Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New area, new companion, Tortugas!

¡Hay tortugas por todos lados!

A part of the lagoon that I saw a crocodile!

Buenas tardes,

Wow what a crazy week. I dont know where to start. My new area is called Del Valle 1 and it is in the Zone Ampliación. I feel kinda wierd being back here in the same Zone I was just in 3 months ago, but it is exciting because I might be able to see Karen and Pedro. The area is pretty great, the members are awesome, and the Bishop really seems like he knows what he is doing. It is a lot poorer here than it was in my first area. There is this one place named Chipus and it is really really poor. It is also a lot mre muddy here than any area I have had. It still hasnt rained, but I am afraid for when it will rain because I dont know how we are going to get anywhere without losing our shoes. In our ward there are 2 other Elders as well. They are pretty cool and we eat our comidas with them so that is kinda fun. There is a giant lagoon here in the area, an dI even saw 2 crocodiles this week! I didnt get any pictures of them but it was pretty cool to see some crocodiles.

My companion, Elder Monforte, is awesome. We have a ton in common. We have even been in the same area (my first area). He also really likes guitar and played in a band before the mission. He has been a Zone Leader for the past 3 changes so he really knows what he is doing as a Zone Leader. I am learning a lot from him because he has a ton of time in the mission.I forgot to take a good picture of us together so ill get that to you for next week.

We had our zone meeting this week to talk about the new changes. One big change is that we are not allowed to do any more contacting, which feels realllly wierd. We have always found our investigators by contacting in the street or by knocking doors, but now if we do any of that, we are breaking the mission rules and going against the Area Seventys. They want us to find our investigators through the members and only through the members. Also, an investigator needs to go to church 4 times in a row in order to qualify to get baptized. If they miss once then we have to start the count over. We are also now supposed to have members present in all of our lessons with investigators, with recent converts, and with less active members. It is going to be more difficult to get baptisms from now on but the baptisms that we do have will be more active. It will also really strengthen the church here to have them be more active in missionary work. I am all for it. We have been doing fairly well with these changes, and we even set a baptisimal date with a young girl named Aleisa. Her family is becoming active in the church again so we committed her (9 years old) to prepare for a baptism. Their are excited about being active again and she is going to be ready.

I am a little sad to hear that Mitt Romney didnt win the election, it sounds like he was really close. Thats cool that Garret is back already! AAAHHH thats awesome that Megan and Kember got mission calls!!!! The new car also looks great.

We are in a hurry so I have to go. I love y´all and I hope everything goes well. I believe that my belt size is 36/90. Thats what it says on the inside anyways. ¡Tengan un buen día!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Puuuure Craziness

An arc that the make for día de los muertos. They put the favorite food of the people who have passed away.

Baptism of Martin. I am with Elder Girot from the MTC.

Some familys that were in my ward.

Hey family!

Its been puuuure craziness this past week. On Wednesday we were doing the daily grind when one of the assistants called my companion and told him that he needed to be in Tampico that night! He and 3 other missionaries from our Zone left for Tampico to have a special training because they are going to be training new missionaries next week. I stayed the night with Elder Girot and the Zone Leader, Elder Castro, and then I did worked the next day with someone named Elder Martinez until my companion returned from Tampico. Then Elder Castro had to go to Tampico so Elder Girot stayed with us all day friday. Then Elder Castro came back and he had a letter for me from Karen! Karen is one of the people that my ocmp and I baptized in my first area. When I had left the area she wasnt super active and her father was also having some problems. I really enjyed recieveing a letter from her and hearing about how they are doing and that they are now clsoer to the church and more active. I also heard that Susanah finally got baptized! She is the wife of Pedro and we taught her a lot after the batism of Pedro and Karen, but in the time I was there she didnt want to get baptized. I also got a letter from my friend Hailey Walton, and one from Tanner Paxman. 

