May 26, 2013

A Fresh Start

I feel good this week. For a lot of reasons. First of all, it's nice just to have something different. I love Elder Babb and I plan to stay in contact with him after the mission, but every once and awhile, a missionary just needs a change. And I got one. So that's fresh. I also got a fresh start with the members. Elder Babb had a certain style - he likes to laugh and joke and play and have fun, which is fine as long as the other missionary keeps it in check long enough to do the necessary, like teach and invite. It had to be me that did that. But now, I get  to just sort of be myself, which is very nice. Plus, with a smaller area, I can visit more families more regularly instead of spending half of my day running from appointment to appointment. 

There's really not much to report this week. We looked for new investigators all week because, well, I planned poorly. What happened is I had to make the division for my new area. I had to do it based on where the members lived. And I did a great job with that. there are 12 families of members on each side and 10 families that give us food on each side. The problem is, nearly ALL our former investigators are on the other side. We had three investigators on our side to start the transfer. One has moved back to the US. The other has moved to Juxtlahuaca. And the third just got into a terrible car accident and will be going to Oaxaca for further medical attention. We are left with nothing. But on we go looking, 
because I am just happy to be able to leave the house and go talk with people about the Gospel. it's a good thing. 

We did have some small miracles. When of the former investigators we found still has baptism on his mind. That's a great sign. Another miracle is the family of five investigators who contacted us about an hour after we started our fast for new investigators. That one was pretty incredible. And they seem pretty golden (the dampener on this one is that that family actually lives in the other area so they are not going to be our investigators anyway. But it will help Huajuapan 2). The Lord is real, the Church is true, and this is a wonderful work. I truly love it these days and I'm terrified of life without it. My testimony has gotten so much stronger during my mission and well, I just don't want to live without the rules and the president and the companions and the investigators and the Spirit and the calling and the everything. But all things come to an end.....I don't have to worry about that for two more years at least. 

Alright, I've got to go. I love you all.

Love ya!
Elder Johnson

May 19, 2013

I just talked to you!

Well, I'm really just going to report on a couple of things this week. First of all, I'm still in Huajuapan. I officially have more time in this area than in whatever other area in my whole mission. The difference is, I am no longer companions with Elder Babb. He's in Oaxaca now. My new comp is named Elder San German. I don't really know much about him considering that I haven't even met him yet. He'll be arriving at like 7 today. But, even after he shows up, I still won't be heading back to Huajuapan because I'm going to wait until Tuesday. The reason is that they are reopening Huajuapan 2. So I'm going to be living in a house with four missionaries again. The other two missionaries are named Elder Yamberla and a brand new American missionary. THey haven't given us his name yet. So, it should be fun. At least it's actually something different.

The other thing that I have to report is that I have to explain why I don't appear in the Hermana Leyva's mother's day movie. It's because I didn't have time to take the photo. I was in a special district leader meeting and then, before that meeting even ended, I went to do my district meeting so I didn't get the chance. I am not left out because the Hermana Leyva doesn't love me. IN fact, she called me to lecture me on the importance of being in the photos. I am not in the movie because I am stupid, in short. My bad.

But I did want to wish you a happy mother's day. I love you very much and I appreciate what you do for me week after week.   I know I can always count on you, I know that you'll always love me, and I know that you will always help me do smart things and impede me from doing stupid things. Thanks for being a wonderful mother. 
Well, that's all I have to report. I love you all and I'll see you in two years!
Elder Johnson

May 12, 2013

Cockroach Killer

So I've invented a fun sport that only involves two people. First, let me explain why this is necessary: I am in Huajuapan. Huajuapan is far away from everything. So I do not have the luxury of being able to play basketball or soccer with other missionaries on Mondays. And, considering that there is only one young man, I can't really play basketball or soccer with them either. I am without sports. And I miss sports. So, the Cockroach killing competition has been created! Every night, hundreds of nocturnal cockroaches invade our patio and the game is that each missionary gets one long, skinny pole as his weapon. He then has fifteen minutes to kill as many cockroaches as he can. The one who kills the most gets to take a cold shower first. It's a great game.

I should mention, by the way, that I have officially received word that Huajuapan 2 is going to opened in this next transfer (i.e. next week). That means I'm going to be living in a house of four again and that my district is going to be bigger. Also, it means that almost certainly I am going to stay in Huajuapan next transfer. I am really beginning to think that I might end my mission here. It is very possible.

