Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Eve

Elder Grill, Elder Johns, Elder Parry, and Elder Stockard.
I got the best haircut here and it was free!
Buenos días!

Buen día! This week was pretty great! On new years eve I got the package from Uncle Jeff and Aunt Lisa and it had pizza pringles!!! It also had a bunch of other food that I have really missed and a nice letter, please tell them that I got their package and thanks so much for sending it to me. Also thanks again for the packages that you sent me for christmas, this new belt is excellent and I am really enjoying all the food. I have a drawer stuffed full of food to eat as I work in the office.

We are going to have a baptism next week! Her name is Cintya (pronounced seen-tya). She is basically already an active member of the church because she always goes to church with her parents but she wanted her older brother to baptize her and while she was waiting for him to get back from the mission she turned 9 so it became our responsibilty as the missionaries to teach her. She passed her baptisimal interview on Wednesday and is going to get baptized wensday next week. Her brother is getting back around 4:30 and then we are going to have the baptizm at 6 and then afterwards her brother is going to get released. I have really enjoyed teaching her and I am excited that she is getting baptized next week. It will be the first baptism in about a year in this area.

We have an investigator named Eduardo. His wife is a less active member that goes to church every once in a while but he has a daughter that is pretty active. A lot of missionaries have already taught him and he hasnt really progressed, but we have decided that it is becasue his family doesnt really support him. He seems like a great guy to me but apparently when he was younger he wasnt the best father and so now his family is holding a grudge against him. We taugth the family when he wasnt there and I really hope it helped them to decide to forgive him and support him more in his path to the church. We are going to go visit him tonight.

This week the assistants and President did some training sessions of all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders in the mission. It was pretty cool because E. Griggs and I got to go to one and get trained to be a good leader. It was also really cool because Elder Parry and Elder Grill, two Elders from my generation (entered the MTC the same day as me), were there. Elder Stockard, one of the assistants and also from my generation, was also there so it was like a little family reunion. I hadnt seen Elder Parry for like 10 months. It was really fun to talk about how our missions have been going. I dont know if I already told you guys but Elder Stockard is the guy I met at college who opened his mission call the same day as me 30 minutes before I did in the Hall Lobby just across the street. He also works in the offices as an assistant to the President so I get to see him every day and he is super cool.

On New Years eve we went to a less active members house to eat with him and share a message but we had to be back in our apartment by 8. It was tough to sleep because everyone was setting off fireworks so it was super loud. It has gotten super cold here! it has been raining the past couple days so it has been extra humid and wet and it just keeps getting colder. It probably isnt as cold as back home or in utah or Idaho but it is so humid here that you feel the cold sooooo strongly. I thought my pillow had frozen when I woke up this morning. My comp and I also started running everyday in the morning at the beginning of the week but because of the cold we havent wanted to go for the past couple days.

Thats too bad about what happened to Ryan, but it probably wasnt such a good idea for him to leave the country if he is having health problems with such serious posible reprecussions. I hope he gets better and I will be praying for him. Sounds like you all had a pretty bomb new years eve. That is awesome that Kaitlyn is starting college! I was a little nervous when I started summer semester at BYU but I got used to it and wasnt as nervous afterwards. A year from now I will probably be back there... thats a really wierd thought. Time is literally flying by so so so fast, this past week was literally the blink of an eye. I dont want this last year to go by so fast because finally my spanish is good and I can finally teach well.

I just had a really good idea, do any of my friends have blogs? If you guys could maybe copy and paste some of my friends blogs on a separate email I could print them out and read them later. If I remember correctly, Kember told me that she had started a blog last year, even though she isnt in the mission, and I would love to get something from that too if it were possible for you guys to do that. I would love to hear from Derek, Tanner, Andy, Dylan (in africa), and everyone else. If you could do that then that would be awesome! Also did you guys post something on my facebook to commemorate 1 year in the mission? My mail traffic has been decreasing latley.

I love you guys and I hope all goes well for you all in the coming week. Oh and thanks for the cool photos of the crazy long cake thing they made over in the city of Mexico! Yesterday I got to try some of that type of bread and it was alright. It had little figures in it and the member explained to us that it is supposed to represent when Jesus went to Egypt to hide from Herod because the little figure represents jesus as a child and hiding him in the bread represents him going to egypt to hide.


con amor,

Elder Johns

One Year in the Mission!

our christmas tree!
Christmas lights in Mexico!
Christmas Eve dinner!
Christmas dinner!

