Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas on a mission...

Christmas on a mission is a lot more odd then anything else I've experienced. Getting nervous to hear the voices of my parents was an odd sensation. With Christmas this week, we had a mission-wide Christmas party where all the missionaries were able to get together. We did some skits, white elephants, and then snuck in a spiritual message at the end so it could be official.  But, of course, the highlight of Christmas is hearing my mom’s voice.

 As for mission work this week… it slacked. We didn't really have a full day till Friday. At that point we went around talking to our investigators seeing how Christmas went. We did go give a blessing to a lady in the hospital from Hawaii. She was getting taken off life support the day after we saw her. It was a very unique experience but very powerful as well.

During studies this week, I was studying all of Christ's gifts to us. They are honestly a countless number! But the one that really stuck out to me was his first gift that we received… our agency. Lucifer presented one plan and Christ presented another. The only difference between those two plans was in one we would have agency and in the other we wouldn't. I often don't like having agency. It means I can’t blame anyone for my mistakes. Some of the hardest times in life are caused by a choice we have to make. God himself wept over our agency but he understood we needed it to progress. That is what I am most grateful! I am grateful for the agency I have every moment of everyday.

-Elder Johnson

A sketchy part of my area. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

This past week has been full of blessings...

This past week has been full of blessings. It will be a short email because of the limited time I have today. But this week we had some awesome experiences. One specifically was… we went to give a blessing in the hospital to a "less active member." Turns out she was a ex member who got excommunicated 20 years ago for acting on some homosexual desires. She has been with a woman for the past 14 years and has 4 kids. They got married a year ago. This woman now has a desire to get baptized. So we talked to her how she cannot be living with her wife to get baptized again. We told her she has to pray and ask God for herself.  She promised she would. 2 days later we went in to talk to her and say goodbye (she was being release from the hospital). During that appointment she said she prayed and received an answer and is now looking for a single room apartment. 

Yesterday, while knocking we knocked into a single mom who let us in (always a shock, were let in maybe 1 every 200 homes). We went into the home and got talking. She was talking about how she has a good Mormon friend who went on a mission but has really gone off the deep end. He’s now homeless, drug addict etc. The day we knocked on her door she was clearing out all his stuff from her home and came across a lot of "Mormon stuff" (patriarchal blessing, book of Mormon, oil etc.) We answered a lot of questions. She had really felt that a lot of things have been adding up and pointing her toward our church. Then we knocked on her door. So the moral of the story is that God is real. Love you all.

-Elder Johnson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I have a new appreciation for this season of year...

The weeks really seem to be blending together. I have a hard time discerning what happened last week and the week before that. 

As a mission we have been using this #heisthegift #sharethegift, during this whole Christmas time. It's really quite cool. It really is just nice to share the message of this first gift to everyone... to let people know how blessed we all are no matter what circumstances we celebrate Christmas in. A lot of our area is very poor. It's a place called "hilltop" (Google it to find more). So being able to share a message that doesn't cost anything but can bring joy is very, very special. As a zone, we went caroling last night. It was odd how much more people liked us when we were caroling! haha We had a lot of fun.

As a ward we have a man named brother Dyer over the elder's quorum.   We meet with him 1 or 2 times a week to discuss mission work as well as potential elders in the ward. We were told by him that, this time of year, people really go into "survival mode." People don't focus on trying to be happy or anything. They just want to stay warm and dry. So it could be a hard season to get into people's home. But i know that with faith and the works we do, things will work out for the best. 

I have a new appreciation for this season of year with my life revolving around Christ. The season is just  another reason to share it with everyone. Although miles away from home, it gives me comfort that this 2 years is the longest time in all of eternity I will be away from my family... whether its my parents or my future family. I won't ever have to leave them agian. I hope everyone can have this blessing.

-Elder Johnson

P.s. sorry for no pictures this week forgot it at home today

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I think I might start be getting a hold on this whole mission thing...

Success seems to come in waves on a mission. One week we might see lot of good stuff going… new investigators, good lessons.  Then the next week they've dropped us and were back to finding. It’s difficult to find out these patterns and hard to find how to just have success.

This weekend our Stake did an open house nativity in which we decorate the Stake Center with Christmas stuff and have countless nativities all around the building. (http://tacomanativity.com/) People can come look around and feel the spirit. Me and elder Lacasse were able to get a non member family there who invited friends too! We were able to go in as a big group and had a really nice time. I really think they were able to feel the spirit in the church house. Super cool experience.

The veil is so thin around children. This week we were called into the hospital to give a 2-week-old little girl a blessing. She was having breathing problems. The moment we walked into the ward with 10 or so infants I could feel that burning in the heart like nowhere else. I had never felt the veil so thin besides the temple. How great a blessing to go there and serve God.

I do love it here. It’s a great blessing to serve and to suffer some trials for my Lord.  I think I might start be getting a hold on this whole mission thing. Maybe.

-Elder Johnson

The picture is of Elder Lacasse and me during studies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I have really been able to find out what I am thankful for...

Thanksgiving as a missionary sure meant a lot more to me. I have really been able to find out what I am thankful for, what I miss, and what I don’t want to lose.

On Thanksgiving Day I was able to go have a big turkey bowl with a bunch of missionaries from 2 zones. Seeing how it rains all day, everyday here… it was very muddy and made good memories.

Afterwards a family who lived in Hawaii for many years had us over for dinner. We had some traditional Hawaiian dishes along with the traditional turkey dinner. It was very nice to be over with them. They have kids our age. It almost felt like I was home. Ha!

After that we went to another dinner at a recent convert whose name is George and Alice Twiggs. They are about the same age as Grandma and Grandpa Johnson. They have always taken really good care of us. Overall it was a nice Thanksgiving and made me really appreciate my home and my family.
The work has been going well. We go through investigators here quite fast. A lot of people want to hear about the gospel and have a desire to come closer to God.  But they do not have a desire to change their way of life. So if they cannot keep commitments we offer and do not come to church, we cannot help them and must move on to find someone who will and can change.

Studies is a great part of my day. I absolutely love doing my studies. I love finding things. I can’t explain. In our gospel searching for hours just to find an answer. It’s so, so satisfying and one of the largest testimony builders in the world.

I am so very grateful for eternal families and for the fact that these 2 years is the longest time I will be away from my own family. I am so lucky to have this gospel. It is heartbreaking seeing people turn away these truths we share. I am blessed.

-Elder Johnson