Elder Austin J. Johnson

Elder Austin J. Johnson
Elder Austin Johnson has been called to serve in the Marshall Islands Marjuro Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and invites you to share in his adventure! "You will know at the finish line."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ailinglapalap


TRANSFERS HAPPENING!

Mama,

Yes! Another week down, nearing 5 MONTHS. That is so crazy to think about. I am planning on freaking pulling the 12 days package out of Sister Goodsell's hands today. haha well, surprise! I am going, just after Christmas:).  I was so jealous that Ross gets to be on an outer with his MTC brother! He will have a blast there!  From what Elder Sheffield told me 2 months ago, they should have internet there, it will just be really slow.  But I think Elder Ross will take the manly approach and not take that opportunity. I will be staying in the same place for a few more weeks. 


Wednesday was the day we heard about transfers. We had a huge all island meeting with President. Transfers were at the end. They announced outers. They said Uliga 1 and 2 will remain the same. Jaluit (outer) will be Elder Kennerly and Elder House and Wotje will be Elder Sheffield and Elder Ross. SO... two outers. I was relieved and ate some spaghetti. Then, I see the AP's talking with the president and all of a sudden the AP's come back and say: Oh, by the way, we are opening up two outers, Lae (closed for 1 transfer) and Ailinglapalap (not opened in 2 years) the Elders on Lae will be Elder Wakefield and Elder Dunn and Aiglinglapalap will be Elder Kendrick and Elder Johnson. SO yeah, I am headed out to an outer island :)  

Good News:

Not Leaving most likely until AFTER Christmas
It was a humbling experience. The King over there told President that they want Elders but because of the bad elders that were there before they want his MOST OBEDIENT Elders out there.
I will be finishing my sons training on an outer. (and I WANTED to go there holy cow it is GORGEOUS)

Details:

Look it up. Ailinglapalap is BIGGER than Majuro. But Majuro has over 30,000 people as Ailinglapalap has 2,500. A LOT of bike riding. From what I heard it is jungly, spacious, green, and nice! I am supposed to leave when they are ready for me. We have a house already bought, water, but no bikes yet. There is NO church building. I will be the Branch President. So I will be reading Handbook 1 so that is hype i guess. There are a lot of islands with ailinglapalap so I will be switching back and forth on them. The members there (though they are few) constructed a straw hut/table where we will have sacrament. I will most likely be there from 4 to 6 months. I can only take about 30 pounds with me. an hour and a half plane ride. No runway. landing on grass (SWEEEEEET) and I am super nervous because I am the senior companion on an outer where they know no Elngish and speak hella fast so it will no doubt be tough but I was freaking off the walls hype! holy cow I have seen pics of this place and it is GORGEOUS

Yes, I get to travel with my son and I am so so so happy about that. We get along so well and I am glad I get to be with him for like the first quarter of his mission hahahah. Thanks mom, as long as you have questions I have answers. I love talking about this place. Although it smells awful and the work is difficult, I love talking about this place. Me and Skylar talk every week now. I love it!  Haha glad that you like the pics! I am very happy and still maintaining my weight. So this place can destroy my bowels but it can't destroy my metabolism (please don't put that in the blog haha).

I will start putting on the sunscreen but not the hat here. Everyone makes fun of you and says you look ridiculous. I wear it every P-Day though! SO don't worry about that! Haha I know that I want to pursue ortho in college because I look at everyones teeth here and I am like "woah"


Awesome! Thanks for sending them! I know that they will really appreciate the love that is in those packages! Oh goodie! I am loved :) I feel it all the way over here!  I am so jealous that yous went to that! That sounds so much fun haha. It is hard to get the Christmas spirit here when it is 90 degrees haha. I try to pretend that the pouring rain is like snow! Tell cameron to shape up! Haha this week I ate a parrotfish that literally looked like it was just caught! haha I will send a pic of it to y'all. It was DELICIOUS

That is awesome! I love the Borlands. It will be sad to see them go but I hope that they come back for my homecoming! No matter if you all move I want to give my homecoming at the JTown ward! That place is home! Haha but I am happy that Dad will be lookin for a challenge! He needs one!!  That is awesome! Sounds FREEZING! I love the picture though. As much as you want pics from me I want pics from you all I miss seeing yo faces :).  That great and spacious building is nuts. Ever since I saw the restaurant in there with the drink "Jesus Juice". I have never been the same. But the Jesus being baptized this is just "one of the mysteries ;)".  People here have no clue what the holy ghost is. That is the weirdest thing for me.

