Monday, January 25, 2016

Blatant Frecura -- January 25, 2016

Happy Duarte Day! I'm calling an official end to the two week email hiatus. Sorry! Everything's just grand here in Consuelo, it's just been fairly uneventful and I decided to use my mental exertions in other areas. So it goes! But! On to the past three weeks!
It might not be perfect, but it's home.

So we were in a lesson this last week with this investigator we've been teaching and we asked if she had prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We'll call her Fulana. Fulana said that she had and that she'd received her answer that he was not in fact a prophet. After she prayed, she had a dream full of demons and in her dream, Satan himself came and told her (I'm paraphrasing here) that Elder Cuadra and I were crotchety old dandies and that we were full of cottonsnuff. Well crap. I was just about to weep and wail and rend my clothes, but luckily, before I could flex and shred my shirt into seven million immodest pieces, Elder Cuadra raised a finger and was like, "Hold on there, lass. When you prayed. Did you pray to God? Or to SATAN???!" Fulana about fell out of her chair. She choked and sort of quietly screeched, "God! I was praying to God!!!" And Elder Cuadra serenely said, "Well, if you prayed to God, then why did Satan answer your prayer?" Her eyes nearly popped out of her skull as she fell all over herself swearing that she'd been praying to God and not praying to the Father of all Evil and so I figured I'd take the moment and was like, "If Satan wants you to believe this is false, shouldn't you take a Book of Mormon break for about a week?" and she was like, "Yes! Yes! I'll read it all the way through!! Don't you folks worry!!" And she has been :) Haha, was it ethically correct? Maybe, maybe not. But dang if it didn't work.

So here in Consuelo, we've got a slight infestation of a thing called "frecas." A freca is a slightly unvirtuous daughter of God who missionaries can only appropriately describe with euphemisms. Around here, I'm quite the hot commodity among the frecas. Back in the states, I'm not the biggest
Pretty sexy stuff!
head-turner on the block, but here, my mud-brown eyes, pasty skin, and dignified rice gut are pretty sexy stuff.

Anyway, the other day, Elder Cuadra and I were walking down the street just after sunset. Off the starboard bow, a group of eight or nine frecas in varying stages of undressedness were walking past a nightclub. Suddenly, one of them eyeballed me and gave me a spine-shivering once-over. I pointedly looked away and started walking slightly faster. And then they stepped in front of us, stopping us in our tracks. The freca in front looked me right in the eyes and was like, "Hey, Rubio"- that would be me- "why don't you come crash at my place tonight?" My legs sort of turned to vanilla and I was like, "Uh, duh, gurr, blagh," and Elder Cuadra (who actually speaks English) nudged me and was like, "Don't say a word. Let's just bounce." So we awkwardly bumped our way through them and started walking away. Instantly their voices started complaining, "Awww, Rubio! Don't leave us hanging like that! We're nice girls!" And then, one phrase popped into my head. I didn't know if it was a spiritual prompting, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I turned my head to the side and screamed in English, "What's SHAKIN', bacon??!!?!?!" and Elder Cuadra about ripped himself a hernia from laughing so hard. We both chuckled around the corner. On the way home that night, we saw the exact same group of frecas walking toward us, but this time, when they noticed us, they just all stared at the ground and hurried past. Fist bump to Elder Cuadra. Awkward missionaries never die.

So I searched Missionary Moms FB page in search of photos of my
dearly beloved missionary and found only one...and he's stickin' his tongue out!!
At least he looks happy. :)
Just a short thought before we finish up here, and it has to do with salami. I really like salami, but it's been a long, long time since I bought a full salami. I buy a little chunk every now and again for some pasta or a sammich, but this week, I decided to buy the whole thing because really, it's more economic. And I was reminded of why I stopped buying full salamis. See, I like it so much that as I was walking past the cupboard, I decided to cut myself off a little slice. And then, the next time, I cut myself off a slightly bigger slice. And then, before I knew it, I measured the wrapper to the remaining meat and discovered that in just three days, I'd eaten a pound and a half of freaking salami. It can't be! I thought to myself. How is it possible? I only took tiny bits! And I was hit by a resounding truth. I ate salami. Because I had salami. Now...

Life is sort of like buying full salamis. There are things that are fun or pleasant, like eating salami or maybe watching netflix or playing video games or reading trashy fiction, but that are also not the best thing for you, like the abovementioned items. Ideally, we'd be able to control ourselves all the time and save the dang salami for when we were actually gonna need it or at least not hurt ourselves with it, but most of us do not have that great of a track record. The message? Be careful with how much of a thing you put in your life. Because if you have salami. Then you'll eat salami.

