Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

I will get a letter to Grandpa today. I am on a computer that actually works really well today so I can get a lot more stuff done this week in one hour of internet. 

Thats so crazy how much you worked! N´dedah. That reminds me of working at the potato farm. Is drew old enough to do that this summer? He could probably go down and do a weekend or so with Kade. Ahh I miss Big Apple. Its so wierd that stuff is still happening like school ending even though I am here in Paraguay. About patriotism, I think that before my mission my patriotism was very low. Yeah america was cool but i wasnt about to wear an american flag shirt and a camoflauge hat. But being in Paraguay has made me realize how freaking cool America really is. Like, everything about America is so cool. If I had an American flag shirt here, I would wear it everyday. I wrote in my journal in my first change that my mission has made me more patriotic already. That was when I was hating paraguay but now I am used to it and I am actually really enjoying my time in the dirty south now. I miss Chick Fil A so much. Sometimes when we have meetings in the office they feed us chicken sandwiches that are really close to a chick fil a sandwich but really nothing can compare. Nikki is getting married!? Ho0o0oly cow. 

So this week here in lambaré was super tranquilo. We didnt have any crazy miracle lessons but we worked really hard and had fun. We actually had a huge disappointment. The golden investigator family, The D. Family, kinda crashed. We taught the law of chastity and found out that they arent married but have lived together for 6 years and have kids together and that the hermana is still married to her old husband that she left 10 years ago. So here in paraguay to get a divorce and get remarried is one of the most difficult things to do and if you are a woman it is even harder. A woman who gets divorced has to wait for the least 300 days to get remarried depending on the circumstances. So yeah, that family will get baptized someday just probably not while I am here in this area. We are still going to keep working with them and they are still progressing, slowly. 

I also gave a talk in sacrament meeting about José Smith yesterday which was pretty cool. Its kinda wierd how before my mission when I had to give a talk I would write out every single word and then just read it from the pulpit. But here on my mission I just write an outline and just talk for like 10 minutes. Its so wierd how its so easy to give talks now for me. Its not even in English and its easy. 

Sadly, I dont have any photos but I do appreciate the photos that you sent me! I love getting pictures! If you haven´t sent a package yet you can consider including printed photos so that I can show investigators/members. They like to see photos. 

Thank you and I love you! 


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 21, 2012

Photo sent from Missionary Mom D. Bybee.  Elder Johnson and Gonzales on left and Elder Bybee and comp on right.

May 21, 2012

 Hola mamá.
Haha hermana plummer´s mom was so stoked to find me haha. she was like "Ahhh! Your mom said I need to get a picture of you!" It was funny.  I was in a church activity when they showed up but I was in the bathroom and when I came out I saw this tall american looking guy and he said "Well hello Elders!" and I was like "hahah hola como esta" because I thought it was just some paraguayan trying to be funny and use his english but then when the guy didnt know how to respond to me in spanish I looked around and saw hermana plummer and I realized who it was. hahahaha.

Elder Tippets and Johnson at a ward Mother's Day activity.

Missionary Mom L. Plummer went to Paraguay to pick up her
daughter and ran into Vance and his new comp Elder Tippets.
It was a great surprise to get this in my e-mail on a random
Saturday night.
So yeah I have a new companion fresh from the states! I am TRAINING! His name is Elder Tippets and he is from Logan, Utah. He is pretty cool and we are working good together. His diligence and desire to share the gospel is inspiring and we are going to see miracles in this change. I am really excited to see the blessings that are waiting for us in the next 12 weeks. We had a bunch of lessons this week but one stood out that I would like to share with you. On wednesday night we had a lesson with the D. family. They are an awesome family of 4 and have been miracle investigators since day 1. So we had a really important lesson with them on Wednesday about baptism. Hermano D. had expressed some doubts and concerns about the difference between a baptism in this church and the baptism in the catholic church if they are both really symbolic. So we went into the lesson ready to teach lesson 3, the gospel of Jesus Christ. This lesson covers faith, repentance, baptism, the holy ghost and enduring to the end. We started the lesson and remember my comp doesnt speak barely any spanish and we just explained the steps really simply and clearly and slowly and the spirit just started to fill the room. When we got to baptism I was getting a little nervous but I knew what I needed to say to explain to this family the importance of baptism in the true church. I explained baptism and then bore the most straightforward testimony ever so that they couldnt get confused about how they need to be baptized in the true church of god to be return to live with Him after this life. It was such a strong testimony that if they werent feeling the spirit and if I wasnt following the spirit they probably would have been offended. Right after my testimony Hermano D. said "Thank you for explaining that. I know it is true. I can feel the spirit when you talk and I love it when the missionaries are in my house." That was the most open thing I have ever heard an investigator say and I was amazed. The lesson was so great. The most spiritual lesson i have had in my mission. I love that family and I cant wait for them to get baptized. Our goal is the 9th of June.

