Wednesday, September 29, 2010

29 September 2010, Part 3

So since we have been here for so long now, we have gotten to know the

CCM leadership more. Hermana Whetten has eaten with us a couple times!

She is the wife of the CCM President. Hermana Slingerland, wife of

area doctor, teaches a class on how to lead music every three weeks.

We went to both just cuz they are so cool! She is really the most

excited person about leading music I have ever seen. We were loving it

so much, and have adopted her favorite hymn as our own, number 9 in

the spanish hymn book... i dunno about the english one...

In class we were taking turns leading with a little blue plastic

pointer. It has a little hand on the end with index finger pointing

straight, which makes it just about the coolest things around. Our

excitement caught on to all the rest of the class of 50 or so, as the

new and unsure people gradually started singing during practicing, and

having almost as good a time as us. At the end when we went to thank

her she said we set the mood! Hermana Whetten was there, and took note

of the blue pointer.

Two days later we had a Large Group Meeting. Elder Bardzinski, who is

the best and the only Australian here (who was in my first district)

got to to lead the music at the LGM. He used the blue pointer to the

delight of EVERYONE. Hermana Whetten was struggling at not laughing so

bad, Hermano Whetten even smiled, and I could hardly control myself.

Elder Bardzinski is such a character. We are lucky to be his favorite,

he comes into our room every night and shares the most mind blowing

sections of his daily reading in Jesus the Christ in such a thick

accent that we often don't understand his English in the most excited

parts of the summary.

Soccer has been a blast! The new Latinos are very different from the

group of Latinos that we had in our first three weeks. They pass the

ball! I have no idea why it is so different. I would think that with

this many people, it would be more similar than different. They are

all stunned when Elder Stewart dribbles past them all. Oh by the way

Elder Stewart is from Saint George Utah, and is going to Arequipa like


We didn't get to go proselyting last Saturday, and won´t be able to

next. Next Saturday we can´t because of elections and general

conference. Every year on I think the day before elections no one is

allowed to go out on the streets. I believe it is to prevent riots,

chaos, civil unrest... something. We are all super excited to hear it

in English. I´ve never been this excited for conference before!

Oh guess what. All the water fountains here have sheets of instruction

that tell how to use them. I thought that was pretty cool. Also they

have a button for cold water, and another for un-chilled water. It is

pretty odd. Another shocker, I fully averted my first sneeze at 3:30

pm on 9/27/10. I have done so again once since, but never before in my

life. I am learning so much! haha

ummm... the juices the other day were phenomenal. Passionfruit juice

and Watermelon Juice. The latter tastes just like the juice left in

your bowl after eating diced watermelon. It is my favorite here I


I got some Dear Elders!

One from Aunt Carmen, all the news sounds awesome! I think it is one

of my life time goals to cut something with those giant scissors. We

don't seem to have any scissors down here.. it's odd. Were they heavy?

Jared, best of luck haha. I have never heard of such an event. Ryan is

a freshman? That's so cool. It was fun to be in with Paul for two

years. Also I love soccer too. The shoes I brought are ripped up so

bad from playing soccer every day. Hahahaha Andrew's hair!

Did y'all know I volunteered at that Pow Wow the last fall? It was a

lot of fun and I got a sweet shirt out of it for free. Also I learned

about crime prevention! Always good.

Mom sounds like mornings are super chill now. I have changed my

sleeping failitude! We have lights off as per rules at 10:30 every

night, but I am usually in bed at around 9:45. I try to write in my

journal, for fifteen minutes, read the libro de mormon for fifteen of

30, and if I have time, read Jesus the Christ for 15 minutes. Then I

wake up at 6:00 every morning, to be ready before 6:30, to allow for

about 30 minutes of extra study in the morning. We are asked to rise

between 6 and 630...but I am about the only one who gets up at 6. So

there! Elder Stewart and I work in about another hour of extra study

by doing things quickly than we would have if we relaxed and went by

the schedule. It is great.


