Friday, September 27, 2013

A Funny Lady's Golden Rule

I had such a good week! :) We were finally able to meet with our 1 investigator and we had a great visit. We had planned to teach the restoration and while we were visiting and getting to know G. and his wife, I felt prompted to bear my testimony of the restoration rather than teach it. My companion followed suit and so did the member we brought with us. G. has been taught for the last 3 or 4 years and our member said we made the most progress with him in our visit just sharing our testimonies. He opened up and shared personal things which he hasn't done with missionaries for a long time.

I met a funny lady this week who's golden rule is, "Do unto others before others do unto you." It was funny enough that I had to write it down :D

Stake conference was this weekend and during the Saturday night adult session me and my companion were sitting up near the front of the chapel. Our stake president got up and started speaking about missionary work. At one point he was talking about facebook and he turned to me and my companion and asked us how we were liking this new change. I answered, "It rocks!" and everyone laughed. I like it when I make people laugh :)

Last Saturday, me and my companion had a very open day between 1:00 and 5:00 to proselyte. We planned to use the time to contact as many part-member families as we could. At about 4:00 we stopped by the church building for a quick "pit stop". (We're drinking water all day and we don't sweat all of it out!). As we were walking into the church my companion saw his reflection in the door and realized he wasn't wearing a tie. We both hadn't realized he wasn't wearing his tie for the last 3 hours of proselyting!! We were able to call a member and borrow a tie. It was definitely our dunce of the week experience!!

I love you all a ton!!! I've got the family covered in my prayers so there's nothing to even worry about. Stay strong and stay faithful.

Love Elder Janis

Scorpions glow green under blacklights!

 I'm standing in front of my living quarters :)

I Live in a Barn

Transfers were crazy!!! I'm training a brand new missionary named Elder Goates from Salt Lake City proper in a city called sugar house. He's 18 and graduated High School this past summer. He's a stud. He was a wrestler and lacrosse player in HS and likes Jazz music. We get along incredibly well. He has such an open heart and mind and just wants to learn how to be the best missionary he can be. That's how I am too and he's teaching me way more than I'm teaching him :)

We live in a small but rural area. The area we cover is actually 2 and a half miles away from where we're living right now which is in a members barn :D I mentioned to Emily that the roosters are our alarm clock (not literally, I still set one just in case) and by the time we're eating breakfast the cows are mooing. Soon we'll have the opportunity of feeding the cows which i'm excited for! We also live with two other missionaries: Elder Kauhi and Elder Lavulavu. They're both from Hawaii and they're a lot of fun! Elder Kauhi has been serving for 9 months and Elder Lavulavu is waiting for his visa to Australia and has been on his mission for 2 months. This past transfer a missionary came in from the MTC who ended up being Elder Lavulavu's cousin which caught them both by surprise!! Neither one knew the other was in Tempe waiting for their visa so it was funny to see their reaction!

Right now we cover two wards, the Grove first and second wards. They're both REALLY good wards. The members are the most missionary focused of any of the wards I've served in. We have next to no work right now and me and Elder Goates are new to the area so we're having a blast getting to know the auxiliary presidents and meeting the people who live here. I love probably 10 minutes away from the area I covered the last two transfers but half our area is farm land. We cover about 5 square miles.

Elder Goates and I had a really good experience with prayer this week. We had set a goal for talking to 20 people on the street that day and by the time it was 8:00pm we had only talked to 9 people. I felt like we should say a prayer so I asked Elder Goates to offer it and ask for the ability to achieve our goal. After the prayer we started biking through a neighborhood looking for people to talk to. We biked the entire neighborhood and saw no one. A little bummed we biked out of the neighborhood and saw a family of 4 walking on the sidewalk. We went over and talked to them and ended up finding out they were a less active part member family our bishop had wanted us to visit at some point! We had a really good conversation and were able to invite them to church the following day. After that we saw another family walking into a developing neighborhood so we biked over and struck up a gospel conversation with them. Proceeding forward there was another family working out in their garage that we shared the gospel with (no interest but it always feels good to bear our testimonies). 

