Tuesday, December 27, 2011

27 December 2011 (snail mail letter)

Dear Family,
early December 2011

Well, there goes a few more months.  Right now I'm pretty good.  Today was the day of transfers. As promised by the President, we didn't have a change.  The zone changed a lot and one of the district leaders went to Arequipa to be a zone leader, with the excellent missionary Elder Keel, but I guess that's not too important for y'all.  He who went was Elder Stringham from Utah.

These past few days have been some days of pressure and very needed growth and learning.  I feel like I've got so much to learn, but I'm happy I'm learning it.  The mission president came to Camana to do interviews and seriously helped me understand the Atonement.  I was a bit worried about a particular detail but in 10 words he was able to help me a lot.  Anyway, I feel so much better now.

I suppose Dad has seen a lot of growth in the process of interviewing.

Another thing that has helped a bunch has ben to study the Liahona of September, which talks all about fortifying marriages. [if any readers want to access this material, it can ben found at lds.org at this link: http://lds.org/liahona/2011/09?lang=eng ].Without getting ourselves all trunky, we searched for how to be the best companions ever.  It was a well-timed Liahona for us (It got to Camana pretty late),

But anyway, I've been toying with the idea of improving my handwriting [in his handwritten letter, there is a significant change at this point in his handwriting].  We'll see if it catches on more normally. . . but for now, I prefer not writing super, super, super, duper slow.  Superipermegaextraordinarily slow.

So how is everything going at home?  I love to get your Dear Elder letters.  It's a great way to communicate.  I also love getting the journal entries of Grandpa Johnson.

Christmas we are definitely going to use Skype.  It costs 5 soles [that's just under $2]to call ya'll 35 minutes with the phone and .667 soles to use Skype with video for 40 minutes.  Pretty cheap, no?  Even though there is much more information transferred.  Any calculation on the price of texting?

My companion heard the other day that his dad finished reading the Book of Mormon for the 63rd time!  That's soooo many times.  I think I'm on #7 or so or 8, but 63?! The goal of his dad is to catch up to his age and to have a lifetime average of one time per year.  He just barely caught up, being 63 years old.

Just now, I was thinking of the great example of Abraham.  How much trust he placed in the Lord because he knew the Lord.  I wish to come to here/develop faith like that, and in that process I am.  I hope I can increase lots in my trust in the Lord, and that all you can too.  Especially Paul and Eric and William too, starting these teenage years for the last two.  There is to do more than I did. [Such spanish grammar. . . I'm going to leave it]

Well, my pen is broken. . . I shall use the superglue from my first aid stuff to fix it.

[He continues]

As of now, I have felt very blessed to have this time to be a missionary.  I'm learning so so much and feel like the past year has been indispensable for my life.  And plus I've learned to speak spanish.  It would have been nice to have studied harder in seminary, but that's for Paul, Eric, and Will.  Anyway, I'm getting a lot of habits that will serve me well for the whole life, especially daily scripture study and (recently) to be neat.  I know that might not be believable for mom, but it just seems important recently to have all my stuff in the right place, and especially my desk clean and bed made. Don't ask me why or how, but I don't want to let my room get like it was before.  Anyway.

In church yesterday, we learned about the scriptures.  The teacher put a list of a few:  The Book of Mormon, The Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Principles of the Gospel, the Ensign or Liahona [magazines], books of scriptures, notably not only the canonic list and asked:  Which is the most important?  Then took votes.  The Book of Mormon had 13, the Bible 0, Principles of the Gospel:0; Liahona: 14.  The teacher explained how the words of the prophets living are the most important for us today.  He talked about how 8 people in our branch have subscriptions to the Liahona.  There are 350 members in all.  We learned how great a tool is the Liahona for reactivation, edification, and preservation.  We learned how President Monson as a Bishop, worked a lot with it and it gave lots of faith.  I want all 350 to get the Liahona!

Somehow the Church helps the people here, and lowers the price for one year to 5.10 soles or about $2.50 for a year!  I don't know how better it could get to make sure the messages of the prophets and the twelve apostles are in the house.  We are planning on working with this area.  How's the ARlington Ward?  I don't know how many people are in the ward or how many have the Ensign, but it would be a great idea to strengthen the ward!

So things are progressing pretty well here.  It makes me happy that we are progressing.  Being better desafiers [challengers], better testifiers, better representatives of the Lord.  In summary, Merry Christmas to all!  My companion possibly will be here for three Christmas' if his visa to Argentina doesn't work out.  His family moved during the mission from Colombia to ARgentina.

I realized that I feel pretty accustomed to Latin culture and the Latin continent now.  I know how Bolivians are a little.  Definitely know how Columbians are.  Peruvians, obviously, a little of the Chilean culture and some stereotypes of Argentina and Brazil.  Some central American knowledge and a little familiarity with Ecuador culture.  That all is interesting, but way better has been that I have learned about Christ, and the growth of my faith.  Of much more value too.  Really infinitely more valuable in terms of everything.  As we near Christmas, interesting things happen.  All the world remembers a little of our Savior.  I know he lives, that he came into the world humbly to save.

And with that, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

P.S.  One of the missionaries told me about a person who bought a tree that was too big for the room.  So, he cut it.  But, he cut it at the top.  Haha.  Ooops.  I think this letter will be getting there late [for Christmas].

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