29 September 2010, Part 2

So I have a question: I was looking into the reflection of the sky off
a little piece of metal on my watch the other day, thinking, and It
looked like small circles were in the out of focus gleam. When I
looked hard it seemed like there were some moving in an orderly
direction, and others just sitting there... Also can see them when i
look at the blue sky. I ttthhhiiinkkk I've read that these are cells in
our eyes? Question: What are they?

New favorite songs: Come Thou Fount []
Prelude C# minor Rachmaninov []


29 September 2010

Dear home,

Whoa! That sounds super awesome! [I told Mark that a friend of ours will be in Peru and will be able to take him a small package--you can see what he’s missing] What is the occasion? And I can have requests? Chocolate! uh... Snickers or Hersheys kisses or Twix in fun size? qué mas.... oh what would be THE BEST would be to send me a couple of those cheap pens that have the thin little ink thing... I know we have a ton around the house. I bought 15 pens here for 2.9 sols which have identical ink cartridges, but the plastic body is such bad plastic that it starts to crack and fall apart after only a few days. So to be sure, the ink cartridges are a little over a millimeter

in diameter I think, something like five inches long, and at the front they have a plastic piece that covers where the metal tip meets the plastic ink tube. If y’all can send me a few of these pens, I will be able to refill them with the perfectly fine ink cartridges from all those pens I got! I miss food like lasagna and pizza a lot... but that won´t work.

All letters from now on should go to the mission home, I don’t know the address, or the pouch mail address, but could you add both to the page please?

SO the pictures come from our tour of Lima central that went down last Wednesday (after I emailed). It was AWESOME. We got onto a tour bus which took us around town to the center, while Hermana Slingerland (our favorite..ok Hermana Whetten is the best too but in a different

way) was on the mic telling us about all the cool things we were passing.

[.....all the cool stuff we were passing.]

We arrived at...some plaza square thing where the bishop and president live and the Pope speaks at when he comes. It was super super super bueno. I got a Peru jersey for 15 sols and a free little dongle everyone has in some form or another. Necklaces, keychain things, lots have this native human sacrifice knife replica...pretty intense.

We went and tried to get a hamburger, but they don’t exist down here... it was some other form of meat. Tasted alright tho, and was big for about 3.5 dollars. It is really fun to get out there.

Also on the trip we stopped by the beach to watch the surfers slash/torture those of us who surf (a surprising number). Apparently the beach is rather famous world-wide among surfers... There were

parasailers (those are the ones with the parachutes not the gliders right?) getting lift off these imposing cliffs behind us. I wished I had had a sailplane, but then again a crash would make it almost impossible to get your plane back. The cliffs were about 80 feet near straight up. Everyone was super happy to be out and about!

Oh and have the answers to my past questions been found? I’m still curious! The lack of ability to cruise the web looking for answers is killer.

Elder Weaver is the bomb. I was just thinking the other day how glad I am he´s been in all of my districts so far and same room 2 out of the three tri-week periods. We all joke that because of his mannerisms, he is headed straight to the White House. He does seem quite presidential. The phrase around here is presidential potential.

Oh and the Elder Falk character I´ve come to realize is hilarious.Also, the way he is reminds me a lot of James [Hancock].

Teaching has gotten a lot better. We are figuring out Spanish a lot more, we know how to do the lessons a lot better, and everything is just going so great. The other day we got through basically everything in the ridiculously short 15 minute time period for mas o menos [more or less] the first time. We have finished before but not in as elegant a manner as that day. Also the Latino companion we were teaching said I have a good accent! Aw shucks. His companion was so funny the other day tho. We were the "investigators" and they were teaching us. I told them my friends had laughed at me when I told them I was talking to the missionaries, so I didn’t really think I should take any more lessons. He so didn’t understand tho cuz he responded: Bueno bueno, Cree en profetas? Haha that means good, you believe in prophets? We just went with it.


Elder Johnson

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

23 September 2010

Dear Eric (and all),


How is school? Great job on the high math class and wind ensemble! Study math hard so you can know what is going on! When I was in seventh grade, I didn't study much at all and it was so confusing. If I had studied every day though, it would have been so much better. All classes on the top floor?? That's how you know you are getting old right there!