Have a grand week. Don't be dumb. Have an adventure.

Love always,
Elder Dallin Johnson

P.S. My companion is a banana. (when he's asleep)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Well, now...I think he's enjoying his mission -- Jan 18, 2016


I'm alive. I'm safe. I'm happy. I'm just a bit occupied today, hence the lack of much noise........


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where Black Meets White -- January 4, 2016

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 was a grand one. My mission is the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission, 2014-2016. Folks. It's. 2016. . . Yep so that happened.

I think the hairy legs and the kilts
speak for themselves.
Last week was transfers. In a blaze of hairy-legged Celtic glory, Elder Leiter peaced out to El Seibo, and I received a real block of a missionary. Haha his name is Elder Cuadra (Cuadra means block) and he's a Nicaraguan who is three months of age.

Consuelo ushered in the New Year very quietly. Despite surprisingly little noise on New Year's Eve, turns out that the grand majority of the townspeople decided to start the year off right by getting smashed and wiping out all memory of
having started the year off right. We found our [fifty-year old bushy-bearded] colmado owner sitting on a cinderblock, smiling at a fence post. When we asked him how he was doing, he looked at us, squinted confusedly and began twerking. He was happy, I guess. Haha I'd say that in all, of the 38,000 Consuelans, roughly 37,960 were hungover. The other forty were the Mormons.
This tie is our family tie. I was trained by Elder Miller who was trained by Elder Burningham who was trained by Elder Robertson and back and back.
My name is finally ON THE TIE.
Ai, but here we are in 2016! What an adventure we face. I remember that last year, I wrote this big old four page entry in my journal about all the changes I'd gone through in 2014 and then at their request, 
read it to the house. 
"The House", Elders Miller, Barlow,
Areas, and Johnson
Brother Barlow (that's so weird to think about it. Ew ew ew. I don't care if he's a civilian now. It's Elder Barlow) Elder Barlow just sorta looked at me and was like, "I did that too. This year. Well. I was in the mission."

Well, me too. But for all that the days blend together, I changed anyway (Elder Barlow did too, it was just a literary decision in juxtaposition, not a criticism, dang it).

Looking at that 2014 pic. Haha.
Almost couldn't stomach sending this. 

That is all.
This time last year, I was a monolingual trainee trying to figure out how to be the smartest missionary alive. I wanted to grow my hair back out. I didn't need the nutrition facts to count calories in hardly anything anymore. I occasionally said naughty words when I encountered cockroaches and I wrote quite a bit about cockroaches. And I wanted to know how on earth I was gonna survive my mission.

Today, I've been a trainer. I ain't no pro translator but my
173 lbs. and holding
Spanish is only half bad. I no longer want to grow my hair out (although if I can get rid of my ruddy empty beard patches in the next eleven months and get a girlfriend before winter, I'm doing No-Shave November). I no longer count calories because I can eat absolutely anything and stay at a solid 173 pounds. Turns out my metabolism works just fine, I was just a slug haha. I never even want to say anything stronger than "BLAST!" or an occasional "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!" I learned that wanting to be the smartest missionary alive is actually garbage, the point is that we should try to not rely on our intelligence; we're supposed to rely on God, if you can believe it. And these days, the mission is not a survival situation. If someone called me and told me a third year was in order, I would not be miffed in the slightest.

Yes, I'm so grateful for 2015. It's been one of the craziest, slowest, fastest, gut-wrenching, smooth-sailing, terrible, greatest years of my life. It's hard to compare with any other year because it's just been so bizarrely different. There's been no apparent life progression, no crazy romantic stories, no 4.0 gpas, no new first days of school, very few crazy spontaneous moments. It's been a lot of walking, a lot of boring, run-of-the-mill lessons, SO MUCH CHICKEN AND RICE AND BEANS, and frankly, my mission would be a terrible TV show. But then, there have been quite a few special moments. It'd probably be a decent movie. I digress.

2015 was incredible. I can't explain what being a missionary is like to anyone who hasn't actually done it. I wish I could, but there are some things that words can't convey. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else. 

The serial killer looking fellow there
is our branch president. 
Now, I don't know what 2016 will hold. I don't know how the final months of my mission are going to go. I don't know if I'll be able to stomach watching the 2016-2017 Chargers play (that's a joke, I'm going to watch them even if it means breaking out the paper bag as early as September). Heaven only knows if I'll ever be able to recover from awkward-R.M.-initis. But I'm excited to find out.

So what's that they saying on the street? 2016's coming at me?

Come at me then. Brah.


With love,
Elder Dallin Johnson