Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 29, 2014 (Declan's letter)


July 29, 2014 From Declan's Mission President


Presidente Jose A. Barreiros
Correos, Casilla 149
Pajaritos 1921
Maipú, Chile
Fono: 56-2-531-2258

29 July 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Johnson,

Sister Barreiros and I were pleased to welcome your son, Elder Johnson, to one of the finest missions in the world, the Chile Santiago West Mission. He is well and happy, and we are impressed with his enthusiasm for the work. After greeting him at the MTC and a brief tour of the beautiful city of Santiago, we arrived at our mission Office. I interviewed your son. My Assistants and office missionaries then gave him a brief orientation to the mission. We had a delicious lunch together, he met his new companion, and that afternoon he left the mission home and departed for his first area of labor.

Elder Johnson has been assigned to work with Elder Balarezo, who will serve as his training companion. Trainers are chosen for their competence, patience and dedication, and are selected after prayerful consideration. With this letter we are including a photograph taken of your son and his new companion with Sister Barreiros and myself.

Please accept our deep appreciation for raising such a fine son. We feel a genuine fellowship with you in supporting and providing him this opportunity to grow spiritually as he labors to bring souls unto Christ. It is my prayer that the Lord will inspire us all to sustain him in this challenging assignment. Please write him frequently, weekly if possible. Express your love, support, and confidence in him. You will witness miraculous changes in his life as he engages fully in the service of others.

Being parents ourselves, we understand your desire to occasionally send packages. For your information, packages sent to your missionary through FedEx often require large duty fees which must be paid by the missionary. Those sent through Global priority mail, marked missionary supplies and valued less than $100 usually arrive duty free and within 2 weeks. But currently there is a mail strike here in Chile, so please communicate with your son through Email.

If you have any questions or if we can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate to write.


President Jose A. Barreiros
Chile Santiago West Mission


Elder Rowley y Elder BangerterMisión Chile Santiago OesteSecretarios Ejecutivos0225312258 / 94401463




MTC Question & Answers (July 23, 2014)

1. What does your typical day's schedule look like?

i wake up at 7 and eat, excercise and have personal study and get ready then i go to the ccm at 9:45. i then sit in a class for 12 hours and then go back home. it is my last week here though. i go to the field next tueday.

2. Do you get a full day for P-day?

we get 3 hour pdays

3. Do you get to play soccer?

no we play volleyball ping pong or basketball every morning.

4. What do you do to work out?

we run for 15 min then play sports.

5. What is your favorite thing that they are feeding you?

i love the chorizo. it is a sausage they give us almost every day. i eat empenadas from a little shack on pdays.

6. Do all of the MTC missionaries live in the same house?

no some of the mtc missionaries live in the dorms here at the ccm

7. Are there any natives in the MTC with you?

yes there are. they are hilarious. i love the peruvians

8. Are you learning the language?

i am definitely learning a ton. the gift of tongues is so real

9. Are you having fun?

i am having a blast but im ready for the field

10. What do you do on your down time for fun?

we dont have any down time

11. What is it about your companions that makes you like them so much?

we just get along really well. they are both awesome guys

12. What are you most excited about when you get in the field?

i cant wait to teach real investigators and try to talk to chileans

13. What are you most nervous about when you get in the field?

speaking to chileans and teaching =p

14. What food item do you miss most from home?

ummmm i havent really missed many food items yet... you can get most of it here.. just for like tripple the price

15. How many times have you gotten to go to the temple?

ive been 3 times. the last time was cool because i did work for a guy named andrew webb.


July 23, 2014

Hi everyone! i hope youve all had amazing weeks! mine was sooo amazing.

i have a lot to say and only 30 min to type it so im gonna get straight to it. this week was amazing!! sunday was awesome but it wasnt as amazing as other weeks. i had a ton of fun but it wasnt as spiritual for me but that is probably because i did it all in spanish and didnt understand it all.

