Monday, July 25, 2011

25 July 2011 Super Week

Elder Johnson and Elder Hunsaker on hillside in Camana
Dear the family!
Ok, so a lot happened this week. I AM feeling better with the cold almost perfect.

We met up with a former investigator this week who is named Sledgehammer. No joke. He is Adventist and didn't really want to believe anything, but it was interesting. His friends just call him the Hammer. By the way, the recent convert Nails will be coming back soon!

In our room we noticed that there is one calendar that has the seventh day as Sunday, and one as Saturday. Brings up an interesting series of questions.

Friday we got fried bananas for lunch with rice, cooked onions and a meat thing that is called Arroz a la Cubana. I mention it since mom sent me a picture of something like that from her trip to Honduras. Very good it turned out. Lomo Saltado is even more tasty if someone wants to try Peruvian food I'm sure you can look up a recipe online. maybe even in English.

Well, Armando and Vanessa, the young couple who are awesome have been having some problems progressing mostly due to their son, who is 1 1/2 years old. He is the most mischevious child ever and spends most the lessons taking our scriptures and giving them to his parents, and then returning them, riding his toy car around the room, and throwing toys. The only respite is when he gets hungry and goes to his mom. One time he mistakenly went to his dad during a lesson. Hahaha so funny. But they actually do learn dispite all the noise made by their son and we always can feel the spirit. Armando is a professional soccer player.
Christus in Camana

Elder Hunsaker and I have designated this week as Super Week since it is his last. I will be trying sooo hard to make it his best. It's definitely kind of weird to be with someone in their last week, having about 53 more weeks left for me. It's definitely freaking me out that I have so little time. About to finish a year, I feel like I should know more and be more repented. So that's the big job for the next two weeks.

This week will be the zone conference. Part of my awesome new set of responsibilities will be to give a 17 minute training about how to do Ward Council and Executive Council better.... now that I think about it,  I should have asked for suggestions last week... for next time it'll be. But 17 minutes isn't much compared to the 70 minute ones I did weekly as District Leader so I'm not worried about time so much as content.

In Peru there is a lot of neighborhood unity. They throw block parties in celebration of their neighborhood anniversary every year, and those in my area have all been in the past weeks. It's cool. A mariachi type band comes and plays ALL DAY and the alcohol definitely gets pumping. There was a cock fight last night in one of the parties, but I think that was just a private party.

Verdant Valley in Camana (maybe this is at the chapel?)
This morning Elder Hunsaker and I were enjoying very much some Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so much. He is a cool person. From Logan and so funny. I think I have not gone a single waking hour without laughing in our time together. He also watched Star Trek, Star Wars, and StarGate... which makes his way nerdier than me. ehem cough.

Looks like that's it for today. I feel like this week will be great. The changes [transfers] are coming with the end of the week, and we are forseeing many many changes in the zone, but almost the most sure thing ever said that I won't have a change [transfer]. Which is wonderful, cuz we need to keep working hard in Branch Porvenir. Yesterday a total of more than 50 people came [to church]!!! That's the most we've had since the Branch Conference! I felt like I had to shake someone's hand and be very happy about it in church. When I did I noticed that she was VERY unhappy, but later when she saw me the look on her face said "Thank you for being the person I needed to be nice to me in that moment!" That was cool.
Elder Johnson

P.S. I'm going to write a letter and send a card, but keep the ones [pictures] I email so they can be there just in case I lose a card.

Monday, July 18, 2011

18 July 2011

Dear family
Wow!  What a week! After the morning, we went around to get some pictures of  our area a little bit. I sent you one of us with our pensioner Sister Ouhenia (I have no idea how to spell her name), one on a path in our area to get to a place called Paradise with a random kid who was walking by and asked us why I was runnning from 40 meters away as fast as I could to sit with my companion (that tripod is the best). And one that shows about the prettiest view in the area with my companion Elder Hunsaker in it. [Actually, we haven't received these pictures.  Look for them at some future time.]
Later Monday we were getting ready to go to dinner and a flock of about 100 sheep past our house, bleating.
The past few days I got a cold hard-core... which was no fun when during a single contactIi would have to blow my nose 3 times, but luckly I feel a lot better now and [am] almost whole. The worst passed me in the area of Puccun. We did companion interchanges there and we felt the spiritu [spirit] quite strongly. Elder Perez and I definitely did some good proselyting.
This week I got a book from Brother Brooks!! Thank you soo much!! It looks to be the best.
Also in my studies of the Book of Mormon, reading Alma 36,  I am sure I found a chaism. It's ABCDCBA and says
A If we keep the comandments we will be blessed
B If we put our trust in the Lord he will sustain us
C Knowledge and testimony come from God
D The story of his conversion to God
i was kind of amazed to find it... I think its the first I've noticed out right... look it up!
The only thing that is worrying me a little these days is that Elder Hunsaker knows the area really well, and especially the town center to be able to help out the missionaries of the zone, but I don't so much... and that responsibility of knowing will fall on me pretty soon since he will be finishing 2 years pronto [right away].
This week there were competitions to see which street in our area could decorate it up the best. They put banners and strings and all sorts of things. It turned out quite pretty.
Also the center of our area had a party with tons of fireworks. Just about anything goes here so we were convinced there was a war going down due to the intensity. Very much booming.
Well, looks like only one picture is getting home since the internet is about dying....sorry but I shal try to send them again next week!


