Adam’s email February 22, 2010

February 27th, 2010

Well, I’m typing on a terrible keyboard because it seems my companion can’t help but drive me crazy. In fact I think this is the worst computer in the sector.

As far as the suit goes, I think next week I’ll go order pants. They are custom fit for only $30. Then in a couple of months I’ll order a suit coat and two pairs of pants for $140. For the box, I bet you could successfully get beef jerky through. As I said Elder Macias’ mom gets it through every time. I don’t know.

So my week. I’ve got my journal this time to help me. On Tuesday we first had to wait for President to arrive in the pension with Hermana Laycock, and the Assistants. They looked at the apartment only a little. They sat us down and talked to us, shared some scriptures and passages from Preach My Gospel. They touched on how that number of baptisms was not a sign of a successful missionary. I found that to be an interesting point because a couple of days before Elder Caligari had asked me “how many people I wanted to baptize”, which, truthfully had made me feel uncomfortable. In fact a lot of things my companion says about baptism makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t feel a reverence for the ordinance. I hoped that the whole “interview” would have helped that, but I didn’t notice much. I showed them the mold problem we had in the bathroom. They said they’d deal with it when possible. They have thus far only taken care of our crappy stove, which works much better now. On Tuesday night all four of us taught a family in Casas Viejas, away from the main roads. We ended after dark and it was really interesting having to walk for a while in the dark, and probably the most stars I’ve seen since I’ve been here. On Wednesday we didn’t have lunch, so Elder Caligari made an Uruguayo sandwhich, which was steak, ham, bacon, cheese, egg, tomato, avocado and mayo. And we had french fries as well. So unhealthy. We also had a lesson with Luis, an old investigator Elder Shaffer and I had been trying to work with. We’ll see if he progresses more this time. Thursday was a crazy day. We had zone class since we had interviews on Tuesday. That night we were to have correlation meeting with the ward mission leader, but he couldn’t. We played 3×3 soccer while we waited. I was goalie. In the meantime, a family brought their dogs, and a little boy did something and one of the dogs bit the boy in the shoulder. The dad, after cleaning up the boys wounds a bit, came out and roughly grabbed the dog by the neck. That upset the hermana who owned the dog, and her daughter to tears. Angry words were spoken, and the whole situation was tense. We went to the house of the dog owners to comfort the hermana and the little girl. I was worried the reaction of the father would drive the family away from the church. We shared some scriptures and talked about the importance of forgiveness. On Friday we had weekly planning. Elder Macias and Elder Caligari made up plans for how we would work together as a ward. So that investigators would feel comfortable with all 4 missionaries, we decided to do splits among the four of us occasionally. I went with Elder Solis that afternoon for a couple of hours. He isn’t as annoying when there aren’t other people there. On Saturday we had divisions. I was here with Elder Mina, who in fact was trained by Elder Shaffer as well. Elder Shaffer told me that was his worst change in his mission. Elder Mina is from El Salvador. He has a lot of pride. We made it through the day alright. Nothing particularly exciting happened on Sunday. Yenary, one of our investigators, who is the niece of some members, came on her own despite the members not coming. That was cool but she left after sacrament meeting. I blessed the sacrament for the second time in Spanish as well. Today started off overcast and cold. It kind of excited me because I want it to start getting colder. It cleared up and got warm though. Elder Macias and I were going to go to the hermano who does custom suits, but he had to go to the doctor. The other two had already left to go to a zone soccer activity, so Elder Macias and I did our shopping together. We made some decent spaghetti together as well. I got my Carnet today! My Chilean ID card. Its not that exciting though.

All in all, I’m hanging in there. Whenever I find I’m being annoyed by the other Elders in the pension, I usually just sit on my bed and read one of the many old English Liahonas/Ensigns in the pension. While my spanish should be improving with a Latin comp, I find that I feel more self-concious about it a lot, because he doesn’t correct me very lovingly. Elder Solis liked to attack me on my Spanish a lot, and how I read the scriptures in English during my personal study, but Elder Macias called him out on it which helped a lot. I guess just different times in the mission need to push me in different ways. I need to grow my patience, charity, and humility.

So we have Stake Conference on the 7th of March. I heard at first that it will be a satellite broadcast from the Salt Lake, and I assume it still will be. But on the invitation they passed out in church it said that a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve will be presiding, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that two Apostles will be in Santiago at the time, and will probably be visiting stake conferences. I’ve heard Elder Scott will be coming to our stake conference. Its hardly confirmed, but that would be really cool. We’ll see.

Well I don’t have much time left to type on this terrible keyboard. I hope you all have a good week. Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

Adam’s email February 15, 2010

February 27th, 2010

Hola everyone!

Its good to hear from you all. Its good to hear about Grandma doing well, and the baptism as well. So I think there is in fact Valentines day here, but I didn’t notice anything big like with halloween. Nothing big as far as Chilean holidays until the day of youth disobedience or w/e its called, when rebellious teenagers go and burn dogs and kill cops if they can. I think the missionaries went inside at 6pm last year and thats not until April or May I think.

Mom, if you still have room in the box, socks are starting to wear out, so those are always welcome. If you can’t get the mini PMG then maybe I’ll get it from a leaving missionary or something. I’ll have to ask Elder Macias how his mom gets it through.

So my new companion Elder Caligari. Well he is interesting. This is his first new sector and first time being Senior companion. Interesting. He has been having us clean out the Area book. He is really animated and excited to baptize. Thats one thing that concerns me. Elders that focus everything on baptizing can forget to follow the Spirit, and can forget to help people become converted instead of just convincing them to get baptized. But he works hard. We’ll see how we get along over these few weeks.

