Monday, December 31, 2012

Letter #9 (after Christmas)

 I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! AND A HAPPY
 NEW YEAR!!! What is everyone's plans? Dad said they are at the birds? 
 I hope you guys are having a good time. Didn't we spend New Years at the
 Birds last year?? We sang and played games on the PlayStation. I think 
 that was fun!!!! This New Year is going to be different for me ~ That is for sure!
 First of all, we have to be home early because they don't want us out and on 
 the rode tonight. Thankfully we have a dinner appointment tonight so we won't
 be alone :D We are eating with the Senior Missionaries. They are so sweet! I
 love Senior Couples!!! They always watch over us, and even check in on us 
 every once in a while.

 So... I LOVED "skyping" with you guys! It was so nice to get to see everyone!
 I just wish it could have been longer, but that always my wish. I never get
 to talk, write, or see you guys enough. I was very pleased with myself
 that I was not crying the whole time. I was so thankful for that! I had been
 praying that I would not be a "hot mess"on skype... just crying the whole
 time. I really wanted to be able to enjoy the time I got with you. The only bad
 thing was having to say goodbye. I have to keep telling myself that it is not
 goodbye; it is see you soon! :) I was so thankful for the Seamon Family for
 having us over and letting us use their computer. Sister Seamon was so
 helpful! She was there for me after I had to hang up and just gave
 me and big hug and started talking with me and taking my mind off of having 
 to say goodbye! She reminded me that it is only 5 FAST SUNDAY'S until I 
 get to talk with you again. She said when her children were on missions she
 would count down the fast Sunday's. She wouldn't count the days, instead 
 she count fast Sundays. She would tell herself  "I'll see my son in 12 more fast 
 Sunday's." And that really helped her. Oh, and I found out I can Skype home
 for Mother's Day!! :) As long as that what you want to do Mommy?

 So funny Story... Leading up to Christmas I had been praying and praying that
 I wouldn't get to home sick after seeing everyone on Skype. I guess I should
 have been praying that I just wouldn't get sick in general, because the
 day after Christmas I got really really sick! I caught some bug that
 was going around the ward. I woke up and my stomach was hurting so
 bad! I felt like I had to throw up but nothing was coming out :(  The
 member's house that we were able to stay at was just getting over being sick.
 I think that is were I got it, but it was really hard. I hate being sick
 on a mission!!! I felt so bad. I was trying to rest and feel better,
 but then I felt SO guilty because I did not want to be at home lying in bed!!
 I wanted being out visiting and teaching the people... So my companion told
 me to call Sister Summerhay's. That really helped; she helped me not
 feel so bad about taking the rest that my body needed. I still felt like there
 was 2 appointments we should got to. So I made myself get out of bed
 for a couple of appointments that I felt like we couldn't cancel.  our plan
 was to cancel all but 2 of our appointments. So by the time we left we
 were running a little late and the people we were to meet with were not home :(
 I was so upset that I had made myself get out of bed and was really trying to
 work and there were not even home. However, looking back at it; the Lord was
 really watching over us. He know I would have gone and worked even if
 i was not feeling well; and that I would have felt so bad if I got
 someone else sick. We ended up leaving notes at the home. That situation
 really opened my eyes to how great the Lord is at planning. He
 has numberless back up plans for us. The Lord has a plan and he is the only
 perfect planner. He puts the right people in your path when the time is just
 right. I am so thankful for that! He is watching over each and
 every one of us and has a plan for all of us. I mean Christmas Day we
 were on bike and if i would have got sick then I would not have been
 able to go on any visits. I would have had to stay at the apartment all
 day long. He waited until we had the car and I was more able to do
 more. I did not really have had the energy to even leave the house, but because
 we had the car that day I was able to still do a little. It really showed me
 that he never gives us more that what we can handle. I hope I'm
 explaining that right...? And that I made sense...? It might just make sense
 in my head....

 So this week was tough just because I wasn't feeling well. I'm honestly
 just starting to feel back to normal. Being sick really showed me how we
 can be strengthened from our Savior. How through him we can do all things.

 I love you guys so much! I was so thankful that I was able to talk
 with you also. I am so thankful that I have a family that supports me!
 I know that not all missionaries have that. I am thankful for all of you!
 And all you do! I fell so bad I didn't think that I thanked everyone
 for all my Christmas cards and packages that I received. I feel so blessed!
 :) Thank You Mommy and Daddy! I got all I wanted and more for
 Christmas!!!! I love my new scriptures (and am thankful for how light
 there are! My back is thankful too :) Thank You for all the treats
 mommy!!! I still haven't eaten them all  (Thank You Preston for helping
 make them too :) Thank You Daddy for my "Give Blood" t-shirt :D 
 I think of you every time I put it on. I am glad you didn't forget that tradition!
 I am thankful for all the gift cards too...  I will be set for a while, and my 
 favorite candy and shampoo! Oh and all the other things you sent! Most of all
 I am thankful for having you as a family!! Thanks for the love and support I really
 feel  it from all of you! I am also glad that I was able to spend a little time
 and got to see everyone. That was the best part of my Christmas!!!

