Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the End EVERYTHING Works Out!

Well...I FINALLY GOT MY VOICE BACK. Let me just tell you...being a missionary and not being able to talk is about the hardest thing in the world. No. JOKE. But we did it all the same. ...and boy we had some good laughs about it! 
But it helped Hermana Nielson grow lots cause she had to teach a lot more! She had no choice haha. 
This week we had intercambios and I went back to my sector in San Felipe once more. It`s interesting how much even a sector can change over time. After all, it has been more than a year. But all day it was POURING. The first sight of rain we`ve seen all year...and thank goodness that we had it, but it was pretty cold. Good thing was I have this magic shell and my whole upper body didnt get wet like at all! I was so happy it rained...but it sure didn`t help my voice!
Thursday was a bit of a for reals. After our weekly planning session we booked it and I finally caved in and went to the doctor with horrible cough and a TON of flem. this short trip to San Felipe and back we managed to lose our cell (first time in the mission that its happened to me..but I`m almost positive that we were robbed...who knows), were driven home by a drunk taxi joke, followed by some creepy man who wanted to be taught in the really dark corner of nowhere...uh no thank you. ..and he asked for our phone number, where we lived...all that jazz..good thing we didnt have a phone number to give him haha! God is great. ...and a ton of other things. It was an officially classified CRAZY DAY. Of course my angel of a daughter started listing off alllll the blessings we`d seen that day..and we had a pretty good list. It turned out okay in the end, as always. And then we found a little lizzard. CUTE.
I`m starting to realize just how exhausted I am...but God keeps blessing me with continual bursts of energy. Its amazing. 
On Friday Hermana Nielson and Hermana Alonso went to santiago and I stayed with Hermana Ostler and Hermana Alvarez (from San Felipe) and we worked together. It was a short day and then we had a Branch FHE...we are doing them every Friday night and basing every one on the next chapter of the Book of Mormon. Its starting to go really well!
I prayed so hard this week that we could find new investigators, and we found a ton. Really. What blessings we saw in spite of all my sickies and all the craziness. Funny how EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS OUT IN THE END! 
We committed S* and E* to go to church...after a long conversation. And yesterday! THEY DIDNT COME TO CHURCH. I don`t get these people sometime. No one is every truly committed to anything. There is such a cultural difference in how they take things here. 
Yesterday there were many miracles, and God guided us in so many ways...really and truly. I love Him! 
And I love you too! sometimes life is hard. The mission is hard...and thats what I think I love most about it. I love feeling like I`ve given it my all. 
You`re probably gonna have to roll me off the plane I`m gonna be so dead....THIS IS THE LORDS TIME, and I`m using it to its full capacity. How blessed I am to be a part of it...that WORD: Blessed. It could be my first name. 
We made smores yesterday. It was awesome.
Hurrah for Israel!
Hermana Alex Johnson

From my cats and grapes adventure! 

Bye Elder Fernandez!!! What cha doin up there??! 

We sure are a funny bunch

SANTA about epicness

Intercambios. ...gemela y hijita:) 

GUESS WHAT WE FOUND ON HERMANA NIELSON`S BED!!! LEGIT. I think it just wanted to be warm! It could barely move it was so cold!!! 

se llama la copa...its right in our sector. ...everything behind it is ALSO our sector...and not even half. 6% haha. Its gotta be one of the biggest sectors in our whole mission. We dont even have a map. You just gotta figure it out!

We goofed off for just a second....enjoying the last bit of sun!

