Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Davi - 9/23/13 email

[Remember how Davi's last email talked about how she had little time to prepare for Felix's baptism, so she hopped in the murky water of the font and started bucketing it out?  Here are the photos she sent from that day:]

[And here's the email for this week:]

I Feel So Blessed

So you know how they speak Spanish in Peru?  Well, I am starting to learn it!!!   This week I started learning unimportant words like crossword puzzle and piggy bank.   And because I am saying this, I am sure I’m going to have a very humbling experience this evening where I can’t understand anything and words stop on my tongue. Because good heavens it is not me doing this, that much I know.

We had a lovely little surprise of a third comp for a few days!  Hermana Ramos de Guatemala.  We dropped her off this morning but got totally lost.  

Last night we had a lesson with a less-active whose father we are trying to teach (he has been through like 12 sets of missionaries I think), and it was about the Book of Mormon.  We shared experiences, and he looked up at us  and said something along the lines of, “I remember feeling like that,” and committed to reading every day again.  How great is that!

We found an oldish professor named Cezar yesterday.  He was so American in his questions and his arguing and his pride that I was just grinning the whole time.  How strange that I feel relieved that someone is arguing with us and not just nodding and smiling and feeding us.  

I am so in love with this twelve-year-old and nine-year-old.  Like, all I want to do is be with them.  I want them to come teaching with us, and I want to give them everything I have in my possession.  I have started carrying candy on me specifically so I never leave them empty handed.  Oh man.

Yuli got baptized this week.  She said she felt like she was achieving her dreams.  How cute.  She is nine and a daughter of a less-active who is now active.  A bird entered the room during the talk on the Holy Ghost (perfecto) and was flying around the perimeter of the ceiling for a good portion of the service.  Also, she has a terrible fear of water apparently.  We didn’t know that until she was in the water and refusing to go under.  So the bishop pretty much shoved her under, and she came back up with this face of pure terror and fury, and I burst into laughter.  Not very becoming, I realize that.  But y’all, you would have died.  Thinking about it right now, I am laughing.  Oh man.  But like, it’s not good to laugh at things like that....

I feel so blessed.  For real.  I cannot believe I have been here for a transfer.  Can’t even begin to believe that.  But I am so glad.  I feel my Savior more in my life than I ever have before.  It’s funny how at first you feel pretty lonely. And then you realize that without all those other things that you thought you needed to feel loved, you feel the love of the Savior in such great abundance.  Some nights you go to sleep singing “Conmigo Quédate Señor” [“Abide With Me, ‘Tis Eventide”], and you know He really is right there with you—that He always has been—and now you are starting to let Him show you.

Gosh, I love this gospel.  So much.  Every day I feel so incredibly blessed to have it, and to have this chance to work and share what I have had my whole life.  

The Savior is so there, and so loves you.  He did everything for you; therefore He also did everything with you.  I know He lives, because He lives with us.

Love you all.  
Hermana J

Dalton - 9/23/13 email

Gift of Discernment Strikes Again
Man, I shouldn’t expound too much on that subject line, but you’ll know if you read the emails from the MTC [about discerning the meanings of the rumblings in the intestinal region].  I will just say now, though, that if a member tries to give you Locro de Zapallo [a thick pumpkin stew], you need to think in terms of how that could potentially affect a baptismal service later in the week. I mean, wow. Anyway, I feel much better.

Speaking of which, we had a baptismal service this week!  Raquel Ferro and her daughter Katti got baptized, as well as Angelo Vilca, the son of a family we reactivated.  It was nice, though a little crazy. Raquel never told us beforehand that she has asthma and has never entered into a pool for fear of attack, so cold baptismal fonts weren’t the best for that.  After the baptism, we got an urgent phone call from her at 4 in the morning, and we got permission to give her a priesthood blessing at that hour.  Crazy, right? She felt better soon after the blessing, but we told her that she can wait on confirmation.  Boy, I’m grateful for the priesthood.

Aside from that, the service was great.  Each one bore their testimonies and said that their lives had changed since the time they met the missionaries, that family life is different, and that they could all feel something different during the ordinances.  The Spirit is always there, even in cold water.

