Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's January 1st

You know what that means! Time write a generic post about goals and stuff! Actually, I will try my very best not to do that thing. It may have something to do with goals, but I will try to make it as original and non-generic as possible.
With it being the start of a new year one hears a lot of talk about resolutions and goals. Things that were great and not so great about the past year and hopes and aspirations for the year to come. While this is all well and good (and believe me, I am just as guilty as the next person of doing these very things) I sometimes wonder if people use things like New Years as an excuse to avoid change. Change is hard and can be down right unpleasant. It means you have to stretch and grow in some way. As humans, we cling to what is familiar and comfortable. For example, in experiences living abroad, on those rare, happy moments when I come across what could very well be the only jar of peanut butter in all of Ukraine, I was willing to pay just about anything to get it. Not because it was a peanut butter laced with gold but simply because in this situation where everything was SO different from what I knew (especially the food) I wanted that tiny jar of familiarity.
I wonder then, if that is why we are so reluctant to change. Why we wait until New Years to resolve to be better. What's wrong with any given Wednesday? If you want to change, do it. All that really matters is that once you make that resolution, whenever it may be, that you mean it an that you stick to it. That the change is real and lasting. However, if you are like me and you fall back into old habits or patterns rather easily, don't wait a whole year to start over. Take a deep breath, evaluate your life, and begin again. That is the beauty of our ability to choose. We can always make the choice to begin again at any time. Oh how grateful I am for that principle!
So this year, don't be discouraged if you miss that day of exercising that you had promised yourself you would do. Begin again. If you get a B when you had resolved to get a 4.0, as long as you gave it your best effort, move on and be content.
As for the coming year, in the words of a very wise man, Joseph B. Wirthlin: "Come what may and love it!" That is exactly what I intend to do. Have a super 2012!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

For Alicia, in Mexico-land

Look, Alicia, I'm making a blog post! Cool, huh? Remember that one time when this blog was updated on a weekly basis? I remember that. It hasn't happened that way in quite some time. It's hard to write when you feel you have nothing to say. However, I have a lot to say.

After the recent conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I was reminded that today's technology can be used for oh so many things, including the sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people in my life are SO good about doing this very thing that I have become inspired by their examples. I am going to regularly update this bloggy-thing and share experiences that I have in my little life that strengthen my testimony of the Savior. Also, I may just share some deets about my life. What's new and all of that jazz.

First, can I just tell you about an experience I had in my French class a few weeks ago? I can? Ok, good. I was going to anyway... Let me set for you the stage. I attend to a tiny college in the middle of nothing in the desert of eastern Arizona. I HEART said college! It's a dandy little place. Well, at this place of magic that is Eastern Arizona College, I study languages. As part of that I am in a French class. Because this school is so little the French 101 and 102 classes are combined making a grand total of maybe 20 students. In my 102 class there are 3 of us. Yup, 3. Because there are fewer of us we are normally put in the class room next-door and while the professor is teaching the larger 101 class we are being taught by one of three fellows. Martin (Actually from France and is attending EAC on a tennis scholarship. How random is that?), Caylon (served his mission in France and is a Mr. Smarty-pants-know-it-all.), or Marcus (has gone through the French program here at EA and teaches our class 2 days a week as part of a work-study job). Now to describe m classmates. All 2 of them. First is Brittany. She is the sister of Marcus and just sweet as pie! We were in 101 together and got to know each other pretty well. She's a good kid, I like her. Gold star for Brittany. Next is Brandon. Oh, how to describe Brandon? He was born in France but raised in New Mexico. This essentially mean that he speaks perfect French but has not the foggiest of idea how to read or write in it. He's a funny boy, but he' 18 year old kid on his own for the first time. He comes in hung over or smelling of pot quite a bit. He's a really nice boy but he has some struggles. Whew, that was quite the setting of the stage. Now, on to the story.