So things that happened this week. Well Ricardo, the one who we’ve been working with since like my second week, well he went to another city in Chile to work until April. It made me sad because I may not even be here in this sector when he gets back. He still wants to get baptized so thats good. On Friday when we went to lunch, the hermana told us how our actual lunch appointment fell because some relatives of the other hermana had been in a car crash. All four of us went up to visit her right away. It was a pretty bad crash on the way up to San Jose de Maipo. The car was cut in half when it hit a truck or something. Three children, including an infant were killed, and the details are not worth writing because they made me sick. The father lost his legs, and the mother’s shoulder was badly injured. The one other kid was mostly alright. The hermana asked us to go visit them in the Hospital Dr. Sotero del Rio. We got permission and went straight there. We didn’t get to see them because the mother was in recuperation. But that hospital is so creepy weird. Its old like some 20’s war hospital or something. It was weird and I’m so glad the church has a contract with a rich private hospital up north. Plenty of gruesome news eh? I don’t remember if I mentioned last change that we all got water filtration bottles. Well this change we got instruction sheets for what to do before, during and after an earthquake, and evacuation plans. Something big could happen soon in Chile!

We’ve done a lot of work this week. We have high hopes for a few investigators. I think I may have mentioned Gricel last week. She seems to be progressing, but hasn’t made it to church, and won’t accept a set baptismal date yet. We had lessons with a niece of some members, and we hope she gets parental permission, because she likes the church, and has already attended some. Roberto, the friend of another member also has been coming, and already been taught by the missionaries a long time ago, and now we’re teaching him again. He is the only one that came to church yesterday. This week I also had divisions(I guess they are called exchanges everywhere else, or splits or something) with Elder Stagg, our new zone leader. It was cool. He and Elder Macias are pals, and also our lunch appointment fell so we made spaghetti. We had some good lessons and it was fun getting to know him, since Elder Caligari and I don’t seem to talk much.

I am definitely being pushed more in Spanish these days. And Elder Caligari has me talk a lot more than Elder Shaffer did, since Elder Shaffer loves talking a lot, I kind of just let him go at it. I’m not sure what more to talk about. I’ve been really tired, and not sleeping too well this week. Our interviews are tomorrow, they are in our pension, and we had to clean a ton today! President is coming to each individual pension to inspect it and have interviews. Our pension is so terrible. I found mushrooms growing by the bathtub…we’ll see if that gets fixed sometime. In other news, things continue to be normal. My clothes seem to be getting bigger still. I think if I can hold out to the year mark, there is a member in the next stake over that makes pretty cheap, custom fit suits, and I’ll try and get one. Elder Macias says he is going to buy a suit with a gold vest to wear when he gets home(or his last day in the mission). Ha.

I keep forgetting my journal, and my companion likes to take less time during internet, so thats all this week. I’ll try and send more pictures. Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

Adam’s letter – February 8, 2010

February 9th, 2010

Here is Adam’s latest email, with, as usual, motherly commentaries in [brackets]! Enjoy! (And can anyone believe we are a quarter of the way through the mission already!!)
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Hola Hola

So here I am in Puente Alto 1b. Sitting next to me is Elder Caligari. He is from Uruguay and this is his 7th change in the mission. He is my new companion. Elder Shaffer has gone way up north now, and Elder Macias and Elder Solis still remain. So I live with three latins, only one fluent in English. We’ll see how my Spanish grows this change.

It was really hard to hear about grandma. Of course I’ll be praying for her and grandpa. They need to be ready to go to Disneyland when I get back. [My mother is in the hospital, but her prognosis is good]

Send my congrats to Jamie on her marriage, and especially on her baptism! That’s awesome. [Jamie is a high school classmate]

Funny, Mom, how you mentioned sending a package, because I was writing a list of what I want to ask for. So here it is. Sunflower seeds, in their shell and salted of course. Beef Jerky, preferably a spicy flavor. A mini Preach My Gospel in Spanish. Now these aren’t made by the church, but I believe there are like moms that have websites where you can order one that they made. A mini Children’s Songbook in English. I already have a fullsize spanish one. I know the church makes these because I saw one in the MTC bookstore but didn’t get it. My bacon salt. The scripture mastery memorizing cards, but in spanish(with the first letters and everything). Multivitamins for when my current supply runs out. Cheez-itz, or Goldfish crackers. Maybe some more Tide-to-go pens, since I used one of the two you sent already. Peanut Butter M&Ms. That Shout Heavy Duty Stain remover with the little brush thing that I had in the MTC, that was awesome. If you can’t find some stuff thats alright, and it doesn’t have to be sent soon.

So this last week. Lets see what I remember since I forgot my journal again, and Elder Shaffer isn’t here to remind me what happened. So today, well we got up and headed out for the Change meeting in a stake center somewhere in the middle of the mission. Everyone changing met, and talked and waited for president to arrive. Then president talked to us all about obedience. In the middle he mentioned that today was the funeral of an Elder in Romania, and the son of some of his friends. The Elder had died in a gas explosion, or leak or something, but he and his companion were found dead in their apartment. The body got home today, and he promised he’d pray for his friends, so we all got on our knees together. It was sad. He asked if we were ready not only to reach our next personal level(a common theme recently) as missionaries, but return to our Heavenly Father. Then they announced who was in each sector. Puente Alto 1. Elder Macias and Elder Solis, then Elder Johnson with his new companion, Elder Caligari. After it all finished Elder Caligari and I made our way back to the pension. We’re having a pretty normal pday now.

