Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Beauty Of An Eternal Perspective

September 24, 2012

Dear Familia

I love you all so much and I thank you so much for teaching me correct principles and the things I should know and do to have a great and wonderful life.!! I truly do love life so much. It is so beautiful and remarkable to be able to live with an eternal perspective. I love it. I had a very spiritual week. I have never felt so close to the Lord in all my life. Each week I feel more convinced of that. Actually this week we went to His sacred House. We went to the Temple Friday here in Villa. The missionary’s have that chance to be able to go and visit the Lord in his House every Friday. A luxury I have not had until now. We saw people that I knew in Mina who taught us allot and I really enjoyed my time talking with them. One of the men said that I should get married within three months after my mission.... haha…that really made me laugh as you can imagine.
We took 10 investigators to church this week. The Lord has seven that will be baptized here this Saturday and 5 more on the 13th of October... I will not leave Mexico without baptizing my last day in the mission even if I have to baptize a cat my last day I will do it!!! ha-ha
Well its really amazing what’s happening. Actually we are getting someone married this week and I have lots of papers and stuff to complete on that. Then president called and said that we are splitting the Ward here and they will place two more elders here so I have to start making divisions and do a slide show presentation on how we will divide the area plus much more. Basically I have been charged with organizing all of it. It will be a fun roller coaster ride and on top of it all I also have to go find a new house for the other missionary’s in another town before tomorrow plus at 7 PM we have a family home evening with a family of 5 that’s going to be baptized that I cannot miss because they are really important so basically, long story short.... its a normal day in the mission!!! Any questions? hahaha
Thank you for teaching me to love learning. I don’t know if you realize that you are responsible for that but I am so grateful for that gift from you.

Well I must go for now but know that I love you all tons. Stay safe; stay happy.
Elder Johnston

Monday, September 17, 2012

Viva Mexico ! ! !

September 17, 2012

Dear Mom; Dad & Family

Well this week was really good. We are having so much success and I have never felt closer to the Lord my God than I do right now. I look at other missionaries and other kids and even baby’s and think to myself about how far I have come yet I have so much farther still to go. I’m so happy the Lord’s plan for our progress is eternal and not just for a short period of mortal time. I love you all so much and I love the Church and the Gospel. I really do love it and what is more important is that I know it is true. I know it with all my heart.
I am happy to hear that you had a good week and that dad is happy and healthy.. How young are you guys again? Haha,,,Well right now we are teaching a family of five and the daughter is 14 and just had a baby.. They are really excited to get baptized. The mom is Indian from here and speaks Cholo, a dialect I learned in Palenque and when I got to their place I could tell by her accent. I have no idea how to spell the accent that she spoke, Cholo, so I just started saying the little words I know in Cholo and she laughed and from then on we were really good buddy’s and now she wants to get baptized. We set baptismal dates with another two families of three people. There is also a family of six we are teaching and another family of seven that came to a church activity. There is also another couple we are going to get married so they can get baptized. There is also another family that has a very different make up including a brother; sister; cousin; and nephew who all also accepted invitations to be baptized... Lots of “exito“, now we just have to prepare them and help them go to church. We have so many people we just have to get them all to church. We have over 48 people that we are teaching and I think we will have allot more before I leave here. It is really amazing the power of God!!
I love you all so much and I hope all is going well with you all. Another interesting thing I did this week was celebrate the Independence of Mexico which is the same day as dads birthday September 16th, so we had a party for the ward saturday where like 200+ people came. They asked me to do the “grito“... or the “yell” of Mexico... its the famous VIVEEE MEXICOOOOO... Well I did it and everyone really loved it and got a huge laugh out of my efforts to make it sound authentic.
I’m good and just trying to be more than I ever have been in my whole life. Ten percent of the things in life just happen to you and the other 90 percent you decide what happens... I’m making the choices now. I love life and love that I am an eternal identity of God.
Love you all tons …see you soon
Elder Johnston

