Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27, 2010 Letter and Pictures


Dear familia,

Wow! It was way awesome to be able to call home. Sorry I spent much of the time amazed that I was actually talking to you and 35 minutes and 7 seconds was ridiculously short, but obedient. (grumble). Oh, I wanted to correct a verbal mistake I made on the phone. I was translating the sentence to English and did a bad job. In the story I dont remember, we returned to the apartment, not "home".

This week has been absolutely crazy. COMPLETELY, COMPLETELY CRAZY. I had two interviews with the president. In the first after confessing and discussing obedience, he told me and my companion after my interview that both of us were going to be transfered to an area called Satillite or at least the spanish word for that.

So I didn't know we weren't supposed to say goodbye or give any indication at all that we were leaving, and we did so to the three converts we have helped to learn the Gospel of Christ, and the member families. It was a kind of big thing, since Elder Orihuela has been here now 5 months.

Well, last night I called the President following his order to me cuz in the morning I let 2 women hug me (I made impossible for anyone else [to hug me] the rest of the day) to tell him about my disobedience. He talked to me in Spanish and with the help again of Elder Boulter I think (Cassie's friend slash Assistant to the President) and after gave me a challenge that will deeply, deeply impact the rest of my mission. Stay tuned for next week when I am authorized to talk about it. It will require me to completely, completely be humble, and depend on the dirrection of  the Holy Ghost, and I honestly have no idea how I can do it, but, I know I can with this help.

How went christmas? Considering that I have been quite worried about everything and stressed out basically since I got here, it was way, way good. Still a long shot from any christmas spent at home. Still tho, I got a wifebeater from Clelia (haha unfortunately I shall likely never use it) And various other gifts from members and investigators. We ate three meals of turkey on the 25th. The 24th we had splits with the zone leaders, which means that I went to their area, and one of them came to ours with Elder Orihuela.

I was with Elder Huccachuco from Peru. He is really, really, really awesome. I guess that explains why he is a Zone Leader, but I was constantly impressed by how great a missionary he is. By the way, there are about infinity things to know to be a missionary. First the lessons slash doctrine, we gotta know that. Second Spanish haha. Third we have to know how to interact with the ward leaders and members, we have to know how the missionary leadership works, we have know our area. We have to know how to set up and prepare and do baptisms. We have to know how to measure and improve our work. We have to know much more.

Really I have only just begun to feel like I'm about halfway there. I have plenty of time in the mission, but I have to know all this now.

Wowowowow. so yea I basically am freaking out for my future and what is going to happen.

Oh I wanna report on our companionship. It is great! I think we can say we are friends. Last night we couldn't sleep. I was sick, and my brain was sprinting (see next week). Elder Orihuela wasn't feeling to good either. Anyway the point is we talked a little bit before falling asleep. Also, he loved the presents y'all sent for him and I think they kind of saved his Christmas. His family has not called yet.  It is hard cuz they don't have a phone in their house.

One More Thing. On christmas, we ate tons and tons of paneton. Paneton is the traditional food of around here for parties, celebrations, times of happiness. We don't have it in the US, I think. Maybe you could find it in a Peruvian store, but it is basically cake that they buy. No frosting (haha) for those who don't like frosting. It is kinda like fruitcake and everyone loves it so much. I'm not too crazy for it but i like small quantities.

Thank you everyone who has sent me mail, packages, everything!

Brother Brooks, I am taking that challenge. For your interest if you are interested, would have gotten your letter about reading 30 min per day today, but I was on splits with the zone leaders Friday and they received it that day, the 24th of December.

Dearelder.com continues to be the best!!

Love Elder Johnson





Monday, December 20, 2010

Baptism and Bon Appetit!

Dear family,

We had a baptism this week!!! A nine year old girl, daughter of a family we found a few weeks back! Very exciting. We spent a long time preparing the chapel, the font. I fixed the mirror above the font so that the people could actually see unlike our first baptism, and people started filing in. Elder Orihuela and I gave talks, him on baptism, me on the Holy Ghost, various testimonies, very cool. The water was coooold but still worked out. Her cousin baptized her, a return missionary.

