Monday, December 29, 2014

a mite could....

So our big joke here that we've been doing is we are going to write a book called A Mite Could. 
"Could a mite walk a mile? Maybe he could. Possibly two! Could a southern mite walk that mile? He just might could." It continues to get us every time that we hear someone say it!

I had a blast talking to all y'all on Christmas!!!! Thank you Kevin for all of your help and for working with a missionary that has noooo idea what he's doing with technology! I love you! And I love everyone else too. :)

This week has been much much better than last week. We haven't been sick! :D We have been setting up a lot of great lessons and we've had a few as well. We were actually able to get back in touch with Felicia this week! She brought us inside and immediately started preparing us some plates of Christmas dinner leftovers to take home with us. I love that lady! We are in contact with her on Facebook now as well and are really hoping to help her to progress towards an understanding of the Restoration.

Yuni and Elvis came to church this Sunday! They have been coming pretty consistently, except for the last few weeks. So that was really good. We also feel like we are making headway with her to prepare herself for after her baptism to really progress towards the temple and to make that a solid goal of hers.

Other than them we have been working hard to try to find new investigators! We really loved the He is the Gift initiative and we're really trying to reap the rewards from it!

I know that the Gospel is true. Which that means that I know that believing in Christ and having faith in him is the only true source of power and strength that we have in this life. It means that I know that if we let that belief guide what we do and who we are, then we will change; we will want to change; we will want to repent. It means that if we will submit ourselves to the Lord and do his will, then we will be blessed with security and hope; we will have hope eternal life.

Follow the counsel of Elder Andre Johnson! Do the small and simple things and let the Atonement change you! 

I love yall so much! I pray my accent stays! (Pray for me too Caleb!)

Élder Johnson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Enfermos!

Well well well. This seems to have been the week that everyone in the United States decided to get sick! We have an average of about 75 lessons as a district a week, and this week we hit 41. Of those 41, we had two! WHAT?? On Monday we had no luck with the plans we had, and Tuesday we had a special Christmas Zone Conference with three zones combined. That was really fun! We had our normal conference that morning and then after lunch we had musical performances. Let's just say that I really really miss good music... But ours went really well! Elder Boekweg, Elder Swinney, Sister Sonksen, and I sang it came upon a midnight clear a capella. The arrangement we put together sounded really good! (Who sang what and when, not actual arranging of the music itself)

But...after the conference we all got sick. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to get three zones all together in close proximity...
We have an elder and a sister with Strep, a sister who's under the weather, Elder Swinney may have the flu, and I am working hard to avoid it all but it doesn't seem to be working all the way. Still no sore throat though. That's the good thing.

Other than that there was only two other things that happened this week since we haven't done anything with investigators this week. A funeral and a Christmas party!

First the Funeral. 
On Saturday we went to the funeral of a family member of a recent convert. It was a black southern baptist congregation. This is the second time that I have gone to a funeral in a church like that. Boy is it different! It's preaching mingled with song. The songs though were amazing!!! We can all learn from the passion and glory that they give through song. I'll tell you what. We need that culture in the church more.

Second the Party. 
We had a very successful Christmas party! We had a great turnout! There were several non-members there and some great potential for teaching them! But the greatest part of it all is that....no one came to church. Everyone was sick!!! The church was practically empty! We got to the church late and were told before even going through the door to go back home and sleep haha. So we have been doing so. 

What to take away from the week? We are the Lord's servants. And through the ups and downs we must serve him. Nothing else will bring us greater pleasure. Taking a rest from work, and taking a rest from your commitment are two different things. Stay committed to the Lord!

I love y'all!

Élder Johnson

Monday, December 15, 2014

MILAGROS!!!

If you haven't noticed yet, God is a god of miracles! Thank you so much for sharing with me the miracles yall have seen in your own lives and that you have seen in the lives of others. 

This week we have seen miracles! Elder Swinney and I have been blessed with such an elect investigator. We have been working hard each and every day to find new investigators and to help those who we are already teaching to progress. And the Lord saw fit to trust us with someone who is ready to hear the Gospel and overcome the trials before him. Brandon is amazing! 

We got a hold of Brandon from a media referral asking for a Book of Mormon. We NEVER get media referrals out here in the country. Pig farmers don't tend to go searching things out on the internet haha. But Brandon has been searching and studying things out ever since he found out his girlfriend is a member. We were able to teach him in the home of one of the members and we had an excellent lesson. He accepted baptism! He is going on vacation so we will be teaching him through facebook this week, but when he gets back we will be able to continue forward to help him overcome different trials he will face. 

Another miracle that we saw this week was that we were able to get up with more of the people that we have been teaching and that we have not been able to teach so much. Such as the Hedgepeth family, Stevie, and Bill Buckley! Stevie seems to not be interested anymore. We're super bummed about it. But we'll keep in touch. Bill and the Hedgepeths however seem to be increasing their interest and their faith! Bill last night specifically asked us to go over the plan of salvation with him again! We have faith that as we show him our love and as we teach him according to his needs, he will continue to change! And in this life or the next, he will accept the message. :)

On Saturday we had the amazing privilege of meeting as Spanish Missionaries in the whole mission! Elder Zwick from the 1st quorum of the seventy came and taught us in Spanish! :D That was a super awesome experience. We're not exactly sure why only the Spanish missionaries came, since we didn't address any specific Spanish proselyting or anything. But what a privilege to be taught so close and personally. And in Spanish!
The other great part about it all was that we got to see all of our former companions! It was a huge group of friends! There is definitely a different bond between the Spanish missionaries and the English... 
The main thing that we took away from it though was our personal responsibility to learn by faith and to have the power of virtue as missionaries. It was sooo powerful. What a blessing!