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Extra Mile

September 10, 2012

Dear Familia
Well I have had since last Monday a crazy crazy week. I have been trying to take everything to the next level... for a while I’ve been sick of being the same and keeping the same commandments as everyone else so that’s why I have set lots of new goals for myself... that’s an amazing concept to be able to change ourselves and be better all the time. Well Tuesday was my last night in Mina and I didn’t want to say goodbye to allot of people because it just gets too sad.. I left a really good friend Elder Fonseca and I think I will be seeing him around at BYU or something. I said goodbye to my two favorite families and one gave me a sombrero.. the people who want to come visit us.. they gave it to me but I left it there and they are going to send it to me.. The other sombrero is one I bought on the side of the street haha. Tuesday I got on ado and came to Villa.... it is sooooooooo hot. I thought everywhere else was hot but this is hots daddy. It is called the green hell! I’m not even kidding you all. Its so hot and there are so many mosquito’s... I even gave a talk on it this Sunday about how many mosquito’s there are here and I compared the west Nile virus to missionary work... It was a really good talk actually and this is an amazing Ward... Well presidente sent me to a great area to finish.. Its a really strong ward of like 150 in attendance every week!! And as well the bishop actually welcomed me to the ward and someone plays the piano and everything, it is so beautiful. I feel like I’m a little closer to home already... Actually it makes me think of Palenque allot here. My area is so big.. Its one of the biggest in the mission and I have to take convis everywhere and sometimes pochimovils... a convi is a van with no seats with like 20 Mexicans crammed into it and a pochimovil is a motorcycle that pulls a two man carriage. Its crazy but its way big.. its like the whole city of Carson or bigger. It has lots of small ranches too which is way cool. My comp was here with my old companion Elder Zamora and overall he is a good guy but has allot to learn.. he is from Salt Lake City.. He’s a tall and skinny dude.. My first day here I got up at 4:30 in the morning and started throwing stuff away... He got up at 6:30 and was a little surprised. You know how I am when I clean and I just start throwing stuff away that I don’t think is needed... needless to say he was pretty shocked at what got done... We took out ten trash bags and they were the big black ones.... It was funny ha-ha I cleaned every room in the place and lets just say the house is now like a Temple... I have never lived in a dirty house and I never will. I have made lots of changes and I’m taking all my work to the next level.. and the truth is I feel so close to the spirit. I feel like I can read presidents mind... They had the zone leader council last week after changes and I had already started all the ideas here that were set out in the zone leader council and more... its great and we are having so much success here I am excited for it all.

Well I love you all so much and I hope that that’s enough information for you. I’m good; healthy; happy and working hard.

Dad I took out that money so don’t worry.. I had to buy some stuff for the mission and to travel to Tabasco... just stuff like that but I think I might need some more money because here we use more money in taxis and convis and motorcycle things than any other place in the mission... They even give us more money for transports but I don’t think it will be enough. We have to travel so much so I would highly appreciate it if you could put a little more in my account.. thank you so much.

Well I love you all tons... Also today in the morning we got up early and instead of using our pday for ourselves we went and helped a member clean his yard... We started at 7AM and it was basically like we had to chop down a small part of the jungle ha-ha.. We got a lot done though and I feel good. There is nothing like going the extra mile.

Well I love you tons and wish me luck.

love your son

Elder Johnston

One More Time

September 3, 2012

Dear Family,
Thanks for all your motivation. I love you all so much and really I miss my family so much. I hope you are all fine and are good and healthy. I can’t believe the time has gone so fast. All of what you said is so true so I better get to work. Well I have lots of news. I have had my last change/transfer in the mission. After six months here in Mina I am finally getting my last transfer. It will be great because I’m really ready to get out of Mina and have more experiences. It was great being here. Its really funny because all the missionaries have a joke that I was called to the Mexico Villahermosa Tabasco mission but the funny part is in my 23 months that I have in the mission I have never served in Villahermosa... I haven’t even served in the state of Tabasco which is way funny actually. In my last transfer in the mission I will be going to Villahermosa Tabasco to finish in an area called Los Rosas. My comp is named Elder Peterson and is kind of new in the mission. I think he is still in his first area. The lord has always blessed me with everything I have ever wanted and sometimes I think “why do I deserve these blessings?”... ha-ha its wonderful, the mercy of the Lord, and the love he has for all of us. I know I will finish strong in my last area and the time will fly by and before you know it mom I’ll be home so don’t worry.
This week we had two baptisms but one didn’t get confirmed... who knows what happened to him but my comp will figure it out. He is really a good guy and the kid I baptized is going to be a great missionary I think.
Well I have to go and pack all my stuff and then before I know it I will be doing it one more time before I come home. I love you guys tons and I pray for you always. The church is true and it is amazing!
I love you and I will talk to you soon.
Tell all my siblings I love them tons too.
Elder Johnston

