Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hola from the good ol Chile!! Atleast what’s left of Chile. Where should I start? Well, the night of the good ol Earthquake it was about 3:40 in the morning and I was just laying in bed asleep and then woke up because my bed was starting to shake. Well, it didn't stop. Kept on shaking and it started getting harder and harder so I sat up in my bed and was like, ''Noall, Noall!! What’s goin on man?!!!'' He woke up and was like, ''I don’t know!!'' and then we realized, ‘Hey its an earthquake!’. So we hopped out of our beds way quick and tried to get out of our room without falling down because the whole house was shaking at this point. We made it out of our rooms and stumbled towards the stairs. Made it down the stairs without fallin, luckily(Noall almost fell.haha) Got down the stairs and ran towards the door(We were hearing glass and stuff crack and break.) Finally found the keys and we made it outside. Once we got outside it was slowing down and it finally stopped after being outside for like 40 seconds. It scared me a little.(lol) We went back inside after that and checked out the damage. My books and stuff had fallen off the table and my toothbrush and stuff fell off the counter. Elder Noall's tie collection fell off the tables. The thing above the toilet fell off and shattered all in our bathroom. We had a window crack and another one is shaking loose because all of the caulking fell out around the window. Our lights got cut off but they came back on in the morning. During the night we were feeling aftershocks and we've been feeling aftershocks up until last night. I guess there were three in the night but I didn't feel them. Other than that though, we are all ok. Our sector didn't get hit very hard but our community did. Our Community is called Puente Alto if y’all want to search it out. Some buildings fell down and smashed some cars and alot of the buildings are starting to crack around here but all those big buildings are more up towards Providencia which is in the Northern part of our Mission. All of the Missionaries are ok.

On a much happier note, the work is going good here. Patricio is the one that should be getting baptized but he needs an interview and we need to finish teaching him. He is working alot now so its hard to find him in the house but he went to church yesterday with his buddy Wladimir so thats always a good thing. We are also teaching this other girl right now, her name is Carolina(20). She is way ready and reads and prays all the time and is wanting to get baptized. Her Baptismal date is for the 21 of Marzo. If y’all could keep them in your prayers I'm sure they would be very grateful.

Alright, so about Elder AC. Um, I'm doin good. The Spanish has been hard for me these past couple of weeks. I don’t know why, but it feels like my understanding diminishes sometimes. I dont know if its because I'm not paying good enough attention or if its just because I'm needing to study the language more so I understand more of what they are saying but, this week I'm going to try and really study hard so I can get this Language down!!

The Gospel and the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ are the greatest gifts that we have in our lives. With those things we can be ready and confident in what’s going to happen. I am so thankful for you all in my life. I can always count on my family and friends. I love you all and hope this finds y’all doing great. This Gospel is true and it changes lives.Woop Woop!!!!!!! I love y’all!!!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hey Everybody - I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and a happy 2010! Wow, its hard to believe that time goes by as fast as it does!

I am currently serving in area of Santiago named 'Los Toros'(the Bulls). Its a more affluent section of the city, and the people tend to be a little more cold and harder to teach, which makes the work challenging. This is a view of the Andes Mountains from the front door of our apartment.

This past week my companion, Elder Rasmussan, and I had a few stomach problems! Its the middle of the summer here and all the fresh veggies are in season, especially corn and beans. We've been eating just like the Chileans and have over-indulged! Thank goodness for indoor plumbing! Speaking of stomachs, this delicious dish is tripe(cow stomach)! Tastes just like chicken?!?

My Spanish is really coming along and I am doing a lot better when I am talking one-on-one with people. Prayer works! I can really understand just about everything people say to me now, even with their Chilean accents! This is a picture of my companion and me...

We began teaching a guy named Edmundo last week. He has cancer and is about 60 something, pushing 70, and has the potential to be a good investigator. We have an appointment with Him in a little bit. Hopefully it works out.

Thank you for all of yall's prayers. I can feel them work in my life every day.Prayer is amazing and you know what else is? The Gospel!!!! Its amazing and true. I have seen it change peoples lives! Jesus Christ gives us hope in this crazy world of ours and He truly brings peace to peoples' lives!!

Take care everyone and I'll do my best to keep you all updated. Thanks for your friendship and for staying in touch!

