Yes, I'm back in a two-some! Elder Hyer is the man!!!!!!! Elder Karl was an incredible missionary and I miss him a ton. But the work goes on!
I seriously had such a great week! Maricopa is such great little town I'm just loving it. My companion is an amazing teacher and great example of quiet dignity (something I struggle with but am trying to develop) and has helped me learn a lot about leadership.
I wish you all could meet this man we met this past week named B. For our purposes i'll just call him Jimmy. We met Jimmy while he was pumping rap music from his garage late at night just before our curfew. He's a solid 240 pound guy about 6'4 with beefy hands. All his knuckles are crooked from fights as a kid growing up and especially from jail fights. He's spent 20 years of his 40 year life in prison starting from the age of 12. It's been 8 years since he's been in jail and he's made the changes so he'll never go back. His hairdo is pretty wacky too, the sides of his head are shaved and the hair on top is super long and wavy and he has it slicked back. That first night we met him he was pretty stoned but he told us we could come back so yesterday afternoon we did! This time he was sober and really opened up. He's got a lot going on in his life and is really wondering if there is a God or not. We told him what our purpose as missionaries is and promised we would be his guides to help answer his questions and find God. He was willing to offer a prayer at the end of our lesson which was really cool because he hasn't prayed in a very long time. One of my favorite things as a missionary is still to hear people pray to God either for the first time ever or for the first time in a long time. Repentance is a beautiful thing.
The highlight of this week was a big zone meeting with our mission president President Toone. He and 17 other mission presidents got together in Texas with Elder Bednar for 3 days and received training. President Toone is now meeting with all the zones and giving us the condensed version of the training. The main message was that we as missionaries serve two missions: one to the people here in our mission, and the other is to the missionaries we serve with. This world is about to get a lot worse and we all need to become converted. We discussed how very often even we as missionaries compromise rules to keep the peace with members, investigators, and even other missionaries. Peer pressure from companions and the missionaries we live with can often times be the toughest to deal with as a missionary. The message from President Toone's training was this: If you can't learn how to stand up to others with courage on your own two feet you will not be able to stand up to the opposition you will face when you return home. That hit me super hard and has caused me to reflect on my level of conversion and how committed I am to being loyal first to God and then loyalty to others second.
I actually had my year mark this past week. Funny how quick time flies. It has motivated me to pick up the pace and work even harder!! I don't want to waste a second!
Thank you for your letters and your prayers. It means a lot to me. I love you all and hope this is the best week ever!
Love Elder Janis
This is a picture of when me and my two comps became comps at transfer meeting. It was super funny because they called my name and usually you'd go give your new companions and hug and go sit down but these guys pulled these flags out, gave me one, and then we basically went up in front of everyone and took a selfie!! Priceless moment captured right here!