Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) October 22, 2013

HEY!!!  It is so good to hear from you!  This week has been a little rough but I am adjusting well.  It was hard to understand the African accent for the first couple of days.  And my companion is 24 and he was a teacher here in Accra for a while before he came on his mission so he just talks and talks and talks and doesn't really follow any certain plan so when we teach I kind of have to go off what he is saying, it is pretty challenging sometimes but we are getting it.  He has a good heart and a strong testimony :)  
 To answer your question about the airport the man that was sitting next to me on the plane said it the best when I asked him about the airport, I asked him how big it was and he said "it big...but Africa not like US, everyting small in Africa, it big for Africa, but small for United States."  :) 
 The time change has wrecked me...all the African elders get up at like 5 every day and sing really loud in the shower so I get about 7 hours a night, plus I'm trying to adjust to the time change, I am absolutely exhausted all the time.......  I have just about everything I need, thanks for thinking of just about everything :)  Anyway, it is quite an experience here.  Today we went into the main city of Accra to the temple...street venders are everywhere tapping on your windows, so we bought some plantain chips called red red...they are really good but I ate so many I got sick :p  But everything is really cheap, a huge bag of cooked plantains cost 1 cedi or 50 cents.  I can buy hymnbooks for 35 cents here!  Oh could you please post all this on facebook?  Some of my friends sent me messages on facebook because they wanted to get on the e-mail list so maybe you could check that as well please?  Thanks :)  
The temple is TINY here,........  Anyway I have some photos I will send you, and a video, but it still cannot capture what it is like here.  To compare how I feel every morning when I wake up try this:  Walk into a sauna and sit there for about 20 min in just your garments, then put on church clothes and dance around for another 20 min ;)  We will just say this, I was just as wet before I got in the shower as I was when I got out ;)  Also, the drivers here are nuts.  They just use big trucks as taxis so they will put like 60 people in the back of a moving van and make a killing, and none of the roads have any speed limits so they drive as fast as they want.  The freeway is 2 lanes, but in actuality it is 4, and if you want to get around somebody you drive into the other lane that is heading the opposite way, and weave through them, while tryign not to hit motorbikes going every which way, and people running across and trying to sell stuff to you, and random goats and sheep walking around picking through the trash.  There is trash everywhere...everywhere.  The country is gorgeous, but they don't manage the land well at all.  I am learning how to teach very well though, our main instructor, brother Eguko from Nigeria, taught us how to involve the investigator and teach according to their needs, ........  
Anyway, ummm some meals we've had...I have eaten chicken, and when I say chicken I mean the entire thing, bones and all.  Also a fish, they just chop the fish in three sections, head, middle and tail, and leave all the skin and bones and everything, and you just eat it.  I am eating well becasue I am not picky, but ya I have had some strange things.  And the native elders say that they often eat cats and dogs.  Dogs and sheep and cattle and stuff just run wild everywhere.  We drove past a ghetto today and when I say ghetto picture this:  A cattle saleyard that hasn't been used for 30 years and is falling apart and rotting, and then people move in with all sorts of animals and just live in the pens with them.  My companion told me to stay away from their because it is where a lot of the gangs are.  And they said to stay in the lighted areas after dark because people will attack you if you are in the dark alleys or near concealed shrubbery.  They also taught me how much most things are so I don't get ripped off when I buy stuff at the markets.  I am going to go grab my chords to send the pictures quickly.  Anyway, I love you all, I hope that answered a lot of questions!  I am feeling the spirit a lot and making small talk often with my companions.  I love you!!!!!!!  And I miss you!!!!!!
Until next time,
Elder Johnson

 (One of the meals served at the cafeteria in the Mission Training Center in Accra)

We have a lot of African Elders here, some from Ghana, some from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, South Africa, Madagascar, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Cote D' Ivoire, Liberia, Uganda, D.R. Congo, and a lot of other countries.  They are all very cheerful and happy people and it is fun to be around them, they are truly pioneers for their respective countries.  The Elder from Burundi is the first Elder ever to serve from Burundi and he is here with us!  How cool!
  I am finally starting to realize that I am gone for two years.  At first I got kind of down but now I am happier.  I never realized how much a missionaries family means to him!  I ABSOLUTELY look forward to getting e-mails from you guys every week, it is the highlight of my week!  I am glad to do the work of the Lord and am seeing how great my life was back home.  Life is very hard for many people here, very hard.  I need to take you here someday so that you can see the amazing place I am living in here.  Heavenly Father loves all his children, and has given us a way to bless all of them, and make their lives better, even if I can't bring them out of poverty.  Anyway, I love you all!!!

 Alex and his companion in the MTC.  They are pointing at their name tags to show they are real missionaries.

                                Some of the newest missionaries in Ghana.  Alex is the tallest :)

                             Alex and his companion outside of the Temple in Accra, Ghana

 This is one of the Government buildings in Accra.  It may be the equivalent to the "White House".

Monday, October 21, 2013


Hey family!  Well I arrived here in Ghana and it is an experience to say the least!  There is no way on earth that I could have prepared myself for this, it is beyond anything any of you have ever dreamt of!!!  The driving is worse than anything we've been in, street venders are everywhere tapping on you windows...there are no stoplights, and the stop signs just mean that whoever gets there first has the right of way!  Sometimes they even drive on the wrong side of the road just to get where they want to go, we were driving around cars that were coming straight for us!!  The freeways are nuts and the exits are just dirt roads, so whenever you want to exit the freeway you just drive off the road into the dirt towards whatever building or place you have in mind!  
 I placed my first Book of Mormon on the plane ride to Ghana with a man who sat next to me.  He was from Liberia.  He was a strong Christian and was interested, he gave me his e-mail and asked me to e-mail him!!  
Anyway, it is incredibly hot over here, I started sweating almost immediately!  And you are never dry...humidity.  Well just wanted to tell you all I was here.  My MTC (that stands for Mission Training Center) companion is from Ghana and is serving in the Nigeria, Benin City mission!  Well, thank you all for sending me here!  I definitely understand what you mean about safety now dad, it is the most crazy place I have ever been to in my life!!!  Anyway, I love you all!  Try to share the gospel of Christ, or build up a fellow member this week!  Love you all!
P.S.  I had this dish on the plane called Ganea (Ganeeya), and it is like rice that is chopped up really finely with nuts and other wierd fruits and things, and then we had a spicy type of rice with chicken, the food is really good.  Well gotta go, but I love you all!
Elder Johnson

Headed to Ghana!

We headed to the Salt Lake City Airport bright and early Thursday morning.  As we got the bags all checked in, we saw more missionaries arriving.  We took a few family pictures, said our goodbyes with a few tears and sent Elder Johnson on his way to Ghana.  With a final wave he was off on the Lords errand.

                           We'll measure in two years and see how the heights have changed.

Last family photo for two years.  We are blessed to have our missionary serving the people of Ghana.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Only a few days left!

Welcome!  I've created this blog for everyone to follow Elder Alex Johnson on his mission in Ghana, Africa.   He will be flying out on Thursday the 17th and after a transfer and a 10 hr flight, he will arrive in Accra, Ghana as a new missionary for two years for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  What a blessing!