Hey family and friends, I HAVE ONE YEAR IN THE MISSION!!!!! Yesterday was the 28th of December and a year ago from that day was when I walked in through the doors of the MTC and began the journey that is my mission. I have never grown so much in one year in my life. This year has been hard, far harder than any other year of my life. I believe that the fact tha tI have grown the most in this year and that it has been the hardest year are related. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and is helping me to reach my fullest potentiel. Ive learned a foreign language (forgotten how to spell in English), Ive learned how to live 24/7 with a stranger, Ive learned how to enjoy super spicy food, Ive learned lots of scriptures, I have a more complete understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but most of all I have learned that missionary work is AWESOME! I love being albe to help others come unto the light of the gospel and live it so that they can break the bonds of wordly living and rise to a higher plain of existence and understanding, where they can find the greatest happiness here on the earth. I am going to be sad when it is over.

I just had a fantastic Christmas week. On Christmas Eve, our zone and 3 other zones got together to do a talent show and watch a presentation by the president and his wife about the true meaning and importance of Christmas. I really enjoyed it and I felt the Spirit. That night we went to a less active members family (the husband isnt a member and we have started to focus on teaching him) to eat dinner. Although I dont really know them very well they were friendly and we had a good time. Plus they gave us a delicious Mexican style christmas dinner.

On Christmas we went to our Stake Center to have a short District meeting, and then we got to watch Kung Fu Panda!!!!!! President let us becasue it was Christmas. It was really funny and it was fun to watch a movie in spanish and be able to understand everything. Then we went to the offices to call our familys on skype. President let us use his super awesome laptop so that was really cool. I got to meet my companions family briefly so that was kind of cool. Then I got to call my family!!! I really enjoyed talking to you guys and seeing your faces! It was the best present I got for Christmas. I also enjoyed meeting Angela, she seems pretty cool. oh and seeing Copper was almost too much, I think you guys might need to send him here so tha tI can snuggle with him. Abby is getting really tall. Wow it has been an entire year since Ive seen any of you.

On Friday we had a big meeting called "el concilio" (council) and it was pretty cool. All the Zone Leaders from all over the mission came and we had a big meeting. I couldnt be there for a lot of it becasue we got two new missionaries from the states and my comp and I had to give them some training presentations. It was fun being with all of the Zone Leaders from the mission and get to know them better, 5 of them slept at our house last night becasue they are far away from the city so they had to travel here the day before. In the meeting they talked about the plan for the mission and how we can improve the missionaries.

I am so glad that you all had such a great Christmas week! Only one more short year and Ill be with you for the next one! This next year will pass by super fast.
Have a wonderful new years and make new year resolutions that you will keep (but write them down or you wont end up doing anything)!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Hey mom and dad, could you guys do a special post on Facebook saying that I have a year in the mission now? It might increase my mail and I would really love to hear how alot of people are doing. Thanks!

Tanner on Skype

Tanner on Skype!
On Christmas Day we got to see Tanner and talk to him on Skype. It was wonderful to see his face after a year! He looks like he is doing great. It was the best present his Mom and Dad got for Christmas.

Busy in the Office

All the missionaries that taught Lily. Her boyfriend, Leonardo, baptized her.
This is Aleisa´s family, she is getting baptized on Sunday in my last area.
Merry Christmas! (almost)

Hey! Its been a BUSY week. It is pretty awesome working in the offices but I am literally busy every single minute. I didnt really know what I was doing for the first few days but now I understand a lot better what I am supposed to do and how to do it. The things that I have to do aren´t really complicated or anything but theres just a lot of stuff that I have to do and learning everything all at once was kinda tough. It is kinda fun having my own computer and work space with a color printer and my own cell phone. Sometimes I have to call people in different countries so that is kinda cool.

My companion is the financial secretary and deals with all of the mission funds so he is pretty busy too. Hes American so that is pretty cool. He is from Murray Utah and he has about 3 months more on the mission than me. We get along really well and it feels super wierd to be with an american companion.

We didnt really have the most time to work in our area this week because it is the end of the year so my companion has a ton of things to finish up. The area seems pretty different because the houses are gigantic and there seems to be a lot of money in the area. We are teaching a young girl who is  9 years old who has a baptisimal date for the 9th of January. Her parents are both active, but the reason she didnt get baptised is because she wanted to wait for her brother to get home to baptize her and she turned 9 so it became our responsibilty to teach her. Her brother gets back on the 9th so thats when we are going to have the baptism. Besides that it doesnt seem like there are many people that we are teaching. Tomorrow I will get to meet more of the members and I will know more about what the area is like.

