Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A little extra light

To start off, I´ll answer your questions! ...after that I´m guessing that my letter is going to be really incoherent haha.

I was gonna ask YOU if you´d watched the broadcast yesterday, but woohoo!! I learned a lot from yesterday and everything that they shared really meant a LOT. One thing that stuck out to me was the soccer analogy. There´s a lot of ¨"positions" out here in the mission field, and maybe I´m just not meant to play forward. I´m in the defensive position maybe...I´m not the ONE person that has to score the goal. I don´t know, it just hit home for me thinking about it like that. We have a LOT of less actives here in Chile, and suddenly we´ve had lots of them coming to church with us....people that haven´t come to church in literally YEARS...and it´s amazing. And I´m happy...but sometimes it´s discouraging because we don´t have many people who are being baptized...but honestly, it´s okay. I know what my position is right now. And whatEVER my position is, I´m gonna play it well.
The ward here, lo marcoleta, is awesome. We have a great ward mission leader and bishop, leaders in general really, and they´re all willing to help us. Our ward mission leader is very organized and is always talking with the ward council to help us. We are VERY close with the ward now, and we continue to grow closer with them. They love us, want to help us, and we find every opportunity we can to help them. We are now five sisters in this ward.  Hermana Molina (de Chile), and Hermana Acosta (de Peru) and us. They´re both really great, and they´re working hard. It was a little frustrating at first because they took half of the ward to work in...but that half has every single recent convert, and at LEAST half of our investigators. So we had to back track a bit to get a good new start for this change. But so far it´s going well. We had a LOT of less actives in the church yesterday, and we´ve had Family Home Evenings with them, they´ve started coming to activities...and some even are helping us in the missionary work!! It´s been really amazing. 

I still haven´t got your package....I´m hoping that it exists haha. If she got it to the office I SHOULD get it tomorrow in District Meeting. 

I´m staying way warm at night. It´s a little hard to get up some mornings when you wake up and can see your breath in your room...but I´m surviving. I haven´t had to ask for another blanket, and I still just sleep with my one blanket. If it gets colder maybe I´ll ask for another blanket, but I could also put on some more clothes as I still sleep in my bball shorts and T-Shirts.  

My health is doing great. I haven´t had much issues this week...just poppin pills every morning. 

Tell Ella how much I LOVED her letter! It was so absolutely adorably precious. It´s in my PMG and it meant the world to me to get it. I printed it out and showed it to my companions who just thought it was ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE haha. 

Tell Hannah and Pepper that they´re slackers for not writing me and that they should probably pick up the pace or what would be nice to HEAR from them!!

As for the card, I´m just gonna end up sending it home. Apparently it´s a common issue here in Chile cause ...I don´t actually know. But it happens a lot. The GOOD thing is everyone manages to recover their pics when they get home to the US...So I´m thinking I´ll just send it home with Hermana Edwards.

I can´t believe that it´s almost time for trek! And that you guys are done with school...and´s honestly just weird to think about. But it´s cool too. 

We had some fun rain here. It wasn´t anything bad at all, a sprinkle, but it smelt like Anacortes and it was a weird blessing from God. 

As you can imagine the food here is different. There are a lot of things that I absolutely LOVE ...and things that are just meh. ...things that I miss from the US, and things I KNOW I´m gonna miss here in Chile. But a couple of days ago I had the unfortunate experience to try palm tree. No. It was not good, and no, I will not be eating it again. There are also random types of cheese that litterally taste like moldy tofu...that made me´s pretty gross. But overal I like the food here. What´s REALLY funny is that the people here think that something is spicy when it´s NOT. (and they think that gringos eat really bland food haha...). One time I put hot sauce on something, I can´t even remember what it was, and the woman was like "what are you doing!? That stuff is really spicy!!" I tried it, and it had like no flavor. I doubled the amount I put on before, and she just looked at me like I was crazy haha. 

I rescued a cat from the roof! It took a long time, and I was completely covered in soot afterwards, but I rescued him! ....then when I got home I realized that I´d lost my name tag. When we finally went back to where I like...KNEW it was, we found it, but my dork dot and another sticker had been taken off by some slobber mouth kid...and the magnet back is missing so I can´t USE it...but at least I HAVE it! 

