Mike and Charmaine Anderson

Mike and Charmaine Anderson

Thursday, December 13, 2012


MTC November 26, 2012

Did I have expectations of this day so long anticipated? We are bunking in the Marriot Hotel in a lovely room. I didn’t expect that for sure. This was a record day for MTC Senior Missionaries, 126 of us, breaking the old record of 121. We passed a microphone around the room and introduced ourselves, told where we will serve, where we are from and how many previous missions we have been on. There were a surprising number of Idahoans compared to Utahans. A few had served previous missions, one or two couples on their 4th. There were many exotic destinations, including the Canary Islands. We were kidded that maybe we are going on vacation there.

The first day was rules and regulations day. I started to doze off in the afternoon after a big lunch. Mike arrived drugged to the hilt with various cough and cold aids. He made it through without embarrassing himself by hacking out of control. He went to insta care on Saturday to get a stock of meds to see him through. He is quite a mess as his cold has moved to his chest and his old perpetual cough has arrived.

There was a large devotional with senior and junior missionaries on Tuesday evening. There were 1000 plus missionaries there…what a beautiful sight they were. My soul was swollen to tears as we all sang “Called to Serve” with power and joy.

 The food was plentiful and OK, with enough variety of fruits, salads and French fries galore that anyone can be happy. The seniors eat at the same Cafeteria as the young elders and wow, those young elders pile on the food, but I noticed a fair amount was thrown away…eyes bigger than bellies, I believe. Wednesdays and Sunday’s are ice cream day for lunch and dinner with mega toppings and the best hot fudge ever. I skipped breakfast entirely every day…too much food for me.

 The days consisted of morning devotionals, classes in the morning, where we talk about principles from “Preach My Gospel.” We role play the concepts on each other. Our group leader is a young returned Elder in the morning and a sister in the afternoon. They are impressive and good. We have four couples in our group and they will all be wonderful senior missionaries.

On Wednesday we were taken to small rooms to practice teach someone who has volunteered to play investigator. We taught The Restoration to a sweet elderly lady who played her part well. We had prepared adequately and all went well.

On Thursday morning, at the beginning of class, I looked over at Mike and he was white and hyperventilating a little. He went into the hall and called me out a bit later. He took cough syrup with codeine that morning for the first time and it made him nauseous. We eventually returned to the Marriott where he rested. As long as he was down he was OK. We were scheduled to teach the “Plan of Salvation” but Mike just wasn’t up to going. We returned for lunch but Mike couldn’t eat and threw up in a plastic bag on our way back to the hotel. I got permission to go to class without him in the afternoon. He was better by dinner and ate a little but was still queasy. We went to our Spanish class from 6:00-8:00 PM. Mike managed to survive on half his pistons. He dropped into bed at 9:00 PM. The cough syrup worked, he didn’t cough all day, but the nausea was a very bad trade off.

Friday was a better day for Mike but not 100%. This week has many wonderful spiritual elements but the days are long for us who are doing language every night for 2 hours. It is all good hard work. We became very attached to the four couples in our district, such impressive spirits!

On Friday night, as part of our language training, we split into two groups and had a testimony meeting to testify in our language of study. There was German, Spanish, French, Finish, Norwegian and Polish being studied. Some of the men had served previously in these countries. Our trainer encouraged us to bear a testimony early so I got up first…and I didn’t pass out. I was glad I had been working on my testimony at home. I already had it memorized when we arrived at the MTC. Mike did a great job and recited a few of his 70 verses of memorized Spanish scriptures as part of his testimony. Our week will be the last of the night Spanish instruction during the senior MTC weeks. The seniors are going to be moved out of the MTC into the church down the street in preparation for the influx of new young missionaries.

The second week was CES training and we liked it better than the first week. It would have been good for all the seniors to be there as there were some great ideas for developing a lesson. My favorite parts of both weeks were the senior missionaries who came back to tell us of their experiences...amazing people.