I was just talking about snowboarding with Elder Stewart! I really wanna go buuut it is going to be two more years until I will be able to! Elder Stewart snowboards as well, but Elder Weaver likes to ski, and expressed his negative opinion of snowboarders. Haha but really I want to go so bad.

So today is the first day of spring here! The end of winter that I got to experience was quite warm, most days were fine to be wearing my short sleeve shirts, tho a couple were to cold to have short sleeves in the morning. I can´t believe I have been here for a whole six weeks! The time is flying past unfortunately quickly. It seems like just four days ago I was eating Coldstone in Provo!

The other day, I was just talking with Elder Silva, and all of a sudden he starting singing Dora the Explorer (explorer just feels like an ER verb). Apparently, in Chile, the same show teaches Chilean children how to speak English!

Elder Silva and I had to teach the other Sunday in our districts again! We taught about the Plan of Salvation and.. wait for it... yes you guessed it! We used the Oscarson Plan of Salvation diagram. Only difference was we added a timescale to show what occured antes y despues [before and after]. Oh and we did it in Spanish.

Part of the crazy time distortions means that starting last night, I am in my THIRD companionship! So for review, Elder Weaver and Elder Cruz were my companions at the MTC and of whom you have heard a lot.

They are great. Then we came here to the CCM after three weeks, and my new companion was Elder Silva of Chile. He taught me so much Spanish and most importantly made it so I can understand at least what the words are when native Spanish speakers talk (their vocabulary towers above mine but I am able to pick out the words I dont know-- which is surprisingly difficult). Now, I am companions with Elder Stewart, one of my district mates from my MTC district, who also was in my first district at the CCM! I am super excited to be his companion. We have already taught several practice lesson together, and we seem to teach well together, he is definitely the strength of the lessons.

Also with this change means we get a new room. Our last room had six people in it, Elder Lowe, Elder Hatch, Elder Lambraño, Elder Leiva, Elder Silva, and I. Quite cramped with something like 100 square feet between all of us. Now we have a bigger room with four people instead of six! Our new room has my companion, Elder Stewart, Elder Weaver, and this Elder Falk character who we are getting to know, who seems great! We have these gigantic closets with I think 32 cubic feet of
pure storage. Alright not soo big but an improvement for sure. The kicker here is that we have our own bathroom! Only two rooms of all those availiable to Elders (we suspect all Sisters apartments are this way) have the shower deal. It is awesome. This morning when all the other Elders were showering in the main bathroom, all the hot water ran out, yet our bathroom was just as warm as ever! We blame our new Zone Leader, Elder Weaver for our good treatment. And the fact that we
four are probably the best, most humble missionaries who have ever been through the CCM.

So now that we are "avanzados" (spanish for advanced), we are the old fogeys around here. Thirty three of us now have three weeks under our belt, and 152 new missionaries will be arriving over the next two days. They are more or less half and half Norte Americanos and Latinos. Part of the avanzados title means we can do the translating from Spanish to English in the meetings we have for all the new Norte Americanos. I could do a fairly good job at this point.

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit us last night! I didnt even wake up... of course... but most people did with the shaking cabinents and stuff.

Your that-was-easy trick sounds ridiculous haha. Did Paul invent it? He would.

Did anyone find an answer to my questions last week? I have another question for this week. Read Doctrina y Convenios 130 all 8 [Doctrine and Covenants 130:1-8] or so verses. It talks about Joseph Smith´s brother in the Celestial Kingdom, having not at the time of the revelation been baptised. The question is... How? Our district has come up with the possible answers: since time for God is a vastly different thing, maybe it didn't matter that the baptism had not occured yet, but that the fact
that Alvin would accept baptism in the future meant he could enter into the Kingdom of God (see also Juan 3:5 [John]). The other possible answer was that it was a vision of the future, since Joseph Smiths mother (we think) was still alive at the time of the revelation. The problem is we dont have many more documents than the scriptures, preach my gospel, and Jesus the Christ here.