To be a missionary is one of the greatest gifts and privileges I have ever had. It lies just behind the gift of Christ. I am so grateful to be here and I am so grateful that the Lord is with us each day.

I love yall a ton! I wish you a very merry Christmas! And don't forget your liver pudding this year! :D

Elder Brian Johnson

p.s. yes there are many a people out here who love their liver pudding :) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Otra vez!!! :D

Elder Swinney is my new/old companion!!!!!! Wahoo!! We are both super excited to be companions again! We both admit that it is kind of crazy, and that it was a little bit of mixed feelings, but we're over that and are doing awesome work here in Wallace!

As far as the events of this week there weren't too many. We are teaching someone named Lonnie who is great! He is the boyfriend of one of the returning less actives. We haven't gotten too far into teaching him yet, but we've been starting on the basic principles of prayer and developing a relationship with God. He has some great questions and some great potential. When we taught him this week I found that Elder Swinney has changed a ton and that he is a super solid missionary! We have had some really powerful lessons already. I still am amazed we're actually companions, but super excited!

The highlight of this week besides transfers happened while I was waiting for Elder Swinney after transfer meeting. I stayed in Wallace with the Mount Zion elders and went proselyting with them. At one point Brother Taylor came and picked me up to go meet up with Elder Swinney and his ride. They were late, so we ended up going and doing other things in the meantime. Well while I was with the Brother Taylor I realized that I had lost our key. Our brand new car key! I don't know if I mentioned this earlier, but we have a brand new 2015 Toyota Corolla. I love it! :D But it doesn't do you any good parked in a random parking lot without a key! So we went on a goose chase for my key. We didn't ever find it. Still haven't. So until our fleet manager could get down to Wallace, we were on bikes! :D That kept us pretty close haha. Couldn't really go all that far. 
But we have a key now, and are continuing to look for the old one so we don't have to replace it...($$) It was one of the funniest/horrendous things that has happened on my mission! And all while Elder Swinney was on his way for me to go pick him up in OUR car! :D 

We finally were able to talk to Felisha this week! She has been in the hospital and recovering from not being able to breath. She invited us over for dinner this week and as well for Christmas! We hope that we can coordinate everything to be able to go!

Yuni is doing really well. We had a great lesson with her and her mother in law. When we asked her what the most important part in the plan that Heavenly Father has for us, she said "The law of Chastity!" Well, maybe, but it was awesome to hear that it's the first thing on her  mind! :D Hopefully this week Elvis will be able to get his passport. Please pray for him to be able to do so!!

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true way to have happiness in this life and in the life to come!
Have a very merry Christmas and don't forget to share the gift!! :D

Élder Brian Johnson

Monday, December 1, 2014

Traslados!

Transfer time is here! They always go by so fast! Sometimes I feel like Elder Foote is still teaching me the area, but I am going to be doing just that in about 24 hours! I heard rumor on Friday at our leadership meeting that Elder Swinney will be coming down to Wallace as my companion again! Who really knows haha. But that would be pretty awesome!

This week has been a fantastic week. As a zone we have had a goal to have no zeros in our key indicators. We ALMOST did it! We don't have anyone with a baptismal date right now, but we have a few who are close to it. Really Yuni is the closest one, and it's simply a matter of time to be able to get married.

Speaking of which, she is doing really well. Her countenance has changed since she has decided to get baptized. It is amazing!

So yesterday going along with our goal for no zeros, we had a goal to have a lesson in a member's home. But we didn't have anything set up! Saturday night though we set the goal to do it, and prayed specifically that we would be able to teach someone in the home of one of the three members that we were going to visit on Sunday. The first home we had a miracle. We were able to visit with the Jeffers family. Sister Jeffers is really sick and can't come to church much. And her daughter is not a member. She's been taught before, and we have been sharing messages with the family for a time. We had an awesome lesson about the He is the Gift Initiative! I love that thing! 

Second miracle that happened is that a member invited us to eat at their house for his birthday! He had cousins over and being hispanic, about 75% of their conversation had to do with religion. In the end we had the privilege to share the same thing and set up a return appointment to eat deer with them! Woot! Miracles happen!!

So I have been trying to think about what happened this week. And I spaced the fact that it was THANKSGIVING!!! What a day!! It was great!

For thanksgiving we went over to President Adkins house with the family. They were talking about how they had the whole gang there save a few. They had a table that fit about eight people.... As far as I understand we had our big dining table and two other tables that fit eight each... It was a quiet thanksgiving haha. It was super fun and super good though! Good old southern food! And boy do they love their macaroni! I was put on the spot to sing/play for them, so I figured I'd sing Lullaby for them. They don't know why, but it was really awesome for me to play it and sing it for them. 

We also ate at the Jeffers home! I ATE CHITLINS!!!!! WOOOOT!!!! If yall don't know what that is, then simply imagine eating the tripe. Intestines! But boy was I not expecting the flavor. Some day yall need to try the Carolina BBQ, because it had some of the richest vinegar based bbq ever. 
We also had home made fried chicken which was super good! The people out here in the south make it right!

I am so grateful to be serving a mission! I am so grateful for all y'all! I am so grateful for life!
I love y'all so much!

Élder Johnson 


We love to cook Hispanic food! This was all us!



So one of the best parts about my district is that Hampstead is on the coast! 
And I get to go on exchanges there! This was on Topsail island and it was soooo cold that night!



This is my district!! Love 'em all!


Monday, November 24, 2014

¡Espíritu!

Hey all y'all foreigners in the land of the west!! (And wherever else you may be...)

I hear that there's been some snow! Well rather than snow we have had warm weather, rain, and tornado watches! Don't worry, nothing came of it. But really, it has been so warm a few of the days! We could actually go running this morning because it was so warm!
Well, so you remember Jorge from Henderson? Turns out that he was actually already baptized! What?? He was baptized 18 years ago, but doesn't remember it at all. Woot! Double dose!
Marisol is doing well I hear as well which makes me super happy! She's already getting her patriarchal blessing!

