Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm SO PUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week I mentioned that everything was amazing and there wasn't really any specific reason except for just being a missionary. I feel like that's really why everything is amazing. Being a missionary gives me the opportunity to share the most special knowledge with God's children and teach them how to attain the celestial kingdom. I'm all about my purpose as a missionary. There's no greater purpose. We don't have to be full time missionaries to experience these blessings though!

I had the saddest experience of my mission so far this week. Brother Sargent decided that he doesn't want to commit to coming to church or investigating anymore and it breaks my heart. It was kind of a surreal experience for me. After he and Elder Wilcox battled about it for awhile and finished, I felt the spirit come over me very strongly and I bore my testimony of the restoration of Christ's gospel in a simple way. The spirit made it more powerful than any testimony I've ever borne. I hope it touched brother Sargent but he still is deciding to stay where he's at. There's no way he didn't feel that spirit though.

Transfers are this Wednesday and we got transfer calls from our incredible mission president (President Toone) last night. Elder Wilcox is transferring out of Chandler to train somewhere else and I'm staying in the 3 pleasant wards to train a new missionary. I'm SO PUMPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This guy's going to be my best friend and he's going to be the best missionary Arizona has ever seen. We're going to baptize Chandler with water and fire.

Transfer call night was super fun, we got in at 8:00pm to conduct my final training hour (every new missionary spends an extra hour each day training for the first 3 months) before the other Elders got home. I've been waking up this past week at 6:00am to do a half hour of cardio with the spanish elders before weight lifting so I can help them achieve their work out goals. I've been helping them plan their diets and workouts and it's been super fun :) So last night we had our cheat night and Elder Johnson pulled out a pound of cookie dough, I pulled out pringles, and Elder Diaz had some Argentina cookies. We get along really great and we've grown a lot together.

I'm learning and changing and growing so much. So much happens in a week. This past transfer I've learned a lot about myself. I'm not a very patient person. I'm also not very humble, I don't like listening to people in authority. So many things I get the opportunity to root out of myself in the mission field.

The mission is the best. I love you all.

Love Elder Janis

Thursday, July 25, 2013

We Finally Got a Monsoon Storm

July 22, 2013

Unfortunately nothing has happened with E. this past week. He wasn't able to make it to mutual but this week we will try setting something up again.

This week was AWESOME! Not necessarily for any specific reason.. It's just such a great feeling to be a missionary. There's nothing like it :)

I love church. I have gained a very strong testimony of how important church is. When I go I feel so much love from the members and my favorite part is while the prelude music is playing to see all the mingling and fellow shipping that goes on. The nicest people in the world are at church all at the same time and they're so kind to everyone it makes me smile so much my mouth hurts!!

We email from a high school library and I just saw a high school couple hug each other a second ago and it seemed so weird. :S I must be a missionary! >:D

Saturday night we got POURED on! It hasn't gotten worse than a light sprinkle but we finally got a monsoon storm. We got so soaked. It was the bomb. We had an appointment with one of the coolest families I've ever met at 8:30 that night and when we got there our shoes were mobile puddles and our shirts and pants were drenched. The family insisted we still come in and even forced us to sit on their leather couches! We threw blankets down first but when we got up to leave we had soaked everything. Their fault. ;)

The Spanish Elders had a miracle this week I want to write about! There's a lady they've been teaching who has had bone cancer and has been in a wheelchair for awhile. On Thursday they gave her a priesthood blessing. The next day they got a call from her and she was very emotional and asked them to come see her. When they got there she was walking. Her bone cancer was gone and her legs were strong enough to walk. Her husband told them he was willing to give everything bad in his life up to become a member of the church and gave them his alcohol, cigarettes, and lighter. The husband, wife, and 3 children are being baptized on August 3rd.

Funny story: I went on exchanges with a missionary in my district Elder Wright on Friday. Our dinner appointment fell through but the Sister still wanted to give us money to go get something to eat. We went to a gas station cause Elder Wright has been wanting a slushy since he got here 5 weeks ago and has been craving a brain freeze. Anyways, he drank the slushy super fast and got a major brain freeze.

