Sunday, October 25, 2015

New World, New Experiences

In our letter to Jeff we asked a bunch of questions and he sent me his responses today.  I have posted the questions and his responses, and then posted his letter to everyone at the bottom of this post.
1. Are you safe and happy?

I'm safe and happy, it's really hot here, and I'm a little home sick but I know that as I get lost in the work I will be just fine.

2. Are you still on Tarawa?  If so, how long will you be there?Yeah I'm on Tarawa for my first area, my actual companion is on an outer island and won't get here until Thursday. Now I am with Elder Powell and Elder Vula.

3. Have you met your new companion?  If so, what is his name and where is he from?  How long has he been out in the mission?

My companion Elder Senguine has like three weeks left is all so I don't know how that will work quite yet. I was told he is from Philadelphia

4. Where will you be serving for your first area?  Is it on one of the out islands?

They are going to split an area in two here on the main Island so that is were I will be serving, it is called Temaiku.

5. Is there an address that regular letters and packages can be sent to you?

I am not sure about the address I think that you just have to send them to the mission home.  (Amber and I are going to follow up so we can have the correct mailing address for Snail Mail.)

6. What did you think of your mission president?  How about the Zone Leaders and/or Assistants to the president?

All the leaders are really awesome and really nice! I just love them even though I have only met them a few times.

7. How is the food treating you?  You enjoying it?  Have you eaten anything crazy yet?

The food is really good except it made me sick, I'm not quite used to it yet. My favorite is this coconut cream with flour balls of dough on top of rice!

8. How was your first Sacrament meeting?  Can you provide some details about what it was like?

Our first sacrament was really good, they spoke really fast, and when they sing they do it at the top of their lungs!! There was a dog that tried to get into the chapel and the second councilor just stopped as the kids chased it away! The clock on the wall also broke, and the second hand was jumping and they thought it was the funniest thing they have ever seen!

9. What are your first thoughts of the people of Kiribati?  Have they been kind to you? 

Everyone is super nice! In lessons they speak quite a bit of English to help you out, and everyone smiles and says hello.  They are shy at first but once you get to know them they are really open.  They make fun of us... a lot, but it is super funny, they call us imatong, which means foreigner

10. What is the most interesting or shocking thing you have experienced so far?

They way they live is probably the most shocking, and it's pretty tough to sit on the ground as much as we do.

Letter to Everyone

My first few days were a whole mixture of emotions.  When we first got off the plan, the humidity hit me really hard.  We walked to this building that had a tin roof, and brick walls, it was so hot in there!! There were a ton of kids behind the fence calling us imatong, which is pretty much white person, or foreigner. 

The workers pretty much tossed our bags in through tiny windows in the building.  It was a mess of luggage and people in there.  By this point it really hit me that I was really doing this.  We were in that building for a good hour and a half I was sweating super bad!! WE were in there so long because they had to check everyone's stuff individually. 

When we finally got back out side, we met with the zone leaders, and other mission leaders and the Mission President.  They loaded our stuff in the trucks and drove us to moroni, to drop off the bags then they took us to a church were we were fed and given a small orientation. 

We were assigned areas and companions.  I was super excited, riding in the car everyone pointed, smiled, laughed, and waved, it was super cool.  It was kind of rough saying goodbye to everyone, but I was ready. 

Elders Powell, Johnson and Nagonevulavula
Since my companion wasn't going to be here until Thursday I got put with Elder Powell and Elder Vula until then.  We were dropped off at our house and went to find Elder vula.  My first thoughts of the house was that it was ghetto, haha but I now appreciate it now that I have seen how other people are living.  My first night we got fed, and they made us sing for them! The whole visit they made fun of us, and just joked and had a good time it was really fun!  That night I had to sleep on the hard floor since there was no extra mats, I didn't find out until the next night that Elder Powell had two!!

These days have flown by like crazy!! I can't believe I've been here for five days already! its insane.  For lessons we usually sit under these tiny sitting platforms that are separate from the house and have a roof on it.  My favorite lesson, was after we taught we played volley ball with the family and their friends and it started pouring rain.  I even showed the kids some magic tricks and beat boxed for them they thought it was super cool. They were super cute!

