Monday, December 30, 2013

Great week!

Hey yall!

One thing that President Bernhisel shared today in our letters was this, "True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He loves you—each of you! He allows you to access His power as you keep His commandments, eagerly, earnestly, and exactly. It is that simple and certain. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change!” It is a quote from Elder Nelson. But it is so true. I can't help but think of how much the experiences in our lives require us to change. The world would tell you to feign the change and manipulate the situation. The lord requires that we become perfect. And in all we do we learn how to change, and make it permanent change. It's crazy how much we have to do it. Sometimes I wish that we could just stay the same and be comfortable! :D But sadly, and gratefully that just doesn't happen.

The atonement has made a huge change in my life. And right now it is continually doing that! We had a lesson just yesterday with a recent convert who had a question about daily repentance. It was amazing to me as we taught the principles of repentance to him again, how simple, and necessary they are, in ALL aspects of our life. Here is the pamphlet that we use to teach the Gospel of Christ. The repentance section is what we taught.
http://www.lds.org/manual/the-gospel/the-gospel?lang=eng
We must learn to take a look at our day, find where we can improve, and accept the help of our Savior. I love Enos 1 when his sins are forgiven, and he asks how it was done. God's answer was "Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole."

Now my week this week was super great! I loved seeing everyone! Obviously with the holiday limits on proselyting we didn't quite reach our goal of 20 lessons. But we had amazing miracles!

1st. Travis and Erika got married!! The wedding wasn't perfect, but hey, we're two 18 year-old missionaries. But it's going on our resumes that we have planned a wedding! :D We most definitely stayed out of the way of Erika though haha. It's against the rules to not do what the bride says. It went super well though! We are very excited, and are super ready to get her baptized by the end of January!
(Speaking of which, I am staying for a fifth transfer! :D I am sooo excited!)
2nd. We received three referrals for families!! The descriptions of each are all elect! After a few dry weeks that was such a huge blessing!
3rd. We contacted a referral that we received last week, and it is a super elect family as well! Their names are Lorenzo, Ivon, and Abbi who is 8. We were able to teach them the restoration and invite them to be baptized. They want to get married, he stopped drinking 3 months ago, and they accepted baptism!

The work is truly hastening! As Elder Ballard stated to our stake, (paraphrase) "You are doing very well, thank you very much. We need a lot better." The Lord is requiring so much! And it requires everyone!

I am so excited for this week! I hope yall have an amazing week as well!
I love you and pray for you!

Élder Johnson

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

This week was crazy!! Well really it was pretty slow in different ways since our teaching pool has been dropping and winter finding is a new experience for both of us haha. But the crazy thing was that we have had amazing weather! It blew our mind to see that it was 82 degrees yesterday! 3 days before Christmas and it was so stinking hot! By Christmas it should be back to about 40 degrees though.

The highlights of this week would definitely have to be the less actives. We have been working very hard to meet the less actives and to get them excited about church again. We had an amazing FHE with Lorena and a bunch of other young single adults to try and help her feel more comfortable with that group. It went so well! Another highlight of this week was our Noche de Compartir, or our monthly activity. We ended up dressing up as the three wise men and santa! It was a blast! Not to mention that we were privileged to have President and Sister Bernhisel there. We had such a great time there. Look on my facebook to find pictures of that haha. I'll attach one as well.

Probably the best highlight of it all for me was seeing Eli be called as the Secretary to the Relief Society President! :D She is sooo amazing! I can't tell you how big I was smiling when that happened.

The Cary branch has been treating us so well with amazing dinners and amazing gifts. We don't have anything that we need to buy! We're coming on the end of my 4th transfer here, and I am praying that I don't leave. It seems pretty likely that I will stay, but you never know.

Travis and Erika are getting married this week!!! We are super excited!!

Gloria has been pretty sick the past week and didn't want us over to give a blessing or teach her so we have been praying for her instead.

The work moves on! A new investigator we have is Armando. He has such deep questions of the soul! Pray that we can teach him well and bring the spirit into his life!

I love y'all a ton!

Que disfruten el nieve! Lo extraño! :D

Élder Johnson




Monday, December 16, 2013

La Navidad!!

This week has been an amazing week! I may not be the best at taking pictures of all the fun that we have, but others are! I hope that y'all got the pictures of the nativity that we were part of. If not, I'm going to attach them. But starting off with that, that was definitely a highlight of our week. On thursday, friday, and saturday the Apex stake put on a nativity display. They had the gym full of 950 different nativities from 80 countries! It was amazing! While people roamed there were performances from local choirs and schools at the front on the stand and as well on the stage. Obviously switching off. We had the opportunity to be in the live nativity outside as we greeted! We had a turnout of about 3500 people over the three days! The best part was we saw an old investigator there that we talked to! Hopefully getting into the building, and being across the parking lot from the temple made an impression. :)

This week we were able to meet with a lot of the less actives that we had not met yet in the branch. We have had some great success with that. Elder Tingey and I prayed a few days ago about which of all of these members know an elect family, and we had several come to mind. We are praying super hard to be able to find an elect family this week! We have seen so many blessings in the lives of those that bring their whole family to the gospel. There is a different understanding of the gospel that they bring as they share the gospel to each other.

I love this area! I am sooo excited to be here with such an amazing branch in such a special time! Sorry this is so short today! I hope y'all have an amazing week! Don't forget to truly talk to your friends, member or non-member, about what Christmas is all about. I loved the story of John from elder Nelson. :) This has to be the greatest topic of all time.

I love you all so much! Hasta "Christmas Adam!" ;)

Élder Johnson






Monday, December 9, 2013

Buenos Dias!

This week was a fantastic week. We were able to teach so many great lessons! We only found one investigator though haha, and that is on facebook! She contacted me from Spain! It is amazing the parameters we can cover as missionaries. It is interesting to think about this last week, since we really didn't do a whole lot with our actual investigators. We did do a lot however with Gloria. She is getting so close to her baptism! She has had a testimony of the truth the whole time we have been teaching her, since june! Right now she is praying about a baptismal date. She truly has faith the the Lord will reveal it to her. Please pray for her!

This week Elder Tingey and I had a very fun time. It is super fun to me because he is such a crazy person! Because of him as well it looks like we will be mountain biking with President Bernisel in two weeks! We took some great leaps this week to be able to better teach together. It's amazing how aware we need to be of the spirit, our companion, and our investigator. The spirit will indicate what and who! That can make a difference!

One of the things that has made this week such a good week, is the learning and progression we have made. This week I have felt very satisfied with my studies. If you have not read and studied how blunt and clear Nephi is in his final statements, you need to read it! 2 Nephi 32-33 are absolutely amazing! And sometimes I can't help but laugh at how blunt they are. But the amazing truth is that they are true! And I invite each one of you to read, pray, and ponder them, because like Nephi explains, it is the spirit, not my writing about it, that will testify of that truth.

I loved the broadcast yesterday about Christmas. I have felt very strongly about little children and who they are my whole life. I pray that each one of you (Jaron, Bryant, Caitlyn, Calder, Lily, Abram, Brynnley, and Porter) can have spiritual experiences. And I know without a doubt in my heart that each parent will be touched as well. I love you all so much! I am so grateful for the culture of love and spirit we have had in our home. Like Elder Nelson said last night, "Family time is sacred time."

I hope that you all have an amazing week! Hold fast to your faith, testimony, the scriptures, and never forget to pray!

Love y'all a ton!
Elder Johnson

 

Monday, December 2, 2013

He aquí, apresuraré mi obra en su tiempo!

