Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12/29/14 Homeless people and Christmas

Family and friends,

How are you all?? We are doing work these days! Basically what this
week consisted of is we set up a huge amount of appointments, which
still is hard because people don't want to see you on New Years, even
though we are the coolest people anyone could hang out with for their
partying. Whatever!

It was pretty sweet to FaceTime my family! You all are pretty dumb,
but it's refreshing to be able to act dumb for a short amount of time
with you. I have plenty of warm clothes now. I just sit around my
apartment wearing ear warmers now. It's great! And it's like really
cold outside now (meaning 30s).

Elder Reeder and I had a pretty interesting Christmas night. After
doing some random service, because our mission president said it was a
day of service for our mission, we realized its super difficult to
find people that want help on Christmas haha. So we did random acts of
kindness, like it says in our plans. Anyways, we dropped a gift off at
president Alba's house, which is pretty darn close to our apartment
(because we are special). Then he lets us in, and we basically just
chill with president and his wife. Haha it was awesome. He gave us a
little rundown on his office he has in there, where he has pictures of
every missionary on the wall, arranged by where they are serving. It's
sweet! He says he gets to stare at us all day haha. Then sister Alba
was telling us we could help them! We could help them by handing out
these packets for homeless that had toiletries, food, etc. it was
almost 5 pm at this point. We're just like, umm sure!! We had 7 of
these packets and ended going to some sketchy-beyond-all-reason areas
when it was pitch black outside. Definitely a time where I was
actually scared for my life, especially as we meandered into "tent
city" next to the train tracks (which is very close to our apartment
as well). I was scared, then Elder Reeder is like, "I don't know where
we are going, you lead." I'm like.... Uhhhhhh. So I walk up to these
two guys, really silhouettes of guys. It turns out, one of them was
Rob, this homeless guy that we were able to teach on the street just
last Monday. I think the lord had a part in that, because it was nice
to approach someone we actually knew in this not necessarily safe
place haha. He said we were pretty brave going out there, but they
were so happy to get the gifts we had.

As we gave those to these people that had absolutely no Christmas, I
just kind of realized how much people go through that I never even
begin to think about. If we had not meandered out there, I would just
live on, never seeing and experiencing how these people struggle.
Through Christ, we can be promised that our struggles here will not be
permanent. And the life we live here is anything but the end. One of
my favorite scriptures I recently have fell in love with is Mosiah

"And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands
of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should
have no sting, there could have been no resurrection."
"But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and
the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."

I love that phrase that the grave hath no victory, and the sting of
death is swallowed up. What greater promise do we have? This applies
for us spiritually as well. Anything, ANYTHING we go through is
something Christ has experienced. He knows more than we can ever know
about our small or large trials. Putting faith in him could never be a
mistake on our part.

I know that Christ lives, and that knowledge is strengthened every day
I am out here. Everyone needs to understand and love Jesus Christ, and
all they need is a chance.

I love all of you guys, and hope you have a beast mode new year!

Elder Janson

The posterity picture of my Mom's side (Elder Reeder's trainers, etc)

Me wearing all my Christmas presents

We got a head massager from the Taylors in our ward.

What is this sign talking about?

An older picture of all the toys we bagged for Salvation Army.  600 families got toys for their kids!

12/22/14 Christmas is coming!

Hey people!

It's been a totally sweet week! So first of all, I've gotten a bunch
of packages I didn't expect, and I have so much candy!!! Thank you
everyone that sent packages because it makes our day to get something.
We get excited about little things out here. It's crazy living on
your own because food/candy doesn't just disappear! I have to eat it!
Haha it's something I not used to in a big family. But anyways, we had
our heater fixed finally! So now when I get up in the morning, our
apartment is not 58 degrees when I get up in the morning and freeze
after getting out of the shower. Another thing I want to bring up,
is what is the gas price in Florida or the rest of the country??
Because it feels like it's 1950 or something! Our gas is $2.65! Like
what is that!?

We had our mission Christmas party and devotional last Wednesday. It
was pretty sweet, and I sang up in front of people from my own choice,
just so you know! Sister Alba was asking who wants to sing a couple
weeks ago and I volunteered. I know it doesn't sound like me, but I'm
realizing now I really like singing and I'm dumb cause I never did
before. But whatever. So I sang Hark the Herald Angels sing with like
8 other missionaries for the devotional. It was pretty sweet. It was
crazy having every missionary in our mission in one chapel. It's like
the spirit will take over the world! We also did skits as a zone, and
ours was about how we incorporate "Santa Rosa Shape Up" (mandatory
exercise in the morning) into everything we do. Of course, they had me
pretend I was running all day when contacting, and ran after a guy
talking about the word of wisdom. It's funny because I haven't even
gotten up and ran in the morning for 3 months to be completely honest.
We usually just get up and walk and I do push-ups or something. I know
it's so sad, but I have no motivation to run!

Thank you mom for the surprise present at the Christmas party! I
thought I wouldn't get one cause I already had a bunch at the
apartment, but sure enough, they called my name! I'll open it on
Christmas along with the other presents I have. I know it's you mom
because of your unmistakable flawless handwriting.

So we went to see random less actives the other day. He is a less
active who married a Catholic. They both were super hospitable and
invited us in out of the rain. They obviously love missionaries, but
there's always a catch haha. Elder Reeder asked if we could share the
Christmas video "He is the Gift." She immediately said "NO" like
repeatedly, and he also was negative. We both were super surprised and
it threw us off for a second. Most people like watching a video, even
if it is religious. We've had atheists watch that! Anyways, as we were
walking out, she said loudly and with deliberation, says "Happy
Holidays!" She drew out the Holidays as if implying something. We just
said by, and we were laughing about why a catholic would say something
like that. We were driving and talking, and Elder Reeder was
expressing his frustration. He said, "come one! Your catholic! Jesus
is real!" Hahaha I was laughing so hard for like 5 minutes.