Hopefully I can send a picture back Internet is being weird, they aren't very good, Elder Orihuela has better but won't let me copy them from his camera.

So yea, that investigator is doing well. Her family likes us a lot, and expressed sadness at the idea that one of us will probably transfer this 2nd of January. Probably Elder Orihuela.

Others are Jose Roger and Beatrice, these three are brothers and sisters, their mom set us up with them, she still needs to receive the lessons herself, but yea they are good. Unfortunately we went a little time without visiting them, and they haven't been to church the past two Sundays, disqualifying them from being baptized good and soon.

Laura, an investigator who we used to teach a while back, we encountered again. It was a bit of a miracle. Standing about a mile away from her house, we asked ourselves which of three investigators needed us most. We felt like her, and when we arrived, she told us how she had been wondering when we would come back earlier that day. (after about a month of not seeing her). We teach her in this big room with sometimes a family member or two, that has a dark blue ceiling and only one light bulb.

Augustin. Argh. He has lost his animos [excitement] to be baptized.. hasn't been to church in 2 weeks. We talked with him and he said he wanted to talk with the bishop, which is good, but he should really just talk with us.  I don’t think it was about a sin, just whether he should be baptized. This is the one that went to church twice before we actually went to our citas [appointments] to teach him.,.. thinking this has something to do with that.

Mario. Hermana Marisol introduced us to Mario. He is about 25 and really, really humble and respectful. He basically lives all the commandments right now, and could easily be baptized. He accepted a date to be baptized our first (and only so far) meeting ( a sign of someone escogido [chosen]-- see Doctrine and Covenants 29:7)

Yenny (Jenny) has a goal to be baptized next week, but something is keeping her back. She knows for herself that the church is true ( like all those who are baptized ) but has some fear which she hasn't shared with us. Hopefully, hopefully. Her children yes can be baptized very soon.

We had the oddest lesson so far the other day, we were helping prepare chickens for the market in this family's house (in the mansion area-- poor) and they started asking us this: Which church is the true church of them all?. Very cool. Not cool though is skinning chicken feet with your fingernails.

I accidentally carved a hunk of my finger off yesterday-- about .25 grams or more maybe. didn't hurt tho thanks to the sharpness of the knife Juli gave me! Thanks!!

We contacted a man the other day who spoke like he was from Spain...had that accent. He also is named Percy, and had obviously taken great care to re-color his naturally bright red hair. I didn't ask if he still works for the Ministry of Magic now that Cornelius Fudge is out.

Love,

Elder Mark Johnson 




Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas Picture and a Picture of a meal

Dear Primary!

Thank you so much for the cards! They are awesome! And I am sure when my companion gets on email in a little bit he will appreciate them so much too! Ah christmas :)

It is HOT today. I'm betting it isn't over there on the far side of the equator.

Cultural note: Milk is delivered door to door by lecheros. They walk around carrying two of the classic metal big milk jars to the doors of their clients.

Today I am writing another letter. I wrote one hace quanto tiempo... mucho...[how long ago?] a month and a half [ago]? I also sent my memory card in that letter... so if it hasn't arrived... that's a problem. [If it hasn't yet] I shall ask the leaders. This new letter willl probably get in the mail system Thursday.

Thanks for the advice Dad, I definitely realized that was part of my problem. This week has been great. First I corrected that, then in a meeting of our zone, the Asistantes of the President came and talked a little about Alma 26:22. Just the very beginning of repentance. They invited us to take out a piece of paper and write down everything we are doing wrong, and fix them. I've been doing this. I haven't been apoyando [supporting] my companion, which is one things that lead to the problems I had. Other things that I have changed this week have allowed me to get along with him much, much better.

Also dad, my triple combination has broken. The spine that gets glued to the pages came off.. There is still a sticky flexible layer which will stick shortly, but delaminate also shortly if I open the book. What can I do to fix it? Rubber cement? Seek a book repairer? I have no idea where I'd find one here.

The food pictures goes like this.

