Wednesday, May 31, 2017

51. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else

Elder Martinez is my new companion.  He is from Utah.  He had a baptism the week before I got here and we get along super well! He likes all of the things I do, like video games, sports, movies, tv, anime... we have a lot in common, and we teach really well together. I hope I can have this great a connection  with all of my future comps too, because we are on fire right now.


Yeah I had so much fun chatting with you guys and the time went so fast! Not just talking but from Christmas to Mother’s day went so stinkin fast!

(Bryce said his testimony in spanish and one of the girls pulled out a phone and recorded it.  We later had Juvenal translate it to English for us.  Such a sweet message)

This time I have been tried by many things but I have felt very strong the help of God in this time.  I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life with miracles and many things that have happened.  The times that I have felt alone, I have felt that someone is always with me.  Someone who is very special and very important.  Is Jesus Christ our Heavenly Father.  I know that in a short time we will be in the middle of the mission, but I have a lot or work yet.  I feel good right now.  I feel we have acheived many things well, and what we still have to achieve, we have to work to achieve it.  We must continue to strive hard. And I know this time is going to happen very fast, so I have to enjoy this time.  I know that this is the true church, the restored church.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the most true and clearest book of all life.  That we can receive any response we want from this book and is the key to our religion.  I love you so much, more than you know, although you do not understand me, but I love you so much, and this is my testimony.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So it was pretty stressful planning everything for the baptism and finding the clothes and making sure that everyone was going to be there to help with the program and everything. Everyone ended up showing late, but it was ok it all turned out super nice and spiritual! The kids were so happy after they were baptized they couldn’t stop smiling!   It was such a spiritual experience and I’m going to love these kids forever you have no idea! We are going to visit them tomorrow to read the Book of Mormon and see how they are doing.  It was a great day! 

Waiting for everyone to arrive
We are more excited and are working harder than before to make sure that our other investigators with baptismal dates get ready for that day! we have about 6 people ready for the 17th of June, and we want to find more people to get ready for that day.

I am so happy to finally have a baptism you have no idea! It was stressful, but worth it in the end!  I’m not very good at expressing emotion through typing... but I’m super happy, super content and ready to keep baptizing. We want to get at least 2-3 more before changes, because I don’t think I’ll have another transfer with my companion,  honestly.


this week was a lot harder physically than most, because it is getting hotter, so I learned a lot about 1. Sunscreen  2. How to persevere 3. That it’s all worth it in the end. This has been one of the sweatiest weeks I’ve ever had, and oh man I’m not looking forward to another one! But it is raining right now so that’s nice!  We have been working really hard to find new investigators and make sure that the 6 we have are ready to be baptized the 17th, so that’s what we’ve done all week. In a lesson with one of them we shared some powerful stuff from Acts 2, and Alma 32, and it was so powerful to me the way it came out and the way the spirit guided us. Our testimonies finished it and I haven’t felt power in a lesson like that in a while!

I’m definitely enjoying my time here and making the most of it, every second! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now and I’m so glad I have you guys rooting for me back home. Thank you for that and for always being there and praying for me. I love you so much and am glad you are my mama :)

Acts Chapter 2 Summary:  The Spirit is poured out on the day of Pentecost—Peter testifies of Jesus’ resurrection—He tells how to gain salvation and speaks of the gift of the Holy Ghost—Many believe and are baptized.

Alma Chapter 32 Summary:  Alma teaches the poor whose afflictions had humbled them—Faith is hope in that which is not seen which is true—Alma testifies that angels minister to men, women, and children—Alma compares the word unto seed—It must be planted and nourished—Then it grows into tree from which the fruit of eternal life is picked.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

48. Ramoncita, Juvenal, Esteban - connected hearts for life

I have mixed feelings about being transferred. I’m sad that I left Ramoncita and Junvenal, but I’m also kind of happy for another fresh start.  We had kind of grown stagnant there and no one was really progressing like we wanted. I’m one zone over from Fowler I think, but I don’t know if he got changed... I don’t think so but who knows?

