Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter from Michael 1-27-2014 A Rainy Week

Letter from Michael 1-27-2014      A Rainy Week

This week was alright. I'm a bit tired of just about all of our appointments getting canceled each day for various reasons. Although it has been slow, the lessons we did have were really good. We taught a father lead family last week. We invited them to be baptized and they said they would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it first. Stephen, the father, and his son seemed most interested. Hopefully the will have kept their commitments. 
Another good lesson was with our branch presidents oldest daughter. I was shocked that she had never been to our church and her family never talked about it around her. The lesson went well though. She had read the Restoration pamphlet and asked good questions. She had questions like Joseph Smith had. She was a member of the church her husband goes to but she doesn't believe in it. She asked why there are so many different churches today and wanted to find the same church that Jesus had established. Elton was the member present with us. He is a returned missionary. He helped teach and bore testimony. He was great and a lot of help. Oh, and her name is Cynthia. There were some other good lessons too.
Anyway, Lionel has gone with out smoking since we met him a few times before. On Friday the Patriarch called him to the church and he was given a patriarchal blessing. I think it will be a great strength to him. He really loved it. At church on Sunday he even bore his testimony which was really nice. 
So some miscellaneous things... it has been raining a lot lately. I love it! better than the heat. On Saturday was some pretty cool looking storm clouds. Too bad I did not have my camera. The chicken hear is good but I really miss the meat in America... so good... such quality. So our favorite places to tract are Ivy Park and Penina Park. They are mostly Christian. Then Nirvana is the Indian/Muslim area, and then Westenburg which is the colored area. Westonburg is a lot like what Bro. Jones explained those areas are like. Yes... we have been offered drugs by people there, haha. There are good thing we like about each area though. Philadi and Koena are not colored but the live in Westenburg. Well..."That's all I have to say... about that."
-Elder Johnson

From his letter to his dad:  Thomas is busy & out of town this week. We will see him next week. Have not gotten a hold of William. No Pasteur, but still teaching Lionel and his mom.

Lionel and his Albino Snake
Picture from his flight into Johannesburg Nov. 28, 2013

Wearing a South African tie

The bedroom window

View of outside of flat
New couches

View from the Flat Window

Monday, January 20, 2014

1-20-1014 Solid Bike Tubes have Pros and Cons

1-20-2014 Solid Bike tubes have pros and cons

The water came back on last Monday. No more stinky. I got packages this week from Sister Omer when her and President came down for interviews. I have a really funny story about the packages but don't have time to tell it. Elton, who is a member, made us ties for our interviews with President. The ties have his face on it. 
The bikes... we got solid tubes for them. The bad news is that they are heavy and you go really slow. Quite tiring. Good news is they will never go flat. This week has been very slow. A lot of appointments canceled. Not as many investigators but a lot of Less active and taught the work of salvation lesson to active members. Our best lesson was with an investigator referred by Bro. Douglas who is a member we visit. Bro. Douglas's friend's name is Thomas. We talked about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. He seemed interested and excited about reading it. He said he was very impressed how humble we were with him. He liked that we also listened to him instead of just talking at him or only interested in what we had to say. Good guy. Next letter will hopfully be better. Not much time.
- Elder Johnson

(From a short email to Michael's Sister)

... This week we were offered a joint. Of course we ran away, ahaha! Some dogs chased us when we were on our bikes.
- Elder Johnson

Enjoy the funny photos below. He does tell us the funny story about the package.
The packages were at the zone leader's flat a couple days before I was able to open it. I eventually got the original contents of the package but in this picture is what I found when I had opened one of the packages. I was so confused! The zone leaders pulled a prank on me by switching the contents of the package and than later gave me what you really sent. The other Elders in the flat and us had a fun short little prank war in one of the days. We stopped it though before it got too far.
- Elder Johnson

(Don't waste your food... there are starving Elders in Africa)
Tie made by member with Mission President's face.

Michael's companion studying?

Michael next to a large ant hill

Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter from Michael 1-13-2014-No Running Water=Stinky Elders

