Monday, December 22, 2008

Random Pictures of the Night Before Michael Left

Typical reaction to my need for hugs!
Michael and Jack. My "MEN"!!! Michael and his dad.
Very proud parents!

Emails from Elder Johnson

Received December 22nd
hey family! well i am emailing you from beautiful Nelspruit, South Africa. It's 4 1/2 hours east of Jo'Burg and its sooo freaking hot!!! The entire town is built on hills and im lucky enough to be in one of the only biking areas left in the mission... as you can imagine my legs are pretty much jell-o all the time. It's a really nice town though and the people are nice. right now in south africa it is summer vacation and everyone is outta town, usually at church we have about 60 people in our branch but this week we had about 30. So summer vacation is a pretty big deal around here. Our living quarters are pretty nice. However when i first got there we did have a bat living in the shower, and we have roaches! But aside from that it's a pretty cool flat!
My Trainers name is Elder Mbhele from Durban, South Africa. He's a cool guy and a good trainer. He's also an african so we're a bi-racial spiritual wrecking crew out on the streets. haha He's been out for 14 months and he has served in Botswana and Lesotho. And yes we get along great! My first door approach was fine, my second one was really messy. But i've been doin pretty well. We usually end up getting to teach somebody at least once a day. My first teaching oppurtunity was with a lady named Sharlene we tracted to our house and tought her the lesson 1! She's super spiritual and we made her cry(in the good way) so i think it went pretty well :) Tonight we are going to visit a part member family and work on getting the mom and the daughter into the church. The Dad and the other daughter are already converts. And the apartment we eat whatever we can, I usually eat ramen and eggs or ramen and grilled cheese. Sometimes the senior couple in the area will hook us up with food, that's usually a great thing. Not very many native foods however they have this juice concentrate stuff called wild island, it's super cheap and super good and i love it. And Rooibus Tea(it's herbal tea) is awesome as well. And over here they have this sweet chili sauce. It is so good! it's replaced ketchup on eggs on for me.
The mission president and his wife are great! they are very nice. President Paulsen runs a pretty tight ship but it's all good!
As far as letters go, we don't get mail up here so the only letter i've got is the one that mom sent early aside from that i will have to wait til january 6th when we go down to jo'burg for "mission tour" hopefully i'll get some mail by then!
On christmas day be expecting a call from 9-11 o clock in the morning. I will call on the home phone.
Im excited to hear about the bsu game! i can't believe it's already bowl season and i can't believe i've already been a missionary for almost a month! it's crazy! And hopefully the bears can pull it off, that would be awesome!! Oh and kevin you're email was weak sauce. And for that im gonna tell you that i'm probably better than you at rugby. haha jk unfortunately we havent played since i left the mtc. but hey dude let me know on how things are back there you're my youthful insight on things in boise!
Anyways hopefully i answered all your questions well enough. Things here are super awesome and hopefully the lord can prepare some people for us to be ready for the gospel!
oh and congrats on the white christmas thats awesome!
and unfortunately most missionaries don't get accents here, you usually end up coming home and talking to people like they are 5 years old cause you really have to simplfy what you say and speak slowly!
And tell jeff i better hear from him next week!
Love you all so much, thanks for checking up on me!
Elder Johnson
p.s. mom, can you get marcus's email address from his folks? I'd like to see how he's doin
Email #3
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 11:47 PM
To: Johnson, George (Cons. Support-Boise)
Subject: Re: OPEN FIRST: 12/12 Johnson Family E-mail
wow it's great to hear about the snow! that will be awesome! No such luck down here, however it does rain EVERYDAY! the loudest thunderstorms ever! OH and you guys should know that i play touch rugby everyday, it's pretty rad. And yes i'm super pumped for the real deal. We get out of the mtc on tuesday and start in the field on wednesday! As far as the package goes don't worry too much about it, i already bought a watch and the only treats i really want are mints, i miss gum. And yes pool the emails together cause i don't know what the rules will be once im outta the mtc. and make sure you're forwarding them to the rest of the family! anyways today for p-day we are going to go on splits with the missionaries in Soweto, which is a township in jo'berg. it's gonna be soooooooo rad. and don't worry i have faith that my bears will pull it off! trying to think of anything else.... I know that letters take FOREVER to get here. the only one i've gotten is the one that mom sent a week early! that was great. And i too am reading the book of mormon, again. I finished it just before the plane landed in johannesburg, hence acheiving my goal of finishing it before i got into the mission field, and at the rate i'm reading it right now i'll finish it again by february! Anyways the mtc has been awesome, everyone here is great, and i'm so freaking pumped for the field! my next email will probably be next monday the 22nd. cause p-day is on mondays for the jo'berg missionaries! anyways have a great week! i hope to hear from you all later! oh and sorry george i still don't have a plaque scripture, i can't really zone in on one yet!!!
anyways love you all so much!
talk to ya soon
elder j
Email #2
Alrighty here is the weekly update from Jo'berg! The MTC experience so far has been incredible we've been super busy and the spirit has been super strong here! We've been outside of the mtc gates like 3 times i think, once for the temple and then twice to go buy stuff! So i guess first things first i better answer mom's questions:
1.Yes my body clock is back in order i can now sleep from 10:30 to 6:30 with no problems
2. I eat this fruit and nut cereal with yogurt, it's killer. And the MTC has a kitchen staff that makes all the meals for us. the food is great! and at night all the missionaries hang out and eat Casadillas! There are about 28 missionaries about half are africans. the african guys are sooo freaking awesome!!
3.Favorite time of the day? Casadilla time then bed time.
4. Yes we went this week and a lot of the african guys were going for their first time and it was probably the best temple visit i've ever had. and then we go again next week!
Anyways melissa, the beginning of your email was not funny. but congrats on trev bot and tell dave good luck for cougs b-ball!
Oh and i'm glad to hear that my baby (the kia) is back into good hands.
Jeff, im glad to hear about the stampede ring that's fantastic. And yes my companion is a kiwi, he's maorie and can probably beat up anyone in the world. He's a super spiritual guy and a great companion it's been awesome!!
Since the group is pretty small we are all pretty tight! it's actually been pretty much what i expected, probably better than what i expected!!
Anyways i best be goin but thanks for filling me in on how things are and if any of you run into any of my friends get after them to write me so i can feel cool and get letters!
I hope to be hearing from you all soon!
Elder Johnson
#1 can’t seemed to find it. But I will keep looking.

