Monday, February 25, 2013

MTC Photos #5

More Photos from Elder Johnson at the Provo MTC
February 25, 2013

Best friend Elder Wood from home has finally arrived at the MTC!

Elder Rutledge & Elder Marse from home.

The Brazil District

Elder Phillips from home.

Perfect score for room inspection - not.

Instructor Duerden - he went to Maceio and is pretty much the funniest guy.
Instructor Petitta - first investigator and helped me a lot with the language.

Moses 1:39

Elder Millward

Elder Montgomery

Using our time wisely.

Elder Withers & Elder Rutledge

Final photo of our Brazil District and Instructors before we leave the MTC.

Reassignment to Carlsbad, California, until Brazil VISA comes.  There's no dot, but it's really there.  

Really bad painting they have in one of the buildings.

Elder McFadden

Elder Montgomery - model shot.

Elder Hatch

Missionaries, nolan noir style.

Goodbye MTC - Hello California!

Tanner got to call home on Thursday, February 21, for 5 minutes to tell us he's been reassigned along with some of his fellow Maceio Brazil Elders to Carlsbad, California, until they get their VISA's.   There are a bunch of them going to the same place so they can practice speaking Portuguese to each other.  I'm glad he is going somewhere relatively warm, since he only packed warm mission clothes for Brazil and doesn't have any cold mission clothes.

It was good to hear from him and he sounds so happy. He spoke to us in Portuguese and it sounded so cool to hear my son speaking a foreign language.  His favorite thing to say, "It's all good."  He's loved his MTC experience, but is ready to out into the field and do the Lord's work.

Friday, February 22, 2013

MTC Photos #4

More Photos from Elder Johnson at the Provo MTC
February 19, 2013

Elder Rodriguez form Birmingham UK - he is the nicest guy here.

Elder Stahura - we have great conversations (with my companion photo bombing)

A ridiculous amount of missionaries - standing room only.

Elder Maughan - we also have great conversations.

Elder Baldwin

Being a Host Missionary with Elder Rutledge & companion Elder Jung.

Elder Townsend

Elder Townsend & Elder Rutledge

Elder Montgomery

Elder Shepherd

Elder Cunningham

Elder Taylor

Elder Wiscombe

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MTC Week 7

February 19, 2013

I think it's week seven and I have a lot to write about.

The first story is up for you to share mom.  It's kind of gross, but something very eventful.

So this week I went to the podiatrist because I've had this invincible wart on the bottom of my foot that won't die and it hurts to walk on.  The doctor literally gave me the ultimatum:  pain, pleasure, or weird punishment.

Pain: two shots.  One shot to numb your foot and the other shot is an anti-cancer medicine which causes necrosis.  It is guaranteed to kill, but it hurts a while for days after and turns your foot black.

Pleasure: might not work and takes forever.

Weird Punishment: expensive lasers.

I opted for pain because it was fast and effective.  The doctor gave me the numbing shot in my ankle and told me to wait a few minutes.  He asked me if I was feeling okay and i told him I was and then he left the room.  Literally no more than five seconds later I got very light headed and started to faint.  He came back in the room with a nurse and they just kind of looked at me.  All I could say was, "you tricked me."  Because I literally thought he gave a shot to me to make me fall asleep.  Eventually I got over myself and sat up.  Apparently this shot has the slight side affect of making you faint and he said I was white as a ghost.  I waited a good 45 minutes and drug hadn't worked on me and my foot wasn't numb at all.  So I just decided to take the anti- cancer shot straight up.

Bad decision.

Have you ever had a shot in the foot?  It's really painful and the doctor shoved that bad boy needle in my foot and left it there for a solid minute and a half.  I could literally feel the medicine entering my foot and killing my cells instantly.  I felt like my foot was literally on fire.  The most pain I have ever been in in my entire life.  (Mom, I thought you said this mission thing would be fun?)  After much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, I got over myself, yet again, and the doctor told me that this procedure is probably the most painful thing he does as a doctor.

Como um Chefe

On a lighter note, I got to be a Host Missionary right after and I got to show several new missionaries around.  My first missionary looked like he had just ran through a mine field and had this shocked look on his face of, "Oh no, what have I done?"  My second missionary was from Fiji and didn't speak a lot of English.  My third missionary was Jeremiah Romney and he was going to Russia.  It was great to see a familiar face and it was great to escort him.  I took him to the Russian dorms and there were a bunch of Elders sitting on the stairs and they look at him and ask, "Where are you going?" and he responded, "Russia."  Chaos ensued.  About 20 Russian speaking missionaries ran into the stairwell and started cheering and shouting things in Russian.  These two huge missionaries came down the stairs, grabbed his two 50 pound suitcases, raised them over their heads, and ran all the way up to the top floor.  There was so much excitement and I naturally got caught up in it.  I started shouting and beckoning my Elder to follow me to his room.  The Russian missionaries gave me a Winnie the Pooh sticker and stuck it on my jacket.  They were really nice.
Elder Johnson, Elder Rutledge, Elder Jung (his companion)

My companion, Elder Jung, got his VISA to Brazil this week and is leaving to Maceio on Monday.  Everyone in our district was jealous and next week I get to be a solo missionary, so that will be interesting.

