Mexico, Mexico City North Mission

Mexico, Mexico City North Mission

Monday, December 27, 2010


On December 27, 2010, Elder Johnson wrote:

Family and Friends:

Well, this weekend has been full of pizza, fireworks, lots of drunk people, and very little teaching (it's hard to teach drunk people, and lots and lots of people are not home at this time of year). My companion and I have been struggling to find people home. They are all out visiting their moms for the holiday.

This week was a great week to start off with, we found some great people (all of whom were not home at the end of the week) and were teaching a lot. Then Christmas Eve hit. People disappeared. I learned that the people here stay up all night on Christmas Eve. You could venture as far as to say that it is more important than the actual Christmas Day to them. They party and dance and drink (don't drink, kids. And don't do drugs, either) and the next day they are near-to-dead. However, we had a miracle happen on Sunday; we had someone come to church! It was really awesome! He even told us that he prayed about Joseph Smith, and felt a warmness in his chest! We are excited to be teaching him and his wife. Their names are Fabiola and Cristobal.

We were able this week to visit with some of the members here (they stay up all night, too, but they don't drink), and to share a little bit of Christmas with them.

My companion and I are doing well, at times he disagrees with me (usually about what bus to take, I'm usually right, I've been here longer than he has!), but we are doing well finding and teaching. I have been doing a lot more teaching with him! My Spanish is getting to be good. Getting there.

I love you all! I hope you have a good rest of the year, and a good start to the next one!

Elder Johnson
A note from Michelle:

It was so wonderful to talk with Iver on the phone on Christmas Day! He laughed a lot, which was just what we needed to hear! He is so happy and doing very well. He had a hard time with his English at the beginning of the call, really out of practice! Instead of saying yes, he always said, "si!"

Many people sent him Christmas packages, but only one made it in time for Christmas...Kevin saved the day!! He will have lots of goodies there soon, another Christmas!

He told us that even though he really doesn't like it, MENUDO (soup made from cow stomach) is his favorite thing to be fed because it is one of the things that doesn't make him sick! On Christmas day, a wonderful woman in his ward made him hamburgers, and he was quite thrilled! He has had enough of street tacos.

Iver has asked us to assist him in praying and fasting for him to find those who might be seeking for the gospel in their lives. We invite all of his friends and family to join us!

Yay!!! Love this boy with all of my heart!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


On Monday, December 20, 2010, Elder Johnson wrote:

Well, I'll tell you something funny. Here in Queretaro, we must be like a month behind you guys or something. I had no idea that Olive was going to be baptized! I knew she was meeting with the missionaries, from the letters I have been receiving...from like three weeks ago...But, hey! That's great news! Congrats Olive! I want to write you a letter but we don't have a "post office" here. I'm sorry. Just know I have been praying so much for you!

This week was kind of frustrating. Here in Queretaro everyone has a time called "vacations" where they all take off for a couple weeks to go visit their moms in the little pueblitos all around the country. Guess what all our investigators did this week? Yup. So lots of knocking on doors that no one is behind. Other than that, my new companion Elder Contreras and I are getting along very well. He's got a great personality that is helping me be happy more. He's a good hard worker and ready to take on our area. Hopefully we will have a baptism this transfer. That would be good. Yup.

Well this week is Christmas! We are goint to our Bishop's house on Christmas to make our phone calls. I'll be making mine around 7:00. We are going to have you call if that's possible. We'll get there and give you a call to make sure you have the number, and have you call back. I'm sorry about that, but it costs a bunch of money to call from here, which I just don't have. All is in order. All is calm. All is bright! We will only have 40 minutes to talk, so remember that. I am going to have to shut it down right at 40 minutes, OK? 40 Minutes. Groovy.

I hope you all are doing so great! Merry Christmas!
I love you!

Elder Johnson

A side note from Iver's mommy :)...
Since Iver did not include any pictures in this email, I wanted to include one of Olive's very special baptism day! Iver loves this dear friend so much, and is overjoyed at her joining the church! And we love and adore her, too!!

Monday, December 13, 2010


On Monday, December 13 Elder Johnson wrote:

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week is going to be difficult. It's the first time I have ever taken over an area, so it will shake things up a bit. It will show me how much I remember concerning investigators, Spanish, and member's names and addresses.

It's interesting being here around Christmas time. Most of the families have a tree and such, but what takes the cake are the nativity sets that they have. I've seen some that take up the whole front yard. Honestly, I don't know where they keep those things in the off-season. Yesterday was the birthday of the Virgin of Guadalupe. There were fireworks all night and hootin' and hollerin' until the wee hours of the morning. I find this funny because most people have no idea where Guadalupe is or how the belief in her (the virgin) came to be. It reminds me of a scripture in the Book of Mormon where someone (I don't remember who or where it is and I don't have one close to look it up) is talking about convincing the Lamanites of the wicked traditions of their fathers, and such. It feels a lot like what we're trying to do.

I don't have much else to say right now. I think that's because of the lack of sleep from last night.

I hope you are all well! I love you! Thank you for your prayers on my behalf!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On Monday, December 7, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Family and Friends:

Hello! I hope you are all doing well! My companion wanted to visit with the president today, so we went down to the city (two weeks in a row for me), and found my package waiting for me in the offices! Thanks mommy and dad for the treats and the love! I appreciate it! Also thanks for the letters! It's fun getting letters from the 8th of October, ha ha. Thank you all for thinking and praying for me around Thanksgiving time!

Sad news on the baptism front. The couple was supposed to get married, but we found out the night before that they didn't have all the paperwork done, which sucks. So they couldn't get baptized. I hope we can help them do that here in the next two weeks or so. I'm feeling some big responsibility this coming week because it's almost 100% positive that Elder Larranaga is being transferred (he's been here for about six months) and it's a lot of responsibility to take over an area. Our ward mission leader is also being released this next week, so that means I have to make friends with the new one (whoever it is) fast, fast, fast. It's not gonna be easy.

We are working with another couple named Manuel y Alma. They were studying before with the Jehovah's Witnesses, but feel more comfortable going to our church. They are so excited to be baptized, and we were able to teach them 5 out of the last 7 nights. We had a great lesson with them and a member who bore a powerful testimony of the power of prayer in conversion. I echo that testimony. If you haven't prayed, do it.

I had a good interview/conversation with president today. We talked a lot about obedience, and how to have joy in the mission. He gave me a lot of good points and things to try and to work on. I also was able to watch as he received revelation for the mission. It was pretty cool. You could see it in his countenance. He also told me about how some of the missionaries who came with me (and were delayed in other missions) are having a hard time letting go of their last missions. It's hard to hear that, because THIS is their mission, not the other one. It's hard for them to let go. It was difficult for me at first, but I'm working my butt off to try and change that (doin' pretty good so far) and he knows that! He told me also that the mission is the one place you are pushed to your absolute limit and farther than you have ever been pushed before. Amen and amen. "Now is the time to prove what you are made of. Satan's got your back against the wall. Are you going to throw in the towel? Are you going to run? Are you going to fight?!" I have a great mission president and I soak in his counsel every time he speaks.

