Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week 3: Made it to Ghana

Monday, October 24, 2016, 3PM: Max called his family from the Salt Lake City Airport at 3PM. He was traveling with a group of ten missionaries headed to various parts of the world. Three of those missionaries were going with him to Ghana. He was excited to go, but dreading the 24 hours of travel that loomed ahead of him. He talked to all of us. Not much information was shared...just 100 "I love you's" and a few parting words of advice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 2AM: Max called from Amsterdam and talked to his Mom. He was super tired...couldn't sleep on the plane. It was a short ten minute call. He was going to try to sleep a little during his five hour layover prior to his flight to Accra, Ghana.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 6AM: Max called from Amsterdam and talked to his Dad ($20 for a ten minute calling card...worth every penny). He had an hour left of his layover. He was so ready to get there. We shared 100 more "I love you's" as we won't have the chance to hear his voice again until Christmas Day (missionaries call home on Mother's Day and Christmas).


Tuesday, October 25, 2016: He made it! We received the following email from Sister Munro at the Ghana Accra West Mission Office...

Dear Missionary Family

Just to let you know that your favourite missionary has arrived safely! Everyone is in good spirits and understandably, a little tired. We have just fed the missionaries. They are now showering and preparing for bed. It is 11.15pm!

Pictures and more news will follow in the next couple of days. As you would understand we will be very busy helping with visa work and settling in things but will endeavor to get back to you as soon as we can.

Please - don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind regards :-)

Sister Munro


Wednesday, October 26, 2016: Another email came in from the Mission Office. How exciting! This one had a phone with it.

Dear Families

Today was a busy day. Our Elders were up brightly for breakfast. The next few hours were spent doing visa work, having a 'health' presentation with the Area Medical Advisor and his wife - Elder and Sister Anderson and interviews with President Simpson. After lunch our Area Mental Health Advisor and his wife came to the Mission Home to discuss "Adjusting to Missionary Life".

Attached is a picture of Elder and Sister Peine at the Mission Home with the missionaries. Don't you think they are holding up well despite jet lag and a busy day!!!!!!! :-)

More tomorrow or Friday with pictures of their companions and news about their areas.

Thank you for sharing your missionary with us.

:-) Sister Munro


Friday, October 28, 2016: One more email from the Mission Office with a letter from Max and some more pictures. Happy day!

Hi to the Janda Family

Attached is a letter from your missionary.

Also - enjoy these pictures of …
1. Elder Janda and his companion – Elder Stilson from the USA.
2. Your missionary and his companion with President and Sister Simpson.

They are now in their area – Nsawam in the Ofankor Zone.

Your missionary will email you on Monday.

Please however don’t become alarmed if you don’t hear from him. Sometimes the Internet Caf├ęs work intermittently. He may have to return at another time during the week to email you.

If you are concerned please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can always phone your son to convey a message.
Thank you again for sharing your son with us. We are so very delighted to have him here! J

Sister Munro


Max's letter was handwritten, scanned and emailed to us. Here is the transcribed version...

Dear Family,

I made it to Ghana! It’s hot and humid as expected ha ha! I love you! I miss all of you! You know when you get out of the shower and the room is all steamy hot? That’s what Ghana feels like ha ha ha ha! The traffic is nuts here! Lanes don’t exist, speed limits are nowhere to be found, and people honk all the time. Except it’s different here, they don’t honk to be rude or angry. They honk to be nice like to say “hi.” Ha ha, it’s so cool!

No one speaks English here. Like I expected people to speak English, but seriously everyone speaks Twi. The [something] isn’t English, nobody talks in English, signs aren’t in English. Looks like I’m definitely gonna have to learn Twi....even their English isn’t English.

Ghana is crazy. I’m stoked to get to my area! I don’t know where I’ going yet or who my companion is yet, but I have a feeling it’s going to be great!

I loved talking to you at the airport. It was so good to hear your voices again. It’ll email more on Monday (P-day). I miss you like crazy and pray for you every night.