By this point we had already surpassed our goal and it was time to head back to our home in the barn. As we were biking a past a house the garage door started to open so I slowed to a stop to wait for the door to fully open. There was a woman in the garage and I struck up a conversation. She was working through recovering from having just delivered a baby girl and was really nice. She mentioned she was working as an MMA instructor at a dojo in Chandler and the people she worked for were mormons and were the nicest people she's ever met! She was very interested in hearing our message and we set up a time to come back this Monday (today!!! We're PUMPED!)

Life is so good. The gospel is true. Joseph Smith is the prophet God gave his authority to to usher in the last dispensation and spread the gospel to the whole world in preparation for the second coming of Christ.

Love Elder Janis

Monday, September 9, 2013

Met a Celebrity

This was a sweet week! We had I**'s baptism, met a celebrity, had transfer calls, and met some really special people!

I**'s baptism was incredible. Here's his story: At the end of last transfer me and Elder Wilcox were riding our bikes through an apartment complex and we saw a young man walking from his car to his apartment. We biked over and had a short conversation with him in which he agreed to take a copy of the Book of Mormon and said we could come back another time. Elder Wilcox transferred out and then me and Elder Caldwell tried multiple times to make contact with I** with no luck. Finally we were able to catch him at home and we were able to sit down and have the first lesson. It turns out his best friend was mormon and he had a bunch of other friends who were mormon too. We set up another appointment to teach the 2nd lesson and coordinated with his friend to teach with us. In the second lesson he accepted an invitation to be baptized two weeks later. So now two weeks later he was baptized by his best friend. SO COOL.

Have any of you heard of the band "Yes"? They're famous for recording "owner of a lonely heart". Turns out the Bass player lives in our area and is married to a less active woman! How cool is that! He just came back home from a tour in England. Sick.

Transfer calls were last night and we were up till 12:30am waiting for any call from either our mission president or zone leaders. Nothing came so we went to bed. This morning we got a call from our President and I'm transferring out of the area (I have no idea where yet!) and second half training and Elder Caldwell is going to be TRAINING!!! He's a stud! He's so ready even though he's only been out 6 weeks. He's pretty nervous but he's confident. I'm pumped for him :)

I have a firm testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and we enjoy the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Love Elder Janis

Monday, September 2, 2013

3 Parts Water and 1 Part Fire

What a week!!! There's never a dull moment out here! The big events of the week include getting hit by a legit Arizona dust storm, baptizing T**, getting a car for the area and then losing it, getting Facebook and the incredible opportunities that are coming with that, and finding a delicious drink at the grocery store: it's the simple lemonade brand with mango in it! Genius!
The dust storm rocked cause we were in a mission car so we still made it around to different appointments and we were trying not to laugh at everyone who was running home as fast as they could to get out of the storm!
T**'s baptism was a really good experience!... Except for one thing: when I filled the font up I left it on just the hot water figuring it would cool off by the time T** was getting in the font. When our member who was baptizing him put his foot in he pulled it out really fast and looked at me and said it was really hot. It got quiet and really awkward. I asked if it was too hot to do the baptism but T** was adamant and didn't want to wait. So they slowly eased into the hot tub and T** got baptized in 3 parts water and 1 part fire. He told me he's never gonna let me forget my mistake but he just jokes about it so it's cool :)
We got a car last Sunday because Elder Caldwell has been on medication for his ear infection and can't bike while he's on it so we got a car. Fortunately his ear is mostly better now and we don't need the car so our assistants took it back yesterday.
Here's the scoop with Facebook: 12 missions in the world are on Facebook now with Ipads and iphones coming to all the missionaries shortly. We will be spending an hour every day to spread the message of the restoration. The coolest thing about it for me is that if I start teaching anyone from back home I'm encouraged to set up a 3 way Skype call with Mom and Dad. SWEET! We'd be a super power companionship!
This week was tough which was good! Difficulties give us opportunities to become better and stronger as long as we exercise more faith in Christ and depend on him more. Without struggles we wouldn't be motivated to put our trust in God. Once again smiling is a wonderful remedy for every bad situation :D What makes you smile? Do you need a reason to smile or can you just smile? I think giving service is a great way to find more happiness too.
I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It really does bring peace and happiness. God is real and he hears and answers our prayers. Love is powerful and can cross boundaries nothing else can. Put your faith in Christ and he'll carry you through whatever vale of sorrow you're currently in to a far greater place.
Love Elder Janis