Monday, May 27, 2013

Davi - 5/27/13 email

Whoa, Batman!

Ok, let's just say - this week was INCREDIBLE!!!  Two of our investigators were baptized and confirmed.  It was so cool.  They really love this gospel.  You should have seen how excited they were!  Niki and Derrik.  Sweet little angels.  Derrik was my first ever start-to-finish investigator.  I got to be there for every step of the way.  He was my very first invitation to baptism too.  

We met Charlie on Thursday, and had a lesson with him on Saturday.  He is a 25-year-old guy, and is out-of-this-world amazing.  After the lesson, I sat in the car not being able to talk because I was in such awe.  I was just busy basking in the Spirit.  It was so cool!!  Right when we started the lesson, the scripture came to mind about those who are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it.  And as the lesson went on, it was so clear that that was so him it's insane.  When we talked about prophets, he responded to some question we asked by saying that he believes there would have to be a prophet to have faith, because there would have to be someone to either follow or ignore.  And we were like, yea, totally, you're brilliant.  And then he kept saying things that were so Joseph Smith it's crazy.  So we read a lot of verses from Joseph Smith History with him, and he was like, I've never felt like someone understands me in this way before.  And proceeded to tell us he has been feeling confused all of ten years, and had just decided to choose no religion because he didn't see a true one.  And then he said that he believed that this was his answer!!!  And proceeded to thank us profusely and tell us that he was so grateful that we didn't judge him and that we listened to him, because he wouldn't have listened otherwise and he is so glad he was given this opportunity to listen.  And he wanted to meet with us again asap.  He is amazing.  After that, I just was like, I can't believe that I got to be there for that.  That I got to feel that crazy Spirit that was working with him, and that we were the ones who get to participate in his process.

This is so cool.  Saturday was for sure a patronus day (you know, the really awesome memories you draw on when a dementor comes).  Our ward mom here, Nicki (fancy that), told me once that on her mission, the days she wanted to talk to her mom were the super hard days and the super incredible days.  And I had felt that on the hard days (sorry, but it's true!)—but then Saturday I wanted to call my mom because it was so incredible!  I wanted to be like, "Baptisms!!  And Charlie!"

Oh, TherBear!  He talked to his parents, and he is getting baptized on June 8th!  He is so excited.  He is the dearest little thing.  He confessed to us that he did have a tiny thing that was scaring him about baptism—you know what it was?  He thought we wouldn't get to meet with him anymore after!  How cute is that?  

This ward is seriously the best.  I love it SOOO much.  Everyone is amazing.

There are more really great investigators, but I am getting tired.  

So, here is something I have been studying: Faith.  It has made all the difference in the world for me. That's really what it's all about, isn't it?  But it's not just the surface level.  Analogy time :)  On a mission, you have to get out of the car and back up the person driving.  So, it's one thing to know that there is a person backing you up.  That's probably good.  Then, it's a whole other thing to choose to look at the person.  Then, it's a whole other thing to take the direction you are being given.  But oftentimes, I think we think that is the highest level of faith. And it's not.  Because I am a culprit of knowing Heavenly Father is there, and looking at Him, and even taking His direction, but I usually check all around me as I’m backing up.  Thus, making the person backing me up, guiding me, the failsafe, instead of the everything.  Like, yea, I will take your guidance, but I am going to act like you aren't there because I am going to check everything all around me anyway.  Instead of being comfortable and happy and knowing that I need nothing more than the guidance of God, I am stressed and frazzled because I am scared of backing up into stuff even though I have the best person ever guiding me.  So, do we let ourselves have enough faith to trust, and see only God, and not all the scary things that we could back up into?  Or do we make Heavenly Father the bystander, and pay more attention to the scary things instead of feeling the peace of knowing you are in the hands of God?  [note from Mom:  At this point, Davi asked me to fix this part so that it makes sense.  But I think it’s beautiful, so I’m leaving it as is.  It’s very Davi, which, of course, is dear to me.]  

So that's the challenge of the week.  Doesn't it seem like that's what it keeps being about?  But it's true. Learning to trust Heavenly Father is a lesson that is indeed a blessing to learn.

Anyway, I am forgetting a million things (I have misplaced my journal and I am panicking).  But basically know that everything is awesome.  And if you are praying for me to get my visa, please pray for the visa to magically get here right after Theran's baptism, or something like that :)  Thanks team :)  

I pray for you all every day, and love you dearly.  Thank you for being my angels, even still.