Elder Johnson

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

11 July 2011

Dear Family,
Jaja la fecha de regreso no hará tanto como tener un compañero con 23.5 meses en la mision. Pero Elder Hunsaker es lo maximo. Solo a veces dice, De a qui tres semanas voy a buscar este cancion. [Ha Ha, having the return date for my mission is nothing like having a companion who's been in the mission for 23.5 months (missionaries serve for 24 months).  But, Elder Hunsaker is at the very end.  Sometimes he says, "Three weeks from now, I'm going to look for this song.]
Well just this week [we have] seen some divisions [missionary splits where companionships are switched around temporarily] with a District leader and my anterior [earlier] companion Elder Hernandez (see picture)

We went to Arequipa like I said last week for the meeting with the President of the mission. It was the maximum. [the best] We talked with him in the night of Monday about a lot of things, and then way more Tuesday [about how] to help out the Zones. The zone we are in is one of the two zones of the mission that is suffering a little. More than anything for the attitude of the missionaries. The church here is a District and Branches so there aren't so many members. I think they all get used to more help from the members and get a little disanimated [discouraged] and then tell their new companions that nothing passes [they're not having missionary success] and the tradition gets passed on. We are working big time to kill that off before the next transfers. Last month in all the Zone Camaná, there were 2 baptisms, but this month we have already had 4! So something is changing...
I think there are some religious groups really trying to preach against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... because we talk to a bunch of people who when they see us, say oohh but I dont believe in Adam Smith. We say.. that's great, us neither! Haha but really... what is up with that?
We had a lesson with an almost priest, or rather, he was about to take up being a priest but realized he didn't want that to be his job. So he knows a ton about the scriptures and really suprised me a few times by his insights about the sacrament and the premortal life. Never have I talked to any other person who understood so much from just the Bible. Modern day scripture really clarifies these doctrines well.
Today I really want to be able to take those pictures I have been planning to take since I got here. It's just we have quite limited time on Monday sometimes. Very pretty. But imaging those desert mountain shots I sent when I came to the valley of fields... Camaná is like that. Green surrounded by huge sandy mountains. The housing areas are pushed up into the starts of the mountains by the farm land.
We talked with Nancy this week. The first time we talked to her we talked about the Restoration and asked if she believed it. She said of course and that she has wanted to be baptized, but since her husband doesn't want to get married, she is in a situation. Also Bety has the same problem. She really feels it is true and is so animated [excited] to receive the remission of her sins, but her husband doesn't want to get married either. We will be trying to help them with their honest desires to live the Law of Chastity and if they really have that desire, they will be blessed with solutions.
Sunday one of the speakers didn't come and the other two spoke about 7 minutes combined. The Branch President asked me to fill up that time leaving me almost 30 minutes to spontaneously talk. I talked about some teachings of President Uchtdorf, of the Plan of Salvation and the blessings of living the gospel.
Now I have to relinquish the typing time to my companion. Well, see ya next week.
Elder Johnson

Monday, July 4, 2011

4 July 2011

Dear Family

How is everything? Sounds like Paul is enjoying BYU and having a good time with all the other freshmen. Sounds like all is going well at home too. Yes the last week I got to the area right in time to dine and then go to the appointments. What says the area? It says it is wet
but not super wet so it is ok. Just wet enough to motivate me to fix my shoes so they don't have holes in the soles anymore.

I would do it today but I can't since in just a little bit we are going to go to Arequipa. There is a meeting that we are going to with the
president tomorrow. It's a little weird... I feel like I am getting to know really well the road between Camaná and Arequipa since I came 2
week ago. I went before this week to do interchanges with the Assistants [to the President].

Which was pretty awesome. I went with Elder Frias in his area in Arequipa and his companion came to Camaná. There, we were teaching a family and it was the best. The son was like, "I feel like I should be baptized" And then we went to another, and the guy was getting ready for his baptism but was with doubts so we were talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what really is baptism.. since almost no
one really appreciates what a covenant is. And he was like, "Wow, but something holds me back." So we prayed and read a scripture, and we felt the Spirit with such power, that he said "YES! and I want to be a missionary. Is it too late for me now that I'm 21?"  [Missionaries typically serve 
missions between the ages of 19-21, but sometimes they are older.] Later we went to the other person who was preparing for her baptism for this week to confirm it and basically I was a little stunned to see what they are doing there.

Last night we contacted a lady from Northern Peru and she gave us a weird bamboo looking thing that is really a fruit. You chew on it and
juice the juice until basically just wood is left. It is a juice really similar to sugary milk.

¡This week will be the BEST!

All right that was a little [letter] only i know but my time se acabó [is over].

Love Elder Johnson