Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MTC Week 4

January 19, 2013

Me and Elder Withers.

Ola, tudo mundo!

So, this week has been pretty good.  I have yet to feel any real homesickness, so that's good (yes I do miss my family, no I'm not that heartless.)  Anyway, homesickness manifests itself in a really weird way.  I keep seeing weird distorted versions of people I know from back home.  It's really weird.  I'll just be walking around campus and then I'll see someone who likes like somebody that I knew back home and I just kind of give them the strangest look.  I don't think they like it too much because they return an even stranger look.  Just the other day in TRC (Teaching Resource Center, it's pretty much home teaching in Portuguese) my companion and I were teaching this one guy and then it hit me, he looks a lot like my dad when he was like 20.  I then starred at him while he was babbling in Portuguese because it was really weird.  I then realized he stopped talking so I snapped out of it, nodded, and replied "Sim, muito bem" (Yes, very good.)

The language was kind of rough this week.  Right before we went to TRC it hit me that I didn't know Portuguese.  I just got really discouraged and I had no idea what to do.  When we got there we gave our lesson, had some small talk, and it wasn't too bad.  My teacher showed me what our first investigator had written about our attempt to share our message with him.  He said we spoke perfect Portuguese and that he could understand everything we were saying.  He said he was surprised at how strong the spirit was and that we made him want to read the Book of Mormon more often.  Needless to say, I was more than overjoyed and that was really good for my confidence.

I guess I should probably tell you about my companion.  His name is Elder Jung, he's from Palmyra, New York, and he is awesome.  He showed me a picture of what he looked like before his mission and he had the coolest dreadlocks I have ever seen.  He goes to BYU Idaho and is studying mechanical engineering.  Needless to say, he is very smart, very funny, and re rules overall.
The summary of my relationship with my companion Elder Jung.
Time here is starting to feel really weird, weirder than usual.  Last night our district debated about which week we are actually on and it's still a topic of controversy.  We're technically in our "fifth" week, according to our MTC schedule, but we've really only been here for about four weeks.  My first month of my mission is coming to an end and I really have no idea where all the time has gone.  It feels like I have been here forever and yet I'm truly amazed that I'm almost 1/24 of the way done with my mission.  Also, Elder George Alexander leaves next week!  It feels like he just came here the other day and now he's already leaving.

So the last two Brazilian Districts to leave didn't receive their V**a's and they had to be reassigned somewhere in the states until their V**a's come.  As of right now that is my current guess as to what will probably happen with me.  Bad news, I won't be able to go to Brazil right away, but I really don't care.  Thy will be done.  On the bright side, I'll get then opportunity to experience both kinds of missions - one in the states and one in Brazil.  It's like I'll have two different missions so that's pretty sweet!  Also, when I get my reassignment I get to call home for a few minutes and that's pretty neat (hopefully I'll get reassigned somewhere warm since I don't have any winter clothing).  So expect a call home from me in late February.

Also, we went on a treasure hunt the other day.  Someone carved a hole in one of the walls and stuck a treasure map in it.  We followed it and it lead us to this secret cache with a rock that a ton of missionaries had signed.  That was pretty neat.

Anyway, I think that is about it for this week, I'll write back soon.


Elder Johnson or Tanner or whatever

Friday, January 25, 2013

Elder Johnson's MTC Address

Write Elder Johnson!

Elder Johnson would LOVE to hear from you.  He says the best way to send a letter is through www.dearelder.com.  It's a free website where you can write a letter to a missionary, they print the letters everyday at noon, then hand deliver your letter to the MTC at 12:15 that same day.  Best part - it's free.  Cool, huh?  Just fill out Elder Johnson's information:

Elder Tanner Johnson
MTC Mailbox: #232
Mission:  Brazil, Maceio 0305
Estimated Departure Date:  March 4

You can also mail letters and *packages to his address at the Provo MTC:

Elder Tanner Derek Johnson
MTC Mailbox #232
BRA-MAC 0305
2005 North 900 East
Provo, UT  84604-1793

*An easy way to send a package to a missionary at the MTC is through the UPS Store at 12600 South 1733 West.  They have a daily delivery service that goes to the MTC to deliver the packages and the missionaries get it that same day.  The service is available Monday - Friday and the package must be there by 12:15 to get there the same day (driver leaves at 12:30).  They will even box it up for you for free.  The cost to send the package is $7.75.  We've already sent several and it's awesome - one of the perks of living in the valley!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MTC Week 3

January 22, 2013

Hey Everyone!

