Hej Hej Family!
Wednesday: I get dropped off and my host shows me around he dropped me off into my classroom where I met my district. The teachers were only talking in Swedish, so they made us all respond in Swedish from looking at the board for help. It was a bit intense just walking in and being expected to tell everyone about who I was in Swedish, right? There are a total of 6 elders (who are also the ones that I live with in the dorms- yes 6 to a room, but we make it work)
Elder H is my companion
They said there were 830 new missionaries this day! Holy cow!! It's amazing to see how great people have taken the challenge and have chosen to serve the Lord. Next all the newbies go and talk with 3 "investigators" about the gospel, like you would at a door approach. What was interesting to see was that the missionaries just wanted to preach the gospel and bear their testimony on things these people had no idea about! So we didn't get anywhere. Our instructor (who was a convert from Paris France) kind of chastised us a bit but we still couldn't get it at the second investigator. But by the 3rd one we finally got on the right path.
Thursday: I didn't get a good sleep, but when do I ever? We went to the gym for our excercise time. Funny thing, Elder Gavin Hall happens to be in my zone, so I see him everywhere now!! Sidenote-our branch has 90 missionaries, the usual amount is 35 missionaries to a branch but we have more than twice that amount so we actually got assigned a third counselor to our Branch President. Our zone/branch is made up of all the Swedish (the 20 new ones that came in with me), the Norweigans (17 newbies), the Dutch who are going to Suriname and the West Indies and also the ones who are going to the Netherland/Belgium mission, the Danes, and our zone leaders are the only 2 who are going to Iceland! Pretty crazy group! Go Skandinavia and the West Indies! Oh by the way, you know how Norway claims to own the Vikings? Well it turns out that all of Skandinavia used to be apart of Sweden. So technically Vikings come from Sweden!! Sorry that was a long tangent, I just thought you all should know that!
The day usually goes: excercise, meal, personal study, class, meal, class, personal study, meal, class or study (sunday and tuesday devotional), planning and bed. Class time we learn about Swedish, but in a gospel sense. We don't learn about grammar or the basics of language, we learn about the basics of greeting, prayer and the gospel. Interesting way of learning the language, but definitely effective. This works better because we don't need to learn all the little things about the language, just enough about the things that matter most-the gospel; so we can teach all of those Swedes the gospel and let them experience the Spirit.
We did this a workshop about learning our purpose as missionaries and really digging deep on what that means. So you all know the purpose of a missionary, it's basically the 4th Article of Faith. I don't know why, but it finally hit me that the 4th AoF is so vital in missionary work, I mean it's all we talk about. I've noticed more and more about when I'm learning something or doing my own personal study, I get caught up in way cool spiritual experiences. Like the spirit will guide me to what I need to read or learn and then it just builds off of it and helps me dig deeper about some of the things I've already learned. I don't know how to give an example now but I will later, just be patient. Ah that was one thing that I have truly been working on. Patience and humility have been the main things that I'm trying to work at and be better. Because already I get a little frustrated about the language and people but then I catch myself and say I need to change. No matter how many times you think you're right or that someone else should change, that's a clue that you need to change. And so when I find myself thinking about these things I immediately stop and say a prayer to have my mind changed and that I can better learn from others what they have to offer.
In class we found out that we are supposed to teach an investigator in Swedish tomorrow (friday)!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I can barely even say a prayer in Swedish and make small talk, but now I have to share with her the gospel in Swedish! Let me just tell you that I have already grown my appreciation and testimony of prayer. I pray maybe 20 times a day now that I'm here; it's not a bad thing. Don't ever think saying a prayer is a bad thing. You should be doing that every day, regardless if you are on a mission or not; because that's how you build your relationship with Heavenly Father and grow closer to Him.
Friday: I made a promise to myself that the only weight I would gain here at the MTC is muscle weight; i've been working out really hard every day so Blake, Brady, and Ryan, get ready to experience a whole new level of chiseled when I come home. Yes that is a challenge to be better looking than me by the time I get home (obviously the humility thing I'm working on is going slowly...). Ok so in class Me and Elder H got down a basic lesson to teach Marta, our Swedish “investigator” and also a simple testimony to share with her. Needless to say, we said everything we wanted but didn't understand anything she said to us. We forgot to say a prayer, and honestly that's why things didn't go over very well. Things have been going better and we can understand her more, but I recently realized we haven't been teaching her. We have been teaching a scripted lesson because that was easier for us. No. That's not what we are supposed to do. We need to teach her what she needs to know, and what would benefit her with her circumstances by teaching by the spirit. That is what has been lacking from our lessons with her. No matter how good we may think we sound or don't, the ultimate teacher is the spirit.