Whoa, Batman—long email!


Dalton - 5/27/13 email

The White Pants Still Fit

It’s strange to think that Spencer's married.  I always knew he could do it.  I didn't even realize that it was coming up until your e-mail last week.  It seems fitting that his sealing was on that day, though, because it was also the day of my first baptisms on my mission.  In fact, the services were probably held at almost the same time, if you account for the time-zone differences.  Ours was at 2 (and by that, I mean 3:15).  I performed one of the baptisms, and the bishop also had me do one of the confirmations on Sunday, which is always a great time to forget the name of the church, I have found.

One of the nice parts of the baptismal service was the fact that the parents of one of the converts were present.  The mom actually got teary during a portion of the service, and we have an appointment with them tomorrow.

I'm glad to hear that the Bailies are hearing the missionaries today.  I'll keep praying for them.
Also glad that Spencer liked the jokes.  There's more where that came from—just give me some time.

My companion has two weeks left of proselyting.  My mission president has a month.  So there's that.
Also, we have a new missionary for one of our roommates, which has been a great gauge of how far my Spanish has come.  Then we just have to go outside to see how far it needs to go still.

Tell the whole family that I love them and whatever.

Elder Johnson

Friday, May 24, 2013

Davi - 5/20/13 email

Tender Mercies

Spence is getting married!!!  What the heck?!  That is so crazy!  Is everything crazy?  Oh my goodness. It's so exciting.  I need a full run-down of the entire event.  Pictures especially.  But try not to run yourself too ragged, ok?  Not having me and Dalt there must really slow things down.... :)  

Daddy, you are such a good example to everyone.  Thanks for that.  What an incredible weekend experience!  That so amazing!  Elder Oaks would make you feel like his buddy, you totally would be.  And thanks for the encouragement.  I really need to learn how to settle down.  That's been one of the hardest things.  Is just settling down a little.  I still have a long way to go

So I want to tell you about Theran.  This kid is the tender mercy of a lifetime.  I love him so much.  He is 20, and so amazing.  One of his best friends referred him to us.  He is like the sweetest kid, and so submissive to the Spirit.  I like, live for him.  He wants to be baptized, and is just trying to talk his parents about it (Dad is inactive and Mom is not a member--so they aren't responding super well).  But I have so much faith in him.  He is so awesome.  He just makes being a missionary make sense.  I have to try not to call him Therbear.  Sometimes I don't try that hard though.... He gives these prayers that make me bawl.  And in the middle of one of the prayers he offered, he said how grateful he was for us.  And I realized right then what it felt like to be somebody's missionary.

We have two baptisms this weekend!  It's so great!  Nicki, who is the sweetest thing and just wants to be a member so bad and be able to get married in the temple, and Derrik, who wants to remove anything between him and God.  They are so sweet and sincere.   

Sean and Markess we had an amazing lesson with.  Markess (weed story kid) walked us out to the car after and said, "I feel brighter.  I'm walkin taller."  And I said, "Do you think that has anything to do with what we talked about?"  And he said, "Yea.  Y'all have some good news, don't you?"  Yea, we really do :)

I got to go to dinner at a real house yesterday, and eat with this family that reminded me of ours.  It was so sweet.  

Went to the temple on Friday.  Oh my goodness, does it get better than that?  No, it absolutely doesn't.  There is such peace in the temple.  No matter what, the temple makes it better.  So that is my challenge this week.  Go to the temple one more time this week than you normally would have.  Please :)  Because that was probably the last time til the end of my mission, so do it for me, in my place.  Thank you.

Love you all so much.  thank you for being such good examples and showing me how to be a better person, and for making me feel like one.  I am the most blessed person as far as friends and family go.  Yep, that means you.

Love you all so so much.  Like, whoa.  So much.  Thank you for praying for me.  I feel it.

Dalton - 5/20/13 email

Essentially No Subject

You would all be amazed how long it took me to think that subject line up.  I'm not running out of things to do, but definitely running out of things to say.

The fireside sounds like it was incredible.  I’m sure Elder Callister would have kissed me on the forehead as well, which bums me out a bit. [Note from Mom:  Don’t worry—Elder Callister didn’t really kiss anyone on the forehead, but Spencer wanted to claim something that made him sound like he was Elder Callister’s favorite.]