Oh and by the way, James E Talmage is quite a celebrity around here. Haha. We are all reading and loving Jesus the Christ. To those who haven´t read it, READ IT! Ok the first couple chapters are admittedly hard, and one must get used to his rhetoric, but it is suuuch a good book.

Thirdly, I have arrived in 2 Ne 3 in the Spanish Book of Mormon. I have been reading out loud for about 30 minutes everyday (time scrounged from my morning prep time and night prep time by getting ready super super fast). Reading out loud helps so much, tho I will admit, I missed some key story points due to imperfect comprehension.

Oh...I am very sad to say that my left to go home. I miss him, his abilitly to cite most important scriptures when we forgot, and his doctrine pop quizes, and I really really regret not trying harder to be a better friend to him.

Elder Mark Johnson

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 15, 2010 Part 3

Dear All,

These have been my thoughts slash experiences that I wrote down to share.

I have a hypothesis about the plumbers who worked on the bathrooms in the MTC and also in the CCM. I think the MTC bathrooms were plumbed by Peruvians, and the CCM bathrooms were plumbed by Norte Americanos. I would always hit my face on the shower heads in Provo at the MTC, yet here, they are high enough!! It is great.

I never understood the phrase "lumpy pillow," which occurs frequently in fiction, until my first night here.

My physics is slowly leaking out, but it isn't all the way gone yet! In the line at the comedria there are several windows. These windows have blinds which can be turned to close or open at the pull of a metal chain. The chain is the ball-rod-ball-rod-ball type that people often use for necklaces. Anyway, it is thicker than those by a milimeter or so, and 2.5 meters long. The tension in the chain increases quickly as you move up the chain because of its weight. As a consequence, when
you tap the bottom of the chain and start a wave, it moves up with increasing speed, decreasing amplitude, and increasing wavelength. The effect is that it looks like the wave disappears soon after you tap the chain. The wave bounces off the top unnoticed, and suddenly and without warning, it shakes the last few centimeters violently. It is really entertaining, and a bunch of other elders started doing it for a few days after I figured it out.

Along with the "spiritually minded is life eternal" scripture, is Acts 10:36 :)

So a question for Grandpa Johnson. Here, the fluorescent tube lights flicker for almost 4 seconds before they turn on, tho the length of the flickering period varies. Sometimes it is 1 second before it is on. Anyway, somehow they turn on, but then turn off. I would think that the On state is stable... doesn't it need increased power to turn on, and then reduced power once enough gas is ionized? Somehow they turn on and off several times before deciding to stay on for good. Also, if you turn them off, and then back on before waiting long, they illuminate with barely any or no flickering.

AAAHHH so the best experience ever. We got on buses on Saturday to go to the world and visit less active members of the church. My group went to the Garden stake center about 45 minutes from the CCM I think. We were to be paired up with members who would accompany us and help us get to the houses and help us teach. There were not enough members tho, so about half of the missionaries had to go knocking doors!!! Me and Elder Silva got to go knock doors! It was mejor [the best]. My first door was so scary, but no one opened, nor the second. But the third, a 15 year old girl bounced out and talked with us for a little bit. I say us, but I mean Elder Silva. I literally understood nothing she said except that she believed in God. Everyone was super willing to talk to us, and we talked to 5 people who wanted missionaries to come back!!! it was sooo sooo cool.

I will never forget one place. These 3 and 4 year old kids answered the gate, and started climbing on the other side (never opened it), smiling at us and offering us their bread. We didnt take any. The 15 year old brother and oldest person home talked to us for about 10 minutes through the gate. He was shy, but happy to see us. behind the gate, were the dirtiest stairs I have ever seen leading up to where they lived. The stairs and the walls looked mas o menos como un [more or less like a]
chimney. So sad, heart-wrenching.

