Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear Mom,

Sorry I did not take a picture of the tarantulas... I will the next time I see one as I'm sure I will.  Ha ha.  Every week gets better here as I actually learn how to be a missionary.  I've finally gotten down all the paperwork we have to fill out and how to take the stats and it only took me 4 weeks to figure it out since it was all in spanish ha ha ha.  Wow.  Most of the time I just worry about if I'm doing things right, I get so confused.  My companion likes me as she requested to stay with me here in Campana for her final month as a missionary.  She tries to protect me a lot too... like tries to hold my hand as we walk across the street.

Oh and I did get your package this week!  Thank you so, so much!  I was expecting just a little tiny package like the size of a VHS since all I needed really was my camera cord... I should have known better with my mother ha ha ha.  And Tuesday really is the only time they give mail.  The entire zone meets in Choloma this day for district meetings so the couple missionaries just bring all the mail and set it in a pile for us to pick up.  I have been told by other missionaries that my package arrived pretty quickly.  There's a sister in my ward who has been waiting for her package 2 months and an elder who has been waiting 3 and they still haven't come.  So I guess 1 month is the fastest, but between 1 and 2 months is average for a package.  The corners were a little beat up, but it was in pretty good shape when I got it.  Loved the gummies, the peanut butter m&ms, the trailmix, the peanutbutter and nutella, everything was wonderful!  Thank you so, so much.  It really made my entire week.  My companion loved it too.  Letters also come at this time and generally take 3 to 4 weeks no matter where they are from.  I've gotten mail from Katy Bready (Kentucky), Mindy Wong (Alabama) and Alex Williams (Japan) while I've been here.

So glad you guys had a great time with Hunter this season for football.  I'm so happy for him that he was able to do so well.  Yeah let me tell you, a lot of change is coming to those boys real fast now.  It is crazy to think how much has changed in such a short amount of time in my own life.  Thanks for Nathan's emails.  Katy and I email each other a little paragraph each week, but I don't get her official letters.  I'd love to see one though. She is really on top of things.  I've already gotten 2 letters from her while I've been in Honduras.  And so I have 19 followers from Indonesia huh?  Well it's because I have an Asian heart after all.  In a letter from Hunter this week, he says Mom listens to Asian music when she misses me, I am so honored.  Got letters from Mom also this week and Grace and Ava.  Thanks so much for all your love and support.  It means so, so much to me.  It makes life a lot easier to hear from you guys often, so that I don't have to worry and know you are all well at home so I can focus on what I need to do here.

Glad Molly has found a way to volunteer.  I am so proud!  Is she healthy again now?  Loved to see the photos!  Please with your next written letter include a few photos of our family as I love photos most of all.  

Funny you mentioned God protects his missioaries, as I can definitely testify of that already.  I've already had miracles happen for my own protection that I feel like if I weren't a missionary I would not be so lucky.  For example... earlier this week we had gone contacting in the street in a new area last Sunday and set up some visits to return and talk with the people who wanted to hear more.  Anyways, one man told us he lived right behind this church that we were close to and that he would love for us to come visit his wife and kids with him.  So we returned and went back this little back path behind the church, me, Hermana Cifuentes and member who was with us to visit this family, and I went up to the house and yelled  Buenas, because that's what you do here... nobody knocks or anything.  And this gigantic dog comes running from the backyard of this house... like the kind of dog that is so big it is like a mini horse.  eeek... and I was closest to it, like 15 feet away and it was just barking and barking so we all started to back up real slow.  Normally all the street dogs here are pretty timid like you just have to yell at them or throw water on them from your water bottle and they run off.. but this dog was super crazed like I am pretty sure it had rabies because it was foaming nasty white and green in its mouth.  I was absolutely terrified.  And this man and his family were not home.  The dog ran to come down to eat me, and then this neighbor kid saw us and grabbed the dog as it was only like 4 inches from me ready to bite me.  Ack.  It was a miracle that this kid saw and saved us... otherwise I would probably have had to spend the day at the hospital.  Dogs are a real problem here.  Some missionaries have gotten bitten, but generally you can see big dogs as you are walking along the paths and can avoid them.  IDK, so we are never going back to that house... but really God looks out for His missionaries.  