So last night we had a Meet and Greet at the stake presidents house,
which is huge by the way. It was the same meeting that I went to when
I first came to the mission. We were all introducing ourselves, and it
comes to sister Kwan. We all of course said something interesting
about ourself. She ends her little introduction by exclaiming loud and
clear, in her broken English, "something interesting, I'm Asian!!!!!!"
The entire room of 42 missionaries erupted into laughter, because her
enthusiasm was too much to not enjoy. That was a journal worthy
experience for sure. Sister Kwan is from Hong Kong and sure likes to
share that!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and watch that He is the
Gift video! I've seen it a thousand times and it is a beautiful
message about the savior Jesus Christ. I know he is our savior, and I
constantly testify of him everyday. It makes a huge difference for me,
and as I do it, I see how much people need to hear it. I know the
gospel is true, and I love Christmas because it is a time when we get
to think of him even more. I love you all and miss you guys!

Elder Janson

Our Christmas is getting larger ...

The MTC District reunited.  And Sister Aguilar standing awkwardly in between us (because we can't put our arm around her :)

The old apartment!  Minus Elder Roper.

Monday, December 22, 2014

12/15/14 Second Transfer Already Done!

Family and people,

Haha all you people. Anyways, we had a short transfer of 5 weeks
because of Christmas, and I can't believe I'm almost done with 3
months. It's unreal. That also means I have less study in the morning,
because I don't have to do "12 week" which is greenie study basically.
We got to watch all of the district videos, which show missionaries in
Southern California. We use those DVDs as training for us, but the
last week of 12 week is great because you just watch the whole videos.
It's great!

It turns out, our whole zone is barely changing. Only one elder got
transferred to Vacaville. Me and Elder Reeder are staying here, and we
get to keep our car! I am so grateful for that, because it's nasty and
rainy everyday! We are lucky. So we will be here until at least
February. It's crazy! I'm stuck here in Santa Rosa, Peterson lane

So this week I will report on all the dumb things Elder Reeder has
done. It has been hilarious. We were putting on music in the car,
Circle of Life by Motab of course, and we didn't realize the volume
was WAY too high. If you know that song, there is no buildup. It just
starts with yelling. And he put the song on when I'm driving, and I
about jumped out of my seat when the guy starts yelling! Hahaha

Then we go to see a potential investigator. His name is Tony S.
But apparently Elder Reeder thought this guy was Steve V,
another investigator we were trying to meet. So of course he asks if
Steve is there. I about crack up, and I'm like, "umm, we are
also looking for Tony." The lady is like, "oh! Tony lives here."
Hahahaha I was making fun of him so much after that. Not only that,
but we go to see this teenage girl named Carla who said come back. She
lives on Tijuana court. So he goes to the door. "Is Juana here?" She
looks confused and is like, what? I just quickly say, "I think he
means Carla!" Hahaha she's like, "oh that's me!" Oh my gosh I was
losing it after that. He was pretty embarrassed.

We had sushi for dinner from the Wentzels, a less active couple. It
was sweet!!! Now I can say I've made sushi, and it was legit. I'll
send some pictures of that.

We found a family this week! Amy and Andrew have three kids, and they
were so willing to listen to us. They soaked in the restoration, and
it was something that doesn't happen a lot! We hope they can come to
church, because they couldn't make it yesterday. It was such a solid
lesson! We have been doing great with finding new investigators.

On exchanges this week, Elder Despain, our district leader, came with
me. We went to see a less active who is struggling with the word of
wisdom. He had quit smoking the week before, and hadn't relapsed at
all! It was crazy how much faith this guy showed. He doesn't come to
church much, sometimes because he has mental and emotional problems.
But let me tell you, this guy knows the Book Of Mormon and Bible,
probably better than us! We both went in that lesson with one plan. As
the lesson went on, we gradually both just switched the lesson,
without telling each other, or making any sign we were changing. We
just felt that we needed to talk about the sacrament. It was amazing
how the spirit was bearing witness of what we said. Half of what I
said I don't really remember. I am convinced we were both speaking
purely from the Holy Ghost. Elder Despain was almost crying, and I
about did. Greg, the less active, could definitely feel the spirit. We
showed the mormon message, "Hope of Gods Light" and it has the most
amazing message, that sometimes the light of Christ is only evident to
us once we do an act of faith. The spirit was incredible. Elder
Despain said after, that he has never felt the spirit so strongly
ever. Period. I totally agree. It was almost tangible. I am so
grateful for the spirit and the effect it can have on us teaching, and
those learning.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas. Thank you mom for the
Christmas package! I'll have to send you all a picture of our
"Christmas tree." It's a sad, sad thing. Hahaha

I just want to testify that the more I learn of Christ and read the 4
gospels and watch the bible videos the church puts out, the more I see
how much the atonement means. Christmas is the best time to remember
how Christ suffered in gethsemane, and the magnitude of that. It is
incredible, and Christ is the only one who could do it. I love
learning of him and teaching others of him. Nothing is more true than
the fact that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world.

I love you all! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Elder Janson

Christmas in a missionary apartment ....

Sushi dinner at the Wentzel's!

Elder Janson has a new skill in the kitchen.

Random picture of Elder Green on Preparation Day (P-Day)

Monday, December 8, 2014

12/8/14 Wet, cold weather and biking for dinner ...

So family and friends,

How are you?? It's been the usual missionary week. Except I have like
some crazy stuff to tell you!

We had a week with a bunch of lessons planned, but a bunch fell
through. We ended up only having 12 lessons, with like 28 potential
lessons. Welcome to missionary life! But we found this family a while
back, Rob is the dad. They are born again Christian, and are totally
cool with us! They want us to come next Sunday for a lesson. We gave a
house blessing for them and they loved it a couple weeks ago. They are
the coolest family. That's what the mission goal has been, to find
families, and this seems like a great opportunity.

