Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Odwalla Superfood!

Hey fam!

Sorry this email is coming a day late, the library was closed yesterday so we had to wait until today to do our emails. This past week was pretty good, I went to my first Zone Conference! It was fun to get to see my old MTC companion and catch up with him. I also really enjoyed hearing President McKee speak as well as the Zone Leaders and Assistants to the President. They talked to us about not being "robot" missionaries and that we should care about the people and not numbers. There is only one Spanish Zone in this mission, so all the Elders really know each other well and are really good friends.

Unfortunatley, my companion got sick last week so we had to stay in all day for a couple days. The other 2 missionaries in our District that we see all the time got pretty sick as well, but I drank some Odwalla Superfood and it kept me healthy. We had a really awesome thunderstorm while my companion was sick. It was raining so hard that cars looked like they were driving through 6 inches of water on the main road so they were all going really slow. Most of the time it has been pretty sunny so I've been getting Tanner.

We still haven't really found anyone who is really interested in learning about the Gospel and reading the Book of Mormon. We have taught quite a few people, but it takes longer here to find people to teach because we have to find Hispanics. There are some key indicators that help us determine if Hispanics are living in a house or not, and I'm starting to get pretty good at it.

I have heard that at least two people who got to the MTC on the 28th of December have recieved their Visas and gone to Mexico, but none who are going to Tampico or are in temporarily assigned to Nashville Tennessee. I really like it here with this ward and these Elders so I hope I get to stay here a little longer.

Elder Stockard wasn't in that picture because he is in a different area of the mission. He is also going to Tampico but he wasn't in my District at the MTC. Elder Stockard was in a District that had a bunch of people going to Tampico, but Elder Girot and I were the only ones in ours because we were in the Intermediate Spanish District. Elder Stockard and I actually opened our calls on the same night and then met each other that night.

The reason we got to go to the temple was because my companion was supposed to go to the temple for his first time in the field, but because he was assigned to be my trainer, I got to go with him.

That is awesome that Colin finished his Drivers Ed classes! How is his driving? and the Snow campout sounds freezing. I wish that I had gone Snow camping and slept in a snow cave. They should have just buried the tent in the snow haha. I hope you enjoy your trip! Let Ryan, Kaitlyn, Kelsey, and Colin know that they can send me an email if they want, that way it will be free and much faster (I am only allowed to email direct family so don't give me email out).

I love you all and will keep you in my prayers!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Second week in Nashville

My companion, Elder Monson

Eating a fish head that a member gave us for Dinner

The sky is always beautiful here

The Sun

Hey Family,

It has been a great week in Tennesee! Last week we went to a members house for Noche Hogar (Family Home Evening) and it was a lot of fun. I ate two really hot peppers, they were a little smaller than my pinky but they burned. I don't think I have ever had anything so spicy but I liked them. On wednesday morning, Elder Monson and I got to go do a session in the Nashville temple and it was really nice. This week we also had a companion exchange and I went with Elder Allen for a day and a half in his area and my companion went with the District Leader, Elder Andrew, in our area. It was fun to be in an area where they already had a bunch of investigators so I could see what it was like. The day after that it rained really hard all day long and I didn't bring my umbrella or my raincoat with me to Elder Allen's apartment. Luckily they had an extra for me to wear, but we both got completely soaked over the course of the day.

My talk went pretty well yesterday. I was a little nervous about it but I didn't mess up. I am getting a lot better at understanding native speakers. Last week during church everything everyone said just gave me a headache and was a blur of sounds but this week I could hear individual words and understand people alot more. Last night we taught a woman named Magnolia about the Restoration. I could really feel the Spirit there with us while we taught her and it seemed like she was feeling it too. This next week we are having a Zone Conference on Friday. I don't really know what that means beside the President will be there and everyone in our zone.
The photo you saw of us standing on the tree was a tree that we helped cut down on a week before last Thursday. There is an elderly couple who are in the English Ward in our area that needed help cutting down a tree who are also Elder Gage's grandparents (Elder Gage is one of our Zone Leaders). The tree was like 60 feet tall so we used a rope slingshot to tie a rope to the top of the tree, and then we tied it with a bunch of loops so we could all pull on the rope. Then Elder Gage's grandpa got a saw and sawed the base of the tree while we pulled the rope to control where the tree would fall. It looked pretty cool when it fell down. We were far enough away that we weren't in any danger. That is wierd that I was already tagged in it, I gave Elder Gage's grandma Mom's email address so that she could email it to her.

