Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Father's Day! - June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day first off to dad!   

Well, to let you know what happened with transfers this week.... Yes I did have transfers.  I was so very disappointed to leave my last area.  I so wanted to stay just one more change over in Potrerillos. I really loved it there.  Now I have returned to where I started pretty much.  Remember  when I was in Campana I would go every single week to a city called Puerto Cortes that was about half hour away to write and buy groceries?  Well, that's where I'm serving now, here in Puerto Cortes!  I never thought I'd ever come back here.  It's super strange to be here once more.  I actually run into people from Campana all the time too as they come here to grocery shop or whatever.  It is fun to see them again.  It is so beautiful here.  It's actually an area with a bit more money so some of the streets are even like regular American streets with asphalt and street lights and cars.  It was quite shocking.  I've only walked up mountains and dirt roads for so long to be on a normal sidewalk takes some getting used to.   The houses are so darling.  All different colors and beachy.  My house is literally a ten to 15 minute walk away from the beach.  Pretty sweet.  It's still hot here but much cooler than Potrerillos so that's a good thing.  Also Wendy's and Pizza Hut and all the American places are like a 10 to 15 minute walk.  So, the days we don't have lunch we can walk on over to Burger King to grab a bite like those missionaries in the USA can!   Pretty sweet!  Though I'm not sure  I like that adjustment.  I kind of liked the adventure of just chilling out on dirt roads and having to take a bus 20 minutes to get to anything similar to American civilization. 

Hermana Johnson with the awesome missionaries in her district!
My new companion is Hermana Luna from Bolivia. She is the first person ever to serve a mission from her ward back home!  She is 22 and has been out in the mission field 7 or 8 months. Her mother and brother are the only members in her family. She is great because she is ready and willing to work super hard. 

Our house is pretty nice inside.  I just miss my house in Potrerillos where we went out every night the four of us to hang out in our hammocks and eat mangos.  Here we can't be outside at night as our neighbor lets her super mean dog out.  Our house is split into 2 apartments surrounded by one giant gate.  Potrerillos was probably one of  the most special times I'll have on my mission.... but I can't think like that!  Every day and every area brings something new and special.  And it's nice to have an actual shower now and not have to shower with a bucket anymore. Ha ha ha, there you have it...  silver lining.

Hermana Jocelyn and her "super cool tortilla making machine"!
In other news... this area is struggling.  The ward is at risk of becoming just a branch because attendance is very low these days.  The zone leaders work here as well, so it's nice to be working with good elders. The only problem is they leave all the time to do divisions so they're not here much to help.  I feel like this area is well prepared to grow and has a lot of potential.  Everyone we talk to receives us more than in any other area I've had so hopefully very soon things can start progressing.  I really don't have a lot of other news, just transfers.  I'll start getting to know everything and everyone better now to be able to share some good thoughts. 

One request.  Next time you ship a package could you please include my extra pair of sandals I left behind.  The pair here has finally fallen apart.  My strap completely rotted from all the walking, water, and sun. Pretty good timing since I got two pair and made it just over the half way mark with my first pair of shoes.  I guess I'm on the downhill now!

Hermana Johnson's sandals have seen better days!  Cross your fingers that the new pair arrives.
Thanks for all your love and support for me!  I love you very much!

Hermana Johnson 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Congratulations to Javier - June 9, 2014

This week was pretty good.   Transfers are this Wednesday and they won´t tell us who is leaving until this evening.  Although President revealed to Hermana Gardner in her weekly letter that it was 95% certain that she would be leaving, so that´s pretty much set.  We´ll see what happens tonight...I really would like to stay here with Hermana Mejia as my companion.  How happy I would be!  I doubt that will happen.  I´ll keep you posted.                                                                                            

Javier got baptized on Saturday and it was probably one of the best baptisms I´ve been to in my whole mission.  The spirit was so very strong and lots of people came to support him.  He went to change into his white clothes for the baptism, and when he came out, he just started  weeping.  He was so happy and so excited to be baptized and knew in his heart that that is where he was meant to be and so he cried.  It even made me cry a little bit as well.  To see a 15 year old kid be so thrilled to make this great step in his life and know that this is what his Heavenly Father wants from him, was such a strong testimony to me.  This gospel changes our lives forever.  There is no more darkness, no more confusion, no more worry.  We know that we are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father that loves us so much that we have prophets and apostles that lead and guide us right now.  The peace the gospel brings to the hearts of those that accept it cannot be brought by any other thing, and to see the sweet manner that Javier treasured so greatly that day made me realize even more how very blessed I have been all my life to have this message, and the great importance to share it with all.  

