Monday, April 9, 2012

Jake Eating Fish and Menudo (cow stomach)

Looks a little questionable to me!!!

April, 9. 2012 BOUGHT MY FIRST HOUSE! Well, I have to be quicker today because there is a lot of work to do. Just to let you know I am good on shoes. I don’t really need any for now and thanks for the Easter package. I got it this week when I went to Villahermosa. This week I gave a talk at the EFY conference that they had here in Mexico. I received the special assignment from my mission president and got to speak to the youth with him. Everyone died laughing over my comments. I used you in my talk mom. My job was to pump kids up to go on a mission. I told them that my mother always told me I shouldn’t be such a picky eater because maybe I would go to Mexico and have to eat menudo…cow stomach…and I talked about preparing to go on my mission. I got them really excited I think, and then President Castenada got them really excited as well. He had an amazing talk as always, he is so powerful. I went to the consejo (council) this week with all the zone leaders of the mission which was a great experience. In addition I bought my first house ever this week!!!! We had to change houses so we went and bought a new one. Haha It’s pretty nice and it was really fun moving and everything! Everyone is so worried about me being so skinny. Well the reason is because it’s 100 degrees here and all I eat is menudo (cow stomach) and fish in a bowel of water! We will be skyping I think at Mother’s Day, anyway that is what my comp says. I love you all tons and thanks for being my inspiration. Love Elder Johnston

