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! 

Vance 

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!

Rohayhu!

Vance

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!

Vance

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
internet.

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!!!

Vance

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16



Hola Familia,

Looks like everything is going good in Qtown. Everyone is busy, thats always good haha. Skylar is having back pain because he is walking wierd or what? Thats cool about Drew and basketball. He is going to be a stud his senior year. I told him I cant wait to watch him play in the Suns arena for the state championship his senior year. And Drew told me his friend Nate wants to get baptized but doesnt know in which church yet haha. I would get on that soon ;)

So this week was honestly, one of the longest eeks of my life haha.  Everyday felt like a year. But its all good. I have made a goal to write more spritual or happy things in my emails so that other moms will send my emails to their sons like you do to me. :) I feel like my emails sometimes sound like a big complaint.

So a couple cool things happened this week. First, one of the lessons we had this week was awesome. We have an investigator named Osvaldo that has been meeting with the missionaries for about 2 months now. He is about 50 years old and has a couple kids. He really hasnt been progressing in the gospel very rapidly but we keep visiting him
because he normally does his reading assignment in the book of mormon and came to general conference. So we decided to take the bishop with us to the lesson with Osvaldo. We started the lesson how we had
planned and shared a couple things and then the Bishop took over haha.  He just started talking and talking and talking and said all the things that Osvaldo needed to hear. Bishop made him feel really comfortable about the church and stuff. Then Osvaldo came to church for the first time and got to hear a bunch of powerful testimonies and really felt the spirit. So cool!

The other cool thing. Tuesday night we were walking down a street and saw a dude standing outside and so we contacted him and said the normal stuff and he let us in to teach him. We sat down and taught a powerful and clear lesson 1 about the restoration and he told us straight up "I am very honored you guys shared this with me. This sounds really important" Then we taught him about the book of mormon and he was so excited that we were going to lend him a copy of the book of mormon. He was like "This book is sacred to you guys and you are just going to leave it here with me?" It was so cool. So yeah that was an awesome lesson. I will keep you updated on how that goes. His name is Carlos (just like 99% of latinos).

Other than that this week has been pretty normal. I am loving my personal studies and getting to know new members. We visited a member family last night named the familia gonzalez. The husband and wife are
both returned missionaries and are really cool. They really enjoyed the family photo that i carry in my scriptures. (The christmas card)

I am excited to hear from you next week and excited to share more miracles!

Rohayhu! (i love you in guaraní)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 9, 2012


Letter to Mom:
Elder P., Jose, and Elder Johnson

Thats so crazy about your dream haha. I do love you mother! I love this work (most of the time) but the temple is not on the side of a mountain. I dont think there is a mountain in Paraguay. haha. I have been thinking of how if you and dad came to pick me up in Paraguay in October of 2013 I would have so much fun showing you guys where I lived and stuff and introduce you to members and converts. It seriously would be so much fun. 

So this week I left my first area. How sad. I didnt cry but when i got to my new area I realized how cool my first area was and how much I miss it. I feel like Lucerito is my home and I had to move from all my friends and family. How crazy is that. In 4 months I got so close to all those people that dont even speak english. It really is sad but I am excited to start working in a new area. So now I am in an area called Lambaré. It is one of the richest areas in Paraguay, or so I have heard. Every house is gigantic and has the most security I have ever seen. The south american Representative for Nike lives in my area and has the biggest house I have ever seen in my life. It seriously is like a castle. 5 floors high with a huge white marble wall surrounding it. It takes up a whole block. It is all made of what looks to be the same material as the temples of the church. There are only two people living in this house! And he has 5 security guards working 24/7 outside of his house. Que loco! But yeah if you want to know where I live just go onto LDS.org and go on meeting house locator and type in Lambaré and I live basically next door in a little tiny house. 

I have evolved past wiping! -Vance's words
My new companion is named Elder Gonzalez and he is from Honduras! Whats up with all these latin companions? He is WAY different than my last companion Elder Palma. With elder Palma we laughed and joked and had a good time and had success. With Elder Gonzalez, so far, its different. He is super focused, I think, because he never talks to me really. He does all the planning by himself and really teaches all the lessons by himself. His last 3 companions didnt speak spanish barely at all so he is really used to doing everything by himself but he told me this morning that he keeps forgetting that I speak spanish and that he can let me talk in lessons. So I was like "yeah that would be cool if you let me talk but its whatevs." (I said that mas o menos) 

It is great to get emails from you, mom. I really do like your emails. And i saw the pictures of the house that dad sent me and it looks awesome! 

I still need to write president Callan an email so I gotta go but I hope you have a great week! 
His new companion Elder G. from Honduras and an RM from Chile



Letter to Dad:

I totally forgot that yesterday was Easter until I read your letter. Here in Paraguay no one celebrates it like we do in the states. It is a week long holiday called "semana santa" or holy week. And Thursday and Sunday are the big days but no one does anything really. The most I saw someone do to celebrate was get drunk. Sadly, that really is the only celebration I saw. In Sacrament meeting the talks were about The Atonement and were really good. We had an investigator in the meeting too so that was cool. Haha but this week was so tough. Because of the holidays everyone left! Seriously, so many people decided to go on vacation this week it was ridiculous. We walked around in the streets without a place to go for hours on end. In the first 4 days of my new area I feel like we have clapped every house and got rejected 234,087,234 times. 