This week I have been praying to love the people that are here. I've been getting nervous that as I leave this area (which I don't know when and hope is not soon) I will find other areas that I love more, and won't like this area as much! How terrible is that! This area is too amazing! President Mortensen is honestly one of the most amazing men I have ever met. The love that he has for the members in our branch is absolutely amazing. We have a lesson planned this night with his family where Travis and Erika will be coming to have family home evening with them. The Mortensen family is amazing. One of our members this week is moving back to Mexico as well. He has lived here without his family for so long to provide for them. Hearing him bear his testimony yesterday was one of the saddest experiences that I have had on my mission. But I will always remember the people here. And the good news is that the next area can be just as good. I can be filled with just as much love. I don't have to reserve it for a single area haha. The love of Christ is so amazing.

This week we saw miracles. Normally we like to see miracles in being able to teach lessons, working with the members, and baptizing. The usual haha. But this week we were very blessed to see other miracles. We have seen miracles in the branch itself and activity throughout being reinforced. We have seen the miracle of the members in the branch becoming more focused on getting their visits done. We saw the miracle of member friendships being created with Gloria. We saw the amazing miracle that Gloria came to church and put that priority over past priorities. She is progressing!! She is truly progressing and that has made me so excited and happy! If you look up and into the light, you'll always find a miracle!

Elder Tingey is an amazing companion. It is completely different than the work I did with Elder Sullivan though haha. I would have to fight for the chance to talk at times with Elder Sullivan, and now I am having to fight to not talk! We are working well and loving working with the members.

Thanksgiving!! I almost forgot, because I have loved listening to all the Christmas music now!! But however, Thanksgiving did happen. And it happened twice... no thrice! We had a super great thanksgiving day inside our apartment until 6:00....and I never want to do it again haha. It is hard to be in an apartment that long. We were very grateful to be invited by some past investigators to eat with them! We stopped by to say hi at their sisters house as invited, but when we knocked on the door someone else answered. They did not seem very happy that the missionaries were rudely interrupting their thanksgiving dinner. We asked if Juliana was there, and they invited us in. There was a room full of about 30 hispanics that went completely silent when we walked in. It was soo awkward! We did end up eating a plate of delicious spanish turkey, and talked to the gracious family member to keep us away from them. We left completely full, and went straight over to our actual dinner appointment! Now this seems crazy, but that is pretty typical. We recently ate three dinners in four hours haha. I thought I would never gain weight, but I thought wrong...

Our actual dinner was super good. I made cornbread, and we had some super good turkey roasted with pineapple. I never thought that I would eat turkey spicy though. It was soo good.

Well sorry for such a long letter today! I hope that you all have had an amazing week! And I hope that you have an amazing week to come!

To tie the title in to the week, I would invite you to think back to the stake conferences we have had recently. I have often thought of the leaders of the church as just leaders. I have been wrong though. They are all missionaries and they have been exhorting us very strongly for about a year now to get out and do the work. As the Lord said, "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." The time is truly now. Missionary work has changed, and I know that because of how many missionary experiences I continually hear about from all of you. I will keep praying for you to have missionary experiences. I am learning from all of you how to be a lifetime missionary!

I love you all a ton!

Love,
Elder Johnson



 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cambios!!

Wow change can catch you in your blindspot! The beginning of this week threw a huge curveball at me. Elder Sullivan got transferred like we knew already, but then I didn't realize how hard planning and teaching someone the area was going to be! I had to plan by myself effective plans that would help us to continue progressing in this area. What made it difficult was that all of this week was practically empty. We did not have appointments set up. Those first few days were crazy. And those first few days I think I learned some of the most important things in my mission so far. I feel so humbled to be given control over an area of the lord's vineyard, to find, teach, baptize, and establish the church. I honestly don't know how to describe the feelings that I had those first few days. I've been forced to think, act, and exercise faith in different ways. And every single one of those things has changed me for the better.

Oh yeah by the way my new companions name is Elder Tingey! He is awesome!! He has been out for 7 months. He is super fun and has great music! That's always a plus, since I have limited resources on that haha. Sadly we honestly have not taken a good picture together haha. But! I'll put the lousy one up that we took haha. He has been learning the area super well, and we've been getting some great work done. We set a baptismal date with Gloria!! I don't know if I said that we had gotten up with her again after moving, but yeah. She came to church and we have taught her several times since. We've got a game plan for the 14th! Hopefully we can reach it! I know that we can. :)

We have also been able to work well with Melquiades. He is the cousin of Jesus Regules. He lives with Magdalena and Jesus, and he is in his 20's. He has come 2 weeks in a row to church and has shown such great desires to change! He accepted baptism and we'll see how he does with coffee these next few days and then set a date!

Travis and Erika are now getting married the 28th of december it looks like. When I found out my heart sunk! I really want to be here for their baptism, and it's possible that I'll leave right after that from this area! But if they accept to live separately right now till they get married then it is possible! They continue to do well. And what's even better is that I am currently teaching her sister Carola who lives in Mexico on facebook! She is super interested and we have had some great lessons! Hopefully soon we can get her in touch with missionaries there!

I love being on a mission. I honestly can't remember what it felt like to not be a missionary. Elder Graham said it amazingly (new district leader), that if someone is working, you have to go to where they are working to be close to them. The lord is working in his vineyard and if we want to be close to him we must join him in the work of salvation.

Please pray for Gloria, Melquiades, Magdalena, Jesus, Eli, Erika and Travis. And Sister Lasson, Reid, Sanchez, and Corey! The missionaries serving in our home area!

I came to love the verses 2 Nephi 9:21-26 this week. Christ truly paid for everything so that we could repent and believe in him.

I love yall so much! Have an amazing week!
Elder Johnson

ps. This was the unexpected visitor last night! I turned on the lights and was about to sit on my bed when I realized there was a cat underneath me!!

 
pps. oh and Elder Tingey is right above me, not the red head, the bald one haha ;)

 
 
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Three transfers!

Well after an amazing three transfers, Elder Sullivan is getting transfered! We have had such a great time here in Cary! We most definitely have the best apartment situation right across the hall from the zone leaders, and Elder Sullivan being the district leader, we get to have some great fun together. Preparation days are the greatest with them. Being a missionary is amazing, because you get to meet so many amazing people. And what's even better, is that you get to become best friends with them. I'll let you know who is coming here next week! :D

This week was a great week. We were able to get up with Gloria again! We had a lesson with her two days in a row with members, and then she came to church the next day! Wow! We tried for so long to work things out to get her to church! She still has a hidden doubt it feels like that is keeping her from reading regularly and praying, but she made leaps and bounds this week. We will see if we can find that this week.

Oh wow, I remember now why it was such a great week! I thought it just was! This week we had a mission tour with Elder Baxter! That was amazing. Truly, absolutely, amazing. To be in the presence of one who loves you so much, and is truly reflecting the love of the savior, feels incredible. The instruction that we received from him and President and Sister Berhisel was all about love in the end. Learning to truly love every one of the people that we work with. That has been made manifest in our work this week. We have been able to see how much we have changed the lives of people as we have made stops to say goodbye for Elder Sullivan. We truly love the people here.

One experience where we were able to experience the love for the people here was with a service project that we did for Sister Damares. She has had holes in her floor underneath the carpet ever since she got back from chicago in about april. The renters didn't leave the house in very good condition...
We had several of the brethren in the branch there doing great work. We ended up completely replacing the floor in her room, and fixing a leak in her bathroom. It was a mess, but super fun. She has not been doing well recently, and this was a huge service for her! Seeing this situation get resolved has been a very special thing. I'll put some pictures up.
This week was amazing! I love this gospel! In D&C35:12 it says "And there are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth unto this generation." Talk to the good people that you know! They are ready to receive a gospel truth in their life!
Also, comment on missionaries statuses and share them! We don't know your friends, but you do! Help them to find the gospel! :D
I love you all so much! Que tengan una semana excelentísima!
Elder Johnson

Elder Spencer and I

 
 
My Lake Park
 
 
 
Me at my Lake
 

 
Raleigh Fall Leaves

 
 
Sunset through the trees

 
 
Service Project

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Miracles!

