Saturday, March 30, 2013

Last Day in the Office!

Carlos Vasquez and Carlos Vasquez Jr. Two of my favorite people I have ever met.

Ward Mission leader named Ladislao and his girlfriend (they are getting married in July)

Nefi and Angel Moroni: two kids in a less active family we have taught alot

Socorro (right), Hna. Toni and her kid Jared.
I don´t know if there are tazos in the states, but they are these little toys that you get when you buy bags of chips or cookies. Ive been collecting them because they are angry birds and I love angry birds. I have like 130 now, and lots of people all over the mission have been giving them to me.


WE PLACED A BAPTISIMAL DATE WITH PABLO! We brought our Ward mission leader and his girlfriend and his girlfriend is a convert and she knew just what to tell Pablo to help him understand the process of conversion. He is excited.

I also started training the new secretary this week. His name is Elder Allen. He is really cool and will do a good job. I have a TON of stuff to teach and show him still so i will probably be here for a while training him because today is my last day to do it.  He is pretty smart though and is picking it up really fast. He is also from my generation (started on the 28th of December) but he was in an advanced Spanish class during the MTC so he left earlier than Me and my companion. He even was at Fall semester at BYU the same time that I was, but he stayed in Heritage Halls so I never got to meet him.

I still dont know where I am going to be sent but I am guessing that it is going to be Victoria. I have always wanted to go to Victoria because the areas over there seem to have a little more success than others. But wherever I go is where the Lord needs me and is where I want to go. I am going to really miss the people in this area, alot. It has been a tough ward to work with but they are great people. I am really really really going to miss the families that we have been teaching. I guess I didnt really tell you guys about everyone that weve been working with but it would be hard to talke about everyone that we interact with but I think I will try to talk more about that in future emails. I kinda realize that I have been talking alot about what goes on in the offices, but now I am not going to be in the offices so ill talk more about the people we are teaching.

I will really miss the offices, it was an awesome expierience that taught me alot and helped me to grow in so many different ways. I am going to miss the excitment and the variety that you find working in the offices, but I am also excited to leave behind the stress and not have everyhting be so crazy and changing all the time. I am a little afraid of adjusting back to working in the field full time, but as soon as I get used to it again it will be great. If I have time on Monday i´ll write a quick email and say where I am going.

I dont use a wallet, but I have a little missionary handbook with a white plastic case that it goes in. I put my identification and money in that. Thats cool that Colin is looking for a job. I really enjoyed my first job at the YMCA, it was perfect except that the chlorine was slowly killing me and turning my hair green.

I almost went to the Bridge of Promise one year to volunteer because Savanah told me about it. I think it would be great for Abby.
Thanks for sending me Kembers blog posts.

I only have less than 9 months left! only 6 changes! I am a little sad that it is going by so fast, just when you finally know waht you are doing as a missionary and truly learn to enjoy it time starts to just shoot by.

My pdays are going to change to Monday. I will be writing each monday instead of saturday because i wont be in the offices anymore.

I love you all, have a goooooood week!

con amor,
Elder Johns

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Training next Transfer!

Buen día,

Sounds like you guys had a terribly unlucky week with your wallets. One Elder that stayed at our house this week also lost his wallet and we couldnt find it. Thank goodness I dont use a wallet or I would have probably lost it as well. I hope that Abby is ok and that the absence seizure that Abby had isnt a sign of something more serious developing.

We had a pretty good week. It was a little slower as far as visiting lots of people goes, but we had some good lessons. We FINALLY got an appointment with Socorro after not having seen her for over two weeks. She read but she didn´t pray again. She also wont commit to going to church on Sunday because she says that it will cause problems between her and her mother. It is a little frusterating becasue she says that she wants to find out if the church is true but she is not willing to make the sacrifices in order to do so. We are hoping that if she prays about the book of mormon then she will recieve a answer and have more of a desire to make sacrifices in order to come to church.

I think I already told you about how we are teaching Emmanuel, the 9 year old son of a recently activated member. Emmanuel is the coolest 9 year old Ive ever met. He acts more like he is 13 and he is really smart. He always has disliked going to church becasue he doesnt like singing the primary songs in primary, but we gave him a book of mormon in our last appointment and says that he is already on page 40 and that he wants to come to church this Sunday so that is pretty cool.

We saw Pablo again and he said that he hadnt prayed, but he was able to understand what he read in the book of mormon really well. We talked about faith, repentance, and baptism and we committed him to get baptized. He didnt say yes because he says he was already baptized when he was a baby, but he also said he wasnt very sure if his baptism was valid from what he is now learning. He is progressing and went to church last sunday and really liked it. 

We went to have a lesson with a less active family and we were going to talk about the temple and the importance of going to the temple and having a temple recommend. We were going to invite her to talk to the bishop to get one and then go and do vicarious work in the temple BUT she said that she already done talked to the Bishop last Sunday and that she was going to go to the temple that friday. That was kind of cool and we are really excited that she is progressing well and becoming more active.

