Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 15, 2013

Hola familia y amigos,
I realize I say this every time... but I cannot believe how fast time goes. I only have 3 days left in the CCM and then its off to Chicago.
I have been getting very nervous about Chicago, mostly because I love the CCM and love the spirit we continually feel. I dont very badly want to leave the security of the CCM and really dont want to leave our district, however, I am very excited to begin teaching real investigators.
Last night we had our last lesson in the TRC (TRC is a place that local members volunteer to help us with our spanish, and we teach them). They usually do not have enough volunteers so we end up teaching other missionaries or other teachers, however, last night a group of women from a nearby ward sacrificed their time to come visit with us. I had the blessing of meeting with Hermana Lopez, she is an older lady, probably late 60s, never married, with a nonmember brother. She is a convert and has been a member for about 15 years. He testimony was SO STRONG. She was so nice and helped me alot with my spanish however, she spoke extremely fast!! After the lesson, Hermana Israelson said that she hardly understood a word becasue it was so fast (I feel really bad about it now, because i didnt realize that she was lost), but it was amazing! I understood just about everything that she said... I dont know why, and i was having a hard time expressing my feelings in spanish, but as hermana lopez spoke about her conversion story and expressed her deep feelings for the gospel, I felt the spirit so strongly! God blessed me with the gift of understanding for a night and I am eternally greatful! I learned so much from her. She is an amazing women, she has very few earthly possessions, but she has so much love and is so humble. We asked her what the greatest blessing from the Gospel is in her life and she said the Atonement. Before she was converted, she didnt know that she could be forgiven of her sins. She carried around so much guilt and hard feelings towards other people and her parents... but after she learned that God will forgive her and remember her sins no more, that is when she decided to devote her life to serving Christ! 
Yesterday was a powerful day... after TRC we came back and had a discussion with our teacher and district. I learned alot of things about pride and relying on the Lord. Alot of times I feel very inadequate or that I am not capable of serving a mission or learning spanish.
And the truth is... I am not. I am inadequate and I am not capable of learning spanish or teaching the gospel...  on my own. There is absolutly no way we can become who we are supposed to be without Christ. And I used to think that I had to do some specific amount of work before I would qualify for the Lords help, but the truth it, He has already done it all. We just need to be willing to humble ourselves enough to accpet His help.
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
God gives us weakness so we have to rely on Him. We cannot do it alone... It was a very humbling experiance today as I sat in the Celetial Room in the temple today, and prayed to my Father in Heaven. He told me that i have to trust in Him. I realized that my pride has gotten in the way of my faith and even though I tell everyone we teach to "have faith", I have forgetten to do that very thing. He told me to trust in Him... He knows so much better than I do. I dont know why I have been called to serve in Chicago, and no matter what I think, God knows better than I.
    2 Cor. 12:10 ...for when I am weak, I am strong.
I have a lot of weaknesses, but i know that if I can learn to rely on the Lord, He can make my weaknesses strengths. Whether it be spanish or my faith...
Thanks for all of your emails and letters!!! I really appreciate all your support and all of you prayers!! I love you all so much!!
We just have to remember that it is our DESIRE that qualifies us for the work... not how much we know, or what we think we can or cant do... if we have a desire to serve (in a calling, at work, in our families, or a mission) let that desire drive you to work harder and rely more fully on the Lord!!
con amor, Hermana Johnson
(Hey, I would love it if you could print and send me some pictures to Chicago... some of me and my friends from school, study abroad, the Sonnenburgs... the more the better, I would really appreciate it!!!)    

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 2013

Hola Familia y amigos,
Wow, I love the CCM... Honestly, everything about it, I love! I LOVE the workers, I love the missionaries and all our teachers, I absolutly love the food (probably a little too much), I love devotionals and Presidente Pratt and his wife. That is another nice thing about being in Mexico and not Provo, Presidente and hermana Pratt have tried to get to know as many of us as possible. Unfortunatly, the number of missionaries is growing dramatically every week. I was a second generation missionary which meant there were only a hundred or so north american missionaries... by this time next week we will have over 800. It is so crowded that there are not enough seats in the comedor for all of us to eat. Last night President announced that we will be accepting, on top of the normal incoming missionaries, missionaries from the Argentina and Peru CCMs because they are both full to capacity... Just another evidence that God is hastening His work, it is so exciting. We cant all fit in the auditorium any more, but when we stand and sing Called to Serve before a devotional, to say its poderoso would be an understatement... Its amazing! I love missionary work and I have an ever increasing testimony of its importance in the world!!

So many great things have happened this week... I learn so much everyday that I want to tell you but I only have 30 min. And unfortunatly, I dont even remember close to everything. At the end of the day, I attempt to write in my journal and pray about everything we were able to do, and I have to wrack my brain trying to remember what we did that morning. The days are long but they fly by... Its a odd phenomenon but I love it.