Well I honestly do not have much time at all today, so this is going to be super quick. I don't prefer monday holidays...haha.

This week was a fantastic week! Every day we have the opportunity to learn something new. We have been learning so much about the importance of families recently. Through experiences of deportation and leaving four kids at home, hearing a general authority sternly speak to all men ages 12-25 to be good boys, and good men. We must be good men or we have failed our calling as men in this world. Not to mention priesthood holders. This was the message of Elder Baxter at our Stake conference where they released President Harry Maxwell (Is that John Maxwell Mom and Dad? I am almost 100% sure it is. But I have heard John and Patty's name frequently enough).

But back to the topic of good men. The next thing we learned was the importance of the temple. Every time that a temple is built on the earth, the power of the devil is lessened. That is a statement of a prophet, and I know it is true. Focus on the temple. Temple ordinances are necessary for salvation, missions are not. Prepare yourself, and even more importantly your children to enter into the temple.
That was definitely the highlight of my week to hear from Elder Baxter and Elder Himas. That was a miracle.

It will be a miracle if we can see our investigator come back from jail to his wife and four kids. They are so important to us, and it is so hard to see their family struggle. Pray for them all!
I love you all so much and I wish for you to see miracles this week! Pray for them and for miracle missionary opportunities!

Love Elder Johnson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Buenas!

Well I honestly don't know what to write about this week. We have hit a really random point where we are slowly losing our investigators. Investigators who once showed super golden potential, are sliding off of our radar right now. They will be back and will get baptized for sure. But, the time truly is not right now. We have to do a bit of refocusing this week, but it is alright, because I know that the principle of discontinuing teaching non-elect investigators shows the lord that we are ready to receive his elect. We have seen that in our area several times.

One amazing thing that happened this week was that Travis and Erika got their marriage license!!! They are actually going to get married!! We aren't 100% sure if it will be on the 16th or not, but we are hoping very badly, since Elder Sullivan is leaving the 19th, and President Mortensen will only be here the 16th in the next few weeks! But Erika is definitely getting baptized.
Our other investigators like Gricelda and Erica I will let you know about as time goes on.
Pray that we will be able to find the elect and ready this week! :D

I have very little time left, but I just wanted to share something that I have been learning recently. I have been studying about the Spirit, and how to have his companionship. I know that as we are worthy of the spirit, he will be right along with us. He will guide us not by giving us direct strong promptings, but by helping us feel good about correct decisions. By the sanctifying power of the Spirit, our minds are made clear and clean. That allows us to make decisions in harmony with the spirit. Do all you can to keep your thoughts and actions worthy of the spirit. Get rid of immoral thoughts. Get rid of thoughts unworthy of a divine son or daughter of God. Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly!

I love you all and hope you all have an amazing week! Don't forget to share the gospel with a friend this week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, October 28, 2013

Elderes Zwick y Pino

Well this last week was quite the week. Well I guess there wasn't a whole lot that actually happened, but it was still huge! That probably has to do with the fact that we had a mission wide meeting with two general authorities! What a sight and feeling it was to have every single missionary in our mission in one place. I have never felt anything like it before. The meeting was absolutely amazing! Sadly it was about 45 minutes shorter than expected because of plane delays and the general authorities were late. We were so excited to hear from them though. And Marci, I would definitely agree that the best mission presidents feel like you are actually learning and interacting with Christ himself. I would say the same for President and Sister Bernhisel. It is amazing to hear such inspired goals and focuses from them. They are truly inspired.

The work here continues to grow as well. Our teaching pool is young and fresh, and beginning to show fruits. One investigator named Erika has a baptismal date for the 16th, and she is awesome! We honestly haven't taught her a lot yet, but there is such a strong foundation of trust between us. We are trying super hard to make sure she is ready by the 16th so Elder Sullivan can be here for her baptism. After 5 transfers here in Cary, he'll finally be leaving. I truly hope that I can stay here as long as he has as well, because this area is so prepared. The members are amazing! And there are so many good people here. I have no doubt that before my mission is through our branch can turn into a ward.
If you could pray for anyone this week though, I would ask that you pray for Gricelda and Mia. We love them a ton. We have done what we can, and are trying so hard to see what we actually need to do to truly help them.

I love the people here. I love the work. I love my companion. I love my area. I love the fact that I am not perfect and that I get to keep learning, though that is definitely hard and I may not think that in my head at times. I know that the gospel is a gospel that teaches us to be disciples. It teaches us to love everyone!

I love you all so much! I am sooo excited for you Mike and Lindy! Andre, you may have to find a different nickname for me...haha. I am so happy to be a part of our wonderful family! Last night we ate with a few families and six missionaries, and there were 17 people there. I couldn't help but think of our 20+ family gatherings :) Have a fabulous week! :)

Elder Johnson


Gorgeous leaves and butterflies are appearing now.
 

 
 
This was the gorgeous morning drive to Fayetteville for the conference.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Surprise!

Well I don't even remember writing about Magdalena and her baptismal date, but...she got baptized!!! She was on vacation until this last monday, and we were not 100% sure if we were going to be able to put together the interview and make all the arrangements because of an English class that she just started. But hey, that doesn't really matter in the end since she got baptized anyway! The baptism itself was a miracle as well. Magdalena got to the church about 20 minutes early, which is super unusual for the Hispanics here. And then the rest of the people that showed up came at the usual 15-20 minute late mark. So we were there with Magdalena without hardly anyone waiting for quite a while. We got kind of nervous. But people showed up! And the investigators that we were expecting showed up as well! We were definitely blessed to have everything work out. Oh and I forgot to mention that we had a dinner at 5:00 to go to that we somehow made time for and still had time to fill up the font, make the programs, and get everything put in order for the baptism. What an exhausting but amazing experience.

Another miracle of the evening was that we were able to have a lesson with Travis and Erika after the baptism. They are going to get married!!! We don't know exactly when that is going to be able to happen, but soon! We are so excited for them! And Travis holds the Melchizedek priesthood we found out, which makes us even happier that he has decided to come back to activity and make these decisions.

Keep praying for Gricelda and Mia who are still in Mexico and California and won't get back till saturday. Vacations make things difficult. But we are ever so grateful for facebook and the ability to be able to communicate still with them and teach.

A new investigator that we now have is another Erika! She is a friend of a member, and is super golden! She has a baptismal date and we haven't even taught an actual lesson from preach my gospel yet! Sister Damares has been working on her for a while, and it has paid off. Member work is where the true growth in the church happens! We are very excited to get her going towards the 16th of November!

I am so grateful for the opportunities that we have had this week to see so many miracles. Miracles do happen. If you don't believe me then you need to go read Marci's letter about her Windows of Heaven program. When we can show faith that the Lord will lead us to those he has prepared, he will do that. I am very blessed to be able to be a witness of those miracles every day.

I hope that you all have an absolutely fabulous week! And don't forget to thank the Lord for changing seasons! What a blessing!

Love
Elder Johnson

Her smile is contagious!

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cruz, the Cruze

Well one of the great highlights of this week, is that we got a full time car!!!! :D We called her Cruz, the Chevy Cruze. Oh boy have we been enjoying that. Until now we have been sharing a car with the other Spanish elders to be able to cover the whole Apex stake. We made ends meet, but generally ended up staying pretty close to home to proselyte. Already with this huge blessing we have been able to find great potential in Garner and in Fuquay-Varina. It is a material thing, but I am so grateful for it. I am so grateful for the resources that we have been given in our world today to be able to hasten the work.