On Saturday, I baptized Martin. Martin was an investigator of Elder Castro and Elder Girot (my MTC companion) and they taught him everything, but when he was asked who he wanted to perform the baptism he asked for me. I only had taught him once on exchanges and I have talked to him a few times when I have seen him at church so I was a little suprised. Apparently that will be the last baptisimal ordinance that I will ever perform here in the mission,according to what I have heard. 

The first friday of every month the President has a council with all of the Zone Leaders in the mission. Apparently the president announced a lot of changes that we will be doing in the mission starting this transfer. One of these is that we, as the missionaries, are not authorized to baptise people so that means that we will be having the members do the baptisms. I have heard some of the other changes but I should be able to read about them tonight (my new comp is a Zone Leader and has the papers from the council meeting). The president has really good reasons for making the changes, the main one being that we have a huge problem of people going less/in active shortly after their baptism. I am 100% for these changes because I know that the Lord is inspiring my mission president to do what is best for the people we are serving through our missionary efforts. 

That leads me to my next announcement, I got transferred! I was really sad when I heard, but I already knew because my companion is oging to be training this next transfer. I reallllllllly wish I could have had just one more cambio in Valles with Elder Beltrán, but I guess the Lord has other plans for me. Guadalupe was really sad to see me go. She bought me a couple ties and she bought a cake that we ate Sunday night. I am really going to miss Valles a lot. I cant believe that I really had served there for three whole months! Time flew by super fast. and guess where my new area is! I am back in my old zone! I am in the zone Ampliación again! I was in this zone before I was transferred to the zone Valles. I am on the other side of the zone from my first area, but I am super close. I am in an area called De Valle 1 with Elder Monforte. Elder Monforte has been a Zone Leader for 3 cambios now and this cambio is his last cambio before he goes home. He seems like a great guy. He is my first companion that has had more than a year before we became companions.

Sorry if everything I have typed is all jumbled and not very organized, my mind is a mess right now because I am in a new area and everything changed really fast. I got to see Elder Rodriguez, my trainer, and Elder Oliveros, my 2nd comp, at the bus station in Tampico. It was really great to see them. I am a little sad to have left Valles behind and I am going to have a lot of challenges ahead of me this next transfer, but I know that I am where the Lord wants me to be and I am going to try my hardest to do what he wants me to do.

I am sorry to hear about Christian McComber! There was an x missionary in Valles that was sent home for health issues as well and he was really sad about it too. It sounds like you all had an enjoyable halloween. Here they do something called Day of the dead. Its the 1st and 2nd of november. They make this arc like things and hang fruit from it and put the favorite foods of the deaceased persons. The kids also trick or treat a little bit but not a lot because its a little dangerous here. That is so awesome that Parker got a mission call! One friend from my ward at byu was called to St. George. I have heard that it is a successful mission. When do Parker and Derek enter theMTC? I am have a little list of the dates that my friends have started the mission and I would like to add them. That is pretty neat that you got a new car. I will really miss the old suburban, we had some good trips in that car.

As far as Christmas ideas, Ireally dont know. Maybe a new belt? my belt is getting worn and my other belt is aready destroyed. I cant really think of anything. Oh, I would love as many different EFY music discs that you can get your hands on, especially the most recent EFY´s. I neeeeed some new music and we are allowed to listen to EFY cds. Ask ryan what some good stuff to send me would be. Money is nice so that I can buy stuff after the mission. mabey another memory card for my camera so that I dont have to worry about running out of space. Oh, and I would love a grand piano if you can fit it in. also a generation pedigree chart of a few generations, apparently I am supposed to have this so I can better explain Family history work. and maybe photos of my friends in their recent adventures.

I hope dad has a great week in San Diego, Mom and Colin and Kaitlyn have  a great tim in Sammamish, Ryan has a good week at BYU, and Keldey has a great time at BYU-I. ¡Nos vemos!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Quadalupe's Baptism!

Baptism of Guadalupe! She is with her daughter, Abril.

