Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movecall 4 Week 2 Sun 12/27/09

‏Dear Family,

Merry 3 days after Christmas!

FYI my preparation day has been moved to Monday permanently so take that into account for emailing me. It was so good to talk to you all!

The cold is settling back in, it was nearly hot for a few days, and today it is grey and windy and chilly rain. It is good weather to cuddle up with a book, so when we head home after this I will have a good cuddle with the Book of Mormon haha.

I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to anyone for as long as we would have liked! We are told to keep our calls to about 40 minutes and no more than an hour and I was definitely on the side of an hour.

On the 24th, we knew that we were having a mission activity, but it was a big secret. We just knew that we had to meet at the trainstation at 4:15 AM, which meant waking up at 3 since the station isn't in our area. Then a bus pulled up and we got on, and found out we were going north to Sun Moon Lake. Sun Moon Lake really was gorgeous, surrounded by green mountains. That day was special because there were a bunch of Chinese government officials on recess from negotiations there. There were Falun Dafa* protestors meditating all over the place in protest. The best thing about the mission activity was that the whole mission was together! That means that I got to see all of my old companions, including my MTC companions I hadn't see in months. At Sun Moon lake, we saw a couple different temples and took lots of pictures. Then we went to Taichung for a big dinner and short Christmas devotional. We didn't get back until after 11, and had woken up at 3. This would make anyone tired, but when you are a missionary you still wake up at 6:30 and go about your day and you can't take naps.

Christmas was the BUSIEST day of my whole mission. We were still sleep deprived from the two nights before, and for our exercise we just ran to 7 to buy phone cards and ran home. Then it was a super quick shower, talking to you (I missed half of personal study and Sister Busath didn't think it was allowed but I thought it was fine). Then we planned our lessons and skipped the rest of companion study because Sister Busath told some nonmember we would come to the church at 2 when we usually need to plan until 2:30. So we planned, opened presents at lunch, finished planning and raced to go meet Rita, head back to back lessons for a couple hours, then rode an hour to Shaogong where we had a baptism. We didn't have time for dinner, and the baptism ended up taking two hours instead of 45 minutes, then we had to hurry and ride the hour back to the chapel to put an investigator in a baptismal interview at 9:30 PM. Christmas dinner was two minutes long, eating a fast food chicken burgers we picked up on the way to the church. We didn't get home until 10:15 (usually we go to bed at 10:30). It was insane. It was probably a blessing to be so busy, and especially to have a baptism - a white Christmas! But I'm glad our days aren't usually like that.

Thank you all for the presents! I liked everything! The face wash was the one I wanted, thank you for your efforts Daddy :) And the tights and gloves will be much appreciated and used. Shelly, the ring fits, thank you! Now I just need to learn German (is that the other language on it?) Sister Busath says thank you for the stocking. I was also very grateful for the toothbrush - it wouldn't be Christmas without a pound of Reeses chocolate and a new toothbrush :) We loved all the Christmas decorations and missionaries for years to come to enjoy them too I'm sure.

My companion does a "Tastes of Taiwan" section in her emails every week home and I think I will start. This weeks feature: sugar cane. If you are ever in Asia and you see people taking the skin off long poles of what looks like thin bamboo, it is probably sugarcane. They cut off the outside and inside its white and they give you a piece about a foot long. You bite off pieces, chew the fibers and spit them out. It's pretty much pure sugar water. It's interesting to try but not something I will not bother eating on my own. An investigators father cut it for us.

Alright, time is up.

I love you all so much!
FML

Sister Johnson

Monday, December 28, 2009

tmas Calling‏- Sun 12/20/09

I am authorized to either call on the evening of the 25th or the morning of the 26th. I'm kind of annoyed that they didn't email us this until right now, when there is no time to coordinate with you. One way or another, I will call. To one phone or another. I am allowed to call from 9:00pm - 10:30pm on Christmas (it's like, 7 in the morning for you) or from 6-10:30 am on the 26th (Christmas evening for you, around 6-7 pm.) So pretty much I have no idea when or on what phone I will contact you. Feel free to email the mission office.

I guess I will probably try to call you around 8:30 or 9 in the morning Taiwan time on the 26th. This will be in the evening on Christmas day your time, I have no idea what time. This means I probably won't get to talk to my sisters, which makes me really disappointed.

I'm very stressed about calling home because I don'tk now if you will be In elko or not when I call - what if the weather is bad or you are still traveling and your cell phone doesn't have service because youa re in the boonies? Anyway if I don't get ahold of you I will keep trying your cell phones (I know mother's number too 775 934 9604).

try not to go out in Christmas eve from the hotel in case I get permission to call it would be earlier about 6 pm

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

divine compassion never flees nor fails us‏- Dec. 16th

Dear Family!

Guess what - I am calling home in 9 days!

This is what I need:- The phone number of whoever or whereever I am calling. It would be nice if it was a landline with more than one phone so I could talk to more of you at a time at once - I hear that we are encouraged to only talk for about 45 minutes. If not, then no worries.- The Pennytalk or whatever phone card number that mother alreayd has money on. I need - the international access number (not the US number), the pin, etc. I can buy a card here too, just let me know. I will probably call Christmas night, which will be the morning of the 26th for me. If someone could check the time change between Utah and Taiwan that would be useful. I think we are 14 hours ahead...I'm not sure. Okay, that is that.

So remember Sister Wang- the investigator that has a bird in tupperware? Well, it turns out she has two birds. More importantly, she read the Book of Mormon in about a week, then gave it to her father to read. Then I accidentally left my English Book of Mormon at her apartment, and when we came back two days later, she had read IN ENGLISH through half of Alma. She had a dictionary on top of it when we came. It is honestly amazing. She still doesn't grasp that we aren't like other Christian churches, but she set a baptismal goal. First she didn't want to set it because she had already been baptised, and then when we convinced her, she was adamant that she had to be baptised tomorrow and didn't want to wait until she had been to sacrament meeting three times. She reminds me of Peter when Christ is washing his feet. First Peter says, Don't wash my feet! and Christ says, I have to wash your feet , and then Peter says, Okay, then wash all of me! and Christ says, No, just let me do what needs to be done in the proper way. That was a terrible summary, but I hope you know what I am talking about.

We also have a really great investigator, Sister Song, who is very beautiful and wealthy and so socially able. I just love Sister Song. She has a Christmas baptismal goal, and hopefully will make it on time! We moved her goal up two weeks to meet a challenge from our Zone leaders to have a White Christmas (with baptisms!)

GUESS WHAT. I went to Monkey Mountain today. At first I was not impresssed. We had gotten lost, then when we found the trailhead we happened to time it to be in the middle of a huge tourist group of Asians from Britian. It didn't look like a hike, it was a boarded path in the middle of a bunch of tourists. There was not a monkey in sight. I was ready to leave. When we saw an unmarked dirt path split off, my companion and I took a minute to decide if we should take it, though we didn't know where it lead. A native said to us in Chinese, this way and waved us. He went up ahead and we looked at each other, looked at the group of tourists and decided to follow the dirt trail. On the way we ran into a man, walking stick in hand, hiking barefoot. It was...insane. It was the roughest trail I have ever hiked and he had no shoes. When we got to the top, it wasn't what I was expecting. It was a wooded area, you couldn't even see the view, but there were chairs and soft music and people lounging and laughing. It was really peaceful. There was work out equipment there, people were doing sit ups or stretching their backs or lifting weights. Others just sat and drank tea from huge silver pots that were apparently there for public use. It was like a camp. It had an amazing feel, really peaceful. We hadn't seen any monkeys, but I decided I didn't care. It just had been a really great hike. I love the city but my heart had missed nature. Then on the way down...we saw monkeys! A lot of them! Here is what I learned from observing them in the wild:Monkeys really are adorable, They really do have red butts, and they smell much better in the wild than at the zoo. We took about a million pictures. It was so great.

I'm not sure how much time I have left, so I will send this off now.

I love you all very much!

Oh, my next preparation day is Monday, so write me on Saturday or so and I should get it.

It is move call! I hope I stay here and stay with Sister Busath. Really, really I do.

FML
Sister Johnson




Cami's memorial to Fish: (separate email to us)


Fish, Fish was a good fish. He swam well, he always was ready to do a dance when I came into the room and eat food off my finger. He was the only fish who ever lived longer than a month in the family. He survived numerous trips back and forth between Elko and was a strong fish, a survivor. He enjoyed eating, swimming, and pooping. He had an excellent modeling career and spent his last days in the loving care at the Johnson loony bin. He was a source of colsolation and joy to all who knew him. We know, even now, Bear and Fish are looking down on us, by our side whenever we need them. We will see them again someday. May Fish rest in peace. Amen.



Cami's message to Donna:


it sounds like you are doing a great job at institute! I'd want to go for sure :) Fish will be okay. Don't be sad, he is by my side always.
I love you so much!
Talk to you SOON!
FML
Cami

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tue 12/08/09

Dear Family

It is hard to believe it's the Christmas season when today it was hot even without a sweater. There are more Christmas lights than I expected here. Our apartment building today put up a Christmas tree and some lights. A really descent number of places have lights up. In 7-11 (we spend a lot of time there) they play Christmas music and it is heavenly. My favorite is when the miaos (daoist or buddist temples) put up Christmas lights. How considerate of them to celebrate Jesus' Birth with us!

This week has been good! Zhu ya ci got baptised and confirmed this weekend and we were so happy. She is so sweet. I will never forget when we were teaching The Sabbath to her. In Chinese, it is translated directly as Rest Day. "So, Zhu ya ci, today we want to teach you a commandment. Do you know what the Sabbath (Day of Rest) is?"She nodded."That's so good! When is it?""Death..." She whispered, her eyes big, hardly looking at us. In Chinese, they say someone is sleeping or resting when they die. I only I wonder what was going through her mind as we told her we were going to teach her a commandment about Death Day. Poor thing!But we cleared that up and she got baptised! Rejoice!

