Monday, July 29, 2013

And They Got Dunked!

So lots of stuff happened during the week but personally I want to start off with YESTERDAY. ....WE HAD 2 BAPTISMS!!!!! For WEEKS we´d been preparing everything with the ward, with our investigators, and let me just say....I´m pretty sure the last 3 days were the most stressful days of my life. Being a missionary I´m pretty sure I´m ALWAYS on an emotional high. But I never imagined that coordinating a baptism would be so stressful. We talked to everyone, INVITED everyone and committed like EVERYONE to doing something in the baptism. We had to have the service in the chapel it was so big!...but our plan was to have it with two other elders who were going to have a baptism as well. But every time we asked them what they had planned they said ...nothing. not that they didn't talk to us but they didn't have one single PLAN! They didn't plan anything. So when we all got there Hermana Ceccon and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off and the elders were just chillin....without plans. Letting us do it all. But we figured hey, their poor investigator! ...and their bishop got mad at them even because he said "it´s our baptism too." I felt bad for the kid getting baptised, but we couldn't help him because his missionaries weren't doing anything. Everything went well for our baptisms. We planned lots of little surprises for F*and R*...but the elders get the picture. Long story short after everyone was dunked, the other ward stayed elsewhere because the poor kid got mad. I felt soooo bad. And what´s worse, we asked THEIR ward and the elders to at least bring food so everyone could eat together...nope. So when they were finished we didn't have any more food cause OUR ward had so many people. It was stressful. But overall it went super well. The mom asked me to sing so I did that. When they were all changing we passed out squares of paper and stuff for everyone to write cute little notes. And it was an awesome success....My first baptisms!!!! I was sooo happy. Oh. and when Renato got baptized he came up practically laughing and as he was leaving he tried to swim...he´s a crack up that´s for sure haha.

I had some interesting experiences this past week to say the least, but something cool that happened as an answer to my prayer. I´m White. I´m American. And I don´t really speak spanish all thaaaat great. So contacts are really hard for me. just walk up to someone in the street and try to talk to them in spanish about the gospel is not the easiest for just isn´t. And I knew it would be the case when I started my mission. So I´m now at a point of making this weakness become my strength. I prayed VERY hard for some extra strength from the Lord. Hermana Ceccon struggles with contacts as well...and so it´s hard to start when no one wants to. I can still remember an incident where I saw a woman, felt I should talk to her, but I didn´t. I can imagine her perfectly and I picture everything as if I can see it. I don´t want that to ever happen again. So I prayed that if I really needed to talk to someone that I would do it...even if I didn´t want to. And guess what happened!!!?! Three days in a row we found someone new! And two of them happened to be contacts of mine....but very interesting contacts. On several occassions we were walking by someone, I had a desire, but then didn´t want to (as I remembered my self instead of forgetting myself) and suddenly I was talking to was so random to be honest. It was as if I literally had NO POWER. I didn´t even know what I was was one of the only times that I´ve felt physically driven by the spirit....but it was powerful. And I know that it was an answer to my prayers.

In our district class Elder McColley was telling us of a really cool experience he had...and I thought immediately, I want something like that. Well during this past week we had a lesson with F*, and her boyfriend was there. We talked for a bit and he told me he wanted to learn english. So, being slightly intelligent sometimes (our companionship) I told him that I wanted to teach him english...but I also wanted to teach him about the gospel. We made a deal. Half english, half religion. He we started with L1...he wouldn't stop asking like a bajillion questions...and he wasn't talking it completely seriously...until we got to the part about Joseph Smith. I told him to close his eyes. I closed mine and I told him about the first vision....there was a bit of silence and when he opened his eyes we asked him what he felt. He told me he pictured that instead of Joseph Smith, it was him. The rest of the lesson he was silent. And when he said the closing prayer, he described how he felt different, and what not. Afterwards we talked about those feelings...he was practically freaking out haha! It was an amazing opportunity, and I know that he will be baptized. 

Hermana Ceccon live in a musical. We sing EVERYWHERE we go. And when we´re not singing a SONG song, we´re making one up...or we´re singing our conversation. Sometimes when we´re super happy we even skip while we sing. That´s my confession of the week. 