I love you all! I hope you are well! Happy December!

Elder Iver Johnson

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


On November 30, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Family and Friends:

Good day to you all! I hope you are all doing so well! This week I was happy to have gotten a bunch of letters from various persons, and I thank you all so much! They made my month (since we really get mail every month to month and a half). This week was a pretty interesting one. We have two baptisms on Sunday, Diana y Omar. We are excited and a little stressed having to get everything ready for that, such as get them married and such. This will be my first baptism on my mission! Wow...six months in and I'm finally having a baptism! We ran into a great new couple this past week, their names are Manuel y Alma. They came to church on Sunday (after just one visit) and they have agreed to be baptized this coming month. They also need to be married (hmmmm...seems like a pattern here...).

I found out today that scorpions like to find their way into the baptismal font in our church when no one is looking and when it's empty. I haven't seen one yet, but we're going to have to clean that bad boy this weekend. I hope there's a scorpion in it! That would be cool. I went to Mexico City this week to sign some papers so I can legally stay here for the rest of my mission. We went to the immigration office and sat there for four and a half hours with about 100 people in a room that I decided would be excellent for a scene in a zombie movie, all the while having
nothing to do. That was fun. I had the opportunity to see some of the missionaries I came here with.

This week was kind of a turning point for me, because I started to really get along with Elder Larranaga. Until this last week, he did some things that just drove me some of the different culture things that are way different from my own. We had a talk about those things, and the both of us are doing a lot better now. We were able to understand each other a bit more and we are beginning to be friends now. The Lord told us that if we don't have the spirit, we won't teach. Sometimes you need to sit down with your companion and tell him what makes you upset, and him tell you what makes him upset so you can get the spirit and teach by the spirit, and avoid those other spirits which are not from God.

I've been happy to hear about all your adventures in your letters and I pray for you all a lot.

I love you!
Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, November 22, 2010


On November 22, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Dear Family and Friends:

First off: Send me the voodoo one (backpack). As much as I would like the camelback one, we only drink bottled water here, so I always have one of those strapped to me. Also, in my room I have a copy of Jesus the Christ somewhere (Talmage). Please send that also. Once again, thanks for the letters, they mean so much to me! I don't have time to read them right now, but I printed them off, and I'll answer any questions you might have written next week. I have the opportunity to go back to the mission office on Sunday, so I can get a Mexican Government ID card, and should be able to pick up my package with my pills and sweaters and any letters! Woo hoo!

This week was long and difficult, but good. We had our investigators with baptismal dates at church! Their names are Omar and Diana, they are a couple in their 30s, who aren't married, but are getting married on the 3rd and baptized on the 5th! Woot woo! They are firmly fixed on becoming an eternal family, and going to the temple! I hope I can go with them in a year! That would rock! We have other investigators who are firmly fixed on the traditions of their fathers, who need to be humble to accept that sometimes an answer from God will make you a little uncomfortable and you will have to feel like that before you can feel the good that comes from it. A lot of people here have problems giving up the Virgin. Love those guys.

This week the sickness of a different culture has set in. The potty has become a good friend of mine lately. Thank goodness I haven't puked yet. It's not too far distant, I can feel it.
The president said, "there will be a time in your mission when you ask yourself: how in the world can they fit 9 people on that little motorcycle?" I am pleased to say that that prophesy has come true.

I love you all!

Elder Iver Johnson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


On Monday, November 15, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Friends and Family:

First off: Mom and dad, thank you so much for the emails. The snail mail out here comes, but I haven't seen one piece yet, and probably won't for another couple weeks. That's been hard for me and I appreciate your emails more than you can probably imagine. I've been struggling the past week, and my day got brighter when I saw you both emailed me. How is Shak? I haven't heard anything about her for awhile. As far as a Christmas package goes...If you happen to find a place where you can get Keen insoles, in a size 9, I would use them, and also my backpack is getting to be old. I guess using it before my mission for school and such wasn't the best idea, and I should have gotten a new one. If you so desire to send me a new one, I would love that. I'd like it to be one I can use for the rest of my mission, good 'n strong, and rugged. This may even require a trip to the army surplus store. Thank you.

Well, I'm going to share something with you, this mission is a free mission for "dear elder." I invite you to use that if you so wish, but be careful not to misuse or abuse it. Only thought out letters, please, no quick little "hi" notes. Keep in mind that we do not get mail very fast here. It may be a month or so until you hear anything from me as far as written letters go. P.S. The pouch system works, too. I got the letters from the pouch the day I got here, forgot to mention that.

This week I decided that the Gift of Tongues is not only for languages. I think a big part of this gift in particular is being able to eat things that you just really don't like, such as onions, spicy things, and slimy things that you don't know what they are, even if your companion tries his best to describe them to you.

I found out today that I'm actually a lot better at soccer than I thought I was. I scored two goals (out of a total of about 16 goals with about 8 players on each side), more than my companion, who is a native from Mexico. Almost everyone here plays soccer, all the kids play in the streets, and all the open spaces have two goals somewhere in them. I also found out that the biggest grasshoppers in the world live here (not an actual fact, just my opinion, and I've seen some BIG grasshoppers before...).

This last weekend was Stake Conference. It was special because it was broadcast to all the stake centers around this part of Mexico, with special speakers: Elder Christensen (of the 70), Elder Bednar, and Elder Eyring. It was a very uplifting experience, almost like a mini general conference. It was cool to hear it in two different languages, and be able to understand both.

I had an interview with President this week also. He is a great guy, sometimes really nice, sometimes really sharp and to the point. He gave me some good advice about being here, about what I can do to feel peace and happiness in my area. The members of our ward are really great and they love to help out by giving us a meal or a ride, even the inactive ones.

Well, I love you all and hope you are doing well!

Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, November 8, 2010


On Monday, November 8, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Dear Family and Friends:

Well...this week has been strange. For one thing, Mexico is not hot. Especially here. The mornings are chilly and it hasn't gotten above 70 degrees here. Luckily, I have a sweater that my old companion, Elder Tapia didn't fit which he gave to me. The food is good and I haven't eaten anything too hot, yet. We are in a ward called Industrial. We have this apartment that is small. When we got there (another elder and I split up a companionship and an area, and we had to move to our area) we did not have running water. After some repairs that took most of the afternoon on Saturday, we now have running water, and an even bigger blessing: lukewarm running water (it's a lot better to shower in than cold water...just trust me on that one). We don't have cockroaches in our apartment (they wouldn't fit--they are big!) which is good. The floors are cement and the walls are cinderblocks. It's a nice place.

My companion is not from the states, but from Sonora, Mexico. He looks (to me, now don't get all offended) like Dustin Kendall but the size of Jared Kendall. It's weird because I'll want to say something to him in English, but he doesn't speak a lick of it. He only knows "holy cow." Speaking of cows, the milk in Mexico is different also. It comes in a box and keeps forever and you only have to refrigerate it after you open it. Yup.

