Monday, June 24, 2013

24 June 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was awesome. The best week since February. Why?

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We taught her for the first time on Monday and she was on date for July 6th. On Thursday we invited her to move it to June 29th. She said no since they would be out of town and suggested....that Saturday! So in two days we organized the entire baptism and invited everyone. She had been to church before for quite some time. It was a great turnout and the first in the ward for 10 months. The work is picking up with the Hermanas having one next week (who lives in our area...), and us in two weeks again with someone else. 

So that was definitely the highlite. But there were other things that made the week great as well! 

A dog bit me this week. We were walking over to someone and this dog got loose and ran straight at me. It was a 1 year old chihuahua that couldn't get its mouth around my shoelace if it had wanted to so no damage was done. Regardless it made talking to the person a little difficult since I was busy kicking it off me with my foot... In that same conversation her 13 year old daughter came out and said, "I LOVE your eyes Elder....Johnson!" It was a really weird OYM.

We moved this week. The night before transfers at 10pm they called us and said, "Pack your bags, you're moving down near Queen Creek!" I sat there for a second in silence thinking to the Queen Creek zone and Gilbert mission but he clarified and said Queen Creek Road. So we stayed up till 12am packing our bags and moved everything that next morning. They said we'd stay in the Chandler zone.

But that didn't happen either. At transfers they split all the zones and opened 4 or 5 new zones as well as made all the new zones for the Gilbert mission. We are now in the "Gilbert West" zone despite the fact that we live in a different part of Chandler still. They're going to rename the zone on July 1st when the mission split takes affect to either the Gilbert zone or the Ray Zone. I'm hoping for the latter. We still cover the same ward and same area (thank goodness) so we cover two zones now. 

Transfers was CRAAAAZZZYYYYYY. 240 missionaries in that room all singing Called to Serve was pretty sweet. It was the last chance I had to see some of the great people I've met as the Tempe mission gets split into the Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Mesa missions. Bittersweet. Luckily my whole MTC district is staying together in the Tempe Mission. We thought we'd take a picture to commemorate. 

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Happy as always.

The mission actually got Jeep Compasses, not Grand Cherokees, for the missionaries in the mountains. They're pretty cool.

Speaking of cool, I got to see some of the old members from Yuma at transfers! It was awesome! Brother Borgerson and Brother Allen were both there giving rides and it was great to see and talk to them again. I told them I'd be back there next February. Apparently the work has slowed quite a bit down there.

Does anyone in the DC South mission know Elder Payne? He's best friends with Elder Janis, our roommate.

I ripped my first shirt this week. We walked up some steps to visit someone and my shirt caught on the window. It ripped about a 7" hole along the left sleeve. I was pretty bummed at first then I went back to look at the corner and realized that if my arm had been 1/2" closer it would have cut my arm open pretty deep. That window was super sharp. Blessings in disguise...

The apartment we live in right now has one room. There are four of us there. There was some miss communication somewhere and now we're sleeping on the worst beds in the world. We're moving next week on July 1st... So, after June 26th you can send letters to this address:1889 W Queen Creek Rd #1115, Chandler AZ 85248. We have a private lake we can't use. 

Anyway, because our apartment is so small (we have two chairs) we put our desks outside on the patio and study there. It's miserable since it's so hot. I'm not unpacking. We've moved 3 times now since May and once more next week. 4 times in 7 weeks... Ridiculous. We joke about how they just move us to clean up the apartments.

We got some time to spend with the missionaries in the Mesa zone at transfers to talk about iPads and iPhones in missionary work. As we saw in that stellar broadcast last night they're upping the amount of technology in missionary work. In Mesa zone, every missionary has a personal iPad Mini and each companionship has an iPhone 5. It's super sleek. They're also given permission on Faceboook to "proselyte on Facebook." They are even allowed to be friends with family. 

This week someone asked us what we were doing there. I felt the situation was right so I quoted Paul (more or less) and said, "we're here to help you repent and be baptized!" I was a little nervous about what they would say but they just said, "hm, ok" and walked away. 

I was reflecting on the last year I've had here with President Howes. I was also thinking about my first interview with him that I wrote about in my first few weeks. I remember not liking what he told me. But I realized that that first interview changed my entire mission for the better. Looking back on it that was the single most trans formative event in my entire mission and all I had to do to realize it was humble myself. I'm so grateful for the time I've had to learn from President and Sister Howes and will miss them both dearly. They have less than a week left.

I found an Ensign from the June 1976 issue and read an awesome section in the "I Have a Question" section about rebellions. Informative.

I'm approaching 3rd Nephi in the Book of Mormon. We have a week left to finish it. From the last 300 or so pages what has struck out to me is the major difference between the Lamanites and the Nephites. I think it's obviously connected to their faith in God but it's a bit deeper than that answer. I've come to see that the principle difference between the two is the capacity to forgive. The lamanites hold grudges for centuries and it consumes them whereas, for the most part, the Nephites learn to forgive and forget and as a result they're, for the most part, blessed. Good life lesson there.

I've filled my first journal!

And now for the elephant in the room...the broadcast last night! I hope everyone watched it. And for those who didn't, go to right now and watch it. I was hoping for some huge announcement which never came but nonetheless it was awesome! They re-stated what has always been said but also showed how to do it. I think my favorite part was Elder Anderson's. Unfortunately not many in the spanish ward went and we're pretty sad about that but we'll take what we learned and teach the members. If any ward can implement it, the Ray 5th ward can!

We love that ward. Last night we had dinner with the Bishop and his family. Ahhhh, they're the best. They made a chocolate cake for me and a Key Lime pie for Elder Diaz. They have such great love for the gospel and last night it felt like we were home again. Such a great family and such great leadership for the ward. We're so blessed to serve with them.

Last night someone threatened to call the cops on me. Some people just ignore us when we speak to them and pretend we're not there. I don't like that so I usually stand there in silence with them waiting for them to tell me something. This person said nothing and then when I stood there in silence for a bit she said, "I'm going to call the cops on you if you don't leave!" 

We also talked with someone last night who told us right away that she wasn't interested. I said, "do you know what we share with people?" She said no and I asked her, "How can you not be interested if we don't know what we do?" She laughed and we invited her to visit then headed off when she said she had to go.

We set our baptismal goal for 3 in the month of July. Bring it on.

Thanks Susie, Tanan, Eric, Will, Mom, and Sister Hines for the great letters!

Thank you all so much for being so supportive! 
Con mucho amor,
Elder Johnson

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