We came home last night and told Ramoncita that I had changes and she was shocked.  she thought my comp would be going and that I would stay. They both told me that they wish I stayed. She was almost crying it was so sad. But on Friday we went to Centro to buy her gifts for Mother’s Day since her kids don’t really visit her. We bought her a watch, some earrings and a picture frame to put the pics that we took to remember us. After we gave her the gifts then she started crying.  It was so sweet! I feel bad I couldn't get Juve anything else, but I’ll look here in Chihuahua and then add it to the package you send for him. But Ramoncita woke up early this morning too and made me a shake to take and some quesadillas to eat on the bus and then drove us to the bus station. She was crying when I had to get on the bus and she was waiting looking in when it passed. Ugh!  It made me so sad that she was so sad!  The both of them are people I need to come back and visit, either in the mission or after!  Would you be willing to come back with me?

I gave Juve one of my ties. Or better said I left it with Elder Requena because I didn’t have a chance to give it to him yesterday or today, because I didn’t know I had changes, and I left at like 7 this morning for Chihuahua. I signed the tie and left it for him in Parral. I could tell he was super sad but he didn’t want to show it. He called me this morning too, right before I left and wished me luck and to keep working hard. He and Ramoncita both were really sad. Juve was never assigned to me technically but he was my companion for two weeks when Elder Morgan was sick.  Basically He would come with me almost every day to work but I would go back to the house of the Zone Leaders at night.  

So yeah he was my comp!  (I added him to the sidebar as one of Bryce’s mission companions)


I didn’t get much sleep before transfers but that’s because I was talking to Ramoncita and packing, showering blah blah, and got up early, but that’s pretty normal for changes too. It does kind of feel like starting a new school except sometimes there are a few people you know that can help you out a bit.

Yeah it feels really weird to be the guy with more experience!  Yesterday I hit 11 months isn’t that crazy?!?! 

We will be really short on missionaries until the late summer months or early fall I think when the big rushes begin. But I’m just guessing I have no clue how many will actually be coming in in the next months, only that the mission is shrinking more and more each transfer.

And yes they have already closed some areas. I don’t know if they closed my area in specific, but the closed one close to there so it might have been added to that area. there are like 140-150 in our mission right now.

Last night 5/11/17 I (the Mom) received this message from a chef at the CCM via facebook instant message:

When you talk with Elder Johnson can tell him that I love him and that I miss him and that he will always be my favorite. I really appreciate him very much and during his time in the CCM we talked a lot of time of the meal and he left me to look to speak.
I really miss him.
It makes me sad that there are people that I will never see again but I will stay with u. Great memory and a great teaching of each one.
Seriously you have a great boy he has a big heart always made me feel special and everyday I was happy to talk to him.
He has a gift to offer comfort and love too many, that includes me.
He knows that I love him much. I hurt the soul when we said goodbye why I knew we would not see each other again.
I would love to receive a big hug from him.
I wrote him a letter by hand and I sent it with another missionary but I do not know if he received it. There I expressed how much it was worth to me.
Can you ask him if he received my letter written by hand?
I sent it in November last year with that missionary who went to Chihuahua
I wrote it by hand especially for the Johnson.
This is the first time I sent a letter to an elder and I asked that elder to give my letter to the Mission President so that he would give it to Elder Johnson.
The letter had its name Bryce  Johnson

Bryce has struggled with the fact that he has been out almost one year and still has not been part of or seen one baptism.  I read the accounts of these three people that he has made a forever connection with.  He has touched their lives in some way only they can understand and they have touched his.  Bryce was promised he was sent to find specific people that would know him by his heart and not his face or words.  I have to ask?  Are these those sweet people?  Are there more he will find? It's these forever connections and love for the friends of Chihuahua that are so precious.  I will always love Ramoncita that in my absence loved my son as a mother would.  She was the one that helped him when he was so sick, she fed him, lifted his heart, and took him in as a son.  As a mother how do I ever repay that debt? I have so much gratitude for this dear woman.  Then Juvenal!  Bryce found Juve when Juve was at a low and together, they did great things.  Bryce was able to lift Juvenal and in turn Juvenal and Bryce became best of friends.  They helped lift each other and I love that. Lifelong memories were made with those two.  Then Esteban, out of nowhere sends this letter of gratitude for Bryce.  I'm not sure what their connection was but it's another example of his heart blazing the trail.  (Sorry I sort of hijacked Bryce's blog there but it's a moment of peace I must journal).  The mission is about the journey and those touched and the seeds left behind.  Parral was the most difficult area Bryce has served in.  Through sickness, few leads, feeling left and abandoned at times, emergency zone changes, it put Bryce to the ultimate test.  I have learned although the most difficult thus far on his mission, this area was truly the most rewarding in regards to falling in love with the sweet spirits in Parral, Mexico. 