This week we had another investigator have an interview. I will call her... Sister Small to protect her identity. My companion told me that they suspected Sister Small had mental problems and had acted really weird when they visited her before. Our district leader told us to teach her and put her in an interview and the proper judge would deem her accountable or not. When I visited Sister Small, she seemed a little odd but generally fine. She would look at us a little strangely and laugh sometimes, but I always thought it was my Chinese. Then... on the day of her interview she was saying weird things. She thought that my hair had changed colors. She thought that it was black before. She wasn't looking at us normally. She told our district leader his pants were too tight hahaha. He came out of the interview looking disturbed. Things like, she says she has children, but doesn't know their names (she doesn't have any). We set her up and interview with President Yang, emeritus area authority. As soon as she showed up for that one, we knew she wasn't going to pass. “Oh, she is on one today...” When we introduced President Yang, she just laughed. She was not there. It was disconcerting. So, she was deemed unaccountable at this time so doesn't need baptism unless she gets medicated and normal. It's not our job to get her medicated or normal, so I guess we just will see her in the celestial kingdom.

Alright, times up
I love you
FML
Cam


Cami's response to my email to her:

Momma-
It is good to hear from you.

Yes, try moving Fish away from the Window to a good warm spot. He usually swims less and slower during the winter but try to get him to do tricks, it may cheer him up. I've had him for about a year and a half. I got him in May 2008 I think.

Don't stress too much about your lessons. I'm sure you are a great teacher. Maybe you could practice presenting for Daddy and have him give you feedback, or in front of a mirror.

And about getting other things done, I've found having a planner on my mission is very useful. You write down your weekly goals for all aspects (spiritual, physical, intellectual, etc.) and the tasks that need to get done, and then make plans when to do each one.

Yeah, I'm not sure when the last time was I was at Grandpa and Grandma's house...literally years ago. Certainly before MIddle school I'd bet.

Okay, I better hurry and write the family email or won't have any time left! I love you! FML -
Cam

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

thanks for you‏- Dec. 2, 2009

Dear family-

How was Thanksgiving?

The night before Thanksgiving (last Preparation day actually) some English students planned a little "Thanksgiving" activity. We had a lesson we needed to start promptly after class or we would be late getting in, but someone insisted. "This is all for you!" So we ate Chinese noodles and a slice of turkey standing in the hall outside the church kitchen. It was a nice thought and really very awful. "This is not Thanksgiving." was all I could think of. I started to get *really* trunky (missionary talk for missing home) for the first time.

That night at about ten oclock, we got a call and I answered it. I was expecting a Taiwanese woman and was very suprised to hear an American man's voice. He is a member in our ward and invited us and the Elders to Thanksgiving dinner at his house the next day. Oh, it saved me! Somehow, just being in an American home with other Americans and eating Traditional American Thanksgiving Food really helped. I may not have been with my family or at my home, but a holiday that is very important to me did not go unregarded as it has so often for me in the last 5 years. It was really a blessing and tender mercy that I needed. So, the moral of the story is make sure the missionaries are going somewhere on holidays!

On Sunday my companion and I were contacting at a light on our way somewhere. The person I was talking to did not set up and drove off. My companion was still talking to me. A man pulled up kind of in front of me, chewing on a biscuit and looking at me. He looked like someone that had a life of hard manual labor, alcohol and binglan chewing*. I tried not to look at him because we aren't supposed to talk to males unless our companion is within arms reach and involved in the conversation. "Hello" he said. "Come to church!" (Usually that is all it takes to end these kinds of conversations.) "Poor you." And he put a sack of of hot dumplings on my bicycle. I tried to turn them down but he just drove off.

Does anyone remember watching the old church movie On the Way Home? We watched it once, probably about 15 years ago, my companion had never seen it. All I remembered was there was a little girl in a family who died. We are working with an investigator whose spouse died so we decided to show it to her. We didn't have time to preview it and make sure we actually thought it would be a good fit. When it started we weren't even sure it was the right movie. My companion and I kept looking at each other like, is this it? It was so cheesy and early 90s! At the end though I was really moved and I think our investigator was too. It's about a family and their little girl dies, but as they accept the gospel and are baptised their family improves in all aspects, and gives them hope.

I've noticed I've started to get really easily touched by things. Man, those stories at the back of the Ensign just about get me every time! Whenever I hear of people's aches and how they are relieved by kindness of others it just moves me. Sister Busathe says the same thing has been happening to her. She says that the hardness of the world has been removed.

This Saturday my dear investigator Zhu Ya Ci is going to get baptised. It is amazing and a miracle. The first time I met her, we ended up having two investigators at once so I had to teach the lesson alone with a member. The member, despite her good intentions, was off on tangents and unhelpful. My Chinese got tonguetied and I tried to teach Zhu Ya Ci the Word of Wisdom and stay on topic. "So, do you think you will have a problem with any of the five things we just talked about? (tea, coffee, alchol, tobacco, drugs)" "Yes...I drink tea, coffee and alcohol and smoke." I didn't even know what problem to tackle first. We have had investigators that don't get baptised just from a problem with ONE of those things, let alone four. We are supposed to figure out when they use it and why and then have a plan for them not to. I just struggled through it, told her to get over coffee and tea and we'd talk more later. It was the worst lesson I've ever taught and afterwards I said to Sister Busathe, "If she gets baptised, I will know the work has NOTHING to do with me, and the church is true."And she is getting baptised this Saturday. Zhu Ya Ci is so amazing, she has had so many things to get over and she has done it in 5 weeks. Honestly, her getting baptised has nothing to do with what we have taught or done. She is just amazing.

Times up
FML
Cami

*binglan is a kind of drug. It is a nut you chew and turns your mouth and teeth red. It literally looks like you are bleeding from the mouth. It is used mostly by the poor and those who do hard labor because it is numbing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a week of a lot of randomness‏- Tue 11/24/09 11:20 PM

Oh my dear family.

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm sorry I can't be there (again!) with you but I know I am where I need to be. I really, really, really am praying I will be able to be home for next year but I'm still not sure when I'll be released. If I am, next year everyone at our house, okay?

This week I went on Sisters Exchanges. It was a blast. I only went one area over to Zoing and just loved Gaosiong even more. Zoing was the cleanest area I have been in, the most modern and western. I guess the most foreigners live there. We visisted a less active who is married to an American and their apartment was so clean and decorated like an American home, oh I loved it. We also had frozen yogurt and mexican food again. The sister I exchanged with was a blast - Sister Kilgore. It just felt good to laugh.

We went to visit an investigator who owns a little restaurant. I had never met her so I didn't know which of the two women in the store were the investigator, her family, customers etc. One woman was staring at us like she knew us so I assumed she was a family member of the investigator. My companion went to greet the woman behind the counter so I assumed this person was NOT who we were there to see, so I said, I'd like to invite you to church and gave her a pamphlet. She was beside herself with excitement to meet us. She told us how she is Christian and was baptised a long time ago and she feels like it was God's plan that we met. And then... Lin: I just have so many questions, so many questions...I don't know if I understand the Bible...Me: Maybe we can help you. What is your question? Lin: I have so many questions... Like why you don't use electricity... I mean that is so amazing, so amazing...Me: ...You think we don't use electricty?... hahahaha...Yes, the woman thought that we were AMISH. Well, I guess we were both wearing dark skirts and riding bicycles... I had wondered before if people look at us the way that I see Amish people and it turns out yes, yes they do :) I am pretty sure that woman was crazy (for reasons beyond what I am mentioning.)

Someone we met last week asked us to come help her clean her house so we figured we could do our service hour there. So we end up getting lost and were an hour late. We went up to her apartment, and it was already clean. It was small and covered in tchoky. I...can't even describe the random things. I want to go back just so I can describe it better. She had a bird she kept in a clear tuperware named Warren. She called her sister and made us talk to her twice, and then wanted to run across the street and bring us coffee. We explained we didn't have a lot of time (being an hour late crunched our schedule), and she disappered into the kitchen. "It smells so good!" She said...(we didn't smell anything...)"It smells so good," she repeated and then came in with a tray, looking pleased with herself. She had made us hotdogs. "Oh yes, those smell so good! Thank you...you are too nice..." And so I have eaten Taiwanese hotdogs. I do NOT want to know what was in them.

I wish you could understand the crazy things and people I see every day.

In my English class, I have students who have given themselves the English names of Wheat, Kiwi, Prince, Milky. And Taiwanese people, bless their hearts, are the most tone deaf people I've ever heard. And Taiwanese people LOVE kareoke. LOVE IT. It doesn't matter how bad they are because the kareoke machines distort their voices to a sort of weird warbling that makes everyone sound exactly the same, pretty much regardless of talent or gender.

Man, so much has happened this week I nearly forgot. Last Thursday we had Zone Conference and Elder Watson of the Seventy was there with his wife touring the mission. He is the Asia Area Authority and recently gave the talk on Temporance in the Saturday afternoon session of Conference. He served here in Gaoxiong when there was only one zone for all of taiwan, one for Japan and one for Hong Kong. He laid bricks in the Gaoxiong chapel. It was just such an amazing meeting. We all had to prepare short talks on Christlike attributes and were told 30 missionaries were be speaking so it better be good, Elder Watson was going to be there. I had been having trouble preparing it because I wanted to speak on charity but nothing was coming. As the prelude started I jotted down a couple notes about John 5:30 and my talk finally felt like what it should be. I was so nervous though - I hate public speaking and chances were I was going to be called on. I prayed that if I had to speak, I would go quickly or else I wouldn't be able to listen to any thing anyone else would say. Then, Elder Watson pulled out a box with all of our names, he chose mine to go second - a tender mercy indeed! My talk went well and Elder Watson, his wife and President Hoer all commented on it. After I was done I could just relax and enjoy the meeting. It was sooo good. I got an interview with President Watson afterward, which was nice.

