Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No Letter Home / P-day Hike Takes All Day - June 2, 2014

I´m so sorry, but today we went so far away for P-day that we just now got back and I won´t be able to write at all this week, and I didn´t get to read your letters either.  I´m sorry!  I´ll write lots next week.  I hope all is well at home, and just wanted to let you know quickly that our investigator that needed a month to read and study the Book of Mormon has decided that the church is true and she wants to attend it and no other!  Her testimony is so powerful!  I am so so happy!!  I will write more real soon.  I love you all!!!!

Hermana Johnson
Hermanas Gardner and Johnson having fun in the jungle

Hermanas Lopez and Johnson and whole lot of tropical foliage

Hermana Johnson and her zone at the Los Naranjos Ecological and Archaeological Park

President Dester Saves the Day - June 3, 2014

President Dester heard no one in the zone had time to write their families yesterday on P-day so he gave us half an hour today to do so right now.  And it sounds like it's a good thing since mom's been worrying all week long.... ummmmm nothing bad at all happened this week.... Wednesday we were worrying just because it was our last day to study the last chapter of first Nephi for our investigator, and then Thursday she wasn´t at home, as she had to leave for San Pedro.   Thankfully we had the chance to pass by again on Sunday and she was at home.  She told us that she knew in her heart that the Book of Mormon was true and came directly from our Heavenly Father.  She wants her family in the Mormon church and no other so that she can raise her cute little son  with good principles and a love of Christ.  We were so beyond thrilled of course, as we´ve been studying Nephi every single day and praying just for her for those 22 days.  But God has answered our prayers as we did all we could do, and He did the rest.  

The other good news was we had an awesome activity on Saturday with our ward.  We put on a talent show and decorated the chapel with balloons and a big mural of a city at night.  Everyone loved it and is more excited to work alongside the missionaries.  We had great attendance on Sunday with 138 people... normally we hit around 110 or 112.  I suppose if even I have to leave this next week, I finally feel at peace that I left this area better than I found it, though I really hope not to leave. 

The hermanas and a friend in the front of the backdrop they made for the ward talent show
On P-day we went on a jungle hike which probably wasn´t a great idea because we walked so darn much that now everyone´s going to be too tired to go preaching ha ha ha.  Next week we'll go for a quiet week at the grocery store and lunch at Wendy´s and sleeping at home.    Although they said there were Mayan ruins, we never actually found them.  Oh well, the jungle was beautiful up in Mochito.  Well, just want you to know I love you all, and you need not worry, everything is going great here in Potrerillos as also this week our investigator will be getting baptized!  

Got letters from mom, Sis Frischknect, Grandma, and Uncle Dave this week, and Katy Bready, so thanks so much for all your love and support!  Also tell Uncle Dave his package came!  I´ll tell him thanks next week when I´ve got a bit more time to write.... love you all!

Hermana Johnson

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Rainy Season - May 26, 2014

I´m glad dad had a good time out in NYC.  It´s pretty darn exciting Hunter and Savannah will be graduating this week.  Felicidades!  They just finished up with a lot of schooling, only to start up with a whole lot more.   But really college is fun and they´ll do great.  Hunter is such a fly young man and Savannah is so darling. 

Thinking of Hermana Johnson during Hunter's graduation
Here are some funny things that happened with my favorite investigator.  Hermana Joaquin and I went to visit and he asked us about our families, like if they come here to Honduras with us or how many brothers and sisters we have.  And I told him I had one brother and one sister back in the US  and he says," How old is your sister?"  and I said 15, and he says, ¨well that was what I was waiting to hear.¨ ha ha ha ha it was so funny, so I asked if he wanted to be my brother in law and showed him the picture of our family and when he saw Molly he said," aw yes she is very beautiful".  ha ha ha!  Elise has one more fan, and he´s a very nice young man, so I approve.  He is just so funny.  

