Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Davi - Travesuras and Stuff

January 27, 2014

Travesuras and Stuff

Friday, we had a problem that I had never experienced before:  A wild cat got in the house.  It fell in the little patio thing we have, and couldn’t get out, so it was howling for like 5 hours of the night until we had to get up and get it out of the house.  Because then it entered the house and wouldn’t leave. Why didn’t they teach us these things in the MTC?  So we called upon our neighbor to come and save us. Never before have I seen such gran valor entre todos los peruvians.  [A little reference to Alma 54:45, where Helaman is telling Moroni about his stripling warriors: “Never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.”]  We are all ok, but we are still finding cat hair on our clothes.  

My companion is making a book.  It is called “Las Travesuras de La Johnson,” which is like, the pranks mas o menos [more or less]  [Google Translate says “mischief,” but maybe it should be more like “mishaps.”] How funny.  It had pictures of a bag of broken eggs from the supermarket (I really think the whole carton thing was inspired), and a freshly made dinner that fell in the sink, etc.  It’s pretty darling.

Yesterday an elder taught the class of Gospel Principles on sacrifice.  It was amazing.  And I was sitting with Robert, who really didn’t feel good, but came to church anyway, and we talked for a short minute about how Christ is the perfect example of sacrifice. And he read Alma 7:11-15 to himself after the class, because I had been reading and read alma 7:15 and wrote his name by it in my scriptures because it was so him.  After, he just said, “I can’t leave this life behind without baptism.  I can’t change or repent without it. That’s why He wants me to get baptized.”  YES!!!  Yes, Robert, that is exactly why!  Oh, sweet little Robert, yes.  It is so magical to see how powerful the Spirit is, and to see how special it is to people when they finally recognize that their Heavenly Father is talking to them.  

I really do have such a testimony of that.  That God speaks.  It isn’t just for some—it is for all.  And I know that, because you can tell when someone is reading the Book of Mormon, and when they aren’t.  There is such a difference in their face and in the way they talk and treat others.  There is such a power in that book.  

We have an hermana, Judith, who tried to drop us the other day because hard things are happening in her life and she is mad at God.  And she was just so sad, and angry, and so not who she was.  So we had a member go by and read with her.  And she started reading again.  She is now is 2 nefi [Nephi]. And she is her again, but better. It really is amazing what happens when God has the chance to speak to His kids, and when His kids want to 

We were watching this little weird movie about family history (that I actually didn’t like that much because it showed the people just hanging out in the Spirit world, and I was like, no way, they are doing everything possible to get someone to do their work, but anyway, not important), and there was this part where the guy was fighting in a war.  And I starting thinking, we are in a war. And thinking, how is it possible then, to be happy?  Because in the front lines, with things being fired at you, no one is smiling, just fighting.  And in my thinking, I realized why: It’s because we know who wins.  That is literally the only reason we have to find happiness in the battle.  It’s because it has been won!  But there are all these people in the middle who just don’t know, or are so confused by the gunshots and all the crazy that they can’t hear.  And here we are—we know who wins.  We have the power and the opportunity to share it.  And every single person is crucial.  Some people are the captains. Others, the nurses.  Others, the soldiers, but we all have a part, and it is crucial that we fight. But we can fight with joy, because we are on the winning team—the fold of Christ.  Isn’t it beautiful?

Anyway, I love you all a lot.  Keep on keeping on.  Thanks for the prayers.  I pray for you too.  

Loves and kisses,

La Johnson

Dalton - Time to Clean House

January 27, 2014

Time to Clean House

Buenos lunes [Monday], everyone.  Transfers actually came in a few minutes ago:  Elder Rubi and I are packing our bags.  Looks like it's time to send in the sisters to Pedro Beltran.  I don't find out until tomorrow, but it seems pretty likely that I'll be whitewhashed [two missionaries new to the area at the same time] into one of the Pachacutec wards, Yoshiyama.  But I guess we'll see.  The sisters, I am sure, will be happy to find the ward's new ward mission leader, and less happy to find out that the water heater still doesn’t work in that room.  

