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 :)

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!
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

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 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 :)
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 :)