Elder Eric Johnson
2516 Normandy Dr. SE Apt. 304-C
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Please send letters or packages by First class or Priority Mail via U.S.P.S. so they can be forwarded to him.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 2, January 19, 2017

Family and friends,

Every district is given a service activity for their stay at the ccm. We have the best service activity. My district is in charge of the welcoming committee. Hermana Clayton came in separately from the main group of Americans, so I didn't get to welcome her here. I was still able to catch her as she was waiting for her companion to arrive. New missionaries arrive on Tuesdays, and Tuesday is pizza night. Hermana Clayton is in my branch, and gave a talk last Sunday. Talking with some of the elders that left Tuesday, it turns out that it is possible to go the whole 6 weeks without giving a talk, so let's hope.

The food here is okay. It's nothing special, aside from pizza night. They bring in like 50 Costco pizzas and it's normally pretty great, but because the new missionaries arrive when dinner starts we rarely get warm pizza. For breakfasts here, we normally have a choice between two options ranging from eggs, french toast, some chicken, potatoes, or pancakes. Every meal also has cereal dispensers for those who don't want the main meal. Lunches and dinners tend to have similar choices ranging from lamb steaks, chicken, mystery enchiladas (because the contents are always different), lasagna, chicken strips, and much more.

Everyday we also have gym time. The Hermanas normally do their own thing because most games we can't play against them or with them if it's a game remotely close to a contact sport. Volleyball is the main sport we play. For some reason two days ago we had the full gym to ourselves so we played 2 on 3 volleyball. We are okay as a district in volleyball, but we dominate in ultimate. 

Yesterday we played 5 on 6, my elders plus two vs another district in our zone. One of the kids not in my district and I were the main handlers and were moving the disc around really well. Elder Henriksen and Pearson are super fast. Henriksen played soccer and his team came second in state, and Pearson was a running back on his football team. Our main strategy was moving the disc between handlers and passing to either Henriksen or Pearson when they were open to move the disc up the field. Our zone leader Elder Wallin gets really intense in the games and we were destroying his team. He was getting really heated and his companion Elder Gardner always had to talk him down. We played 4 games. Our team won by a significant margin each time with the exception of the last game when it was 5 vs 8, where we tied.

Today I was talking with the zone leader and one of the elderly missionaries who is so cool. Elder Eeves flew KC135s as the navigator, but I forgot to ask him if he ever was deployed and if he was where he served. 

Also during one of the devotionals he was up at the pulpit taking questions, and for each question he answered with at least one scripture off the top of his head and gave an amazing answer for each question. Anyway, we were talking and it turns out that one of the Apostles is coming to the CCM mid February to give a devotional. I leave the CCM on the 15th, so we will see if I'll be here.

Our new mission president arrived this week, his name is President Bennett, no relation to the late senator Bennett. He seems like a solid guy, I only had a few minutes to talk with him. He has been a mission president a bunch of times, and I'm also glad I didn't speak with him that much because during the devotional on Sunday he called people up to share their testimonies. Turns out he was calling people he had a chance to really talk with when he was visiting with everyone. Elder Hoyt from our zone was called to share his testimony. He gave a powerful testimony, and talked about how it was a miracle that he was able to go on a mission. He is a member of the army and works artillery. The deal with the army is that he can be on the mission, but if his unit gets deployed he has to go. Anyway, about a month ago he got word that his unit was getting deployed. He went into greater detail over what happened, but the main detail is that in the very last minute everything lined up and he was able to go on his mission. His unit leaves in a few weeks I believe. 

The devotional was on families and the spirit was really strong throughout the devotional until about halfway through. This week we had a district leave for their missions. They had their backpacks with them and one of the elders carried the backpack of one of the Hermanas because it was literally +50 lbs and he had it at his feet. Half way through the meeting, (also important to note that he is sitting on the second row directly in front of the new president), he accidentally kicked the bag and set off a "bop it" that was in her bag. The toy, just starts playing the Spanish commands in the middle of the devotional the elder who had the bag was frantically trying to turn it off while fighting back tears of laughter. It was so funny, yet so bad. The president stops, looks straight at Elder Megeladon , and sternly says "what's going on elder?" and just looked ticked. He stopped his message, we sang a hymn to re-invite the spirit to the meeting and after a few minutes, and after Elder Eeves takes the Bop-it, continues with the devotional. Everything was a mis-understanding, and I don't think Elder M explained what happened.  Oh well, love that guy. 

As missionaries we are told to be exactly obedient. Also one thing that we've been told is that "blessings come to those who are obedient, but miracles come to those who are exactly obedient." One rule I don't love is that we aren't supposed to take pictures on non-P days. The rule isn't exactly the most followed rule. On Tuesday we had an amazing moon, that was massive and had a deep orange hue. The moon was low, the trees are tall and Hermana Petty is short, so she was standing on one of the tables in the main courtyard where we study with her camera trying to get a picture. 

Anyway after as she got a picture her companion Hermana Quigley was helping her get down. Inadvertently, she let go of the camera, which was strapped to her wrist. It swung and hit Hermana Quigley in the face at the same time Hermana Petty was stepping on the edge of the table. Hermana Quigley is reacting to getting smacked in the face as Hermana Petty steps on the edge of the table and the table is tipping over. Basically in slow motion Quigley is bracing her face and Petty is falling off the table, hits her butt on the table but still miraculously lands on her feet. It was seriously so funny. The joke is disobedience brings immediate punishment. 

The CCM really is like an oasis in Mexico city. Our house is on the western side of the campus and relatively close to the fence. The fence it pretty well hidden behind bushes, but occasionally you still hear stuff going on the outside. A few nights ago we heard about 4-5 gunshots close to our house, and a few minutes later we heard sirens. Some elders living in the dorms on the other side of campus about a week ago heard some other gunshots, but I can't validate that claim.

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