Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Davi - 8/26/13 email

A Blonde Walks into a Church…

Thank heavens Heavenly Father loves me enough to help me want to be humble.  It is a blessing indeed. I typed indid, and stared at it for about a minute trying to figure out how to spell it.  My brain ain't got room for correct spelling in two languages.

So besides starting to forget English, I am also forgetting the real tunes to the hymns.  Also, I had rabbit for lunch on Saturday.  Check that off my bucket list.

Felix didn't get baptized.  Why, you might ask?  Because he doesn't want to give the church his information for the baptismal record.....  They should really teach us these things in the MTC.  He really just is scared, but he is amazing.  He is reset for Sept 21.  

Jenifer did get baptized this Saturday though!  She is the cutest 15-year-old you ever did see.  Her family started coming back to church a while ago, and she was baptized.  In her confirmation, it was just so evident that authority is authority, no matter what language you speak.

I think blonde jokes started in South America.  Because when there's a joke, the blonde in the room is the one not getting it in all the rooms I am in.  BUT, yesterday, three different times people laughed at something I said, and not because it was poor Spanish.  They all seemed shocked that I had it in me. Little do they know :)  

I remember Dalton saying something about feeling like a toddler in lessons, just drooling at people.  I will quote him on that one.  

Oh man, there is this gorgeous 30-something sister who has started coming back to church, and she has decided that she is my grandma.  Her name is Hermana Rojas.  And Hermana Milagros is the most patient person I have ever met.  I love her dearly, and feel so grateful for all the kisses she gives my cheeks when I see her.

I really am so grateful for Heavenly Father and His gospel.  He has so much in mind for His children, our poor little minds can't even start to comprehend it.  I love being His.  I know I am.  I know in whom I have trusted.  

Love you all dearly!  The prayers are so wonderfully helpful, so thank you.  

Hermana Johnson

P.S.  I am learning a lesson - Selfishness is the secret to unhappiness.  I think that will b a lifelong lesson.....

Dalton - 8/26/13 email

The Switzerland of Peru

Hola familia!

Ok, I’m hoping for the internet access to come back up, but for now, I’m using Microsoft Palabra.  Just kidding—it’s still called Microsoft Word here.

Anyway, important piece of information:  There’s a documentary that I think is called Don’t Drive Here. (I haven’t managed to find the quotation marks yet, just the parentheses.)  Anyway, I think it’s done by the Discovery Channel, and it’s about an American guy driving in Lima.  I can’t watch it, so that’s why I have you all.   It sounds hysterical, at least to me.  Record it, treasure it, show it to me in 18 months.

Fun thing I learned that Dad might like:  Our mission boundaries recently changed, and now we actually have a pretty zone in the mission now:  Huaraz.  Everyone calls it the Switzerland of Peru, because there are a lot of snowy mountains and women with a lot of armpit hair.

Give Daryl a hug from me, whether he remembers me or not.  [A friend of ours, Daryl Taufa’asau, just got baptized.]

Also, there was a multi-mission conference this Saturday with Elder Grow and Elder Callister.  We heard loud and clear the message:  If you’re looking for baptisms, reactivate people.  Teach them the lessons as though this was their first time with the missionaries.  Get them converted over again.  Then ask for referrals, because we are missionaries, not home teachers.  They promised that we’ll find more success that way, even in terms of baptisms.  Elder Grow asked a question that can’t leave me:  “Who will you depend on to rescue your converts that turned inactive?”  (I also just found the quotation marks.  Shift and 2 at the same time.)

I have to trust it.  On Saturday, we found a less-active man who has forgotten essentially everything and turned evangelical.  I reacted completely differently this time.  I showed him the ward directory and told him, “Look, there are hundreds of members that we could have visited, but we felt inspired to visit you.  I believe it was sent from God.  We would like to visit you again, as though this is your first time with the missionaries.”  He responded enthusiastically.  So, I guess we’ll see what happens this Saturday with him.

Also, Teofilo Ramirez is getting baptized this Sunday!  Finally, a husband and father!  He really is a miracle.  Four months ago, he had a stress breakdown and couldn’t even remember his own name.  The doctors weren’t sure if he would ever recover.  Now that his family got baptized, he has a job and can tell jokes, and understand the lessons better than many investigators.

Anyway, that’s about it for me.  Elder Sarria is awesome.  We are expecting to have a lot more success than there’s been in the past.