I FELT my first earthquake here in Chile. Apparently we have them a lot here. Like A LOT more than I thought, but we were in a lesson with Marcela and BAM everything was just was like 5 seconds or something, but it took me a bit to realize what was actually going on. It was cool...cause nothing happened, but it sure was strong! 

Chile has one thing that the US really doesn´t have. They´re like gas stations without the gas...haha. About every block there are little stores that sell random things, often candy and snacks, sometimes ice cream....BREAD. And then there are others that are more like mini hole in the wall restaurants. Imagining that there are a LOT you can also imagine how different everyone is...and that of COURSE we have to try a LOT of things. Well, both I and Hermana Ceccon are great fanatics of french fries. I have some awesome news for you! After searching long and hard, we have found the best french fries in town! Not only that, but we go there every so often. And guess what? They love us haha. We pay them just a little bit extra and they give us a whole MONGO PLATE of fresh french fries. We went one time and decided to order a little less and they asked us ... why so little?! haha. We leave them little thank you notes and stuff. It´s pretty cool. 

We´re working really hard and focusing in on how we can improve every day. I can see a change in our companionship already and It´s honestly amazing to me all the blessings that I´ve been able to see, ESPECIALLY as I´ve been more obedient. 

I love this gospel, and I love the work. I´m praying for you all and hoping that you´re helping the missionaries in EVERY way that you possibly can!!! 

Siempre con amor, 
Hermana Alex Johnson

Monday, June 17, 2013

Staying in Quilicura!

I´ve completed four months in the mission. Crazy right!? Honestly a little weird to think that after this transfer I´m going to be a third of the way done with my mission. Actually REALLY weird. 
Ready to hear what happened this transfer???? You will be happy to know that I am using the same lame computer that we used the last four weeks, HERE IN QUILICURA. Not ONE of us had to leave Quilicura, which is absolutely awesome. When we found out we all jumped around and...well we broke something but that´s not important. It´s awesome! ..that we´re still here not that we broke something haha. So yea! My first transfer that I didn´t ...well...transfer!

My health is going great. I didn´t have an ear infection or anything like that...It´s actually has to do with how bad the atmosphere is here. We have an unbelievable amount of smog here....and the SMOKE. It´s really gross. But it´s damaging my ears and giving me headaches so I have to buy some meds for that and what not. But overall I´m feelin good. I´m not sick and my ankle had one bad day this week, but I´m rockin it haha. 

As for the money card, I´m honestly indifferent. I don´t really get how everything works or what not so I´m not involved or whatnot. Just let me know if you do! Whatever you think is better, I trust you. 

I´m hoping that all went well with Fathers Day! I thought lots about Dad and I´m hoping that all is well and what not. Hope he caught some big fish and had fun with Grandpa and Grandma. 

I didn´t make a list of stuff to write about this week so I´m pretty white spaced. I rescued a cat from the roof, we found a family and I´m hoping that they progress. We teach them english and then the gospel every lesson haha. A member is making me a really pretty dress and I´m stoked for that. We´re getting two more hermanas here in our ward so that´s exciting too! What else? 

We went to the temple for Hermana Edwards. ..well SHE went to the temple and Hermana Ceccon and I walked around the plaze 400 million times and read the liahonna and...well we wasted time...which is REALLY weird to say as a misionary. We weren´t allowed to actually GO to the temple, which was a little frustrating, but that´s just the way it is. Afterwards we had to go with her to her dinner and it was really weird to eat in a restauraunt, that was ABSOLUTELY DELICOUS, just so you know, and not be working. But she was the only sister who´s headed home and she couldn´t be alone with a bunch of elders so there we went! On our way home there was a singer on the bus...he played guitar and the other one had an was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and an awesome experience to have.

We had some really awesome Family Home Evenings this last week...a lot of them too! With Familia Lopez...two of them! Familia with Familia Aguilar...or be it, Familia Bakán haha. We´ve been able to help the ward lots, and we´ve really gained their trust and I think it´s helping us a LOT. I´m excited to have the opprotunity to stay here and REALLY get to know people more!

