Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baptism city!!

HOLA!! Como estan?!

This week was awesome. The focal point of the week was definitively Sunday because we had 2 baptisms in one day! It was awesome. But that made for quite the stressful week leading up to it and especially the day before and the day of. I actually didn't feel super stressed but my companion was freaking out all week, haha. But she pretty much planned all of them and got everything figured out cause I didn't know what we needed to do. But this is how it went. So first of all, we will start with someday this past week I don't remember when, but we got a call from the bishop and he asked me to speak in sacrament meeting in the singles ward for 10 minutes on anything missionary related. My first response was, "I've been out for a week, I don't know anything about missionary work!" So as well as planning the baptisms, I also had to write a talk. And for those who have been on a mission, they know that it is kind of hard to find time to write a talk because you have to be doing other things during all of your study times. So then we get to Saturday, the day before the baptisms, and we get another call. This one was at 12, after our studies are done and we are about to leave the house. It was the bishop in the Spanish ward asking us to speak in that ward the next day! So yeah, my second week in I gave 2 talks. One in Spanish and one in English, on the same day that we had 2 baptisms. It was actually super awesome. Both the talks went really well, I just read what I wrote on my paper for the Spanish one and I copied a lot of quotes so it had perfect Spanish. :) Everyone afterwards came up to me and told me I had super good Spanish and then proceeded to think that that meant I could understand everything they were saying...which was not the case. I kinda felt dumb, cause they would start talking to me and I would just stare blankly at them, smile, and shake my head trying to find my companion, haha. Yeah, sometimes that is how it goes.

So on Sunday we first went to the Spanish ward, we gave our talks, and then we headed over the singles ward where I gave my talk there. It went really well also, I talked about the Atonement and I was able to talk without just staring at my paper cause I understood what I was saying :) Then right after church was over we set up for Nick's baptism. His whole family came which was super awesome because they are very skeptical about this whole thing with him getting baptized. He is such a stud, the baptism was AMAZING!! The talks were both given by his institute teachers, so naturally they were amazing. Both of the talks were definitively directed at his family and his parents. They told them to come and see what we do here if they are skeptical. They were pretty bold, but super good. Nick bore such a powerful testimony at the end. He is going to be a solid member, he just had a huge glow around his face and he couldn't stop smiling, it was the best feeling ever watching him.

After that baptism was over we ran over as fast as we could to the other baptism. Good thing everyone is late in the Hispanic culture because we got there late and didn't have things ready when we got there. As soon as we arrived, this lady in the ward (who knows Lindsey Christensen) who was doing a musical number was trying to find someone to play the piano for her song. So about 10 minutes before the program started we went to the other room and I played through the song for her. It is times like these that I am super grateful mom for the piano that I took when I was little. It turned out super good. I also played "Come Thou Fount" on the guitar at the baptism. Hermana Garcia (Sebastian's mom- he got baptized) found out I could play the guitar cause she had one at her house, and she insisted I played at the baptism. She LOVES it when I play for her. I don't mind because its the only time I get to play a musical instrument so I play for her every time we go over there-which is a lot. So that was my day. Pretty much the entire week was preparing for that, and even though a lot more happened that was definitively the focal point. It was stressful, but amazing. Missionary work is awesome!

Oh another thing that happened is one of our investigators, Tabby, was at Nick's baptism and she kept saying "That's gonna be me next!" She is so excited. She is awesome, so hopefully we'll be seeing another baptism with her soon as well. For some reason she thinks she has to read the whole BOM before she gets baptized because her Grandma, who is Mormon  told her to, or something like that. So we don't know when it will happen, but she's a rock. Its gonna happen. Super cool.

Well that's all the time I have. I love you guys!! Les quiero! Hasta Luego!
Hermana Johnson

p.s. CONGRATULATIONS CELINDA!!!!!!!! YOU ARE ENGAGED!!!!!!! I am so excited for you! You need to write me and give me the details one of these days :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm in California!!!!!!!!!