Another time, we were trying to see a potential investigator we didn't
know yet. I was kind of annoyed, considering we had just talked to a
guy for awhile that just wanted to argue, and it is such a waste of
time. I wanted to just do something mean haha especially when I was
talking and he buzzed me! Meaning he made a buzzing sound like I was
being tested or something. I had to hold back a little, and I just
stopped talking when he did that. I was like, this guy doesn't deserve
to hear us if he's gonna be dumb, and just want to argue with us.
Anyways, we went to a less actives to see if she was there, just out
of nowhere. I felt we should. They let us right in, and the members ex
husband talked to us for a long time about how his dad was a stake
president, etc. and he just didn't do those things. He had been in
jail for most of his life for some terrible things. We really
should've been scared to be in an apartment with this guy. But we
didn't feel any fear. It was as if the spirit was comforting us. We
barely said anything, and as he talked to us about his guilt, he
eventually was so emotional he just couldn't speak, and he wants us to
come back. Sometimes I'm amazed at the influence we have when we don't
do anything!

So this is kind of funny. We have a car in our area for at least this
transfer. Elder Reeder then realizes a week or two ago that the bishop
in a near Ward he knew from his Ward in Meridian, Idaho way back when
he was a kid. He calls them and is like, "hey! I knew you guys when I
was a little kid!" Haha so we went to dinner with them on Thursday. We
thought it would be fine because we had a car, and they were about 7
miles away. But then, our zone leader tells us that President is not
happy about people getting in wrecks, so the mission will "fast" from
cars on Thursday and Friday. Great. We're like, dang it!! So what do
we do? Do we cancel? Haha nope! We get our bikes an hour before dinner
on Thursday, and bike all the way to Rincon valley Ward, across Santa
Rosa. It turns out, that side of town is anything but flat. It was
mostly uphill all the way there! But we made it, and Sis Groesbeck,
the family elder reeder knows of course, never knows we biked there
until we left! Hahaha she wasn't too happy about that!

Because of having to bike, we got some serious rain, because here
during winter it does this weird thing where it rains and it's cold.
Good thing I bought some rain pants, because we were biking to the
church, when it just starts coming down. We pull over and look crazy
pulling on our rain pants! We get to the church, and thank the lord
for rain gear. Haha it was super fun.

On Saturday we had a lesson planned with Bee, a 17 year old
investigator from a part member family. She comes to the church where
the lesson was going to be at 11, and we had figured out the night
before about a baptism at the church at 11. What do we do? We're like,
"hey we're going to a baptism Bee!" Haha she was like.. Ok! Kind of
tricked her into going to a baptism, but she was fine with it haha.

So testimony meeting in church yesterday was one of those where I feel
like the spirit was surprisingly strong. You sometimes don't expect to
feel it so strong just at church, which is bad, but sometimes church
just feels like routine. But everyone who went up just shared a
simple, powerful testimony, that just was amazing and kept me awake :)
I'm glad to be in such a church where no matter where you are, and who
is there, they all have the same knowledge that you do. They all feel
the importance of the gospel to their families and them as

I'm so glad for the gospel and what it can do for anyone who accepts
it. I know if we remember Christ in this season, we can feel the power
of his life flow into ours. That is what the church is doing with this
"He is the Gift" initiative. Share that with everyone! It can change
the world, and can change you.

I love all of you guys!

Elder Janson

Joseph's new companion (me and Elder Reeder had some fun with a less active's Boba Fett helmet)

Yes, those are penquins!

Me admiring this nativity.

A Florida license plate !!!!

Me and Monique!  Haha

12/1/14 Two months in California!

Hey everybody!

So what's crazy about today, is I've now been in the field for exactly
two months! That's weird. Pretty soon I won't be a greenie anymore,
which is defined as your first 3 months in the field. But then more is
expected of me at the same time haha.

It was a sweet week! We got a little more relaxation time. I told you
all on Wednesday about the temple trip, which was SWEET. Well
Thursday, which of course was thanksgiving was amazing. First, we did
some service for Sister Stewart, who happens to be the mission nurse
everyone doesn't like talking to. 😜 haha she was in charge of setting
up the Crèche festival, which is just like our stake that did the
Nativity festival, with nativities from all over the world. It's a big
thing in the Santa Rosa stake, and it's big for our missionary work
too. If someone obviously doesn't want to talk to us, we just pull out
the card and invite them to this nativity festival before they can
slam the door. It's genius! I might send some pictures of it, because
I think we get to go.

Then we went to the singles ward Turkey bowl and played football at
this high school. It was so nice and the weather was unbelievably
nice. There at least 40 people there for football, including a large
amount of missionaries. We had like three games going at once, and we
got dirty cause the ground was muddy. It felt good to run around for
like 3 hours straight! That night we also were allowed a zone
activity, which basically means 2 hours of sports at the church. All
of this fun leads to the next morning, me and Elder Reeder wake up and
we can't move our legs, and we can't get out of the car, and we walk
like old men. Needless to say, we rarely get such a large amount of
exercise, and we took advantage of it, but we sure payed the price. We
all walked like penguins for the past few days.

Me and my comp had thanksgiving dinner at Bishop Yancey's in our Ward.
They are super cool and weird just like me, so it's perfect. Haha they
had so much food, and I had trouble eating all that. It was wonderful.
They had frog-eye salad, and I commented on the amount of frogs they
had to massacre to make just a bowl of that stuff. Hahaha it was
funny. Elder Reeder is also obsessed with pumpkin pie, and can't stop
talking about it right now. So of course, they had pumpkin pie, and he
went crazy. The best part of the night was we did a Noah's ark puzzle
which was like 750 pieces. Us and their kids were having way too much
fun doing a puzzle together. It was a very relaxing day, which we
don't get much of! The Yanceys are the best! They have a kid named
Zach and Joe, which are me and my comp's name. Kind of weird but cool!

So that was sweet! We went on exchanges on Saturday with the zone
leaders, and I went up to their area, the Shiloh park Ward. It's quite
a bit larger than our area haha. I was with Elder Hacking, who is from
Vernal, Utah! I thought my family might be excited to hear that. He
was surprised I knew what it was haha. We did a ridiculous service
project where we helped people in their Ward move. It was ridiculous
because they were definitely hoarders, and had way too much ancient
worthless things. We were there for forever!!! But service is good.
Don't get me wrong.

