July 28, 2013

Denied Again

So, they denied me for Monte Alban again. I have asked to go twice now. The first time I asked to go when I had crappy numbers. The second time I asked to go I had spectacular numbers. Either way, they just don't want me to go to Oaxaca's most famous tourist site before the end of my mission.

I guess I am exaggerating. THey technically did give me permission to go....I just have to wait until next week. Why? Who knows. But I will go one of these days. THe only problem is that I was totally expecting to go today. And when you mentally prepare for the last major trip of your mission while cancelling all other fun plans like playing basketball with those jovenes and then, at 6:45 in the morning it all changes, you are left with a giant void. Me quede con las ganas. I want to be doing something super fun right now. Instead, I plan on enjoying my extra time to deep clean the house.

Oh well, at least it was a spectacular week. We worked hard and hit all of our normas de excelencia for the first time since my La Hacienda days (THat's like a year to ten months ago), including the ten new investigators norma. We had a fun time on Sunday trying to achieve that one. WE left church with nine new investigators. WE had like three or four real plans for finding at least one more. And, what do you know? They all fell. And in the process, we had to walk. A lot.
So there we were at 6:30pm, tired, depleted, and out of ideas. We thought up a few more desperation attempts for the new investigator and we set off to go find them. ON they way, though, my comp, Elder Christensen, begins to talk to me about submitting to the will of God and suggested that perhaps we weren't supposed to find the new investigator. He asked me if I felt like there was anybody that we really needed to go visit.

Well. I was honest with him. I just felt tired, but I was open for anything. He half-heartedly suggested visiting the young men's president, which we promptly set off to do. We were DEAD TIRED by this point. I want to stress that. On the way to Fidel's house, I talked with my comp about Elder Bednar's "Just try to be a good boy" MTC talk. The point of that was to suggest that if neither of us felt a particularly strong prompting to do anything, than what we had to do was just try to do as much good as possible and not worrying about things so much. That made not finding Fidel home a little bit easier to swallow.

Without further ado, we began to drag our dead carcasses to some reference's house who we had not found at home in four weeks in the half-vain attempt to find one more new investigator.  We found two. I love it when God puts our patience and faith and diligence on trial. I learn so much :)

We also put a baptismal date on Sunday, but it's for after the seventh and it's with a little eight year old girl who moved in with a very active family for an indefinite period of time. Essentially, it is a gift from God for my comp. I'm just happy to be working and to be able to be a good missionary for my last couple of weeks. It's been a fun ride and I hope to enjoy until the end. 

ANyways I love you guys. I will see you in two years...uh, two weeks. Wow.
Elder Johnson

July 14, 2013

Special Changed for the Last Time

So, some interesting things happened to me recently. First of all, I had to pass through what I think will be the last special changes of my mission. Elder Price got raised to mayor again and I am now with Elder Christensen, a great Elder from Utah who is on the third change of his mission. Just so you know, in his first change he was with an Elder who was going home, his second change he was with an Elder from my generation (about to go home) and now he is with me and I am going home. Poor guy. It's tough to kill your comp, from what I've heard. He's pretty much had to do it three times already. Luckily, that means he has great practice at helping his comp work at a really hard pace. Which is exactly what I want. Let me explain to you why.

I have always wanted to end my mission well. One of the few things I still remember from my mission prep class in BYU is when Prof. Bott explained how the end of a mission can be a springboard or a diving board from the rest of your life. YOu can end your mission lazy and relaxed and you will return home lazy and relaxed and accomplish very little of your goals, hopes and dreams for life. That would be the diving board. Or, you can end your mission working like a fool and crashing to bed exhausted every night just worrying about the goals you haven't achieved and essentially be a Mormon maniac that nobody in their right mind would want to try to emulate and when you get home, you have too much energy, time, and restlessness to not go out and do something productive. I want to be productive when I get home. So I have always been working and I have not stopped. Which brings me to the added motivation the mission just gave me.
They just offered a porsche to the hardest working elder who is going home.
I'm kidding.

No, what happened is that they doubted me. My numbers, in Nochixtlan, have not been that great. It is not because I have not been working. In fact, I have rededicated myself to little things like planning, updating the area book, verifying commitments, etc. We just haven't had good numbers because we dropped all the investigators that told us that they weren't really interested in investigating a Church, stopped counting semi-Gospel conversations as lessons (as previous elders did), and started actually trying to work with the active and less active members of the ward. But now the leaders see bad numbers next to the name of a missionary who has 23 months and immediately think DEAD. I am not dead. I am not complaining; I have been a leader for 16 months in this mission and I understand how hard it is to see the real story when you just have a slate of numbers to base yourself off of. I just don't like being doubted. ANd, luckily (or perhaps purposefully), Pres just gave me a really hard working young companion. I am very happy about this.

In the end, though, it doesn't really matter what anybody thinks as long as I return from the mission satisfied with what I've done and what I've learned. Mission politics are not for me anymore. The mission is a wonderful experience, meant to be encapsulated and reviewed consistently for the course of your entire life. THe mission has been a blessing and well, there's not much else to do except try to remember all of the lessons that I have learned and try to apply them as best I can for the next four weeks. Yup, four more emails left. That's scary.

As for investigators go, not much has happened except we learned that Mitzi is actually 8 and not nine, which means her baptism is the ward's job and not ours. That's fine, as long as she gets baptized and her family stays active. WE are going to keep going with them, but more to make sure that their testimonies are strong than to baptize their little daughter.

Well, I don't have much left to say. I love you all and I'll see you soon!
Elder Johnson

July 7, 2013

Well, I'm Old

I turn 23 months old on Wednesday. People can sniff my oldness. I don't know what to do about it. I have no future in the mission. Life is weird. But it goes on. Honestly, not much has happened for me. Carlos got confirmed, we have a little girl that should get baptized soon, my comp, Elder Price, threw up for the first time in his mission on Thursday, we still need new investigators, and we played a sweet game of pickup basketball with  some random old guys today at the Deportiva. That's pretty much my life right now. I don't know why I don't have much to report on today. I feel like more things should be happening, but they aren't. I guess I'm all calm now after Taggart's wedding too.

So, I guess I'll fill up space by helping you with your talk/lesson. First advice: Look up things by President Monson. If anybody has the right idea of what duty is and means, it is the prophet. I can remember several wonderful talks by him on the subject. He will be a much better source than I am. Anyways, personally, I feel like duty is an underrated topic. It takes a truly great man or woman to accept the unglorifying nature of duty. Duty to me is what is expected of you. If you do it, you will not receive praise or adulation. You will be doing it just because, well, it's your duty. Many people have other motives for their actions: success, glory, praise, acceptance. Duty brings none of that. In fact, the only thing I know about duty is that you will be reprimanded for failing to fulfill it. But, in and of itself, duty is a great thing. I think it is best captured by a piece dad sent me. It is the story of a young soldier who, during a battle, asks permission from his officer to go rescue a wounded friend. The officer grants it, but says "There's no point. He is already dead and you most likely will to if you go." Regardless, the young man goes and rescues his friend. By the time he makes it back to his commanding officer, his friend had already died and he was badly wounded. The officer says, "I told you there was no point in going." The young man replies, "There was a point. When I got there, my friend looked at me and said, 'I knew you would come for me.`"

That's duty to me. I love it, I need to learn how to do it more. You just do what you are supposed to do. It has a lot to do with the principle of self-discipline, which I lack. But, you got to love it :)
Anyways, I've got to get going. I'll see you soon!
Elder Johnson