We get translators (the missionaries who have been here for a few weeks longer) for some of the meetings. the Norte Americanos wear the headsets connected to the radio. The translator was translating for us, as the temple president spoke and said he wanted us to have success. The spanish word is Exito I think. He translated to all the Norte Americanos "He wants us all to have sex." Im not sure a funnier slash more out of place freuidian slip has ever occured.

Question: What is difference between the three levels in the Celestial kingdom? We can only find info on the top one.

Eric is taller than almost all women here.

Me and Elder Silva advanced to the second round of the fooseball
tourney yesterday. It was sweet. Fooseball or taca taca as it called
here, it the ccm pasttime....which takes place when we finish a meal

no more time!

Love Elder Mark Johnson

September 15, 2010 Part 2

Dear Home,

So dear elder is the best... I think. I got it at 8 pm on September 9.
And today is the 15th, which means I've been out for over a month and
have less than a month more in the CCM before I get to go out in the
real world for real! AAHH.

I shall start by replying to the dear elder.

The water selling sounds like a great idea. I was thinking at first
that it might have been a good idea to spice it up with some crystal
light, but then I realized that people were buying based on the
cuteness of the sellers and the whole idea of the thing. The product
isn't so important, so why increase the production costs?? Very good
thinking William and Cooper!

[William and neighbor friend, Cooper, sold cups of ice water from our front lawn at $0.25 each for a
couple of days and earned about $15.00]

Yes there are about to be another 150 or so missionaries coming next
week, so some missionaries get to take off after only three weeks
here! P.S. 150 more means about a 70% increase in tho total population
I think. Right. So three people in my district fall under that
category. They are advanced cuz I think their average years studying
Spanish in school before coming was around 6. They all speak super
great. Which I say because that is a chilean thing. My companion, when
I ask him: "¿como está?," says "¡superbien!"

So y'all asked about the flight over here. It was awesome. We had about
a fifth of the plane filled with missionaries. People were talking to
us all over the place. Unfortunantly, I was surrounded by missionaries,
but two people over, Elder Hastings had a long discussion with a lady
who was also going to Peru for missionary work, tho with some other
christian church. In the back of the plane, a flight attendant was
talking to Elder Poston and some others from my old district for quite
a while. She said that every time missionaries were on the plane she
was working on, she just felt so good, had a feeling in her heart. She
even started crying, and gve them all nicknames, Elder Poston was her
"Baby Daddy."

September 15, 2010

Dear all,

All right. I'll reply to here [email] real quick.

¿How did Paul think the ACT went?

Ah, the temperature here is super sweet too.

Snail mail to here is much lamer than I think [letters]
arrive tons faster.

De veras? No entiendo pero entiendo todos oltros palabras. Haha. Yo se
que el libro de mormon es verdad, y es un oltro testimonio de
JesuCristo. Mi compañero es el jefe, y sabe muchas escrituras en la
santa biblia, que es muchisimo importante cuando ensenaramos personas
catolicas. Todos personas aqui son catolicas.

[Editor's note, I'm not going to edit Mark's spanish words. It will be fun to watch
his grammar and spelling improve in spanish. Here's the translation: Really? I
don't understand but I understand other words. Haha. I know that the Book of Mormon
is true, and that it is another testimony of Jesus Christ. My companion is the boss (as in the best),
and he knows many scriptures in the Holy Bible that are very important when we teach
Catholic people. Everyone here is Catholic.]

Love MArk! amabout to respond to the oltros [others]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, William, and Paul,

That is a lot of people on the blog! Holy broccoli! The Taiwan [person] might
be Kirsten´s sister... I know she is somewhere there abouts.

Ok, I'll answer all the questions first. I don´t know who Elder Palaoci
is, but in regards to soccer, he is absolutely right. It was really fun
in the Provo MTC, but it is way better here. First off, there aren´t
nine-finity people playing. We usually have about 12 on each team.
Second, everyone is way better on average. I think it is just cuz
soccer is much more popular among the latinos, and this MTC is about
half latino. Oh and Latino is the term we have been asked to used. As
for us people from up north, we are referred to as norte americanos.
Except for Elder Badzinski, he is still Auzi.