It's a sweet week coming up. We have about 28 lessons planned for this
upcoming week... And that is A LOT. Just a little bit of potential
investigator hunting has led to us not having time for everything!
It's crazy to have that problem. We are just trying to meet all these
people in our merged area, and we have plenty to see and plenty of
doors to knock. It's starting to get pretty rainy up here, so having a
car is kind of nice, even though we are pretty sure it will be gone at
the end of this transfer in a couple weeks and we will be back on
bike. But that's ok, we gotta keep getting big!

I'm excited to see all these people! Sometimes I get kind of tired of
talking to people all day, but as you just immerse yourself in helping
them and not worrying about yourself, it all becomes a lot more
worthwhile. I'm so glad we can be here working, and I know the gospel
can bring joy to all who accept it and make it part of their life. I
hope I can be an instrument in the lords hands, and forget myself!!

Scripture for the day is Alma 48:17. Check it out. Moroni is a boss.

This month we are reading the four gospels as a mission to celebrate
Christ and his life and birth. I invite you all to do so also! We read
abut 7 pages a day to be done by Christmas!

I love you all and thanks for the prayers and emails!

Elder Janson

It's ugly tie Monday hahahaha

Me with our Chevy Malibu

Or Maliboat because it has the worst turning radius in history! (and Elder Reeder)

Me and Elder Hacking on exchanges

Noah's Ark puzzle at the Yanceys on Thanksgiving.  We never finished.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

11/26/14 A Visit to the Oakland Temple

Hey everyone!

So here's my weird Wednesday email! Exciting right? It's a pretty full
week of just weird schedule. Monday wasn't really p-day except for
laundry thankfully! We would've died without that. Anyways, today I
had the opportunity to go to the Oakland temple! It was LEGIT. Like
it's dang huge compared to the temples in Florida. Not only that,
there were like a bunch of missionaries there not from our mission.
Our zone was there, and then a bunch of sisters from the Oakland
mission and other people. It's cool to see a bunch of other
missionaries when sometimes you feel like the only ones in the world!
I know that sounds dumb, but it feels that way.

It was nice and refreshing to be in the temple and having it remind me
of going back home. The church is the same everywhere! It's crazy how
that works. It's interesting trying to explain to some people who
don't understand that concept. But I could feel the spirit like I
never have today, and I can see it all these other missionaries faces.
We aren't alone in the fight for right!

So Elder Reeder is pretty cool, and he likes to work, which is
refreshing. Having a burnt out companion is no fun. But he has an
incredible amount of energy that sometimes I can't handle too well
haha. You sure learn about yourself out here pretty quick. And it is
hard being with someone 24/7. I never understood that until now. But
don't worry about me, I can handle ALMOST anyone.

So we are struggling to see all the investigators from the other area
in our area that I don't know. It's funny just showing up and asking
if we can get to know them! But we are doing pretty well, and news
flash of the day... We randomly got a car! Haha President Alba I guess
figured out that both of us were kind of sick. Then, up in Eureka some
missionaries wrecked their car (but they are fine). :) So what do ya
know!? The mission had an extra car! And President Alba didn't want us
to ride in the cold rain. The only catch is we probably won't have it
after this transfer. But who cares! Haha count your blessings. It's
kind of like a temporary holiday gift. Then we can get big on bike
again. And I'm pretty sure me and Elder Reeder will still be here
after this transfer. We barely know this area, and making me leave
would be hard on the area!

We committed a guy in our first lesson with him to be baptized on
December 20th! He's been visited by the north missionaries before, but
he said he really thinks the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He
read it all already, and he seems like a really good guy. We still
have a lot of work to do for our current baptismal dates, which will
probably have to change. We figured out on our mission that Satan is a
tool. Haha meaning he works against the works of righteousness.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I'm so ready! Basically the only thing we
can do is go to members houses and eat food. I'm sure you can
understand that we can't proselyte on such a holiday. People would
hate us even more! So be nice to missionaries everyone.

Anyways, I'm glad I could send a little to you guys! I'll email in
just a couple days next Monday, so deal with it everyone :).

I know this gospel is true, and the more I share it, the more I
understand it. It really is something that people need, even if they
can't see that now. I hope I can be someone that the spirit can dwell
with, and I will keep you all in my prayers.

I love you all!

Elder Janson

Elder Janson and Elder Reeder at the Oakland Temple

Elder Janson and Elder Green at the Oakland Temple

Elder Janson and Elder Green

Sunday, November 23, 2014

11/17/14 New Companion--Elder Reeder

Dear Family and friends,

So my new companion is Elder Reeder, of course from Idaho, and he
loves potatoes, and I'm not joking. We had potatoes for dinner at a
members and he was freaking out. There's a picture of him and me at
the bishop's house for dinner on the blog check it out. He's from
Nampa Idaho near Boise. Everyone here thinks Napa when he says that
and it bugs him of course.

Anyways, we now have two areas to deal with, Peterson Lane North and
south. I only know south, and we are trying to get to know the
investigators in the south area. The only cool thing is we now have
two phones, two pairs of keys, more shower time, a lot of leftover
cheese, more room, two bunk beds for no reason, a nice study room, and
there aren't 6 bikes in our apartment. Aren't I good at pointing out
the good in things!? Yea I know. Our apartment was a bit small for 4
guys, but it was more exciting.

We taught Pamela again with her husband. It turned out to be a lesson
where they expressed all of their concerns about controversial issues
of the church. I find those not only hard to make a good answer for,
but also I have trouble even caring at all about that stuff. To me I'm
like... Ummm who cares!? But other people do and it's annoying. Elder
Reeder wrote down their issues, like what tithing is used for, and
polygamy (surprise), the 4 accounts of the first vision, yadayadayada.
For me that doesn't even do anything to diminish a testimony. That is
clearly the adversary just making stuff look bad, which you can do to
anything essentially. It's dumb! But we are going on where it
has an explanation of sorts for all of these topics, which is pretty
cool. Honestly people need to get over themselves, but that's just me.

So it's crazy to hear about my cross country team! To all of you, I am
not running, and yes it's because I am lazy, and yes, my excuse is
biking everyday, all day. Which I think is valid. Good job to my team!
Y'all are the best.