What concert is that? I hope it is fun! I know that the ONLY reason that I am a good man as people say I am is because I was born of GOODLY Parents. Even Nephi said it! hhaha quick funny story is that Elder Goodsell is hilarious idk how he got with Satan but I will keep my mouth shut. He was talking to us at the meeting about the importance of baptismal forms and said that we "dropped balls". Everyone looked at each other and we were just so confused...
I love you so much! <3

Elder Johnson

P.S. I bought it the first day I was here. It keeps the shoulders intact. I am planning on sending home a package soon with some goodies :) Haha I only use 2 of the white shirts because I want to save some so they dont get shredded:)

Picture Time!!!

Hello from Majuro!
Paradise

The sunsets are stunning.



Where is he going?!

Elder Johnson and Elder Kendrick




That tan line!!!!

Transfers are coming! (04 December 2016)

Mommy!

Hey! Great to hear from ya!

I am doing great! A TON better than last week for sure! Haha time really flies I am so surprised that 4 months has already happened. It is so strange! I had a little part with myself on Friday to celebrate:)  I signed up for Skype! 5:40pm your time Christmas Day! But if transfers come (supposed to come today) and I head out, President says we get to Skype with our families before we leave! Transfers haven't happened yet but we are supposed to know by tonight. I have only heard rumors and the rumors are that Elder Peterson and Koleni are staying together and Elder Kendrick is staying in Uliga and Elder Wakefield is finishing his training. But I still have no idea where that puts me.. We will see I guess. My trainer leaves on Wednesday! I am going to miss him. Ask Dad for the full story but I sent it to him and we went out to Laura last PDay and the whole objective of that was to get me and him alone so I could apologize. We talked it out for about an hour and we left with increased love for each other. He invited me to his kojjemloks (going away parties) and wants me at the airport on Wednesday to see him off. I am so glad to call him a friend and hope he keeps in contact as the years go by! I am glad I did it and I have no regrets talking to him and apologizing.

I am so sorry to hear about the job. I was sad when I read it. I have complete faith that there is another plan for you. I read all of OUR HERITAGE this week and it totally reminded me how things were super sucky but how the Lord always found another way to bless His people. Keep that in mind and look for the blessings these next few weeks. We have a small Christmas tree of our own and everyones packages are under it :) makes me happy.

HAHA all these cringeworthy meetings reminds me of the "Im so glad when daddy comes home incident and the primary program incident". Honestly I would take that meeting over a Marshallese one because theirs are robotic because everyone's testimony is the same. It reminds me of the apostasy of the one people and the Rameumpton saying the same prayers over and over.

I haven't yet got the package. I am headed to the office today to check for mail. Thank you for mailing the packages you are the best! I have had to open all the people's in my house packages because they need things in there that can't wait til christmas but they also don't want to see what their families got them.  I will be extra tender in cutting it with my outer island MACHETE!! haha just kidding we have scissors! There is plenty of Dr. Pepper here, but I prefer a fresh coconut :) those things are delicious and the only thing we get to healthy food here. Please mail them when you get the time. They are super excited to receive them :). Haha you are the best caring for all the missionaries!

Speaking of pics: I should have time today while I am in the Office to send pictures. I found out I didn't take a lot of pics of me so I took a pretty bomb selfie yesterday that I am pretty proud of haha! Most of my pics is of the gorgeous sky and sunset and area. I don't really think about taking pics of me.  Enjoy the GRAND illumination and the cold weather. You start to miss it when it is the surface of the sun 24/7 haha. I think they both would like it but Helgenberger would like it more. 

Mom, I love long emails, it makes me miss you guys and I love reading about ur life! I love you so so so so much!  I am super grateful that you are my mom. Never forget that.   You are the best! Miss ya and I am proud of you,

Elap ao iakwe kon eok!


Elder Johnson

Almost 4 months?! (27 November 2016)

Hey Mom!

How goes life? It is going great here! I miss you so so so much!
I hit 4 months on the 3rd! Holy Cow! Time really does fly! You are also on my mind, especially during this Christmas season! I actually walked into the house to my comp playing "believe" by Josh Groban and I walked over and shut it off because the feels were getting to me. Apparently he has Michael Buble too and I am not even thinking about touching that this month haha.  This week I am hoping to solve some issues with my trainer. I am going to apologize to him and stuff so hopefully he doesn't hold a grudge when he leaves in 10 days. No doubt in my mind that this is the hardest thing I have every done, but I am beginning to see the fruit of my labors. The work was a bit slower this week, apparently it slows down during Christmastime here. We have two GOLD investigators. One is named Sam, which is a cool story the Spirit for real like guided us to him. He went to church for the first time yesterday and he loved it. When I take a pic with him you will think that he looks a little sketch but that what everyone looks like here. Then we have a man named Jason Thaddeus. He is the bomb. His girlfriend was baptized into the church and she wants him to be baptized. He always has a smile on his face and they went to church last week and loved it. We also have another one named Sammy, and his girlfriend is one of the Bishop's daughters. We are just trying to check if he is actually wanting to be baptized for him and not for his gf. Honestly I don't really want to be transferred, but I have a feeling that I am. Maybe to an outer. But the office said that since Christmas is coming up soon that if someone gets sent to an outer they can Skype early December so we don't have to wait for a long time. I also want to eat at the president's because that sounds freakin delicious. We had American food for the first time (burgers) and we all got sick. We are getting used to Marshallese food too well. I already told Sister Goodsell about the 12 days and she said that she isnt going to hold it and she is going to give it to me. Apparently I am getting like 5 packages for Christmas (ya boy is loved : ' ) )

