Wednesday, September 28, 2011

26 September 2011

Dear Family!
September 26, 2011
Christmas is coming??? Wow... maybe [you could send] more of those stars to put on appointment doors when they aren’t there. That would be great, also an SD-USB converter thing so I can better send y’all pictures. Socks too would be great. My socks are getting holes in them but they are all sun stained from drying in the sun once a week for more than a year after being washed.
I’ll think a little better. By the way we CAN use skype the next Christmas with video chat. We could last christmas and mother’s day but noone told me! The other homework was my release date: 15 Aug 2013 they told me... but it’s really 2012.
This week was great! We worked really hard, but following dad’s counsel we obtained more direction from the Lord. And even though we started the new study plan for the mission which is an extra hour, and feels like much less time to proselyte, it has been so good. We are really becoming much better teachers. I am SO GLAD I COULD BE CALLED TO SERVE A MISSION!
This week we taught a family about the gospel. They didn’t read when we got back and we were quite sad since the only way they can grow in the faith and get closer to Christ is by preparing with keeping commitments. When we expressed that they promised and the next visit they had read and the mom had prayed and asked God if the Book of Mormon is true!
Saturday was a very interesting day. We got to teach in 5 homes! We literally were teaching or traveling to teach the whole day. To teach more we have to teach faster, which shouldn’t be too hard since we taught 5 long lessons. The Moya Llosa family was one. They have such desire to do the right stuff. A month ago when Elder Oaks came, one of the 70s Elder Useda said that Joseph Smith had all the true intention that Moroni 10:4 talks about since in the Joseph Smith History, he says he was looking for the correct church to join it. That was almost exactly what Luis from the family Moya also told us. I hope they pray and ask God if the message we bring is true.
Leaving Priesthood Executive Meeting (and the best one I have participated in ever), we really wanted to find someone before going to the house. We walking and knocked a door, and then his neighbor’s His neighbor is called Barney and he invited us in to talk. He’s a great guy and we answered a few questions and invited him to read and ask also before running back to make it to the house before 9:30 p.m.
Next week is General Conference!!! Elder Ortiz and I are so excited. It’s a little ridiculous. But only every 6 months can you meet people and say that next Sunday, the 12 apostles of the Lord and his prophet too [will speak]! And that if they want to know if Christ really has sent 12 again, they can come and receive a testimony of the Spirit in the very day. We are going to try to invite everyone this week!
A member gave us a reference the other day and I think he wants to marry her in the long run. But anyway, she came to church, and he asked us to teach her about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ right there. So we did and it worked really well, and then she prayed really well. Then afterwards he told us that later she prayed and could just tell that the message comes from God in her prayer.
There is another lady who with her and her unbaptised son are really working to reactivate themselves and another lady with the same circumstance doing the same. I think things are beginning to move here, and I’m sure it’s result of Monday. (did y’all get the letter yet?)
Love Elder Johnson

19 September 2011

Dear Family!
September 19, 2011

Well yet another week goes by. This week we went to visit the investigator Sister Vera with the young men to do a service project. I had a great time and in about an hour, we had collected quite a sum of stuff she wanted to throw away. The young men also had a great time. Service projects are fun!

In my last email I meant to wish Dad and William happy birthday! Happy Birthday! I just wrote you letters and they should be getting there some day.

Well the mission this week has started to do the new training program. The MTC is working a little bit different recently and instead of focusing on knowing the lessons, more focus is on knowing how to do what is required, teach people and not lessons. There is a new program of study for the trainers and the trainees and that program is what we are ALL using now to do a 12 week training of the entire mission and then be able to teach so much better. It’s so good. I think the only need of it is that sometimes we don’t plan well what we should study in the morning... and this helps us with that.

Yesterday we were applying big time what we have been learning and the people we taught were able to understand better that they aren’t doing the commitments for us, but to get closer to God. One lesson in particular was very interesting. In companion exchanges with Elder Perez we knocked a door looking for someone else and the woman who opened said that a little while ago, her home was destroyed (not literally) and she was looking for God and she found the missionaries but they didn’t go to the appointment she agreed to with them. Some other pastors came and now she is super, super active. She is so looking simply for what God is preparing for her and said several times that she trusts in the Lord to guide her. In the lesson, she took a pause, thinking, “But pastors, which of all the churches should be the one I join... which does God want me to join, and how do I know?” She is going to be able to KNOW!

So I’m working on being able to send those 10 pictures you requested.

Wow looks like I had about 5 minutes but there goes 45 of it total. Today I get to pick up my shoes which have now been fixed for the second time! I’m thinking about just buying new ones. Should be about 50 soles. Don’t worry family, I have enough here.

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, September 12, 2011

12 September 2011

Dear Family,

This week we have been thinking and wondering and praying and trying to find out what we have to do to help people. I kind of feel like we have not done anything for anybody here in 3 months. I need to figure out what's up because that's just ridiculous. In a time that we should be doing a lot we are doing nothing. I mean... we find average of 17 new contacts per week, we teach all we can, we invite people to repent and prepare for baptism.... but nobody realizes the hugeness of what we are telling them. We know and are talking to only 2 people who want to change their lives.

One had an interview with the President Rosas, one of the counselers of the mission (who is the best). She left very very happy and is preparing for her baptism pretty rock solid sure the Saturday after this. She is amazing, and has been trying so hard recently to start a new life and prepare for baptism, but faces some pretty intense trials from the family and life. She is a great example. 

