Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sun 7/25/10 Miles‏

Hooray Shelly and Benjamin and Miles! I am so excited to have a new nephew. What is his middle name? I hope it's not pizza pocket or something. Shelly was mentioning Benjamin wanted to name him something Italian.

Training is going awesome, mostly because I have the most awesome trainee! I so adore Sister Cooper. She is going to rock this mission. I have had the most fun in the last week than I have in maybe the rest of my mission - and this is during the time that is probably the hardest part of her mission! She keeps me laughing and working hard and fixed to our purpose and getting lots of peikes. We had an amazing 17 peikes this week because Sister Cooper asks me everytime we have a lesson set up if we have a peike yet. And then we will call them until we find one. Having peike's has been good too since a lot of the time Sister Cooper isn't totatally able to understand what is going on in lessons and I need someone to help me teach. Her Chinese will be fine, it just needs patience and persistence.

The work here is blooming again. We have SO much potential - I know we are going to baptise a lot this transfer, we just have to keep listening to the spirit and putting our heart, might, mind and strength into it. I am putting all I have into the work. I'm exhausted today, even after my nap. I rely alot on that scripture in Isaiah - those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength and rise on the wings of eagles.

Sister Cooper and I are having a great time. One of my favorite stories of the week!
In our training meeting, Elder Christensen my district leader was telling us how "No matter the situation, you should just testify! Even if you see someone...fall off a roof! just start testifying." We all laughed at his ridiculous example.

Then yesterday we stopped and talked to some lady who was cleaning squid outside her house (yeah, it was gross.) Sister Cooper didn't really understand what I was talking about and so started just looking around and saw a man on a neighboring roof. He was picking fruit and spying on us (neighbors are WAY into each others business here) and when she looked at him, he got suprised and fell off the roof! So she interrupted me and just started testifying. I gave her a kind of bewildered look at said, "Sister Johnson, I just saw a man fall off a roof and Elder Christensen told us even if we saw someone fall off a roof, we were supposed to testify." I just started laughing. Everytime we think about this story we about die laughing.

Sister Cooper and I are having a blast. I have never laughed so much on my mission. It's like having a comedian narrarate my life constantly. I laughed so hard I cried for the first time on my mission last week. Then I did it twice more. I can't help it, she is just so funny in her personality and so new to Taiwan that everything is amazing or funny to her.

This week Sister Cooper was experimenting with the water cooler, which has three temperatures of water - cold, warm and hot. She was in the middle of asking me what the red handle did when she started shrieking because she burned her hand in the extremely hot water that came out as she tested it. Maybe I'm a bit insensitive to the fact she had just burned her hand and I was on the ground laughing but it was really funny. I've never been around someone that broadcasts their every thought and feeling quite as easily before.

We have a baptism scheduled for the next two weeks that are pretty certain and hopefully we will drop more people into both of them. We had an amazing 17 peikes this week because everytime we have a lesson Sister Cooper reminds me to call a member. Anyway, training is going awesome.

I hope you know I work hard, pray hard, and love you all.

Sister Johnson

Cami's response to my email regarding her return in November:

Umm...I don't know. The whole thought of going home seems very strange and far away. I will still be a set apart missionary until I am released by the Stake President in Elko... This means I will still wake up at 6:30, have a companion, wear a nametag, not listen to music, be extra, extra awkward, etc. until I am released. So, if you want to be in Salt Lake I'd rather it be not a long visit because I will probably be a bit of a hard transition.
Having said that, of course I'd love to see Shelly and Benj and the baby.

What do you think? They couldn't let us see both options could they?
Also, have Daddy email Sister Greene so that she can have his email address. Sister Greene said that her email came back that was sent to his mac-sog address. Also let her know if the stake president or ward bishop has changed

Love you!
Sister Johnson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mon 7/19/10 No Miles Yet?

Dear family,

Well, it has been an eventful week that I was NOT expecting.

Wednesday night, in the middle of English class. The air conditioning broke, there were about ten students in my tiny, hot classroom. The door was open and so was the door of the class across the hall- the wild children's class, so it was noisy. I was having a hard time focusing everyone and was a bit unprepared myself. Sister Dewyea came in - "President Bishop is on the phone," with wide eyes. It could only mean one thing.

I was going trainer.

So I didn't move and Sister Dewyea got "kicked out" early, even before the end of the movecall. It was stressful getting her packed and moved with our full schedule and I didn't sleep well knowing I was going to be trainer. I had no idea how much Chinese my companion would speak.

