Monday, August 25, 2014

My Prayer was Answered - July 21, 2014
Sorry I am not able to write much today.  We went to get corn rows done Honduran style on our hair today, and the lady came a whole hour late.  That´s just how things go in Honduras.   You know God really does send the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us and alert us when things are bad.  Because as I told you last week, last Sunday I had the most terrible feeling all day, and just couldn´t figure out why.  I felt that someone I loved was in trouble.  Remember how I asked in last week's e-mail home if everyone was alright because I just had a bad feeling that someone was not ok?  And you let me know that everyone back home was doing great.  Well, I was praying to find out who it was then and that I would be able to do something about it.  
 
Hermanas Johnson and Gardner first meeting as companions in the Mexico City Missionary Training Center - They hit it off immediately and were thrilled to be going to the same mission in Honduras together
 
Hermanas Johnson and Gardner the day they arrived in Honduras!
On Tuesday Hermana Luna and I had to go to the doctor.  As we were waiting in the doctor´s office, the mission nurse told me that Hermana Gardner was in the hospital with Dengue.  They said it had gotten so bad that she had started to bleed out of her nose.  It´s a terrible disease you get from mosquitoes and you can start bleeding out of your nose and ears if it´s really bad.  So that started on SUNDAY and they had to rush her immediately to the hospital from COPAN.  That´s the very farthest part of our mission, like 4 hours away.  It´s so far away, when missionaries are there they don´t receive the ruta.  Or rather, if someone from home sends a package or letter and the missionary is in Copan, they won´t receive anything until they are moved to another area.  It´s really tough.  So Hermana Gardner just happened to be in San Pedro in the hospital still so I was able to write her a card and buy her balloons to send with the nurse to take it to her.  Because when she´s better and goes back to Copan there´s nothing I can do.  Only emails because nothing arrives to that part of our mission.  They don´t even have district meetings or anything there.  You´re all on your own.  So Heavenly Father really answered my prayers to let me know who it was that was in trouble and to have the power to be able to do something for her.  It was really a miracle how it all worked out.  I have no idea how she is now, but I´m just grateful that Heavenly Father let things work out so perfectly.  

I love you all and know the Holy Ghost is there to guide us and that Heavenly Father always is there to listen to our prayers.

Hermana Johnson

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Foods of Honduras - July 14, 2014

Tell Mark´s family hi, and tell Addi thanks so much for being so very thoughtful to remember the kids in Honduras by volunteering to make them handmade bracelets!  Wow, so sweet!!  They will be so excited!  I hope Mark's family has a fun time visiting Utah this week.

And we thought the portions were large in the U.S.
 We went to a Chinese restaurant for P-day today!  There are actually quite a lot of people from China and the Philippines here in Honduras.  The Chinese own the port of Puerto Cortes... one of Honduras´s most valuable economic assets I would say and it all belongs to China.  It was pretty funny today at the restaurant as the Chinese waitress was having a hard time speaking Spanish and couldn´t understand Hermana Luna, but somehow understood my Spanish even though I´m a gringa (I don't know if I should take that as a compliment or not?)ha ha ha.  Things that only could happen in Honduras
 
This is what I eat for breakfast everyday...a beautiful bowl of mangos!

The baleadas of Honduras. A missionary favorite!! Very similar to a quesadilla in the U.S. only yummier!  Always accompanied by hot sauce and pepsi

A large amount of beverages come in a bag... water and milk always come in a bag such as this.  You just bite a whole in it and drink up!
Things are going great here.  .Thanks for all your love and support!  I love you all so very much.

Hermana Johnson
Happy Birthday Elise and Grandma! - July 7, 2014

Sounds like everything´s going well at home.  I´d like to wish Elise and Grandma a very happy birthday this week!  Grandma is always been there to support me in all my big dreams and always encourages me to be my best self and work hard.  Elise has always been a good example to me of staying strong in all life´s difficulties, even if she is a nut who only goes to the hairdresser to get half an inch cut off.  Yep, that sure sounds like Molly!    Jk but really I love you all and hope Grandma and Molly have a very special week.  I hope they get the birthday cards I sent in the mail. 