Guess what! I am going to be training next transfer!!! I think it is for real this time. President had told me two different times earlier in my mission that I was going to train but then I never ended up training. Yesterday we had a training for the people who are going to be training next transfer. It is going to be a big responsibilty training someone, but I am really excited to do it becasue I know that I will learn alot. That means that this next week is offically my last week in the offices as Secretary to the President. Thank goodness because I think it is slowly killing me haha. I am not sure if training will be much of a break, but it will be easier in some ways and more difficult in others. I am going to miss the offices though. President and Hermana Jordan have become my substitute parents and I will miss seeing them so often.

I tried making arroz con leche (rice and milk) but it didnt turn out super good. The rice was still a little hard, but it tasted good. I didnt really have a recipe and just kind threw milk and rice in a pot and boiled it until I thought it was done and threw in alot of suger and some cinnamon.

I would love to get a package! If you can get your hands on an EFY disc for the year 2012 then that would be awesome. I have heard some of the songs on it and it is one of the best. A few AA batteries would also be nice because I am running out for my toothbrush and batteries seem overly expensive here. Whatever else you want to throw in would be awesome as well. I really like chocolate.

Hey I have to go now, I love y´all. Oh and I can call on either Mothers day I think, whatever is best for you guys.

con amor,

Elder Johns

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sick on P-day...

Our leadership meeting that we had last friday

Buenas tardes,

Wow, Colin is getting some hairy legs. It looks like you all had a good time on your trip to Arizona! I remember how tiring the endless days of drizzle in Washington could be and I bet it was good to get a break. I really miss that kind of weather actually. How long has it been since the last time you all went ATVing? The last time I can remember that we did it as a family was on my 13th birthday (I think it was my 13th) and Ryan broke his arm.

I am sick right now and it is kind of a bummer becasue I dont really want to be sick. At least it is P-day today and tomorrow is Sunday so there really isnt too much that we have to do. Its just a cold anyway so I´m not dying. This week was pretty good. We had people stay with us for three nights in a row. it was fun but kinda destroyed my sleep. On Sunday we had a ton of people in church because it was Ward Conference, but not many of the people we have been visiting came. On Monday we went to the hospital to get a cist removed from the wrist of my companion. He had this big bump on the top of his wrist that grew there since July and we found out it was a cist last week. It is a pocket of some body fluid that has built up in the area and isnt very serious except that it really hurts him if he bumps his wrist on something. They stuck a big needle into it to suck out the stuff and then the doctor injected some medicine stuff that is supposed to make it scar on the inside so he wont have a scar on the outside. Now he has to wear a wrist brace thing for a while.

Wensday was cool because we had two Elders that needed to stay the night with us so we split up into groups of two and went to different sides of the area to work so we were able to get more lessons. On Friday my generation and I went to the immigration office which is pretty significant because it means that we have all been here for almost an entire year in Mexico.

I saw a Wii U for the first time on thursday! I didnt even realize that a new Wii came out and it looks pretty cool. It has a screen on the controller. The less active members we were teaching thought that we would be able to use it to watch a church video about families but it wouldnt work but it was cool to see some new technology. I also saw a new mini ipad last week that the relief society President used for scriptures when we visited her. I dont know if its supposed to be a bigger ipod touch or a smaller ipad.

We just had a 70 area pass by the office like 10 minutes ago to talk to President. He was a pretty cool guy, his name is Elder Mendoza. He just came for a suprise visit to see President Jordan.

I got a letter from Andy that he wrote for me a week after he got home. He is awesome, I really miss him. I also got a second letter from Parker and he told me that his ward mission leader has a son in my mission that I know which is kinda cool. I also got a letter from the primary presidency. They sent me a bunch of drawings and letters from the Primary kids from Valentines day. I enjoyed it.

I think I only have another two weeks left until I am going to be done in the offices. I will miss it but I am excited to have a little less hectic schedule/stress.

Kember already left for the MTC right?

I cant think of anything else to say.

Everyone have a good week!

Con amor,

Elder Johns   

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Random House Numbers

Hey family,

Good to hear that Abby is behaving herself, I would probably have a bad attitude if I had cavities as well. That is awesome that Tanner is back from his mission! I bet he had a lot of fun jumping in lake Sammamish with a shirt and tie and I hope he remembered how to swim. I´ll have to do it as well when I get back in December.

I feel a little tired and it is hard for me to concentrate but I´ll try and write a good letter. On Sunday an inactive member showed up and told us that he wants to be active again. We taught him in his house this week and he seems pretty cool. He used to be really active in the church after his baptism, but then he moved to our ward and got married to someone that isnt a member and stopped going. Unfortunately we had to miss our next appointment because we had to help with a training we had on Friday, but we hope to be albe to teach him and his wife together.

We contacted a referral that we recieved from other Elders this week as well, and it was difficult to find the house. We got a young man from the ward to accompany us and we were walking up and down the street looking for the house number, but there was absolutely no pattern to the house numbers, they were all random! Fortunately there was a phone number on the referral card so we were able to call him and ask him what his house looks like. It turned out that he lives right next door to the house of the member that we had accompanying us. The name of the person we found is Pablo Ruis and he is 18. He has been going to church in a different ward because his friends invited him. He also went to a special class with the missionaries during church so he already knows alot about the church. He is really excited to learn more and go to our ward this sunday.