I am excited to skype you guys on Tuesday! I think our plan is to borrow the President´s laptop and use it here in the offices. I´ll be calling you guys sometime between 1:00pm to 2:00pm your time. I might call you guys right before with my phone so that I can tell you that Im getting on (It doesnt cost anything with my cell phone´s plan).

Haha thats awesome that Colin finally went on a date! I remember when I used to babysit Audrey so it is wierd for me to see that she has started to date. I remember when we did all that christmas stuff a year ago, time really flies by when you´re busy. thats awesome that Jose gote baptized, do Colin and him hang out? Sounds like Ryan is pretty serious with this Angela girl.

For Christmas eve we are having a big conference thing with President and I am not really sure what we´ll be doing in that but on Christmas day we are going to get together as a zone and watch Kung Fu Panda (with presidents permission of course) and play games and stuff. I am excited.

I am super tired right now so it is kinda tough to think of things to type so i guess well talk Tuesday!

con amor,

Elder Johns


Mi querido familia,

Hey!!! I just had another crazy week! We went to the offices almost every morning so that I could recieve some training from the current secretary. He is pretty cool, I had met him before and I was in the same zone as him for a bit. He was pretty busy the first couple days so I just kinda watched him do stuff as he tried to explain to me what he was doing until friday and saturday when he finally had some time to really tell me what exactly I am supposed to do and how to do it. My largest responsibilty is taking care of everyone visas and keeping them all legally here in Mexico. Then I have a lot of other stuff I have to do like buy airplane tickets, figure out how many new missionaries we are going to recieve (That will be difficult because there are a lot of visa waiters and the communication between us and them isnt the best), Reserve hotels for the president when he leaves, and just a lot of little things like that, It is a little stressful just becasue I dont really understand how to do everything still, but I am learning. But today is my first day and everything seems to be going by well so far. I am really excited to be working close with the president and assitants and be in the loop of whats going on in the mission. Our apartment is pretty sick as well! I only just barely saw it but it seems really nice. It even has carpet!!!!!!!!!!!

We had an awesome baptism of Hermana Lily yesterday. It went really smoothly and the spirit was strong. She even cried a little bit afterwards as she said the closing prayer. I think it was a good experience for her family because they arent members. My companion and I havent really taught her anything (she is the person who moved to our area and already had a baptisimal date with other missionaries) but we were really excited to see her get baptized. Her boyfriend performed the ordinance. Unfortunately, Aleisa didnt get baptized. On saturday night her little brother got really sick so their family went to the emergency room and they were there for most of the day Sunday so it wasnt the most convenient time for her to get baptized. Her little brother (6 years old) is totally fine now. The Elders that have replaced Elder Monforte and I are going to baptize her next week. I was a little sad, but Ill be able to ask for permission to go to her baptism next week because it isnt too far away.

We had a zone conference On wendsday morning and it was great. I got your christmas package! I decided to wait until christmas to open it so that I have something to open on Christmas morning. Thanks so much for sending me something!  I almost cant wait to open it.

Thats basically everything for this week. Oh and President took us out to eat a couple times while I was working and we went to an awesome italian buffet and I ate lasagna!!!!

Thats funny that angela thinks that rootbeer tastes like medicine because thats what everyone here thinks too haha. I hope Colins leg gets better quick! That is awesome the Joav is serving a mission!!!!!!!! I sent PArker a letter like a week or two ago so he probs didnt get it in time but his family can send it to him when they send him a package or something.

Haha thats strange that both Dad and Ryan have been secretaries. Now I have a lot to live up to haha. I know that I am going to really enjoy it despite the added stress.

I dont have any set details or plans about skype, but we are planning on asking President if we can do it here in the offices. Ill get it all figured out this week and let yall know. I dont really have much time so I didnt write very much this time but Ill write better next time. From now on I will have my P/day on saturday (today isnt really my pday, but I need to write you guys) so you should shoot me an email friday night because I will be writing back on  saturdays fo as long as I am in the offices. 

I love you all and I exhort you to remember Christ our savior during this Christmas season!

