(July 22, 2012)  Hey everybody!!! How is it going?? I hope things are well back in colorado/idaho/arizona/st.louis/utah/newyork!!  Since when are you guys going to New York??? This month must be a crazy one for you guys. Out to Utah then Washington then New York then St Louis??? That’s insane! I hope you guys have a blast on your trip. I wanna hear all about it and I wanna hear about my new nephew!!! I haven’t heard anything yet except that he was born on July 4th.
So this week has been pretty good. The reason I have an opportunity to email today is because of a little complication with some infected scabs on my feet and legs. Earlier last week I got like 10 mosquito bites and that got infected and my foot is pretty swollen from it so I had to come into Moen to get some antibiotics for it. So hopefully they should be cleared up in the next couple of days. They were lookin kinda gross through the week up until Saturday night when one of them started to blow up pretty fat and I started having trouble walking on it, then Sunday it was worse so I figured I should probably get it checked out cause it wasn’t lookin so good. But I got some medication and the swelling is starting to diminish so I think we’ll be good here by tomorrow or the next day. so yea the past couple of days have been interesting with all of that going on but I should return back to Ramanom probably tomorrow but yea so that’s kinda been whats up for the past week. We’ve got a few solid investigators that we’re trying to get baptised  but its been frustrating because all four of them are completely ready – they just have one problem or another. It always seems like there’s just one problem that stands in the way. and out here its usually smoking or drugs and if its not that – its usually that they aren’t married and if its not that – theres always something else thats in the way which is frustrating but I guess that’s just how it goes. Anyway I can’t talk too long, sorry, I love you guys so much!! You guys are the best!!! keep being awesome!!!
Love, Elder Johnson

The Gospel Must be Taken to Everyone in their Own Language

(July 16, 2012)   Nesor Allim Ami Menisin!  (What’s up?)  How is life for one and all?  I still haven’t heard from anyone about my little nephew!  I don’t even know his name.  I have a letter waiting for me on the other island, so I’m sure it’s all in there.  Thanks again mom for your letters.  Keep em coming!  Sorry you’re not getting a whole lot in return.  You can rest assured that I am trying my hardest to get as much info to you guys as I can.  Anywho, this week has been a pretty good one.  I’m a little frustrated with the language because some days I feel like I’m doing super good whit it and other days I feel like I can’t understand a word that is coming out of anyone’s mouth.  It’s frustrating and hard and frankly sometimes I just wish I could do it all in English but that’s not what the Lord wants.  The gospel must be taken to everyone in their own language so that’s what I’m trying to do.  Every time I get discouraged I just think about how much more frustrated Kelsey must have been having spent 3 months in the MTC learning a language and then coming out and having to learn a whole different language for at least another 3 months and by that time she only has a year left.  Anyway, it will come – it just takes work and patience.

Anyway, we’ve been having a few problems with our house this week (actually since I’ve been here) our water pump has been super finiky. It keeps breaking and every time it breaks we have to drink dirty water that rolls off our roff, through a nasty gutter and into a huge tank!  There has been multiple times where I have seen worms in my water that I have to pump out and pour a new glass.  It’s kinda sketchy – my system has suffered consequences because of it (if you know what I mean).  It should get permanently fixed in the next day or two.  You guys are the best!

Love, Elder Johnson

 

I’m Out Here to Give People the Happiness that I Have

(July 9, 2012)   Hello family!  How’s life in CO/ID/AZ/MO???  Sorry you guys haven’t gotten any mail.  I’m writing every week but I don’t know where it’s going.  I’m getting all of your letters though about a week and 1/2 after you send them.  Thank you!  They’re awesome.  I hope grandma is doing alright.  I’m glad to hear everything went well with Girl’s Camp and I hope you can finally rest now mom.  I honestly think you’re probably the best person in the Stake for a calling like that even though it’s pretty stressful.  I’m still waiting for news on the little nephew – I wanna know all about him!

Anyway, this has been a fairly frustrating week.  I’m struggling a bit with my comp.  It’s frustrating because I feel like I can’t achieve any of my three goals while I’m with him.  It’s making me super anxious and upset.  I don’t want to waste time out here because I don’t have a lot of it.  I’m out here to give people the happiness that I have felt throughout my entire life and I don’t know what to do.  I can get angry and tell him everything he’s doing wrong and make it the worst transfer ever or I can just continue trying to encourage and not get near as much done as we could be.  I’m out here to make the most of two years and I feel like he’s out here to “knock out” two years and that difference is frustrating.  The good news is that there is a pretty good chance that I will be training next transfer which I really hope I am because there is no way to learn this language faster and learn how to fulfill my purpose as a missionary better than by training.  So I hope that’s the case.  I don’t know though.  I hope you’re all good.

