Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hi. Week 20. ooooh.

So random things I never got around to sharing, or forgot...

  • a lot of the people just wear swimsuits (really the guys) because its that hot
  • there is graffiti everywhere. and i really mean every little nook and crany. its actually quite impressive.
  • i am back to having one compa├▒era (my original Hna. Martinez)..have been for a couple weeks now haha
  • HERMANA SEKONA IS IN MEXICO. in case you forgot, my companion in the MTC. we didnt take a picture which is kind of sad, but the moment was beautiful. it was like seeing someone from home :)
  • someone who drove by us in the streets (or so im assuming) chose to toss some chili salsa concoction at me.. it was lovely. happened so fast haha at least its not rocks, like some areas with the Elders. 
  • i saw the mexican Zac Efron!!!!! not joking. my companion saw too and said the exact same thing in the exact moment. lolz.
  • so apparently this part of mexico really is hot. im lucky ive just gotten used to it. someone visiting from a different part of mexico said Torreon is literally an infern├│. 
  • someone gave me zapatos (shoes) that are literally the best and my new favorites :)
  • as we started one of our lessons with a hymn the dad and daughter that were with us were just listening, but then all of the sudden the wife joined in from the outhouse..she was taking a showering and accompanying us in the himno :) haha
  • last sunday was a sunday of success (more than usual ;). we had four investigators attend church (one was a surprise!) and 4 less active members. im so happy they all showed their faith and followed the promptings from the Spirit and were able to be spiritually strengthened from church! (its also a big deal for me because people have to attend church at least 5 times before they can be baptized and become an active member-for the less actives)
  • there are so many less active members here. there’s like 20ish that we know and teach and 50 that no one in the ward knows. we really do randomly meet people that just say "oh yeah. i was baptized into that religion years ago."
  • i know God directs us to prepared people. we were searching for someone and i had a feeling to knock on a different door, so we did. we met Carlos who is just grand :) we is so kind and happy and we found out he too is a member of about 8 years. but stopped going after 2 months because he thought the church believes Jose Smith is Jesus Christ. im so happy we were able to meet him and clarify the one doubt he had! because obviously that’s not the truth. this was also one of the first days his family has been living in the house because they are in the middle of moving. crazy.
  • there are some "horror" stories of the mission from 3 or 4 years ago. in the mission itself with the missionaries and also in the area with the people. i wont share specifics. but i have a very good feeling that a lot of the change and better state everyone is in now, has to do with President Flores. this became a strict obedience mission and i believe it had an effect on the people too.
  • there is a flavor here of things called Nuez (i think its just a nutty flavor, not sure) but im pretty hooked.
  • i am in the state of Coahila, in the southern part. the state borders America. its funny because when people ask me about the states they always ask if i live close to El Paso. because there affiliation is mostly with texas. 
  • there were many times with week where people answered doors or saw us and said "¡Que milagro!" haha like what a miracle. because it has been some time since we have seen them or the perfect time. it just helps me see how much they really do care and love our work with them :)
  • so i really do think i live in a ghetto area. the people always say "out in the calle" or "in the calle" and i just realized that they are basically referring to what we know as "the streets"
  • i also bet if i was just here for some random reason on my own, and not a representative of Jesus Christ i would probably feel a tad unsafe. 
  • a lot of people this week couldn’t get over the fact they don’t know our first names or that we can say them. haha in a lesson with a member he responded to one of them "its because angels don’t have names". i thought it was cute :)

well that was long and random.
thanks for the love and the support.
i hope everyone is living their faith enough to feel the love that God has for you. 
its real.
i feel it for his children every day.

love you all with all my heart :) (and i mean it)
hermana johnson

i couldnt help but sing sara bareilles in my head (it says brave)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Semana 19.

Oh time flies and there is never enough of it. That is why every moment counts and every moment is precious. Its like that saying "live like youre dying". I never want to have to learn that from experience. I hope to live my life in every moment and never have regrets. Every experience I learn from. And I always have something to be grateful for. 
God lives. Jesus Christ lived and died and lives again, so we can too. I know it. I know it and Im doing my best to live it. 

Find you faith. Find your testimony, and then live it. 