Yesterday was Sunday. Not a ton happened especially exciting. None of our investigators made it yet again. We had a sector slam in Chayavientos. I’m just going to go over interesting happenings this week. One day we were knocking and came across this man. Evangelical. He talked so much, and so much of it wrong too. He would try and make some point and raise his eyebrows. He seemed to focus a lot on the fact that we should give money to the poor, probably because he was poor. And also he brought up how he didn’t graduate from the last year of regular school. There was so much pride. After him talking forever we finally got to closing prayer. Well he wanted to offer it. So we said sure. We got down on our knees in the dirt(to make him happy) and he proceeded to pray for 15 minutes. The way he prayed seemed so irreverent too. All you can think walking away from one of those lessons is, Wow there is an example of a pharisee. As far as investigators go, we’ve got a new awesome woman we’re teaching. We’ve taught her two times now. The second time her daughter came in. The conversation went like this. “What are they doing here?” “I’m studying with them” “Why? ” Because I like it” “I don’t like the Mormons” then Elder Shaffer made a comment about the difference in behaviour of members, and the perfection of the gospel. After the daughter just went in another room. The woman said “Sometime there’s opposition”. Awesome! She is reading, praying. We are really hopeful for her! She had been taught by the Jehovah’s Witnesses before but didn’t like it. On Wednesday, it was my time to go put in my papers for my ID. On Tuesday we dd divisions with Elder Stephenson and Elder Burton. Elder Stephenson had to renew his ID. I went and slept in their pension and we got up at 5:45 to be at the Office by 7. We got the instructions there, and also Elder Page was with me. We made our way to the first building to get in line with other missionaries, other foreigners, and not to be racist, but a lot of peruvians(they are to Chile, like mexicans are to the States. The Chilean peso is worth a lot more than their money). We got our new visa there after waiting for our number to be called. We then went to the main police of investigation station. There we got approval for our ID, then went to the Civil Register to get fingerprinted and photographed. Lots of waiting and lots of lines. But we had some good food in the center of Santiago. I had a guaton, which is a giant sandwich. Mine had pork, tomatoes, avacado, mayo, etc. Yummy. Afterwards I got to see the temple, which is closed right now for maintenance, and then go to the AMM (Mutual Improvement Association), which is a private LDS bookstore next to the church offices and MTC here. I really can’t think of much more interesting this week. One day at lunch the puppy of the family choked on a bone, but Elder Solis and Elder Macias helped it swallow it, and got it breathing and then it threw up and was fine. Crazy as the Hermana was crying over the lifeless body of the dog.

Well my companion is waiting for me and I have to write to president Laycock still. Here ends my first 6 months in the mission. My first district leader is going home today. Les Amo.

Elder Adam Johnson.

Adam’s letter – February 1, 2010

February 9th, 2010

¡Hola!

Happy Febrero everyone! It’s amazing that the Enero is already over and the change only has a week left. This last week has been quite interesting to say the least. So starting with today and going back(it just helps my memory so much more). This morning Elder Shaffer and I took another adventure by the river, starting off from where we came up last week. We got up early and went earlier with non-missionary clothes so it would be cooler. We went as far we could until we were pushing through thorns and bushes off trail. Exciting! I’ll try and send more pictures.

Yesterday we had church as usual. Nothing too out of the ordinary. One investigator(sort of) made it near the end, I’ll talk about him later, and Hernan the awesome less active we are working with came again. He is awesome and we are going to use him to help us with missionary work since all he does is garden and study the scriptures. Since it was the 5th Sunday the last hour was everyone together. The hermano talked about cleaning the chapel…which is a big problem in this ward. We had to clean it last week as I mentioned. It’s so dirty. Sunday evening we had another Sector Slam in Puente Alto 2. We all knocked again, but in two groups, and Elder Shaffer and I came across some a less active couple who didn’t know where the chapel was and so couldn’t come. We told them and they were pretty cool. It was weird seeing their Wii.

Saturday was an interesting day. After an appointment fell we were walking and stopped by a drunk man, whom the other Elder Johnson and I had talked to during the zone shoe shining activity in the Plaza. He was really drunk, but wanted us to take him and his bike to his house. He kept trying to stop and talk. After a while a man pulled up in a car and talked to us in English. Elder Shaffer had met him before I got here, and he was cool, but they didn’t know where he lived. But he said he wants us to pass by, and that he had to come to church. Well he did come to church for the last half of sacrament meeting. We have high hopes for him later on. He is an English student and a taxi driver apparently. Its cool how a fallen appointment and a drunk led us to someone. Later that day after we had a visit with Hernan we were walking to a bus stop and stopped by some people in their broken down car. We talked with them, answered questions. They gave us a reference to a sick family member, and we sang them a hymn. It was interesting. That night we went to Paulina last thing, and had to wait for her to get back from getting food. It was not a good visit in the sense of feelings. She was not happy, her family was poor, she was stressed out by work, and all sorts of things. She hasn’t been coming to church, or reading the book of Mormon, which could be problem causers. She said she didn’t want to go to Relief Society because she is 20, wanting to study, not a mom. She was not very nice about it all either. Elder Shaffer was pretty bummed. I was sad, but I prayed a lot for her in my heart and for Elder Shaffer, and the Spirit comforted me. I love that. I don’t think I can ever get discouraged if I just remember to pray. We tried to help her, then Sunday night, after the sector slam, we came back to her house. She apologized for not coming to church and what she said. I think there are still some problems, but she is going to try to read more, and pray more, and we have some young relief society sisters on assignment to contact her.

The most significant thing that happened on Friday was a second visit with a reference we recieved from the office. The first visit with just the husband was a little weird…like how he offered another prayer after I finished mine…but this second visit with the wife their was great. They already had the Book of Mormon, but hadn’t read much. The wife liked how simple it was to understand, and the husband seemed excited to learn that Mormon was actually a prophet. They seem quite open. We’ll see what happens there.

Thursday was another interesting day. We were on our way to La Esperanza, the most ghetto part of this sector. We ran into Jenny, a member, who said someone was already waiting for the Relief Society Thursday night activity, about and hour and a half before anyone would get there. So we went, it was Angela our less active with a bad leg. She wasn’t feeling too great. The bishop wasn’t going to be there and she needed to talk to him. We tried figure out what was going on with the chapel, and turns out no one was going to open it unless we figured it out. We took Angela home, and she was depressed but she came to church again on Sunday, so thats good. We had to take care of the chapel for awhile since no other priesthood leaders were there either. Ugh. We then made it to La Esperanza. It was weird. So many people standing around in groups, doing nothing. People trying to open manholes. Crummy houses and clothes. Wild. We tried to find some inactives, and some people looked at us weird, but I only had $1000 pesos and nothing else but books, so they wouldn’t have gotten much if they jumped us. Then we finally found Ricardo, whose baptism is now postponed for a few more weeks. But we know he has a testimony for sure. He told us of the calm he feels when he prays. I can’t think of anything else particularly interesting from this week without my journal.