We're teaching a man named Brother Sargent. I don't know his first name cause the first time I met him he told me his last name and I asked if I could call him Brother Sargent since we're all brothers and sisters. He's 70 and is a difficult person to teach because he's so non denomination and thinks everyone is right. This week we explained the apostasy AGAIN and it finally started to make sense to him! We also told him that his baptism was invalid in the baptist faith and he needed to be baptized again. He got mad but he was confounded and couldn't say anything. He kept on saying, "yeah but..... You see.... Well..... AH!" He finally just said, "I don't think you're right because that would mean only mormons have been baptized properly. And we were like, "FINALLY you understand!!!!". He's getting more serious about his investigation now and is sincerely praying about the book of mormon and Joseph smith. He's such a funny guy, I wish you all could meet him.

I have come to know for myself that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. The church of Jesus Christ has been restored. It heals every hole in our heart. The shade of the gospel extends to all who choose to let it heal them. Everything we have is a blessing from our Father in Heaven. He loves us. I know He's real. I know it.

I love you all and pray for you every day.

Love Elder Janis

Crazy Cactus

 We had Arbys for dinner one of the nights!

The room picture is unfortunately my room. This was when we first moved into the new apartment and everything on the floor is not mine...... It got taken care of soon after this memorable picture was taken.

the shoulder bag picture needs to be explained.... :D New worldwide policies for missionaries include not being able to wear backpacks because Elder Nelson says we look like mountain men in suits; not representatives of Christ. So I'm not wearing a shoulder bag yet but I'm getting excited ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blasting Rap in Missionary Attire

This week was the sweetest week I've had. The Lord really blessed us with opportunities to teach and learn. I've learned so much this week!

Last night we met a guy named E. He was washing his car and we stopped to talk to him and get to know him better and see if we could help. After talking for a minute he started to open up to us and share some deep challenges he's faced in his life. He's only 16 but the experiences he's had have forced him to grow up a lot faster than his peers and be the man of the house from an early age. The only reason he opened up with us was because he felt our love for him immediately and trusted us by how we treated him. He told us that he lives up in North Chandler and a few weeks ago he actually talked to some other missionaries (who are in our district) but he didn't want them to teach him because he couldn't talk to them the way he felt he could talk with us. 

So we're getting him involved in one of our wards youth groups and we'll be teaching him later this week the restoration. He's such a cool guy and is very sincere and is really looking for more. The biggest blessing was him trusting us enough to open up the way he did so quickly. Me and Elder Wilcox have really been working on developing Charity and letting that love emanate everywhere we go and because of that, E reciprocated. 

It was getting late when we met him so he offered us a ride back in his suburban which we took him up on. When we got in the car he asked if we didn't mind music with cuss words which we replied we actually did mind, but he wanted to show us his Sub anyways. So he turned some rap song up super loud, rolled our windows down for all to see, and took us back to our apartment. He didn't play the music for too long though but it was super funny to be driving down the road blasting rap in missionary attire :D

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. The way we're teaching members how to do missionary work has really changed this week. Instead of giving them a book of mormon to pass to their neighbors or asking them to invite their friends to church, we're asking our members to find a way to give their neighbors service and then consistently keep it up. We're teaching them how to look for ways to love their neighbors and how to build relationships. I believe that when members begin to develop strong friendships with their neighbors, missionary work will not only be comfortable and natural, but the church will be blessed with an exponential growth of members. DON'T create a relationship with a neighbor because you're looking for someone to baptize. Create a relationship with your neighbor because you love them and want to serve them. Invitations can be extended, but they need to know you love them. Love is the life and lubricant of missionary work. For example, Ammon was taken before King Lamoni and was asked what he was doing in the land. Ammon asked to be King Lamoni's servant. He then proved himself and gained the respect of the King and then was asked to share the gospel.

I'm out of time, I love you all!! The church is true! Every trial we go through will be made right through the atonement.