Spencer’s getting married this weekend?  And I don’t get to help set up the wedding reception?  But you all know how much I love setting up frilly things.  Whatever.  Congratulations, Spence!

I think I've passed a big hurdle in my Spanish this week, because I thought of my first jokes in Spanish. Spencer can be the judge of how dumb they are, but they've been a hit so far with the other missionaries.  Here we go:
-Como se llama el papa cuando se viste en polo amarillo?
--Papa a la Huancaiyna!
Ok, I don’t know how to spell that word, but trust me, it’s a home run.  Here’s the other:
-Habia un papa con su niño en una noche obscura.  El papa queria dar una linterna a su niño, pero no pudo.  Sabe por que?
-Por que, Elder Johnson?
--Porque solo la mama puede dar la luz a un niño!
I'll give you so some time to get a hold of yourselves before the rest of the email.

Transfer one, as of tomorrow, is over already, which honestly freaks me out.  I’m staying with Elder Paredes until he leaves in less than a month.

Our baptism this weekend didn’t quite work out, but we are hoping for this weekend, along with two others.  It was nice to see Gil, on his second lesson, try to explain to his wife why the Book of Mormon is true.  It was great to see the immediate effect the Book of Mormon can have on people.
I’m also a little bummed that I was on splits for this experience, but Felipe, the little son of one of our investigators, got scared one night when the power went out, which was out for quite a while.  He prayed to turn the lights on and not be scared, and the lights came on immediately afterward.  People can obviously claim coincidence, but I have every reason to believe that our Father planned for the lights to turn on in that moment, just to show his love for this boy that didn’t like going to church because of all the new people.

Don’t worry about me.  It’s a little strange, but a lot of my thinking about home is just me thinking of what I’ll do while on splits with the missionaries.  My saddest moments are not when I think about what I could be doing at home, but what more I could have done in my day.

I love you, but I love it here too.
Elder Johnson

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Davi - 5/13/13 email

We Are So Blessed!

So, I love being a missionary.  It's hard to not want to be perfect, because that's what you want to give the Lord.  But the Lord is happy with anything we give Him.  So what I am realizing is that this isn't that much different than my normal life.  You just have more time for people.  And less time for dancing.  And homework is a ton more enjoyable.  So I just have to let myself settle down a bit and be satisfied with the person the Lord has made me.  

We have been so blessed by the Lord.  There are people who are ready to hear this Gospel!!  Nicki is so fantastic.  She is celestial.  And was committed to baptism, but then her mom committed suicide, and the day of the service is the date.  But her faith is beautiful and incredible and we learn from her all the time.  There's Derrik --to give you a good idea of who he is, he came to church yesterday and stayed for all of it but the last fifteen minutes to find his kitty.  Then he texted us to let us know not to worry.  He committed to be baptized last week for the 25th, and announced it to invite people in Gospel Principles.  Markess is an amusing one—we found him when he and his friend pulled over to talk to us and see if we wanted to go to a party with them.  He came to church, took what he called a "shot" of water every time someone passed him with a tray, and told a story to everyone in Gospel Principles about how he knows God loves him when one time he was reading the Bible, and then the next day when a cop was searching through his bag, the cop didn't find his stash, and he didn't go to jail.  But then he would look over at us and ask these sincere questions, and we knew the Spirit was working with him.  There's Theran, who is the coolest kid and after our first lesson with him, gave maybe the sweetest prayer I have ever heard.  He is such an honest seeker of truth.  We are so excited to see him again tonight.  There is Will, who wants to be baptized, and knows God will be his "wingman."  He's a good kid.    There's Brianna, who also wants to be baptized, but is having a hard time committing.  Anyway, the point is, that the Lord is good, and is leading us to amazing people.  We are so blessed.  

We did accidentally go into the other mission once.  Or maybe more times—who knows?  Our ward covers two stakes, and the other stake is in the other mission.  Anna, someone we were told to visit, apparently was in the other mission, but we didn't know that until we accidentally intruded on a lesson that the other Elders were giving.  That was kind of funny.....