The people here are beautiful and so loving. Everyone just comes and talks to you like you’re family (even though I can’t understand them…) They all do this crazy snap handshake thing that I’m starting to get the hang of. So much cool culture here! All of the buses (tro-tros) have bible references on them. All of the billboards in Accra have scriptures written on them and stuff. Everyone here loves God and Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to start teaching them how to grow closer to them. They say that the people actually walk up to you and ask you to teach them! So fun! So fun!

P.S.: Hope you can read handwriting is...bad…

I love you so much and I’ll email you on Monday!

Elder J. Maxwell Janda

Elder Janda with his first companion, Elder Stilson along with the Ghana Accra West Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Simpson (from Australia). 

Robert Harry Simpson, 58, and Jinny Atele Beatrice Poutoa Simpson, seven children, Liverpool 1st Ward, Liverpool Australia Stake: Ghana Accra West Mission, succeeding President Norman C. Hill and Sister Raelene B. Hill. Brother Simpson serves as an Area Seventy executive secretary and is a former mission presidency counselor, stake president, stake presidency counselor, bishop, and missionary in the Fiji Suva Mission. Self-employed CPA and registered tax agent. Born in Christchurch, New Zealand, to Herbert John Archibald Simpson and Joan Florence Kittelty Simpson.

Sister Simpson is a former stake and ward Young Women presidency counselor, ward Relief Society and Primary president, seminary teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and nursery leader. Born in Apia, Western Samoa, to Simi Poutoa and Lele Annette Ahmu Poutoa.

Max with his companion, Elder Stilson.

The pictures below are the group of new missionaries and their new companions before they headed out to their assigned areas.


Max's first area is in Nsawam, a small city north of Accra.

Information from Wikipedia…

Nsawam is a town in south Ghana and is the capital of the Akuapim South Municipal District, a district in the Eastern Region of south Ghana. The main ethnic group is Akan, followed by Ga and then Ewe.[2] Nsawam is controlled by Akuapim South Municipal District (ASMD). As of 2013, Nsawam has a settlement population of 44,522 people.[1] Nsawam is situated on a main railway and highway to Kumasi.[2] It has a major river acting as a border between itself and Adoagyir. Densu River, is the main source of water for both domestic and industrial purposes for people in and around Nsawam.

Pictures of Nsawam from the internet...

What a great adventure is in store for Elder Janda!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Week 2: MTC

Man, to even begin to try and put all of the experiences I’ve had here so far into words is impossible... I love this place and I LOVE being a missionary! To be able to testify that I represent Jesus Christ is so powerful and that is what I will really miss two years from now. 

So, first off: everyone in my district are ignorant little missionaries.... they think that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan... I honestly don’t even know what to say. This just...grrr... also, they say that Jordan is a jerk!  and that he isn’t sportsman like or anything... thats why they are ignorant. They just don’t even know who he is, but I do. I know how Jordan was and how good he was. They can’t break me! :) It’s all fun and games, but man, they just don’t know anything. Unbelievable.

So we have been teaching investigators this week at the TRC. Some of them are real investigators and some are just pretending. it is so fun to teach! Like at first I was a little nervous,but now I’m just like so confident and ready to go when we do it! I love teaching! its crazy, one of our investigators right now just committed to be baptized and the other one is like against the church ha ha its so fun. I love teaching this people about Christ. No matter what you are teaching, the best way to help them to feel of the truthfulness of the things you tach is to center it on Christ. Without fail it works. 

Got my travel plans! Looks like I’ve got a loooong flight ahead of me next Monday! I fly out on Oct 24, at 4:50 PM from SLC straight to Amsterdam. We arrive there at 10:25 Am the next day.... That is the longest flight I can even imagine... then after a 5 hour layover in a country that doesn’t speak english, we fly to Accra, Ghana and land at 4:30 PM.... 24 hours of straight Im so excited to call my you in SLC and Amsterdam so be ready for me to call! 