I´m serving in every opportunity. 
I´m trying every opportunity to live up to the expectations of you guys, my family here, and my Father in heaven. 
I try my hardest every day and I rely on the spirit to guide me in every action. 
I´m becoming the person that I feel I was always MEANT to be and the person I WANT to be. 

Sorry that I don´t have much today, but just know that I´m doing awesome, I´m praying for you always, and I´m ...well I´m missionarying haha! 

Siempre con amor,
Hermana Alex Johnson

With Hermana Edwards and a few Elders from their area.

Outside of the Santiago Temple.

The trio, Hermana Edwards, Hermana Ceccon, and Hermana Johnson!

Con Familia Lopez!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Things That Happen

Lots of things happened this last week...and yes, that happens EVERY week, but more than usual this week. It was like we did every such thing...spiritually, emotionally, and physically. To put it shortly, this week was legit.

Last Monday was a really chill pday. I wrote you guys and then we went home and chilled. Hermana Ceccon and I watched The Testaments and ate chocolate and caramel...of course. Hermana Edwards took a nap, but when she woke up she decided she wanted to do something FUN. So she started a water fight. BOOM. Instantly we had a soaked house. Floor, US, my BEEEEDDD... It was a little funny because every night I feel like I¨m camping, but that night I REALLY felt like I was camping because I slept in a damp bed. Yea. UNCOMFY. But it was a fun moment haha. 

This last sunday we had stake conference. It was really REALLY fulfilling. We had three of our investigators come to the conference. We went with a recent convert, M***. She reminds me a bit of mom. I can imagine Mom being like her as a convert and it is just a neat experience. We also went with V***. Before Hermana Ceccon and I came to the area she almost never went to church, but now she comes with us every week. She is absolutely sweet ...and I think she is considering serving a mission. She would be great to. We can SEE how shes changed as she continues doing the things she needs to. In the conference they talked a LOT about missionary A LOT. And it was awesome! I think we are going to be getting some more help, even though our ward is seriously SO good about working with us and helping us. It really is a great ward. 

I have learned a lot about service more. I have always known how important it is, but now it makes a lot more sense. I don¨t know how I can feel more HAPPY then when I am serving someone. I don¨t know how exactly to explain it, but it just feels RIGHT. It ALWAYS feels like what I should be doing. I have also put into action some advice, given NUMEROUS times...that when you are frustrated or annoyed with someone, SERVE them. I put it into action, and it¨s great because I feel better annnnddd I am closer to people cause they see I am trying to help. I have a lot more love for my companions, and the people/members that we serve. A lot more! And it is awesome!! We washed the car of the bishop this last week, more for the wife than anyone cause she does A LOT, and she was sooo grateful. I took all my practice of cleaning the van a bunch of times, and everyone was really impressed with the detail job I did ;)

We invited a LOT of people to have a baptism date this week...more than we had ever done before as a companionship. And guess what happened? Every single person said no. Every single one. And I think maybe that is where a little bit of my frustration is coming from. That the baptisms we had in San Felipe...I left. I wasn¨t there for them. That here in Quilicura, we haven´t HAD a baptism that I don¨t know what I am doing that¨s "wrong." I definitely think THAT has been discouraging for me. 

We went to F*****´s house for a lesson. She wasn¨t there. ...her dad was though. And, before I account this story you must know something. He HATES us. I have never actually met him because every time he answers the door, he doesn´t actually answer it. He just yells though it and tells us that she´s not home. So we passed by on Saturday, and her dad went to the door and peeked through a crack (the large gate door as each has has a door for the house and a door for the gate). Well he was absolutely drunk. And when I asked for F***** he started laughing, and then finally replied that she wasn¨t home. I asked if he was sure (because obviously he couldn¨t think very well) and he said yes...and then asked me if I was from Argentina. When I told him no, he asked where I was from. Hermana Edwards and Ceccon were like...what? He¨s talking to us? And then when I said I was from the US he said oh! You speak english, to which I replied yes....and then he pressed his face closer to the door and said: " Hi baby." And proceeded to add BABY to the end of every one of his sentences. When I finally said okay then, Chao! He said, "see you later baby." ....lets just say we had a crack up for a while. 