I didn't get any pictures of myself this week, I just didn't seem to have time. I'm sorry.

I love you all!

Elder Johnson

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Mexico!

At 10:23 p.m. on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Dear Folks:

Well, here we are! We made it. I thought that our family lived in a big city, that is a false statement. I thought we were going to die at least four times getting to the mission home...You ought to look the traffic up...It's crazy. Yup.

I'm headed off to Queretaro, in an area called Industrial. I don't know what the town is called...but that's that. My companion is Elder Larranaga (with an enyay). He is a native.

They said to send all mail to the address you have, because it's the safest. Ship everything (including packages) through the United States Postal Service.

I love you!

Elder Johnson

Monday, November 1, 2010

Travel Info and Such

Hello everyone...just thought I would pass on this update we received from Iver on Saturday, October 30:

Hello Parents and Sister:

This week has been hectic: On Monday right after I emailed you, I got a call telling me they were going to pick me up on Tuesday and not Monday. I traveled to Salt Lake on Wednesday, and am at the MTC. We went yesterday to sign our "conpromisos" at the Mexican Consulate. I'll receive my flight plans Monday or Tuesday for Mexico, and be leaving as soon as Monday night (though I doubt that). I don't think I'll have much of an advanced notice to let you know when, so please don't be upset if I call you at 1 a.m. from the airport on some day next week (probability: slight).

Another thing: I started having bad stomach pains on Monday, saw the doctor on Thursday (the soonest I could get there), they stole my blood (twice, once on Thursday, and once yesterday), and told me I have a stomach ulcer, which is funny because I never imagined I would get one of those. He gave me some pills and some instructions to get it healed, and it shouldn't affect my traveling at all, so don't worry about that. I'm doing just fine, and the doctor thinks so too.

Other than that, it's been difficult re-adjusting to the life at the MTC, which is a lot slower and not nearly as fun as the field. It's a good opportunity to study and to do things I needed to do (I bought a picture of President Monson and laminated it. Boo-ya.) and get geared up for when my life really actually turns into all Spanish. Speaking of, my Spanish is doing really well. I understand about 98% of what I hear and read, so that's a bonus, and my accent is one of the best one's in my district of 28. I'm pretty stoked to get down to the land of Nephi's inheritance!

I love you!
I'm doing well!!

Elder Johnson

Monday, October 25, 2010


Dear Family and Friends (who are also family, even if they don't know it),
This week was a nice one. It's as cold as ice up here now, and I was saved at the last moment by good thinking on my Mother's part. I was able to borrow a coat from the mission office, which I actually have to return very soon. It was warm, and it worked. Thank you.
We were able to teach some good lessons and to help some very wonderful families come closer to the Savior. We taught the Munoz family, who want to be sealed in the temple, and the Arriaga family who want a church for their kids to grow up in. They both know it's true, but haven't accepted it yet. It's too bad that I won't be able to be at their baptisms.
I got a letter this week from my Dad that said I was going to be leaving soon, and i was like "great.... there we go getting Elder Johnson's hopes up." I thought that for two or so days, then President Palmer called me and told me in his goofy half New-Zealand-half-Texas accent that my Visa had come through and they were shipping me out on tuesday. That was cool. Then I got a call from the Mission Office telling me that they had decided to send me out a day earlier, and that they were going to pick me up tonight. Needless to say, It's a good day, and a frazzled day. I'll be in Mexico very soon. Not too long from now. Yup.
I've had the oportunity to learn some great things. One, for instance, was paitence. Yup. Another was obediance. In Mexico, I may not have learned this principal, but here in Warsh-ington, under the hands of the masters of obediance themselves, yes even Elders Arcia, Gleed, and Tapia, and President Palmer, I was able to learn this principal and will apply it in Mexico. Sweet.
I love you all!
I'm sorry that I won't be writing any letters on paper this week.... I have to pack. I love you!
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


From Michelle on Oct. 19:

Good Morning All:

Wow. Got some terrific news this morning. Iver has a visa. He will be travelling to Salt Lake City the end of this week or the beginning of next week to sign papers at the Mexican Consulate, then should be in Mexico City by the end of next week!

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I believe that Spokane has been a wonderful detour, and he will go to Mexico very, very prepared!

Maybe hold off on letters for now...I will get info up on mailing to Mexico soon!

Love: Michelle

Monday, October 18, 2010


On October 18, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Family and Friends:
Greetings from way up north.

This week we tracted into this little old lady. She was really nice, and she let us come in and talk to her and her husband, while she sat and sewed in her rocking chair. We had a wonderful lesson with her and her husband, and we set it up nicely to introduce the Book of Mormon, and when we took it out and started talking about it, I thought she was going to die...She got all red and was really upset, telling us about how false it was, and about how she had the Bible, and didn't need another one (it reminded me of 2 Nephi 29: 6-7, you can look that up on page 110 of the Book of Mormon, or on I was sure at one point that she would get up and try to stab us with her needle...Nice old lady. I hope she at least lets someone tell her more about the Book of Mormon before she dies. She'd make a killer relief society president. We also tracted into this guy, who was busy at the moment, and didn't want to talk to us. We were telling him about how we believe that God has restored the true church that Christ set up, through a prophet. One of my companions asked if he believed if that was possible and he squared up his shoulders and looked deep into my eyes and said, "Si. Yo soy." So that was weird. Yup. He said come back later. We'll see how that goes.

I didn't take any pictures this week...But I'll try to do better next week.

I haven't heard any news about my Visa for Mexico yet. I know from someone somewhere that the travel office at the empty sea (MTC) and such are really working their butts off trying to get those things done for us. I appreciate that. I emailed the president to ask him if he has heard anything, but he hasn't written me back. It's starting to get cold here, and I hadn't come prepared to deal with that...So he'll let me know what I should do. Other than that, I'm enjoying the opportunity I have to be the zone leader's companion. We have the opportunity to go on "exchanges" every few days, which lets me meet new missionaries, and learn lots of new things, such as teaching styles. We have been doing good work out here in Othello First ward.

I love you all and hope you are doing well!

Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, October 11, 2010


On October 11, Elder Johnson wrote:

Hello Family and Friends:

When the Prophet Joseph Smith lost the pages of the book of Lehi, he was thrown into a deep despair, and for awhile, he lost the gift of translation. He was unable to work for awhile on the Lord's errand. His mother bore record of him calling on God to forgive him. She said he called Him by an interesting name. He called Him "my God," not "Father" or "Lord." This, my friends, is interesting to me. It make me think, really, truly: Who is "my God?"