Another time we were in San Pedro Sula for a meeting with the president's wife and sister training leaders during our pday, so we went to the grocery store after real quick before heading home.  Also this week there was some problem with the debit cards reloading money so we didn't have much money but bought enough to be ok a few days and saved enough to get home... anyways a man came up to us asking for money and we had hardly nothing so we were like no, no.  So he went to try to steal our groceries and who pulls up at that moment on the street but a stake president of San Pedro Sula.  And he gave the man some money and he ran off.  If he hadn't been there, we would've had no food and perhaps no money to get home either.  It was a miracle that he just happened to be there right when we needed him, and he drove us to a bus stop a little ways off so we could get safely home.  

Oh and please go sue Sis Missionary Mall.... the expensive umbrella you got me there broke the first day I used it.  Tell everyone to shop elsewhere for their missionary needs.  And my alarm clock from there had a glitch the first week I used it (it would randomly reset itself) but it has been working great the past two weeks so I think it is ok... but advise others to go elsewhere.  

In other news... apparently the president told my companion that I will be a trainer to whoever is my next companion.  So either this November or December I will be a trainer already and I don't even speak Spanish.  So of course my next companion will be a Latina so we can actually teach people, but goodness I don't feel ready for that just yet.  They say there are just so many new people coming and they are running short on older sisters.  We don't find out whether we are switching companions until the 11th of November though, and then the 13th they make the switches.  

This week we got to do divisions with the sister training leaders and it was a wonderful experience.  I got to go with Hermana Aguilar who is from Logan, Utah, and she came here to Campana with me.  I got to be in charge so we got to contact a street I've always wanted to contact and found two wonderful new families who are so excited to hear the gospel.  We got to all of our visits and trudged through it all in pouring rain.  It was so awesome!  I like to go, go, go all day, missionary pace people!  I learned so much about teaching with her. Mostly I just learned that I should be the kind of missionary I want to be.  

Happy, happy anniversary to mom and dad!  I am so happy for you and your excellent examples.  You could give me a lot of advice on how to make companionships work well.  Also I hope the ACT went well for Hunter and college apps are coming along nicely.  


I love you all so, so, so much!  Thanks again for the package!

Love Hermana Johnson

Monday, October 21, 2013

Two Months on the Mission - October 21, 2013
 
Hola everyone!  Yes I have officially been a missionary for 2 months and it has actually been pretty fast.  Now I just have to repeat what I just did 8 more times... that sounds like a while.... ha ha ha.  It´ll be better when I get to the 3 month mark and then I just have to do that 5 more times.  I have been doing much better this week healthwise.  It´s hard here to be healthy because we aren´t allowed to eat most of the produce as it isn´t cleaned properly or has different germs or idk... and we never eat it at people´s houses of course.  So like one day this week this lady gave me a giant plate of food and it was a huge mountain of spaghetti, white rice, and plantains.  ha ha ha it is just so many carbs every meal it is really hard to stay healthy.  Most missionaries gain weight in this mission apparently.  But I eat a lot of yogurt and nuts and fruit from the grocery store that is safe and that we can clean really well.  I eat cereal every single day... healthy gronola type stuff to try to stay healthy.  And then of course we drink soda whenever we are at people´s houses because we can´t drink the water so I fear cavities greatly but all should be well.  Things I would love to have from home... Graham crackers, nutella, poptarts, crystallite, trail mix and almonds, vitamin c packets, instant breakfast, fruit snacks and gummy bears, dried fruit.... is that enough of a list for now?  For Christmas I would like some new mascara please.  Don´t send lots of packages because it is so darn expensive I feel so guilty and I really don´t need anything.  Don´t worry about so much.  I haven´t eaten anything weird yet... it´s usually just plain stuff like rice, chicken, tajadas, idk how to spell that.  Tajadas are so, so good.  They are fried plantains so they taste like french fries but almost better.  mmmmmmm.  I will make them for you when I get home
I also have probably made like three hundred tortillas here... We are always looking for opportunities to serve and there are always moms cooking and they like help with their tortillas... and I´m actually better at it than my Guatemalan companion ha ha ha.  The Lizardo Family always lets us borrow their daughters to go to appointments with us, so once a week we help them with their tortillas to say thank you.  ha ha ha. 

Idk when we will move.  Don´t worry my fan is perfectly safe I promise, it´s just funny to look at.  My companion goes home I think around Dec. 10.  We have changes Nov. 10ish but they don´t tell us if we are changing companions or areas until the Monday before, and then two days later on Wednesday you switch if you need to switch.  So the longest I would be here is until Dec. 10, but I may change in Nov.  I don´t know.  To go to places you take the local buses, so when I switch I just hop on a bus with all my luggage with whoever else in my area has changes and we all go to a stake center in San Pedro Sula to find out our new assignments.  You have to take everything all by yourself though so I actually wish I had only 2 suitcases instead of 2 suitcases and a carryon and a backpack as that can be a challenge.... a lot of missionaries have broken suitcases here because of the bad roads.  My companion has to get a new one before she goes home, so I hope the ones I have now can last me my mission.  It is such a pain.  I have no help so please don´t send me a lot of stuff.  sorry.  oh and do send me a conference Ensign in English and Spanish for Christmas.  thanks! if that is possible...