That´s all for this week. Despite some things that happened, it´s not important. I´m happy because I know that we´re doing the Lord's will and we´re seeing lots of success. 

Love you all!
Hermana Alex Johnson

...the Great and Terrible!

p.s. Hermana Ceccon and I get to stay together for another change!

With F at her Baptism!

With R and his Family!

Elder McColley performed the baptism for R and F!

Happy, Happy Hermanas!
Hermana Johnson and R.... they are just cool like that!

Yes... they are!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flowers and Chocolates: Literally...and not

Mom! Promise to check on the clarks. As for the makeup...LIGHT. Idk what color exactly but pretty light considering I´m pretty white haha. 
As for my health I´m just chin chillin. I´m pretty sure I got food poisoning from the completos here, but it happened and that´s that! 

I don´t have LOTS to write this week, but a slab at least haha. 

To start off, you guys all know L*, F*, R*, and P*. L* was the boy that we helped get to the dance. WELL F* is getting ready for his baptism, coming up in two weeks. The last week I told you how awesome it was cause the WHOLE family came to church and everything!! ...welllllll this week we went to get F* and the family cause the mom had to work. We got there and the grandma answered to tell us they were still sleeping- (oh. something awesome you should all know is that we now have church at 8:30 in the morning....yea) So we left a note on the door kindly thanking L* for making us wake up an hour earlier to get him to come to church with us and we went to church. (there was still a loooot of success. We have two progressing investigators that are both gonna get baptized this next week!!!! ..but I´m gonna talk about that in a little bit) Well what happened was that after church, and before lunch, we went to their house to teach them. ...and to see if the note was still there. It wasn´t. We knocked on the door and when he finally opened it he didn´t even want to look at us. We were on the brink of chastising him a bit when SHABAM he puts on a song."Perdooonnnnaa meeee!¨ ...he puts on a song of forgiveness, quickly turns around, gets down on his knees and holds out a roses and a box of chocolates. He felt so bad ...after that all we could do is say "ahhhhhh". He then explained that he was super upset cause his mom was supposed to wake him up but she didn't and blah blah blah...but it was super sweet. Honestly they´re suuuch an awesome family. L* is so happy to finally be active again and he always tells us how grateful and HAPPY he is and it´s such a blessing for me. 

okay. F* and R*! We had an FHE with them this last week with L*- as well. The mom absolutely loved it. We talked about the family and did some fun activities. F* and Renato are progressing SO MUCH. The came to church without us....f* when to a sleepover type thing for the young womans, and renato came to a baptism with us. We went to teach R* and F* and they were reading together in the book of mormon. We left a small passage for R*, considering he´s only 11, and not only did he read it, but he decided to read about 4 OTHER chapters as well. F* keeps telling me that she keeps wanting to read more and more and she´s loving it. We had intercambios this last week and during our lesson with them R* started bearing his testimony saying that he knows this is the true church.  But his dad was listening in and everything. It was funny because when I first met him he barely looked us in the eye. He did NOT like us mormons ...not one BIT. But when R* was talking about how much he loves the church and his testimony, his dad chimed in and asked "can I get baptized too?"...he said it as a joke, but hey! He´s thinkin about SOMETHIN! 

I am a happy missionary cause we´re gonna have two baptisms this next sunday!!!  I'm so excited. 

Anyways. That was my week! Praying for you all and love you all to DEATH!
Hermana Alex Johnson

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Great Week!

Woah. Let me tell you....this whole being a missionary thing is super duper COOL. And how quickly the time is passing!! This Saturday I completed 5 MONTHS in my mission. Yea. I know. I can hardly believe it to be honest.

As for the last letter I forgot to write like a couple things so I´m gonna do that really quick. My Fourth of July here was a bust. To be honest. We didn't do anything...I´m hoping to have more success the next year haha. But how cool that you guys did the parade again this year. I always loved being a part of that. (and mom. Lovin your hashtag usage hehe)

You talked about how great SERVICE lessons are! And guess what? I almost got a little MAD because we are not allowed to have service lessons here. At first we could but in my second change here we had a change ...or a clarification and lessons have to begin with a prayer and a hymn as well as end with a prayer....AND we have to be sitting down the whole time. It´s a little complicated and a little frustrating as well because we can´t DO service lessons and I KNOW that they would help us a TON.