The food is intense. Every meal is alien to us. The tastes are all
different, the ratios are different, and the fact that we have rice
and a meat for every meal is diffferent too. I think we even eat more
rice than I had been eating in my final weeks at home. Sometimes meals
are great, sometimes they are mas o menos [more or less, average], and once I had to
concetrate on lifting my foot off the ground. The juices are so weird
haha. Ok... so different. Every meal we have a choice of two unlabeled
juices, or water. The two juices the first day, were of coloration
bright yellow/orange, and a dull light brown [anyone's guess, but mine is Tamarind]. All of us newbies chose
the bright one, and were sorely suprised. I honestly dont know how
that particular juice could have caught
Luckily the juice changes every day, though I often stick with the
safe choice: water.

One day I went for the juice, and drank it. When I asked my companion
what it was, and after serveral minutes of trying to understand him, I
realized he was saying it was herbal tea. uhhh.. is that even ok?

I have heard no word on where people do dry cleaning, but I haven't
asked either. I suspect we need to arrange it with someone outside the

The spanish is exploding. Every day is so much better. And my english
is going out the window. When I'm writing in my journal after a day of
speaking spanish, I tend to accidenatlly use grammatical structures of
Spanish or the english version of a phrase I can say in spanish, so it
makes limited sense. Last night I was trying to ask if we could go to
meals in our P-day clothes (which are just casual wear), and I said,
"Can we go to food in our clothes?" Oh and I memorized the first vision
really well in English in the MTC, but then memorized it in Spanish.
Now, the only way I can say it in English is by translating it
directly. But the result is in a different order than the real English
one. Elder Silva (my compañero) laughed at me for a while after he
asked me to say it in English for him.

My companion is a Chilean who knows his scriptures like nobody's
buisness. He can whip out a scripture on the most diverse topics, and
i have no idea how. He says he learned them all in seminary and
institute. Apparently he wasn't sleeping. So I guess I really need to
work on my at hand bible references. He was in a band before comming
to the CCM and they recorded a CD. I got to see some pictures of him
performing live. He plays keyboard.

Ms. Harber remembered me?? What in the world? thats impressive.

A random story. The second day here, Elder Steward kicked a soccer
ball over the wall in a game. We got to go into the world, which was
super exciting at the time. It took forever to find it [the ball], and while we
were looking, a dog smelled or heard us and started barking from the
other side of one of the homes wall. They all have walls in this
neighborhood and the CCM has a 15 foot wall all the way around. A
man came out to investigate the cause of the barking, and gave us a
quizzical look. Instinctively, Elder Stewart asked, "Have you seen a
ball?" He didnt understand. Why? Oh wait this is PERU! Haha Elder
Stewart rephrased, "¿Pelota?" The man shook his head.

That 50 mile hike story is awesome. [A couple of years ago Mark participated in a
Boy Scout activity to walk 50 miles in 20 hours or less. He was successful and finished it
in about 16.5 hours. Missionaries get to walk a lot, but never 50 miles in a day.
So, he can never complain about walking on his mission, because it will never be as hard
of a walk as the 50 miler was].

Ok, I wrote some things down to get into this email.

Today we went to the temple, and it was awesome. The Lima Temple is
one of those Micro temples, and its it definitely micro. To get
there, we are required to take the bus. We can walk back if we want,
however me and Elder Silva took the bus back. It was quite an
experience. The bus to the temple had about 18 seats, and 38 people
crammed into it! It was incredibly crowded. In addition, the ceiling
was about 5 feet 11 inches off the ground, so I stood with my head
completely sideways and pressing against the ceiling. Everyone here is
quite short, the Peruvians around me were probably 5.5 feet at the tallest.
Only two other people on the bus had my problem, and they were norte
americano missionaries also going to the temple. The driver has an
assistant who collects the money of departing passengers when they
drop them off. He stands right in front of the bus door while in
motion. To give an idea of how crowded the bus was, he just left the
door open on the way to the temple because there wasn't space to close
it, and he held onto the rails, leaning out the side the bus between