Alright, time is about up, I love you all, I am thankful for my family!
Happy Thanksgiving,
FML
Sister J.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009

Dear Family-

It's Preparation day...thank goodness! Not having a real preparation day for two weeks is Exhausting. I know, 10 days ago I had "preparation day" but that doesn't count in my book. Move days are not days of recuperation and preparation. They are stressful.

Gaoxiong is really great. In the morning we run along the Ai He (love river). There is a bike trail lined with palm trees and old men fishing. At night the bridges are all lit up in bright colors and the one by the church has a fountain. We live in a huge appartment building that makes my old one look like a baby! We are on the 12th floor and out my window at night I see all the tall buildings and lights and feel larger than life. I really enjoy Gaoxiong a lot. It doesn't remind me of any other city. It is on a port and we (sort of) cover an island. We cover the bay and the river and mountains and the city! It really is a great city.

Today we have had a weird culture day. We are two Americans living in Taiwan, and we went to the Gaoxiong Museum of History where the exhibition was loaned from the Czech Republic about Prague. Then...*drumroll please* we found Mexican food. Yes!!! It was like hitting gold. It is owned by a woman from Uruguay named Teresa who wore hot pink lipstick. I feel weirdly pulled in a lot of directions.

Sister Busathe and I are getting along swimmingly. Thank you for your prayers, I'm sure they helped :) She is really focused and I appreciate that. She has a deadpan humor that sometimes I'm still not sure I pick up but overall I think our personalities are more similar than any of my other companions. We are working really hard to get seven baptisms this movecall (yes, in 4.5 weeks). We both had a really strong feeling about it when we were setting our goals so pray we can do it. It is a high goal, especially for such a young companionship, but when you get an answer to a prayer you better listen! Sister Busathe has only been out two movecalls longer than I have; this is her first time being senior companion.

We have a lot more investigators than we did in Douliu and that is a nice change. Yesterday we had I think 6 lessons. We have a lot of really great investigators. I'm still getting to know the ward though.

FMLGot to go,
lots of love
Sister Johnson

Cami response to my email to her and answering my questions.

Well, those are the November temperatures - it is cold in January and February I hear. And they don't heat their houses, and we are outside all day. I don't know; I just hear it is really cold! So far I've been ok :)

I am limited in my luggage so probably don't send too much stuff right now. I could use new running shoes... size 9 or check my closet at home. Long underwear, tights, a nice pair of gloves (my companion recommends icebreakers? I guess they keep your hands 20 degrees warmer but are relaly thin or something)...

I am in fact the English leader (again!) So let me know if you have Christmas party ideas :) It sounds like you've been busy with deals.

Keep it up :)
Love you,
i'll write the family letter now


Cami's response to my making a cozy cat cabin for Bo in Shelly's window well...

the cat cottage looks very cozy; is it in the windowwell because it is warmer or have we turned the basement into a cat orpahage :)
FML
cami

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I moved!!!!!!!‏ Nov. 9th, 2009

Dear family-

Hello from Gaoxiung!

I didn't expect to move, but I guess it shouldn't have been a suprise- I'm a missionary! Now I am in the second largest city in Taiwan after Taipei. We cover one ward and our area is small- we can bike across it in a half an hour! In Douliu, we biked 45 minutes one way just for appointments in the country. I will miss the long country rides, but the city will be an adventure. My area of Gaosiung is gorgeous. We are right along the Ai River (Love River). Sister Busath says she likes the feeling of the city; she compared it to London or Rome. I haven't been here, seen enough, or been here long enough to decide if I think it deserves such a high comparison, but we will see. Rome is overrated anyway :)

We are also right next to a place called MONKEY MOUNTAIN, so named because it is a mountain practically stuffed with monkeys!!!! I am excited. Well, no one told me it was "stuffed" with monkeys persay, but I have been told that there are monkeys there. Haha, I prayed once that I would get to see monkeys on my mission, so maybe this is my answer to that prayer. I also prayed that I would be somewhere warm for the winter, so hopefully this is an answer to that prayer too. I hope I will stay down south for the winter because it will be less cold here. It was only cold for one random evening in Douliu but I can already tell, being outside all day in the cold is going to be hard! Sister Pickering had to go home and get sweaters and I put on my split slip (which is pretty much a modern word for bloomers ha!) to stay warm.

My new companion's name is Sister Busath. She has strawberry blonde hair, glasses, and when I asked her about her family she said, "They are alive." Adjusting to new companions is an exhausting process. As soon as we figure out how to best work with each other one of us moves and we have to start all over again. Oh well. It should be good; I hear Sister Busath is really lihi (really awesome/dedicated/successful).

Alright, pray for me and my new area and my companion! It should be a great.

I will email next Wednesday.
Much love!
FML -
Sister Johnson


Cami's email below hoping we were online sending her a message- poor girl, we let her down :-(

still haven't heard from you so email me quick! my hour just started



Cami's email response to my email message regarding Christmas ideas is below.

I thought of one thing you could send for Christmas- if there are any old gloves, hat, long underwear, etc that you could send me that would be great. I will wear them for the winter and get rid of them when it gets hot. I have this winter in Taiwan and leave the following November - it probably won't be cold enough I will need them again until after March or so. Then I won't have to carry them around for 8 months or leave new things or send them home. Does that make sense?

Hope you are doing well,
I love and miss you.
22 seconds
FML
Cami

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nov. 4th, 2009 Postings

Dear Family,

Well, another week has passed and it's November!

Move call is this Sunday night and 6 more weeks are gone! That means that Preparation day will be on Monday (yes, just 5 days from today) and then I won't have another until the following Wednesday. So email me by/before Sunday for me to get emails.

Today we rode our bikes out to the Meishan Buddha again, like I did with Sister Killpack last move call. It was still really cool; this time we explored a different part of the temple and found a pool with turtles and those fish that look at you. (Koyfish? Poyfish?) I will try to send pictures....soon.

Remember the Lin family? Well, it is been interesting. Our bishop got up in Sacrament meeting last week and pretty much said awful things over the pulpit. He said he didn't think the Lin boy should have been allowed on a mission. The only way he had been allowed to go back out was through the intervention of Stake and Asia Area Authorities and my mission president. (The bishop had some personal prejudices and wouldn't sign his papers.) So, the Bishop got up over the pulpit and said the Lin boy never should have been back out, and he has bad parents, and if someone else wants to be bishop they can do it. It was awful. Sister Lin though is so awesome. For most people, that would be irreparable damage. Instead of going inactive because of the offense, the next week she was still there. She was blessed too; her husband decided to go to church with her for the first time to support her. It is such an amazing story for so many reasons.

Saturday morning I felt a little like I should bring a Book of Mormon with me. I usually don't carry one unless we have a first lesson, which we didn't, so I put it in my bag and forgot about it. That night we had to go back to a convenience store because we forgot something, and contacted into four Chinese (from Mainland China). They were so excited to talk to us and interested in our message. They were in Taiwan for just a couple days and were leaving the next morning. There was no time to meet, so I gave them the Book of Mormon. I am keeping the contact cards they filled out and when China opens I am sending them all Book of Mormons. Sister Pickering was so happy that I could give them the Book of Mormon because she taught English in China previously. She said it was so hard because she wasn't allowed to talk about church at all! Even if they asked, she couldn't say anything about it. Chinese people would see her carrying her scriptures and ask what they were, and she would have to say I can't show you. Or in church, if a nonmember is there..."Why isn't it starting?" "Oh...umm..." "I just want to sit and listen." "We can't start until you leave, sorry..." Or they would see pictures of Christ that Sister Pickering had in her room and ask, "Who is that?" "It's ...my brother." "No, he is not your brother. I've seen Him before." I am planting seeds for China! Sister Pickering was really grateful I had a Book of Mormon to give them because she had never been able to in China. Currently, Chinese people can only tell their immediate family members about church, and to get baptised they have to go to Taiwan or Hong Kong. Sister Pickering and I have been blessed to add a lot of new people lately. Last week we led the zone for three days with 9, 7, and 7 new adds... (Usually we have a third that.) So that has been really great.

Alright, times out,
lots of love :)
FML-
Sister Johnson




Cami's response to my email to her:

Wow, 750, that is unbelievable! You must have had to buy so much candy!

and there is one thing I know I wantit is a face wash; mine recently ran out and since then i've started breaking out though before then I was clear as day. it is Neutrogena oil free Acne Stress Congrol Microclear technology face wash. It was in a white squeeze tube (with where it comes out on bottom) was was the one that is white, not clear. I know it was kind of green and orange on the bottle... Yes, two bottles of that would be great. Just...make sure you know what one. My last one lasted from May-October so 2 is probably enough... I'll let you know what else next week. Maybe some long underwear/tights for when it is cold.

And yes, I have a copy of my call, thank you

I love you big bunches :)
FML
CAMI

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wed 10/28/09- A Week‏

Dear Family

I wish I could tell you how happy getting your letters makes me. They are always full of such funny little details that make me laugh, or beautiful descriptions of the weather or nature. I am realizing how much my writing is just a product of my family. I love you all so much.

I was having a really hard few days earlier this week; despite our best efforts our investigators don't seem to be making progress very quickly and Wu Jia Lin has completely disappeared. I was getting really down about it; it was making me feel sick and I didn't want to plan lessons. I was just worn out. On Monday I wasn't feeling well and considered not going out. I decided to at least go see our investigator who lives out in the country, thinking maybe the exercise of riding my bike would make me feel better. As we were leaving we asked our Guanlien* if we have mail. He got very excited and said yes, so many! I got five letters that morning; more mail than I've received cumulatively in Taiwan. It really helped me feel up to going out. Grandma, the cousins all wrote me thoughtful cards wishing me a Happy Bosses Day :). It made me smile. I still was sick most the day but it was a nice tender mercy to get mail right at that moment.