We FINALLY got to teach Socorro after over two weeks of not seeing her. She read in the Book of Mormon, but just barely before we arrived. We talked alot about baptism and committed her to get baptized on the 13th of April. At first she said it was too early and there were to many problems and that she needed to learn alot more, but after we explained that accepting the goal didnt mean that she was ready right now but that it was to help her to prepare she accepted. The problem is that she is used to studying with another religion that wouldnt baptize you until after years of studying. Socorro still hasnt gone to church but we are working on that.

I am getting a little frusterated with the ward leadership because we still aren´t doing ward council meetings which REALLY limits our ability to help the ward grow and for missionary work to flourish. As apart of doing the Work of Salvation program, we have learned about alot of awesome stuff we can do using the ward council to really make the ward explode but the most basic thing we need is ward council meetings. I guess we could just go around and visit each member of the council each week but it is difficult to find time to do it at the times they would all be available because they are all insanely busy and this method would not be as effect as having everyone in the same room at the same time. We´ll find a way to make it happen.

We had a pretty cool leadership training meeting on Friday. plus, Elder Griggs (my last companion) and Elder Girot (my MTC) companion got to sleep in my apartment so I got to catch up with them for a bit which was fun.

In the offices there are usually 6 Elders in total but we have a marriage companionship so they fill up two of the spots (the materials and referal secretaries) and then there is my comp and I and the assistants.

I have to go now but I hope everyone has a fun week. goodbye.

con amor,

Elder Johns

Elder Stockard leaves the office

Elder Stockard left the offices! We opened our calls the same night in neighboring buildings and then we met 30 minutes after I opened mine.

¡Feliz marzo!

Pues, no he escrito nada a ustedes en español, entonces hoy voy a tomar la oprtunidad de hablarles un poquito en español. Vamos a ver si entienden jaja...
El último Domingo fue bueno, encontramos un hermano menos activo y enseñamos a su familia. Él tiene 3 hijos que no son miembros. Su esposa no es miembro tampoco. Les enseñamos y quieren escucharnos más. Son muy buenos pero sólo tienen tiempo libre los Domingos. Ellos han escuchado a muchos misioneros antes pero no han hecho los compromisos, pero yo y mi compañero somos los mejores entonces vamos a ver que podemos hacer.

¡Noticias tristes! Elder Stockard, mi amigo que conocí en BYU que ha estado conmigo aquí en la oficicna como asistente, fue cambiado. Le extraño mucho, pero el nuevo asistente, Elder Agren, es muy bueno también. Ok I am going to have a little mercy and talk in English now. I checked the google translate and its mostly correct. But yeah I miss Elder Stockard who is also from my generation but Elder Agren is really cool too.

We went to the doctor on tuesday morning becasue my companion has a wierd bump thing on top of his wrist. Hermana Jordan went with us but it turned out that the person we saw was not a specialist in the correct area to do anything. However, she was a skin specialist so she was able to check out my feet for me. I dont know if I told you guys but I have had foot fungus since July. well, I THOUGHT that I had foot fungus.... turns out that it was an allergic reaction to the croc sandals that I have been using. The combination of sweating, heat, and physical contact with the top part of the sandals was casuing an allergic reaction and so thats why my skin was all wierd and why none of the stinking foot fungus creams would do anything. I just need to stop using those sandals and it will go away. Thank goodness, I was really getting fed up with it.

We had a really good lesson with Estela and we talked about baptism. She has the desire to get baptized eventually, but she has made up her mind that she is going to get back surgery as soon as possible so she wont be able to get baptized for a while. She deals with a lot of back pain so I understand why she wants to have back surgery, but it seemed like she was using it as a way to have more time before she commits to getting baptized. She is wonderful and has made good progress since we started visiting her but I think it is till hard for her to make the straight up decision becasue she has alot of friends with opposing views of the church.

We havent had the chance to visit Socorro because the father of Hna Tony (THe member that we always teach Socorro with) passed away last weekend and so she had the funeral this week. We visitied Hna Tony and we talked about the plan of salvation a bit and that seemed to help her feel better.

We went to the hospital again to the correct specialist and they determined that it is a cist which is relatively harmless. They did an ultrasound and it was soooo cool. I think I could totally be a doctor someday.

Yeah I heard about the new missions last week, before all you guys haha. President got a list of all the changes that are going to happen in Mexico and he shared it with us. THankfully our mission isnt getting cut. That is so cool that there are two new missions in Washington.

I got a letter from Parker and form Dylan Parry! and last week I go one from James. Its really great to hear about my friends and their adventures and see how simialer their mission experiences are and different at the same time. Thanks for sending me the some blog stuff for Elder Zander. I ll have to shoot him a letter. Yeah I bet Kember is going to be an amazing missionary, shes  just an awesome person in general. Tanner Paxman is getting home soon!!!!!!!!! thats so nuts!!!! Give him a big hug for me when you see him. That is cool that you are painting the house, it will be wierd to come home and all the rooms will be different colors.