Molly´s costume is looking good.  I hope she gets better real soon.  And tell her thanks for my letter.  It came this past week.  She would die to see all the knockoffs here.  Literally every store is knockoffs, and most of it is like obviously fake, but some of it is really good, so I already know what I´ll be bringing home for you people in 18 months ha ha.  They have all brands too, lots of fake Chanel, Michael Kors, Polo, even the grocery stores have it.  ha ha. 

Tell Sister Dobson thanks for the tip about calmoseptine... idk how to spell that.  I use it for mosquito bites actually and it works magic.  Though I don´t have many bites anymore.  That problem is already fading. 

Glad to hear about Hunter´s date.  ha ha ha.  Though I´m disappointed he didn´t wear the pink minnie ears.  Tell him best of luck on the ACT this week.  He is going to do fabulous and I shall be praying for him. 

Things that happened this week... I saw pretty much every creature under the sun.  3 HUGE tarantulas this week.  2 alive 1 dead.  They come out at night.  So we were walking across a bridge to go to a members house and the bridge was just dirty full of trash and lichi peels (this spiky red fruit that everyone eats here, they are actually pretty good)  so it was dark and I walked past this thing thinking it was just a rock or trash and my foot was literally like an inch from this creature, and then I realized it was a massive tarantula, like as big as a dinner plate and I yelped and booked it with my companion for like thirty feet to the end of the bridge as I realized what it was.  God really is looking out for me as he saved me from this massive tarantula.  I really almost just walked into this thing.  ack, I am always afraid one is going to come in the house, but so far only geckos live in our house.  They are so funny, they make surprising loud noises like birds ha ha.  I also have seen 2 snakes, lots of frogs in the night, a monkey which bit one of the daughters in the Lizardo family so I hope she is alright, and a horse giving birth.  It is animal week this week.  I used to only use my flashlight sometimes as there are streetlights that make it bright enough to see most things, but I use the flashlight to be able to see everything clearly now... like snakes and tarantulas as those come out during the night and are very abundant in our area. 

Soccer is massive here of course.  We aren´t even allowed to leave the apartment during games.  We have to stay in because people just go crazy fighting in the streets and setting off bombs it is craziness.  Especially with Honduras going to Mundial now.  ha ha ha you guys should watch the game to tell me how it goes

Most people in our area are less actives so it is a lot of getting people to get excited to go to church again.  Like one lady we met was baptized 18 years ago and hasn´t been to church.  It is crazy.  Every house you go to... ¨Hi we´re the missionaries¨and they are like öh yeah I was baptized like 5 years, or 10 years or 18 years ago.  I love your message come by anytime.  But they just don´t want to go to church.... hmmmmm

We are still teaching Hermana Iris who lives up on the mountain and now the rest of her family too. Her daughter Carla is a teenager like 15ish and is so darling. always asking questions and wanting to know more, even though she is pretty shy.  It is hard to get up to them with the games and we can´t go up the mountain if it is raining so we´ve only visited 3 times now, but I hope we can go soon so they can progress towards baptism. 

And get this... because close to us everyone is less active and we have no one with a baptism date, we went with all the ward missionaries to contact a different town yesterday.  We just knocked on doors for 2 hours and it was so successful.  One man we met was born in Honduras, but has lived in the US the past 20 years and now is back in Honduras as he divorced his American wife.  He spoke English with me, it was so odd.  But he told us he feels we were sent from God to teach him.  That this is the message he has been waiting for his whole life, and he just is so excited to read the Book of Mormon, so I am so excited to visit again tomorrow and perhaps very soon we will have a baptism.  His wife was a Mormon he said but that she never talked about the church with him.  His name is Marcos.  And we found many other new investigators here so I feel like finally we can have some progressing investigators.  I am so excited!  

I love you all so much!  I hope you are doing well and thank you so much for your prayers for me.  They really are working believe me. 

Love Hermana Johnson 

Hola Familia y Amigos - October 14, 2013
I really can tell when you people are praying more for me one week than another, and I could tell this week was one of them, so thank you so, so much.  Your love and support mean so, so much to me.  You all keep me going when things aren´t so hot.  Pdays are the greatest.

