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 3, 2017

3 July 2017 Six Month Anniversary!

Today is my 6 month birthday!

I only have a few observations I'd like to make for the last 6th months.

The first is this is such an awesome church in just about every way. It truly is a perfect church. The people not so much, but everything else yes. Being able to bring the spirit into people's lives is the most rewarding thing of missionary work. Coming in and sitting down, sharing a short message and watching the people's countenances slightly change as they think about what we ask them and thinking about how they feel. Missionary work is kinda the best.

One thing I didn't quite expect was how much work this calling takes. Nothing has been more emotionally and mentally taxing. I spend every moment of the day thinking about the few people we teach. I think a lot of it comes from the preconception I had stemming from D&C section 4 when it is talking about missionary work and says "the field is white and ready to harvest." Instead of "harvesting" I feel more like a farmer in this context. 

Our only really progressing person told us he didn't want to continue meeting with us, more on that in a bit, and the Aguilars aren't quite ready to set a specific date. We go out each day and normally we will teach a lesson and sometimes we are blessed to have more, do some service, and spend as much time possible finding. We only have three members on our side, the rest are in the other area so we kind of get wrecked there. We have consistent Family home evenings with one. One won't work with us very easily, and the other we are almost at that point with. Knocking is so ineffective, my goal is to work solely through the members. That has been a really slow process. I wish people would progress quicker, and actually try what we ask them to do. How hard is it to read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and pray about it? Apparently really, really hard.

Another thing I don't understand is a few things in Hispanic culture. I think it's hilarious that some people will just disappear for a few months on vacations. We were working with this guy and he started coming back to church consistently and he didn't show today so we called him. We said hi and he responded by saying he was in Hawaii. That was a surprise. He said he and his wife went and they don't know when they'll be back. I've found this to be fairly typical; to leave without a return date. White people have itineraries, plans, return dates, flights home. Santiago the guy we picked up last week said he is going to Mexico. We talked about it a little more during our last visit and he said he will probably be gone for a few months, "only God knows how long." Elder Rencher's first member meal was with a family that disappeared the following week. The missionaries called and they said they were going to be in Mexico for a few months. They took their kids as well, like mid school year. Anyway I never met this family until a few weeks ago and the son was like "Ya I'm a little behind in school" haha. It's kind of impressive that they just leave life for significant amounts of time with undefined times and with little to no notice.

Also Hispanic time is kind of annoying. Everything starts late and ends later. For some reason the Aguilars are prompt. It's super nice. 

We had a really big disappointment this week. German started avoiding us, not answering calls or texts so we stopped by a few times. We caught him home once and we sat down. He told us pretty solemnly that he doesn't want to meet with us anymore. That hurt. He admitted that he has enjoyed our visits and that he is closer to God than he was before, but for some reason doesn't want us to come by anymore. I don't know what we did wrong, I don't know what happened, and I don't know what I could have done better. I've spent a fair amount of time reading through Jacob 5 in  the Book of Mormon. Basically we will do our best and even after that people won't accept what you give them. Still sucks.

Following the great disappointment we had a great miracle this week. Enrique, the guy who has met with missionaries forever came to church! His progress record says he has been to church like five times in five years. Our visit with him before we kind of just read a scripture with him. He was feeling pretty sick so we didn't stay all that long. I picked something in Mosiah and we read a little bit. He kinda looked like he was dying, but he opened up a little. We've been working to find him a way to listen to the Book of Mormon on tape because he struggles to read his massive BoM, the one with massive print. We told him that we could pass it off to him at church and he came- only like 80 minutes late but he came!

Also a less active member who doesn't want to visit with us opened up this week. I've knocked his door a few times and every time we set something up he "always forgets" and isn't home. I know he doesn't want to talk about the gospel at the moment so we won't. We have a broken chair and he bought what I think is a TIG welder, so guess what we will be doing Wednesday! Learning to weld-- that's what's up. When I asked him if we could fix the chair with him he went from "I'll be busy" to "YES!" That was pretty sweet. He even ran to his garage to grab the welder. I told him we don't have the chair with us and asked if we could do it with him. He seemed pretty excited. We stopped by a few weeks ago when it turned out he bought it. We helped him figure out how to use it and we will actually do something productive with it Wednesday. We get to meet with a less active, we fixed the scary chair in our apartment, and I learned how to weld: triple-whammy. Once he likes us I think we will be able to share a spiritual message with him. 

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