Los Micos
Grilling some hamburguesas!

Amados hermanos míos,
This past week went by soooooooo fast. It was a great week because we had Guadalupe´s baptism on Saturday! It was great. Her daughter, Abril, was really excited about it too and wanted to get baptized but she doesnt turn 8 until this next June. I got to perform the ordinance and it felt really good. The water was a little cold though because there wasnt enough gas to get the water heater to work in the morning when we filled it up. Guadalupe was really excited to get baptized and afterwards we went to dominos to eat a little pizza. I´ll attach a photo so you guys can finally see what Guadalupe and Abril look like.
This week was really slow as far as finding new people goes, but we´ll find some people this week. Since Saturday the weather has drastically changed to cloudy and cold. It feels only slightly warmer than Washington during the summertime when it is cloudy and rainy. It feels really wierd to have cooler temperature, I was getting used to a never ending summer.
Today for our P-day, we went to some waterfalls called Los Micos and it was a lot of fun. We had to get permision from the Preisdent, but he said we could do it if we all did it as a Zone and not invite members or investigators. It was a lot of fun, the bus was only $11 pesos to get there and we all pitched in $40 pesos for food. We got a grill and made some hamburgers, they were pretty good. Los Micos was really pretty and the water looked so refreshing but we arent supposed to swim. It was really fun to hang out with the other Elders in my Zone. We have a really good zone. It was also really fun to do something different for once.

For Halloween this Wednesday, I think I´ll take your advice and be a Mormon Missionary. They get the most candy. Thats cool that Kaitlyn got to see Kelsey this weekend. I hope Brooklyn´s wedding goes well today. I bet the Utah symphony was awesome. Im really missing my classical music. I had a dream a few days ago that I had been sent home from the mission for health reasons when I only had 11 months. I was really sad about being home and I was really missing the mission. I hope that doesnt happen. In our ward, an Elder just came home the week before last because of health problems. He is really awesome and he really misses his mission. He already served for 20 months so their not going to let him go back out when hes recovered.
I cant think of much to say and I dont have any more time so I am going to leave it at that. This is week 6 so transfers will be in a week. I think that I will probably get transfered, but I would really like to stay in this area one more transfer with my companion. He is really awesome and we work well together. I hope you all have a great halloween and that you dont get any cavities!
con amor,
Elder Johns

Agua de Coco, Horchata, and a Tithing Pamphlet

Dearest family and friends,
This week went be really fast and really slowly at the same time. I got a nasty cold on Tuesday and its always the worst to get sick because it makes everything a lot harder.
We had a really good lesson with Guadelupe in the beginning of the week. She really enjoyed conference and she was excited about her baptism. We stil need to teach her a couple things so we moved her baptisimal date until the 27 of October. I promised her that I would bring her some of my agua de limón and she said she would get me a coconut because I still hadn´t eaten a cocnut since I came here to Mexico (They are really cheap here). She really liked my water in the next appointment and the coconut she gave me was really good. I made it into agua de coco haha. We left her a pamphlet that talks about tithing to read before our next appointment. That turned out to be not such a good idea. She read the pamphlet and didnt show up to church and when we passsed by for her appointment she expressed that she doesnt know if she can pay tithing (money is pretty tight for her and her family) and we taught and testified a lot. She said she doesnt know if she wants to get baptized anymore so we left a good chapter in the Book of Mormon for her to read and told her to pray about everything. She is a little frusterated becasue there are so many commandments. I am feeling a little stressed out about this.
I made Horchata this week! It was fairly tasty. I also made some agua de jamaica. Have you ever heard of jamaica before? It is a flower that they boil in water here and it makes really tasty water. it is simialer to cranberry juice becasue it cleans you out but it tastes different. I hope I can find jamaica in the states becasue I really like how it tastes.
We had a "round table" meeting with President Jordan and his assistents this week. It was pretty great and I learned a lot about how I can help the people we teach to understand the importnace of doing the committments.
My companion Elder Beltran is from Sonora Mexico. He completed one year in the mission a week and a half ago and he is  great. He knows alot of funny jokes and hes fun to be around. He started listening to the missionaries when he was 16 and then he and his mom were baptized. He is now 21 years old. His accent is a little strange, and its kinda funny to notice that my accent is changing to be more like his since we are together all of the time. This is his first exchange as a district leader and he is doing a good job.
Thats about all I can think of to type. Dad was pretty lucky to get out of having to be at teh case doing jury duty for so long. How old do you have to be before you can do jury duty? Ill have to remember to be really technical if I ever get summoned. Colins birthday party sounds like it was great. Is he going to get his first license soon or go on his first date? Minecraft is pretty fun, I played it a little bit when I was going to college. I dont think there are seasons here. I have noticed that it has gotten slightly cooler, but that doesnt maek much of a difference when it is still super hot. I guess the only thing I have noticed as far as the passage of seasons is that they have stopped selling mangos :( but that just means that I can save up my money until mango season and eat pure mangos until the season ends again. I got the Halloween package this week when the president came for the round table thing! thanks sooooo much! I love chocolate and american candy. They dont really have alot of chocolate here and the candy isnt very good. I will think of some ideas for the christmas package. I usually dont spend any of my personal money. I havent needed to use personal money to buy food or anything. I have only used it for buying weights, speakers, and I htink thats it.
I love yall and have a great week!
con amore,
Elder Johns


