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.
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!

Elder Johnson