Sunday, January 18, 2015

Getting Ready for Christmas - December 15, 2014

We don't have any time to write today because we went to the Parrot Farm today.  It's a famous exotic bird park here in Copan with all kinds of cool exotic birds besides parrots and tucans.

We made it back to our apartment safe and sound!

Look what was waiting for my companion and I when we arrived at the Mission Home for the Christmas party!! Seven packages from home!!  Giant thank you's to Uncle Dave, Grandma, Janet, and you!  I got all the darling toys everyone sent for the children here in Copan for Christmas as well as the white dress shirts and ties for the boys and men.  This Christmas is going to be so very special!  I am so excited to see their faces on Christmas.  I loved the story about you and Jann finding the toy cars after you had prayed for help.  Tell everyone thanks so much!  Now the trick was to transport all the packages from San Pedro Sula back to our apartment in Copan.  My companion and I had to hand carry them.  That's like from our house in Utah all the way to Las Vegas on windy mountain roads. We made it though and everything arrived in one piece...that is after several bus and taxi rides.

Hermana Moron and me at the mission Christmas party in San Pedro Sula

I took Ox on the trip and used him as a pillow since there wasn't room to pack my pillow with me.  Hermana Gardner and me with our Christmas antlers.

More of the Hermanas and I celebrating at the Mission Christmas Party
Hermana Gardner and I with President and Sister Dester
Hermana Moron and Elder Hernandez from Columbia making decorations for our branch Christmas Party
We had an activity for the primary children to make decorations for the branch Christmas Party.  Everything turned out so darling!

Visiting the Parrot Farm today in Copan

Unfortunately, one of the parrots got a hold of the brand new shirt you sent me and ate a few holes in it!

What a great P-day today with our district enjoying the beautiful birds in the bird park!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hunter Receives His Mission Call - December 8, 2014

Sorry I can't write much today because we are going on a two day vacation from Copan Ruins ha ha ha.  No really, this area is so far away from everyone and everything.  We have the Mission Christmas Celebration tomorrow, so today we have to go two or three hours to get to La Entrada de Copan.  Hermana Gardner and her companion will be heading up to the sisters' house there tonight as well.  So we will all pretty much be sleeping on the floor tonight.   The mission will be sending a bus to pick us up from the Entrada tomorrow at 6 in the morning... so fun.  Then after the Christmas celebration, we will all come back home and go chill out at Hermana Gardner's house in La Florida, sleeping on the floor again tomorrow, because we will have a district meeting bright and early Wednesday, and it just isn't worth it to go all the way to the ruins and then back to La Florida on Wednesday. There's not even a bus that leaves at that early hour if we even wanted to take it, so yeah.... we will be out on that adventure for two days.  The only thing I don't like so much about the buses here is that it really is the bumpiest, curviest ride you can go on in Honduras to get here!  Tons of people get sick.  They have paper bags like an airplane for people to barf in ha ha ha ha.  So the buses always smell really bad because everyone just gets so nauseated on the curvy jungle mountain trip.  
Addi, Hermana Johnson's 8 year old cousin who selflessly came up with the idea to make friendship bracelets for the kids in Honduras and send them to them.  She made plenty to share and brought PLENTY of joy and smiles to the children there.  See Hermana Johnson's comments about the bracelets in her post dated October 6, 2014.

As you can see, the Honduran children love their gift from a sweet girl in the good ole' USA

I guess my Christmas packages will be up in San Pedro waiting for me in the Christmas meeting tomorrow, so we'll take them from there.  I don't know how the others will get to me.  We shall see what happens.  

Don't worry about sending me jackets or blankets, there are a bunch of blankets in our house from other sisters, and blankets are super cheap here as well.  

We had two more little mice in our house this week.  Eeek!  Any ideas on how to get rid of them?    

I am so so, so excited for Hunter's Mission Call!!!!!!!!  It came on Thursday didn't it?  It was really weird because Wednesday night before going to bed I felt the most terrible nervous feeling like when I got my own mission call, so I felt like he hadn't opened anything yet. But then Thursday night I felt the most peaceful feeling before going to bed like I knew that he had opened it already and that he would be going just where he needed to be.  I felt like he would be happy there.  I am so happy for him.  He will do a wonderful job.  But if it's not too much to ask, I want you people to wait to buy suits and shampoo and ties and shoes and all those things until I get back because I want to help with all of that.  We can start shopping the very day I get back to be able to have it all ready early and good.
Another Johnson missionary going out to serve!!  Hunter is going to the Michigan Lansing Mission!

Thank you so much for all your love and support.  Congrats HUNTER!!!! WHOOOOOOOO, I am so excited for you.  Start studying up on those scriptures, and I'll be there to practice with you all day every day before you head off.  Good luck in your finals little buddy!   