Hahaha I know it is bad but I can imagine you screaming when it hit the van :). Glad you are okay though

We had a great Thanksgiving, too. We had two, in fact.We had it on Thursday at the Ackley's (bishop's house) and had american food there. Really missed the rainbow jellow not gonna lie haha. Then on Friday we had it at Mama Linda's. Two families who have really made it comfortable to live here.  We have a 2 ft tall artificial tree. It was a nice touch. it is about as festive as you can get when its 98 degrees in December. Still think that its august to be honest :). Black Friday was like huge here. Bingo all night!! That is the funny thing about here. They love participating in games that require little mental and physical effort because they are super lazy. Even picking up Sam to go to church was a hassle. He was in his house, fully dressed in Sunday Clothes, asleep. We had kids slap his face for 10 MINUTES trying to wake him. And they were slapping HARd and he wouldn't budge. I am excited to watch it too! That was on my movies missed list :P. It is so weird to think that it is December oh my goodness.

 Toothpaste: Low  Deodorant: Lower Sunscreen: Emman Shampoo: Low . Honestly a mosquito net is great! That is all I want or need at the moment. Thank you for doing this for Koleni. He will love those things! Helgenberger saw my dog taser and he had a rough time with them in Long Island, he actually got bit and it got infected a few months ago. So if you don't mind could you send him one too? He will love you forever. I miss Cullen! I can't wait to Skype with you guys soon! And share my knowledge of Marshallese culture and dancing. 

Because during Christmas time we sing three traditional marshallese christmas songs (memorized two already) and we do something called beet. The best way I can describe beet is musical charades. Basically each ward is assigned an action (ours is digging out a canoe, painting it, and pushing it out into the water), and you have to make like a 10 minute dance to show that it what you are doing. IT IS SO MUCH FUN! I have never sweat as hard as i have ever.

akwe ro jeiu im jatu!

This week was awesome. I love the mission and it has taught me already so many things. I am already feeling a change in my life. I love the work here. People here are really lazy but this mission is teaching me to never give up. It is a little harder battling homesickness as the holiday season rolls by, but just thinking that one month from new years I will be out in the field 6 months! That is so weird to think about! Time honestly does fly. This language is so hard and so disorganized but I love it. We are in the process of singing Christmas Marshallese songs for the holiday season. It is so hard. But I have had some fun with it.

Million tausand tausand ko engel ro rej al ijo ilan
armej otemjej ioon lal rej nebar nebar ad rilomoor
rilal im ial rej jimon al kon al ko remajaja
hojanna nejin david king elotak bethlehem

(drumbeat)x2 obrak kon mejatoto kon ainikien aer al
drumbeatx3 hojanna nejin david king elotak bethlehem

Translation: Millions of thousands of angels sing in the heavens
all people on the earth are praising our savior
people of the earth they sing with songs of beauty
hosanna the son of king david is born in bethlehem

fill the air with the sound of their singing
hosanna the son of king david is born in bethlehem


Here is one I translated because I am a freak who is along haha

Kurijmeej kwoj ped ia?
etke ijab maron pukot eok?
etke ijab maron ron al eo am?
lal eo ao is oktak, na ij ikur,
emelelein ke kurijmeej bar oktak?

Literal Translation:
Cindy Lou Who 

Christmas, where do you exist?
Why am I not able to find you?
Why am I not able to hear the song of yours?
The world of mine is different! me, I am rearranging.
Does it mean Christmas also changes?

That is "Where are you Christmas" in Marshallese. I am working on Hymns and giving them to the Stake President to publish into a bigger hymnbook. #makingadifference

So I heard I get to call you for 40 minutes to "set up Skype" then we can Skype for 40 minutes. Not SO bad. Remember to write questions :)


Love you so much and I am so proud of you. GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!


Elder Johnson

Dog Tasers!!! (20 November 2016)

Hey Mom!

This week went by super fast for some reason! Let me get started with
all of your questions in order:

The work is doing great. It picked up a lot these past weeks but now
that we have built a solid foundation of progressing investigators it
has slowed a little bit. One of our investigators came to church
yesterday! I was beaming the whole time!