This week here in Wallace things went great! Yuni decided to get baptized!!!!!! WAHOO!!! We were in the middle of weekly planning when all of the sudden we remembered that we had a lesson with Yuni, Elvis, and Maria in about an hour. We had no plans. So we paused and began to make them. We took the whole hour racking our brains to decide what we were going to do! She's been taught everything, and everything we teach gets the same response! We made some great plans, and then trashed them. Then we did it again! In the end we bagged it all and said we'd do Alma 7:11-16. 

Well, when we got there we did the normal follow up questions about their previous commitments and their prayers and all. We asked about how they liked the baptism that they went to as well. And bingo, Yuni popped the question about why they were baptized so many times. (The water was super low, so it took a few tries) Basically she came out with her doubt though that she felt she was failing God for being baptized again. We showed her my priesthood line of authority and explained once again the answer to her question. And for some odd reason (the spirit) it all clicked! WOOOOT!!! (Clint, you have officially made me love this word!) 

So we now have to get them married. :) Which should happen soon here. The funniest part was that when it all finally clicked, Maria, Elvis's mom, asked Yuni if she has already been baptized. Then said, "Well what are you worried about! You don't need to be baptized again!" In Elder Footes words we said in ourselves, "Get thee hence Satan!" It was hilarious! But all is good, and we are super happy.

Other than that, Vilma went to Virginia for vacation until about Christmas she said. So we'll be teaching her on facebook! :D

The greatest miracle for the week is that we got a branch mission leader!! We are sooo excited! We have been in dire need for this! We can't wait to get up and running with him and his wife! The Taylors are the best!
I love yall a ton! Keep keeping on, and before you know it you'll have kept the keep on!!

Elder Johnson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bautismo!!

So it wasn't our Bautismo, but Wallace Sisters had one! Woot!! One of two baptisms that I have ever seen done at least seven times! :D There's always something that happens at a baptism to make it a unique experience haha. 

So this week we had miracles galore! We had investigators popping out of the ground like Daisies! Well kinda. But we really did see some great success this week. 

To start the week off we had a Spanish FHE! Only three people showed up besides us and the sisters. Elvis and Yuni and his mom! So... the sisters taught our investigators haha! But it was such a great experience. It helped us out to let them hear the testimonies from someone else about the restoration. We then were able to have a lesson with them all the next day to talk about the spirit that they felt at FHE. Maria, Elvis's mom, really liked it and is interested in learning more and really coming to find out for herself if it is true! Yuni definitely felt the spirit, and really wants to follow Christ, but still has a hard time understanding Baptism by the authority of God. We are trying so hard to let the spirit teach her!

Felisha was in the hospital this week :/ But we were able to get her some gatorade which we took over yesterday with a member, because her mother had said that she especially likes gatorade after getting sick. Keep praying!

This week I feel like the greatest miracles though have been as a district. We have simply been continuing to better focus ourselves on helping others come unto Christ through baptism, and investigators have begun to progress! As a mission we are all praying and working for a white Christmas, meaning that each companionship is striving for one baptism in December. 

Our districts vision is found in 3 Nephi 17:20
"Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full."
Faithfully Joyful! That is what truly has blessed us this week!

The last miracle is that we were planning on friday, and we got a call from brother Cruz. He asked us to meet him at his friends house to teach them! Hey hey! That was awesome! That morning we had prayed specifically for the opportunity to meet our goal for two new investigators, and as we acted in Faith, the lord granted us something even better! One very elect daughter of God! Her name is Vilma and we are super excited to teach her!

I know that the Lord is preparing his children! He cares so much for each lost sheep, and there are many. His work never ceases, so each day there is always something we can all do to take care of the fold!

I love yall a ton! 

Elder Johnson

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rewards

What a great reward it is to give up two years. The reward to wake up each morning and be a servant of the Lord! Elder Foote and I have been talking a lot about that this weekend and we have it written up huge on our whiteboard! 

This week has been a fantastic week! Our district went from having very few baptisms lined up, to several in just this last week! We have seen such amazing blessings here in North Carolina! One of the highlights for me this week was that I was able to do my first baptismal interview! The spirit is so strong in that meeting! When an investigator truly understands and is committed to the Lord, their testimony is so strong. So this means that the Wallace sisters will have a baptism here this Saturday! We are excited for this to boost the member missionary work here.

This last week we were able to keep working with Bill Buckley. He is a hoot! We were able to teach him a lot more about the Plan of Salvation and it made us so sad to hear that he doesn't know if he'll ever see his wife Evelyn again. We are excited to go back this week to continue to talk about it. He was bothered though that we took too long and we couldn't eat ice cream  afterwards... :D

We weren't able to teach Felisha this week, but we were able to visit with her on her porch for a time. She told us two amazing things. One, that we had pushed her away from the Baptists. Yeah!!! That is HUGE here!! And second, that she very emphatically said that we would be surprised the next time we come, by how much she will have read in the book of mormon. Not to mention she wants to feed us. We are excited to go back tomorrow! We are bringing a member with us this time and we are praying that they will get along and that Felisha will take to them. We have faith that they will.

We can't get a hold of Stevie :/ 

Yuni came to church! And Elvis has plans to get his passport really soon here so they can get married!! We are still struggling to help her receive an answer about baptism, but keeping the commandments will definitely help.

More and more I realize that we are most definitely in the South. I love it! And I can't remember life any other way! And boy am I excited for a good Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner out here in the country. It will be soooo good!! Oh and I also can't remember barbecue sauce being ketchup and sugar based. The NC bbq sauce is vinegar based and soooo good. 