But thats crazy haha that Michelson went 3 over par! Hahahaha. How could that happen!? He is a pro! I go 3 over par regularly. And I forgot about the election. How crazy would it be to have a mormon as a president. Think of how different the USA would be if Joseph Smith won his election to be president.

Romina was baptized on Christmas and Leonardo. I can't fix this picture, sorry.
I did see the pictures of the house! So cool! The grass looks so good and the basketball hoop! How cool. I miss sports. The Diamondbacks are going to win the world series!? Whoa! Never would have expected to hear that. 

This past week I have really been trying to take advantage of the atonement and develop more Christlike attributes. I know that if I can be more like Christ, I can help more people accept his gospel.

Have a good week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012


Ok, So this week was an odd week but really fun. 

So we really didn´t have any stand out moments or anything. Sadly we didnt find a whole bunch of new investigators, didnt have a huge amount of lessons and I felt like we were working really hard this week. I dont know exactly what was going on. It wasnt like i was hating this week but really, we didnt have that much success. I was still having fun though. The highlight of the week was obviously Conference. General Conference was super cool. I can honestly say that I felt the spirit more in this conference than in any conference before in my life. I have narrowed it down to a couple reasons why I think this conference was better than ones of the past. 1. I think I am becoming more spiritually mature being on a mission. Well, I like to think that. 2. I really prepared myself for this conference. In the march liahona (probably the same in the ensign) it had an article about how you can prepare yourself for the conference that is coming up and it mostly talked about reading the conference issue from the last general conference. So everyday last week I read a talk and really studied the words of the living prophets. Doing so, I was a lot more excited for new conference talks. 3. I think that I am getting better at recognizing the promptings and impressions of the spirit. I can honestly say that I felt distinct impressions of what I can do in my life right now in the mission to improve myself. One spiritual impression that I recieved during one of the talks yesterday afternoon (one of the 70s i dont remember who exactly right now) He talked about how we need to be more natural and normal about sharing the gospel and that if we pray and ask God who we should share the gospel with and trust in the answers we recieve, God we tell us who we need to share the gospel with. As I heard that I got the impression that I need to use the area book more and pray about who I can find that will accept the gospel. All the people in the area book have already had missionaries over before and my area never has really had success using the area book. If I dont leave my area on wednesday (changes) I am definitely going to do that. 

But on a not so spirtual side conference was really fun too. All 20 of us missionaries from my zone that speak english were crammed into a tiny little room to watch Conference in english. It was crazy haha. It was like a tiny little sunday school classroom. But then on Sunday we found a way to move ourselves into a bigger room haha. I have a picture of the room on saturday and sunday. 

sorry this weeks letter is short I just dont have a lot to share this week haha. 

Yes, I got my new shoes haha. My old ones fell apart literally in front of the stake presidents house about a week before my new ones were going to come and I didnt have any other shoes. Luckily, we were talking to the stake president as we walked toward his house and as soon as my shoe fell apart and I was standing in the street with only one shoe on he asked "do you have other shoes in your apartment?" and i said "honestly, no" and so he went in his house and brought me out a pair of brand new shoes to use until mine came in haha. The stake president is so cool. 

welp, I love reading about all of your lives and I hope you have a great week!

Les Quiero!

Vance

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March 18, 2012

Its all good. I was hoping that you just forgot or didnt get to it in time and werent mad at me for some reason. (Stacy says: my letter didn't get to him last week so he got nothing from his mom) Sadly, the cyber I am using this week isnt pretty sucky and expensive and the computer i am using doesnt work well enough to attach photos. My apologies. i have some sick photos of the temple too! I hope I can send them to you next week.

so yeah I have had a pretty good week. today we got to go to the temple and it was a great experience. I even understood it all in spanish! How cool is that. the only bad part was that it was like a 1 hour 30 minute sweaty bus ride in our suits to the temple and I hate busses. I didnt like busses in high school and the public transport here is worse. there are no bus stops, you just stand on the side of the road and flag a bus down. so the bus stops like every minute. and the people drive like maniacs so its like 100 miles and hour, 0 miles an hour every minute. it makes me wanna puke. but yeah the temple was awesome. the temple president is named president turley and he lives at signal butte and baseline. small world.

On sunday Jose finally got confirmed! what a miracle. He came to only sacrament meeting (like always) but he always learns a lot from sacrament meeting and always is like blown away and how much he learns. pretty cool. its pretty cool to see him learn so much and then to think about how much i didnt pay attention in sacrament meeting before my mission and how much i guess i could have learned. I love sacrament meeting nowadays, its just a good hour that you get to sit down in air conditioning and learn. There arent many times in the mission that the missionary gets to learn or sit in air conditioning so its a good time. And recently me and my comp made a calendar of everyday in the month to have members sign up to give us lunch. My first companion told me that the members dont feed us in this area and i believed him because i was new. when he left i made a calendar and gave it to the relief society president during church and after sacrament meeting she gave it back to me with everyday full with members and thier phone numbers. how legit! so now I have a lot of extra money hahah to buy snacks and stuff. but i started working out better this week too because i think i am getting fat. well at least my face. i am embarassed about some of the pictures i have of myself because my face is all fat. so i am cutting back on dulce de leche and drinking more water instead of soda.