 Sister Sharon Andersen

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas SKYPE!!

Our Family was able to SKYPE with Sister Andersen Christmas Morning!!
And when I say our family I mean EVERYONE!!
Dad found a Group Skype Free week Trial that we were all able to sign up on.
We had 5 different people to set up!

~Mom, Dad, Preston and Crystal were online at home in Sacramento, California.
~The Ray Family was online in Meridian, Idaho.
~The Richardson Family was online in Caldwell, Idaho.
~We (the Bird Family) were online in Clovis, California.
~And Sharon was online in Naples, Florida at the Seamon's House.

We started early to make sure everyone was able to get online and signed up. We had to wait a little while for Sharon to try to call us, but that was not a big deal because it was Christmas and we were all able to show and tell about what we had gotten!

Here are some pictures I took while we were talking...
 Andersen Family, Richardson Family, Sister Sharon Andersen, Ray Family and at the bottom ME!
 Sharon Talking...
 and talking...
 and TALKING!!
 Better Picture of us all listening to her talk!

It was hard to hear at times because of the background noises (ie: Children's Christmas Presents) at all the houses, so I sent my kids in the other room and just sat and tried to enjoy seeing my sister on Christmas. This really was my favorite part of Christmas!!
There were some tears shed, but not many! It was a GREAT time had by all!
We LOVE YOU Sister Andersen!!
We hope you all had a WONDERFUL Christmas just like we did; able to Celebrate with Family!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Letter #8

(Short Letter ~ I hope it makes sense... she kinda abbreviated the question's dad asked... I highlighted what I thought was questions in Red.)

Question's from dad's letter:
Elder Maxfield- Yeah, I kinda remember him?
You always said he was such a hard worker; and seemed to really like him?
Got along with Preston...yeah. We had 3 or 4 elders come over for Christmas last year.
The bird drove down Christmas Day I think? Daddy don't you remember we went shopping and got them little stocking and filled them with candy, little games, and house hold stuff. :)

2 baptisms!!! Thats awesome. Who got baptized?

I guess you had transfers last week?
Did you & your companion stay together for another 6 weeks?
Yeah they have a new program called the "12 Week Program". I think they started it about a year or so ago. So the first 12 weeks you stay with your trainer and go over everything you
learn at the MTC. Every week you have a new thing that your studying. It is intended to help the missionaries feel more prepared. Not just throwing them in the deep end!!! lol .... So were together for at least another 6 weeks. :(

Exciting news- We had a "Sisters Confernce", where we were updated on all the sister missionary coming in. (since the age drop; this transfer there are 4 Spanish Sisters coming in) In January there will be 18 English Sister coming in!!!! Only 4 Sister's will be going home. There is only 7 English areas for the Sisters in the whole Tampa Florida Mission. Which means I'll be training next tranfer!! Crazy right??? I'm a little worried about it.There is so much I don't know and I'll be training someone. I mean my trainer has been out a year and I'm the first person that she has trained. I'm a little worried about it; not going to lie. So I've been asking a ton of questions and trying to learn as much as I can; so I can be a good trainer. Daddy how many people did you train on your mission?

Did you get at least 1 Christmas card? I sent one to you and then we sent you the family one... I got a lot of cards and packages!!! I got 3 packages just from mom! :) I opened the one with my charger in it. Yes, mom you sent all the right stuff Thank You!!!! I think I got it on Tue. or Wed.? Then I got two that said don't open until Christmas. I didn't open either of them becuase they said to wait until Christmas. I also got a package from Melissa and without thinking I opened it (it didn't say anything on the box) Sorry Melissa!!! Thank you I love it!!! I listened to part of the tape and than thought maybe I should wait till Christams. Hopefully that OK? Don't be mad. :) Than I got another package from CARLY!!!!!