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To Finish Strong

August 27, 2012

Dear Family
This week was really good. We started out with interviews with my president. It was really a spiritual experience for me... even though it was very different. He told me something really important, just so you know this was my second to last interview. He said most missionaries at this point start to fall down and stop working as hard and coast through. They just go through the motions so to speak. He said I can’t be one of those missionaries and the first thing I have to do, which is an act of faith, is to tell my family to ... in his words (DONT TELL ME ANYTHING!!) I know you’re all really excited to see me and I’m really excited to see you. I know I only have 40 something more days but it’s that many more days I will be a servant of God... I have such little time left that I cant be distracted now at the end. He gave me an example which is really true and I thought of when I ran in the state track meet. He said what if you are in a race and you are winning and at the end you mom is standing there with your girlfriend and she is yelling “hey good job here I am I’m waiting for you and your girlfriend too“ and because I was distracted I lost the race... that can’t happen that cant stop me. I was having a rough day the other day and my comp got in my face because we like to pump each other up when we get down like football talk... I felt the Cooper blood and adrenaline rush through my veins’ again. I needed it. I need you all, not just you mom, to tell me to go the extra mile and not give up.. tell me to keep the Cooper determination that I need to finish stronger then ever... I remember in the race in the state track meet.. run Jake run.. don’t give up, I remember neck and neck and I couldn’t give up so I could win... right now I’m neck and neck.. with the devil and winning a great blessing that the Lord has waiting for me.. I can’t give up now. Please help me with this goal. It builds my faith to hear spiritual stories as well and your testimonies.. I want you to all tell me that yes I can do it and I can be something more than ever before.
I know that people are waiting for me.. they will always wait for me.. I’m not worried about them. I can get a job, I can do everything. I can watch movies, go and eat food, go bunji jumping, everything. You guys just plan it and if I’m with you all I will be so happy and thrilled to do it...

Now I don’t want this to sound like I’m yelling at you or anything I just want my family to be the support I need.. And “behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ the son of God“.. I have been called by Him to declare his word to his city.. so they have eternal life (3 Nephi 5-13) I will be blessed for this work and all of you as well.. as a team let’s finish strong. Thank you brothers and sisters mom dad. I love you all and you are such an amazing support.. without you I would not have made it this far.

After the interview we had a great week. We set baptismal dates and two were with a small family of a mother who never accepted the church and her son who has always gone but never had permission from his mother and now they are both getting baptized. How wonderful is that?

Other news... we had stake conference which was amazing and my mission president blew the socks off of everyone.
Well I love you tons so so so much.. stay safe and healthy mom.. If you are not better with everything by the time I get back I will yell at you. You better be healthy enough to throw me down like usual!!! haha
I love you all so much
Elder Johnston

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Amazing Power

August 20, 2012

Dear Family

haha Wow that’s some crazy stuff!!! I can’t believe Remy is having a baby! Pete needs to get baptized already and stop sinning and Andy as well... those are my first two baptisms when I get home.
Well I love you tons that’s what matters I guess.. please don’t tell Teresa I want menudo please… its not very pleasant. Tamales are great and now you know the type of service projects I do here haha. If you want to eat something way good ask her to make mole.. or empanadas o Memel as... those are some dang good foods... or tacos de pastor oh my goodness I’m starting a restaurant of tacos de pastor when I get home I’m not kidding haha so good.
Well I’m doing good and this week I had lots of testimony building experiences... Friday was the craziest day so I’ll tell you about that. We got a call to go give a blessing because the bishop couldn’t. It was a sick lady but we didn’t know how bad it was and didn’t really know who it was, but she was a member. The bad thing is we didn’t have any blessing oil because we had run out. We went and called the bishop and the counselors; checked in the church; called the young men and all the leaders of the Church and no one had any oil... we decided finally to go and buy some but as we were walking we had to pass the ladies house and the people there came to us and said that she had already died.... You don’t know the sadness that came over me... that’s why it is so so so important to carry it with us at all times whoever is a holder of the priesthood, oil consecrated; its so important.

Then we get a call from president Castaneda and he asked me if I had seen an elder Aguirre... I said I heard he was sick but hadn’t seen him. He told me to go to his house immediately. We went and when we got there they told us what he had... he was really hot and all his body hurt and he had a temperature even his arms were burning hot and it was hard for him to stand up cuz his legs hurt... It’s something called dengue.. its a viruses that comes from mosquitoes... I think its called in English the west Nile virus. He had been to the doctor and everything but we had orders to call the president when we got there. When I called him he asked me how he was and then he gave me and order and simply said. “Elder Johnston I want you to ask the Elder if he has faith and then heal him... with the priesthood power that you hold heal him.. that’s an order“. You can imagine what I was thinking. In that moment I placed my hands on his head with the two other Elders present and we commanded him to be healed. I felt things that I shouldn’t even try to write and I know it is real and the power is as well. We told him to sleep and call us when he woke up to tell us how he felt. The next day he was 100 percent better; healed and ready to go and work!!! He went to church and did everything as normal as ever carrying out the everyday life of a missionary. How amazing is the gospel and the power of the Priesthood?
Well I love you so much mom and Dad stay safe and worthy. I will go for now
I love you
Elder Johnston