Tuesday, July 29, 2014

(Just About) Fresh From Iquitos

July 28, 2014

Oh, that’s right.  I forgot to tell you all that I have a new companion.  His name is Elder Vega, and he is from the heart of the Peruvian jungle, a city called Iquitos that passes through the Amazon.  I, for one, am doing just fine serving here.  I would have died in Iquitos.  Anyway, he has been out here for about 3 months, and he's really great.  He gave up a soccer career to be out here.  The only weird thing is that I am the only one of the four missionaries that doesn't have the crazy Peruvian jungle accent.

Here, I am finally learning, I think, the difference between working with the members and bugging the members.  I generally was a missionary that kind of avoided working with the members simply because I had seen many missionaries visit members because they have nothing else to do.  I've become a lot more excited recently to do actual work with members because we have a clearer concept now of what to do when we are there.  We are essentially doing in this ward what the missionaries are doing in the Reno mission.  We have the members make a list, say a prayer, then set a date for a family home evening.  We saw some results this week!  We have a new family that actually wants to attend church, as well as the non-member parents-in-law of the first counselor of the bishopric.  The last ones are going slowly but surely, but the family says that it is huge progress for them that they are giving us a real chance.

On a similar note, the bishop had us speak in sacrament meeting, which I hope helped the effort.  Just a couple of things I learned as I prepared the talk:
--2 Nephi 5:27  in Spanish, reads “and it came to pass that we lived in a happy manner."  In English, it reads “and it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."  The clarification in English helps us understand that the gospel is not only a happy manner of living, but the only way of living that will bring true and full happiness, something that everyone wants, regardless of circumstance.
--An activity:  Read the first two paragraphs of chapter one in Preach My Gospel with a prayer in your heart.  If you really pay close attention, someone, whether you know them well or not, will come to your mind.  Then, just trust the thought.

In other news, we had a nice experience Saturday.  Absolutely everything fell through, and our finding efforts brought no fruit.  It was 8 o’clock at night, and I was personally dead, when I told my companion that we should go buy a soda and contact the store owner.  To explain, stores are different here.  Here, there are little stores on every block that double as the store owner’s house.  That form of contacting, for me, seemed like the laziest form of working possible, because I just wanted a soda.  The second store we went to was way more than just receptive.  We were talking for half an hour and then both the store owner and the neighbor that was there told us to stop by any time we like and we would be received with a chair and something to drink.  Afterwards, I realized that if we didn't have such a hard day in the first place, we never would have found these people.  The Lord knows what He's doing.

Anyway, I'm loving it here.  Happy 28th.  If you know any Peruvians, don’t forget to invite them to English class Fridays at 7.

Elder Johnson

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