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 2, 2012 I miss you so much. My comp was just saying that it is weird to think I haven’t seen you all in so long…and it is!!! You are not the same at all and I’m way different as well. We have all changed and it will be way way hard to come back to the real world. I have no idea what I will do… It’s sad and I thought I would never say this but I am kind of scared… IDK what I am going to do at all. The world is such a sad difficult place and not being in the world where I am right now is such an amazing experience. You know that I am loving my life and mission every second. I learned so much from the conference this session. Hearing the words of the Prophet and apostles brought tears to my eyes. I hope Roxy get feeling better and all is well back at home. Elder Smith is an amazing missionary and I have learns so much from him. He is going to be a professional guitar player someday. I swear he sings like Jack Johnson my favorite artist. I fall asleep listening to him play the guitar. Well, I have a Mina to conquer so I better get started…I love you and pray for you always. Love Elder Johnston
March 26, 2012 Dad I have lots and lots more work to do here in Mina… I almost never have any time now. I love you tons and thank you for all the great advice . You always help me in every situation and I am so thankful for you. You should keep following those missionaries blogs. You might be surprised who the companion is of the Elder Smith you were talking about. Maybe you can say it’s ironic. I am fine and I hope you are as well. Be safe and stay worthy to enter into the presence of the Lord. Mom I am serving here in Mina now and have tons and tons of pressure on me because I have to do the same thing over again that I did in Palenque. I have been called to do a work that is so much bigger than myself here in Mina. It is hard because my heart is in Palenque. I left everything there. I will slowly build my relationship with the members and start to fill the church and open the over flow section like I have done in the past. I will complete what the Lord has called me to do. The feelings of it, the work, and having to forget about the people I love in Palenque hurts my heart so much. I am fine so don‘t worry…Prayer has always helped me in my hardest times and I have resorted to the Lord to help me. I feel like where I am is a good place I just have to get use to it. It will take a few weeks. The people…are in love with the old missionaries and it will be hard to win their confidence trust, and hearts. It’s like the story of my life, that I will have to prove myself again and rise to the top and prove that I am a representative of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.. I have a great comp who is teaching me so much and I feel so so humbled. It’s such a humbling experience and I have learned so much. Well, this week was good. It was frustrating because there are lots of problems here in the ward. We are finding them out and now it is time to go to work. As well, I officially completed one of my goals…I completed the worldly goal I had coming into the mission…I will send you a picture. It was amazing and I think you will understand what happened. I had to talk my way into it so so much, you know how persuasive I am haha. I also talked with the professional baseball team’s coach that is here in Mina to see if some of the missionaries and I could come and play on the baseball field. It will be way cool. My comp and I are going to be motivational speakers to the baseball players. We are going to teach them about the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. They in turn are going to let us play on the field. It will be a lot of fun but we will see what happens. I’ll let you know, but…. how many people teach a professional baseball team on their mission?!!!!! As well, they want us to pump them up to win…it will be great!!! Well, my companion is…..Elder Bradley Smith, the same one that dad has been following his blog and the one dad wrote a letter to. Pretty crazy huh??? But he is my comp and is great… I love him and I can tell we are going to be good friends. Well, I love you tons and stay safe! Elder Johnston
March, 19, 2012 Well, I don’t have as lot of time today because I have some bad news…well, not bad but just a change, I am way sad. The mission is an experience that no one can understand. I’m leaving Palenque. I’m going to Minatitian Mexico. It’s very sad. Last night the members had a bon fire for me because they all knew I might be leaving. Then in the middle I got the phone call and I had to give the announcement that I was leaving. They asked me to say a few words. It was really sad because the last time I felt like that mom is when I left you for the last time. I got up and expressed my feelings. It was so hard and I don’t usually cry but in front of everybody I cried like a little baby. I love them. I really feel like they are my family, imagine that…haha I never thought that would ever happen in my whole life but God works in ways that we can’t understand. Don’t get me wrong mom, I miss you everyday, how could I forget my mother…your mine aha and always will be. Nothing can change that. I love you all but I now have a family here as well. Imagine how much I love you and you love me…that’s how it is here. Every person cried on my shoulder and I theirs…so hard I feel like my heart is ripped out of my chest. I know God sent me here for a purpose and this is it… I went to the temple Saturday…President gave me special permission to go with the ward….And the ward bought me new shoes. Imagine people who have literally nothing all pitched in to buy me new shoes because mine had holes in them in all places….How am I not suppose to love them and make them part of my life? I can’t wait to explain it all to you on Mother’s Day. It’s really hard right now because I have to go and get ready. I will explain more later. I love you so much and I will be coming home soon. Remember what family stands for Father and Mother I Love You Love Elder Johnston
March 12, 2012 Well, I don’t have much to tell this week. We reactivated a mother and baptized her 12 year old son this week. She is very emotional about that now and has a really strong testimony. She never went back to church because she isn’t married and is embarrassed about it. Of course the worst thing that could happen did…they called her to give the closing prayer at sacrament meeting. She couldn’t so they had to change it at the last second. Afterwords she was a mess and cried and said she was going home and blah blah. She speaks perfect English and speaks five languages. So I pulled her aside and yelled at her. I started in English because she likes it better, but I have forgotten English it seems and so I just did it in Spanish. I told her the story of my mom and how she went 20 years with out her husband being a member of the church and told her that she needed to toughen up and just do it because she knows it is true. I told her it doesn’t matter what the people say and she shaped right up and said your right and did it. I was happy she felt better after. I can imagine how Billy feels…so many people that just love you on your mission and they are so humble and meek and just have the pure love for you like you are part of their family. Then you go back and you’re just nobody. You are just the same…just Billy…Just Jake… your not Elder, your not the favorite… I know exactly why he is sad. Like Elder Holland said…” Unless you have served a full two year mission you will never understand or comprehend what it is to be a missionary. It’s 100 percent true. No one can understand. I hope all is alright and well. I’m fine here. I feel like the longer I go in the mission the less I need to say. The less time I have to say it and the more my life is here. I am a FULL TIME MISSIONARY. Not a six days then write my family or six days and miss home missionary. I feel like I finally understand what it is to be a full time missionary and lose yourself in the work. I’ve done it. I’m lost in it and I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life. A young man here in Palanque was sad because I might be leaving here soon. He said, “ I wish I could see the future…” I started to meditate on his words. They kept going over and over in my mind many times these past few days. I told him, even though you feel like it’s almost over or you don’t know what the future holds…we can jump through to see what is on the other side. We can know what is going to happen in the future…it’s true and real. The people of the world, we as members always say…oh they are lost. They don’t know. We say that when at the same time we don’t even know at times. For me personally if you are a member of the church and you don’t know or are lost it means you either don’t have a testimony or don’t understand the gospel and what it is. How many times has the Lord promised us a happiness that doesn’t end, and eternal happiness. As long as we are living the Gospel of Jesus Christ we will know a small part of the future. All we have to do is keep the commandments. If we do that we will have the promises that we will have one family eternal, be married in the temple, and have kids by keeping the law of chastity, be healthy, live long without sickness and have the energy to do what ever we want because we kept and lived the word of wisdom. We will always have sufficient blessings by paying our tithing, we won’t be in gangs or bad places…and if we study the Lord blesses those who live righteously to the desires of their hearts. All that you want can be yours as long as you live righteously. So we should have peace in our hearts that all is well and will be okay. I love you all. Elder Johnston
March 5, 2012 Thanks mom for all the information. I know it is hard but I have changed so much and especially in the last 6 weeks. I have changed so much and I know the Lord will let me know what it is that I need to do. Well, this week was so amazingly spiritual. There was a kid with leukemia who wanted to go on a mission but his cancer of the blood would not let him. We went by to see him many times and he finally passed away during a blessing of comfort. While at the open casket in his house, I was assigned to speak at his funeral the next day. I was shocked but started asking people their thoughts for some reason, about the death. I used their thoughts in my talk…When I gave my talk, I had prepared very and the spirit was present in all I said. When I finished another missionary said to me. ”When you were speaking I felt like a general authority was speaking.” I think it was the highest compliment I have ever had and he was from the states. I hope I stay here. I really don’t want a transfer…I can not start to tell you the love I have for this place. It’s not even something touristy or because it is so cool but it is something so sacred between me and my Father in Heaven that I can not begin to explain it. If I did it would make a mockery of the sacredness that it holds. I love this place and I know it is very special. We will see what happens with the changes. I went to the pyramids again with my companion…like for the seventh time. Other than that nothing really has happened. Well, I know how things are here in Mexico and where I am is not bad. It is a very peaceful part of Mexico …Everything you hear is amplified by the media to give America bad thoughts of Mexico…I feel like ugh…white people. I will be coming back here. I don’t know when but sometime within the first year. I know that it is hard to give up sports and the dream but I had so many examples of big little kids …I am sick of them. I am ready to move on. Like you said it is time to grow up. I do love it but it is in the past. I don’t know about school I just want what is best for my future. All I know is that I need to get into a good school so that I can earn the living that I need to support my family. I love you all so much and pray for you always. Love Elder Johnston