Breakfast was bread and eggs. I really like this breakfast. Which is good cuz we have it almost every day. Other times we have it with meat in the bread, or some fruit thing. What you can't see here is that the temperature at 7:30 am when it was taken was PERFECT, refreshingly chilly. Sound: roosters crowing, dogs barking. Smell: that of sunny side up eggs and bread. Feel: er the bread warm, the seat hard.

Lunch: spaghetti. Acutally this meal is really uncommon. We have only had it one other time. It's good, but tastes quite different. Temperature was warm slash hot. Sound: fast eating, dogs barking. Smell: tomato sauce. Feel: rushed, we were running late for an appointment.

Dinner: Rice and potato with some sort of sauce. I like this one... all right. Not a lot. Have no idea how to describe the taste. The rice potato combo is really, really common.  I think I have gone maybe one day since arriving in Peru without eating rice... maaayyybee. Temperature: cool.  Sound: quiet, dogs barking. Smell: of the food.  Feel: relaxed, a little tired.

So what cool has happened this week? We will have a baptism next week! Preparing her has been really, really awesome. We teach her with her mom and sister who are less active members. They really have a passion for learning the gospel, and have returned to go to church with strength, along with our investigator.

I will write more detail in the letter!

Love Elder Johnson






Monday, December 6, 2010

6 December 2010

Dear Home,

I hope everything is dandy back home. 

Thank you so much for the packages and letters. Grandma Johnson´s to me was especially fortificating this week. 

This week I received 4 packages from the states! The Christmas packages have arrived mercilessly early, and now I face the constant temptation to rip them open, but I shall wait.

Also I got a stack of dear elders and two letters (thank you so much all you don't even know how much they were awesome). I think they have been building up somewhere. Anyway they are the best! Eric, I laugh every time I read your accounts of happenings back home. Mom your mission stories are the bomb, I wanna hear more. Interestingly, you had success amongst the young men, we usually teach women. Men seem to be more hard hearted in general. Hmmm.

This week we taught a investigator who we met first at church. He really has been prepared. As we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he was talking about his desire to find something spiritual in his life, that he had what he needed temporaly (even though he is quite poor). He easily accepted the challenge to be baptized, and if we can get to teach him more (we can't seem to make it to our appointments with him (grumble)) he will be baptized very soon!

A member lent me a trench coat one frigid night when I forgot to coat myself, and I felt like a wizard with a wizarding robe.

I saw a member with a shirt from Busch Gardens 2002. No idea how that got here, but it's here. For those who don't know Busch Gardens [is a large, European themed amusement park renowned for its beautiful gardens in Williamsburg, VA.]

That's about a fifteenth [or what I'd like to write], but that's all I have time for. Gotta go! the work is improving btw!

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, November 29, 2010

29 November 2010



Dear Family,

Ok, so the Christmas call has come so so fast. I didn't realize Thanksgiving had passed until the 26th! So I didn't do anything, but I still want to make a list of everything I have here. Should be pretty short.

Right. The call. The missionaries are telling me that the limit is 1 hour, that it costs only 10 centimos per minute, and yes I buy a card. Don't know as of now when we will call. But yes I am looking forward to it and no I can't skype. The time seems to be what time we wish. So I think you all can dictate the time. Would it be cool to make it wired like 5 in the morning for you all? haha no.

Right this weeeeeeek. It is good to write in English. I don't use English at all anymore. With the gringos in my district I try to speak spanish, journal. Basically I only use English to teach a few words to those who want to learn a little.

This week I started to have a weird sensation. I don't know why but I started to be exposed to more Quetchua. When i hear it, I feel like I used to when listening to Spanish, confused and what not, and weirdly when the conversation reverts back to Spanish it feels like reverting to English used to feel in high school classes or in the MTC.

One new investigator from this week I don't understand at ALL. Elder Orihuela says that her Spanish is funny, cuz it is a heavy mix of Quetchua and Spanish. Imagine Spanglish, and that is her Spanish... but EspaƱechua. Anyway the picture of just Elder Orihuela is in her.. front yard slash sheep pen.

