Jul 19, 2014

07-14-14 Followed this prompting!

Douala is a blast, it’s a much more developed city. And when I say city, I mean city. Think of Vegas but replace all the casinos with random shops. It’s the rainy season right now so every morning its freezing and then the sun comes out at about 2. The new companion is fun. He’s still new - Only 4 months in. And he's my twin - looks just like me apparently. So far we are getting along fine. It's true that there are a lot more Africans with us now. I think with the mission split they added some in so the mission wasn’t completely void. This is my first apartment with no Africans (also first non-African companion in like 3 transfers, we have a Malagash with us but we don’t count him as African). Our new mission president is coming to visit Thursday and so that will be exciting. Apparently he is a little scared to work with Americans. 

This week was the slowest and toughest week of my life. New responsibilities as a leader and a new sector just wiped me out, but it'll start going faster. I held my first district meeting Wednesday - went well. No mutany. haha. Also did a bunch of contacting, which in this mission means you literally have no one to teach. Coolest thing though is whenever we contacted, we set a goal of 1 on the fly lesson for every hour. So basically do an on the spot lesson. One day I said to Elder West, "2 hours, 2 lessons, that’s our goal." Started walking, met someone 10 minutes later who accepted a visit and after that lesson, his brother came home who is already meeting with us and accepted a visit. 2 lessons, 2 hours!

But that's not even the coolest experience this week. Here is the story that gave way for the title. I’m just going to quote what I wrote in my journal:

"12 July, 2014. Another hour of contacting today and so our goal was 1 lesson - 1 hour.  Walking into a neighborhood I don’t know so we decide to go down a small road. (easily miss able) Turns out a member lives there. Stop and say Hi to the son but keep walking. Pass the neighbor's house and all of a sudden I feel like we need to knock the door. Pivot immediately and knock. Michelle answers. And I feel impressed to do a lesson. Then feel impressed to just jump into apostasy and Joseph Smith. (You should know that apostasy and Joseph Smith are the 5 and 6 points of the first lesson.) Jumping the first half of the lesson is a 'no-no' for some missionaries) Spirit was there and I think it excited him. He mentions two things, 

1 - jehovah witnesses gave him a brochure that talked about Joseph Smith (umm...weird)
2 - His neighbors visited his family last week. 

Cool so we leave the lesson and notice a missed call from earlier in the day from Yémin. Yémin is surprisingly a member on that street. Great! Let's just see what he wants. Knock, Knock! 

'Hey, brother Yémin what did you want us for?'.
'Hey Elders, just wanted to get you in touch with my neighbor. We gave him a brochure and visited his family earlier this week!'
'Aww! You're the “JW's” who gave him the brochure! Not JW’s at all in fact. We just did a lesson with him without knowing that you wanted us to meet him!" 

THE SPIRIT TOTALLY LED US TO HIM!! It's called inspiration. :)"

Well hope the story is inspiring and makes sense! Keep following the whisperings of the spirit and you'll see miracles like this one. Now I have proof, I really did learn my lesson from Daniel's story. 


Elder West is my Mini Me

Jul 12, 2014

07-13-14 Note from Last Senior Couple in Yaoundé

Dear Johnson family:
As you know, our mission has just been divided and Elder Johnson is not in our mission now.  We just wanted to email you and thank you for such a wonderful son.  It was very difficult to say goodbye to these good Elders that we have grown to love and call them “our missionaries”.  But we have a special place in our heart for Elder Johnson.  We started this adventure together and I have watched him grow so much just in one year.  You would be so proud of him.  He knows his French and teaches with such boldness.  We are honored to have served with him.  I love to sit and talk with Elder Johnson he has the best stories.  I have seen his faith grow during his mission and has helped my faith to grow also.  When my boys were on their missions I always wanted to be a fly on the wall  and see them in action on their missions.  And I kind of had that experience with your son.  He is strong in his testimony and loves the work.  What more could we ask for?  Unlike my African Elders, I probably will see the Americans again but for the 30 some African Elders I won’t see them again in this life.  We lost 64 missionaries and only gained 26 from a city called Kinanga in central DRCongo that was added to our mission from the Lumbabushi mission.  We don't have any more American missionaries and only have native African missionaries.  We will only be traveling in the DRC now so that will be a little less stressful as far as the crazy traveling schedule we use to have.  But I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you again for raising such a great son.  We love him 

Love Sister Karol Cook  Kinshasa DRC Mission

07/05/14 A New Chapter

I'M IN DOUALA, CAMEROON!!!! AND I'M A DISTRICT LEADER!!! So yes, transfer letters came this week. We got told Saturday morning and left Sunday right after church. 4 hours on a bus and now I’m here. Douala seems much more organized and developed than Yaoundé, which is surprising because Yaoundé is the capital. It's a very nice city that I’m happy to work in.  So far it’s been grey skies and rain. I'll be working with Elder West who is newer to the mission (4th transfer), and like I added I'll be a district leader. Honestly it feels nice to change up a bit, and I think I’m ready to get down to work. Looking back I think Yaoundé was a black spot on my mission, so I think the change was needed - I'll let you know how it all goes. 

It's also crazy how fast it’s all going. 14 months down, 10 to go. This week there weren’t too many stories in honesty. Just kinda working as usual. 

So Maya is right, I should not post pics to facebook myself. So, what I'll start doing is I'll send them to you with fun captions from my email and then I ask Maya be in charge of posting them and managing friend acceptances and such. 