I am getting pumped about general conference! another one of those times where us as missionaries get to sit in air conditioning and learn all day! but the morning session doesnt start till 1 in the afternoon which means preisthood doesnt start till 9 pm. haha that will be fun but i am going to be really tired. I can tell that I have been working really hard lately because when we turn the lights off at 10 30 pm i am asleep before 10 31. its amazing. but 6 30 always comes too fast.

today I got another letter from Josh burley about him quitting track. He was super busy and stuff so its understandable. I also got a letter from bo that he wrote me before i left the mtc. in the letter it says, i know you are in the mtc but i am going to send this to your mission and you will just get it when you get there. hahaha crazy. Oh and i got a letter from harley a couple weeks ago and sent one back to her.

Spencer is who you saw at the temple with Josh! He is going to Peru! thats so cool that he is going spanish speaking and yeah josh told me about Jace coming to my mission! I want to train him so bad, that would be so sick. My best friend from the mtc, Elder Call is training a new missionary right now! so crazy. but his nuevo is from argentina and was born in paraguay. haha so his comp speaks guarani and elder call told me today at the temple that it is super easy to get into a house when your comp can speak guarani.

that is it for this week, thank you for your letter and the pictures! I forgot how different the desert looks. haha here its all jungle like. and the picture of drew! he looks like he shaved his head because he didnt want his parents to know he was doing drugs! hahahaha but yeah i miss having my hair that short. i have to cut it all wierd like here.

I was thinking about track and field this week and i think i want to try and run at asu. they have sick uniforms and logos. and i like arizona too much to leave it again.

love,

vance

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 5, 2012

Haha you wrote mi amigos? Cool beans. They will like to hear about my milagros. Kallan and I can write letters for free since we are in the same area. South america south. But yeah he hasnt written me back yet for like 6 weeks. And the last letter I got was all in spanish (not really a problem) but it was filled with Argentina slang that I dont understand. But I got the gist (jist?) of what he was saying. 

This week went by so fast! It was like a blur! The big highlights of this week are:

On wednesday President Callan (mission president) came to one of our lessons with Jose! So cool! We taught the law of tithing and it was good to have a person with more experience with a career to explain the blessings of tithing. It was a great lesson. That day, wednesday, we also recieved 8 referalls from one person! This lady gave us the name to every person on her street! Hhahaha and we have contacted 3 of them and one of them is a progressing investigator now. 

Thursday I did divisions with Elder Clement. He is from St. George, Utah and is an assistant to the president. Dont ask me why the assistants wanted to do divisions with normal missionarys like us. Like, we dont have any leadership positions or anything. Wierd. But cool. I learned a lot. And Jose, our investigator who was closest to baptism, called us and said he wanted to move his baptismal date up from the 10th of march to the 3rd! 
 
Jose's baptism
Friday was crazy. We had one day to get everything ready for the baptism. We spent a lot of time in the chapel getting the font ready. It had been about 2 months since a baptism so we had to clean the nasty font. Then we had to fill it up with water and that took over an hour. But then we left to work and we had a final lesson with Jose at 7:30 and we were going to teach him the word of wisdom. The last lesson he needed before his baptism. He texted us at 7:20 and said that he had to leave and couldnt meet with us but that he would be at his baptism. We started freaking out a little bit. He had to know word of wisdom! So we asked our zone leader what to do because he was doing a division in our area. He said that we should call Jose and explain to him over the phone enough about the word of wisdom so that he understands what it is so that he could still get baptized on Saturday. So we went to our house to call him at around 8:20 and he answered and right away said that he was almost home and that we could come over if we didnt have anything to do. So we ran over to his house and taught him word of wisdom and went over the baptismal interview questions. We were at his house till almost 10! (dont tell president ;) ) We ran back to our house after that. 
Elder Palma, Jose, Elder Johnson

Saturday we had the baptism! So cool! He is such a good guy. He is going to be a great member. Now we are going to try to work with his family but his wife doesnt really ever want to talk to us. So we will see how that goes. 

It is good to hear from you mother! I love reading your emails! 

I am still in my same area with my new companion Elder Palma and we are loving life. We get along super well and are working well with members now. We even made a calender yesterday before church for members to sign up to feed us lunch and within an hour every day was full. 3 families volunteered to feed us every tuesday, wednesday and thursday of every month. So yeah, life is good. and the lunch we had yesterday was the biggest and best lunch I have had in paraguay. So freaking good. I wish I had had my camera. 

That is it from me this week!

Rohayhu!

Vance

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 26, 2012

Letter to Dad:
Sadly the video didnt work. It is 16 minutes long or something. I could probably make it work if i was at home but I cant do all the things on the computer that I used to. What was it of? Ugh, the keyboard I am using is sticking so bad... public computers, blech.