The Atonement.  Whoa baby.  Is it, or is it not, the single best event in the history of the world?  The magnitude of it is amazing.  I am just barely starting to scratch the surface of the importance of it, and the power that we have when we learn to access it.  All I can really say is that as I hand it over, all of the stuff in me, whatever it may be, and just trust, I can feel it.  The Atonement lifts burdens and sorrows and can turn you into something that you didn't realize.  You have to give up your own limitations, which often take the form of what you want, and hand it over.  It's so cool what happens.  So that's the challenge this week: Trust the Lord enough to hand it over.  Whatever it is that is weighing you down.  Entrust it to your Savior.  

Remember how loved you are please.  Please please.  Even when you feel so inadequate.  Because the Lord loves you the same, no matter how you feel about yourself at the moment.

I am safe, and happy.  Prayers are always appreciated, but don’t worry about me (unless the worrying moves you to write letters/email—then worrying is just fine! :) )

Hermana Johnson

Dalton - 5/13/13 email

What Else to Say?

Ok, I essentially said everything yesterday during the Mother’s Day Skype, so I honestly have very little idea of what to say.  I now know that there's a blog, but I still won’t acknowledge that fact.  Also, I would like you all to notice that I can still spell acknowledge.

Fine, I'll give this a shot, even though there might be insignificant information.  Inca Kola is delicious.  It’s yellow, tastes a little bit like bubble gum, and I thought it was weird at first.  But then I grew up.

Elder Paredes is actually really funny if indeed I understand him correctly.  He is convinced that you can add "ation" to any Spanish word and it will magically be English, much like our adding "o" to English words makes them Spanish.  He even does it with words that are already English.  Good-nightation, etc.

I’m still bad at soccer, but slight improvements are made every p-day.

Our ward mission leader also says hi.  I forgot that bit yesterday.  I can actually track my Spanish progress best with him, because he kind of mumbles and I can officially identify that he speaks Spanish now.

Also, I am so mad that I didn't show this to you yesterday, because I had been practicing specifically for the call.  All the missionaries here do a snap-like thing with index and middle fingers, and I can do it now too.  No big deal.

Ok, I'm all out of insignificant info.  We have one baptism on Saturday for Karolay, who has cousins in the church as well.  We are also expecting baptisms for the Rodriguez family, who we met at church.  The mom essentially said that they need this in their lives, which, I must say, is a great thing to say to missionaries.  We also met, just through tracting, Guerra, an older man, and Ricardo, a priest-age boy.  If those two aren't ready, I don’t know who is.  Ricardo’s lesson went so well that we left it talking about how excited we were to see him bless the sacrament in later weeks.  It was great teaching Guerra yesterday, because Elder Paredes and I were on the exact same page.  We taught him about the plan of salvation and how we know it through the Book of Mormon.  He was genuinely excited to read it and ask us about the things he doesn't understand in the book.

As always, just remember that I’m happy here.  Pray for me, but please don’t worry about me.  This is the time of my life.

Love you,
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Davi - email 5/6/13

The Lowdown

 [note from Mom:  Davi requested that I put her email address and her current snail mail address.  I think she’s hoping for mail.]
Hermana Davi Johnson
Nevada Las Vegas Mission
9270 S Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Ok, here is the lowdown, team.  I am currently serving in the Northstar Singles ward.  That would be English speaking.  But it is such a great ward.  I am amazed at the amount of support in this ward.  We are opening the area, so it has been a little hard at first trying to find people, but heaven knows I love that part.  We have found some amazing people already.  One in particular I just am about to pass out with excitement about every time I think about it.  So we were grabbing dinner at DQ (see below paragraph—we had no way to make food) and across the tables I saw this youngish guy, and he looked kind of sad.  It looked like he was about to start his shift (and not wanting to break the whole you-can't-talk-to-people-when-they-are-working rule—one of the more difficult rules for me), and he just looked discouraged.  So I told my comp that I wanted to talk to him, and she said, go for it.  We started talking—his name is Jose.  It was like so cool, because he was just so real.  I told him a little bit about our message, and asked if that’s something he would want in his life.  I wish you all could have seen the way he looked up and said, "Yes.  I would."  He is the sweetest, sincerest person!  We are meeting with him on Wednesday.  We have been able to find a lot more people too, which has been such a blessing.  And there are really some who show an incredible amount of real desire.  