We were so close to having baptisms before leaving.  One of our families that we reactivated, the Yacila family, has one member that still hasn’t been baptized.  The only thing is his morbid fear of water.  We practiced in the font twice, and he told us just yesterday that he's ready.  You're welcome, sisters!  That family is one example of many in terms of the miracle of going to your correct ward.  They moved away from their old ward 2 years ago, but the leaders of their previous ward kept trying to activate them from a distance.  When we found them, the mom got motivated enough to quit her Sunday job, the parents are going to get married, and one of the sons, who was even consistently going to the other ward, has finally made the decision to go on a mission.  The wards are always too afraid to let go of ward members, thinking that they won’t be able to stay active anywhere else, but the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways.

We also invited our best investigator to get baptized again yesterday.  The Spirit was so strong there, and she said that of course she's getting baptized.  She then proceeded to explain that she was just packing her things to move to the other side of Lima.  You're welcome, Lima South!

It's so good to hear all of the great things you are all doing and the great missionaries you all are.  Thanks for not being super depressing either, because one of the missionaries in our zone just got a letter from his little sister, made from blue construction paper and in the shape of a tear drop.  It said, "Please come back.  Your family loves you and misses you."  She also drew two hearts crying.  I probably shouldn’t have, but I laughed right out loud.  So thanks for not doing that.  Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Davi - Because I Have My Mom

January 20, 2014

Because I Have My Mom

This week, we had one of the coolest experiences ever.  With Rosa.  We were with her, and she was having kind of a hard time. And she said that when she prayed about all of this, if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and about the Book of Mormon, and baptism, and everything, that she felt good.  But that she wants something more.  Anyway, I ended up bearing my testimony about the importance of mothers.  And how incredibly grateful I am that I have my mother.  That my whole life I have been raised in the Gospel, the true church.  That my mom read with us, and prayed with us, and taught us in every way possible that God loves us.  And how I am the person I am because of the testimony of my mother.  And so God will answer the prayer for the need of mas firmeza [more firmness], because she needs it, and her kids need it.  And so my sweet comp suggested that we could pray, with all of those questions, together.  And she did.  It was such an incredible beautiful thing.  Rosa was asking so sincerely and specifically if it all was true.  And the Spirit was so thick.  She said, “I want to be a part of Your group.  I want to follow You.  And I want to know I am following You.”  And the Sprit was testifying so hard that it was.  We were all crying, and we got up hugging each other and it was so sweet.  

In other news, in Talara, I don’t know how, but I am very well known.  And everyone calls me La Johnson. Which of course, I love.  Soy La Johnson.  Even though my comp is Hermana Gomez.  Anyway, just thought you would like that.  

Hey, love you guys.  Keep up the great work.  And tell your mom how much you love her.  She deserves it.  

La Johnson

Dalton - Solo un Bresito

January 20, 2014

Solo un Bresito [Only a Little Kiss]

I'm sorry, but I'm writing this while still a little traumatized from this morning.  It was probably the most awkward avoiding-a-kiss-with-the-handshake experience I've had here.  I mean, she almost forced it on me, but I just couldn't let her.  I know it's normal here, but not in my country!  With any luck, we won’t ever see each other again.

This week was great. I mean, not baptisms, but some great experiences.  Yesterday, we had an appointment set for right after church in Hijos de Ventanilla, one of the far ends of our area.  Our plan B was pretty far away, and we weren't sure if the appointment was going to show up, even though we wanted new investigators.  I suggested that we say a prayer and then we'll see where we feel like going.  After the prayer, I was gently leaning towards going to the plan B, so we went there instead.  Later in the day, all of our other plans fell through, so we decided to see if our original appointment was still there.  Just before we got to the house, a man on another porch saw us and said  "Elderes" to greet us.  We found out that he is a less active and a relative of the plan B less-active family we had visited earlier that day.  He just so happened to be visiting his in-laws in that moment, so if we had come earlier, he wouldn’t have been there.  He introduced us to his in-law family, and they are excited to listen from us.  [Isn’t it cute how he’s starting to forget how we say things in English?]  He also wants to become active again in the church.  Things like that make me realize how very gentle the Spirit actually is.  

I'm sorry.  I really hope that experience made sense.  Just trust me, it was fantastic.