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

February 27, 2012

This week was very good.  It actually was a week of ups and downs.  My area, my comp and I have lead the mission for 8 weeks in baptisms and consecutive baptisms until this week we didn’t baptize anyone….We baptize so much that sometimes as missionaries we have to be careful that we are not just baptizing to baptize.  We need to remind ourselves that they are real people that need testimonies first…we could have kept our record going but we decide it is better that our investigator gains a real testimony first.  If she would have been baptized we would have had the record of 9 weeks straight baptisms…but the salvation of a soul is much more important than a number and a record.
     That’s crazy about Remi getting married!!  You don’t know who it is or anything like that?  Wow!  Can you imagine that mom…that’s like me getting married right now, crazy or what??  Are you ready for me to come home?  Just kidding..  that stinks that I can’t be there to tell you all about what’s happening here.  I received revelation last night to set a baptismal date with a lady I have taught for like 6 months!!!  I was so happy because the Lord gave me the opportunity to share it with this lady the revelation and invitation…He used me as the instrument…it was great!!! She has had so many problems.  I feel bad but she will someday be like a president of the Relief Society.  She is powerful and I will not lie…she looks exactly like you…well, right now no but she has a picture that looks just like you did when you were young.  I will send you the picture so you can see.  We shared Alma 7:14,15,16 so this lady would get baptized and she accepted!!!!
     We had district conference this week and it was pretty big.  Our President at the end called one of my converts up and said…ABDIAZ will you share your testimony with us???  And my convert received the Melchizedek Priesthood  after!!!  It was so cool and I almost cried haha.  In our ward we advanced 7 people to the Melchizedek Priesthood.   We are growing so fast here and I’m making plans to let you know I want to come back here the first of December to visit… I decided that is what I want my Christmas present to be.  It will be so much different here…My new goal is to split the ward and make it a stake center here and we have almost reached it!!!!  By the end of the year it will be split into two different wards and in 4 years I can already see 4 wards here with a stake center and in 10 years a mission Palenque Mexico.  And in 15 a temple…..this place really is the land of abundance… idk if that is how you say it in English…I have forgotten English.
I have been thinking about my schooling and I am not sure if I want to go to Dixie or Utah State or eventually transfer to BYU.  I don’t think I am going to play ball when I get home so I can focus on my studies..  I need to get good grades and I don’t want to go back to just play play play all the time.  I feel like being on the team would make me do that.  Ughhhhhh how sad that sounds I know
  I love you all tons.  Be safe!
Elder Johnston