There are some incredible people here.  And all of a sudden I am realizing how amazing referrals are.  Because they just make so much more sense.  I am a huge believer in them now.  Here is my challenge for the week:  Give a referral to your missionaries.  Get over the fear of what could happen poorly, and get excited by the possibility of your friends' eternal salvation.  The missionaries will love you for it.  And if they don't, maybe help them realize how much they should.

I am so grateful that the Lord gives me so many opportunities to be more like Him. It's incredible and beautiful how far I need to go.  But He has promised that He would be with me the whole time.  I am like the neediest missionary ever, but I receive nothing but mercy.  
Oh, so we got electricity this morning!  That's a turn for the nice.  But honestly, not having power for the last week was something I feel like wasn't weird.  It was a sweet little piece of Peru in my mind.

Thank you for the prayers.  I can only imagine how much help I am getting.  I am so grateful for it.
The Gospel is crazy true.  

Love you.  And know how much our Savior loves you.  Please.

Hermana Johnson

Dalton - email 5/6/13

Was I supposed to know I was in a blog?  I hope I didn’t write anything super embarrassing yet.

Ok, there was one more transfer.  Here's the scoop.  I am officially in the different area in my ward with Elder Paredes, who is from Trujillo.  [See photo.]  He has one transfer left after these next two weeks, so I will be his last companion.  In fact, he'll be going home the same time as President Dorius.  (My new mission president will be President Archibald.  All I know about him is that he's from Arkansas and has ten kids.)  So yeah.  But for what it’s worth, neither President Dorius nor Elder Paredes act trunky.

My side of the Prolima ward is massive.  I'll learn directions soon enough.

That was the strangest thing meeting Matt Kelly yesterday.  [See photo. Matt Kelly is from Sparks, and he was visiting his wife's family in Lima.  That's his mother-in-law, Gladys.]  It was weird enough meeting a white person, but I was definitely weirded out when he asked me, "Are you Doctor Johnson's son?"  Yup, his father-in-law lives in the ward and my old area.  Since you already got the picture, I suppose I don’t have to tell you that I’ve lost about 40 kilos in my face, but essentially nothing from the rest of my body. Or at least, that’s what I think sometimes.

I’m doing great.  It was hard to leave my old area right when we got Anthony in our old area, who was just so ready to go, but we are finding some good people here.  This lady Margarita came with her husband and kids to church a couple of weeks ago and essentially said she has relatives in this church and needs this for her family too.  Well, ok.  I guess we can talk.  Unfortunately, she’s on a trip right now, so we have been trying to find others as well.  We dedicated our fast yesterday to finding more people in this new area for us.  Right as we were walking home, a young man named Daniel stopped us in the street and told us how he has been wanting to learn more from the missionaries for quite some time.  That made the day all worth it.

Don’t worry about me.  I’m having the time of my life.

Elder Johnson

Davi - postcard received 5/3/13

I love that I get to be here.  I am excited and ready to serve, even though I know what an imperfect servant I am offering the Lord.  But He will take me.  So I will be taken.  More info to come!  (as in when I get it)

(cute little heart) Hermana Davi

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Davi - 5/1 and 5/2

The Nevada Las Vegas Mission

[Note from Davi's mom]

Early yesterday morning (Wednesday, May 1st) Davi called us from the Salt Lake airport.  She was excited but couldn't believe she was actually leaving to go be a "real missionary."  It was pretty cute.

Then today we got an email from her mission president, Michael A. Neider.  Most of it sounded like routine, information stuff, but I liked the opening line: "I am happy to inform you that Sister Johnson arrived in Las Vegas with a smile on her face and a wonderful spirit."  

That sounds like my girl!  She's off to a good start.  You can see the smile on her face in the pictures they attached to the email.

Thanks to all y'all for your love and prayers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dalton - 4/29/13 email

Fine.  I Guess I’ll Tell You Things.

Well, you all could have told me earlier that I was supposed to give you all pertinent information about my mission.  Sheesh.  I’m not a mind reader.  My ward, zone, and stake is all called Prolima.  It’s fairly close to the mission office, but isn’t downtown or anything like the mission office is.  It’s not the poorest area in the mission, either.  I’ve even been flushing my toilet paper, which I’m not totally sure I should be doing, but I believe in innocent until proven guilty.  I eat rice, chicken, rice, bread, and rice.  It’s actually pretty good, but now that I mention it, there’s a lot of rice.  No tortillas or garbage like that.  The bread is actually awesome here, because they only eat bakery style bread.  But, to be honest, I rarely find myself being hungry, in part because food seems to make me thirstier.  The scenery feels a lot like home.  You think of jungle when you think of Peru, but Lima is actually dust.