Church was a blast, nothing at all like I was expecting, I was told that the church for Temaiku is the nicest one in Kiribati! 

Elder Johnson

Jeff's Home on Tarawa

View during study time.

Sunset on Tarawa

Canned Ham

Thursday, October 22, 2015

First Message From Tarawa

Jeff was able to send us a quick note letting us know he had arrived safely. 

Hey everyone,
My trip was awesome, it was a long flight, a little scary at times,
(turbulence, and we cut it a little close in FIji) but I'm here, I'm
safe, I'll be able to email more on p-day but, the humidity is brutal!
The president and all the missionaries are amazing and the people are
so nice and friendly. It is beautiful here! goodbye for now!

Elder Johnson

From Mom and Dad-

Heartbroken happiness. Jeff is en route to Tarawa, Kiribati. It was tough to talk to him today knowing that he was scared about how his life is going to change over the next couple years. The dad in me wanted to go with him and protect him from any struggle and challenge he faces. But that is not my roll now. He is in God's hands now.
I know that a lot of people see these young missionaries as naive and the brunt of jokes and satires. But behind each one of these young men and women is a family who is aching to have them home, and praying that the world will treat them kindly. They are trying to serve others, to comfort and lift burdens of those they meet and hopefully bring a little joy and love into someone's life.

Any prayers and good thoughts for our boy will be appreciated.

WOW this missionary Mom stuff is a roller coaster. Jeffrey will be starting his new journey ... he flies out today to the Marshall Islands. I am full of all different emotions. I am bawling and smiling at the same time. "JOY AND SADNESS" have taken over my brain. I sure miss that boy! But I know he is ready for this journey and going to be Awesome.I love my missionary.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Last MTC P-Day

Early Laundry Day for Last MTC P-Day
Today is our official Last P-day in the MTC,  I got a fresh new hair cut, had a mini panic attack when I realized my card didn't work, went to the temple for the last time in two years, and played beach volleyball. 

This week seriously went sooooo fast! It felt like yesterday it was only Sunday! My companion and I had the chance to teach Priesthood for a second time and our third lesson over all for Sunday classes. Last Sunday the topic was Baptism, President Yost, who is a counselor over the entire MTC sat in.  He told our zone president that he was impressed with the lesson.

Choir has been amazing every Tuesday and Sunday we get to practice a song for the devotionals. This week we did an arrangement of Joseph Smith's prayer which was beautiful and definitely brought the spirit into the room. 

Wednesday we got to host new missionaries which was a really cool experience to see the dropping off from a new perspective.  My companion and I even got asked to stay a little later to help with the late missionaries. 

Thursday was in field orientation, which was a number of classes in what to generally expect when we get to the field. It was from breakfast to dinner time, so it was long, but I got a ton out of it.  Any way that is my week in a nutshell. 

Getting ready to leave Tuesday, it's coming soo fast!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

MTC Week 4


This Last week, Elder Osborne, Elder Hoskins and I built Fort Kiribati in our room, and after we slept in it for the night I had the feeling to take care of it in the morning but we got busy getting ready for the day so I forgot. That night one of the president's assistants/counselors was walking around telling everyone about zone prayer, and I was the only on in the room, because my companion was in the bathroom and the other two weren't in the room yet,  so I tried walking out so he wouldn't walk in before the others came to help me take it down, but he beat me to my room!! As he was telling me about zone prayer he was looking from the fort back to me, with this look of "I am not amused" Of course that would happen!!  WE took it down but it was pretty legit!

I don't have very long but I wanted to say that your dear elders help me every week, you know exactly what to say!

I loved the gift box and I shared some of it! ;) 

I have been doing so much better with the language, and when my companion and I taught Brother Birrell, in my one on one with him he said I killed it.  I told him I tried out some of the techniques he told me when I went to him about my frustrations about the language.

I love it here and I am soo excited to go out and serve the people of Kiribati.

Love your son

Dear Momma Bear,
I'm glad that you liked the picture that I drew you guys, it literally took me like five minutes.  
Yeah, dad sent me a dear elder he was gone, I know how tough that can be for you, but I always admired how for the most part you kept your cool and we all were crazy!! hahah, But there is one person who knows exactly how you are feeling at all times, because he has experienced it all, Jesus Christ.  Whenever you are struggling, turn to your father in heaven, and ask him for comfort.  He will give it to you, but you have to be doing your part.  I know it's hard when dad travels but the reason he does it is for the Family.  Dad knows that the most important thing in the gospel is families and that is why he works as hard as he does.  

