Monday, November 18, 2013

Hola familia and amigos! - November 18, 2013
 
Unfortunately Hermana Cifuentes still isn't totally better.  She still has difficulty breathing for some reason so we walk slow and don't go up the mountain as often.  I think a lot of it too is that she is so overwhelmed with going home and really stressed that it is taking a toll on her physically.  She just hasn't been well lately all around.  But that already tells you, I didn't have transfers.  I am still with my same companion and area.  But of course on Dec. 11 I'll get a new companion, and I anticipate staying in the same area since I'll probably be training and that's generally how it works.  We shall see. 
 
I didn't get Sarah's email for some reason... sometimes my ldsmail holds emails an extra week for some odd reason, so maybe it'll come through next Monday I hope.  Glad to hear Darren was able to visit and go to temple square with nana.  I'm glad nana is doing well in terms of her positivity.  She is always a great example to me of staying positive, and I hope to have that trait in my own life.  Glad to hear that Ethan is doing well too. He is so darling!  Say hi to nana, Darren and Sarah for me.
 
Glad that work is going well for you.  I know this can be a very busy time of year for you, but thanks for always being sure to write me.  I love hearing from you all! 
 
And your thoughts that you send are always spot on dad.  Thanks for those.  I hope you are all doing really well!
 
Things that are going on here....  I was quite surprised to see that quite a lot of people here actually put lights on their houses for Christmas like in the US.  We passed a house and I asked my comp, is that for Christmas or what?  and she was like, oh yeah of course.  what???? The only thing I know about Christmas thus far is that the entire month of December people will be giving me tamales all day every day.  ha ha  I'm pretty darn excited because I love tamales, and the ones I've had here are pretty alright. whoooooo  that's all I've been told.  Since it is President Dester's first Christmas here no one knows how the missionaries will be spending Christmas this year.  With the last president I heard it was just fabulous.  Like a huge dinner with everyone and then a talent show and dancing.  Dancing? with missionaries?  I would be so pumped.  But we shall see....
 
This week is going to be a bit lame because we aren't allowed to leave the house for 3 days!!!!!!! due to the elections for president here people just go crazy and it is too dangerous to go outside.  So all the missionaries in all of Honduras are locked inside their houses this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  So I won't actually even have pday until Tuesday next week.  oh well... I suppose I can use that time to write you people your Christmas cards. ;)
 
Hermana Gardner and her companion Hermana Bahr from Arizona are just great. I love seeing them during the week.  They told me a funny story about one of their investigators here.... A lot of people here talk about dreams they've had and such and actually read into those types of things a lot.  It was this old lady who had bad stomach pain for a really long time, and so she had a dream this pain was from a demon in her stomach and that a pastor from her church came and put his hands on her belly to bless her and release her from the demon.  But the demon pushed back against the pastor and refused to leave her and her pain continued. Later she had another dream that a man dressed in white came to her and put grape leaves under her legs and she gave birth to 3 fishes and she was healed.... somehow this lady concluded from her vision that Christ saved her from Satanas, that she was healed from the demon and needs no church in her life.... hmmmmmmm  ok   ha ha ha ha ha     the Hondurans and their visions in the nighttime.
 
In other news... I forgot to tell you another good story.  When the Familia Calderon had their baby they didn't give it a name for like a month or 2.  They just couldn't decide what to name it.  So they asked us to help them and so we wrote them a list of names.  That was pretty funny with Hermana Cifuentes because I would say like Alejandro or Juan or Gustavo like stereotypical Spanish names and she would just say how beautiful they were.  But I said the name Fulgencio and she just laughed and laughed and thought it was so ugly.  My goal was to have the Familia Calderon name their baby Fulgencio in honor of my favorite TV show, but my wish didn't come true and his name is Isaac.  But Hermana Cifuentes just thought that was hilarious, and still jokes about the name Fulgencio to everyone.  I wonder if any country actually uses that name because here no one believes me when they hear Fulgencio that it is a name...
 
Like two weeks ago we went contacting on a particular hill, and I had the feeling to go to this really awesome looking orange house with big yellow stars on it. It is quite odd but darling.  Hermana Cifuentes tried to tell me that no one was home, but I really felt like it was important and sure enough there are two lovely young ladies that live there and are super receptive to the gospel.  As in when we invited them to the church they were like oh sure, would you mind coming by to go with us, we were like we would love too!!!!! We gave them a Book of Mormon Thursday, and they seemed so excited to read it and I really feel like perhaps now we can have a baptism before Hermana Cifuentes heads home.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them.  One is 15 and the other is 24.  They live next door to each other, but we teach them together at the same time.  They really are just ready for the gospel. I'll keep you posted on how things are going with them, but they are just too cool.  The first time we met with them, we were trying to get to know them a little better, and I asked the 15 year old what she wanted to be when she grows up, and she said she just hopes that whatever she is it will be a work that allows her to glorify God.  That she doesn't like the life that others her age live, but that she wants to follow the Bible and do what God wants of her.  I was like what?  what 15 year old talks like that.  She is really wonderful to me.  Anyways, it is wonderful to see people progressing in the gospel and so willing to learn and  it really strengthens me just as much as it does them I feel.          
 
