Thursday, October 4, 2012

24 September 2012

Dear everyone,

I usually send the email on Mondays around 10:45-11 am. Look for them then, mom.

Mom, the ties that you ordered at the MTC are here haha. They're definitely unique ties. I don't think anyone will forget them haha. Thank you for sending them. Speaking of ties, do you think you could send me a knot cheat sheet? The one I've tied forever gets loose throughout the day, kind of a hassle. 
I don't know if I mentioned this last week but I figured out that Elder Sawyer dated and is writing one of my Political Science TAs. I saw a letter on his desk from her and asked if it was the same person who TA'd for comparative politics. Small world, eh?
This was definitely a crazy week. Last Tuesday we had interviews with President Howes. He drove 4 hours from Tempe to Yuma and spent 2 days here doing trainings, interviews, and whoknowswhatelse. In the days preceding his arrival, the zone leaders started pushing our zone of 5 companionships to pick up the baptisms. In September, to date today, we've had 3. It looks like we'll get 8 this weekend, none for Elder Sawyer and I. When we started talking about them coming to church (have to come at least twice), President Howes gave them permission to baptize them and confirm them "fontside" on their second Sunday. If that dosen't make sense, I'll try to clarify: attend 1 week, attend 2 week, baptize that day, confirm that day. I already felt weird about doing it after 2 weeks and not 3 but the idea of baptizing on that second S
unday made me really uncomfortable. I brought up my point during district meeting with the missionaries the day before interviews. During interviews I brought it up too. What was supposed to be a 30 min. interview turned into a 1.5 hour one haha. I told the President I didn't know how to voice my concerns to him, he said just be bold. I did. He wasn't too happy. I said I'd rather baptize for retention and get 3 total in one month and that it felt like we were just pushing for a month's goal. I then said if I baptize 2 people durning my entire mission and both stay active, I'll be more happy then if I baptize 3 and 2 stay active. He wasn't too happy about that either. So we'll see how that progresses. Elder Sawyer and I put a goal for 3 baptisms this month. He asked me why we didn't achieve it. I said, 'sometimes, setting high helps you work harder. You may not hit the goal but you will have worked harder than you did otherwise.' What's that saying, aim for the moon, that way when you miss, you still hit the stars? or something. He said we should have gotten 3 baptisms this month anyway. Yeah, we'll see what happens with that. I'm all for baptisms but not rushing people through.
On a different note, the new Scion FRS is a sweet car. Pretty athletic looking car.
While we were teaching one of our investigators about the plan of salvation - using Spencer's drawing might I add - they asked lots of questions about the veil [between our pre-earth life and mortality on earth]. While thinking, this thought popped into my head, "We have to forget so we can learn to remember." Pretty cool idea, I thought. It's all about practicing that faith and having that hope that there is something else. If you have that, you'll come to know that there is something else.
We had a really good experience this week with one of our investigators. I'l preface it with what brought it about. During personal study that morning, I was reading in Revelation. I was falling asleep and what better to keep you awake than ~12 chapters of pure confusion. For some reason I felt like I should read Joseph Smith History. I've never read it before. I was reading in verses 1-20. Verses 11-13 and 15-18 stuck out to me for a reason I did not yet know. I marked them, wrote a little note, then closed my book and read something else. I told Elder Sawyer that morning that I felt we should share those scriptuers with our investigator. (I'm not supposed to name the investigators...) Fast forward to the lesson. That day, we were planning to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and those JSH (Joseph Smith History) scriptures did not relate at all. I still felt I should share them. I paused our lesson in the middle and read those scriptures written above. As I was about to start reading the fisrt vision part, there were very loud knocks on the door. You hear about how crazy things happen before the first vision is recounted. I've heard of houses burning down, power going out, people coming over etc. Anyway, her friend had come over and wanted to do something but we eventually got things settled again. I started over. When I finished reading said verses, I looked up and she, in tears, said, "funny that you say that." We asked why and she said it was too personal. Elder Sawyer then said that I had told him that morning that we should read it to her even though it was unrelated to the lesson. She broke down for a few minutes. I was awestruck. The house was silent for a few minutes. We found out yesterday why it was "funny that we say that" but that probably isn't appropriate to share. Regardless, it was an amazing experience about how prayers can be answered through other people and how revelation works. I'm still in awe over it. 
We biked about 35 miles this week. We're sitting at just over 50 total miles. We are averaging 10mph each day which isn't bad considering the heat. When we're pulling into our apts at 9pm, the stores that have thermometers outside say it's just under 100. Joy.
Roland, did you know Samurai Gonez? He served in McAllen, TX and is from Yuma. We saw his name on the stake center mission board. Just curious.
I learned this week that 75% of Yuma speaks spanish. Yuma also apparently produces 80% of the US' lettuce in the winter time. I keep hearing that the winter is to die for. Time will tell.
