Monday, December 29, 2014

Every Day is Christmas when you're Rollin with me

Hello Everybody!

First of all, Merry Christmas this week! (Even tho every day is Christmas when your Rollin with me.) 
I don't know how to tell you this but….we kind of have a thing for
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Dunkin Donuts
Christmas as a missionary is a blast! We have been doing a lot of really fun and exciting things lately like: 

All of the missionaries in our zone went to Monticello aka the western most point in our mission aka the middle of nowhere aka the place nobody wishes to serve... We helped them out with an activity they were doing. We did free gift wrapping. The missionaries over there are a part of an interfaith counsel that has 15 different churches in the community involved. They were able to get the interfaith counsel to get the word out about this activity. While we would wrap gifts, we had a tv to show the He Is The Gift video while they waited with missionaries to talk to. It was a swell time. 

On Sunday we had our ward Christmas program. They asked the missionaries to sing... :):):):) sooooooo that means that I sang...... We sang the primary children's song Samuel Tells Of The Baby Jesus. I felt like I was Clay Aiken up there on the stand in multiple different ways. The ward here goes hard in the paint with their music programs. Every Time they have a musical number I get excited. 

We went caroling! It was a fun experience. We would sing to people and then afterwards ask them if they wanted to watch a video about Christ (#HeIsTheGift obviously.) If they didn't want to watch a video we would just leave them with a card. Most people really liked the singing and the video. With some people it was ironic because we would ask them if they wanted to see a video and they would use the excuse that they don't have time to watch a video about CHRIST because they are too busy trying to get ready for CHRISTmas. I wanted to tell them that the video we had combats the very problem that they were dealing with. It was still a fun time tho.
An abandoned house in the middle of nowhere
Pics or it didn't happen right?
We had our weekly appointment this Monday at the monastery, and met with our cool investigator Alex. It was cool to go to the monastery around Christmas time. They had all their Christmas decorations up. They had lights on some of the cottages and decked out Christmas trees. These monks put more effort into Christmas decorations than most people I know. We had another fantastic lesson with Alex. We were able to sit cross legged on little pillows gathered around a small coffee table. He made us some herbal tea and we sipped it over good conversation. 

I found out he is a poet and does creative writing. I don't consider myself a poet or anything but I do enjoy it ever since I had Mr. Nelson for English my Sophomore and Senior year. Mr. Nelson did a good job of making poetry a lot more than old, dead, white guy stuff. I told Alex I enjoyed poetry as well. He read us some of his and I was pretty impressed. He gave me some good advice on how to become a better writer. I felt like such a hipster talking to this man in a shack in the "mountains" sipping herbal tea. So hipster I had a sudden hankering to go shop at urban outfitters, but I had to resist because we had Jesus to talk about. 

Our lesson went really well. He has been reading the Book of Mormon. He likes it but he doesn't like the violence in it so far. We have been trying to help him out with that. We had a really good lesson and then as we were leaving he invited us to stay for dinner at the monastery. Our dinner appointment canceled that night so we decided to stay. We had a few minutes before dinner so he took us on a tour of their HUGE meditation hall. It was a huge barn looking structure. You walk inside and they don't have any furniture in there. They just have meditation mats on the ground and a table up front with a gold Buddha. It was very peaceful. He said that we could come anytime we wanted to meditate. 

Then we went to dinner. Buddhists are typically vegetarian but at this particular monastery they are vegan. We ate a soup that had tofu, mushrooms and other stuff I didn't even know. Knowing how picky of an eater I am, I was scared. But I said a prayer, and it actually tasted pretty good! They had chimes go off every 15 minutes and you're supposed to stop what you're doing and focus on your "breathe" for 20 or so seconds. Alex forgot to tell us about that so the first time it happened, I was still talking while all the monks had gone silent. I was embarrassed. The monks there were all really nice and welcoming. 

It's been a good experience being able to interact with people from all different faiths and cultures since I've been here in New York. It's helped me to realize just how much I love who I am and how I was raised. 

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy animals.

Elder Tyler J Johanson

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