Please do something crazy this week so you can tell me about it.

con amor,
Elder Jhons (everyone spells my name like this here)

It has my name on it

It has my name on it.

¡Buenos días!

Hey! good news! today should be a normal p-day!!!! Wahoo! we need it pretty badly. Thats awesome that Tanner Paxman is already getting back. I remember going over to his house 2 years ago when he was getting packed to go and we talked about what his mission would be like.  I really miss him, when I finally do get to see him it will have been almost 3 years since we last saw each other. That is really exciting that Kember is leaving in just a couple weeks! I am really excited for her. Do you happen to know if she got the letter I sent her a few months ago? She sent me a wonderful letter in July of last year but the reply letter that I sent to her didnt make it I dont think. I sent her another letter in December that she should have gotten by now. 

Last weekend was crazy. I left with my comp and Elder Garcia to buy some stuff that they needed urgently, and then we went to our house for a 10 minute nap. Then we went to a lesson. President and the assistents hadnt finished planning out the changes so we went to the offices afterwards (about 9:30) to wait for them to finish so that we could go and buy the bus tickets. We ended up waiting until almost 2 in the morning, and by the time we figured out the tickets to buy, went to the bus station to buy them, and got home to sleep, it was 3:30ish in the morning! We slept in for a little bit, it was a really good thing that church didnt start until 1pm. THEN we were getting ready for church at 12 when a member of the bishopric calls us and asks us to each give a 10 minute talk. We felt pretty dead but we did well on the talks. I believe that it was my best talk in Spanish yet actually.

Then on Monday was changes. Everything went smoothly but it was still crazy. we usually always do the training in the mission home and we eat some food. This time we ordered subway sandwiches and we had to buy like 36 foot longs to feed all the new missionaries and trainers. Alot of my friends are training so it was good to get to see them all again. then after we got them all out to their areas, we recieved one more american missionary which is always the best because it means that President buys a bunch of delicous taco meat and he invites us to eat wiht the new american missionaries in the mission home for dinner. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday we had a good lesson wiht Socorro, she actually read the pages that we left for her in the introduction of the book of mormon so that was awesome. We talked about alot about the book of mormon and she is excited to read more of it and pray to know if it is true. It has been a slower week again as far as having lots of lessons goes, but we are going to be switching up the game plan a bit to see if we can get more time teaching in working in a little different way.

Friday was the Concilio (the council) which is the big meeting with all the zone leaders in the mission. Thursday night all the zone leaders form outside of Tampico got here on their buses and we met up at the offices. President bought a ton of Papa Johns pizza and it was delicious!!! It is alot of fun to hang out with the zone leaders. The concilio on friday was cool, it was my first time being able to stay for the whole time. They just talk about how we are going to better the mission and stuff like that and solve problems and make plans. We have one every month on the last friday of the month so that the liders of zona can train their zones in the first week of every month. President took us out to Tarantellas after which is always alot of fun because it is an Italian buffet. I ate waaaaaaay too much lasagna haha.

 I got TWO packages this week! I got one from Beth that had a bunch of delicious candy and I got another one from you guys that had even more candy and PIZZA PRINGLES!!! I laughed alot when I read what mom wrote about how I had the briefcase with the lock that I used to put my halloween candy in when I was a kid and then I would ration it and have candy forever. I have to admit that I havent changed much, I still have some of the candy that I got from my Christmas packages haha. Thank you so much for all of your support and love!

con amor,

Elder Johns

The shortest email of his mission.


Quick letter this week, we just got done with a conference with Elder De Hoyos. Hei is a pretty awesome guy. He taught us some stuff that should help us be better missionaries. Elder Martinez from one of the quorums of the Seventy also spoke and he also taught us some stuff that should help us be better missionaries.

This was the last week of our wierd 3 week change so next Monday is changes which means that my companion and I need to get things ready for it by buying the tickets and stuff like that.

Not much went on this week, it was kind of a bummer. Hey Elder Garcia just got here and we have to go and buy some stuff for him so I have to go. Sorry this email was super lame haha. I hope everyone had a great Valentines day. I expect to get some love letters, but not for another month because the mail takes about a month to get here from the states.

Everyone have a  good week!

con amor,

Elder Johns


Its been a while since I have been in an elevator..... (more than 13 months!)


This is Elder Calero. We wait for the bus here every morning.
 LASAGNA! This is also Hermana Tony who has been helping us out a lot lately.


¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! thats so CRAZY!!!!!!! my bro, my dear brosef, is engaged!!!!!!! wow. That means he is going to be married. I am really happy for them, I haven´t had the chance to get to know Angela very well but she seems like a wonderful person. Wont them getting married make her my sister-in-law? I´ve never had a sister-in-law before. That is so exciting! I am really excited. I feel a little sad though that I won´t get to be there for the wedding. I would love to know more about Angela if you could maybe write a little biography about her or something. Thats a nice looking ring as well. good stuff.

