Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Johnson!!

¡Hola Mama! Thanks for all the happy birthday wishes, I had a great day. The members and other missionaries in my district took care of me. It’s weird I’m not a teenager anymore, I feel old now! I opened the cards and presents in the morning, thanks for everything. Some of members here had a fiesta for me last night. It was really cool, they put lots of work into it. They bought me a tres leches cake too and then we’re going to go back on Wednesday to eat the cake you sent me. The people that did the little party are like my mom and dad here in Mexico, he even calls me his adopted son. I think this is going to be last week in Texcoco because we have transfers next Tuesday and I’ve been here for awhile but who knows. We ate hamburgers, they let me choose and I wanted something American. We were actually going to go out to eat at an Italian restaurant but our zone leaders called us in the morning and told us we had a stinkin meeting at 5 that night. We didn’t have zone conference yesterday, just a zone meeting for the goals of September and stuff like that. This week was going really good until Friday and we got disappointing news. D´s aunt told us that he wanted to wait a week to get baptized because he had some problems. We’ve gone to his house a couple times to talk to him but he hasn’t been home so we don’t know exactly what to think. The opposition is always working against us and it seems he works hardest on people right when they’re about to do something really good with their life and he knows that and doesn’t want that to happen. This is definitely not the first time I’ve seen this on the mission. On Saturday we had a really cool activity here in Texcoco. All of the youth from the entire stake of Los Reyes came to Texcoco for an activity where they got the chance to be a missionary for the day. It started with a fireside then we split into groups and every companionship gave an orientation on how to be a missionary and then we left to our own separate areas of Texcoco to visit less active families and then to proselyte and knock doors and everything. It was fun to work with the youth and we received lots of references from everybody. I gave a talk on Sunday about repentance and when I talked about restitution I used the example from when I accidentally stole the Jazz pen from Fanzz and then went back a couple years later to pay them back. I’ve learned that people pay more attention to talks when we tell stories or give examples of things that have happened. As far as the food is going, I’ve really gotten used to all the spicy stuff, and can eat habaneros without crying too much now. Everything is going great, and I love the people here. It will be sad when I have to leave, and I think I might be leaving next week because we have transfers on Tuesday. Thanks so much for everything for my birthday and for the support, I can honestly feel all the prayers from everybody back home. I hope you guys have a great week, I love you! Elder Johnson
This is the activity we did with all of the youth from the Los Reyes Stake.
We went to a dinner to celebrate with the firefighters.
I had the most amazing birthday fiesta. Thank you so much J & G for spoiling me! I love you and appreciate all you do for me!! (My Mom and Dad thank you for taking such good care of me!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012

Hola Mom, That’s crazy that school starts today, are you excited or sad? I got the pictures you sent me, they were fun to see. School started here yesterday. I’m writing you today because we didn’t have very much time yesterday. This week has gone pretty good. We focused on working with the members and received lots of references and found lots of new people that want to learn more. We weren’t able to baptize D because he wanted to wait until this Saturday to do his service because he wants his dad to be there. There are a ton of potential baptisms to be done in the next month or so and I’m scared I might not be here because we have changes in 2 weeks. I’ve already been here in Texcoco for 5 months now, but there are other missionaries that have been in the same area for as long as 9 months too so who knows what will happen. We confirmed A on Sunday, and then his wife was actually called to be the 2nd counselor in the relief society. It was super cool when she was called, a couple of months ago she was inactive and A didn’t want anything to do with the church. Another hermana told me on Sunday that you can tell he just got baptized because he can’t stop smiling, and its so true. Their goal right now is to go to the temple in a year to be sealed with their 2 kids. We did more service this week, one day we went to a farm to do a lesson, and cut some firewood for them too. Two days later we went back and did more service for them. We cut some more wood, picked apples and pomegranates, and then I learned how to use a sickle, at least I think that’s what it called. I sent you a picture so you can see it. It was fun and good to help these people out. I’m glad to hear that everything is going good, and that is definitely true that each companion has their strengths and weaknesses to learn from. I can’t believe I hit day 300 this week too. It’s gone by so fast! The only bummer this week was on Saturday at about noon I looked at my watch and saw the date and realized that it was the first day of the bow hunt back home, that’s more exciting than Christmas for me! But it’s all good; I’ll be bow hunting again in exactly 2 years. I hope you guys have a great week, keep on keeping me updated on what’s happening. I love you! Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 13, 2012