Ok so a ton has happened this week, we'll see if I can remember it all and explain it in the time that I have. First of all, I made it safely to California! I was assigned to serve in San Clemente with Hermana Garner. She is awesome! She is super good at making conversation with people and with directing the lessons. I really like being her companion. We have the best apartment in the mission, hands down. (Autumn, 100% hands down! :D) San Clemente is on the coast and our apartment is on a huge hill so from our balcony we have the most gorgeous view of the ocean, the best is when the sun is setting. Someday I'll send a picture so everyone can be jealous of me. :) But because San Clemente is in the north part of the mission, and the mission is splitting, on July 1st I will for sure be a part of the Irvine California mission instead of part of the Carlsbad mission. It kind of stinks because I really like this mission president, but oh well. It just means that my entire mission will be on the coast! Wahoo!

This first week has actually been super good. We have had soooo many lessons to teach and there is always something to do. Sometimes it is overwhelming, but we have hardly had to tract or contact so it has been pretty good. We are assigned to 2 wards. 1 spanish ward that covers a pretty large area and we also serve in the singles ward in San Clemente. I really like it because the singles ward is awesome and I get to work on my spanish. But it is also kind of hard because we go back and forth teaching people in English and in Spanish so I feel like it will take me a little bit longer to learn the language. Slowly but surely I am improving my spanish. There are these 2 families, the Garcias and Concha and her kids, that we always go visit. And Hermana Garcia and Concha (they are sisters) talk SOOOOO fast!! It is ridiculous, I never know what they are saying. Concha keeps asking me if I'm sad because I just sit there and stare at her really intently because I am trying to understand what she is saying. I really like the spanish culture though. I feel like I already understand more than I did a week ago, even though that isn't that much. Our lessons this week have been awesome! I was super blessed to have a trainer who knows what she is doing and has been working super hard in this area so we already have 2 baptisms on sunday! One of them is a guy in the singles ward named Nick. He kind of reminds me of you Grace (hopefully you're reading this) He is AWESOME! Seriously, he is so prepared. I have only taught him twice, but they have taught him 6 or 7 times before I got there. He is having a lot of people coming up to him giving him anti mormon talk so this past week we have just been clearing a lot of that up. But Sunday he told us for sure that he doesn't understand why but he knows in the hard of his hearts that all of this is true and that he is going through with it on Sunday. We were so happy. Concha's son is the other boy getting baptized this week on Sunday. He is 8 and is so adorable. Concha would be baptized but she needs to get divorced so she can marry her boyfriend that she lives with and doesn't have any money to do it. So she is just waiting for that whole process to happen. But this weekend is going to be super awesome. Yesterday we had a lesson with another single adult investigator named Jeremy. He is a friend with someone at church, Ryan, and they are both in the marine's at camp pendleton. Jeremy has been through a lot in his life and has always wondered what made Ryan be so positive through everything that has happened to them while in service. So for a long time we have been trying to set up an appointment with him. Finally it happened yesterday and it went awesome. He shared with us a lot of stuff about his life and after a good long, almost 2 hour, lesson we committed him to be baptized as well. It was really cool, he is such an awesome guy.

There was a lot more that happened, but those are the most important points. I have loved being out in the field. I am always tired, and you don't have any time to do anything for yourself, but it is fun to start learning things. Doing the work for real makes you realize all the things you need to work on, but I am excited to start working on them. (like contacting-I do not like it and I am suuuuper bad at it) But overall I am doing awesome and I am loving living in California. The weather seriously is amazing. Oh and we heard about a bombing that happened yesterday in Boston. We heard about it in a spanish lesson so I didn't really understand exactly what happened, but something about 2 bombs went off at the finish line of a marathon? So sad! Mom or dad, will you email me details in English please? :) Les Quiero mucho! Que tengan buena semana!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

California Bound!!!

Ok before I forget. We got our travel plans this week! My flight leaves Tuesday morning at 8:40 and I will be arriving in California around 9:30. I am allowed to call you in the airport before my flight leaves!! I am not really sure how all of it works though so be ready for a call anytime in the morning. I leave the MTC at 5 but I don't think I will be allowed to call until I get to Salt Lake, so it shouldn't be that early.