I love you Juvenal and Ramoncita.  I hope to meet you both one day.  

Johnson,  Fastaband, ?, Requena

Monday, May 1, 2017

47. I’ve been feeling good spiritually, mentally, I’m back at 100!

I’m feeling good right now! We’re working hard right up to the changes and are excited to see what happens. There are going to be a ton of things changing in the mission, so that’s always interesting.

I’ve been feeling good spiritually, mentally, I’m back at 100, so things have been going well.

Everything has improved a ton this past week, so I’m excited to keep working and developing the area. We’ve been practicing with Juvenal how to teach Jehovah’s Witnesses because there were a ton in his mission and he knows how they think and what scriptures they pull out and how they answer questions. It’s been interesting and it’s been helping our teaching a lot!  (Juvenal is the Ward Mission Leader and he has been such an amazing blessing in our lives here at home.  He has been the mouthpiece to keep us informed of Bryce's health and to be our lifeline.  Turns out he went to Elementary School two miles from our house in Mesa, Arizona.  He went to Mexico on his Mission then back to Parral where he grew up)  He has been such a tender mercy during hard times.  Love Juvenal!!
Elder Requena , Elder Fastabend (arrived two weeks ago with special changes), JUVENAL, Elder Johnson

We had a District Conference this Sunday so the two weeks before we were practicing in a choir  to sing at the conference.  We sang 120 Lean on My Ample Arm, 17 Awake, Ye Saints of God, Awake!, 161 Called to Serve. It’s like a stake conference, but it’s not a stake here because there are only branches. But it was basically a stake conference.

I don’t think I’ve told you yet, but these last two weeks there have been special changes and they took out one of the District Leaders in my zone.  So the whole zone is my district. It’s been interesting and a bit stressful honestly. The good thing is that it’s a small zone (12 people), but I have almost the entire work load. Basically the Zone Leaders were having me be the mouthpiece and it was hard since I’m the only District Leader in the Zone. But now they are helping more until the changes and until we see if we get another District Leader.  As a mouthpiece I mean they tell me something and I do it, or I tell the whole zone what that is. Like a zone activity or if we need to do something then it was me making all the phone calls and telling everybody.  It has been a blessing though because I’m being forced to manage and handle a lot more than I’m used to. So we’ll see what the Lord has in store for me soon.

This is Romancita. She’s super funny. She’s just like having a grandma in the mission. She takes care of us and is just an awesome person. She does talk a lot though, but what’s different than any other grandma?  (The Elders rent an apartment on top or Romancita's house and bless this sweet woman.  I love her! ) 

View from the top of Juvenal's house
My zone leaders, Elder Stockton and Elder Loftus. 

Bryce's sister had to make a video for her Spanish class.  We thought He would enjoy seeing his pets again and hear his sister speak spanish (Like he once did when he didn't know real spanish :)  She took it upon herself to transform the animals  Featuring his dog Bella (Zebra), Sadie(Lion), Pixie(Deer), Hutru(the alligator Bryce got for Christmas when he was 2), and Toofie the cat(Jaguar).  We sent him this video to enjoy.  Juvenal liked it too!

Oh my gosh I’m laughing so hard that was so funny!!! Did she do it all alone?
I was wondering what she was gonna make Bells (Bryce's name for Bella) because I didn’t read all of the mail... that’s hilarious!

Love you mama have a good week!