Lo siento, your package has not yet come, but tomorrow is mail day so perhaps tomorrow is the day. 

In my apartment... there is a shower with no curtain, just a really old shower head with only cold water and a hole in the floor for a drain ha ha.  The sink you must be careful not to lean on our it can pop off the wall.  The toilet is broken at the moment so you have to reach back and pull a plug to drain it.  It is not all that fancy.  We have a microwave and a mini fridge and a big water jug for drinking water and one stove top.  One fork, one spoon and one knife per person.  This week was great because they gave us pots and pans to cook with in our apartment.  yeaahhhh!!!! Because there are so many missionaries they struggle at times to keep everything up and running and all the apartments accommodated.  I think we may move soon... Me and my companion each have a fan because there´s no AC of course.  You know how fans have like the fan with a cage cover over it... well mine has just the fan part tied to its stand with a shoelace ha ha ha, but it works so all is well.  I am learning a lot to be grateful for what I have at home.  And my house is very nice compared to what so many of our members and investigators have.  Not everyone here even has a little one burner stove like us.  Some people really just live in tin huts and cook on a fire with no bathroom, and the entire family sleeps on the floor or in hammocks in a house smaller than my bedroom at home.  It makes me so sad sometimes to see as why are certain people chosen to be more materially blessed than others.  Or that I may be a little sick and worn down at times, but eventually I´ll go home and be great, yet here people live in sickness their whole lives and never get to know better.  They drink the dirty water and sleep on the ground because that´s all they have.  And yet they are for the most part so happy and generous.  They always want to be so hospitable with us it is amazing.  They love talking about Christ and God and have so much love for the Savior.  It´s pretty cool.  It makes my job pretty easy. 

Maybe God had to take away material things from me at this point in my life to make me focus more on Him and rely more on Him.  Not having ¨Things¨ really is hard.  Like sitting in my apartment, I think oh my goodness, it is Halloween at home and I think of all mom´s Halloween decorations and that is not wise of me... While here I remember one particularly poor family all they have is someone spray painted ¨feliz nabidad´ on their wall one year for Christmas... mispelled and all and that is the homeyness that they have.  We are so blessed!  We have so many opportunities in the US!  For education, for health, for being able to make our own way and choose our own person.  Wow. 

Each day I wake up at 630, then eat breakfast and get ready til 8 is what's allowed, then personal study til 9, companionship study til 10, training with companion as i am a newbie until 11, then we go do an appointment or just talk to people in the street til 12 when we usually have lunch with a member.  Then at 1 we study Spanish at the apartment and after that we just have appointments all day and we get back in the house at 8 or 830,  Sometimes we have dinner with people.  Because people live so far up in the mountain we usually don´t have dinner until we get back at 8, and we come back then as it is dangerous to be out after that here.  It gets dark around 6, but always members are looking out for us and if it is dark someone always walks with us, and we stay near the house after 6 to be cautious. 
They supply bug spray here so no worries, and already that problem is much, much better after just 2 weeks.  Things that would be good in a package... definitely don´t send anything that could melt as that could be a disaster... gummy bears, fruit snacks, cristal lite, herb tea, all those types of things would be great.  I´ll keep thinking.. I'm still learning what´s good here. For example, at home I love bananas, but here they turn to mush within a few hours so I don´t get them.  I eat a lot of apples instead. 

I found out I only get to go to the really nice grocery store that is like America during changes or if I serve in san pedro... the grocery store near me isn´t so nice and doesn´t have things like peanut butter or peppermint tea or whatever.  esta bien.  I´m already figuring out how to manage my way.  They really do expect us to eat with members though... there isn´t really a lot of money if someone tried to cook all their meals themself... I´ll keep working on it...

Also know today I took out like 2,000 limpiras on my card, around 100 USD because the money wasn´t on our mission cards for some reason.  So I needed money for groceries, and now I´ll just always have extra money for emergencies.  So all is well.  gracias

Also we´ve decided to exercise in the evenings when we are already sweaty and nasty instead of the mornings so we are still following the rules... I didn´t bother asking if not exercising was bad... but whatever.