Well as for the true highlights of this week, it was a good week. We have been able to make some good progress with our investigators to be able to help them to repent and to actually progress. The hard part is that one is in Mexico right now, and the other is in Virginia. But! We have been very blessed this week to find some new investigators with good potential. The work is always happening somewhere. We truly just need to find where to get on the wave to be most effective. Obviously, that is with the members. We have been seeing such success as we have continuously tried to work with the members better. One potential that we have is named Erika. She is a friend of a member that has actually come to church twice now. For some reason it wasn't until now that we have actually been able to set up an appointment with her. We already have a super great trust with her and we haven't even taught her! That I believe is attributed to the service that we have been able to give as the member asked for it. The day of transfers Sister Damares (Erika's Friend) called us to ask for help with some court papers. We were gone so we sent the other Spanish elders over. They helped for 2 hrs! It turns out that it was forms for Erika's brother Vlas! They trust us so much for the simple service we were able to provide. She seems super elect and we can't wait to teach her today!

The last thing I wanted to say in this letter is how much I love the members here in the Cary Spanish branch. We had a very sad experience just yesterday after church. We were asked yesterday to help out a brother in the church move out of his home, to prepare to move back to Acapulco. We moved him out in front of his wife and daughter. There have been struggles for a very long time, but it is super sad to see him go. He said that he is moving back forever. I was heartbroken. He has only recently come back to church after having a change in work schedule, and he immediately asked if he could teach gospel principles! What a character he was! We will miss him and his classes so much!

Now not to leave on a low note, I just want to reemphasize that I love the people here. I love people. Every single person is a son or daughter of God. The scriptures are true. "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" (D&C 18:15-16) I already feel that joy for these people, and I am so excited for when we can rejoice together on the other side as well!

I love you all so much! I love you even if I haven't met you! (Most definitely including new/future family members! :D)

Have a fabulous week and enjoy the weather! :)
Elder Johnson

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conferencia!

Well as you all know, the highlight of the world's news this last week was that we had General Conference! It is so sad to me that only a small percentage of the world knows that there is a prophet that spoke to the whole world yesterday. If the world were to know that God talks to his children on the earth, there would be an even greater hum of excitement on conference weekend.
What made conference weekend even better than usual, was the fact that we were able to get some of our investigators there!

Magdalena: She was able to come to two sessions of conference. She really liked it! It is crazy how much she has changed since we have gotten to know her. She truly is gaining a testimony of the gospel. The one single thing that she quite hasn't gotten a hold of, is reading! We are working so hard to get her to read! She loves reading too! But when it comes to the Book of Mormon, she has a really hard time. We are working on that. She has a super solid date for the 19th!
Jesus is hanging in there haha. Church is a new thing for him as a 14 year old. He's not super motivated to do a whole lot, but in the end he is willing to do what he needs to. They are hopefully going to go to church so he can take the sacrament this weekend while on vacation!

Mia and Gricelda: So Mia is the daughter of Gricelda. Mia is most likely going to be getting baptized the 19th as well! It all depends on when Gricelda gets back from Mexico after her trip. She is super solid! The youth are so amazing!
Miracle for this week with them was that we had not been in contact with them for a few weeks. We are working on that haha. But as we have worked with their fellowshipper Alejandrina we have been able to get back up with them. Alejandrina will be very involved these next few weeks to help prepare them. She has been a saint! We finally got in contact with them, as Mia and Alejandrina showed up to conference! We knew they would be there, but it was so good to see her. Then in the middle of the session Gricelda showed up!! She said she did not want to go, and wasn't coming! But Oscar the 6 year old convinced her in the end. He and Mia are solid. They are helping their mom so much in the very difficult situation she is in right now with her marriage. Gricelda will follow them soon. She wants to be baptized, but there are things she feels like she needs to do beforehand.

Well that is about it for this week! Conference was absolutely amazing! I loved how much focus they put on the family and missionary work!! I hope you all have an absolutely amazing week! :)

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jesús!

This week was a fantastic week! And that is because we had a baptism! His name is Jesús Regules. I will put up some pictures so y'all can see him and his mom. His mom is going to get baptized the 19th when she gets back from her trip to west virginia. But Jesús decided to go ahead and do it without his mom! That actually took us by surprise. We have taught them both every time. But our focus had always been on Magdalena, and in Spanish. He can understand Spanish fairly well, but not when it comes to gospel terms. We tried hard to explain things in English as well. But he never really participated a whole lot in what we did. And at first he never read in the Book of Mormon. Then all of the sudden he was reading and he was praying. And he said he felt good. He either always says I feel normal or good. So when he had an experience and he said afterwards he felt better, it was awesome! He is a great guy and we were so happy to see him get baptized. I had the opportunity to confirm him in church yesterday, and it went super well. Especially since it was in English haha. But afterwards he told us that he felt like he could understand things better. I know that that is true! That is the holy ghost, and I testify that we all have that gift with the Holy Ghost.

Last Friday we had the most amazing activity! It was our noche hispana, and we had everyone bring food and decorations for their country. So we had the best food ever! But even better than that was that we had about 30 non-members at the activity! That was huge! Sadly I did not get too many pictures of it, but it was amazing! Hopefully soon we will get up with several of those that came to the activity. Andrés and Mike and their family were able to come to the activity as well. They seemed super happy to be there as well. That was a huge step for them. The parents expressed that they will be coming to church soon as well, and that they aren't just about the activities. That is huge, because the kids have not come, because they want to go with their dad to his church. We are very excited for them.

Well other than that, the main thing that is happening is that we are coming up on transfers on the 8th. It is highly likely that Elder Sullivan will get transferred. If so, he would be missing three baptisms that we have worked hard on with Magdalena, Gricelda, and Mia, who will all be baptized fairly soon. He's worked hard here and we are sad about the possibility of him leaving. Next week I'll let y'all know.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and your support. I know that the power of prayer and fasting is real. I know that the priesthood is real. I know that through the power of the atonement we can do all things. I love you all so much! Have an amazing week!

Elder Johnson

Me, Hno Regules, Jesús, Abril, Magdalena, Elder Sullivan
I promise Jesús and his uncle were excited for the baptism

 
 
 
Hno Regules, Jesús, Gonzalo, Elder Muñoz
Gonzalo was the other Spanish elder's convert. His baptism was one of the most spiritual experiences ever. Truly a changed person. Elder Muñoz was blessed to be able to come back to Cary to baptize him. 
 

Monday, September 23, 2013

What a crazy week

This last week was one of the most frantic weeks we have had! We have been running around going crazy trying to save the baptisms that we had planned for the 28th. Of the four of them, only one will be getting baptized as far as it looks right now. That is Jesús Regulez. Which, of all of them was the least likely haha. But basically what he told us was, "Why wait?" So now we are just hoping that his mom Magdalena decides to follow him, and do it the same day as him when he has his interview.

Although our goal for baptism for the 28th won't be reached, we definitely have investigators who are prepared to take that step. Our focus now is to help them fight the temptations that Satan throws at them, and the trials of their faith. We are super concerned for them all and that they recognize the spirit through all the confusion. Gricelda and Mia definitely need that spirit through the difficult decisions of divorce. Soon though, they will all be baptized.

Other than those four we also had a great week. We have a new investigator named Erica who is living with a returning less active. She is super interested. Baptism is definitely in their future, yet we are letting them make the decision right now to either live in separate places or get married before we can actually decide a specific date to do it. Travis barely knows any spanish, and Erica barely knows English, but somehow they met and care a lot about each other. We are very excited for them.