Love you,
Sister Andersen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter #7

My dad found her letter in his e-mail that she thought did not send... glad we got it!
Lots of Thank Yous and good stories!!

hello family!!!

no letter this week? from mom or dad??? .... i hope everything
is alright; i'm a little worried ??? :(  i got an email from Melissa :)
...and i finally heard from Preston :D glad to hear from you!! i was
getting a little worried. but i guess school is keeping you busy and
out of trouble?? i hope so; once you get a stamp, please send me a
letter; i want to hear more details about what's going on :) i LOVE AND
MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!!  Preston, i'll try to write you today; but no
promises because i still haven't finished Tianni's letter that i started
last week :o but i'll get one off before next p-day.

thank you for all the letters and cards!!!! thank you Grandma Smith!!!
for my package!!! my stocking is the only Christmas thing we have up
in the apartment right now. wait--no, mom send me a little manger :) so
yes, mom, i got your package!!! thank you so much!!! i got it Tuesday i
think? and yes you sent everything so i can now charge my camera; this
week i'll really try to take more pictures to send you guys :) so next
letter i'll send a couple in my email or i'll send my flash drive

so this has been a VERY VERY LONG week! its been a total roller
coaster. it had its total ups and downs!! Tuesday was a very good day. we
found a new investigator! from tracting :O  it was such a cool
experience; we were going through finding ideas in preach my gospel
because were only really teaching 1 person right now. only one
progressing investigator -- who we're trying to meet with 3-4 times a
week. and then we have 2 or 3 people that we're teaching only once a
week. (so any or all returned missionaries, i need advice! best ways to
find people to teach? where? how? just ideas? what worked for them?
your mission? your area? please!!!)  we need more people to teach. but
anyways we got an idea to ask our bishop about where we should go
tracting. and we're really working on gaining members' and bishop's trust
so we asked him. and he gave us a couple we went to the
places where he suggested and prayed about what street we should go
tracting on. and we got guided to this very "farmlike" area with a ton of
space in between houses. we had already done 6-9 houses with no luck.
people were either not interested or not home until we hit the last
house of the street and it was a tiny house. my companion and I
thought it might even be an in-law house. you know what i mean? and we
thought maybe we should go; but we both had the feeling we should at
least try and it was such a cool experience. we were able to get talking
and she invited us in and we taught the first lesson and she committed
to be baptized on the 22 of Dec!!!! but sadly we had to hand her over
to some other elders in our district because she is 19 and they are over the
young single adults of our area. so that was really hard finding
someone and connecting with them and having to give her to someone
else :( but it was really an eye opening experience about how the Lord
prepares his children. that really was the highlight of the week. it
was such a high for both me and my companion the rest of the week was
really really hard. full of misses and canceled appointments :( and
wasted time not knowing where we were needed. and, oh my, Friday was the
worst!!! first of all we weren't able to meet with our investigator Mary;
liked we planned to. my companion and i were really upset about that :(
and then to top it off, i FELL OFF MY BIKE. messed up my knee pretty
bad :( and i'm still scratched up and bruised! and my skirt just keeps
getting caught in my bike. i was so upset and frustrated we just ended
up walking our bikes home. and Saturday we were on bikes and it started to
rain!!! oh my, you got to watch what you wish for. last letter, i think
i said i wished it would rain here and it did. biking in the rain is not
so fun. so now i only want it to rain when we're in the car :) and
sadly i can't wear my rain coat on my bike because i have to wear my
backpack under my jacket and it didn't work really well. luckily, the
sister before me left her jacket. so that's what i've been using as a
zip up windbreaker. if you could keep a look out for something like
that? that would be something that would be helpful? it has to be big
enough for my backpack under...maybe for Christmas or my birthday??
i'm making due with what i have right now and am ok; but it's a little
small on me?? and i sent Crystal a letter with some ideas of stuff i
need; so you'll have to ask her all i said because i can't really remember
it all but i wanted to ask if you could possibly send me my gps? if
you guys aren't using it?? Because we don't get one for this area?? and
you know me with directions. so if you could send that with my
Christmas stuff that would be great :) i'm out of time. so i'll write
you a letter if i think of anything else.

COMING;THEY'RE WHAT KEEP ME GOING and please tell Carly to write; i'm
getting a little worried.

Sister Sharon Andersen

E-Mail from Member in Florida ~

Sharon got booted off the computer before your entire letter printed out, and so she was unable to finish reading it. She's also not sure her email to you was sent, because of the computer problems.
Will you print out your email and mail it to her?
She's such a sweet girl and is so disappointed to have missed the window. I live nearby and bring them out for Pday activities sometimes. This is the only way we could figure to let you know what happened.
Lisa Hill

We are not sure if we will get a letter from her via e-mail this week... keep looking for an update!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Letter # 6