con amor,

Elder Johns 

Nuevo Secretario

 Hanging out in my hammock

Buenos Nachos,
¡Feliz Cumpleaños mamá! It sounds like you and dad had a good time celebrating it in Seattle. Seattle is always really beautiful during the Christmas season. You only have one more birthday until I am almost home!
What a crazy half of a week! On Thursday night I started to feel kinda wierd and that usually means that I am going to get sick the next day. On Friday I woke up feeling terrible but I only had a slight fever so we left to work. We did another exchange and I was with Elder Lawrence for the day. We kept working until lik 7:00 but then I started to feel reaaally bad so I checked my temp and it had gone up. I called the mission presidents wife and she advised me that I should take it easy so we went back to the apartment. I felt horrible. I didnt throw up or anything but my body just hurt a ton. Thank goodness mom put some tylenol fever/cold in my med kit because it really helped me feel better.
On Saturday I slept in while my companion went on exchanges in order to do a baptisimal interview for one of our investigators. She passed! I think I already mentioned Lilí to you guys, she has been going to church for a long time with her boyfriend and has been taught everything by tons of missionaries. Then, right before she was going to get baptized, she moved into our area! We havent really taught her much but I am still really excited that she is going to get baptized.
When I felt better, my comp and I left to go and work. Then President Jordan called us and asked us if he could come and work with us. We couldnt really tell him no, so he went with us to two of our appointments with less active members. Afterwards, he drove us back to our apartment and told me that I am going to be his new secretary next transfer!
I was really suprised haha. That means that I am going to be leaving this area in a week so I am a little sad because I really like the members here, but I am really excited to get to work in the offices! If I remember correctly, Ryan also worked in the offices so that is interesting that both of us are going to have done that. From what I know right now, I am going to be incharge of doing stuff like buying plane tickets for missionaries going home, being in charge of doing the visa paper work for everyone, arrange travel plans for Elders during transfer, and stuff like that, I dont really know yet. During this week I am supposed to go on exchanges with the current secretary so that he can train me. I am really excited but a little nervous because it is alot of work. I am going to learn a lot from it. It will be super sweet to be able to be in the office with my own computer, air conditioning, my own cell, and a nice comfy chair.
On Sunday we had the baptisimal interview of Aleisa and she passed! We have been teaching her since I got to this area. It has been a little tough at times because she only is 9 years old, but she really likes church so that is great. Her mother was less active but now she is going again. We are going to have both the baptism of Aleisa and Lilí on Sunday!
I dont feel sick anymore, but I still feel kinda wierd. My stomach hasnt been hurting but it has been feeling a little quesy and I havent been able to eat as much as usual. Hopefully I will be fully recovered soon. I had time to put up a hammock that I bought a few months ago. I just barely remembered that I had it (I havent had a place to be able to put it up until this apartment) but now I just learned that I am leaving this apartment nex transfer so I only get to enjoy it for a week and then I have to take it down again haha. Hopefully I can put it up in my new apartment.
I dont know any more details about the skype dealio but I will figure that out as soon as I can when I get to my next area. OH and this is really important so please remember that I am telling this to you right now: My new P-day will be on Saturdays from now on while I am working in the offices. I am not really sure why their p-day is different, but thats the way it is so youll be getting my emails on saturdays for the next few transfers.
I gotta go now but I love you all and wish you all a wonderful week!
con amor,
Elder Johns

¡La Playa!

Coco juice fresh from the source. 
¡La Playa!

We walked to the end of a long pier. 

sorry that I am writing this letter a few days latter than usual. On Monday we had a long saftey meeting and so president changed our preparation day to Wednesday for this week. The past week and a half has been pretty good. I feel like a lot has happened so it is kinda tough to remember everything. Last week an investigator from another zone moved into our area so she became our investigator. She has been investigating the church for quite a while and she is going to get baptized on the 16th so that was pretty cool.

We did another exchange on Wednesday and I got to be with a new elder from Honduras and that was fun. Then on Friday my companion went to a Zone Leader council so I got to be with 2 other Elders in our zone that are really awesome so that was a lot of fun. On Monday we had the saftey meeting which was pretty interesting. A guy from the security office came and told us about how to stay safe and what to do if we, for some reason, end up getting kidnapped or something. It was interesting. We arent in any danger or anything but its stuff that is important to know just in case.

On wednesday we went to the beach in the morning!!!!! It was so fun. The sand was really fine and it felt really good inbetween my toes. We werent allowed to touch the water, but we played volleyball (without a net so it was really intense) and there was a cool pier that we walked down. For some reason a ton of racoons live at the very end of the pier in the rocks even though it is a 15 minute long walk from the shore and there arent any trees.

I dont think christmas is a huge deal here like it is in the states but it is like a mid sized deal. Many houses already have lights up and there are fake christmas trees in a lot of houses and stores have some decorations as well. I havent seen any nativity sets for sale but I will keep my eyes on the look out.

Sounds like you all had a pretty good week and that you are all greatly anticipating the upcoming few weeks. I have some good news! for Christmas President is going to let us use Skype! we are only allowed to talk for 30 minutes but Ill get to see all your faces and Copper (if he is still alive, I havent heard anything about him since Ive left). I dont know all the deatails on how we can use it but ill get that figured out and let you know. I am pretty excited for this Christmas season. The mission has some fun plans and it also signifies that I will have one year in the mission. Thanks for all the christmas ideas, ill print them off and give them a read through.