A whole lot of funny things happened this week.... we went to visit a woman, and her son who is quite mischievious and super sassy, and this family is probably the most easily distracted family of all time but they are so funny and always really happy to see us.  Well, in the middle of the lesson, the son was reading a scripture for us in Luke, and his mom, during the scripture was just staring at our legs and started petting my leg like a dog.  And she´s like" wow that´s prickly" as I  hadn´t shaved in a few days, and she´s like" what do you do, do you use a razor or a cream or what"?, and her son starts yelling," mom are you even paying attention to the scripture, you´re like that crazy old lady that lives across the street", and she´s was like," My goodness you´re right, read it again!" So he starts reading again and then she starts petting Hermana Joaquin´s leg and oh my goodness we couldn´t even control ourselves we just started laughing and laughing.  It is hard to visit that family because I can´t even control myself from laughing.  You just don´t even know what will happen next.  But I really like them nonetheless!

Hermana Joaquin (Dominican Republic), Hermana Mejia (Honduras), Hermana Johnson (Utah), and Hermana Gardner (California) enjoying the rainy season under an enormous umbrella they found
There is a man who is probably the funniest person in the entire ward.  His family got baptized back in August of last year, but you have to go to the Principles of the Gospel class for one year after your baptism, so he´s still there with us.  Well, the theme on Sunday was Honesty.  He told us a great story...¨When I was younger I liked to drink and smoke and didn´t have the best of friends.  Well one time my friend invited me to his house and we were drunk.   He offered me a chance to make a lot of money, he said he´d been hired to go kill a man and that the people had offered him the weapons and everything and showed me a bunch of big suitcases filled with money and told me I could join them and I said yes.  But I was pretty wasted, because even though I liked to drink and smoke I´ve always been fearful of God and would never kill another man.  When I came to my senses I realized what I´d agreed to and went back fast to cancel those plans.¨ And the teacher asks, thanks for your example, because can you imagine where you´d be today if you´d gone along with it.  He was like "Well they already killed that guy that offered me the money.  I´d be in the ground today if I´d agreed to that."  

He went on to tell another story that he used to be a house painter and went to paint a lady´s house and asked 3000 limpiras for the job.  Well she said 2500 and nothing more, so he went ahead and agreed to it. As he was painting the house the woman left to go buy groceries and dropped 500 limpiras as she left.  He went ahead and took it because he felt God was giving him the 500 the woman had refused him so that it was fair cuz that´s really what she owed him in the first place".  He said that had happened long before he came to the church and realized as he learned the gospel that things like that were wrong.  He gave a nice little speech of the importance of honesty.  Well, someone asked him if he´d ever gone back to give the lady the 500 he´d stolen, and he´s was like, well that already happened.  She´s long dead now.  He just said it with such peace of mind that that grumpy old lady was already long dead.  Here´s another great quote from this man.  ¨Those sister missionaries are so sweet they are sweeter than honey.  And they are just always always smiling, like clowns.  Even when bad things happen they just keep on smiling¨  ha ha ha  then someone was like clowns are really odd and creepy, so he quickly tried to dig himself out of that one, but my goodness he is just so funny and he really is a great man and a true convert of this gospel and is willing to do all to live this gospel.  He invited all four of us to dinner at his house on Friday, so we´ll let you know how it goes.

There is also a man in the ward who just loves to go visit with the missionaries.  Everyone refers to him as the Russian, idk why... Every person he knows or has ever seen he gives us as a reference so it´s really great that he has so much excitement for this work and is so willing to share it with everyone, but he´s still just really unique.  He said in one of the closing prayers... ¨We thank thee for the smells, the colors, the flavors, and sizes in the world.¨ which was funny in spanish cuz it all rhymes, ¨olores, colores, sabores y tamaños.¨  

