Thursday, April 24, 2014

04.24.2014 Pictures

This is my district. 
Elder Fuimaono, Elder Povar (district leader), Hermana Voyles, Hermana Rust, Hermana Greenhaulgh (going to Tempe), Hermana Finou (going to tempe), ME, Hermana Dodge, Elder Howell, Elder Fakahafua (careful when saying his name, you could swear)

Here's a nice scenery pic. on the left is all the class rooms.

These are a couple pics of our room. My bed is the cream one

This is what the sinks look like. Super weird. They don't have a handle or anything, you push that little silver thing hanging down and water comes out. Its bizarre. (also, water without a filter here tastes like salt and blood)

Here's some more nice scenery pics. 
This is Mexico City. That super tall wall you see at the bottom is what keeps us in. We're like imprisoned or something.

Panic circle where I ran to be saved from the Earthquake in

This is what the post office looks like that i get no letters from anyone in.... 

Idk what this is but look its a stone head 

04.24.2014 Email

Dear Family, 

Okay so first things first, Mom- the scripture for my plaque is 2 samuel and my pic i want is the one i ordered that's the same as the one on the stairs.
But anyways. Jk I didn't almost die. but i was close.
THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE. I survived. It was so crazy. I've never been in a real earthquake before! We were all just in class and then these really loud alarms started going off and everyone was so confused what was happening then we had to hurry and run outside and stand in these panic circles. At first we were like what the heck this is nothing, but then all of a sudden the light post next to us started swaying and then we saw the trees swaying back and forth! it was seriously crazy, it was the weirdest feeling, I felt like i was standing on a boat! There wasn't any damage though at the MTC, but there was in the city I guess, The earthquake was a 7.5 apparently! Then a few days later we were standing outside after lunch and the alarms went off again and we just see all these massive swarms of elders book it to the panic circles, but it was just a test haha it was so funny though!
 Also, our investigator was not a real investigator, he actually turned out to be our teacher now. we don't actually start teaching real investigators for a few more weeks. Which  will be really scary!
Saturday was a good day, we had pizza for dinner and it was the weirdest but best thing ever because what pizza? it wasn't even tuesday! #bestdayever 