My relationship with Christ is growing ever so strongly. I am really coming to know Him, know what he sounds like, what he feels like, and how He loves these people that we teach. Ive only been here for two weeks and its amazing what I’ve come to learn about my and His relationship. It’s powerful. I truly feel of the power of my being set apart as His representative. I love my mission so far, but its not mine, its His. The experiences I’ve had here are priceless and the growth I’ve felt cannot be achieved any other way but here. The mission is truly amazing and the MTC is truly a sacred place. What a special experience. I cant even begin to describe my gratitude to the Savior. His atonement is real. because of Him, all that is unfair and sad and hard in life can be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It has power beyond what we can even understand. It heals everything. Everything. It is miraculous and that is why His name is so sacred. That is why it is so sacred and special to be a representative of Him. I testify of this with conviction and personal surety. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.  

Till next week. Love you all!

Elder Janda

2 Nephi 31

Max's district in class at the Missionary Training Center.

Missing his brother, Mason.

Missing his brother, Miles.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Week 1: MTC

I cant believe I had to wait a whole week to email! First off, the Thursday after I left was quite possibly the longest day of my life. THE LONGEST! Every minute felt like an hour that day just because it was such a change and I was completely full of adrenaline! I think back on this week and I cant even begin to know where to start!

First off, mom: I have literally got everything I need and more thanks to you and the countless shopping runs! I absolutely love and adore you!

That super strong spirit that we felt at my setting apart is here at the MTC as well, it seriously is amazing here! An apostle once said, "If you could see through spiritual eyes her at the MTC, you would see countless angels guarding and protecting this sacred place." I can totally feel that here! We are literally full of the spirit PURE JOY!

So my companion is Elder Nabrotzky, he is from Gilbert Arizona and he so cool! Funny story actually because we connected on Instagram before we came out and it ended up that we became companions!  We are both super confident in teaching and stuff, I don’t think its being cocky to say that we are the best companionship in the MTC aha ha ah ah aha jk jk jk jk jk jk jk but really.... So on Thursday me and Elder Nabrotzky were assigned to be zone leaders ha ha, we were both like what in the world!? But it has been awesome though and we are very honored to be trusted so much by the lord to lead our zone. Elder Nabrotzky is like that cool kid that everyone wants to be like. No lie he is awesome.

There are 10 of us in my branch a couple are going to Florida, two others going to Zimbabwe and 3 of us are going to Ghana! Man and boy did I luck out with my district, they are all so awesome and different so its really surprising that we get along so well aha ha. We recently have hit the point of insanity where we just erupt in laughter for no reason at all aha ha aha aha ha ah, seriously these Elders are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

So highlight of the week for me  was a video we watched called Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. it is straight fire fire fire fire fire fire!!! Like I almost burned to death because of spiritual overload. I seriously suggest that you try to fins it on cuz it is seriously awesome!

Me and Elder Nabrotzky have been teaching an investigator named Olivia and man is that awesome. When you are sitting there, testifying of eternal truths of this gospel, to someone who doesn’t know about them, boy is the spirit strong. At first its a little nerve racking to do but then once you get going, the spirit takes over and its awesome!

I’m really glad that I am at this MTC instead of Ghana MTC because there is so much here that I wouldn’t have been able to experience in Ghana!

It's so weird, I cannot remember song lyrics or tunes.... I feel like a piece of me is missing you know? but not like missing, but just put on hold for a little ha ha. WEIRD feeling, let me tell ya ha ha.

The biggest thing that blows my mind about being a missionary is the constant almost palpable companionship of the Holy Ghost. It’s incredible here. I really feel that I am coming to know Jesus Christ, what he feels like and how he feels about us when we use his atonement to overcome our challenges. it is so individual and so powerful. My relationship with the Savior is ever increasing as I study and testify about him.

Yesterday Elder Bednar came to the MTC and gave a devotional that was very powerful. Man when he walked in it was like the whole atmosphere of the room changed and you could literally feel that there was an apostle of Jesus Christ in the room.