The topic of religion comes up rather frequently in this little trio. It started with Brandon always wanting to know why I'm wearing a dress on Tuesdays. I explain that it is because I have a little church meeting at the institute on Tuesdays called devotional. He is welcome to come with me any time he would like. "No Brandon, you don't have to wear a tie..." The next time Brandon asks if I'm a Mormon. "Yup, sure am." Then he asks Brittany if she is also a Mormon. "No Brandon, I'm a Christian." is the response. Like a knife to the heart. I explain to them, "Hey, Mormons are Christians too..." To which I receive a "Yeah, ok..." from Brittany. Ouch.

This was all about a week before the whole "Mitt Romney are Mormons a cult?" fiasco. I am here to tell you that members of the Church Of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are indeed Christians. I know that Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that salvation comes in and through Him. I know this. I know the Bible to be the word of God. I know that God is my loving Father in heaven who sent His son to atone for my sins. If this does not define Christianity, then I just don't know what does. My name is Anna Elmer. I am a Mormon. I am a Christian. They are one and the same.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nuggets of Knowledge

Don't be mislead by the title, it's not real knowledge. Certainly nothing that can be used on a trivia game show. These are just a few...shall we call them realizations? Perhaps some are re-realizations.

1) I am not dedicated or focused enough to be a person that prefers online classes. It's true. I have found this semester that there are two types of people in this college going world; those who like online classes and those who hate them and think they are burning out their brain with the amount of time that must be expended in front of a computer screen to pass them. Turns out I am one of the latter.

2) I LOVE when worlds collide!
I live multiple lives. That's right, I am a clandestine government agent. Ok, probably not. What I mean is I have these different places or times that I associate (and maybe compartmentalize) people with. For example, there are my friends from Eagar, the ones I grew up with and have known forever. Then there are my friends from college, friends from Mexico (not necessarily Mexican, that is just where I met them and we came to be friends), friends from my EFY life, Ukraine, etc. I have a friend (from college, in case you were wondering) who hates "when worlds collide". I have had a lot of world collisions over the past few months and realize that I love it! When my friend I met in Mexico meets my cousin in Alaska, or when a college homie meets hometown friends.
At first it tends to be slightly awkward because they both know a few things about one another without realizing it yet. College friend has heard adventures from my life with Eagar friend and vice versa. Then it gets great! That is, until they start exchanging embarrassing stories about me because I am the link between them... Pictured is world collision. Karen (college) meets Liz, Alicia and Kassandra (Mexico) and it was marvelous!

3) Bitterness is an unproductive emotion
Sometimes "life gives you lemons" as the phrase goes. Truly there are just the two outcomes. Accept it, move on or let it fester and become embittered. You can always choose. Always. With that being said, why let yourself choose the second option? "Don't allow yourself to become discouraged. Sure, you are allowed to be disappointed...for about 3 seconds. Then, move on and move up." -A speaker from my MTC time whose name I cannot recall at this exact moment. It doesn't really matter who said it, it just matters that it is good solid advice. Plus, lemons shouldn't make people bitter, maybe sour or even zesty, but not bitter.

4) Think with an "eternal perspective"
It's amazing how often people sweat the small stuff. Really, just take a step back and think "Will this have an effect on my eternal salvation?" More often than not, the answer for me is "no". So, why get SO caught up in it? Do what you feel it right and own the decision.

5) Live in the moment.
It seems contradictory to number 4, huh? It really isn't. This time, right now, will never happen exactly the same again, not for the rest of forever. Even if you are not in your ideal situation, live it and love it. Don't live too much in the past or the future, it will rob you of the here and now. I know it sound so cliché, but perhaps there is a reason that certain phrases or ideas are repeated SO very often. They are real and there is not a single human life that isn't affected by it.