I realized the other day how important in my life having the goal of going on a mission has been, specifically muh teens. It was kind of like bumpers around the path spoken on in Lehi´s vision. Speaking of which, The vision, actually the one of Lehi and later of Nephi, [Nephi] has been the subject of my studies lately. I have learned a ton from them. Its is interesting to imagine it and try to place myself, the investigatores. Imagine what is needed. I think it would be useful for everyone to find themselves and where they are, what group of people they are in the vision. Whether they are diligently struggling on the path holding tight, holding loosly, have eaten and are looking at the spacious building or maybe are starting to walk away or are just coasting not paying attention to whether are eating or wandering.

For those who want to read more and understand what im talking about take a little time and (do it!) read 1 Nephi 8 to 15ish I think it is to get the full effect. To read on the Internet, Google 1 Nephi 8, and from I think the first link you will be able to.

This might make part of my return talk.. haha

 Yeah, so this week we shall continue to strive to work hard, do good work.

Love Elder Johnson

Saturday, November 27, 2010

22 November 2010

Dear family and friends,
Yeah, hopefully it [the christmas packages] will get through or something... I have had to dip into my emergency money for two reasons already. And simple [speaking of Christmas gifts] is completely fine and expected. I am way too far [away] to be normal [with Christmas gifts].
Today was transfer day, but neither Elder Orihuela or I are going anywhere this transfer, so we will pass Christmas in a familiar pension [apartment].
In church ages ago, Dad made stickers for us, the 12 to 18 year old group of hombres known as Young Mens. We had talked about how many signs say walk to the nearest exit, and how that for spiritual danger like sin we should always run and not walk from the danger.
Well I was reviewing a short church movie we watched and was sharing a message related to it. While talking I remembered this lesson from Young Mens and shared it with them too. The addition of this memory completed very nicely my message and seemed to impact the family deeply. They have been inactive since before I arrived, but last Sunday they went to church!!!!
Alma 26:22, one of the scriptures we have memorized as directed by the president says that if we repent, exercise faith, produce good work, and pray continually without ceasing, we will be able to find people to teach. I have been striving to do all three, but am not yet perfect. Also, I feel like as a companionship, we could do a lot more to complete the produce buenas obras [good works] part. Really we have done very little productive work. Doctrine and Covenants teaches missionaries that we are called to ... I don't know how to translate it exactly into English... but to find and teach the people who are prepared already to accept the gospel. As we only have 2 years of time, we should not spend time with people who are not ready. In this we need to improve.
I am not sure how i can try to change or improve our works, our diligence, and our obedience. As a greenie of 3 and a half months almost, I feel like I don't know anything compared to Elder Orihuela of 14 months. Yet at the same time I feel like there are definitely things we can do to improve... I guess I am confused why we aren’t doing them and feel like I shouldn't be the one to start it, or that he won’t want the initiative to come from me, junior companion still in my training period.
We as a district moved about 700 kilograms of rocks and sand up a hill comparable in steepness to Big Schloss. Less high, but I estimate we gave the rocks 200,000 joules very inefficiently.
As far as Spanish goes, I have been learning so much. I have started learning a tinsy bit of Quechua. It is weird to learn a language from a language which isn't your birth language. I told an investigator this and she was surprised. She thought I learned Spanish first, and then English! This because of my striving to be obedient.
Love Elder Johnson  











Monday, November 15, 2010

15 November 2010

Dear family and friends,

Is the picture problem fixed or worked around? I sent a letter home on Thursday the 11th. It has my memory card within. When y'all receive it, can you move the pictures somewhere safe and separate from those I email home (to avoid duplication and apparently corruption it sounds like)? They are very important please take care to take care of them in the next 21 months!

SO what happened this week? Lots.

I had the question: out of every 1 eV that the beam in the LHC gets increased, how many eV´s does the LHC use? So how efficient is it? My guess is around 10,000 eV per 1 eV in the beam.

People always like to practice what little English they know with me. We were at the door of one family, and their children girls said, Hello, good night, Justin Beiber. I almost threw myself down the steep hill at this marked failure of society.

Cassie! I met your friend Elder .. uh Boultin? I didn't get exactly the spelling but it is Trevor. We talked for about 3 minutes before our multizonal meeting on Friday. He seems really cool! I think I shall see him today as well. I have no idea how he remembered to look for me on Friday, hasn't it been 6 months since you warned him of my coming?