I love being a missionary because I get to spend all day helping people to come unto Christ and to develop faith and trust in Him! What an amazing opportunity.

Elder Bednar brought up an incredible point in his devotional last night. He talked about how this church must be true because a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds are the ones being missionaries. It's like, "who’s hands should we put the fate of the church into?" "uhhh 18 year old kids....?" "Boy, thats a good idea lets do that!" It must be true because people are still joining even through it’s a bunch of kids out here telling people about is.

Ha Ha, I loved that :)

I just cant say enough how much I love being a missionary. I love being a missionary,  I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary, I love being a missionary!!!! This is the funnest thing ever! Elder Holland said, “You can’t invite them to come unto christ unless you are already there." That is what it feels like right now, and that is why I love being a missionary so much.

I feel like I’ve grown so much in one week. More than I have in the past year. I also feel like I’ve done more stuff in one week than I have the past year combined ha ha, I love this.

I love you family so much and am so excited to hear from you again next week! Love you!

Matthew 18:20 is how I feel right now and its such a powerful feeling. for those of you who are going on missions soon, I am so excited for you to  experience this!

Love you all!

PS: sorry for all of the spelling and typing mistakes, I’m a terrible typer without auto correct aha ah ah..... its really the little things that you miss....


Quick Personal Letter to Dad:

DAD! I love you sop much and it is so good to finally talk to you! My pday is on Wednesday out here which is crazy cuz i had to wait for a whole week before i could email! Really missing you guys right now and I've realized that I’m so blessed to be able to have a family as awesome and stellar as ours! I seriously lucked out! Love you so much! I can email back and forth for the next hour if you get this in time :) Love you!


Quick Personal Letter to Mom:

I love my mother! Wow, it's crazy to think that Iv'e only been out here a week! So much has happened here it blows my mind! I cant wait to talk to you in 12 days! I miss and love you so much, you don't even know! I think about you every day and am seriously just so blessed to have you. Boy did I luck out with my mom!


Pictures sent this week from friends who saw Max at the MTC...

The MTC’s greatest companionship, Elder Nabrotsky with Elder Janda during service time last Friday.

Vern May (from our Max’s home neighborhood) saw Max on a temple walk on Sunday afternoon.

Tyler Roberts works at the MTC and was in charge of Max’s district for service on Friday. Tyler is in the Young Single Adult ward where Mike serves as the bishop.


Some additional pictures that Max was able to email later in the day...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The adventure begins. Max enters the Provo Missionary Training Center.

We watched the clock quickly tick down as our final hours diminished and the dreaded moment arrived. We dropped Max off at the Provo Missionary Training Center at 1PM. We smiled through our tears and then cried away our smiles. Watching him go was as tough as everyone warned us it would be.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How to Contact Elder Janda by Email, Mail and Packages


Elder Janda can be emailed at the following address...

...he checks email on Mondays during his Preparation Day.


To send pouch mail from the USA write the name of the sender and return address in the upper left corner, affix standard postage stamps in the upper right corner, and address the letters as follows:

Elder Joseph M. Janda
Ghana Accra West Mission
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150


These Flat Rate packages cost $32.95 and you can fill them with as much as they will hold for this price. Please note that they need to be secured with lots of tape.  They are very roughly handled in transit and can be easily torn open unless well taped. When you are filling in the green Customs Declaration slip – mark the contents as a GIFT.

Elder Joseph M. Janda
Ghana Accra West Mission
PBM CT 209
Ghana, West Africa


Packages may also be sent to the Mission home through a Private Courier such as Fed Ex or DHL.  This is the most secure and quickest way of sending packages (and the packages are traceable), however it is also the most expensive.  To insure your package is not stopped for duty, please indicate on the shipping label “duties and taxes will be paid by the sender.”  Address these packages as follows…

Elder Joseph M. Janda
Ghana Accra West Mission 
Fourth Circular Rd. Coco Palm #3
Ghana, West Africa