Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 2 in Tampico

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Pues, it was been quite the week in Mexico. We did exchanges and I got to hang out with the District Leader, Elder De Ita, for a day in his area. He doesn't speak English either so we had a great old dandy time, Elder De Ita's companion is my old MTC companion, Elder Girot. Elder Anderson came to the mission and all the missionaries in the mission got to shake his hand and listen to him speak. He spoke in Spanish so that was pretty cool. They told us its been like 15 years since an Apostle has visited the mission so I felt pretty lucky.

After the exchange, Elder Rodriguez and I taught a couple that we had a return appointment with because they didn't have time the first time. We taught them the first lesson and it went great, and then I committed them to be baptized and they said yes!! They weren't home when we returned for the next appointment, but hopefully we will see them again soon. Unfortunately the two dates we already had are now postponed indefinately. Susana said she doesn't want to get married until after the 28th because that is when she is quitting her job so we can't baptize Pedro until after he is married and Karen said she isn't totally sure she wants to get baptized yet. We had been trying to work on Susana (Pedro's "wife") to help her read the Book of Mormon but at first she never really responded and was working during many of the lessons we had with Pedro and Karen. But now she seems to be warming up to it alot more as she sees how happy the church is making Pedro and Karen. She smiles alot more and she even said the closing prayer for the first time a couple days ago! We are positive that with time we will be able to help them overcome these challenges.

I also got to havfe an interview with President Call this week. He is quite awesome and really helped me to think positively.

We eat with members everyday at 2pm except monday because that is our Pday. They have their big meal of the day at 2 and then a light dinner at about 9. The food is all pretty good and not healthy at all. I bought some broccli and a bunch of fruit at the store today to help balance my diet. My comp and I wake up at 6 sometimes to go for a nice run. We wash our own clothes in a washing machine and then hang them up to dry outside. Our apartment is rented from a member whose family lives below us. My collars are getting a little nasty so I bought some good soap and my comp is going to show me how to get it whiter. The mangos here are DELICOUS and they are super cheap. I just bought 4 of them for only like 20 pesos (less than 2 dollars).

I hope Mom's toe doesn't hurt too bad. If you want, I could ask some of the locals here and they could tell me a household remedy for fractured toes. It seems like everyone is doing well. Thats cool that Claire got married and Andrea got engaged. Sounds like Anna Gee is next. Thanks for letting me know where Zander is headed for his mission, do you know if Aldin Pope has recieved a mission call?

Haha I don't really know what to ask for to put in the package if you can't fit pizza pringles (I still haven't found any here) so just go ahead and suprise me!

I gotta go, its wierd that I have already been here in Mexico for over half a month already! I love you all and I hope you all have a great week!

con amor,

Elder Tanner Johns

P.S. could you send me Dylan Parry's and Derek Lamberts mailing addresses? thanks!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Week in Mexico!

Hello from Mexico!!

I survived my first week! It is so different here in Mexico. All the buildings are made of cement and bricks, people push carts around playing songs that keep saying the word "pan" over and over, and I can´t understand half of what anyone says to me. The buses are like rollercoasters without restraints and the dogs run rampant (or they just sleep all over the place in the shade because its so hot). My new companion/trainer, Elder Rodriguez, is pretty cool. He is from Uruguay and he doesn¨t speak English. He has been out here for only about 6 months, but he seems to know what he is doing. The heat and humidity here is exhausting, I have never sweat so much in my entire life. The food has been pretty good, they have a habit of frying almost everything they cook in a bunch of fat though. My body is still getting used to it. I also can{t drink the tap water or I will get worms, but thats about all Ihave to avoid besides shady street vendors. Spanish wasn't too bad at first, I thought I was doing really well because I could understand most people and talk fairly easily. But the past couple days I don't know what happened, I've been really struggling with it and it feels like Ive been getting worse. I just need to keep working at it. It is tough when your companion doesn't speak English.

My first day in our area (tuesday last week) we were teaching a daughter (Karen) and her Father (Pedro). Elder Rodriguez and his old companion had taught them once before. We committed them to be baptized and they said YES! They are truly very prepared by the Lord and have been working hard to prepare themselves to be baptized. The only real problem is that Pedro isn't married to Susana (his "wife") and we didn't think it was a problem because they are fairly old, but she doesn't really want to get married. We haven't been teaching her because she is always working, but we got the chance to teach Pedro, Susana, and Karen together a couple days ago about the Law of Chastity, so hopefully she will change her mind.

This week has truly been the hardest week of my life and it seems as though the follwing weeks will be equally as difficult. My respect for other missionaries who have gone before me has grown so much. I have been learning to do my best and also to rely on and have faith in the Lord to be able to help me make my best enough. I am enjoying finally having a seemingly immpossible challenge to tackle and master.