So mom and dad, I hope you are having a good cruise. It sounds like the weather is amazing, probably a lot better than here. I hope everyone else in the States is having a good time in that even more amazing snow(I’m crossing my fingers for being in the mountains in July). We’ll see where I am next week. There is a good chance that next week will be my first change meeting, though its more likely(at least in our minds) that Elder Shaffer will leave, and we have no idea for the other Elders. If Elder Solis and I both stay, that’ll be a sign that the Lord knows my patience has far more capacity than I think. Oh another exciting thing! On Tuesday I got my letter informing me that I need to get my Carnet, which is the Chilean ID. So I have to go to the mission office by 7 AM, then go stand in various bureaucratic lines around Santiago to fill out lots of paperwork, but it should be fun, I’ll see a lot of cool stuff, and get to see some of my group from the MTC(it seems though that Elder Maxfield and Hermana McDaniels won’t be there, but Elder Page will!). I bought a ton of fruit today. Elder Shaffer and Elder Macias are both going health crazy(well Elder Shaffer is going health crazy, I was seriously thinking eating disorder) and its having some effect on me, but I won’t go off the “no fat!” end. MyLdsMail has an new system, using gmail software, but belonging to the Church. President hasn’t said anything about it yet. I’ll still prefer things being sent to my gmail until I say anything else.

Well that’s all for this week. Did I miss anyone’s birthday? Wasn’t it Julie’s? If so Happy Birthday Julie! Someone should keep me updated. Anyways adios! Les amo

Elder Adam Johnson

January 25, 2010 letter from Elder Johnson

January 26th, 2010

Hola!

So I’ll start off backwards for my week again. Today Elder Shaffer and I took an adventure this morning. We went down to the river Maipo and walked along a dirt road for awhile. It was great, and peaceful with just the sound of the river and a canal on the other side of the road. I have pictures that I will send. Like a true galactic hitchhiker I brought my towel, which proved to be useful to cover my head from the sun! And besides that today we went shopping at ol’ Lider, the Walmart owned superstore here. I got Walmart Great Value Macaroni and Cheese yum. I finally had time to write some letters today as well, though I won’t be able to finish all the ones I need to today. Yesterday we had church of course. None of our investigators came sadly. But Hernan, the less active who studies the scriptures a lot came for the second time so that was good. We tried to contact people in Casas Viejas after lunch, but then had to go to a Sector Slam in Los Prados. On Saturday we had a service project picking up and sweeping some streets in Los Prados as a service project. Interestingly enough we walked on that same street yesterday to get to the Sector Slam…and it had more garbage than before. Thanks Chileans! This is a dirty city. In the afternoon we worked on our ward mission plan, and had correlation with the ward mission leader. Afterwards we cleaned the chapel a bit because no one seems to be doing it as assigned. On Friday we had planning as usual, and another activity as zone playing sports in Las Nieves. We all played volleyball with a few youth. The thing is with all these activities and such they took a lot of prime working time. We probably won’t be having more. As far as lessons this week things didn’t go so well. It does have a lot to do with circumstances, but it always makes me feel like I need to be more diligent in some way or another. It seems like our whole zone was down too because we’re going to have a zone fast, and the zone leaders want us to study the chapter in Preach My Gospel about using time wisely. Hopefully things pick up. On Wednesday we had our mission conference. I’m in the south zone mom. It was good. President and the Assistants, and other Elder’s gave some good talks. A good quote by President Laycock “Your wife will be 1st councilor to the Spirit” lol. Some zone leaders talked, and to get us motivated showed us a scene from some football movie. It was all good, and good lunch as well. I got to talk to Elder Maxfield some more, and see Elder Osborne again, so that was happy. The conference was all in all pretty great. On Tuesday we had zone class as usual. To finish it off the zone leaders wanted to make a point of us not just knocking doors, by having us play football(american) in the gym of the chapel, but always the same play. I don’t know. And then we did the Haka…which is a Polynesian war chant thingy. The BYU football team does it because there are a lot of Polynesian players there…but we have one Tongan in the mission, and not in our zone. I guess the mexican Elder that taught it to us really likes it. Quite interesting. Monday was a good day. We found Ricardo and could have a lesson with him finally. He said he was free on Sundays(though I guess not really) now. We went over baptismal interview questions, and wanted him to come to the church to meet the bishopric on Thursday(which didn’t happen). We’ve been looking for him all week and no luck. Hopefully he’ll get baptized this week. On the way home Monday night we passed a woman who was crying. We said hi, then after passing, Elder Shaffer asked how she was. She just threw up her arms. We asked if we could help her in any way. She threw down her cigarette and stomped it out, and said “let’s pray!”. So we prayed and she said afterwards that we were like two angels sent to help her. We asked if we could stop be her house and help her with anything else, but she said she knew where to find us or something along those lines. We found out yesterday that she is actually the daughter of a less active member that we teach. He told us when we came over to see him. It was a awesome experience.

It’s great to hear about the new babies in the ward, and the new engagements in the family. [Two of Adam’s cousins have announced they are getting married in the spring, as well as Ryan]

No they don’t celebrate Valentine’s day as far as I know. Maybe since they want to be just like the States they do. We’ll see. And the TGI Friday’s burger was excellent excellent.

Not much else to say this week, so take care everyone. Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

Adam’s letter January 18, 2010

January 26th, 2010

Here’s Adam’s email from last Monday, with my editorial remarks as alway!

PJ
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Hola!

