wishes to tells us, and what we need to do to prepare for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I stand in awe at the great love and goodness of our God, and the great opportunity that we have to hear His words this weekend. I invite all - just as Philip invited Nathanael to "come and see" (John 1:46) for yourselves.

An invitation and a promise:
Over here in good old Vacaville we have been invited to watch conference with a question in mind -a question that our soul hungers for the answer to. As we prayerfully watch conference - with a pen in hand - I can promise that that question will be answered, either through the very words that are spoken, a hymn that is sung, a prayer that is said, but most importantly from a feeling that is felt and a thought that is had. With pen in hand, demonstrating your willingness to be instructed by the Holy Ghost, you will receive the direction and revelation that you seek. I make that promise. I apply that promise to myself this weekend.
Let us not be casual listeners to the servants of the Lord - but instead let us be determined to act in accordance with the very things we are instructed in personally, through the thoughts and feelings given to us in this blessed time.

Get out your pen and paper, kids. It's time for family counsel. What is it that your Heavenly Father wishes to tell you, His child, today?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Testifying Tuesday: Dad Too Can Testify

Testifying Tuesday is officially part of the blog. Every Tuesday I will post a different person's testimony of The Book of Mormon - or how they came to know that The Book of Mormon is a true word of God.

I thought I would start out with the man that has influenced my life the most - my dad

Douglas Taylor Anderson
My dad has been a quiet example to me all of my life. He is one of the most Christ-like people that I know and he works hard as a disciple of Jesus Christ without any self-promotion. I remember as a teenager sometimes waking up early to finish some homework, or getting up in the night to get some water, or maybe just being up WAY too late and seeing my dad sitting at the table at 4:30am studying his scriptures. I remember walking by his room and seeing him kneeling beside his bed in humble prayer. I remember how every. single. night. we would have family scripture study and family prayer. No matter what - he made sure that we had it. The very few times he was out of town - I think he called us to make sure we had had prayer and scripture study that night. Mostly, I remember seeing my dad dropping whatever he was doing and leaving the house in a shirt and tie, not even uttering a complaint or a sigh, to go and serve some other lamb of the fold. Seeing the importance of the gospel in his life - it easily became the main focus of my life. He is faithful, humble, and obedient - or in other words, he is powerful. His example has shaped my desires - which have shaped who I have become. I asked him to share his testimony of The Book of Mormon. The testimony that changed the life of his children - and therefore the lives of those we meet.

Dad Too Can Testify:
      I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 52 years.   During those years I have lived in three different countries, five different states and earned two bachelor degrees and one DDS.  I have had many experiences including marrying and raising four children and working as a general dentist in suburban Chicago.   I have enjoyed many good things in life, particularly the love and warmth of good family and many friends. 
       Recently I was feeling that I wanted to know more clearly and succinctly truths regarding my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I felt that I wanted to know more concisely Heavenly Father’s will concerning me.  I also wanted to feel stronger spiritually.  I wanted to feel greater love towards others and a greater ability to resist temptation.  I wanted to have a purer heart and happier mind.  I wished for a clearer answer to my prayers and a greater closeness to my Heavenly Father.  I wanted to know with greater assurance that God knew who I was and heard and answered my prayers.  I wanted greater faith and increased ability to lead my family and to do well in my career.   I wanted greater peace of mind and peace of conscience. 
This was quite a list of desires and goals.
      I had heard that someone had read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end once a month for a year with a very positive spiritual result.
      In order to find these spiritual gifts I decided to read the Book of Mormon with great intent.  I had first read the Book of Mormon from beginning to end when I was 18 years old.  Since that time I have read it from beginning to end about once every three or four years, for a total of about 10 to 12 times.  
This time I read the Book of Mormon once a month for each of three consecutive months.    I would get up early in the morning and read 18 pages before I started the day.   Once I finished the book I would start again.
     The results for me were very good.  I allowed the good feelings and thoughts that I had as I read to change my attitudes and character.  With time I realized that my spiritual goals were being fulfilled.  It was a gradual benefit but a benefit nonetheless.  I was grateful for the gradual changes that took place in my character.  Even though others may not have noticed any positive changes in my character, I did.  I can say for me the spiritual power of studying the Book of Mormon is immense.  I love the deep drinks of spiritual living waters if gives to my soul, because the book speaks of Jesus Christ.  The book teaches of Jesus Christ and explains Him to my soul in such a way that I am motivated to be a better person.
The Book of Mormon is of God and teaches of Jesus Christ.  It is a true book of Holy Scripture. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How was your spiritual jog this morning?

I think there is a universal experience that all people have in common...

That moment when you are driving in your car somewhere and you see somebody going for a run down the street.
and all of a sudden you feel super bad that you are driving your car.