So the work is just kind of chugging along. The other day was awesome!
We contacted like 31 people, we just talked to a bunch of people on
our bikes, which is incredibly awkward, but I just get to the point
that I relish the awkwardness. Haha we just ride and were like,
"Heyyyyy" haha it's great.

It's starting to kind of get cold here, and our apartment has like
zero heat that works. Our apartment is usually about 59 degrees :)
it's makes me quite a bit more grateful for blankets than I have been
in the past in the land of muggy Florida. The weather is not too bad
here though. It's considerably mild. I've also been a little sick the
past couple days and it's terrible!! The cold doesn't help. One day I
slept in until like 10 because I felt like crap. I hope I can get
better quickly.

So we will try as best as we can here. It's going to be difficult at
first, but I know that President Alba puts certain elders together for
a reason. Elder Roper was kind of burnt out being in this area for 6
months, and I could tell and it was annoying. But Elder Reeder seems
like he will be able to help us go out and do work. I'm still figuring
things out, and it's weird talking to every weird person on the
street, but I know we have to exercise that faith to find, because
barely anyone knows what they are missing. I know this church and
true, and the more I read from the scriptures and prophets, the more I
see what the atonement of Jesus Christ really means. It's amazing how
much I didn't understand as a kid. I hope I can be able to express
that to those I teach, and be a vessel for the spirit for them. Thank
you all for the prayers and looking out for me!

Elder Janson

Picture of me in the Mission Office

Transfer day, I think this is hilarious. My old apartment! Elder
Sutterfield having trouble with his tie... Elder Wilkes.....

Transfer day! Elder Sutterfield, Elder Green, Me (duh)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11/16/14 The Yancey Family shares dinner with Elder Janson

The Janson family received this email on Sunday afternoon from the Yancey family in Santa Rosa, Ca:

"We finally had a chance to have Elder Janson to our home for dinner this week. We love having him in our ward. He gave a fabulous talk a few weeks ago.

I just though you might enjoy getting a picture. My son Zack is sitting next to Elder Reeder and my son Joe is sitting next to Elder Janson.

Have a great day."

It's Zachary Yancey
sitting next to Zachary Reeder sitting next to Joseph Janson sitting
next to Joseph Yancey. Yup.

11/10/14 A new companion is coming

Hey everybody!

So the biggest news I can think of is that the Peterson Lane Ward which I am serving in is having a big change with the missionaries. Up to tomorrow the ward had two areas and 4 elders in it. Tomorrow all of the guys here except me are getting transferred. So it will only be me with another new guy. The whole ward will have only two elders... which means I have to take over the entire ward with my new companion who doesn't know the area and who has only been out on his mission for about 4 months. When our zone leaders found out they were doing that they were like.... "ummm but Elder Janson has only been out for like 6 weeks!" But apparently that don't matter!

Needless to say it will be an interesting next transfer. I'm going to miss these 3 elders, Elder Sutterfield, Elder Wilkes, and Elder Roper my first trainer, or "dad." My new companion will my follow-up trainer aka "mom." His name is Elder Reider (I think that's how you spell it). haha He is also from Idaho, as Elder Roper was. I got to keep dealing with these Idahoans!

So things have been going pretty well, except for finding out I will have to live in a duo apartment, which seems like it will be super boring! But we did set up a date for our investigator Andrea to be baptized! It's on December 5th, which is funny because we were supposed to say December 6th, but elder Roper just forgot and said the 5th. We always make fun of him for forgetting everything. He really does, I have to remember all the addresses, names, etc. It's pretty hilarious. Anyways, Andrea is an older lady who they taught before, but couldn't continue because of back surgery and recovery. She should be able to make that date though which is awesome.

We also are talking to this guy Eduardo who seems kind of weird, but we just threw in an invitation for baptism, and he says. "well not this week!" haha He came to church twice now though, despite saying we sound like we are brainwashed. A lot of people see faith as brainwashing, i am learning. I've already heard that many times, and it seems dumb to me. If you put it that way, everything is brainwashing you! And believing in God sure ain't a bad brainwash to have. haha I'll stop complaining now.

We had another lesson with Pam, who is a less active who literally called us asking for the lessons again. That in and of itself is a little miracle. but she feels like she doesn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, as well as her husband Jeff. But he's not super involved in changing that. He grew up in the church and she is a convert. Yesterday we were able to meet with her again, and brought a different member than usual, Bro Harlin. He also is a convert, at 17 years old. It surely helped to have him there for the lesson. He was able to relate to her concerns better than we ever could.

He told His conversion story and everything, and it was so powerful and I could tell that she felt of his conviction, as we did. He spoke of a time when he doubted himself on his mission and his testimony. When he was teaching an investigator, he felt prompted to have them sing a hymn, "Joseph Smith's first vision," before it. When they did, he was in tears as well as the investigator, who didn't understand why. But he said the spirit was so strong in reaffirming to him his testimony of Joseph Smith that the entire room could feel its influence.What was amazing was how he said the Spirit spoke to him. He said he heard a voice saying, "you already know it is true." When he said that, I was blown away. I had an experience just like that while reading the book of mormon, and the spirit had used those same exact words for me. I was amazed at how similar it sounded to how I had felt. He even said to Pam. "I think you already have a testimony of Joseph Smith. I think you already have a testimony of the Book of Mormon." The spirit testified right then and there he was right.

I just want to bear testimony that many of us doubt the very foundation of our testimony, but when we feel that the lord has abandoned us, or we wonder why we can't feel the spirit when we think we should, he will show us when we least expect it. The holy ghost will tell you "in your mind and in your heart," and you will know. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that this is true, and I need to declare that to everyone!

I still have a lot to learn, but I've learned so much already, and thank you all for caring and praying for me. You guys make all the difference! Have a great week.

Thank you

Elder Joseph Janson

A sweet Lotus me and Roper found!

My zone! (Which is changing tomorrow)

Me and Elder Roper Twining

What used to be a Dodge Durango

I was exhausted after service apparently

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/3/14 "Mighty Hour of Prayer"

Hey everybody!