So, the MTC has been amazing so far.  The spirit is so strong here and it's amazing what you can learn if you put your mind to it and with the help of the Lord.  Portuguese is coming pretty well.  It was kind of a struggle this week, but things are finally starting to click.

The best part of the week is Tuesday.  Not just because it's "P Day" and it's the least stressful day of the week, but it's also the day we get to go to the Provo Temple.  The temple is so amazing.  Sitting in the celestial room brings so much peace and everything that happens outside of the temple just seems like it doesn't even matter anymore.  It's nice to just sit in a quiet room and feel the presence of the Lord.

Last Tuesday night was even more amazing.  Every Tuesday they bring in someone to give a fireside to the whole MTC.  They told us that we were going to have someone very special come speak to us.  It turned out to be Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  He came and spoke and the spirit was so ridiculously strong. He talked for an hour and a half and told us we need to be better missionaries. He told us that we need to come home from our missions with at least one convert and it better be you.  If we come home and are not active, we should watch out for him and he'll find us in a dark alley (General Authorities are a lot funnier outside of General Conference.)  He dedicated three newly remodeled buildings on campus, yelled, and told us he loved us.  Needless to say it ruled.  I can now honestly say I have been thrashed by the spirit.

I ran into Elder (George) Alexander on Thursday and we had a glorious reunion.  I don't have any pictures yet, but it's nice to see him around here.

This is a typical day for me at the MTC:

6:30  wake up
7:00  study
7:30  eat breakfast
8:00  study
9:00  have class
12:00  eat lunch
1:00 study Portuguese
2:00  gym    #brodoyouevenlift?
3:00  have the computer teach us language
5:00  eat dinner
6:00  more class
9:00  flip a table because of how much studying you do in a day
9:05  have a temper tantrum
9:06  get over myself
9:10  plan
9:30  GOLDEN HOUR  (get ready for bed)
10:30  sleep

Rinse, wash, repeat.

That's it for this week.  I'll leave you with a conversation I had with some Elder in the bathroom.

Me:  Oi.

Elder:  Oi.

Me: .........

Elder: ....... I have a girlfriend.

Me:  Oh, that's nice.

Elder:  Yeah......

Me: ..........

Elder: ........She likes to shave my face.

Me:  Oh, that's nice of her.

Elder:  Yeah....she also likes to shave my legs.

Me:  oh.....

Elder:  Yeah.  She also wanted to pop my zits.

Me:  That's disgusting.

Elder:  I know right?  But she kept on wanting to do it.

Me: .........Well, Tchau.

Elder:  Tchau.



Elder Johnson

Monday, January 21, 2013

MTC Week 2

January 16, 2013

Reflection of the Provo Temple.  (Taken by Elder Johnson)

Hi Everyone!

So, the other day we were in class and we were talking about stress.  Apparently, being a missionary is quite stressful -  you know, the whole saving souls for eternity thing.  Anyway, a lot of us were starting to feel it so we had a 30 minute tangent on the love of the Lord.  We all shared some of our favorite scriptures and I've never felt the spirit so strong.  We sometimes forget abut how much our Father and the Savior love us.  We get so caught up in the negatives of life and forget to remember that the entire universe was made for our happiness.  That we will have families and one day we will be with our Father again and that we can be like Him.  Remember your big brother, Jesus Christ, loves you very much and that there is no trial you can't overcome.  There is no prayer that goes unheard.

3 Nephi 5:14
14  And it hath become expedient that I, according to the will of God, that the prayers of those who have gone hence, who were the holy ones, should be fulfilled according to their faith, should make a record of these things which have been done.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Psalms 23:5
5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

D&C 121:7-8
7  My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and think afflictions shall be but a small moment;
8  And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

John 3:16
16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not persih, but have everlasting life.

John 14:24
27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Elder Johnson

Saturday, January 19, 2013

MTC Photos #1

Photos from Elder Johnson at the Provo MTC
January 15, 2013

Elder Johnson went into the MTC with his friend Elder Rutledge on the same day.
They are also roommates.

Elder Jenson, Elder Nelsen, Elder Jessee, Elder Johnson

Elder Nelsen, Elder Jenson, Elder Johnson

Elder Rutledge and Elder Johnson

Elder Johnson, Elder Rutledge, Elder McCann

The Brazil District.