So first I will try to answer all your questions:
Food: Its amazing to say the least. I love basically all of it... I can count the number of undercooked\slightly-cooked meals that resulted in more time spent in the bathroom than we have time for, on one hand... so not bad at all. I absolutely love their pancakes, their rice, and their bread. Im on carb overload but its so good!
Sleep: I have a hard time sleeping most nights, which is strange because Im pretty tired... I must just not be working hard enough. But I love listening to the loud world out the window. There are sirens and horns and music playing constantly... It reminds me how many people there are in the world and how many could benefit from hearing the gospel.
Weather: BEAUTIFUL all the time! It has never been too hot. It rains just about every night around 6:00 and clears up in time to walk home. The other day, as we walked to our devotional in Monsoon rain. Worse than anything Ive ever seen, but I loved it.
Also, Mexico experienced an earthquake on tuesday... however it was very small and we didnt feel anything.
Mexico is beautiful, unfortunately we have only been able to leave campus once and that was on the bus to the temple... its sad to spend 6 weeks in Mexico and never set foot on the streets, I hope one day I have a chance to visit. My teacher showed me his photos of some ruins they visited about an hour from here. They are so amazing!!! Its crazy to think that many of the people we read about in the Book of Mormon may have lived or walked right through this country.

Just a quick thought for the day: I love learning spanish, the language is amazing and there are so many words that take on new meaning when you read them in spanish. For example, the words Saber y conocer both mean to know. Saber means to know information or knowledge while conocer means to be familiar with or to know personally.
The scripture we probably share the most with our investigators is Moroni 10:4-5, talking about how they can know for themselves that the Book of Mormon is true.

(4) And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
(5) And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may KNOW the truth of all things.

In spanish verse 5 reads:
y por el poder del Esíritu Santo podrés CONOCER la verdad de todas las cosas.
Meaning through the holy ghost we know not only know but experience la verdad of the Libro de Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon! I have a testimony that if we prayerfully read the book with a sincere heart and ask God if it is true, He will manifest it unto you. And more than just knowing that its true, you can experience it on a deeper personal level.

Thanks for all of your prayers and love!! I love you more than you know!! I love this gospel and I cant wait to share it with others!!! Thanks for all you do!!!

con amor,
Hermana Johnson!!

PS congrats on passing your test dad!!! I am so proud of you and look up to you alot!!!

ALso, thanks for all the pictures... I cant believe Elsie is 6 months!!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

Week 4, time is flying by!!
I dont even know where to start! I cant believe that it is already the fourth week, I am more than half way done!! That makes me so nervous and a little sad because I know I will never have an experience like this again!! I am trying to take advantage of every minute, I have learned so much... but Im no where near perfect, and I often catch myself day dreaming or wondering what people are doing in the real world... wasting important time, the Lords time. So when its the middle of the day and I am trying not to fall asleep at the computer doing TALL, i remember D&C 58:26 -27.
Thanks for all of your emails, I LOVE hearing about your lives!! Thanks megan so much for the pictures!! Elsie is getting so big!!! I cant belive that elsie has a tooth... and is sitting up in a high chair!!!
Congrats on your new job melissa, I am learning alot about humility and charity here too... The people of Mexico work harder than anyone I know. They are so dedicated and so happy. And they work all day cleaning gutters, washing dishes without gloves, and washing walls. It reminds me how lucky i am to have the education i do and the opportunities we are given in the States.
Also nate, i hope your job is going well!!!
Adam, thanks for your email, that scripture was great. Thank goodness for the miracle of the priesthood!!
Alex, I hope you love PLT. its such a good opportunity to serve others and learn how to be an effective leader...
Mom and DAD: thanks for all your emails and letters!! You guys are such amazing examples to me!! I love you more than you will ever know and i appreciate you more with every day!!!
Sorry i dont have as much time today, but i will leave you with a thought... we had a lesson about the importance of church attendence for investigators. We talked about the Santa Cena and the incomprehendable (i hope thats the right word) love that God has for us that He was willing to send His son for our benifit. Christ loved us so much, that He was willing to die for us. And we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to attend church and take the sacrament. We have the blessing of repenting and becomeing completely clean every week!!! And no matter what you do, or what you dont do... we ALL need the sacrament, because we all fall short of the Glory of God! The sacrament is a good reminder of who we are and what we desire most... eternal life and to live in happiness with our father in heaven. I am so lucky to have this knowledge and the ability to repent. And it makes me sad that I didnt realize how important it was before no...
so my challange this week, is to read Moroni 6 and take the opportunity this week to prepare and repent and take advantage of the sacrament. I love my Heavenly Father and I am so excited to share His gospel with other families!!
I love you all!!! Thanks for your prayers and your faith!!!
con amor,
Hermana Johnson