I hope you all stay safe and have a great week!

con amor
Elder Johns

Ten Taco Thanksgiving

294: Good idea.... but it didnt really help 
Elder Monforte lost his shoe in the mud, luckly I was able to retrieve it for him
We helped paint part of a house this morning. I am the tallest so I got to get the high parts.

Hey family!

This week went by pretty fast. I feel like I say that everytime, but it always suprises me at how fast the weeks are starting to go by.  For Thanksgiving, my companion and I met up with 2 other Elders that are also serving in the same ward as us and we ate at a place where the tacos are only 2 pesos! The tacos are pretty small but they are reeeeallly good so I ate 10 of them for my thanksgiving dinner, along with some cheetos.

I got to do an exchange this week with Elder Chambers, but this time I went to the other area. Elder Chambers only has like 4 months in the mission but his Spanish is really good. He is from Colorado and was even at BYU when I was there for Fall Semester. We even know some of the same people. I really enjoyed the exchange with him and working in the other half of our ward (Our ward is split into two areas and he is one of the elders from the other half).

It rained a lot one morning which was just awful because it made everywhere really muddy. We had some appointments set in Chipus that day and so it was doubly awful (chipus is suuuuuper muddy). I thought that I would be clever and tie shopping bags around my shoes to keep them from getting super muddy, and it worked for a bit, until they tore and my shoes got muddy. My companion even lost one of his shoes becasue the mud pulled it off, but I was able to get it out for him. My shoes have been doing really good. When I first got here I felt like I was walking on clouds, but now it feels more normal and they arent as comfortable. But they are still in good shape and I hope will last for another 13 months.

I got a letter from Guadalupe this week. She is doing pretty well but she says that she misses me and that no one gets her a hymn book now. It felt good to hear from her and to know that she is still going to church and that my companion is still passing by to see her.

Our mission president changed one of the rules last night! up to this point we havent been allowed to play any sports competively at all at any time because lots of missionaries were getting injured from sports. BUT President Jordan changed the rule last night to allow us to play sports as long as we only play half court basketball and we dont play soccer. I am pretty happy with this because I miss playing sports alot. Today we did a little mini service project helping someone paint part of their house and then we went to a sports center with a bunch of other elders and we played basketball! It was a ton of fun because I have a good height advantage on the mexicans.

It sounds like you all had a wonderful thanksgiving! that is awesome that Ryan and Kelsey suprised you guys. Kelsey sent me an email and mentioned that they were going to suprise you guys. Wow that is a lot of people to feed! I am sure the food was super good, I hope you saved me a little for when I get back. I miss turkey, its pure chicken here.

I love you all and I hope this week goes well for y´all. If you could, would you please send me the mission address of James Salmon? thanks!

con amor,
Elder Johns

Chipus must be Spanish for Mud!

Elder Lawrence and I on our exchange


 Hey family!

Crazy week but I dont have like any time to write about it! On tuesday we had interviews with President Jordan. He takes a long time to talk with each and every one of us, up to 30minutes for each missionary which really adds up when there are 20 or more missionaries. It was great to talk to him and recieve some guidance in how I can improve and serve better. He told me again that I will probably be training soon so I am going to be doing what I can during this change to prepare myself.

We did an intercambio this week and I got to be with a new Elder that just arrived here in Mexico last week. Hisname is Elder Lawrence and he is pretty great, he reminds me ALOT of how I felt when I first got here. It was also a challenge forme to be without my comp because i still dont know the area super well, but everything went well. I can see now that I really have come pretty far since I first got here to Mexico. I am sooooooo grateful that I am over the language hurdle and I can speak and understand well.

Part of the reason I have 0 time right now to write this letter is because the temple was open this morning because today is a holiday and no one has to work (it is usually closed on mondays) so we took advantage of it and went to the temple. I LOVE the temple! Even in spanish it is awesome and I feel great inside. This time I was able to understand everything in Spanish. We are working a lot with Less active members who have never been to the temple before and now I can testify to them with greater power of the blessings and spirit we recieve by being worthy to enter the temple.

I am very sorry that I dont have time but I like the 12 days of christmas idea, well think of some people that could help and maybe ill present it to the zone as an idea that they can do in their areas. We usually look ofr service because we have nothing to do in the mornings usually but  people always say they are fine even though there is something we can do. maybe we will just stop asking and just do it haha. I love you all and I hope that you all have a wonderful thanksgiving! 

con amor,

Elder Johns