Well thats enough of being "inspirational" and sappy. haha

So you want to know what life in Mexico is like? indescribable. you have to experience. But i will do my best to describe it haha

bikes everywhere. and always with two or more people. it is possible people.
babies having babies (as whitney says). but literally. (for example, a 16 year old wife and 30 year old husband with 2 kids and one on the way..had her first at 12. real life)

the family is very important here, just needs some strengthening.

i really cant generalize the "mexican life" haha 
fiestas, tortillas, coke a cola, venders, taxis, dogs, babies, sun, loud music, drunkards, policia, desert, dirt, beautiful trees, lots of smiles, lots of "mexican mamas", giving, spirituality, love for God, hope, hard workers, food on food on food. 

i have never been good and being able to describe exactly what is in my mind. but just know that i love the people and this place with all my heart. 

i find hope through theirs :) 

sorry for a short email.

strive to bring some good to someone elses life this week :) find your happiness through someone elses!

love you all,
hermana johnson

PS- friends. if you actually read my emails..go to my house sunday night at 5:30 for home cooking and to check up on mama jay and daddy roger for me!!! missionaries just like me will be there to explain a little about what we do and answers and type of questions you have about what ever. it should be a grand old time. so go. for me :) love you all. write me. thanks. 

¡Semana Seventeen!

These last two weeks with a companionship of three and a HUGE area was awesome. I met a lot more people to love, walked off a bunch of weight, and learned a ton about myself. Me and my companion have decided that we are just exactly the same person, and at times that makes it hard haha we are both pretty independent, ¨get it done¨, and at times kinda proud people. I mean pride is pretty much the downfall of the human race. It definitely took our sweet third companion these last two weeks to help us learn a lesson of being more ¨light hearted¨. We’re lucky we´ve never had huge problems with each other, it’s just the little things that become bigger. (Alma 37:6-7) That’s true for good things and bad things. Well since we are practically the same person we just straight out talked about it like normal and have completely and pleasantly agreed that the natural man is not a friend (mosiah 3:19). We know that these next 4 or 6 weeks we have together (in was not transferred fyi..whoot whoot) is like our second chance in this area. We know that we have to change and better ourselves to become worthy of helping and changing the people in our area :) we are off to a good start. No worries. 

I invite everyone to read ¨Let your faith show¨ by elder Russell M. Nelson. I read this talk this morning and just love it. So many good things and thoughts. Here’s what i have.....

I truly believe, of the many reasons I went on a mission, one was to truly learn about myself. To change myself and my perspective. i would have never gained as great and grand of a perspective on life and my priorities as i have here. 

It is all about LIVING the gospel. LIVING your religion. SHOWING your faith. What good is faith and love if you don’t show it? If you BELIEVE in Christ and KNOW that He lives, you will know that He spent His life, and He sacrificed it for YOU to FOLLOW Him. He is THE example. He is THE way. 

It is for us to overcome the natural man and follow and LIVE what we truly believe. Who is in control of you? The world or yourself. 

Do we want what´s easy or do we want what´s right? The right and truth has never been easy. D and C 19:18, Luke 22:42, John 16:33

It is for us to learn how to live in the world, but not be of the world. Life is hard at times, but Christ overcame it all. All we have to do it go to HIM, and we will find rest. 
3 Nephi 5:13. This is me. This is what i am doing. This is why i am here. 
i know my life is a gift. i only hope to strive to live it in a way of giving back to the one i am forever indebted to.
love you all lots,
hermana johnson

Week 18. What.


Where to begin. The week went by so fast but look back seems like more time than a week! Lots happened. sorry if i leave you in suspense because i dont explain everything haha

Overall, my companion and I really did see a lot of progression individually and as a companionship. Our lessons were better, my contacting, our planning, how we act and show amor (love) :) You could see the difference in the progression of our investigators and in the new people that we met, and that I know God had prepared for us :)
Randoms stories....

With one family that we teach, the wife is about my age, they have two kids, and live in a place thats kinda torn up and not kept. I decide I wanted to try and help her out, so we swept and shoveled some things up (i literally used a shovel to shovel up garbage into bags). As i was shoveling hundreds..and im not exagerating...hundreds of cocroaches came out of the piles and scattered EVERYWHERE. (incase i havent told you, torreon is infested and known for its ants and cocroaches). My companion was kinda freaking out and i tried to help her not to show it. In this moment i honestly wasnt scared or disgusted. I actually remebered how mom told me about a time dad was helping to clean out a house and removed something from the wall and a bunch of cocroaches crawled up his arms but he did everything calmly and just moved on. When youre really doing something for the purpose and out of love, thats all that really shines. This cute girl  said shes not used to this (getting help or service) but definitely appreciated it..even though a few cocraoches fell into the dinner she was making. haha true story.