But speaking of priesthood blessings, a lady named Victoria found us this week and asked us for a blessing for her kids.  Her not-quite husband is an inactive member and she said with certainty that we would be able to heal her kids.  We gave the blessings and immediately after, her daughter even said ''Mommy, I’m healed!''  It was humbling to see that kind of faith with a family we had never met.  She couldn’t stop thanking us, even though she wouldn’t see then if they were truly better or not.

Hey, on a less serious note, my language study is coming to use again.  Ok:
--Por que los misioneros nunca enseñan en la oscuridad?  [How come missionaries never teach in the dark?]
----Porque a nadie le gustan las citas a ciegas!  [Because nobody likes appointments in darkness – and also means – Because nobody likes blind dates.]

Anyway, I still don’t know if I’m getting transferred or not, but I will find out probably right when we get out of internet.

I love you all!
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Davi - 9/16/13 email

Doing Grunt Work for the Lord is Awesome

Gosh, there’s just always too much to say.  

Ok, Tuesday of last week.  We walked out of district meeting and were like, we have like fifteen minutes, let’s visit Felix.  We did.  He invited us in and said, “I got an answer last night.  When can I get baptized?” And we were like, “Um, like whenever you want.”  And he said, “Great—let’s go to the church right now.” And we were like, “Give us like six hours.”  So, for real, the baptism happened six hours later.  The font was full of gross water when we got there, and the drain wouldn’t work. I got in the font and started handing buckets of gross water to people.  I felt so like Davi in that moment.  I know that’s weird, but like, just so me.  Gross and barefoot.  That’s how you would describe me, right?  Anyway, I love being a missionary.  You get to do the grunt work for the Lord. If it means taking off our shoes and getting our skirt wet, all the better.  

It was incredible.  He just had the biggest smile on his face after.  He has so much desire to learn and be faithful and follow the Lord in everything.  

There are these two new families who I am so in love with.  This one, you can just see a new hope beginning to grow in their faces.  A light and a joy.  They are so wanting the Spirit to change their hearts and give them the blessings of the Gospel.  And the other, I swear, this child, Ana Louisa, is like mine. She has so much attitude and so much sweetness.  Oh I love her.  

Life is really great. Thanks for being the best people ever.  I am SOOOOOO blessed for the people in my life.  I can’t even believe it.  Thank you for being such great examples and support.  Heavenly Father is very grateful for it too.  

Love you all!!!!!!!!!!!
Hermana J

[Also, Davi sent a picture of her with her district:]

Dalton - 9/16/13 email

Q:  ¿Que dijo Goliat al ver a David?  (What did Goliath say when he saw David?)
A:  ¡Que honda!  (What a sling! and also What’s going on?)

Anyway, I'm still here, in case you're wondering.

Don't think that the whole watch thing is super urgent.  I bought a cheap wristwatch a while back, and the only thing about a cheap wristwatch is that it quickly turns into a pocketwatch.  But I mean, it’s still a watch.  But if you do send it, just do it the way you have been, with the big envelope rather than with a package.  I don't want to have to go to Serpost.  It reminds me too much of the DMV, which is the reason I fled the country in the first place.  (One of my companions had to go one time. That's why I know.)

Something very cool happened this week.  There was a couple that I stopped teaching months ago because they weren't progressing and because they were living together.  It was a double whammy.  We found them crossing the street this week and set up an appointment.  One of them, named Lucy, told us that she had been praying for us to come back ever since we stopped teaching.  She had finally been reading the Book of Mormon, and they loved the conference on Sunday, where Elder Bednar and Elder Scott both spoke.  The almost-husband named Idelson also suddenly has more time these days.  It's interesting how the Lord works while the missionaries are gone.

Anyway, I would write more, but I am incredibly frustrated with this spacebar right      now.  I know, I know! I'll read chapter 6 in PMG this week [which is all about Christlike attributes].  Sheesh.

Anyway, love you all.  I'm glad that you and the A's are doing well.

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Email from a Peruvian mama

Brought to you by Google Translate, here is a super cute email we received from one of Davi's Peruvian mamas.  Many thanks to you, Bery!