2 days ago one of the elders that is in my group went home so one of my companions was transfered over to be with the companion that got left behind. now my only companion is elder ballard.

yesterday was actually the most spiritual nday ive ever had in my life though. for the first time since i have been here i really felt like a missionary. it was really cool.

so every day we teach progresive investigators. yesterday we taught an investigator named iris. she was born in the catholic church but was never really active and she didnt feel like she had a relationship with god and she felt like she had never felt gods love before. we prepared our lesson yesterday on faith. we were going to explain that through faith we can develope a relationship with god and feel his love. we also had the scripture ether 12:12 to share with her. as we prepared we prayed and planned diligently for her and for our teacher. i had also been praying to have the spirit more strongly in my lessons and to be able to see my investigators through gods eyes and feel his love for the investigators.

we got in the lesson and began our lesson. it was our first lesson with 2 people instead of 3 so i thought it was gonna be weird. it wasnt. it felt so natural. i was calm and so was elder ballard. we just talked with her a little bit and then began our lesson. we explained what faith was and how we gain it. elder ballard then shared a personal experience and then we shared the scripture. she read it and while she read it her whole countanence changed. it was visible. i then asked her how she felt when she read the scripture ( i was feeling the spirit sooo strongly and i knew she was too) she then explained to us some of the trials she had been going through and how the scripture helped her so much. it changed her attitude about many things. we then asked her to be baptised and without hesitation she said yes. we then bore our testimonies and ended with a prayer.

after the lesson ended the spirit was still really strong. she then explained that everything she had said after we had her read the scripture was her talking and not the investigator. she had been having htose struggles and she had been praying for help. for the first time since i have been on my misssion i was really genualy a tool in the lords hands. i really helped her. we answered her prayers and we helped her come closer to the lord. it was awesome. at the same time my prayers were answered because i was able to feel the love god has for her, feel the spirit and see her through gods eyes.

this is an amazing work im doing here. this is an amazing gospel. god is amazzing. i love this church and i know with all my heart that it is true. i know god loves us all and i know that he answers our prayers.

thank you everyone for reading this and keeping up with me. i love you all and i hope you all have a blessed week.

Love elder johnson

(For verification I asked Declan if he was teaching a real investigator or a fake one. His response):

It was a fake one. the teacher was pretending to be an invesigator she taught.

also today i am going to go prosolite for the first time and then on friday i go on splits so yeah... pray for me =p


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 15, 2014

Hello all!

i hope you all had amazing weeks. mine was spectacular. it flew bye so quickly though! it was unreal. the longer im in the ccm the faster the weeks seem to go. co

Im doing really well. i might be sick and congested but im going strong!

so not a lot went on this week. i honestly have no clue what happened on which day. the whole week was just a blur. sunday was the only distinct day i remember. i just love sundays here. they are so amazing. i am able to feel the spirit sooo strongly. and i have had multiple prayers answered each sunday i have been here. its amazing.

im slowly becoming a better teacher. its super interesting being in a 3 man companionship. lessons are kind of hard because all of us have so much we want to share but we are figuring it out. i feel like i can cotribute a lot more in our discussions. i might not now much spanish but i can get my point across =p

so i just want to share a quick message with you all. ai know that the true church has been restored on the earth today. i know that the church was restored through joseph smith. the church is the church of jesus christ of latterday saints and it has all the power and authority that the church established by christ himself. the gospel is true. i love this church and i love the book of mormon.

have a blesseed week everyone and dont forget to thank the lord for all he has blessed you with.

p.s. i survived a small earthquake. i didnt feel anything but i heard it. it was funny

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

The new MTC Group
The new MTC Group
Hi everyone! i hope you are all having amazing weeks! mine have been flying bye!!! it feels like just 10 minutes ago was last sunday. its been so crazy!