Our God, as defined by our religion, is the father of our spirits, He is the creator, He is perfect, He is a personage with a body of flesh and bones, He is all-knowing, all powerful, He is a person defined by love, He is a person who works by faith. We fail to recognize sometimes that there are times in our lives that we aren't obeying the commandment, both the first of the Ten, and The First Great Commandment (Matt.22) that states, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3)." The gods that we could possibly have that are not God, don't necessarily have to be idols, but could be as simple as saying, "I can do that, I don't need help, I am a pro." I appreciated the talks this last conference on pride and how it is the "original sin." Who, WHAT, is MY God? Do I spend my time marveling in the strength of myself? Do I continue praying, wrestling in vain, to change the will of God? Do I withhold the thanks that I have in my heart for God, and instead give praise to them, or to myself, who I can physically see?

Where is my heart?

The answer can be found through study, prayer, and submission. All things that we see as trials today, God sees as things that will build us up. When we are able to see this and believe it, and work everyday to get closer to God, that's when we know we are following that commandment. That's when we know who our God is. That's when we can call him "My God" like the Prophet Joseph.

My God loves me. My God is concerned about me. My God works wonders. My God sacrificed His only son for me.

And I love My God.

I love you!

Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, October 4, 2010

On October 4, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Greetings My Friends and Family!
Two cool things happened this week. One: we are officially in the "you could be called at any time to go to Mexico" time, and two: I had a really spiritual experience that has showed me the potential of a friend on mine, especially concerning missionary work.
We are teaching some good investigators. One family is named the Enriquez family, they are six in total. The parents are not married, but are moving towards it, and the kids (except one) all support that. They have good potential, especially the wife who attended a session of General Conference. Another family we are teaching are named the Lopez family. We began teaching their son, and now are able to teach the whole family, except the mom. They are stuck on why we need to go to church, and why we need to read the scriptures. We are trying so hard to teach them that. We are also teaching the Arriaga family, who have great potential. The father even came to the Priesthood session on Conference!
Other than that, my companions and I really are starting to get along better, and are really enjoying the work. They had training this week and were in Moses Lake the majority of last week, so I got to go on splits with Elder Stewart, who is green like me (except was in beginner Spanish). This week I learned that I know a lot more Spanish than I think I do! Lot's of pressure when you are the only one who can speak it (well...). We were able to do really good work together, including (but not limited to): Working in the local food bank, being interpreters for the people who speak Spanish, and tracking into and having a great lesson with the local Presbyterian Minister.

Well, I love you!

Elder Iver Johnson

P.S. Included are pictures of a cool sunset (and the prettiest part of Washington I have been in so far), a dead skunk, some of my ward mission leader's piranhas, and me with a cool old jeep!

Monday, September 27, 2010


From Michelle:

Before anything else, I would like to express my gratitude to all of Iver's friends and family. Thank you for your letters of love and encouragement to him. Thank you for your prayers in his behalf. And thank you for your donations to his mission fund. Corbin and I do not know who you are, but we are eternally thankful.

First, some excerpts from a great letter we received on Friday (9-24-10):

Dad and Mom:

...Fresh corn tortillas, spanish rice, carne asada, green salsa made with fresh peppers, black beans, and a squirt of lime makes my tummy happy, while we sit at the table, discussing why it's necessary to have a prophet in these days. The rain thumbing and falling, from skies dark and stormy, with peaks of the sun through the cracks in between the clouds.

I just thought I'd write you and let you know how much I appreciate you writing me letters and telling me you love me and are proud of me. It makes me really happy to know that I do that. It gives me a bit more motivation, makes me happy. Keep them coming please, they really do mean so much to me....

P.S. It's 10:00 p.m. now. I just got a call telling me I was not going to East Wenatchee, but to Othello. I'm now going to be in a trio with the zone leaders. Hmmm...we'll see how this goes. I love you!

And on Monday, Sept. 27 Elder Johnson wrote:

Hello Family and Friends:

This week was interesting. For those of you who do not know, I was transferred at the last second to Othello where I am in a tripanionship with Elders Gleed (from Hawaii) and Tapia (from Chiuahuah Mexico), who are zone leaders. What does that make me? Not really anything. Elder Tapia is cool and really nice and seems to like having me around. Elder Gleed is pretty swell as well, but doesn't like having a "mini zone leader" in his companionship, solely based on the fact that I have only been out in the field for two transfers and they have been out for close to twenty months. So sometimes it's frustrating, but I'm working hard and trying to be happy, and do my best to support them and help them to the best of my ability.

I was typing my email to my (mission) president this morning and I was working on it for 40 minutes and it got deleted, so I had to type it out again, so I didn't have a huge amount of time to type THIS one.

But I love you! I'm working to be happy and starting to succeed! Thanks for the letters and support!

I love you!
Elder Johnson

Monday, September 20, 2010

East Wenatchee

First, a note from Iver's mom:
PLEASE MAIL HIM A LETTER, all of you who love Iver!! A happy encouraging one!! He really needs your love and support right now!! The address listed here on the blog is the one you should use. Please also remember him and that visa in your prayers, if you would.

Now, on Monday, Sept. 20, Elder Johnson wrote

Hola Familia y Amigos:

So, I'm being transferred. I'm going off to East Wenatchee, which is a good 50 miles away from where I am right now. I don't remember my new companion's name. It's something with an "S". We'll be in the Spanish Branch up there. It's going to be difficult leaving Elder Arcia. I had been given some advise from Elder Christenson in the quorum of the seventy, about getting settled in and going to work, and right when I get around to doing that, I get transferred. Dang. I do not know what my new address is, but if you keep sending the mail to the mission office, they'll get it to me somehow.

We ran into this guy named Antonio this week who is going through treatment for tuberculosis. We have to teach him outside because he can't be inside his sister's house without a mask, and even then he has to stay in his own room. He is really excited about learning, because he can't work right now (he can't be in public for the duration of his treatment, which also means he can't be baptized for awhile, and can't go to church for a few months...) and has nothing else to do. We also ran into a lady named Leticia who is an inactive member, and is inactive because something funky went on between her ex-husband and someone in the congregation, to the effect of her being seriously offended and hurt, and hasn't been back since. She needs a lot of love and patience on the part of Elder Arcia, and his next companion.

Please don't hesitate to send me letters, even if it just says: WE LOVE YOU on it. I devour those letters, and they really will help me, especially over the next few weeks.

I love you all!

Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, September 13, 2010


On September 13, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Familia y Amigos:

A few things I have learned being on a mission:

1. Dogs are of the Devil. Their sole purpose in life is to stop missionaries from spreading the Gospel. I've never kicked a dog before my mission.
2. It's really hard to talk to little old black ladies.
3. It's good to make friends with everyone around harvest time!
4. The Mexican way of eating corn (boiled with mayonnaise, queso fresco, and hot sauce) is really good.
5. If you wave at people in cars, and you are wearing mission clothes, about 50% wave back, and about 5% wave with the middle finger.
6. Why did I bring P-Day clothes?

