Wednesday, March 27, 2013

She's in CHILE!

I came home from a long day of Easter prep to an email from Alex's mission office... and just HAD to post this awesome photo of Alex... fresh off the plane and her letter!

Pres. Essig, Hermana Johnson, and Hermana Essig.

Apparently she was very tired because she wrote her "Letter to her family" to just me... but I told everyone that was just her being punchy from the trip!  Here is her letter home from her first day in Chile!!!

She sounds positive! We probably wont hear from her again until Monday... which is her P-day.

I'm a happy Mama!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

3 day's 'til CHILE!

Today's the day! The sun is shining, we're packing for Chile, and I am getting out of...!?!? We're packing for Chile!? (that Nemo refrence is for Kira. She will appreciate it). But to be completely serious. The day is coming! I'm getting ready to head off to Chile and I just can't believe it!! I mean honestly. It feels like I just UNpacked yesterday. It's basically phenomenal that the time went by so fast. Who woulda thunk?
     Let's see. What happened THIS week? I had a "doubt bomb" hit me pretty hard at the beginning of the week. I just kept thinking about how I couldn't do it and whatnot. It was hard to remember FAITH/FEAR. And then my teacher magically happened to call on me to share a scripture. I read Helaman 5:12. Shabam. Instant sobbing. The thing is that I KNOW I have a testimony of this gospel and I KNOW that I am here and it's the best place I could POSSIBLY be. It's just hard sometimes to think about how hard it really is. Because it really is the hardest thing I've ever done. But I know. And I just have to REMEMBER that I know. I decided that I wanted to leave the MTC with three things (surprisingly none have to do with the language...)
     1. I want to do everything I can to understand my purpose as a missionary.
     2. I want to leave everything behind.
     3. I want to be truly committed to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. TRULY COMMITTED.
      Everyone needs to read a couple talks: Cast not away therefore your confidences by Jeffery R. Holland...maybe I already told you to read that one. If I did, oh well. It's a favorite. Read it again. The other ones are Mountains to Climb by Elder Eyring, Quick to Observe by Elder Bednar, and last but absolutely not least, is the First Great Commandment by Elder Holland. READ THEM.
     Now. On to a few buisness items. Mom. This is mostly for you...and the family obviously. I DO NOT HAVE A LAYOVER IN ATLANTA. (She actually does... which is pretty funny. The MTC had a communication error with the travel Dept. because while the flight number stays the same she has to change planes and has a three hour layover.) When I got your letter If was super excited. But I talked to the travel office. Whoever you talked to was wrong. I fly STRAIGHT to Santiago. I WILL be calling you from Salt Lake after I go through security. That is the plan. I don't have any other choice right now. I had the travel office check twice so it's not like I'm just ignorant haha. Yea. I don't know what you were talking about per-say but that's the jist. I bought a calling card with several minutes so I'll just talk to you on the phone for a good amount of time from SLC. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Also! APPARENTLY! Sometimes Chile makes you pay a tax when you land. $160 tax. The travel office called all of us in and we all got 160 dollars in cash to pocket because if they charge us for the tax I'm going to have to pay them from my debit card. SO. FYI. I would suggest NOT taking all that money out of my account JUST yet. Just in case. Juuuuusst in case. They'll reimberse me for my bags at the mission home, but I'm paying for THAT in cash.
     We had In-Feild orientation yesterday. That was super refreshing! There was a "play" ..performance type thing, I don't know what it was exactly, but this guy asked me to be in it. So I was! There were only three missionaries who could be in it...and I was the only sister missionary. KACHOW. I got a gold star. Can't get more legit than that.
     More than I thought while here at the MTC, I realized what Mom's example taught me: FAITH to FIND. Remember when you always told me to go get you your rice bag and I'd be like "it's not theeerre!" and you'd say, verbatum: "you have to LOOK WITH FAITH that it's there!" Let's just say that I've applied this principle to basically everything. Faith that I find the words. Faith that I can find people. Faith that I can find myself. I also realized what Dad's example taught me: It's not about the fishing spot, it's more about the fisherman. I've really taken that to heart too. I can be anywhere, and if I work hard enough then I will be blessed...and I'll probably catch some fish to! (get it?)
     Anyways. I'm absolutely thrilled to be here. I'm so ready to serve the people in Chile. I've grown so much and I can't imagine how much more I will grow. It's amazing.

