Monday, June 24, 2013

My Breaker is Elder Wilcox

I didn't see Mason OR Wendell in the broadcast!! Dang! But wasn't it inspiring?!?!?!?!  I'm so glad you went! I hope every member in the world will see it! You know how it talks about the Lord's vineyard in Jacob 5? Near the end the Lord calls his servant (the prophet) to gather all the other servants and work in the vineyard one last time. That happened yesterday! I don't have the reference but I think it would be very worthwhile for the family to read Jacob 5 and see how the Lord has fulfilled his prophecies. I love the work we do. And I love the people we help. I meet so many amazing people.

I love your idea for the ward activity!!! You should bring it up and get people excited!

Thank you for the scriptures on missionary work! I just read through that a week or two ago during my personal study! The Book of Mormon is so relevant.

So random news!!!! I actually ended up getting transferred! Sunday night we were told we were staying but Tuesday night at 9:15, our AP's called us and told us that we were whitewashing out of the area and to pack our bags. This is because Elder Carter's knees had tendinitis and needed a car so to fulfill that the mission president sent him out to the new Scottsdale mission in Show low! Lucky duck!

I got sent to Chandler AZ and got a new companion, Elder Wilcox! His companion had arthritis and tendinitis in his knees and needed a car so he got paired up with Elder Carter! Elder Wilcox has been in this area covering these 3 wards (Pleasant 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) for 5 transfers now and has had a new companion every single transfer! Another crazy thing about it is that he's been the 2nd companion for each of the past 4 missionaries. We call our second companion in the mission field our breaker so my breaker is Elder Wilcox. I guess this area has been dead for awhile. BUT he and his last companion Elder Anderson scheduled a baptism with AJ for this past Saturday which I was able to be at (instead of elder anderson which I feel so bad for cause it was going to be his first!) and added to that me and elder wilcox have pumped each other up with mega faith and enthusiasm and already the work is picking up! We have 2 new investigators that we gave their fist copy of the Book of Mormon too and they're VERY interested and I see the spirit working very closely with them. We met M while he was on his nightly walk, bore testimony of living prophets and set up a follow up visit. So we taught him and his wife D the Restoration and they're investigating now :):):) Also we will be going by a man named J tonight to teach the Plan of Salvation. J's brother just died and his life is pretty sad now and he really wants to meet with us. Pray for J!

I'm learning a ton about having faith. Also I'm learning a ton about patience. I know that the Lord wants me to learn these lessons so that's why he sent me to this area. So far the Lord has heard and answered my prayers VERY specifically at exactly the times I needed them answered. I won't get too specific until it all unfolds but I know the Lord is very involved in His work.

The Book of Mormon is true. Charity is the embodiment of missionary work. We have a living prophet. Christ leads our church. These things I'm sure of.

Elder Janis

This is my new companion Elder Wilcox, AJ, his son A, his wife, and daughter J. They are so awesome! His conversion story is so cool! His wife was less active forever but recently started having dreams that it was time to become active again and that she should introduce the church to AJ and AJ was having the same dreams. The Lord is preparing people!!!

This was my last zone! They were all so cool! Funny thing is that me and Elder Wilcox are standing next to each other before we knew we were about to be companions!

P.S (Chandler is still in the Tempe mission so that's where I'll stay :))

Monday, June 17, 2013

I Have No Time and I'm So Sorry!!

June 17, 2013

I have no time and I'm so sorry!!

I have a few thoughts I would like to share: There are two opposite forces that entice us in all things. In each of our human orbits, every decision we make leaves lasting impacts. Because of a righteous choice you make, the Church, the World, and The Eternities are changed. You're changing the future with every decision you make.

Second thought that was inspired by Emily's letter to me: Christ said "What ye have done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Every kind thing we do, every homeless person we give money or clothing or food to, every sick person we help, every lonely soul we befriend, every sinner we embrace, every kind word we say..... we are doing directly to Jesus Christ. This is so powerful. Imagine every human on earth being a representation of Jesus Christ. How would you change the way you treated someone if they literally were Jesus Christ? Would you criticize anyone? Would you tell a dirty joke to anyone? Would you reject them because they're weird or different? Because who are we all really? Son's and Daughter's of God with infinite potential.

I love you all. Smile a lot. :)

Elder Janis

They're Going To Hunt Us Down

June 10, 2013

This was the best week I've had on my mission so far!!! (Yeah, I know you're saying isn't this like one of the only weeks you've had so far?) But my heart is full and I can't imagine greater experiences than the ones I've had this week.

The most exciting event was the baptism of H and J who were married last week. H asked me to baptize her and J asked Elder Carter to baptize him. H went first and even though I was nervous, it went perfect. J's took 3 times! The first time Elder Carter messed the wording up, the second time J's hand poked out, and the third time Elder Carter slammed him under the water and sent waves through the font hahahaha. When we were changing I told Elder Carter and J that Elder Carter was so wet I was confused which one of them got baptized. It was such a special experience though. 2 months ago H and J's lives consisted of drugs, smoking, and alcohol. 2 months later they're married, don't drink, don't smoke, don't do drugs, don't swear, don't work on sunday, and don't hit each other either :) They keep telling us that if we leave and never come back to see them they're going to hunt us down. They're two of my closest friends, I love them both so much. Seeing the way they've allowed the gospel to affect them has increased my testimony of the atonement and the gospel so much.