My branch is called the Moses Lake Ninth Branch, it covers all of Moses Lake. We have six missionaries in total working in our branch. There are about 100 or so people who come every week to church, not all of which are members. It's good, but we don't get very many dinners out of it. We had a dinner this week with our branch's second counselor's family. His wife made this soup that was incredible. It was simply elbow pasta with chicken broth and tomato soup, and when you eat it you put in some sour cream. I'm telling die for. I was excited when my companion told me they eat that a lot in Mexico.

This week we had the hardest time finding new investigators. We tracted almost everywhere, it seemed, and to no avail. We're working on things we can do this week to do better. We are still teaching that guy named Juan. He came to church yesterday! That's the first time since the missionaries contacted him almost a year ago! He also had one of his best friends (who is a member) move into the branch, who has the same desire to get him baptized! Sweet! We had a lady drop us this week. We set up an appointment and when we got there, she had put a note on the door that said she couldn't talk to us any more and that she "is Catholic, and nothing more." It was kind of like those couple times in my life where I was broken up with through a letter, ha ha...She'll come around. She's just denying what she felt.

Next week is transfers. Sweet. So if you decide to send me a letter after Tuesday or so, send it to the mission office, they'll be able to track me down. Most of the other guys who were re-assigned were sent back to the MTC after one transfer so they could sign all their visa stuff, and burn rubber to Mexico. Needless to say...high hopes, but IF it does happen, it'll be hard to leave my investigators.

Well, I love you guys! I hope you are doing good!

Elder Iver Johnson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


On September 7, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

Dear Family and All You Other Folks:

So there is a sister in my branch who is from Aurora Colorado and who used to live in Castle Pines. She was in Grandma J's seminary class and is friends with Lindsay. Her name is Sister Naylor, and she's pretty cool. I guess. Yup.
This week we have been working with a Couple who's names are Julio and Bianca, they have a lot of questions and we are teaching them to pray and ask God to know if our answers are true. Bianca told us yesterday that it was either our church or the Jehova's Witnesses' church she wanted to join, but she needed to know for sure which one. Unfortunately: 1. we can only invite her to pray, she has to actually do it (which is hard for some odd reason) and 2. Her and Julio are not married, but they have two (really cute) little kids. So the law of Chastity lesson is going to be fun.... We are also teaching a Lady named Blanca who came to church last week, and told us to come visit her. She is looking for a church because she wants to have a family in a little while and wants a church for them to grow up in. We have a member who went through the same thing and wants to have a lesson with her in his house with his family, which will be great (If we could get into contact with her)! We are also working with Sandra and Felipe, who investigated the church before but didn't have time to keep on with it, but have a little more time now. We committed them to read the Introduction of the Book of Mormon and to pray.
My companion and I are having a good time together. He reminds me a lot of Mohamed (I don't know if you ever met him... he was a friend of Kevin and I. He lives in Sudan where he is going to school). Except elder Arcia is from Mexico (via Texas) and not Black. Ha ha. We had a great conversation about time last week (when no one wanted to answer the door) I'm sure you would have loved it, Dad.
I don't know if I told you, but Elder Glover came to Spokane with the rest of us. He actually got assigned to an area right next to mine, and he lives right across the hallway in the basement we live in. He's a great kid and a hard worker, and I'm excited I have the opportunity to work by him everyday.
I was reading in Alma 27 about Ammon's happiness at seeing his brothers after years and years of missionarry work. I have been praying a lot to feel that joy, even a little bit of it. It's hard work! Joy doesn't just come from asking for it. Joy comes from being thankful, willing, searching. Joy comes from seeing some one smile or even smiling at them if they yell at you. hard work.
Well it's time to wrap up. I love you! I pray for you!
Elder Iver Johnson

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elders Arcia and Johnson

On August 30, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Hello Family and All You Others!

Well, Moses Lake is still here, ha ha. We haven't been taken up to heaven yet, but we're still hoping! We don't have any investigators with baptismal dates yet, so I don't have any of those pictures. However, I can tell you about them. We are teaching Francisco y Geronima and their three children. They are Catholic, but don't practice much of it. They love to talk about the gospel and love learning about OUR gospel. They started to really open up last week, we are excited about that. They have so much potential! We are teaching Jesus (you would think he'd already know about the gospel, right? ;) ) and his wife Monica, who are also Catholic. He is not interested at all, but she is, and since their house is small, he kinda has to sit in on our lessons. They are really nice though! They can't seem to get a grip on God and Jesucristo having two different bodies. We are teaching Juan, who is in his 20's. He's had all of the discussions, but is afraid to go to church. We are trying to get members to help us teach him so he will feel more comfortable in church. He has a son named Jonathan, who is 4 and never, ever wears a shirt, but he is cute as could be. Please pray that we'll be able to find more people to teach, because as cool as these guys are, they aren't progressing fast, and the Lord needs as many hands to help build up the kingdom as soon as they can (want to) start.

There is a secret they don't tell you in the MTC about the real world: There are actually people who believe some things (not usually our church, but others) enough that they would die for them. They have "prayed and asked and received an answer" and will never change. I'm happy they believe something. Most of them are nice and say no thank you or dismiss us with a smile, but a small percentage try to preach right back at you. They are genuinely concerned for our souls. They think the Mormon Church is "an abomination" and desperately try to save us from "the wrath of God and hellfire." I had someone tell me I was going to hell this week solely for believing what I believe. That didn't bother me too bad. As a matter of fact, it built my testimony. I know that there are people that are out to stop the kingdom of God, and they will do anything to do that. I have a testimony. It's renewed everyday when I bear it, when I pray about it, and when I feel the Holy Ghost testify of truth. It's a good thing I love people!

I bear a witness that the Savior of mankind did live, did die, and is living again. He restored his true church through the farm boy Joseph Smith, who He called to be a prophet, a seer, and a revelator to open the final dispensation. We have a prophet on the earth today who talks with the Lord daily, if not more frequently. This knowledge I have cannot be taken away from me. I bear this as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in his name. Amen, and amen.

I love you!
Elder Iver Johnson

P.S. Proverbs 25:25......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sign Said: Welcome to Moses Lake

Please note the address change for Iver from what I previously posted:
Elder Iver Johnson
820 S. Pine St. Suite 101
Spokane Valley, WA 99206

Please send any mail to this address instead.

Now, on August 24 Elder Johnson wrote:

The sign said: Welcome to Moses Lake, WA, which, I think was poorly named. The lake is funny shaped and looks more like a river, and is incredibly shallow. There are about 30,000 people here, it looks a lot like The Meadows (in Castle Rock), with half the money (10,000 people at least) who all own potato fields. The other 20,000 people work for them and live outside city limits in trailer parks. Guess where I am?! Yes. I was assigned to the trailer parks speaking Spanish to the people who work the potato fields. So...Spanish, which is good. Personally, I think it should have been named "Trailer Park City," with the 'r' backwards. You choose which 'r'.