February 20, 2012

Wow!  It sounds like you had a big weekend!   That’s cool to hear about Garrett and how he is.  I know that how he has changed is real.  Who ever goes on a mission with real intent to serve the Lord and no one else but Him, will change you no matter what the circumstances.  I’m happy to hear that he has had that great change in his life.  I figure that that’s what this life is…something that came to mind is that the only thing that is sure is change…  I feel like we are here on earth to change.  If we don’t learn to change then we are not completing our purpose here in this life.  God the Eternal Father sent us here to learn to gain earthly experiences and apply what we have learned.   Why do you think He gave us 7 dispensations??  7 days in a week and a whole millennium after it all the extra credit of our homework…it’s so that we can learn to change.  I have felt like when I return home I don’t want to stay the same person as I am now but keep changing daily becoming more and more like the Savior.
     I read today in the Doctrine and Covenants section 50...those who listen to the spirit will receive light and if they use it they will receive more and more light…and that’s how it should be….I am way pumped for your talk mom.  You should be really happy for the great opportunity.  And apart from that, the topic that you have is amazing.  I was actually thinking about that the other day.  When someone calls us asking how to get to our house we have to give them directions to arrive safely and in a timely manner.  You are never going to send them on a path that is longer than needed think about it…When they call you are going to say..”Take a left then two rights then when you see that blue house on the corner you are not going to stop but keep going one more block and you will see a dirt road…when you go down the dirt road you will see a wood house……..still not my house but it’s the one in front…..
     Okay that was a joke but you are going to tell them the fastest way home….It’s the same with the Lord,  He has given us the safest happiest way possible to go back with Him.  We have the scriptures , we have the prophets, we have teachers, we have a Savior, we have a family.  He has given us so much stuff and like a GPS system…prayer with a new uploaded system of the Holy Ghost!!haha  Really the gospel is amazing and I could really write about it all day long if I had the opportunity.  Actually, I kind of get mad when someone goes into sacrament meeting and everyone can be there and all of them hear the same words and same talks and the same santa cena… sacrament I think that is it in English… and the thing I don’t get is how some one can truly get it…and the other sitting right next to him doesn’t, like a Bishop.  Maybe the Bishop gets it and understands the message even brings tears to his eyes but his counselor is doing the fake asleep thing.  They are both there…I think that is the spirit…how one can understand because he has the spirit and is close to it.   It’s like we are right now.  How many radio waves are passing right through us right now in this very moment?  There are millions and millions…why can’t we hear them??  Well, first off we need something.. a device of some sort… like a walky talky, then we can tune into the station… something basic.  It’s the same to hear and understand the spirit we need a device…think about what that could be…now when you have that and you are diligent seeking the channel of radio you will find it and understand the message, understand the sacrament, and understand what it is that the Lord wants you to understand and hear and build your testimony and establish yourself on the rock of righteousness.  That’s what I am trying to do everyday of my mission and life.  I pray I will always be able to have this device ready to go in my hands when I need to so I can hear the spirit when the Lord needs me to do something for Him.  Now that device is what we all have to find.  What is the device you need to find, the spirit and pick up on His radio frequency.
     Well, this week was good. I don’t have much to say this week but I love you.  I pray for you and you are very special to me.  I thank you for my life you have given me and all the teachings I have and through my juvenile stages of life.
Elder Johnston

February 13, 2012

I got the package thanks a ton.  I loved it and you will never know how much it meant to me.  It was the best package in the world.  I have been showing everyone the pics haha.  I about cried when I opened it.  My comp and I stayed up watching the pics and I had to explain everything haha it’s great thanks so much for it.  I love you tons.
   The guy I baptized, we called an area seventy, an apostle and he gave us permission.  I have to go, I don’t have a lot of time.

Love Elder Johnston

February 6, 2012

We had another great week this week.  We had changes as well.  The other Elders moved out of our house to another town not far away.  So the house is nice and quiet and good to study.    In the changes nothing happened to me I’m staying here.  It’s because I will be training a new missionary and I will be with him 12 weeks but then I am leaving Palanque…more than a year honestly.  I love it.  The great thing is they are putting an international airport here so I will be able to come when I want in about 3 years haha,  It’s great.
 Lately I have been studying 2 Nephi and I love the words of Isaiah.  They are amazing and I am learning so much about the doctrine.
     This week we finally baptize the guy that had killed 6 people, Miguel Angel and it was a very special baptism.  We are working hard.
      I feel like this is like my home now.  Don’t worry it is not to make you feel bad mom…haha  it is just that I love this place so much and I never want to leave.  I tell everyone it is my home and that I am looking for land to buy so to keep their eyes out for good place to build a home, haha.    I love it so much.  I have been part of such a big change here and the people love me like I am part of such a big family here.  I love them so much and I have my testimony, and I can’t even talk about the people here because I start to cry a little in my heart.  I’m always crying for them.
     Don’t worry about your calling mom the Lord still has lots of planned for you and I am so happy you are receiving spiritual revelation.  Joseph Smith said with out revelation we can’t enter into the Kingdom of God…crazy.
     I think you should look to start applying for my schools where I’m going to go, no???  I think if I am going to start…apply to BYU and Dixie and IDK where ever just see where I can get in…I’m kind of freaked about it that I won’t be able to get in in time so if you could just check it out.
    Well, I will leave dad with this scripture.  I felt it was for him, this week, in my heart when I read it…D&C 31:2
I love you all so much!!!
Elder Johnston

