Monday, October 21, 2013

Davi - How Did J.K. Rowling Make it into this Email?


Hola, y’all!

This week.  Phew.  It was awesome.  Things are starting to change.  I am a huge believer in working with members.  It’s like, I just want to get as many people as possible involved in this work!  Because it’s the best!

My comp is great.  She’s a super hard worker and extremely straight-laced, but loosens up when you put chifles in front of her.  I am extremely grateful for her.

Spanish is coming, y’all!  But like, sometimes I hate it.

The guy that one of our investigators is living with—who has wanted nothing to do with us at all—is now going to take the lessons too :)

And the husband of another investigator is also finally going to listen to us.  We have FHE with them tonight, and I am stoked.  Pray for us, because this is a game-changer for Katherine and her whole extended family.

A few days ago we were walking, and someone waved to us from a window, and he looked vaguely familiar. So we went up to the window and knocked, but no one was there anymore.  So we left after a minute and were talking to someone else as we were looking for our appt (directions are hard), and this old lady came up to us and wordlessly motioned that we should follow her back to the house we had knocked on.  So we did.  And the whole time I was like, Are you or are you not Voldemort’s snake disguised as Bathilda Bagshot?  And are you going to try to kill us when we go into your house?  Well, rather than trying to kill us, she very kindly led us to a small family who wanted desperately what we had. Hope.  It was really cool.

Well, I really love being a missionary.  And I am hugely grateful that the Lord trusts me so much.  It like doesn’t make any sense, but He does.  He could be doing His work a lot better, but He wants us to participate because He wants us to be happy more than He wants His work to be perfect.  Us being happy is His perfection.  And us helping Him makes us happy.  It’s beautiful, really.  

I am trying to understand the real importance of the gospel.  Anyone who wants to help me with that, I would love your thoughts.

Keep changing the world, y’all!  Your perfect Father believes in you!

Love ya!

Hermana J

Dalton - Don't Worry, I'll Think of Something to Write


Man, I felt so great about last week’s email, I don’t feel like I can write at that level this time.  Whatever. I’ve still got a pretty good batting average with awesome emails.

Ok, this week was actually really rewarding in terms of less actives.  The Pimentel family, who we found in the directory, was struggling at first.  The husband told us a while back that he only got baptized for his wife and that he never really had a testimony.  That was the reason that the wife stopped coming to church as well.  We explained the restoration to him, and I talked about the temple.  After that lesson, my companion asked me why I talked about the temple, and I didn’t have an answer for him.  I felt like I really messed up there until yesterday. Because yesterday, the husband asked us what the requirements are to be able to get sealed.  He really has been a miracle!  Since that time, they have been coming to church, and he got a job in the church employment center, which gives people time to read the Book of Mormon.  He is really changing, and I think we will get to see them get sealed.  We also met the wife’s parents, who came to church for the second time and said they want to get baptized.  Easy  money!  Now we just need to teach them, I guess.  Boy, they don’t pay me enough for what I do.

Saturday was Elder Sarria’s birthday.  I didn’t even think to crack an egg over his head, which I realize makes me a terrible companion that needs to turn a little bit more Latino.  I think I´ll buy him a deck of Uno to ease my conscience.  (By the way, the game is still called Uno here.  A little disappointing.  I wanted to play One.)

Anyway, that’s my life right now.  I feel like I’m writing an essay that needs to be longer, but I also feel too lazy to change the font size of all of the periods in this email.  I hope you forgive me. I’m having a good time, and I’m sure Magic Mountain is super boring without me.  You should all be ashamed.  Thinking you can have fun these two years.  Don’t even think about it.

Hey, love ya!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Davi - Talking about ice cream


Hi, y'all!

I got a new companion this week!  Her name is Hermana Gomez, and she is from Lima, and she is a super hard worker, which I am loving.  She is really great and we are excited to be in this area together.
Gosh, I feel like that sentence sounded like I am writing this letter to my mission president.  Sorry y’all.

Let’s see.....  I forgot to take notes on my week.  So I really can’t remember anything.