That night I took Airborne and felt better the next day. Amy, and thank you for the letters - I'm sure you encouraged everyone to write me. Daddy also sent me a package this week with Halloween party favors for my students. Thank you! It really made our party special and we used them all.

We had our Halloween party last night! I was so excited, we had been planning for weeks. It was so well planned. We were going to have a member be the doorman and we were going to break into four groups and have the students rotate. The groups were going to have the history of halloween, decorating masks or party bags, bingo, and blindfolded "stick your hand in food like spagetti and tell them it's brains" activity. We were going to watch a On the Way Home for spiritual share. It was all planned. I made bingo boards and a list of words. (Thank you Mother for the Halloween party ideas, they really helped me get my share ready) Yesterday afternoon however was CDTM in Jiayi- about a 30 minute trainride from Douliu. Well, the Mission President was running late, and interviews took longer than we planned and so did training. Though we were interviewed first, we didn't get back into Douliu until 7:15. Before class starts we always have an hour for English planning meeting and at seven English class begins. So Sister Pickering and I were late, there were a bunch of students waiting outside confused, and the Elders weren't there and we didn't know when they would get there. Oh, it was so hectic! The Lord answered our prayers and we had more students than normal but my goodness we didn't know what to do. So Sister Pickering started teaching all 35 people different Halloween words and I ran around and tried to register new students. The Elders showed up and didn't have their things at the church so we just sort of winged everything and it ended up going pretty well. So much for what we planned! I figure everyone would have been happy just going home with candy. Oh yeah, I wore a witch hat I bought for a dollar somewhere and my students LOVED it. I will have to send pictures.

This week we had a cool experience with a new investigator. We pulled up to a stoplight and started contacting a woman, Miss Zhang, on a scooter next to us (standard proceedure). She was like, do you know Sister Reymund? I told her I had heard of her but that she went back to America. We couldn't find a time to meet with her (people work really crazy hours here) so we said, how about you follow us back to the church and we will teach you right now? So she did and we taught her a first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon. Miss Zhang told us that she had talked to Sister Reymund before but had never had time to go to church or meet with the missionaries. She still had Sister Reymund's phone number saved in her phone (our number), and had just been wanting to call her that morning but hadn't. Then a couple hours later we found her on the street and she had time to meet with us right then.It was really cool; people that desire the truth will be lead to it.

President Hoer told us an interesting thing. It was how anger comes from violated expectations, that we become angry or upset when we expect people to do things the way that we would have done them. Really though, that is usually a crazy expecation. He gave this example: You can't expect people in Taiwan to drive they way they do in Utah or Nevada, or etc. It is easier to change yourself and your attitude than try to change 180 million Taiwanese drivers. It is the same with most things. Expectations aren't true, they are just what we are accustomed to.

I think that people that believe in relative truth are confused between expectations and truth. Truth is something that doesn't change over time or across cultures. Expectations do and when enough people agree on them they get confused and think it's truth but it's not. It's an expectation. Truth is not relative; otherwise it doesn't fit the definition of truth. That was random, but this is the sort of thing I think about on those long bike rides.

Love you lots,
FML
Sister Johnson

* I don't know if Guanlien is a word in English - I think it may be doorman? The guy that sits in the lobby and rings up visitors, etc. We always ask if we have mail and we rarely do, so they get really excited to tell us we have mail

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cami in Provo while at MTC

Letter from Mission President regarding arrival
Double click image to enlarge for reading


Cami's Mission Call to the Taiwan Taichung Mission!!!
Double click image to enlarg for reading purposes

Cami Arrives in Taiwan Mission Home August 2009



Oct. 21, 2009

Dear Family,

1- Wow, I am exhuasted! It's been a good week but draining. All of our investigators right now are really challenging. Wu Jia Lin, the one who told us she wanted to get baptised the first time she went to church, has only met with us once in the last four weeks. She did her baptismal interview and then has been near impossible to get ahold of since. Our other investigators haven't been coming to chrch and we have literally done all we can. We don't know what else we can do. I'm sure it will be fine it just is a bit more challenging this move call.

2- We did have a very special lesson with a member's husband. Sister Lin has been a member for 22 years but her husband hasn't been interested in the church. Their son left on a mission, got sent home, but in the past month was sent back out again. They are very good to us, because they hope others will be good to their son. It is the first time Mr. Lin has been willing to meet with missionaries. We watched The Joseph Smith Movie and it was really moving. Sister Lin started to cry as I was bearing my testimony in my broken Chinese. I knew having her husband accept the gospel is a blessing she has been seeking for a long time, and she is so righteous. Iknow I am a tool of Heavenly Father's, being used to bless the family of that other missionary.

3 - This week was Stake Conference, so on Sunday we went to Yuanlin on a bus with our ward to watch it. I wasn't expecting this, but their Stake Conference is a broadcast from the General Authorities and shown in all of Asia. I thought it was kind of neat that they got their special own session of Conference.

4 - So, the biggest amusement park in Taiwan is in my district! Today we went with two other sisters from our Zone. It was the most beautiful amusement park I've ever been to. It is situated on the tops of green jungly mountains which gave it amazing ambiance. It didn't feel like the depressing concrete parkinglot island like most amusement parks do. It was so beautiful! You had to take escalators up and down to different parts of the park. We rode the rollercoasters and ate ice cream and got gawked at alot.

Being a white American in Taiwan is a little like being famous and today I really felt like that. We asked people to take a picture for us we would end up with about 8 random people taking pictures of us with their own cameras. They also talked about us openly in Chinese, not realizing we can understand them! In Taiwan, calling someone a foreigner is more a term of endearment than an insult. A big school group had kids yelling "Hey look, foreigners!" so I shouted back in Chinese "Not uh, I'm Taiwanese!" and they were all so suprised, they about laughed their faces off. I rather enjoyed it.

I have 33 seconds left Just enough time to tell you I love you all so much!

Daddy why haven't you emailed me in weeks. you fail



Cami's letter to Donna-

Congrats on the house closing! Wooo!

I always have been impressed with GBC's productions. I bet it was a lot of fun to see all the women in the ward.

And a bike ride, how fun! Then I remembered that I am on my bike all day anyway haha! Today we walked to a grocery store and I was like, weird, I am not used to walking more than a few feet into a house. I am either running as fast as I can during exercise (I try to sprint a lot) or on a bike!

Today we also went to an amusement park and got a special deal where someone sold us tickets and then a private car drove us and picked us up. So I walked and rode in a car all on the same day! Not common here.

I love you.

Keep plugging along in the lessons! This is a learning opportunity. :)

I love you
FML
Cami

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oct. 14, 2009 A crazy week!‏

Wow, this last week has been crazy!

On Thursday we were in Gaosiung for Zone Conference. On Saturday we had General Conference and a special finding familes day again. On Sunday we had General Conference which ended up taking all day. On Monday we had Sisters Exchanges. On Tuesday we switched back from exchanges, and today is P-day! Literally, the only day of normal study and proselyting schedule was on Friday for a whole week (That is really unusual.)

General Conference was *so* good! Man. Best talks ever. I can't wait for the Ensign. Watching it was kind of a fiasco though.

So, to start off, our bishop planned that on Saturday the sessions would be watched back to back, from 5-9 pm. That is really daunting to investigators, even if we tell them they can just come for an hour. Anyway, we were there and ready and excited. It was just the Elders and our companionship trying to watch the English version...and we couldn't get any of the discs to work! About halfway through the opening song it would start freezing up. We didn't know what was wrong. After trying for a long time, the bishop came and set us up with a different DVD player which we were successful at watching one session. After that we were ready to watch the next session...and the discs wouldn't play again. It was so frustrating! If we didn't watch them that weekend we would have to use all of Preparation Day to watch the 10 hours of conference. So, the next day we took a bus over to Huwei, where the other Elders in our district are. We literally walked out the door, got on a bus, watched conference ALL DAY and went home.

The first session there was an American family there watching with us. My companion and I talked with the wife and it made us realize how Taiwanese we are becoming! For example, Taiwanese people are very open about making observations about the way people look! Giving compliments to them and their family and building people up is good manners and an important part of the culture. We get called beautiful at least once a day by women and children. [Side note, Taiwanese men are more likely to call out things like Hello! Good Morning! when it is eight oclock at night instead of cat calls.) So! We were talking to the American sister and she was saying how people love her kids and are always trying to give them things, and women are always coming on to her husband (who we hadn't seen yet.) Sister Pickering said"Wow, your husband must be really good looking!" Which in Chinese and to a Taiwanese person is a totally normal thing to say. When you compliment someone's family, you compliment them. Except she wasn't saying it to a Taiwanese, she was saying it to an American who gave us a weird look and changed the subject. hahaha. Sister Pickering and I had a good laugh about it afterward.

Also, when we were watching the Choir sing the opening songs we all couldn't help but notice how white everyone was, and how colorful their hair is. I discovered why white Americans always think Asians look the same- it's because their hair and eye color are always the same! They really don't all look the same. You just have to stop associating color as being a more distingushing characteristic than physical structure.

Also, I sometimes I forget I'm white a little bit. Like, I look at pictures of myself and think, wow, my eyes are SO BLUE. They aren't different than they were before, but I am not used to seeing them.

So, we spent all of Sunday in Huwei, watching 4 sessions back to back, with short breaks for peanut butter sandwiches. Conference was so good; there would be no way I would have the stamina for so much spiritual edification if I wasn't a missionary though.

