Monday, December 30, 2013

12-30-2013- One month into the mission

Dear everyone,
It has been a slow week. Because of the holidays it is hard to find people to teach or set an appointment with. Everyone busy or gone til next year. We had a Great Christmas last week! The senior couples really spoiled us with gifts and good food. It was all nice and fun but unfortunatly I was sick for a few days around Christmas. The mosquitos here are killing me. I am the only Elder now who keeps getting  eaten alive by them at night. It makes it hard to sleep at night when so itchy. Last night I sprayed myself with bug repellant and only got 1 bite. Perhaps I will do that more often.
On Friday while tracting I got attact by a dog for my first time on a mission. Good thing it was only a wee little one this time. It was biting my right leg as I was walking away from someone's house. I also walked around in heavy rain this weekend for the first time on my mission. It was a lot of fun. I was worried about all of our books though. We didn't expect rain so we didn't have an umbrella or rain jacket. We got splashed by a huge wave from a car that drove by. It reminded me of being in the Splash Zone during Shamoo Show at Sea World.
On Sunday 3 kids got baptised. The zone leaders that are in our branch baptised them. For the first time we had investigaters keep their promise and come to church. They were 2 young boy who we taught the Restoration to the day before. We had met then another time as well. I don't remember when that was. Their names are Pheladi age 12 and Koena age 9. They seem pretty excited about the Church. We gave them each a Book of Mormon to read. They stayed after church for the baptismm with us. It helped them to understand more about baptism. They said they wanted to one day. I can see them both being baptised very soon. Everytime we are at church all of the little kids love us for some reason. They like to sit with us during sacrament metting, they climb on us, and try to play with us. One little girl goes around during sacrament and rub each of the Elder strange and soft hair. I guess she is only used to the ropes or the rough and curly black hair.
Oh, some things I keep forgetting to say: The ant hills here are huge! I've seen a couple taller than me. On Christmas at Elder and Sister Harward's we watched and quoted "Mr. Krueger's Christmas"! It was great... reminded me of home. Elder Wadsworth, the other trainer in our flat, loves quoting movies all the time with me. I guess it is good we aren't companions because we would go off quoting movies during lessons and never get anything done. THE CHURCH IS TRUE, goodbye.
- Elder Michael Johnson

12-23-2013- 2nd week in Polokwane, South Africa


Hello again,
So it is very hot here on some days. Every week I see cool birds I have never seen before. There are some HUGE ant hills here. I should take a picture of one. Some are taller than me. Elder Haynes and I have been either walking or biking. Biking is fun and nice but can be a pain. I kept having to ride around with a flat back tire and it would go flat 60seconds after pumping it. Then one day Elder Wadsworth in my flat told us he used to fix bikes for a living. Why didn't he tell us when the tire first went flay? So he fixed it for us. It even took him a long time to get it off because it was so insanely tight on there. Then yesterday my from went flat and the tube and tire fell off. So I had to walk home while holding it up on the back wheel.
We had 4 new invetigators. One is Born Again Christian woman. You can imagine how that went and that is how it was. "The Bible says this and the Bible says that." She seemed to accept the things we shared with her. Another investigator we got is an old man.I don't think he could remember anything but I hope he felt something. He kept asking us the same questions over and over again.
A couple of the days we went out to visit and teach people with the the senior couple Bro. and Sis. Winward. They are very friendly people and it was very helpful to have them with us. We went to Lionel's house again with them. His mother who is a widow was there. We were able to help her have hope and comfort and got her to come to church this Sunday. We also gave her a blessing.
Sunday I spoke in sacrament about facing adversity in life. I thought it went well. One of the teenage sisters thanked me and said their prayers were answered. In the second hour I taught a class about the importance of obedience. That is all I will talk about because of time. There is so much more that I would like to share though. We have a lot of potential investigators but most people are gone or busy during the Holidays.
- Elder Michael Johnson

