|This was the first picture Paul sent home today.|
|Good thing his mom has his passport at home. . .|
|Paul's pretty curious about this border. . .|
|Here he is: Elder Paul Johnson|
|Ever an airplane in the group of photos. He really should become a pilot, not a politician some day.|
|He was pretty excited to hit the 100 mile mark on his new bike. I suppose that is 100 miles since about September 4.|
Dear Family and Friends,
Transfer two has begun!
And I am...
Staying in Yuma! So relieved. I love Yuma. Elder Heathcote is leaving but everyone else is staying. In fact, they're adding two new members down in Somerton, the second closest town area to the border. But I'm staying in the "city" so I'm happy. That means my address is staying the same so feel free to send lots of letters!
I was flipping through the letters you have all sent me (thanks!) and I found one I didn't notice. At least a part of one I didn't notice. Mom, you mentioned a picture you got of Grandma and me hugging? Could you send that to me? Gracias.
I went down to San Luis this week on exchanges. That is the city on on on on on on the border. I asked Elder Allen what all the lights were outside the back window (They have a house down there for the missionaries. Place is a dump) and he said, "Oh, those are the border lights!" Two blocks away was the border. We went by the next morning and I got some pictures. Now I can plot my way to sneak across! They say that no one sneaks back into Mexico. The town is an interesting one with the majority of signs being in Spanish. Elder Sawyer was "born" there (started his mission) and loves the place. It has lots of fields and it is humbling to see the men out there working all day, literally 16 hours, in these fields. They take them out in buses with trailers of porta-johns. These guys do real work. I'm impressed by how hard they work to put food on their tables. I can't believe that anyone would think of them (mostly illegals) as bad people. They're so humble and rush to give us water even when they can't afford enough food for their families. They won't take no for an answer. I think we can all learn something from them.
I've mentioned in previous letters about how crazy things happen when we recount the story of the first vision and recite it word for word. When I was in San Luis, a really nice Mexican family, very obviously drunk, invited us in. As we recounted the vision, the spirit was strong. I realized nothing was happening as we were nearing the end of the quote. Right before we said the last two lines, the door flew open and four loud kids ran in. The spirit was gone and the opportunity was lost. he works hard against us. Just interesting how it happens over and over and over.
The stars in San Luis are also very bright. I was in awe and tried to remember all the constellations that I had memorized only last year for my Astronomy class. Couldn't do it. What is the constellation that looks like a W in the sky? The name starts with a C...
Nothing big happened this week crime wise except for police storming a car dealership with guns drawn three blocks from home. I wanted to go take pictures but Sawyer, probably wisely, said we should get to our lesson. But don't worry, we're safe.
We have met one of the most interesting religions down here. They are called the Ba'hai. They have a book out called "Vibrational Medicine" if someone wants to send me one :) We can read that stuff on P Day.
Lots of Jehovah's Witnesses. Jay-dubs. We went to one house to teach a lesson as JWs were walking out. It was hilarious, they gave us an awful look. Apparently they lose many investigators to us. I want to sit with one and talk about what they believe. Everytime we find a JW maganize on the road I pick it up and read it. Interesting, to say the least. But to each their own!
Can someone send me in-depth stories of family history from both sides of the family?
I saw a plane flying over us doing an aerial refueling the other day. I tried to snap a picture but it focused on the tree nearby.... They have been doing flight orientation this week so many many many T38s, F16, F18, KC130ish planes, helicopters I won't try to name but Chinook and Cobra and Blackhawk are there, and even radar planes. I always stop to look haha.
Highlite of this week was SPAGHETTI DINNERRRRRRRRRR. Everyday as we walk through the door to dinner I tell Sawyer, "Man, I'm feeling good about dinner tonight! Spaghetti time!" I'm always brutally wrong. I expected it when we ate with the white people and never got it. We ate with a Mexican family and they gave us a ton of spaghetti. Since we eat with the Sisters every night too (since we share the branch) they know that I'm always looking for spaghetti. As such, we all got a laugh out of it. They gave us a monster plate full of it since Mexicans eat so much. I downed it. When she asked if I want more and since you don't say no to Mexicans regarding food, I said I'd take a little bit. She came back with another plate full. I was full for the next 26 hours.
Which was convenient since the next day the whole Spanish branch leadership and missionaries did a long fast for our investigators.