Then that night, the bus never came so we had to take a taxi back, at the steep price of $9. It was worth it :)

This week we also had Sisters exchanges and I went to Zhonghua again! I wonder if I will get called to serve there in the future. I had a different companion this time - a native. She was sweet and we Chinglished it up. I want a native companion so my Chinese will improve but I know it will be hard.

So we are back in Douliu and working hard. Tonight is English Class (did I tell you I was assigned to be English leader?) and I want to have a Halloween activity in two weeks.

Email me with any ideas!

FML-

Me

PS- What were your favorite talks?






Cami's reply to Donna's email:

Wow, it looks pretty good!
It was slow starting, but it's not too shabby! I even just enjoyed the pictures of Elko and the mountains - it looks so beautiful!

In Taiwan it is really polluted so the days when you can see blue sky at all are fairly rare, let alone big Nevada skies. I love it. The mountains here are actually really tall but I've only seen them clearly once in two months! All I can see are the smaller foothill "mountains".


-----Original Message-----
From: "Donna Johnson"
To: Camilla@myldsmail.net

Subject: Peace Park photos
I thought you might like to see that the peace park is officially more than
just a sign in the sagebrush!
Love,
Mom

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oct. 7,2009- Moon festival!‏

Nihao family!

Well, it's been a week and a half and all kinds of crazy things have happened!

This last weekend it was the Moon Festival- (Zhong chou tien)! It is a huge holiday here; it celebrates the (Harvest?) moon. It reminded me a lot of the Fourth of July, minus the patriotism. Everyone goes home to their parents house and BBQs (kaurou) and celebrates. At night there were fireworks like crazy. Apparently in Taiwan, anyone is allowed to light off fireworks whenever they want as large as they want. We just passed people on the street lighting off fireworks like have seen at some small town displays in the US. It was fun, there were lanterns and crazy Taiwanese music and everyone out Kaurou-ing. Kaurou is Chinese BBQ and though it has a little different flavor than back home, it is really good. I can see the Johnson relatives enjoying it :). Literally, the family just gathers around a grill and continuously eat and talk for HOURS. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. Our ward had an activity and they kaurou-ed from 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon.

The Moon festival is a great day for finding families so we started proselyting an hour earlier and stayed out an hour later (9:30 am -9:30 pm) to have the maximum time finding. It was really fun just proselyting because everyone is celebrating and inviting us in and trying to feed us. It was great because it really felt like a holiday feeling, but I didn't miss home because it's not a holiday I've ever celebrated before.

We tracted into the craziest group that day. They invited us in and were just all sitting around drinking tea, so we taught them the word of wisdom and about prophets. And there I met the Taiwanese Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow. Sister Pickering said to me in English "Doesn't he remind you of Jack Sparrow?" and HE DID. We tried to explain to them who Johnny Depp but all they got out of it was that we thought their friend looked like a pirate and they roared with laughter. I just realized this may be one of those "have to be there stories."

We saw a lot of miracles this week. We had been trying to find a ride for one of our investigators to church and no one could take her. This investigator lives out in the country and has a baby and a toddler - it's not very convenient. As we were on the way to her house to visit her we heard someone say The Sister Missionaries! So we stopped and found out members live a block from our investigator. This family has a 10 year old daughter Meimei, who was the one who called out to us. We asked the Mom to give our investigator a ride, and she declined - she already has four kids to get to church on time and it's just inconvenient. Then Meimei whispered in her moms ear and then the mom agreed to take her. The Mom told us later the daughter whispered "But Mom, serving others brings us the most happiness." Meimei is only 10 and she has such great faith!

(Interesting cultural sidenote - in Taiwan/China, you don't call children by their names - you call them Older or Younger Brother/Sister. I'm not sure at what age is appropriate to start using/learning their names. It is actually really convenient.I've been called Meimei (little sister) before. Oh, and you can call every old woman Amah - it's a respectful name like Grandmother.)

Other quick stories-The other night it was really pouring rain and we had a lesson far out of town we had to ride to. My raincoat was badly ripped and I was soaking and we hadn't had time for dinner. It was one of those situations with potential to be a real downer. I started singing hymns to keep my mind focused and my spirits up. My companion joined in and we started singing the primary song Follow the Prophet except we couldn't remember the words right so we were laughing and making them up and making up new verses to Follow the Prophet for people like Omni. We started singing Praise to the Man and I just had this moment where the spirit really touched me. It was such a sweet little moment of tender mercy, I just felt God's love. I felt He was really pleased with us, that our sacrifice was not unnoticed. A situation that could have been met with complaint was instead met with willingness and a choice to be be happy and we were, it was such a great night.

I can't believe it's snowing in Elko! Crazy! It has finally began to feel comfortable here instead of a million degrees. I forget that it is October!

Well, I love you all a lot. Be safe and keep praying for me - I know it helps a lot.

FML

Cami





Cami's note to Donna:


We haven't seen conference yet - I'm so excited though! You know you are a missionary when y ou start looking forward to Conference months in advance. We will watch 3 sessions this Saturday-Sunday - i don't know when they are showing the rest. My excitement has been somewhat dampened as on Saturday, they are showing the two sessions in one four hour block....eeek. I'm not sure I will be able to absorb all I need to. Will you send me an English Conference Ensign when they come out? That would be so great.

You talking about homemade bread and soup and pie and snow made me miss you! It sounds like heaven.

Things are great here though

Thanks for your help with the Bank Card,don't forget to send me the penny talk number, for future reference so I'll have it

FML

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sun 9/27/09

(4 separate short messages)


Re: Elko week update‏

It sounds like Boston was a lot of fun. I've always wanted to go there; it seems like everyone loves it who has been. It was weird to not have an email from daddy telling about some adventure he has had kayaking or motorcycling or in boston... :) I love you!


Move Call!‏

Well, guess what family! My first move call is over. Move call is every six weeks, and it is a fresh start. You move or get a new companion and at very least make new goals for the next 6 week move call. I got a new companion! I am actually very sad that Sister Killpack left, she was great. She just knew everything and everyone in Douliu, and we really lost a lot of knowledge when she left. Hopefully my new senior companion and I will manage. This means that I have to introduce my senior companion to all the members and investigators, know how to get everywhere, know who everyone is and their situation...It's kind of a lot.

My new companion's name is Sister Pickering. She seems very friendly and has good Chinese. Hopefully my Chinese will improve a lot this movecall.

The last few days I've been having conversations with people and then started realizing, hey I am speaking Chinese. It is pretty awesome. I know I've been really blessed in my language. I am hoping I will get native companions in the future so I can really progress.

So the other day my companion and I rode about 50 km; we had appointments all over the countryside. In the morning we rode to Gukung to a ward activity. They have their own version of Barbeque here called Kaurou only they do it in the morning and just cook and eat for about 5 hours... Sister Killpack and I were only allowed to stay 1 hour so we rode our bikes. The park was about 20 minutes farther than we thought it was going to be, and uphill. Then when we were almost there, Sister Killpack told me it is the park where the Elders go Spider hunting. I saw a photo of a previous elder's catch; the spider was probably 2 feet long with it's legs; it was as big as the Elder's chest, no exaggeration. It was so big that when they laminated it, guts came out it's legs. Creepy. I am glad our apartment hasn't had any bug problems. The Elders left it dirty but they made a special effort to kill all the bugs before we moved in. I haven't seen any cockroachs so they must have done pretty well.

Sister Killpack and I were really excited because one day we noticed the trees were yellow and orange. "It's fall!" We exclaimed. Then we looked closer... "Are the yellow ones flowers?" Yes, the trees aren't dieing, they are flowering. But it is autumn colors and reminds us of home, so we loved it.

The weather is cooling off a tiny bit though. It is nice.

Well, today is Preparation day because it's move call so I won't be emailing until the Wednesday after next. Don't worry.

I love you big bunches. I sent off the Christmas box today, it should be there in a month or two. The box has passenger pigeons on it. No one open it until Christmas!

FML



Re: Your BA card‏

Thanks Mother, you are the best. I can't wait to have my new bank card. It is such a relief to know it's on it's way!

-----Original Message-----
From: Donna Johnson risingirl@hotmail.com
To: Cami camilla@myldsmail.net
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 21:43:06 -0700
Subject: Your BA card

I think I know why your ba card got eatten- I found a new ba card for you that you never activated (good through 02/13) and I bet your old one had expired so when you used it it was taken from you. I just went through some of your papers in your room to sort out your banking stuff.

FML :-) Mom



A Message to the Missionaries from the Mission Office:

Elders and Sisters

The previous mission record for baptisms in a move-call was 178 people. This move-call you all shattered that record by baptizing 219 souls. You are amazing missionaries. Keep up the good work.

The Assistants

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9/23/2009 (a series of little email blurbs)

Wed 9/23/09 12:02 AM

I'm going to have an ulcer because of my bank card.

Sorry no letter because I spent my hour trying to access my bank account.

I can't because it wants me to reset my passcode, to do which I need my card number and the whole reason I am trying to get online is to get a new card. I hate the world.

Please send me the international pennytalk access numberand a new bank card would begreat.

Wed 9/23/09 1:16 AM

Finally got my bank card worked out, should be here in 5-7 business days. You guys have access to that account right? Because I can't ever check my bank accounts, make sure my account isn't overdrawn, etc. Also, be sure you keep checking my US bank credit card statements, I try not to use it because they have to like, call down to the immigration office or something and verify who I am. I did need to use it last week because I needed personal money. Not being able to check my bank accounts online is a real bother. Anyway, bank card should be on the way, thank goodness.

much love
cam

Wed 9/23/09 1:21 AM

Sorry no email this week, I almost had an ulcer trying to get my bank card worked out.