Now. This week...well let´s just say it was awesome. And we were able to see a LOT of success. To start off we visited the Bishop. He gave us four references. As we passed through the week we had one that still hadn´t been contacted, but the second time we went to the house an older lady peeked through the window, saw us, and then never answered the door. For some reason I felt we should give it another shot. We went back to the house the next day, and the lady from before wasn´t there. Instead there was someone who was working. She was cleaning the house and she´d never before talked to missionaries. She was very receptive and I know that we´ll be able to teach her. It was amazing to see how we were able to find someone out of a reference that was unexpected in our eyes...but not in His. 

During our planning session this week we decided to focus a bit more in past investigators. We wrote down like a BAJILLION names and addresses that we could contact. As we started the day we worked closer to the house than usual, but still in our sector. In one street we knocked on a door, knowing they were less actives and didn´t have very much success. Another address we decided to visit and the whole family had been baptized and we planned a FHE with them (we later found out that the mother is usually very unreceptive to the missionaries...the bishop was suprised that we were able to have an FHE with her). As we started on our way for a lesson I looked at my planner at an address I´d written down just a little bit ago. I mentioned that with the little bit of time we had we looked for the house and at least visited them. The direction that we´d found didn´t have a name or much information, but I felt like we should visit it. We ended up finding a family that had been sealed in the temple. The day before Hermana Ceccon was really sick and I´d left with a member to work while she stayed with another member. What was really interesting to discover was that we had seen this same woman the day before, and that Hermana Ceccon was even with her children all day the day before. This family, before was completely unreceptive to recieve the missionaries again, but the Lord had placed her in our lives. I was amazed at this miracle. And I also realized just how important it is to ALWAYS represent ourselves as missionary. Hermana Ceccon was sick, but still managed to fulfill her purpose. The Lord understands our weaknesses, and if we literally do everything that we possibly can, he will bless us with amazing miracles.
Well we met again with the bishop, and that day I was pretty discouraged cause we weren't having success POINT wise...but after talking to the bishop about all the families we were visiting, and the success he was seeing in the ward I felt GREAT. It doesn't matter what the points say as long as I know, in accountability to the lord, that I´m doing all that I can do. I realized that the points don´t matter because we´re having success in a different way. We had 13 lessons with less actives and a A LOTTTTT of people that always said NO NEVER AGAIN...well they all went to church. And if we can´t help the people that we already HAVE in the church, how are we going to be able to be blessed with more. We have to help the people that we have first.

The *** family. I feel like I talk about them a lot, but with good reason. They are an extraordinary family!  But as with every family, they too have problems. Before the missionaries ALWAYS passed by their house...they love the missionaries. But they never really wanted to progress. Recently Hermana Ceccon and sat down and made a plan of what each person really NEEDED and how we could help them specifically with that. One of the things that they specifically struggle with is going to church!! So Hermana Ceccon and I gave them some homework. Along with their reading (which they weren´t doing but now they ARE!) They each needed to write down what the like about church, what they don´t like about church, and what they´d like to see. It helped them more then us because they had to REALLY think. The day before the homework was due, we passed by the house. The mother, who is not home very often, frantically opened the door and told us that she had been calling us with her thoughts! She´d gotten home just 2 minutes before we´d arrived and had been trying to get ahold of us all day. She suddenly had a desire to have her children be more active in the church. ..And maybe it was the constant knocking on the door that caused a constant desire in her, but she told us some of the things that she´d realized and wanted for her boys. They´re always home, but always using the computer. So we told her that we would help. There was a dance that very night for the young men and young woman. We quickly ironed his clothes and went and got him from the barber shop. We got him all excited for a "Surprise" and at first he was really embarrassed, but then he was stoked. He went to the dance with some members and had a blast. The constant visits, the hope, the prayers, the work with the MEMBERS, the firmness coupled with love, a little bit of homework, and a little bit of love... It was very effective, and yesterday...for the first time in a LONG time, they whole family came to church. And choir! *** is counted as a progresando...but more than anything the whole FAMILY is progressing in my eyes ....after choir *** talked to us and told us "there´s always missionaries that come to our house but the truth is I never have desires to REALLY change. Thank you because I WANT to change, be better, and go to church again.  I feel good there and I really do have friends! You are the best missionaries that have every come to our house cause you actually made me DO something and I loved it." Let´s just say I´m super happy. 