We had a lunch with some members the other day. With my whole colon whatever thing, I¨m not suppossed to eat certain things, which is okay because the majority of the things I can¨t eat are things I don¨t like. But we went to this members house and she had cooked up some nice FISH. We all now how much I absolutely LOOOVVE fish....not. happens to be one of the foods I¨m not really supposed to eat. But... I couldn¨t bear to tell them. So I sat down at the table, with the steaming fried fish and I started to eat....and loooowww and behooolld I did NOT gag up anything in my mouth. In fact, I rather ENJOYED it. I ate almost that whole thing. I don't know HOW she cooked it, but I liked it. It wasn¨t fishy by any means. It wasn´t like FISH. It was like a good ...meat. I don´t know how to describe it but it was a literal miracle. Cool huh? Also during the lunch Hermana Edwards really tried to bring me into the conversation which was nice cause I didn¨t have to try to throw myself into it. 

There is a family in a ward and they´ve officially been dubbed the name Family Bakán. (which means cool) We passed by their house with a chocolate bar for Elias´ birthday and they were like you have to come to the party! ...which we couldn´t do because we had lessons and what not, but they wanted us to be a part of it in some way so they asked if they could bring us a pizza after we returned to our house in the night. Sweet huh?! Elias drew me a picture of sonic and signed it with the new pens he got for his birthday. It was super sweet. They´re a really awesome family! 

The OTHER awesome family is the family Lopez. There are about a MILLION family Lopez´s here in Chile. We have one that is a part member family, that I have sent photos of before, but its not them...that it´s not them this time (although they¨re legit too). There are three brothers, RM¨s in our ward, and they all live like right next to each other haha. Two of the families actually live together. Well we went to their house yesterday and we ended up singing hymns with them and we ate RESEES and they´re just a really loving and caring family. It was great to spend a moment with them and it´s awesome when we REALLY have the trust of the members. 

We did a little bit of door knocking yesterday. And we all felt like we should turn down a street. As soon as we did I FELT something, and I told both my companions that I felt like there is TOTALLY someone, or a family here, that is ready. That wants to hear what we have to say. So I prayed. Like with everything I had that we could find them...HELP them. And guess what? The very first house we contacted let us in. A man answered the door and was like sure! So we went in and we had a pretty good lesson, pretty normal, and then came the time to say the closing prayer. We asked the man to say it, José. He said yes..but then after a while of waiting, nothing had happened. He hadn´t started or anything. So Hermana Ceccon asked what he was feeling right then....He said one word, quickly and firmly. PEACE. My heart just LIT on fire. We waited some more and soaked in the feeling that was there, and then re-asked him to say the prayer. More than anything I think that he just didn´t realize that we were asking him to say it, but it was an absolutely incredible moment...that I don´t ever expect to forget.

OH! Something cool happened! ...well you´re not gonna think it´s cool, but I kind of fainted. I was having trouble walking, and my hands were shaking, and I was really pale. We got home okay and we went through planning. I was seeing the lights all like...well they weren´t normal. So I went to the room to change and get to bed. Hermana Cecoon was helping me and everything. I reached for my shirt and then BAM. Fell over. It wasn´t black or anything like that but I lost control and couldn´t move or really think. It was good that we were in the room cause I fell onto my suitcases, but overall it was an interesting experience. Hermana Ceccon apparently just started laughing and Hermana Edwards apparetly freaked out a little bit cause she didn´t know what to do, but it all went well afterwards.I got an ear infection(...YAY...) so Hermana Essig said it might have something to do with my ear infection, and just the balance. I don´t know, but I felt better afterwards! I just love being BROKEN...gah. It´s actually really hard cuase there are days where it just KILLS me to get up in the morning, but I know what I have to do and I´m doing it. 

Mom. Sorry that you´re still having some health problems too, I sure can relate, but I´m glad to hear your back is doing better! So happy to hear that! And Hannah!! WAHOOO! Miss graduated! Tell Ella congrats with her Ballet performance, and Pepper and Hannah with their graduation as well. It´s weird sometimes to think about all the things that are happening...while I´m here in Chile. Just know that I pray for you every day and that I´m so proud of you all. I have the best family in the WORLD! 

But that´s that. My mission is awesome and I really do love it. You guys will never have to REALLY ask me how I am, because no matter HOW HARD it gets down here in Chile, I am absolutely and perfectly happy. 