Feast upon the words of Christ! They're even better! And don't forget to learn about how the spirit talks to you and to others! 

I love yall a ton! Have a great week!

Élder Johnson

Monday, November 3, 2014

¡Ay! ¡el frío!

Well the cold is finally hitting here in North Carolina! Well it goes up and down, but this morning we had our first frost! I have been sooo cold! But I realized something. Last year after being in Cary where I ate like a king with the amazing hispanics there, I weighed about 15 lbs more than I do right now... So I didn't get so cold! But boy do I hope that I can make it this winter! In all reality I am totally fine, since I love the cold haha. I just have to decide to like it right now! :D

This week was a great week! We had several lessons with different investigators and found a new one as well. The greatest lesson that we had was with Felisha and Raheim. I love these people! Felisha, the minister, has had a change each time that we have gone over to her house. When we got there Raheim told us that she was feeling sick and that it would just be the three of us and his brother Adam. But as we began to talk Felisha came out to be there with us with the determination to talk with us because of how much she loves us coming over. We were able to talk even more about the Book of Mormon and how it relates to the Bible. They hadn't read much since the last time so that is what we are trying to get them to do. We left them 2 Nephi 33 to read because of how strong of a testimony Nephi gives to all those who read his words.

As we talked we asked them if they had been able to pray about the Book of Mormon to ask God if it is truly His word. They both very passionately said that they did not need to because of the spirit that you can feel as you read the book. Wahoo!!! We are trying to help them now to understand Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the organization of the Priesthood and the fold of God. Our plan for our lesson tomorrow is to invite them to pray specifically if this is the same organization that existed in the primitive days! And we plan on lovingly and fearlessly inviting them to be baptized when they come to know that it is true! PLEASE PRAY FOR US! :D:D: The Lord needs these elect children of God to establish more firmly his church here in Wallace! 

We taught a man named Hector who is a new investigator as well. He is great! Super nice and loves to talk! It took us two lessons to simply do what is called How to Begin Teaching! But it's worth taking the time to set the expectations with people of who we are and what our purpose is in being there with them! 

We are slowly but surely progressing with "Wild Bill Buckley"!! Our visits have turned more and more into gospel conversations and he has come out to us with more and more questions that he has! What we do, since he can't handle focusing for very long, is we write a scripture on a piece of paper and post it on his fridge or his wall where he can look at it all week. That way his thoughts are complete about it. This time we talked more about the Plan of Salvation and left him these two questions: Why did we ever leave Heaven? and what do we have to do to go back? We are excited to follow up!

We have not been able to see Steve for a while or Yuni. So we are working hard to get in touch again so we don't lose ground. 

I hope yall enjoyed your Halloween! We certainly did! We had a great chili cook-off! We had soo many hispanics there! Including the whole Hernandez family! We've been constantly working with them, and it was soo good to see them there and at church as well!

I love yall a ton! And I say unto yall, LOVE THE COLD! :D

Love,
Elder Brian Johnson

Monday, October 27, 2014

La vida!

Missionary work is la vida! It is sooo great! So for all yall that know me, I love to do service. So this is just about one of my favorite times of the year. We have been doing sooo much service! One day this week we had a service project lined up with a less active which fell through. We had an exchange with one of the priests and we had already gotten together to go to the project. So, we started thinking of who we could visit or who we could go serve. We scanned the branch roster and called some people. It was a blast! We went around town serving our branch! I cannot tell you how happy the two sisters that we served were to have us show up to offer our services. It was such a great feeling! We are planning on doing what we call Service Tracting this week. We're going to go out in our service clothes and knock doors offering service for any project that they are working on! The people here in Wallace are super religious, and there are about 20 churches in a 5 square mile area. I wouldn't doubt it if there are more! So they are all comfortable with where they are at for the most part. This is our brilliant plan to overcome it! Serve!
 
This week we were not able to teach many of our investigators. Things are going well, but slow. We are working to do better at meeting more often with them. Our miles make it difficult, but we make ends meet. :) We were able to go do service for Bill Buckley again this week, and set up an appointment to teach him the plan of salvation! We actually taught him a lesson! It was great! This 92 year old likes to talk, so we only talked about one principle, but I have so much more faith and hope that we can actually teach him and get him to actually want to learn about what we teach!
 
This week as a district leader I have been learning a lot! I am so grateful for the opportunities that I have to study, pray, meditate, and counsel with the Lord about our district. I would have to say that is what I have learned the most about. We can counsel so much more with the lord if we truly include him in our trials and circumstances. I had a great experience this week where there was a slightly disobedient thing happening that needed to be corrected, and I was praying about how to correct it. As I prayed I realized that I needed to study it out in my mind, using the examples that the Lord has given me (president Bernhisel) and come up with how I feel it should be done. I felt so guided about what to do, and the Spirit confirmed the action through prayer and reporting to the Lord on what I had decided. The Lord trusts us so much! Holy Cow! 
Doctrine and Covenants 11:12-14
 
"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;
And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive."

I love y'all a lot! Thank you so much for your prayers and support! You are a vital part of who I am! :)

Élder Johnson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Elder Pie (Foot)!

Well the new transfer has come and Elder Foote and I will be here in Wallace for another! It has been a great companionship and I super excited for this next transfer. 

This last week has been a great week. We've had some great opportunities to teach people and to work with the less actives here.

We had a great lesson with Stevie again, this time on the plan of salvation. Specifically the story of Adam and Eve. He's so much fun! He is really accepting the message and understanding it. We are getting ready to invite him to be baptized and to set a specific date with him. We haven't yet just to make sure he can actually comprehend what we are teaching him. 