I hope that you are all well and healthy!  I love you all so so much!  Talk to you again next Tuesday!   
 
Love, Hermana Johnson
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hola Familia - November 11, 2013
 
Some fun facts... if you ever wondered if the people from Tom's shoes really do give shoes to people in other countries, yes they do.  I saw all the kids wearing the exact same pair of black shoes all the time so I asked my comp what's up with that? And she's like oh those are the Tom's they give out at the school.  Like every kid from elementary to high school has a pair of black Tom's here... I felt so dumb that I hadn't paid attention enough to realize they were Tom's since they all have that little logo on the back of them.  duh.  But yes, Mr. Tom is a man of his word.
 
Other items of business.... don't send gum here.  It literally melts into mush in only 2 to 3 days.  So weird, but yeah, don't send that.  The rope shoes I have don't do well here either.  It is so wet they are forever muddy and just rot.   I don't need socks or clothes or anything like that.   Also, please don't kill me mother, but the holes in my ears for earrings have closed up.  I don't know how that happened, maybe the heat???? I only went one week without and couldn't get them through, and now they are completely gone, like you can tell where the piercing was but yeah... whoops.                          
 
I got your Halloween package on Tuesday!  Thanks so, so much!  We decorated the apartment and my comp absolutely loved that.   I gave out the rings and teeth to some little kids and they just thought that was the greatest thing.  Good thinking mama, I'll send you some picks of that.  I loved the cereal and pasta roni and everything.  I actually eat a ton of ramen here because it is really cheap and we don't have a lot of money.  It is like being a college student.

 
For Christmas, anything you send me would be wonderful.  Really don't send a lot.  Just a card from everyone would be enough for me. And I'm thinking you should probably mail it around Nov. 24 for it to get here for Christmas. It takes about 4 weeks for things to get here.  I found out also, that they don't bring mail around the week before changes so I won't be getting any mail tomorrow, so anytime you send anything I have at least 1 week to enjoy it, so all is well on that front.  But really don't mail anything for like 2 weeks...  Tell Grandma I've been getting her mail, like  4 or 5 letters and a postcard from her, as when she wrote she seemed very concerned that I wasn't getting things.  One more thing for my Christmas package... a new lufa please.  Of course if I forget anything else  my birthday is right around the corner ha ha, and then after that you don't have to mail me another package until next christmas.   
 
I got the packet you sent of Hunter's football program and such.  Some of the other sisters at the zone meeting saw it and thought he was so handsome.  They were like, whoa that's your brother!  Then they asked to see pics of all my family so I showed the one of us at the airport before I left and the ones Molly sent me of herself (I keep pics of all you people in my scriptures) and they thought she was so pretty.  They thought my family was gorgeous.  whooooooooooo whooo.   Hermana Cifuentes goes around telling people how cute my brother is.... that's a little awkward...  anyways, it was good to see that things are going well for him this year.  I'm so happy for your success lil brother!  
 
This week was actually really, really bad.  It rained all week so we couldn't visit the people we were supposed to visit up on the mountain because we can't go up there in the rain...... Also Hermana Cifuentes is sick with Dengue fever, so she didn't have much energy to walk far.  We didn't know that's what she had the first two days, but then it just got worse and worse so we called the nurse and Hermana Cifuentes has been instructed to stay at home a few days... So yesterday we had divisions with some youth in the ward so I went out with them and Karol stayed at the house with Hermana Cifuentes so we could have a few visits. Our only new investigator called to say she doesn't want our visits anymore, idk what happened there since our first 2 visits were so wonderful, talking about families and all.   Boooooo.  Then we have a family who is not doing well economically so it is very hard for them to give up working on Sundays to go to church. Their business is making hammocks, so we helped them make hammocks so they could go to church. Yes I now know how to make a hammock, and we were just having a great time and they really were just saying they felt our love for them and appreciated us so much  and were so excited to go to church.  Then we show up Sunday morning to go to church and they say, sorry we don't have time.  Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.... I am slowly not becoming a fan of this whole agency thing.  I hate this because we were having such a great relationship but they just won't go to church so we might have to drop them soon.  I really felt like finally they were going to come back to the church (another set of missionaries previously visited them and they had had a baptismal date and everything and were so ready and the pastor from their previous church persuaded them to stop meeting with the missionaries).  So I feel like we have done everything we can do.
 
I'm rather bummed about Bishop Cooper.  He's the greatest.  This week has been hard as some of the people we teach have been telling us of their challenges in life.  I know the gospel can help all people. Christ knows us perfectly and suffers through all our pains with us. This I know.                                
 