I HAVE to tell you about this hobo we met the other day hahahaha. We were riding our bikes around just talking to people inviting them to listen to our message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and we found this guy named Louis who's in his 50's. Dang, he was so funny. He told us stories of people being mean to him and how he would react. For example a car drove past and someone threw something at him and he chased after the car with both birdies flipped up screaming everything rotten at them he could think of until the car was out of sight. Try picturing this crazy 50 year old with long hair that hadn't been washed in years running down the middle of a busy street after a car. I love my mission :D We talked with him for about half an hour and we shared the plan of salvation with him and gave him our number and he said he wanted to call us back and talk more but I think he has short term memory loss cause he kept asking us our names. He even admitted he was crazy. He said, "Dude, I'm insane in the membrane. Mi Loco."

I saw a list of bullet points titled life's little instructions that I wanted to share:

-Become the most positive and optimistic person you know.
-Send lots of valentines. Sign them, "Someone who thinks you're terrific".
-Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
-Plant a tree on your birthday.
-Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
-Avoid negative people.
-Be the first to say "Hello".
-Keep secrets.
-Plant flowers every spring.
-Always accept an outstretched hand.
-Wave at kids on school buses.
-Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
-Don't be afraid to say "I made a mistake."
-Keep your promises. No matter what.
-Count your blessings.
-Call your mother (unless you're serving the Lord :))
-Sing in the shower (my companion hates that one now :D)
-Leave the toilet seat in the down position.
-Learn at least 3 clean jokes.
-Compliment 3 people every day.
-Be there when people need you.

Shout out to Wendel Wells who I saw at the Mesa Temple this past week for our zone temple trip! It was so crazy! All I heard was someone shout my name (which is so weird to hear your name as a missionary!!) and I looked around and saw Wendel! Two days later the Wells took me and my companion out to lunch right before our baptism with H and J!

Elder Janis

Elder Carter

Elder Janis

 Baptism of H and J

The picture at the temple in order left to right: our ZL Elder Harder, Me, my companion Elder Carter, our AWESOME DL Elder Egbert, his companion Elder Latimer (Happiest guy in the world), and our other ZL elder Niederhauser (The one I was on splits with and almost got punched in the face.)

 This is Joe. He's 84 and is the funniest man ever.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We Live in an Oven

This week was HOT. This is the only way I know how to describe it: We live in an oven. When we bike around the wind is usually blowing and it's a hot wind. Everything is hot. But I love it :) It's dry and warm and hot and we sweat a lot but it just feels like we're working super hard.

Yesterday I totally bent up my back tire on my bike. I was meeting our district leader at the church building for a baptismal interview we had scheduled with him for H and J and we were late so we flew into the parking lot super fast and I thought I'd look cool if I did a sick powerslide so I did a powerslide that really was pretty cool but it bent my tire way up so It's unrideable till I get it fixed. It's under a 2 year warranty though so I shouldn't have to pay for it.

H and J got married!!!! I'll upload some pics. It was the funniest wedding I will probably ever wittiness. We cover 3 wards but the bishop of the ward they're in performed the ceremony. To start off, when H was coming up the isle, she had her 5 year old daughter with her as the flower girl and half way up the aisle she decided she didn't want to be the flower girl anymore so she threw them down, screamed, and sat on the ground! H was so mad!!! Her daughter was too stubborn to get up so we continued the ceremony with her sitting in the middle of the aisle with her arms folded and the meanest scorn on her face. When the bishop was giving them advice and marrying them they were so funny cause they both had the most stern expressions on their face. You'll see in the pics I took :) They are both such awesome people. They're very down to earth and very forgiving. I wish you all could meet them, you'd instantly love them!

We had a really cool experience this week working with a less active family actually with the last name of Bingham! We went by night to visit them and we had a really good conversation with the Dad and shared a spiritual thought. The next day we had an appointment at that we wanted to bring a member with us to and the father and daughter we wanted to take didn't answer our calls. A minute after trying to get a hold of them and failing, Brother Bingham called us and told us he wanted us to meet his 16 year old son and try and be a positive influence on him. We had a moment of revelation and asked if his son would be willing to come with us to our lesson and it all worked out and he came! We had a really good lesson with this 12 year old girl (who's favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers ;)) about the restoration and the 16 year old son Q was solid. He bore an awesome testimony of how the gospel has blessed his family and also how he gained a testimony of the book of mormon.

Here's some advice, lessons, and thoughts I've had this week. 

1. When Satan reminds us of our past, remind him of his future.

2. We will find what we seek for.
    I've been thinking of how one individual can gain so much from activity in the gospel and another gains nothing or goes inactive. Truly if we want to gain anything from the gospel we need to seek it. If we spend our time looking for why the gospel isn't true than eventually that's where we will end up. If we seek for a testimony of Joseph Smith and the book of mormon then we will find it. It's up to us to make sure we're looking for the right things.

3. The atonement is not only to clean our sins but to enable us to be powerful beyond our capabilities. The atonement is the power Nephi accessed through faith to break his bands that his brother tied him up with. "But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound." (1st Nephi 7:17) Nephi didn't pray that his circumstances would change, he prayed that he would receive the strength to change his circumstances.

I have such a strong testimony of the atonement and the book of mormon.

I love you all so much!!!