Monday, January 3, 2011

3 January 2011

Dear Familia,

Ok, so this week has been crazy!

Right.  So I had to go to Central Arequipa Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for three 8 hour training sessions. It was a really, really cool experience. There were 61 Elders: all the Zone Leaders, all the District Leaders, and all the Trainers. Which raises the question, why was I there?

My new companion I think is Elder Fernandez. He will come tomorrow, and has 3 weeks total in the mission. Straight from the CCM. Honestly I have no idea how we are going to do, but am determined to do good. It will actually be a great experience, us two verdecitos [brand new missionaries] will have the opportunity to have to completely rely on the Spirit in everything we do. If we do, I'm confident we can be good instruments of the Lord and be the means of bringing many of the people in our area through the metaphorical door which leads to salvation.

Apart from that, this week I have been trying to be better, tho hard due to New Years and other circumstances. New Years here in Peru is crazy. Everybody buys tons of fireworks, and all at once at midnight set them all off. Imagine how it is then for us here in Arequipa since there are several million people. I woke up at 12 (yes we were in bed at 10:30!) to all the fireworks. Three to four loud ones per second for about 10 minutes, with more than I could distinguish echoing around for about 30 minutes. I really, really wanted to get out and look at the undoubtedly incredible scene (everyone was using fireworks that shoot up in the sky and explode) but... had to sleep.

I have had some great experiences with our lessons this week. I feel like I have improved so much, even though I'm still so far from adequate. We have been teaching two kids who we thought would be convert baptisms, but turns out they are in the church records. But still exciting that they got baptized Sunday! That means that the large family they belong to only needs one more [baptism] to be total members! Goal for her is January, and she really wants to be baptized.

So yeah, I said bye to Elder Orihuela this morning, and in the nomenclature of the missionaries, he will be a grandpa tomorrow. [The trainer of a trainer].  We went to the bus stop (it was kind of like an airport, but no security.. I really wanted to buy some of the bread stacked in piles of 400 or so rolls) and met with the other missionaries who are leaving the city of Arequipa for the other places that lie within the boundaries of the mission Peru Arequipa, like Tacna, Mocegua (where Elder Orihuela is going) and a few other places like that...

Unfortunately this week we have lost 4 of the investigators I thought would surely be baptized. They are still around, but 2 have a rather large impediment that turns out won't get resolved this week, or the next, and 2 others... ya with them it is complicated.

Awesomely now we have 45 minutes for internet, but in addition we have to email our mission president in this time. Before we were writing letters weekly. Email should be easier for him.

So yea right now I'm with the zone leader (his companion will be coming sometime..) and I am not entirely sure how I will pass the day until my future companion comes... and with whom... but I have spare clothes in my backpack just in case.

We were in the street the other day and started talking to some people. First a husband and wife. They obviously had a lot of faith, and I really think they can have the faith to pray and ask if they should be baptized again (what we invite all to do). I don't really understand why this step is such a big stumbling block. It seems that everybody doesn't really believe that their prayers can be answered. If they understand and had the faith to ask, then they would receive their answer that they should, and we can't deny an answer from God.

We were asking another couple to do so, and they had been really in agreement with all we said before, but at this point solidly began to give us reason after reason why they couldn't.

Another person, we were knocking the door of someone we talked to a while ago, and her neighbor came out. So I started talking with him, and he was really interested. When I invited him to pray to know if he should be baptized, he was unsure, so I asked if he believed that God can answer prayers. He told me no. So we kept talking and he invited me to come back. He too will receive and answer, but I think it will take a little more time.

Well then, next week I expect to be able to report that we will have worked with all our heart, might, minds, and strength, and will have had the opportunity to help the people here a lot. Also coming up next time will be about my new companion!

Love Elder Johnson

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