Well with the new chapter of the mission, I’m hoping to send you home some sweet stories.  Ohh yeah, 4th of July, we went out to a nice restaurant (?) and had peppered steak and fries - dang good! Also me and another missionary wore American flag sun glasses all day, and we sang the National Anthem alot!  haha 

 Fun Train Crossing Sign

 Moto Taxi Bumper Sticker.  Love it!

 Walking to an appt. 

 Ntambwe and I

 Tile pattern Walkway 

06-30-14 Walking Dead

The weeks are going by so fast!  Next Monday is transfer letter day - which means possible changes for me.  Think about it like this - I was in Congo for 5 transfers and now I've done 4 in Cameroon. I think/hope that I’ll be moving cities soon.  But I'll let you know next week if there are changes.
So this week there was a special Holiday - Half Christmas!  June 25. Kinda scary thought that there are only 6 more months until Christmas, but we celebrated in the most appropriate way we knew how.  Spaghetti, snickers, candy, gummy worms, Syrup, and Coke! We just copied the movie Elf the best we could and had a blast (I'll post pictures on face book). Surprisingly, mixing all that doesn’t taste that good. haha. But I've decided new tradition for me!
I had another very distinct prompting this week - and I’m happy to report that I acted on it immediately!  We were teaching an Anglo-phone member (English speaker) Patrick when the thought of another member came to my mind, Armstrong. I realized that I hadn’t seen Armstrong at church for months. So I asked the member if he knew about Armstrong's where-abouts and then called Armstrong right there on the spot. The next day we set up a meeting and I learned that Armstrong was offended at church and doesn’t want to come anymore. Sad, but luckily it’s a pretty recent thing so we can fix it before it becomes too problematic.
Now to explain the title of the email. Last night we had a massive zone sleep over because today we played b-ball together. And when you get 10 elders together things go down! We celebrated, "year marks" for 2 missionaries, and "year mark” for another and myself. Meaning 6 tubs of ice-cream, brownies, and soda.  After the bouffant was finished, we played zombies. Lights off - capture the flag. Window drapes drawn. And zombies that can infect you if your tagged. Ohh yeah, a flash light and toilet paper ammunition for humans to stun zombies! BEST NIGHT EVER! Some couches may have been thrown at people, or heads stepped on but that is a small price to pay in a zombie war. haha. Last night we just lined up 7 mattresses on the balcony and crashed. This morning we played b-ball (I twisted my knee, but am okay) and later had a massive breakfast of French toast and ice cream. Give it a week and then we'll do it all over again!
Our mission is splitting tomorrow, that means officially I will be under President Mongua in the Brazzaville Congo mission. Fun stuff. Those are the highlights of this week. Also Ntambwe had a sick day, which meant sit and meditate day for me, ugghh...but I kinda had a "mental freak out" because I realized I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I don’t know what I want to study, what school I want to go to or how I want to use my time. So this week I realized I need to make some more solid plans for going home.

I hope summer vacation is going well for you. Fourth of July is Friday!! You need to do something soooo fun. We are going to go eat pepper steak! Let me know of the fun things you do. Way to go Ferious on meeting with the bishop, you'll have to scoop out the young single adults for me in the ward and let me know what I'll be coming back to. haha. I love you guys bunches and hope you have a blast and stay safe (especially from those zombies).  

06-23-14 It’s a "maize" ing

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAYA!! I marked the day in my planner this week but forgot to tell you last week - man, 14 years old!  That's crazy, well hope it was fun, love ya!  Also I got your movie quotes and scriptures, not too bad. Thanks for the encouragement.
The news about Kaleb is super uplifting! That’s awesome that you (Kaleb) are getting over a bad habit. I’m proud of you :)  Keep up the good work because it’s well worth it. Also, I’ve planned to pick up long-boarding when I get home, even though it’s not your exact sport, it's close to skateboarding. In advance, Senior year is coming up - that's the Funnest year of all.  What college you going to?
It's surprising that Robert found all those family records on Ancestory.com. What will you guys do with all of them? And are you still getting names ready for the temple?
The title of the email is based on the fact that the corn harvest is going on here. So there are these Mamas all over the roads selling corn on the cob. They just set up their barbeque grills everywhere and start cooking. Surprisingly the corn becomes a subject of snide comments. Normally like, "White, ohh the white man eats corn, eh? They don’t have this where you’re from"!  So yeah, Cameroon is "a maize ing".  Haha
Luckily this week I had a chance to apologize to the man I insulted.  So I did, and he just smiled and said he understood that I am still young and hot tempered. I’m learning though.
This week not too much news. Hmm, at church a mother was adamant that we bless her 7 year old son to be more obedient. I think she was thinking like an excerscism?  She said her son needed obedience and have wisdom…...and health. (apparently in our 10 minutes of talking he became sick) So my companion just gives him a blessing but leaves out wisdom. As soon as the prayer ends, the mom says, "Uhh, I wanted you to give him wisdom!!" That made me smile.
Saturday we had our last meeting with President Cook, so now the mission will split in 9 days. That was fun, one last time for us to butt heads. He's an awesome dude and it was good serving with him.
Anyhow, that’s all folks! I'll talk to you next week and hopefully have some awesome stories. Maybe I'll send you a copy of my bucket list I’m writing?