On the way back from the temple, we missed the bus. But another came
about 10 seconds later. There are a lot of buses here. It was not
nearly as crowded though, which is good. But this time, since it was only
me and Elder Silva getting on, the driver started going the instant
both of my feet touched the floor of the bus. Consequently I almost
fell and was able to give people on the bus a good laugh. The driver
did this at every stop, and it caught me off guard every time. So
everything was more or less ok until the bus took a turn off our road
to the CCM! They don't really have routes as far as I can tell, and
there are no bus stops, they just pick you up wherever you are, but they
are more like mass taxies. Someone had to be dropped off a street
over I guess. Elder Silva and I both looked at each other as we turned away
from familiarity and into the wild unknown Lima with nervous looks. We
tried to jump off, but when Elder Silva asked the departing-passenger-money-collector
slash door guard, he said some spanish words that even Elder Silva didn't understand.
I remembered the time when i jumped off the bus sans you all in London. Paul was with me
right? [No, Mark jumped off all alone and the bus took off. He started running; we tried to keep
him in sight, but weren't able to get off until about a block later--it all ended well,
obviously, but, it was very scary.]

So we keep driving who knows what direction, the door guard keeps
telling us no one knows what and we are steadily growing more nervous,
when the bus suddenly stops and he motions for us to leave. It cost 1
nuevo sol to get both of us wherever we were. We looked around, at
each other, and around again. Haha. Ummm... We were by a gas station...
Oh, behind the gas station is a nice fence! Luckily for us we could see
the Regional church headquarters building from where we were, so we
headed there. Remembering that the CCM was right by the headquarters,
we were able to make it back to the CCM alive.

So by the way, I got a hair cut the first day I got here. Which is
odd, cuz I had one two days before leaving Provo. I have not hair
now...they buzzed it way short. But it isn't even a really good chop!
There are uneven hairs all over the place!

We went to tottus (similar to walmart) after the temple today, and
there were odd bottles in the drink aisle. The notable ones were tall
and skinney 1.5 liter bottles, and taller and a little wider 3.3 liter
bottles. They look pretty great for water rockets... I kinda want to
take a few home in 1.9 years.

The area authority came the other day and talked to us (in spanish).
He talked about while we are on our missions, we have similar
responsibility as apostles. It was very cool.. Obviously we lack the
keys and authorities that they have, but we are here to a similar end.
It was cool. I had to listen to the translators. Im not that good yet.
However, I needed no translation in the temple.

and I'll send pictures of stuff next week

Elder Johnson!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Letter from Peru!

Dinkleman, i put some nuevo sols in that money wallet today! I'm no gringo.

The mtc choir was not beginning until later in fall unfortunately.

Dear Mom,

I have arrived in Peru! The ALT to Lima flight was such an adventure.
Throughout the entire day, people had been smiling at us, saying hi,
or asking what we were doing and what our name tags were. On the
plane, a woman who was coming to Peru (also for a mission in a group
of about 15 other people on the plane) walked up and started talking
to the two people on the other side of my row (767.. 2-3-2). She kept
talking and one of them gave her a pass-along card and she said she
commended us on being so dedicated at such a young age!

Elders Poston and Bardzinski and Bowler I think had a similar
adventure in the back. A flight attendant started chatting with them,
and before not too long she was crying and talking about a feeling she
always felt whenever she had missionaries for our church on the plane
(which is apparently a lot). She gave them nicknames including "my
babydaddy" for Elder Poston. Hahaha!