The language is going so well, I've talked to two of my teachers about my frustrations, and they have been able to help me a ton! Brother Birrell and Brother Packer are so awesome!!  I even asked for a blessing of comfort and I received a whole bunch of ways how to retain the language a lot better.  Hard work and prayer that's all it takes!! Yesterday we got to teach a skype lesson to a return Kiribati missionary, it was really cool, we had a twenty five minute lesson with him on the computer and I even shared a personal experience in kiribati.  It was sooooo cool and I know that he felt the spirit because I know I did.

I know that as I strive to be a good missionary and try my very hardest to be exactly obedient, then I know that the Lord will bless me and I know that he will help me through anything, even learn a seemingly impossible language through the spirit.  

I ataia bwa e kouaua ibukin E mate, Iesu Kristo, ti kona maiu ma te Atua ao Iesu Kristo.  Ngkana ko ira  ana tua Te Atua ao ngkana ko tataro nakon te Atua I ataia Ko kona karakea korakora ao irakei iroun te tamnei ai roiroi.

(I know that because Jesus Christ died we can live with God and Jesus Christ. If you follow God's commandments and pray to him you can receive strength and be led by the holy ghost.)
I love you mom, you have no idea how grateful I am for everything that you have done for me.  You have done so much that I could never repay to you. Your love is the closest to the saviors than any one else I have ever met, just like Elder Holland said.  
Stay strong and pray often

Love your son

Elder Johnson.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Week 3 of the MTC


    (From my letter to Jeff)Fridays have become our family's favorite day now.  Everyone anxiously awaits your newest batch of letters.  They are such a blessing to us when we receive them, it lifts everyone's mood.

I love p-days! mostly because I get to Email the family! Plus it's super chill at the MTC.  I sent you the picture/drawing today in the mail it took me literally five minutes to draw!
    Mom and I are going to make a weekly trip to the place in Provo that delivers packages same day while you are in the MTC, so let us know if there is anything you are craving while you are in there.

I already told mom what I needed/wanted so any treats would be nice *hint hint nudge nudge*  oh and I forgot to tell you but my scripture marker is cracking, they have them here for a few dollars cheaper.  

    I have been spreading the word about the website.  Hopefully you will be seeing letters come in from other people.

Sweet! yeah I've been getting a lot of them as well as hand-written letters.

    Vegard is fitting in more and more at school.  He changed one of his classes and got stuck in Child Development.  He is the only guy in class and the first day they had to watch babies being born on video.  Poor kid!

That's horrible!! XP Poor Vegard!

I have been praying to ask if I have been doing what I need to do to be a successful missionary and today Elder Osborne was the mouth piece for a blessing for my shin splints and the first thing that was said is that I was doing exactly what I needed to and I was following the spirit.  He had no i

dea I was praying about that, it was definitely an answer to my prayers.

It has been hard, but I'm getting it more and more every day!  I have been praying for the gift of tongues, and I see it working.  Your letter really helped me this week, it came on a day that I was really getting frustrated with the Language and the people in my district, It helped me to realize that I couldn't let contention into my life or I can't have the spirit, therefore, no gift of tongues.  

I love you dad, 

Love your son

Elder Johnson.

Dear Tinau, (My mom.)

(Personal stuff edited out)

The language is coming along really well, we teach someone almost everyday in Kiribati and I am starting to understand it all! I have been praying like Elder Ellis has told me for the gift of tongues and it definitely works!
I read something in the true to the faith that said something along the lines of ALL members of the church have the responsibility to do missionary work, not just the full time missionaries!

You never know who is watching, but the Lord is always watching, so we need to strive to always do our best!

I love you mom!!

Love your son Elder Johnson.

(Letter to whole family)

I love you all!!!! Remember who you are, and whenever you are faced with a trial, don't think "why me??"  Think "what does the Lord want me to learn from this experience??"

I love you all so much, and I also love my Father in Heaven, and I know that he loves me right back!!

Love your Son, brother, and friend, 

Elder Johnson