Well, it is impossible for me to adequately describe how fast this past week went by. I feel like I just wrote to you guys yesterday, or even earlier today. It was a craaaaazy busy week, like usual. Monday morning we had to get up early and go with President Jordan to the airport so that I could make sure everything went well with the Elder going home early for health reasons. He was able to board the airplane and leave so that was great. Then it was our zones turn to go to the beach (we can go one time a change if we have permission from president) so President took us to meet up with our zone but then we all ended up getting a free ride from him to the beach. We brought a volleyball net and poles and we were able to set it up by digging holes in the sand for the poles. It was REALLY fun to play beach volleyball.

Then on Tuesday we had a nice meeting with our new Ward Mission Leader. His name is Ladyslou (I have no idea how to spell it correctly) and he just got back from his mission a month ago. He is the brother of Cinthya that baptized her last change. They live in the house that is literally the farthest away possible from our house. After the meeting, we were on our way to have a nice lesson with Socorro and hermana Tony, when an Elder called us and told us that we needed to go all the way to the other side of Tampico to pay for his doctors appointment (my companion is supposed to do it when Sister Jordan isnt in Tampico). We had to cancel our appointments and then take a bunch of route taxis and buses to get to the hospital and pay for the appointment. We were a little annoyed that they hadnt given us a little more notice like they were supposed to. I also got a letter from James Salmon! It was nice to hear how he is doing in his mission.

Wednesday, Hermana Tony made us LASAGNIA! It was her first time ever making it but it was still really tasty.

Thursday was pretty normal, except that we visited to Hermano Martín who is the atheist that I think I have already told you about. He is super smart, read the book of mormon in a week, and is super interesting. Problem is that he doesnt believe in having faith and is pretty certain that God doesnt exist. We had a long chat with him but it just went in circles. It is amazing how important the basic principle of faith is. He even said that he felt happier when he did have faith but now he has rational expectations but lives without hope. Its a litte sad but we did our best to explain, testify, and invite him to at least have the desire to believe like it says in Alma 32.

Friday was really interesting. We got to have an appointment with Key (an investigator) and we got to know her a little better. She has a lot of faith in God, but we can tell that it will be hard for her to understand the great apostasy and need for a restoration, but we are planning on going over that next week so we´ll see how it goes. We then had a wonderful appointment with the Villanueva family. They are the family that has really started to become a lot more active in the church since we started visiting. The father lives and works over near the capital of Mexico, but he was there on Friday so we got to know him a little bit. I really enjoyed seeing the family together, there was a very different spirit in the house. Then we ran over to a family home evening with Hermana Tony and her less active family members BUT Hermana Tony really pulled through for us and invited Socorro (The investigator that we couldnt visit on Tuesday because of the hospital thing) as well as her husband. We had a really good discussion on the importance of having works with our faith. After that we took a taxi over to the mission home (the taxi driver ended up being a member so he drove us for free!) because last night 6 american elders came ot our mission. The were waiting in the MTC for almost two weeks to get their visas and they just barely got them. We ate some tacos in the mission home, and then we took three of them to come over to our apartment to stay the night. They are pretty cool. Its really fun to see how Mexico is so different and foreign to them because it reminds me of how I felt when I first arrived in Mexico. They also told me that there is a Halo 4 now haha.

This morning we did some stuff to train them a little bit, and I got their visa papers all typed up. We dont really know what we are going to do with them all for the next week. I think the assistants dont want to do many changes this next week becasue it is going to be crazy with Elder De Hoyos coming and the change is going to end in a week so they might wait a whole week until they put them with their real trainers. They might be staying the night again and a couple of them might be hanging with us tomorrow. Its kind of stolen our P-day again and we already know that we aren´t going to have much of a p-day next week because it is the p-day before changes which means there is tons of stuff to do. Its fine though, If anything, I was much less tired this past week than any week I have had in the offices. I know that the Lord is blessing us with strength and energy to be able to meet the demands that are placed upon us.

I want to tell you a little bit more about my companion. His name is Elder Calero and he is pretty cool. He is from Nicaragua and has about 8 months on the mission (my first companion that has less time than I do). He is reeealy smart and has been doing really well as the financial secretary. He is really chill and doesnt pick fights or get mad or anything so thats really great. He speaks English pretty well but I have a hard time motivating him to practice with me because he feels embarressed if he messes up. It is a little different being the senior companion because a little more responsibilty falls on my shoulders and I have to lead more. It feels really wierd after having been junior companion for the first 13 months of my mission which I didnt always enjoy so much. It taught me to be a better follower though. Technically I have been a Co Senior companion when I had 9 months but that doesnt mean much if you have less time than your companion.