Elder AC

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hola Everyone! - Alright, this week was something else. My companion Elder Evans and I didn`t have alot of time in our sector this week because we had meetings every day. It was quite a crazy week. We got to see our investigators that we needed to but it was just crazy. The one day that we thought we would have some what of a normal day, we got a call the night before telling us that we would be moving the next day. So that day turned into a day of chaos.
Sunday ended up way good. We had two baptisms! The lady that was smoking, Gina, got baptized, and a kid by the name of Sebastian(11) got baptized. It was a crazy but amazing Sunday! Everything that could go wrong did but it all ended up working out in the end. Satan works the hardest at us on the days of baptisms. He ain`t got nothin on us!!!!! I got to speak at the batismal service of Sebastian. Its crazy because now I`ll start thinkg about stuff and I find myself thinking in Spanish. Haha never thought that would ever happen. The Spanish is coming along though. You just have to keep using it and listening to people. But back to the baptisms. Gina is the grandmother of a girl that got baptized 4 months ago and had been listening to the Missionaries but was just really stubborn. The first time I went over to her house I could tell that she was a stubborn lady and then she changed. It was so amazing! She stopped smoking! She prayed with real intent and Faith! She let the changes happen! If people would just listen to us they would see that we are here to help them, not to change them for the worst. I think that has been the hardest thing so far. They think that we are there to destroy their lives or something.
Its alright! You just have to keep going. The work is amazing.
So it sounds like everybody is on the mends with the colds and the flu. Answering some questions;
For Thanksgiving, it will just be another day in the good ol Sector of El Valle i think. Nothing Special unfortunately.:( The weather here is weird! It will be 94 out one day and then 76 the next. Pretty much like Florida and feels like home. Its growing on me. Oh we moved out of our pension(apartment) because it was basically the worst pension in the whole mission:) I liked it though. I was sad to leave but its nice being in a good pension now.
The work is tough. You have your tough days and your good days. You just have to try and make those tough days good.
The Gospel is true and it does change lives. I`ve seen it in the Mission and also in my life. Its amazing. We have this wonderful gift of the Gospel in our lives. We are So blessed. We really are. I`ve been reading in Mosiah and I`ve learned from Abinadi that with Faith, we can do anything. Thrash nations, bring people to the waters of baptism, climb those Andes Mountsins in our lives, anything. We just have to have faith and pray. Pray and have FAITH, READ THE SCRIPTURES, KEEP OUR COVENANTS. Those things. It is all here for us. We are blessed so much. I love you all so much!!! The church is true. Never forget that. I love yall!! Can`t wait to hear from yall next week.I will be praying for all of you. Yall are always in my prayers. I love yall!!

Elder AC

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

HOLA!!!! Wow, halloween has come and gone!! Crazy!! Halloween was actually pretty low key, I´m not gonna lie. We had some service work for that family that we baptized my first week here and then we went to some appointments that we had and then we went home. Pretty much your average day.

We did change times here too, so we are on Eastern Standard Time now.

I´m glad that most of the family could be together for Halloween in Idaho.

Everything here is going great!! No baptisms for us this week because our investigator Gina smoked a cigaro so she couldn´t get baptized. It was okay though because when we told her she couldn´t get baptized because she smoked she said that thats ok, I can do it. So this week she said she wont smoke a single one. She can do it! There are 4 Missionaries in our ward. Elder Evans and I, then Elder Saenz(Mexicano) and Elder Jiminez( Chile). They had a baptism, so that was awesome. Great experience overall!!
The church members here are really amazing!!! Elder Evans and I got to know some of them here pretty well this week. They are really awesome and want to help us out in any way possible. Thats what the Missionarnies need. People like y'all who are willing to help them with lessons because with another church member present, the Spirit is so strong its amazing!
Ok, I fell off the top bunk!!!! I´m ok...I was going to talk to Elder Evans, who was on the bottom bunk, and because of my smooth silk sheets, I slid right off!!HAHAHA. I´m ok though. I think I´m putting on some weight here. Its the truth. I think I´m getting fat, but I´m loving every minute of it! Candy and Soda and Pastries uhh. I´m coming back fat and it is going to be great.hahaha.
Wow, the Gospel is amazing. Is it not? It truly changes lives. I know that because it has changed my life. We are so blessed to have this gospel within our family and in our lives. The Atonement of Christ is such an amazing thing, too. It is for everyone. Wow! I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father and he loves each and every one of us and he has a plan for all of us. We might not know what that plan is sometimes but we just need to have Faith. Faith truly does move mountains! Maybe not mountains like the Andes( not right now) but those mountains can be figurative mountains that are in our lives. I know it does because Faith has helped me over Andes-size mountains in my life. This church and the Gospel of Christ are true. I know it with all my heart. I love yall and thank everyone who has written to me. I love yall!!!!