New companion Elder Palma
Haha my letter was good last week? If you thought that was good, just wait to read the one this week. Miracles are happening in my area. I have a new companion named Elder Palma from Mexico. In the last 4 days, his first 4 days, we found 11 new investigators and our investigator, Jose, who is closest to baptism finally came to church again and Elder Foster of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 was there! And so was our misssion president. They both gave talks along with an area 70 from Argentina. They all 3 talked and said exactly what José needed to hear. We should have a baptism saturday. But President told me after sacrament meeting that he wants to come with us to a lesson with José! So crazy. Then after church we found a family of 6 that totally accepted and understood the lesson of the restoration. So cool! Then an invesitigator thought we looked hungry so she asked us to eat lunch with her! And it was asado! So cool.

Benitez Family
Thats pretty cool about ward conference. Before my mission I never would have looked forward to something like that but now that sounds like something really interesting and that I would like to go to. I use that scripture Alma 37:6 and 7 a lot with investigators. I like it alot, but in spanish its better. ;)

I am glad you had a good week, my week was awesome too. Mom asked me to send my emails earlier in the day so that is why I am emailing earlier now. and my new companion likes to go in the morning and I could really care less. But I dont have an email from mom today. But I will send a general email anyways.


Working that hard?  Or poorly made shoes?  Just kidding.
The pictures I attached are of me and my new comp Elder Palma, my shoes (I am going to talk to mom about those), my egg and pizza that elder nielsen didnt believe me that it was good and does now, and me and the Benitez family. The older guy in the soccer jersey sitting down is the stake president. Coolest guy I have met in Paraguay so far. He came with us to a lesson with our investigator and basically sealed the deal. And he took us to his house in his truck so that was awesome.



Chow!

Vance

Letter to Mom:

Gracias por tu ayuda. Sorry for being a pill, it never was my intention. (Stacy says: He and I had a disagreement about what was going onto his blog, but we resolved it.)

So this week was really a week of miracles. I´ll go through my days for you.

Pizza with an egg on top.  Johnson family favorite.
Monday: Bueno, monday really wasnt that great. Pday is fun but we dont really do much missionary work. We had a family home evening with a recent convert and she had invited people to come over at 8 but no one came until about 8:55 and we have to be home at 9. So that didnt work. I heard that people came and it was a good night after we left.

Tuesday: We woke up, studied as usual and then went to district meeting. We recieved the changes and elder Nielsen was going to another area called Ita and I was staying. And I was getting a companion named Elder Palma. He was in an area 6 hours away. So after district meeting we went back home and had a last lunch with the other Elders (Avendaño and May) and then we left to "work." We just visited investigators that Elder Nielsen wanted to say bye to. So we did that until the day was through. Elder Nielsen stayed up till 1am packing his things and I went to sleep at 11 or so.

Wednesday: We go to the bus terminal to get our new companions and drop Elder Nielsen off. I pick up Elder Palma and we take off back to Lucerito. We arrive back home at about 9 am. We didnt have any food so we went to the super and bought some food for the week and then came back home and started working after lunch.We visited some members to introduce Elder Palma and then had a couple lessons with new investigators. Good day.

Johnson, Palma, ?, Nielsen
Thursday: We visited a couple investigators and had 2 lessons that day. It wasnt an awesome day but it wasnt too hot so it didnt suck. We set up an appointment with a family we found for sunday. and we also met with the stake president who heard about one of our investigators who was having a hard time making the decision to get baptized. President Benitez wanted to come with us to a lesson.

Friday: We started off the day working in an area where we had a couple set appointments but that fell. So we were just trying to talk to people outside and found two guys resting from work who let us teach them and they both turned into new investigators! Then we had lunch and went back out to work. At around 6 we had a lesson with a guy named Noel. We passed by a members house named Mario who was going to come with us. So we got him and then started walking towards our appointment which was kinda far from his house. So we get finally all the way over there and the dude wasnt there! So we tried clapping a couple houses and nothing worked. So we decided to just head back the other way because we had a lesson with José and the Stake President. It all the sudden started to rain really really hard. We ran as fast as we could to an over hang on the side of someones house and waited for a minute but the rain wasnt stopping. So we called the stake president and asked him if he could come pick us up but we didnt know exactly how to explain where we were because we were really far. and the only way I could explain it wouldnt work because it was a dirt road and surely was a river of mud and water by now. So we told him to meet us at a members house which we thought was close and started running. We were soaking wet in the matter of minutes and still had a long way to go. The roads were rivers and we were running through knee deep water. We finally get to a bus stop that had a roof and we called the stake president that was waiting for us in his truck at this members house and told him where we were and he came and got us. He picked us up and we left to our lesson with José. The lesson with José was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been in. José wanted to get baptized but couldnt just make the decision to just do it! President Benitez knew exactly what to say to him and it was amazing. So that finished that really fun and amazing day.

