Thursday, September 23, 2010

ANOTHER Weekly Letter

Hey Family!
Guess where I am at this very moment!  I am in a Community Center in my first Area, having my first P-Day in the field, and am so very excited.  I met my new companions and trainers.  They are Elder Chamberlain and Elder Morris.  They put us in triples because they have no idea how long we will be here.  Both of them are from Texas and Elder Chamberlain is from Southlake actually.  Ha ha, so we had a fun discussion about our hometown rivalries.  My other companion is from Austin.  I did get reassigned to a Spanish speaking area and am looking forward to getting this opportunity to improve my Spanish.
So, a little about what today has been like so far.  I woke early this morning to pack and to have enough time to say goodbye to all my friends.  I then went to travel office and then boarded the only bus I have ever seen with seat belts.  Then we made the bus ride to the SLC mission headquarters where we got to meet our mission president, President Winn.  He is extremely nice and gave us each a hug as we came off the bus.  We then went into a room and were orientated for about 5 minutes.  We were then each given an opportunity to share our testimonies and a little about ourselves.  Based solely, on the Spirit and what we said, President Winn matched us with our companions.  When then went out to the parking lot and stood in a long line waiting to be told who our trainers were going to be.  It was pretty hilarious because all of us coming into the field today stood in a long line while the companions that were potentially our trainers stood there eyeing us.  After a little bit of just two lines facing each other President Winn called out our new companionship.
It turned out that my trainers don't have a car and did not have the ability to come and get me so the Zone Leaders came and got me.  We went to Walmart and did the weekly shopping and while we were there I met up with my companions.  After shopping for some groceries, we went to the member's house where I will be living for the next little bit.  After putting my luggage in the basement, we hopped in the ZLs car and drove over to this restaurant called Apple Spice Junction.  Cool thing about this mission is that a lot of the restaurants will give the missionaries free food and this was one of them.  Also while in Walmart, many people would come up to us and say hi.  We had one lady come up to us and tell us that she was praying for us missionaries.  I found this to be super cool and am having fun getting used to wearing my name tag in public.  After lunch we came to the community center were I now am!
The plans that we have for the day are a baptismal interview and I think two lessons.  All in Spanish!  I am so grateful that they are just throwing me into the work rather than letting me worry about what it will be like.  Tonight I will know and experience what being a missionary is really like!!!!!  I also found out that a lot of my area is filled with Polynesians who like to fill us up and then feed us some more.  I already got trained a little on how to get around getting too much food and maybe ways to decline more food.  This is all that I know so far about my area but I'm sure I will have a lot more information for you next P-Day which are normally on Wednesday.
So a little of the really fun facts about the Utah Salt Lake City Mission:

First, we are the highest baptizing mission in the the US and also the highest Spanish baptizing mission in the US.  Speaking of that, we actually have a baptismal service for this coming weekend!  We should have a baptismal service every weekend if we are working the way that we should and you know that I will!  How cool is that!!!
Second, we get the opportunity to go to the Salt Lake Temple every single P-Day!  I am so excited that they give us this opportunity!  I loved going once a week in the MTC and will love going once a week here in the field.
Third, I will have the opportunity to go the General Conference!  President Winn told us that we are given this unique opportunity to grow in our testimonies of our living prophet.  I have heard rumors that we may get to shake President Monson's hand and some of the Apostles.  Although we have to procure some tickets so if anyone can send some tickets my way for me and my companions that would be great!!!!
Fourth, there are 180ish missionaries in this mission.  170ish serve within a 55 block area in downtown Salt Lake City and 14 elders spread out to Wyoming to one side and 14 then to Nevada on the other side.  Crazy huh?!  This means that for me specifically, my area is really small and I will be walking every where!  This is good as I hear the Polynesians really do stuff you.
Well, that is the end of all that has happened to me since I have arrived here in Lago Salado.  My companions are extremely nice and I feel that we are going to have a lot of success!
Oh one more thing before I head out to play some soccer for P-Day.  I got to participate in some sealings in the Provo Temple.  What an awesome experiences.  We are so blessed to have access to a temple and for the blessing of eternal families.  I learned a lot and felt the Spirit so strongly in the Sealing Room.
Here is the address of the mission home:
Utah Salt Lake City Mission
3487 S. 1300 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Please send mail to this address.  If you use make sure it doesn't go to the MTC because they will just throw them away!  I love you all and am sooooooo excited for what this next week will hold for me!

Elder Janis

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