Monday, December 28, 2015

What a great time of year...

Well I don't have much to add since I last talked to home on Friday. And it was so wonderful! To see my parents face is the best Christmas gift I could have gotten this season, although I did appreciate the multiple Christmas packages!

What a great time of year! It’s frustrating as a missionary because it is the best season to talk about Jesus Christ yet everyone is busy with other things. Maybe I’m just bitter. I don’t spend the season with my family. I dunno haha. But really I love being a missionary this time of year!
We had our mission Christmas party this week. It’s the one time a year the whole mission gets together in one place to have a good time! And boy Sister Blatter know how to through a party I am so so grateful for her and the time and effort she and many other took to let 150+ missionaries have a good time. I am so blessed to be in a place where I am loved and cared for by many. At the Christmas party we sing songs as a mission. We do skits. We have lunch. There is no really way to describe what happens. Just think of 150 kids get to truly let loose for one day in a year and that's what is.

I am doing well. The Skype home got me really really exited for the next 6 months. Time seems to fly by faster and faster now. I feel I get less and less done in the time I am given. I look forward to continue to grow this last 6 months as I prepare others to enter into the waters of baptism. As I prepare myself to be ready to come home and make that dreaded adjustment to the real world.

I love you all I’m so so so so lucky to have you in my life.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, December 21, 2015

That means 8 hours of church on Sunday...

Well it was a crazy crazy week! We had another ET (emergency transfer)!! Someone went home in Tacoma so elder Behunin left our foursome and went to another area. We are yet again in a 3-some! Weird times. Things are well though. We have been very blessed to many miracles this week. While working hard and seeing no success randomly something will happen that has no correlation to do with my actions. The Lord is funny in that way.

Well now we are in a threesome that means 8 hours of church on Sunday. So my back is pretty much shot but it is a very good opportunity to sit and listen to the spirit

I cannot wait to see you guys on Friday! I was sitting in church yesterday thinking about it. And, oh man, I did it! I went the longest time in my whole life without seeing a face of a family member! I'm happy it’s over. I love you s very much. BTW I will probably be Skyping around 1 my time! Yay!

-Elder Johnson

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I don't have much time at all today...

What a crazy week! It feels like my brain has been working on warp speed. I am doing really well. I'm sorry I don't have much time at all today. We got signed up to help people with service so I have to hurry.

My three new comps are wonderful... all really good guys. All 4 of us have different personalities and its a really good thing. We do all work together really well.

- Elder Johnson

I'm sorry I just can't think of anything to write. Things are going really slow but I don't think I've ever worked harder though. But I am happy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What a wild wild week...

It all started off completely normal till Wednesday! We found out a missionary in our zone had to go home from the mission. The next day Elder Hoffer in our companionship's had to head over there to replace the Elder who was going home. It is never fun having unexpected change but it does give a little excitement to everything.
goofy faces with hoffy
At the same time we found out Elder Andersen had received his visa and was leaving on the 7th... Today! So, in less then a week we lost half our companionship! And then on Saturday we got transfer calls from president and found out that Elder Brown is going down to Centralia and I am getting 3 new companions! Elders Hastings, Sulcer, and Buhanin. So, with all of that happening, it's made for a way crazy week with a lot of stuff happening.
Elder Andersen
I am really feeling the prayers from many this week. I feel so blessed. It was hard to say goodbye to Elder Andersen this morning knowing I won't see him throughout the rest of my mission.

-Elder Johnson
Brown, me and Andersen

Monday, November 30, 2015

We need to make everyday a Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving definitely isn’t the same when you’re on a mission but it’s not bad by any means! The morning was really fun I got to for the first time in almost 2 years got to run in a 5k. I had to stay right next to another missionary. He wanted me to pace him so it was nice to be involved with a race again. I was very surprised how good I felt while running! We were invited to a member’s home to have dinner and play games and we were very grateful to be taken in so quickly and with warm arms. I sure do miss home this time of year but I’m happy to be where I am :). This time of year makes me think of Alma 34:38. We need to make everyday a Thanksgiving.

This week we knocked into a young man who is 19 and married. We started talking to him and found out he never was introduced to Christianity. There have been few times I've had to teach Christianity on my mission and it is always way, way weird to try. This time was different though. I felt like I was able to express why I believe what I believe instead of what we believe. I felt more directed by the spirit than ever before on my mission while talking to a person. I look forward to continuing to teach this man and seeing him enter the waters of baptism along with his wife.