Saturday: We had another day of 4 lessons not counting the lesson we had with a member family who is going to have family home evening in their house on saturday and invite some friends. It was a good day but nothing huge. Still was really cloudy and not hot so the day couldnt have been bad.

Sunday (Crazy day): We wake up at 6:30 like normal and before 7 we got a call from our district leader that said President Callan was coming to our sacrament meeting and that two general authorities were coming! Whoa! Luckily we were going to have José in sacrament meeting with us. So we got to church early, and were waiting outside shaking everyones hands when President Monson showed up!!! hahahaha just kidding. But President Callan did with his wife and soon thereafter Elder Foster of the 2nd quorum of the 70 (his picture is in the liahona) and an area 70 named Elder Giovanni from Argentina. So sacrament meeting was at 10 and at 9:30 José still wasnt there. So we left to go pick him up and when we got to his house he was getting ready like he woke up late. He was taking forever and finally came out and said that his wife was really mad that he was leaving with us and started crying (his wife doesnt really like us) so he said he had to calm her down before he left. So we left to the church on the way stopped on the side of the road and said a prayer that he would be able to say something to his wife to calm her down. During the sacrament he showed up! So Cool! Then the talks by President Callan, Elder Giovanni and Elder Foster were exactly what José needed to hear. What a miracle. José is going to pick a date to be baptized this week. We are visiting him tonight. Then later in the day me and my companion found a family of 6 that accepted our message and understood it and everything! Then we went to visit another investigator family and they were busy because they had family over or something and didnt have time to let us in and share a little bit but asked us if we wanted to come in and eat lunch with them! Hahahaha so cool! and it was asado! Then we went to a family home evening where a recent convert invited her friend from work and he doesnt live in our area but we passed his reference to the missionaries where he lives. Ahh, what a day!

This week seriously has been the best week of my mission so far and I am living with someone who doesnt speak english. And I am getting your package tomorrow, possibly today. I am in Ñemby again so we might pass by the Hermana´s house to pick up the package.

El Señor estaba guiandonos esta semana. Yo sé que esta obra es la obra del Señor. No puedo explicar el gozo que viene cuando las personas aceptan el evangelio. Yo amo mi vida ahora. No quiero parar. ¡Voy a seguir adelante y bautizar a full!


Les Quiero,

Vance

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines day to you! haha my comp uses hankerchiefs as well not always a paper towel. But the hankercheifs get dirty and he uses paper towels when his hankerchiefs are getting washed. I dont have to use any of those because I dont seem to sweat as much as everyone else. It is so hot here though. I cant believe it. Last wednesday it was 110 degrees with 100% humidity and we left the house to work at 1pm. Its crazy. We freeze our water bottles and they are warm within less than a half hour. 

Oh grocery shopping, I remember the times. When we go grocery shopping here it takes like 30 minutes max and then I remember shopping for hours on end in wal mart. hahaha. (Stacy says:  I was telling him about getting groceries one day and it took over two hours)

So this week in Lucerito we had a really tough time getting lessons. We felt like we had been working as hard as we could and we went all week with only 6 lessons. We put one new investigator with a baptismal date in the first lesson and he said for sure he was going to come to church and he didnt come. and it turned out that he gave us a fake phone number and so we went to his house, some lady inside just started yelling at us and said that he is on vacations and he is traveling right now and she doesnt know when he will be back. Kinda disappointing. Its hard not to be disappointed when you have no numerical success. But we did have a good lesson with one of our investigators named Jose. We have been teaching him for basically the whole time I have been here but his wife wont let him get baptized. So we have been trying to think of a way to get on the good side of his wife and finally we thought of something. We had a lesson there at his house one day and we saw something that looked like a calzone so my comp started talking to him about it and we got on the subject of food and Jose started telling us that his wife loves to cook. So we decided to set up a lesson where we could make some american food for them and share something spiritual as well. So we made a peach cobbler and took it to their house and finally the wife came out and talked to us! It was only for about 5 minutes but it was the most we had ever talked to her. And she invited us back over on tuesday and we are going to eat some more food and we are going to watch the restoration movie. Hopefully everything goes well. 

The last two days (sunday, monday) i have been pretty sick. I had a fever of 101 on Sunday and today I felt just as bad so i asked for a blessing from my comp and my district leader. I still dont feel totally better but a lot better than Sunday. Hopefully I feel 100% tomorrow. 

I still have not recieved the package but tomorrow at district meeting I might get something that notifies me that it is in paraguay but then I have to pay for a company to bring it to my house. So the earliest I could get it is the 21st of February. Mail is slow. Have you gotten the letters I sent home?

The church is true.

Love,

Vance

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

I can believe its February haha. This is the hottest month of the year so i have heard and the last week or so has sure shown it. I have been sweating so much in the last couple days. Its nuts. Its just so humid that its impossible not to sweat. But luckily I dont sweat as much as my poor companion. He carries around a paper towel all day long and is always wiping off his face. A crazy paraguayan told us that if we drank lemon juice we wouldn't sweat as much. Its a myth. I still sweat and I drink straight up lemon juice every morning. Just a capful because I cant stomach much more.

