Monday, June 25, 2012

I had never entered a home so lavish my whole mission...


What an AWESOME week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am walking on clouds and over water; I just feel so happy right now!  We are finding some amazing people to teach.  I ‘m not sure if it is because I am coming to the close of my mission or my capacity to love has grown but I would do anything for the families that we are teaching right now.  I thought I would let you all in on who we are teaching right now:

Francisco and Patricia - They were a member referral.  The first time we went by we were pretty intimidated by how much money this family has.  We walked through a pretty front gate into a huge garden with a fountain and a maid cleaning.  As we walked up the pathway we saw 5 cars such as BMW and Audi. As we got to the doorway the maid invited us to sit down and we sat there waiting a couple minutes until they came down.  I had never entered a home so lavish my whole mission.  HAHA, I’m used to sitting on plastic buckets in concrete rooms that more than one family live in.  They came down the stairs and straight away we could sense a little bit of conflict in the marriage.  We quickly saw that despite the large amount of wealth that they had, they were thinking about divorce and they argued a lot.  However, in the last two weeks of teaching, they have completely changed.  This morning we went by to visit them and they were actually sitting together on the couch, something that they had never done in any appointment before.  The Gospel is changing their lives.  They are excitedly preparing to be baptized this coming Sunday.  Elder McMullin is pretty excited for his first baptism!!  They are so repentant and have such a huge desire to do things the Lord’s way.

Rafael and Alejandra Palma - We found them when they were in the middle of fighting about something. We knocked the door and the wife said, "its the Mormons, don’t you let them in."  However, Rafael opened the door and let us in.  He commented after that first lesson how much better he felt and that he needed the guidance we were giving him.  He loves the Book of Mormon.  When we taught the Book of Mormon he excitedly told us that he had always thought that Christ came to America also.  He came to church without us even passing by and loved the church services.  At the end of services he explained that he would be coming every single Sunday!

We are praying that we find more elect of God.  We are doing everything we can to work by the Spirit so that we can continue to find the people who are ready to accept the Gospel!!!

Elder McMullin is doing great and progressing super fast.  He has started to give larger portions of the lessons.  It is a hard process because he almost doesn’t have any Spanish but the Lord is blessing him a ton. He is spiritual and has a strong testimony!  I am enjoying teaching him everything that I can so that he can be better than I could ever be.

I love you all and hope you see miracles this coming week!

Elder Janis

Monday, June 18, 2012

A lot of things have changed this last week...

Hola Familia,

A lot of things have changed this last week for me here in Mexico City.  I love the blessing God gave me to train during my last transfer. My new companion and last kid’s name is Elder McMullin.  He is from Redding, California and is super-obedient and ready to learn.  He got here the first day and hardly could say anything in Spanish.  It was hard to see him struggle and so I thought about waking 30 minutes earlier with him and doing a language study together.  He liked the idea and it has been fun working on Spanish together.  It has been great for me to review the grammar too.  I can already see progress and he is starting to take more and more initiative in the lessons. 

I love my new area!  Sadly, the members and other missionaries keep telling me that baptizing here is super hard and that all the people here are hard-hearted and will never accepted the gospel.  Satan is throwing negative thoughts at us from all directions.  However, I am doing everything I can to not let any of those thoughts take root.  The moment they appear in my head I throw them out.  Sometimes when people reject us or it starts pouring rain and no one is home the thoughts come but I do everything I can to not let them linger.  The success we will have here is going to come a lot from the mentality I maintain.  I want to think of this area as if it were any other "gold mine" area in the mission.  I know there are tons of families prepared.  The challenge will be purifying myself so that I am worthy of the Spirit as I find, teach, and pray by the Spirit. The Lord has blessed us with some wonderful people to start teaching.  Here are some of the families we found:

Familia Palma-They let us in and we started teaching the dad and daughter.  They seemed slightly hesitant at first but we taught baptism and the gospel of Christ.  By the end of the lesson they were so drawn in by every word coming out of our mouths.  When we finished the lessons we testified that the change in atmosphere in the house was the Holy Ghost testifying that what we taught was true.  They then explained how grateful they were because right before we arrived, the family had a huge argument and the Spirit had brought peace back to the home.  They then explained that they believed in Christ but had been lacking someone to tell them what they needed to do.  They were so happy that we had come and excitedly accepted another appointment.