Letter from Michael 1-13-2014-No Running Water=Stinky Elders
T'was a good week despite the lack of water and the lessons that got canceled. We have 10 new investigators this week. Some of them we introduced the Book of Mormon to and seem very interested and excited to read it. We met with a Pasteur of his own church. He was nice and listen but he didn't want to have anything to do with something that wasn't the Bible. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon but he said he wanted to think about it before we give it to him. He said we are welcome to come though about any time. One guy named Praise wanted to go off somewhere in Joburg to preach to people and his family will accommodate us. That isn't happening though of course. He is a very interesting guy with a great story. Too bad you don't get to hear about it.
Anyway, on Thursday or something our water went out. So I have not showered since. The zone leaders said we could come take a bath at their place today which is good. We had been surviving of water stored in water bottles. We will fill them up at someones house I guess. They are all about empty. So we were all quite stinky.
This whole time I have been trying to hold in my corny joking self but this week it finally burst out. I was on the role of my life with corny jokes this week. I came up with a lot of new ones. I am glad my companion and zone leaders appreciate my humor. They said Elder Haynes and I are their favorite people to be around.
Everywhere we go kids swarm around us and want to play or something. They are always asking for pass along cards to trade with each other or something. Every time we have a lesson and there is a little boy they always jump and climb all over me. I don't know why kids love me so much. I guess I am just so fun. Can't help it.
We saw Lionel again on Saturday night. His mother, Sister Colleen, was there too. We were going to talk to them about the restoration but ended up not. I asked them a question about the nature of God and it lead to a big discussion and lesson. They really opened up to us and share some deep stuff and we could really see the power of their testimonies come out. Sister Colleen is still trying to get over the loss of her husband last year. All of us were able to share something that uplifted and edified each other. I love the people we teach and serve here. 

- Elder Johnson

Picture taken in the MTC

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Excepts from Michael's hand written letter sent December 23, 2013

Excerpts from Michael’s hand written letter sent December 23, 2013
Dear Family,
                This has been quite the experience. I ‘m getting a bit more used to the missionary life. So, way back in the MTC last weekend, we had people come to the MTC for us to teach. We were so nervous waiting for them to come. Eventually they did come. When we got started neither of us were worried any more. We were happy, smiled, and had the spirit with us. The first person was Sister Makune’s 17 year old sister who wasn’t going to church or reading her scriptures. We talked to her and bore testimony about the importance of going to church, partaking of the sacrament, and to read & ponder pray about the scriptures. We transitioned well and switch off speaking smoothly. Our prayer was answered because a few times in the past we had problems with that. But we are learning.
                Next, was an older later who was the primary teacher of the 1st girl from years ago. We taught her about the Book of Mormon. She was surprised at how well we explained it and that we didn’t even seem a bit nervous or even flustered. After that we wrote down reviews and ours was very positive.
                My roommates Elder Milne & Elder Stomps, who were companions, then there was Elder Cummings & Elder Prisbrey where were the leaders. Elder Milme was from Johannesburg.  He was a funny guy. Elder Stromps is from Netherlands. He speaks a few different languages quite well. He is a nice guy.  Elder Cummings is from Burmingham, England. He is the great big 6’ 5” guy in the back row of the MTC photo. Then Elder Prisbrey is from Las Vegas and I met him in the terminal in Salt Lake. You never saw him.  He is pretty well rounded in sports and is a good leader.
                Days have passed since I started writing this letter. It is hard to keep up since I don’t get much time in a day to write. We are slowly but surely getting more investigators. We have talked to many people on the street briefly about the church and handing out pamphlets and Book of Mormons.
                Never complain about the heat during church. I have never been so hot at church before. We were al dieing.  F or Sacrament we had to wear our jackets too! The second Sunday was better though. The power was back on and there was A/C in the chapel. In the classes there is a fan in each. The classes aren’t held in the same building they are in tiny little portable rooms outside.
                I just bought a Springbok hat for Elder Haynes. It is the 23rd today. I love you all Mom, dad, and Jessica! You are the best!
Elder Johnson


Monday, January 6, 2014

1-6-2014 - New Year

New Year!

New Year's Eve and New Year was very good. The senior missionaries spoiled us again. We had fun play game and eating Pizza on New Year's Eve. We played Risk and Farkle. New Year's day we had a BBQ at our flat with the other missionaries. Then we went to a park to play football and baseball. A couple Africans were there and I invited them to play ball with us. After we played baseball the Seshego missionaries in our flat got their contact info to come teach them sometime. They don't live in our area so we couldn't teach them.

We have gotten quite a few possible investigators and some new actual investigators too. Our zone has been struggling with father lead families and have been praying to find them. Elder Haynes and I were blessed last week with 4 father leads. We are very grateful for that. Hopefully we can help them progress. One of the fathers is the father of a teenage girl investigator we have been teaching. He seemed interested and very involved. He read the Book of Mormon with us and talked about it. After, I asked if he would commit to read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon and he said he would.

Our bikes keep popping every day we ride them. So we have to walk a lot too. We got a couple sealant tubes that seem to work well but we need to get some more today. Also we found out that my back wheel/rim is the wrong size and might be pinching the tube. That is also why it is so hard to get the back one on. We are going to a shop today to get everything taken care of.

 The best dessert I've had here I think is called "Mavla Pudding." It is not actual pudding. It is more like a soft bred or cake. Missions are great! Every member can be a missionary too so always look and pray for opportunities to share the gospel. 

- Elder Johnson
At the airport in Dallas 11-26-2013