Javier's baptism day with Hermana Johnson and Hermana Joaquin
Javier and his family

I liked Elder Holland´s message from the this month´s Liahona about being more Christlike and sharing the gospel.  He touched on the topic of how many times we feel like we should just let people live their lives as they want to.  If we try to make other people live like we do aren´t we being judgemental or self righteous?  Doesn´t everyone have their free agency?  He said the following... ¨It is a little like a teenager saying, ¨Now that I can drive, I know I am supposed to stop at a red light, but do we really have to be judgmental and try to get everyone else to stop at red lights? Does everyone have to do what we do?  Don´t others have their agency?  Must they behave as we do?¨ You then have to explain why, yes, we do hope all will stop at a red light.  And you have to do this without demeaning those who transgress or who believe differently than we believe because, yes, they do have their moral agency.¨

I really liked the way he put it because just as we hope everyone will live the laws of the land like stopping at a red light for the safety of others, we should hope as well that all will live the laws of our Father in Heaven.  The laws of our Heavenly Father bring even greater consequences, and as we try to help others live them with love and kindness, this is no matter of force, we will help not only the individual but all those around them.  

I liked the example of one of our elders in our district.  The story of how he came to know the gospel is a great example for all of us.  His cousin was a member, and called him up one day to invite him to go see a movie.  When the elder asked what movie they were going to see, his cousin said, don´t worry we can choose when we get there, I´ll even buy your ticket just come with me.  So he said alright, sounds great.  His cousin picked him up and took him to the chapel so the elder was all confused and a little frustrated and was like, why did you bring me here with all these crazy Mormons?  The so called movie he had invited him to was General Conference.  His cousin told him, I love you so much I wanted to give you the best ticket I could offer, and it´s here to this gospel.  So he stayed to watch, and as the elder heard the prophets and apostles speak he said he knew in his heart that they were called of God and was soon baptized, and now that it´s been just a little over a year he´s here in the mission.  When we share the gospel in this manner we are really being Christlike.  Christ was the greatest missionary the world has ever had.  (and I as a missionary give my permission to you all that you may make a little white lie as this kid did if it means your friends and family will arrive at church) 

Funny things from this week.... a man on the bus asked our district leader, Elder Pace (yes the same Elder Pace was my very first district leader in Campana) if he´d like to buy a watch from him.  Elder Pace was like no thanks I already have one.  But the man was like, well to have 2 watches really is a great option you would look great.  But Elder Pace was like, why would I want 2 watches? So the man answered, so you can know the time in 2 different countries as if the answer was obvious... and no one talked after that! ha ha ha ha.   

Hermana Johnson makes a mighty fine tortilla!

Also, prayers in the lessons these days have just been so sweet.  One investigator this week literally blessed every animal he could think of.  He blessed the dogs, cats, frogs, hamsters, parrots.... the list was quite long.  And at the very end he said  " God, I now give you a hug.  Amen".  These people that say these prayers really are great, they pray with such sincerity, like they really are talking with their Father in Heaven.   We should all feel free to say what we need to to our Heavenly Father.  

Also, a cute idea for missionary moms.... Hermana Gardner´s mom has of course her daughter and one other son in the mission.  So, to remember them she has a chain necklace that has 2 little clocks on it.  One clock with the time of Honduras and the other clock with the time of Missouri where her son is serving.  I thought it was darling, a more subtle, but cute way to think of your kids.   

In other good news...Our investigator went to church again on Sunday all by herself.  No one had to stop by or anything and she even invited us to her Sister´s birthday and gave us a super delicious lunch.  Her husband comes to visit the 28 of June and she´s already invited us the day of to come teach him as well.  Life is good in the mission.  Tons of people are coming to church these days.  We have so many investigators they almost don´t even fit in our class of Gospel Principles.  Whoooooooo!  
 Thanks for all your love and support!   I love you all!

Love, Hermana Johnson