In further news, I might be going to Pachacutec to open up an area there to let sisters in my area in the next transfer.  We'll see next week.  Just Google Image Pachacutec and you'll know what I’m talking about.  The place makes you appreciate the Abrahamic covenant, because it is a giant pile of sand.  [Hint from Dalton's mom:  If you Google Pachacutec, click on Pachacutec Lima or Pachacutec Ventanilla.  And he’s right—wow—little tiny houses smashed together on hills with nothing but dirt and sand.  Dalton's in for an adventure!]

Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 13, 2014

Davi - The One for People

January 13, 2014

The One for People

This week was CRAZY.  With my beautiful sweet little comp, we were together in our area only one day. So we were both just dying, not wanting to be in meetings in Piura, but they were great too.  But really, we are just excited to have time this week.  

Man, if we could band together and really pray for my people, that would be really great.  Because Satan is working so hard on everyone.  Not just the investigators, but the Rama members too.  And the missionaries in Talara.  Because it is so cool the changes that are taking place.  But Satan doesn’t think it is very cool. Definitely had a 2 Nephi 33:3 kind of few days.  [“For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.”]  But how beautiful that God gives me the love and dedication to be feeling that way.  And how beautiful are the prayers that are offered when I am crying at night for them.  I am so excited to see what will happen :)  

Please pray for Rosa and Robert and the Fam Alban Ancajima and Judith and Niller and Alonzo and la Fam Farias Peña especially.  And Jefery, the sweetest little 18-year-old ever, who started to cry when we were talking to him Sunday about how Satan works on people when they are on to something.  And Marcos.  And Mavis and otra Jefrey.  And all the members of Talara Alta and Bello Horizonte.  

I have to go, sorry, but I really do love you.  All.  And I love being here.  And I have faith in your faith, so I am calling on all of you.  To pray for these people.  Thank you for loving them too.  

Hermana J

Dalton - 8 a.m.

January 13, 2014

8 a.m.

We had a mission conference with President Archibald this week.  It was great, and it was all about the family. How to contact families, how to grab interest, and why we should be looking for families rather than people.  It was great.  This year, it is now a mission standard to have every missionary say a prayer at 8 in the morning to find families.  He also said that if we see a family on the street (mother, father, child) we have to contact them, even if we are going to be late to an appointment.  It's a learning process, but it's exciting.  We're just trying to learn how to follow up better with the great people we find.

It was awesome too to find so many less actives at church this Sunday.  The Canturini family came and were greeted by the stake patriarch that lives in the other ward.  When he told them that he's been waiting for them to get their patriarchal blessings, they both thought that it was a heaven-sent sign that God knows them and that it's their time to get active again.  Another less-active family that we've been working with was able to talk to the bishop and set a goal on when they can go to the temple as a couple.  That was just fantastic.

In a little bit, I'm going to play basketball with a community team that is coached by a reactivating guy in the ward.  Of course, all of you who have seen me play basketball must be thinking:  "But Elder Johnson, you mustn't play your 100%, or else everyone there will feel terrible about their own basketball skills and then they won't ever listen to the missionary discussions!"  I know, I know.  But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  A silly boy like me needs them sometimes to be able to work well, so thank you. I love you all, and keep up the good work!

Elder Johnson

Davi - Just Keep Swimming

January 6, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

There is just way too much good to even begin to talk about.  Way too much!  I really do feel like Ammon, when he’s like, could we have imagined all of this when we first got here?  No, but then, all thanks to God, it all happened!  We just did everything we could, and in the midst of us working, God made it all happen! And how blessed are we?  That we get to be a part of it?  That God blessed us to bring His love to these His kids, and see the change take place.  It’s so cool!  I feel like God, these last few weeks especially, really is blessing me after the trial of my faith.  

Like we told Hermana Judith this week (who is really being put through trials) that the secret to succeeding is doing what you know is right when you don’t feel like it. Like that quote about someone asking a pro swimmer how he went pro, and he said, I swam when I didn’t want to swim anymore. I feel like that is the secret of being a missionary, full time or not.  Do it when you don’t feel like it.  Walk in the hot sun when you feel like your feet are going to crumble like cement.  Talk to the person who looks like they are going to bite your head off and might end up kicking you back to your country.  Love someone when you feel like that’s what you are super lacking yourself.  