For the 4th of July, we decorated the house with the decorations mom sent and also ate the blue pop tarts she sent, which were wonderful.  I really liked those.  We shared the licorice in our district meeting so everyone was pretty excited about that.  And so mom knows, everything you sent got here perfectly safe and sound.   Also I wore red, white, and blue in honor of my country, but other than that it was just a regular day.  No BBQ or blowing things up to the tune of patriotic music.  Thanks mom for making all the holidays special for me and my companions. 

In all my mission, in each of the houses I have lived there has been some sort of pest problem that has been unique to each area.  In Campana we had a spider problem.  There were always tons of little tiny yellowish spiders everywhere, and I couldn't put my toothbrush in the same place two days in a row or they'd  start making a web there.  In Potrerillos we had a serious ant problem.  They would eat through plastic and cardboard to get to the food.  We´d have to put everything someplace high up or in the microwave or the refrigerator.  They made their anthill house in a pile of books in a cupboard of our house!  Here in Puerto Cortes the infestation which we face is cockroaches.  And they are pretty decent sized.  About 2 or 3 inches long.  Idk where they all come from.  Hermana Luna has a theory that they climb up from the shower drain but who knows.  We find a big one about ever other day, so it´s not unbearable but it can be bothersome.  They are just so nasty!

President Dester counseled us that if we want more inspiration and miracles from our Father in Heaven, we´ve got to write them down when they come.  To show Him how sacred we hold them that He may bless us with more.  I will admit, my entire life I have always hated, hated, hated keeping a journal.  Because I never plan to read it and I don't want anyone else to read it so why bother having one?  Because really as a teenage girl what would I have been writing about, just who I like or music or fashion or really just stupid things.  Better not to have that information written down so my siblings could  blackmail me with it.  And so I have never ever been a journal person.  Even as a missionary, I rarely, rarely write in my journal.  I have a study journal that I keep to write down scriptures I like or ways to teach, but never do I write the things that happen each day.  I only write that to you people each Monday since I know you're saving my letters to put them together in a book for my enjoyment later in life.  Far better because that way only the most important things will get put there and it'll be a much shorter easier way to capture my missionary life.  Since I do know this time of my life is something I will want to look back on in the future.   I know that's a terrible thing about me but that's how I've been for 10 months of missionary life.  But as President Dester was speaking, I had felt for a while that I wasn't really progressing, that I'd just hit a plateau and was staying the same.  So I needed to change.

What I've decided to do to keep progressing and have more miracles is every night now Hermana Luna and I make a list of all the miracles that happened that day.  It is a short and easy way for me to write in my journal DAILY and show Heavenly Father that I really am grateful for all the blessings He's given me.  I really can say in these short two weeks of doing this I've seen a lot more miracles happen.  The list has grown gradually longer and longer, so I know Heavenly Father is more pleased with us for taking the time to notice the small things that happen.  Because here in these emails I only tell you people the big miracles that happen, like so and so got baptized, or went to church or whatever, but now I am more aware of the smaller miracles like so and so read their Book of Mormon today, or this member took time off from work and family to accompany us on a visit.  Or so and so said their first prayer today.  It's not that before we didn't notice those things, but now that we are taking the time to write them down, we are trying to show our Heavenly Father how much we care for each individual and that we hope those miracles keep on happening to them.  Sorry if that was a really lame thing to tell you that big flaw about myself.  I know I still have great changes to make, but everybody´s got to start somewhere. 

Today for Pday the zone leaders rented out a hotel for the morning to go hang out and relax.  It has a soccer field, basketball court, volleyball court, every other type of sports court, billiards, ping pong, and is literally right on the beach.  I went to the beach today!  Though I couldn't enter the water, just walking in the sand and eating lunch out on the beach was great.  We played soccer and volleyball as a zone, so it was really fun.  I wish we could've stayed longer.  I just love, love, love going to the beach.  I hope we get to go again real soon.   