We had no baptisms this week. I have only had one baptism so far on
the mission (someone I taught all the lessons to and extended a
baptismal date that has been completed) pics will be coming today! I
got to baptize someone on Saturday! It was one of the sister's
investigators. Messed up three times. She is now three times less
sinful :)

Rumors are starting to surface, yes. You will know where I am going
not next P Day, but the P Day after that. Rumors are that Wakefield is
going back to Lae and needs a companion, and they are opening up Kili
(never opened before) and Alinglaplap (closed last year). With all the
exposing of the bad things it seems like this transfer is gonna be
crazy!

Elder Kendrick is a stud. He really is passionate about the people we
teach and his problems are that he wants to say things because he
loves the investigators, but he doesn't quite yet have the vocabulary
to translate them into Marshallese.

Elder Koleni and maybe Elder Helgenberger. I live with Koleni and I
used to live with helgenberger. Koleni lives in Samoa so packages
there will be super expensive. He hasn't gotten any packages yet.
Helgenberger's family doesn't talk to him that much because they are
so busy and it makes me sad because he reminds me of Cullen so much.
Just send nerf guns thats it for Koleni. Helgenberger will love
anything. Koleni might be tagged as one of those, its about 95% sure.

I did get the package on Saturday! DOG TASER HAHAHAHA! I didn't think
it worked that well until one came bounding toward us and I pressed
the button and it sat immediately, turned, and ran away! HAHA!! I am
FEARLESS! I am super scared that the mission office will hold that 12
days package. They said they are holding ALL packages starting
December 1 and then giving ONE out on Christmas Day, then the rest
January 2. Like, what?!

We will be able to Skype, just 40 minutes, so for a FHE just each one
of y'all make a list of questions that you want to ask me :)

I have noticed a little backlash. My trainer doesn't acknowlexge my
existence. I get a few glares from others but that's about it. And
rumors that certain people het me but I don't care about it.

That is awesome to hear about CULLEN! Ugh I miss that kid so much! The
funny thing is the language is getting a little easier and now I
think, jerawiwi, of course that means sin everyone can guess that.
Then I think about going home and saying, ej jet am mour? and you guys
thinking: what the flip is that kid saying?? haha!

Congrats on the interview! You are totally gonna get it I have no
doubt haha! Keep up the INCREDIBLE work! Glad you enjoyed Oregon! I
really miss the states. Expired food is here all the time, steak, etc.
:( BUT IT WILL FLY!


Love you so much mom and hope that everything is going well at home!


Elder Johnson

13 November 2016

Well, let me start this email on a happy note, eh?

I am so happy that Cullen is home. Seeing the picture got me a little
homesick and so happy.

Well, now let me start this email by saying that I did something this
week that makes me hated by most missionaries but I know that it was
the right decision.

I confessed everything. I exposed the disobedience on this mission to
the president and told him how poorly I was trained. I told him
everything in about an hour and a half interview. He was really
surprised because this was all news to him. The thing was, the word
got out that I was going in to tell president and I received threats
from the older missionaries. Threatening to come to the house and beat
me up. I was terrified but I knew that my decision was the right
decision. I exposed the disobedience and the threats I got and he told
me that if I receive another threat to tell the AP's and the person
who threatened me will be on the next flight home. He told me that he
was very proud of me and the decision I made to come out and tell him
all of these things. So I have no regrets. President left on Sunday
and will be gone for 3 weeks so I am under the protection from the
AP's. They told me that I will be hated for a few weeks by the
missionaries. But I don't care about that. I did what I had to do. And
I don't regret any of it. I thought of my Blessing which said that
"you will be admired and respected by your fellow missionaries and
seen as a leader" I thought of the story of the title of liberty and I
know that my decision was correct. Some missionaries might be sent
home because of it...

Now the bright side is on Tuesday me and my son doubled our record of
lessons in a day with 14 lessons in one day! It was a real testimony
builder that exact obedience brings miracles.

Another funny story! These kids wanted to see some magic and I was
tired from the day and I wasn't in the mood but the kids here just
pester and pester. SO I said stay where you are, close your eyes, and
count to 10 and me and my comp will be gone! The amazement on their
faces of such a trick was incredible! They all closed there eyes and
we booked it out of there. Funny thing is all the kids actually closed
their eyes and listened! We heard in the distance kids saying "WHERE
ARE THE MISSIONARIES?!!?!?!?" It was hilarious!

I also had a huge lesson on Godly Sorrow this week. After I told the
pres, he talked to one of the disobedient missionaries. He was in
there for like 15 minutes. He comes out angry as heck. We get back to
the house and he storms outside, and an hour later comes in crying,
hugs his companion, and THANKS him for everything. They went to the
pres last night and confessed everything and now he is a changed
missionary. Godly sorrow is truly the sorrow that SAVES, CHANGES, and
TRANSFORMS.

