Monday, March 10, 2014

Davi - Dreams Really Do Come True

March 10, 2014

Dreams Really Do Come True

I don’t know if I have told you much about my comp, Hermana Ramos.  She is terrific.  A little fireball. She doesn’t like to eat, but we’re working on that.  We like being together here :)

We found a new investigator yesterday.  He had a bunch of honest questions—the kind that like get down to business.  He likes to read, he has daughters who also like to read, he has a curly 80s mullet, and he makes chifles  [Davi’s favorite thing: deep-fried sliced plantain]  for a living.  Dreams really do come true, right?

We had a lesson with Guisselle and her two kids this week, where they really just bore their testimonies. They were like, “I really believe this.”  It was so cool.  They are hungry for more and more, wanting to know anything and everything.  AND, the sister of Guisselle (mama de Fernando) has read all of Alma of her own free will.  And yesterday, she let Fernando come to church, and signed him up for seminary.  And she has committed to coming to the baptism.  Oh, it is so sweet!  It has been a while since this branch has had a baptism, so everyone is super excited!  Branch council was ALL about how they were going to make this baptism the bomb.  They planned like three musical numbers.  Isn’t Talara the cutest?  I love this place!

Anyway, things are really great.  But every time I read Dalton’s emails, I realize I don’t get it, and wish I was him. Isn’t he the coolest?

I’m feeling really grateful for my family this week.  I love you guys.  Seriously, you are the best.

Please keep praying for my people. I am praying for you!  The Church is super true!


Hermana J

Dalton - Funeral Marches... Who Knew, Right?

March 10, 2014

Funeral Marches… Who Knew, Right?

Ok, so I did use some new finding techniques this week.  Let's just say that some finding techniques are better than others.  Some ideas that I want to try again:  Walk in funeral marches with Plan of Salvation pamphlets.  It was actually a lot more natural than I thought it would be.  Anyone can join the march at any time without it being out of the ordinary.  Another one:  Going to the library to give away our free books.  I mean, that time, only the librarians were there, but we do have an appointment on Wednesday to answer questions there.  On the other hand, the idea to get my shoes shined just to talk to the guy didn't work too well, and the gym wasn't open the day we tried to leave free health (Word of Wisdom) pamphlets.  Thanks for the new ideas!  I'm excited to put them into practice this week.

I spoke in a funeral this week of one of our investigators.  He was in the process of trying to get married before I got here, but he found out, right before I came into the area, that he was in the later stages of cancer.  It was a little overwhelming, because I didn't really know him that well, but it made me realize how little the world has to offer in terms of comfort.  Afterwards, others were given the chance to speak, and one man said that "Juan will live forever in our memories."  What a poetic lie.  I want everyone to know that I know that there is literal life after death, that God is a real person rather than some abstract idea to think about when it suits our needs.  Families can truly be together forever.  The truth is beautiful.

Love to you all--

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Davi - Where Does the Time Go?

March 3, 2014

Where Does the Time Go?

Holy fast week, Batman!  I have a fear that it will just keep getting faster.  That totally terrifies me.  I literally feel like there were only three days in this week instead of seven.  

Anyway, I am so happy.  Just want everyone to know that.  I am so really truly go-to-bed-at-night-smiling happy. Yea, it’s stressful, and yea, the people need a lot of help, and the branches need everything, but it’s totally ok. Because God knows what to do, and I talk to Him all the time. Alma 37:37 is the coolest.  [“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”]  The stress was never mine to carry in the first place, so when I receive it, I have to hand it over to Christ, who is the true owner of all shoulder weight. Keeping it is stealing something that isn’t ours.  The only good negative feelings are the ones that help us repent, and help us hand it over.  Christ is the best.  

I always forget all of the cool things that happen.  Sorry about that.  But, one cool experience that I remember happened yesterday.  We had taught a less active with her non-member 12-year-old son like two times, and have tried to teach the dad too, but he never really gave us the time of day.  Well, we visited their house the day after she left her family.  Totally heartbreaking. But, this Sunday, the dad came to church with his kids.  And in Gospel Principles he said, I need help.  I want to change my life for my kids.  They need this too.  And he told the whole class he wanted to get baptized and be born again and leave behind his old life.  Because his kids deserve better than this.  How cool is that?!  He said all of this after we read alma 7:11-15 with him [describing how Christ took all our pains and afflictions, but we need to repent and be born again].  So that was the second time I have given the baptismal invitation in a classroom setting.  But anyway, it is incredible how God makes all things good, right?

Guisselle and her kids are doing fantastically.  They are getting baptized in two weeks.  It’s been almost a year since the last baptism in that branch, and they are so excited about it.  Thank you for your prayers. Please keep praying for them, and for Fernando and su mama Juli,because she still isn’t giving him permission to go to church.  Also, la familia Gil Lopez, and fam Farias Peña that they both can work out little marital problems and get married and baptized, and Rosa and Edgar (Edgar has read 25 pages in the Book of Mormon in one week—that is incredible here).  And José Francisco.  Yea, that’s good for now.  

Thanks, love you so much.  Thank you for your prayers and your love.  It’s felt.

Hna J

Dalton - Help Me Out on this One, Y'all!

March 3, 2014

Help Me Out on this One, Y’all!

Ok, before I forget, I have this goal that I have and I could use some help.  Missionaries have tracted here for a long time, but it's still a branch.  I've decided to use one new finding technique every day for the foreseeable future.  I'll see how it works out this week, but I don't want to run out of ideas.  For example, on Saturday I want to make free caricatures in our plaza de armas  [Google Translate says plaza de armas means parade ground or barracks square].  So, I mean, be creative.  It doesn't matter if you have served a mission or not.  Thanks!

Ok, let's see.  Hey, I have a phone!  What a rush it is to report your numbers Sunday night in the comfort of your own room.

Also, something a little funny.  President Archibald came to our branch for church by surprise, in part to do our interviews that he didn't have time to do before.  He personally handed to me the most recent package from home, apostate stickers and all.  [When I send a package to Peru, I always put religious stickers all over it in hopes that it will increase the chances of safe arrival. Whatever works, right?]  Hey, by the way, loved the package.  Laughed out loud several times, especially with Corbin's quote about the dinosaur.  Tell Ami and Corbin thanks!  Oh, and the rest of you too.  It's really nice of you to do.  But hey, that's expensive!  Don't worry about sending me stuff.  Elder Peña is currently telling me to write you otherwise because he liked the chocolate, but I'm resisting.

Amado told us this past week that he's going to Lima to get his birth certificate and medical exams done to get married.  He's the best.  Honestly, he came to church with us today even though his less active (almost) wife slept in.  That was nice.

I love this branch.  I think it has taken me a year to truly even scratch the surface with Chapter 4 in PMG, and that is the most exciting part to me.  Just this morning, I was reading in Alma 19, and the story of Abish really hit me.  The Lord has been preparing my success here for I don't even know how many years, and I just need to follow the Spirit to not let the preparation go to waste.

Love you all!  And ideas, please!  From everyone.

Elder Johnson