This week flew by super fast! I got to do 2 different exchanges. Another exchange with Elder Girot, and an exchange with Elder Salazar. They are both pretty great and I enjoyed having the chance to work with them and learn from them. When I was with Elder Girot in his area we did a ton of walking, mostly because the appointments alternated between the furthest points in his area. When it got dark, we were walking through a field when I saw a brief flash of light trail through the air. Then I saw another, and another, and then quite a few. I then realized that they were fireflies! I dont know if Im just not very smart, but I have always thought that fireflies were just made up and that they sounded really cool but it just couldnt exist because I have never seen any  before. It was pretty awesome to see some and realize that they do in fact  exist haha.
I started making different types of "aguas" this week. First I made agua de piña (pineapple) and that was super good. Then I made agua de melón (cantelope) and that was also super good. Then I made some more agua de melón but I but some milk in it and that was really really good! I also made some agua de limón last night that was pretty tasty. So far I like agua de melón with milk the most becasue it is easier to maek than the other aguas and it tastes the best. This next week I am going to try agua de horchata and agua de jamaica.
Guadelupe is doing well, we didnt have her interview this saturday becasue we still have to teach her some commandments, but we are planning on having her interveiw this next saturday and her baptism the following saturday. She came to one of the conference sessions and she really liked it so that was cool.
We dont really have any other investigators that are progressing super well, but we have some potentials that should start to progress a little faster this week if everything goes according to plan.
My comp completed one year in the mission last friday! I now finally have a companion who has more than a year in the mission. We didnt have any time to do something to celebrate, but we are going to go and get hamburgers for dinner sometime this week.
conference was awesome! I got to watch all of it in English with the other english elders (there are 4 of us in our Zone) and that was a lot of fun. That is so crazy that the age was changed to 18 for men and 19 for women! That means that alot of my friends could leave on their missions right now! Did you mean to type Megan Carpenter that has definately decided to serve a mission? Thats really cool. Keep me posted on mission calls of my friends or people I know. A large majority of the natives in my mission left for their missions around the age of 18, usually about 6 months after they turned 18. All of my companions have been about my age or older though.
Happy birthday COlin! that is so exciting that his birthday is this week! I really hope it goes well and that he gets his liscnece soon. Dont let him date until he gets home from his mission.
I am glad ot hear that you are all doing so well. Thank you for the pictures, I really enjoy getting pictures of you guys. Ill try and send some this next week. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
con amor,
Elder Johns