I really enjoyed and took to heart Ballard's talk in conference. I
encourage you to reread it. Also President Nelson's as it gets close
to Christmas season.

Speaking of Christmas, I officially hate Christmas music here. It is
too hot to even think that it is November. Plus it reminds me of home.
We were at Bishop's house last night and he made us all go around and
say what Christmas meant to us and I cried... twas legit. Miss you
guys.

Also President said that Skypes home this Christmas are to be 40 min
MAX! So he said to challenge the parents to write down some questions
you want answered so not a minute is wasted!

Transfers are coming up soon! Will keep you posted on the changes happening.

That was my week in a nutshell, super stressful, super life-changing,
super spiritual

Love You and all that you two do. Have fun in Oregon mom and enjoy the
cold Dad haha you really start to miss the cold when you see pics of
people wearing jackets when you get cold here and its 82 degrees :)

Iakwe komro!

Elder Johnson

for mom:

Work is great! I love my companion it will be sad if we split next transfer!
I have improved severely on my weaknesses
The office is letting us sign up for going and sending pics like one
time every two months so you will be getting TONS of pics soon from me
:)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Email From Mission Office (13 November 2016)

Dear Parents,

With hot, humid weather and swaying palm trees it's pretty hard to think about Christmas!  However, we are working on some preliminary plans, and of course, you play a role in our Christmas commemoration as family of one of our missionaries, Details about the Christmas phone call will come later. This email concerns the distribution of Christmas packages.  Thank you very much for your supportive, compassionate, and generous responses to previous emails  regarding the sending of ONE Christmas package per missionary no larger than the large flat rate USPS box.  (See previous email for dimensions.)  Your US post office may tell you packages arrive in the Marshall Islands in a few days - but don't believe them 🤔!   Count on 2-3 weeks, especially at Christmas time.  All boxes that arrive in the month of December will be put aside until our Christmas gathering.  If additional packages arrive for a missionary, we will hold them until January to distribute UNLESS you clearly mark on the box that it is imperative for your son/daughter to receive this box before Christmas. (This may require a little coordination with other family members or girlfriends/boyfriends who may also want to send something.)  We will, of course, continue distributing all packages that arrive up until December 1.  Again, please let us know if an exception is required.
Part of the reason for this procedure is to observe which of our  missionaries does NOT receive a package. The senior missionaries will help Sister Larkin prepare a box for each of those missionaries.
Again, thank you for being an important part of our missionary team here.  You may not be seen, but your love, prayers, and encouragement are certainly felt.

Warmest regards,
Sister Goodsell
Mission Office staff

06 November 2016 (Addendum)

Moktata ro jeiu im jatu iokwe!

I just want this week to be simple and sweet. But before I do: I just want to send a shoutout to my brother Elder Westbury for completing his mission with honor and I can't wait to see him when I get home myself.

Sweet and Simple Message:

This mission has taught me a lot of things already. It has taught me survival skills, social skills, cooking skills (I am upgrading from Pop-Tarts :) ) but mostly, it has taught me about my own faith in this Church

I know that this Church is the true Church on the Earth today. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of our Church and he leads His work through a prophet that lives today, President Thomas S Monson. I know that prayer is real. I know that God has blessings for all of us, and all we have to do to receive them is ask. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. I encourage you to study the testimony of Joseph Smith and pray about it if you don't believe me. I promise that you will feel something. I love you all. I know the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and that if you abide by its precepts and teachings you will draw closer to God than ever before and feel His presence forever around you. Oh sweet, the joy THIS sentence gives: I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES!

Ofa Atu


Elder Johnson

06 November 2016

Wow, what a week. It was a very stressful one. I did in fact find my patriarchal blessing so it was good to read it and remember the promises that are made if I make good choices. Also another need is a mosquito net for sleeping, like it covers your whole bed. Rumor is that they are opening up outer islands next transfer and I am hoping I get sent with Elder Peterson to Alinglaplap! But that is just a fantasy of mine and I can only pray that it happens. Uliga is really good. Just really hard. Putting 4 Missionaries on one area for that amount of time is ridiculous. I feel like we have seen everyone in our area already. It is super hard to find people who haven't studied with missionaries before and who even wants to. We had 5 people commit to baptism these past 2 weeks and it got me really excited because I am not good at the language but it must mean they are still feeling the Spirit. But eventually my dreams came crashing down as I go to a family that commited (4 of the 5) and everytime I taught them the husband wasn't home. So we go there one day and the lady tells us that she can't take the discussions anymore and that we can't come back and they won't be getting baptized because the husband is mad that we were studying with them. Then she offered us a pancake. So just like that we lost 4 baptisms and exchanged their soul with a pancake. :( That was really tough for me to get over this week. But I can only hope that as I go on that more investigators will pop up and we can get the work moving. 

