Tuesday, July 16, 2013

15 July 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
That couple was supposed to get baptized yesterday but they got anti'd and now the boyfriend doesn't want anything to do with us. What is the most sad is that the girlfriend is totally ready, interested, and excited to get baptized but she won't without her husband. It's always the men... We went by and the first questions he asked us were, "so...how many wives did Joseph Smith have? How many kids did he leave behind?" I had to cool myself down internally because of how dumb his questions were. I told him not to listen to the devil and to think about his family. 


We have about 25 investigators right now. A ton. We're probably going to do a faith drop, give everyone one last chance and then drop everyone this week. We are busy and are teaching tons of lessons but only two of them are progressing. President Howes told me that sometimes when we drop one we find three. Andale pues (forward march!).

We took our car into Toyota this week (not my fault this time!) to get some warning lights checked out. The mechanic came up to us and told us we had 1mm left on our brakes and that it was a good thing we had come in! The warning lights were for another problem but luckily they caught the brakes when they did! 

One of the cars salesmen there is a member. We were talking to him for a bit and he yelled at one of his colleagues to come over and we started teaching him. We referred him over to the elders in Tempe to be taught but it was nice to see a member literally opening his mouth. The guy was going through some challenges but he said the gospel could bless him. I know it can.

We OYM'd a guy this week and asked him what he did for work. His answer was golden. "I work for a company." That was all he said hahahahahahhaha. 

That same day we went over to a pretty ghetto part to talk with some people and saw four cop cars on each end of the street and one undercover cop hiding in an old chevy in the middle of the street. Naturally we walked over and talked to a guy inside the area. As we were talking a cop car and motocop pulled over and walked over to us briskly and interrupted our gospel conversation and said he had to interrogate the guy we were talking to. What?! So we walked away slowly, listening, and heard the cop struggling to communicate in Spanish. So we volunteered to translate and did so. It was pretty funny. Some people mistake us for cops and it doesn't help when a bunch of real cops come up to us in the street.

This week I gave a baptismal interview to one of the investigators of the senior couple. They talked to me beforehand and said that natives take some time to respond to questions because they don't like to be wrong. They told me to be ready to wait up to 15 minutes for an answer to a simple question. Then they connected it to King Limhi in the book of mormon taking an hour to respond to Ammon. Cool similarities! They also said the investigator was very shy. We walked into the interview as strangers and left as friends. He did take some time to answer even the simplest questions and it was very interesting to see one on one how the natives act, from avoiding eye contact to how powerfully they shake hands. A very cool experience.

We went by the investigator this week who cancelled his baptism the morning of. He is still having struggles moving on from his past. We read Alma 36 with him and he enjoyed it. He still wouldn't commit to anything so today we are going to give him 'the drop talk,' or the do-this-or-we-can't-come-by talk. We help people to come closer to Christ through faith, repentance, and baptism. If they aren't willing to do one of those things then we have to put them on hold for a while to focus on those who are prepared, ready, and excited to learn more.

The 2013 Chevy Impala is sweet!

This week we were attacked by dust.
Inline image 1
I stole the picture from Elder Diaz's camera since I didn't have my camera at the time. It didn't come out very well but you can see a bit of what it's like. It then began to rain for the first time in months! It probably rained 1cm.

We have one investigator who has been struggling to recognize an answer. Her family is catholic and has started to push her towards that church more (now that we started coming over...). She reads the Book of Mormon, prays, and has been to church before. She told us she is willing to change anything if this is true. But she doesn't know if it is true and she told us that she is desperate for an answer. We have been praying a lot to help her to recognize the answer and to feel it. A lot. We received some revelation on Thursday morning that we had to ask more inspired questions to her. So we did. We asked really deep questions trying to find out what her concern was since we knew it was something deeper than 'is the book true' or 'was Joseph Smith a prophet?' So we asked and asked her questions and then it finally showed up. She has a very very deep concern, not with doctrine, but something else in her life that I'm not going to write about. We talked to her about it and she began to remember it more and more and we could tell that it pained her. We talked about the atonement of Christ and the spirit was very powerful. We are going to slow things down to help her to move on from what she has experienced. We walked away really grateful about what we had learned and with a stronger testimony of the role of the spirit in conversion. She probably won't get baptized this transfer but soon, definitely. 

Everyone thinks I'm getting transferred :(

We went by another one of our ghetto places this week and one of the white guys over there told us the street used to be run by the Mexican Mafia and that it is called 'Coke Alley.' Glad to know! We went there a few weeks ago and I felt really uneasy and left despite that there were tons of people to talk to. Glad I know why now.

Shoulder bags. I switched from that leather one I sent a picture of last week to a sweet green and purple one that I'm sure is from the 70s. A member gave it to me. It's pretty ugly (and everyone lets me know that haha) but it was the perfect size. Last night another member insisted I take another one. So now I have another one that's just green and a little bit bigger. They're a huge hassle, really awkward to use, and I can't really carry water in it but for some reason it's a rule and so we'll do it. I miss my backpack. 

I don't know how people live without a purpose. We always see, in the poorer places, people that just lounge outside smoking and drinking all evening. They work, come back, and splurge their money on things that do them no good. Things that degenerate their lives and hurt their families. Their entire lives are work, get wasted, sleep. Work, get wasted, sleep. There is no direction. No joy. It's pretty sad to see and makes me grateful that I know why I'm here, what I'm here to do, and where I'm going after I do what I'm supposed to do here.

I've been more tired this week than any other point of my mission, maybe my life. Just no energy at all. Between the heat and the business, I'm dying. I can barely keep my eyes open and yesterday in church I almost fell asleep during the prayer. And the worst thing about it is that it's not just being tired for one day, but day after day after day. I'm sleeping well, eating (pretty) well, but the energy just isn't there. 

Speaking of eating, I mentioned a few weeks ago that there are two things I can't eat: fish and eggs. I don't know why not but both just don't work. This last week we had to cancel a dinner on emergency and the Sisters went over alone. Guess what they ate? Raw fish. So raw that they had to peel the scales off to get to the meat. Hahahahahaha. Saved! But yesterday we ate hard boiled eggs. Luckily hot salsa was on hand or that wouldn't have worked.

Thanks so much Mom, Eric, Will, Grandpa/ma Johnson, and Doug for the letters this week! 

Transfers are in two weeks, just something to keep in mind. Gaining 36 missionaries from the Phoenix mission will mix some things up.

Love you all so much!
Elder Johnson

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