June 3, 2012

Boom! Special Changed

Family....and all,
So, big news this week: They changed my companion! I'm still in Fortin (thank goodness), but President is up to his old tricks. This is like the fourth "special" changes of the transfer (special changes are any other changes that President makes during a transfer that aren't the changes to begin and end a transfer). It seems like President has increased his efforts in the personal war against Gadi missionaries (gadi refers to gadianton, of Book of Mormon fame). He's changing them and lowering them and breaking up bad companionships like nobody's business. In our zone alone (not an especially gadi zone, but we get affected because good missionaries sometimes get sent to be baby sitters to gadi missionaries....or the gadis get sent here to be baby sat), we've lost a zone leader, two new missionaries, and now my companion. It's kinda weird. The good news is that I will not have to baby sit. In fact, I will get to train again, which I love doing. I will be training a Guatemalen, so that will be interesting. I'm gonna develop a strange accent, I think. Should be fun. Though I'll miss Elder Ellsworth. He's my buddy, which, coincedentally enough, is a word he got me to start using. Cool guy. Great missionary. Really got along with him.

Anyways, other good news: Itamar got baptized! And confirmed! And married in the temple! Kidding! Two out of three! Sometimes I get carried away! But she's awesome, so no (what is spanish doing to me? To try to spell the word "no", I first wrote "now" and then "know" and then I completely panicked and wrote "knwo.") doubt one day she will get married in the temple. Maybe with Elder Jimenez, for whom I had to call President twice so that he could come and do her baptism. Talking to President is not that fun sometimes. I always feel like I'm doing something wrong around him, even if I'm not, much the same way I felt everytime I passed a police officer in my car. Also he speaks really fast and sometimes I don't understand him on the phone. No, I do know (whew! one try) spanish just fine. It's just that I sometimes had problems understanding English speakers on the phone before English and now I have to do it in my second language. It's not fun.

But baptisms are, especially since we did it in conjunction with the baptism of an eight year old kid and his parents brought pizza and cake for us. Also, the zone leaders brought one of their investigators with the promise that we were all going to play soccer with him. So we did. And that was fun until I cut my lip open on Elder Bassets head. So now I am not kissable. Shoot. Not like that's a desirable attribute on your mission anyways, but I did lose it. 

On Tuesday we had a multi-zone conference with President and we spent the hours of 9:30am to 7:30pm sitting in a chapel in our suits learning how to follow the rules, repent of rule breaking, and use the power of the atonement in our lives. President is pretty hardcore sometimes. So is Bruce R. McKonkie, who shared his testimony of Christ and the atonemont with us (thank you modern technology) in that conference two weeks before he died. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. I had never seen it before. Blew me away. I want to repent of sins I havent even committed right now. Just to get closer to Christ. It was pretty awesome. One of those things that pleasantly reminds you that this is the true Church of Christ. Essentially, it comes down to this: the mission is hard sometimes. You really do miss some things, especially the people and companionships you left behind. But in the Mission, you make the most important companionship so much stronger, that of you and Christ. It lifts you and emboldens you. You may feel alone, but you never feel quite weak. It puts everything in your power to make things change, whether you want to change yourself, change your life, or change somebody else's life. One thing I have learned over the course of my mission is this: There are two types of things in this world: those that act and those that are acted upon (2 Nephi 2:14) and Christ's atonement gives us power to act and to change (2 Nephi 2:26). Therefore, as we grow closer to Christ, we grow closer to our potential to become who we want to be. There are many that say, "I can't do it because I don't know how." This is somebody who has to be acted upon, taught, in order to grow. Others say, "I won't because nobody else will." This is somebody who has to be acted upon, accompanied, in order to achieve. And still other say, "I don't want to do it because I'm scared." Again, this is somebody who has to be acted upon, led, in order to be who they can be. Christ's atonement teaches us to learn for ourselves through prayer and study, teaches us that failing is okay as long as we try again. Christ's atonement teaches us that we will never be alone as long as we keep ourselves clean, that we will not be abandoned except if we abandon Him. Christ's atonement teaches banishes fear and gives us the strength to make weak things become strong. I am so grateful that I do not have to wait for any human on this planet in order to become the Son of God that I want to be. I just need to change myself and use the help the Christ so graciously gave me. It is a precious gift.

I know the church is true. I'm doing awesome here in Fortin. Love you all and I look forward to hearing from you next week (the last Monday before the REAL changes).
Elder Johnson

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