It's been a good week, guess what, my first move call is over! A move call is every 6 weeks, and missionaries can change companions or move areas, called to be trainers or senior companions, etc. I don't know yet if I will stay in Douliu or move; probably stay. My trainer Sister Killpack may leave because she has been here for 6 months. I kind of hope she doesn't because I still don't know my way around that well, and I don't know the members like she does. She knows EVERYONE.

Anyway, we went to see the enormous gold budda on the mountain today. Very cool.

I will try to send pictures another time.

Times up
FML
Sister Johnson

Amy
my address is on the website if you delete this emailbut here it is again
Sister Camilla JOhnson
Taiwan Taichung Mission
498-11 Wu Chuan Road
Taichung 404-46
Taiwan R.O.C.
What is your address at school?

LOVE you all

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

lactic acid‏- Wed 9/16/09

Hello Family

Well, great news! We had another baptism last Saturday! The ward was very excited because she is the wife of a pretty active member. Then, on Sunday we were disappointed because we only had one investigator come to church. However, she was quality, her name is Jia lin. We explained the Sacrament really well to her. Then she saw Zhang jie mei get confirmed and heard her bear testimony. After the meeting was over, she leaned over and said, "I want to get baptised! When can I get baptised?" Music to a missionaries ears! She is really great.

Guess what else, I bought the family's Christmas Presents today! Woo! I usually like to buy The Perfect Present as I find them over the space of 3 months, but as a missionary today I had about 4 hours. We want to send our boxes early so we can send them by boat. I am kind of excited though. They probably won't be keepsakes but hopefully at least will be a source of family amusement. I am really bad at suprises, so I better stop talking about it or I will tell you (Amy can attest to this).

So, in Taiwan we eat on the street for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. The food and vendors are clean here; I got more sick from the MTC food haha. You can eat the fruits and vegetables. People do drink filtered or bottled water but it's no big deal. We have a filter on our apartment sink and I fill up my water for the day there. We sweat a lot riding around in the sun so it's not usual that we will stop and buy a sports drink. The sports drinks taste good (much milder than gatorate) but they have gross names like Pocari Sweat or Lactic Acid Drink. Ewww. At first I flat out refused but I've gotten over the name issue. Most missionaries are supposed to limit how often they eat out. Not in my mission- we are supposed to! It is cheaper than groceries and saves time. It's less than 3 dollars for most meals. There is one grill place that my companion and have been considering, but it is so expensive we are waiting for a special occassion. It is *6* dollars and you can't just go around spending so much :) It is a nice change from Europe where you can't buy a bottle of water for $6.

Hmm sorry this email wasn't the most interesting.

Much much love though.

Message to Donna:

It was good to hear from you, there had been far too few momma dances in the past few weeks.

I hope you liked Boston, it seems like most people do.

Don't worry about there being returned missionaries in the class. You have the calling so you are authorized to receive any revelation you need. Just ask the right questions. In your personal study and preparation, start asking questions. If you don't ask, you can't receive. I'm sure you will do great. 2 minutes left.

I haven't gotten the bank problem straightened out but am calling right after this. Will use Penny talk.

Sounds like you have been having fun

Write me
FML
CAMI

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sept 9, 2009

Family!

Time for exciting facts about Taiwan!

The Taiwanese are afraid of the sun - they actually like to be white! It is really funny, my whole life I've been trying to be tan and now I am seeing bottles that say "Instant whitening!" facial products. They want to avoid being tan so much they literally cover about every inch of their skin when they are out on their scooters. (Everyone rides a scooter). They wear face masks, crazy brimmed hats, detachable sleeves, even hand covers. Some old lady rode up beside me the other day and said to me "Why are you outside without a jacket?!" with great concern, like it was snowing outside. In my head I was like, are you CRAZY lady? It's a million degrees out and I'm sweating, riding a bike on hot blacktop - no way am I going to wear a jacket!

In other exciting news, about every week I get asked to play the piano for some church meeting. If you are thinking, "But Cam, I didn't even know you still knew how to play! You haven't played since you were 17!" Well, I can't really. There are about 2 people in the branch that are good pianists and when they don't show up guess who is the default sub? Yes, me. My first Sunday I was asked to play the Special Musical Moment in Relief Society as they were announcing it. Yes, it was a special musical moment indeed. I also had to play at a Baptism when the pianist was late. I wouldn't mind doing playing but I'm a missionary-it's not like I have time (or am allowed) to just sit down and practice. So hopefully my sight playing will just improve.

Yesterday something weird/miraculous happened. We were riding our bikes on a really busy, narrow road full of vendors and people and cars and madness and all of a sudden I was on the ground and a car was where I just was. It didn't hit me but I would have gotten hit. I don't know how I ended up on the ground. I don't remember what happened between riding and picking up my bike that was lying on it's side and a car passing. Someone helped me pick up my stuff and about 8 people came out and watched - they thought I got hit. My bike seemed broken - one then the other of the wheels wouldn't spin and the gears were messed up, a piece was bent. Then I turned it towards the bike store to start walking it there and the wheels started to at least turn so I could wheel it instead of carry it. Something was still wrong though- it wouldn't ride. So we took it to the bike store and when I got there the guy said, what's wrong and I said, I fell off and it's not working. And he literally couldn't find anything wrong though I had just tried it and it hadn't been working. This experience was honestly one of the most mystifying 20 minutes I'd ever had, but I feel like I was blessed by being protected and then blessed again that my bike wasn't broken so we could make our next appointments without a problem. I've never felt so much like my life has been so out of my hands and in the hands of something higher (whilst I ignorantly am wondering what is going on). I don't know how to explain it. I just know I was really blessed.

Alright, times up.

FML

Cami

PS tell Benjamin I saw a shirt today that had a picture of a cow on the front with a heart that said I can't stop loving you. I laughed and thought of him. I couldn't decided if it was a good shirt for a meat eater or a vegetarian. Dou keyi.

Also, I'm not allowed to email him or Grandma J. - Immediate immediate family only I guess.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday!‏ Wed 9/02/09

Happy Birthday!

I'm sorry,

I have had rad/weird Chinese cards all ready to send but I have literally had NO time to go to the post office (I bought them 3 weeks ago!). So, you will hopefully get them HAHA

I'm at a internet cafe and there is Taiwanese rap on. Okay that is not allowed.

Hopefully you will get them in the next 10 days or so.

Amy, I still don't have your college address...But I love you!

Sorry I don't have Birthday presents for you but I'm already have my eyes pealed for a Christmas box. :) I always start my Christmas shopping months early when I'm living abroad. Get excited.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Jag ma hallevah jag ma hallevah jag ma halleva uti hundradi ar! Javisst ska du leva javisst ska du leva, javisst ska du leva uti hundredi ar! hurra hurra hurra hurra!

I love you big bunches -

BGBSBK!!!
FML
Cami

nihao Wed 9/02/09

Nihao!

So, it's Preparation Day so Sister Killpack and I decided to go hiking. It was all stairs but it was really beautiful - there are mountains just one trainstop from us. It was so green and lush. We stopped and had personal study and a lookout point. I was kind of jumpy though because the jungle scares me (haha). I don't think the jungle in Taiwan is very dangerous but I am not used to it. My companion had been showing me pictures of enormous spides the day before and I was a bit paranoid. I am such a desert girl. I did not see any big spiders or snakes but I did see a poisonous lizard (it had en electric blue tail - very cool). PS did you know geckos make noise? Yeah, they do!

Tomorrow is Zone Conference so I am going down to Gaoxung for the day. It should be a really good way to keep pumped and motivated. I'm excited to see our mission president.

Okay, can I just tell you this story about him? A guy walked into the mission office and was yelling and had a knife and so the President in Chinese asked him what he wanted. The man said he didn't speak Chinese in Japanese so the President switched to Japanese. Then the man said he only spoke Vietnamese, and the President switched again. The man tried 3 other languages that I don't remember and the President answered him in them all. Haha, the stories about President Hoer are legendary, and that one is true.

Being in Taiwan is wild. Everyday I see weird and amazing things that I want to take pictures of but we are only allowed to use cameras on P-day.

I will describe for you what a bike ride in Taiwain is like. Jump on bike, look down, make sure your skirt isn't caught. Look both ways, wait, cross the intersection. Through a narrow street with the market. Hot pink spiky fruit, fish smell and juice on the blacktop, umbrellas everywhere, hot hot, Guavas and food vendors and knock off shoes. It's narrow and a little slow going because of congestion. Wait at the intersection on the other side. The light is long, the blacktop is radiating heat, wipe sweat that is already forming around bike helmet. Green light, move forward, a half dozen scooters buzz past. Through the city. Infront of houses are folding tables laden with food, burning incense sticks sticking out of the meal, a tribute to ancestors. Wait at light, talk to girl on the scooter next to you. She is wearing a face mask and visor because she is afraid of the sun. Invite her to church and she says she may or may not come. Smile. She turns the corner. Look at the lady in the shop on the corner looking at you. She is sitting a large room filled to the brim with guavas as big as a footballs. Chest high piles everywhere. Green light go, go, go, houses thin into country. Rice fields, orchards with still green oranges on the trees, palm trees. In the distance you can see green mountains. On the top of one there is an enormous golden Buddha statue shining in the sun. Smile, it is cooler when you can ride faster and make your own wind.

Okay, I have to go.
Much love.
FML
Cami

Monday, August 31, 2009

Re: RE: bank card‏ Wed 8/26/09

I will do what I can.

I'll have to get permission to use the phone. Ughhhh what a mess.

Love you, thanks for doing all you can.

LOVE
Cami

Sister Johnson arrived!‏ Wed 8/12/09

Dear Brother and Sister Johnson,

I wanted to let you know your daugher has arrived safely in Taiwan! We thank you for your role in preparing Sister Johnson to serve the Lord in Taiwan. In a few days, I will send you more information on your daughter’s first assignment and a picture of her on her first day here.