Sorry I think my description of things makes things sound a lot worse than the actually are.  It is hard, but I am adjusting slowly and the people here are just so kind.  Earlier this week, a girl in the ward got set apart as a missionary. She is 20 and went to the airport the next day to leave for her mission to Peru, to the Guatemala MTC, and her family doesn´t have a lot of money so just her and her brother went together to the airport together and here you are a minor until 21 so they wouldn´t let her get on the plane by herself!  She had to come back, and the bishop wouldn´t let her go back to her house, and made her spend the next day with us as a missionary since she had already been set apart.  Thankfully she was able to catch a flight the day after, but I felt so bad for her, as she was already so nervous.  Her family doesn´t have a lot, their dad left their mom for another woman.  And yet their mom is so dedicated to the church that this is her third child she has sent on a mission.  Their family literally dedicates everything they have to the church.  And their youngest son is autistic so that makes things hard too.  The faith of the members is incredible, and many have such hard lives it makes my heart break and I feel so guilty for all I have and they do not.  This is the work of God and people do receive grand blessings both spiritually and temporally by following the teachings of the gospel.

I love you all so, so much!  I thank you for your prayers and all your support and hope everyone is doing great.  Hopefully I can send you some pictures real soon!  Love you to the moon and back!
Hermana Johnson   
First Letter from Honduras - October 7, 2013
 
Hola Familia! 
 
Not gonna lie, this week has been a bit rough.  The food here is going to kill me off.  All the US kids I've talked to serving here say they eat everything they are given and never get sick, but me and my companion both got sick already from something we ate this week, I'm not sure what.  It was one day where we had 3 dinners! I worry a lot about cleanliness of food so I have great anxiety over this as we pretty much eat with members like almost every day. 
 
My companion is very nice though and funny.  Her name is Hermana Cifuentes and she is 24 from Guatemala.  She'll actually be going home in December, so I may be her last ever companion.  Apparently there is great pride among missionaries if you are someone's last companion.  If you are their last companion you are the one who "killed them off" so I guess that's cool.  ha ha ha... missionaries are so desperate for entertainment.  She's had lots of American companions so she knows I can't drink the water and looks out for me a lot, so this I am grateful for.  She loves going to eat with members as much as possible though, and I'm quite the opposite so.... we are working on that.  She speaks very little in English, but we understand each other for the most part. 
 
To verify the address for mail...
 
For letters it is...
 
Hermana Brie Ann Johnson
Misíon Honduras San Pedro Sula Oeste
12 Calle, Ave. Circunvalación
S.O. Edificio Yudé Canahuati,
3er. Nivel Oficina #4
San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras
 
For Packages it is...
 
Hermana Brie Ann Johnson
Mision Honduras San Pedro Sula Oeste
Apartado Postal 1956
San Pedro Sula, Cortés Honduras
 
 
I'll keep you posted if the mail you sent gets here.  I think it should be alright.  They only bring by the mail to us once a week on Tuesdays...  And yes my Pday is Mondays now.  
 
Getting to Honduras was bad because once again I barfed at the airport.  They do not take good care of missionaries on their travel days.... and something about being in a hot enclosed space makes me really ill really fast.... The temperature here is ridiculously hot.  My first area is called Campana 2, in the zone of Fesitranh.  It is a very, very poor part of the country.  It is very beautiful though, a tropical jungle.  There are little monkeys sometimes that will jump on you if you aren't paying attention... this hasn't happened to me yet thankfully, and I am living in fear of it.  Also there are lots of scary dogs everywhere.  Almost every missionary gets bitten by a dog at some point apparently, so I dread this also.  The animals here that people have as pets are wicked ugly.  Like the mangiest, most starved creatures I have ever seen.  Like a dead dog that was brought back to life 2 weeks after it had been rotting in the ground.  mmmmmm ha ha ha
 
During the night when it is so called "cool" it is typically around 90 when I go to bed. ha ha ha I am wet, wet, wet with sweat all day long.  I have to shower every night because I am just so sweaty and dirty, and lots of people know that white people get eaten by mosquitos like crazy so they light fires to makes the bugs go away but that just makes me sweat harder and smell like smoke.... ha ha ha. Sometimes it is so ridiculous all I can do is laugh.  One day I was sweating so bad, you know how people usually get sweat marks where their armpits are?  I had them ON MY THIGHS.  Like two bigs stripes right down the front of my pink skirt.  It was so nasty.  ha ha ha  I have no idea how hot it is during the day but it is pretty darn hot and humid all the time.  Oh and the mosquitos love me.  Even though I put OFF on like 4 times a day, my legs and feet literally swell with mosquito bites.  My heels look like big red golfballs.  Poor Hermana Gardner, who is actually serving in my ward so I see her all the time, didn't wear OFF one day and she looks so diseased.  Her heels looked like big red apples on the back.  So bad.  Our ward has 6 sister missionaries and no elders.  ha ha.  idk what that's all about.
 