Oh yeah, one more joke:

Por que las personas de la playa saludan mas que otras personas?
    Porque alli estan las olas!

Love you!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Davi - 8/19/13 email

So I Am Peruvian After All!

Homegirl’s in Peru!!  Can you believe it?  I can’t.  

Wow, ok, first things first.  This keyboard doesn’t have a question mark and the vowels aren’t really working.  So, sorry.  [Don’t worry, y’all—Mama J has fixed all the issues for you!]

Oh man, it is so great here!!  I don’t even know where to start.  

So culture shock should be happening, but it isn’t....  maybe it will set in.  Mostly I just love it and it feels like home.  The main difference is that I get whistled at a lot more, but I can deal with that.  And I have to duck under things and explain my last name.  Really, worse things have happened.  The food is terrific; I haven’t felt even a little sick.  We live across the street from a party music place, so—much to my angel comp’s dismay—I dance in the apartment quite a bit.  I told her that’s the only way I won’t dance on the street, so she agreed.  She is so sweet.  It is taking a lot of patience for her too, to have a comp who doesn’t understand what she’s talking about, but she is doing so well.  She is seriously the cutest.  She has such a sweet laugh, and just gives so much to me.  

I sleep a lot.  Like, a lot.  I konk out exactly at 9:30 and don’t wake up once ‘til 6:30.  It takes a ton of concentration to understand what anyone’s saying, ha.  But it’s cool,  I see so much progress every single day. How can I not be so happy and grateful?  Heavenly Father is helping me sooooooo much.  His angels really are bearing me up.  It’s incredible to feel that promise so real.  He shows me His love for me all the time.  And through the people here.  

Oh my gosh, y’all!  The people are so incredibly sweet!!!!  They feel like they are mine.  There are these little kids who just will cuddle with you, and everyone gives you a kiss on the cheek the first time you meet them, which I just love, and they give you food and make sure you are happy and smile at you and everything.  Felix is getting baptized on Saturday, and he has the most incredible faith.  He studies the Book of Mormon every day, and takes notes during our lessons.  He is the cutest thing that has ever happened.  He just glows!!  He has this smile that takes up his whole face with wrinkles.  And Julie and Deymon, these kids I’m totally in love with.  Oh man.  And her sullon [ummm… sorry—none of us could figure that one out] who saw me cry once and took me under her wing.  

Like, so the whole Spanish thing...  Yes, I do feel like an infant.  But I have never really minded being taken care of.  My mom or Rachel or Coco or Laura or any of my roommates can attest to that.  And the people help me so much, and are so patient, and actually kind of love you for being bad at it.  You just have to be willing to laugh. Like when someone is telling you that there are only three legs on that chair and to not sit on it, but you think, oh it’s ok if it’s missing a duck.  In lessons, when I get stuck and can’t think of how to try to get something out, the investigator will finish my sentence, and then I just testify to what they say.  Who knew it would work out so well?  Anyway, I really am so happy here.  I love Peru dearly.

Remember Ann from Vegas?  She moved to Texas, and is getting baptized there.  She just emailed me all about it, and wanted pictures for Facebook to reveal her plan of baptism.  Haha, isn’t that the cutest? Oh, how I love her!

It’s just so cool!  I have a picture of my Vegas family that they gave me in my room, and I look at it all the time and just   [Don’t know what happened here. That was the end of her sentence. Dream sequence?]
Gosh, Heavenly Father is just the very greatest.  I’m seeing more and more that He is just so thoughtful of me.  I know all of this happiness is because He is taking care of me, thanks to His love, and all of the prayers being said for me.  Thanks for those, and keep up the good work!  

I know more than anything that this Gospel is true.  And if ever there is a person in need of anything, it is just more understanding of the Gospel and your place in it.  Everyone has a place—I am really just starting to understand that.  But Heavenly Father wants to show us our place, so we can understand more of how dear we are to Him.

You know, maybe the culture shock will set in, but it hasn’t yet, so I am just going to keep smiling at the speedy-mouthed Peruvians.  [:

Love you all soooooo much!  I am praying for you back!!  Keep being good, and Heavenly Father will show you why.