One of my favorite studies this week was in Mormon 9. I love this chapter! God is a god of miracles! I believe that in verses 27-29 it describes the gospel so well. It doesn't necessarily say faith, repentance, baptism, and the holy ghost. But as you doubt not, and be believing, you exercise your faith. You come to the lord with all your heart to work out your salvation through repentance. And the key word is work. We must act. We are not saved without works. And then be worthy and be baptized. And if we continue to be worthy and take the sacrament, then "ye will in nowise be cast out." The way has been spelt out for us. It gives me so much comfort to read the scriptures and see what I teach every day. It gives me a new "friend" as elder Scott describes.

I love you all so much! Find friends in the scriptures! You all amaze me so much with your fidelity to what you know is true, in such an astoundingly corrupt world. I hope you all have an amazing week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Letter

Well I honestly do not know how to describe this week. It was quite the crazy week and stuffed with things to do. Even if the day before we had no plans set out for the next day. We were running all over the place this week.

Well the highlights of this week I would have to say was that we have a really firm date for Gricelda and Mia on the 28th of September. They are so amazing! We are so excited for them and the progress that they have been making in their lives. The blessing of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost is going to bless there lives in so many ways.

I don't have much time to write, but I wanted to share a quick story from the week.

We had pretty much run completely out of backups on saturday, and needed to make one more stop that night, so we decided to contact a less active that we had received information for just a few days earlier. When we stopped by she was sitting out on her porch. Turns out though that she is not a less active, but a nonmember! She and her daughter have received lessons from missionaries for a while, but never stayed in one place to truly get the message. And they know the missionaries, because she has several family members who are members!

The lord led us to Giovanna that night because she has been waiting for a long time.

Well my time is up. One scripture that I loved this week was Proverbs 3:5-7,11-13. We can truly do all things through Christ.

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Elided Ruiz-Uriostegui

Ellie is baptized!! :D The fruits of the labor come forth and they are sweet to the taste. Ellie's baptism went super well. We made sure to get there very early to get the font filling up, and to write the talks we would be giving haha. She is so happy and so much more confident. Her confirmation went super well the next day as well. Dean's family is amazing, and supported them very well. It so happens that elder Sullivan and I also gave talks the day of her confirmation! So she got to hear a lot from us. That was my first talk in spanish, and I hope it went well! But I am very grateful for the preparation that I had in school to prepare myself for spanish. I am definitely working on the comprehension of some very difficult people, but i feel very comfortable with conversing with people now. Though, I still have a long way to go with it.

Other than Ellie's baptism we had a slower week, but still a great one. We are continuing to find more elect people, who will be getting baptized in the future. Once again, I know that this is because of the member work that is happening here.

I don't have a whole lot of time today, but I would like to share a thought real quick. It comes from Elder Scott in the October 2011 conference, but I can't remember word for word. But the thought is that our character does not grow because of hard trials. Rather, our faith beforehand on correct principles and doctrine builds our character, which then carries us through our trials. We must always be acting on correct principles of faith and obedience so we can be prepared for the trials of life.
I know that this church is true. I know that the prophets have been called of God. They hold the authority and power of God.

Thank you all so much for your love and prayers! I love you all a ton!
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Facebook!!!

Well this is going to have to be short, but oh well!

Facebook is here!! Elder Sullivan was just made district leader this last transfer, if I didn't say already, and because of that he as a leader is rolling out Facebook to our area. And so it begins. He is doing it while I have to watch him and make sure he's staying safe. And he's ironing out the wrinkles. But it's here! We have to start out by cleaning up our facebook profiles. We have to go back and hide basically everything before the mission. We are super excited!

But even more exciting than that is that Ellie is getting baptized on Saturday!!! WOOT! Clint, Andre, and Caleb that's for you haha. We are so excited for her! If you can pray for her and her husband Dean that would be excellent. And even more important than that, pray for our other investigators to make it to the baptism.

This week was an outstanding week. We set a baptismal date with Magdalena and Jesús for the 28th, and they basically said, "well you're going to have to come over a lot more then!" So we hope to meet with them 2-3 times a week!

Gricelda and Mia are still doing great! Love them to death!

I love the work here. It is amazing to see people's lives change. I miss y'all at home! You are all amazing! Be the best missionaries you can! Be the missionaries best friends! Have a great week :)

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

1st transfer gone

Well it is super hard to believe it, but it has already been a full transfer. I am amazed when I look back at coming out to Cary and how little I knew, and how few people I knew. I was really nervous that I wouldn't make very good relationships with the members for a long time, because of the language block. For a long time I guess, that was true. It is amazing how through the power of the priesthood and priesthood blessings great things can come to pass. People who used to be impossible to talk to and to understand, are some of my favorite people in the world. I have so many friends here in Cary now! My favorite people however are my investigators. Ellie and her husband Dean are awesome!

The other cary spanish elders just had a baptism on the 24th, and Ellie came to it. When we met with her afterwards she said she knows that that is what she has to do. Still no firm date yet, but she is sooo ready. We have a super fun time with them. And we can't wait to see her in the font (we're saying she'll get baptized the 7th or the 14th).

Gricelda and her kids Mia and Oscar (12, 6) are my favorite. And you can't forget their fellowshipper Alejandrina. They are some of the funniest people I've met! The greatest thing is Gricelda wants to move to Utah after watching mobsters and mormons, and already talks about Oscar serving a mission! Truly they are some of our best friends.

Well that is really what I wanted to talk about. How friendly the gospel is. The gospel is the strongest bond you can have with someone. That does not mean that they have to be a member though. But because we know who we are as children of God, we know how important they are. And we love them. I am so grateful for that :)

So here we go, into the second transfer. The middle of my mission :) I am super excited.
Oh and real quick, one of my favorite scriptures that I just read. 3 Ne 19. I love our savior :) his words are so comforting.

Have an absolutely wonderful week! :)

Elder Johnson

P.S. We finally got soaked in the rain :)




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Milagros!

This week was a fantastic week! We put in a whole lot of work, like always really, but the thing that made this work different was that it was with members. We taught some great lessons this week that turned into great progress. We had five investigators at church yesterday! And two less actives that we did not expect at all! This week was an absolute miracle!

Well now let me organize my thoughts cause they're all over the place right now haha. I really haven't given too much detail on investigators yet, so I'm going to try and fill in some detail real quick.

Judit is an investigator that we have been teaching for a while. Elder Sullivan started teaching her in the first month of his time here in our area. The miracle with her was that she got a new job! And very shortly will be able to come to church again! Then she will be able to be baptized! We are so excited for her. We just pray that we can work out her schedule to come every time. Recently we got a new investigator named Griselda. She and her daughter Mia are golden. They basically talk like their members! So they are a miracle.

Gloria is from el Salvador and is holding something back, but has the desire to change her work or even where she lives to come to church. But she is scared. We love her a lot. Magdalena and Jesus her son, are amazing people. Magdalena is such a fun person and loves to laugh. She has doubts that only the lord can answer. Her brother is an endowed member and through working with them together we have seen a huge change in them. They came to church! I am excited to meet with them again. Ellie just got back from vacations and technically has a baptismal date this saturday. We'll see if she's comfortable with that. But she is ready. We love her to death. She is being converted deeply.

Please pray for our investigators. Pray that they will be able to have the strength to change their work situations to come to church. They are missing such grand blessings in their lives right now.
Please pray for the less actives as well. They are missing the blessings of heaven they once received. I truly wish they knew that we all love them so much.

As you all know, member missionary work is being stressed a lot. One thing that we have been realizing, is that it doesn't just happen. We must actually put into practice the counsel from the prophets. This week as we have served our ward mission leader, and moved the focus even more to him, and what he is doing with the branch, we saw the miracle of having five investigators at church, with six from the other spanish elders as well.

