Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crazy Turn of Events

Dear Family,
Key Updates:
  • I was in Machala for 1 week.
  • I was pulled out and returned to Guayaquil because I have a new responsibility.
  • I am President Montalti's new secretary.
  • I am companions with Elder Carnese again and he's training me as secretary.
Oh I wanted to let you know I received some DearElders so you know I got them. I got Alondra's, Dashawn's, and Allison Malmrose's. I just wanted to say thanks! I love reading them.

One goes through everything on the mission. I didn't understand what people meant when they said that to me before but now I understand. I can't wait to share everything with you guys when I get back. Yeah, I really don't have a ton of time to share everything. I do have a little time to write in my journal and I am able to write things there. I can't use this as a journal becuase of some rules. Gotta keep the rules to have the spirit :)

I just wanted to invite you guys to go watch conference. I'm excited for priesthood session. Pray that we can bring a lot of people to tomorrow morning's session. I will be writing some hand written letters to be more personal with you guys. I'm really excited to be in the office as secretary. I like telling people that my older brother was also secretary. So I'll write some letters. Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bye Guayaquil

Dear Family,

I am in a city called Machala. I finally left Guayaquil, I'm kinda gonna miss it but this new city is awesome. It's a lot cleaner too and I hear it might be a little safer. The weather is also awesome. Really hot, but the sky is so blue with lots of clouds and it's just so great. We live on the fourth floor and the view is great. There are mountains in the distance that look like California mountains. Gosh, I'm just so happy. I was a little sad to be leaving Elder Carnese. He reminds me of Christian and we were great friends. It's amazing how much stuff you can go through and learn in 2 weeks. Sunday night was really special too. So we had ward council and were talking about a big plan to bring a lot of people to general conference and after we were just talking to the Bishop. His mom lives with him and she's not a member. I had a special feeling about her when I first met her. Anyway, I guess she's gone through a few pairs of missionaries. So that night I was like "Hey Bishop, can we teach your mom?" Then Elder Carnese said "Yeah, we still owe you a spiritual thought." He agreed and we went. Man, this lady was a little rough, but everyone bore testimony. The Bishop told her that she had already been taught by a few pairs of Elders and was worried she wouldn't be getting any more chances. The problem is that she is Catholic by tradition, and the family would make fun of her like they did to her son when he got baptized. We talked nicely and shared scriptures from the Bible and BoM. Man, it was special. I asked her if she would be baptized finally on April 7th and she said no. Then we talked more and more and then....Yes! She is going to be baptized! She started crying and so did the Bishop. It was his birthday. That night the call came that I was leaving. Guess I did what I needed to there. They are really nice people.

My new sector is called La Aurora. I don't know anything about it yet but I am with an Elder Savage. He's from Utah. It's nice because he says he'll be able to eat what I can't. You know I have a small apetite. They just eat so much rice here! Everyone makes fun of how slow I eat. I imagine it's the healthier way to eat, or that's what I tell myself.

Those who can adapt the fastest to changes are those who progress most. This life is short. And it's a test. How long will we wait to adapt to the will of the Lord? God loves all of his children equally, but he trusts some more than others. What are we willing to give up in order to gain the trust of God? That's the only thing that matters. We can learn his will as we seek it. I have had a change of heart. Before I wanted to know the plan. My plan. I wanted to just know what it was that God wanted to me to do. See the expectation and reach it. In my two weeks in the city part of Guayaqil I learned that I can be thinking bigger than that. I think that God wants me to reach my potential, but he won't tell me what my potential is. What does that mean to me now? Well, before, I wanted to know my potential so I could reach it. Like knowing that I wanted to jump just high enough to dunk a volleyball. That was the goal. But it's different now. I haven't been told what the potential is. It's like an open slate. The sky is the limit. Which means my faith has grown so much. The change of heart is that the barrier was taken out of my mind. The barrier of reaching a certain limit or potential. I'm ready to fly!

I love you all so much. I'll try and send pictures next week. Oh, so the zone is called "El Oro". I'm leading the Gold zone with Elder Savage! Oh, and Elder Whitney is here with me living in my house. He's from my group. It's cool.

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Area, Zone, and Responsibility

Dear Family,

My dear family. I love you guys so much. Thanks for those birthday and Valentine cards. They were cool. I like singing to the one from you, mommy. May the peace of the Lord be with you with the death of Tia Elsa. I know she's happy.

So we had 3 baptisms this last week of Arly, Ariel, and Eddy Zambrano. They are three brothers and are super excited and cool. They have no fear about sharing the gospel or walking around with us in the street. Even when everyone is laughing and pointing. It's exactly what the people do in the great and spacious building, haha. So we had the 3 confirmations and I had to call my zone leader after. He verified that we had the confirmations and then said "Good job, be in your house at 2:30pm to pack your bags!" I said, "What!" Haha, we had just finished the fourth week of the transfer. There were two more left! And I had some really nice baptisms lined up. But it's totally fine. It was cool because I just felt at peace. I've been happy to not have to get mad or angry like others, haha. But I did almost cry while saying goodbye to my Branch President. He's such a humble guy.

So we get to the house and I start packing. My "son" (that's what you call someone you are training) was complaining and laughing saying how he barely has a month in the field and how are they going to take his dad away. It was funny. He only knows how to shout "shut up" in english with a really funny accent. So Elder Pavon arrives at the house with Elder Carnese. Elder Pavon is from the sierra of Argentina and he was the Assistant and Elder Carnese is a zone leader who was the Secretary before. Turns out that Elder Pavon took my place as district leader to finish the mission and I left to be a Zone Leader with Elder Carnese in the Garcia Moreno zone. It's the zone that has the downtown city of Guayaquil so that's really cool. We are ready to lift this zone up. I met Elder Carnese in my first change and he's always been a cool guy and really smart so it's a great companionship.  I had deja vu like 3 times yesterday too so I know this was supposed to happen, haha. No but really I had a cool experience. Two nights ago as I was planning with Elder Olaya for Sunday, my mind kept going blank. I couldn't really plan. So I told him to plan saying that he had to learn. I couldn't plan past 4pm and that's when we left the house to go to my new sector. I live by a hill that looks like the Burbank hills. Reminds me of home.

Until next week! Thank you for all the prayers. They give me strength.

Elder Johnson