Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy New Year! -  December 29, 2014

Just wanted to take a small moment to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  Welcome to 2015.  I hope all are well.  Thank you so, so very much for all the awesome Christmas gifts.  Thanks for all those who sent little toys and clothes for the people of Honduras.  They absolutely loved it all!  That was the greatest Christmas ever.  Tell Uncle Dave thanks for all the treats.... I eat the barbeque sauce with my chicken nuggets every day for lunch now, and I loved my Duck Dynasty t-shirt.  Also tell Grandma thanks for all she sent.  I loved the makeup and pink shirt especially.  Very trendy grandma!
LOVED my Christmas banner with pictures of so many people I love wishing me Feliz Navidad!

We have lots of really cool families here in our branch.  The members of the Hernandez family are the most recent converts that just got married and baptized back in November.  Brother Hernandez participated for his very first time in blessing the sacrament and gave a talk in church two Sundays ago, and then his wife gave her very first talk just yesterday.  They are on fire!  Their family really has an amazing story. They have been together for 14 years.  Hermano Hernandez's is a stone sculptor, he is amazingly talented.  They have five darling little kids.  They live on a little cliff on the side of a river.   People  do give him a really hard time about being a Mormon, saying he's no longer a real man because he doesn't drink anymore and a bunch of terrible things.  But when people go off like that, saying "Oh I see you've made yourself a Mormon now"... he just responds," yep 100 percent!"  Their family is really helping the branch to grow and get excited in missionary work.


                                                                       
Some of the Hernandez children all dressed up for the holidays.  Notice the amazing crocodile in the background their father sculpted from stone.




 

Our darling Primary and me as the Primary President (how crazy is that?)  Some of the decorations the children made to decorate our Primary room just like I made when I was in elementary school
Hermana Moron and I in our little apartment on Christmas Eve

For example, we gave Hermana Hernandez a Book of Mormon to gift to a friend of her choice.  She said she prayed and prayed for someone to come along who would really love and respect the book and hold it dear as she does.  So another amazing person that we are now teaching, showed up.  He recently survived a huge gang attack on him and his brother.  They murdered his brother right in front of him and handed him the dead body, then tried to kill him as well.  He has big scars on his forehead and the side of his face and is still healing up from a bullet wound on his side.  He said it was the hardest thing in his life so he decided to move far away and go someplace new.  He actually was born here but went away at age 13 and is right now returning to where he grew up.  He said he knows God saved his life for a purpose, so that he could better serve others.  He says he loves our church and feels it is where he is meant to be, and has already come two Sundays. 
These darling Christmas tree garlands were hung across the cobblestone streets all over our city and made everything look so fun and festive for the Holidays

Also there is an  Hermana we are teaching.  She is only 14 and walks an hour and a half all by herself with her little brother to go to church each Sunday.  A lot of members walk a long way to get here each week.  And this Sunday I don't even know how she did it, but she came in stiletto heels from the mountain where she lives all that way.  I don't know how people can walk in heels here without breaking a leg, each Sunday she passes by for several of her neighbors inviting them to come as well, even though each Sunday they say no, she passes by them without fail so that someday God can soften their heart and they will show up.  FUTURE MISSIONARY THIS CHICK, and she was inactive, but we just found her one day in the house of one of our investigators, and we invited her anew to come back.  She hasn't gone since she was 8 or 9 and was baptized, but now she has been coming every Sunday and to all the activities since I've been here.  She really has a true testimony now and says she will never miss again.  
Doing a little service Christmas morning with the Elders. Shucking corn then removing the kernels in preparation for tortillas.

So that's a quick summary of a few cool people we are visiting here in Copan.  Really I do love it here and feel very blessed to work with this little branch.  Thank you so much for all your love and support!  I love you all!  Happy New Year!

Hermana Johnson

PS: A cool thought I liked from our mission's Christmas conference came from the President's wife.  She talked about Peter the apostle.  She told about the story when Peter went out to walk on water with the Savior but started to sink.  She said sometimes we don't give Peter enough credit.  After all he was the only one even brave enough to get out of the boat and who had the faith to believe it possible to do as the Savior was doing.  She said he had a lot of faith to go out there, he just started to get nervous and fear and forgot the Savior was there beside him, as we often do. When troubles come along we start to get nervous and freak out, and forget how far we've come.  We feel it safer to return to the person we were before and forget that the Savior is always there to help us.  His hand is always outstretched towards us.  We just need to remember that He is always there.  Perhaps when the Savior told Peter not to doubt and be of little faith, perhaps it wasn't just to chastise him as we often think, but perhaps he was more lovingly trying to tell him, "Don't give up now, I'm right here with you. I'm with you all the way to guide you, just keep walking."  So may we remember the Lord is with us always.  Don't freak out if you feel you are sinking in your life, just remember He is there to help us, and we need to remember how far we've already come.  Give yourself credit for the work done and realize how strong you've been before, and see how strong you can become if you just stay focused on the Lord.

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