Speaking of which, our multizonal meeting (with all the missionaries who are in the city of Arequipa --around 100, once every 6 weeks) was awesome! Our president talked for about 2 hours and called us to STEEP repentance and correcting of our ways. I hope I can implement everything he talked about. I really like our leaders.

Also at the multizona, I got to meet up with a bunch of the missionaries I was with in the CCM and MTC. They are doing well, some better than others in terms of Spanish. One is having a very hard time, and didn't understand me when I asked him how he felt in Spanish :(

Oh yea at the multizona also, we met some of the missionaries with 23 months. Elder Orihuela commented that some of them have ¨perfect Spanish, with slang... everything¨ they really sounded exactly like native speakers. This is my long-term goal for my Spanish.

To look up where I am, the tourist attraction in our area is La mansion del Fundador. We cross the orange bridge by it most days.

I was a little wondering which lesson story I would send home until last night. We worked hard yesterday visiting lots of people, meeting lots of new people. The last place we went was the home of a member. I had been praying a lot to find a new investigator who was ready to start progressing. We went to the home to meet one of our investigators who spends a lot of time there. She is kind of a daughter-in- law of Hermana Emedita. We got there and sat down with Yenny, the investigator, and through the door walked two other people. They both sat down with us and be taught all three with Hermana Emedita! Turns out one is a member who is ¨less active¨and the other had never heard of the church.

As we taught and talked about the Restoration of the church that Jesus Christ established while he was in the earth, which had the four key parts: Prophet, Apostles, Priesthood authority of God, and Revelations for the people received through the prophet. They all three were full of curiosity of where in the world is this church. We talked about how after the death of Jesus Christ and the martyrdom and deaths of his apostles, there no longer were Apostles or Prophets, and that with them left revelations and the authority of the priesthood. So the church that Jesus Christ established was no longer on the earth.

In the following years, tons of people tried to reform the church in the same form it had with Jesus Christ and the Apostles, but without the true priesthood (though many claimed to have it) and without a prophet or apostles, and revelations received through them, they were unable to find the true church.

As we explained that God called a prophet to restore the true church of Jesus Christ, we could tell that all three felt the Holy Spirit testifying of the truth, and we helped them recognize that. It was very powerful to be in the room, despite the fact that family members were shuffling in the background. It was like their distraction was muffled.

Love Elder Johnson 









Monday, November 8, 2010

8 November 2010

Q- How are you? 
A- Really good even though it is really hard!

Q- How about a picture of your apartment/house? 
A- O.k. Coming next week.

Q- A typical meal?

A- Sadly there are no tacos here.

Soup and a fruit followed by lots of rice and usually some part of chicken. The other day we had chicken heart, which adds to the normal parts: throat, feet... Oh and I had clam for the first time in the dinner soup on Friday I think. I am learning to tolerate seafood, as fish is not uncommon. Luckily I started being more open before my mission. There are areas where you only eat fish... hopefully I can not go there haha.

Oh and there is this thing called matagringo, which is from the verb matar (to kill) and the noun gringo. They are kind of like olives... and a really sour and basically terrible. At least for us gringos. The Latinos like them. Hence the name.

Q- Who makes your food?  (a picture!) 
A- Oh, coming next week. Sorry only 2 pictures of my surroundings today. One is the son of Clelia, who was baptized my first Saturday. The other is the steeple of one of our two chapels. The chapels are tile floored, hard walls. This makes for a lot of noise reflection, but luckily both have speaker systems to conquer the children´s noises. This chapel is comparatively pretty, the other is a little more reserved.

O.k., some anecdotes.

I got a haircut Wednesday for 3 sol, a little more than a dollar.

I am searching for the best way to mark my scriptures, if there are any suggestions I'd love to hear them!