My house is pretty sketchy.... and Hermana Cifuentes showed me a video of when her and her last companion had a TARANTULA come in.  Ackkkkk.  I dread this also, though I haven't seen one yet myself. All my shoes are wonderful.  They are perfect for here. Very comfy, while everyone else brought like flats, and their feet are dying.  
 
I am so sorry to hear about Aunt Tara's dad.  That is awful.  I hope their family is doing better this week.  That is so hard.
 
The members here, besides the food concerns... are wonderful.  They are so kind and generous even though they don't have much and always so willing to help the missionaries.  They always are giving references for us.  We don't have any progressing investigators at the moment actually, so we just spent all week visiting members to get references and so I could get to know the ward.  One lady took us to her friend's house who had literally just had her baby like in the last day or two.  And I was like thinking, what? this lady just had her baby, can we really just go visit her?  But yep, we all just walked right up there and the lady and her baby were just chillin on the bed resting, and right then and there we starting teaching the first lesson and asked the lady if she wanted to be baptized and she said yes.... like what?  I was so shocked.  People are so willing to just accept the gospel here.  Getting them to keep commitments is another story... but they love the message.  The spirit was so strong though.  Her name is Hermana Iris and we will go visit her and her family again later this week.  My area is up on the mountain, so it is a pretty sketchy hike at some parts, like 2 feet of path between you and a thirty foot drop, and sometimes I feel like I'm rock climbing instead of contacting, but whatever.  For this reason we do not exercise in the morning because we work out so much during the very hot day... how do you feel about this?  Should I still try to exercise so I'm keeping all the rules? probably yes.... 
 
The family Lizardo is a particularly strong family in the ward and we go take one of their daughters to all of our visits so there's a member present.  They are all darling.  Carol, Aleda, Lilian... ages 16, 14, and 28.  They've already taught me to make tortillas from scratch and I was pretty good at it.  ha ha they were so shocked.  Actually most people don't think that I am from the US.  Most people ask me if I am from Canada or France because they tell me I speak spanish with a french accent.  ha ha ha.  I've even been asked if I'm Russian, but yep, most people think I'm a Frenchie and not an American.  ha ha ha.  Everyone loves my blue eyes though.  They just stare at me for like minutes and they'll be like, whoa they change color when you move or whatever. are they purple? and I'm like nope, they are blue.  And then they ask me what color the eyes of my family members are and I'm like blue, and my mom is green, and they are just like wow, that is so amazing.  how beautiful!  ha ha ha
 
I wish I could be in San Francisco with Grandma, or someplace with snow.  I hate being hot as you know.  This is going to take some getting used to.  I drink like 3 gallons of water a day to prevent myself from dying.  
 
Tell Molly good luck at school and Hunter with the ACT.  Thanks so much for sending packages to my friends!  You guys are so great.  Maybe send Katy a pic of Tim Gunn and Mindy one of Gloria from Modern Family, and tell her that's what I'm going to look and sound like when I get home.  ha ha.  This country really is beautiful, and some parts of it really are like America.  Like we drive to the richer part by bus to do grocery shopping and it is like an American grocery store.  You can buy pretty much anything you want or need to eat, like peanut butter even! and Pasta sides!  (that thing that is similar to pasta roni).  I would love to serve in that area for reals... maybe on my next change.  They generally switch up companions pretty often, like every 2 or 3 months.  I do not have a cell phone, just a phone in our house.  The water in the shower is always cold, but it actually feels really great here where it is so deathly hot.  
 
I do really miss my district from the MTC.  I loved them so much, we all cried the night we had to all leave.  I think getting close to people and then having to leave them will be really hard for me here as so often I feel really lonely, so when I become friends with someone I cling to them like crazy, so leaving people is hard.  I'm very grateful Hermana Gardner is with me.  Thou I live in a different house, just me and Her Cifuentes live in our house.  The other lucky 4 get to share a much nicer home.  Not fair.  I think we are going to change houses soon though.  Every Saturday night we have a dinner all together the 6 hermanas to be close and have a fun activity to look forward to.  Sorry this week has been hard so I shall be more positive next time I write.  I just am working on finding my way around still I suppose.  Thanks so much for your loving words and all your support!  I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family!  Can't wait to get your mail!  and that camera cord. ; )  Adios!  
 