This opportunity we had to help out this person was an opportunity to show our love we have for her in a different way. I know we did that and built more confidence with her. 
Ok, another quick crazy story. 

We went to the home of Marina and Rogelio (a family i contacted and weve been teaching since we got here and who is very close to our hearts) a couple times this week. But one time as we entered the door was left open to let air is because its just so darn hot. as we were standing there inside i started to help her sweep, and all of the sudden we just hear a loud mans voice. but we recognized who it was right away (some man we have contacted that is not very kind and very into his catholic religion. which is good for him, respect you know.) right away he starts aggressively talking to Hna. Marina about how she cant accept us and that we are dangerous and she cant be in his church if she does. It was a moment where i wanted to laugh out of the ridiculousness of the man and cry out of fear and his misunderstanding. Well good thing Marina is a woman of God and knows us and our intentions. Everything if fine with her, but the man works in the park that is in the center of our area and the following days he made it a point to watch where we were going and who we were talking to. 

Everything is fine. dont be worried. i am safe. Just an interesting experience aside from the wonderful one i try to share :)

every experience grows you. i pray for the mans heart. literally.

Its amazing to think about how i was called here when they looked at my picture. They looked into my eyes and saw my heart. I know that I am finding my heart each day and with each experience I have here. 

I hope everyone is well and happy :) 

Know that i am too :)

Hermana Johnson 

Oh one of the grandsons of an investigator was wearing a red white and blue basketball jersey that just said eljay..exactly how i spell it in all lowercase...i coveted it. hahaha 

Oh, and dont worry mom and dad. You guys asked me before i left for the mission how i would survive without someone to eat the rest of my food...well God blessed me with the perfect companion! haha im always full, shes always hungry, the people dont see when i plop some of my food on her plate. win, win, win.

PS - MOTABs "How Firm a Foundation", surprisingly easy to jam to. Try it. 
there may be some fist bumping opportunities..

1 & 2-this little lady Rosie just lit up my life :))

3-Hna. Mirna we contacted and have been teaching and helping her family through a lot since ive been here :) yes mom i wore my red white and blue. (dont you just want to pinch this babys cheeks :)))) (that hair though haha)

4-Maria at curch :)

1 & 2-i love the fruit trees here. (probabaly my first mission selfie.)

3-this dog followed me to comida de hora (lunch-we eat in members homes) and literally whined at the door and kept escaping inside. i kinda felt bad haha but it was funny. another missionary tried to take a picture with her after me but the dog walked away toward me hahaha!!! i named her nancy. (so regal)

4-MY PACKAGE. thanks mom. the crosses definitely blessed it to arrive in safe travel :) 

Week Sixteen :))

Hola mis amores. 

This was a really busy but really good week as a trio and with two areas combined. Me and my companions laugh and say that President received revelation that we all need to loose weight haha because we are just spending most of our time walking from one place and one house to the next! 

So some special and specific moments from the week..

Started teaching a wonderful woman, Maria de Concepcion. She is in her thirties, has two kids, her husband died unexpectedly a couple of months ago, and she has cancer. She is the definition of a strong person, spiritually and physically. I am so blessed to know her just for the fact that shes an example to me. Every time we teach i want to cry for her, but i haven't because i know we need to be strong for her. Just as strong as she is for herself. in the second lesson she had cut all of her hair because it started falling out, since she started chemo this week. We have been teaching the Plan of Salvation and read a scrip i cant look up right now but somewhere in Nephi (verse 14 i remember) about how our bodies and spirits will be reunited in perfect form after the resurrection, and it specifically says every hair on our head. it was a perfect moment for her. In our next lesson we had a member with us who bore her testimony and it was the first time i had seen maria cry. she shared with us that for the first time she has hope and feels the light in our messages and from us when we teach her. I asked her if she believes that these feelings are the holy ghost and if she believes the holy ghost testifies of truth. the moment was so special and beautiful as you can see someone of such need, being converted to something of such hope and truth. she knows baptism is a part of the "camino" (the "way"/"path") in life and we have a baptism goal for the 2nd of august. I pray she will have strength as she is just starting chemo and things get harder as it goes.