My companion is named Elder Pablo Arcia. He was born in the mission am headed to (eventually), but grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He is a hard worker and incredibly polite to everyone. We'll take some pictures and I'll email them next week.

This week was not incredibly easy. It was the best, most frustrating, hottest, spirit filled, wonderful, exhausting, thrilling week I have had yet. I got the worst homesickness I have ever felt in my life, and also felt so much joy seeing someone feel the spirit for the first time, and recognizing it. It was a hard and great week. I'm having some trouble getting used to working like a missionary and accepting that I'll be doing it for the next 21 months. Rome wasn't built in a day. Pray that the construction crews work faster, will you?

Please write me! Missionaries love to receive mail after a long hard day! I cannot guarantee I will be able to write back all the time, but I will pay you for the stamps you use to write me when I get back, if you so wish!

My mission president is wonderful, He's been incredibly helpful this first week. I'm happy under his direction.

I love you all! I miss you! Write!!! I love you!

Elder Iver Johnson

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fabulous News!!

From Michelle:

I got to talk to Iver on the telephone yesterday! What a crazy-wonderful surprise. Through tears of joy, he told me that he has been temporarily assigned to serve in the WASHINGTON, SPOKANE MISSION until his visa for Mexico arrives!

This is such a blessing...Iver wants to be out working and practicing his Spanish. We are so incredibly grateful for all of the prayers and support from our family and friends.

Iver will leave the MTC early on Monday (Aug. 16) morning. I will update his address as soon as I have it.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On August 10, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Hello Family and Such!

First order of business for those who are concerned: I am sorry I have been spending so much money. I've had some medical such and such creep up. I have a bad "head cold" right now, and I needed to get some medicine, and last week I had to get a shot, and before that was the doctor visit I had for my headaches. So needless to say, I've spent a lot on trying to feel better. I am sorry.

I love you guys so much!

Elder Sonntag and Elder Hawkins left yesterday, early in the morning. They are now in Portland. My new companion is Elder Ballard, my district leader. We get along well and are having a good time so far. He is cool. We have the opportunity to go to the temple everyday, which is great. The rest of the day is basically study time. According to the MTC, missionaries who are delayed are just here eating food and taking up room until they leave. It was pretty hard, though, to see those guys go out to their missions. All we can do is pray and eat the otter pops that the sisters in the travel office have for delayed missionaries. I guess it could be worse. We aren't required to go to the Call Center that's cool. We probably still will to stay awake.

I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants this week and had a cool moment as I was studying section 90 verses 14-16. But these verses use the same wording as a part in my Patriarchal Blessing, and got me thinking about that.

Being sick is making me terribly tired, and sluggish which I don't like. So I'm sorry I'm not going into too much detail.

I received an assignment from my branch presidency to go to the temple everyday, and to learn how to prepare talks and give them without ever writing them down. It's good to know that I have an assignment. Gives me something to focus on.

There are 130 missionaries going to Mexico delayed before me, so the chances of being reassigned are pretty thin. I'm not too worried, though. I know that I'm stuck here for a reason, I just need to figure out what that is and work hard on it. Mine adversity and afflictions will be but a small moment.

I love you guys! I have about ten minutes left. I'm going to log off and if I think of anything else I want to tell you, I have time during laundry.

I love you!

Elder Iver Johnson

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


On August 3, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

Hello Family, Friends and Those Not of This World!

Well...Elder Sonntag leaves in a week. He leaves on Monday morning at the crack of dawn. It will be cool to see him off. After he leaves, I'll be companions with my district leader, who is also waiting for a Visa. Next Monday will be the last time we have an actual teacher, our "old" teachers will receive a brand new baby, smelling strongly of plastic and machinery, district, and we will be kicked out. The cool part is: we have the whole day to study, and go to the temple. Guess where I'll be as often as I can get my companion to go? That's right!! The temple!!

But with all this change is ushered in the opportunity to be temporarily reassigned. Montana, Mississippi, New York. There are a lot of possibilities within the U.S. of A. Where, oh where will it be? The average missionary is receiving his Visa about four to eight weeks after he is supposed to leave the MTC. Which could be worse. It'd be kind of cool to be able to actually learn Spanish in the field somewhere, before going to Mexico to be laughed at. Keepin' my fingers crossed and my knees raw.

I was reading in the scriptures this week, and I came to a word I didn't know, so I grabbed my Spanish dictionary to look it up. Then I realized the word was in Spanish, then I realized I was reading Spanish, then I realized I was reading the SCRIPTURES in Spanish. That was cool. I understand about 95% of them now. I really enjoy the first part of Mosiah and King Benjamin's conference talk. I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed, this week, Alma chapters 40 to 42. Good reading if you do so prayerfully.

Other than that, the week has been like the others, except I had my first good experience in the Call Center! I talked to Alisha in Baltimore, who is struggling with drugs and wants to "say 'yes' to Jesus." Please pray for her, she would really appreciate it. I'm going to go put her name on the Prayer List at the temple here in about thirty minutes. She's really nice.

Mom, I hope you are doing well. I appreciated the package and ate the cucumbers right up! I hope you received my map. I'm sending you a letter today about something I have spent time pondering and praying about which directly involves you, and something I believe the Lord needs your help with. Expect that letter via USPS. I love you!

That about wraps it up on this end! I love you! I miss you! I pray for you!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Note From Mom...

To Iver's Family and Friends:

Iver is down to two weeks until he is supposed to leave the MTC. As of now, he still does not have his visa. Please pray for him, that the visa will come, and he will be able to get to Mexico to be with those he was called to serve.

Thanks! Michelle

Now the good stuff...

On July 27, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote...

Hello Family and People I Love!

...Our district has the opportunity to be "hosts" tomorrow, and to greet the noobs and take them to their classes and such. That will be fun.

The temple is open again! Woo hoo! We are going there in about an hour.

I found some swell scriptures this week: Philippians 4:13 and 3 Nephi 12:11-12. I enjoyed them immensely.

We had a cool thing happen yesterday as we were aimlessly wandering about contacting and bearing our testimonies to other missionaries. We met a guy from Nebraska and he was going to Wisconsin speaking Mong, and he had only been here for about six days. My companion, Elder Sonntag, had begun his testimony about families (we usually have a theme, and it differs). When he finished, the Spanish words I wanted to say would not form in my mouth, so I asked him in English about his family, who are all active members of the church except his brother who is sixteen and pointed in the wrong direction. The Spirit kept telling me, as he was speaking (almost audibly), "Do not speak Spanish. Bear testimony." So I did, I told him why I was doing it in English, and bore testimony to him of his example for his brother, and that he needed to tell his brother he loved him every P-day. When we finished, the elder sprang up with wet eyes and gave Elder Sonntag and I a huge hug. Elder Sonntag told me later that as the Elder was talking about his family he was prompted to tell me to speak in English, and thinking, "he better not do this in Spanish." Cool contact. I hope he follows through.

