Sunday, June 23, 2013

17 June 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

We're both staying in Chandler and together! Wooooo! The phone calls didn't come until this morning. More on that later.

This was a tough week. Elder Diaz got pretty sick so we stayed inside for two days and we didn't teach many lessons. Fortunately he's feeling better now, a CT scan, ultrasound, and several blood tests later. They were pretty worried about his liver but fortunately he's good to go. Somehow the relief society found out and we got some concerned phone calls asking if we needed anything. It was cool to be on the other side of the phone and feel the love of the ward.

We didn't have a baptism this week...He cancelled the morning of. Three times now I've had a baptism cancel within 24 hours of the baptism. Here's the full story:

We have taught him every day for three weeks and his entire life has changed for the better. From his personal life to his apartment which has been cleaned up and refurnished, his life has done a complete 180. The gospel has saved his life in more than one way. He loved church. He loved the members. On Friday we went to the temple with him and he loved it. LOVED it. "I'm bringing my kids here in a year!" Friday night he was all good to go for the Saturday morning baptism. He asked me to baptize him and Elder Diaz to confirm him. The ward was getting pumped. 

And then at 9am we got the dreaded text. :( The first thing we did was drop to our knees and say a prayer then we called him, no answer. We went to his house, no answer. His roommate wouldn't call him for us and so we waited for 1.5 hours for him to get home from work. He never got home. We called him probably 10 times that day and no answer. I was starting to get worried.

And then yesterday we finally found him at home before church. Long story short we got him to say a kneeling prayer and then afterwards we waited for 2-3 minutes in silence, us praying intensely mentally for him and him sitting with his eyes closed and 'listening.' After a time he looked up to us and said, "It's true. The Book of Mormon is true and God has restored his church to the Earth!" I was beaming, reveling in the miraculous change of heart we had just seen.

And then he said, "but my path is elsewhere." Devastation. We sat in silence for 5 minutes waiting for him to clarify. He sat his job is to help his old church. 


So we invited him to the mission president's devotional that night - President Howes' last one. We showed up at 6pm, the allotted time, and he wasn't there. Agh! We can't go without investigators. We ran around the area visiting some of our other investigators there and desperately trying to invite them to come with us. They were all busy. On a whim we stopped by our investigators house once more to see if he was home. Nope. But his roommate was walking to the door with groceries in hand. We ran over to him and helped him carry them inside and said, "hey, come to a devotional with us!" He said, ".....ok!" Whew! Miraculous! We went with him and it was an incredible devotional. Two people who were baptized the day before spoke and shared their testimonies and then President and Sister Howes spoke. Elder Heathcote (served with me in Yuma for my first six weeks) came back to visit and it was fun to see him there. 

Anyway, we were pretty sad about that baptism falling through. At church the Bishop came up to us and told us that someone in the ward who isn't a member whose family is all active decided that she wanted to get baptized in two weeks. So now we have someone who is on date for July 6 out of nowhere! He mentioned she may prefer Sister missionaries. Nope. That's not happening. 

Elder Diaz's birthday is this week, his first in the field. His is June 24th. Last night we had dinner with the relief society president and in a moment where he was in the restroom I mentioned to her that his birthday was next week and asked her if there was anything we could do. She promised a cake on Sunday night. I told her not to tell him - I want to surprise him. There's not much we can do for him but I'm trying to think of something to make it better than it's bound to be haha. I did not tell her mine was just four days after. 

We had a pretty unique experience this week. We found a Navajo Book of Mormon in our car trunk 6 weeks ago and just left it there to admire it on occasion. Well, this past week we found two Navajo women and spoke to them for a bit and then ran to the car to get the Navajo Book of Mormon. What are the chances! After much prodding we convinced them to say a prayer in Navajo - It was AWESOME. 

Our senior couple in the zone, Elder and Sister Lambert, got anti'd this week by someone in the grocery line at Costco. Apparently it was so bad that even the other people in the line told the guy to get lost. Sad, the Lamberts are an inspiring and very very humble. I also whispered to them that Elder Diaz's birthday is next Monday so maybe we'll get two cakes?! Haha

I'm pretty sure Arizona has damaged my eyes. I can barely walk outside without sunglasses on since it's so bright.

I almost died at a dinner this week. No, not because of the food. We ate with someone who was studying for his citizenship test and we asked some questions. Elder Diaz asked, "who's Benjamin Franklin?" Two people who will remain unidentified said, "oh, he invented electricity!" 


We had just finished talking about how most American's can't pass the citizenship test haha. Classic.

We also had the most intensely meat packed meal this week of my life. Elder Diaz has told me for weeks about Argentine Asados and this week an Argentine member made us a five course meal. Of meat. Started with some type of port, then steak, then pork, then chicken, then something else that I'm still unsure of what it was. We ate this salad of beats, raw eggs, and ham and it was actually really good haha. I couldn't eat two of those three ingredients 12 months ago.

This week I realized I've been out for almost 12 months and I was dumbfounded for a bit. Where does the time go?!

Though these past six weeks haven't yielded any baptisms, we have had success in other ways, the most profound of which was being able to help someone return to activity in the church. We got a referral from a member for a less active to visit and after the first visit she said, "Ok! I'm coming back! And I'm bringing my whole family with me!" Yesterday the youngest daughter sang with the youth in the fathers day program and I just sat there smiling and thinking about how all this family needed was the invitation and they're back and they're happy. 

We were visiting someone this week and I took a drink out of my camelbak. The person looked at me and said, "are you smoking?!"

We took our car to the dealership this week to get that mirror that broke itself replaced. While waiting a salesman came up to me and I asked him some questions about the Scion FRS, their sports car. That car is pretty sleek! The guy just about sold me on it and as I was reaching into my pocket I remembered I only have $20 dollars left for the month, a little less than the $25 thousand that I would have needed. He wasn't willing to trade for our 2010 Corolla either. I could only imagine what President Howes would say if I showed up to transfers in a red race car revving the engine at 8,000rpm  instead of our silver corolla.

Laura Johnson, if you read this, I met Elder Benson. Small world!

I talked with Elder Boyd last night to verify that we'll be able to wear polyester ties with the new mission president. He said President Howes is making policy adjustments next week including something with ties. Woooo!

Every single missionary is invited to transfers tomorrow. It's going to be 4 hours long including a social afterwards. This will be the last chance I have to see missionaries I've met that will be in the Gilbert mission. Last night I got it confirmed that there will be four Spanish missionaries in the entire mission and they'll have one companion for basically their entire mission. Those four Spanish missionaries are based out of Queen Creek. Whew, that was a close call!

So we cover all our daily planners with pictures to make them less boring. I've always spent way too much time looking for really unique pictures that no one else has to make my planners different. Well this week I looked through the 20+ watchtowers I've collected and found two sweet pictures of Daniel in the Lion's Den and a picture of Lot running from flaming meteors. Elder Diaz doesn't approve hahaha. I'll send a picture of it next week.

Speaking of pictures, here are some I took this week.
Inline image 1
Dang, that one came out really well... It took a couple tries to frame it just right.

During the hour and a half we waited for our investigator to come home from work (the one who was supposed to get baptized.) We felt like cops - we were just missing some newspapers with eye-holes cut out.

Inline image 2

Thanks Natalia, Annie, Mom, and Will for the letters this week! It was great to hear from all of you!

Love you all so much! Happy fathers day!
Elder Johnson

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