Sunday we had like 5 devotionals all day long it felt like. So we didn't have to give talks thankgoodness. #bestdayeveragain. We went to relief society first, then we had sacrament with everyone, because usually we only do it with our zones, and that was good, they had a live devotional from the Provo MTC by Uchtdorf. It was really great! and i am so mad because i left my bag in my room so i don't have any notes with me that i took! But he mainly just talked about being persistent in the field and not giving up. Then later that evening we had another devotional live again from provo and I can't remember who it was! ahh we have so many devotionals its hard to keep track! But obviously it was great too. Then every sunday night we watch a movie, this sunday we watched a movie about the building of the Salt Lake Temple. Then they do this little farewell thing for everyone that leaves that week. And after everybody goes outside and the all the Tongans (because theres a lot) do the haka. Then everyone gets pictures with each other. But the mission presidents are way strict and he banned the haka because i guess it drives away the spirit. so now we cant even take pictures outside with the people who are leaving.. so that is kind of sad.
But anyways, This week went by pretty fast, each day goes by pretty slow, but the weeks go by pretty fast. It's super weird. Monday me and my companion had the worst lesson of our lives. We have two investigator now, and they are both our teachers. But we had our first lesson with one of them and we had the first lesson planned out to teach him, but when we got there he just kept asking us why his family was happy going to church (because his family is LDS) and we were  trying to explain to him why, but its hard in spanish because obviously we don't even know spanish yet! and then my companion kept trying to tell a story about why church made her happy and he kept cutting her off. It was super annoying. So yeah we didn't even teach anything from our lesson, it was awful. But tonight we have another lesson with our other teacher, so hopefully that goes better! 
Tuesday was great because it was American Tuesday! We call it American Tuesday because we eat american food, and we don't have lessons on tuesday nights because we have another devotional. Devotionals are so fun because we all sit and share candy as we listen. This week we had Dallin H. Oaks talk. And his wife talked also, and she was actually really good, probably the best woman speaker we've heard so far. Something really awesome that Dallin H. Oaks said was, "the Lord helps those who help themselves" and he talked about how we cant just expect the Lord to do all the work for us, but he will help us when we try our best. He also said, "don't expect to get a thank you, this work isn't about you." Which was also great because that's super humbling, we're hear to convert others and help others come unto Christ. That's our job!
Wednesday went by so super fast i don't really remember it. So it was raining before the devotional and this kid Elder Yoni that we have become pretty good friends with was running to make it inside and he totally biffed it on one of the panic circles because they are SO slippery when they are wet (i also almost biffed it once) and anyways. He got a hole in is suit! It was the funniest thing of my life. So now he has to go into town to get a new suit because that was the only one he brought.
Anyways, they have the best candy here at the Tienda. seriously everyone just hangs out at eh tienda all the time and buys food. They have these suckers, i don't even know what they are called, but they are SO good. And they are only 1 peso which means that they are like 15 cents. So i bought like 20 the other day. Don't worry I haven't eaten them all yet! The other day me and Hermana Dogde, Voyles and Rust went to the tienda during gym then we were in there for so long we just decided not to go to gym so we sat out on the picnic tables and ate our food. I know i felt like such a fatty that day but oh well. Gym is really fun because its so nice to have like an hour of the day to not have to worry about anything. I usually play basketball with some of the elders from my district and another district. Me and Hermana Dodge are the only girls that usually play and sometimes Hermana Rust and Voyles will play. We can't play a game though because its like physical contact, so we usually just shoot hoops or play lightning; It was so awesome because the other day I beat all the Elders in lightning! They all underestimated my Church ball skills. But now they know.  
So it rains every single day. And when I say rain, i don't just mean like oh look it's raining outside. I mean it POURS. like if you get caught outside in the rain you are dead meat. And there is huge thunder and lightning and the power always goes out! It's especially super awkward when the power goes out and you're in the middle of a lesson with an investigator... or the other day it went out when we were at home and Hermana Rust was in the shower. So Hermana Voyles had to search for her flashlight in the dark then run in to the bathroom to shine the light on Hermana Rust while she finished showering. It was the best thing ever. But yeah, you can count on the power going out at least once a day when it storms.