F*****! Our OTHER progressing investigator that is going to be baptized on the 28th of this month!!! She arrived at the church late, because the gate was locked and didn´t have keys to leave. When she arrived she was freaking out because she was worried that it wouldn´t count as an attendance and she wouldn´t be able to be baptized. She´s super excited to be baptized and has a lot of questions. The ward is helping a LOT by inviting her to all the activities...she already is going to activities like choir and it´s great. Her brother is coming to all the activities too and he LOVES the church. 

Basically yesterday was an absolutely great day. We had lots of less actives in the church and we have 2 progressing investigators! It´s really great to see the fruits of our labors. ..the only downfall about yesterday ...well saturday night, was that I was puking all night long. As I got ready for church I did my makeup, but then had to use the lu and I just cried a bunch so my make up smeared all over the place and I had to do it again. It was really sucky. I made it though. And  I played the hymns for the ward and managed to survive the day just fine. In another sense I was really grateful to get sick...weird but because I was feeling so bad, I kneeled down an prayed. I explained that I really needed to work and that we REALLY needed to have Fransisca and the Lopez family in the church ..and that I could have the faith necessary to do what was asked of me. And it was an amazing experience. 

This week was FULL of miracles and I am one HAPPY missionary!!! 
I love you guys and pray for you always :)
Hermana Alex Johnson

PS. 2 Nephi 27:23....this scripture describes my week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A little late...

Alex's pday was a different day than usual AND email mail delivery was exceptionally slow... so this letter is going up late. We were finishing up last minute trek preparations for the next day and didn't have time to post it before heading out.

Well. I´m not in a trio now. It´s been a little weird for us to not have the ability to go into EVERY SINGLE house that we wanted, but we´re adjusting really well. We´re working harder than ever before and we´re seeing success. We´ve been having some problems with finding people. ...or rather we find them, teach them once and then we never seem to be able to find them again. It´s interesting, but we´re doing all that we can. 

Yesterday we contacted a pastor of a was a little interesting, but it wasn´t bad. He was nice at least and didn´t demand that we pulled out our bible...which happened to happen earlier this week. This lady didn´t think we believed in the bible so she asked us to show us where it says certain things in the bible. We offered to come back and teach her more if she wanted, but she really just wanted to compete more than anything. 

Last pday we went to Santa Lucia and took some awesome pictures. This is totally a must when Mom comes to chile haha. ...also I´m pretty sure I´ve officially decided to live here in Chile after finishing my BYU studies. I´m not kidding. 

I´m playing piano for the ward choir now so that´s pretty cool. They´re singing for stake conference and they asked us to help out. Our investigator  *********** is super awesome and she´s really fitting in with the ward. She came to church this last week for the second time..AND we convinced her brother to come too haha! He wan´t to share his testimony and everything it was super sweet. Well she also came to the choir and is really excited to participate in lots of the activities that we have going on. She´s definitely gonna get baptized this month. Felipe didn´t come to church so he can´t this month, but I know he´ll get baptized soon. We started teaching him from square one and he´s SUPER SMART! He´s really loving it, and I am too because we teach the best with the kids. 

We had an awesome FHE with family Bak├ín and I learned how to make a very DELISH pizza. They´re a really awesome family and they always try their best to help us. 

That´s all for this week, sorry about it being a day late but I didn´t even know we weren´t gonna have pday till today till like 4 days ago! Seriously! haha

Love you all and good luck with Trek Mom and Dad! 
Hermana Alex Johnson
Finding out that her Her sister is not only going on a mission, but where!