We taught Bill Buckley again this week! Well more like we ate ice cream again with him haha. But we had somewhat of a breakthrough with him! We asked him about how much of our message does he actually know. He gave us about 30%. He loves asking us how we are doing and what's new, so we had to say that if you don't actually know what we are teaching everybody each day, then you don't actually understand what we do! So we asked if we could share the rest of what we teach, and he accepted! We hope to see some progress from it! Otherwise we will have to let him know finally that an occasional service project is alright, but we can't come by as often. He loves us so much though and considers us as his grandchildren! It's so hard to stop going by someone who loves you so much!

One of our eternigators that we have is Michael. We have been going by to support him through tough trials recently, but the past week and a half we could not find him or get in touch with him. Well as we were going to a dinner appointment, late..., we saw someone on the side of the road in the ditch getting out of the window of his truck. It was Michael!! He had driven a company truck of the road into the ditch and had finally found his way out! What a huge miracle it was that we were the first on the scene! And what a huge miracle it was that we came only a 30 seconds later! If we had not have paused to figure exactly how we were going to get to our next appointment, we would have been the victims of the accident. We were able to help him out to call his boss and they ended up calling the wrecker. Michael was a bit banged up, but okay. What a miracle!

Other than that not much happened :)

My thought for the day, that I have been sharing with people all week because I love it so much and it has changed my vision, is Jeremiah 1:5-8.

"Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child." 

It is so easy to feel that way when it comes to the work of the Lord. It is such a huge work! But the Lord calls us to do his work and tells us, 

"Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."

"Say not, I am a child:" I love it! We are all children. No doubt about it. Compared to God, we have the understanding of a child. But the Lord still tells us, "Say not, I am a child." His view of us is so great! He sees us as we can become! If we see ourselves in that way, then we can help others to do the same thing. Realize their potential.

I love yall so much! Thank you for your prayers! :D Have a fantastic week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, October 13, 2014

Faith!

This week was a fantastic week! We got to go to the Temple!!!! :D It is such an amazing feeling to go to the temple with other missionaries. The covenants are such a vital part of our calling! We talk a lot about becoming consecrated missionaries and giving our all to the Lord in the missionary field, but it isn't simply the formula for success as a missionary. It is what we promised the Lord that we would do! There is no greater place to learn to do that and to pattern your thoughts and behavior according to the will of the Lord! Am I the perfectly consecrated missionary? I know that I have improvements. :) My motivation to become one grows stronger each week. The scripture that defines the pattern of being a consecrated missionary is one of my favorites.

"Nevertheless they did fast‍ and pray‍ oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying‍ and the sanctification‍ of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding‍ their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35

I am so grateful that we have the chance each day to do this through prayer.

We were able to have a great lesson with Yuni about prayer. We have been trying to teach her through the scriptures about authority and then focusing on prayer and that prayer is the way that she can know for sure that Joseph Smith received the authority of the Priesthood. We had a great lesson planned out for it, and then didn't share but five minutes of it. We had just had a great lesson from our leaders about asking questions to discern peoples feelings and doubts so we began to focus on asking her questions. Man we drilled her! But it was such a spiritual experience where she was testifying to us and sharing personal experiences and we were doing the same! And then she told us that she has been praying about baptism again. :D She hasn't been praying about it for a while because she has gotten caught up in learning about the appendages to it. It made us so excited! We are praying for the guidance to know how to keep moving forward with her to be able to receive that answer and to know how to act on it. She needs to get married first and she knows that. But they just quite haven't had the motivation to do so without her decision to be baptized.

Our most promising investigator right now is Stevie. He is awesome! Stevie has some mental issues that affect his processing, but he loves meeting with us! We are helping him to understand the material and most importantly to feel the spirit. The latter isn't very hard. Stevie is so close to the spirit when we are teaching him! It is amazing at how easily he recognizes it and will describe it right to us. We had a great lesson on the Restoration this last week and were able to read with him in the Book of Mormon. His progression will be slower, and he needs to get sundays off of work, but we are so excited to keep working with him.

We found 3 new investigators this week! We met them last week and then followed up with them this week. Their names are Felisha, Dacquan (dayquan), and Raheim (raheem). Felisha is their mom, and is a Minister! The first time we met them was pretty intimidating! But we were able to boldly share our message and leave with them the invitation to read the Book of Mormon to increase their faith in Jesus Christ. She did it! And she loves it! They have said they aren't becoming Mormons though... But they have taken the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and to ask if it is a true book and if is the Word of God. They accepted! And Raheim who wouldn't accept a copy of the Book of Mormon the first visit said, "well, before I didn't want one, but yeah I'll take one now!"

Elder Foote and I discussed whether or not we were going to go back and try and share more since they had told us bluntly they weren't going to join. But we knew that if we had faith, we could share our message and bless their lives! We still have not been able to share with them the message of the Restoration, and that is what we have been called to share with them. We must press on in Faith! Invite them to come even closer to Jesus Christ! We are so excited to teach them now!

I know that this is the true Gosple of Jesus Christ in it's fullness! As we study and search for a witness that Jesus truly is the Christ, we will find it in the pages of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. And with faith in Christ, and hope in the promised blessings of his Atonement, and we do what He invites us to do, we can receive the greatest blessing of Eternal life!

I love yall so much! Have a marvelous week!
Elder Johnson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marisol

Now that conference is over we are going to use it to teach people so much better! It's amazing how each Conference it applies perfectly to people we teach. We taught a great lesson on currents right after sunday second session, and it went great! It helped our investigator Yuni to understand what our purpose as missionaries is, and how the true and lasting source of the current that will bring her towards the Gospel is the spirit and the scriptures.

Lately we have been talking a lot about how to become more effective teachers through following the example of Christ in our teaching. That includes asking good questions that help people to apply what they learn to their own lives. It invites them to act on their own resolve. One of my favorites is the question that Christ asks to the apostles. "Will ye also go away?" Such a simple question! And when used by someone in our days I can imagine it being used quite manipulatively. But what the Lord did at that moment with his apostles was ask them where there conversion stood. Bold, and loving. 