I am so grateful for the work of the Lord. It is not a burden. It truly is a life all about people. The only true way to become a missionary is to care about people. Get to know them. Look at them as the lord would see them. I am so grateful that we have a loving heavenly father that sees us as who we are. I am so grateful for the blessings that he gives us so freely. I hope you are all having as amazing of a week as ours! Ours has been a rainy one, so you might not be able to beat it. :) Just remember that the lord sends the sun and the rain on us and our neighbors. We're all in this together :)

Love Elder Johnson

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Referrals!

This week was a great week!! I definitely have to say that the highlight of the week was that we received an amazing referral! It is so simple as this: A member was doing whatever she was doing and overheard someone talking about their situation in life and how difficult it is to go through. She approached her and got to know her and told her that she knew of something that could help her. Ask the missionaries! :D I have definitely never been married or separated or any such thing, but hey, we're missionaries! The lesson with her this week was great! Perhaps we had a few members who loved to talk, yet she is super interested. She came to church yesterday with her two kids, and we have two more appointments set up! Plus, she signed up to feed all four of the Spanish missionaries! Oh I am excited for her. Oh and her name is Griselda. But! We cannot take any credit. She has an amazing member missionary. Members are key. It is practically all we talk about! We are working so hard to change the work to align with the broadcast. It's slowly happening, and it is definitely making a difference.

We have really good potential in our area right now. The members are working hard, though they are few. But slowly we are growing. The key is conversion. That is the only way for the church to grow. That is the only way that the world will receive the blessings of the Gospel. And that is what we are trying to figure out how to do with our investigators. They know and believe what we teach is true. But they are not converted to the true faith. Their faith is not leading them to action. It is their belief that it is good. Not their faith in the Atonement. 3 Ne 6:14 describes a true convert really well. They are unshaken and unmovable. They are willing to keep the commandments with all diligence. True conversion requires our will.

Ellie is super close! She'll be getting baptized hopefully on the 24th, but it looks like based on her personality she'll wait to decide till later. She is such a humble person. She has been a great addition to our branch already.

The work is hastening. Baptisms are coming. And the fold is growing. I am so grateful to be here in this branch working with so many wonderful members who are trying their best to catch the wave. They may be clueless about what to do, but they are trying. :) I can't say that I know how to catch the wave, but boy is it fun to try.

I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ. He is at the head of this church. God is a god of order and his order is perfect. His order is loving. It makes sense. It all makes sense.

I love you all! I hope you have a perfect week! You've just got to pray for it!
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Apresurar la obra!

Hastening the work!

I don't know how much you have been using this website yet, but it is awesome! You could simply use it as a way to watch more videos about good stuff, OR, you could actually use it! The information is all there for what we need to be doing to hasten the work. But the thing that needs to happen, is we need to do it. Simply do it. We aren't going to be guided in all things, so we may have to get a little bit creative. Why not start by getting a little bit creative with how we can share the gospel. Elder Sullivan and I taught priesthood yesterday, and we talked about the talk catch the wave. I don't know about you, but when I get back from my mission, I want to be best friends with the ward mission leader. The work is so amazing! Join in everyone! I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have right now to serve for two years in such a wonderful place. Something big is coming (bro taggart...).

The work here is definitely hastening. As far as I know there has only been one baptism this year in our branch. But, we hope that by the end of this month that there will be around 6 more! And I know that we can do it. It is super disappointing when your investigator doesn't make it to church and you have to postpone things, but when they make the change, they make the change. Our job is to help them be converted at that point. It is so amazing to see the people being converted to the lord.
This week ended up being a really great week. We were able to find some great exchanges with members to teach some great lessons. A new investigator that we have is Myra. Sadly I was on exchanges with Elder Young so I wasn't there, but they set a baptismal date with her on the first lesson. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and seems pretty solid right now. I am super excited to teach her this week! We'll see how it goes! We're going to have some awkward talks however haha, seeing that she's a 20 yr old girl in school... There will definitely be changes in her life. But she seems so open to it. I am so excited!

One thing that I have noticed is that the youth are so receptive to the message we have. All the Hispanics believe in God just about, and love to talk about him. Their youth are the same. The difference is that the youth recognize that there's something missing with what their parents are teaching them. They are open to asking questions about their own beliefs. I love love love the youth. I know that they are key to success in families. Through the youth we will touch the lives of the parents.

Oh funny story real quick! So basically it's pretty hard to understand people's names. I'm picking up on it, but it's just hard haha. So one of our investigators that we already had when I came is named Maria. Or so we thought. She is the sister of Hermano Regulez, and we were talking to him about his sister Maria, and he got really really confused. Turns out her name is Magdalena! And her son Jesus has been wondering every time that we come over why we call her Maria, and she just shrugs haha! The people are so weird! But I love them so much!

Something just came to my mind. As we pray for the hearts of the people and nations to be opened, I think that it is just as equally important to be praying for the areas of the missionaries. Pray for the church in those areas. Pray that they may take strength and grow in their organization. Pray for the ward mission leaders. They have one of the most important callings I would say. It is through the love and strength of the members that the church will grow.

I know that this gospel is true. I know that as we love one another, we will want to do all we can to help them receive the blessings of the gospel. I love you all so much and I am so thankful for the support that you all give me through your prayers. I have a testimony of prayer and of fasting. Through such God works miracles.

Les quiero mucho!
Elder Johnson

Picture of Elder Young and I after doing a 20 mile plus bike ride! :D

 
And gorgeous North Carolina :)
 
 
Raleigh Temple!



Oh yeah, and I am pretty sure that I've gained 15 lbs...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Familia!

This week went super fast. I can hardly believe that I'm here at the computer once again. But here I am!

This week was a really good week of learning for me. I am still not completely adjusted to the work, but I took some major steps this week. One of the things that I did that really helped me progress is that I translated again yesterday for a full talk and about half of the next. That is definitely a test of understanding the language. I have no idea what it would be like to translate from english to spanish though. Eventually I'll get there, but maybe give me a few weeks or more haha.

We had the opportunity to teach some really great lessons this week. One of them was with Gloria. Gloria is really prepared for baptism. She has a great knowledge of the doctrine, and is working hard to stop drinking coffee. Our goal with her is stop drinking by this saturday, and baptism on the 17th of August! She is timid about the baptismal date, but we gave her a blessing to help her quit drinking coffee, and to help her reach the 17th. So if all goes as planned, we should have a baptism on the 17th and the 24th with Ellie! We also have another super great investigator named Judit who is ready for baptism. It has been a really hard struggle though for her to get work off on sundays. She is a super humble woman and deals with really hard circumstances, and really wants to be baptized. I think we made a breakthrough this week by teaching her with sister Foster. She is such an enthusiastic member missionary! I love it! She is going to be a big help to Judit to get her out of her job.

The great thing about missionary work is that you are never alone. You always have the support of your companion. You always have the support and love of the members. You always have the support and excitement of other missionaries, district leaders, zone leaders, and your president. We live out here alone, but we are never alone. Most of all we always have the support of our heavenly father. He loves the missionaries, and he loves the members, and especially loves each non-member as well. It is through each other that we are fortified and strengthened.

One of the things that I have been thinking about a lot since getting out is a phrase, that I can't even remember. But it talks about how without momentum, we aren't being effective enough. So we can do all the right things and be a good person, but without momentum in the work, and really without momentum in our lives, we don't reach our potential. So my challenge for me first of all, and to all reading this letter, is to create momentum. Start rolling the snow ball down the hill. Don't let it stop. Take care of anything that would inhibit your desire to serve the lord and to continue on.

I know that the Lord is with us. I know that he knows us personally. His love for us is infinite and pure.
I love you all so much and hope you all have a really great week!

Open your mouth! :)

Elder Johnson

1st week!!!