Love, Hermana Johnson                

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dear Parents of Missionaries
This is just a quick note to let you know that your missionary arrived safely today in Honduras.  We are delighted to have 22 new missionaries in the mission today.  We were able to talk with them, eat dinner with them, and enjoy some very special moments with them this evening.  President Dester interviewed all of the new missionaries and is excited to have the energy that each of them brings to the mission.  Tomorrow the new missionaries will be assigned to their new areas and start working. We are sending you a photo of your missionary in the airport.  Thank you so much for entrusting your missionary to us and for all of your support.
 
With kindest regards,
 
Sister Dester and President Dester
 
 
Final E-mail from Mexico City MTC
 
Hola!  
 
Wow, I cannot believe 6 weeks have already passed by and that I'm off to be a real missionary.... eeeek.  I leave the MTC tomorrow morning at 6 and my flight is at 11.  I'm flying Aeromexico.  The flight is a little over 2 hours so not too bad.  I'm so looking forward to meeting my new companion and district, though I am so sad to leave my district here and my sweet companion Hermana Gardner.  I'll get to fly with her to Honduras though and we'll get to meet up at General Conference.  We've already made a deal that if there's ever a San Pedro Sula emple we will go to the open house together. 
 
Ok, yes, don't send any packages or anything just yet.  I will go find out the address and get back to you next week.  I'll have you know that I always read through everyone's email.  I do not care if you write to me about Taylor Swift... all mail is welcome from the people I love, and I love knowing what's going on with you and that you are all well. 
 
I'm so glad Molly is doing well with soccer and Hunter with football.  Hunter is a good example. I am so extremely nervous for my next companion.  This is something that worries me to no end.  If I could ask you all to pray for but one thing, that would be it. 
 
Sorry that kid cut his head open on the pool.  That is so awful!  I hope he's alright now.  And thanks for the scripture you shared, Dad.  I frantically try to memorize as many scripture references as possible every day.  I wish I had done this more before I left.... Chispas.  Also will you let me know if you get my letters so I know they got there.  I've sent 2.  Also tell Sister Hays thank you for her letter.  And tell Hunter to please sign up for the ACT very soon.  He must take the October one so sign up ASAP... December one if the date has already passed for October sign up.  (but try to do the October one since BYU accepts that as the latest time to take it)  Buena suerte, let me know if you have questions.  And have him start on his college applications RIGHT NOW.  BYU's is due by like Nov. 1 or something... much earlier than others.  So he only has a month to jump on that. 
 
This week Brother Cates (idk how he spells his last name) the MTC director gave a super awesome devotional.  He introduced us to the 14th article of faith which goes something as follows... "We believe in gatherings, meetings, and sitting for long periods of time... We hope for meetings, we pray for meetings, our rearends have endured many meetings, and hope to endure all meetings""  ha ha ha  But really there are a lot of meetings in our church, but they are all for our benefit and learning I suppose.  He also emphasized the importance of preparation as a missionary.  He wrote that just as a heart surgeon must study for many, many years to be able to perform well, we as missionaries are about to spiritually operate on hearts and so we must stay busy and stay focused.  We must be anxious to study hard each and every morning.  Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  You must walk to the edge of the cliff as that is where you can launch off to fly.  There is real risk and fear here at the edge, but this is where prophets walk and talk and where Jesus always was.  Cast out doubt and cast every thought on Christ.  Think of what you can be and what you can do through Christ.  Brother Cates is the coolest.  His talk was awesome!!
 
My other favorite quote of the week is from David A. Bednar who said, "Just as in Relief Society women take casseroles to those who are sick or going through a difficult time, missionaries are taking a spiritual casserole to the world."  ha ha ha
 
I love you all so, so much, and I'll let you know all about Honduras very, very soon :)  Muchas gracias for all your love and support!  I can feel your prayers each and every day.
 
Love, Hermana Johnson



 
Adios to Mexico City
 
Oh my word... I cannot believe I am already going to be heading out to Honduras.  I am actually pretty darn sad to leave my district behind.  I may just cry my eyes out.  I do not like this having to leave each other just as you become good buddies.  Oh well.  I already have plans to hang out with some of my district as we all will be going to school at BYU or UVU so we can hang out real soon.   ha ha aka slightly less than 17 months.  I still don't actually know when my flight leaves.  If you serve in the US you know your flight before you even come to the MTC, but for us international missionaries... I won't even know when my flight leaves until Friday even though it could very well be this Saturday or Sunday.  And most unfortunate little missionaries leave in the middle of the night for their missions... even if your flight is like at 10, you have to leave at like 3 in the morning because they like to take all the missionaries to the airport at once and some might have flights at like 6 while others not until 12.  oh well.  I just hate finding out about it so darn late.  I shall start packing today just in case.... That is one thing that sucks about missionary life.  No head's up about anything, you just do it and love it.  ha ha ha
 
I'd like to thank you all for all the mail I got this week.  I got letters from Hunter, Elise, Chris and Jeff, Nana, Dad and Grandma Kent.  It was so wonderful.  I felt so, so loved!  I definitely love letters more than emails, unless it is some big important news of course.  It is just because with letters I have all the time I want to read them and write back or whatever, but with emails I have only 1 hour to read them all and send back so it gets just a little stressful sometimes.  I always feel so guilty that I can't write everyone as much as they all deserve. 
 