Vance in front of a house
Disgusting, right?  Notice that one tag is in spanish and the
other is in Guarani.  They are both official languages and Vance
is slowly picking up Guarani.

Elder Johnson and Elder Tippets
So that is basically the highlight of the week. I cant wait to write president callan and tell him the same story. The spirit that new missionaries have is amazing even when they dont speak the language very well. The basic testimony is the strongest.

 Oh yeah, Elder Tippets gets this awesome newsletter thing in the mail that I think would be awesome to get. Every month he gets a bunch of excerps (?) of emails from his friends that are on missions. I read them and they are so cool and got me stoked to do missionary work! It would be cool if you, mom, could copy and paste a bunch of paragraphs of emails from my friends into an email and I could print it out every once in a while. Just a suggestion. :) Thank you for all you do for me! I love my new coat!
I love you all! Have a good week!

Vance Johnson

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 14, 2012

Thank you mommy for the money! I will go and buy the coat today if I can. Last night was super cold, but during the day it is pretty hot.

I loved talking to you on Skype! but 40 minutes is super short! The time went by way too fast. I know that I have learned a lot about how to deal with tough situations with this companion and know how to be more tranquilo when things dont go as planned.

Bueno, yesterday we had stake conference and it was super cool! We went with an investigator in his truck and we brough another investigator with us! 2 investigators in a stake conference that is at a chapel that isnt the normal one! (That doesnt happen here) After stake conference our investigator Osvaldo invited us over for Asado and we ate Asado and Mandioca with his family so that was cool. But then afterwards it was just like a normal sunday, mostly unsuccessful. Monday and Tuesday here are holidays and the people dont work on Sunday so that means 3 days to get drunk and they got started early yesterday. No one was home and the people that were, were drunk. But its all good!

Then this morning we had a district activity! We only can have district activities once a change and we went to Cerro Lambaré today. Its a big hill with a statue at the top and you can see all of Lambaré from the top. It was pretty fun. I am tired now though. Tomorrow is the last day of this change and Wednesday is changes so next week I will probably have a new companion! I hope i get to train. I want to train an american though. I am bored of Latin companions. 

Tell Tobie Rash to write me again! :)

I love you mom! Thank you for your email every week!



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012

Grams is 85?! Holy cow thats old. I was thinking the other day about her house and how I liked living there. I miss mesa. The atmosphere of her neighborhood is so chill. Here in Lambaré everyone is always super super busy and no one just sits and chills.
Can you send me an Enchilada recipe? I am going to make Tacos mexicanos today.

So this week was pretty normal. We had an awesome Zone Conference on Thursday and that is what I want to share with you today. What I learned and stuff.

Lambare Zone Conference
Vance is second from right pulling one of his famous poses
So first off my comp gave a talk in ENGLISH in zone conference. So cool. He worked on it for like 7 days all day and was driving me nuts. He memorized it all. And he would follow me around the house on pday and tell me his talk and I about exploded. I tried to take a nap when he wasnt watching but he found me. But yeah this was the last zone conference with President Callan. Him and his wife leave paraguay for good in July I believe. We really focused on teaching the doctrine of Christ and how to be missionaries that match the message. We focused on Obedience, Sacrifice and Consecration. Some missionaries take 2 years to learn how to be obedient and they never progress farther that that. They are having difficulties with small little rules that they dont understand (why cant we email friends, why cant we drink coca cola, etc...) Then there are missionaries who learn obedience and start to sacrifice things for the mission. They start to really sacrifice their will to do the will of the Father. Then there are missionaries who progress past sacrifice and really consecrate themselves to the work. This is the type of missionary that the Lord asks for. A missionary who has completely forgetten his own free will and is only thinking about his investigators and what he can do to help them. That is the missionary that I want to be. I believe that I can do it but I have to start from the bottom. I dont have problems with obedience but sacrifice is what I am learning right now. President Callan was really straight forward with us and told us that we have made covenants with God in his holy temple to consecrate ourselves to the work and that if we arent doing that, we arent keeping our covenants. It was a bit suprising to hear him be so straight forward but it was what we needed to hear. I know that I need to consecrate myself.

So yeah that was my week! Thanks for the email mom I love reading your letters every week!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 30, 2012

Vance and Elder Richards?
Vance loves the band Blink 182...and random photos.
Sounds like a busy week! You let Marly stay out till 3:30 am!? Woah! I wasnt allowed to stay out that late as a junior after prom. Haha bueno, I really didnt want to stay out that late haha. I was dying to come home basically the minute after I got to prom haha. But at least mine was on a Saturday. Why did Combs do theres on a Friday? That is a bit odd. I am glad the weather is nice in Queen Creek. We had some rain here too and so I decided to buy an umbrella. Walking all day without an umbrella in pouring rain is not fun. Now I can do
missionary work while it is raining haha. Haha Stake conference was about Missionary work? Thats cool. The day that Josh went to the temple sounds exhausting.

