Monday, October 21, 2013

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   

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