Family in Quilicura


With Hermana Ceccon and Edwards

The Hermanas serving in Lo Marcoletta together

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Week of Explosions

Sounds like you guys had a crazier week than we did....but the high´s and low´s thing...that might just be a perfect description. 

First off.....Let me EXPLODDDE!!! 
Explosion 1: Missionary SIster
OH MY GOSH! HANNAH IS GONNA BE A MISSIONARY!!!! WAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I´m so excited for her! for the last MONTHS I was praying that she would make the right decission and that the she would really KNOW what she needed to do and everything. No one told me that she was gonna serve, but for the last months I seriously KNEW it. I told all my companions that I was basically POSITIVE that she was gonna serve a mission. I seriously knew it. That´s why I was always asking you guys about it!! MUHAHAHA. And yes. I almost DIED when I saw it. I pretty much bawled my eyes out I was so happy for her. And it´s exactly what she wanted. I´m EXTREMELY proud of her...and HOPEFULLY I´ll be able to do an intercambio with her while we´re both still missionaries. Hermana Edwards mentioned that to me and I practicaly peed my pants! (I have no clue what Alex is thinking... she will be released way before she heads back to BYU, but I bet that she can go with them and teach!)

Explosion 2: Attack of the sisters
Our district is weird. We have 10 sisters...and our district leader and his companion. That´s it. We don´t have like ANY elders in our district. I know. We´re officially taking over haha. 

Explosion 3: The oven
We decided to make brownies for one of our investigators and so we of COURSE had to start the oven. But I´m pretty sure it´s older than grandpa because we have to light PAPER on fire and then put the paper in the oven ( in a certain spot) and HOPE it lights...and if it doesn´t we have TOO much gas....well it didn´t light. The first time...or the by the third time I´m freaking out a little bit because I really don´t want to die. So Hermana Ceccon THROWS in the paper and BOOM. A big fire comes out. Nothing happened besides that, but it was sure pretty scary. And FYI, our investigators LOVED them. 

Explosion 4: What happened to our lessons?
Hopefully YOU guys can answer that question because I´m struggling to answer it. We had very few lessons this week....and we walked a lot more than usual because of it. I have NO idea what happened but EVERYONE had to do something this week. It was pretty lame. Almost every single one of our lessons fell through...but that´s okay. This week is gonna be GREAT. 

Explosion 5: Eat it.
Well Hermana Edwards has less than a week here in Chile and she gave a great talk in church...but now all the MEMBERS know she has a couple days in chile and so EVERYONE suddenly thinks that we´re super skinny and we need to EAT. We´ve had an UNBELIEVABLE amount of food this last week. I ate like 4 meals yesterday I swear...and Familia Alarvena ALWAYS feeds us...too much I say...but I always eat too much cause she cooks like an angel haha. The good news is I still really haven´t gained weight here.....Hermana Ceccon is freaking out cause she´s gained 6 kilos here in the mission feild. ...she´s still super skinny but it´s funny cause she freaks out about it haha. 

Explosion 6: RAIN
It poured like CRAZY again this last week! I finally got a hold of some rain boots in a local super market here and I was SO RELIEVED because we bought them JUST in time. They were on a REALLY good sale. Got them for less than fifteen bucks. Anyways, it was really crazy, and with a lot more wind. My umbrella survived ..but Hna Ceccon and Edward´s umbrellas...they died. It was kind of funny. BUT the morning the next day was exactly the same. So we left with a BUNCH of stuff and right after we left BAM. We had a lot of sun and were dying. Kinda funny.

Explosion 7: Missing the family
I´m LITERALLY out of time so this last explosion´s a big one! I missed you guys a lot this week. Especially since Hermana Edwards is going home, Hannah is going on a mission, and you guys are enjoying the summer. I don´t know but it hit pretty hard this week. Just know that I´m working my BUTT off. 

The language is coming really great and I know you´re praying for me. I love you all soo very much and we´re working hard to find prepared people! Keep up the good work and HELP THE MISSIONARIES! 

Also, please tell shannon that I´m sorry I didn´t have time to respond to her letter. I love her loads, and will respond to her first thing next week!!! I was super happy to hear from her! 

Love always,

Hermana Alex Johnson