I was told a story about a soldier this week who in battle was near a grenade. He was able to get away, mostly, except for the very bottom part of one of his legs which was instantly turned into hamburger. The medics had no morphine and only a dull baonnette to amputate his leg in the middle of his femur. Imagine that pain, on the battlefield, in the mud, no morphine, a bunch of soldiers holding you down while a few others cut off your leg with a dull baonnette. All this agony caused him to bleed out of one, one little pore on his forehead.

I love you!

Elder Iver Johnson

Mom: The veggies look awesome! I'm so jealous! The veggies here are cooked to death and are all totally mushy...I love you!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On July 20, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote:

You know you have been at the MTC for a long time when your dreams end in "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." That, my friends, is weird.

Hello Family, Friends, and Those I Love!!

Well only three weeks left in the clin-I mean the MTC. Three weeks left for my companions! No visa for me quite yet. I might be here a while yet.

All here is...the same. Still waking up every morning with a smile (my companions are NOT morning people, and don't smile till around 10:00 or so), and going to class. Still learning and teaching. Still doing my best in the call center. Same old.

We had a cool experience this week. Last Thursday, Elder Sonntag and Co. auditioned for the devotional musical number, and were chosen (we all knew they would be) to perform the next devotional, now two days ago on Sunday. It was cool to see his mug up on the screen singing like a pro. He's gotten, so far, around 226 comments since then on how it was "the best performance in eight weeks" and such. It was cool to be the proud companion on the sidelines, occasionally frantically signing to him to stop playing with the bottom of his jacket. Good ol' Elder Sonntag.

I had a request to write my testimony in Spanish in my next email, which I am willing to attempt to oblige:
Yo se que vive nuestro Redentor y Salvador. Yo se que no podemos sentir solo en este mundo porque Jesucristo sufrio y murrio por nosotros. Yo se que Dios envio su hijo, Jesucristo, para que nosotros tuvieramos una manera a venir a nuestro Dios y padre. Yo se que Jose Smith fue e es un profeta de Dios. You se que porque El es el mismo ayer, hoy, y para siempre tenemos un profeta en el mundo hoy. Su nombre es Thomas S Monson, y las palabras de El son las palabras de Dios. Yo se que El habla con Dios cada dia. Dios nos ama, mucho mucho mucho! Dios dio familias para que nosotros pudieramos aprender, ensenar, amar, y tener gozo y feliz. !Yo se que mediante la Expiacion de nuestro Salvador podemos regresar a Dios para siempre con nuestras familias! !Que gran es esa bendicion! Escribo estas cosas en el nombre de nuestro Senor, el hojo de Dois, Jesucristo, Amen.

I received a package from the ward last week! It was wonderful and full of missionary-minded goodies! I am so thankful for it and for all the prayers and works that go on behind the scene to get me to where I am going! I thank our Father in Heaven everyday for the support I enjoy! I know that there are hundreds of people, some who aren't yet alive or who have already received their promotion praying for me! I love them and so look forward to seeing them someday!

I love you! I miss you!
Elder Iver Johnson

Thanks mom for the pants and the package!!! They fit and we loved the little baggies!!!

On July 13, 2010 Elder Johnson Wrote to His Mom:

.....I just got back from a devotional where I learned about love and hard work. It was great, but not what I really learned about. I was told by the spirit that, yes, it's two years. Yes, it's a long time; but my family and those I care about will be taken care of. It made me happy and made me feel better about that.

The spirit is such a great tool.

When I am teaching, and if I'm prepared, I won't lack words to use or say. If I have prepared and practiced and petitioned for the spirit, and I come to a word in Spanish I don't remember, the spirit shows me the way around it, or different words to use instead.

...I put one of our family pictures out so I can see it everyday!

I love you, mom!

Elder Iver Johnson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pictures From the MTC!

I apologize for the quality of these photos. Iver was not able to send them electronically. Only three weeks left in the Mission Training Center, then off to Mexico City on August 10th!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


On July 13, 2010, Elder Johnson wrote:

Hello Family!

First order of business: my district has been eliminated. My companions and I were moved to another district, new teachers, and a new branch. That's just how missionary work is though. My new MTC mailbox number is 96, but Tuesday is still my P-day.

A few words about some things: The Provo temple is interesting. It was built in the 70's and looks like it; weird shape and slightly resembles a muffin with a lit candle on top of it. The inside is large and has many stories. One thing is for sure, I like our temple's organization system way better...Not that it's bad here...This is one of the busiest temples in the world, which is cool, but...I don't know...Gotta love Utah.

The cafeteria had "gyros" for lunch a few days ago...They weren't anything like poppa Pete's.

The USPS recently put out some stamps entitled "Cowboys of the Silver Screen." They don't sell them here, but if you feel so prompted, I would enjoy some for the remainder of my time here, to put on my letters.

My companion Elder Sonntag is auditioning for a musical number for one of our upcoming devotionals, along with the accompanying piano, there is a cello part. Being in the practice room with them made me remember and miss the nights I would fall asleep to Shakira playing her cello. She is way better than the guy we have, but I don't dare tell him that. Some people can really bear testimony through music, like Shakira on her cello. This last Sunday we had a devotional from Jenny Oaks Baker, who is the youngest daughter of Dallin H. Oaks, and a violinist known around the world. It was cool because Elder Oaks was there, and the whole devotional was music. You ought to look her up, she can really play.

I came across a scripture in Mosiah (3:20) I think you will enjoy.

Our new district leader held a testimony/getting to know each other meeting a few days ago. I am excited to meet and get to know and work with my new district. At the end, our district leader told all the new guys what he admired about them. He told me that I was wonderful and meek, and when my investigators look at me they will see Christ. It touched me and my heart was burning inside me, a testification of the truth of the Gospel and of my Heavenly Father's love for me. I love to teach and am so excited to go out and do so, because I so want the people I teach to feel that love that radiates from Him for us!! I know my Savior lives! Because He lives, I am! Because He lives, I can live forever! Because He lives I never ever ever have to be alone! Because He lives I can be with my family and those I love, happy, forever! Because He lives, I can believe something enough to teach it! And I DO believe!!!

This next week will be interesting getting to know new teachers, but it won't be too bad. The guys in my district are great, hard working guys, and they will be great missionaries.

I love you all so much!!!

Elder Iver A. Johnson

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Honk Honk (This is Iver's title, not mine!)

On July 6, 2010 Iver wrote:

Howdy Family, Friends, and Whoever Reads This Letter!

Mom and Shak: Thank you so much for the package! The pants are good. The treats were good. And the pictures are sweet! I loved being able to see your faces again! Dad: Thanks for the Salmon info. Thanks for the picture of Estellar (Stella). It's cute and really captures "her". Give her a pat on the head for me.

Unfortunately, the computers here won't let me put pics with my emails, so I am sending some picks via super-slug to my mommy, and grandma, and grandma. If you desire to see my face, please flock to those areas near the end of this week.