One Month Down...but who's counting!

Tomorrow marks one month that Michael has been in South Africa. And he has been in his first area for one week. I am posting the first four emails he has sent. He is now serving in Nelspruit, which is about four and half hours away from Johannesburg. He said it is beautiful and HOT. The entire city is HILLS and he is in one of the last "bike" areas of the mission. He said his legs are like JELLO!!! PLEASE read his emails to learn more.
We are excited to talk with him on Christmas and look forward to hearing more about the area and his companion. Who, by the way, is an African. Michael says they are a "bi-racial spiritual wrecking crew"!!! Sounds like something he would say, huh?!
He's loving his RAMEN with eggs or grilled cheese and is loving a sauce he calls, sweet chile sauce. He says it replaces ketchup on his eggs. All in all everything is going great and he is very happy.
I love having a missionary out serving. This first "foreign" mission has been an experience. I went to send a very small, 4lb. package, with about aa $25 value. When the lady calculated the cost at $140 I skipped it and Michael totally understood. Hopefully he can go have dinner or buy himself an electric razor or something!!! He has only received one letter that I mailed 2 weeks before he even left, so that brings new meaning to "SNAIL MAIL"! But he's happy and is learning so much and I can hear a difference in him already.
I am so thankful for Michael! He is amazing. And I am very grateful to my Heavenly Father for his protection and care of my missionary.
Merry Christmas Elder Johnson! This will be a Christmas that you will never forget and will bring you greater gifts then anything under the tree.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Elder Michael Forrest Johnson

This is about a week late. You can see by the pictures that he got everything packed, he was set apart and we got him off to South Africa! (There are other pictures I want to post and will soon.)
Monday night our Stake President came to the house and we had a very nice evening listening to his council and advice. He then set Michael apart as a missionary. Jeffrey and Laura were there, along with Jack, it was so nice to have them there with us. George and Jeff were able to stand in as Pres. Vaterlaus set Michael apart.
It was tough seeing Jeff and Michael say goodbye. They have really "bonded" these last few months and I know that it was hard on Jeffrey. But he set a great example for both of his brothers and although it is hard to have Michael gone, there is no place we would rather him be.
Chris and Logan stopped by to say goodbye, and from what Logan said, Michael was a nervous wreck. Doing silly dances, demonstrating the fan on the stovetop... just doing "Michael" things when he is nervous.
I don't think he slept much and we found him on the couch with his scriptures open next to him. He was up at 4:15 or so and then we were off to the airport.
He met up with his travelling companion, Kyle Fischer, at the airport. They got checked in and then it was time to say goodbye and make his way through security. I VOWED I would not cry, and I didn't!!! There was another typical Michael moment. He gathered his shoes and carry on bag and was starting to leave the area when the Security Officer called out, " is this your bag?"!
In true Michael fashion he had left his backpack behind and had to go back and get it. And this boy is going to SOUTH AFRICA BY HIMSELF??!!!
Well, we made our way back to the car, I was crying by then! And I have to admit that when we arrived home that both George and I lost it when we walked in the house. But all is well and we are so excited and proud of Michael.
I am posting his first two emails. We were so excited ro hear from him. He sounds good and there is already a different tone in his writing. Amazing what the spirit of missionary work does for these young men and women. Although don't be fooled...he was very concerned about his beloved Broncos and the game against Fresno!!!! I guess somethings won't change!
I am excited to use this as a journal and scrapbook for Michael's mission. I hope you will all enjoy seeing and hearing how my elder is doing!