SMORES....ghetto mission style haha

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fling Your Stone

This week has been a great learning experience, like all weeks really. But the Lord is just soooo GOOD! 
Good thing we skyped last week cause we probably wouldn`t have been able to talk yesterday considering I have no VOICE. It`s a total joke haha!!! ...I`ve been sick, but I haven`t taken a rest day...don`t plan on it either. But its getting pretty bad...
Well..we are searching out tons of less actives...and for reals, it is harder to search and find less actives than find new investigators sometimes. Like no joke!!! who woulda thunk!?! It`s just that new investigators can be in any house, its like a spiritually guided guessing game..thats slightly planned. But to find less actives, its more of a detective search..its really different. Yet, so far so good. We are focusing on finding many less active men and part member families to be able to coordinate our efforts well, and help the branch GROW....Building up Zion baby.
District class was good this week. Other districts had some problems and President ended up hounding them out...I sure like being on Presidents good side! ...but we had to do a practice with another district and when we got into the room there were a bunch of balloons on the floor, and being the smartie I am I thought "KICK IT" so I did. ...slick floor, slick boots, and a balloon...didnt last long lets just say that. Fly. Plop. LAUGHTER. It was great. 
We officially do FHE`s as a branch every Friday, and this last one was super great. We are focusing all our efforts on the BOM and it is a very excellent plan. Hermana Nielson even interpreted danced (with her hands) and I rapped....all appropriately of course, but it was a blast and the members had SUCH a fun time!! 
S* and E* are progressing well...but we are looking for more investigators still, to help them progress. We are having to let some go...and its just a dying fire ....its just time to light back up. 
We`ve had to learn to fling our stones this week....its a long story but it was an analagy that I made for hermana Nielson, that helped her. ...I even made a poem out of it. ....kinda sucky cause it was REALLY hard to write a poem in english...I felt like a little kid all again haha. But it was all about having courage to stand, to trust in God to provide...and he did. He ALWAYS does. 
I`m staying in Santa Maria with Hermana Nielson!!!! 
Hermana Dodds is still in los andes, Hermana Clark is going with the leaders as number 3...IN LOS ANDES. Hermana Ceccon is MY LEADER (number 2) ...and it is officially the coolest zone in all of Chile. Like for reals. 
Who knows what will happen after these four weeks, or where I will be finishing my mission....but I have a LOT OF WORK TO DO!!!!! 
Hurrah for Israel! 
Love you all!
Hermana Alex Johnson

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cats and Grapes

HAPPY MOM DAY! ...yesterday! I LOVE MY MOM! SHES THE BESTEST MOST AMAZINGEST. So glad I was able to talk with my beautiful family yesterday. I love you all!! ...even when you are grumpy...or sleepy...Love you guys all the same. 

This week was full of cats and grapes. Let me explain...

Monday was a chill day. ....we had some extra lessons so we finished pday several hours early and just worked extra. I loved it. Cats and grapes.

Tuesday was crazy...but I dont remember why haha. 

Wednesday we did a fun service project: PAINTING. Even though we were just painting the wall it felt so good to be doing it. It helped us gain their confidence too....they want to help us more! Cats and grapes.

Thursday was a fast-go kinda day. And at the end we had a lesson with some investigators...and when we got there they were all drunk. I dont know if it happens a lot in other missions but it seems to happen quite often here haha. Anyways...I kinda chewed um out ...well big time chewed um out. I knew they werent gonna remember everything, so I made sure to write some of the important points on the palms of their hands (one of the biggest points I wrote that said NO TOMA, or DONT DRINK). It worked QUITE effectively actually because they remembered and we were able to help them come to church on Sunday!!! A LITERAL cats and grapes.

Friday we had interviews with President and it went really was weird to think that it was most likely my last interview with President Essig. He also changed our focus here in Santa Maria...and told me to get to work....which I LOVE to do!! I`m almost 120% positive that I`m staying here in Santa Maria with Hermana Nielson. Cats and grapes.

Saturday was a hard day to start with......and at one point I had to just sit down and confess some of my stress to Hermana Nielson...and while we were talking this little old man brought us four MONGO bags of grapes. I just giggled and said thanks. In the proccess of chowing down a couple, Iooked behind me and there were these two ADORABLE kittens...and they came up and started nudging me and one tried to bath my hand...or eat it not sure, but it just cheered me up. It was such a small thing...but I KNEW that God was taking care of me ...givning me blessings and telling me everything was well and that I was doing a good job...just to keep up the good work. What tender mercies ....cats and grapes baby. That day was great...we were able to relax and enjoy the work a ton and I felt a lot better about my assignment here in Santa Maria. 