Felipe-We knocked his door last night.  When he opened the door I noticed something different about him.  He had a sincere look in his eyes as I testified to him that we were Representatives of Jesus Christ.  He let us in the stairwell of his house that leads up to the house.  We taught him the gospel of Christ and when we invited him to be baptized like Christ he responded, "me encantarĂ­a!"  We could really feel he understood the wonderful blessings he would receive and he is excitedly preparing for baptism.

I am loving life and the mission!  I love you all and hope the best week for you!

Elder Janis

Monday, June 11, 2012

WOW, I am starting my last change in the mission

Hola Familia,
WOW, I am starting my last change in the mission...I don't know what to think or say only that I am so excited for this coming change.  I talked to President yesterday and he asked me to train my last change.  He explained to me that Elder Lubiano, who was my second kid that I trained a year ago and is a Zone Leader in another zone, wanted me to be his ZL companion to end the mission.  Jokingly he told me that he would never let something like that happen because he could never put Batman and Superman together.  He also told me that he wanted a "little Janis" and asked if I would like to accept this opportunity to train instead.  He then assigned me to one of the richest areas in the mission which are thought of to be the hardest areas in which to baptize.  Santa Monica is the name of the ward and I am so excited to be here.  I have the chance to help the Lord change the mentality of the missionaries.  It doesn't matter where you are or who you are with you will have success if you do the work the way the Lord wants.  I am going to make that my main focus in this sprinting run to the finish.  I am going to strive to be and do what the Lord needs and wants.  What a blessing and I can't wait to receive my new kid tomorrow and teach him everything I have learned so that he can be 10 times better than I will ever be!
Milagro!!!!!!  This last week Elder Barajas and I had been trying to help all the progressing investigators that we had to want to be baptized this last week but no one wanted to.  We had a possible who we thought was going to be the miracle convert for the week.  I went with another Elder down to a river canal to their house in the most dangerous part of my area on Saturday night at 8:30pm!  BTW, now that I am not there anymore...El Molinito isn't one of the most dangerous areas in the mission, it IS the most dangerous.  I am not there anymore but man do I have some crazy stories to tell you guys when we get back...HAHA.  Anyways, I was super hesitant to go down to the river canal and I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  We made it to the house of the possible and seeing as I had only taught her one time, I did the interview.  Sadly, despite the scary sacrifice we had made she was not ready to obey some of the commandments.  We left and surprisingly nothing happened to one even took notice of us! 
However, this wasn't the miracle but you could say it was the recipe for the coming miracle.  We went to church and were greeting all the people coming in when an older lady comes walking in with a HUGE smile on her face.  She then explains that she had had visits from the missionaries before who had taught her the lessons.  In her last visit with the missionaries they had given her a blessing of health with oil and everything.  The missionaries had invited her to be baptized and in the moment she had not accepted.  However, this last week she felt that she had to do it.  Even though she hadn't met with missionaries in months she came to church ready to be baptized.  We got her the interview which she passed and even remembered everything really well that the missionaries had taught.  After talking to her a bit, Isabel was baptized and came up crying she was so happy.  She was crying as the ward congratulated her on her decision.  It was such a beautiful experience.  I don't feel worthy of such a HUGE miracle but I will never forget how merciful the Lord is.  I took a sweet picture of her but seeing that my memory has a virus I will not be able to send the pictures.  I will have to show you all afterwards.
I am so ready to make the most of this last change.  I am going to a training for the trainers tomorrow and I am so excited to learn from President.  I have the assignment to BAPTIZE, BAPTIZE, and BAPTIZE.  There is no other greater way to end a mission.  I love you all!!
Elder Janis

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Am Happy and Healthy

Hola Familia,

We had another incredible week here in Culturas! We were blessed with more miracles and I enjoyed helping our converts prepare for their confirmations.  I love them so much and it was so beautiful to see them WANT to do what the Lord asks.  They already have brighter eyes and happier faces.  HAHA, that sounded a bit cheesy but there is definitely a huge difference.

So I don't really have any time this week to write...I AM SO SORRY!!  I feel like I do this to you every week.  We are going to run to another area in the zone to get a head start on the interviews for this week.  I am happy and healthy.  I love you all tons and you are in my prayers!

Elder Janis