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.