I love you all very much. I miss you all very much. Thank you for all the support that you give me. Have a great week!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tonight we received a phone call from President and Sister Call letting us know that Tanner arrived safely in Tampico and that he has been assigned Elder Rodriguez as a companion. They sent the following pictures along with the following short email:

Brother and Sister Johns,
Here are the pictures I promised.  We have had your sons application here with us for months and have grown to love him as we studied it's contents and his face.  We are so grateful to finally have him here with us.  We know he will be a great asset to the Lord's work here.  Thank you for your fine, prepared son.
Con amor,
Hermana Janet Call

Finally made it to Tampico!

Tanner called us fromthe Dallas airport on Tuesday to tell us that they had arrived at the airport despite a raging storm only to be told that the airport was closed and to go to the basement for safety. There were more than 12 tornadoes that touched down in the area that day. Several planes were damaged by hail and his flight to Tampico was cancelled. He was unable to get another flight out until Friday so he spent several days with the 1st Councilor to the Dallas Mission President. He called us on Friday morning from the airport to let us know that he was finally flying to Tampico and we received the following email from him on Saturday:
Hey Family!

I am in Tampico Mexico! Our flight got in last night and we slept in the mission home last night. They gave me a second to send a quick email to y'all to let you know that I made it here safely. It was pretty interesting trying to find our connecting flight to Tampico from Monterrey. I haven't seen a whole lot of Mexico yet, but what I have seen is cool. Because the transfer meeting isn't until tuesday, the President is going to put us with other companionships to make triplets because he doesn't want to split up companions for the baptisms that they will have today. Also 8 more Elders from the MTC are supposed to come Monday night so they want us all to start our training on the same day. That means that I won't be getting my trainer or my official trainer until Tuesday but  I will get a good taste of Mexico before then.

I feel pretty great now that I am finally here in Mexico. I am nervous about accidentally eating something that will make me sick but I know that I will be ok. I'm excited for when I can understand people. I love you all and I will email again when I have my P-day, but I am not sure exactly when it is. I assume it is still Monday but I am not sure.

con amor,

Elder Johns

Monday, April 2, 2012

Visa Day!

Hey family........

I GOT MY VISA FOR MEXICOOOOO!!!! It arrived last weekend and I, along with the other 4 Elders going to Tampico, am flying to Texas later today to meet with a consulate and then I am flying to Mexico tomorrow! This is all happening very suddenly and I am very excited. I am also feeling a little sad because I really love it here in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. I have learned a lot here and had some great experiences. I love the people here and I love the Elders that I have been serving with and around. I am very excited to see what Mexico is like and to be able to experience it.

This past week was good, we found some new people to teach, but it looks like we are going to have to give them to the other Elders in the area to teach because my companion is getting transferred somewhere else. I am so glad that you had a great time in Hawaii and that you enjoyed General Conference! I really enjoyed General Conference and I got a lot out of it. I don't have a lot of time so I am going to give you the information of my new mailing address:

Packages or hard copy mail: (the ' after a letter signifies that it should be written with an accent)

Elder Tanner Eric Johns
Misio'n Me'xico Tampico
Apartado Postal 241
Cd. Madero, Tamps. C.P. 89460

Sent by a carrier needing a physical address (I don't know what that means):

Elder Tanner Eric Johns
Misio'n Me'xico Tampico
Ave. Eje'rcito Mexicano #501 Local 17
Col. Lomas del Gallo
Cd. Madero, Tamps. C.P. 89136

If you or any of my friends want to send me a package (hint hint), only use United States Postal Service International Priority mail for packages and the flat rate boxes are the best. The customs declaration should say "missionary supplies." Do not use Fedex or UPS.

I love you all, family and friends, for the support you have given to me in such abundance. I am so blessed to have so many people like you in my life and you all help me so much. My next email will be from MEXICO!

con amor,

Elder Johns

p.s. I will call the house phone first (then the cell phones) when I can if I have time tonight at the airport before my flight to Texas. If it doesn't work out then I will try again tomorrow before I leave to Mexico if I have time. I do not know the time of either flight but I do know that tonights flight will be later than 3:00 PM and I will probably have a chance to call around 3:00 this time or later.

Another week in Nashville


It's been a great week, but I don't really know what to say about it. We focused on contacting the Menos Activos (less-active members) in our area. Our ward has about 400 to 500 members, but only about 100-120 come every week. We found out that the biggest problem was that they work allllll the time. We are going to keep working with them to help them come back to church and remember how they felt when they were baptized.

That is awesome that you are having a great time in Hawaii! Haha I remember Ovenhead. It was really hot when we did that hike.

That would be great to get an Easter package! They told me that you send packages to the same mailing address I gave to you guys a couple weeks ago, but you need to use the United States Postal Service so that they can forward it to wherever I am living. I don't think that I really need anything besides some pizza pringles, jolly ranchers, maybe some of those Kamri cookies, and some love. My companion loves those chocolate macadamian nuts that you can get in Hawaii if you maybe want to send us a box of those.

Sorry that I didn't write very much this week, I'll make this next week more exciting so that I can say more about it. Love y'all!

con amor,

Elder Johns