Te Ama!
Hermana Johnson

PS. I saw you changed my picture on!!! You sneak haha.

PPS. The (edited to not reveal before it's marketed) stamp is absolutely GORGEOUS. I feel very honored:)

PPPS: I GOT THE CUPCAKES! I got them today cause the package was late. We're going to have a party tonight:) I'm stoked! These things are like the BESTEST! LOVE. Thank you so much for such a fun treat! ALSO. I opened the one present I could last night after class. I loved the earings! They were sooo pretty! And they'll go with things too! THANK YOU!
PPPPS....(I have like a bajillion of these things I swear) The pacakge I got before the cupckaes was AWESOME. ...and the pretzel rolls were seriously the best food I've had here at the MTC hahahaha.....that's funny right there. Funniest part? ...I'm not lying.

Now... the photos...

With her friend, Elder Richens.

Bellingham friend... Elder Zach Mumford 
Sister Kyla Mayberry

Las Hermanas de Chile! 

Hermana Smith, Hermana Johnson, Hermana Howell, Hermana Severtson, and Hermana Richins

Alex's branch President. Don't know his name.

Los Elders de Chile Santiago Norte... Elder Bigelow and Elder Leavitt

Friday, March 15, 2013

Guess who got their travel plans?!

 As you can see by the title that's my SUPER big news of the week! It's REALLY happening! I'm on my way to NINE DAYS! I can't believe it. Time at the MTC is so weird. It feels like I've been here for an eternity....AND it feels like I just got here yesterday. We call it the MTC time warp. Anyways. I'm attaching a picture of my travel plans. The flight in June is a back-up in case I don't get my visa...but I don't think that will happen. I'm super excited. It's just weird to think that it's all actually happening ya know! I don't have ANY layovers. Just a straight flight from Salt Lake to Chile. It's only about 13-14 HOOOOUUUURRS! My goodness gracious! I'm counting on SLEEPING a little bit that's for sure! My flight is at 1pm and I report to the travel office at 10am. SO. Mom: I will plan on buying a calling card and calling you as SOON as I get through security and before boarding. I suspect that will be at anywhere from 11-12. Probably just be honest. The don't give me much time to call unfortunately...BUT do NOT send a pre-paid phone. They specifically told us that those suckas are NOT allowed. No no. BUT I'M STOKED!!! CHILE ES LO MAXIMO!! ...I hate that I can't do accents on this computer. Lame. 
     Our first investigator, Taylor, agreed to baptism two weeks ago. So that was kind of exciting! One of our new investigators, her name is Laura. We went and knocked on the door, tried to talk to her for a bit, and then SLAM! Door in the face. At first I was like ...."what. just. happened?!" THEN I was like "WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THIS IT'S FLIPPIN AMAZING!!!" ...then we prayed and tried again. We set up an appointment and have been teaching her ever since. It was a shocking experience, but probably good prep as well. When we taught her it went amazing. The spirit was so strong. I started saying the first vision in Spanish and just about lost it. ..okay. I kinda did lose it. I got half way through and then gave her the pamphlet to read the rest of it. We really got to know her and have really been teaching to her needs. 
     My health is still doin great! ...I got a bit of a cold which is really only a stuffy nose. I'm doing great health wise though! Probably thanks to all the prayers! 
     My teacher talked about trusting the Lord...and the Lord trusting US. He talked about how trust requires two things: competency and honesty. Of course I was thinking of Dad as we talked about this. Dang he's good. But it's so true. The Lord knows I have the ABILITY to do this and BELIEVES that I WILL do it as well. It's a blessing to think about it in that way:) 
