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).