Tell Joav that I love him and that I wish him well on his mission. I´ll probably send a letter his way if I ever have time to write letters again. Tell Andy that I am doing well and that I really miss sharing my Jamba Juice with him. Thats great that you were able to get an appointment at the Childrens hospital to get Abbys teeth taken care of. I imagine that her cavity in her molar probably really bothered her alot so hopefully she will be more tranquilo now that its taken care of. Hey I really miss all of you a lot and I want you to know that I really love each and every one of you. I really do hope and pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you guys and guild you guys to happiness. If you havent been reading your scriptures then I want you to slap your hand for me and start doing it everyday. Our mission has just started a reading schedule for the Book of Mormon this week and we are all going to finish it in mid-May. We are highlighting references to Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His attributes. I cannot imagine living without the spirit and blessings that I recieve daily from reading in the scriptures every day. Saying that you dont have time isn´t an excuse. Everyone has 24 hours every day that they fill with various different activities that they choose to do based on the importance of the activity and the personal preference of the person. If you dont read your scriptures, it means that you mistakenly think that other things you are doing are more important or you just dont want to. I wish I had more understood this principle growing up and so thats why I am sharing that little insight with you guys in case you havent realized it either and want to change.

I love y´all and I hope you have an awesome week! oh and I have had major cravings to play guitar the past couple weeks (I had to get rid of my acoustic because there is now a rule that we cant have guitars) so I hope that you guys are taking good care of my guitars and amp.

con amor,

Elder Johns

Just Plain Nuts!

 I make reference cards for the zone leaders that has all the names of the missionaries in their zone and the phone numbers for the area. I get to design the backs of the cards. These are the three designs that I have done so far.

¡Buenos nachos! (kinda like buenas noches but it means good nachos. Sometimes I say it to people in the street and they dont even notice)

This week was just plain nuts! Sunday we had a stake conference, but it was a special stake conference broadcast from Salt Lake and Elder Uchtdorf spoke. It was really good. And guess what! I ran into alot of people from my first ward that I served in when I got here to Mexico, including Susana and Karen! If you dont remember, Karen was baptized during my first change, and then later Susana got baptized like 3 months after I left the ward. I really enjoyed getting to see them and talk to them.

Monday was crazy because it was transfer day and we got 3 new missionaries (we were supposed to get a bunch more but they are waiting for their visas still). We got to help train the new missionaries  and do alot of stuff to facilitate transfers by buying and distributing the bus tickets for all the missionaries. Elder Griggs also got transferred so I am going to miss him. It was fun to finally have an american companion and I will miss it. It hurt my spanish because we tlaked so much in english but it was fun.

Tuesday was good because we started to teach the wife of a member of the bishopric. She is really cool and religion is really important to her. She is also going to start to cut our hair for free because she has a hair salon. We also had a good lesson with Socorro and I think that she has good potential to progress.

Wednesday, we got an hermana to go and invite her neighbor to listen to us and she recieved us well. We are still waiting to get a return appointment but she, Key, seems pretty great.

Thursday, I cant really remember,

Friday was a little crazy too. It was a stressful day because I had to find out how to get an Elder home early for health reasons but because of some legal stuff it was difficult to figure out a way for him to leave legally and it got really complicated but thankfully my contact in the local immigration office is really kind and was able to do us some favors. It ate up the majority of my day, and then all of our appointments fell through so that was kind of a bummer. Im not compaining though because we have had a lot more success this week than usual in finding people in there houses.

An Elder who was waiting for his visa just got here last night. His name is Elder Skinner and he was serving in the Las Vegas West Mission for like 3 months before he got here. He told me that he had met Tucker so that was kinda cool.

This was a good week but I am feeling a little burned out just because of all the stuff that we have had to get done, and then we have had to do a lot of work today on our p-day so it hasnt been much of a rest (we didnt really have a p-day last week either). I kinda just want to take a nap haha.

My new companion, Elder Calero, is pretty cool. He is from Nicaragua and he has like 8 months on the mission. He is my first companion that has had less time on the mission than I have had. We get along and we´re pretty good friends. I am still getting to know him because there hasnt been much time to get to know each other really well.

I can tell you that my last transfer ends on the 8th of December (Sunday) which means I will be going home that week. We have been sending them out on the monday or tuesday after usually so that is about when you will be able to expect me. Like I said over the skpye call, the transfer we are in right now is only 3 weeks so that we can synchronize our transfer days with the MTC but also means that our missions are getting cut three weeks.

awww why is Andy going to Hawaii? My companion in Tennesee went there and he said he really enjoyed it, but I would get distracted by the beach too much. Thats awesome that Joav is heading out. He is going to the quebec Canada mission right? Oh thanks for telling me about the packages, that gives me something to look forward to. I´ve almost run out of the food that I got from Christmas packages. I got a christmas letter from the Paxmans, it was good to hear from them. I have realized that sister Paxman is like my second mom. They said Colin stole my suit. Thats cool that kelsey´s boyfriend is going to Mexico, he is going to love it.

Thanks for the letter and the photos. I am feeling really tired so I think we are going to go and take a quick nap after we run some errands to finish some financial stuff for the mission. Until next week!

con sueño,

Elder Johns

New Companion

A cool mini dragon lizard thing.

A Family that invited us to a family night.

This week was crazy. Last Sunday night was fun because President invited me, my companion, and the assistants to participate in the farwell dinner for an Elder who is going home a week early. I got to help Hermana Jordan get the food ready and it reminded me a little of helping mom get Sunday dinner ready back home. It was really tasty and for dessert we ate brownies with ice cream.