Alma 5:26… Oh man! I have felt a huge change on my mission. I’ve used the atonement more and gone through more growing pains in Washington then I could have thought I could. It’s so wonderful. I am so grateful for it. Each week is a new adventure with a new trial. I know I am not the only one who this is happening to but let’s keep asking ourselves the same thing Alma asks the people in Zarahemla "If ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" I hope I do as well as everyone else, remember the changes in our lives, and strive to keep changing through Christ.

I love you all I’m so grateful for the support I hope everyone stays safe and feels loved!

-Elder Johnson

Monday, November 23, 2015

Well, my favorite season is here...

Well it’s been a cold week but hasn't been wet at all! Yay! This week we had an exchange which is always fun. I went with Elder Franks. Exchanges are always an adventure. It’s the closest missionaries get to a vacation! Nothing too exiting happened on exchanges except it was by far the hardest rainstorm I’ve seen while being in Washington!
Late Night
The mission has really been pushing member missionary work and getting the missionaries (us) to help members share the gospel and help us find new investigators. It’s been really really weird trying to do that because my whole mission I haven’t done it and it’s just a weird adjustment. I know it’s the way to make this work progress most effectively.

Well, my favorite season is here, Thanksgiving. Growing up I have always loved this holiday more than any other. It’s a day to have an excuse just to love everyone and be thankful for what they do. I have so much to be thankful for this season I don’t know if I have anything to complain about honestly. I have the best family ever. I have companions who I get to learn from and feel love from. I am a very blessed person. I don’t know why but I’m grateful to be so! But even more importantly I know we all have things to be grateful for. Even most importantly, the Lord. His sacrifice is for all and all can show thanks for it by using the repentance processes. I love my Savior.
My 3 companions
I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season. It really is the best I’m thankful for all your love and support I feel it every day.

-Elder Johnson

Friday, November 20, 2015

I don’t have much to say this week...

Oh boy winter is here! It’s always raining and always cold here now. This past we had a zone meeting. Me and Elder Brown put together the training and I think it was delivered well. I really hope to have helped inspire the zone in being more efficient missionaries and working with members more effectively.

I was able to give a talk in church this last week. I talked briefly on prayers being answered and keeping the Sabbath Day holy and how that this the prophetic priority right now from the prophet.

I won’t lie.  to everyone. I’m grateful again for the support I receive from everyone. It means so much to me. The Lord continues to be the greatest supporter of all and I rely on Him more now than ever before.

-Elder Johnson

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Well, winter is here it seems...

Well, winter is here it seems. The days are cold, rainy. It gets dark at 4:30 and the nights are the same. Which seems to make the people on the doorstep really friendly or really not friendly. Pray for the first one. It does not however stop tender mercies from God and preparing people still to hear the restored gospel. And that exactly what me and Elder Brown witnessed this week while knocking in the dark.

We ran into a gal who had met with missionaries years ago and still had all pamphlets and the Book of Mormon and told us her favorite pamphlet was the one about the restoration! Never have I had an experience like this. It was wonderful to see how success can still come even though the weather isn’t as welcoming.

I know the Lord is preparing people for us as missionaries to find. One of my biggest fears about going home is regret. I’m so scared that I will go home and have regrets on my mission… a regret of not trying as hard as I could one day or teaching someone a way that I wanted to instead of the way the spirit was telling me to. And perhaps my biggest fear is a little ironic because it’s the fear that I would let a chance slip by to teach a prepared soul of God. I understand fear is not a good motivator but I think love is behind this fear. I fear that I would be wasting the dear time I've been given to by the Lord and not being able to help all the people I have the opportunity to help.

We also had MLC again this week in which it was one of the most productive one I've been a part of (perhaps because I had a lot to learn from it). We talked about member missionary work and how we as missionaries have to help the ward leaders fulfill the "prophetic priority" the President of the church has given us, to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I hope to better apply why I learned.

I love this mission. I just got my cousin Sam's last email home from his mission and that sucks I don’t look forward to sending that email home. Thank you all and please be safe this week.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I live in a home! A real home!

Well, Gig Harbor is by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Washington. We live 2 blocks away from the Sound and right next door to my new church. I live in a home! A real home! It’s so weird. It use to be stake offices and they gave it to the missionaries when they built the stake center! How cool is that?? There are six elders in the home with us. 3 of them are my companions and the other 2 cover a neighboring area. It is a lot of fun!