Lucky Elder Johnson got to spend a few days in the MTC with his buddy Elder Jessee before he left.

Elder Johnson and Elder Nelsen

This is Elder Johnson's companion Elder Jung.  Tanner says he hates to have his picture taken.

This photo is for his mom.  His mom said DO NOT take pictures with the "thumbs up sign" because
 every time she sees missionary photos they always have their thumbs up and it drives her crazy!
  Let's hope this is the only thumbs up photo she gets.

Reflection of the Provo Temple  (taken by Elder Johnson)

Friday, January 18, 2013

MTC Week 2

January 14, 2013

Me and a few of my fellow Elders.  Yes, that's Elder Chris Jessee.

Morale is still pretty high.  No word on our Visa's so I predict I'll be here at least another two weeks.  Portuguese is tough, but it's coming along.  Nothing a little faith can't fix.

I hope everything is going great back home and that everyone is doing all right.  Time in the MTC runs differently than it does in the real world.  It feels like I've been here forever, yet it also feels like I just barely got here.  Everything is going really.

We now have two new investigators (fake) that we're teaching.  One of them is our teacher, Brother Duerden, and I can't take him seriously at all when he's an investigator.  He undoes his top button, speaks sloppy Portuguese, acts like he doesn't care, texts on his phone, (at least I think that's what those little devices are called.  I'm not entirely sure.) and he calls us mohmuns.  Our first investigator was miraculously  revealed to be our other teacher, in plot twists that not even M. Night Shyamalan couldn't see coming.

One of the districts in our branch flew out to Portugal this morning and it makes me very jealous that they get to got out into the field already.  Anyways, the intimidating countdown clock of doom is entering its last few minutes so I guess I'm done for this week.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

MTC Week 1

January 10, 2013

We received a letter in the mail from Elder Johnson with this note: "Letters are more spiritual and my emails are more of experiences and updates."

Dear Family,

So this past week has been amazing.  The spirit is so strong here.  The other day we had a fireside and the theme of it was the atonement and charity.  The speaker said that we had to have charity for our investigators in order to convert them.  We can't treat them like they're just a number and we have to truly care about them.  So I tried to apply it in a lesson with our investigator.  We've taught our investigator Angela twice and she only speaks Portuguese.  Things have gone pretty well, but the spirit wasn't there.  When I bore my testimony on eternal families something just clicked.  I had to do my best with broken Portuguese to tell her that through Christ she and her family could be perfect and live with O Pai Celestial (Heavenly Father) for all of eternity.  When I did this the spirit was so strong.  We then taught her how to pray and she gave a beautiful prayer.  Even though I couldn't understand it all to well, I sure felt it.

On our first day we did this exercise where all of the new missionaries sat in a room and taught an investigator.  The first one was a Japanese guy and we went no where very fast.  It was the next investigator that was amazing.  His name was Carlos and he immigrated to America from Italy and his wife has been dead for quite some time.  He told us that his child, Falio, died three days after he was born.  Carlos told us of his guilt of not getting him baptized into the Catholic church before he died.  The priests told him his child was in limbo and Carlos couldn't deal with knowing he couldn't save his son.  A sister missionary shared with him D&C 29:46-47 "But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten.  Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.'  She told him that his son was with Heavenly Father and that he could be with him again.  The spirit was so strong that it made it hard for me to talk.  It was amazing how powerful the spirit was and the influence it has on people.

Eu, Sei que o espirito santo e verdadeiro e Eu sei que mec anico e benecao podo trazo.  En nome Jesus Cristo amen.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

MTC Week 1

January 8, 2013

Hi Everyone!

I hope everything is going great!  The MTC is amazing and the spirit here is so strong.  My companion is Elder Jung (pronounced young) and he is great.  Elder Kyle Rutledge is in my district plus he's also my roommate!  On the second day of my MTC experience they had us teach an investigator in Portuguese.  It went pretty well, even though the only things I knew how to say in Portuguese at the time was: Ola (hello), Oracao (pray), Tudo bem (which can mean like eight different things), and Otimo (which means awesome/excellent).  We like to yell OTIMO! whenever something exciting happens.  Anyways, it went pretty well.  We've taught our investigator about three times and each time it gets better and better.  It's amazing the amount of Portuguese I've learned in my short time here.  I can almost speak in complete sentences now.  It truly is amazing what the Lord can do.