And, oh yeah, I’ve been involved in two emergency transfers this week.  I'll do my best to explain, but it will probably be like trying to explain the quantum model of the atom over email.  First off, my roommates were in a trio as of a week ago, because one of the missionaries was a visa waiter for Bolivia.  Their area was the other half of Prolima ward.  That will be pertinent information soon enough.  About four days ago, Elder Myers, my trainer (or Papa, as many say in the field), as of a week ago, got a call that one of the zone leaders had to go home early for school and that Elder Myers would be the new zone leader to fill the gap.  At first, I panicked, because the first thing he said to me was "usted ya no tiene su papa."  I stopped freaking out once I realized that he was referring to himself.  I’m very, very glad to hear you’re doing better, Dad.  [note from Mom:  Joe had a bike accident recently, so apparently Dalton was worried that the elder was telling him that he didn’t have a dad anymore.  But he meant himself as papa.]

So there we go.  First emergency transfer.  Elder Chura, one of the trio of roommates, became my new companion.  We were starting to get the hang of things until Sunday night, when we received a call that the visa waiter for Bolivia isn’t waiting any longer.  As of this morning, I am now part of the remaining trio with Elder Chura and Elder Paredes.  Our two areas have been consolidated into one.  I’m really glad I got a light grasp on the language, because I’m a pile of confused drool even without the language barrier.  
I don’t mean to say this is bad.  I can already tell that I will learn a whole lot more Spanish with native companions, we now have way more baptismal dates as a companionship, and I got to hear the song "Africa" by Toto on the bus ride back from my last transfer.  Everything is going very well.  It has also been nice to teach Anthony and Justin, our two new investigators with baptismal dates.  Anthony and his brother are related to a family in the ward, and he has already read--wait for it--1 Nephi.  There are active youth that can’t manage that.  We got them to invite their whole family to the next discussion, so we are really excited.

Also, I got the package you sent, mum.  That plastic thing in the macaroni box was a little chewy, though. JK.  I didn’t eat the credit card yet.  I did, however, thrash those Reese’s eggs.  Even the no-bake cookies held up nicely.  Elder Chura and I quite enjoyed them.

That youth conference sounds incredible.  It’s time kids realize that your mission isn’t the time to prepare for your mission, and I’m glad they're learning that and getting excited about the important things, rather than just where you’ll go or what you’ll see.

Que mas?  The meeting with Elder Christensen was amazing.  I walk everywhere, except to church or places like the mission office. We are allowed to ride the bus to places like Popeye’s on p-days, since it is fairly close to our zone.  Yeah, I’m burning out this time.  I suppose I’ll just say that my sense of direction hasn’t changed a whole lot, though it will have to if I ever become a senior companion.

Thanks for the example and the teachings.  Every day I think I could be doing more, but I suppose that feeling is good to have throughout your whole mission.  I love you all and wish you the best.

Elder Johnson

Davi - 4/24/13 email

[The day Davi sent this email was supposed to be her departure date from the Provo MTC, but since her visa hadn’t arrived, they were deciding between keeping her there and sending her to another mission temporarily until she receives her visa.  So in this email Davi gave a rather long analogy about how she felt.  She said it felt like her dad asked her to go to sushi, so that’s what she was looking forward to, but then it turned out they couldn’t go there, so they were going somewhere else cool, like the seafood buffet.  Even though it wasn’t they place she had been looking forward to going, it was still great, and the important part was spending time with her dad anyway.  So there’s the shortened version.  But here’s the big news:  Davi called us last Thursday evening.  And get this:  We were all home, which never happens!  (tender mercy)  Even Nicki, who never just drops over in the evening, showed up with her kids right about when the phone rang!  So Davi called to tell us that this Wednesday she would be heading for the Nevada Las Vegas Mission to serve there until she receives her visa.  I told her that would be a good transition to get used to the heat of Piura, because shows that the climates are very similar.  So there you go!  Also, she can now receive email from anyone, so here is her email address:  Don’t be disappointed if she isn’t able to respond right away, though.  I still don’t know how much time she has on the computer.  So here’s the rest of her email from last Wednesday.]