The other, last night, when we taught her and her co-habitating father of her children about the Law of Chastity, she had a moment. She and he thought that it is ok if they are a family even if they aren't married, and had a little trouble understanding the difference between temple marriage, civil marriage, and preparing for baptism and everything. She broke down crying when she told us how it's been difficult for her. She goes to church and tries to understand everything with all of her heart but can't get everything in. She is so great. Well she was hoping for a guide and I don't know what happened with Elder Ortiz and me but we didn't know how to help her know that to receive the guide that she needs and wants, she has to live the commandments. I want to help everyone here repent so they can come to know the gospel and stop everyone from being so sad and without hope and everything!

So we are gunna work really, really hard this week and we will do all we can and I pray the Lord will bless us and them so that everyone here can come to Christ. Maybe it's just because we haven't been solving all this or because I am more able to love the people now or because of some other reason but it really worries me, and they need it so bad. 

So well now it's time to go. This week shall be the hardest week of work yet.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE DEAR ELDERS! I love hearing all the stories, and I love all you'll

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, September 5, 2011

5 September 2011

Dear Family,
Oooff haha y'all put up the video of practicing. But wait you don't understand anything (apart from mom).

Elder Conole? Awesome! He was from the same zone I was in in Arequipa and I just saw him Wednesday. He is a great missionary and is doing miracles in Arequipa right now.

In this week we had another reunion [meeting] with the presidente [president] with about 28 missionaries. We talked about everything that the mission is doing, and about the faith. Interesting. The mission prep book that I read (which was great, thank you Brother Brooks) talked a little bit about that, but I didn't really let it hit me until the President spoke about the Faith for about 3 hours. Haha. But really. He was teaching us about how in all intelligent beings, faith is a principle of action [action] (from Joseph Smith). Which is to say that to have faith allows us to work. The faith that the mission has right now brought us to baptize 155 people in August (a 4-Saturday  month). That is faith of action [action]. We need to be able to have a faith of power. Faith is a principle of power. All know the examlpe of saying to the investigator, move your pen on the table with your faith. We have all taught that to get it to move, you have to choose to act and pick it up. The President did that in the reunion [meeting], and when the missionary got up, the President said "no from over there do it". Then he taught us about Jacob 4:6. That is the kind of faith that we need to develop to do what the Lord wants us to do.

After that meeting we came back to Camana and the asistentes [Assistents to the President: two missionaries who work directly with the mission president in leading the mission] came with us to work in Camana. Edler Ortiz went with Elder Ulmer and I with Elder Loe (the one from my group!) I learned a lot in that moment too. I learned the importance of loving the people. This week we found 22 people to teach, (even though we hardly had time Monday, less Tuesday since we went to Arequipa, and none Wednesday) and I hope that we can help all of them to progress, but the balance is to remember that there are so many more people that we can't stick with people who aren't progressing.

What we are doing is working more like our commission says. So exciting these days.
In one lesson, we¨were teaching the family of a member, and the moment the word baptism left my mouth the mom went so unwilling and started rambling about all sorts of experiences that she has had. I listened to the spirit whisper that I should not cut her off, and after about 12 minutes (all the other people had completely lost interest) when she finished, I invited her to pray and ask God, and she was so happy with that idea. Her daughters too and especially her member son.

We also taught the family that owns the big farm in front of our house. They are pretty awesome, and though they couldn't go to church yesterday, have promised to go the next. We talked a lot to them about the family, and the power of the gospel restored to make it possible for families to be together after death.

Last night we prayed to be able to find another family before having to got back for the night. I felt pretty specifically that we should go the the area of Micaila, so we ran there and started knocking. Out of one door came two children who obviously are best friends. We called their mother and she came out laughing. I think it's them but we will teach them tomorrow or passing tomorrow [day after tomorrow].
Elder Oritz and Mark in their apartment in Camana
Love Elder Johnson

Friday, September 2, 2011

29 August 2011 Letter and Movie clip

Mark and Elder Mateos (previous companion) practicing their discussion during companionship study
During this discussion, Mark and his companion talk about how we are sons and daughters of God and that he has a plan for us.  Jesus Christ is at the center of this plan.  Part of this plan also includes prophets and apostles.  

Dear Family.
Wow, whata week. We had a zone conference (my companion and I taught an hour about how to participate in Ward Council and Executive Committee finally) and a mission meeting with Elder Oaks. Very, very instructive this time. I am learning so much and wishing I could have learned it before the mission. O sea, [in other words], Paul, do missionary preparation in serious [seriously].
I am loving my time with Elder Ortiz. He is a great person. 
We have been thinking hard this week. We aren't baptizing really as a zone. That's not ok. We need to be able to bring people to the Lord. My companion and I have been examining possible reasons, things we can do, to find out what to change. The zone will probably follow the leaders and so if we don't baptize, how can they? Anyway they brought 3 people to repentance and baptism this month between 12 missionaries. The Mission President is also worried about the zone. Today we did an activity to try to help us be a better team as part of Preparation Day. This week we will be working hard to give alll the follow up possible to the investigators of everyone. Working harder and better won't do everything; we need to do the things is the manner of the Lord. In that regard, I am going to meditate: Am I in a "patience in afflictions moment" or am I in a funk due to a problem that has to be resolved? Possibly half and half. Alma 26 is pretty awesome.
Yes I am getting Dear Elders [letters from the website which family and friends can use]. So much thanks for all --especially the dedication of my weekly writing family! good job! haha.
Unfortunately I can't send you all a picture. We took one in front of a statue of a famous Peruvian historical hero. He is called Tupac Amaru. Imagine [the picture] I suppose.
That really awesome family that I talked about before live by a pair of cows. I touched one.
Paul, read the whole missionary library before going!
Love Elder Johnson