Beach Day, missionary style!
 Things have not been progressing much this week.  We didn't have a ton of success this week.  I felt like a missionary in America because almost no one wants to listen to us.  We just walk around all day knocking on doors pretty much.  But we've found a few good souls.  Never in my mission have I had to report such terrible stats to our leaders, but also of those who do receive us, I've never seen people more prepared for baptism and the gospel. So, God really has been answering our prayers.  For example, a sister that got baptized only two weeks ago has been called to be the new Relief Society president.  She is just way brilliant and excited about the gospel.  She will be a wonderful leader.  She is the convert missionaries dream of finding.  There are wonderful people here, we've just got to keep on digging to find a few more. 

Creating our own fun!
I am so very grateful to be here.  I feel just lucky to be a part of it all.  I'm sorry I am not a perfect missionary.  I want so very much to bless your lives in every way that I can, and for that desire I am far away from you right now.   But I love you all so very, very much and hope you know that we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who is in fact perfect in every way.  We have a Father in Heaven who also wants to bless us in every way possible, and for that is away from us for a time, that we may learn and grow and be the best we can be.  May we do all He asks of us.  And not take for granted the perfect example His Son Jesus Christ has given us.  May this time of separation, meant for our own good, not be in vain. 

All my love!  I shall be praying for you always, and ask that you continue doing the same for me.

Hermana Johnson

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Happy Birthday America! - June 30, 2014
 
I have some missionary stats for you in case you were wondering. There are currently about 85000 missionaries worldwide. When President Dester arrived in July of last year, the San Pedro Sula West Mission was brand new and had 135 missionaries. In my mission currently, there are 218 missionaries, and of those, 66 have 3 months in the mission or less.  They told us this information when we attended a special conference with Elder Ochoa, the Area President for Central America with all the missionaries in the whole mission present. 


Cool bird wall in Santa Cruz
Shout out to mom, we took our pic with a woodpecker, which believe it or not we have those at our house as well!
It is always super special to have everyone together as that rarely happens.  Only 2 times since I´ve been here.  The apostle in charge of supervising the growth of Central America is Elder Cook.   Elder Cook says he wants to see many more baptisms in this part of the world, so Elder Ochoa spoke to us about the importance of helping others develop faith in Jesus Christ.  We as missionaries many times help our investigators develop faith in us... faith in us as we say good things, teach well, that we know the scriptures well, etc. but really what they need is faith in Jesus Christ.  All they need to know about us is that it was Him that sent us.  It shouldn´t matter to us if they even remember our names 10 years from now.  As long as they always remember the promise they make as they are baptized for now and the rest of their lives.  I really liked that as I feel like we as missionaries sometimes become afraid of offending people, as we want to be good friends with those we visit, or that we want those we teach to always remember us and think the best of us.  While we need to be good examples, we have to worry a little more about the relationship of the investigator with Jesus Christ and developing their faith in him.  May we all have a little less faith in ourselves and a little more in Jesus Christ. 
 
 Funny story...  Hermana Gardner needed to have a skirt mended so she took it to a member, and the member asked," now what are you going to wear with it?"and Hermana G. was like "Well I don´t really have tons of green. I´ll go find something," and the lady was like "no no no that will just not do," so the lady brought her this Las Vegas t-shirt to wear to church for Sunday.  Sister G. tried to explain Las Vegas isn´t the greatest place, but the lady insisted that it was a beautiful combination and so that's what Hermana G. wore to church last Sunday! ha ha ha Only in Honduras!  
So mom knows, the 4th of July package arrived this week!  It was so, so darling I just loved it.  Thanks for sending the Ensigns to us.  We have long been awaiting their arrival.  Also, thanks a bunch for the sunscreen and the shirt and all the darling American goodies you sent me.  Thanks for all your love and support.  I  also got Hunter´s graduation announcement.  Looking good!  The shoes were the best surprise of all.  Loving them! 
 
Well, have to go, I´ll write more next week hopefully!  Praying for you always.