So it's already Monday again. It seems crazy that I have one week
until transfers. Which means I will probably get a "mom" meaning, a
second trainer. Elder Roper has been in this area for 6 months now, so
we pretty much know he is leaving. He is my "dad" and the next trainer
will be my "mom". You know what's cool!? My "grandpa" is one of the
APs! That's a good bloodline I think.

So this next transfer we probably will have 2 different elders in our
apartment, seeing as me and elder Wilkes have only been in this area
for one transfer. That's cool though because me and elder Wilkes get
along pretty well haha. We both speak in this "retarded", voice as my
dad would say. I don't know if you saw my video last week of Elder
Wilkes coming at me and me screaming in that stupid voice, hahaha. So
this upcoming week will bing surprises, as we figure out about
transfers this Friday.

Oh by the way Hannah, yes Laksmi can use my jacket... Haha I'm across
the country. I can't do anything about it.

Speaking of that, it turns that the Peterson Lane Ward here in the
Santa Rosa Stake, will soon have 3 missionaries serving out on the
east coast area! One just got his call to Pennsylvania, and the other
two are at Georgia and North Carolina. I guess the church likes
sending us as far away in the US as we can get. That's cool though.

So Granny asked me about my talk! It was on prophets, and I used
Russell M. Nelson's talk just in this conference on sustaining the
prophets. I thought it was pretty good, but that's just me.. Haha.
This week was fast Sunday of course, and our testimony meeting was
surprisingly good. We had this random guy that Elder roper asked to
come to church, actually come! He sat right next to me and asked all
these questions I never think about, like us all raising our right
hands. Haha I got to explain that stuff to someone who barely knew
anything. The testimony meeting I could really feel the spirit in. The
mission president and his wife kind of surprised us by being in our
sacrament meeting, and Sister Alba bore her testimony, and she's just
the nicest most sincere person ever! It was amazing. Just for all of
your information, all of the elders who were in the car accident up in
Eureka are now released from the hospital, and they will be ok. Sister
Alba talked briefly about how they were doing. Thank you all for your

I bet you all are wondering what we do on Halloween! I was too haha.
Well that night we went to "Thomas the Convert's" house, as we call
him, and are a bunch of pizza. It was hilarious because there was
probably 20 missionaries in his garage eating pizza as trick or
treaters started showing up and going to his door. We all had the same
costume! Of course, we weren't allowed to actually dress up. And we
literally were not allowed to go out and proselyte that night. They
said, "go do your planning until 9 pm!" Elder Roper and I tried to do
this, but going that late trying to do weekly planning, let's just say
we lost it a little! We kind of wanted to go down one street, try to
trick or treat and see what people did. Then we wanted to go down that
same street the next day and tract it. We thought that would be
absolutely hilarious, but certainly not beneficial. Don't worry, we
didn't. :)

So we are still trying to find people, and still teaching that less
active in our Ward who randomly asked us to teach her the lessons.
It's eye opening to see people's concerns, when sometimes I feel like
my eyes have been so closed to all the concerns people can possibly
have. They were talking about being concerned to raise their future
family in the church. In my head I was like, listen to what you are
saying! But they don't trust people in the church to adequately
fulfill their calling I guess. It's hard to address some of these
concerns. But in this lesson yesterday, I could feel the spirit
guiding me, and I didn't feel so lost. It's amazing when you can tell
you didn't think of what you are saying, because the spirit said it
through you.

On each fast Sunday we do a "Mighty Hour of Prayer" which is where you
kneel down and pray for literally, an hour. Let me tell you, that is
one slow hour. Especially when you just found out the member who was
going to feed you to break your fast just cancelled. Needless to say I
was angry and grumpy. But as I kneeled and tried to let my anger
leave, and talk to Heavenly Father, an amazing thing happened. I found
myself basically bearing my testimony to God. I was just speaking, and
words came out, and I knew that I knew them. I understood Joseph Smith
when he said, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not
deny it.." If you pray, even if you don't feel like it, you can see a
miracle. Like Brigham young said, if you don't feel like praying, get
on your knees until you do feel like it. An hour is certainly enough
time to feel like praying. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ that
God is really there and wants to talk to you, he just can't do that if
we don't use our spiritual ears. We have to open ourself to the
spirit, and then we can know for sure, as Joseph Smith explains, and
as I felt myself.

Thank you everyone for all the emails and for caring about me! It
helps a lot. I love you all, and hope I can be an instrument in the
lords hands.

Elder Janson

               Good ole' Elder Sutterfield.  Both he and Roper will probably be gone next week.

Elder Roper.  We thought this was sweet!

We walked by this car and had to take a picture.  We debated for like 10 minutes on how this happened.

Yes, this is my mission president, President Alba in high school.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

10/27/14 Trunk or Treat and cold weather!

Hello Family,

So how's it been? It's getting cold here a lot faster than Florida
does! It was like 46 this morning when we did our P-day walk to the
donut shop and I was cold. What's funny is that when I first came I
hadn't even brought a hoodie type jacket, so I had to buy one like a
dumb Floridian. But I think I can deal with the weather here
considering it's like room temperature during the day.

We had trunk or treat on Friday, and us missionaries were supposed to
"judge" the chili. We kind of did, but did a terrible job, because
basically we just ate the ones that looked good and nominated those
ones, probably the least fair way we could do it, but whatever! We
switched name tags of course, because we are so unique and creative...
It was actually really confusing though. It's funny going to something
like that because I realize that I've been here for like a month and I
still don't know anyone in the ward. I went to ward council yesterday
which was a new experience! It's weird to see that side of the
leadership of the church that I feel like as little kids we are
completely unaware of. They had some interesting conversations. I also
gave a talk yesterday and it was pretty good if I say so myself! Haha
it was alright, and I remembered to remind everyone where I was from
this time.

Two Sundays ago was our stake conference, and what's really funny is
our theme was exactly as yours, because it was about hastening the
work, and the mission president's wife spoke. Just shows the church is
the same everywhere!