This week we talked to an investigator who had been taking discussions from missionaries a while ago. She like many people has a child but isn't married. Lots of people here are convivientes, which means living together more or less, without being married. They feel like it is mas o menos the same but as they are unmarried, they are violating the commandment given to us to be chaste, having no sexual relations other than to our legal spouse. She wants to get married. We talked about how the commandments are in reality a blessing. The scriptures say that God does nothing save it is to help his children gain eternal life. Commandments are part of this. They are how we know what we need to do anyway. We receive blessings when we follow the commandments in addition to the eternal reward for being righteous, and avoiding the sadness and despair that can take us when we live contrary to the commandments.

I think she really understood this, and she has a goal to be baptized on the 20th of November.

On Friday, I believe, we had our interview with the mission president.

He interviews us every 3 months I think. His first question was plainly, are you worthy. It is very gratifying to be able to answer this question in the affirmative without any reserve. We talked about how I am doing, how Elder Orihuela and me are doing, what we need to do. In the end, he gave me a spectrum 1 to 10 where 1 is a very bad person and 10 is Christ. I am thinking it must be a logarithmic scale or something. Anyway I am around a 4. He responded, ok, you have a year to be a 10. This is quite a high goal, but I believe I can do it. Today I have a personal goal to work towards realizing this, and tomorrow, and the next I will too. Actually I want to keep having these daily goals basically for the rest of my life, and hopefully I can reach a 10.

We don’t have any flea problems, in answer to your question.

Eric! Sounds like marching band and soccer are being a blast!! Very cool! Your letter made me laugh haha. I was amazed by the blog stats... if each hit was only a second long; it was viewed for a solid hour in October! I shall try to write valuable things. I really do miss trees.. greenery... autumn. 

Sounds like the bike ride to Mount Vernon and the backpacking has been great! I really liked that trail, and that bike ride too!

All right I gotta go. Later we shall play basketball.

Love. 

Elder Johnson






Monday, November 1, 2010

1 November 2010

Dear Home:

You asked "Can you have music on your mission? What kinds?"

We can have music but only Monday and only of the church. So basically I am fine. I do miss some good motab [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] and our classics we would listen to at night in the CCM.

Speaking of ipods, they are going to be awesome when I return.

Right, business. I got letters from Oksana, Kimmie, and Cassie on the 28th of October. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The week before, I got a really old letter that was addressed to the Provo, MTC from home, and a letter from Gramps J on the 19th. Thank you for your answers to my questions and the stories from Texas and home! They were great!

I think letters are transported by a llama express because they are soooooo slooowww and it kinda kills me a little. It is all right though haha. Bueno. I wrote a big letter btw which I'll send off.

What was so great about this week. A lot. We fasted yesterday for Melisa, an investigator whose parents aren't too keen on letting her get baptized. She fasted too which was cool. It is always cool to fast, placing spiritual things above physical, and learning a lot.

I have been trying to be really, really obedient, and I have been richly blessed as a reward. My Spanish is growing so fast, comprehension is way good. I still have a lot to learn though. It is kinda like jumping off a cliff into cold water. Or apparently cold. You jump into the air, not really knowing what to expect, but doing so on faith, and instead of plunging into the water, you realize you are standing on higher ground than you were before.

There are bastante [many] examples.

Some cultural I think.

Halloween was yesterday, and here it is a little different. It is associated a little as the day of the devil, so church members are a little careful. Kids still go around in costumes asking for dulces [candy]. But lots of people go to cemeteries to celebrate the lives of their relatives and friends, which I'm pretty sure no one does in the States.

Everyone here cooks on propane stoves. They look normal [compared] to ours but burn propane from tanks. There is a whole infrastructure to support it too.

Our shower and all those I have seen have electric heaters at the spigot. There is no heated water here as far as I can tell. I am making a semi-educated guess that is is around 400 watts, but I really have no idea what the change in temperature or the rate of water is.

Every one remembers Johnson shampoo when they hear my name. Some of the ward's children call me Johnson lotion, Johnson shampoo, Johnson baby. My second apellido [last name].

AH and ONE investigator story. Hermana Luisa runs a tienda. She is very knowledgeable of the Bible, and loves to talk to us about doctrine, and learn of the gospel of Christ. She is very enthusiastic and in church last Sunday she could not stop smiling. All she needs is to pray for her self... something that isn't super easy to bring about.