Saturday: By the way this is taking forever to write. longer than the allotted time, oh well! Other than that, I have been strictly obedient to the commandments of the MTC, no matter how crazy they seem. Ok so our gym time is W,Th,F and then M, T, Sat we have our own personal excercise time, otherwise known as Elder Johnson's bootcamp. Yup, I'm whipping my elders into shape and working out hard, they kinda hate me for that, but I know it will be very beneficial to them later:) I'm still struggling with sleep but it doesn't bother me at all.
We talked with Marta today and it was cool being able to understand at least 75% of what she was saying!! Things are progressing for us, but we are far from where we need to be! I received Gina's package and I absolutely love it! Thank you so much, it is amazing! And thank you Karli and Blake for the package as well. But I feel like you guys are just trying to fatten me up. I'm trying to stay fit and gain muscle not fat, so help me out a bit:)
Sunday: Whew! I finally got to get out of that cramped class where we spend 10 + hours a day in there! So I need to tell you that I'm sorry I haven't been homesick, but I just love it here! The only thing I truly miss is mom's cooking and the solitude of my basement sanctuary haha. Other than that, I'm good. We had Priesthood together as a Branch where we talked a lot about the Atonement. My favorite line from Preach My Gospel about the Atonement is where it says, "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." That really means so much to me, I've heard it a lot but it rings really true to me in my life. I'm so greatful that through all of my trials and times where I think life is unfair, it can ALL, i repeat ALL be changed through His Atonement. He saves me, and that's why I want so badly to spread His word to all the world because that still isn't enough to repay Him for what He has done for me. I hope you all have a personal relationship with the savior because he makes all the difference.
Later our district took a walk up to the temple where we took pictures and just enjoyed the freedom of being outside and near the House of the Lord.
Not much happened after that than the fact that every night before we go to bed, the guys kneel down and pray in Swedish. oh i forgot, we also went to choir practice which we are performing tonight at the devotional. It is Nearer My God to Thee. The instructor was hilarious and told us the story behind the song. I knew it was about Jacob (isaacs son) but didn't know the whole story. I will let you study it out because it is a great story.
Monday: The days are finally going by in a goodly manner. What I mean by that is the days don't drag on and seem like forever. Now the days go by where I can keep track of what I'm learning and not be overwhelmed with everything that goes on. It was nice to have a break from language study Sunday, but now I am picking it up more and more. I almost lose track of the time studying the gospel and learning the language where i'm more mad that time is up. ha it's funny how that has flipped already! Brother D sat down with me and my comp and taught us how to truly teach Marta and other investigators rather than the lesson. It was frustrating because he wanted us to figure out what to do, but it made that much more of an impact because we had to study it out. These people in my district already feel like my family and we all have a great time together messing around and learning the gospel. At night we had a way crazy good ab workout with the zone so i'm feeling it now ha! At night we said goodbye to 2 missionaries in the zone by singing in their room (all the guys) with all 63 of us!! holy cow was it muggy!! But we decided we are doing the same thing when we leave the MTC:)
Tuesday: Today is P-Day, and I'm Stoked about. we did our service project and took a nap after laundry. I've written all this so ya I hope you like it! I love Dear Elder letters, handwritten letters (don't forget the perfume:) ), and also packages so keep em coming. I wish i could write more but i cant!! ah
People ive seen: Tyson Graff, Kyle Hansen, Kris Hansen, Branden Clark, Sam Tenney, Chase Evans, Kole Kiser, Jake Powell, Keiarra Cox, PJ, Chuck Emery,
Keep me updated, thanks for all the letters i wish i could address you all personally but thank you.
Jag alska dig (yag elska day)
Jag ar missionar for Jesu Kristi Kyrka av Sista Dagars Heliga (yag er me who an ar fer yesu kreestee sherkah ahv seestah dogarsh helleegah)
Love Aldste Johnson