I did take out some money from my account a while ago but I don't remember exactly how much was in there. I was sure that there was enough though. I thought I had enough. Sorry about that. I dont think
Inside of scripture case
I will need to take out any more personal money for a while. I bought a missionary tag in Guarani, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in guarani is "Hesu Kristo marangatukuera arapahapegua" and some scripture cases. Both of which havent been delivered to me yet. (Stacy says:  He got his scripture case delivered so I'm inserting the pictures here)

Yeah, Dad told me that you guys watched a dog for a little while and I could not believe that you let a dog in our house! But thats cool. I have decided that I never ever want a dog now though. I didnt really
want one before but after being here in Paraguay and seeing like 2,304,972,342 stray dogs a day and all of them just barking your ear off when you are trying to do a contact is just so frustrating. I hate all
the dogs here. But its kinda funny because the paraguayans hate them too. So they throw rocks at them and so if you want a dog to get away from you all you have to do is pretend to pick up a rock and it will run away really fast.

Thats cool that Drew had a good season. He told me he was going to write me a letter on Christmas and I still havent received it...

Thats crazy that Marly already got asked to Prom! But that is pretty cool the way that dude did it. Have I met the guy?


Inside of scripture case
Dad and Sky went camping just the two of them? Thats cool. I want to go camping. Thats crazy about the cluff girls! I remember in 7th grade we needed our ID card to buy lunch and so on the days that I forgot my
ID card I would go to the lunch line where Allie worked and should would let me buy lunch with just my number. hahaha. that was a long time ago. But David Barushok (?) let me do that too. They both worked
in the cafeteria at smith.

Thats cool that you and dad ran so far! I miss running so much. My companion doesnt like to run and so we only do enough running everyday to wake us up. Like 5 minutes at the most. And I think I am getting
fat so I need to do more. We have a rope in the house so I think after we run i am going to jump rope a lot.

This week in my studies I studied patience. Patience is what I needed to have to endure this week. Our week was really slow with not many lessons. We recieved a lot of references (over 70 in the last two
weeks) from people but only had 8 lessons. So I studied the patience and have learned a lot. I wish I had my study journal with me right now so I could put down some key scriptures that I found but I dont. I read the talk "Waiting upon the Lord: Thy will be done" from Conference and learned a lot too.

So like I said, the week was really slow. Nothing too grand happened. I did receive letters from Josh and Sister Burley and will be sending those out as soon as possible. I have zone conference tomorrow and
tuesday is usually when I send out letters so I dont know if I will be able to send them tomorrow. And I have not received any packages thus far but I am going to the office tomorrow so I might get it tomorrow.
I am not totally sure that they will actually give it to me tomorrow because we usually have to pay to recieve packages but I will know for sure that I got it tomorrow I think. Then I will pay for it tomorrow and get it next tuesday.
Les Quiero!!!

Elder Johnson





January 30, 2012

Me and my ZL Elder P.
So this last week was super quick! I had a 48 hour division with one of my zone leaders and the week just flew by! So Tuesday I left to Ñemby (pronounced Nyemboo) and started my first division with an elder that only speaks Spanish. It wasnt as hard as I thought! We didnt talk that much the first day mostly because we have nothing in common. He is from Honduras and his lifestyle is totally different. But then after that it got a little easier and we started talking. I learned a lot about how to ask questions better in lessons to help the investigator teach himself and how to ask for referalls better. Referalls make this work so much easier. When we actually have a house to go to instead of clapping every single house on a street, the success rate goes way up. If you know someone in your neighborhood who isnt a member, tell the missionaries. They wont even use your name if you dont want them to and they will love you forever. 

My crepes that I made this morning.  Sooooooo good.
My comp Elder N. and his crepes
So after the division was over I came back to my area and my house with air conditioning (the zone leaders dont want to pay to have their unit installed so they dont have AC) my comp and the other zone leader had recieved 33 referalls in two days! So we had some work to do and thursday flew by! We contacted so many of them. Sadly no one wanted to sit down with us except for a crazy catholic dude who told us that he was a prophet. He was crazy. But this crazy guy gave us a reference and we contacted the house on Friday and before we could even finish introducing ourselves they guy invited us in and we taught and now that guy has a baptismal date! Then on Saturday we got another referral from someone that didnt want to listen to us and we taught this girl and now she has a baptismal date too! and she even said that she wants to come to church! And she speaks english! hahah miracles this week! Good stuff. Sadly we had to drop one of our investigator familes who we thought were golden because they were so nice to us. We taught them lesson 1 a couple weeks ago and invited them to be baptized. They said that they were already baptized in the catholic church which means that they obviously didnt understand the part where we said that through a prophet all the authority of god was restored. So we went back and explained lesson 1 again and invited them to be baptized again and they said again that they were already baptized. They are the nicest people ever but we just cant go visit people all the time that will never progress. but the daughter said that she would still come to our weekly english class. So thats good, that they dont hate us. 

So that is basically what happened this week. Hopefully our investigators can come to church next week!