Title:  "Sister Johnson!!! With love for you"

Message:  "These photos were sent by the order of Sister Johnson and know the great love I have, and thanks for giving us a beautiful sister :)"

Davi - 9/9/13 email

Whatsup from La Negrita

I love being a missionary more and more every day.  It´s so cool how Heavenly Father just helps you with every single aspect, isn’t it?  Like, He literally answers every prayer.  I want (oh yay!  my reflex just then was to say quiero!  it’s coming y’all, its coming) to do what He wants more every day, and He answers more and more prayers, because my prayers seem to be what He wants too.  The thing is, He wants so desperately to help us. SO desperately.  That is literally all He wants to do.

Ann was baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Couldn’t be happier.

You know how I´m black?  Yea, they call me la negrita here.  So, whatsup.  Also, I have two Peruvians who have nominated themselves as my very small mothers, so that must be one of the reasons I´m una negrita too.  [See next post, with a message and photos emailed to us from one of the Peruvian mamas.]

Don´t worry y’all, the wicked witch of the east is not dead.  The tornado actually brought her to Piura Peru. She´s a lot nicer than she looks, but the tornado did make her a little crazy.  And no, she doesn´t want to learn more about the Gospel, thanks for asking.  [Apparently whoever she’s referring to here shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.]

La familia Balcazar is doing really well.  They came to church again on Sunday, and have a baptismal date!  A familia!  How great is that?  The dad wants to change so much.  His humility is beautiful and refreshing and I love it.  And those children have to be the most angelic children I have ever met.  I am so in love with Cristian and Cielo, it’s not even funny.  I had a small daydream during one of their lessons (hey, it was small - plus it’s almost impossible to pay attention to an entire lesson in a language you don’t really understand yet) of Cristian going on a mission.  It was amazing.  He would change the whole world. He’s a powerhouse of an 11-year-old.  So pure angelic sweet.  Oh, I love them.

We were blessed to find another family this week, this one a little older.  A mom living with two adult children who have children of their own elsewhere.  Maritza has cancer, and was so excited to hear our message of hope.  It´s beautiful what we get to be a part of, isn’t it?  God just wants to love on His kids, and help them realize how close He is.  

I´m a little sick.  And by a little, I mean something fierce.  Jeez louise.  My body is not used to the Peruvian flu even a little bit.  But, here´s the cool thing.  In my setting apart, it said that no sickness would make it so I couldn’t work.  So I said, ok Heavenly Father, here goes nothing.  I’m hoping we get miracles for this.  And we did :)  Gosh, I love my Heavenly Father soooooo much!  So grateful to be in His service. Can´t wait to be a more effective servant, but I still won’t be perfect when I know Spanish either, so I don´t think He´s too concerned.  

Hey, a challenge of the week - Let God love you.  He really wants to.  Just let Him.  

Love you more than anything!
Hermana J

Dalton - 9/9/13 email

Almost into the Double Digits!

In kilos, I mean.  It has to happen now, because I am now competing with almost half of my zone in losing weight before tranfers.  I have to decide whether I like ties or bakery items more.  It’s a tough decision, because I realize that most ties are not filled with caramel.

Hey, just wondering if you all still have that watch that I happened to forget to bring with me to the other hemisphere.  I was thinking that if you’re sending a package anyway, ANYWAY, you could maybe send that in the package and take Billy to the hospital.  And if you get peanut butter, get smooth!  (Don’t actually send peanut butter or take Billy to the hospital.)  [For all you fans out there, that was a Brian Regan reference.]

Let’s see, Teofilo got confirmed this Sunday.  Up top!  Yeah, that was nice.  We're also teaching Raquel and her daughter Katti.  They both, as of this week, have found out that the Book of Mormon is true.  I love the way everyone tries to describe it.  Everyone explains it differently, but we know that it’s the same thing.  It’s fun to see that the Lord doesn’t let anyone down on that.

Hey, I think Davi is going to have this as well, but President Monson is doing a transmission for stake conference this Sunday!  Up top!

One more cool thing that happened this week:  We were in our first lesson with a new investigator, and she was mostly just telling us all of the problems that she's facing in her life.  She even said how she’s not usually this way with opening up to people, but she felt like she should open up to us.  We actually taught very little, but after the little we taught, Elder Sarria asked her how she felt now.  She paused and said, "Honestly, I feel like I could fly.  I was feeling terrible right before you came here, but I feel fantastic now."  It really showed to us that we really aren't the teachers here, because in that example, we essentially weren't able to teach, but the Spirit still edified.

