Monday, March 12, 2012

12 March 2012


Arequipa


Elder Mark Johnson and Elder Ryan Stewart in Arequipa on a p-day
44 es su calzado [referring to shoe insert size] de Elder Lozano.

Dear Family!

Just so y’all can look at how much time it takes for the Dear Elders to get to us, Thursday I got one that was sent Feb 26 it looks like, from Eric, who says he has been really preocupied [worried] with not getting on the water the whole first week of crew. Haha I remember the first time I went on the water, I swam.. I swum.. I went swimming 4 times! But that was in a little skinny single hull. Not like the large 8 person shells... just to invite mockery a little.. hahaha ni modo [it doesn’t matter].

This week I shall write my ecclesiastical endorsement for the President to either sign or throw away and start over on. [required for reentry to BYU].
The way that this week started, was great! First the consejo de lideres de zona [Zone Leader Council], y empezamos miercoles con [and we began Wednesday with] 4 contacts who were basically a few taxi drivers and people who sat by us in the busses to and from the consejo [council] in the morning and night.  Miercoles [Wednesday] was a sacred day.

A member asked us to go to the hospital with her to give a blessing to her brother. It was really impacting going to the hospital. Reminded me a little at first of taking the sacrament to those who couldn’t come to the sacrament meeting. We got to the room of her brother who has been there 4 months. He has a tumor in his brain that makes it that he doesn’t talk or react now. I think it’s a coma. But he breathes by one of those tubes and receives nutrients by a little syrup tube connected to a pump that passes his mouth. We stayed there a little before giving him the blessing; meditating, praying, and accompa├▒ing [staying with] the sad sister. I reflected in the infinite love that the Lord has for us, and prayed asking to understand how His plan could possibly include all that I saw around me. In that moment, I began to understand much more the plan of salvation and the way that our creator really is constantly watching over each and every one of us. I opened up to Alma 7: 11-13 and meditated the words a little: 

11. And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

I understood the Savior´s sacrifice and pain for us on a new level and felt as if I had been with him for that small, small part of His understanding that was of the child and son and man in front of me. In the blessing we felt not alone.

Leaving the hospital, we went to the house of that young person who had come to church last Sunday. We taught him the message of the restoration of the gospel of Christ and while we taught how to gain a testimony by prayer, he looked meditative. We proceeded to invite him to be baptized the 31 of March and he said very affirmatively, “Yes.”  
After we reviewed that he can know of the truthfulness of the restoration by praying and asking God to let him know, and he gave us about the biggest surprise I think I’ve every had teaching. He told us, “I already have prayed.” ¡haha! 
We asked, “When? When you read the pamphlet?” 
And he responded, “No, just now, when you were teaching me about prayer. I asked, and I felt a joy when I asked.”

In church yesterday, Michael expressed that his parents and uncles and aunts and grandparents had all talked to him and told him that he shouldn’t be baptized. The 31 would be really, really soon they said. That is a belief really common here. Yesterday we talked to a lady who said she is about to get baptized in another church, and that she has been preparing herself for the last 6 years. Anyway, today we planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that they can know of the importance, and nature of baptism. It’s not to pass some sort of knowledge test, but to enter the door, the first fruits of true repentance (2 Nephi 31:17, Moroni 8:25).

Ivon Apaza, the lady who came about a month ago to church and then had her baby boy and wasn’t let out of the house by her mom, has been getting the papers together to get married so that she can be baptized! It’s looking like mid-April at the latest. She was planning on coming yesterday but she slipped and hurt her ankle in the heavy rain Saturday. We hope she`ll be ok. We just talked on the phone a minute yesterday.

Oh, with our pensioner, we’ve been upping my portions a little... since I’m feeling pretty skinny... I weigh about 72 kilograms (158 pounds) with my suit on. Before the mission how much did I weigh? About 170 pounds no or am I mistaken? [Maybe. . .?]

Anyway, the food is good. Haha, right now I shall finish my extra bread from the morning.

Love Elder Johnson

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