Love,

Me

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This post consists of questions we asked Mark, and his replies.

Describe your apartment

It is really small. We have a bunk bed, two desks, a dresser, and two doors. Oh and on the dresser is one of those gigantic water bottle things so we can drink because the faucet is no good.. about 100 square feet before you put all that in there. a lot less with it in.


Tell us more about your companion

My companion..idk if i said already.. but is the only member in his family. Has been a member since he was 15, and took 3 months to get baptized after he met the missionaries. Here we have a goal of a 3 week process from meeting them to them knowing that this church is the true church, and being baptized.


How do you get around?

We walk or bus everywhere. Usually hit the bus at least 2 sometimes 4 times a day. The busses are great fun. To get here we took one that was unusually tall. The roof was at my normal shoulder height. One other person had to bend his head a little.


What are the streets like?

The streets depend on where. We often go teach in the Mansion area, which is the most poor area. Their streets are tierra, and exceedingly dry. There hasn't been rain here in at least 6 months, so dust gets all up on the shoes and some on bottoms of pants when you are being careful. In the nicer areas, the streets are paved, something different than asphalt. bigger pebbles are used... but it isn't concrete. Here too the streets are generally dusty. Also there doesn't seem to be much public concern for the cleanliness of the roads. Everyone drops and throws their trash out the cars, busses, bikes. In consequence, there is a ton of trash.


How are you received?

My all time least favorite phrase is: soy catolico. We hear it EVERYWHERE. Usually people are nice and will at least listen to us a little. Maybe 1 in 7 doors will agree to let us back to teach another day, which isn't bad counting the doors which are unoccupied. It is just that the people often are quite close minded towards us and our message of Christ, and additional teachings which would bring them all many blessings.


How are you feeling about Spanish?

My spanish is coming. I and rapidly understanding more and more even though they talk about a billion miles per hour. The problem is when they use words I don't know, which happens a lot. Especially when the words is a key word that decides the meaning of the sentence. I tell most by picking out most of what they say, and then looking at their body language and facial expressions to get the rest. Still tho, last night we were talking to a woman and her sister... and they started to cry. I only understood something about drinking alcohol... probably her husband, and that the sister was feeling very unhappy. My companion did a good job of reassuring her. I tried to do what i could.


Those goals--were they for your companionship?

the numbers like 540 contacts a week? yes. companionship per week


Name the elders/sisters in your district

Oh I’ve only seen them a few times. but we have an Elder here from American Fork, he has 22 months here, and he knows Jared! He played soccer on a team that occasionally borrowed jared apparently, and his brother played on Jared's team.


What are you doing about food?

Food. The food is quite good. I love the rice flavors and stuff. Its \all good.. but i have had to eat fish twice here now. Luckily i am beginning to be able to.


What do the people in your area do for work?

i have no idea...ill try to find this one out.


Temperatures?

A little warm in the mid day, cold at night. It is a desert after all. So short sleeves in the day and coat in the night after dinner.


What is the ward like?

We go to two. One is very good, with lots of people and strong membership. THe other is very very small. I don't know why it is so small, but one of our goals is to work with the bishop on that this week.


What is the name of your area?

Hunter zone, area is Augusto Freire


Any major insights?

Yes.. So many. I wish i had more time to write on them. I have learned more than i could write in 30 minutes. One is that obedience is the most important thing when trying to improve


Any missionary experiences you can share?

yes!


What a great week! alright, let me try to throw out the highlights. We took some investigators to the young mens young women activity, and i had no idea what was going on...basically like always. Anyway they were all just chilling on the basketball slash soccer court and some music came on. All of a sudden the 25 or so youth were doing this sweet organized dance for the next 7 minutes. Way cool.


I just wanna say that teaching people for real is so awesome. The other day we were in a home, actually the nicest ive been in so far. Anyway we were reading 2 Ne 28 with them, discussing the prophecies. They got way into it and how exciting it was that many were true.


Another day we were teaching at a one room home. The candlelight glinting off the tin roof and giving the cinderblocks warmth. it was very very cool.


ahh time to go


love Elder Johnson