12-16-2013-First week in the Field in Polokwane, South Africa

Hey everyone!
It has been a good few weeks. My new companion is Elder Haynes from Australia which is cool.  He is 19 and has been out for 5 months. We are opening a new area in Polokwane in the province of Limpopo. 
Tracting here is more difficult in a way. It is hard to get to people's doors because they have their houses surrounded by big electric gates. But we have been placing Book of Mormon and pamphlets trying to get contact information. A lot of people are  gone or going for the Holidays. 
We have gotten to know the members better and visited less active which I believe has help them. We met a less active guy who surprisingly is white. HE is awesome. He knows Ikedo or something like that which is really cool. He told us about some pretty rough things he has been through in life. We shared some scripture with him and tried to bring him comfort. We also taught him about the importance of the Sabbath and sacrament. We got him to commit to coming to church and yesterday he came for the first time in a long while. He said he was very grateful that we came by because he was feeling pretty down and need to hear what we had for him. He said it has been years since he has seen the missionaries. This happened on Saturday. Also, on Saturday we gave a less active member a blessing because he was having medical problems. We taught him about faith and bore testimony.
The work has been slow because it is a new area but we are working to make progress. Our flat was way nicer than I expected. It is very big. I might send some pics of it. There are 2 companionships in the flat. One of them was my district leader in the MTC. His name is Elder Mcclellan. I'm thankful that someone I already know is there. I can feel God's hand in my life every day and his guidance. I am happy to be out here serving a mission and preaching the gospel. 
I have noticed a few things here in Africa. First, is that the napkins are called serviettes. If you call it a napkin here it means "diaper"... oops. I've been asking for diapers. The people in Africa speak very softly. It is super hard to understand people on the phone. Sometimes it seems impossible. I drove in South Africa for my first time today. Thank goodness we are all still alive. It is not very comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road but I will get used to it.It was an automatic which I was grateful for.
Saturday we road bikes which we will be doing almost every day. At the beginning of my day my back tire popped and went completely flat. The front tire got lower and lower by the hour. It became a very tiring day riding around on that thing. It is hot here. So sweaty. Good bye now.
-Elder Michael Johnson  

from letter to Michael's dad:
Hey Dad!
I forgot to put in the main email that we taught 2 teenage investigators on Saturday about the Restoration. Most of the people here are pretty chill and aren't rude to us. The few white people here though I noticed are quite rude. When the see us the cross over to the other side of the street. When we say hi they turn and pretend they don't know we are there. But Yesterday a group of white people said hi back to us which is sad that it is such a great accomplishment. Lionel the white guy who know Ikedo or whaterver is really nice though. Great guy.  He is the less active we got to come to church. Thanks for the report. I'm glad you went to the temole. LOve you, Mom, and jessica very much!
-Elder Johnson
p.s.- I will write in the real letter a bit more like the MTC stuff. It is just hard to write about everything because we are so busy. Today for p day we are bowling and mini golf. We will do animal stuff some other p day

Michael goes into the field 12-11-2013

Dear Brother and Sister Johnson,
Attached is a letter from President Omer regarding Elder Johnson.  Also attached are two pictures you might enjoy.  One is of him with Pres. and Sis. Omer, and the other is of him and his new companion.  Thank you for sharing him with our mission.

Sister Hillam
Johannesburg Mission Office


The MTC is empty.  There is no more laughter in the halls.
The missionaries left this morning for their missions.  They were excited and ready to get out into the field.
I will most likely know their trainers.  
These are the final photos I'm sending to you.  It is the group photo that will hang on the wall of the MTC....and also a Preach My Gospel photo with them holding up their training manual.
Thank you to those who send me kind notes and helped me feel that it was worth the effort to email you.
Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

Each missionary at the MTC is in the MTC choir.  Today they performed "Angels we have heard on high" to three different wards.
Elder Autry and Elder Mukonda took turns leading.  I accompanied on the piano.  They were fabulous!
Yesterday we had a great opportunity.  I invited the Christian Fellowship Group (of which I am a member) to a Christmas lunch at the MTC in our apartment.  I am the first Latter-day Saint to be on their committee and they have been pretty nervous about me.  It is a
miracle that they agreed to come to the MTC.  Although the 5 different churches they belong to are in the neighborhood, they didn't know where our church was.  So yesterday we had a chance to bring the Church "out of obscurity".
After we ate in our apartment, we led them into where the missionaries were in class.  Then the missionaries performed for them.
The guests were amazed and just loved it.  We sang two more songs and they joined in.  The Spirit was strong and they could feel it.
This was a remarkable event to dispell bad feelings about the Church.  President Reber fielded questions for an hour after the singing.
The missionaries were a big part of this wonderful event.
Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC


This morning the missionaries at the MTC gave 30 minutes of service.  Each missionary had an assignment with their companion.
They work hard, then get cleaned up and start their training and classes.  It is a nice change of pace for them.I also included the photo of the Elders who helped wash dishes after we returned home from the Temple.
Aren't they great!!!
Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

Michael's 19th birthday in the MTC

12-6-2013  about the night of 12-5-2013

Last night we celebrated Elder Johnson and Elder Cummings birthday.
They were sung to in Shona, Zula, Beba, French and English.  It was really neat.
Both admitted they had never had such a party.
The missionaries continue to progress!  Tonight we have people from the community come to the MTC so they can teach them.
It should be a great experience.
Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

Attend Johannesburg Temple

We attended the Johannesburg Temple.  Nine of the missionaries received their endowments.
It was a glorious day and a good experience for everyone.  If the missionaries look happy...
it is because they are!

Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

African missionaries teach foreigners to eat 12-3-2013

The African missionaries taught the "foreigners" to eat the staple food in Africa.  In South Africa it is called "Pap".
It is a ground grain and is eaten with the fingers.  We had a great time with this cultural event.  I hope the photos
show the meal time at the MTC as well as eating pap.

Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

Hail Storm 12-1-2013

We had a huge hail storm here at the MTC.  It flooded the rain came after the hail stopped.
Water came in under the front door of the MTC.  Many of the African missionaries had never seen hail before and they loved it.  The excitement was amazing.  Sorry if your missionary isn't in the photo...I was busy moping up water.
Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC


The missionaries have companions:
1: Elder Massy and Elder Robins
2. Elder McClellan and Elder Moyake
3. Elder Moore and Elder Mavlunda
4. Elder Prisbrey and Elder Cummings
5. Elder Mukonda and Elder Autry
6. Sister Mntungwa and Sister Matanga
7. Elder Mazhirikau and Elder Johnson
8. Elder Worton and Elder Ndlovu
9. Elder Young and Elder Dlamini
10. Elder Jakopo, Elder Henderson, and Elder Perkins
11. Elder Denhere and Elder Wild
12. Elder Moliki and Elder Smith
13. Sister Griffus and Sister Makunye
14. Elder Milne and Elder Stomps
15. Elder Rogers and Elder Panya

They are working hard to become great missionaries.

 Sister Janet Reber
South Africa MTC

11-29-2013, Missionaries Arrived yesterday


The missionaries have all arrived at the MTC. Their luggage all arrived too...which is rare.
They have companions now and have started the intense training. There are 4 Sisters and 27 Elders from

different countries comprising this group of missionaries.

Best wishes,
Sister Janet Reber...wife of the MTC President
South Africa MTC

11-28-2013 (Michael arrives in Johannesburg, South Africa

11-28-2013   (Michael arrives in Johannesburg, South Africa

Hello!   This computer is having problems which is frustrating. Anyway it has been exciting. I'm in the MTC right now. We had lunch it was good. Oh at the airport in London last night we met a TON of more Elders who came to the MTC with us. Some of them were from somewhere in England Most of them going to the Johannesburg mission. Here at the airport we met up some more Elder from other places in Africa. I think one is already from Johannesburg but going to Kenya. The other from South Africa is here for the Johannesburg mission. Sorry to say I think my samll scripture got lost on the plane. It is a good thing I packed the bigger ones. Anyway, I've notice quickly that it is too hot here for long sleeves especially with our suits. I will email the pictures next time. I hope that is ok. I read on the door of my room who my companion is. I haven't met him yet though. He is from Zimbabwa I think. There really isn't much to say. At the London airport I ate fish finger burger which wasn't bad. I actually got some hours of sleep on the plane to South Africa. This plane felt more comfortable than the others. It is weird calling everybody Elder. My next email will be better and have pictures. - Elder Johnson