Oh Boy!

Thanks so much for that package!  That was awesome.  Raspberry bars are so delightful.  Mommy, those quotes are such good ones.  It's hard to keep in mind the balance between trying to be better and totally killing yourself. 

Daddy, didn't I tell you before I left not to hurt yourself?  I guess I should've been more specific.  How are you doing?  I feel so bad that you have to be in a wheelchair!  I bet you’re getting lots of geezer jokes from your office staff!  The music fireside sounds like it went so well!  Seriously, you are all such good missionaries, I love it.  

Jamie, that hair tutorial you sent was the cutest thing ever.  I want to send you the picture I took of my attempt.  It would be such a good Pinterest fail.  

Challenge of the Week:  Find something you can do for your Dad.  Whether that be trusting Him more while you're waiting for sushi, or being brave and talking to the stranger who needs some help, or really committing to read what He wants to say to you (scriptures).  Whatever it be, pray about it, and you will see something you can do to show Him you love Him more than anything else.  Oh, and this is for any EFY kids reading this - write me!  About how you're doing, about how your testimony grew that week, and how it has grown.  Please and thank you :)

Tender Mercies:
Sundays are the greatest.  Heavenly Father is letting me grow in understanding of the Atonement, and it is neat.  There is no doubt in my mind that He loves me, and loves every single one of His children.

Spanish is getting better!  But don't worry about pride getting in the way too much, because whenever I get cocky, I listen to a conversation and think I got everything, and realize it was Tagalog. 

Music has been such a lovely thing here.  We go to choir every week--not only for the director (who is creepily a lot like Brian Regan and is equally as funny)--but because the Spirit with it is amazing.  We sang a rendition of Nearer My God to Thee that was incredible.  There was so much power when we sang "So by my woes to be nearer my God to Thee."  I realized something--there is nothing greater than that.  No matter what it is that brings us nearer, it is worth it.  Because there is nothing better than being nearer to your Lord.  So, by my woes it be.  That's ok, because it's so incredibly worth it.  Heavenly Father knows that, so He sometimes puts us through these things, and listens to all of our whining, and it is still worth it to Him, because there is nothing better than that for us.  Also, Savior Redeemer of my Soul is my new fav song that I didn't even really know existed before here.  How gorgeous is that?  Music has been such a blessing to me while being here.

So everything is terrific.  And I love you dearly.  And I am humbled daily at the opportunity to represent someone who means everything to me, and died for me.  This gospel is the hugest blessing.  I know it, and that's why we are preaching it.

Mucho Amor, 
Hermana Johnson

Dalton - 4/22/13 email

Can’t Think of a Clever Subject Line.  I Had One.  I Know I Did.

Things in Peru are going great.  It’s hard to believe how much faster this week went.  I think I needed two things that I didn’t have my first week:  hard feet and a soft heart.  Now I’m working on inner thighs that never chafe.  

I’m not sure how much my Spanish is improving, but I can at least have comfort in knowing my English is getting worse.  No, in reality, Spanish is getting a whole lot better.  People are generally surprised when I tell them it’s my second week in the campo, so I am very grateful for that.  If I listen, I can usually understand 80% of what’s happening.  Listening seems to be the problem at times.

Thanks for the picture.  I almost forgot how good I look in brown.

You are all the best missionaries.  I’m sure the fireside was great.  I just feel terrible realizing now that I was such a lazy missionary just a few months ago.  Thanks for being good examples.

Ooh, and none other than Craig C Christensen of the presidency of the seventy is coming on Wednesday and speaking to the Lima West and Central missionaries.  No big deal.

It’s great having a district leader as your trainer, not only because he’s a good missionary, but also because I get to see the strengths of all the missionaries during splits.  That has been helping a lot.
Also, I’m not sure how informal the Peruvian word "bacan" is, so I figure if I use quotation marks, I’m safe on the rules.  [note from Mom:  I looked up the word “bacan,” and it is Peruvian slang on the word “bueno,” but it means more like “cool” or “wicked.”]

Love you all!  Don’t worry about me, I love it here.
Elder Johnson

Davi - 4/17/13 email

I’m Pretty Lucky

Just ask me how much I love being a missionary.  Please.  BECAUSE I LOVE IT!  

