April 30, 2012

Two Decades Worth of Life

So, I've been alive for awhile. When I was born, fanny-packs were in. Now.....fanny-packs are still "in" if you ask the unusually large population of hippies that we can find here in Puerto Angel. But yup, in the mission, I'm still not even nine months old and even if I was, it wouldn't matter because one fact never changes here in Oaxaca: you always work your butt off because this is the Lord's time, not yours. It's something I struggle to remember sometimes, but when the Lord blesses you magnificently, the first thing you should is thank Him with words and the second is thank Him with Actions: I'll be working this last week of the transfer. 

To explain: We've had kind of a tough transfer. We've worked a lot, Elder Perez and I, and it  just hasn't netted us very big results. We've been confused, angry, exhausted, sad, motivated, determined, defeated, and lively at various points during the last five weeks, but I, personally (okay, with a little help from my President), came to a conclusion that made this week better. The Lord doesn't really have it in mind that we put a lot of baptismal dates or that a lot of investigators come to Church or that we find a lot of new people. He just wants us to help the branch in whatever way we can. So that is what we've tried to do this week. We concentrated on two things: activities and inactive members. We planned two branch activities for the first time since a disastrous branch activity in the first week of the transfer (only Branch President and Alan showed up on time. We showed up late. Nobody else came). We've been hyping and organizing them all week and right now I'm going to go print out invitations to give to everybody. The first activity is a soccer/volleyball/basketball game that we are going to do with the youth of Pochutla. The don't have the infamous "Churchball" here in Mexico, but I'm gonna do my best to start it. The youth seem ecstatic. THe second activity is a Family HOme Evening as a Branch. We are assigning every organization something and giving them plenty of advance in order to get them preparing. We're hoping for a better showing this time. So that's the activities section of our weeks work. On to the inactives!

We've been working with like four inactives the last couple of weeks. They haven't been coming to Church, but, to be fair, nobody visits them and we only did when we were sick of getting rejected during door contacts. This week, they became our priority because, to be perfectly blunt, we don't have any investigators. So we visited them multiple times. This strategy netted us our lowest numbers since my first transfer in the mission. But the blessings came yesterday when we nearly hit the fourty person mark in Sacrament meeting and the only people I've baptized (three VERY timid youth) all gave excellent talks. We almost cried in happiness. It really is true; once you get your will in line with the Lord's, everything just starts to work out. Let's here it for a more prayerful and spiritually sensitive week six!

Okay, as a birthday gift to all you, I'm sending you fotos finally!!! THese fotos include me eating my first Iguana tamale (yes, I've eaten an animal that looks like a dragon. Predator points for me), the pictures of the first baptism I ever had way back from my Bosque days that I never sent you (remember Julio German? Yup, finally found that memory card), me building a store by hand, a family home evening where I learned to cook kentucky fried chicken, and pictures from my college days that I found on that very same memory card just to remind you all that yes, a long time ago, I was a real boy. 

I just want to add that the tyrel story of the week really, really touched me, especially when Dad wrote, "I will never hold the Priesthood." It just hit me how special it was that I have it and that I have the duty to properly uphold it for the sake and benefit of people like Tryel who are denied the opportunity. I can bless, administer, preach, teach, heal, baptize, and receive revelation, that precious communication between us and the God who knows and loves us all perfectly, if I but uphold my priesthood worthily. It is an utter shame when somebody willingly chooses to reject that gift when there are millions in the world without the chance to receive it right now. The other thing that hit me was how precious the Savior's sacrifice for our family. Tryel will not and cannot do those precious ordinances of Salvation while on this earth, but thanks to Christ, he does not have to. He is saved, as an innocent child, and all we have to do is care as much as we can for him physically and teach him what we know. Finally, it's such a blessing to have him as my little brother. The example that he sets is without match. I wish I could love as much as that little boy, but I don't think it's possible. He just outloves us without even really trying. I think sometimes that it's his super Autism power. Man, I miss him. 

Anyway, loves ya all. I'm doing great right now and I'll send word whether I stay or go, hopefully next monday. Buh-bye!
Elder Johnson

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