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.


Monday, June 15, 2009

June 15th, 2009

Nihao my family!

Well, another week has gone by!At the beginning of this week, my whole companionship was sick. The week sort of flew by because the first few days were sort of a runny nosed blur.

Before I came into the MTC, I didn't really know what it was going to be like, and since no one in our family has been, I figure I will tell a little about my everyday life.

Most days, we wake up between 6:15-6:30 am, and get ready until 7, when we have personal study until 8:15. I read the scriptures, the conference issue of the Ensign and Preach my Gospel and the gospel library. Then we have breakfast, then back to class for companion study, where we usually prepare to teach discussions. We also have an hour of gym time 5 days a week, and I usually study on a stationary bike or elliptical, but sometimes we go up to the field and have a rousing game of croquet or foursquare. Foursquare may be my true post mission calling in life. I don't have much coordination to participate in the other sports, but that is okay, because my companions don't either! I really look forward to the exercize time, because it is one of the only times we aren't sitting. We also have class, usually for 3+ hours every day but Sunday. They teach us Chinese, but we also talk about gospel principles and how to be an effective teacher a lot too. I love both of my teachers - Lailaoshi (Brother Lattin) and Tanlaoshi (Sister Tanner). Brother Lattin may be the best example of meekness I've ever met, and Sister Tanner is just really good at teaching to needs. We are really lucky; they are both great. We also have a couple hours of Missionary Directed Time a day, which is just to study whatever we need to study. It is sort of hard to know what is the most important thing to study because I've never taught myself a language before, but I'm doing alright. Also, Sundays here are great. Yesterday Sister Dibb spoke to us in Relief Society (one of the General Young Women's councilors and also President Monson's daughter) and it was really neat. She read to us an excert from Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte) to illustrate virtue, which I thought was sort of funny. It will be the only non church literature I will experience for a long time! On Tuesday night Devotional Elder Bednar came and gave a really great talk, which I only caught part of in the overflow because I had the plague. One of the girls wrote the whole talk down though, so I was lucky and got to still read it. Umm what else? The MTC food often fried and covered in mystery sauces. Or it is rice, which I am trying not to eat until I go to Taiwan (haha). On the bright side, they have cereal at every meal, so I will be fine. Also they have ice cream from the BYU creamery twice a week which is a Johnson girl's dream :) We also do service on Thursday mornings, which is cleaning. We try to be early so we don't have to clean the bathrooms, which are gross. On Mondays (like today) we go to the Temple in the morning and then have P-day in the afternoon, where we do laundry, go to the bookstore, write letters, etc. Today I have to go to the Student Health Center to get a chest x-ray for my visa, so we have even less time. That's okay though.

I love you all big bunches!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Cami Gets 1st Letter/Package From Home/Her Dad

From: Camilla Johnson <>
Date: Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: poppers

Thanks for the dear elder message, email and the package, they all were super great. I shared the cookies with my district and you should have seen the elders eyes light up

-----Original Message-----From: skunk works <>To:
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 12:28:28 -0700
Subject: poppers

Cami: Just for the record I was the first one to send you a letter! Last friday via but I dont think they do mail on Saturday. I also sent you a cookie withdrawl package that you should get today! I already miss your giggle.



Nihao! ‏ 6/08/09


Well, Hello from the MTC! Thanks for all of your emails - I haven't read any of them yet because I only have 1/2 hour to read and email back, so I will try to print them. I PREFER THAT YOU EMAIL ME VIA DEAR ELDER. That means that I will get the letter the day you send it, which gives me more time on P-day to write you. It also means that my mail is spread throughout the week, which is nice. You have no idea how important mail is to a missionary. I didn't either.

Well, I love you all. And I also have an upper respiratory infection I think. My companion got sick on Thursday and that is what the nurse told her she had. But the nurse just said "everyone is sick and the virus is everywhere, so go to class, don't wear a mask, etc" so of course me and our other companion are also sick. Blagh. It's not the worst ever, but it is pretty stupid. Two Elders in my Mandarin Branch have been quarantined for H1N1 virus, so pray that I get well and pray I don't get swine flu (especially since my immune system is already weakened!) That being said, I already love being a missionary.

This week I was thinking how happiness comes from knowing that we are doing what God wants us to be doing, in the right place at the right time. Happiness is a lot less dependent on the pleasures that advertizing tells us that we need to be happy, because I have no "me time" or any entertainment. Every night I am so happy I am singing in the shower (haha) and skipping to my sushi (dormitory) because it makes me so happy. Though I don't have the other comforts or even family or friends, I am happier because I am doing what I need to. I hope that makes sense.

ALSO. The gift of tongues is totally legitimate. This week our companionship decided develop the Christlike attribute of faith, and to do it we decided to memorize 100 new words on the day of our week anniversary of coming to the MTC. We did it. And keep in mind it had taken us a day and a half just to memorize about 40 words that were in Our Purpose the week before. Also, we had testimony meeting yesterday (the one meeting we were allowed to attend because we are sick) and I understood about 90% of the testimonies. Granted, most of them said the same thing and we had learned a lot of the vocabulary when we learned to pray, but still it was pretty miraculous. Neither of my companions understood very much, but they will catch on soon. I think I just have developed the skill of inferring what I don't understand.

Keep praying for me; I'm doing my best. We do about 2 hours a day with the teachers, and a lot of it is on our own. I'm trying to learn vocabulary for the parts of speech this week and how they are used so I can start making my own sentences.

Okay, well the emails didn't print properly so I have to go speed read what everyone said in my remaining couple minutes.

FML Zhan jie mei(my Chinese name.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st, 2009- It's Your Favorite Missionary!

To My Dear Fam-Fam

Okay, well, first I do not have the H1N1 virus and no one in my district is sick. I don't know if they read the announcement yesterday or will this coming Sunday (we just heard it today), but as of this week they are asking parents to just drop their missionaries off and not come inside. This is to stop the spread of the H1N1 virus; I guess 3 missionaries have gotten sick and they are afraid of an outbreak because this is a breeding ground with so many people so close together. I am just glad that I reported last week instead of this week so that you could see me off! So, I am fine.

And the MTC is great.

I have TWO companions actually - the girl that was supposed to be my companion never showed up. I think she was going to get married. So instead they put me with another companionship, with Sister Bretzke and Sister Shepherd who are also new and going to my same mission. They are so great. All of us are really devoted to trying to be obedient and really diligent in our studies. We teach our first discussion this Saturday...partially in Chinese! It is going to be crazy. We are contacting for the first 15 minutes in Chinese. I'm not sure how it will go will be fine, if not better. We have memorized our purpose in chinese (To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them accept the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, faith, repentence, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end), how to pray, how to bear testimony and sundry other things. Not bad for 5 days.

Then we will teach the first lesson in English. It is going to be great. I am excited. Our teacher told us if we focus on the investigators and not the Chinese itself then we will learn the language more quickly and not be frustrated.

I am rooming with 4 other girls - my companions and two other sisters also going to my mission. One of the girls was in my ward last year. I also see two friends from Study Abroad really often (- one is going to Spokane and the other to Croatia) It is really nice to have people you already know here.

Everyone tells you how much you will grow on your mission but people don't mention the fact that with growth comes "growing pains." It gets frustrating because we want to be so good and learn the language so quickly, but we have to accept that it will come slower than we want but faster than we expect. The first day was really rough, but it's gotten better every day.

Well, it's been great, send me letters, they make my day and I haven't heard from the family at all.

Love, Sister Johnson