Tell sis wells that I'm in the Staply stake and I cover the Gilbert (used to be called the Madera ward), Islands, and Cooper ward. That would be REALLY cool to go on splits with Wendel!!!
I cant believe Spencer Riggs got called to Scottsdale!!! I already told Dad this but that area is the area EVERYONE wants to go to because it is the prettiest, has celestial weather, and the members and people are wonderful. He's so blessed to be going there! In our mission the scottsdale area is referred to as the celestial kingdom. Yuma is referred to as outter darkness. :D
So here's what's been up in the desert:
Members feed us so good. I consecrated a section of my journal to documenting each meal I'm fed. So far the highlights have been: Ribs, mashed potatos, Chicken curry, enchiladas, shredded beef sandwiches, HUGE steaks (this family fed us stakes as thick as my palm and as wide as a frisbee. The first thing I thought when I saw them heaped up on top of each other on this huge pan in the middle of the table was... I'm so glad I chose to serve my mission.) The food is such a bonus hahahaha. Who wouldn't want to serve a mission when for 2 years every single night a family prepares a feast for you as the 2 guests of honor. It's wonderful.
Funniest story of the week: Me and my companion were teaching Gloria, an older white woman who recently started praying because she had a life critical situation with her blood pressure and kidneys. Well she's super agnostic because she had a very abusive childhood and those experiences led her to believe that there is no God because no loving God would allow her to experience the pain she's felt. She's one of my favorite people in the world though because she has the most extreme personality that I've ever seen!!! She's handicapped now but she told us that back a few years ago if someone accidentally bumped into her at the store or something she would freak out at them and start attacking them hahahaha. She's SO fun to teach because she is VERY bold with us and asks very direct, personal, and deep questions. She really wants to know everything about our message and it's a throw down every time we go over to teach her because as bold as she is, we're bold right back and we have a lot of good times :) Well the funny thing that happened was Elder Carter got a call from our dinner appt (the family that fed us the huge steaks) in the middle of our lesson so he went out to take the call. It was at a time that the spirit was very strong and Gloria was in the midst of tears. While Elder Carter was on the phone I shared Joseph Smith's experience in the Liberty jail (D&C 121) with Gloria where Joseph cried to God asking him to stop hiding himself and to help him because his trials were so severe. Then I read God's loving response where he says, "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands." I choked up a little as I read it cause the spirit was so strong. Immediately when I finished reading, Elder Carter popped his head in and said, "I'm super sorry, but..... Elder Janis.. How do you like your steaks??" Me and Gloria busted out laughing cause we both knew his timing couldn't have been worse hahahahaha. It was okay though because the spirit came back super fast and we finished the lesson with a powerful invitation to pray to know if the book of mormon is true and if God is real.
Blessing of the week: Every day we're required to do 20 OYM's (Open Your Mouth) which means you talk to 20 different people out on the street, at the grocery store, or under bushes if that's where they're hiding from you ;) It's usually super uncomfortable and awkward but I'm getting better at it and I'm starting to have fun with it. Yesterday I saw this guy and went over to talk to him and we began a discourse of a religious nature. As I was occupied, my companion on the other side of the street was stopped by some guy in a jacked up truck who rolled his window down, gave him $20 for our dinner, and drove off. My companion said he was on the phone and only said he wanted to pay for our dinner but there was a big pack of beer in his front seat. It was so weird! But it's a blessing because money is super tight as a missionary (we have $115 for a month of food and other needs like laundry and cleaning supplies) and if we hadn't stopped to OYM that other guy we wouldn't have received that money.
I love you so much mom. You're such a wonderful mother.
Love Elder Janis
(Elder Janis and his companion met the sister of someone in our Katy Ward and she took this picture and sent it to his wife who sent it to me. Bonus!)