I got bored this morning before studies and did a shake face.
Marly isnt running track!? Lame! Track is the best sport on the planet and it isnt going to hurt her cheerleading! if it does anything it will help it. Drew can do whatever he wants. He is the first person in this family to play JV anything as a freshmen. He shouldnt play football either if he wants to play basketball then. ;) I wish I could record what we do every day but it would be really hard to do and its against the rules to use the video function on our cameras anyways. (I still do sometimes if it is really cool and we are in the house) I made crepes this morning! And i basically have decided that I want to go to BYU after 1 more year at MCC. My comp went there for a little over a year before his mission and he convinced me that I want to go. But I still want to run too. Oh yeah and I passed the 4 month mark this week! So mom, if you and dad want to come pick me up in Paraguay you need to decided within the next 14 months. The mission needs to know 6 months in advance. 
A list of things I want in life. 

January 23, 2011

Mom - You just barely made it in time! Hahaha I laughed when I opened the email and it said that you had written in 28 minutes ago. Close call. Sorry about the pictures this week, nothing that cool happened so there arent any pictures with me in them. I have another one from McDonalds but it is just about the same as the last one.

DEREK HAD A SEIZURE! Crazy! I am glad to hear he is doing ok. That is so scary. I totally forgot that right about now is Super Bowl time. No one talks about it here and it so freakin hot that i forgot that it was football season. Marly changed her hair color? El Sueño de Lehi is one of my favorite stories from the Book of Mormon. I love how it can basically be "likened" (1 ne 19:23) to any part of life. There is a really cool picture of Lehis dream in the October ensign that is all about the Book of Mormon. Is Drew going to run track? He should, and he should run the 3200. He would win.

So this week was kind of uneventful. Me and my comp walked a lot. We only have about two investigators that are progressing and so we dont have a lot of set lessons. And one of our progressing investigators only wants to meet with us on Saturday nights. Our other Investigator is named Jose Avila and he is 42 years old but he looks like he is 25. He is super cool, he plays soccer for 2 hours a day with his 19 year old son! We are teaching him and he had fecha for the 28th of January to be baptized but he didnt come to church this sunday and you need 3 times in the church before we can baptize them. So his fecha got moved to the 4th of February. We talked to him and he knows he should have came but said he had a problem that he couldnt avoid. We have a lesson with him tonight. We taught him Law of Chastity last time we taught him and it was a relief to find out that he is actually married to the woman that he has lived with for the last 20 years. Sometimes we meet people who have families and have been together forever it seems and just never got married. It sucks because they dont see a reason to get married so that is something that stops people from getting baptized. Two of our investigators told us to stop coming this week too. So sad. One of them said that the lady that he is living with and has two kids with but not his wife doesnt want us in her house. Which is super gay. He called her his Dueño (landlord kinda feel). Super wierd guy. He avoided us like 3 times before he got the courage to sheepishly ask us not to come back. 

I had my first interview with Presidente Callan on Wednesday. That was interesting. It was like 10 minutes and we didnt talk about much. He asked me how I can improve my work ethic because we can always be better and how sacrifice is the key to exaltation. It was interesting. I couldnt tell if he was trying to tell me something like that I needed to sacrifice more or just telling me to tell me. I will study sacrifice more I guess. 

Josh Burley wrote me an email (that i am not allowed to write back to) and said that he hadnt forgotten about me but that he gave you pictures and letters to send me like a month and a half ago and that you waited to send them to me in the package. Is this true?

If Tobie Rash and Carly Blair are reading this I got your letter(s) and I am going to send you both a letter back tomorrow (1/24/12) and so you can expect that around st patricks day. Asi es la vida en Paraguay.

Cool thing that happened this week is I found a place to buy a huge Ice cream cone with three scoops for only 2 mil! and 2 mil guarani is like less than 50 cents. and this place has kiwi ice cream! KIWI! And waffle cones. So good.

Anyways, I think that is it for this week!

Les Quiero,

Vance

P.S.  Oh yeah, I already have some guarani words ingrained in my vocab that will be really hard to get out. First, every time that I would normally say "Dang!" or "Dang it!" I now say "Deda, Chori She'ra!" Which is basically the equivelant in guarani. But I have heard that that saying is really bad if you say it just a little differently. The word "cori" is really bad in Guarani I guess. I have only heard it once and the dude was really angry with us. But I hear Chori like every day.

Oh yeah and its really funny the way paraguayans talk. They add the words "un poco" after a lot of sayings and it doesnt even really make sense. Por ejemplo yesterday me and my comp clapped a house and no one came out but the windows were open and everything and the next door neighbor was sitting in front of her house so I asked her "hola hermana, ¿usted sabe si alguien esta aqui? (do you know if anyone is home here?) and she said "no se un poco" which literally means "I dont know a little". hahahaha oh paraguayans. And they put the words no mas after every single sentence it seems.

Eso no mas :) 
Dad - I am glad you like the pics, I am going to try and include some pics in every email. But this week this pictures are kinda lame. Nothing really cool happened. That is so scary that Derek had a seizure.