Elder AC

Monday, October 12, 2009

Como Estan Familia?!!! Wow, Chile, I´m here!!!! I can´t believe it. It has been amazing so far. Where do I start? My trainer is Elder Evans. He has been an awesome trainer and really has taught me alot. He´s from Kentucky/Utah. He´s an awesome Missionary and companion.The work here has been great. We had three baptisms yesterday! It was such an awesome experience. I´m going to upload some photos for y'all and my videos from my flights.

Talking about my flight. It really hit me when I stepped foot on that plane that nobody on the plane would actually understand a word that I was saying. It was an eye opening experience I´ll tell you that. I sat next to a Chilean man from the west part of Santiago. He was way nice but didn´t really understand alot of english, but he spoke some. But back to the work.:) It´s going great.

Like I said, we had three baptisms this past Sunday. It was 2 sisters and a brother. Their Mom and older sister are members but they aren´t so we finished baptizing the family. The water was so cold that the little girl almost didn´t get baptized because she didn´t want to die when she went under the water. Haha she conquered her fear and was baptized. We have two others with a baptismal date but we´ll see how those hold up. One is very promising but we´ll see about the others.

When we contact people you don't knock on doors; you actually stand outside and yell at them. You just say HALO way loud and then they come out and you talk to them.:) SPANISH, SO FAST!!!! Wow, I didn´t know people could really speak that fast; its crazy!!! I really don´t understand any of it but I´m staring to pick up some here and there. Just have to keep on going and talking as much as you can and have faith. The spanish is coming along though.:)The people here are way nice. Sometimes they try and talk to us in english and we just talk to them in english for fun and they don´t understand a single word that we say.

The food here is way good. They put Palta on everything. Palta is just crushed up Avacado, Guacamole(Dont know if i spelled that right). Its way good. You would love it MOM. By everything I mean everything, or almost everything. They put it on the McChicken sandwiches at McDonalds. I haven´t had them but they look way good. If you are looking for spicy food, Chile is defintely not the place to come. It is very bland. They dont have enchiladas a lot or tacos. There are a lot of soups and squash and rice and chicken.

Oh Yea! So this is the layout of our day. We wake up at 7:30 because we pushed everything back an hour since the people stay out later so we don't come back to the pension until 10:00. In the morning we have Personal, Companion, and Language study and then we head off to lunch. We don't have dinner appoinments here. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. They have something at night, its called 'once' but we not really supposed to have it with members. Don't really know why. So we have lunch appointments rather then Dinner appointments and then we have our appointments during the afternoon and then come home at 10:00.

The Mission work has been awesome so far and I´m so pumped that I´m here. Please send me all of your questions, I love answering them. I´m going to try and take some more pictures this week. It sounds like everyone is doing great. Thank you so much for your email, I loved it and I love yall. So for no pictures. I have to figure out how to upload pictures so I´ll send some next week. I promise. Can´t wait to hear from yall. The Gospel blesses lives!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Rachel and Robert and their kids, Spencer and Madelyn, got to see Elder Johnston off at the Salt Lake Airport Monday. He looked great and was excited about finally getting to Chile. His spanish is really coming along! He was able to tell Robert, who served his mission in Peru, the whole First Vision in spanish. It was amazing! We are so proud of Andrew and we can't wait to hear about his first week in Chile!
Waiting for Uncle Andrew...
Checking in....

Elder Johnston and Elder Riding (his companion)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Off to Chile!

Hola everyone!

I leave for Santiago, Chile tomorrow afternoon! These past 2 months in the missionary training center have gone by so fast, it is hard to believe. My Spanish is better and I now definately appreciate all that my Spanish teacher tried to teach me in high school.

There have been some very spiritual experiences for me here and it is hard to describe how great it is to be with other missionaries who have the same goals(and hopes) as I do.

I am so excited to go to Chile and work with the people there and I am very pumped!!

Thank you to everyone that has been praying for me and writing to me while I've been here. Your examples have been a real strength to me and I appreciate everything you all have done for me.

The Gospel is true and I'm grateful for the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and for prophets on the earth who receive direction from our Savior, Jesus Christ, to lead the people of His Church.

Elder Andrew (AC) Johnston

P.S. My folks are going to try to update the blog each week with my emails from Chile!