So I’ll start off describing my week backwords. First of all today. We came to the mall again to keep looking for a bag for me. No success. But we went to TGI Friday’s here. Super expensive, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I won’t say how much it all cost but I got an appetizer and dessert as well. I also met Elder Harris, the friend of Elder Grover. [Adam’s cousin, serving his mission in Norway] He asked me if I knew him. Cool stuff. Those were the highlights of today. Yesterday was Sunday of course. It was election day(round 2!!!) and so we only had Sacrament meeting again. None of our investigators made it…nor our recent converts. An inactive hermano that we had found in that Sector Slam last Sunday came though. He set an appointment with the Bishop and all, and seems to be on the road to being active and faithful again…great! Apparently he’s done LSD so that explains a bit of his weirdness. The youth of the ward talked about the camp they had(its like Scout and Young Women’s camp, but at the same time and in different places). Followed by the bishop and 2nd councilors giving good talks. And Sunday night we had another sector slam, in the Puente Alto 3 sector. It was good and we finished off at a hill in a park with a great view of the city….I forgot my camera :( . Saturday, well I had divisions in Los Prados(the same place I’ve always had divisions), with Elder Flores, my district leader. He is from Panama and already has a degree in economics. It was a weird day, but I learned a lot, and Elder Flores is a really diligent missionary. He is big on strict to Preach My Gospel. One lesson we had was great and very to the book, but then went off into a 2 hour lesson about various topics at the end. There was the Spirit though. I did have to stop a debate he was having with a Jehovah’s Witness by saying bye to the guy, though.(apparently they only celebrate wedding anniverseries and its amazing where a conversation on holidays leads to) The other Elder Johnson was with Elder Shaffer in our sector. Saturday morning we had a zone activity in the plaza of Puente Alto. We shined shoes and talked with people. I didn’t have my kit, and I was walking around with the other Elder Johnson(both inexperienced in Spanish) and we had a fun run-in with a drunk, so I didn’t get to shine any shoes. On Friday we had planning and such, and another zone activity (the Zone Leaders are going activity crazy!). We all gathered in Las Nieves (the Snows) and played sports in a park with various youth to get to know the youth in the area. I started divisions that night and on the way to the pension of Los Prados we ran into a little kid from San Francisco. He was crazy energetic and talked to us in English. Fun times. Nothing amazing happened on Thursday as far as I remember. And since I forgot my journal this week I’ll just go from specific memories now instead of days. This week we met a very interesting guy. He stopped us on the street and we talked. He told us how he was working against drugs in other countries but was out of work and stuff.He gladly took a pamphlet, and wanted a Book of Mormon, but for us to dedicate it and drop it off later. He also asked for some money to buy food for his kids. Later when we went by his house he showed us a newspaper article about how he had inflitrated an Evangelical church in Ecuador to expose corruption. He told us how he doesn’t take his family to any church because of corruption and all. He talked to us because he can get stuff published and was tired of hearing people bash on us because he has known lots of missionaries and that the Church helps people. He wanted the Book of Mormon to get the info from the source. He said he’d read it in 30 days so we’ll see what happens with him. He also said that in April he was going to Venezuala to get close, and expose to a guy that wants to get Venezuala and some other country against the United States, so we may be dealing with a legit spy here! He said he’d been in jail a lot, and that Ecuador had given him $30,000,000 but then jumped him and took it back as he was going home. Its all crazy! We had a couple of good lessons with Rosario, but she still hasn’t made it to church. If you remember the crazy family in Casas Viejas, well we learned that the brother of the mom had died by choking. We went to the viewing and there was the actual casket. We didn’t go look in. We tried to teach the mom because maybe she’d be a little bit less lazy now. Not really. One of the sons had his wife leave him, and something is wrong with his young daughter, and we taught him once, but not sure if anything will happen there either.

Hmm. Not much else I can remember without my journal.

I did hear about that earthquake in Haiti. It sounds pretty bad. Surprisingly I have yet to feel an earthquake here. They happen here but not that I’ve noticed(maybe they always happen when I’m on the bus)

I do remember Make Way for Ducklings, Mom. I liked that book when I was little, how could I forget? I noticed a sign for Where the Wild Things Are by the theater in this mall, is that out yet? [NOTE: I visited the Boston Public Gardens last week and described to Adam the duckling statue that pays homage to what was obviously one of Adam’s favorite childhood picture books!!]

So Chilean food. Well the thing is its not very amazing. Its like boring American food. Maybe the excess of beans is the only thing. We had a bean stew the other day with a squash they have here that is really big and orange on the inside.Not very exciting. I hear a lot about some corn dishes that we’ll start to have soon that are like tomales but just boring corn. Having tomates alone is pretty good, but again, not super exciting. Mexicans tend to suffer from the lack of flavor here compared to mexican food. No more blood sausage is all I’m glad for.

As far as changes go, well we’ll still see. There are no customary time limits on how long a missionary is in one area. 4 changes would not be weird though. It’s going to be interesting to be split from Elder Shaffer, but a new experience.

Well that’s all for this week. Keep writing! Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

January 11, 2010 letter from Elder Johnson

January 26th, 2010

Hola from Chile!