We got Sister Dewyea out and my new companion's name is Sister Cooper*. I am training the FIRST black missionary in Taiwan. No one really knew what was going to happen. Taiwanese people are kind of racist. When I got my assignment and my companion was in the bathroom, I went in to talk to President Bishop.

"President. Taiwanese people are racist. How am I going to deal with that?"
"Well, I don't know. We will just see how it goes."

Literally, no one knew what was going to happen. And everyone keeps being really curious but feeling awkward about asking me.
It's actually been just fine. We get even MORE staring than before but just fine. It's a good way to talk to people. Sister Cooper is probably the first black person most people have seen in the country in Taiwan. It's not been a problem yet.

This week has been good so far. We baptised Huang You, which made me so happy! The first time I met her was right after I moved to Yuanlin, then she disappeared for awhile. And now she is baptised! I wish I had more time to talk about her but I don't. I love her.

The other exciting thing is that at church I had to translate for the first time. It was an adventure haha. I had to translate for my Mission President and his wife who were speaking in our ward conference. I translated English to Chinese for Sister Bishop's talk (She would say a line in English then I would repeat it in Chinese into the microphone they use to confirm people). I also translated Chinese to English and sat behind the Bishops on the stand and tryed to make sense of the talks. It was a little rough at first but by the end I got the hang of it. There were some parts that I translated kind of like this. "They are talking about people that don't have clothes. Even when it rains. Or food. And something about the population. I'm sorry I have no idea what he is talking about or how it relates to the gospel." By the end my tongue was loosened and I thought my translation was pretty good. Anyway, it was a crazy Sunday, considering my special part in the program, my new trainee that doesn't know ANYONE or understand Chinese much and having an amazing ten investigators at church.

It is going to be great. We have seen and will continue to see miracles like crazy.

I love you all and will pray for Shelly and Miles and Daddy and Benjamin. And Mother and Amy and Tina of course.


Sister Johnson

* Tell Jane I am training her old coworker at the Registration office. Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7-12 movecall 8 week 6‏

Dear Family,

It sounds like everyone had a nice time at the cabin. I can't wait to see it when I get back! It seems strange that time is passing without me. A new cabin, a new member of the family, Amy done with her first year of college and off to join a commune in Sweden (haha...)

This week has been exciting!

President Uchtdorf came and spoke to us on Saturday. He was a very impressive figure in real life. He is one of those people that seem to attract light, that are just full of vitality and energy. As Sister Dewyea said, "You can tell just from his presence that he is a very righteous man." We took a mission picture with him (oh, it was so hot standing out there in our coats, lined up and waiting for him!) I'll send it when I can. We got to greet him and his wife and Elder and Sister Perkins* (Asia Area Authority) and one of the Seventy from Hong Kong that also came. Sister Uchtdorf was as cute as can be, and they both had their German accents. He spoke to us about finding the treasures God has hidden for us in our missions. Treasures of people, experiences, trials, homesickness, companions. He talked about forgiveness and promised us a blessing that the things that trouble us, even at home, will be worked out to a satisfactory conclusion. Quite a blessing to be given from the lips of a prophet of God. I thought it was special.

Remember when I first got on island, back in Douliu, they had the family history activity? I think I sent home a newspaper clipping that had pictures of Sister Killpack and I with some local leaders that attended. Apparently the stake has a family history activity once a year and it switches which area will hold it. I just so happened to be serving in the right places at the right times to attend twice! I thought that was pretty cool and very unusual. Anyway, when Sister Dewyea and I went, guess who was there! Sister Lin from Douliu! Remember the sister who was upbraided by the bishop in Sacrament meeting? Well, she is still active, her son is still on a mission and will be coming home honorably in 3 months, and her husband wants to get baptised by him when he gets back. It was so good to see her. She was always a talker and she had us sit down and look at her photo album (which she had showed me a nearly a year earlier). This time there was an addition - I was in one of her photos! It was so good to see her, an old friend, a dear one from my mission. Seeing the photo of me made me realize the things I do here actually do make an impact on people, and I am a part of the history of the Church in Taiwan! It is hard to explain but I think it was one of those "hidden treasure" moments President Uchtdorf was talking about. I saw two other Douliu members who recognized me immediately and came and hugged or greeted me. What sweet reunions.

Let's see, what else is new. There is a good chance I will be moving next week, as I've been here for 5 and a half months.

There is this adorable doorman to our apartment who is about 75 years old and always says Good night in English. When he says a new word in English it is so cute, you just know he has waited all day to be able to practice saying it to us. It's the most endearing thing. He is up to about 4 words now.