The only other thing I wanted to share was that this week we had a great zone conference with President Dester.  I´m sorry I don´t have exact quotes with me, but there is a quote from I believe Parley P. Pratt who was called on  mission after mission for 26 years and had just received another call to go to Chile. I´ll try to bring the exact words next week, but he said that more than anything in the entire world he just wanted to stay at home and be with his family, but  the Lord  had other plans for him.  And if it so be that he´d have to continue alone in other lands until the end of his days he would consider himself highly privileged and honored of the Lord.  For he would have all of eternity before him in which to enjoy himself.  I really loved the quote, because it shows that really we all have hopes and dreams and things we want to happen.  We don´t go on missions just because we don´t have anything better to do.  I have other dreams in my back pocket.  I want to keep studying, visit other countries, get married someday (still far in the future, mom) to have my own family.  And the thing is those desires aren´t bad, in the same way Parley P Pratt only wanted to be with his family is a wonderful wish.  The thing is God has the greatest prize of all... eternal life with Him and our families forever.  But only He can give it, and He can only give it to us if we obey His will.  If we really believe that this prize will come.  If we really trust our Heavenly Father, we can have this eternity before us to fulfill all wishes that our heart now longs for, we will do as He tells us.  No one knows our needs and desires more, and no one wants to grant them to us more.  But He has things He needs from each one of us, and we must be willing as well to pay Him back for the many blessings he so willingly bestows upon us.  Trust in our Father in Heaven and do as he wishes, so that we too may have all the eternities before us with Him in which to enjoy ourselves.  I know God´s plan is perfect and I can´t explain why things happen as they happen, but we need not worry.  We need only have faith. 

I love you all and hope all is well at home.  Thank you for all you do for me!  

Hermana Johnson  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Hump Day!  Hermana Johnson at the Half Way Mark - May 19, 2014

Thanks so much for writing.  I am so grateful to have a family that writes me every single week without fail.  The majority of missionaries aren´t so lucky.  At last we finally had a zone activity for Pday.  We went to El Caljon, which is pretty much the Hoover Dam of Honduras.  We were just excited to not just grocery shop and clean the house for once ha ha ha.  It was cool to see, and we got lots of awesome photos. 
Jumping for joy to be at El Caljon Dam!

Enjoying the beauty of El Caljon Dam
Right now in Honduras it is Mango season.  Whooooooooooooo!!! We all eat 2 or 3 or 8 mangos every single day.  Green ones, red ones, any type of mango you can think of we´ll be eating them all this month and next month.  Our investigators have been giving us a bunch lately as everyone has so many lately they don´t even know what to do with them. I am enjoying the fact as well that here a mango just slightly smaller than my head only costs a quarter.  Wow, I love Honduras! 
The mangos people gave us in just one day... they really like us a lot!
In other news, our cute little investigator continues to amaze me.  When we go to visit him he invites his cousins and his friends, members, non members and less actives.  When we went to visit Tuesday we thought it´d be with just him out on his front porch, but 6 young teenage boys were awaiting us when we arrived and bought us a big bottle of Banana Pop to say thanks for coming.  My goodness that kid continues to be too good to be true.  And he reads his Book of Mormon and asks tons of great questions.  Idk why I always end up teaching young teenage boys but I am so happy I get to teach them.  And when we asked him this week, if he received his answer that the Book of Mormon is true and will you be baptized?  He said of course I´d get baptized! What´s the use of knowing something if you´re not going to do anything about it?   He´s just so funny but he´s so full of excitement and ready and willing to follow the example of our Savior each day and invites others to do the same.  If only all our members could be a little more like him the whole world would already be members. 
I really liked seeing Hunter´s seminary grad picture.  Lookin' pretty handsome.  Yes, like mom all I can think of when I see him all cute and dressed up like that is what a fine missionary he will be.  Far better than his sister because he just has such a way of making everyone feel so loved and welcome. 

Tell Ryan congrats on getting back from his mission, and thanks so much for being so thoughtful with the flag he brought. I know he was a stellar missionary and will be greatly missed in Georgia.  I am excited you saw the Wongs!  I hope you told them hello for me!

Öther things that happened this week..... we made more cupcakes during the district meeting and the American elders in our zone were the most excited of all.  They came up to us hermanas as we put them in the oven, and all asked so sheepishly," Can we please frost the cupcakes for you hermana, it´s just been so long since we´ve been able to do that?"  ha ha ha so yes we let the elders frost the cupcakes, but I forgot my camera that day. Darn!  They actually did a pretty good job, drawing stars and smiley faces.  We were actually pretty impressed!

I love you all so very much, and hope this letter finds everyone happy and healthy and having a wonderful week! 