In the meantime, would you mind taking a few moments to write me an email or letter regarding your daughter? Specifically, I am interested in her strengths and weaknesses and any information that you feel might be important or helpful as we serve with her these next one and a half years. (Please be assured your letter will be kept completely confidential. Send to Michael.Hoer@ldschurch.org)

Thank you again for your prayers and support of your daughter and all the missionaries of the Taiwan Taichung Mission.

Warmest regards,

President Hoer

Taiwan!‏ Wed 8/26/09

Hello!

Sorry about the not-really-an-email last week. We had a lot of computer problems but still only had limited time to use the internet.

I hope everything gets sorted out with my bank card soon; I've been having problems with the mission card too so... I may have to change some of my emergency cash. Ugh xinku wo.

Taiwan is great. I've done so much I can't even begin to catch you up in the next 23 minutes. I've been in an earthquake, rode through rice patties, been to a Confucian temple, stood on a box in the middle of Taichung's night market and Dan Jones style called the people to repent. I've had one baptism, two more in the works and have big goals for 7 by the end of the move call (6 weeks). I've become an expert at chopsticks, at ignoring the fact I sweat like crazy all the time and learning to talk to everyone. It's been a big couple weeks.

I am assigned to work in a city called Douliu and my companion's name is Sister Killpack from Utah/Michigan. We get along really well and she is a good trainer. I thought that Douliu was very big until I went on companion exchanges yesterday and went to Zhonghua which is much bigger. I guess to an Elko girl everything looks big! Granted, we live on the 13th floor of our apartment building, so to me that smakes it seem very urban. Our apartment is on the top floor and so I jokingly dubbed it The Penthouse. It's not a bad apartment but it had Elders living in it for too long. It switched to a Sister's apartment just a couple days before I moved in and it is still a work in progress. Sister Killpack and I are bound and determined to scrub the place clean and fit for living though; we just don't have much time to do it.

My biggest problem in Taiwan is the fact that I didn't realize how bad I am at bicycling! I have not hit any cars but every day I am afraid I will. Getting on and off I just...frequently hit my legs on the peddles / completely fall over (lol.) Yeah, I don't know what the problem is. Over the last two weeks I have accumulated over 40 bruises on my legs; I counted the other night! So anyway, pray my ability to ride my bike will improve hehe. I look like a battered woman married to a dwarf.

Oh, and about the earthquake, it wasn't a big deal, I guess they have them all the time and normally no one notcies. However when you are on the 13th floor the shaking is a lot more pronounced. It was kind of cool.

Yes, I already had a baptism! Her name is Song shao yi and we were so excited to see her get baptised. I guess the first time she was contacted was in January. In Taiwan, most people get baptised more quickly I am told. They feel like it was a long time if it takes over 2 months instead of a few weeks. This is happy for a missionary.

We eat on the street for lunch and dinner everyday because it is cheaper than buying groceries and saves time. The food is great; my body had more problems adjusting to the food at the MTC than here! I still don't know why that is. This means I won't learn how to make Taiwanese food, which is unfortunate.

My mission president is really really cool. He reminds me a lot of Daddy actually. Their family has been literally everywhere and he doesn't do easy vacations. They went to India once to look for tigers. The stories about him are legendary. He is really into getting us to believe that we can and will do anything that we set our minds to. He also has an exercise regimine we have to follow which I appreciate. We have to run 3 days a week, weights 2 days and one day of our choice (Sunday is rest). It will be very useful for when I have companions that otherwise wouldn't want to go exercise.

Anyway, P-day is almost over so I've got to go.

FML

Cami

Sunday, August 30, 2009

bank card Mon, 17 Aug 2009

email erased> bank of america card eaten in machine> check folder upstairs for credit card info> please send new bank card

fml

cami

family‏ Mon 8/10/09

Hey I am allowed to call from the airport so I'd like to talk to everyone. I will be at the SLC airport and can maybe call around 12:30 SLC time. If you don't hear from me then I will try to call from LA - maybe around 2 or something? I'm not really sure what time I'll be in. But I don't know Daddy's new cellphone number, I just know the home phone and Mother's. I may call Amy and Shelly and Tina too. I'll try home first, but Mother try to have your cell phone on so I can talk to you and get Daddy's number if he isn't there.

FML

CAMILLLLLA

Last full day at the MTC!‏ Mon 8/10/09

Nihao family!

Well, it is my last day at the MTC! Today is Preparation Day so we have been running around, doing laundry, going to the temple, etc. I still have to do about half my packing but I'm going to go finish right after this.

This week has been good. I'll be honest though; I hate the time right before a big change. I am always fine once I'm in a new place but a week full of goodbyes and "this is the last time we will..." is exhausting. Let's get this show on the road!

On Wednesday we hosted new missionaries. They changed it now so that the families just drop them off on the curb and they get wisked around by other missionaries to get their nametags, take their luggage, etc. I think it is way easier on everyone. But I'm glad that our family got to see the inside of the MTC because none of us had ever been. Anyway, hosting was nice but sort of a waste of time. They had too many sisters hosting so I only helped 2 in an hour and a half. I don't mind serving but I felt like I should have brought my Chinese so I could at least study. I'm not used to having down time where all I do is wait. Eugh, what a week. We keep having these goodbye things, goodbye firesides and goodbye to our branch president and goodbye testimony meetings and I'm ready to go. The only people I will miss that I won't be seeing are my two teachers and the Elders in my district who are going to New York, California and Australia. The MTC has been a great experience though.

The TA on Saturday was great. We taught another real investigator and it was amazing. The sisters before us taught her to pray and she cried when she did. She said she had never felt that way before. We decided moving on to the Plan of Salvation would be too much and we didn't want to repeat the exact same thing she just heard so we just answered her questions and committed her to read the Book of Mormon. They didn't have a copy so we ran to the Bookstore really fast and bought her one. It was the best part of my week.

Well, I'm off to go pack, I love you all, travel safe!

Also, in Taiwan I am allowed to email people besides my family, so if anyone is reading this on the blog that wants to email me,

my address is camilla@myldsmail.net.

LOVE!

Sister Johnson

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 8, 2009 oh hej nihao‏

Guess what everyone, I leave the MTC in just 8 days! I am so excited. It is going to be crazy.

It has been a good week, we are all trying to put in our last best efforts to prepare before we leave. I know that my Chinese is probably still incomprehensible, I will be in intense culture shock and missionary shock (getting used to working harder than I ever have in my life), plus the heat, bicycling, etc but I am excited. It will be great.

At the MTC I experienced more kinds of tired than I ever knew existed but now I am adapted and thriving like I've always worked this hard on this schedule. I know the first months in Taiwan will *ahem* kick my lady-like sister missionary sitting down area but I am excited. Because after the exhaustion comes strength. Some Elders already left for Hong Kong today.

I have been trying to be very good and obedient and receptive to the Spirit and today I was able to see a blessing of it. We were at the temple, waiting for our turn, and I was reading the Book of Mormon when Christ quotes Isaiah in 3 Nephi. A lady sat down next to me and I had the sudden prompting that I needed to share a certain scripture with her. I didn't want to because it is a quiet place where you ponder and probably shouldn't have conversations but I knew I had to; the impression kept coming. So I whispered, "Can I share a scripture with you? I'm a missionary." She said yes, so I read her 3 Nephi 22:10 - "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Then all I said was "I just want you to know how much God loves you and cares about you." She was weepy and just said, "Thank you for listening." That was all we said; I was called in within two minutes after. It was amazing! I was so glad that I was able to listen to the Spirit to be able to be an answer to her prayer. It made me so happy.

Oh, guess what else was awesome! On Saturday we got to teach a real investigator at the TA - usually it is just members volunteering. It went well; they actually showed the video of us to another district as an example. It's funny that everyone thought we did so great because we left with mixed feelings - we invited her to be baptized but she declined. However it went well and I think we were able to resolve some of her concerns. She goes to BYU was was concerned why women have to stay home and can't have careers. So I told the story about you and Daddy, when you were deciding if you would work while Daddy went to Medical School. How you both sat down and figured out than in 10 years the amount of money you made wouldn't make a difference but raising your children was of eternal importance. The investigator totally clicked with it. She said "So, what you are trying to tell me is family is more important than personal achievement?" And we were all awestruck at her perfect eloquence of what we were trying to say but couldn't quite get at. It was great.

So anyway, life is great, the gospel is true and if you want to be happy start listening to the things God is constantly trying to teach you.

I love you!

July 27, 2009 Chinese culture‏

Nihao!

This week I have been praying for Charity for the Taiwanese people. I knew if I felt that love for them it would only motivate me to work harder to prepare to teach them. It worked - I already am beginning to love Asians like crazy!

Everyone tells us how the people in China are so ready, and when it opens it will be the new South America, etc. I am convinced that because God loves me, He is sending me to Taiwan. I am excited to work with non-Christians (no Bible bashing), and to be with people for the first time they ever talk to their Heavenly Father through prayer. They just love and honor family so much, Oh I can't wait!

And the characters (their written language) are really hard to learn but it so cool. I mean, the characters are thousands of years old and even though pronunciation may change, they created a written language that has lasted literally thousands of years. So yes, it is difficult but it is really...spiritual as well. It was an inspired language.

The MTC has been really great, but I am so excited to get to the field. Today we are starting our preparations - taking clothes to the dry cleaner, scheduling haircuts, etc. So I am doing well. My companionship is better than ever, the language is coming along, and I'm happy as a clam.

On Tuesday Elder Groberg (Emeritus member of the 70) came and talked to us - (you know, from The Other Side of Heaven).