We also have talked a lot about letting the spirit teach. Boy did conference let the Spirit teach! My favorite talks from conference were those who spoke in their native language. Especially in Spanish! There is a different feel to words being spoken in one's native tongue.

As far as the work is going here we have still not been working very consistently with any specific person. We did have a great lesson with Stevie, a former investigator, and he came to the priesthood session! We look forward to continue teaching him. We have some great potential here, we just need to unleash it and progress forward with it.

The best news from this week though is that Marisol got Baptized!!!!! And Jorge will be getting baptized this next week!!! I will send you pictures that Elder Rose sent me.

My time is out and I've got to run, so here are the pictures and I hope that yall have a fantastic week! :D I love yall!

Elder Johnson




And a couple more...




Monday, September 29, 2014

Milagros!

This was a great week! This week Elder Foote and I have been working really hard to try to find new investigators since we have just a few, and they aren't progressing very fast. And while I was on exchanges in Hampstead Elder Foote found 5 new investigators! :D We have some great potential for this upcoming week and we are looking forward to teaching people about the Gospel!

This week I had a meeting as well with the leadership in the mission. It was a 200 mile round trip! So we ended up doing a lot of sitting. But the meeting was great! I am soo grateful for the leadership that we have in the mission. I was privileged to instruct at the meeting with Elder Tingey about "finding nets" or in other words methods of finding, and using them effectively. Boy was I nervous and I felt like I was the least of them to teach it, but it went well! I have come to love the missionaries here in the NCRM. They are the greatest. 

I have come to realize that what people say about the south is generally true. It really does move at a slower pace. And things really don't change very quickly. And it definitely smells of animals. Pigs and chickens all the time!
The culture is different but the gospel still applies to them. It is amazing! We all go through the same process of life and needing the Lord. I am so grateful for the Gospel and that we can become different people because of it. A peculiar people, and a joyful people. 

One of the highlights that we have here in Wallace is Bill Buckley. He is 92 and one of my favorite persons ever. He is a slow going investigator, and eventually we may have to discontinue him, but he is one of our greatest joys. To him we are his grandsons. And he is one of the funniest people I've met! 

I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that he sends us each day and each week.

I hope that yall have an amazing week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Breath it in!

Well this week I learned just how great the country smells. It smells greatly of pigs and chicken! And boy can it get pretty smelly! Thank goodness it's not always that way. But when you're driving down the country road enjoying the smell of the air and then you get hit by a pig farm, the smell just doesn't leave your nose. Gotta love the country! :D

But seriously I do love the country! The people out here are great! We had stake conference yesterday in Wilmington which is a beach city, and it hardly changed a thing. I saw some of the biggest beards I've ever seen, and heard some of the greatest accents! The highlight of Stake Conference though was that we were able to get one of our less actives there, and before we left to go back home we got him to say a prayer for us! He has not prayed for us the whole time talking to him. And he's proud of it haha. But a member invited him to pray and he laughed, but did it! 
The investigator that we are teaching right now is named Yuni. She has been taught for a long time by missionaries and is struggling to understand why she needs to be baptized again. They live out of the branch boundaries so it's a bit of a drive. But since they are spanish speakers we go and teach them. 

One of the big highlights of the week was that we were able to make a few great contacts. In the country it's harder to talk to everyone when they are spread out and at work. So we were super excited to talk to them! We have a potential family to teach that has been taught some of the lessons before, and there are at least 11 people in the home. We are praying to be able to teach them!

One thing that I have been loving this past week has been our studies! I have had some great studies on prayer and how we must exercise our faith as we pray. Take the time this week to analize your prayers! Preach My Gosple by the way has a great way to do that in chapter 5 :)
Prayer is such an essential thing in our life, and the more connected we feel to our Father the more we progress in our lives.

I love yall so much! Congratulations Catherine!!!! :D 

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wallace!

Well my new area is the amazing area in the Wallace branch in the Wilmington zone and stake! I thought I have been living in the south, but boy was I wrong. I have met more rednecks here than I ever met up in Henderson. It is absolutely incredible how much the culture and the accent changed going three hours south. But so far this area is amazing. We are in a small English branch with two sets of Spanish missionaries. Sisters and Elders. We both do English and Spanish work. Though we most definitely like doing Spanish work more. :D The main thing that we are focusing on at this point though here in this area is working with the part member families and the less actives. There are a lot of them, and it is what brings the most success. I have met some of the craziest people here! One of the members here has lived the craziest life. It includes being a navy seal, being shot and floating 28 miles and having amnesia for three weeks, having his bachelors degree at age 17, and living by himself in an abandoned car in the forest in Maine for a full year as a twelve year old, while going to school. 
Probably the greatest person that I met this week though was Elder Foote! (sounds like foot) He is awesome! I am following up on his training that he got from an elder named Elder Mora, who is amazing. So he was trained really well and has a burning desire to do missionary work. We get along really well and have had such a fun time this last week. We forgot our camera's at home, so hopefully we'll be able to get back to the computer to send a picture. He is from Carlsbad California! And he reminds me a lot of Brigham. It's pretty great. His Spanish is doing really great for being in a Spanish/English area. 

We have a hilarious investigator named Bill Buckley. He calls himself Wild Bill Buckley. He is 92! Holy cow! Santa Vaca! And he is soo fit. He climbs up a ladder and gets on the roof of his shed to fix the roof! We have to talk really loud and slow, but his memory is great. He absolutely loves the missionaries. We are slowly working with him to understand the Book of Mormon and especially the doctrine of Alma 34:32. I hope to get pictures of him to yall in the future.