     We've heard from Elder Aidukaitis and Elder Johnson from the 70. I think I forgot to tell you that...but now I am haha! 
     UNCLE CAM! That dude sent me a package from Germany! What a surprise! And what fun haha! I opened it KACHOW! German chocolate galore! So I shared with my district...stingy shared. I wrote him a quite thank you letter but tell him how much I appreciated it will ya! And thanks for the package mom! ...I've been good and haven't opened the letter or the present, but I'd just like to say that it's killing me. Also that IS funny. We practically just swapped treats. Cracked me up too:) Bien hecho mama!!
     I hate food now. Seriously. The MTC food is sooo old and monotonous. And I swear it's just....bluck. NOT THAT I'M NOT GRATEFUL! I'm glad I'm being fed! ...but I think if I didn't know it was important to eat, I would've stopped a while ago. I'm eating healthy stuff though. Cause....yea. Figure that's a good idea. The boys in my zone found a scripture to describe the food. Jeremiah 4:19. Might get a crack out of THAT ONE!
     I helped host and it was so cool to be on the other side. So many sweet girls! WAHOO for sister missionaries! 
     ...speaking of which! HANNAH! If you didn't read any of this, you need to read this part. I sent you a letter but I forgot this part: I want to tell you that serving a mission really is the greatest choice I've EVER made. It's ...legit. Seriously. I think a semester of school would be good but you have to keep in mind that IF you choose that, you might not get to go on a mission. Ya just too cute. 
     As for the's still hard. It really is. It's frustrating and I just want it to flow but I feel like I have to dig for all my words! Yet I know that I can't do it on my own. That only through the atonement, and only by submitting my will to His will will I be able to do that. I'm already on a mission, so I'm already on the right path. But I just gotta keep trying. I also know that it's not about translating with my mind, but about translating with the HEART. Following the Savior's example and God's plan isn't always easy. But I do know that it is ALWAYS better. 
     My favorite scriptures for the week include: Mosiah 2: 21-24 ...ish. And preach my gospel said something about how gifts come from God and to have confidence in HIM and not yourself. That REALLY hit home. Also. You should watch the talks: What is Truth by Elder Uchtdorf and The First Great Commandment by Jeffrey R. Holland. Plus, if you can send me those that would be FANTASTIC. Top two favorite talks right now.
     I'm so excited and I'm so blessed. SO blessed! y...yo se que esta iglesia es la iglesia de Jesucristo y es verdadero. Yo se que Jose Smith fue un profeta y fue llamo de Dios. Yo se cristo vive y yo se que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial....El nos ama. Por medio Jesucristo, podemos vivir con Dios de nuevo. Yo se que Dios llama profetas para ensenar Su Evangelio...y yo se que Thomas S. Monson dirige la iglesia hoy en dia. 
Dios y Jesucristo se aparecieron a Jose Smith y que Dios restauro la plenitud del Evangelio por conducto de Jose Smith y el tradujo las planchas por el poder de Dios. El Libro de Mormon contiene la plenitud del Evangelio de Jesucristo y yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero y es la palabra de Dios. 
Nuestro objectivo en la vida es hallar paz gozo y felicidad duraderos como familias y preparanos para regresar a vivir con Dios....y! Por medio Jesucrist, todos es posible! 
     Sorry for the lack of accents...hopefully it makes sense! Tambien, Le extrano! y Te ama! 
         Hermana Alex Johnson

The District!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The life of a missionary