When the senior missionaries convened for the week on Monday and stood to introduce themselves I was a little surprised at how old we all looked and out of shape. I wondered how we were going to preform our Missionary responsibilities in the far flung areas of the world in which we would be serving. But by Friday these missionaries all looked younger to me and there was so much enthusiasm, humor, vibrancy, and spirituality in the group it spilled over to my soul in a very sweet way. I felt energized by them. The spirit is the best elixir of youthfulness, I am convinced.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


This week we talked to the Missionary Department, wanting to know if we could get our visas for a trip we are thinking of taking to Cancun to practice our Spanish.  If we are going to wait we might as well have some fun.  The woman Mike talked to said that we could get our visas.  Evidently our visa applications have been sitting in the Spanish consulate in Los Angelas for 5 months.  They have never even arrived in Spain.  She said there are over 100 missionaries waiting to go to Spain.  There is a big backlog, with not enough help, so this woman is going to LA on September 17 to help get things moving, but even if she succeeds it will be 2 or 3 more months after Spain receives them.  So, it will surely be December of after.  I am thinking maybe the church needs to call full time missionaries to help at the consulate, if that's what it takes, for the notoriously slow visa process to Spain.  I have vowed not to decorate for Christmas but perhaps I should start another painting.

We are planning to have a farewell on November 18.  We will enter the MTC on November 26 and when we are finished we will return home to....wait.  Then we will be ready to fly immediately when the visa's arrive.   I can't say we are getting good at waiting, but we hang in with very little murmuring, at least not out loud.  

22x28 oil on canvas board from my photo

I started this painting in January.  In February our first mission call came for Scotland , reporting in May.  I didn't think I would have time to finish it but the call changed to Spain and visa delays have gone on giving me ample time.  The pressure to study Spanish has filled up a lot of my disposable time or it would have been finished long ago.

Two years ago we were in Paris France on a Sunday afternoon.  Look here for photos and story.  The sweetest thing I have ever seen is the bird feeding in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  An older man was there with a basket of bread and he would stand the children upon the marble ledges and put bread in their hands.  The birds obviously knew the routine and would jockey for their turn.  The hedge was filled with little birds, waiting for a chance.  The pigeons on the ground pecked for stray crumbs.  The kids would laugh and giggle as the little beaks tickled their fingers.  I couldn't get enough of the charm of it all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Changes are getting old and a little embarrassing.  A call came from the Mission Department last week informing us that the Visa's are not going to be here by September 3 and our new MTC date is  October 1.  We are still OK with that but please don't let us be here as winter begins.  If we get to the MTC in October it will be exactly a year since we started the mission call process.  So start early if you are planning a mission.    I keep buying more clothes.  If we don't go soon I will have to leave some here because they won't fit in the suitcase.

My Spanish is improving slowly but surely.  I have written 2 small talks that Mike has translated into Spanish that I could give if I needed to.  I have memorized a testimony in Spanish that I can give with ease.  Mike has read most of the Book of Mormon in Spanish.  I am overwhelmed by Spanish scriptures so he has started reading the Book of Mormon with me, 5 verses a day.  Whew!  It is difficult.  The ipad has been a great boon to my Spanish study. 

The painting I committed to finish is almost done.  I will post a picture soon.   Mike developed a bad knee that needed care.  He is having a special brace made and some lubricant injected.  And he had an infection that needed to be lanced, so maybe it is good that we are still here to get everything taken care of. 

70 people came to my family reunion in July.  Cousins came that I hadn't seen for over 30 years and some of their children that I had never met. All of my children were here but one and he is coming soon.  It was a great day. The  only good thing about waiting is that I have enjoyed  my Secret Garden and I am glad I planted flowers.

Monday, June 25, 2012


We have a new leave date...September 3.  Mike is dealing with some nerve problems in his right arm and the Dr. wants a little longer to monitor it.  We are glad for a few reasons.  This will get us home at the beginning of March instead of February.  No Quiero regresar en el invierno.  (I don't want to  return in the winter)  We study Spanish every day for several hours.  We are trying to speak some Spanish to each other every day.  We speak for a solid hour every morning when we walk.  I am not good at it but Mike is so I have an awesome tutor.  He is working longer and harder than I am.  It makes me depressed, sometimes, because I feel so hopeless.  But it will come together eventually, I have faith.