So I’ll start this email with an overview of my week. I brought my journal to remind me of things. At the end of Monday last week we had quite an interesting Family Home Evening with investigators. We were going to have a short lesson on the Gospel, and an activity with food, but it turned into a difficult lesson one. Fernando, the rocker investigator of the other Elders, was there, as were Ricardo’s daughters. Ricardo’s daughter’s are a lot like their mother in their Seventh Day Adventist views. It was quite interesting, but hopefully it was good for Fernando at least. On Tuesday we had Interviews with President. They were great. President challenged me to make mission goals, mid-range life goals, and life long goals, and to really ponder and pray about them. I’ve already started that process. President also made it obvious that it was likely Elder Shaffer would be changed our of this sector next change and I need to be ready to lead as the one in the sector the longest. This week we got a reference for a new woman with potential. Her name is Rosario(rosary English). She has some pretty humble circumstances. She actually reads what we leave her in the Book of Mormon, and we actually talk about specific parts. That doesn’t happen often because people don’t often pay attention to what they are reading, if they read. She says she’ll get baptized after she works out some of her faults. That’s pretty cool! But she didn’t make it to church for some reason. One day we had a pretty crazy experience. Elder Shaffer has some chemical imbalance that if he loses a good amount of blood, he faints(it happened twice while blood was taken for tests). So we were at an investigators house, and he was playing with the cat. It scratched his finger, and he almost fainted while the mom of the family cleaned up the wound. It would have been crazy if he had gone out. This past week a lot has been trying my patience. Things not going well, people not cleaning up after themselves(cook rice left in the pot, in a cupboard does not smell very good after awhile), and most of all the behavior of Elder Solis. I was not at all happy. Luckily some things going well, and the Priesthood sesson talk by President Monson about anger, all helped me get through it. Elder Solis still annoys me a bit, but I can handle it. On Friday we had an interesting lesson with an old couple we met in the park. They definitely did not understand anything we said. The husband would start where we said something but change the topic to just about anything somewhat religious related as he rambled on. The ironic thing was that he talked more despite sitting down and saying that we were there to teach them. We’ll see what happens with them. Saturday was an interesting day. In the morning we did a service project for a member. The hermano had been planning out this solar water heating system for seven years. It seemed like an over complicated design to me. We first dismantled part of the garage roof, then put a heavy metal frame(the frame being made of bigger bars than the structure of the garage) on his truck as he backed up for us to hoist it up on the roof and then down into the hole we made in the roof. I’ll send pictures of the project. That afternoon after lunch Elder Shaffer was having stomach pains. We tried to work but then went home for him to lie down for awhile. After he felt better we visited a few people, then went to the birthday party of the hermana that plays piano, is awesome and loves us so much that her birthday would be ruined if we didn’t come. There were a few ward members, and some friends and family of the hermana there. We ate well at least. On Sunday…wow another crazy day. First in the morning, Church. No one we are working with came except an inactive hermana we had found. God probably didn’t want them there for this. So the Bishop is back. He is in fact moving back. Obviously we’ve been without one because he needs to be bishop. But he was talking, and bearing his testimony, and talking about how he loves the ward, when an hermano stood up and was yelling at the bishop as he walked out. It had something to do with the bishop destroying his family. It was shocking to say the least. In reality the hermano isn’t that great of a guy family wise, and is living with a woman, not his wife, his third woman in fact. The Stake president talked next and it was generally a good sacrament meeting. Lunch on Sunday was amazing. Burgers…mmm. Anyways Sunday evening we had a Sector Slam…here! We went up and knocked in Casas Viejas. We all knocked the same street at a time, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. The contrast though came in how animated we all were, talking to everyone, some Elder’s playing a bit of soccer with kids on the street. We’ll find out how many new investigators we have tomorrow. As for us, we came across an inactive hermano during it. Elder Shaffer and I are in disagreement as to whether he is amazing or crazy. I think he has to much of a focus on little insignificant things of the scriptures. He studies the Book of Mormon and says he knows the church is true, but doesn’t come to church, which makes me wonder where his fault in thinking is. Today we had an activity of the zone. Soccer and hotdogs pretty much describes it.

That’s my week.

¡Felicitaciones hermano! That’s cool to hear about Ryan and Mariam getting married. Good luck with all the preparation and stuff. It’d be cool to be there but that’s alright.

So good luck on all your travels. Take care of Babe. I want to see her when I get home.

That’s all I can think of to write this week. Spanish is alright, progressing. I’ll translate with Mariam’s parents after the mission, don’t worry. Thanks for the email and the prayers. Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

January 4, 2010 letter from Elder Johnson

January 26th, 2010

Feliz año nuevo! (we heard that mostly before Jan 1st, then after we’ve just heard Feliz año)

Yes I am jealous of the weather up there in Wisconsin. I don’t know if you know, but the Porths sent me a card, and included pictures from Devil’s lake after the blizzard…so awesome. Unfortunately I have no time for hand writing letters today, and I left their card, with their email address, in the pension, but if you see them let them know I’m thankful for the card.

So the first week of my third change. Time is flying along. The new Elder in the pension is Elder Macias. He’s from the LA area. He is gringexican…in other words he speaks spanish and english about equal since his parents are Mexican. He’s been on the mission for some time and all. Elder Solis drives him crazy just like with Elder Osborne, but Elder Macias seems to have a different effect on Elder Solis…making him hysterical. So now we hear Elder Solis bursting out in really loud laughter.

Strangely enough, we didn’t have interviews this first week like we always do. We have them tomorrow. At zone class it was interesting though. About half the zone changed. A lot of sectors were whitewashed(in other words both elders are new to the sector), and we got several brand new missionaries. Another Elder Johnson is an example of a brand new. He is from Indiana. It’s going to be weird with so many new faces unlike last change…even a new zone leader(Elder Solis’ trainer in fact…small mission :P )

This last week we’ve been trying to find some news, and also setting a goal to get a Book of Mormon out every day to a good contact. We are pushing ourselves to do more street contacts. We had a pretty interesting contact with a man that we approached as he exited his car. He directed us over to some shade and we talked. He was very animated and very evangelical, but whenever we did get to give input he seemed good with it. It was really amazing to contact this man. He wasn’t sure why people called us Mormons, so we pulled out the Book of Mormon, and he did have any problems with that either. We gave it to him and talked some more. The one thing is that he lives out of the sector and only visits his mom occasionally. He has our number, and told us to look for his car by his moms house and he’ll definitely talk again. An Hermana who helps us a lot said she knows him, and that he is pretty dedicated. He told us how he was reading how the body is a temple in the Bible, and decided not to smoke or drink or stuff like that. Perfect! We hope something happens with him wherever he is. We had another door contact with a very opinionated man, who we also gave a Book of Mormon. His only question was whether we accept blacks…its so awesome to say “of course!” One door contact was before lunch and the woman came out and said politely that she was busy cooking. Then I wiped some sweat from my brow and she looked at me and said “You two must be hot, come in and have a soda.” So an example of the hot Chilean sun doing its part in missionary work.

Not much major progress with our investigators this week. Ricardo made it to church, but we think we’ll have to push back his baptism because he still can’t stay for all the meetings. We’re starting to teach Angela and Boris, the Kung-fu teachers again. Angela was still reading the Book of Mormon despite us not having a real lesson in weeks because they are so busy. We got an inactive hermana who smokes to a Relief Society activity. She walked really slowly. She didn’t get to church though. One night we were going up to visit an less active(the really unlucky guy who speaks english, Abraham) and we were stopped by this woman. She was talking really fast about something, and at first we thought we had upset her, but she was ranting about cars and rude drivers, then something else and something else and something else. She really did not breath. It was getting almost 10:00 and she just kept talking. She wasn’t mean, or angry at us, just wanted to talk about everything she had on her mind. We also talked to this inactive woman. She had joined the church with her husband eight years ago. They were a great couple and all. Something happened and she decided to go back to be catholic. She seemed like a spiritual person, and faithful, but when she was talking about the Church and her beliefs, I could just feel how she had lost things, and probably didn’t have a testimony in the first place. Sad.