Love, Elder Johnson

The More I Get the Language — The More Fun I Have!

(July 2, 2012)   Family!  How is everything going?  I want updates on all of you.  Sorry you guys haven’t heard much from me.  I promise I’m trying my hardest to write every week!  So I got a scary phone call this week about a death in our family.  So Don died?  What happened?  Did he fall or was it in his sleep of was he sick?  I’m gonna miss him!  I hope grandma is alright.  Let me know the details.  Thank you so much mom for your weekly letters – they’re awesome and I look forward to them each week!  The last one I got was the one about the wild hail storm but I think I’ve got more sitting at the Zone Leaders house.  Yea — keep sending snail mail, we can’t rely on emailing.  But anyway, how am I doing?  I’m doing pretty good!  I’m actually kind of sick right now.  I think I got super dehydrated yesterday for Fast Sunday.  But I’m feeling better now.  But other than that things are great!  This week has been a pretty good one.  I’m getting the language better and better as the days go on and the more I get the language down the more fun I have each and every day!  I’ve been able to start teaching quite a bit lately so I don’t feel completely useless (there is a guy who wanders around the island whose name is Useless).  It’s still hard to understand people sometimes, but it’s getting there.  I’m working my hardest at getting it down.  The people here are straight up Lamanite descendants out here.  Their culture hasn’t been influenced much by anyone else.  They have tribes and chiefs and everything.  It’s pretty crazy.  They also have a ton of customs here that it talks about the Lamanites having in the Book of Mormon.  I love how much I’m learning about this gospel out here!  It’s ridiculous!  Every time I teach someone, I feel like I’m learning more and more and it’s so amazing.  New things will pop into my head that I never even thought about before and connections are made. It’s soooo cool.  My favorite part of my day is waking up and having that hour to read the Book of Mormon and try to learn more things.  Thank you guys for all that you’ve done for me throughout my life.  I feel so blessed and sooo privileged to have been born into such an amazing family!  You guys are the best and I love you all sooo much!

Love, Elder Johnson

 

I’ll Answer Your Questions . . .

(June 18, 2012)  Dear Family!  What’s going on? Sorry about all the communication difficulties that I will have with you guys.  Thank you sooo much mom for your letters.  I’m so thankful for them.  They really help me out and I look forward to reading them.  So I guess the plan is that I will write you guys every week and email you if I get the chance.  Good luck with camp mom and with Tara too as she pops out another little Johnson haha.  Let me know about those two things.  I’ll try to answer all your questions from your letters:

Are you okay?    Yes

How is it going?    Good

How are you and your companion?    Honestly I’ve been a little frustrated.  He’s a great guy and I know he means well, but he doesn’t use his time wisely and it’s frustrating cause I’m completely at his mercy cause I can’t speak yet and he’s in charge.  I’m trying my hardest to get him to use his and our time more wisely but honestly he just doesn’t work as hard as I’d like.  He’s a cool guy and everything but I’m out here to get stuff done not spend forever talking to people and dillydallying everywhere.

How are the living conditions?     I think I’ve had more luxuries on camping trips (just cuz dad always buys all this fancy new gear before we go).  Our water pump has been broken this whole week so we’ve been drinking dirty unfiltered water which I actually found a worm in it earlier.  He was about and inch big.  I had to dump it out and pour a new glass and on top of that our toilet stopped working so we have to use the church’s outhouse.  So yea, the living conditions aren’t that good but it’s not a big deal — I’ve been blessed with a TON of luxuries my entire life, so I figure I can deal without them for 2 years without too much of a problem.  Plus, to the people out here the missionaries live like kings so it’s not gonna kill me it will only strengthen me.

How is the language barrier going?    It’s going really good.  I’ve come a lot farther than I thought I ever could in a month.  We do have a little extra time to study than most missionaries get though so I try to use it to learn as much as I can.  I’m still really slow when I talk and there’s quite a bit of stuff I can’t say, but it’s getting better day by day.  I still get frustrated cause it’s hard to understand the people and I’m always confused at what they’re saying but I can feel it improving.

Are you having fun yet?     Yea – more so now.  If you would have asked me a week or so ago it would have been no but the more the language comes the more fun it gets.

So you boat into Moen for necessities and food?     Yes – it’s crazy we take these little 6 man fiberglass boats and go get groceries.  They’re super bumpy and the waves can get pretty huge. You definitely get pretty wet.