Hermana Johnson
My Latest Adventure - December 1, 2014

Yes I did have transfers this time.  You all guessed right.  I am here at the Copan ruins.  It is absolutely gorgeous!  It is a massive tourist place like you wouldn't believe.  We actually run into people all the time from all over the world.  We meet visitors from the US, France, Great Britain... every day is a new adventure.  Google it!  It looks like you're in Italy almost because it has cobblestone roads and everything is on a massive hill.  I am going to have fiercer leg muscles than ever.  I will take some pics for next week.  Besides the ruins, people come to see a bird park... full of parrots and all types of exotic birds from Central America.  There are lots of castles too.  Where our apartment is, right below is a giant old castle.  That is just the norm here.  It is pretty safe here too.  I would totally take the family to visit here some day, it is so cool.  But no I do not want you to pick me up still.  The ruins are just like a ten minute walk from my house.  The food is amazing as well.  Tons of little pastry places.  I swear I'm in Europe.  And get this, for the first time in my entire mission I am cold.  I am so shocked. There are actually cold areas that exist in Honduras.  I have to sleep with like three blankets and walk around with a jacket most days.  A JACKET people!

Lookin' good for an early morning service project. Digging up all the pipes that bring and drain water from the kitchen sink and the shower... the whole water system of the house of a member. The system was taken apart and cleaned because it got clogged... they have to do that like every 2 or 3 years here.   Then put it together and buried it up again. It was like 3 or 4 feet underground so that's why everyone got so filthy digging it up and taking it apart.  Wow, look at all these new skills Hermana Johnson is learning!!

A fun and yummy surprise arrived from sweet Janet Hays
Uncle Dave having missionaries in his house really is blessing me.  My apartments get better and better and better.  In my current apartment there is hot water in the shower.  What?  And behind our house there is a washer and drier.  Sure we have to pay the apartment owner to use it, but a WASHER and DRIER!  That is so foreign.  I haven't used those in over a year.  I am so spoiled right now.  I think there are only two houses in the entire mission that have that.  How lucky am I?  

The Church is just starting here in Copan.  We have a little tiny branch and about 40 people come each Sunday.  So I received some new callings.  I am the new Primary president, and first counselor in the Relief Society.  My companion is the Young Women's president.  So I teach Primary every Sunday, while she teaches the youth and more than half the time I will be teaching Relief Society the third hour.  While she heads off to do singing time with the kids.  This branch does not exist without the help of the missionaries.  It is a lot of new responsibility, but I am excited.  I've actually always wanted to be in an area where the Church is just starting to grow as it is here.  We hold church meetings in a little brick house with a sign on front that has the name of the Church.  It has four rooms that we move around to have all the classes in.  There's a cute garden out back with a cement baptismal font.  The majority of members here don't actually even know how to read, so that is the biggest challenge.  They feel inadequate to have callings, so we are working with them to have more confidence so this branch can grow.  We are all kind of just learning together here.  I feel like perhaps more than half of the people here in Copan cannot read, so we are learning how to work around that.  

I am very excited to teach Primary though.  There are a lot of cute little kids.  I'm glad I helped mom out with Primary before coming to the mission because now I have lots of good ideas and a bit of experience to get me on top of things.  I do feel a bit inadequate teaching Relief Society though because I don't have kids or a job or much real life experience really, but Heavenly Father will help me out I know.  The ties and things will be of great use here because it is rare people come in Sunday dress.  Most people come in jeans and a t-shirt.  I think only our branch president and one other man has a white shirt and tie that they wear with jeans to their church meetings.
The kids loved the pirate patches Uncle Darren sent!

This Friday we will have an activity with the youth to make Christmas decorations for the church, so hopefully some things arrive in the package tomorrow to help with that.  My companion says usually things get to us like once every two weeks.  On December 9, we will have a Christmas conference with President Dester along with one other zone.  We are going to teach the kids to make wreaths and paper snowflakes and simple things like that.

I am with my first ever US companion.  She speaks Spanish perfectly because her parents immigrated to the US from Peru, but she was born in New York, and then moved to West Jordan, Utah when her parents got divorced when she was 13.  She has just one sister who is also serving a mission right now in California.    

My very first day that I got here, as we were eating dinner, I found a mouse in the house.  My companion, Hermana Moron, says she's never seen one in the house before.  The house was super clean when I arrived, so I don't know why it was in there.  Maybe it just got cold outside.  There are different creatures in each one of my areas.  In Campana, spiders; in Potrerillos, ants; in Puerto Cortes, cockroaches, scorpions and snakes; and here in Copan it looks like it'll be mice.  Hermana Moron was so scared she jumped up on a chair, and I had to get it out with a broom.  I have become an expert I feel now in pest control.  I have so many new talents thanks to the mission.  

Well I love you lots.  I wish I could be there for Hunter's mission call!  Please let me know all the details!  I wish next Monday could come already.  I love you lots.  Thanks so much for all your love and support!  I'm just so happy to be here.  I'll send lots of pics next Monday.  Hermana  Gardner is in my district!  Whooooooooooooooo.  Although all the areas are very far apart here.  Hermana Gardner is in Florida two hours away.  We have to go two hours for district meeting.  I think I am the very farthest area a sister can go to in the mission.  On Wednesday/Transfer Day, we just traveled all day long.  I left Puerto Cortes at 6 in the morning, and I didn't get to Copan until 7 at night.  SUPER off the map from everything else.  Some missionaries say that Copan is cursed because baptisms are extremely rare.  Maybe one every six months for the entire zone.  I feel like I'm in Europe more and more every day.  They say it's the Mayan curse for having the ruins so close by.   We'll see what happens.  

Love you lots!

Hermana Johnson