On Monday we had our last district meeting for the change. Our district leader, Elder Woodbury, is going home this Monday so I am going to miss him. It feels wierd that he is going home because I met him almost a whole year ago and I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like him and now he is going home. 

On Tuesday there was a training meeting for trainers and their new missionaries. After meetings like that, my companion and I go to the bus station to buy their return tickets, but for one companionship there were no returning buses the rest of that day so they got to stay with us and go with us to our appointments. It was kinda cool to be in a group of four missionaries, it was like we had 200% more spiritual power than normal.

On Wednesday we found out that President finally picked the new financial secretary. President doesnt want people to serve in the offices for more than 3 changes because people have a tendancy to burn out a little bit due to having the work load for so long. Elder Griggs, my companion and the current financial secretary, is going to finish 3 changes after this change so President has been looking for a replacement for like 2 weeks now and he finally picked one. His name is Elder Calero and he is from Nicaragua. He has about 8 months on the mission and he seems like a pretty cool guy. He has been with us in a trio ever since wednesday so that Elder Griggs can teach him everything that he needs to do. Also on Wednesday we visitied hno martín again (the atheist) and it turned out that he had read the entire Book of Mormon in a week! We were pretty suprised, and he had a fairly good recollection of what occurs in the book. Unfortunately it didnt really help him because he just wrote a list of over a hundred doubts and "contradictions" and stuff and didnt pray about it. He is a really interesting guy. Also on wednesday we a had a little miracle. All of our plans fell through later in the day and so were going around trying to find something to do when we ended up outside the house of a member. We have started doing role plays with the members where they take on the role of a close friend and we teach them. We asked her to think of a good friend that she could be and then we started teaching her. As we were finishing up, her friend out of nowhere walked over to where we were and the sister we were with invited her to listen to us. She accepted and we had a really good discussion on the importance of service. Now we have a return appointment wiht her and she seems kinda excited. The wonderful part is that she already has a friend that is an active member which will really help her in the process of learning to make and keep covenants with the Lord. We havent found hardly any new investigators this change so we had a little fast to be able to find the people the Lord is preparing and we found her so we are counting it as a miracle.

Friday was the Concilio (council) where all the zone leaders meet and discuss stuff and President trains them. Concilios are a pretty big deal and we are invited as secretaries but we had way to many things to get done on Friday so we ended up not going. Instead I had to fix a mess that the President to the Secretary a year ago made for me. Whoever he was, he made some bad errors on renewing visas which makes more work for me because I have to go through certain processes with these Elders to be able to get them out of the country. Everything went well on Friday though so he will be able to leave on Monday but Im sure there were some little miracles going on to make that happen. Its a good thing im friends with the people at the immigration office (the place I go when I need to apply for or renew visas for Elders)

And now today is saturday and unfortunately I am feeling quite sick with a cold. I seem to get sick at least once every change and I am a little tired of it. I guess thats just what happens when you interact with as many people as we interact with everyday and shaking all those hands. After the mission I dont want to ever have to shake another hand but I dont think that will be possible.

Thats awesome that Colin passed his driving test! I was still scared to drive for a while after I got my liscense, especially on the freeway, but I got used to it really fast. I bet he is pretty happy to beable to move around on his own now and have that freedom. He will have to teach me how to drive again when I get back, its been like a year and a half since I left for college and basically stopped driving so I probably dont remember too well haha. That is so awesome that Andy is home!!! wow. What are his plans? do you know what college he is going to or anything like that? ask him for me because I would really like to know what his plans are. Tell him that he should go to BYU Provo. That is also super awesome that Joav is heading out soon. What mission is he headed to again and when does he leave? 

I heard about that tragic school shooting that occurred a while ago. Alot of taxi drivers mention it to us. It wrentches my heart that it occured and I imagine it must be having quite a ripple effect on the topic of gun control. People ask us questions about why God permits such terrible things to happen such as that. I dont always know what to tell them, but I try and help them to understand that everything unfair or injust that happens to us in this life is made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ and that we need to have faith that all injustice done to us, even if it be death, will be made up for and corrected.

I hope y'all doing well and reading your scriptures. You should all read Mosiah 7 in the Book of Mormon. Its a wonderful chapter that talks about Christ and his infinite and personal atonement that he made for us and to what end it was done. I especially love verses 11,12 and 13 because it illustrates just how much Christ loves each of us personally, that he would suffer all of our personal pains, afflicitons, and sicknesses to better know how to "succor his people." Succor means to give help or assitance. I am remembering this as I am sick right now, and I am remembering it as I hear about the tragic events that befall everyone everywhere. I know that Christ is our savior and that he loves each and every one of us and is ready and willing to help us overcome our obstacles and have patience in our afflictions. I am happy to be here to help people to come to find out the truthfullness of this for themselves. I hope each of you are seeking for opportunites to share this knowledge with others so that you may too feel the joy that comes from seeing someone change their life for the better.