We had a sector slam on Saturday in the sector Sotero del Rio(named after the Hospital Dr. Sotero del Rio…it looks really creepy when we pass it on the metro). Not much happened there, and we stayed in companionships since there were so many news to be split from their trainers. I can’t think of much else that happened this week. Church was alright, Elder Shaffer had to teach Gospel Principles since the teacher didn’t show up. We’re trying to pump ourselves up to reactivate tons of people this change. It would be amazing to leave this sector having helped a branch form in Casas Viejas. Its going to take a lot of member help though. I hope missionary work is pushing strong in Baraboo.

So Elder Macias is a great example of the Word of Wisdom…the do’s part. He was reading in the Book of Mormon, wondering how all the Nephites were ripped, and realized they followed the Word of Wisdom. He now eats whole grain crackers with honey. Oat and honey granola bars. And fruit. except at lunch, which is just what they give us(a lot of rice and varying, not exciting meats). Anyways he is the only one of us to wake up not dead in the morning, and he never really feels very hungry. So we’re going to try and follow his example. Since I’m so hungry at night, mom I was wondering if you could look up the best foods to eat right before bed so not to interrupt sleep. I’ve got oatmeal and such now and no more chicken at night. We’re also going to buy two watermelons a day to eat at night together as a pension.

Today we got permission to go to the mall to look for a bag for me. We didn’t find a good, formal, small bag for me to use yet. I’ll keep looking(and maybe mom you can look online for something good, but don’t buy anything) on preparation days. It always feels like I’m back in the states at that mall. Especially since we had Subway for lunch(good except the cheese was pretty much not).

Not much else that I can think of to write today. Elder Shaffer brought his journal along to help remember, so maybe I’ll start doing that too. Happy New Year again. Les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson

December 28 2009 letter from Elder Johnson

January 3rd, 2010

Hola!

So this last week has seemed so long, yet so short…So I’ll start from the beginning.

First of all Monday night we talked with Ricardo. He had loved Sacrament meeting, but told us the next Sunday he had to travel and couldn’t come, so we changed his date to the 10th of January, we still hope with him. Then Tuesday we got up early, and we went to the Plaza of Puente Alto, in sports clothes(that felt odd to be out like that), to get on a bus for a park. At the park we played sports, ate food, but most of all talked. I got to talk with Elder Maxfield, Elder Page, and Hermana McDaniels again…it was great. Then we went to a stake center to change into suits and such and we took a mission picture…that was a hassle. After that we had lunch which was alright. We watched a slideshow of mission pictures and such. We went in the Chapel and various Elders talked about the Christmas traditions in their country, then President Laycock talked about how Christmas traditions testify of Christ. It was all quite interesting. After that we watch A Christmas Carol, the version we always watch, and it was in English with Spanish subtitles so it was enjoyable. They gave us little packages with a letter from our families, a Christmas card from the First Presidency, some other stuff, and a book President and Sister Laycock wrote called “Gathering Christmas”.

On Wednesday we had our Zone Christmas activity at a nearby stake center. There were lots of members and investigators there…except from our ward…We had talks and songs. I sang in a group for The First Noel, and our own rendition of Carol of the Bells, as well as all the gringos singing Rudolf the Red-nose Reindeer in English. Some cool pieces like a guitar duet between Elder Barnwell and Fernando, the investigator of Elder Osborne and Elder Solis who is awesome, playing Away in a Manger.

On Thursday we had zone class like we usually do on Tuesday, it was a good one. I got a package from home, and the one from Grandpa Gene and Grandma Treas. The 24th is when Chileans do most stuff. They had a big dinner and such with their get-togethers, and then open presents at midnight. We at first went to Fernando’s house with the other Elders and helped them cook a bit but then we left and went to the second councilor of the Bishoprics house, with his wife, newborn, and his parents all there. It was good, cozy. They had us sing a Christmas hymn in English and we read some scriptures. The second councilor and his wife sang us Silent Night in a native language of Paraguay, where they both served a mission, it was cool, and I got a video I’ll try to send. We had a bit of dessert but had to be home before they ate. We came home and we sang a few Christmas songs together and went to bed.

Christmas day, well we got the phone call from home, nothing particularly crazy for Chileans that day.

On Saturday we went to help a member demolish a shack. It was a piece of junk and filled with rincons(which means corner…in this case is the Corner Spider..or Chilean Recluse), nasty and giant and scary as heck…If you get bitten it leaves a permanent black mark where it killed the skin, and you need to get to the hospital in a few hours. We just dismantled the shack and pretty much left it in the already junk ridden yard.

Church yesterday was alright. No investigators came but Paulina made it and the mother of a less active family finally made it with her kids. Nothing particularly exciting. It was the last day of changes so we were informing investigators and members as we passed by. Interestingly enough the last person we talked to before going home was Paulina. She was the last person we talked to my first night in Chile before going home. I got this feeling for sure I would change because of that. Well we planned and all and waited for the call. Unexpectedly it came. The Assistant first informed us that Elder Shaffer was staying, then informed us that I was staying. We were really excited! But then we heard Elder Osborne was leaving. We helped him pack, and wrote in his transfer journal. Sad times. Elder Solis has a new companion, and Elder Osborne is now in the office working on office stuff.

And so we’re happy to still be in this sector together and we’re looking forward to working hard. It’ll be awesome. Not much else to say this week. It was great talking to some of you on the phone. We’ll talk again Mother’s day I guess. Time for a new change(we already reorganized the pension!). Les amo!

Elder Adam Johnson

December 21, 2009 email from Elder Johnson

January 3rd, 2010

[Editorial comments in brackets by Adam’s mom]

Hola Feliz Navidad!

