Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tag Teaming...

President and Sister Blatter, Thomas Elder Johnson's mission president and his wife, began their mission service on July 1, only a few weeks prior to Thomas' arrival. They just started a mission blog (http://calledtoservewa-tac.blogspot.com/) where they are posting photos of their interactions with the missionaries.  Thankfully for us, they spent a few days with the 28 new missionaries that arrived on July 22. (Thomas being 1/28)  That means we have a lot of photos of Thomas and his trainer, Elder Anderson (from Tremonton, Utah).  We are so grateful for the photos since Thomas hasn't had time to send more than a quick note on P-day (Mondays).  Some of our favorite photos are below...

Airport Arrival: July 22, 2014

Always helping out... proud of him!

New Missionary Lunch / Training / Companion Assignments: July 22, 2014

Thomas and his trainer, Elder Anderson (from Tremonton, Utah)

New Missionary Lunch: July 24, 2014

New missionaries at the Puget Sound after New Missionary training on July 24, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Johnson...

From President and Sister Blatter (Washington Tacoma Mission President)...

We were so excited to meet Elder Johnson.  He arrived safely in the Washington Tacoma Mission on July 22, 2014.  A trainer has been chosen through fasting and prayer who can best serve your missionary and help him have a wonderful and successful mission.  Elder Johnson will be serving in a “foursome” with Elder Kleine (from Germany), Elder Reidhead (from Gilbert, AZ) and Elder Anderson (from Tremonton, UT). All are outstanding missionaries. He is shown in the photo with his trainer Elder Anderson. He has served as a District Leader and is currently a Zone Leader.

We have attached photos of Elder Johnson with us and Elder Anderson.  We already love Elder Johnson and are so happy to have him with us in the Washington Tacoma Mission.  This is a great mission with much natural beauty and many wonderful children of God who are prepared to hear the word.  It is a sacred experience to share with these brothers and sisters as they accept and take upon themselves the name of Christ. We are certain that your missionary will feel deeply of that joy as he serves in our mission.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

They're Here!

From President & Sister Blotter (Washington Tacoma Mission President)...

Dear Parents,

Just a quick note to let you know that your missionary arrived safely in Tacoma today.   We had so many new missionaries (28 of them) that we rented a bus to get them back from the airport! A group photo is attached. We will send more photos soon.

They were fed lunch,  interviewed, given a brief orientation,  and each was introduced  to their first companion.  They were able to attend Transfer Meeting where our missionaries who are leaving tomorrow (18 of them) bore their testimonies. It was wonderful, spiritually uplifting meeting.

They are now in their new areas with their new companions and doing missionary work. It has been a full day.

We are thrilled to have them here in our mission.  

President and Sister Blatter

Pre-Mission Companions

From Kurt & Betsy-

We are so thankful for the full time missionaries who have been serving in the Logan Central Stake.  Specifically, Elder Scott (right) and Elder Patino (left), who took Thomas out on teaching appointments and other 'missionary' day-to-day activities over the last six months.  They helped prepare Thomas for his service in the Washington Tacoma mission... so much so that we think Thomas would have preferred to skip the MTC and get directly into the field.

Elder Scott has been called to be a Zone Leader in the Brigham City South area and will leave Logan on Wednesday morning.  Elder Patino will be welcoming a new companion to the Logan Central Stake.  We will miss Elder Scott's humor, kindness, and love for our son.  They both agreed that when Thomas went into the MTC, it felt like loosing a companion. They miss him.  We know Thomas Elder Johnson misses them.

They stopped by tonight to visit and get a photo for Thomas Elder Johnson.  Of course, we had to include Thomas Elder Johnson's cat, Miss Moe and our dog Felix.

Goodbye MTC, Hello Tacoma

What a gift it was to talk to Thomas Elder Johnson on the phone this morning.  He packed last night and left the MTC at 4:30 this morning for the SLC airport and a scheduled 8:25 am departure. Unfortunately, he had a lot more time at the airport than he would have liked... 70 minute delay.  (http://goo.gl/BeaLq3)

There are 26 or so missionaries on his flight.  Not all will be serving in Tacoma.  Some will be in Seattle, Federal Heights, Everett, or other missions in Washington State.  If all goes as those missionaries plan, there will be some baptismal commitments on the plane as well.  After all, it's hard to run away from the Mormon Missionaries while flying at 30,000 ft.

He was very bust at the MTC... serving as a zone leader over 6 districts.  His companion, Elder Clark, and he were responsible for training new missionaries as they arrived, speaking in sacrament meeting weekly, and other tasks.  It kept him very busy.

Now he is now in the air.  On the other end awaits his bicycle (thanks to his Uncle Chris for delivery), his duffle full of bedding with some hiddent notes from his parents,  a new companion, and the mission field, something he is much more excited about than the MTC.  He spent the last six months before his mission working with the missionaries serving in our area.  That is the type of action he is waiting to do.  The flight to Tacoma cannot come fast enough.