Holy cow!! It feels so weird to call this my first week! I definitely don't feel like a veteran missionary, but it feels like this has been my life for a long time, and that this is the purpose of my life. I am sooo happy to be here in North Carolina! My first area is the Cary 3rd ward, well the spanish branch in our stake. It's pretty small, but they're a lively bunch! There are some families here who are so into missionary work! I love them so much! We have also been fed every night that I have been here except for one. Pretty cool. The bad news about that is that since June 5th, it seems that I have gained almost 10 lbs. I've got to be careful... But the food here is amazing! Well really it's all hispanic food, so it doesn't matter where you are, it's amazing.

This week I have been learning so much. There is so much to learn in the mission field. One of the biggest ones I'm finding is to put yourself out there. When I was really comfortable with all of my friends and family that wasn't very hard. It's different now haha. I have to trust that whatever spanish comes out of my mouth is going to make sense. But once I forget about the spanish and just start talking to someone, all the spanish I need comes, and it goes great! But even with english contacts that we make, it is all about forgetting yourself and just talking. Just ask them some questions and get to know them. It is hard, but so worth it.

One of the hardest things I have had to do so far is make phone calls in spanish. Wow. If it's hard to communicate in person, how much harder it is to understand and communicate over the phone. They have no idea that I'm not as good as my companion! But oh well. As well as with everything else, I can only do it by trying. I have seen miracles with my ability to communicate as I have just tried.

So, my companion. He is amazing! Everyone in our area lets me know that I am with one of the greatest spanish speakers and the greatest teachers. It is so true. He is very fun, and very diligent. He has been awesome to work with, and has helped me to reach my potential every day. We have a really good time together.

Investigators and Miracles. Wow. We don't have too many investigators, but we have quite a few. Only two of them have a baptismal date, but hopefully that changes. So really, all of that is a miracle. We have investigators with baptismal dates! One of them is super solid. Her name is Elidad. We just barely put her down for the 24th of August, and I got to invite her...with a little help from Elder Sullivan. After inviting her there was a really long silence. Oh how the spirit was working on her the whole lesson! Her husband Dean is a less active returning member. He was pro as Elder Sullivan called him. He was so helpful to help Ellie make a decision to go for the 24th. Another investigator is Gloria. Soon she'll have a date too. She is from el salvador, and pretty hard to understand. But we had a lesson with her yesterday. She just needs to give up that last cup of coffee every day and come to church. Other than that she is pretty ready.

The hispanic people are so nice. I love it! I pray that this week we'll be able to find some new investigators to continue a good teaching pool. We always need to be finding.

I love it here! I definitely sweat, but I have loved the climate so much and all the green trees! It definitely isn't Utah, but I don't mind being surrounded by trees at all. It is wonderful.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. It has changed my life, because I am learning what to be for the rest of my life. I know that this gospel is true. Like you said Marci, doubts come, but there is no doubt that can't be immediately cast out by the love of God and the truths of the gospel. I love this gospel and the love that God our Father has for each and every one of us.

Have a great week! And don't forget to share the gospel! Get some mormon.org cards and share! Get out of your comfort zone and be willing to talk to someone. No one will be offended that you are interested in who they are and what they stand for. Everyone can be our friend!

Les Quiero mucho!
Elder Johnson

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First pictures from the mission field

We just received these pictures from the mission field today.


Elder Johnson (right) with his new companion, Elders Sullivan
Serving in Apex, NC



Elder Adam Hall and Elder Johnson - back door neighbors now serving in the same mission


Sunday, July 14, 2013

El campo blanco está ya para la siega!

Well, I am headed off for the field this Monday!! My flight is at 7:30 in the morning and I have to report to the travel office at the MTC at 3:30 in the morning! I am so excited to go! We have 14 missionaries leaving this Monday from our zone! It is such an exciting time! I am so excited to get out into the field and to start the 12 week training program and to learn from my trainer. We have learned AWESOME stuff here at the MTC, but it is definitely time to leave! I am so excited to go speak with the natives who live in North Carolina. Elder Padilla and I jump at any chance we get to speak with natives here at the MTC. It is so much fun!

This morning our district had the chance to clean the temple. That was pretty cool. We were able to clean half of the endowment rooms and then take a simple tour of the temple. We got to go to the bridal room, and it was gorgeous! Definitely worth spending our P-Day cleaning in the temple. The funny thing was on the way back, at the intersection outside of the MTC, there were some protesters. It was dang funny! And it was so sad! They were saying such true words, but they lacked some very key parts of the gospel! They don't understand the Atonement! I pray that I will be able to help the people in North Carolina to understand what the Atonement is, and how amazing it is, and HOW we can use it.

This week was a great week. Probably one of the greatest highlights for me was seeing Dallin Hatch at the piano playing his own hymn medley in front of the whole MTC. That song truly is a beautiful song. It makes me so happy to be here with him and sharing the gospel along side members of our own ward.

Another random highlight is that I found out that Elder Padilla and I are related!!!! It's not very close...but who cares! And it's through the Hatches line! So yeah, go back six generations to Hezekiah Hatch and that's our great....grandpa! We're through different wives, but same Hezekiah.

Another random thing...We had a devotional with L. Lionel Kendrick which was awesome! He so happens to be the father of President Kendrick in Carlsbad! :D He spoke with such power, and was an answer to my prayers, and to several in our district.

I don't know quite what else to say, but to bear my testimony and to share advice from the few experiences I have had here in the MTC.
Don't ever doubt what you know. Don't ever doubt something you believe. Don't ever doubt that you can some day believe. I know that this gospel is true. It truly brings such pure joy into our lives. I am so thankful for the time that I have had here in the MTC to prepare myself to help others know these same truths. I am so thankful that I have been able to take the time here to ponder my testimony and what I know and believe. I have been molded already by the will of the lord. Though, he needs a different sculpture every day from us, even if it's a sculpture of a missionary every time. It is our job to let him change us. So I'm not done being molded, at all. My time here at the MTC has been completely different than what I thought it would be like. The difficulties completely different than I ever imagined possible. But they are exactly what my companion and I have needed.
I love this gospel and I love the Lord. Make it a goal to spend time to specifically think about Jesus every day. I promise that everything in your day will make sense, and your days will go so much better.

Next time I write you all I will be in the field! Thanks so much for all the support you give me!

Les quiero mucho!
Elder Johnson

- - -
Mass exodus from the Marriot. You'll never see so many missionaries. Looks exactly like the exodus from Egypt.


My flower in the window from mom! I love it!

 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Real Missionary!

Well another really really fast week has gone by! It is so hard to believe that I am only going to be here for 11 more days! It is amazing to look back on this week and see where I was, and where I am right now. It is a big difference. My companion and I have come leaps and bounds this past week. We would never have been able to make this jump without the first three weeks as well, but something just clicked this week for us. And there is so much more to learn. I am so excited to jump right into the 12 week training program in the field. The spanish is coming along really well. I study about 70% of my personal study in spanish now, and as a district we are speaking a lot more every day. Really the hardest part is just to keep speaking it. But our district made a goal to speak it all the time, unless we couldn't say it in spanish, but we can say about 80% of the day in spanish, so we do now! When you have a goal that you are trying to reach, and you believe you can do it, it is so much fun to try for it! This week I have really been growing in my testimony of the power of a plan and goals. They make every single day so much more effective and every single activity you do more effective. You can show immense faith through your planning. And you will receive inspiration as you take the time to plan and set goals.

One of my favorite things here at the MTC is the tuesday devotional. This week we were able to listen to a talk by brother Matthew O. Richardson. He gave such an amazing talk. He talked about his desires as a young missionary as written in his journal, and being eager in his soul. He talked about being pointed out by a small 6 year old girl asking, "Grandma, is that a real missionary??" I have been thinking a lot about that phrase, and what does it mean to be a real missionary. He talked a lot about that, and how we can always ask ourselves, what would a real missionary do? What would a real husband do? What would a real Father do? What would a real member do? That is definitely going to stay with me.