     Long time no see! ...or talk. Lame. But that's the life of a missionary! You know what else is the life of a missionary? Saying things like "that's totally going in my journal!" and "wow. Satan is RUDE." Oh! And being crazy enough to study Spanish for 8 hours a day. Yep. That's what I do here. I'm going to send you a picture of my schedule because...oh you will see. It's pretty intense. Language study: obvious what we do there. Class: same thing. TALL: same thing but on the computer. Learning the gospel in Spanish is my life. It's also like the hardest thing that I've ever done...and I love it. Overall, it's what I expected. Not to this extent, but I figured it would be just like this. 
     I met the with branch president for a little bit because my companion and I were both having a hard time with the language. One day it just hit me how hard this is and how FRUSTRATED I was because I was spending sooo much time focused on the language but I didn't feel like I was getting ANYWHERE! But here's the thing. I know, that although I seriously suck at Spanish right now, it doesn't matter because I know my purpose and I'm doing EVERYTHING I can to fulfill it. Hermana Koth and Hermano Walton are me teachers. Hermano Walton is more like...just teach them the rules and expect them to get it. Hermana Koth has ADD and she's HILARIOUS. She always has us play games and do things to help us remember what we're doing and what not. She told us that when we teach, she can see that we know our purpose and are trying our very best. She seemed impressed that we figured it out so fast. It meant a lot. 
And the other thing, the MTC is sooo much easier if I'm not COMPARING myself to others. How good or bad I am at something compared to someone else. It's what I bring. I was thinking about how the chapel in our church isn't all fancy. There's not even pictures in it or anything! And I GET WHY now. It's because it represents what YOU BRING to church. It was a cool realization actually. 
     And Allie left me a note ...the exact day that I needed it most. What a tender mercy of the Lord! 
Life in general at the MTC is pretty cool. Friday's (p-day's), Tuesday's (devotional), and Sunday's (walk, devotional, church) are all the best days. They're refresher day's. Our week is pretty balanced so it's cool. 
I've gone to the temple three times now, excluding the temple walk, which I'll upload pictures of. It's SOOOOO good. Such a spirit:) 
     We're hosting on the 13th and the 20th, which is gonna be totally legit. We just got a new district in our zone too. I played ball with them yesterday (speed, because I can't play an ACTUAL game...LAME). Some of them are BALLERS haha. ..but I got lots of them out. There's always Elder Shaum who almost ALWAYS wins though. Also lame. 
     My wrist is doing sooo well actually but whatever. Now. For the news you've been waiting for: My mono update! Well. I went into the doctors office on Monday. My throat had been feeling better, and I hadn't been as tired. After he looked he told me he was SOOO impressed with the recovery results!!! No spots. Not as red. And my tonsils aren't swollen  I'm probably still contagious...for like the next few months... but it's not like I've been sharing drinks...or ...yea. So that's the gist. I'm doing GREAT! In other words, I KICKED MONO'S BUTT! Shabam!
     The MTC president talked to me. That's right...doin a happy in-your-face dance right now. HA. It was pretty cool. Just for a couple minutes but he talked to me first. No big deal. 
     I got your package:) Thanks a bajillion!!! 
...and I also got a package from Unfortunately, It wasn't REALLY for me. It was addressed to Alex Johnson. And it had yummy cookies. But I don't know anyone from Salt Lake named Bauklenhaof...or SOMETHING like that. So I gave it back. ...but right when I gave it back I got my package from you anyways so it was totally cool haha.
     Just wanted to thank everyone for all the prayers and support. I know I couldn't have gotten better so fast without it. makes the hard days better, and the easy days easier. Thank you so much. I literally RAN OUT OF WALL SPACE I've gotten so many letters. I might have to claim the ceiling or something haha. You're all in my thoughts and prayers. Te amo! 
Hermana Alex Johnson


Hermana Johnson and Hermana Richins.

Alex's district at the Provo Temple

Alex said that she LOVES her companion!

Apparently THESE are the Chile Santiago North Missionaries in her District.

Con Los Elders

Her Killer MTC schedule

At the devotional... apparently these are great seats.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Blood test... say WHAT?!

Oh heeeeyyy! It's me. I'm still alive. 
Where to begin, where to begin!? 