Hermana Johnson

Dalton - 8/19/13 email


Hey, fam!  Guess how many Elder Johnsons there are in the mission!  And how many of them are district leader. And the chances that my mission president mistook me for the other Elder Johnson.  But hey, don't stress it.  I'll let the Elder Johnson from Utah know how proud you all are that he's district leader now in Huaraz.  I'm not embarrassed!  I don't want apologies!  But hey, Davi knows my mission president! He's awesome.

My new companion is Elder Sarria from Chile.  He has one transfer more than me, and no, I'm not his district leader.  He's great and a lot of fun.  We're really excited to work together, because it's like we can learn from each other and teach and take responsibility together.  The thunder's coming!  The mission is changing, and so are we.  Expect a lot more in terms of pictures of baptisms!  I feel like my own cheerleader right now.

One cool story from this week:  Antonio and Fausta Vilca said that they'll make the sacrifices to get sealed.  I almost started to cry when he started telling us that the day we knocked their door, they were both being punished by God by the things going on in their lives, and they were wondering if it was all because they weren't active.  Then we knocked their door, just a couple of missionaries that were fruitlessly looking for less-actives for weeks.  He told me that Elder Bulacio and I are his angels.  He's getting Sundays off now, and he's happy to be at that faraway chapel at 8 in the morning.

So yeah, no complaints.  There's nothing that can replace that feeling.  I'm so glad that I got to work in the temple, because now, instead of talking about the principles of just keeping the Sabbath day holy and enduring to the end, I talk to less-actives about the plan of salvation and the temple.  The effect is far more powerful to those that will just listen.

Anyway, this keyboard is terrible and my hands are tired.  I love you all!

Elder Johnson (the one that’s junior companion)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Davi - 8/16/13 letter

[We finally received an email today!  Woohoo!  There was a nice letter from President and Sister Rowley, along with this letter from Davi.  The photo shows Davi with her new companion and the Rowleys.]

Hola, familia!

So sorry I didn’t call today.  Things got a little cray cray.  But I am here now!  And I am so excited!  I already have a love for this place.  I love my mission president/wife, and my companion seems like such a sweetheart. She will take good care of me.  This place is already feeling like home.  And my companion said to send her love.  She really is an angel.  Hermana Mora es de Arequipa, Peru.  Ella es muy bonita.  Anyway, I’m so happy to be here, and super safe, and oh, I met Dalton’s President at the airport!  Dalton became district leader.  I’m serving in the city.  It just feels so good and right to be here.  Ok, love you.  Bye!


Hermana Johnson

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Davi - 8/12/13 email

[Hello, friends and family:  Sorry I'm late with the blog update this week, but I kept thinking I would hear from Davi.  So I kept waiting to hear from her so that I could post it here for you, but I still have heard nothing.  She called us on Saturday just to tell us her flight plans and to tell us to be home on Tuesday so she could call us from the airport.  Then we didn't hear from her all day on Tuesday.  No email or anything from the mission home since then, either.  So, here we go with her email from Monday:]

YAY!  And Love via Photos

Seriously?  A favorite scripture?  Ok fine.  Go with 2 Nep 26:24 or 1 Nep 11:17 or 2 Nep 4:18 or anything really. 

Ok, it was such a great week.  We got to go to the temple!!!!!!!!  Oh my gosh, the temple is the greatest thing in the whole world.  I told Heavenly Father while I was in there that maybe the biggest sacrifice I was making for Him was that I wouldn't get to go to the temple for a year.  It's hard to think about.  But, we got to go, and it was amazing.  Everything makes sense in the temple.  Everything is right and peaceful and perfect and happy.  I love it so much.  Theran went to the temple with the ward this weekend, and loved it.  I decided that this time would be most beneficial if I could give this time to be able to help everyone get to the temple and feel the love and peace there the way I do.  

Michael got baptized!!  He is the 9 year-old-son of a less-active who has come back to church.  Michael is just the sweetest little angel.  I want to be so much more like him.  He really did teach me so much about faith and following God and trusting in Him.  We met a Joseph Smith!  Who may or may not have thought he actually was the Joseph Smith....  And Trent wants to pray!  And Ed is progressing so much and consistently and is coming to Church and testified in a group lesson about how he has received so much revelation through the Book of Mormon.  I love him so much.  He is getting baptized this month.  And Abel is so progressing so well!  He wants to get baptized this month also, and is working toward it.  He did have a small hang-up about whether or not God approves of vampires.  I was stifling laughter a little too hard to be able to answer.  And then in the same lesson Sis Schenk pronounced Korihor like Koreehor, and that combined with the vampire thing, I just went into a giggle fit.  Can't believe that has been my only mid-lesson giggle fit my whole mission.  And Josh!!  He all of a sudden showed that he likes us, and will miss me.  He is getting baptized this month too.  He is so great.  And Tawnee wants to get baptized! When we were meeting with her, we taught her sweet daughter Mackenzie to pray.  She prayed that her mom would be able to get work off for church, and then gave me this huge hug and said, "Thank you for teaching me that."  She is this little angel.  Anyway, I love these people.  It is so cool that Heavenly Father let me be a part of their lives.  