I am so excited that I have been called as a real missionary! I have been called to be the hero of some six year old girl. And more importantly, I have been called to be a representative of Christ, and to show the world, how real he is, because I am a real missionary. I am so excited to leave in 11 days to go serve the people of NC as a real representative of Christ.

Real quickly I want to share a fourth of July scripture.

Alma 48:11(11-13)

Y era Moroni un hombre fuerte y poderoso, un hombre
de un entendimiento perfecto; sí, un hombre que no se deleitaba
en derramar sangre; un hombre cuya alma se regocijaba en
la libertad e independencia de su país, y en que sus hermanos se libraran
de la servidumbre y la esclavitud;

I love this gospel and I love the light that he grants us in our life. He is always there. His light will fill the entire world. That is going to be such a glorious day. Thank you for your support! I love you all!

Elder Johnson

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Missionary Broadcast!!

Well I guess if the subject of this letter is the World Wide Broadcast, I better start out by saying that it was amazing!!! Obviously we were a little bummed that the prophet wasn't there, but oh well. Elder Holland and Elder Bednar were!! You can never go wrong with that! The work is so amazing! I am so grateful to be a part of it!

This last Tuesday, the 25th, we had a devotional with Janice Kapp Perry. Wow. That was awesome! There were two aspects of it that made it awesome. 1, she and her husband are hilarious! oh it was so much fun. 2, we sang, and learned about the incredible power of music. I am so excited for the role that music is going to play in my mission, and in my family after my mission.

Something cool we found out this week is that our district gets the opportunity to CLEAN the temple!!! It's closing, but we still get to go in! I am sooo excited for that! I love the temple! I did my last session this morning for probably a few months. So I am super excited to go in again to clean. They said to bring sneakers, and they are going to provide white work clothes. So yeah! How often to you get to say you cleaned the temple at the MTC!

So when I get out in the field, I know I'll have so much more to talk about. So far the days feel pretty much the same haha. But they most definitely aren't. Every single day I feel an added measure to my testimony. It truly is a sanctifying work. I love it. It can be so hard, but it will always be exactly what I need. I know that I am here right now, in my district, for a very specific reason. That's how God works. He puts us where he needs us. We just have to figure out what he needs from us. The answer to that is always the same. Our will. The desire to follow the spirit, courageously.

Missionaries are some of the wisest people on the earth, because they are the most obedient. That definitely is true. I see so many wise people here. It's such an interesting phenomena to see someone who's been here three weeks longer than me, but they seem so much older and wiser. And that just continues to grow. I am so excited to do all I can to follow God's will. That takes so much practice and time though. It is frustrating at times. But God loves us through it all. His grace is sufficient. We will do it!

I love you all! Thank you so much for your support, friends and family! The work can't be done alone! :) Have a wonderful week!

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Two weeks down!

Well two weeks have flown by! And I only have a little more than 3 1/2 weeks left! Oh that feels good! The MTC is amazing! And there are so many missionaries here! Though my companion and I have a six person room to ourselves, as well as the room next to us. And there are still six empty rooms in a hall. So it also feels really empty! Probably the most exciting thing about the MTC right now is that we are going to be here when the 1st presidency and the whole quorum of the twelve will be here!!! We get to sing to the prophet!!!! There is going to be about a 2500 person choir made up of 1300 missionaries and 1200 members. I am so excited!! So watch for me and my district! I'll be sitting next to elder Glazier because I'm doing tenor and Elder Padilla is doing Bass. So yeah. Watch! But most of all, listen to the coolest broadcast that there ever will have been! The MTC is shutting down, like everything is changing really soon for a little while, because the prophet and several of the twelve will be here teaching the new mission presidents. It is so crazy! Our schedule on sunday is so wacked out!

Well. Thank you so much Andre and all ya'll for the sweet package! I'll tell you all more specifically, but thanks! If you could all send me your addresses, that would make the letter process so much easier.

So this week went so much faster than last week. Everyone getting ready to go to the MTC, it is so amazing! Just work like you do, and let the lord direct you how he will. He may completely change your view of what is important. I know that he has changed me and how I work. The MTC is a refining fire for us to become the kind of missionary God wills.

Well I really don't know what else to say! I love every single one of you! I definitely feel the support that comes from your prayers. We all pray for you (our families) every day as well! We love you so much! Brother Doman, Annie Doman's Dad, is a councilor in my branch, and one thing he and his wife talk about every time is how sacred the role of being a father is. And how sacred this time is as a missionary to turn your might, mind, and strength to the lord. Missions create fathers who will listen to the spirit and to their children. Brother Steven C. Gay in the devotional on tuesday in the marriot center (2nd time in the world! 1st time was last week if I failed to mention that..:D) talked about how our first responsibility is to listen to the spirit, and then it is to listen to our investigators. That is such a true principle. I saw it in the temple this morning as well. I can't wait for the time to spend with the people in North Carolina. I love them!

I know this church is true! I know that this is the lord's work, NOT mine. My work is to do His work. I love chapter 6 in PMG. That is the model for our lives. I know that we can receive strength daily from the atonement of Jesus Christ. He is our savior and he is our brother. Our father in heaven is there for us. I cannot wait for the time I can be greeted into his kingdom. I know that I will know him when I see him. I love you all!

Elder Johnson

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Some picture of the missionaries in my district...

Elders Glazier, Padilla, Kenely (on the way to the temple)

 Hermanas Hendry, Malmrose, Wright, Cardon, Tui'one

 Elder Padilla and I

Thursday, June 13, 2013

First Week!!

Well, this was my first week at the MTC!! I arrived with about 950 other missionaries! The largest group to ever enter the MTC. :D The MTC is so amazing!! And I was definitely not prepared for it haha! I came here ready to feel like I was out in the field! That is not what the MTC is haha! It is so vigorous here! But I love it! Honestly it doesn't feel much different than High School as far as the classes go. But the thing that changes the feeling of the classroom and the learning of the language, is completely based on faith. There is such a strong spirit of faith here. We all have the choice to tap into that spirit though. So many go through the MTC and learn a ton! That is awesome! The most successful missionaries here though, are becoming. They have become a learner. Not just a student. The spirit has the power to enlarge your mind and your understanding. I have definitely seen that with the language! I already loved the language, but now it is soo exciting to be able to learn through the spirit and feel completely able with any part of the language that I need to be learning. That spirit though only comes by pleasing the lord. We can never just take that spirit for granted. The spirit here is so strong, because we are exercising our faith on the smallest things in our day. It is so amazing.

Clint: real quick, what is your room number?? I want to stop by some time and leave a note! :D I am in room 217 in 9m for class, so.... yeah haha.

Family and friends I love you! I pray for you all and I feel your support every day. It is such a blessing to have such amazing friends and family! Mom I am sooo glad for the collection of pictures. They make me sooo happy :D

Oh yeah! my companion's name is Elder Padilla. He's like 6'1" and is super strong. He is such a gentle person though, and it is awesome! We have gotten along really well so far and have been learning great things about missionary work. I'm going to try and attach some pictures of us and our district, so hopefully you can see him. We have a huge district. There are 6 elders and 6 sisters. I love them all! They're so great! I am so grateful to have been assigned as their district leader for the first three weeks. Like I said, well maybe I didn't haha, but we get working and leading right off the bat here. It's awesome! Our zone leaders are awesome! Elder Heyen and Elder Harper are stalwart! I am the youngest of us all! :D I am running out of time, but I love you all! I am doing super well and can't wait to hear from you all!

Yo sé que el evangelio es verdad! El profeta nos ama! Yo sé eso! Nadie puede decir que no es cierto.

Les amo mucho! Todos! Hasta el próximo semana! :D