We started teaching this less active lady and her husband, which is
crazy because literally like a month ago she wanted nothing to do with
the church. Then this past week she calls us and tells us she wants to
have the missionary lessons, like, now! We're like, ummm, ok! So we
are going over to her place and her husband has questions too, just
about the strength of their testimonies and what things in the church
they like and don't like. It's interesting. We had a member, Brother
Hall the first time, so needless to say we barely spoke haha.

I hope you all are doing well, and know that I am still alive and well
and none of the guys in my apartment have killed each other yet! Not
literally speaking of course. We all get along pretty well, and my
stupid retarded voice has picked up in the whole apartment and we joke
of going to doors and just going, "Hiiiii!" Super loud in a retarded
voice. We are super weird.

Anyways, I'm running out of things to say" haha but I do want to say
that I know the Atonement is real. The guy who talked after me
yesterday gave an amazing talk about that, and how he overcame his
sorrow about having Parkinson's. I think sometimes we need to step
back and look at the blessings the lord has given us. Even if we don't
feel blessed, trials are there for our benefit. I know through Christ
we can feel the burden of trials lift, and we will be able to endure.
I love all of you and hope you are all well! Keep emailing me and keep
me updated with the real world. :)

I will send at least a video that I think you I'll enjoy...

Take care,

Elder Janson

Joseph with President and Sister Alba, the mission president and his wife.

I never sent a picture of my MTC
District, the best people ever!!!!!

Back: Elder Green, Lohman, Searle (my companion), me
Front: Sister Aguilar, Carter, Triana, Walton

So I never sent this picture from a couple weeks ago of us eating at
the Freebairn's when they fed me my green greenie meal! Everything was
green.... (a greenie is a brand new missionary).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10/20/14 We get to "Meet the Mormons"

Dear family and friends,

I'm pretty bad at remembering what I want to write in the weekly
letters! But that's ok. I'll just write what my heart desires!

Anyways, I think the highlight of our week was our zone conference on
Friday. So we weren't allowed to go see Meet The Mormons at the
theater of course, because that would just be trouble. But my MTC
companion who's in my mission in Vallejo emailed me (which is against
the rules we know now even if he's a guy!) about how at their zone
conferee they watched the movie! And I of course freaked out and told
my whole apartment. They're like, no way!! And then our zone leaders
came over to help us with 12 week training study as we call it, and
Elder says, "How are we supposed to talk to people about this movie we
haven't seen!" They, having already known we were going to watch it in
2 days just kinda went quiet and went, "uhhhh idk!" Haha so basically
we were positive we were going to see this movie! (This is a big deal
because the only moving pictures we can watch are mormon messages and
videos we take of each other)

So at zone conference President Alba shows us the trailer with David
Archuleta singing "Glorious" and asks us if we know enough about the
movie to talk to people about it. We all just kinda stared blankly. At
this point I was thinking, "we better watch it.." He sits there for a
second, and then he says, "do you guys want to watch it??"

The room exploded into a "YES!!" And everyone was cheering and me and
Elder Roper stood up and high-fived, and it was hilarious. President
Alba responded by saying, "I've never seen you guys more excited about
anything!" Haha I felt super cool because I knew it all along (kind

So we watched it and we got a bunch of snacks as we watched it on a
huge projector in the church gym. It was sweet. It was such a great
opportunity to remind us in a way of how the gospel blesses each of
us. The last one with the missionary mom just made me think, "wow I
have a long time left.." Haha But her story was also amazing because I
remember when she expressed how she didn't want to hear about God
after her second son died right after birth. It's a tough thing to
know how to teach someone how the gospel can help them at such a time.
We taught a member yesterday, which was great because we've had a
total of about four teaching opportunities while I have been here. But
anyways he was about 30 and had served a mission, but had gotten
divorced after having three kids. He said, "I don't want to hear about
eternal families or anything like that." He was nice to us, but said
he just was taking a "vacation" of sorts from church. It was a bit
eye-opening for me. We showed him the "Mountains to Climb" video of
Henry B. Eyring's talk. It is amazing! You all should watch it. I
think it was a good option to show him because it emphasizes that even
a twig of faith can let the lord help us when we feel we are losing
the ability to endure. The guy we were teaching asked us if we had
ever been devastated by anything. My brain went, "uhhhhhhh" I realized
I didn't have an answer! It made me realize I have been blessed in my
life. It was an interesting lesson, but we left a blessing on his
home, and the spirit was there.

This email is really long, but deal with it :) another funny thing
about yesterday was we sort of stole our roommates' investigator.
She's an older lady who's 13 year old granddaughter just got baptized.
(Who apparently had a huge crush on the missionary who just left) So
that's an interesting situation haha.

We had Thomas there, a recent convert who is so golden! He's about 19
and Hispanic, and he's flippin hilarious. He was baptized two months
ago, but he knows so much about the church you can't tell. Elder Roper
baptized him, and he is with us a lot and drives us around. He is so
amazing and impresses me the more I'm around him. He recently broke up
with his girlfriend of 3 years because he felt she wouldn't help him
keep his covenants. Like, WOW that's real commitment. He also is
planning on a mission next summer! It's sweet. I told him I think he
is going to the Jacksonville, Florida Mission and he's going to eat
dinner at Elder Roper's greenie's house. That would be so momentous.

So I'll shut up now, but I just want to tell you all that I love you
guys. It's kind of funny because all the missionaries in our district
always say we love each other. (Not the sisters though because that's
kinda not allowed) But anyways, thank you all for actually caring
about my life! Haha it feels good to have a lot of support, even if it
is across the country!

I know this church is true, and I can already tell a mission is going
to be the most important thing I've ever done. I hope I can do all the
Lord wants and expects of me. Keep me in your prayers, and I'll pray
for you all. Thank you!

Elder Janson

Me in Elder Roper's iron man morph suit

That's me and Elder Sutterfield

Us asking for service opportunities!

Friday, October 17, 2014

10/13/14 "I was praying for you to come over ..."

Hey family and friends,

So first, Happy Birthday Mother! Haha can't forget that! Just like
when I introduced myself at the pulpit yesterday in church I
completely forgot to say where I was from! But people figured it out.
One guy said he doesn't think they've ever had a missionary from
Florida, so I'm pretty amazing basically.