January 30, 2012

Well, this week was amazing I felt like  a servant of the Lord working in His hands and I feel Him shaping and forming me, as much as I let Him.  I’m trying to give my life to Him but it’s harder than it seems at times, even in the mission.  It was a spiritual week with tons of stuff that happened.
     I’ll start out by saying the baptism didn’t work out like we all had planned because Chamuko is a devil…means the devil is a devil, haha!!!
I hate him so much.  We had it all planned, ready to go but at the last minute our two buses we had rented, called and said the buses broke down and we couldn’t use them…. Seeing that the people here don’t just have the money to fork over to go there, we just did it in the church and it was normal.  The mission president didn’t come and neither did the apostle.  It’s okay because it was still amazing.
     So, Saturday we had a baptism of 9 people and it was amazing.  I truly felt how the Lord has helped me change this place!!!!!  I got there Saturday and there were kids playing outside and programs going on and young men and young women activities and a huge baptismal service…I said now it is like a ward in the states…I swear we have changed this place to be just like a ward in the states and my president said they are now going to make this branch a stake center!!!!!  I’m so happy for them.  I love the people here and they all love me and I feel like it’s my home.  I had strange feelings like I never want to leave this place, I just love it so much.
     Then the baptism…the only thing we need now to be like Americans are things like running water…we didn’t have water…so I  called the fire department for a line of water and they came and filled the baptismal font for us!!!    INSPIRATION !!!!  It was sick.  Then I baptized like third in line.  I baptized a mom and two kids, then went and changed my clothes and when I got out…THEY WERE STILL BAPTIZING!!!!   That’s how many baptisms we had…
     The confirmations the next day took 40 minutes in sacrament meeting.  It was such a great experience.  I confirmed them as well.  I loved every second.  One kid who wanted nothing to do in the church, I let baptize his cousin and now he wants to go on a mission….  I know that I am giving a small part of my life to the Lord but it is so worth it and I know that even though it is small it is affecting this place.
   That’s amazing about the temple  and I’m positive we were doing it at the same time!!  That is how the spirit works… it testifies of the truth of all things.  What an amazing experience.
     Now about my tooth…  My tooth kept falling out and I just couldn’t handle it any more because walking and talking with my branch president one day and it literally flew out of my mouth!!  But being athletic still I bobbled it caught it in the middle of the street if you can imagine that!  It was bad so he took me to a dentist.  The mission said…oh we don’t cover for things like this you should have done this before… which I did!  So I was so scared because it is a dentist…IN MEXICO!!!  Mom I swear if you knew what I have been through you would die!
     I walked in an explained it to the dentist…”I just need you to glue it back in.”  This man was racist to start…and with a cuss word every other word  like a hick says…”this is the worst piece of crap I have ever seen and you need to tell your dentist he doesn’t know anything and I would beat the crap out of him if I knew who he was.  He doesn’t know anything about this!!!!!!” And went on and on for like 20 minutes about how in the states they charge you by how long you talk to them and not the work and that we suck  I finally said….”PUT THE TOOTH IN MY MOUTH AND GLUE IT!  I’M ALREADY PISSED DON’T MAKIE IT WORSE!!!!  So he did it!  I was so mad but all he did was shove a bunch of glue…who knows it could have been Elmer’s glue for all I know, and now I don’t bite down straight and it looks like I have white stuff on my tooth.  Haha  SOOOO BAD I AM SO MAD…It’s fine though I’m over it…
     I helped my branch president get organized this week by drawing lines with a permanent marker on a white board and organizing his callings, recent converts, inactives,  the youth and new baptisms for 6 months.  It isn’t finished yet but we are getting there.
     Thanks dad for reading my letter to the young men.  I wrote that a long time ago, back in my first area and just found it in my binder.  I forgot to send it and so that is from when I was back in Coatzacoalcos.   I hope the young men liked it and are doing well.  I hope they take the words to their hearts .
     Our President gave us a powerful conference this week.  He said something that is so true.  How is it that we can sometimes go to a sacrament meeting and all of us can see the same thing or hear the same words but we don’t all get the message or feel the spirit like we should.  A prophet said that we should leave the sacrament meeting every time with tears running down our face. haha How amazing   Why is it that we can’t feel that every time?  And have a spiritual experience every Sunday like that…something I have learned to do on my mission.  I will tell you later more about that.
 I hope all is going really well over there in Fallon.  I saw it was like 30 degrees there, I wish I was there!
Well, I love you all.  Be safe and happy!
Love Elder Johnston