But on a lighter note: I finally got to watch General Conference. In Marshallese. And it is because out bishop makes us do it. Which is funny because almost all the Marshallese people go to the English room to watch it in English because the translators in Utah are awful and use a dialect and vocab that haven't been used for over 50 years. So I understood little of conference. Looks like we will have a new prophet next year. Thankfully Bishop let us watch the priesthood session in English. So I got to see Elder Holland speak :). It was so weird to see the MTC choir at conference. Because I recognized some of the faces from my stay at the MTC and Elder Koleni who works with Elder Peterson in my area was in it too. 

Funny Story of the Week:

I have two for ya. My comp and I made a bet and the loser had to shave only ONE of their legs and I lost so I have been experiencing a whole new world :P. Next is I finally brought out Skip-Bo from the suitcase. I learned of the pride cycle today because I was smack talking and wrecked by my comp. Then he was prideful and I trashed him next game. Church is true.

Glad to see things are going well besides the presidency. We thought it was last week so we were walking around asking people if they knew!

Love ya lots


Elder Johnson

30 October 2016

Hey All!

1. Really learned about the power of prayer this week. We never prayed before we went out and we were having little success trying to find people in this whitewashed area. So we decided to pray before we went out. And cool thing is that we had the most successful day ever, gained 5 really strong investigators, and now all 5 have baptismal dates. Best testimony builder ever.

2. Learning Marshallese songs for the Christmas program. They are so freaking weird-sounding. But that leaves a funny performance for you guys when I come home! I am also translating hymns now that are getting published! Bishop Ackley is really grateful that someone is doing it!

3. My body is acclimating to this climate. It is scary! I have the BEST flip flop tan in the world and I love it. Working on a sunglass tan too :). But I knew I was acclimating when I walked into the apartment and it was so cool that I took of my collared shirt and put on my lava-lava and looked at the thermostat and it was 94 degrees...

Honestly love this area so much. The kids love me and they call me Elder John Cena because its hard for them to pronounce my name sometimes. They know me as the magic guy because they are always really grateful to view my low level magic tricks.

Weird things I ate this week!

Soup with Seaweed, Breadfruit, Rice, Carrots, Cabbage, and assorted fishes.. also with a coconut water broth..

Love this area and love the work. I know that I need to be here. 


Love you all


Elder J

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Email Drought to Begin

Dear Family and friends,

In case your Marshall Islands missionaries forget to tell you when they email on Monday, we have received word that the internet in the Marshall Islands will be closed down for at least one week, beginning Monday, October 31 which is also their regular day to email home.   Please do not be concerned if you do not hear from your missionary for a week, or even for 2 weeks.

To the best of our konwledge this will not include Kiribati.

Thank you,

The Marshall Islands Majuro Mission Staff

TRAINING!!!

Hey Mom!

Indeed another week gone. I hit my 3 month mark in a week! That is crazy that I am more than 1/8 done with the mission. Kendrick and I get along well. I wrote in my journal my list of accomplishments so far in the mission and I am really proud of it. Training in 5 weeks, Translating sacrament meeting in 6 weeks, 2 whitewashes first two transfers. Honestly white washing is the worst and I hate it. Finding here is really hard. Uliga is a lot different from Delap even though they are right next to each other. I have had some really close encounters with dogs lately so I don't think I need to go on that Jack Hanna's Wolf Experience thing at Busch anymore. But honestly next package I was advised by someone older in the mission to either get a real police baton, or what is called a "dog taser" its like a small box that when the button is pushed makes a high pitched sound not heard by humans but dogs like hate it and run away. So either of those would be lovely! 

So we are actually staying in that small apartment which I am completely okay with because I love the fact that we have our own washer and dryer and no bugs:). The laguage is picking up. The hardest part for me is understanding what other people are saying. There are two different dialects and they slur their words a lot and they speak really softly. I didnt really think I was progressing until the new intake came. I started speaking in Marshallese to my companion and he was like "first, I have no idea what you are saying, and second, I can't even hear you cause its so soft." so now I know I have progressed a little since leaving the MTC. I understand about 50-60% of what people are saying. So the new people that have come in all got trainers who have been out for a year or more and then there's me. My comp thanked me last night out of the blue and said that he really appreciates all that I do for him and for helping him in the language and being obedient, because all of his friends say that the old trainers don't do that with them and they hate it. It made me tear up a little bit :)

Believe it or not I have actually been cooking! I cooked my own chicken recipe and everyone loved it! Other than that its expired cereal and ramen because expired stuff is cheap! Everything is good with my body. I haven't been sick yet and I still maintain 158.6 pounds. Frick, I didn't even gain anything in the MTC! I do burpees every morning so that when I come back my cardio isn't totally shredded. There are 3 main stores in Majuro and they are all in my area so it is fantastic! All of the kids here call me Elder John Cena because they can't say my name right and they all love wrestling here. 

