On May 9, 2011 Elder Johnson wrote:
Family and Friends:
Boy was it great to talk to my mommy and daddy and sissy. It was good to hear that you are doing well and that you are happy. I hope the rest of you all are also! It was swell to hear about your adventures and such.
Unfortunately, I am still really sick. I had kind of a rough night, and scrambling around for transfers has made me really tired. I'll eventually get over it, I suppose. I have decided to do everything in my power to avoid eating the lettuce here. It has become a bit too dangerous for me.
I am excited to be training, and to be in a new area. It looks to me like we have a lot of apartment complexes in my new area, so we will see how that goes. I haven't met my new companion Elder Schultz yet, but by the look of his suit (which I saw in the apartment) he is not a very big guy. I'll send pictures next week.
I love you all!
We had such a wonderful time talking with Iver yesterday for Mother's Day. We brought Shakira home from Ft. Collins for the call, sat around the phone (on speaker-phone) and talked non-stop for forty-five minutes! We had a little scare, and a hard time getting started, thinking maybe our calling card wasn't working, but Iver had given us the wrong number, and after about 50 minutes we got it worked out!
Here are some of the things he said:
As mentioned in his letter, he was "emergency transferred" today. He is very excited and nervous to be training a new missionary. We know he will be a fabulous teacher! Iver is such a great example of love and patience! He is quite sad, however to be leaving his latest companion, Elder Martinez. The two of them developed a great friendship that Iver hopes will always continue, and they did great work together. He is also sad to be leaving the many wonderful converts and investigators he has been working with.
Despite being "lettuce-sick", his spirits were high and had he not told us we wouldn't even had known! He laughed and laughed, which is exactly what this momma needs to hear! He said things in Spanish a lot, which he would follow with, "oops, that was Spanish!" And when Corbin tried to talk to him in Spanish he said, "Dad, I can't understand you, can you spell that?" So cute.
We found out that he HAS NOT had bedbugs, a huge relief to us. But told us about the gigantic la cucarachas that live with him. If you know Iver, you know that this is fun for him, as he loves bugs, but he knows they are not sanitary, so he scoops them up and releases them outside whenever he comes across them. He described their funny antics to us, like getting stuck upside down like they are "looking up at the stars." He finally found where they were coming from, the cabinet in their bathroom, and had decided it was time to wage war on them! Capture and release. Iver is so adorably kind and humane.
His socks are all worn out (sending him more!) and his ties are all faded from the sun. President Nancollas has asked all of the Elders to purchase a new white shirt for the upcoming general authority visit so Iver warned us that there would be a Wal-Mart charge on his debit card! I can only imagine how grungy those shirts get in the hot, sweaty, dirty city, with grimy drunk bums grabbing onto them and sometimes having to do laundry by hand! Mark of a fabulous missionary, though!
Shakira asked Iver to tell us about the mugging incident he wrote about a couple of months ago, and Iver just laughed..."How about I tell you about a different one? It happens all the time!" He went onto tell us about the drunk bum who demanded they give him money because his mother was sick. Iver said, "Tell us where your mother lives, we can bless her and pray for her!" Of course that wasn't what he wanted to hear, but after roughing them up and threatening them a little bit, he gave up and moved on. Now, of course these are not fun things for a mother to hear, but Iver knows he is on an errand of the Lord. He know his prayers are heard and that he will be protected. I know that, too. SO GRATEFUL!!
The mission was able to recently attend the Mexico City temple (I posted the picture above). Iver was very excited about that. He was especially struck by the architecture and how white it was. He loved that his ordinance work there was done in Spanish!
He loves Mexico City. Iver is a city boy and is definitely happiest in the city.
Iver expressed to us tearfully how grateful he is to be on a mission. He expressed his love for his family, and the precious gift of being able to be together eternally. He said, "I am just so grateful to be helping other families to have what we have!"
I can hardly believe that on June 9th, Iver will have an entire year of this mission completed. When we talk to him next Mother's Day, we will only be weeks away from traveling there to pick him up! I am crazy-thankful for this beautiful son of mine, and his service and sacrifice. We have been very blessed through it all. What a wonderful way to begin his adult life. He is most precious.