AS far as this week goes, there's not much to report. It was kind of a tough week. We spent four out of seven days in the house because Elder Babb got some type of Laryngitis (a throat infection, because I think I spelled "laryngitis" wrong). I got bored, Elder babb got better, and we are out and about today. it's a good thing. I'm looking forward to putting a baptismal date with rolando and his family this week. It's kind of my goal. I love it when I am teaching complete families. Everything seems brighter. The family is the goal of the gospel and this is one special family. I feel like we are doing good there. So I'm pretty excited.

I'm also happy to hear about Tyrel's progress. It'll be nice to get the happier, more tolerant version of Tyrel when I get back. That's the one I remember the best anyway. I'm also excited for Taggart's wedding. I'm betting he chose the temple. Happy anniversary and I hope you know how much I appreciate your thirty years of marriage. In this world, it's really quite remarkable that a couple can stay together for thirty years. The stability it has provided me has allowed me to escape most of the emotion damages that afflict other adolescents. That's a big blessing. I've never had to ponder divorce, or witness horrific fights, or believe that an eternal marriage is impossible. Also, you two have been a great example for me. Service towards each other, genuine love, patience, understanding, tolerance of faults, and selflessness are some of the things I've learned from you. So thank you very much for that.

Anyways, I've got to get going, but I love you both and I love you all. I'll see you in 2 years!
Elder Johnson
P.S. To what mission specifically is Ellen going? I bet I have a friend or two that's there right now. Or that's already come back (wow). Tell her I'm proud of her and that this will be a great decision that will change the rest of her life.

May 5, 2013

Not Drinking on my 21 Birthday

So I didn't do much for my 21st birthday. I spoke with the hermana leyva, who is perhaps the sweetest person on the face of the planet. I don't know how she has the patience to talk to all the missionaries that pass through this mission for three years on their birthdays and tell them about their specific qualities that make them special. She truly is a wonderful woman and an example to me. I'm glad pres has Hermana leyva. They make a good team. She took away the sting of having to review area books all day for your birthday. On the bright side, my zone leaders invited  me to eat Chinese food with them after word, so that was pretty delicious.

In approximately 3-5 months my mission illusion bubble will burst and I will have all of those school stresses and pressures for the first time in two years. I'm scared. But I'm trying not to think about it. The problem is, somebody told me on Wednesday that the new limit for staying in an area is now five changes. I have three changes here in Huajuapan already. I have two changes left in my mission. Do the math.....I think I'm in my last area. That scares me a lot.
By the way, Another thing I want to do when I am home is go to the Guthrie. YOur little piece about plays reminded me of that. Can you check what plays are going to be in town in August? Please? Can you also remind me what temple Taggart is going to be married in? I don't know if you already told me that, but for the life of me I can't remember anyway. I'd like to know.

I laughed out loud at the Grandma story. She's the coolest woman ever I think.

Anyways, I really liked what you said about delivering your entire life to God. It's hard. It's hard to put personal things aside, like grudges, comfort zones, pet peeves, self-pity, "me" time, etc. And being a disciple doesn't mean you have to give up all of these things all of the time. We do not have to be monks. But hey, we certainly can do more. We can go out of our way on the way home from work to visit a less active. We can bust out of our comfort zone and teach a lesson or invite a friend to church. We can forgive somebody when they do something that's honestly not a big deal without even telling that person we were ever mad in the first place. We can change how we talk, what we do, and how we do it. That's what being a disciple is for me. If more people were willing to do those things, we would have a lot brighter world. Christ got it right.

So I guess I'll tell you a little bit about my week. I had a pretty normal birthday. I did get my package (on my birthday, actually). Sunday was a great day again - seven investigators and 8 less actives came, meaning that the missionaries brought fifteen people to Church. Also, on Sunday, we went to eat with the family we have been teaching. WE had plans to invite them to baptism, but instead, Rolando, the father of the family and the one we have been the most worried about, leaned over to us before the meal and said, "hey, I invited my entire family to come eat with us today. I did it because I want you to start teaching them." So instead of inviting Rolando to baptism, we taught his two brothers and their wives, and his sister. It was a pleasant surprise.

The other big thing this week was that my comp and I finally worked out our differences. Don't get me wrong; I love my comp. We had such a great start to our companionship. Problem was, we have never had a comp for more than eight weeks. We are now in week 17. The honeymoon was over, I guess. We had started to get defensive, closed off, and the fun died. It was bothering me. We had a lot of talks that got close to the subject, but never actually breached it. So it never got resolved. Until one night, when, finally, I said it directly what I was feeling and we worked it out. Just by letting each other know what we were really thinking and feeling and why, we've gotten over it. We are back in the first transfer mode, which is the happy, bubbily transfer. I think that might have really helped our success this week too.
Well, I've got to go. I love you all and I'll be praying for you. Keep it up and I'll see you in two years!

Elder Johnson

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