How much rain do you get?     A TON!!!

Do ;you need anything?     Yes – I’m good on most everything but if you want to send some sweets like chocolate chip cookies or something that would rock!  I don’t really get any sweets out here which is depressing haha!

I love you all – Happy Birthday dad and Father day.  I hope camp goes well mom.

Love your favorite son, Elder Johnson

I am THE Only White Guy on the Island!

(June 10, 2012)  Whats up family??? hows it going? I hope that all is going well back in Colorado. Everything is going pretty well out here. It’s pretty crazy.  Yes, everything you hear is true – sorry about all the communication difficulty mom, I’ll try my best to write every week.  But yes,  I’m pretty much in the most ghetto area of the most ghetto zone of probably the top 5 most ghetto missions hahaha.  I legitimately am THE only white guy on the island (my companion is Tongan) so everybody looks at me pretty funny haha its pretty crazy! Honestly learning this language is pretty difficult. It’s frustrating right now because I feel like the people that try to talk to me might as well be trying to talk to a handicapped 2 year old. But that just makes me that much more determined to learn it as fast as possible. I’m working my hardest at it and making a lot of progress each week. The work is going pretty well – we hopefully, if everything goes right, have three baptisms this Saturday. We’ve got a few other investigators that hopefully will be baptised in the next month or so. It’s pretty hard for the people out here tho because they have a LOT of problems with the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. One of our investigators, Hernando, is amazing tho. He’s super strong and wants to get baptized really bad, but its causing a lot of problems with his family, and on top of that he is trying to quit smoking hopefully he will be able to do it.
Out here the biggest problem is with drunk people. When someone is drunk in Chuuk and they commit a crime, they dont blame the person, they blame the alcohol. So pretty much, being drunk gives you free reign to do anything you want. It causes a lot of problems. I’ve heard so many stories of drunks but I haven’t had any encounters with them yet thankfully. I did see a fight tho in the middle of priesthood meeting. These two girls started dukin it out it was nuts! A bunch of the Priesthood leaders had to jump in and stop it as fast as they could.
I’m so thankful for you guys and your support.  I’m so thankful for the way that you guys have raised me and the things that you have taught me. I know that this work is true and completely worth it in every way. I love this gospel so much and know that it is the only true chuch out there. I’m so thankful for that knowledge in my life and I want to share it with all of those people out there that don’t know it yet.  I’m so thankful dad, for the work ethic youve tought me by your example. You’ve worked so hard to support this family and you have done so much for us. I am trying my hardest to use what you taught me and give this work everything I’ve got. I love you all and hope that you are doing well!! Goodluck mom with Girl’s Camp, dont stress out too much. I hope everything is going well with Colby and Tara and let me know how the new baby is when he pops out haha.
See you guys! Love, Elder Johnson

This is the Most Insane Place I’ve Ever Been!

(May 25, 2012)  How are you guys?  You guys are not gonna believe where I am!  This is the freakin most insane place I’ve ever been!  I’m on an island in Chuuk called Ramanom.  It’s super small, the island only has about 600 people on it.  Us and the church are the only places with solar powered electricity (on a good day).  We are the only ones with filtered rainwater (also on a good day).  I’ve seen a lot of  naked kids running around. It’s crazy here!  I’m starting to learn the language called Chuukese.  It’s crazy, they say stuff very weird.  But it’s actually coming easier than I though it would.  The work is also a bit weird here because we’re not supposed to be out past 6 o’clock because it gets pretty sketchy after those hours, and because without any electricity there’s no lights anywhere and hiking through the jungle is dangerous even with a flashlight.  So I just use the extra hours to study Chuukese.  My diet consists of spam pancakes and spaghetti.  (I’m still getting used to the spam — we boat into Moen once every couple of weeks to pick up more food cause they don’t have stores on Ramanom.)  It’s amazing here though and I love it!  All the people here are so friendly it’s ridiculous.  I’ve recruited a bunch of the little kids to teach me Chuuk.  It’s working out pretty well.  It’s easily THE most beautiful place in the world ever.  The Branch here is pretty strong.  They have about 100 members but about 40 of them are less active.  They have the coolest branch president ever though.  His name is Tarcicio and he’s soooo strong it’s crazy.

It’s insane when you’re out in a place like this to realize how much we have in the states.  People out here have a shack and MAYBE a t-shirt or two (emphasis on the maybe).  I definitely appreciate things a lot more now.  Anyway, sorry I can’t email.  Ai tong ngeni keni!  I love you guys and am thankful for all that you do!

Love, Elder Johnson