Love Elder Janis

I Opened My Eyes a New Man

From July 8, 2013

Dad is so good at changing his attitude to adjust to his circumstances. I had an experience yesterday where I thought of him and was able to change myself to adjust to my circumstance! I was walking through an apartment complex and for whatever reason I wasn't in a bold frame of mind and I had wimped out on talking to someone that I could see on the other side of the parking lot. I told my companion I needed to change real fast so I closed my eyes, explained to myself how I was at the moment, and then told myself how I would be upon opening my eyes. I opened my eyes a new man and had 15+ solid conversations with people the rest of that evening. :) I'll have to tell you about one of them that was super cool!

BTW, Is there anything you would like more details on in my letters? More pictures? More info??? :)

I had a great learning experience this week. On Saturday evening we were biking around contacting less actives and my companion had given me the map and was having me lead out to each house. It was a bit frustrating because our area is pretty large and none of the roads are straight but it helped me learn our area a lot better and I understood that. Well it was getting late and we had one more person we had wanted to contact but he wasn't on the map so I gave the lead back over to my companion since he knew where he lived. For whatever reason he still wanted me to lead which was not smart since I didn't know where we were going. I guess to me it was not smart but really I was super tired and I was getting grumpy so I didn't think of how it could help me :) he told me vaguely where the guy lived which made me even more frustrated so I took off down the rd. towards the guys house at top speed so I could put some distance between me and him. I was so frustrated that I didn't even want to contact the guy if we ever even did get there!! SO WHY GO?! Yeah.... Why go? I guess I realized that if we don't have the spirit with us we shouldn't go. We shouldn't be missionaries either if we don't have the spirit or a desire to be there. So I talked with my comp about my frustration and cleared it up and got to sleep as fast as possible that night :D My testimony was for sure strengthened in the truth that I perform TERRIBLY when I am tired. I love that it's a weakness though because I can work on mastering it. I have a new favorite quote: "Our body is the instrument of our mind and the foundation of our character." - Boyd K. Packer. If we master our minds we master our bodies. I love it.

I'm out of time! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!


Left to right Elder Johnson, Elder Wilcox, Elder Janis, Elder Diaz. This is in our new apartment and Johnson and Diaz are our spanish roommates

Monday, July 1, 2013

We Sweat a Lot

I feel like I don't give you guys enough details of the day to day events of my mission! At the beginning of this transfer I came into Elder Wilcox's 1 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment and so did the Spanish elders. So for the last week and a half we've been sharing one room and one bathroom. I'll upload a pic of how we maneuvered the beds to all fit in the one room :D Anyways, we've finally moved to a 2 bed 2 bath apartment in the same complex so we have a lot more room now. It was cramped but not too bad. The bathroom was the worst part!

Something interesting about my mission is we hardly ever tract. Our random contacts come from street contacting people. We aim for 20 a day. 

We sweat a lot. I'll upload a pic of me licking my arm from the other day. It was 118 degrees and for whatever reason no one was home or answering so we spent most of the day biking from appointment to appointment and every one of them fell through. It was okay though cause we ended up biking a total of 18 miles which is a new record! (I keep a record page in my journal for things like most miles biked in a day, most lessons taught in a day, most street contacts in a day...) I don't know if it's actually my record but my companion got a tracker for miles so I know how much we do now.

Members make good food.. But mom, I miss your cooking a ton!!!! I especially miss your lasagna!

Elder Wilcox is hilarious. We laugh a lot. He sings a lot too. I join him in song and it makes the hot days easy. We have now started singing christmas songs as we bike along in the blazing heat just for kicks. While it was 118 out we were singing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas". If anyone heard us, I hope they got as much of a kick out of it as we did :D

The days are long but the weeks are short. My mission is starting to fly by! I'm already past two months and I'll be finishing my greenie training at the end of this transfer!

When your faith is tried, it will either break or grow stronger. Pray with all your strength to make it through your trials and you will come out so grateful for the trial because of how it changed you.

I love you all so much. I feel supported by all of your prayers. Thank you.

caption for the picture of me licking my arm: "mmmm salty"