Even if you try and fight it, it seems like there is an automatic emotional response of "oh man. I should go for a run"
We even go so far as to justify in our heads "okay I am DEFINITELY going on a run tomorrow"

I was thinking today about how much influence one person running outside has on the people that he or she passes. Think about how many cars go by that one person running and how many people in those cars are forced to assess, in some way or another, the way their health is going.
Whether we admit it or not, I think most of us do a sort of self-evaluation upon seeing these runners.

And how awesome that maybe that one person running this morning - wakes up another 2 people to go on a run later that week, or to not get some more ice cream at the store that day.

I was thinking about that as we were walking down the street yesterday.
As a missionary, it seems that EVERY car that passes us has some sort of reaction. Whether it is positive, negative or a simple gawking stare. Sometimes as missionaries, I think we feel that we aren't doing enough to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But then I thought about the influence of a runner. Just like those runners, we make a statement we make a statement when we walk down the street. Whether people are regularly working out spiritually or not - in that moment when their glance catches us, they know it. And hopefully there reaction is "I'm going to do a better spiritual jog tomorrow by studying my scriptures a little more seriously or praying with a softer heart or helping that neighbor Ive been thinking about all day" as they assess how they are doing spiritually.

And hopefully people start planning the next time they will be going to church, or talking to our Heavenly Father.

So as this post runs past you today - How was YOUR spiritual jog this morning?

Did you stretch beforehand by praying to your Heavenly Father for the spirit to guide you? Or did you start without even warming up? Did you jog with a friend? Did you finish your jog and ruin it by eating a whole plate of brownies (falling back into your favorite sin, not applying what you learned, not progressing)?
If it has been a while since your last spiritual jog - you might be worried about getting sore. It's okay. The pain of returning is nothing compared to the relief and joy you will feel.

If anybody needs suggestions on a good spiritual jog, let me know - I have some favorite routes that still take my breath away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

If you watch one thing on this blog, you should probably watch this...

2 missionaries and now dear friends, Elder Volavola and Elder Harrison, have both taught me a lot while I have served with them here in California. They are examples to me of great faith and they have been gracious enough to share their experiences here on the mission with others through this amazing video.
I know that our Heavenly Father's watchful care is powerful, loving, and very real.

They know it too. Just watch...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Power of the Holy Ghost

Short simple thought today:

I turned 5 in the mission today - meaning that I have been out for 5 months. This means for the last 5 months I have been trying to learn and progress to be fluent in Spanish.
I am now serving with an English-speaking companion and the challenges of the Spanish language seem to taunting me and tempting me to doubt. It may be something difficult - to teach and communicate with people in a language that we have very little experience in.

But we go out anyway. And we believe anyway. And we do it anyway.
by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Sometimes we enter a house and the language barrier can feel like a big pile of bricks - and that us trying to communicate is like trying to stick little written messages through the cracks or move these heavy bricks one at a time or even try to just peak around and see eye to eye.
But then we start teaching, and we start talking about eternal truths that our Heavenly Father has taught us and the Holy Ghost testifies in a way that these big awkward intrusive stones dissolve. For you see, the communication of the Holy Ghost doesnt submit to any barriers.
Truth is truth in any language. And when truth is proclaimed, the Holy Ghost attends.

I said that the Holy Ghost doesnt submit to any barriers and I stand by that - but there are some certain barriers that we fix within ourselves that deflect the Spirit from us.
I, of course, speak of sin.
As we sin, as we make wrong choices and seperate ourselves from the Lord, we can set up our own barriers with the Holy Ghost so that we can not feel its simple but powerful influence.
Many times, I believe that our ability to feel the Spirit is in direct relation to how much we desire to feel it.
And that desire, when strong enough, will drive us to make right choices in order to receive more light and truth from our loving Heavenly Father.

For all those who desire to feel of the testifying power of the Holy Ghost - will feel it.
Sometimes that desire requires the action of repentance.
Whatever action it takes, I am willing to do it to feel of that powerful influence in my life, to be the witness of miracles, and the receiver of truth.

For those seekers of intelligence and truth, it seems to me the only logical thing to pursue is how to have the Holy Ghost as a more constant companion in your life.
For those seekers of comfort and peace, it seems to me that the logical thing is to seek for ways to have the Holy Ghost be a more consistent power day by day.
For those seekers of progression and salvation, it seems to me that the logical thing is to take the necessary steps to invite the Holy Ghost to be more present in every moment.

Faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost - to me - just seems like the only logical thing to do.
For I would do anything to continue to have the Holy Ghost with me - as I witness that it breaks down impossible tasks and barriers day after day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I found my soul sister on Mormon Messages...

I can't even explain how much I wish I had seen this when I was in high school.
In this video a girl named Brooke describes her conviction to keep her standards as tall as she is.
I feel like Im looking at a home video or something. I can really identify with her. This is what growing up was all about for me...

Enjoy :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Title of my Blog...

...comes from a song written by President James E. Faust called "This is the Christ":

They heard His voice, a voice so mild;
It pierced them through and made their souls to quake;
They saw Him come, a man in white,
The Savior who had suffered for their sake.

