Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dalton - 4/15/13 email

The Campo [aka The Field]  (4/15/13)

Hey family!  It’s official, I suppose.  It’s a little bit strange having the transition into the mission field, because by the time you leave the MTC, you feel about as wise, if not wiser, than Albus Dumbledore. Your first week in the field helps a new missionary realize how much of a drooly toddler he really is.  I love it.

My trainer is Elder Myers.  He’s been out for 16 months and is from Arkansas.  He’s a good boy.  I’ve been learning a lot from him as well as other companions that I’ve gone on exchanges with, since Elder Myers is the district leader.  Actually, most of the newbies in our mission have been paired with district leaders.  I think it’s a fantastic idea.

I’m actually not too overwhelmed with Spanish.  I can see my improvement every day with the language. Occasionally, people speak in Spanish until they specifically ask me a question, which questions are asked in Mandarin Chinese, I presume.  Those occasions are declining rapidly, however, and I truly believe in the gift of tongues.  It’s also a little weird seeing little kids speak Spanish, because there is always a part of me that thinks they learned it all from Dora the Explorer.

This is a great area.  There’s a lot of walking, in part because we actually have two areas.  The people here are so kind, and I have found that they usually find interest in what the missionaries have to teach.  I can’t teach like an old pro, but I can teach, and that will do for me.

I love you all so much.  I wish I had brought some pictures with me.  Also, yeah.  You can let people know about the new rule.  [Here’s the new rule:  Instead of just immediate family, now anyone can email a missionary who is no longer in the MTC.  So here’s Dalton’s email address:  dalton.johnson@myldsmail.net.]  I just hope people understand that I won’t always have enough computer time to write them back every time.

Love you!  Hope things are going well, because they are going well for me.  I’m still praying for all of you.

Elder Johnson

Davi - 4/10/13 email

Hello, how amazing was that?

Oh you dear sweet people whom I love so much (proper usage of whom, eh?  impressed?): You are the best!   We were having a conversation about our moms, and I just felt so overwhelmingly lucky for mine.  Hoorah for all the good moms out there!

Please thank Uncle Len for raising his child Chase however he did.  Chase sent me the sweetest letter ever.  And then Rachel made me a bunch of hairbows and sent me hair tutorials.  How did I get the best cousins ever?  

I need to send a letter to the temple one of these days.  I LOVE them.  And I miss it.  The temple is still my favorite place, no matter where I go.  
Um, conference.  Hello, how amazing was that?  I gotta say, Elder Holland.  What he was saying about not losing the ground you already have and about leading with belief.  He has such a way of making us see a way to improve, but making us feel like we can do it.  Just because Heavenly Father is showing us room to improve, doesn't mean you haven't already come far.  He loves you so much.  That I know.  Anyway who is reading this and hasn't heard the talk, please watch it.  Fifteen minutes of your life.  Mom, please insert a link here.  [Wow--I'm starting to be a super high-tech mom!] 

Get this: last night, one of the Elders in our district got called in to the travel office.  And he left this morning!!  He got his visa, and is being shipped off to the Lima MTC.  What in the world.  There's only 7 of us now, making us easily the smallest district in our zone.  But like, totes still the best.  I seriously LOVE my district.  But anyway, now you know, that at any moment I could just be off!  But I will probably get reassigned.  We are all hoping we go together, preferably southern.  We will know a week from tomorrow!

Vocal Point came and did the devotional on Sunday.  It was out of this world incredible.  You can send me a CD of them if you want.  The whole place was in a tizzy, Elders and Hermanas alike. 

I love being a missionary.  So MUCH!  The MTC is such a neat place.  One of the things it does to you though is make you even more excited to get out there.  I am out of my mind excited to go.  I have been here a month, and I only have 17 left.  Can someone look into how to extend?  Please and thank you.  

I just feel like the most "me" I ever have, and I know that will only get more and more in the field.  Heavenly Father is the very best and I love Him so dearly.  

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the happiest thing ever!

Love you!
Hermana Johnson

 Davi and her district in front of the Provo Temple.
Davi and her cousin, Sean Dalton, were in the MTC together.  Sean is now serving in the Lyon, France mission.

Dalton's email 4/10/13

Misión Perú Lima Oeste 

Hi, everyone!  I’m just now in the field.  I’m alive and well, President Dorius is fantastic, and my handwriting is as gorgeous as ever.  [This was a handwritten letter that was emailed to us as an attachment.  And yes--his handwriting is pretty bad.]

Loved conference at the MTC.  I’m happy here.

Love you all!

Elder (Dalton) Johnson (I still don’t know what to write there, so sorry.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Davi - 4/3/13 email

Howdy, y'all!

I sure do love you all (I'm not supposed to say guys because it's too informal.  So I've found myself switching to you all.  Yea, not much better.)

And I love it here!  It is the coolest opportunity.  It does make a person pretty anxious to get out and be in the field, but I think that's the idea.  Loving it while I'm here though.  Like, way.