This week was super cool. Easter in the MTC was awesome! The rumors were not true, an apostle did not come. But it was still awesome. They did a special mission conference where they served the sacrament in the big meeting room with 3000 people there. It was really powerful, I don't really know why it was more powerful than a normal sacrament meeting but they had pictures of Christ playing on the screen and Hermana Naatjes compared it to Jesus feeding the 5000. I don't know, it was just really cool. And to hear all 3000 of us missionaries singing Easter songs about Christ was really powerful too. The talk, even though it wasn't given by a General Authority, was also very powerful. Then later that night we had a devotional given by Sheri Dew. Wow, she is like a girl Elder Holland. Super good. It was just a good day.

So we got a new investigator this week named Domingo. We have only taught him once and we will only teach him one more time before we leave, but it was cool to teach him because he doesn't believe in God. It was kind of hard to know how to teach and what to say, but it was actually a very good lesson. He really does believe in God, but he is just bitter and confused. We could still feel the spirit really strongly and it was really cool to see him feel it too even though he wouldn't admit it.
This is my last couple days!!! It is going to be bitter sweet. I am reeeeeally excited to go to the mission field and to teach real investigators, cause as much as I like teaching my teachers as fake investigators, and it is still really cool and I have learned a lot, it is going to be way better to teach real people. I am excited to eat real food again. As much as I like eating the same thing over and over again, it will be nice not to feel like crap after every meal :) (oh my gosh! one of the elders in my district found a 4 inch dead grasshopper in his salad the other day! it was soooo gross!!) And I am excited to go to California and have awesome weather every day! But it will be sad to leave at the same time. I have made some really good friends here and it will be hard to leave them. It stinks cause not a single one of them are going to my mission so I won't even get to see them at mission conferences or anything. But it's ok cause I'd way rather go to California and make even more friends!

This weekend is General Conference and I am sooooooooooo stoked! Dad I can't wait to hear your song, Did You Think to Pray, in the Saturday afternoon session! This weekend is going to be the perfect ending to my experience at the MTC. I get to spend 2 days feasting on the words of Christ, and spending time with my district.

Oh I forgot to tell you, they split my mission in half! They literally took my mission, cut it in half, and made two missions out of it-the new Irvine mission and my mission. So now it is even smaller! It goes from Oceanside (most north) to Del Mar (most south) to Temecula (most inland). It is not very big. I talked to someone who's brother just got back from there the other day and he said that even though he was called spanish he only served in one spanish area. So there is a chance I won't speak a ton of spanish, but that is ok. I was actually kind of frustrated about it when he told me at first, but the Lord has a plan for me and if it isn't to be in spanish areas then that's ok. And someone (I don't remember who) promised our class that if you want to learn the language, have an honest desire to, and work your hardest, then you will learn it. So if i really want to learn spanish, which I do, I will.

Also, I didn't explain Doctrine, Principle, Application very well last week. Pretty much it just means to study the WHY (doctrine) of everything in the church. Why do we need an Atonement, why did we need the fall, why do we live the word of wisdom, etc. And now just on the surface, but really studying deeply the 'whys' of the gospel. The gospel makes so much more sense once you really start to understand it.

I saw Hunter Woods' car today!!!!!!! We were on our way back from the temple and Elder Barbosa in my district, (he is friends with Hunter) was like "Hermana Johnson come here!" He was standing pointing at Hunter's car in the temple parking lot just smiling. It was the greatest moment ever. I could see Tom's (their cat) paw prints all over the car and I could see TraceCe's makeup in the front seat. We wrote them a note and waited there for a couple minutes just in the hope that they would come back and we'd see them. But it never happened. It was still fun to see it though. That's the car I drove all semester last year! :)

Well next time I write to you I will be in California. WAHOO!! I hope everyone is doing super well and that they had an awesome Easter! I hope you are as excited for General Conference as me! :D

Les Amo Mucho!
Hermana Marci Johnson