 
Fall Greetings from Honduras - November 4, 2013
 
We do not have daylight savings here actually... time pretty much doesn´t exist.  As in no one in Honduras is ever on time or punctual or whatever.  This actually drives me crazy.  Like for visits when we are on time no one is ever there.  Pretty much we just make a list of people we are going to visit that day and then we get there when we get there.  We might say see you Thursday at 3, but that really just means, we will show up at some point on Thursday because no one is ever punctual.  ha ha ha  I worry about this aspect of the mission for when I get home... that I will never be on time myself.  Yet some how miraculously all the members show up for church on time... usually early!  Opposite of the US where we are usually on time for all our meetings but always like 10 minutes late to church ha ha ha
 
My bed is fine, and having a pillow is great.  The weather here has cooled down a lot the past week or so. It rains almost every day now, and I just love it.  I think winter will be easy to survive.  It doesn´t really cool down that much at night.  It is still pretty hot most of the time.  The only bad thing about rain is that it is typically hottest right before it rains... boooooo.  I think it will get cool and stay cool now though as it is becoming winter.  Like 70 to 80.  My body has definitely adjusted though.  Yesterday was fast Sunday and I was able to survive without water.  The first fast Sunday I had to drink water because I worried I would pass out as it was so hot, but now my body is already adjusting.  My health is just fine thanks.  I´m doing well in that regard which is awesome.
 
Glad you figured out the pics.  Sorry about that. The three kids you are asking about... Karol is the only Lizardo.  She is 16.  Jamie is from another family in the ward too.  She and her brothers were baptized a couple months ago and she is 12.  Fran is 18 and working on his mission papers to go soon himself.  He accompanies us every Saturday and Sunday in our visits to practice being a missionary. 
 
And good news we got to move to a new house!  and it is actually pretty cute.  I will send pics of it soon.  Although moving everything in our house was a pain.  We had to do it all alone, so Hermana Cifuentes called 2 kids in the ward to help and it was of course Karol and Jamie´s brother Marvin to help us move.  Thankfully it was just the apartment directly above us that is a little nicer with more space and a little newer.  Idk how people do it when they have to actually move far.  We had to do everything just the 4 of us... fridge, microwave, beds...
 
Please wait to send the package until like the last week of Nov. cuz I really do not want to get it just before transfers. It is super hard to take everything with me on the bus by myself and having a package would be just about impossible.  And we can´t tell the couple missionaries to hold things for another week... they just don´t do that.  Please send me a little wallet, like the kind Hunter uses, and a new waterbottle... one where the top is covered somehow so bugs and things don´t get on the part you drink out of.  I really don´t need a lot of stuff.  We can buy just about anything down here.  Food is nice to get of course since there are treats I can´t buy here ha ha.  But wait until like Nov. 17 or later to mail things for Christmas.  Thanks so much!  Really don´t feel the need to mail me packages.  You don´t need to send something every month.  Just getting letters from people is the greatest.
 
Loved seeing everyone´s Halloween costumes!  So so darling!  Or I should say Elise´s was darling and Hunter´s was quite a treat for the eyes.  ha ha ha.  I didn´t do anything for Halloween.  It was just another regular day.  Except for the Monday before when we ate at Wendy´s and there were Halloween decorations inside since it´s from America ha ha.

My transition to Honduras is going pretty well thanks.  I don´t feel all nervous and antsy about every little thing anymore.  We haven´t had much success here in finding new investigators.  Everyone likes talking about Christ, but no one will go to church... The only progressing investigator we had is having problems with the law of chastity, so if you look at our stats for the week, we look pretty bad.  But our visits to all the non-actives have been really wonderful.  This of course doesn´t really show in the stats but it is so important to visit them as well.  We have familia who we have been visiting.  They had been preparing to go to the temple but the bishop and a previous missionary in the area told them they weren´t ready and were a bit unkind about it so they stopped going to church.  Since we´ve been visiting them they have started coming to church again, are reading their scriptures and having family prayer every night and all their sons who want to be missionaries one day.   The most special event was this past Sunday when their brand new baby was presented to the ward and got a baby blessing and they are once again strong in the church and will be able to go to the temple in December!  Seeing this change and rekindling of the gospel in their lives is a great blessing to me.  And a great reminder that numbers don´t matter in the mission.  Numbers can help us know maybe what we need to focus more or less on, but the most important is just inviting others unto Christ and trying to have the spirit enough in their homes that when we leave they think, I´d like to feel that way again.  It´s a big job.  One I am definitely inadequate for, especially when I still can´t speak the language sufficiently and can´t understand what others are saying.  Every person is so precious to Him when I make a mistake with the language or explaining something not clearly enough I just want to kick myself, but for some reason He wants me here.  He called me here and so I can do it.
 
I love you all very much!  Please also send my 4 generation genealogy chart... I can´t spell anymore sorry.,,.
 
Hermana Johnson