Well first off, you wanted to hear about my first day at the MTC? Well here's some of my journal entry from that day: 
     I did it! I made it through my first day at the MTC! Yep. And boy am I exhausted. But you know what else? I feel like I'm at HOME. Like my whole life, this is where I was supposed to least for a while. Today, the introduced us to "the life" by having us participate in a teaching experience. People were commenting but it just didn't feel quite right. Then a sister said the perfect thing. She talked about how she left her home to come teach the investigator and the investigator said he felt his heart beat fast, in a way he hadn't before. So when someone made a comment about the Holy Ghost, the investigator was confused. So finally I said, "that feeling you felt..the one that made your heart beat fast, that was the spirit telling you that what she was saying was true." He really liked that. Got a first smile out of him. We did another one just a little bit later, and we were explaining the great apostasy so I used moms glass analogy with the strings being cut and the glass falling to pieces. He loved that. And a sister came up and was like "imma use that on my miiission!" And I was like "cool! Go for it gurl!" yep."
Anyways. I remember loving my first day, but I remember being REALLY tired. To say the least...And I remember feeling humbled. Already. Funny cause in these whole two weeks I really do feel humbled. ALL THE TIME. Which is funny because I didn't think I was gonna need any "humbling"...which is ironic and prophetic for obvious reasons. 
     The food here is nasty. Yep. ...I guess there's no hair in it...I hear I'm gonna have a LOT of that in Chile. BLUCK. (actually to think about it, there was a hair in my salad once...) Anyways it's gross. That's all. 
     BIG NEWS OF THE DAAAYY!!! That sore throat I had? Well on Sunday it was bad. Oh. And I had white spots on my throat. Bad? I thought so. But there was no one here so they called the doc and he told me to take iBprophen and garggle salt water (nasty). So I did that. Immediately on Tuesday morning we went into the doctors. He tested me for strep and mono. The lady that tested me for them was really bad at taking my blood, but I didn't yell or get mad...and I only cried a little. There's a big bruise on my arm from where she did it though. No bueno. Anyways. Results came back. Not strep. Went back later that guessed it. Guess what I got at the MTC!?!?!? MONO. What the heck!?!? For the record, I PROMISE I haven't been TOUCHING boys, let alone kissing them! The doctor said that it's actually really common here at the MTC. LAME. He said I'm one of the unfortunate cases that caught it cause someone decided to sneeze on me like my first day. RUDE. That's just rude. I'm okay now, but I'm not even allowed to play sports cause they don't want my splien to rupture.'s weird. I did get a blessing though. And he said that I will be better in time to go to Chile. I just take iBprophen all throughout the day, and I've had to go take a nap in the middle of the day once. He told me that I'm going to have to do that on occasion. My companion is good at that. She's the one who tells me to sleep. BUT ALL IS WELL. Promise. I'm being exactly obedient with EVERYTHING. Seriously. Schedule, gym, class time, white handbook, and even doc's orders (which really sucks cause I just want to play bball at gym...but I have to RUN!) gah..
     I'll email the girls AND write them today. But tell Hannah CONGRATS! Also tell her she should probably go on a mission. It's like the most legit decision she could ever make. Oh and if she doesn't she's gonna get married. In two weeks #mormongirltothemax...
     I got the package!!! There was even a little hole so Mater could breathe! That's what we call awesomeness. Thank you sooo much! Everything has come in handy. And I shared a couple Hi-Chews with my district cause...well you sent like a BAJILLION. My companion loves the nutella;). We have parties. With the nutella. Cause that's just what we do here at the MTC. I showed them your card too and everyone thought it was cuuute! Elder Bigelow was impressed! And the pictures! I put lots of them up! And everyone in my district was like CUTE! your family! ...yep.
    HEY! D&C 64. Revelation given on September 11. Read vs. 9-11. You'll see what I'm gettin at. Pretty cool! 
    Wanna hear who spoke at devotional on Tuesday? ELDER BALLARD. oohhhhh yea. It was WAY cool. I'm running out of time but one of my favorite parts was that he talked about trusting the Lord, and as we trust him and further rely on him, he does the same for us. And he told us to be confident. 
     I love you all! SOOO much! My walls are plastered with your letters and pictures. And Cars stickers (uh DUH) but seriously. You guys are amazing! 
Con amor, 
Hermana Alex Johnson 

Mom requested a photo to see my tag on me!

She hates being on the top bunk... looks like she's happy!

Happy to get a package from Mom with her Mater Pillow Pal. I'm glad she has it now for her mandatory naps!

Putting good use to the photos that Mom ordered through Shutterfly.
Letters... the new wallpaper!

Elder Laws & Elder Pauni

Apparently this is how Alex remembers the Spanish days of the week!