Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We Looked Like White Ninjas

I am now serving in the Tempe Zone with the awesome Elder Glencoe!! We're having a blast!!! He's been very positive and has helped me a lot in getting to know the area. I think I'll learn more from him this transfer than he will from me!

There are some sister missionaries serving in Tempe that found a family of 5 while riding a public bus that started taking the lessons and began preparing for baptism over the course of 3 months. They live in our area though so about a week ago the sisters turned them over to us and just this last week we finished up the lessons and baptized them on Saturday. The mom is in her 50's and she has two sets of twins that were baptized with her. The twins ages are 9 and 10. I asked the mom what her favorite thing about the gospel has been as she's been meeting the missionaries and going to church and she said, "One of the sister missionaries explained that the gospel is a process that we go through, not a one time event." I feel like that was a very profound comment. We don't just learn about a principle once and then move on. We review over and over again and continue to grow.

30 minutes before sacrament meeting started our bishop called me and asked if I would be willing to speak as one of 2 speakers. That meant I would have to speak for about 15 minutes :) This is the first time I've been put that much on the spot! It went really well! I shared some of the things I've learned from members of the congregation and investigators in the area already and I felt like it was well received. I made a joke at the beginning of my talk I had to repent of and ask forgiveness of the bishops wife for after. Our bishops wife is in her late 60's and has stark white hair. In fact, many of the members of the congregation have gray and white hair so I commented how wonderful it was to have so much gray and white hair in the congregation. I mentioned that in High School I thought it would be really really awesome to dye my hair white and so I was going to ask sister addison after the meeting where she got her hair dye. Everyone laughed except sister addison who looked like she didn't know how to respond. I apologized after and she was very forgiving and said she was just happy to get some sort of a shout out!

I'm in a bike area again! Whoopie! It's the worst. Arizona is hot. I'm not used to biking. My legs are sore and my glutes are probably bruised. The huge positive is that we get to talk to so many different kinds of people in the street all day long! I REALLY enjoy doing that. It's fun to street contact people and pass out copies of the Book of Mormon. Despite the negatives, I'm thoroughly enjoying this new area and new chapter of my mission. Our Mission President talked about how important moments are in our lives at the transfer meeting last week and he challenged each of us to fully enjoy and appreciate each moment as they come, the good and the bad. They all become good memories after awhile. I challenge each of you the same thing.

This church is true! I know it with all my heart!

Love Elder Janis

From left to right S, Ch, D, C, H (yes, h is a boy. He looks like the football player Troy polamalu.)

My jump-suit makes me look chunky. It's lying. I still have a six pack ;) on the far right is elder glencoe and our bishop, bishop Addison.

I had the privilege of baptizing S and C! C said we looked like white ninjas so here's the ninja pose!

After everyone had changed! Beautiful family!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We Were Sharing the Sidewalk With a Million Elementary School Children

I'm doing great!!! This last week was amazing!!! It was the last week of the transfer and we had transfer calls last night. I spoke with President Toone earlier this week and knew what my assignment would be. I'm leaving Maricopa but taking with me the incredible lessons learned. I will never forgot these wonderful people. I'm taking a special assignment to help a missionary who is having a tough time right now and wants to go home. My goal is to make the last year of his mission the best year of his life! I know I can do it.

Earlier in the week Elder Richards and I decided to save some miles and bike to our appointments and get in some extra street contacts. 5 minutes on the bike and I ran into difficulty.. While Elder Richards was up ahead a ways my front tire popped. School had just gotten out and we were sharing the sidewalk with a million elementary school children (which is a very awkward situation for a missionary to be in). Elder Richards assumed I was behind him and kept going to the house we were headed to. I got off my bike and started walking. About 15 minutes later two missionaries in our zone drove past and saw me. They turned around and asked what the heck I was doing "lone wolfing" it! I explained the situation and we laughed about it. They went off ahead to see if they could track down my companion. I was wondering how Elder Richards hadn't noticed at this point I wasn't behind him! Finally I got to the house and made a joke about Elder Richards forgetting he was on a mission and we went in and taught the lesson.

There are many opportunities in front of me! I'm excited for the challenges and experience I'm about to have.

Love Elder Janis