It's crazy that I'm leaving, y'all!  It's weird!  Like it doesn't feel like I'm leaving even still.  All of these girls in my ward started crying, and Dallin and Jake almost did.  They would never admit that, though.  Anyway, it was so sweet.  I seriously loved being here.  I have made some best friends here who I will remember and love forever.  I think Kalli and Ciara and I will need to be roommates at some point in our lives.  It has been the coolest thing ever watching them and loving them and seeing a whole ward grow.  I have been so grateful to be a part of it.  I love the Lord so much, and am so grateful I have all these chances to learn about Him, and to trust in Him with everything I have.  I am betting everything I have on Him, going all in, because I know who's going to win.  But maybe more importantly, I know who is going to take care of me. It's My Savior.  He's got me good.  I know He loves us.  It's so cool to help others see it.  Bet on Him.  He will make you win.  

Love you all, for the last time from America!!!!!!!!
Hermana Johnson

PS:  Here you will see a pic of the ward, and one of Michael's baptism, and one of the three of us doing the area book after a big day.  Yeah, the baptism picture or the one at the table is more what i look like on a normal day, in case you were wondering.  It was in the evening, and I can’t stay pretty for that long, that’s for sure.  Enjoy.

Dalton - 8/12/13 email

Cambios maƱana. Bulacio se va. Que los hice a mis compaƱeros?
I'm just kind of drooling at the computer right now.  Every Monday, I think, “Woohoo!  So many things to tell my family!”   And then this happens.  I'm sorry that I always go all D&C 9:9  on you all every week [referring to a stupor of thought].

Anyway, favorite scripture.  I feel like I'm being tested right now.  One of them would be Alma 22:15.  I think it perfectly describes what changes can take place when the gospel is taught to someone.  The blessings are worth any sacrifice.  Just as a fun little scripture reference, it might be fun looking up Alma 20:23 as well, though not to put on the missionary board.  It just shows the extent of a person’s change, because the other scripture shows that the price tag he put on his own life was only half of his kingdom.  Later, however, the blessings of the gospel were worth giving up everything he possessed.  Anyway, enough suffocating you all with scriptures.  What is this, Sunday?  Just kidding.

To answer your question, mom, I do actually need something.  If you can mail me four pounds of distilled referrals, that would really be great.  No really, there are things I need, but we have access to buy things.  I mean, I'm not in Piura!  Just kidding, Dave.  So I think it would just be cheaper in general to buy things here.

Oh yeah,  wooohoo, Davi!  Now that you’re actually going to Peru, it will be so much easier to gossip when we get back.

Also, Elder Bulacio is leaving, after just one tranfer.  What am I doing to my companions?  That's too bad. He's a fun one.

Oh yeah, the work here.  Yeah, it's good.  We might have a baptism this Saturday.  The only thing he's missing right now is all of the missionary lessons.  Get ready, Teofilo!

Also, we had 4 less-actives in sacrament meeting!  I love this new key indicator.  I'm really excited for the things we'll get done with President Archibald.

Anyway, love ya!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Davi - 8/5/13 emails

[Today Davi sent three emails.  The first one contained just a short sentence:]

The visa is in!

[The other two are as follows:]

This is Sonny—he fits his name now :)

For Real This Time

Sonny!!!  Oh y'all, it was the coolest thing ever.  Sonny got baptized!  And a bunch of his friends came to it, and made mention of how much happier he is now.  He really is so much happier.  I told him he's just sonnier :) Anyway, he is the coolest cat.  And had to get dipped four times, but he says that made him feel extra clean. He is such an incredible example, and really will bless the lives of all his friends and family.