Valentine's Day was funny.  I got your package mom and I literally have no idea what to do with all the toys you sent me.  I always have to hide them when the branch presidency comes around and I'm pretty sure all the sugar is going to make me diabetic.  Thank you very much, it made my day along with the "Heart Attack" from Julee Higgins.  The district in the rooms next to us were talking about their girlfriends, how they miss them, and all the great memories they had.  I just nodded and said, "Pfffffttt yeah!  I miss my girlfriend too!"

Como um Chefe

So the district in the rooms next to us just left for Portugal.  They were really cool and we became pretty good friends with them over the past few weeks.  They were really funny and we were able to joke around with them.  A lot of the "Como se diz..." from last week's letter came from them, and the girlfriend conversation, and the Elder we tied up was from there.

The MTC is packed and I literally don't know how they're going to quadruple this place in size over the summer.  It takes  f o r e v e r  to get food and there is literally no room to stand.  Also, Happy Birthday to Mama Wood and my cousins Jonah and Erin!  Have fun and be nice to Flat Tanner at your parties.  A teacher here from Brazil told me I looked like I was from south Brazil and she asked me if I had any Brazilian in me.  I felt really cool.  Oh, and congratulations to Brooke for getting her mission call to Boston, Massachusetts and to Clafflin for getting his mission call to Taiwan!  You two will do great in your missions and the spirit is going to change you for the better!

This week we gave a lesson on the Atonement to one of our investigators and it was the best lesson we have ever given.  The spirit was so strong and the feeling of peace that comes through the Atonement is incredible.  We had a fireside this week from one of the guys who sits with the apostles when they assign mission calls.  He talked about miracles the whole time and told us some pretty crazy stories about how things always seem to work out.  The gospel is so true and the feeling of peace and love that the spirit brings is amazing.

Let me know if there is anything I could do for you back home.  And for those going on missions know that you will not regret it.  There are times when it gets hard and you feel like you can't do it or it's too big for you.  Just remember your Heavenly Father loves you and He will always provide a way for you, even if at times it is hard to see a good outcome.  Thank you everyone back home, especially you mom and dad.

Love you all!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MTC Week 6

February 12, 2013

Hey everyone, how's it going?

There's not much to tell about this week so I'll do my best to summarize anything interesting.  Learning Portuguese is starting to come a little bit faster.  We implemented an FSL, Fala Sua Lingua (Speak Your Language), program so we are pretty much required to speak Portuguese tudo dia tudos os dias (All Day, Err'y Day).  This is by far the best way for me to learn.  When we study they like to use words like conjugation, simple pluperfect, reflexive, verb, all of which are words that make no sense to me.  I found out that the more I speak Portuguese the more things make sense and the faster I learn.  But, there still are those days when I feel like flipping a table.  I feel bad for those missionaries going to Cambodia. Have you seen what Cambodian looks like?  It's nuts.

Hey, thank you mom for the package you sent me, it literally made my week.  The best thing you could have possibly sent me in the package was the Baltimore Raven's Super Bowl Champions tshirt *.  Elder Rutledge and I just about died of laughter when I beheld its glory.  The funny thing is we have an Elder in our district who is in love with the San Fransisco 49ers.  The rest of the district came by and saw my tshirt and they busted up laughing.  I then proceeded to wear the tshirt to gym and people were wondering how I got it.  They asked me if I was a big Raven's fan and I told them about my undying love for the Raven's and my passion for the sport of football.  The next day we were doing this exercise where we get to each teach a companionship in the district and pretend they're our progressing investigators.  My companion and I were assigned to be the investigators for the Elder who loves the 49ers and his companion.  I naturally had to wear my tshirt during this investigation.  When I opened the door for them, his companion started to laugh and the Elder refused to make eye contact with me.  It was a good day.       (*Side note from his mom: I sent Tanner the Super Bowl winner tshirt as a joke because I know how much he loves football, not.  I'm glad to see he got a good laugh out of it.  I knew he would milk it.)

So, this week I started making a "como se diz" list (diz is pronounced jeez), which translates to "How do you say...?"  We usually use this phrase to ask what a word or phrase is in Portuguese.  Here are a few of  my favorites:

          Como so diz, make it rain?
          Como se diz, haters gonna hate.
          Como se diz, all day err'y day.
          Como se diz, boy that escalated quickly.
          Como se diz, loins.
          Como se diz, come at me bro.
          Como se diz, I ain't scurred.
          Como se diz, ain't nobody got time for dat.