A family that the sisters and we are working with is the Allegood family. It is a great team effort. They have set a marriage and baptismal date for Julie and the kids, since Brother Allegood is a member already. I don't know much more since I've not met them very well yet, but keep them in your prayers!

My scripture though of the week is Alma 7:23-24. "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissiveand gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works."
Seek diligently to do these things!

I love yall a ton!

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 8, 2014

¡Despedidos!

My last week here in Henderson! Woah! I've been here for so long and sometimes I forget that we even get moved around as Missionaries! But it's always good to have a bit of change. It really gives you an opportunity to step up your dedication. Start fresh. And that's what I am really excited to do this coming week!

Probably the weirdest part about this past week though is the fact that I have been doing specific studies for a meeting that I have never lead before! And I have no idea who is going to be there! Now isn't that like trying to plan a lesson for an investigator you have never met at all. But I am super excited! 

This last week in Henderson we've had a great week. We have taught Marisol several times, and due to simple coordination with the ward and the members the baptism will actually be on the 27th. We're bummed to have to push it back so much, but it's alright. Jorge's date is for the 27th as well, so we're hoping for a great day that day! The amazing thing about this week was that we were able to teach Marisol in a members home! Marisol really clicked with a member that is here from Chile for a year teaching spanish at an elementary school. Her name is Rosa. They are really great friends now! On sundaythey both made dinner for the Elders and then we had a lesson afterwards. It was fantastic! The weird thing is that Rosa lives in the same complex that we do, so we didn't have to go far. 

We had another great lesson with Eloi and Minerva this week that made me super sad to leave! They are so great! But we'll see in a few months how they are doing. 
So I don't have my planner from last transfer with me right now so I can't remember anything else that we did! Basically we have been busy preparing the apartment and the areabook and whatever else needed for the next companion to be here and to know how to get around. I've been driving here for seven months, so I don't really have a problem going places. But without a GPS, boy is it difficult to get around. Thank goodness that I got one off of a dead missionary! :D (Missionary jargon)

One thing that I have been learning a lot about this last week is how real the Gospel is. It is simple. And it is how we must live our life. Alma the younger in Alma 5 begins to preach to both the church and the nonmembers. This is because the church has begun to get prideful and have begun to forget the Lord. He begins by referring to his father Alma the older and how he established the church by his faith on the words of Abinadi. They later are put into bondage and then he states that the Lord frees them by his word. He tells them that they were surrounded by an everlasting destruction, yet they were not destroyed. That is what the gospel is about. Literally saving us from our carnal nature to become as our heavenly father.

Verse 13 says, "And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved."

The gospel is truly about putting our trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, all things are possible, and we can have a perfect brightness of hope!

I love yall so much! Fill your life with the light of the Gospel! The light's already on, you just have to open the shutters!
Con cariño,
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Milagros!!

This week was a fantastic week! Things are progressing so well here in Henderson. Marisol set a baptismal date for the 20th! :D I am soooooo sad that I won't be able to be there for it. But I am sooo happy that she is ready! I at least get the chance to teach her this last week two more times with Elder Rose to help her be prepared. We just have a few things to cover and then she's ready. And that's simply because of the fact that we teach a complete lesson 5 to all investigators before baptism now. 
We found 6 new investigators last week and three yesterday! What a miracle! And all of them are fantastic! Those include two families! :D I love teaching families! If you remember the Hernandez family, the daughter Cynthia is best friends with Alondra, the daughter of our new investigators. We are soo excited to teach them. They have really understood the lessons well so far. Their names are Eloi, Minerva, and Alondra. There's also Henry and Larry. 
The other family is Neta (said neeta), Victor, Jennie, and Selina. They have been potentials for a long time now, but Neta got sick and we've not been able to teach them. She has been reading off and on though since we first taught them, and they are all really excited to learn. Especially Neta and her daughter Jennie.
Our lessons with Jorge went really well this week. The first one was actually pretty funny. And since I'm terrible at including funny stories I'll give it a whirl today haha.
We got to Jorge's and knocked on the door and one of his roommates answered the door. His roommates are always, always drinking and smoking. Which usually they are pretty out of it and just stare at us when we knock on the door. Then we ask if Jorge is there and they without response turn around and walk away. Somehow the message gets relayed to Jorge and he comes to the door. But this time there were more people and they were getting noisy. The first thing that Martín does (the roommate) is invites us in and starts asking us why the devil doesn't speak English. We were soooo confused! He and his friend in their drunk state were hilarious! We sat and bluntly answered their questions to satisfy them while we waited for Jorge. Basically they said they had been talking to the devil and he refused to speak English with them. It most definitely got uncomfortable after a little, but we have been laughing at it ever since! Because apparently the devil does not speak English.
The actual lessons went really well with Jorge. He felt the spirit and recognized it!! That has been our prayer! Though we now have to get over the concern that he is worried that what he felt was because of medicine he takes because of how strange the feeling was. Sooo we now are waiting for him to receive an answer if what he felt was the spirit haha. But we are soo happy because we are 90% sure it was the spirit!
If things go well, he and Marisol will be baptized on the same day! Which they come to church more often than our members, and then as well to our English class. So I don't doubt that they will be ready soon enough.
I'm sad that this is my last week here in Henderson, but I am eager for the new opportunities before me!
One of the things that I loved from my studies this week was the talk in the last conference by Elder Richard G. Scott. He said, "How can each of us become such a significant influence? We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven, who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way."
We all have the ability to show others a love similar to that of our Heavenly Father. Whether they are our investigators, family members, members of our ward, less actives, etc. That love helps us to develop faith in our Heavenly Father's love and the redemption of Jesus Christ.
I love you all so much! Thank you for your love! It increases my faith constantly in the love that I feel from my Heavenly Father.
Have a fantastic week! :D
Elder Johnson

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bautismo!!

