Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We Were Bautizona for the Month

Hola Familia,

Miracles, miracles, miracles.  This was an amazing week here in the Culturas Zone.  I am feeling pretty exhausted but it was an amazing week.  It is not about the number of people we baptized or that we were Bautizona for the month (the zone that lead the mission in baptisms) that made the week/month awesome.  It was the obedience, dilligence, and conversion that are behind those numbers.  I have never felt anything more satisfying than seeing a noticeable difference for the better in the missionaries in the zone.  The spirituallity of the zone is improving and we (Elder Barajas and I) are praying to know what will help keep this progress going.  We saw the amazing amount of 21 souls saved this week in the promised land of Culturas.  What a blessing!

We also had the miracle of helping the Martinez Ortiz Family, the Mendoza Family, and a humble guy named Justino be baptized this last Sunday in our area.  I love these people so much and it was so sacred to have the  opportunity to help them accomplish this step.  A little about these families:

Martinez Ortiz Family:  We found them walking down the street when we felt we should talk to the young mother of a pouty kid.  Juana is the mother and the pouty kid is Hugo.  Hugo was mad that his mom didn't buy him a lollipop and this gave us an opportunity to cheer him up and gain more confidence of Juana.  She invited us to come to her house that next evening.  When we stopped by that first lesson she would not take her eyes off the person that was speaking.  She seemed to be trying to not miss a word.  We quickly learned that the Lord had prepared the family when she accepted everything we taught without any doubts.  Her husband, as named Hugo,  was equally as prepared.  Here in Mexico, finding a man as spiritual as Hugo is not very frequent.  He also accepted everything with trust in the Lord and in his promises.  They got married this last week, something that they were so excited to do in order to obey God's commandments they told us.  Then on Sunday we had their beautiful baptismal service.  They were so happy and there is definitely a huge difference in their  countanances.  I wanted to send a picture but the virus on my memory card didn't let me.

Justino:  We found him knocking doors.  He suffered a stroke and his whole left side of his body was left without movement.  The stroke was caused by a huge scare he had when two men stole his van at gun point.  The scare of the assault caused him to have the stroke.  He is recently regaining the movement of his legs and walks slowly.  We had so much joy teaching him and see his face light up at the promises the Lord offers to those who obey his commandments.  He wanted to be baptized the same day we taught the first lesson.  However, we explained that he needed to wait and prepare himself for the commitment he would make.  He was so happy to submit himself to the will of the Lord.  His baptism was one of the most spiritual baptisms ever!!

I would have written more but I ran out of time!!  I love you and hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Elder Janis

Monday, May 21, 2012

As a Zone We Brought 35 New Investigators to Church for the First Time!

Buenas Tardes Familia,
HA HA, I thought I would start with something a little different.  WOW, so Chad is already in the MTC!  I am so happy for him and look forward to hearing about how things are going for him.  He is going to love the experience the Lord has ready for him!
Elaine, you are going in this coming Wednesday!   What an adventure you have got in front of you!  I am so excited for you too.  I saw the picture of the spider you sent me and that is pretty sick... :)  You are going to have to smash one too and put in plastic like that to bring it home.  HA HA!
So this last week we saw TONS of miracles as a Zone!  We were going to baptized a pretty average amount on Sunday but my companion and I felt that we should be able to do more.  Saturday we did about 13 more interviews and saw tons more baptisms.  We are so amazed by the miracles the Lord is giving us.  We aren't sure why the Lord is blessing us so much but we are excited for the coming week because as a Zone we brought 35 new investigators to church for the first time!  We have our sights set on a high goal for this coming week and I am sure the Lord is planning something huge.  I am looking forward to a week of learning and one that will change even more lives!  I have found a ton of joy out of helping the other missionaries have success not only so that they have numbers but really because they are converted in the process.  I can't be more grateful for the opportunity to serve that the Lord has given me!
Elder Barajas and I were working all week trying to find a miracle baptism for this last Sunday.  However, nothing was happening.  We weren't having any success with the people we already had because they weren't progressing.  However, at 9 pm Saturday night we went by to check on a a guy we helped to get baptized two weeks ago.  We were going to do a quick stop by to make sure everything was ready for his confirmation and we got the chance to meet his kids.  One of them happened to be 12 years old!  We taught her baptism and the other things necessary for baptism and she excitedly accepted a baptismal date for the next day!  What a blessing.  The Lord definitely is merciful.  We are going to keep stopping by to help her learn and retain the lessons and even start teaching the wife.
So, I am looking forward to what I know will be an amazing week.  I love all of you and am already excited to report to you all the success of the coming week!
Elder Janis

Monday, May 14, 2012

Voy a echar muchas ganas esta semana! (I'm going to work really hard this week)

Hola Familia,

Aquí hay más español en mi carta en vez de solamente "hola familia"!  (Here is some more Spanish in my letter instead of just Hola Familia).  HAHA,  I really, really enjoyed the Skype that we had Sunday night.  Wow, it was so special to see all of you there, hear your voices, see Grandma Janis, and meet Rebecca (i.e., Derek's girlfriend).  Every time I talk to you guys I get an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the blessings that the Lord is showering over every single one of you guys at home.  I can't wait for Chad and Elaine to leave on your missions!  You guys have so much to look forward to!

I thought I would let you all know about another miracle that I saw this last week!  They never get old!

This last Sunday, a young single adult brought her best friend to church that really wanted to get to know the church and get baptized.  We went by every day this last week and she accepted everything that we taught.  She would then do everything that we left as invitations; to pray or to read.  She loves the Book of Mormon and got a specific answer to prayer to be baptized this last Sunday.  We also had the opportunity put her into an interview with President's first counselor.  She came out so excited and SO ready for Sunday.  When Sunday came along she had insisted coming to church on her own.  We walked into church and she wasn't there...We tried calling and she didn't answer.  We left the church to go to her house and see what had happened when she came running toward the church.  She was so worried because she had woken up late and came running to church.  She looked so relieved as we told her that everything was ok and that it would all work out!  She got baptized and came out of the water with a huge smile on her face!!

Well, I am looking forward to a great week with a Zone Conference and many, many interviews and interchanges!  Les amo y les agradezco por las oraciones y amor que me evian.  Voy a echar muchas ganas esta semana!  (I love you and appreciate the prayers and love you send me.  I am going to work really hard this week!).

Elder Janis

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Answers to prayer come...a little here, a little there

Hola  Familia,

What a week that I will never forget!  We had a miracle baptism for Guillermo this last week!  The baptismal service will be something that he will never forget especially for the huge smile that he had on his face.  It made the whole experience so amazing!

My favorite part of the week, other than the baptism, was the higher level of Spirit I felt.  I realized something so very special this last week that has changed my life.  I attended a Zone Leader Council, later studied the scriptures, and finally when a super in-tune missionary and I were conversing, I received an answer to prayer with something I have been searching for months.  When the answer came, it came in pieces...a little here, a little there.  I knew the answer would come and it was not easy.  I meditated and searched, asked, prayed, and it came!!  I know that the Lord answers prayers.  I know He loves me!  I have NEVER felt more excited and blessed to serve in the Lord's work.

I will make the most of the time I have left!  I will have the opportunity to see many more miracles before I finish and I pray to be more and more converted to the Lord.  I want to be able to say that I gave Him my all.  I love all of you tons and tons!

So, the call!!!!!!!!  Happy Mother's Day!!!  I will Skype home at about 5-5:30 pm on Sunday night Mexico time.  I hope that it will work out good with your Sunday schedule. I can't wait to see all of you!

Elder Janis