Monday, February 29, 2016

New Companion

"My new companion is really good, his name is Elder Vaca.  He is from Bolivia but lived in Spain for 8 years. (The other day, we talked about the Basque people and the running of the bulls). I am really excited to be training because I feel like the Lord blesses new missionaries a lot.  This week a lot of great things happened in our area and we found a good young married couple."
                    "I love you all and I hope you have a great week"                     Elder Johnson

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Camels in Ethiopia

On one of our trips, it seemed to be the season for baby camels to be born.
Babies were everywhere, even very close to the car and crossing the road.
We live in Addis Ababa and have a branch close by in Megenagna but we also visit the missionaries and the branches of the church in Bekulobet, Debre Zeit, and Hawassa. We always love to see camels as we drive.  Here are photos of some we have seen lately as we have traveled.

About 100 camels crossed in front of us on the road to Hawassa. You can see one of the herders keeping them going after they crossed with his stick and his yellow jug for water. There are huts in the background and a termite hill in front.
There were about 100 camels walking through the fields between Addis Ababa and Debre Zeit from the expressway to
the hills.

This one lives on a hotel compound in Hawassa.
He couldn't stop chewing his toenails.
Can you see the camels peeking over?

Camels Eating Cactus
The Grass is always Greener on the Other Side
There is a little baby lying down in center.

Peru Transfer Time

"This was the last week of transfer and now my companion is going to another area.  We have been working hard and have been able to help our area progress a lot.  We have been together for four months and they have been really good.  I am going to stay here in our area, and this change, I am going to be training and I am still a district leader. I love you all, hope you have a great week!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bucket Brigade in Peru

"So the story of the week was most certainly the baptism of Jose Luis. We had a baptism Saturday in the afternoon and we were going to baptize Jose Sunday morning because he works really late.  So we left the font with water in it so we could show up Sunday and start the baptism. What happened though is that the other set of missionaries who share the chapel with us forgot we were going to have a baptism so they drained the baptismal font...  Ha, we showed up early Sunday to make sure everything was ready but when we opened up the font, it was dry. The baptism was going to start in 20 minutes but it takes an hour and a half to fill the font. We turned the water on and found 2 hoses and a couple of buckets.  We hooked up the hoses and started a bucket brigade and the font was filled in 30 minutes! After everything, it turned out good and another one of our Heavenly Father's children was able to make a covenant with Him. I love the work and you guys!" Elder Johnson

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Its Never Too Late

"I interviewed a couple to be baptized that are more than 90 years old!!!"
"This week was pretty awesome! We had a lot of time in our area and we were
able to find lots of good people. We also had a zone meeting, district training,
and interviews with President. I have been learning a lot in these last couple
weeks." Elder Johnson

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Gorillas in the Mist

Beautiful misty morning on the way to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
We started with traditional native dancers and orientation before trekking up
through chrysanthemum and potato fields, bamboo forests and steep slopes.
Then when the trackers located the Agashaya family group, the guides hacked
 through trees and vines till we caught up to them. We were surrounded by 20
gorillas but we couldn't see them all because of the foliage. We were able to
 spend an hour watching and following them. You can't touch them but they
can touch you if they want. We learned to make the gorilla welcome sound. 



Suddenly, this big silverback(Agashaya) slid backwards down a slope like a child sliding down the stairs then brushed against my knee as he passed by. He was followed by a female with her baby on her back. It was amazing, we had a great experience! 

Letters on the Sabbath

"This week in church, we watched the video of the round table discussion that the apostles had about the sabbath. I really liked a lot of things that they said, like how on the sabbath, we should be with our families, maintain a reverent attitude, eat food together and write letters to missionaries. Ha, I remember that mom was always telling us to write letters but I just never got around to it...I think I feel a little bit of carma now. Also, I was thinking about the spirit and how sometimes we think that it is an instrument that we have but really, we are instruments of the spirit. Sometimes we also think about the church and the work of God in the same way. We ask what the church can do for us or how can the work help us but we are completely turned around. I know that we are here on the earth because Heavenly Father gives us that opportunity."  Excerpt from Young Elder Johnson

Genocide Memorial in Rwanda

We went to the Genocide Memorial in Kigali, Rwanda.
It's hard to believe that people could spread hatred and commit
such atrocities. It was only 20 years ago.  It was even difficult to
walk through the memorial. The amazing thing though is that
people forgave their neighbors. Anyone we met over 20 years
old, experienced it and lived through it.
 They all said the only way to live, to have peace, was to forgive. 

Beautiful Gardens where 250 thousand people are buried.

They left the gunshot holes in the Parliment Building in Kigali as a remimder.

Monday, February 1, 2016

From Ethiopia to Rwanda

We had the opportunity to go to Rwanda for a few days. It is a beautiful, very
 clean country with a thousand hills. We ate dinner in this restaurant, "Heaven". 

There were fantastic views from the hilltops. This view is from Heaven.

The church has only been in Rwanda for
two years. We went to Rwanda to meet
a young man that has been a member
for two years and was prepared to be
set apart and serve a mission.  

We stopped at a market and bought
this tiny fruit. The dried packet opens
and it tastes really good, like citrus.

Young Elder Johnson in Peru

Matt Leaning on his First Companion
Since he has been in this area, Elder Johnson has been teaching a man whose
family was baptized without him. Then he quit his job and they spent a lot of
time teaching him but he never made a decision.
"We were on the brink of losing hope because he got a new job and it won't
have time anymore. Saturday night before stake conference we decided to
pass by his house but had no idea what to teach and didn't have much time.
We ended up teaching about Lehi's dream and the importance of having the
vista puesta in the tree(eternal life-living with your family, God and Christ)
instead of paying attention to the people in the building who are never going
to help you be happy. We finished the lesson and went to stake conference.
When the family got there, the dad told us that he decided to be baptized this
week. We really have no idea what happened but I know that the Lord wants
the family to be united and eternal. I know that Heavenly Father answers
prayers when we pray with real intent."           Elder Johnson