There is this song on the EFY CD called “It’s Glorious.”  And it says, “It’s like a symphony:  Just keep listening, and pretty soon you’ll start to figure out your part.”  I know that God rewards His children. We just have to keep going.  Keep listening to Him. Keep following Him.  Keep doing what you know is right.  And then, the sun will rise.  And you will find Robert (who tells us about every temptation that he fights in like the cutest way possible), and Rosa, and the Fam Alban Ancajima (the dad came to church this week, just because we called him, even though he does dialysis and has to work, and promised that the whole family would be there the next week; the mom was baptized ten years ago, and went inactive immediately, but now, their kids are so willing and darling, and all of them ask us for different homework), and Sigifredo (the drug addict who honestly wants to change, but just doesn’t know how, and when we explained to him what we do, and that God loves him, and that he can have a new life, he said, I would love that—seriously, honest seeker), and la Fam Farias Peña, and Niller, and sweet little Flor who is 15 and just lives with her brother and has the cutest smile ever, and Alonzo.  And then 5 families of menos activos (less actives) come to church, and all of them wave at you huge as they walk in just before the sacrament and you can’t help but wave back almost as huge with a huge smile.  And then in consejo (council meeting?), there were way too many people to fit in the little room, and our new district leader is the bomb.com and will make things happen in their area of the branch too, and I have the sweetest angel of a comp.  Man, it’s just, so cool, right? God makes the coolest things happen!  I love that He loves His kids so much.  

So you know how we have that class of mission prep?  They are the coolest and I love them.  We got a new addition, and his name is Eros.  He has been a member almost ten months, and is working on his papers right now.  He turns 18 and completes one year of being a member on the same day in March, and that is his availability date.  When asked why he wants to go a mission, he said, because it’s a commandment.  Is that such a great answer or what?  He didn’t need to know anything else.  It doesn’t matter what he wanted—he knows where his loyalty lies.  He is going to be a stellar missionary.  So is my hermanito Marcos.  And Jefry. Oh, they are so great!  They all do weird secret handshakes with me, which is a great sign if you ask me. And they are helping the ward so much.

I just couldn’t feel more blessed.  I have been so happy on my mission, but this last month or so has just been incredible!  It’s hard to describe, because every day I feel like I couldn’t be happier, and then every day I get happier! Presidente Rowley (oh man, they are the best—THE BEST) asked me if I am as happy as I look, and I said, happier.  Because there’s no way for my face to show how I feel.  So thank you for praying.  You have no idea what it is doing.  You are working miracles.  Thank you.


Hermana J

Dalton - Familias can be Together Forever

January 6, 2014

Familias Can Be Together Forever

Ok, so we didn’t have investigators come to church this week, but I'm actually super excited in spite of that.  Our mission president is really making a push now to go find families—something that we haven't exactly focused on in the mission because of the high percentage of couples that live together without being married.  He gave us a few tips to help us find married families.  He said to look for clues that show pride in their children.  He showed us, specifically, that many people with cars have stickers that show all of the members of the family.  No one would put that sticker on their car if they aren’t married.  

As a result of what he has been telling us, I have completely changed my finding tactic.  My primary contacting tool now is the Family Proclamation, and we are now hunters of family stickers.  In the end, we are actually finding married people!  It's incredible!  Perhaps there have been times when I haven't been making the restoration relevant to people.  I can understand if someone doesn’t want to learn about Joseph Smith at first, but if you aren’t interested when I tell you that your family can be a happy family here and after you die, I am not interested in teaching you.  I feel different.  I don’t mean to say that the work is easy, but I feel like we are on the verge of changing a ward that hasn’t experienced "real growth" in many years.  This is so exciting.  

Please add to the prayers Javier and Rosa, Gloria and Luis Espinoza, Jose Castillo, and the Yacila family.  Your prayers have meant a lot to me, and I feel them throughout the day.  I think I am finally learning to understand what a subtle prompting is, and I just wish I had learned to follow them sooner.

Love you all!  Make good choices!

Elder Johnson