That is so awesome that Tucker and Dylan got their mission calls!!! Tucker and I will be able to speak in Spanish to each other. Tell them that I am really excited for them and that the are going to love being on a mission. Thats too bad that Ryan was rear ended but that is good that the other guy's insurance will cover the repairs.

I'm not sure why the pictures are so fuzzy, and I can't find anything that talks about jpeg compression or picture quality settings, but maybe I can find some instructions in the manual back at my motel. I attached some more pictures. I haven't been carrying around my camera so I don't really have any cool photos yet.

It was great hearing how everyone is doing and I hope that you all have a great week this week!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First email from Nashville

Hey Family!

I'm doing great! Tennessee is awesome, its very beautiful here. Its also pretty different from the North West. There are TONS of different churches here and a million church buildings. There was even a chapel with a buffet built into it. I met President McKee last week and he is really cool, they were really excited to get 8 Spanish speaking visa waiters. and he put all of us into the Spanish speaking zone so I get to teach in Spanish and practice it. My companion is Elder Monson (and his dad is named Thomas S. Monson but hes not the prophet) and he lived in Hawaii for about 7 years and then moved to Utah. He even worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center when he went to BYU Hawaii. Hes pretty cool, hes only had four months out in the field and I was hoping to get a trainer with more experience but he seems to know what hes doing.

We were assigned a new area that was taken out of a larger area in Providence (which I think is near to the city of Nashville or is a part of it). It is the only place in the entire mission that we have a full Spanish speaking ward (theres like 400 members but 125 frequently come). They didn't have anywhere for us to stay, so they rented out a motel room long-term for us. Its pretty small and smells like cigarette smoke but we're doing fine. We should be getting some dishes and stuff in a day or two and we can finally buy some food today. We have been super blessed by getting alot of food from members and having them invite us over for dinner. Our Zone leaders live fairly clsoe to us so they give us rides to members houses for meals and they are soooooo delicious. These people can COOK. Mom, you need to learn how to make Horchata, it is delicious. and papusas.

My first time in a Spanish Ward yesterday was interesting, it was a fast and testimony meeting. They speak soooo fast and it is so difficult to understand them. I feel like my ability to talk in Spanish is pretty good but it is going to take a lot of hard work to be able to understand native speakers. My companion is really good at Spanish so he'll help me out. The members are super friendly and they love us missionaries. Right now there are 7 missionaries total that are assigned to the ward. Oh, and the 1st counselor asked me if I would give a talk next week during Sacrament Meeting. I'm excited but a little scared.

Because we've kinda started a new area, my companion doesn't know the area or any of the members. We also haven't had any investigators so we've mostly been tracting. We haven't found anyone really to teach yet, but we have taught the first lesson to a couple people. The Hispanics are so friendly when you knock on their door and they'll welcome us in and talk to us for a while and let us teach them. The tough part is finding the Hispanics, it feels awkward when an english speaking person answers the door and we have to talk in English.

Apparently there were tornadoes in Tennessee on Friday. We were walking to some apartments like 45 minutes away when we heard a Tornado warning siren and it started getting pretty windy. Then someone pulled over and told us that a tornado was coming so we decided to head back to our motel. Then we got a call telling all the missionaries to go back to their apartments. we were like 30 minutes away from our motel so we walked really fast and people kept stopping their cars to tell us to go home or find shelter. We got back to our motel and everyone was really worried and outside their rooms looking at the clouds. I didn't really feel scared or like we were in danger. After like an hour and a half, the storm headed another direction, hte wind died down, the sun came out, and nothing happened. We heard that some tornadoes had touched down in some parts of Tennessee but we didn't see them. We also heard that there was some pretty large chunks of hail in some areas but we didn't get any in ours.

I have to go now though, it was great to hear from you and I'm glad that Kaitlyn and Kelsey had a good time at Tolo. Also, the humidity here reminds me of Hawaii a bit so I am basically in Hawaii (we had the most delicious Pina Colada at a members house yesterday). Here is my mailing address and I am going to send some pictures.

Elder Tanner Eric Johns
105 Westpark Drive, Suite 190
Brentwood TN 37027

make sure you send packages and mail through the US postal service (thats what they told me) and if you could post that on facebook so my friends know where they can write me that would be awesome!

con amor

Elder Johns