Gean Carlo.  Oh he is the best there ever was.  He is 12, but talks and acts like he is 16.  He has such a yearning to learn and such a capacity for it.  He always reads and has questions for us.  We are teaching his mom, and recently started teaching his uncle.  Last lesson with them, we asked what would be different in their lives if they knew that the real Church of Christ, the same one He established, was on the Earth so they could be a part of it.  And he said, "Oh, I already know.  When I was at that baptism, and we were singing hymns, I knew.  And then when I heard the prophet speak, I felt something too.  And I just knew.  I already asked my mom if I could get baptized.  Because that’s how to become a member, right?” Keep in mind this is the second time we have met with him and his mom.  Wow.  Anyway, his mom doesn’t quite get it yet.  So we are working on it.  And to think, it all started talking about ice cream in a tienda [store] line.  Classic.  

Gosh, I don’t even know where to start!  Sorry, I will be more organized next week.

Ok, something really that I just feel like I am learning over and over again is that we have to understand our relationship with God every day.  We may think that we can help other people with trying to do other things first, but it isn’t true.  Everything works out when you first feel His love for you.  Lehi got to the tree before he asked anyone else to join him.  I know that all of these tools are in place to help us remember God, and find our happiness through Him.  

Dios les conoce, y les ama.   [God knows them, and loves them.]

I love being a missionary, and I love you!!!!!!!!!

Hermana J

Dalton - ¿Por que los trunkazos siempre comen en las Chifas?

¿Por que los trunkazos siempre comen en las Chifas? 
--Porque a ellos les gusta el aeropuerto!

[Joke translation:  Why do super trunky missionaries always eat at the Chinese restaurants?
Because they like the airport—also means they like the fried rice/chow mein dish.]

And boom goes the dynamite!  Ok, that one is a little more specific to Peru.  Chifa is the name here for Chinese restaurant, aeropuerto is one of the dishes at Chifas here (something in between fried rice and chow mein), and trunkazo means super trunky.  Oh yeah, and trunky means you’re a missionary that wants to go home.  So, if you ever find a returned missionary from Lima, you're welcome for that one.

Hey, Leoncio, Pamela, and Axel all got baptized this week!  I'll see if I can upload pictures of it, porque me da lots of flojera, that whole uploading thing.  [Flojera means weakness.]

Nope, I spent a good 30 seconds looking for a USB port.  I give up.

Anyway, the baptism.  We were really worried about baptizing Leoncio, because the font we use only has wet-your-pants cold water.  (I don’t use that language figuratively.)  Leoncio is a rather delicate 70-year-old man.  I thought we were going to kill the poor man.  In the end, we decided to pray so that he wouldn’t feel the cold.  He didn’t feel it.  Our other two baptisms each took about 5 minutes just to get into the cold water, but Leoncio told us afterwards that he thought the water was going to be cold, but that it was actually really warm.  Prayers go answered, because even quiet old Leoncio isn’t forgotten.

We also found a man named Maximo whose wife passed away two months ago and who cried in learning the Plan of Salvation.  That was a sweet time, even though I messed up a little bit on the Spanish.  He told us about some people that pray to calaberas, or corpses.  In reply, I accidentally said that we shouldn’t pray to calabazas (pumpkins) to receive miracles.  One of those nuggets of truth you just don’t always get the chance to teach to people.

Anyway, I’m doing well.  It’s a good time, this whole mission thing.

Elder Johnson 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Davi - Angels Around Me


Oh man, was conference great or what?  I was a baby, and watched conference in English with the other gringo Americans in this little room.  Ain’t no party like an English room party cuz an English room party has snacks (huh huh huh)!  Really though, how cool was that?  I thought during the million talks on member missionary work that it was so cool that Dad was put in as Prez to prep for right now.  I just have this intense desire to help the members here fulfill their responsibilities and see their opportunities to love their neighbor.  Man, the brethren handed us a ward mission plan, with a challenge and all!  Soooo stoked.

Cristian and Cielo got baptized!!  Their dad Henry should have too, but hopefully he can later.  It was the sweetest thing.  They are seriously angels.  They were so excited coming out of the water.  Their smiles were so giant!  Oh, I love them.  They both want to serve missions.  It’s cool to see too how their mom, who hasn’t been to church in 15 years, is soooo much happier too.  