As we were going around talking to people this week, we biked to a house and started talking to the father on the "stoop." The kids ran up to us and said, "Please don't arrest papa!" Totally sketchy. Lots of people run when they see us because they think we're border patrol or police. I'm sayin we should proselyte in street clothes! We had a running across with the Border Patrol (BP) two nights ago. BP was in an alley talking to a guy and we, out of curiosity, biked past them. The BP officers looked at us and said we shouldn't be in that neighborhood. Nothing too serious, I know, but still good times. Those guys are intense when they're on duty.
Keep hearing about "your candidate Romney." Yup.
My first night in the field we were eating at a members house and somehow the rapper Drake came up. I said, "El es mi hombre!" Everyone looked at me for a second and then just laughed. Apparently that has some gay connotations. But they didn't tell me that until after I had also said, "Jesus es mi hombre!"
We went on exchanges this week. I went up with Elder Berriman, ZL1, in the foothills. He's english and the whole area is english. It was nice speaking a language I have more of a grip on. But white people are crazy! One woman swerved her car towards us when she saw us then drove away laughing, lots of yelling etc. Fun times for sure! Latinos are way nicer. At least they listen. When we got there to the trailer that the Elders there live in, Berriman realized he had lost the meal calendar so he called a recent covnert and asked if she could give us dinner. We had cheese/lettuce/mustard/onion/tomato/ham sandwiches. At 5:57 we got a phone call from an angry woman saying, "So Elders, still planning on coming over tonight?" Woops. We sprinted over there. She wasn't very happy, especially since she had her nonmember friends for dinner over that night. Bad first impression. We sat down and ate some stuff, I still don't know what and probably better that way, and talked for a bit. They were crazy. Told stories of calling the cops and having her daughter arrested, dragging her daughter out of the mall literally by her hair, etc. She said that someone better call CPS if she ever catches her daughter with a loaded gun/alcohol again. Interesting dinner.
We biked through a meth neighborhood the other day. Smelled just like it! We went up to talk to two people (it was 8pm, no streetlights) and they jumped so high. Once they realized we weren't the powleez they laughed and talked for a bit. They were pretty out of it. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they were...tired...
It's always interesting when we see 2+ big SUVs and 2+ cop cars pull out of different streets, all with sirens on, and chase down a single street. One can only imagine what's going on. That happened last night in our apt complex, too! But not SUVs, just fire trucks, ambulence, and the fuzz. We biked up because we thought our home could be on fire but luckily it was one just past us. Luckily for us, that is. And it wasn't even a fire. They ran in with a stretcher but came out with no one. Guess they lived. 
I was reading through my MTC journal entries the other day and came upon this gem. "Today started as a normal day. Actually, it ended as one too." 
When urging people in the ward/branch to register to vote yesterday at Church (the LDS church is nonpartisan but encourages all to register to vote and vote before general elections. Doesn't endorse a candidate) the guy said, "make sure you THINK about everything you say. That said, is it True, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessarry, is it Kind? Word! More people need to do that. I'm talking to you, drunk man on the corner yelling things about this election!
I discovered the Bible Dictionary this week. What a treasure trove! That should be one of the years of seminary alone! It's like a mini Wikipedia! 
Eric and Will might appreciate this one: there are hundreds of lizards that live around our appartments. Apparently they're easy to catch w/ a noose thing. What would you do if I sent you a letter with a lizard in it? Haha
It's almost snowbird season! Lots of old people move down here during the winter because he's "heavenly" here. There are a couple branchs they make of 600+ people just of snowbirds. They're called that since they leave the snow and "migrate" to Yuma. It's also almost planting season. That means everyone who sits at home watching TV, literally, all day are going to be working 14+ hour days. Guess it'll be harder to find those latinos who already go to bed at 8pm. You'd like that, mom. They're out of work for 4 months of the year then work all day er'eday for 8 or so. There are also a lot of date farms.
Yesterday I spilled lemonade all over my dinner plate. That was awkward. 
I heard this week that the Pope, when called, is baptized for [by---thus begins Paul's spanglish!] immersion. Can anyone confirm?
Hot week this week. We biked a couple days here and there for half days at a time. One day was 120.6 F. I spilled some water on the ground on accident but ~10 seconds when I looked down it was gone. 
Speaking of evaporation, I heard a good talk from Holland at the MTC that I just remembered. He was talking about how at 211 F, water doesn't boil, no steam is produced. Without that last one degree, nothing will change. Such is us. If we don't put in that little bit extra of effort, nothing will change. But when we do, we get results. 
And on the other extreme, why does water get less dense when it freezes?
Thank you Tori, Doug, Dad, Eric x2, Will, Aunt Andra, Grandpa J, and Mom for the letters! They keep me going! It's always exciting to open that mailbox and come out with paper gold. I hope I have time to write everyone back today. I'lll make it happen.
Love you all so much, take care,
Elder Johnson

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