That's about all I have time for. I love you all so much!
Sister Johnson

*They used to live in Farmington, NM but I'm pretty sure they moved away before we lived there

Cami's note to Donna:


The Fox girls and I floated the boise on innertubes one summer, that was a lot of fun. It sounds like you had a nice time. It will be fun to have lazy summer days up at the cabin, I love that area. I can't wait! It isn't winterproof is it?

Oh, please also send me maybe 4 pairs of new garments - the dry cotten or whatever it is called, and maybe 1 of the jersey. Also, I would like the DVD Errand of Angels - my native companion Sister Liu always really wanted to see it and I thought it would be a nice gift for her since I don't know if they have it in Taiwan.

Sorry I keep adding to the list!

I love you!

Yes, please sign me up for classes at BYU. I left everything I think taken care of. If not I'll ask permission to sign myself up I guess. If you could just ask BYU when I can register that would be great.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mon 7/05/10 Happy 4/5th of July!

Dear Family,

Happy 4th of July! Technically it is still the 4th of July in America so I feel okay saying it. Today Sister Dewyea and I went to 7-11 and had hot dogs and slurpees in celebration. Happy Independence Day, America! Missionaries aren't allowed to handle fireworks, but a few nights ago a neighboring house was shooting fireworks about 15-20 feet from our window so we haven't been without some very magical light displays.

This week was the week we've all been looking forward too, not without some measure of trepidation. President and Sister Hoer left and President and Sister Bishop came. President Bishop was a surgeon before and was in a MTC Branch Presidency. He served his mission in Taiwan back when Taiwan was all one mission (In the early 1960s). They are older but still look vital enough. Poor Sister Bishop, still jetlagged, new to Asia and knowing less Chinese than we did when we came. She told me she had to make dinner for all the stake presidents the next day and didn't have any idea what to make or how to get what she needed. Sister Dewyea and I told her Welcome to Taiwan! Go buy something, you don't need to cook here! She didn't seem to think that was acceptable, but she seemed very sweet. I can tell she has a "mother heart."

On Saturday we had another baptism! It was my first male baptism - Liu YuTing, the 11 year old son of the sister we baptised a couple weeks ago. He almost canceled his baptism because he drinks tea* but we worked with him to get him to stop and I think he will be okay. It was a little strange to baptise him, because we couldn't take him back to get in the font or even hug him afterwards. I felt like more an observer but it was okay. His mom and sister came - I like baptising families. He said he felt the Holy Ghost when he was baptised. I just hope he will remember it. He is one of the smartest kids I've met. His mom told us he started talking when he was 8 months old.

Let's see, what else has been going on. I caught whatever Sister Dewyea had and didn't feel good for a few days but am about over it now. A member in our ward gave us some clothes so I've started wearing...jumpers...on occassion. I know! The ultimate Sister Missionary frumpy. I laughed with Sister Dewyea that the way that I look at my clothes now that it is summer is "Will wearing this raise or lower my body temperature? How much will it stick to me when I am sweating? Will it get heavy when it rains?" (We had enormous rainstorms everyday for about a week). I am committing myself into the hands of Tina and Shelly when I get home to make sure that I stop wearing ugly things. In the meantime, I'll just try to beat the heat

Well, that's about it for me this week. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
Sister Johnson

* Commandments that seem so easy to keep back home sometimes are a struggle in Asia. Who knew that the Ten Commandments or tea* could make or break people's testimony? Interesting note about the rule on tea: All my life I heard we can drink herbal tea but not "regular" tea and never really knew what that meant. I've had clarification in Taiwan. The Word of Wisdom prohibits tea leaf tea (usually caffeinated). We can still drink flower or fruit tea. This means that green tea, black tea, red tea, English tea, etc. are prohibited. Things like chammomile, mint, lemon, honey, barley, etc. are okay.

Cami's email to Donna:

Hey mama!‏

How was the 4th? I heard the report from Daddy, but I'm curious to hear how it was from you :) Everyone else has been quiet about it so I don't know what to think - if it was good or quite the Lake Powell adventure.

Hey, I have been thinking of somethings that I could use:
Zicam or Airborn
if you go to DI, see if there are any of the "jody" dresses - the ugly sister missionary flower dresses, you know, with the collar? Don't pay full price to buy me more but if you and amy see one at DI (I know she loves a good DI shop) I wouldn't mind another. They are nice and cool.
I'd also like my own Conference Ensign
Shade shirts (1-2, at least one white)
A very small bottle of a basic multivitamin - I really don't need too many. I've used the same bottle of 100 for close to a year now so I'm not very diligent in taking them, but out.

Hmm, yep, that's about it! No big hurry. Thanks! I love you!