Right. So after a full day of travel, we got on a small bus (which
looked like a large insect), and rode through the roads of Lima for
about an hour. It was so cool to see the differentness of the Lima
roads, as we passed through a spectrum of city feeling streets
and the outskirts. The biggest shocker after noting that all the
advertisements are in spanish, was the ads themselves. The popular
street ad is what looks like a temporary billboard. They had grassy
areas between and by the road for about half of the journey (the other
half of the journey passed 20 foot walls on the sides of the roads),
and in these grassy areas, people would drive massive versions of the
political signs we see sometimes around Arlington. ¿You know the type
with a wire frame and a slogan/picture that go up preceding elections?
Yeah, but they were 15 or so feet high. I think they are temporary only
because we passed several groups of around 10 men digging and putting
them into the ground. I suppose there is probably an election, but the
style of advertising makes me wonder if the space is always used for
some ad or another. And if it is, how do they keep it from getting
over crowded (they were orderly and evenly spaced).

After that fasinating ride, we arrived at the Lima CCM (spanish for
MTC) at 12:45 I think. Missionaries helped us get to the rooms and
showed us what's up.

This morming we met our companions who had been asleep when we
arrived. I have a companion from Chile, and we have exchanged...a few
words. It is odd because the native speakers are not in our district
learning spanish again... so I dont yet know when we see eachother.

Briefly about this CCM, it is so pretty. The grounds are better, the
food is better, it is more chill in general. I will elaborate later
but unfortunately the time limit is still here!

Elder Mark David Johnson
Av. Melgarejo 159
Urb. Camp verde
La Molina, Lima, Peru (u is accented)

is my address
takes like a week for mail tho


31 August 2010

Dear Mom,

Is everyone still liking that club [He's talking about William's Summer Book Club for 9 year olds]?  I feel like it can't possibly last for too long.  Just because of the public feelings about book clubs.  Boxcar children eh?  I feel like I read at least a few of those.

$600 for a booth?! [at the Arlington County Fair--Arlington 1st, Arlington 2nd and Crystal City Wards split the cost for a Family History Booth that was very well received by the community].  That's a ton!  But it is a good thing.

So did they braid the rope into being? [Referring to William's cub scout camp where boys worked throughout the day at 20 minute intervals to make a rope, twisting and turning].  Sounds like a ton of work.  Kudos for an activity demonstrating what. . . the importance of child labor? Or more likely, machines.

Ashley's mom did? [asked for a link to my blog]?  Cool.  Ah, I wish High Adventure had gone down with me in attendance somehow.

So, every Sunday, there is a devotional.  Last Sunday, Elder Holland came!!!!  He was SOOOOO good and talked about how so very important his mission was to him.  He says he reckons he has gone about 1 day in 48 years without thinking about his mission.  I saw in the 5th row!!!!

Last night was another devotional!  The Administrative director of the MTC spoke.  He called up two sisters and held up a magnifying glass asking, "Sisters, what is this."  They said, "A magnifying glass."  "What does it do?"  "Magnifies the word," they answered.  Then he called up two Elders and asked, "What is this, what does this do?"  They responded, "A magnifying glass.  It burns ants."  Ha ha.  Then, he launched into a discussion of if we want to burn ants, we need to keep the glass focused on them.  That if we want to "light a fire in the hearts of our investigators," we would need to concentrate for a continuous period, not just occasionally, like weekly or so.

About my spanish:  We have taught two lessons in spanish now.  It is pretty rough, but talking for 15 minutes in all spanish after 2.5 weeks is pretty impressive no?  Gift of tongues or Don de idiomas, en espanol.  I understand everything everyone says in spanish, and recognize most of Portuguese or Italian by the way.  English too.

It's pretty cool here, you walk around the cafeteria and hear Russian, Ukranian, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese (Mandarin), Korean. . . and more.  People walk up to you outside and contact you in all sorts of tongues.

Tell about High Adventure and Deep Creek!

P.S.  The update on the companionship drama is that it has calmed down, which means we are doing well at peace making.  I hope we have all learned something, cuz our problem isn't one that would just go away with a new companionship.


Elder Mark Johnson

P.P.S.  I don't even know my Peru address yet.  Somehow Elder Weaver has an address:  Centro de Capacitacion Misional, Melgarejo 159, La Lolina, Amazonas 12, Peru.

I'm so excited to get to Peru!!  Total immersion, here I come!

Missionaries Relaxing at MTC-Provo