My district
My district

this week we switched teachers. i thought i loved my last teachers but these ones are sooo awesome!!! we talk in a lot more spanish in these classes. the language is coming. its by no means coming fast but its slowly coming.

so i just want to share one of my testimoney this week. i know that god is there. ive had my doubts in the past but after this week i have no doubt in my mind that he is. i have seen his hand in my life like crazy. i also know that when we pray we are talking directly to him. he also knows each one of us individually. this week has been kind of hard for me. i was struggling. i wanted to know why this had to be so hard. i felt like i had already given up so much to be here so why did it have to be so hard to learn spanish and to teach investigators. i bore my heart out to god and the next day in church we had a lesson about why this was so hard and why it is important for us to have challenges in life. it was so crazy. he answered my prayer almost immedietly. i also know that this church is true. this is the true church and it is the restored church of jesus christ. i know that the book of mormon is true. im reading it in spanish right now. though i dont understand a lot of it i have never felt its truthfulness more than i have these past 3 weeks. if you take time to really read and pray and ponder about it you will know of its truthfullness too. i love this gospel and this mission i have the oppertunity to serve.

i also love all of you. i hope that you all have blessed weeks and i hope you all know that through god all is possible.

The house I live in (this was Andrew's Mission home when he was on his mission)
The house I live in (this was Andrew's mission home when he was on his mission)



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014

hello everyone!

Three best friends. Elder Ballard, Elder Johnson, Elder Mertz
Three best friends. Elder Ballard, Elder Johnson, Elder Mertz

week 2 was pretty amazing. as soon as i finished writing i went to the temple. that was an amazing experience. i learned so much the second time through. and it is a tiny temple so that was cool too.

Morning teachers
Morning teachers
this has been an extremely spiritual week. i have felt the spirit sooo strongly. it has been crazy! i feel so uplifted all of the time. there are some hard times but it is mostly fun and extremely enjoyable. the language is getting better too. i am actually amazed at how much ive learned. in the two weeks ive been here ive learned more spanish than i did in the 2 years i took the class in highschool. im by no means fluent but i can stumble through a conversation.

so i really want to send pictures but i have no idea how to work this camera so im not sure if ill get any off this week.

Afternoon teacher
Afternoon teacher

santiago is a really cool city. i currently live in a 100 year old house in the east mission. we do our personal study there every morning and then by bus we get brought to the MTC. we spend 10 hours at the mtc in classes then we get bussed back to the house to sleep. thats my life. and i love it.

Afternoon teacher
Afternoon teacher
i knew i was going to gain weight on my mission but i didnt know it was gonna happen this fast... we eat so many carbs here. i feel like ive gained 10 lbs.

so this sunday was definitely the best day ive had out here. i got hit with a huge wall of the spirit. it was crazy. each week we are asked to prepare a talk for sunday and on sunday they call random people to give talks. i got called on this last sunday. the talk is supposed to be mostly in spanish and so i wrote a little talk in spanish but i shared an experience in english. the meeting was on prayer. i shared a story about a time i remeber praying harder than i have ever prayed before for the health of my sister. i was bawling... and so was the rest of the congregation. it was amazing. ive never felt the spirit so strongly before in my life.

Evening teacher (my favorite)
Evening teacher (my favorite)

i just want to leave you all with my testimoney. i know this church is true with all of my heart. it is the one true church on this earth. i know joseph smith is a true prophet and that he did see heavenly father and jesus in the grove. i know that the book of mormon is true. i also know that thomas s monson is a true prophet. i know that this is where i meant to be right now. i know that this is an amazing work that im doing and i am so excited to bring people unto christ.

My district
My district

i love you all. i hope you have blessed weeks.

The three amigos
The three amigos

love elder johnson

Elder Johnson, my little brother.  He is 2 weeks younger than me and arrived 4 weeks before me.  He just left to the east mission.
Elder Johnson, my little brother. He is 2 weeks younger than me and arrived 4 weeks before me. He just left to the east mission.

One classroom has no window so we made one
One classroom has no window so we made one
Elder Ballard
Elder Ballard

Elder Mertz
Elder Mertz