So, I am leaving in a week for Peru, and telling my ward was so hard.  You know how I get when other people start crying....  "If you cry, I'll start to cry, and we'll never get through this!"  [For you movie-line amateurs, that was from Monsters Inc.]  It's just so cool to have been able to see such a change in the ward.  I really have come to be such good friends with them and love them so much.  Kalli and Ciara are totally my homegirls, and Lisa I just never want to stop hugging, and Dallin does sooooo much for us, and just everyone is amazing.  I could list so many names right now. It's just so cool to see a ward get excited about missionary work, and really become more strong as a unit and as individuals.

Leyo and Abel and Josh and Michael and Ed all have baptismal dates in August.  And luckily, I will be able to be there for Michael's, but not for any of the rest of them.  It's crazy how you just work so hard in a place, and give your all to it, and then you have to leave, and it just feels so right that you can't even be upset about it.  But you get to look and see how the work of the Lord is progressing, and it makes my little heart all full and fluttery.

But in case I didn't make this clear, I am soooo excited about Peru.  IT CAME Y'ALL!!!!  My Spanish is horrendous, and I may really miss peanut butter (I am about to go stock up on it), but everything feels so good!!  I am so excited :)  It's so cool that I get two missions.  I am the luckiest sister in the whole world.
I have learned so much about who Heavenly Father is.  He really is our Father.  It makes more sense daily.  And I get to see how He feels about His children, and I start trusting Him more and more, and I see how wonderful and loving and perfect He is, and giving my life to Him brings me more peace than anything.  I know He is real harder than I know anything else.  My Father and His truth are my reality and my life, and I know there is no better way to live.

So this is pretty unimportant, but we had 30 lessons with investigators this week—22 with members there. Ever since Dad said that about Elder Sohkanen splitting his ward, I thought to myself, this area needs to get more missionaries in it.  Maybe I need to get that many lessons to make it happen.  And we finally did it this week! The work is crazy over here.  It's like the funnest thing ever.  Alycia, one of the members, said that she has never seen the ward like this.  She says that it's crazy how many people want to help and are excited about missionary work.  It's amazing how it is working.  Like, so amazing.  I just get to do what my Heavenly Father asks me, and try to love the people with His love, and He makes the most amazing things happen!  It really is impossible for me to think that I did any of it, but it's so cool to be a small part of.  I love being a missionary so much!!  I am so happy!

Anyway, love you all a lot.  I am off to the best mission in the southern hemisphere.  Can't believe how fast the time is flying!  But I am loving every second of it.  Being a missionary is the best :)  

Sister Johnson

Dalton - 8/5/13 email

Ahora Si!

What an awesome week!  Are there things we need to work on?  Claro que si!  Aun asi, this was a fun week. We had two baptisms this Saturday, one of them being Celinda and the other Jhostin. Yeah yeah, I've got pictures this time.  It's not until you look at pictures that you realize how small your converts actually are. Both of the baptismal services were awesome.  They both gave great testimonies and are actually converting, which is just so fun to see.  It’s when I see the change in people that I realize what little role the missionaries actually have. We teach, but we sure didn't change them. The Spirit's there.

And, even though our investigators didn't come to church, we saw another miracle in sacrament meeting: Antonio Vilca.  At the beginning of the transfer, I found myself obsessed with finding the less-actives in the ward.  To be honest, up until yesterday, I felt like it was a fruitless effort.  But, out of the blue, Antonio asked permission to take time off work to go to church for the first time in about 5 years.  And he was there with his whole family, at the 8-in-the-morning sacrament meeting in a faraway church building.  His 10-year-old son has a baptismal date, and he told us that he'll do what he can to get all Sundays off.  It made me feel like it was all worth it.  So yeah, good week.

Hey, if Carissa Earl is going to the Raleigh mission, tell her to say hi to my old roommate, Elder Duplisea. (pronounced doo-plissy).  I wasn't even close the first time I said his last name.

I'm so glad you're all such good missionaries.  And, if I forgot to do so already, tell Natasha I said hi.  Who wouldn't remember Natasha?  Come on!  Have some faith.

President Archibald wants us to triple the number of baptisms for this month.  I'm so excited to have him for my mission president.

Ok, serious now.  I've got a new joke:  Por que los animales nunca buscan esposos?
--Porque ellos no quieren ser casados!   (because they don’t want to be married, but can mean hunted as well)

Well,  th-th-th-that's all, folks!  See you when I see you!

Elder Johnson