Teresa's baptism this Saturday went so well! Halleluiah! We were looking back on her teaching record, and one year ago from the 23rd she had told the missionaries that she didn't want to get baptized anymore. But she made it this time! She was really nervous (because of the water) but after several tries and loving patience from everyone there, she was able to do it. The spirit was soo strong. I feel like it was the most special baptismal service that I have had on my mission. 
Now there are a few other factors to that as well that made it such a great baptismal service. Marisol and Jorge were there! Yeah! Marisol sat with a member and talked to her the whole evening. That was icing on the cake. Or in our case, brownies. That's what we made Teresa 555. (Clint that is specifically for you...ask him what it means.)
The other thing that made the baptismal service so great was that there was so much member support. Teresa is going to do well here. And we are so happy for her. :)
One of the great things that happened as well this week was that we had a great English class after the baptism. Marisol, brother Lopez (WML), and Guadalupe and Armando (Teresa's parents) all stayed for the class. Then out of nowhere Hermano Garcia comes with three cousins! We had a great class. We had such a great time teaching! It amazes me how much the principles of Preach My Gospel are not just for the lessons. They are for all circumstances of teaching and life!
Now here is the sad part. I am leaving Henderson. I leave the 9th of September. The week before Jorge is supposed to get baptized! And we are trying to set a date with Marisol this week as well, which I am afraid will be the same day! I am so sad to leave this area! But I am very comforted because I know that Marisol and Jorge have testimonies of the Gospel and know how to keep progressing. I am excited to see how they progress in the future months and years.
Now here's the exciting thing. I have been called to be a District Leader! I don't know where I will be serving, but there aren't many options when it comes to spanish District leaders. Who knows! I could go back to Cary and replace Elder Hall as a District leader! :D Doubtful though
Though I will be able to see him at Transfer meeting before he leaves the mission to go back home.

When there are so many great things going on all around you it is so easy to get excited and pumped I guess you could say. And hey, why not? It's great! I love it! But I have been coming to a realization of how it's not just by chance. It is because it is the work of the Lord and the promises that he makes are so true. Being in the service of your fellow man brings so much love and joy. I know that this is the Lord's work and I am so grateful to be out here helping others to come unto Christ. And I am so grateful that this work will never end for any of us, and we can feel this love and joy throughout our whole lives.
Have a blessed week! And don't forget to serve the people around you!
Élder Johnson



Yo, Armando, Armando jr, Teresa, Guadalupe, Erik, Brother Jester, Elder Rose


Probably one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me! I LOVE THESE MOTHS!






Monday, August 18, 2014

Teresa!

This week Teresa is getting baptized! The crazy thing is is that she has been taught several times by missionaries with no success. It most definitely had to do with the fact that her parents weren't actually coming to church. But it has been so fun teaching her and her family. We are looking forward to a really great baptismal service with great attendance!
Jorge is doing great! We had a church tour with him to help him know where the building was, and then he came to church! He is so great! Our gospel principles class was on the scriptures, specifically talking about what scriptures we use and all. He talked so much and shared a great testimony of the Book of Mormon! We are pretty excited to teach him again this week. He's more than on track for his baptismal date on the 13th of September! So we may just have to do it a week earlier haha. That way I will be able to be there before transfers come. Which I don't know for sure I'm leaving, but pretty sure. To be here a 6th transfer would be crazy! But as the lord wills!
Marisol got sick with a virus this week and couldn't meet or come to church. But we are meeting with her on Wednesday. She says she is planning on coming to church next week so things are still going well!
We found a great investigator this week named Maria! She is a former that Brother Jester has taught a few times, and she accepted a baptismal date for the 27th of September! Woot! We'll be telling you about her more next week when we can meet with her again. 

Nancy got a job and is going to school, so we have been struggling to get up with her. We plan on teaching her over facebook this week. 

Now the biggest news for this week was that our Bishopric was changed!!! HOLY COW!!!!! That is huge! Henderson is such an amazing place, but since the ward only just recently became a ward, it has been functioning as if it were a branch still. And some of the functions just really weren't happening. We have been struggling to work with the leadership in the ward to unite the missionary work with what they're doing. They have helped us out a lot, but it's been on separate fields. Brother Kinnin is the new Bishop, and he is amazing!!! He has been one of our most faithful exchanges so we are sooo excited to work with him as our new Bishop. We've been able to get some great work done here, and with this change, the ward should be taking off! 
One thing we hope to see is less actives returning to activity. We have about 150 active members with about 400+ members on our roster. Our building only holds about 250 people at the absolute maximum. We really do expect some great things to happen here.

A few other people that would be great to keep in your prayers are Moises Hernandez and Karina Lopez. They are both the recent converts here for spanish. It's super difficult to hold firm without a solid friendshipping base to work with, and they definitely need prayers. Thanks! They're both working hard and doing well!

This week in my studies I have been learning a lot about the attributes of Christ. The attributes of Christ are so amazing! When we apply the gospel (faith, repentance, covenants, the holy ghost, and enduring to the end), then we let these attributes become a part of our nature as well. Though it takes time, if you pay attention you can see yourself change and it brings so much hope! Plus you are exercising patience when you look for the results, since it takes some time haha.

I know that we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and that we have divine potential. Our potential is to become as our Heavenly Father is! And what joy that brings and what hope it offers! Often we can have the temptation to settle for the easy way, or the temptation to justify our pride, but it is in that moment that we have the divine opportunity to develop the attributes of Christ and decide to do as he would.

I am so grateful that the Lord sacrificed his will so that we too could know how to sacrifice our will and be endowed with all that the Father hath!

I love you all so much! I'm so sorry that you have to go to school! This is so much more fun! :D
Have a great week!

Elder Brian Johnson