They felt the wounds in hands and side,
And each could testify; This is the Christ;

This is the Christ, the holy Son of God,
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind.
This is the Christ, the healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with love divine.

I read His words, the words He prayed
While bearing sorrow in Gethsemane;
I feel His love, the price He paid.
How many drops of blood were spilled for me?

With saints of old in joyful cry
I too can testify; This is the Christ;
This is the Christ, the holy Son of God,
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind.
This is the Christ, the healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with purest love divine

When listening to this song I have always been affected by how true that statement is to me. I feel that I could stand up with the same conviction as those who had the opportunity to feel the prints in the Savior's hands and proclaim "This is the Christ". I do not need to see Him physically face to face to know that He is the Savior of the world.

That unshakable conviction for me has come through reading The Book of Mormon. In the first page of The Book of Mormon it states that its purpose is for "the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ". I'm not sure I've read a book that has realized its purpose in such an effective way.

As I think about the coming forth of the translation of The Book of Mormon - another testament of Jesus Christ, another affirmation of our Heavenly Father's watchful care, a testimony of His continuing revelation to a world that is full of such confusion and turmoil - I see it standing up with The Bible and proclaiming "I too can testify; This is the Christ". With The Book of Mormon's hand of support and courage to stand up next to The Bible and proclaim lost truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it seems that the Bible, worn from the hands of men desperately trying to disprove another set of hands holding the same Bible, would give a sigh of relief and with a grateful heart, turn to The Book of Mormon for assistance in clearing things up and in sustaining it.

^ picture drawn by Elder Adam Sherrow

Surely all who love The Bible can celebrate in the coming forth of The Book of Mormon. Surely all who have held fast to the truth that God is not a God of confusion, but a loving Heavenly Father can revel in the sweetness of another testament that clarifies the fullness of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and testifies of Our Father's continued watchful care.

This blog is for me to proclaim that I too can testify of Christ...and that it is through The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that I am able to do it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why I am a Missionary

When contemplating my first post I kept thinking about the letter I wrote before I left for my mission. It gives greater clarity into what it is that I do as a missionary and why I, personally, have chosen to dedicate 18 months of my life to this great work...
 19 year old boys that are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) are expected to serve a full-time mission for 2 years. Girls do not have the same obligation but are still given the opportunity to serve at the age of 21. I feel as if I have been waiting for my 21st birthday forever. The desire to serve a mission fills my entire being - it feels as if it reaches through every vein even to the tip of each toe. I can not look at all the blessings of my life, the overwhelming truth of the atonement, the relationship that I have with my Heavenly Father, and the blessings that come through my Savior Jesus Christ and sit still knowing that there is work to be done. After everything the Lord has done for me, how can I not give 18months of my life completely to Him?

When I know that there are people in the world that do not understand that they are children of God, that Jesus Christ suffered and died that they might be redeemed, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored once again to this earth, that they can kneel down and pray to their Heavenly Father knowing that He loves and understands them - or in other words that there are people that do not understand who they truly are, why they are here, and where they are going - or in other words that there are people that do not feel truly happy and truly peaceful - I must get up and help them find the peace and happiness that they seek. I must help Heavenly Father's children return to Him. I must help in the cause of Christ. So I guess my one sentence answer to this loaded question would be - I am serving a mission because of the deep love and gratitude I have for my Savior, and the love and concern that I feel for Heavenly Father's children. I recognize that the Lord has a need for service in His work. I prepare myself, pack my suitcase, and stand before Him; Here am I, send me.

I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer - that the atonement is real and makes it possible for us to continue in our quest to be more like Him. I know that I am a daughter of God. That my Heavenly Father knows and loves me - that He hears and answers prayers. I know that true and lasting happiness comes from living in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ - the message of Christ, the message I bring is a message of happiness and a message of family. I am so grateful for the truths that I know through the assurance and peace of the Holy Ghost - that Heavenly Father provided a plan for us to be happy and to be with our families for eternity. He provided a Savior for us as a way to return to Him. I wish I had the words to express my love and gratitude for all of these truths. I believe in a God that loves - and therefore a God that continues to speak. He has not left us to wander on our own - He continues to speak to us this day through latter-day prophets. I know with my whole heart and soul that Christ has restored His gospel yet again on the earth through His prophet Joseph Smith and blessed us with another testament of Him through The Book of Mormon. Studying The Book of Mormon alongside The Bible, and striving to live a Christ-like life has helped me come to know Him in a way that is so personal and sacred to me. I challenge you all to assess the role of Christ in your life and work to strengthen your discipleship. I challenge you to get down on your knees and talk with your Heavenly Father and feel of His concern and love for you. I challenge you to work harder to be the person the Lord needs you to be. I, too, take this challenge.

I know all of these things to be true and that is why I go. I work to bring the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who seek joy and peace. I strive to aid Christ in His mission to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I stand as a witness of the healing powers of the atonement. I know that He lives.

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:
                                 but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)