I am so blessed to be meeting that people i know god has prepared me to meet. i am so blessed to be a part of showing them the light and truth in this life. they are my examples and my heroes.   i am so blessed to be where i am and only hope to progress more and continue in this amazing and literally life changing experience :)
sorry it was fast. i only hope you can feel a part of the tender and special feelings i am grateful and blessed to feel every day :)

con mucho amor,

hermana lauren johnson 

Alma 29:2-9

I have prayed to be an instrument in gods hands almost every day of my life before my mission..i know he is answering my prayers everyday here.

1-i saved this puppy!! we were visiting a family and his head was stuck in a fence in the sun and they had tried to get him out that morning but couldn't. when i got him out he just slept on my lap during the lesson :)

2-this is Familia Olivas. They are less active members, and just wonderful. As we were leaving someone from a political party came by and gave Hermano Olivas a wheelchair! it was cute because he just uses a lawn chair as a walker to get around, but sad at the same time because the people were kinda using them for the campaign. I was just touched to see his excited face :)

3-We said goodbye to President Flores! He and his family really are amazing. i was lucky to get to know them and be advised by him. He changed this mission ALOT from the stories I have heard of before. But It will be fun to meet President Ramos this week!

4-me and hermana martinez

5-me and hermana decker (couldnt get all three of us because no one was around haha)

semana 15. yupp.

so we had our exchanges today and me and hermana martinez are still in the same area, but we have a thrid companion hermana decker! its going to be real interesting but im excited. we have all been in the same ward this whole time so we know each other really well, we just now added the area she and her old companion had, so we have an even bigger area with more people, investigators, walking, everything. challenge accepted. i just hope we have time to visit everyone!! i love them all so much. i know God will help guide us to the people that are prepared and needing us at the right times. 

i have gotten better at using different scriptures in the moment, like if i sense something from someone (aka the holy ghost tells me) or someone mentions a trial they are going through, i find a scripture for them to read and they relate perfectly to it. i was funny because i actually had a specific exp this week where a woman, well she shared many things, but she said how it was dififuclt for her to go to church on sundays because she works saturday nights, but shes really religious and wants to change some of her ways for her and her kids (the word of wisdom-smoking). so i had her read matt 6:31-3 (also in 3 nephi 13) and she was so shoked and kept saying how i understood her perfectly. haha she felt the spirit. thats what matters. the spirit taught her an important life lesson, individual to her. i m just blessed that im living worthily enough to be able to be a vessel of the spirit and help people with their indiviual needs. i also have a funny experience with a man (less active member of many years) who is very political and confused about life because he believes in god and like religion but cant stop talking and worrying about politics..so i shared the "when they are learned they think they are wise" scripture and my companion just looked at me trying not to laugh. haha i didnt think in that moment, i just did. and it worked out how it was supposed to. he told us that he wants to practice religion again and that if he does it will be with our chruch, because he is a very "learned man" (studies a lot) and knows that the doctrine is true. So i guess im starting to learn how to be bold. definitely feeling "the wrath" of god at moments when he wants to teach some of his children lessons. when you do things out of sincere love, and for me i know i feel the love that god has for each of his children, then things work out as they should. its literally helping people reaturn to our father in heaven. i know that thats the purpose of this life. once you realize this life is not yours (its a gift from god at the price of jesus christ), thats when you really start living. i think "real living" is living for others. for our brothers and sisters. yeah "you only live once", but you live with the consequences for eternity. i want my "consequences" to be good, and effective. a line from one of my favotire church songs "while He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free". Jesus Christ has given us the opportunity at this life, and the path to return to our Heavenly Father. How will you live today, and everyday to be able to recive this gift and show your gratitude to the One we are all endebted to?

i LOVE you all and appreciate the love im recieveing :)

con mi todo corazon, 

hermana johnson

so i found my heart in mexico. didnt know i lost it. but seriously. this. puppy. mi corazon. i died. dont worry it was alive just sound asleep en mi brazos :)))))

 cute kids playing in this tub thing in the street with the water. they also got creative with crates to walk over.

way to rep it america. this is what they think our food it...haha not ashamed. 

zoom in on the truck full of men...yeah this is normal. "mexi pack" is a real thing, not racist.


so it rained a lot this week. and mexico doesnt have a very good sewage system. needless to say it was interesting. haha and gross. there were parts we walked through up to our knees haha it was fun.

ummm olvide.