Lately I have been thinking about home. It was probably a pretty low point so far. It was a bad day and I just counted how many days I have left and how many transfers etc. But I think its all goods now. How are you doing? I am excited for Dad and Cam and that injury looks like it hurts! Cam driving a CAMry :)

There are two places I email,

CMI (college of Marshall Islands library) slow internet, but free internet, no places to send pics (I am here right now)

NTA (national telecommunications authority) slow internet, $5 an hour, you can attach pics but you risk freezing the cpu and restarting. 

I will try to send some pics out at NTA one day but if not I am taking a lot of pics and we can look a tthem when i return home :)

Much love mama


Elder J

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A change to P-Day

Hey Mom!

I received the B Day package! Thank you so much! With food and money being tight it is hard to share with everyone haha. But it is because this past week we had 9 people living in our 4 person apartment. My dad (trainer) wanted all of his sons to live with him for the meeting. So every missionary in the Marshall Islands came to Majuro this week to have a mission conference with a 70, president Haleck. He taught us some good things and now he is gone. We switched p day to today and are having another one Monday. My comp is from Jordan Utah and i will take a pic with him. The Transfer info has come in and...


I am training. I will be receiving a son. His name is Elder Kendrick and I can't really remember him from the MTC. And turns out that I am the ONLY one in my MTC district training. What humbling news that was that I was chosen. Kennerly is working with Turnbow, Sevison with Scott, Ross with Thiel. But everyone experienced (6 months or more) is getting to train. Except me because I will be training too. I will be working in Uliga which I am happy about because I love the Bishop and I worked in that area before my trainer came and I dont have to leave the house!

I ate some weird things, half raw chicken (dont worry i didnt eat the bloody part), a whole fish, and I ate a FISH EYEBALL. Cameron would have thrown up for sure. Gonna have dog today apparently so I will tell you how that is. 

The language is going better my vocab is expanding and I am able to understand more of what people are saying. I am not ready to train langauge wise but I know that nothing is impossible through God. I find it an honor to teach after one transfer and I am excited. I have been working in Delap with Elder Sheffield while my dad has been out making bad choices. 

I got on today and had 46 emails if that answers your question :)

I just need food :) I love it so much. I already have two Marshallese recipes that I am trying when I get home :)

So I also heard that we leave early when we come home to fit with the transfers. So we did the math and that most likely means that I will be coming home on the FOURTH OF JULY!

Love you mom and miss ya (I can wear the hat)

Elder J

Monday, October 10, 2016

Our First Strike-Out

Note from Parents:

Well, it happened.  Sooner than we had expected.  Our first week without any form of contact from Elder Johnson.  This is where we lean on faith and trust our Heavenly Father to watch over him.

My Birthday

LATE POST: Letter from 02 October 2016

Thats right, ya boy is 19.

Its kinda weird to think about but we are celebrating by buying 12 dollar ice cream because that is how expensive it is here! Quick update before I let all of ya go.

The Work: Is really picking up. We had 31 lessons this week and most of them were kids, we will have most of them baptized on the 15th. I dont know where I am going for the next transfer but I do know that I am training someone who just came from the MTC. I am really excited about that! It is really nice my bday is on a pday so we can play volleyball to celebrate.

ZL LIFE: Is going really busy. We picked up Lae from the airport (the elders who were working there) and the plane came two hours late. But i wasnt complaining because we got to watch sportscenter for the first timie in 3 months :). I love all the missionaries that work here and they are so cool and fun to be around. I have been taking the lead in lessons this week and I think people can understand me. We teach first about God and Prayer, then Prohets, then the life of Jesus Christ, then we extend the baptism invite and go from there. More airport pickups are happening this week as we await the appearance of a 70 to open up a new stake and we will have a mission conference. 

The people: So nice and they love white people or they hate them. So I am better recienved in certain areas than others. Kids cry when they see me but 6 years and up they love me and my magic tricks. 

Me:I have learned so much about the life and mission of Jesus Christ in these last few weeks than ever before. Although the mission language is a struggle. I dive deep in the english doctrine and learn more about myslef and the savior. I encourage you all to do the same. 