Sending love from afar, 
Hermana Alex Johnson

Writing in her Journal.

Studying Spanish.

Yummy panqueques!

Family  Bakán

This is what they do to their trees in Chile.

Washing the Bishops car.

All done

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pushing Up

Guess what? The bottom is deeper than I thought haha. But guess what else?If you don´t touch the bottom, you´re gonna  have a harder time getting to the top. And I´m not just mindlessly floating to the top. Now, I´m soaring. I pushed off with my feet and I´m zooming like a missile. 

Tuesday, we had rain. And not just a LITTLE rain. We had rain like ...I thought the world was gonna flood again or something. We had water up to our knees! Cars were driving in RIVERS. And ...I don´t have rain boots. Lucky for us we heard they have them at a store in Quilicura. They´re not cute, but they´re GOOD. ...I just have to buy them haha. But lets just say that for the next three day´s my leather boots had to rest. Overall, I was not happy that day. It wasn´t a good day in general, and the rain was what broke me. I was frustrated and I felt like everything I was doing was wrong. And you know what else? I was thinking about myself. I didn´t think about my investigators and I didn´t think about Christ. I just thought about my miserable self and how I was mad, and blah blah blah. And I realize NOW why that day was the worst. Everyday I was thinking about how I wasn´t good enough, but it wasn´t in a way like oh yay! Let´s improve and try harder. It was like I was sinking....literally. But I realized, as I actually CHANGED my thoughts, how much easier it is when I think about others and when I DON¨T think about myself. 
And let me just tell you something: I´m happy. 
I am so happy right now. Our lessons are better. We´re having more success with getting people to come to church and with members. We received 13 referrals this week! We still have a lot to work on but we´re working to our CAPACITY now. And you know what else? It feels GOOD. I feel proud of my work and I feel stronger in my testimony. 
Now. For some of the other things that happened this week!
Yesterday was a great day at church. We had fast and testimony meeting and it was amazing. So many people bore such powerful testimonies. I was definitely tearing up. B*** bore his testimony. He´s a less active, and hasn´t been for a while. But he cammmmee! And I know he felt the spirit so strong while bearing his testimony. He´s so amazing, and I´m so happy we´re working with him. And his brother! He went off to his mission a while back, but ended up coming home and now isn´t going to church much. I want to get his help in lessons and get him going again cause I know he can do A LOT! 
The L*** family is doing great. They´re less actives, but the week back they came to sacrament meeting. We´re working with them and I love it. They´re a really FUN family and it´s a nice breath of air when we go to their house. We talked about the Word of Wisdom and the mother shared a really amazing story with us. It was great for her kids too. We also talked about the priesthood with her sons, when she wasn´t there. R*** is 19 and L***  is 16 or something like that...they´re progressing and it´s great because we can SEE IT. 
We went to the MTC here in Chile to see the doctor. We talked to some people and it sure was fun to see GRINGOS there!! And I got to talk in a little bit of English haha. The doctor gave me ANOTHER wrap and told me to soak my ankle in hot water every night. So I´m doing that, and I haven´t had any problems. 
As we were contacting some references, we had a pack of dogs follow us. Not just a little bit, like for 3 hours. It was honestly hilarious. They followed us all the way home. During this time SOMEBODY said something absolutely hilarious, and I almost peed my pants I laughed so hard. I actually fell on the ground in the middle of the gross Chilean street just LAUGHING. 
I love door knocking. I love it more than contacting, and ...I just don´t know. But If I could do that for hours in the day I totally would. 

Did you know? The gas here in Chile is about 4 times the amount as it is in the US? yea. Like it´s A LOT. Hermana Essig filled up her tiiinnnnyy car and said that it cost about 140 bucks to fill it up. WOW. Good thing is that the houses are cheaper here...hmmm...I could live here!! after my misison, cause I´m obviously living here now haha. 
Well. I´m happy. Sorry for the downer bit the last week, but I´m back to being me!!! LOVE YOU ALL!! 
Hermana Alex Johnson

With a Chilean Flag

Not sure why this photo is important... LOL!

OK... really, have no clue what that photo is. Maybe their apartment? 

With companions and friends

"Not" getting wet on the playground