So I got the package last Tuesday that you sent mom. With the Reeses and spagettios and such. I was wondering if its alright if I open one tie a day leading up to Christmas?

So this week will be interesting. We have our mission activity tomorrow, which will be good. They just told us some instructions today so I’m not sure entirely what will happen. Should be cool to see Elder Page, Maxfield and Hermana McDaniels again though [They are his friends from the MTC] (Elder Maxfield nor his trainer weren’t at mission conference so something weird happened with organization there). Then on Wednesday our zone is putting on a stake Christmas activity. We’re going to have some short little talks between musical numbers. Our Carol of the Bells acapella piece that we put together in like 20 minutes will be awesome. I’ll try to get video. Thursday is Christmas eve. For Chileans thats the big day…well night. They do most of their stuff like presents and a big dinner(Dinner is not common at all so this is the one time they have a big one) and everything Thursday night. We have permission to be out until 11 PM in a members home, and we’re still trying to decide between the awesome family with the piano playing super spiritual temple going mom, the ordained seventy, stake secretary dad, and the return missionary married couple with newborn(we love this family a lot) or the ward mission leaders house which we just saw for the first time yesterday(it was pretty cool house for this sector) and we were promised pizza there. Anyways we’ll have fun there. Then Christmas day is for Chileans just a day to like sleep and stuff. For us we get to talk to our families!

So, Mom, for that whole audio letter thing I was suggesting that you email the file to me. I have several options to listen to it once I get it. mp3 or wav format or both would work. but I wouldn’t mind having another sd card, but there is no point if i can save my pictures on my USB…if you sent by sd card itd need to be wav format. I tried talking into my cameras sound recorder while writing in my journal as a audioletter/journal thing…I’m not going to send the file but I’ll hang on to it and maybe try it again. It kept me from writing more.

BTW mom, you can probably find the audio/music from the Christmas Devotional on the lds.org website for free without having to buy any cd…just not great quality.

So this last week. Well our zone got all mixed up and stuff. With missionaries going home in the middle of the change(so they don’t miss three Christmases) some Elders were taken out, one went home, two sectors were combined, and Districts all changed up. We’re back with Elder Osborne as our district leader again, which makes reporting easier. Nothing super crazy this week. We’ve been working on some of the people with potential to be baptized this week. As the 2nd councilor(hes the son from the awesome family I mentioned up there) in the bishopric(we still lack a bishop) suggested, we are trying to make friends with Pedro a bit more so he’ll at least be willing to go to church with us. We played Uno with him. We think we’ll have to definitely drop him at the end of the month since he didn’t come to church still. Angela and Boris still have potential since they are so awesome but so busy. Did I mention they are Kung-Fu teachers? And Deyanira seems more hard hearted. Her mom said that she doesnt want to continue with the gospel right now. Its quite sad. With the other people we’re teaching, we found a new who seems to have potential. Cristina. We’ll see where that goes. Ricardo made it to church! He could only come for the first hour, but thats progress. His work is still a problem. According to him he is the only person his boss can trust with his job and Sundays are so busy. He may have to quit. We talked with Paulina’s sister again, Veronica. She says she wants to, but has work in the way, and busy with her daughters, and we’re not sure she totally gets it, but we keep trying. Our Sunday lesson with Paulina was good,(because of the job she got Sunday is her only free day) even though she missed her first Sunday after her confirmation…ugh. On Saturday there was a ward activity. It was for the primary mostly. They put us as missionaries/ward mission leader in charge ofpart. We showed Mr Kruegers Christmas(so weird in Spanish without Jimmy Stewarts voice) and I testified about showing love like Christ. We then had this weird like joke gift thing that evolved from White Elephant that Elder Osborne suggested to some weird thing invented by the Ward mission leader and Elder Solis(ah Latins). Elder Osborne and Elder Solis still have problems which is hard to watch. The Relief Society made dolls for all the primary girls, and the Priesthood made little sail boats for all the primary boys. Then lots of food.

Sunday was a crazy day as well. We stopped by several people but only Ricardo made it to church. I had a really hard time staying awake in Sacrament Mtg this week. After words things just started going crazy. First this woman from like Canada was trying to talk to me in really fast Spanish that I didn’t understand, then she talked in English and such and then we were called into a room with the 1st councilor, the Relief Society President, and the father of a family we often have lunch with on Sundays, where the father told us how offended he was that we played with his dogs while eating. It totally confused us. Then we had to deal with the baptismal font for San Jose to have a baptism, and also the 1st councilor was so confused why we recieved 80 of the new Gospel Principles books and none of the Teachings of the Prophets books and so we called our zone leader to find out that in fact the Gospel Principles books were going to be used for everyone, and it was all hectic!

Anyways not much else this week. Its been getting steadily hotter, but thankfully today(my half birthday :D ) is the longest day of the year(right?) so the sun won’t stay up as late and we’ll get more shade.

Thanks for the money in my account, Dad. I’m going to look for a bag. The bag I got in the MTC is too big and will get me jumped, and the bag they gave us the first day here has a hole, and just a bit too small for my liking. So when I can I’ll find a new one. I’m probably not going to look for rain gear until April when supposedly it’ll rain again.

My clothes are fitting fine still. I guess I’m tan, I don’t know.

Have a fun Christmas eve and all. I’ve seen ads for that Princess and the Frog thing, but I guess dad will survive. Also at McDonalds I saw ads for the Avatar movie…how does Rob feel about that one? Lol, anyways I’ll talk to you all on Christmas. [The Johnson Family tradition is to go to a movie and go out to dinner on Christmas Eve. This year we are going to go see the new Disney movie since we have a lot of little girls and no big boys in our midst!]

To everyone else, have a Merry Christmas! I hope you all remember what Christmas is for. Though we know its not the literal birthday of Christ, we should remember it nonetheless. Its a good time to reflect on how we treat other people. I know that Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love. I know that He Lives, and that men can be saved, and can have joy, through His infinite and eternal Atonement. And really that’s why this will be my first Christmas away from home, because I want to be His Disciple, and go and invite others to the joy of His Gospel. Él les ama, y yo les amo.

Elder Adam Johnson