Monday, March 31, 2014

31 March 2014

That was the fastest 6 weeks of my LIFE. How is it already week 6? Next Sunday are transfer calls. I am pretty sure we are both staying here together. But to be safe, if you can't send a letter by Wednesday or Thursday, send it to the mission office!
Mexican Spanish kills me. I've mentioned 'words' like yarda, shinear the zapatos, etc before. This week I learned how to say "sprinklers" in Mexican. "esprinklers." GENIUS!
There have been a number of times on my mission where I have gone somewhere and just knew that we were not supposed to be there. Elder Myler and I both experienced that this past week. It was around 8:00pm and we drove into "the Box" to visit some former investigators. As soon as we crossed the "line" into it, we both had this terrible terrible terrible feeling. I told him we needed to leave and he said that he felt the same way. We gunned it out of there and felt inspired to go to the church...
But the church was 5 miles away and out of our area. But, we followed the prompting.
When we arrived at the church we had another impression to drive to a missionaries house. We quickly found out why we were not supposed to be where we were.
One of the missionaries opened up to us a little later about some concerns he had with obedience with his roommates. We made a mental list and left to think about how we were going to solve it. We set a time to visit them the next day to talk about the things but that got interrupted by a phone call from President Toone.
President asked us to present at MLC about Facebook and iPad effectivity. We counseled together and came up with three things that we were going to focus on:
1) Standardization/uniformity of rules
2) Break down the rule book paragraph by paragraph
3) Motivate
The next day we set up a time to visit him and share our ideas with him.
But bad things happened that day...
Dinners are usually pretty great. But not dinner that night. I do not know what I ate but I know that crushed up shrimp was in it somewhere. Oh man. Just thinking about it makes me sick. I ate 2/3 of it and then had to throw in the towel. Every time I have eaten seafood on my mission I have gotten sick.
This was no exception.
I left dinner feeling weak. We worked the rest of the night. At 8:30pm we visited President and ran our ideas by him for our presentation the next day. He loved them. Feeling queezy, we drove home.
Seconds after walking into the house, dinner came up again.
And then it did five more times that night. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't think. I couldn't move. It was one of the worst nights of my life. At 4:00am I woke up Elder Myler and the other ZLs that we staying with us from Yuma to travel with us to MLC the next day and asked them to give me a blessing. Still I did not improve.
At 7:30am I stood up off the couch to get ready for the presentation. I still was very very sick and worried that I wouldn't be able to present. I could barely stand.
As we drove to the mission office for MLC I honestly contemplated just turning back around and sleeping at the house all day. But how could I? I've been praying for an opportunity to share what I've come to learn about Facebook with the mission for months. We had prayerfully prepared inspired plans. There was no way that that sickness was giong to stop me!
I can honestly say that I suffered through the first hour of MLC as we waited for our turn. Sister Toone graciously brought me some medicine but it didn't help. I stepped out a number of times to close my eyes and drink water. I had been praying all night and all morning that I would be healed.
But 15 minutes before our presentation I changed my prayer and asked that I could be healed just long enough to present.
Specific prayers yield specific answers. When it was our time to go up, I felt 100% better. I felt fine. I felt healthy. We stood up there and nitpicked every single rule and then we took the rules that had been outlined and motivated the MLC about how to be effective. We were up there for over 1.5 hours.
Afterwards, many of the missionaries approached us and thanked us! They said they had never been more motivated to use Facebook before. It was rewarding.
But as soon as we finished, I felt sick to my stomach again. I felt terrible. I asked Elder Myler if he would be willing to sit in the door to the room on a chair so that I could go into the hallway and sleep on a chair. Like a boss he said yes.
A chair has never been more comfortable before. I was out for two hours.
When MLC ended, a bunch of people came up to me and thanked me and said they hoped that I would feel better. I wasn't sure why so many were until later...
Apparently while I slept President Toone talked about me for 30 minutes. He trained on diligence and used me as an example. I was glad I was in the hallway asleep for it and didn't have to hear it. He was far too kind. I left embarrassed, humbled, and grateful.
There's something I don't understand: Men. Men are so stubborn haha. It seems like every family we teach struggles because of the husbands/boyfriends. We visited a man this last week who just gave excuse after excuse after excuse about why he cannot change and that God made him how he was for a reason. We were so bold with him that I was surprised he didn't throw us out of his house.
While learning Mexican slang, I'm also learning Mexican English slang. Apparently intense music is called, "Juice" here in the south side.
Someone I taught in Mesa got baptized this last weekend. We were planning to go until the day of. We had not had very much time to proselyte all week and three hours before I told Elder Myler that we would skip it so that we could work our area. That was a hard sacrifice to make but it was worth it. I had taught this women for two months and loved her and her family.
Two days ago we finally had time to go and talk with the missionaries about their obedience problems. I have hesitated to write much about experiences with correcting on my mission because they're problems I wish that no one had. But this experience was very unique.
Some background first: every transfer we have been invited by President to do iPad checks. One missionary accidentally left theirs in our car and we took that moment to make sure he was following mission rules. We were shocked to find videos of two missionaries dancing in their home to techno and rap. It broke our hearts.
That night we visited with each companionship in that house and showed them the video. We took a different approach. Instead of the "guns blazing" approach, we went in with the "we're so disappointed, you broke our hearts," approach. It worked. So well. The whole house was humbled. We left the house with six CDs with classic rock and a vinyl record.
From what we've heard, they have taken it well. The two in the video were broken after we talked to them about it. They've committed to doing better and we have seen night and day difference in just one day.
I'm convinced that the best leaders do not lead by fear or terror. The best leaders lead by love, example, and boldness. Who are the best leaders? A mother and a father. Why? They are genuinely interested in the success of those they lead: their families. And they love them enough to fix problems when they arise. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Luckily you didn't have any problems to fix with me, right? :) Haha
Anyway, thanks for the letters Tanan, Simmons, family, and Natalia!
I hope that everyone has a brilliant week!
With love,
Elder Johnson
PS: Big dust storm hit!

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