Easter was the greatest thing ever.  We had a testimony meeting in which I told a very quick version of the time Daddy had to clean all the rocks out of my legs and feet when I got that heinous road rash.  It's funny how much that feels similar to when Christ is cleaning us up.  It hurts so bad, but it's the only way we can heal.  And like the way Daddy did it, Christ is cleaning us with one hand, and holding our hand with the other.  Pride rocks hurt coming out, but thank heavens we have a Father in Heaven who cares enough about us to have us cleaned.  Then we got to take the Sacrament all together.  I heard it was the largest group ever to take the Sacrament - over 3,000.  It felt like I was a part of the multitude Christ fed with bread and fish.  Bishop Causse (super French) of the Presiding Bishopric talked to us.  It was amazing.  He talked about love in missionary work.  I got to meet with some of the sisters in my zone seperately, and it was just incredible.  Heavenly Father loves His kids so much.  And I feel so lucky whenever I get opportunities to know that over and over again.  That night we got to hear from Sheri Dew.  Her talk was so powerful, too.  We sang “Called to Serve” together, but with all these other things added, and then I felt like I was in Helaman's army.  It's not every day you feel like you participated in multiple scripture stories.  Just such a beautiful Easter.  

Last week, we had such a cool experience with our investigator. I had been kind of having a hard time teaching, because we teach people pretending to be investigators.  And it threw me off so bad.  Because it's like, how do I love?  But we recently got someone pretending to be this hardened teenager, and I was so excited.  I love hardened teenagers!  And our second lesson with him was going not super well (he was pretty bored and not listening) and out of nowhere we asked if he felt alone.  And he opened up to us, and then he went to church, and prayed, and he looks different.  He is excited when we come now, and smiles at us.  And it makes me so happy.  And I remembered that I love teaching so much.  I am desperate to meet this kid in real life, because I am so “in adore” with even the pretend version of him.  The Spirit lets us learn so much, and experience what we need to. 

I'm learning so much.  And especially I am learning how much I need to learn.  True humility brings you closer to Christ, but being hard on yourself does not.  I have felt so much help beyond my own.  And when I feel myself decide, over and over again, to do whatever it takes for my Heavenly Father, I feel the strength to be able to.  I love it here so much.  I even love the hard.  I've started loving stairs!

So either my family has snuck into the MTC, or there is a Sister Davidawn in my residence hall.  Which is it?

We get to email anyone now.  But I am in the MTC, so none of y'all are getting my email address until I am in Peru. Because if you're too lazy to write a DearElder, you are too lazy to write an email.  You know I'm right.

I'm starting to realize what a blessing it is that I've always disliked alone time.  Having a companion is terrific.  And my district is literally the best.  We do everything together, and make each other laugh a lot.  Granted, our sense of humor has turned into that of pre-K children, but whatever.  I love my zone too.  It's such a cool kind of friendship we develop here.

So I got to see Elder Sean Dalton multiple times before he left to France two days ago!  And I ran into Tony who was trying to see his brother, not his cousin.  But hey, I got to reap the benefit of that mistake.  Aren't they terrific?

I love you all so much.  The Church is way true.  Thanks for thinking of me and praying for me.  I pray for you back, and send blessings your way.

Hermana Johnson

Dalton - 4/2/13 email

Casi estoy en el campo! (or something like that)

Hey!  This will be the last time I write you in the MTC, so you better enjoy the last hint of my childhood.  I'm so excited.  After going to the temple, we were at one of the stores across the street and met a bunch of Lima West missionaries here for zone conference.  I felt like a sixth grader looking at all seventh graders, wondering why they look so blasted old.  So yeah, don't expect an email on Tuesday, because that is transfer day.

It's good to hear that your Easter was entirely uneventful.  JK.
Thanks for the package, mum!  I'll be careful not to eat the card, but you know me well enough to know that there's no guarantees.
Elder Gray, my injured/Aussie extra companion is doing well.  The doctor said that it's healing faster than he's ever seen from that type of injury.  He'll be able to leave the same time we do, which has been a definite answer to prayers.

In other news, I have twice the time to email people as of this week.  The rules are changing, and apparently it will be made effective in the field as well.  We've been told that we can email anyone now from home and vice versa.  I'll see what changes on that in the field, but I've been told that it's everywhere that's made the change.  So yeah, I don't know anyone's email address, so I might spend some time drooling here today.  I don't really care who you tell, if you are all still indeed the rational people I know and love.  The rule, I must say, will likely keep a fair number of elders from wasting their lives away writing letters, so that's a definite bonus.

MTC was great.  Everything that was promised in Dad's blessing is coming to pass.  I'm nowhere near fluent, but I feel comfortable teaching and I can fake my way through a conversation like it's nobody's business.  The gift of tongues has definitely been here, but it's more of a gift of recollection than anything else.

Thanks for being good missionaries even when I was little, and thanks for those summer Book of Mormon challenges we did so long ago.  That's what got me started reading it on my own.  Keep up the good work in the stake, Dad.

Well, love you all!

Elder Johnson

[Note from Dalton's mom:  Thanks to Hermana Larsen's mom, a fellow Missionary Mom, who gave me the names of everyone in this picture.  This is Dalton's CCM district, minus Elder Gray "the Aussi":  Elder Arnett, Elder Norton, Hermana Macleod, Hermana Childers, Hermana Markham, Hermana Larsen,, Elder Cody, and Elder Johnson.]