6)Finally, just because can do something, doesn't mean you should.
For example, I can eat taquitos and rocky road ice cream for dinner, that doesn't make it a good idea. Take it from me, it really is not a good idea. I can sleep in until 10 every morning, but that doesn't mean I should. I can be a hypocrite and not take any of my own advice and try to recapture the past and be bitter when the plans I have for my life get turned upside down, but that doesn't mean I will. It also doesn't mean I haven't. In all honesty I am putting this stinkin' post up in the hopes that someone will benefit from my foolishness. Even if it is just a future me who has fallen back into bad habits.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cosmic Thoughts

Well, last night I decided to let my inner nerd out and stay up to watch a meteor shower. I had never experienced this thing before and I figured, "Aw heck, why not!" As I stood on my sister's porch alone, gazing up into the heavens I was struck by a few thoughts.
At first I felt the typical, "the universe is so huge and I am just one insignificant nothing in the grand scheme of things...blah blah blah" However, my perspective began to shift when I realized that, although the universe is grand and vast and I may feel like some little unknown, I have had so many experiences in my life lately to remind me that I am not unknown. There is a God in those heavens who knows me perfectly. Even in a world crowded with a population equally numerous to those points of glorious light, He is aware of the individual! Crazy isn't it?
Then I thought about all of the people in the world who don't know that. What a sad life that must be. When they start thinking that they are an insignificant nothing, they don't snap out of it to the realization of their worth as a soulful creation of a loving Father. It helped me to refocus on my desire to get back out on a mission. So many people are lost and wandering just because nobody has ever told them who they are.
Man, that was kind of preachy. Oh well, what can I say? Mission not yet complete.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Not just a classic Milton Brothers game. Currently the story of my life.
So, here's the story:
For those of you who for some reason still don't know, I am not currently in the mission. In fact, I am currently on my couch in Eagar. I've been home for a week last Wednesday. It was all VERY sudden. One day I was out teachin' and preachin' the next President Davis was in my room telling me how he hates to send missionaries home. I said, "Great! So don't." He just smiled and said he appreciated my humor and my desires to serve. Gee thanks. Then he kept talking and I was kind of zoned out not really listening. Then he said, "So, you'll be on a plane either this weekend or sometime Monday" What?! This was on a Thursday. He stood up ad told me that he appreciated my understanding and shook my hand. That's when I started crying...a lot. He ran and got his wife and had her hug me because he couldn't hahaha
The weekend passed without another word. Then Monday morning came and still nothing. I began to be hopeful that maybe in his packing up his house, he had forgotten me. No such luck. For our P-day on Monday we went to the mission home to give them a going away present from our zone. Still not a word. He and his wife just kept looking at me giving me a sad smile. Nobody in my zone knew except for my companion and my zone leader. As we were leaving to go to the city center for the rest of P-day, he came to shake my hand and said, "I'll be calling you...soon" and I said, "No thank you." He just laughed.
Well, he called that night and said "Hermana Elmer, you have an interview with me tomorrow at 10am sharp." I said "President, our zone interviews are on Wednesday, tomorrow is only Tuesday." He replied, "That's true, but yours is tomorrow." Great
As I walked in he began talking again about how he hates to send missionaries home. Then he got right to the point and said, "Well, here are your flight plans. You leave from Arequipa today at 6:30, meaning you need to be at the airport all ready to go at 5:30. From there you will fly to Lima......blah blah blah...and 24 hours later, you will be home in Eagar. I suggest you leave some time in your schedule today to get packed. We are hopeful that you can come back and serve here in the Peru Arequipa mission, but I just can't tell you for sure. You may be reassigned state side to a mission with cars, still Spanish speaking though!" Gee, that's great, thanks.
I packed and got myself all two blocks over to the airport. My companions and pencionista (lady that cooks our food) and her family and some ward members were there to see me off, along with President and his wife and a couple of office elders. I said my goodbyes and didn't even cry...till I got to the tarmac. I boarded the plane and was still crying. I looked up and everyone was staring at the sobbing gringa with the funny name tag. I took my seat and silently cried. All the way to Lima.
President was right, 24 hours of planes and airports later I was back in Eagar. This was Wednesday evening. As we pulled into town and drove past the Stake center I said, "Oh, is President Hunt there right now? I'm supposed to talk to him." He was and I did indeed talk to him. He said, "Well, you're released. Do everything those doctors tell you to and we will get you back out there soon..." "Any questions?" Only about a million that I suddenly couldn't think of. "Do I have to take my tag off?" "Yes" "Oh..." "Not right now, you could wait a minute or something"
I got home and took it off. It hurt. It all hurt. Leaving those amazing families and and missing baptisms. Just dropping everyone and everything within a few hours. All for some stupid operation that I really didn't immediately need. I could still walk, so why was I going home? I even asked President that once as I was begging to stay till the end of the transfer. "Well, if you were MY daughter......"
So I had said operation yesterday. Clear up until post-op I had been told that this surgery was to fix a torn meniscus in my right knee. Turns out my meniscus was perfect. Instead the doctor did something to realign my knee cap. It was completely to one side and that's what was causing all of the pain and popping and clicking and catching and inflammation. Weird right? This operation doubled my recovery and physical therapy time. 6 weeks was magically turned into 12. I've found in all of this to expect the unexpected, and that I really don't know anything anymore.
I have learned that I don't see the reasons. I can't keep asking "why" or I will actually just go crazy. Someone knows why. The Lord knows why. I have to trust in Him and His reasons. Maybe someday I'll get to know, maybe not. I'm along for the ride. Entonces, vamos a ver.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lovin' the New Companion