Ok, I will probably get reassigned tomorrow.  How crazy is that?  Cross your fingers for Africa for me!!  We will either leave a week or two weeks from today!  

So I may or may not have the best district currently in the MTC.  And I am heavily leaning toward the first.  Our Elders are the best.  They are so funny, but take such good care of all of us.  To give you a good idea of how funny/tight knit we have all become, let me tell you a story:  On Monday evening, the two of the three remaining Elders came out of the classroom and were standing with their legs touching and holding their ties together.  We just stopped, and were confused that they were acting so weird.  And then they were like, "Seriously?  We have been matching all day long!  And you said nothing!  We even borrowed this tie so that we could match, and it went completely unappreciated.  We looked up the word irate in the Spanish dictionary because that's how we feel right now."  It was so hilarious.  Elder Bradley was like, "Hermana Johnson, this is literally the only day you haven't complimented us on our ties, and there were multiple times when we were pretty much begging you to."  And then we realized they had been dropping hints all day, like "You look so good today Elder."  Or, "You know what show I love?  What Not to Wear."  To which Elder Bradley responded, "Yea, and Love That Dress Hate that Dress."  (P.S. they just walked behind me and I said I was writing a story about them, and they said, "Don't you dare."  And then gave me this little card thing we were supposed to buy, but they beat the sisters to it and bought them for us - prime example of their sweetness).  Anyway, we have been laughing about it ever since.  And they've been coordinating ties every day since too.  And walking us home at night.  And our biggest problem between our district is that we don't speak Spanish enough because we have too much fun with each other in English.  Yea, I'm pretty lucky.

Our teachers are the best too.  I wish they could come with us.  I had a dream that Hermano Rockwood saved us from a bad guy the other night.  That's how I feel about them.

There was a fireside on Sunday about the hastening of the work.  The head of the missionary media came and spoke to us. advertising is everywhere, and it is working, and it is so cool.  I came out of that fireside feeling almost the most excited I ever have to be a part of this work.  It is so cool.  Heavenly Father wants His children to know He is there.  So here is my challenge to you this week: If you have never visited, please visit it, and take a gander, and watch some videos and feel free to chat with the missionaries on it (because I know some of the people who do that!).  If you have in fact visited the site, share it.  Share it on Facebook, give a pass-along card, something.  If you are reading this sentence, that means you have agreed to this challenge.  Congrats!  Bienhecho y Bueno suerte!  Love you!

Now, for the climax of the email: Guess who came to the devotional last night - none other than Elder Richard G. Scott!  It was so evident to me that this man is called of God.  There is no way around it.  He knows the Lord, like an apostle of old.  He knows the Lord the way Peter did.  And we got to hear from him, in a personal setting.  He spoke on prayer.  He started by saying that if he could, he would sit down with each of us for an hour and talk and share and laugh and weep.  And that that's what we can do, but not just with the Representative of God, but with God Himself.  He entreated us to have faith in the times when we don't feel the presence of the Lord as deeply, that He is just as much there and supporting us and loving us as the times when we feel it the most.  It made me think of Harry Potter (stick with me).  Like, when a dementor comes, does that mean that good isn't real and we never felt those good feelings?  No!  It means it's time to put those good memories into power form, and fight!  Alma 5:26 baby!  If you have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, can you feel so now?  In dementor times, we need to remember, and use the times of strength to strengthen us when we need it most.  We deemed yesterday Tender Mercy Tuesday, needless to say.

The most amazing part about Richard G. Scott's talk?  The Apostolic blessing at the end of it.  Remember that time, Dad, that you gave a Stake President blessing, and the Spirit in the room was like incredible?  So imagine that, but from an apostle of the Lord.  Calling down blessings from heaven on the missionaries in attendance, as one who has complete authority to do so.  He gave us a blessing to master the language as we put in our efforts, and peace along with knowledge that you are not alone, and help with companions as we pray for it, etc.  The Spirit in that room was incredible.  When he said, "I invoke an Apostolic blessing" every head went up from their journals and the room went silent.  That was cool.

I love you so dearly. 

P.S. hugest compliment ever - when I showed Elder Fankhauser the sisters picture I got, he was like, "You didn't tell me you had a dark-haired twin!"