Hey Mom! How’s everything going? Are you ready for school to start? The M&M´s weren’t melted at all, everything got to me perfectly. I’m jealous you guys are going camping again; let me know how it goes. This week we were actually able to work really well, I think my companion got sick of me always dragging him around so he decided to cooperate and work a little harder this week. We found some new investigators that have lots of potential, and we should be baptizing D on Sunday. We also were able to baptize A yesterday, his service was really special. His wife is a member but was less active for lots of years. She showed up in the chapel one Sunday and we talked to her and everything and she told us her husband wasn’t a member but wasn’t interested in talking to us or anything. We told her we’d pass by her house to visit her and see how they were doing anyways. The first day we went there, about a month ago, he was outside and was avoiding us but after a minute he came into the house and started to talk to us and had lots of questions. From then on we kept passing by with him and last week he told us he wants to get baptized so that he can live with his wife and kids for eternity. He asked if I would baptize him and we made his service really special with a program and everything. One day this week, A´s wife asked us if we could cut their "grass" for them. It’s more like the field that’s at the end of scenic drive than an actual yard but anyways ya we showed up and they had a pair of scissors and a scythe, like the one the grim reaper uses to cut the grass. I hadn’t ever seen one of those in real life but it was fun to use and we cut almost all the grass in their yard, we were there for more than 5 hours. It was way cool to learn how to use a scythe!
Elder Alonso, of the 70 area presidency of Mexico came and visited our mission this week. We had a conference with him one day, and he taught us lots of really good things. He taught us to be direct with the people, and that the Lord’s elect are prepared to accept the gospel. He also told us that we shouldn’t ever baptize somebody that’s not ready to be baptized. With all the pressure the leaders put on us to baptize people, there are lots of people who get baptized before they’re ready and then they go inactive right after. President Morales taught us some good things too; he actually used to be an area 70 as well. We had to part our hair when Elder Alonso came to visit.
This week I ate cow liver tacos, is that safe? One guy told me that liver has clenbuterol in it so it’s not safe to eat but other people have told me that it’s fine. I only ate 1 taco because I didn’t like it very much. They tried to invite us to come back with them this week to eat some more but I had to hurry and tell them we already have another appointment that day and wouldn’t be able! One day we were with some of our recent converts and they had this super cool little plant that when you touch it, the plant moves. I think they saw that I was mesmerized by it and they gave it to me as a gift ha ha. We passed by with the C family yesterday and were able to talk with them for a while. We also watched part of the Olympics with them in their home theater and they fed us and gave us a bag full of food to take home to our house. It’s hard to pass by them a lot because they’re only in the house in our area on the weekends. Everything is going really good, and I’m glad that you guys are all doing good too. Let me know how everything goes this week! Thanks for everything, I love you! Elder Johnson

August 6, 2012

Hey Mom, It’s still raining quite a bit here, but this week went pretty well. We still haven’t been able to baptize D because he’s been in the District and isn’t coming back until Saturday. We have been working really hard though with another guy, A and he has a baptismal date for this Sunday, so we’re praying that everything goes well with him this week. He’s a police officer and has to work a lot so there are sometimes when he can’t go to church so that has kind of been the challenge with him. He’s had lots of really random questions too about the Catholic Church and everything. I’ve gotten to know the bible pretty well since I’ve been here, and we’ve been able to answer most of his questions that are important, but I still don’t think I’ll really ever understand the whole Virgen de Guadalupe thing. We were in one of the new parts of our area on Wednesday, looking for one of the houses of an investigator from the other missionaries that used to be there. It was pouring rain on us and we were super lost. My companion kept telling me that it was pointless to walk and we should just call somebody or something to find the house. I felt like we should keep walking, but then all of a sudden it started raining even harder so I ran under a tree to take cover for a second and when I looked up, on the wall there was a sign that said ´Tlaxcantitla´, which was exactly what I was looking for, the street that she lived on! It was a super cool experience, and that little miracle made my day. There are always tiny miracles happening like that in our lives, we just have to be alert and recognize them. On Monday I got the package you sent for my birthday only 10 days after you sent it! I still haven’t opened any of the things that were wrapped or the cards that were in it, I’m going to wait till my birthday. I’ll definitely be able to find somebody to bake the cake for me too. I also got another letter from you too that same day. The sister that went to Vegas called me on Saturday and we passed by their ´weekend´ house on Sunday to get my other package, and it was perfect because we were able to put an appointment with them for this next Sunday to teach. Beef jerky doesn’t exist here so shared it with everybody at church and they all loved it and pretty much the whole package was gone before I got home, it was pretty funny. The first counselor in the bishopric hunted me down when he heard I had jerky because he told me he hadn’t had it since he had a gringo companion on his mission 5 years ago. I’m really getting comfortable here in Mexico; I ate a taco with pig intestine in it the other day and actually enjoyed it. I also ate 2 chilis de arbol, the second hottest chili here in Mexico, to show off for a member the other day. Not even the Mexicans that were there ate them. I regretted it a little bit though because I was crying for a long time afterwards and my tongue felt really weird, kind of numb. The language is coming along really well, and now more than anything I’m just trying to get a better Mexican accent. I’m glad to hear that everything is going super good for you guys, tell dad to pull the trigger on a four-wheeler, that would be perfect for me when I get home! I hope you guys have a great week, take care and let me know how your camping trip goes and everything. I love you! Elder Johnson