On a more spiritual note I was able to finish the Book of Mormon this week, which was awesome and I'm about to start it again.  We had someone come and speak to us in the Sunday night devotional about the impact we make on the lives of others.  He told us a story of how he went on his mission and was able to teach this family and they were baptized.  He then invited a returned missionary to come up to talk about how he was able to teach the grand kids of this family the speaker taught and the impact that one conversion can have for generations.  Our branch presidency told us that the purpose of the MTC was not to learn a language, but to become converted to the gospel.  When Elder Holland came and spoke to us he read a scripture in D&C which says something along the lines of "how great your joy will be if you bring just one soul unto Christ."  He then said that that soul better be yourself.  I've felt myself grow immensely more spiritual over the past few weeks and I'm so grateful that I can be out here serving my mission.  I hope everything is going well and I'll write again next Tuesday.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

MTC Photos #3

More Photos from Elder Johnson at the Provo MTC
February 5, 2013

Me & Elder Townsend (taking a picture in the bathroom.)

Elder Alexander and me saying goodbye again.

Hugs from friends.

Me & Elder Hatch

Me & Elder McFadden

Art sent to me from Kenny.

Mirror picture with Elder Maughan.

Art sent to me from Jeshua.

Elder Townsend and I taking a quick photo.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

MTC Week 5

February 5, 2013

Elder Alexander & Elder Johnson

Spanish is such a weird language.  I tried to read out of a Spanish Hymn Book the other day and it was literally impossible.  It sounds so weird to me and even though I can understand it, I prefer Portuguese.  It sounds prettier.  There's a rift here at the MTC between the Portuguese speakers and the Spanish speakers.  Literally, every Spanish speaker I've talked to looks down on me.  They tend to just look at my name tag and assume it's Spanish.  To be fair, they do look a lot a like.  They then try to talk to me in Spanish.  I respond in Portuguese and they have no idea what I'm saying.  They then realize that I'm speaking Portuguese and not Spanish and they give me this death glare followed by an awkward silence.  They like to say that Portuguese is weird, makes no sense, and Spanish is a lot prettier.  I'm afraid I have to disagree with them.  I like the way Portuguese sounds.  The words don't blend together like Spanish does and I will not be mocked for my language anymore!!!!!!!    #Portuguese4vida!!!!!

Anyway, language ranting aside, this week has been pretty good.  Taught some lessons, prayed a little, felt the spirit, you know.  Honestly there isn't much that stands out this past week that I can really think of.  A guy from another district taught us how to tie this cool tie knot, dubbed, "The Juggerknot."  Elder Connor Townsend arrived this week, which was awesome.  I see him around a lot and we were able to take some pictures together.  Elder George Alexander left for Arizona today.  Needless to say, many tears were shed and I still have yet to get over the emotional trauma.  We get to be a Missionary Host welcoming all the new Elders to the MTC around week seven.  I'm going to try and see if I can be the host when Elder Josh Wood and Elder Kenny Marse arrive.  That would be awesome.

We had mission conference this last Sunday.  It's a lot like General Conference except it's just for the missionaries and the speakers are the MTC Presidency.  President Hacking gave a talk on trials and it reminded me a lot of my farewell talk, so that ruled.  It got me thinking about the Atonement and how much our Heavenly Father loves us and how important we are to Him.  I just want to say I'm so thankful for you, my family, and for all that you've done for me.  I also want to thank you for all the support and love you've given me over the years and know that I love you all very much.  I also want to thank everyone who has ever sent me a letter or communicated with me in anyway.  It means a lot and it makes life here at the MTC so much easier.  I'm so thankful for everything my Father in Heaven has done for me.  He's blessed me so much and even when I'm out here trying to serve Him, He stills blesses me beyond all comprehension.  So thank you for everything and what you have done for me to all those who are reading this letter.


P.S.  Sorry this weeks letter wasn't too long.  Again, nothing really happened.

P.P.S.  I know I should be called Elder Johnson, but do you know how many people here are called Elder Johnson?  I share the last name with half of the MTC.

Friday, February 1, 2013

MTC Photos #2

More Photos from Elder Johnson at the Provo MTC
January 29, 2013

"The best mission in the world!"


Self portrait with Elder Wach.

This picture is for Braden - Elder Rutledge, the Provo Temple, the American Flag.

D&C 121

Elder Millward probably the funniest missionary I know.

The summary of the relationship between me and my companion.

My Twilight homage.

Me and Elder Withers

Bad Elder Rutledge - under attack from a nerf gun.

Elder Maughan tied up with unbreakable tape.

My companion Elder Jung admiring his work.

Me and my companion tied up Elder Maughan next door.

Me admiring my work.  Another annoying thumbs up for my mom.

Tell me what's wrong with this picture.