Hermana Johnson   
Happy Mother's Day! - May 12, 2014

The best Mother's Day present ever!!
It´s been so very long since we last spoke, verdad?  But really it was great Skyping you all yesterday. I´m sorry I can´t speak English anymore... please forgive me for that.  But I´ll start learning again in 9 more months.  Our hand beaten cupcakes turned out really great thank you.  Janet Hays sent some wonderful cupcake mixes. Unfortunately, in 9 months being here I have only met one family with an oven.  And none of the missionary apartments ever have an oven.  Usually just one burner and a mini frige is about all we have in our kitchens besides a tiny sink of course.  So we Sister Missionaries decided to bake the cupcakes while we Skyped our families here in the church kitchen because this meeting house just happens to have an oven!!  And sweet Sister Hays thought of everything even a pan to cook our cupcakes in!  Wonderful considering a cupcake pan here would be unheard of!  So we got to the church and were so excited to make our cupcakes only to realize we forgot a spoon to mix them with and unfortunately there are no utensils at the church because they get taken.  So cute Hermana Mejia was industrious and just mixed them literally "by hand"!   They turned out great as we showed you on Skype we just hadn't frosted them yet when you saw them.  We each ate one then shared the rest with some of the mothers in our ward.  We will be making more again on Tuesday for the district meeting, and this time we won´t forget the spoon.  Ha ha ha!
Making cupcakes from the good ole' USA via Janet Hays

We forgot the spoon.  But Hermana Mejia had no problem mixing the batter by "hand"!

The cupcakes turned out very yummy!
Also this week we found out why there are so many darn ants in our house... all of the missionaries always leave their old books and things behind when they leave so in one of our kitchen cupboards there was just a ton of dusty old books in a big stack and we never thought anything of it.  But Hermana Gardner got sick of having the big mountain of dusty books in the house so she went to clean it out and as she was throwing them out her arms just got covered in ants and she went running outside cuz those things really bite... Well, we found out a large ant colony was living in that book mountain.  They had made themselves a nice ant house down there.  Pretty creative, but we had to destroy that pretty fast once we knew and now there are still ants in the house, but not so many as there once were.   

I really liked mom´s quote, ¨Love the people God gave you, because he will need them back one day.¨ If we think of it like that... really every person we meet is to learn something.  God is shaping and preparing us for something better.  This life is just a moment in the eternities.  And my job is to help people so that when they meet God they will feel a little bit better prepared.  Zero pressure.

I will now retell the stories that I told to you people yesterday so that the other people that read this blog will be aware... 

This week we started visiting a young man who is just 15 years old.  His cousin is a member and gave us his name as a referral.  We had taught him about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and had just gone for our third visit to talk about the plan of salvation.  Before we even started talking, he told us he´d had an evangelist friend who was like, why are you letting the Mormons visit you, they all worship Joseph Smith and are devil worshippers and a bunch of crazy rumors, and he told us all that he replied to his friend: " ¿y vos has orado con todo tu corazon para saber que es la verdad?" (in English:" Have you really prayed to God with your whole heart to know what the truth is?"), and his friend was like" no", so he was like ¿pues entonces?! AKA" well what are you getting on my case for?"  It was so sassy, I just loved it.  It was so darling and so funny, he was just so sincere and pure. He´s really looking for an answer in his life.  He then continued telling us all he had told his friend pretty much the whole first vision right there.  We were just in awe.  That kid is brilliant and we´d only visited him 2 times!  WOW.  God really prepares the hearts of his children.  He then requested that we visit said  friend with him to help him know how to find his own answer from God. So after just 2 visits this kid is already like a little missionary.  I could just see right there what a fine missionary he will make one day.  GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR.  And he came to church on Sunday too!

In the lives of other investigators...we continued visiting with a young woman who comes from a SUPER catholic family, and they said if she keeps going to the Mormon church she´s not their daughter anymore.  I don´t understand it at all.  If all my little babies that I will one day have make the decision to leave and go lead other lives, sure I´ll be disappointed but they will always be my children and I´ll love them the same and want to be with them each Christmas and birthday and all the celebrations in between.  