FML
Sister Johnson

PS - I had to retake my typhoid vaccine this week because I was on that antibiotic for my skin the first time and probably killed the previous vaccine. The MTC didn't even charge me for it - it falls under their "insurance for the absent-minded" program, haha.

Having companions has made me realize I AM a bit absent minded. How often I forget things is thrown into sharper contrast when I have to bring two people at their inconvenience, because I forget something. Oh well!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 20, 2009- Zhongwen zenme shuo?

Nihao jiating!

I'm in the home stretch of MTC! I leave for the field in just 3 weeks and one day. That is longer than most missionaries spend in the MTC but because I've been here so long it feels like no time at all. Before I know it I will be in Taiwan, making all kinds of halarious language faux pas, preaching the gospel... It's going to be great.

Things are going well. My companionship is working better than ever and slowly but surely the language comes. A few words at a time, a small miracle here and there...

I had to give my first talk in Chinese yesterday during Sacrament Meeting! Branch President Liu, in an effort to keep our blood pressure high, assigns a topic that everyone has to write a talk in in Zhongwen. Then after the Sacrament he will announce who will stand up and speak, and this week I was the lucky winner. I was actually glad because I can't take the anxiety of never knowing. The talk went well except I read it instead of said it. It was an amalgamation of phrases from the Book of Mormon, Preach my Gospel and a missionary vocabulary book we have.

Oh, can I just say one thing that I am really and truly grateful for on my mission? Our translated 3-column Book of Mormon study tool. It has three columns - the first is in Characters, the second in Pinyin (Romanized chinese - so you can sound out words if you can't read characters) and English. It is amazing. They don't have any of the other standard works in this format yet. My teachers didn't have it during their missions; it came out less than a year ago. Lai laoshi (my teacher Brother Lattin) said that he got through about 8 chapters of the Book of Mormon on his whole mission, reading every day for 2 years. This is because if you don't have Pinyin, you have to look up each individual character, find the Pinyin sound it makes, then look up the pinyin in the dictionary for meaning. Yes, it is as awful as it sounds. Unfortunately the 3-column Book of Mormon is a "language learning tool" and not technically scripture so we can only take our English or Character scriptures to lessons. This means I either have to memorize scriptures or have my investigator read everything aloud during lessons. I have a goal of memorizing one scripture a week. I will be a better scriptorian in Chinese than in English, haha. We will see how it goes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

7/13/09 - nihao‏

Dear Family,

Well, this week we got in the new group of missionaries. It was hard for about 2 hours because a lot more of the new group already speak more Chinese than we do and we felt like we have been studying Chinese for so long we don't even remember our former lives (haha, joke...mostly). I reminded myself we are all on the same team and it doesn't matter, because what matters are the people we will help; and what they learned in years I will learn in weeks or months. Seeing the missionaries without much Chinese experience helped me realize how far I've come in such a short time! It is great. The gift of tongues is real!

One of my favorite things about the MTC is the powerhouse singing. Before the firesides and devotionals (which everyone attends) we sing for 10 minutes or so. I have never heard hymns sung with such gusto; I really will miss it. "Called to Serve" about takes the roof off the house, in an awesome way.

This week has been great because we have practiced teaching a lot more than normal. They started a new zone activity where every companionship teaches another missionary as a progressing investigator. So one person pretends to be the same character and the missionaries teach all the lessons to the needs of that perosn. Right now I am both teaching and an investigator. Something about telling people how much God loves them just makes for an incredible day, always.

In random news, I have seen people from Pasco. The first one was Matthew Vaughn- his family was in our ward - remember? I was best friends with his twin sisters Rachel and Amanda. And once Emily Vaughn stood on her head for the ward talent show. I'm sure you remember. He came up to me and said hi and when I saw his nametag I remembered him immediately. I was really happy to see he went on a mission! He is going to the Philipeans and left already. The other person that came up and said hi was a girl I went to McLaughlan with - Chelsea Bleazard. I recognized her last name but it took me about 4 hours to remember who she was. It was weird.

Got to go,

lots of love.-

Cam

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 6th, 2009- Happy belated 4th of July!‏

So, this week commenced our All-Chinese portion of the MTC. It actually went really well. I can't believe how much better I have gotten in just a week! It is also really special because God knows that we are trying *so* hard, so even though our language was very simple, I could really feel the spirit as we practiced teaching. It was all in preparation for our First Lesson in Chinese on Saturday, which actually went really well. Because it was a holiday there were no volunteers so we taught one of the other classes teachers. He told his class afterword that we gave the best lesson he has ever been taught this early at the MTC. I think it had a lot less to do with our language skills than the fact that we decided to forget the lesson plan itself and just focus on the needs of him as an individual, what he needed to come unto Christ. We really felt the spirit.

So, Fourth of July! How was Michigan? I was thinking about the family :)

They had a special Fourth of July Fireside, which I am reluctant to talk about because it was such a painful experience. Pretty much, some of the older couple missionaries and mission presidency and their wives made a program with a video about key people that paved the way for America and for religious freedom. There were some ridiculous wigs involved and some of the acting was a bit over the top and many of the 19 year old boys could not handle it and were laughing. Yes, historically it was somewhat creative and cheesy, but it was obvious from the costumes to the elaborate greenscreens and the scripts that many people had put a lot of time into the production for us to enjoy. Oh, my heart just hurt for those cute old people when they they came onto the stage in their costumes after the video! I felt their discomfort from the previous laughter and it hurt me. I felt embarrassed to be a part of the group I am; the ingratitude and disrespect still makes me feel sick to my stomach. Oh, they tried so hard!

They let us stay up and watch the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire. It was great but I am still yawning! I was still up at 6:30 and a full day yesterday.

Oh yes, and Daddy, Elder O'Neil told me to say thank you for your service in the Green Berets. He is obsessed with the military so I told him about you and he was impressed and asked me to pass the message along.

Hmm, I still have five minutes, what else! So, as part of learning Chinese we are supposed to use what we know 100% of the time. So we called four-square "si-square" (si means four in Chinese). Some clever person changed it to siwang which is a halarious pun in chinese because it means death... Hmm, I'm not sure the humor translates, but we find it halarious here at the MTC. Also, I played with the Elders for the first time and made king 3 times. All those years on the playground just paid off :)

Alright, have a great week, LOVE you!

FML - Sister Johnson

June 29th, 2009

Hello family!

Well, it has been an interesting week. So, funny story. Here at the MTC we are completely cut off from news of the outside world. So, we were at the Referral Center and one of the guys was in the middle of bearing his testimony to a woman on the phone and it was something like this:Missionary: "And I know the church is true..."Lady: "Oh my gosh! ...My husband just told me that Michael Jackson died!" And hung up.And thus the news of Michael Jackson's death spread across the MTC like wildfire, literally. No one knew what happened; it was all speculation and "did you hear?!"It is funny being so cut off from the news.

Speaking of death, I was very sorry to hear that Willie died. I used to really like that kid. He would paddle the main with me sometimes. Luckily I have been studying the plan of Salvation for a couple weeks and I have a firm belief in the Resurrection and the life after this one. He will live again, and there are no such things as accidents. God does everything to the benefit his children, and if he was taken at a young age, it will be to his Eternal benefit. Perhaps he is being taught the gospel even now. Thanks for keeping me updated on the news.

Having the mission president training here this past week was less exciting than I hoped. Because there are still a few people quarentined for Swine flu, we were kept separate from the mission presidents and apostles. Probably because they are old and could die if they get sick. What was great was that Elder Holland spoke at the fireside. We were really lucky to get seats because most of the seats in the hall were taken by the Choir and the mission presidents. Most missionaries had to sit in the overflow in the cafeteria. Luckily my companion is from Canada and was told that she can sit in the section reserved for interpretation because she is international, even if she speaks English. Sweet.

Also, I need to know if my letters are too long/boring. I know some people don't even read their own siblings mission letters because they think they are boring, and I'd rather be brief than a chore.

I have an activity for everyone for family home evening this week. I guess that Asians LOVE analogies and that is really how they connect with the gospel. So for an activity you could help me brainstorm some analogies for gospel principles! You don't have to, but you may find it an interesting study.

PS Thanks for sending the packages! I really appreciated it. My roommates are loving the candy and I am loving everything else :) You are the best!

Also - tell Amy to cancel ordering the CD player or speakers on ebay, because whoever sent the packages already sent me them!

Xie xie! (thanks!)

FMLCami

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009

Hello family!

Amy, thanks for transcribing and Daddy, thanks for sending the transcriptions to me! I really appreciated it.

How was Fathers Day? Happy? I hope everyone is having fun paddling today.

However, today I tried to listen to General Conference in Mandarin for part of my Language Study time. I understood about 3 words, and I laughingly quoted to myself "That's not the language they taught me in the MTC!" This week the older half of our zone is going into the field, and it is quite sad. Some of them I will see in Taichung but not all. We will get a new batch of Mandarin learners on July 8th, and then I will be in the "old experienced" part of the zone. We went to the temple grounds yesterday and I saw my friend Kajsa from my Swedish class at BYU, and I guess her younger sister is going to Canada Mandarin speaking and will be in my zone! I love Chinese.

I had my first migraine in a couple years this week. I was trying to memorize the first vision, and realized I was having trouble reading words I was looking directly at which usually means I am getting schitoma. I hadn't had a migraine in ages so I decided to wait awhile but I soon had to go lie down in the dark and drug myself up on ibuprophen. I avoided the worst of it but felt bad that my companion had to wait for me.

I heard a rumor that Elder Holland will be speaking at a fireside on Friday so that should be exciting. This week all the new mission presidents are coming to the MTC and it is one of the rare instances that the whole First Presidency and the 12 will be in the same place at the same time so I guess security will be really high. Maybe I'll get to meet the prophet?!

Well I love you and hope to hear from you soon.

FML
Cami

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