Same as my last area… we cover 2 wards which is always a brain teaser trying to work hard and long memorizing twice as many names, streets, calling etc.. I really enjoy the challenge. It’s hard enough to make me want to pull my hair out but not hard enough to want to shoot myself so that's good! I look forward to being here for quite a while and doing the Lord’s work.

To start off in this great area we had a baptism this past week! So what better way to get going then that? Am I right? The people in these areas are not what I’m used to here in this mission. It’s a more wealthy area and people are well off and are ok with it. It’s a lot cleaner of an area which means it is a lot safer. Which also means people already have their mind made up about their beliefs but that’s ok! Because we got a special weapon and that’s the Spirit They won’t see this one coming because they more than likely have never felt and recognized it. The spirit is a powerful tool our job is to bring a knowledge (Mosiah 27:36) to people and then it is up to them to accept that or now. I do love this gospel and my mission.

I just read an email from one of my friends who is about to go home from his mission and it almost brought me to tears thinking of leaving this place. I am in a place of miracles there are special forces helping us as we are the Lord’s missionaries. I never want to go throughout this life without it. I look forward to the next 8 months full of the spirit and witnessing miracles. What a blessing it is.

I sure do love you all but I do love this work more and it will always be my priority for it is what the Lord has told me to do.

-Elder Johnson

Oh, btw... we got locked up for Halloween so I did a puzzle of the last super for 5 hours when we weren't allowed to leave the church house. So that happened.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I'm getting transferred...

From Elder Johnson's Parents...

Not much information coming out of Washington State this week.  We are not sure if it was a busy p-day or just a <send> button that didn't get pushed.  He did send a few quick notes out to his mother.  (what a good boy!)  So, as a result of the lack of information, today brings photos!

From Elder Johnson...
I'm getting transferred. I'm staying zone leader and I'm training again. My new address will be... (see sidebar)

Love it!  Ohana in Washington.
Perhaps its the result of rabies from the raccoon?
Mission Leadership Conference
Training from Elder Robert C Gay of the Seventy

Selfies and driving... is that like texting and driving?

Monday, October 19, 2015

This week was full of some great meetings...

Well this week was full of some great meetings! Although meetings aren’t my favorite (I’d rather be out meeting with people and spreading the gospel) these few meetings were exceptional! Elder Robert C. Gay of the 70 came and visited with us. The first meeting with him was in Tacoma as a Mission Leadership council. He said a lot of different stuff. I could send you all my notes but I’m just going to tell you one point that stuck out during that one meeting.

The Lord has given us so many great tools in this life and often we take it for granted. As a missionary sometimes you get too comfortable. I find when I get too comfortable I rely on myself. I do missionary work by myself. I talk to people and go through something as logically as I can think of. Sometimes we see people do incredible things by themselves, and God has given us that ability to do that. But miracles only happen when we don't rely on that arm of the flesh and we truly rely on the arm of the spirit. Only then can the arm of the spirit do the work of God and perform the miracles that are so dearly needed in this work. I know this principle isn’t only applicable in missionary work. I know when we are home it is the same.

In the past month between the two wards we have had 3 deaths and 2 weddings. It’s been a crazy time for everyone. It is great to see how this kingdom of God has been set up here on this earth to help each other out. As missionaries we have no purpose to go to funerals. But we get that great, third person view of the ward and how great it is to support each other even if a bishop is gone for a while. There is always someone to lead and guide.

I has a surprise visit from a friend of the family this week. It’s always nice to know that even though home is thousands miles away it really is so close. I’m grateful for all the love and support received from all of you.
Kristen Clawson, mother of Rilee V. who is living with Elder Johnson's parents while attending BYUH
She lives a few miles from Elder Johnson's current apartment and dropped some treats off this week.

I feel so blessed to be part of this kingdom here on the earth, I love sharing it with others here in the Bremerton area. It’s a wonderful place to be. Well… everywhere is a wonderful place to be as a missionary.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, October 12, 2015

The basic, day to day things thing I do as a missionary...

Well, it’s been a good week as always. The sad part of the week is I had another old companion go home early from their mission. He needed surgery on his knee so hopefully I’ll see him again in the WA-TAC before I go home. Keep Elder Ward in your prayers, please.

OK so I kind of realized I haven’t ever told everyone back home about the basic, day to day things thing I do as a missionary. So that's what this email will be about.