She tells us that she really just wants to be where God wants her to be so she wants to really think over her decision and pray and study.   She told us she didn´t want us to come visit her for a time to just make the decision on her own. So, we made a plan with her that she and us will read the whole first book of Nephi at home this month.  We will read one chapter every day until we finish, praying and studying and fasting to help her with her decision and then the 30 of May we will return to visit her and she will tell us whether she´d like to be a Mormon or keep on being Catholic.  I´ve never felt so very helpless as a missionary with this great young lady who needs this gospel but it´s totally out of our hands at the moment and in the hands of the Lord.  But there´s no one I trust more than Him, so I know all will work out fine in the end.  She will get her answer.  I just know it.  

In other news... please do tell Janet Hays thanks so very much for the cupcake kits she sent, they were super delicious and it was a fabulous way to spend Mother´s Day.  

I love you all very very much, and hope that dad had a great birthday and Grace too!  You never really talked about how you celebrated that you people.  And Happy Mother´s Day to all the moms in the world!  My gratitude to my mother is eternal.  She has always been such a fine example to me of how to be more loving, more kind, more thoughtful, more forgiving, patient, enduring, willing to sacrifice, grateful and happy.  My mother taught me the great lesson of how it is to gain happiness in this life, and it is through one´s family.  When we sacrifice all we have for others, that is when we will find the greatest joy.  The gospel of Jesus Christ brings more peace than any other thing.  I chose who would be my mother long before I came to this world, so now my only work is to live worthy enough to win the reward to be with her forever, because everyone knows my mama will be going to heaven.  : )  Thank you mom for always being there for me and loving and supporting me in all I do, and for helping me to be all that I am.  

All my love

Hermana Johnson

Monday, June 9, 2014

Planning to Skype for Mother's Day! - May 5, 2014

All is well here in Potrerillos.  Nobody in our house had transfers. We all just stayed put the 4 of us. My goodness, Hermana Gardner and Hermana Mejia will be together for almost 5 months of their missions with this transfer!  Why is it that when I want transfers they never come and when I don't want transfers they always do?!  Don't get me wrong, I love love love my area.  And this Sunday we were fully determined to bring people to church!  We invited the whole world and called everyone five million times and passed by their houses and in the end 2 new investigators came to church for the first time.  We normally call people and everything but just this week we really went above and beyond to try to get them in the chapel.  And it really worked!  We invite visitors all the time but lately,  in the end, they always say no, we didn't get up on time or we're just too busy today.  But at last 2 new ones came.  We were praying and praying since Hermana Gardner and Mejia came. We gave them the majority of our investigators so we've been starting from square one without a ton of success.  But before we left the house on Sunday morning I had such a good feeling in my heart that I knew somebody would come, and sure enough that's how it happened.  

We wanted visitors at church on Sunday, but this isn't what we had in mind!

I absolutely love the children here in Honduras!
One of the investigators that came was Catholic but she doesn't really ever go.  When we were in divisions, Hermana Mejia and me just talked to her in the street and she said she'd love for us to come over so we went to her house and from there she has been progressing ridiculously fast.  She says she would like to find a church to join so she really is just looking for an answer of which to go to.  She's so darling, she's just 23 and her mom left them 7 years ago and since then she's raised her other two siblings and her son.  Her husband left for the US but he should be coming to visit real soon.  She's really just looking for the truth in her life and even though she was a bit ill she said she didn't want to miss going to church for the first time.  She's so cute. Every time we go to visit she brings out her Bible and Book of Mormon all ready to go, all studied and marked up and tells her siblings and friends you should listen to this too.  

In other news...the best news of the week is that we have entered into the rainy season, so it's gotten a bit cooler. Only high 80's to low 90's instead of high 90's to 100!

Sorry can't write that much today because I have to get Skype all figured out for Sunday.  I will be calling between 5 and 6.  That would just not be right of me as a missionary to ask you  to miss church or be late so you can talk to your missionary so we will do it as soon as your church is over.  I love you all!

Hermana Johnson

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Congratulations Mauricio! - April 28, 2014

Woooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.... I am at a loss of words that Hunter Johnson somehow ended up at the prom.  He was lookin pretty fly in his pics!   Also I am also very disappointed, as is mom, that he was unable to go for the big fancy group photos.  That is a priceless photo to have for forever!  Thane  really does sound like an awesome kid.  He´ll do well in Honduras!
Hunter looking dapper before the Prom

Hunter and his Prom date, Sam
Speaking of missionaries I am really amazed and just in awe of Uncle Dave´s decision to let the missionaries live with him and at NO cost!  I hope that goes really well.

