I CAN'T WAIT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS WEEK!!!!
First off, we had transfer calls last night and I'm staying!!!! By the end of this transfer I will have been in this area for 7 months. Elder Jolley and I are still companions and we're still covering Grove 1st and 2nd.
Last night was super special for me. Every month our mission president holds a Mission President's Devotional for all missionaries who bring investigators or recent converts to come hear two recent converts bear their testimonies and listen to a member of the mission presidency speak. One of the converts who spoke last night was a man me and Elder Caldwell street contacted and started teaching back in my second area. Months later, he was baptized and then last night spoke. He said that the first day he met me and Elder Caldwell, I had this big smile on my face that made him want to listen to what I had to say. Now this man has a burning testimony and shares it with every one he meets.
Our investigator was baptized this week! For sake of privacy I will call her Sue. Sue's mom raised her Catholic but Sue never felt satisfied with her religion. She was always looking for something greater. She felt guilty partying during the week and then going to confessionand then repeating the next week. This past year at Home Coming, she was introduced to a few LDS girls who set a good example for her. Months later, she reached out to them just to ask them questions about their beliefs. Eventually she was so interested she asked her friends if they would take her to church with them. Of course they said yes and that's when we were introduced to Sue. We set up the first appointment and in the first lesson she committed to baptism and was baptized two weeks later. She discovered her very own personal testimony during our second lesson when she answered a question with a powerful testimony. We told her, "Sue, you have a testimony! Did you realize that?!" She was so surprised! She hadn't realized she actually had her own testimony! At her baptism she was able to share a few thoughts and one thing she said that I thought was very powerful was that her conversion has changed her to the point that she never wants to do anything bad again. That really is the true mark of conversion. When we let the spirit into our lives, that is the impact it makes. Now we are teaching Sue's mom who has become interested and she is making great progress already!
We had a super funny lesson this week with a high school kid and one of our young men. As we were teaching the fall of Adam and Eve, this guy randomly interjected, "If Adam and Eve had stayed in the garden of Eden, we would all be naked right?" Our priest replied back quickly, "Dang, if that was true I would have to work out a lot more!" It was too funny not to write about this week! Just so you know we did clarify his question and brought the spirit back into the discussion. He accepted a return appointment so we take that as a good sign!
Me and Elder Jolley get along super well.. We have this unspoken agreement that we can throw each other "under the bus" in any given situation to lighten a possible awkward exchange. For example we were walking into this Dog Grooming business owned by an inactive member so the first thing Elder Jolley said when we walked in was "we brought this dog in to get groomed" (referring to me of course). I got him back later that night when we were talking with this guy throwing firewood onto a massive bonfire he had going. I offered Elder Jolley as extra firewood if he needed it.
Playing basketball all those years paid off this week! As we were biking through a neighborhood, we passed a basketball court were two guys were shooting hoops. We decided to challenge them with a bet: If we won a game of two on two, then we got to teach them a discussion. If they won we'd leave. They accepted the challenge. 15 minutes later we were teaching them a discussion. At the end of the lesson, one of them asked for a Book of Mormon and the other wanted a pamphlet. As we were leaving, a group of 6 more people showed up so we challenged them too! A short time later we were enjoying the second discussion of the evening on the basketball court. Elder Jolley and I were sitting on a cement block with 8 of these guys gathered around us. It was the teaching situation because we had just humbled them on their own court! They were willing to listen to everything we had to say! Near the end, one of the guys pipped up and said, "I think I want to become Mormon!" I was like, "Whaaat! That's awesome!" He then explained further that he and his mom had recently gone through the Gilbert Temple open house and she was already thinking about converting! I got his address and sent it over to the missionaries who cover his area. How cool is that?!
Last night we actually had a really cool experience giving a priesthood blessing! As we walked into the Mission President's Devotional, we were walking past some sister missionaries when we were stopped. One of them was sitting on a chair sobbing and the others explained she was dealing with a really painful migraine. They asked if we would give her a priesthood blessing. We immediately proceeded to anoint, after which I sealed the anointing and blessed her to be healed. Immediately she stopped crying and shaking and became very calm. After the blessing we gave her some water and she felt better. It was really awesome.
Everyone who reads this letter has to do one thing for me: Read from the Book of Mormon every day this week.
I love you all!
Love Elder Janis
This is the guy I street contacted and spoke at the Mission President's Devotional last night!