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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

17 July 2017 Cooking with the Aguilar family

Cooking with the Aguilar Family

Delicious Food!

Last Monday was really good. We spent a lot of time with the Aguilars and learned to cook a fair number of things. We made a juice from this weird Salvadorian fruit, two salsas, cooked some chicken and beans to put on some tostados which turned out really, really well. Today we are doing the same thing, but we will be making desert empanadas. Hilda can cook and enjoys teaching us and we enjoy being able to cook things. So it's good all around. 

Tuesday we had a pretty good lesson with Jose, the oldest kid in the Aguilar fam. We had a member come out who just got called as the new Young Men's leader. The member we brought out may have been the best member I've ever brought to a lesson in a few ways. He served a mission a few years ago and is a really good teacher. Normally we just keep members for testimony and answering questions but we had him teach fair portions of the lesson. After the lesson we talked outside and I came to a small realization. Everyone in our Spanish district is pretty green. Elder Guerrero is the most senior and he is around 10 months old. Anytime anyone has accumulated a fair amount of experience they get transferred out with little to no probability of returning. The ultimate effect leaves our district being like the blind leading the blind. The only people coming into this district are brand new missionaries. It's not all that bad though. We try our best and rely near wholly on the spirit and prayer, but we would benefit from a few people who know really what's up. 

Wednesday was fun. We had interviews with President Brennan and a training by his wife and the Assistants. We talked about the branch, about missionary work, and things like that. I invited him to come to the branch one of these days. I think it would be beneficial for the branch. 

Later that evening we had a lesson with Pedro Para. His wife is a less active and suffers from depression. I've never seen her so animated and happy. It was so cool. We asked her about it and she said the day before she read the chapter we left her to read like a week before and she just felt really good. We spent the whole lesson talking about that and it was so great. She is starting to say she really wants to come back to church. That was really cool. The Book of Mormon truly will invite the Holy Ghost into your life as you read and pray about it. That something I've seen many times over and know to be true. 

This week we had two really good finding session. Going and knocking is not important. What's important is following the spirit to where you need to be. During our weekly planning we prayed for guidance on where we needed to be this week. We then looked at the map of the area we covered. I felt there were three different areas we should visit. I felt inspired to choose two streets in two separate parts of our area. I could feel there was another but wasn't having luck in deciding anything. Elder Rencher came back from praying and chose another. That night we were able to put it to the test. I was a little worried about one of the streets I picked because I thought it was in a nice neighborhood, meaning it wouldn't be as filled with Spanish speakers as the ones where we spend our time. We got there and that confirmed my worry. We knocked anyway and 4 of the 6 doors that opened were Spanish speakers. We set up a lesson with one and got the information of everyone else. The first door was a white person who wasn't interested, and the last door was a walk-in lesson. It was a great lesson. Sadly they were white but at least the English Elders are going to get a great referral. I don't really care all that much about if any crazy miracles happen while I go to these streets. What I care about is that affirmation that I'm where I need to be regardless of whether I completely understand or not. I find that the Holy Ghost is easier to understand when it affirms correct decisions. 

We had a good lesson with Enrique again this week. He told us he wouldn't be in town for church this week, which is too bad. He agreed to a baptismal date which is coming. He is progressing, but as one would expect pretty slowly. That expectation comes from 5 years of missionary work with him. He is actually listening to the Book of Mormon and I'm seeing an impressive change in him. We just talked with him in that visit. His wife had a stroke a while back and is very different and the only thing he can do is take care of her. She is a handful. It's really nice to see that he so clearly loves her so much even though she is so different than who she used to be. We talked about prayer and the spirit. He shared about how some days are really hard and he will leave her for a few minutes and walk to the park and pray. He said he always can rely on the Lord for the strength he needs. It was a touching lesson.

Reyna's daughter Carmen did not make it to church. We had two lessons with her this week and they were both great. Our last lesson was her just asking about church and different questions she has had. We focused on repentance and the importance of what Christ did. I think it really touched her. She texted us at like 11 pm Saturday night saying she would see us tomorrow and that she was excited. Then at 10 am or so she told us she woke up with food poisoning and couldn't come. I really hope she was honest about that, but at least it gives us an opportunity to have a church tour and bring out the member we think would be great for her. We normally have whomever we are working with say the last prayer. At first she didn't know how to pray and now within two lessons she is giving great prayers were she asks great questions. I've seen that most people won't ask questions in their prayers, its probably awkward for them if they don't believe they will actually be guided to an answer.

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