One night, when we were walking home, this 16-year-old kid was like, there was a robbery.  Come inside. So we went inside his garage and hung out there for a while until he walked us home.  And for that act of kindness, hopefully their souls will be happy for eternity.

My comp is gone.  I will find out who my comp is tomorrow.  But I am pretty sure it will be one of the sisters I am with right now, but I can’t tell her that, so that’s kind of weird.  I feel like I am being deceptive.

Started teaching Gean Carlo y su mama this week.  Oh what a treat.  Gean Carlo is a dream come true. He is a BRILLANT 12-year-old who really reminds me of my little buddy :) [little brother Grant].  He came to the baptism and conference--and loved them both.

So like, I was losing weight here.  But then I discovered chifles [fried slices of plantain] this week, so.

People to pray for (you heard conference!): Karen, Sonia, Jose, and MariaElena Peña, Katheryn y su fam, Socorro, Julio Cezar, Spencer and Libi, Nikol y Bertha, Blanca, Charo y Gean Carlo, y la fam Sanchez, y Jorge and Eva Maria and Ana Rafo.   

I love how close Heavenly Father is.  I feel like I just keep learning so much about prayer.  Like, I can’t be daydreamy, because that is precious prayer time.  If these people are ever going to get where they need to be, they need to be prayed for at every single chance they can get.  I will be praying in my down time—please join me.  I love them so desperately.  Thank you for praying for me.  From time to time I can feel the angels around me.  I love you so much.  But more importantly, God does.

Hermana J

Dalton - Conference in Spanish


Yesterday, there were two four-year-old boys on the street with a toy gun.  As we came by, one of them said, "Los Mormones!  Matalo!"  [“The Mormons!  Kill them!”]  We died.  Yet, after rising from the dead, we couldn’t help but think, "Why do only the little kids recognize that we´re not the JW's?"

I’m sorry for those of you who couldn’t open the photos I sent last week.  But trust me… I’m gorgeous.  [Those photos are right here.  I know Dalton was kidding around, but I’m sure you’ll agree—he really does look great!]

I loved conference.  In fact, I like conference better in a way when it’s in Spanish.  For example, the translator for President Packer doesn’t have dentures.  It’s also great to listen when you talk about the importance of prophets every day.  It no longer becomes a matter of listening to the wise old men in suits. They become more like prayers that you’ve been waiting to have answered.  

Priesthood session seemed very different to me from an international perspective. Having it broadcast online makes it easier to have conference broadcast at every chapel rather than at one location in the stake.  More priesthood holders without very good transportation access can come watch it.  I also think that the messages very much had in mind the international audience.  The talks, I think especially on home teaching, really hit home the basics for places that struggle with activity rates and are still waiting for this generation to serve missions and lead the church here.  I absolutely loved it!

Hey, and don’t forget about Elder Ballard’s challenge for Christmas!

Man, my mind is really changing on the topic of less-actives.  Activating a family is the absolute best way to find people to baptize, and at the same time, you have a family that comes back.  It’s the same work, so you end up having twice the fruit.  As we were visiting a house that flaked out on us, a member from Chiclayo (far away) came up to us and introduced us to his nephew, who lives here with his inactive father.  This is perfect.  The softest dads with the missionaries are the less-actives.  We’ve got another family!

Love you all.  You’re great.

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Davi - 9/30/13 email

“Less Noble than Saving Souls” goals

Some good (on the good/better/ best scale) goals that have been reached this week: 
1.  This kid of 11 in the ward, after conversing with him for a bit, asked me if I was from Argentina.  Yes!
2.  I think I killed about 300 mosquitoes last week, helping me with my goal of noticeably reducing the mosquito population in Piura.  
3.  I can officially eat/drink papaya without gagging.
4.  Found the only atheist in Latin America.
5.  Started a house fire.  