So all the Hermanas in our house are freaking out because we came home from gym yesterday and in every single room the top left bunk was messed with. Like it was so weird when we realized Hermana Rust's bed was messed up. Her bed is always perfect in the morning when she makes it and her blanket was messed up and she sheets were pulled out of the bed. So we were like maybe someone came to clean her sheets? but then her sheets weren't changed! so it was just really weird. And then the other hermanas in another room came in and were like um, did you guys make my bed? Because she didn't make her bed and it was made nicely! Then in another room there is a three some companionship and the top bunk that no one uses was messed up! How weird and creepy huh! so all the other girls think that our house is haunted or something. Which i think is so stupid to be thinking about. And it doesn't help that the Elders are convinced that there house is haunted too. Apparently they wake up with like cuts on their hands and this one Elder has this bite mark on the bottom of his foot. And they SWEAR they aren't lying. So yeah, kind of scary stuff. 
Anyways, I can't tell if the food here is getting better or if I'm just getting used to it. The past few days have actually been alright. But my companion still gets sick from it. She's been sick like this whole time we've been here. I feel bad. Also though, I don't think I have gone to the bathroom so many times in my life. I drink SO much water it's crazy. the elevation is so different here. The other day me and my companion ran back to our house because i forgot my name tag and we literally ran for like 2 minutes and we both were  having asthma attacks. After meals we all hang around this bench. it was originally Hermana Voyles and Hermana Rust's 'people watching bench' but it kind of got taken over by all of us. We have these AWFUL lab times called TALL. It's horrible, my brain is literally fried after doing it. It's this program on the computer to help us learn spanish, really it just confuses me like crazy. But I did memorize the invitation to get baptized in spanish! Here you go: "Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo la ser Bautizado por alguien que posea la autitoridad del sacerdocio de Dios. Le (date) tentremos una servicio bautismal. Se preparar√° para ser bautizado ese dia"
I know,  I know ya'll are impressed. Also i memorized how to say "I may not speak the language very well, but I know my message is true" Which will probably come in handy a LOT. So spanish is going pretty well, I feel like i have learned a lot from last week, but I still feel like I am kind of behind. In my district there are two girls going to Tempe too and they are struggling really bad with spanish. And it kind of scares me because if they don't learn it like they should then I could be their companion sometime in the field. One of the girls is Tongan and her name is Hermana Finuo? If I spelled that correctly. And she just doesn't take anything serious. She always lays on the ground and she makes really random comments that has nothing to do with what the teacher is talking about. Like once our teacher was teaching us how to do productive planning with our companions and how to stay organized with our time. and she comments,  "have a house of order." and its not what we are not talking about ..... ugh. But seriously I really will have to learn patience if i am her companion. 
Also so my hair has grown like 5 feet randomly i swear, my gosh maybe its the air here in Mexico. (Taylor, move to Mexico and there's about a 85% chance your hair will grow.) (also vanesa you too). But yeah its awesome. We do get to go to the temple which i am so stoked about. We can't go inside because its getting remodeled or something, but we get to go to it. I think we go the second to last Pday before we leave. so I will send some pictures!
The only thing i'm worried about with my luggage is that I only had about 5 extra pounds in one of my suitcases and we got about 20 pounds of books when we got here... so hopefully it will work out. I might be leaving some stuff here haha. 
Also, spencer, all the elders were talking about killing animals and i told them about how you threw a golf ball and hit the squirrel out of the tree. They were all very impressed. 
Last night we were supposed to have this thing called TRC where we visit 2 to 3 different investigators and we just have to act like we barely met them and then be invited in and start a lesson with them. Super scary. and last night was our first time, but no one showed up so we just had to practice on ourselves. Kind of a relief and kind of sad at the same time. But we do that once a week. 
I'm sad I missed Easter with the family! it was really weird not being with the family for Easter, but Sunday was still a good day. I hope you guys had a great Easter too! And you guys actually can send me packages, but you have to send it through My Dear Missionary or Dear Elder.. it gets here a lot faster too. 
But anyways, I think that's about it for this week!!
Love you all!
Hermana Johnson 