So at…

6:25 am (every morning)
We get up and drive to the track so I can run a few miles. I love this part of the morning. It’s one of the few times I can have a few minutes to myself and think of the things I need to do that day. Although I miss being in the same shape I was when I was at home. haha

7:10 am
We are at home and have 50 minutes to shower, change, and eat so we can be studying by 8.

8-9 am
We have personal study. In this mission we are required to read 30 mins in the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel daily. This is always a very spiritual time when I am able to study the gospel of Christ and get to know him more personally. I also make sure what I am studying is applicable to what I will be teaching that day to a specific person.

9:00 am
We have companion study. This study time is revolving around the people we work with and sharing what both missionaries learned in personal study and applying it to our investigators.

9:50 am
The whole mission prays together. Every missionary in the WA-Tac hits the ground and we pray. We thank god for letting us do what we do and pray for the mission goals.

10-11 am
We start 12 week for Elder Porter. This time is just to answer questions for the new missionary and help him adapt better. It’s done for the first 12 weeks inside the mission field.

11 am – 4 pm
We do "missionary work." Oh and how I love it! This involved knocking doors or going to lessons with people we've met. It can also include going and seeing less active members or going to people home who showed interest in the past or were busy when we knocked on their door. I do love it so much talking to people and telling them something that can make their life better than ever before. This makes me more happy then anything I’ve experienced.

4 pm
For an hour we eat dinner (waaaay early). Sometimes we go to member’s home who volunteered to feed us. Others we just go home.

5-7 pm
We knock doors… no matter what. This is a Wa-Tac tradition, I love it (well now I do). It’s not easy. It’s always an adventure but it works. We find people to teach and I love it.

8-9 pm
We continue with missionary work same as before but this time of the day is a lot more valuable. People are home so we can catch and teach them.

9-9:30 pm
We plan for the next day. We go over the plans that are already set and make sure all is good to go.

9:30-10:30 pm
We get ready for bed, have fun with our companions, and wind down from the day. Often we lift weights and do some type of work out again. I’ve always got wiggles.

10:30 pm
We go to bed.

Well that’s a day in the life of a wa-tac missionary. That’s if we have no meetings that day. I love you all am grateful for the support I get from you all.

-Elder Johnson

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wow what a weekend...

I though last conference was the best one. But I found out this week that the most recent conference is always the best. Haha. We are so blessed to have those 15 men leading us. I know without a doubt that those 3 new apostles are called by God and will lead us in these latter days. I have faith in President Nelson, that he is supposed to be the president of the 12. He had a new found authority when he spoke that I had not felt from him before.

We watched conference at the church for all but the last session when we went over to a members home (the Warner's) to watch and have dinner. This family take really good care of us. I am very grateful for the family-like love they have shown me.

I could go on and on, about each talk we heard but I'll only talk about few... the first being Holland’s talk. And let me say… I have the best mother to ever live. Never has someone had to carry a child so much as she has me and I owe her more than any mortal on this earth. Women are special. They deserve more respect and recognition for what they do. I wish I would have learned this lesson years ago so I could have treated the women in my life differently when I was at home. It’s funny how a mission can teach us lessons on things we don’t even deal with. I love my mom and have a deeper respect for women now.

Monson's talk in priesthood was honest, short, and to the point. I enjoyed how he talked about all these different voices in the world and it’s hard to hear the right ones at times. But we have all these tools to help us like fasting, praying, hymns etc... I have never recognized the spirit more in my life then the past year. I know it is a blessing from God for now I am helping not just myself but othes as well and I need to spread that great spirit. I love the commandments we have. They are here to help us and they can if we let them. It’s all up to us as is everything in this life besides consistencies.

Oh man how I love this gospel and this church (or kingdom as Christofferson taught). I know that as we abide by the teaching of the prophets we will be safe in this crazy world! Though it will be hard. I love that principle that brother Aoyagi taught and it really hit home on a few investigators who are going through a hard time right now and don’t know why. I love the people I serve. They are so special but don’t realize that God has put together an incredible plan for them. I know they can know this as the spirit tells them.

Thank you all again for the support. It’s so appreciated and it makes my heart happy.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, September 28, 2015

I had a lot of unexpected great moments this week...

It started with Monday night when I got home and got a really sweet letter from my beautiful mom. Then on Tuesday I got a call from the elders in the Tumwater 2nd Ward telling me that there was a lady I taught 6 months ago who was getting baptized. I was the one who found her and she asked me to baptize her. It was really heart touching to know she remembered me and felt close enough to ask me to be with her.