YOu all: I love and appreciate all of you and the emails you send. I wish I had more time to write bigger letters to all of you but the internet here is iffy and really bad. I also commend all of you for being able to read this email although it is rigged with spelling and grammar errors. I love all of you and pray for all of you and I will talk to ya next week :)

Elder J

Sunday, September 25, 2016

First Week on Majuro Atoll



 I want people to know how grateful I am for them. I found out that I will be training in 4 weeks. That is the shortest time ever to train but I know that I can do it with the help of the Lord. So my "son" is still in the MTC so I will have 6 weeks on him and I have to train him in the culture, the language, and the gospel! Wish me luck! The kids here are adorable. It is hilarious because some kids laugh at me because i am white and call me "ri-palle" (white guy) and some burst into tears because apparently white people are scary! Talk about racism huh? ;) im just playing the kids in the ward love me because I can do a little magic and it astounds them, as well as the fact that I can wiggle my ears. Some old lady thought that that was the funniest thing ever and she couldn't stop laughing. So it was my first Sunday in the ward i am assigned to and we had to teach sunday school and elders quorum on the spot... and my comp took the lead in sunday school but when he found out about elders quorum he said "its all you son" so I attempted to teach about likening the scriptures to ourselves and they just looked at me puzzled... it was the worst haha. But turns out I am older than the ward mission leader... they are lacking in priesthood so the guy just turned 18. it was funny! I will be 19 next week and I am older than the guy in charge! Anyway I hope you all enjoyed the stories and I will try to acquire more this week! Stay true and faithful always and keep being obedient!

Elder J

(ps. my volleyball skills are insane thanks to the islanders!)

Elder Johnson was very short on words today, but here are a few snippets from the letters he wrote to his mother and I.

"This is truly a different mission than most and I agree with that, but it isn't gonna stop me from being obedient. I have only had one Marshallese meal so far and it is interesting!
Sasheemi (raw fish)
Chicken
RIce
Bwiro (preserved breadfruit) (makes orange scat look like a joke)
Ma (breadfruit) (the most tasteless fruit ever)
Ni (coconut) that is the best

That is all I have had that is Marshallese. They also love Ramen here so Cameron would be in heaven."

"I get to sleep on a pad, so not a mat yet but in the outer islands you get to sleep on the floor :)

"I found out that I will be training next transfer. I am so nervous because I don't feel ready but I have faith that the lord will help me despite only knowing the area for 5 weeks. But I will be sent somewhere else. So both transfers so far will be whitewashing (both missionaries are new). LOVE YOU SO MUCH <3"
The apartment.

My bed.

This bridge is the highest point in the Marshall Islands.

Proof of the water clearness, but it is hot! 





Islands we waded through knee deep water to get to.

The islands we waded to on P-Day

The urban area of Majuro.

May have not put on enough sunscreen today.


The bananas that grow here are super tiny, but the sweetest ever. We hang them outside our window to ripen.

So I have a drivers license!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

First Letter from Majuro

So I would like to begin by saying that I am alive and well and doing great!

this email will be a little short because I have an hour on P Days to reach everyone, most importantly the fam.

SO:

Landing here was the weirdest experience ever. Like it is all ocean in the windows until the plane hits the ground and then you see a little bit of land. It was a bit unnerving. So then once we got out I saw all the Utah missionaries drenched in sweat as soon as we got off the plane. It was hilarious. Then we got in and met the mission president and some APs (Assistants to the President). They are such nice people and I am excited to work with him. Next we learned where we were going. Turns out they closed more Islands and they will be opening more when the next intake comes in 6 weeks. So most of us were sent to Majuro or Ebeye with two of us getting sent to outer islands (1 in Lae and 1 in Woje). Sheffield got put in Woje and Wakefield got put in Lae. I am in Delap, which is a pretty sizeable area on the coast next to Uliga and Rita. My companion, who comes home in December, is not here yet because Air Marshall is called Air Maybe because sometimes they just cancel flights just cause. So he should be here tomorrow so I can start working in my area. I am rooming with Elders from the Uliga area, Elder Peterson and Elder Helgenberger. They are awesome people and it has been fun going in their area preaching to people. 

Next, to all the people who said this would be a 2 year vacation:
You couldn't be more wrong! From the google pictures the place looks beautiful and tropical when in reality, everyone is impoverished, malnourished, litter everywhere, smells terrible everywhere, and just a big dump. Sure we don't have to worry about snakes or poisonous things, but we have to worry about Dogs. They are everywhere and most are without a home. We need to carry rocks with us wherever we go in case one comes bounding toward us. It is scary out here, and I pray that I will get used to it. 

But I am grateful I am here. I have met some wonderful people with bright smiles and humility and happiness everywhere. They have so little but know the real cause of happiness is love and family. I am excited to work here and I am ready to learn this language.

Everyone talks super fast and uses slang that we didn't learn in the MTC, so basically I am relearning the language I thought I knew pretty well.

I will try and get some pictures out so you all can see Majuro :)

I love you all and will talk to you all next week


Elder Johnson