So Hunter is the big hottie on campus these days??? I am not surprised.  ha ha ha  this is just too good.  I wish I could've been there to witness and help out with him answering back!  And Molly seems to be doing well too.  I'm glad she is having a fun time at school with all of Hunter's buddies.  Thanks so much for telling me about the season of ANTM that I AM MISSING little sister.... ack.  Please do not speak of all the TV and music and pop culture that I am missing out on.  It makes me all antsy.  It really is good for me to not be watching TV ever, but we really are starved for entertainment here.  Idk what I've talked about or not talked about... I just can't remember... so sorry if I've already mentioned it, but every Sunday night here we get to watch a church movie and as much as I would've shunned the thought at home, here it isn't absolutely horrible.  They are so cheesy, everyone just laughs the entire time.  It is splendid.  A good break from our busy weeks.  
I am uber bummed about missing Alec and Julie's farewells.  Actually I've met two boys here who when I said I was from Highland, asked if I knew Julie Watkins, and I was just like WOW, that just happened.  ha ha ha.  One kid from AF, Elder Conover, told me he had gone to AF, and I said oh my brother is the kicker there, and he was like whoa! He's so good.  And I was so so proud of my little brother.  What an athelete!
 
This week was just so great.  We get to play volleyball every morning and go to the tienda like 2 or 3 times a day.  ha ha ha.  The tienda is a little shop where you can buy treats or little missionary items or garments and we love trying all the mexican food.  Like they have doritos and fritos and american seeming things... but they are all in special mexico flavors.  Yum yum yum.  Nacho Doritos Mexico style are now my all time favorite.  We have got to get these in America.  Also everyone loves Choquis... idk if I spelled that right, which are chocolate chip cookies at the tienda which are fab.  You can even buy ties at the tienda, so our district got a tie for each of our two teachers.  They are both from Mexico and actually went to this school when it was a high school so that was so neat.  They love it as an MTC.  Lots of missionaries here also came here as high school students, and they all say there was always a special spirit here but now it is just even so much grander.  I am glad as I always felt guilty that we were taking away such a great school from people.  I am also glad that I can communicate with latinos sufficiently to have figured that out.  Chispas.  One of our teachers just got engaged, and he told us it was his girlfriend's birthday so we asked if we could sing to her on the phone.  So he made a video of us singing happy birthday and showed it to her when he got home, and he said she was so touched she cried.  ha ha ha he is so nice.  He says Wow really funny in his Mexican accent but only when something really cool or spiritual happens so we try to get him to say WOW as much as possible.  *though it sounds more like VOw.. ha ha  Their names are Hermana Salvador and Osorio.  They teach in the morning, and we have a third teacher in the afternoon, Hermana Young, who served her mission in Chile.  She is very nice.  She only got back like one year ago so she's pretty young.  We love our teachers.
 
My favorite story I heard this week was during a devotional they showed of Richard G. Scott.  He talked all about personal revelation to Oliver Cowdery in D&C 6, 8 and 9 so I was all ears because D&C 6 is my favorite scripture of course.  He talked about the importance of gratitude.  He told of a ward in Guatemala that saved for years to be able to attend the temple.  And once they were able to go one woman after the veil part kneeled down in front of the entrance to the celestial room for like 20 minutes just praying and crying.  One of the temple workers asked her what was wrong or if she needed help and she said, "Oh yes please help me.  I've been trying to thank my Heavenly Father for all my blessings, and I just don't think I'm doing a sufficient job, could you please help me?"  She was so, so incredibly humble.  This week I felt so inadequate as I watched other people teach lessons far superior than when I taught.  I can not express myself in Spanish as I can in English obviously so I am trying so hard to get from just being able to state facts to get to be able to say like analogies and personal stories.  Ack it is so hard.  But it was a good reminder that I need to be humble and realize how inadequate I am, but that with God I can accomplish what is needed of me.  I love you so, so much!  Hope you are all doing wonderfully!
 
Love, Hermana Johnson