Ok, but really, this week was awesome.  Loved it!  We had this lesson with Jose Felipe, father of Karen and Sonia and grandfather of Ana Lucia (my girl) that was so cool.  The power went out, so it was by candlelight. Really set a cool mood, because the rest of the lesson felt like something from when the church was first restored.  He was pretty closed to it all at first, but after some time talking to his daughters apparently, he totally changed.  His daughter Sonia, when we first came in, was like, tell him about Jose!  So we read parts of Joseph Smith-History together, and the Spirit was so there.  That family is killer awesome.  It all started with Ana Lucia--we started talking to Karen because Ana Lucia was outside and waving to us.  And Karen has this heart that is among the sweetest I have ever felt.  She came to church on Sunday, and just belonged there.  She was like, Next week the prophet is speaking to us?!!  What time will you come get me?

Bertha decided on a date too!!  So cool.  Because she is living with someone and drinks a fair amount, and she wouldn't let her daughter get baptized without her.  So this is huge.  For December, but hey, not bad!

My comp goes home in a week.  So weird.  

Speaking of the Atheist, we had a killer lesson with him.  He teaches at the university, and his name is Cezar. He had all of these history and political questions about the Book of Mormon that I didn’t understand, but the member that was my comp didn't either.  And he kept interrupting, so for the first time since being here the Spirit wanted me to be bold and a little harsh.  Oh, it felt good.  And it was incredible the change that took place in him.  So excited to see what happens when he reads the Book of Mormon.

I looooved the Relief Society broadcast tambien.  Everything was so spot on.  The missionary choir singing I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.  Killer.  I was bawling.  My roomie Katie was in the choir!!  That was cool to see her. 

I love the work here.  I love just loving all the time.  What I think I love most, especially in this time of not really having footing as far as not understanding the language and culture superbly still, is that I get to see so clearly who Christ is to me.  Man.  I just love being with my best friend all the time.  Because this is His work.  He will always be in the vineyard.  So we choose to be with Him when we choose to be in the vineyard too.  Being with Christ all the time and helping others see how much better this life is.  Helping them choose happiness through their best friend too.  

So Mom, can you send me a power converter of some kind?  And if you are going to send me a package anyway, if you wanted to throw sunflower seeds and crunchy PB and cute accessories in there too, like, I mean, that wouldn't make me sad or angry or feel anything negative.  

I love being a missionary with my whole heart!  More than anything, I love being with my best friend all the time, and seeing how His love changes people and brings so much happiness.  It’s super true.

Love you!!!!
Hermana J

Dalton - 9/30/13 email

Hello, Prolima!

Hey, so it turns out that I'll be in my first area for another transfer.  Good times, Prolima.

Raquel and her daughter Katti got confirmed yesterday!  I have the picture now, because a week ago, they were only halfway baptized.  Also, only my companion took pictures of Angelo's baptism, but I have another picture of the Vilca family.  [Dalton downloaded two photos, but they wouldn’t open.  Sorry, fans!] I know that only Angelo (the youngest in the picture) got baptized, but I still consider them my best converts.

Saturday was crazy.  We had one person that needed another baptismal interview, and our district leader told us on Friday that no one would be able to do it until the following week.  However, on Saturday morning, we were told that the interview could get done that same morning.  We started freaking out, because our candidate had already left to work.  One problem, he works by going around the whole sector on a bike looking for things to recycle.  We went crazy looking for our baptism.  We didn’t find him that day, but it was still an adventure.  And hey, he was at church still!

We have one family that we are finally going to really follow up on.  We found this family the beginning of my mission, but they aren’t married and weren’t progressing, so we dropped them.  Elder Bulacio comes around and the family finds us on the street and said how much they've missed our visits.  We taught them again then dropped them because they weren’t progressing.  Elder Sarria comes around and we find them again.  Lucy even told us this time that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying for us to come back.  They told us this week that they believe everything and want to get married.  They are coming to church.  There is only one problem:  The bank will deny Idelson (the almost husband) a loan to buy a house if it shows that he’s married.  It’s a challenge, but we are so excited for a miracle with them.  The daughter even asked us when she can get baptized, but we're gonna wait on it.  Keep Lucy and Idelson in your prayers.

Yeah, so that's what’s going on.  I’m not ruling out the idea of spending my whole mission here.  I’d be a legend. Brace yourselves!

Elder Johnson