Anyway, I think Elder Sarria and I are going to Domino's, because that should really help me win that competition.  It’s worth a try, at least.  I love you all!  I'll see you when I see you.

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Davi - 9/2/13 email

Here’s to Not Being Heartbroken!

AAHHH!!!!   Gerry is getting baptized!!  Oh my gosh, that is so exciting!!  Yay!!  And did I ever tell you how awesome and terrific it was that Daryl got baptized?  That is the coolest thing ever!!!!  Give him a great big hug for me ok?  Man, the work is really moving, and God is blessing this fam for the hard work that was put in.

This week was awesome!!  We found this family where the mom has been inactive for twelve years, and they have three kids, 11, 9 and 3.  They are the cutest family you ever did see, and I am just so in love with them.  And they came to church!!!!  Oh, que gozo.  I’ve never really taught a family before, so this is awesome.  It’s so different, but it feels so much more like, right. 

So, I understood pretty much all of church yesterday.  That was a huge blessing and miracle.  Thank you for all the prayers being said for me.  They are being answered, and they help so much!!  Because if Heavenly Father and I are going to reach our goal of me understanding almost everything by general conference, well, prayers would be good.  Because I swear, if I can’t understand Pres Eyring’s talk, I am going to be heartbroken in a million ways.

Sorry that I haven’t done anything for the birthdays of my siblings.  I realize I haven’t even mentioned it in emails.....  Sorry.  Love you!  Cause Jamie is this week, so hey!  Happy Birthday to Nicki and Grannie and Spence and Jamie!! 

Thank heavens I didn’t get married before this.  I would have been the worst wife ever.  I just feel super bad for these practice husbands (my comps). 

I am also totally in adoration with this old inactive man named Daniel.  What a treat.  I just love him so much.   One of those thing you don’t have a reason for, but you just loooove them.  He is so beyond darling.  And Heavenly Father loves him so much.

Heavenly Father really does love His children.  I know that is a million times true.  And literally the only reason He asks us to do things is so that we can be happier.  Man, I love Him.  And I love my family and friends.  Thanks for everything!

My address for all those people who were dying to send me mail but didn’t have my info:
Presidente Rowley
attn Hermana Davi Johnson
Urb. Los  Geranios
Calle  Los Naranjos  Mz. "H" Lt. "4"
Piura, Peru

Dalton - 9/2/13 email


You don't have to explain.  You're all going on trips now because I was so much extra weight.  It was like having to pack 150 hair dryers.  But come on, I didn't even know for sure if states like that even existed. No, that's ok. You're all stuck on the wrong hemisphere anyway.

And come on!  That's awesome with Gerry!  Be sure to give him a hug for me.

Hey, Teofilo finally got baptized yesterday!  He'll get confirmed next Sunday.    Honestly, he is a miracle. I think I already wrote a little about his situation, but wow.  He's going to be a much-needed support.  And hey, the picture also shows his wife, Margarita, and his daughter, Lucero.  They were the baptisms where I forgot my camera, so I hope this makes up for it.

It can be hard to find adult males to teach sometimes, mostly because the commute to the center of Lima [where most men work] is usually 2 hours each way.  But you should be the experts now if you've seen the documentary.  I only mention that to say how excited I am when we do find a solid adult male.  We taught John yesterday for the second time, since he only has time on Sundays.  His wife is a member, though they were separated for a time.  He came to church one day with his wife to hear the gospel principles class on charity.  He said that class stuck with him.  He wanted to have that in his life.  I was explaining to him that the Holy Ghost usually doesn't come in the form of visions, but then he basically finished my thought.  He explained that he's felt something different every time we teach and when he tried to read the Book of Mormon.  He'll get baptized the end of this month.

I'm so glad we have President Archibald.  He expects a lot out of us, which just means that we're more tired but an awful lot more happy.

There were also a lot more people at church yesterday.  That's exciting.

Our new ward mission leader is a 19-year-old pre-missionary named Giancarlos.  He's also Elder's Quorum secretary and YSA leader.  He's a good boy.

Anyway, love you all.

Elder Johnson