On Sunday, like I mentioned beforehand S* and E* came to church and I TALKED TO MY BEAUTIFUL AND UNIQUE FAMILY. It was legit, and overall sunday was filled with cats and grapes....
And just this morning I read a perfect scripture...that has officially defined MY MISSION....its in 1 Corinthians 1, when Paul is called to be an apostle and goes on his mission....he says something truly impacting: For Christ send me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect 

Thats it. I get it. I love it...and I am so happy to PREACH THE GOSPEL TO ALL! 
Let us all take upon us Christ`s cross as we preach the gospel to everyone. ...and as we do it, we will see lots of cats and grapes in our lives! 

I also want to remind all, that if you want things to go well in life...READ THE SCRIPTURES. They are the iron rod. It says in Joshua 1:8 if we want things to go well for us....we read and meditate on the scriptures....we apply them to our life and we do according to ALL that is written therein...and doing so we will be prosperous in all things.

I love you all! 
Hurrah for Israel. 
Love, Hermana Alex Johnson

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 normal?

Okay. Weekly UPPPPDATE. ...I bet that everyone is probably bored of hearing basically the same thing every week, but let me just tell companion laughs at me because without fail, AT LEAST once I day, I say "today has been the craziest day of my mission/life!" ....EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And without fail, it makes my poor companion giggle every single time. But its the truth. I never seem to have a "normal" day in the mission! I admit that I thought beforehand that there would be a lot of repetition and what not in our days...but a very minor amount. Every day is the adventure of a lifetime here in the mission. 

So.... a ver....what were some of my fun adventures this week....ADVENTURE TIME!....not like the show cause I`m not a fan of that show by any means (and my adventures are always much more magical anyways)....

Adventure 1: Well. On tuesday we went to SANTIAGO for a conference, or a capacitation...that we usually have with just the zone leaders, but  because we had so many changes that President wanted to do it in person. And there we learned lots and lots about how to not just baptized...but how to help people STAY ACTIVE in the church...we talked about how the most important number is now the ASISTANCE. Love it. Also got to see all the people that were in my MTC district that came to chile here, and also Hermana Clark…and just lots of people. That was pretty fun. This same day we did intercambios ...but it was super crazy. They called us when we were already on the bus to go into Santiago and just TOLD us that we were gonna do it. ...of course I didnt have anything, Hermana Nielson wasnt prepared. Long story short…. So we ended up doing it, but the stl that was doing it just came here with both me and mi hijita....We couldnt use the bikes, so we had to change all our plans...AND I ended up sleeping on the floor. Let me just say that was a REAL camping experience...cold and hard haha. 

Adventure 2: I dont remember how much I told you guys about A*, but he was a progressing investigator...and then suddenly he kind of gave up. ...He had/has a lot of drug problems...and in the apartment in front of him is one of the many places where they sell the drugs. WELL he is in a psychiatric hospital, o sea, in Rehab. And we got permission to go visit him! He lives on the OTHER side of San Felipe...its a little more than an hour to get there. And it was such a wierd experience, but great to be honest. We got there and I couldnt believe the conditions...and they do nothing...It was a very COLD place, and I dont mean temperature wise. But as soon as we started to sing a hymn, it was an immediate feeling of the spirit...and so strong. And Allan was a totally different person, and I felt that. I felt that he REALLY wanted to change...and I felt grateful for the opportunity to teach him the gospel. We talked about the plan of salvation, and it was a very special experience. 

Adventure 3: Thursday we had plans to take the bus and go to another part of our sector, but I felt that we shouldnt. I dont know why, but we didnt go. Nothing bad happened, but we had to change ALL our plans.. wahoo! But we ended up breaking open walnuts as a service project for a while...but we taught while we did it, and that was beautiful. ...what wasnt beautiful were my hands after it all haha. 

Adventure 4: I dont remember. It was a crazy day all the same. I just know it. 

Adventure 5: We had a ward activity that was a great adventure. We had a suprisingly great turn out, and I am so greatful that it all worked out! 

Adventure 6: Great church service. I REALLY felt loved, and that was just a blessing from God. And we had a less active young man come out to work with us...and I learned so much from his courage and diligence! He was even willing to help in contacts. What a trooper!! Last night I had to call president about something…after talking to him, he mentioned a few things to me that I really needed to hear. He talked about my steadfastness...and how that will get me to the celestial kingdom, and it was just great to hear a powerful servant of the Lord thank me for my work and tell me that I can do it!!! 