Well my new companion Hna de Leon is just amazing! This week went super well and we have the most new investigators in our zone. We met so many families this week, just waiting to hear our message. Well, they already heard some of it but they are gonna hear a lot more. One of them is a family of Seventh day Adventists...interesting. The good news is we don´t have to try to convince they to keep the sabbath day holy, just to keep it holy on Sunday. We have a lesson with them tonight...Sabbath day observance. I´ll let you know. Percy received the marvelous gift of the holy ghost yesterday. What and amazing blessing! Their family has a goal of getting to the temple in Cochabamba Bolivia next year :) They´ll make it.
Well, the work continues to press forth and just count my blessings that the Lord is allowing me to be a part of it.
Strange Arequipa slang of the week: pata. The word actually means leg. How it´s used around here : Este pata! Ya el es mi pata. Friend, buddy, homies things like that. Strange.
I´m a little short on time today but just know that I love you all and thank you for your emails and prayers.
Con amor y cariño
Hermana Anna Elmer

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Drum Roll Please....

To this mission was I called and in this mission shall I remain. Transfers were yesterday and I´m still here in Zamacola which means Peru Arequipa mission when it is split in July. I´m so grateful to still be here! Things are going so great! We had to drop Julio.
But, on a happy note, Percy Huaranca is now a baptized member of the true church! Yay! It was so great! I have never met a more earnest and humble man in all my life. Also, I must tell you about the "Matrimonio Massivo" Percy and his now legit wife Juana got married on Saturday in this ceremony...with 107 other couples! Don´t worry, it was just about the strangest thing I have ever witnessed. There was this background music playing the whole time and half of the songs were in Spanish and the others were in English. The ones in English were NOT wedding music. We´re talking Madonna singing Material girl. Haha Also there was a clown on stilts throwing confetti at the couples. Not on or around the couples, AT. With a vengeance. Hahahaha! So many people showed up to support Percy and his little family on Sunday. They have a goal to get to the temple and I really think they will make it. This is why we have the gospel. Eternal families and the happiness that they bring.
This other family we know is progressing. They came to church on Sunday! Yay! That´s such a victory. I don´t know why but trying to get people to church around here is quite the process.
Also, a new investigator, Virginia is doing really well. She referenced herself from Temple square in SLC. She is so very interested and came to church on Sunday too!!!!
Well, times up. I sure love you all!
Hermana Anna Elmer