Turns out we can't even see Meet The Mormons! Probably we just can't
be in a movie theater, which is understandable. I hope they let us
watch it at zone conference or something haha. We hope people will be
nicer to us because of it!

So I guess I'm just going to blabber on a little bit. As I'm out here
I'm realizing, oh, I'm going to be here for two years! It's weird, but
at the same time it feels so different from real life it's not that
bad. Also being so close to God every day makes everything easier.

So it turns out that people in California are jerks. Haha my companion
always says people in Idaho are way nicer. We went service tracting
and this lady, after we offered her free service, says, "there's no
such thing as free!" And we're like, um ok. Sometimes I don't know why
people are so grumpy. One guy was saying, "did you see my no
soliciting sign?" And Elder Roper is like we aren't selling anything.
Then he says were selling a belief system. Whatever sir! Haha

I also just have to say, there is not many things I am more afraid of
than street contacting. I would rather go bungee jumping off the
biggest cliff in the world than start talking to a random person on
the street! It's really bad haha. Elder Roper told me he hates it too,
but he prays for the lord to open his mouth, and he's doing fine now.
And he also told me I know a lot more than he did at my point in my
mission. Sometimes I don't give myself enough credit. But that's what
we constantly try to do, is have faith that the lord can open our
mouth. It might take awhile, but I know with his help it is possible.

So besides all this not positive stuff, a really cool thing happened
yesterday. We had only knocked on maybe four doors when the next door,
the lady opened the door, and said, "no way! I was praying for you
guys to come over! Come in! My name is Sister Montgomery." We're
like.... Uhhhh what?? Haha not what you expect at a door as a
missionary. It turns out she's here from Seattle because of her
father's passing, and she was there with her nephews who are agnostic.
She sent them a picture of us and said, look! I prayed and they came!
Haha it was nuts. We're going to go back Tuesday to help her a little
bit. Elder roper said in his 16 months that has never happened to him.
And for planning last week we both just decided to tract that street
at that time yesterday. Just thought that was a good confirmation that
even though we aren't really teaching anyone and it feels like we
aren't doing anything, we aren't forgotten.

So I want to bear my testimony that prayer works! If we can exercise
enough faith to just pray a little, it can make all the difference. I
know that if we keep trying, we will have success. "Bear with patience
all thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." (Alma 26:27)

I love all you guys and I'll send pictures and a pretty hilarious video maybe :)

Elder Janson

We saw this guy at a member's house.

Another biking picture ... (and he his catching up to his companion with practice :)

That frog was one of our investigators that we taught a whole lesson to. haha

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

10/6/14 First Real Week (according to Elder Janson)

Hello Family!

So I'm sending this to like everyone that has emailed me, I don't know
if that's how we wanna do it, but that's how I am doing so you guys
gotta deal with it I guess :)

So, everybody! It's actually surprisingly hot here during the day. Not
as hot as Florida, but hot enough that riding a bike at 3 pm isn't
that exciting. On the other hand, riding our bike at 7 pm
 is WONDERFUL. It goes from like 50 degrees in the morning to 90 in the
middle of the day. Kind of weird. I actually need a blanket at night.

The four Elders in my apartment are my trainer, Elder Roper, then
Elder Sutterfield and Elder Wilkes. Elder Roper is from Idaho,
Sutterfield from the exotic Springville, Utah, and Elder Wilkes from
the great Newcastle, Wyoming. I feel pretty special haha. It was funny
on the transfer day, all the missionary were in the mission home (just
part of a church building) and all the greenies stood up and said
where the were from etc. People many people cheered for Utah, Texas,
and Arizona. Not so many for the famous Gainesville, Florida. They
just don't understand I guess. That first night after flying to
California we stayed in a nice hotel just with our same room
arrangements from the MTC.  Apparently that was supposed to be our last
good nights sleep for 2 years, but I've slept fine in our bunk beds in
our tiny apartment. I'm blessed to be able to sleep no matter where I

The next morning, we woke up, went to the mission home, and sat and
waited with the trainers for the President Alba to go choose our
trainers. I never knew this would be so suspenseful. Of course me and
my MTC buddies were trying to guess our trainers. None of us were
right of course.

We haven't even done that much actual missionary work, because we've
had multiple meetings, transfer firesides, zone meeting, weekly
planning, and so on. General conference takes all day too. So tomorrow
I'm actually gonna have to get down to business. We've had a couple
crazy people talk to us on the street, but that's about it. One drunk
guy talked to us for 30 minutes, no exaggeration.

When I first got here I was kind of sad and felt discouraged, but I
think I will get used to it. It's just kind of a shock all of the
sudden being here. It almost came too fast, and the MTC doesn't
prepare you to do much but be around a bunch of missionaries. I'm
trying to remember to pray and seek the spirit in what we do, because
that is the important thing.

I just want to say I'm glad to be out here, and I know it's what I
need to be doing right now. It still feels weird, but I know the
church is true and I know why we share it, as Elder Bednar explained
so well by his hilarious story. In the MTC we watched a past fireside
he had done where he compares missionary impatience with the Cookie
Monster. Like he says, "I want cookie now!" Some of us may say, "I
want baptism now!" I've never seen Elder Bednar so bold, as he said,
"it's not about you! Nobody cares about you!" Like literally that's
what he said! Me and my MTC district loved it.

I'll send some random pictures of the guys in my apartment that I'm
sure you will appreciate.

I know this church his true and the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I hope I can help those who are in need of this gospel, and let them
see what it can do for them. Thank you everyone for caring about me
and don't be afraid to send stuff to that address above. ;p I would
greatly appreciate it!

I love all of you and your support, and keep emailing me!

Love Elder Janson

Sister and Elders from Joseph's MTC District.   That's Sister Eyden who is so happy, along with the short Canadian Elder Green and My MTC companion Elder Searle who always falls asleep

Yes that's a Lamborghini in front of our hotel the first night. 

That's me biking :) 

Elder Wilkes is the big guy

Elder Sutterfield is the little guy stuffing his face with a hoody

Elder Roper is staring at me creepily on the chair. He's my amazing trainer haha