Hermana Johnson

Monday, August 11, 2014

10 Months in the Mission Field! - June 23, 2014

Hermana Johnson has hit the 10 month mark in the mission field!
In response to mom's comment that she read on a mission blog that a lot of the missionaries in Honduras live in gated communities and wondered if that was true ...
Gated communities..... I don´t know a single missionary here that lives in a gated community.   Our houses are nice, you have all you need.... only differences with America is there is no air conditioning, the water stops coming at times, the power goes out a lot more often, and you wash your clothes in a pila in the backyard.  It´s like America 100 years ago.  But the poorest of the poor, people that literally live in one room shacks made from tree branches with tin walls still seem to have a TV inside and cell phones.... that´s the economic mystery of the day.
You also asked about our neighbor lady´s dog.... yes she has a crazy attack dog but she keeps it tied up all day long and when we get home at night she yells" Are you going to leave any more?"  and if we say "no" she lets it loose.  So we can´t go outside at night.  She has another dog that is also crazy mean until you give it food.  So we fed it tamales so it would love us, and now it just wags it's tail  smiling every time it sees us, and if it's not tied up it comes into our house to visit us.  It´s name is Simba, yes as in the Lion King if you wanted to know.  Our neighbor lady is like grandma's age, so her daughter in law and granddaughter live with her.   Her granddaughter is named Naomi and also if  she is let loose outdoors comes looking for us in our house, and bangs on the front door til we come say hi. She is like 1 year old.  She is so darling.

Simba the dog who comes to visit us at our house everyday

 I hope that answers all your questions about the neighbor lady....
Things were kind of weird this week as we almost didn´t go visiting at all.  On Tuesday we had to go to Hermana Luna´s doctor´s appointment.  On Wednesday we had to go all the way to San Pedro again to get Hermana Luna´s residency card. On Friday Honduras was playing in the world cup so we couldn´t leave the house... every time Honduras plays in the world championship we have to be locked up in our house as there are just a few too many drunk people and gunshots outside.  We were kind of frustrated as Friday we had a baptism planned and we told our leaders, but they said under no circumstances could we leave our house during the game!  So, the baptism was moved to Sunday and everything went very well.  On Saturday we spent all morning cleaning the baptismal font because it was just dirty dirty dirty.  I think nobody´s cleaned that thing since they first built the chapel ha ha ha ewwww.  But now it is beautiful.  So this week has been pretty odd.....But it
 helps a ton that the baptism of hermana Yolany finally came to pass yesterday.   

Hermana Johnson's new companion - Hermana Luna from Bolivia
Also... hermana Yolany that got baptized yesterday is a wonderful lady.  A true convert.  Her son  came to church for the first time yesterday so we´ve even got a baptism date set for him already for the 12 of July.  She did say something pretty funny the first time I met her.... She was talking about how Hermana Grondel that was here before me had a lot more redness in her skin and that I have much more even whiteness.  Well, that started her theory that there are the trueblood gringos and the mixed gringos that aren´t true gringos.  The true gringos are the whitest of the white that have according to her, always lived in America and are the ancestors of the american people, whereas those white folk who have more redness in their skin are not real gringos, they are immitators that came over to the US from the European countries.  And so I am one of the true original gringos and Hermana Grondel is a fake and that explains why her skin is redder than mine according to Hermana Yolany ha ha ha !   I´m just gonna let that one fly!! 
 
Congrats to everyone that got their mission calls this week.  That´s pretty fab.  We had zero hermanas come last change.  Just 5 elders.  But President said a group of new sisters should be coming at last after this grand space of time that we haven´t really had any.  Thanks so much for all your love and support.  Your prayers are really working!  We are finding new people to help each day.  A new family came to church for the first time on Sunday so that was pretty exciting.  They liked it a lot so they´´ll be coming back next week!  It feels so great to be able to help a whole family to come unto Christ, so that they can support each other and stay strong together living the gospel.  That´s always our goal as missionaries is to find families, and here we are lucky to have several that we are working with.  Family is the most important of all!

My last night in Potrerillos celebrating Hermana Nena's birthday!  I will miss her so, she is like a mother to all of us missionaries.  Hence the name we call her is Mama Nena.
I love you all.  Thanks for all you do for me every day!  Thanks for thinking and caring about me so darn much.  I´ll never be able to thank you enough. 
Hermana Johnson