04.17.2014 Email

HOLA familia! 
Don't worry i still cant speak spanish so dont get your hopes up. I dont have a super a lot of time to email, but everything is going pretty good! Also this keyboard is extremely hard to type and its a spanish keyboard so i have no idea where anything is. Anyways, My comps name is Hermana Dodge. She is really nice, shes from Orlando, Florida and she is going somewhere in Honduras. We get a long really well, sometimes she is hard to work with, but she reminds me a lot of me too. she is super blonde sometimes so it makes me feel good about myself. haha. There are two other missionaries here going to Tempe, AZ too so thats good.
 Well the first few days were very overwhelming, but it got a lot better on sunday, and everyday after that just goes by SO fast. I really can't believe it. The air here smells like sewer, especially when the wind blows. its gross. but we all live in little houses with about 6 rooms, a kitchen, laundry room, and living room in each. The Mexico MTC is the largest MTC in the world, it doesnt have the most people here, but it has 90 acres of land. so its cool, its like a little village. We share our room with Hermana Voyles, who is from Vegas, and Hermana  Rust, who is from Vernal. They are really nice and funny. At night we never get anything done because we just stay up and laugh about everything, its crazy cause i feel like ive known them forever!
The food here is pretty good. actually on a scale of 1 to 10 its like a solid 5. They serve like real mexican food and its kind of gross. the past few days have been a lot better but i usually just end up eating fruit. EVERYBODY here eats toast a nutella. its like a huge thing. They have nutella and peanut butter in the cafeteria until pretty late at night, and everyone goes and eats it. I haven;t tried peanut butter with nutella but i do put nutella on the toast. So basically Ive just eaten fruit and nutella and toast lately. awesome.
The bugs here are SO bad. The very first night we left the window open because it was so hot and we had so many mosquitoes in our room! But then we learned to spray the screen with bug spray at night. works pretty good. Sometimes we still find some in our room though. I have gotten like 4 mosquito bites on my face already and only like 2 anywhere else. So i guess my face must taste pretty dang good. Also, I think i got a spider bite on my chest because i thought it was a weird bump but it hurt so bad so i picked it off and then it turned black.. so hopefully i don't die.
 We also arent supposed to have food in our rooms because cockroaches will get in our house. The elders in our district always find cockroaches in their room becuase they have food in there all the time. So there is this Tongan girl in my district and her cousin died last week, and i guess when you have a family member die its their tradition to give them candy and food. So there is another elder in our district who is tongan and so all the elders bought a BUNCH of food and candy from the Tienda and gave us a whole bag on our doorstep. So we have so much food in our house right now. its awesome, but i swear if i see one cockroach i am throwing it all away i dont even care.
 But lets see.. Its started raining a lot the last few days. itll be sunny in the morning and then it will just down pour in the evening. its so crazy. It is way pretty here. There are so many houses up on the mountain right behind us and they are all colorful. The sunrise in the morning is so pretty. I will have to take a picture sometime. Also, there are these huge like cannon things that go off all the time. all day, all night. it sounds like we are getting bombed, but apparently it is something with the catholic church? i dunno.
But spanish is going pretty good. I was really frustrated and stressed the first few days because i could not understand anything at all. I still cant, but I think I am getting better. Sometimes I still get frustrated. Everybody was saying that the spanish language is the easiest language to learn so i thought i would have it in the bag, then I got here and realized i know nothing. But it definitely is total immersion. Our teacher only speaks spanish to us in class. and if we say and english word we have to do a push up! He is really cool though. I love him so much! his name is Hermano Sanchez. He is the funniest person ever. But we had our first investigator lesson last friday, it had to be a 20 minute lesson completely in spanish. It was so hard. We mainly just read straight from the Preach My Gospel. Then we had a lesson with him saturday, monday, yesterday and we have another lesson today. It is so hard doing a lesson in spanish and actually expressing yourslef because you don't know like any words in your head. But yesterday we got him to commit to baptism. which was awesome! So we will have to see how tonight goes! Every week we have to prepare a 5 minute talk in spanish and then in sacrament meeting they will randomly call people to come give talks. Its terrifying. My companion had to last sunday, which means i didn't have to, but i might have to this sunday, so im way scared! I can now bear my testimony in spanish though, which is good. and i can kind of pray, not as well as my testimony which is super weird. but yeah so i guess i am improving little by little! Spanish is hard, but I love the social life here! I have made a lot of new friends which is fun, my district is so fun! I love it so much. In my district we have three pairs of Hermanas and two pairs of Elderes. We used to have four pairs of hermanas, but they switched to a different district. There are usually two districts in each zone, but yesterday we got new missionaries in and they are in our zone, so we are going to have three districts in our zone, which will make us the biggest zone here! The Elderes in my district and zone are way nice and so funny. And I do know two people here! Connor Steed is here, he leaves next week and he is going to Texas, and Haden Porter is here too! I think he's going to Honduras? Not exactly sure. But yeah guess who my zone leader is, Haden Porter! haha or should i say Elder Porter. It was super weird at first, well I guess it still is kind of weird, but I see him a lot, obviously, and he's actually super fun. his companions name is Elder Sessions. And I LOVE him. He is the coolest person I know, I love hanging out with them. 
I did meet the girl from Kent and Kristas ward, I sat by her at dinner one time! She's really nice. But yeah, I think that's about it. I havent gotten too homesick which is good, Saturday night was probably the worst, I was just having a hard time because  felt like I didnt know spanish. Its cool becuase we only pray and sing in spanish and I love singing in spanish, it is the coolest thing ever. You can just feel the spirit so strong. 
Well, I hope this was long enough for you, mom.
Con amor!
Hermana Johnson
P.S. I think I might need you guys to set up a skype account for me because I don't have one? I think. i'm not exactly sure yet. Maybe just set one up for me then I will find out if thats what is supposed to happen. Also, I can't remember the scripture i wanted for my plack, plaque? so i will try to find it and see if i can email it to you today!