I just realized I forgot to make a list of who wrote me this week. Let's see if I can remember. Thanks Mom, Eric, Will, Grandpa and Grandma Johnson, Natalia, Katie, Sister Hines, and I know I'm forgetting at least one person...sorry! I'll write you all back today, I think. Hopefully I'll have time. If not, you'll get a shorter letter.
Remember when I wrote about eating the Chil Pequin a few weeks ago? Today we're taking it to the next level with an Habanero. The Sisters and Elder Sawyer always laugh when the most subtle spices kill me so I figured I'd challenge them all. To the death. I'll write how it goes next week if I'm alive.
I was looking through the hymn book this week and noticed a hymn by Ralph Vaugn Williams. He has music in the movie Master and Commander! Who knew.
I've been working on Mexican slang this past week. I started out of curiosity but I've noticed that as you speak their spanish to them they open up a lot faster. One instance was down in San Luis at a family's house where the father served in McAllen, TX mission 10 years ago. They told me to pour the tang but I said that if I did I would spill everywhere. It was full to the brim and had no lip. They insisted, so I did. I spilled everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Super embarrassing. So I said, "que oso..." which literally translated to "what bear" but in essence means "how awkward." The dinner that had been a little slow beforehand livened up and it was way more exciting. So now I love slang and use it when appropriate. Think anyone can send me a Mexican slang book de buena gana?
We had an interesting experience last week at the Foothills open house. I don't remember if I wrote about it but what happened more-or-less was that at the open house, Elder Heathcote and I saw and open room and went into it. It was the bishops office. The building is brand new and the room was empty. Heathcote conducted a mock interview. The bishop walked in. Paused. Looked at us and said, "OUT!" loudly. We shuffled out. Fast-forward like a week and the zone leaders pull us aside and tell us how it is unfair for us to ruin their member trust and they expect us to apologize. Neither of us were very sorry since it was an open house, the door was open, and there was no one there. But we did as asked, or rather demanded, and apologized. The bishop freaked out. He went on to us about how immature we were, how he would never dream about stepping into someone else's office, "let alone a bishop's," how he hopes we have learned a valuable lesson, and that he hopes we grow up someday. Not a very cool guy. I told him we were sorry we offended him, that we took four hours out of our day to serve in a community 30 mins from our zone and that would not benefit our areas in the least and we were burning some steam as we waited for people to come. Not the coolest of guys and definitely not the kind of bishop with a sense of humor. Maybe he's right, maybe he's not. Either way we won't see him again.
At the YSA [Young Single Adult--ages 18-31 approx.] branch yesterday we were going around and getting to know the people a bit better. There are a few Marines. One came up to us and asked if we liked killing things. Obviously we said no. He said, word for word, "Killing bodies is fun, especially for your country. You should try it sometime." Even if he was kidding it would not have been funny. But he said it totally seriously. I was thinking about it last night and it just disgusted me. Killing is never good. Never. There's one person I would trust to decide who deserves to live or die and He doesnt' live on this earth. Bloodthirst has never done good for anyone. If we spent half of the money we do on learning new ways to kill people on how to teach people, this world would be such a better place... Just disgusting. I don't want someone who wants to kill people defending this country. That should be something you do solemnly and when forced to do so. Let's try to save lives, not end lives. Diplomacy!
I wrote out a minute ago a huge thing a ward member said about politics but I'll leave it out. I'll just leave it that out. But I will say that compromise always yields the better result and when emotions get involved [in politics], logic goes out the window. No one deserves to be called an idiot. Don't attack the person, challenge the ideas.
Can someone break down the word Proselyte and give an etymylogical definition? I think that's a word. I read in the Bible Dictionary that a proselyte was, if I remember, someone who left Judaism for Christianity.
What is a welfare sister?
Can someone tell me about the relationship between tanic acid and tea? Missionaries teach it all the time.
Classic moment during the YSA elders quorum lesson yesterday. The guy gets up to teach and says, "well, I realized thirty minutes ago I was teaching..." He taught for a bit, or rather read, and then said, "man I wish I'd highlighted some things." Hilarious. The YSA branch has some really racist people in it too.
Not a ton this week, mostly just pictures and anticipation surrounding transfers. If anyone has any questions, let me know. Thank you all for writing me and your prayers