Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We're Swinging Back!

This week was phenomenal!!! It was so busy and so crazy I'm trying to remember everything that happened! I feel like we were able to accomplish a months worth in one week!

The highlight was going on exchanges into a District Leader's area I had gone on exchanges to before. The first time I exchange into this area about 2 months ago I street contacted a lady named Mary who we showed the "He is the Gift" video to. She had just been visiting with Jehovah's Witnesses who were telling her why she shouldn't celebrate Christmas and it really upset her but because she has such a righteous heart she prayed to God and said, "If you don't want me to celebrate Christmas I won't, but please just let me know!" Then she walked outside to get the mail and that's when we met her. If you remember me writing about her the week I met her I mentioned we were able to teach her the first lesson and she really felt like God had sent us to her. This past week we visited Mary and I learned that she had accepted a baptismal date for February 14th, Valentines day!! She is so excited and is telling all her friends in the neighborhood (which is a lot because every one loves this dear sweet woman!) and all her friends are excited to see their 74 year old friend "get dunked." Mary is so excited and has come a long way since I first met her! She's been going to church and reading the Book of Mormon and everyone tells her she has a new light with her everywhere she goes. I hope to be able to be there for her baptism.

Our area is experiencing some real challenges. Laziness and pride are our enemies here and we're takin' some hits! But don't worry, we're swinging back! The only thing to do at times like this is hit your knees and pray harder and then get up and get at it with a little more enthusiasm and heart! This week is transfers but they changed when they make calls so I won't find out if I'm staying or leaving until tomorrow night. I have 2 transfers left, 12 weeks, and President's pattern has been to have you train your last 12 weeks so that's my best guess. There is a missionary who was reassigned to our mission this past week from Chile but his Mom in Mesa is battling heart and lung cancer. He has 6 months left of his mission and President Toone talked to me about possibly arranging for me to do a few exchanges with this Elder to help him through what he's going through with his family. I have a hunch we may just be assigned as companions. We'll see :)

My testimony has continued to grow stronger and stronger. In stake conference this last Sunday a member of the 70 who was presiding said that the 3 most important elements to our testimonies are #1 that we believe that God is real and he loves us, which I do, that the Book of Mormon is true, which I believe, and to believe in modern day prophets, which I testify we have. When our testimonies are anchored in these truths we won't be shaken when our testimonies are challenged our tried.

I love you all lots and I'm praying for you! Have a wonderful week! I know I will!!

Love Elder Janis

Me and my comp Elder Belnap

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Spaghetti Steak Salad Potato Fruit Smoothie Challenge

I gave a talk in Sacrament yesterday and chose to speak on our responsibility to turn to the Lord in times of trials and shared this trial. Our bishop here announced the week I was gone that Mom had passed so when I got back everyone was giving me hugs and stuff just like in Katy 2nd ward. It was nice to feel so much love and support from my ward here. It makes me feel at home.

Well I'm not getting any younger and my mission isn't getting any longer so to start this past week off my companion and I set a goal to teach 50 lessons this week. Before I left we were averaging about 25 lessons but I feel such an urgency to accomplish everything I can and I have this feeling that there's no time to waste and there are too many people in our area who don't know about the gospel!! So we set a high goal and we finished the week with 47 lessons. I am happy with what we accomplished. The Lord gave me a trial this week probably because I set a goal to teach a ton of lessons. I woke up on Friday morning feeling sick to my stomach so I slept a little longer to see if it would go away. Around 10am I bolted out of bed and made it just in time to throw up into the toilet. After that I had super painful cramps in my stomach so I laid in bed and moaned for about two hours before I finally fell asleep. I woke up Saturday morning feeling awful still and wasn't able to get out until that evening. It was definitely humbling because I have so much fire in me that I need to spread and then BAM, God let's me get sick so I can't do anything. It's a good lesson to me that God cares more about our character than he does about the things we accomplish. Even still, we were able to be almost 2 times as productive this week with my two sick days than all our previous weeks. I'm fully recovered from the funk I had and I'm really excited about what we'll be able to accomplish this week.