Family ~
It sounds like you and mom really enjoyed having Katelyn over :) and that
she kept mom REALLY busy lol.  i guess everyone worried about mom
being all alone with no kids in the house... that she won't know what to
do with her self. lol. how is it, mom? having no kids?.... but i guess
Preston will be coming home soon right? so enjoy it when you can!! i
haven't heard from him yet (can you please send him my address and
ask him to write, i want to know how he doing) :(  what's the scoop on
him? how's school going? are finals soon? when is his semester over?
Melissa said something about him coming home the 15th i thought? i asked
Melissa too; but i just wanted to remind you to keep me informed on
when he puts in his papers and please record and sent it to me :D

can't believe Sister Alconcel is having her baby already? but i
guess now that i think about it she was pretty big when i left lol. so
you'll have to let me know when she has the baby. and please give Evie
hug and kisses from me :) and everyone is welcome to sleeping in my
room (i don't understand it either? why everyone likes my room???)  just
make sure she doesn't walk off with my shoes ;)  so speaking of babies!
cant believe Melissa having A GIRL!!!! i totally called it! i knew it.
please remind her i want a picture of the ultra sound. so get a lot of
copies please :)

I'm so glad you got my flash drive! i was so worried you guys didn't
get it. there was a postage due?? next time do i need to send it
different? is it not ok in a regular letter? idk?? just let me know
what i should do next time. yeah, the pictures were all mixed up, i
don't really know why??? yes, dad, the girl with crazy hair and tattoos is
Madi's sister Cami :) and i thought i explained some of the pictures in
case Melissa wanted to put them up. there the map pictures, the one
with me, the ginger elder lol -- we were the only ones in our district going
to Florida. he is the elder mom talked to on the phone for a sec; we became good
friends :)  the one with everyone in front of the map is my mtc
district....and the random one with all the elder (in pink ties) is
our wear pink tie day :) we would have a theme or color everyday and
everyone would wear it; which was really fun and that was "on Wednesday
we wear pink" (name that movie??)
and than there's a lot of me and sister Brownell. some from our temple
walk on Sunday. we tried to take a picture each day but didn't always.
if any questions about them, i'll explain more.

yeah, i got to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional last
night :) we had problem here too, weird?  someone ending up hooking up
their laptop. it wasn't the surround sound i was hoping for but it was
still really good. we didn't really have a good turn out. it was mostly
just the missionaries.  one of our investigators came though :) Mary, she
really enjoyed it. i told you a little about her last letter i think.
she a older lady maybe in her 60's, very sweet. she is our only
progressing investigator right now; meaning we meet with her 3-4
times a week and she is keeping her commitments. we're working with her on
setting a date to be baptized. the sisters that were here before got
really close but her sister is VERY against it.

But this month there was a really cool experience. this fast Sunday our
WHOLE mission did a fast together for each companionship to have one
baptism before Christmas. it's kinda our focus right now; we want it
before Christmas as a gift. to bring one of our brothers or sisters
into the fold. which i think is really neat and i'm very excited
about. this week has been ok. we have some really good days and a
couple bad days. my comp keeps telling me it gets better and easier. i
hope she's right! but i'm doing a lot better. i'm really trying to
focus on that quote that mom sent me. to forget myself and wrap
myself in the work and Melissa send me an email last week that really
helped too :) but it's still hard...

mom was asking if there's anything i need, all i need right now is the
knowledge that you guys are there for me and are supporting me...
that's it!!!  but it wouldn't hurt maybe a handwritten letter from mom
and dad i haven't got one yet :(  it would be nice throughout the week to
have something from you guys i can read over. oh and ideas of what you
want for Christmas. i wanted to send a little something but don't know
what to get you guys??? ideas please..and mom who did i have this year
for Christmas? you said you were going to buy it for me, right? and just
take the money out of my account?? let me know i don't want to drop the
ball on that or anything :) oh and dad how do i pay my half of the
monthly mission fee? can i do that from here? or are you just taking
it out of my account?? i don't really remember if we talked about it or
not? i just wanted to check. please let me know what/if i have to do
anything :)

i'm so jealous; i wish it was raining here. it's still nice and hot here
so it really doesn't feel like Christmas. i mean there are lights on all
the palm trees; but i don't feel it yet. but that reminds me. mom, could you
possibly send my mimi tree and picture of Christ and maybe some
lights? i'd love to do something in our apartment to make it feel more
like Christmas :) or maybe just some pictures, idk?? well i'm running
out of time so i must end but i love you guys so much!!!!! and can't
wait to hear more from you please keep the letters coming and i want
Christmas cards:)!!!! and tell Carly to write me please. i haven't heard
from her since i got to Florida. i'm a little worried; i'm going to try
to write her today but i'm still finishing up Tianni's letter and
Crystal i wrote you back the other day -- should be coming any day :)