A lot of the missionaries here have been sick with some gastrointestinal virus and they bring it up every time we have a meeting.  It's on the decline now and no one is getting sick anymore, but they won't let us shake hands or anything like that.  I didn't know this whole epidemic made the news.  It really wasn't as bad as they were making it out to be.

Everything is going great and my district is awesome.  There are 12 missionaries in my district.  Five are going to Maceio like me and the other seven are going to Recife (pronounced Hecife).  I love my district, even though they like to say things like "Getting Swole" and "Baller" from time to time.  People do this weird snapping thing here and I think it's kind of annoying and yet everyone does it.  We spend all day studying and it's way intense.

I run into Elder Chris Jessee, Elder Joel Neilson, Elder Quinn McCann, and Elder Joey Jenson a lot.  It was really great to see Chris again and we got our picture taken a lot (sorry I can't send them this week, my computer won't let me.)  He left to New Hampshire yesterday and I miss him already.  He was one of the missionaries that was unfortunate enough to get the gastrointestinal virus.

I'm predicted to leave the MTC on March 4th.  We're not allowed to say the word Visa.  V**a has become a swear word around the Brazilian missionaries and we'll probably be in the Provo MTC the whole time.  I'll see you soon George, Josh, Ken, Connor, and Jason.

I've got to go and I'll talk to you guys next week.  Love you guys.

Elder Johnson

Sunday, January 6, 2013


 January 2, 2013

The big day finally arrived.  Elder Johnson is off to the Provo MTC and his drop off time is 12:45.  He will stay there until his Brazil Visa arrives and then he will fly to the Brazil MTC.
On our way to the MTC we stopped at IHOP so Tanner could have his favorite Cinn-A-Stack pancakes one more time before he leaves.
When we walked in there was a big family sitting by the windows.  The mother saw us and obviously saw Tanner decked out in his suit and asked if he was a missionary going to the MTC today.  He said yes and she told us that they too were there with their daughter who was going into the MTC too.  Then their other daughter asked if Tanner was going to Brazil.  She saw his Brazil flag pin on his suit.  He said yes and she told us that she served her mission in Brazil two years ago and met her husband there, who was sitting across from her.  She started to talk about Brazil and how he would love it and to get use to eating a lot of rice and beans.  When we left Tanner told their missionary daughter, "See you at dinner today."
We went to the Provo Temple to say our goodbyes because the drop off at the MTC is super fast and no time for drawn out goodbyes.  I wish I took a picture of the temple parking lot because it was full of families stopping there to say their goodbyes.  It was actually kind of comical.  We had a hard time finding a place to park to take our pictures.  Tanner was full of smiles and we were all pretty happy, no tears.
Okay Mom, you can let go now.
And we're off.  Tanner was sooooooo excited to be on his way to the MTC.
There are a gazillion cars entering the Provo MTC.  They have guys directing traffic and telling you where you need to go.  They have this down to a science.
There were tons of missionaries standing outside waving and greeting all the newbies.  There are stands with number on them and we followed the chain of cars and stopped at #5.  We were greeted by our "Host" missionary who said he was there to help Tanner throughout the day.  We gave lots of quick goodbye hugs and Elder Johnson was so happy and gave us a big grin and waved goodbye.  We timed it and the whole process from stopping the car to Tanner leaving took 57 seconds.  Told you it was fast.  Gonna miss that boy.  Love ya Elder Johnson.

 I quickly gave the video camera at the last second to my daughter Brinley and told her to record our goodbye at the MTC.

 See you in two years Elder Johnson!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's Official - Elder Johnson

January 1, 2013

Later that night Tanner was set apart to be a missionary to serve in Maceio, Brazil, by his Dad, Uncle Adam, Grandpa Satterthwaite, Grandpa Johnson, Bishop Larsen, and President Chugg.  Family joined us for this very moving and beautiful moment.  It's official - Elder Johnson is ready to serve.

After Tanner was set apart, his friends came back over to spend a few more hours with Tanner before he leaves on his mission.  

Tanner's friend Kyle will also be serving a mission to Maceio Brazil and will also be leaving in the morning to go to the MTC.
  He was set apart to be a missionary at his home that night and came back over for some last farewells.