I am looking forward to another month of summer here. (I can spend hours here in my Secret Garden with my notebook and ipad, studying, with an occasional glance at this)  All my kids except Leif will be here this week for a family reunion I am having.  In August I will be able to have a birthday party for Michael.  Then we will be content to fly off to Spain.  Hopefully the visa will be ready by then, which is the last good reason to wait another month.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What are we doing now?

The Visa has been submitted.  The mission President told us that the Visas are coming in a lot earlier since the new "conservative" government was voted in...some as early as 2 months so we are hoping that our August 6 date will truly happen.

Right now we are studying Spanish many hours a day.  We found this great site with progressive lessons that we are working through. http://www.spanishdict.com/  We are trying to speak a little Spanish to each other, hopefully it will be even more as the summer progresses.

I am learning to use my new I pad and Mike has a new lap top he is taking.  He is considering an I pad also.  We are communicating with missionaries on the Canaries and have a good idea what the situation is there...more Spanish is needed than was advertised. Oh me!  Mike will be fine as he is far far ahead of me.  For once he will be talking and I will be silent.  He just needs to get to a point where he can translate for me.  

I am sewing for myself for the first time in years.  I am making comfortable, simple longish skirts and dresses.  Someone told us that CES stands for "cooking every second"  so I want to be in some easy clothes if that is true. 

I am going to Women's Conference at BYU next week and plan to teach a shortened family writing class in May.  I have a painting I want to finish before we go.  Life is good!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

THE SECOND CALL - Canary Islands

Six weeks before reporting to the MTC we received a call from the Mission President in Scotland telling us that our call was issued by mistake in that the couple we were to replace were not leaving as their release date was wrong.  We were getting very excited about this call so it was a traumatic week, not to mention the closet full of warm clothes we had collected.  We were given a couple of options for our recall:  Indonesia teaching 3 days a week in the University there since we both have degrees and then doing member support and PR the rest of the week or Canary Islands Center for Young Adults.  Since we already had thoughts about Spanish speaking there was no big decision.  Within a week the call came to the Madrid Spain mission working on the Canary Islands.  Thankfully a bunch of those warm clothes still had tags and were taken back to Kohls.  We were grateful for their generous return policy.

The Canary islands are reported to have some of the nicest weather in the world, 65-85 degrees all year.  And we won't be leaving until August if the visa comes through then.  The visa process is slow in Spain but is said to be picking up.  So, we are head first into our Spanish review and looking forward to a nice summer at home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


We received our love letter call the day after Valentines day 2012.  We had some hints that it was coming on that day.  I know the mail comes before 12:00 so I went to the box at 11:30 prepared to stay but it was there.  I wanted Mike to open it and read it to me because I was shaking.  Scotland, Ireland Center for Young Adults.  I couldn't have been happier but Mike was a teeny bit disappointed that we didn't get a foreign language.  He was prepared to jump in and push his language skills night and day.  I have seen him do it before, like the 6 weeks before we went to Italy.  Mike loves languages and has a gift for learning them and understanding grammar.  I was prepared to support this desire.  But this one is for me because when we looked at the list of openings in the Young Adult Centers this would have been my first choice.  I am not saying that Mike is not excited because he is.  On May 14 we will be in the Mission Home.  We definitely need to get a warmer wardrobe for winter but as luck will have it we will be there for spring and summer to start the mission.

The church is opening Young Adult Centers all over Europe and there are a few in the US.  They feel it is important to keep things happening to keep the young adults together, and hopefully get some of them married.  We will be a party planner, a Family Home Evening coordinator;  We might teach some institute classes and we will have many opportunities to support individual young adults as they have needs.  We hear it is a busy assignment.  We like the idea that the basics are well defined.