Santa Maria is gorgeous but sometimes its really be completely honest. In the mission its considered a "doomed" sector. But I have never thought of it like that...its just another sector that needs WORK. Which is great cause thats why I`m here...and thats what I LOVE TO DO. But it IS true that its hard. And I love it. I didnt come on a mission to go on a vacation and just CHILL. I came here to WORK. And to WORK HARD. So its perfect!!

Well...thats my week. Some great experiences, and lots of love. 
Love you all!! 
Hurrah for Israel! 

Hermana Alex Johnson
At the Santiago Temple last week

Hermana Nielson

Hermana Johnson

                                       Alex really loves her trainee... she says she has a heart of Gold!
At the conference

Alex's mission"daughters"... she loves training!

Visiting A* at the hospital

lightening the mood

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's getting Chilly in Chile!

Dearest family, if you choose to be included. 

You want the good news or the bad news? Undoubtably you will recieve both...because theres only one thing to say: TIME DOES NOT STOP. It doesnt even SLOW DOWN. It just goes, and goes...annnnddd goooeesss. And thats still a VERY difficult concept for me to grasp. Extremely. But its the truth. Like I said..its good news, and its bad really its just news. But it sure is fascinating. 

Thus, with this whole time warp thing that exsists, I feel that I wrote an update yesterday ..but alas, it was obviously more than just yesterday. Approximately five days to be exact...I think haha. 

Okay. But as for this was a little slow. We had to work with a lot of diligence, and there were many trials...but everything turned out great in the end! Like always:) So that was great. 

Its getting colder and colder, but there is still some beautiful sun...and not enough coldness to die ..yet. have informed me that you had to get those shots to go to Chile. And I would just like to remind you that I too had to get those shots in order to come to Chile. I understand the pain you felt...and you KNOW how much I hate shots. So yes. I do understand...and I will kiss it better. 

I cant believe you found a mouse in the house. ...haha that ryhmed. Our cats are awesome. Calling dibbs in on them the whole week back! 

Send Grandpa my love, hugs, and prayers.

Sister Nielson is such a powerful missionary like for reals. She`s 21 years old and she was at byu the whole time I was there studying to be a teacher for littler kids. She was born 2 days after TOTES CRAY no!?  

Like I said, it was a slow week, but with lots of miracles all the same. 
We did a contact and we always offer to help with service and everyone always says no...but we offered to help this one lady, and she said yes!! We helped her crack and take apart walnuts for a good hour...with like 6 other people...and we were able to teach a summary of the first lesson and it was so cool! They invited us to come back. I love service. 

We also have a baptism coming up...but J* didnt come to church yesterday, so we`re gonna have to go see whats up. He doesnt have a phone or I would call him haha. 

Yesterday we ate in the house and I made an awesome improv lunch...I do that a lot actually. I even improved arroz con leche. ...its a desert with rice, milk, cinnamon and sugar...and I decided to try it. Turned out to taste good! Pepper wasnt the only one to make a delicious concoction this week!

Hermana Nielson and I play the GOTCHA game...where almost every minute I scare the beans out of her and she jumps and we laugh....and then she tries to scare me but it almost never works. Its pretty fun. 

A bunch of little kids came to church yesterday....their parents are never home and half live in the street so we invited them. We have been trying to get to know their family`s lives half with her grandfather who is drunk practically every day, and half with her grandmother who is never home. She doesnt know her parents. Another one has a mom that sells drugs. ....and the other one is never in his house because his mom isnt either. ....its just really sad. But they love church...and its better that they`re in church than they`re in the street. 

I`m learning more and more each day the importance to teach with the spirit...I have so much more to learn ...and to be honest I`m starting to feel really ANXIOUS. And slightly I dont have enough time to do everything I need to do...and I dont like feeling like that. But thats okay. even though its a short amount of time...its also a LOT of time. ...seriously. Here comes the whole time spiel haunts me! 

But everythings great on this side of the guys are in spring headed towards a beautiful summer...and I`m starting a very cold winter....without heating....again. And ...I couldnt be happier! 

Love you all!!!
Hurrah for Israel! 
Hermana Alex Johnson

No photos... she keeps forgetting her cord to transfer photos at the cyber cafe. :(