Thats cool that you are enjoying your runs. I miss running so much. My comp doesnt like to run so we sometimes get up and go run but when we do it is only for like 2 minutes around a park one lap. Just enough to wake us up. I wish we had more time for stuff like that. But it is super uncomfortable for me to work out in Garments so one lap is ok for now. Sometimes I do ab workouts but I am getting lazy too.

That is crazy that Drew yelled at his coach. I can see it though, it doesnt surprise me too much. I remember wanting to yell at coaches before for making decisions that I didnt think were right. That all changed pretty much when I started running because i pretty much only focused on me. haha that sounds pretty selfish but that is one of the things i liked a lot about track and cross country. I only had to worry about myself and my workouts. 

That would be sweet to go back to Reavis Ranch! I was just talking to my companion about Reavis the other day. We talk about so much random stuff. We arent getting a lot of lessons right now so we walk and talk a lot. Just about everything. I think I know my comp better than a lot of my good friends just because we talk about anything and everything. It has been pretty boring this week. 

It is so nice not to be one of the newest missionaries in Paraguay anymore. We have two missionaries in my district right now that are newer than me and it is pretty cool to know how to be a missionary and speak the language better than them. That might sound mean but i am trying to help them. 

One thing, My comp and the other Elders in my ward are basically always with us and they take a lot of photos and I have really no way of getting photos from them. Do you think you could buy me a jump drive and send it to me like in a padded envelope or something. My comp is leaving this area in about 4 weeks ( we are guessing, he has been is this area for over 6 months now) and I would really like to have his pictures. And another elder in my ward has a bunch of mission appropriate music that I would love to have too. He just barely got to this area so he wont be leaving soon but I would really like to have his music. And then there are music players for cheap here that you can plug your jump drive into and play music in your apartment. Maybe just an 8gb or a 16? That would be so cool. I wish I would have remembered to ask for it before mom sent the package. 

Gracias! 

Love,

Vance

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2011

Hola!

I finished my first change in Paraguay! Can you believe its been 6 weeks! Only 13 more changes here! hahaha.

So this week was just about as good as last week. Not many lessons but it wasnt as boring as last week. Me and my companion forced ourselves to clap houses during the siesta when no one wants to talk and we got some appointments out of it but minimal success. Going from house to house and clapping and then having someone wake up, come to the door and see us and then say "otro dia" over and over again isnt fun. But we made a goal to stay productive and when you dont have appointments, that is about as productive as you can be. 

This week for some odd reason I started picking up Guarani words really easy. I learned how to say "como se llama" "hola" "donde esta su casa" "no se" and some other stuff. It was really wierd. When i first got here I couldnt even understand the spanish and now the guarani is making sense. Wierd. We contacted a guy on the street the other day and he was being a jerk and wouldnt stop talking about how we are just rich americans and stuff and my comp was having trouble introducing the gospel and so i just butt in and asked him a few questions in Guarani and he totally lightened up and told us where he lived and then i told him that we wanted to share a message about jesus christ and it turned out he lived outside of our area. But we took his information and we are going to forward the reference to the north mission. My area borders the paraguay north mission on two sides. So there is a chance that me and my comp could be walking on our border and the north missionaries could be walking on their border and see us but we have no idea how far that border is from where the other missionaries live so it will probably never happen. 

I gave a talk in church on sunday! So crazy, get this. I wrote the whole thing out word for word and then i totally winged it when i got up there! In total spanish! Sweet right? We have a new missionary in our district that is in my ward and he gave a talk too. All 4 of us in my ward had to give talks and the bishop didnt tell us until saturday night while we were planning. It all worked out fine though. And we had an investigator at church! So cool. Number wise, our work doesnt look successful but numbers arent what makes a successful missionary. We are working hard and the success will come. I know it. 

Thank you for the pictures! I love the one of Derek! hahahahaha. 

The pictures I am sending are 1. my district in our last district meeting of the change and 2. The awesome clouds outside our window one morning. Oh yeah, it was pretty rainy this week too. I forgot about that. It rained and was cold outside for like two days straight. But dont worry, its freaking hot again.

Les Amo!

Vance






   

Letter to dad:

Thats good that your week was good. I love the san tans! Its basically impossible to get lost out there, it is all one loop. Kallan and I would ride mountain bikes out there all the time! I miss those days. That is so cool about your book of mormon reading. I am in 2nd Nephi 15 right now in spanish. The first day I got to Paraguay the mission president gave us all a copy of the book of mormon and an invitation to start reading it in spanish and marking every reference of Christ with the same color pencil to build your testimony that it really is another testiment of Jesus Christ. Its pretty cool to see mi Libro de Mormon with yellow marks all over it. All i have done is marked references to the Saviors name. Pretty sweet.

P.S.  Sent with two more pictures

These are photos from my companions camera. One is me looking all deep like into the distance of a South American Rain Forest but if you look closely you can see mydistrict leader hunting mangos in the tree in his backyard. The other one is just me being all excited about the hamburgers that my district leader cooked for us that day. 

My district leader is named Abinadi A.... He is from Mexico and the coolest person I think I have ever met in my life. It still trips me out that I can get to know someone pretty well in a different language. His name is ABINADI!!!!!