The greatest news of this whole change finally came to pass, as one of my favorite investigator of all, Mauricio, finally got baptized this past Wednesday and his whole family came!  It was so fabulous!  He said the week before he prayed and told God he had a desire to be baptized. He asked if God could please help him get his mom to give her permission, and when he finished praying he felt a grand sense of relief and when he talked with her again the next day she said it was alright to go ahead and get baptized.  Now he really knows how it is that God answers our prayers!  He´s just so darn excited about his baptism and his confirmation and to finally be a member of the church.  And I´m pretty darn excited as well!  In his confirmation blessing they said he´d have the gift of tongues and would be able to learn English very well so that was pretty cool.  Tonight we will have family home evening with them and we´ll watch "The Testaments".   I really hate that movie, but for some reason it is super helpful for investigators and they all end up loving it and really understanding the importance of the Book of Mormon, so we´ll keep on using it.   I´m sorry  I am still  not a fan of most church movies.  Though I do absolutely love sharing the one about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and the others from the Doctrine and Covenants discs.  Those are all pretty well done.  
Mauricio and his sweet family on his baptism day
I am just having too much fun here with Hermana Gardner and Hermana Mejia with us.  My dream is that for changes we can just switch it up so that Mejia is my companion and Joaquin goes with Gardner so nobody has to leave.  We still don´t know what is going to happen.  We shall see.  I just pray Gardner doesn´t leave me because that would be really lame since we just got  together then just to get separated all over again.  I´ll let you know what happens.

I read a really good article from the January "Ensign" but I don´t remember who it´s by or what it is called.  It talks about repentance and about a young man who made some bad decisions but really made the effort to change and how it was the greatest gift he could ever give to his family.  Because in the moment he had to change it felt like a grand sacrifice and something so hard, but with time he realized it really was no sacrifice but just the right thing to do and the only thing to do to have God in his life so he could keep progressing.  The gospel really is the greatest blessing we can give to our families.  As with our investigators, they both loved drinking and grew up so poor with really difficult lives and parents that didn´t care much for them.  There are  just a whole lot of difficulties that have come their way, but as we visited them yesterday tears just came to their eyes as they said how much unity and love the gospel has brought to their whole house and family and how we are not a family because we share the same blood or whatever.  Our family is the people we want to be with forever and so we must fight for them and do all possible to follow God to earn the right to be with them forever.  The commandments of God are not restrictions.  They free us from all our vices and fill us with love so that peace may run more freely through our homes.  

One of our investigators told us how difficult it was for them to pay their tithing the first time because they just don´t have much money, but the very next day after she paid it she magically found some extra bills lying around in her house and she had no idea how they got there and where they could´ve come from and had no problem paying for food or for her kids for school and all was well.  She felt like she had really received so much more from God than that which she gave Him.  She sometimes goes out to sell lotions and perfumes and jewelry in the street, so that week as she went out to sell she prayed to God that she had the desire to go to the temple.  She knew she couldn´t enter as she hasn´t been baptized still, but " just to stand outside and see it would be a prize worth any sacrifice" she said.   So, she told herself "whatever money I earn today I will use for the goal to go to the temple," and she made a ton of money!   Her most successful day of the year!!  So she then had an idea to multiply the money she´d made and used the money she´d earn to make donuts and sell them in the street.  But she said that time as she left her house she wasn´t selling anything and was so sad but realized she´d forgotten to pray before she´d left. So, she said a little prayer in the street that God would guide her where to go to sell her donuts, and she sold every last one!  Her money multiplied 5 times more, and she had more than sufficient to go to the temple and with the extra bought food storage as she´d learned to do in Relief Society that week.  My goodness, she is just too darn of a powerhouse for me!!  I feel like I learn so much more from her experiences than I could ever teach  her.  She´s just 22 years old and has already suffered so much.  I feel so sad to hear her story, but she is a completely new person.  We really become new people for this gospel, and as we are baptized and start a new life, following our savior Jesus Christ.  

I know this church is true and that this gospel brings more happiness than any other thing ever could. I love you and will talk to you all again real soon!  

Hermana Johnson