So this week for me was pretty cool. I started off Tuesday with divisions with the zone leaders! It was my first division here in Lambaré and the zone leaders wanted me to stay in my own area! Haha I only had 3 weeks in the area and I had to figure out how to get to all of our appointments. That was tough but I did it. I had a map in my pocket just in case but I never got too lost. Well one time I did but I just didnt say anything and Elder Richards (zone leader) when we finally got to the house said "man, this dude lives far" but we werent very far at all we just walked in circles for a while haha. Then thursday me and my comp had a companionship inventory finally where we talk about what we can do to be more unified and what we are doing that bothers our companion and stuff. Finally I just threw it all on the table and was super straight forward with him and now we are way  closer and I dont hate everyday. It was funny because Elder Gonzalez wanted to do the comp inventory in  English haha and I was using words that he didnt know so I had to explain to him what I saying. I was being a little bit too straight forward in english and softened it up
a bit when i explained it. but it felt good to get all of that out of the way. Now we are teaching with more unity and have had more success. We found 2 golden families this week! They are both awesome but I will only tell you the story of how we found one of them because of time.

Ok so friday we were clapping houses and contacting in the streets because our appointments fell. Basically every appointment falls in the morning. But yeah so we contacted a dude named Luis and he told us where he lived and stuff and we scheduled an appointment to visit him the next day (saturday). We werent thinking much of the contact, it was just normal. Later in the day we were looking for an old investigator and clapped the house that we thought was this old investigator and it was Luis! We found his house on accident and he
invited us in and he told us that he already read the whole pamphlet about the restoration and he invited his whole FAMILY to share with us and we taught them and they now have a baptismal date for the 19th of
May! What a miracle!

I know that this week the Lord blessed us because of our dilligence and obedience.

I love you all!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23, 2012

Vance loves all these murals around town.

I saw the picture of Ragnar and I was like "I wonder where that is, it looks like a beach. Maybe its Saguaro lake or something or Tempe Town Lake" But its a legit beach haha! Thats awesome that you ran Ragnar! I
know that praying helps even in running because I have said a prayer at every start line of every race haha. But I still have had bad races. But yeah prayer works.

The weather here in Paraguay this week has been AMAZING! I feel like I am in a really ugly dirty poor part of California everyday. The sun is just hot enough to feel it on your skin but the cool breeze makes
everything ok. Haha but Friday it rained all day! And I dont have an umbrella! I had one but it broke in the first big rainstorm (5 dollar arizona umbrellas dont work in south american rainstorms XD) and so I
was just using my companions rain pancho. Everything stayed dry except for below my knees. By the end of the day I wasnt even dodging puddles, I just walked down the middle of the road in ankle deep water. But then Saturday was perfect. The clouds went away and it was just awesome and we had 7 lessons in one day! So cool. That is the most lessons that I have ever had in one day.

I am glad that Marly and Drew are emailing me more frequently now so I can know what they are up to haha. and tawny sends me like 5 emails a week that just say "hi, I dont miss you" But its all good. Thats
awesome about Derek talking haha I am excited to call home on Mothers Day and I want to use skype if we can get it to work. I think it will be easier in this area because it is a richer area so there is faster

Hermana Plummer is in my district! She is actually in my ward, I see her everyday. I just saw her like 30 minutes ago. Her parents are coming!? So legit. I will definitely see them. She was in my first district and then she left and I stayed for one more change and then I left to Lambaré and now she is in my district again. Pretty cool, she is a good missionary.

Hahaha Hermana B! She is so cool! But I am in Lambaré, not in Ita. My trainer is in Ita. Did you get my message from the "Barrio Lambaré" facebook? I was eating lunch with a member who runs that page and he asked me to add myself and add you. So yeah.

So this week was pretty cool. Saturday was awesome and Friday was cool because it was the most rain I have ever seen in my life but not cool because I was wet and miserable all day. We walked all day long and no one would let us in because we were all wet. We had two lessons though. Thats about all that happened that stands out this week.

I was thinking the other day of things I need if you are going to send another package. I need more socks. I only have 8 pairs and sometimes it gets really close to having to wear the same pair two days in a row
because the lady that does our laundry takes a long time sometimes. So socks would be great. I also am almost out of Old Spice body wash. If you could send me another big bottle I would greatly appreciate it.
And also there is no such thing as root beer here in paraguay. I know that it is basically impossible to send soda in the mail but root beer hard candy would be marvelous. And i could share it with Paraguayans.

I hope you all have a great week!!!