This week has been pretty good. While I'm still having troubles in the call center, I'm slowly progressing. This week I received a letter from a Kendall (I don't know which one...but I know it's from their address). I have been receiving a letter from them every week or so, with the heading at the top, "The Gospel According to Spaulding". This week I received chapter 3 which was about Spring Training (baseball). I was really touched that said Kendall sent me this particular letter. There was a part about working on things one piece at a time, and it helped me to really see the big picture. While it was Gospel mingled with Baseball, I found it incredibly wonderful and uplifting. Please find said Kendall and thank them and let them know I am thankful for their letters.

While searching the scriptures I came across a scripture in Alma (Alma 26:25-26ish) which basically states that if we put all our trust in Him we will receive success. Thanks to Ammon. That scripture plucked at my heartstrings, and I continue to strive to live up to the point where God will give me success because of my faith and hard work.

We had the opportunity to teach in Spanish the "second" lesson, and I had the personal opportunity to teach the Atonement. How beautiful the Spanish language is! How descriptive! How lovely sounding! One of my companions described it as "the language of angels," and so it is!!!! I'm progressing well and my tongue is becoming looser as I practice!

We were able to watch the fireworks on Saturday from the "ring of fire" at the BYU stadium. It was cool. The work for fireworks in Spanish literally translates to: artificial fire. It was especially cool when everyone began to sing "Army of Helaman." There are a little over 2000 of us in the MTC now. We are as the army of Helaman, and that has never made so much sense to me. I almost cried. But I didn't.

I doubt not. For my Mommy knew it. I love my mommy. :)

Tell the ward hello, and give them hugs for me!

I love you all very much! Be safe! Be smart! Pray always and be believing!

Love: Elder Iver Johnson

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Joy of the MTC :)

On June, 29, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote:

While I was reading the Doctrine and Covenants, I came across a verse in section 24 (verse 13). It loosely said that the apostles of the church (or "elders", the one's who's task is relatively the same as ours) have power over poisonous serpents. After I read that, I did some research and found that Christ himself promised that to his apostles. Cool fact. It gives me hope.

This week has been OK...There are, from my research, two types of missionaries. Those who like the MTC, and those who don't. Does it affect the quality of the mission? I don't think so. There are just some people who don't like the boot camp like feel of the MTC, those who don't like to have the same schedule everyday, or who just don't like to fit into a "groove". I am one of them. I'd like to point out that Jesus is as well (at least from my vantage point). Instead of sitting around, trying to teach those who wanted to accuse, he was out blessing and serving. He, like me, would have wanted to be out in the field, learning as He went, and teaching, instead of being in a classroom. The class He would have taught, including Peter, James and John, was hands-on, in the moment, "do what you feel you should do now and we'll talk about what you did well and what you think you need to work on later" attitude.

We live in a slightly different generation, where instead of just sending you out, straight to the field, you learn how to speak first, learn the lessons first. Is it better? Who can say? I probably would have been happy going out without much notice or training like Dan Jones or Joseph Fielding Smith. But alas, in this day we have training first. The Lord, through a prophet, set up this training center, so I smile. Grin. Bear it. Nod along. Six more weeks.

We had the opportunity to be edified on Friday from Elder Dalin H. Oaks, who taught us about how this church is true and how it is different. It was wonderful, and I had the opportunity to be in the presence of six other apostles of the Lord, including Bednar, Nelson, and Christopherson. My testimony grew from the knowledge that they are called of God. You can feel it when they are just in the room with you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Excerpts From Letters So Far

On June 9, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote...

Hola! It's the first day at the MTC and our zone leaders have asked us to write you a short letter. It was crazy after you dropped me off; I was escorted to a room where they gave me my card that gives me food, took my picture, asked me a dozen questions in spanish, whisked me off to an office where they gave me a room key, and took me to my room to drop off my stuff. The Elder who was with me then took me to the bookstore where they gave me boat loads of books, mostly in spanish. I was able then to meet my companion. His name is Elder Sonntag. He's from Arizona. He reminds me a lot of Tyson, I like him and we're going to get along great.

On June 15, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote...

I have two companions, Elders Hawkins and Sonntag. Elder Hawkins is from California and is a surfer, he's 6'3" and has wavy blond hair. Elder Sonntag is a lot like me, he did theater in high school and sings, and plays the ukulele (self-taught also). They are both going to the Portland, Oregon Spanish speaking. We all share a room with 2 desks, a "closet" each, and 3 drawers each. We sleep in bunk beds, and I have the top one which is really hard to get out of and into, especially in the dark...I have been assigned as the Senior Companion in my companionship.

We have class every single day (except Tuesday) for like 14 hours...ha ha...we started on the day you dropped me off. I'm already speaking more and better Spanish then I did in Spanish 3, and it's been 6 days. My teachers are really cool. One's name is Hermano Haight, he went to Salt Lake City South on his mission, Spanish speaking. Our other teacher is Hermana Walters, she went to Mexico (I can't remember the mission...), and she has a glass eye. The lessons are all centered around Preach My Gospel, and are all in Spanish.

The food here is...cafeteria's good, and filling when it needs to be, but it's mostly bland. I really do appreciate that last American Hamburger I had, though I wish I could eat another. I'll just have to wait. They do have peanut butter here, and I eat it often.

Doug sent me a package with girl scout cookies and candy and papers and pens, and it was awesome. I got it on Saturday, and it was wonderful. Please let him know I appreciated it muy muy muy mucho.

If you can, please send me lots of dear elders, it gets really lonely here, being in a classroom all day, and getting your letters helps so much, more than you might be able to comprehend!

I love you guys soooo much! I miss you and look forward to seeing you in two years!!

P.S. It's true, I knew how to pray in Spanish at the end of the first day!

On June 22, 2010 Elder Johnson wrote...

Greetings! Well......what a week. First full week. Yee haw.

We have been studying the life of Christ this week in our companionship study, mainly the books in the New Testament. It's interesting to note the slightly more snarky remarks of Mark, in his gospel, compaired to the bland straightforwardness that we know as Matthew. We decided to name our district (my idea) the "Sons of Thunder", a name given to a few apostles by Jesus...Mark 3:17.

There have been some difficult experiences this week...I've spent lots of time on my knees trying to overcome these things...The reading of chapter 12 in Ether has helped me with this...I know that when I exercise faith and DO IT, in the Lord's name, that this weak thing will become strong to me.

I appreciate the letters and the packages, and am attempting to write back when I can! Usually every Tuesday, I write my letters.

Another note, this week is the week when the new mission presidents will be trained, that means we'll have General Authorities come speak to us! Perhaps even a member of the Quorum of the Twelve!!! We have a special devotional set aside from our normal routine to hear from a "guest speaker". I'll let you know all about it next week!! I love you!!! I miss you! Two years will come fast(ish)!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our family traveled to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to drop Iver off. He will be at the MTC until August 10, when he flies to Mexico! And so (with too many momma tears) it begins...