Needless to say, Saturday was wonderful! I got to go back down south to get in the water with Debra. The spirit was very strong as always. But during the closing hymn of (How Great Thou Art) it was a special moment. And as the week continued on we saw wonderful tender mercies We met 4 separate people this week who agreed to be baptized on October 10th.

I do have a firm testimony of being humble. I’ve noticed it throughout my whole life. I know that as we are humble and don't proclaim about our-self and remember there is always someone else who is in-charge. I know that if we are not humble we will be humbled. And that is not easy... I’m grateful for the humbling experience this mission has been and continues to be.

I love you all. Thank you for the constant support. It means a lot.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2015

It’s been a good week as always...

Well it’s been a good week as always. We had transfer meeting Tuesday where me and Elder Werk picked up our new greenie (Elder Porter) and the 4th elder in the foursome (Elder Chesley). It is the same situation I was in when I first came in the mission. Except now I’m the zone leader and not the greenie. So, both me and Elder Werk are training Elder Porter. I really enjoy being in a foursome. It’s nice to be able to switch things up and be with new people often.

We had a cool experience this week of finding a lot of success in finding new people to teach. It’s odd though… most of the people we found to teach this week were 14-18 year old boys. In the past I haven’t had much success with that age group but it’s really cool to see how the Lord has prepared each one of the kids throughout their own life to be baptized.

We also had stake conference this past weekend and it was focused on councils, family councils ward councils etc... at first I thought "pssh this doesn't apply to me, I don't have a family council I’m on a mission." But then I quickly repented and realized that I will have a family sometime. The more I learn now the better person I’ll be later for God and my family. I need all the help I can get so I better learn all I can when I can.

Other than that it’s been a blast. It’s a lot of fun being with four people. It’s very stressful but well worth it. I know that worse things have happened and I have been learning a lot from a lot of people.

-Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I was really able to see his full circle of his conversion...

Well transfer calls are here! I am staying here in Silverdale with Elder Werk. We are getting 2 other missionaries to join us though! I am excited to be in a 4-some again. It’s been almost a year since I have been in one and I really enjoy it. It has been a good transfer. It’s always a good transfer when you’re on a mission though.

Well the coolest thing that happened this week was last night. There was a baptism of a man I got pretty close to down in Olympia. And since we haven't had one in the past six weeks it was really a great reminder of God’s love for all of us and of the perfect timing he has for everything. It was really special. The last time I saw this man he was drunk as a skunk. So I feel I was really able to see his full circle of his conversion. The man I saw last night enter the waters was a whole different person. Most the time in the mission you get to see the change and since it happens so gradually you don't see the big picture and see how huge the change can be. So it was special to take a step back for 8 or so months and then go see the product of months of getting to know Christ and using the atonement.

Well sorry to cut it short this week. We’ve got a bit of a drive today so I gotta go. I love you all and are so, so grateful for the support I receive from everyone. It means the world.

-Elder Johnson

dad: Yeah, so it’s a pretty big zone 20 missionaries now. We only travel for exchanges and we go to district meeting up north sometimes and that’s about a 30 min drive. For transfers we will be going to pick up the 2 new people. So it’s nice not to have to worry about any of our stuff!

Monday, September 7, 2015

I love being here so much...

Well it was a busy, busy week full of meetings on top of meetings! All went very well. A meeting that was really unique this week was zone conference. The topic was obstacles that we come across as missionaries and very specific solutions for them. But the part I really enjoyed was the topic of hope. We talked about and how we all need both a firm hope and a sure hope in Christ.

The other meeting was MLC (mission leadership council) where we talked a lot about leadership skills and how we can help others (missionaries, members, investigators). It was a really inspiring meeting as we, as leaders, were able to get together, get motivated and then be able to carry that back to the missionaries we serve.

As a mission this week were fasting to be more effective with members. We saw results real quick as we went to ward council and had a wonderful discussion with them. We saw the whole ward council get more exited about the work. I know it’s so small but it means so much to see these tender mercies all over.

I love being here so much. I’ve had so many blessing and I think I’ve noticed a lot of them. But I know there are so many more that I don’t even realize or recognize. I’ve been trying more and more to recognize them. It’s something I pray very specifically for. I LOVE this mission. It’s meant the world to me. If someone out there is just thinking about a mission… start preparing for one! At least it will not hurt you.

Everyone be safe this week. You'll be in my prayers.

-Elder Johnson