PS...  Thomas would love hand-written letters and/or small packages of loving goodness.  You can send them to the mission home address (listed on the right side of this blog).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Here. I'm Happy

It’s been a very long week till P day. It’s true when you hear "days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days". I guess I’ll just start from day one. When I got here I met my companion (Elder Clark) who is very much like I’d picture the perfect companion to be like. He’s very laid back but not lazy. Social but not annoying. Funny but knows when the right time to be funny and when to feel the spirit is. He went to Springville HS, played football basketball and baseball. (Yah, I know he’s one of those cool kids). I couldn't ask for much more in a companion. I’ll send pictures later. 

The next night me and Elder Clark were made zone leader over 4 different districts, each having 8-10 missionaries in it. It’s hard learning their names but the real beauty is getting to know the spirit inside each of them. We have missionary from every background you could think of and it seems that each missionary’s companion came from the exact opposite background as his/her companion. (The cowboy with the city boy, gym addict with the video game addict, runner with the cool kid of the school. etc...) And the most beautiful thing is that outside a mission they more then likely wouldn't be able to work with each other but the gospel has united us all in one cause. to invite other to come unto Christ. And through that cause we come together as one and cannot be stopped.

I love my district. They've became my friends my family my teachers. It’s a privilege to be a zone leader and my district such a good group.

Although I miss home I am often too busy in class or with an investigator to worry. I hope the best on you all I know God is looking over you. He has made that promise to me to take care of you while I am gone. I will send pictures next time, hopefully. I would love to have hand written letters. They are a great source of strength.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wherefore comfort one another with these words...

There is nothing quite as reassuring as an email received from a missionary after spending his first day at the MTC.
Hey! I'm alive and doing very well. I have a fantastic companion. He's from Mapleton, Utah and things are well. I love you both. I feel very well.  I'm doing better than I thought I would. As long as i stay busy i don't get sad.  I miss you. Send your love Miss Moe. (his cat)

And So It Begins...

Yes, it is the start, the true beginning of Thomas' mission service as he enters the Provo MTC.  After a quick stop to say thank you and goodbye to a good friend, he drove his parents to Provo.  This accomplished two things, to keep his nervous parents calm and to keep his mind on other things.
We joined the other groupies of missionary families eating a final lunch in Provo before the MTC beckons.  We were joined by Thomas' cousin, Adrial, who was able to give some last minute advice.  Thanks for the company, advice, friendship, and last minute gift.  We are interested to see why Thomas needed to wait till Thursday night before opening the gift.

While many families spent their last few minutes talking and hugging at the Temple, we decided to do our talking and hugging at the BYU track stadium.  Thomas worked very hard during high school in order to run at that track for the Utah State Track and Field Championships.  His hard work allowed him to run three years at the competition.  Good accomplishment and memories mixed with some challenging times.  (just ask Thomas how brutal and violent a track race can be... x3 races his senior year)  As Thomas eloquently expressed, Provo is the site of some of his biggest challenges and disappointments in life.  Wisely, he knows that the first few weeks being away from home will be a challenge.  However, he has overcome challenges thrown at him before and knows that this will be no different.  He will conquer.

There is perhaps nothing more touching and poignant than the love between a mother and her son.  A beautiful memory and touching moment
1 Samuel, Chapter 1
27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
 28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.
As Betsy said, Hannah only had her son, Samuel, for only three years.  She was able to have Thomas for 18 years and now she lends him to the Lord... and she gets him back at the end of his two year mission service.

Finally, the MTC curbside drop-off.  Thomas was hoping some friends who are currently in the MTC would be waiting to greet him on the curb.  However, with a long line of cars being directed to one of many curbs, it was left to the unknown (to us) Elder Davis to unload bags and help Thomas Elder Johnson into the hallowed halls of the MTC.

It was a long drive home to Logan...  now the contents of this blog will be provided by Elder Johnson's email and other communications.  We are looking forward to a great two years.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twas the Night Before...

The night before entering the MTC... how do you take the last 18 years of your life and compact it into a few suitcases?  Well, it takes a few friends.  Thanks to Austin R!  Thomas and he have been friends since they started preschool together.  It is fitting he his here tonight as Thomas packs.

Also, it takes a lot of boxes.  Some of these boxes are destined for a two year vacation in Hawaii when Thomas' parents move there in August.  Others will be given away.  Yet others may be available at the Logan Deseret Industries in a few days... a chance to get a small piece of Thomas' life over the last 18 years.


Thomas is now, officially, Elder Thomas Johnson.  He was set apart this afternoon by his wonderful Stake President, Brett Horsley.  There were some great testimonies shared and some wise counsel given. Less than 24 hours before he enters the Provo MTC to receive his official name tag and begin his service.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Temple...

Thomas turned 18 yrs old on June 26th.  The Logan Temple closed for cleaning at the end of the day on June 28.  Three days to get recommends in order, confer the Melchizedek Priesthood, ordain to the office of an Elder, purchase temple clothing, and attend the temple for the first time.  Twelve days until the Provo MTC on July 9.

Mission accomplished!  We had a fabulous evening at the Logan Temple, surrounded by family and friends who were also able to attend.

The Beginning...

Received via the USPS on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

Opened and read that afternoon.