Thanks again for sending me the blog posts, I really enjoyed the pictures and reading about how Kember has been doing. Have a great week everyone!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Yet another Baptism!

I went for a quick dip under the overpass.

Aleisa´s baptism!

We had a pretty bomb week this past week. Aleisa got baptized last Saturday! She got baptized in my last area that is really close so Elder Griggs and I went to be there for the baptism. It was a pretty good baptisimal service and I really really enjoyed getting to see Aleisa, her family, and some of the members that went to the baptism. I really miss working in that area because the members are super awesome in that ward! They were happy to see me and Aleisa´s grandma told me that she is going to make me some food and bring it by the offices someday and I can´t wait because she is literally one of the best cooks in the world (2nd to you Mom).

There were FIFTEEN less active members at church today that we have been visiting! The sacrament meeting room was almost completely full. It is a small room so it wouldnt take that many to fill it but there were like 70 people there when there is usually 50 people. I also had the opportunity to give a talk but I feel like I didnt do a very good job but alot of the members told me that they liked it. That night we got a member family to accompany us to an appointment with some investigators but they investigators werent there. Instead of the members getting discouraged and wanting to go home, they took us in there car to visit a bunch of less active members for the rest of the night! Only 1 of the 4 people we tried visiting was there, but they really enjoyed going out with us and want to keep helping us out.

We have had a hard time getting new investigators, but we have been having alot of success in helping less active members to come back to church and become more active. On Wensday we had a little zone conference with President and he told us that Elder Hoyos (from the seventy) is going to come visit us in February so that is pretty cool.

Ive gotten alot of stuff done in the office. Our mission is in trouble because getting visas to Mexico has been difficult recently just like last year when I had to wait for my visa. We have a ton of people who are waiting for their visas to come here to Mexico but people who are finishing their missions are still leaving so our total number of missionaries is going down. They´ll all get here eventually though and then we´ll have a super big group of reinforcements.

Thanks so much for sending me those blog posts! I really enjoy knowing how people are doing. That is awesome that Kaitlyn is enjoying college so far! I got a Christmas letter from Brother Demeester and he also told me that Talmage was getting married so thats cool. Thats too bad that Abby has been kinda wild these past couple weeks, she can be really hard to handle when she wants to be. I hope Colin enjoys the best of EFY thing, I remember that I really enjoyed those when I went to them and I learned alot from them.

I dont know what more to say so have a great day!

con amor,

Elder Johns

Another Baptism!

The McDonalds here isnt very good and super expensive. I dont really want to try out the burger king.

 BAPTISM of Cintya! First baptism in this area in over a year!
Hey hey hey!

This week flew by really fast, its kinda hard to remember stuff that happened. Things have been going well in the offices and I have been able to get a lot of stuff done and I havent made any mistakes yet so that makes me happy. We also had a great success in the area this week! Cintya was baptized on Wednesday! Her brother actually got home on Monday so he wasnt a missionary anymore when he baptized her (which doesnt really matter because its the same preisthood), but it was still really special. I even played the piano for the hymns! I bought a cheap kids keyboard and I am trying to learn to read music better to the point where I would be able to sight read hymns so I can play in sacrament meeting in wards where no one can play the piano. I havent played piano in a church meeting since I was like 12 so I kinda felt cool doing it again.

On Thursday we did divisions and I went to another area with an Elder named Elder Calderón. He is from Peru and is pretty cool. I like doing divisions to get to know other elders and also meet and teach their investigators. I feel like a lot of times that I do divisions that I was meant to do it that day with that missionary because you have a very different perspective of the people than the missionaries that usually visit them (becasue you dont really know them very well) and there have been times where I say something that really helps them out because my perspective is different. I dont know if that makes any sense.

I got a letter from Bishop Salmon and I really enjoyed it. He mentioned that someone named Alec Wight is serving a mission from our ward but I dont recognize his name. Who is he? I also got a letter from Aunt Mary and Uncle Danny and I really enjoyed hearing from them.

This week I discovered a delicious way to make eggs. You blend up a tomato, some spicy peppers, and a little garlic, cook some scrambled some eggs, and then pour in the mixture into the frying pan until most of the liquid has evaporated. It is really good with cheese, sour cream, salsa, and salt.

Later today, Aleisa (the girl I taught in my last area who was supposed to get baptized my last day there but couldnt becasue her little brother got really sick) is finally getting baptized today! She is getting baptized at 4 so I am going to go with my companion and be there for her baptisimal service.

Thanks for sending me the posts, it helps me to feel a little more motivated to know that people back home havent forgotten about me.

That is exciting that Colin is going to take his drivers test soon! I barely failed the written test my first time becasue I didnt bother to study about the driving with alchohol laws becasue I dont drink and it ended up asking me alot about that. I bet the house feels pretty empty with everyone off at college. How is kaitlyn doing at BYU?

I hope ya´all have a great week!  Oh and thanks a ton for the EFY discs, they are SO awesome and I love having new music finally. I was getting real sick of tab choir...

¡Tenga un buen día!
con amor,

Elder Johns