So i think im living ON the equator. although i have watched many other things in the street melt and fry up, im very surprised i havent! but then again, i have the Lord helping me not to get dehydrated, sun burnt, sun poison, and whatever else. it really is a blessing and a miricle. (forgot how to spell that..). we literally cant look at the sun...its pratically impossible. ive tried. i think id go blind(er) if i did. so this weee was awesome. another good one in the books :) muchos personas y muchos historias. y no mucho tiempo. haha so hows the world cup? its funny because as we walk down the street literally every house has it on. hah one morning there was a big group of men around a little shake (kind of like a handy-man shop) with a little tv all shouting...goal..goal..GOAL!!! it was chistoso.  

i have gotten really good and reading peoples eyes and getting a feel of what they are truly feeling. i know the holy ghost helps me to sense their happiness, saddness, fear, lonliness, love, anger, and pretty much a lot of other stuff. the big one is fear. its sad but ive been able to watch and help people grow stronger in confidence and trust in their selves, the spirit, and the Lord. this messagae of truth literally tranforms lives. including my own.

i am so grateful for everything i am doing and experiencing, the good and bad, the easy and hard.

i know i was meant to meet and help things people. this is the purpose of life and i am blessed to be living and preaching it.

sorry this was short and probabaly random. i was doing a lot of things at once.

love to all, and seriously thank you to EVERYONE for the emails. sorry i dont respond. i do care and appreciate everything :)

con mucho amor.,

hermana lauren johnson
my comp thought this car was funny so we took a pic.

Saw both ends of a rainbow trying to do some laundry this morning. it was grand :) 

my comp swipped a pic of me helping an investigador clean..hah not sure why. oh thats my agenda in my mouth

Took a sneaky pic of a man reading the plan of salvacion folleto we gave him. i thought it was pretty cute haha

Week 14. 3 MONTHS.

Hi fam. Bye fam.

This will be a short one.

Gracias everybody for your love and support and prayers. It is felt and it is more than appreciated. :)
Not much to report, or that I can report really haha 

We almost got torn apart by a dog. hahaha its actually funny to think about. The first time we"ve had a problem and the perro came out of no where! My companion jumped back real fast and took off her bag at the same time to swing at him hahaha it was great. and scary. but we"re alive. and that story is really the least of my worries.
Um we met a woman on the street who asked if we were Christians and wanted us to talk to and teach her daughter. She has twins that are 20 and one went to a Satanas del Mundo  iglesia in Novemeber and was apparently baptized for the devil. It was interesting needless to say. I shall keep you updated on that one.
But many other different lessons this week.

There is one familiy (Familia Ramierez) who has a 15 year old daughter with disabilities who I just love. We started teaching them the Plan of Salvation and I had a moment of dejavu while I was about to ask the mom a question and just felt the spirit so strong that I needed to ask something specific. She was having problems beliving that we will be resurrected like Christ with a perfect body. I asked her if she believed that all of her children would have a body perfected after this life..she looked inside the house at her daughter and knew I was refering to her. We shared some scriptures and explained more but She felt the Spirit so strong and I could see more hope in her eyes. 

Um i don't know too much of what else to say...

we had a wonderful conference with president and he asked me to bear my testimony on the gift of tounges..it was a great moment. I really do believe in the Gift of Tounges and that because I am called and set apart with power from on high, I am able to use that power to understand and communicate with people of a totally different langugae. Needless to say My testimony of the power of the Spirit has grown now more than ever. 

I have also been helping my companion more this week on her English, because president stressed  that its not only for the Americans but the GIft of Tounges is for all missionaries to experience on their mission. It has really helped with use feeling more "equal" and with her understanding how difficult it is for me haha

So all is well. Living life and loving it. 

Living a life with CHRIST and loving it :)

ok. paz.

no time for pics.

otra semana.