Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Elder Janis = Captain Moroni

Hey everyone!
This week has been great!  I am loving my opportunity to serve the Lord on a mission more and more everyday.  The Spirit is becoming a more constant and foundational part of my life here and I feel the Savior's love through this dependable companionship of the Holy Ghost.  Well, I thought that I would start out this letter with some bad news...they decided that since there are too many incoming missionaries that they are going to restrict the RC to only the Advanced Spanish speakers.  Before they would let the intermediate spanish speakers, me being one, have the opportunity to call also.  However, I do have some awesome news!  I should be getting my travel plans this week!  I will probably be telling you all about my plans the next time I get to email!
Well this last week has been full of a lot of changes.  I am not sure if I already told everyone about this but my district and another district were put together and then moved to a new location.  We got 6 new guys in our district and a new teacher.  I loved the way things used to be but I am also really enjoying the change.  I have gotten to know the news guys super well because I play soccer with them during our GYM time.  They are a lot fun and I have learned so much from them.  Our new teacher though is amazing.  She served her mission in Chile and is so intense about missionary work.  She has really helped us to have nativo pronunciation and not any gringo stuff.  She is a stickler for it but I have loved the fruits of her determination and mine.  She has also given some phenomenal advice and is key so far in my preparation for the field.  Her parents are converts to the church and her own convertion story was so cool to hear.  Hermana Alvarez definitely knows her stuff.  I feel that she is an answer to pray as I worry about how ready I'll be when it finally comes to heading out to the field.  Everyday I am feeling more and more ready and I have about 2 weeks!
So one of the suggestions Hermana Alvarez shared with us was that we should find and utilize examples with in the Book of Mormon.  We did this in class for Ammon and it was an amazing experience.  I decided the other day that for a personal study, I would do the same thing for Captain Moroni because of what it says in Alma 48:17.  It would be so awesome if I could legitimately substitute my name in there as a opposed to Moroni and it would mean the same thing.  I then read the entire verse taking special attention to the attributes it lists for Moroni.  I wrote them all down and then made some very specific goals to start applying his example in my life.  I have found that as I am reading the scriptures just how perfect they are for our day and age.  The Book of Mormon really was written for our dispensation and has so many wonderful truths.  I have loved taking the 45 minutes a day to really dig deep into the words of the pages and apply what I learn to my mission and then to the rest of my life.  We are SO blessed to have the restored gospel in our lives.
One of my most favorite things to do here at the MTC are the contacts.  A contact usually consists of my companion and I talking to another companionship, sharing our testimonies, and practicing our Spanish.  I have loved and cherished the opportunities to contact missionaries here because they give me the chance to use the knowledge I am gaining and my growing testimony.  Usually these experiences lead to opportunities to help other missionaries out with their troubles here or for my testimony and faith to grow.  E. Zylstra and I start our contacts out by getting to know them, asking them about their experience so far, and then listening to hear the Spirit tell us what to either teach or testify about.  My experience with Sister Maiava from one of my previous weeks is one of my most favorite memories here thus far.  I love the all the learning I am gaining here and look forward to all the future experiences I will have. 
I love being a missionary and putting on my name tag every morning!  It makes me so grateful that the Lord trusts me and has blessed me witht this opportunity.  Love you all!!!
Elder Janis

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