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, February 9, 2017

2/9/17 Week 6 Almost finished at the CCM

Fireworks in Mexico City

Family and friends,

Week 6 is real. Five more days in the CCM. Tomorrow we start our infield orientations. It lasts all day. Yesterday we also got our travel plans for leaving to our mission. I leave early Wednesday and will be the last person from our group that came in. It's weird, everyone we knew is already basically gone. Our service activity is welcoming the new, English speaking missionaries, and at this point I've welcomed nearly every American and English first language missionary in the CCM. It's kind of a weird feeling because everyone we came in with is gone, and I might not see  a lot of these people ever again.

Our buddies who came in a week before us are all gone. Most were going to Chile, but two went to Missouri. They left yesterday. That was Elder Hoyt and Hunt. They were polar opposites. Hoyt is 6 foot 6,  is super loud and was in the army. Hunt is maybe 5 foot 9 and religiously played Zelda. They were awesome together though, it was hilarious. Our last meal together they talked about how their first lesson was basically sitting in silence and like half-way through saying "Dios nos ama."  

This week we started doing "missionary as progressing investigator." It's kind of interesting pretending to be someone who is learning about the church and what we are all about. You learn a lot putting yourself in other people's shoes. It was my turn to teach yesterday. We are assigned groups, so we teach one on one. Yesterday I also started to have a sore throat that was progressively getting worse throughout the day, to the point to where I almost couldn't talk. My lesson was rougher than normal but I was able to slowly get through. I can talk now mostly, and my throat isn't killing me anymore, but yesterday I was going through the cough drops like crazy.

Saturday we had TRC again. We've done it every Saturday for the last 3 weeks or so. We taught two lessons. The first one was over skype and was super rough. We talked about the Book of Mormon, but we had a really poor connection so we couldn't hear the other person and she couldn't hear us. The call also dropped like 4 times. It was funny, but we got through. Our next lesson we taught face to face with someone who was baptized a year before. We started with getting to know who she was and after a few minutes we said an opening prayer. Through the window on the door our teacher gave us the signal to wrap up our lesson, so we just bore our testimonies and said a closing prayer. The lesson was probably 5 minutes long. The lady was really nice to us and spoke in a way that we could easily understand her. As we left the room we could smell throw up in the hall. Luckily we were done, but one of the Elders in Sister Clayton's district mid- lesson vomited. He said he woke up that day feeling slightly ill, but in the lesson it came faster than he could react. Luckily he didn't throw up on anyone, but our teacher Hermana Gonzales was fighting mostly unsuccessfully to hold back laughter.

Sunday was a awesome day. It was fast and testimony meeting. I don't think I've ever fasted a full 24 hours, and it's not fun. It started Saturday at lunch and went to lunch Sunday. Our day started with the branch council meeting. It was pretty standard and I talked about how our district is bonding really well and the companionships that were struggling are doing much better now. I also talked about how we had our best lesson this week. President Bennet was in our branch meeting, and he had me dissect our lesson and find out why it was better than our other lessons. After we did that he talked about how commandments shouldn't be followed because we fear the punishment but because we love God. He also said that God wants to bless us, but the only way we can receive those blessings is if we follow his commandments. Our good lesson, we taught basically following that flow of ideas and it was a much more powerful lesson.

Testimony meeting was especially good. My district was in charge of the sacrament. I passed with President Bennet while Elder Pearson and Elder Henriksen blessed the bread and water. I've never seen a presiding officer pass the sacrament, but it makes sense. In Mathew or Mark, Jesus talks about leadership. I don't remember the exact wording but he says something along the lines of how the leader should be the one providing the service instead of leading. During the sacrament the presiding leader normally gets the sacrament first, sitting next to Bennet before the meeting started I had a thought to ask him what I would do in this case. I figured he would take it last as the passers normally would, and he said it reminded him of a story. During the testimony segment he bore his testimony and told a story about how he was at a Sacrament Meeting with a few apostles. He talked about how the apostles all took the sacrament last because they were also helping with the sacrament and were there to serve others. Our branch president also bore his testimony and quoted Chance the Rapper which was a little funny. He started his testimony with "I know this isn't really mission appropriate, but there is this line in one of Chance the Rapper's songs I really like." I cant remember the line, but it was something about worshiping. Later on basically all of our leaving district bore their testimonies. It was a super powerful meeting. You can learn a lot of Spanish in 6 weeks, it's almost unbelievable. Elder P bore an especially good testimony. He talked about how before he was a "rebel" and wasn't going to go on a mission and never prayed about if he should or not. A few weeks before he started his mission papers he received a really powerful prompting that he needed to serve a mission and he ignored it. It wasn't until the fourth time that he started his papers. He said that everyone is on their missions for a reason and it's to bless the lives of others. He then went into more detail about why he is here which I won't share.

Sunday evening there were a ton of fireworks for Constitution day. I was able to grab a few pics.

I don't think our district's afternoon language teacher likes us, she does an OK job hiding it. After the district in our zone left they left a bunch of stuff in their room, including some nice chairs. Before class with the teacher who doesn't like us, my companions and I grabbed those chairs and rolled them to our room. We sat down and she immediately told us we have to put the chairs back in the room we got them from and that those chair were only for teachers, but the thing is there are chairs in each room for the teachers but these where not them, and I kinda told her that. I probably shouldn't have but she was wrong and I wanted my comfy chair. She then said it's against the "rules" and at that point I knew I wasn't going anywhere. We put the chair back in the room we got them from. The kicker is after we put the chair back we were talking with one of the MTC supervisors, Hermana Sanches, who is maybe 5 feet tall and super nice. I asked her if it was a rule and she said it wasn't, but that teachers just don't want missionaries to play with the rolling chairs. Our intention wasn't to play with the chair, but to have more comfy chairs, but our teacher wasn't having any of it. I wouldn't have been annoyed if I was just straight up told that. If you make up rules you just back yourself into a corner. That was the only annoying thing this week

We still have yet to get in trouble for not having a perfect room. We've even talked to Hermana Bennet but she hasn't brought anything up. She was in our Branch council meeting as well and she off- handedly said she doesn't check missionaries rooms on their 6th week so I guess we are in the clear. I guess the lesson learned is that if you ignore problems they go away haha.

Side note there are two new elders in the CCM going to the DC south mission and one went yesterday. The one that went yesterday I played ultimate with a few times and I think his name was Elder Andrus, but I don't think he'll ever be in the Arlington ward being that he is serving Spanish speaking.

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