We have an 84 year old investigator named V we're teaching now who is really excited about everything she's learning and wants to be baptized. She came to church last week and we've met with her every day this week and everything was looking super for her baptism to be on the 24th. Well on Saturday as I'm laying in bed sick, my companion gets a call from her where she said, "You're not going to like this but I've made up my mind. I don't want to be mormon. If you could come by some time today to pick up your bibles I would appreciate that." Absolutely devastated and too sick to do anything about it, I turn over onto my knees and said a prayer as my companion and another missionary went out the door to talk to V. They burst through the door about an hour later ecstatic! They said that when they pulled up to her house she came out the front door and said, "Elder's, I changed my mind. I want to keep studying with you. It's made me happier than anything else in my life has." It turns out she has a son who has power of attorney over her finances and he got super angry with her that she was meeting with us and was thinking about being baptized. Because he has power of attorney V was afraid that he would start threatening her if she continued meeting with us. Well she's decided she isn't going to let that stop her from accepting the gospel and she's back on track! We pushed her baptism back a week so she can come to church one more time and prepare for her interview. It was an awesome experience to be so devastated one minute, and then elated the next! And it was a testimony builder of the power of prayer. When there's nothing else we can do, at least we can pray.

At dinner last night the member kept feeding us more and more. First we had a huge plate of spaghetti, then her son brought in some big steaks he had been grilling, then we had salads and a large helping of potatoes. By the end of the meal I was pretty stuffed. I was starting to feel a little sick again because I hadn't eaten hardly anything on Friday or Saturday because I was sick so my stomach was having a tough time with normal food again. Well thankfully desert was a fruit smoothie. It was ice cold though and so it took awhile to eat. As we ate desert we were talking about different food challenges we had done like the gallon challenge or the cinnamon challenge. I was thinking about how much pain I was in from the meal we had just eaten and I entertained the idea of asking if anyone had ever done the spaghetti steak salad potato fruit smoothie challenge. But I didn't :) I figured that might come across as ungrateful. Which I wasn't. The food was really good :)

I love you all and I hope you have a super week!

Love Elder Janis

Monday, January 12, 2015


I hope you all are doing great!! I appreciate everything you did to facilitate me getting back to Texas and then to Utah and back to Arizona! I'M SO HAPPY TO BE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I adjusted back to being a missionary immediately after stepping off the plane. I had to wait in a line at the airport in Phoenix after I landed and as I was waiting I was able to talk to the three people around me about the gospel and the church and how absolutely WONDERFUL it is!!!!

I can't hold my testimony in. I have to share it with EVERYONE. Even my companion and roommates.

Every Monday morning we have a zone leader conference call with President Toone and the Assistants and before the meeting started Elder Jolley was asking me about how everything is going (I thought we hadn't been merged into the conference yet and it was just he and I on the call) and I laid out how sick (great) the gospel is and threw down on how AWESOME it is to be a missionary and then everyone else started jumping into the conversation and everyone was getting pumped up!

The pre conference turned into a big pep rally and I'm pretty sure Arizona is about to be baptized!!!!

Then President Toone got on the call and went through the regular agenda items and then welcomed me back and gave me an opportunity to share some thoughts about my experience from the last two weeks and I got to testify again to how awesome it is to be a missionary to represent Christ.

We didn't have time Saturday night when I got in to proselyte but Church got out at 12:00pm on Sunday and because we were in a threesome with the visa waiter until 8:00 this morning I set it up so I could go out with a young man in our ward and my companions would go elsewhere to teach.

They dropped me off with him in the members apartment complex and we had an hour and a half before a meeting we had to get to for zone stuff. Well I couldn't be contained, if we saw someone down a ways from us we B-lined it straight to them and started talking about the gospel.

We ended the hour and a half teaching 7 lessons to a total of 14 people. 5 people accepted return appointments and we placed a book of mormon, received and contacted 4 referrals, and even got some fried chicken from a Marshallese guy that lives with members (we had no idea) and wants to come to church.

Listen everybody, the hype is real. Missionary work is DOPE. It is so fun and it completely fills your soul with joy. The gospel is true!!!! It is given to us by a loving Father to help us be happy. Choose the right ya'll!! Repent! Develop your faith! Live true!

Love Elder Janis