Monday, June 29, 2015

Well, a lot of change...

Well, a lot of change. The new place is beautiful. It’s near the first area on my mission so its cool to be back a year later. It is just me and Elder Irava covering 2 wards, which means there’s a lot of stuff to do all the time. The wards are great. I love both of them. They seem to have some great faithful members in them that I look forward to working with.

A song has continually come to my mind lately, "Nearer My God To Thee." It represents the effort I have been making to become closer my Savior and helping others also… whether it be my companion or investigators. There is no better way to do this then to follow the pattern of learning the word of God (scriptures, seminary, sunday school, etc.) then confirming it with God through prayer. This is a powerful tool to use. I know it to be true and even more so, I know that for any problem in our life there is only one thing that comes close to a cure-all. That is obedience. Obedience is the most powerful tool we have. It will heal anything.

This work is going forth quickly and it’s so incredible to be able to see it first hand. I hope everyone stays safe for the 4th of July this week and enjoy summer. Sorry the letter is so short today. The new place we email from limits how long we can be here.

-Elder Johnson

PS from Elder Johnson's Parents... We are very grateful for the members in Washington that watch over our missionary. This last week we received a text message from a member in his new area.  It contained the following message...
"We love having your son in our ward!  He's a great missionary.  Here are some pictures of us celebrating it (his birthday) a day early!"

Monday, June 22, 2015

This past week was way weird...

Wow!  So to start off, I’m being transferred to Silverdale 1st Ward and Brownsville Ward. I’ll cover 2 areas. My new address is

6362 Pine RD NE
Bremerton, WA 98311

I’m exited for the change but will miss many people here. I’ll miss the missionaries here more than anything though. I've loved it here in Olympia.

This past week was way weird. We went to Zion’s camp. I also went to Zion’s camp my 2nd transfer. Way weird to do something a 2nd time in my mission. At Zion's camp we go through and do a few activities and then apply the to mission work. It can be very enlightening and it’s nice to be outside in regular clothes for the whole day.

 At the end we had an activity where we had to think of one thing that’s holding us back as a missionary and we wrote it down on a paper. Then we threw the paper in the fire. I understand the thing that I gave up will not go away right away and writing it down and burning it didn’t help at all with getting rid of it. But I now know what I need to focus on more.

This past Sunday I got to speak in church. It went well. Elder MacQueen gave a talk on fathers. Then later I gave a talk on missionary work and bore testimony of fathers, our earthly and heavenly. It was a good way to leave the ward.

I wish I had more to talk about. I’m sorry there’s been so much happening. There’s a lady here who I’ve grown close to who plans pan getting baptized as soon as she finds a new job. I look forward to coming back and seeing her baptized soon.

I’m grateful for all the support. It’s very appreciated.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, June 15, 2015

I need to work on teaching that way...

We have had a busy week. To start it off, we went on exchanges with some elders in the district. I went with Elder Vorkink to the Olympia 2nd Ward where we had a lot of fun. He has been around a lot of the same missionaries I have been around. So, we had a lot to talk about while we knocked doors.

The day after that there was a meeting up in Tacoma where we had training by some of the leaders from Salt Lake City. It was an 8-ish hour training. But one thing that stuck out at me and I’ve been studying was in 1 Nephi 11,12,13. Nephi receives the vision he asks for. More specifically… how the angel taught him. It was very similar to how the Savior teaches. He asked questions and just pointed in the right direction. I need to work on teaching that way.

I love you so much. I had a great surprise last night when I got to meet one of my parents friends from Hawaii! To see someone who called me Thomas and had talked to my parents recently was kind of weird. But in a good way it was truly the best birthday gift I could ask for. It meant the world to me.

-Elder Johnson

PS from Elder Johnson's Parents... Rilee Villanueva is one of a group of BYUH girls that would come over each Sunday for dinner.  Those girls have become close friends.  Rilee's mom lives in the Stake where Elder Johnson and Elder MacQueen helped with the missionary fireside last night.  It was one of those moments when two worlds collide... And it brought a big smile to our faces.
Rilee and Elder Johnson

Elders Johnson and MacQueen

The missionaries assigned to Tumwater/Olympia

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's been good as always...

What a HOT week!! Wow.  School was let out up here this week and summer began. Before we knew it we were pushing 95 degrees the past 3 days and that's no fun in a white shirt and pants. But it is way pretty. Everything grows so so much here. It's nuts! 

As for mission work... It's been good as always.  We helped a family get baptized this past week and they're going to Hawaii on Thursday.  So dont be surprise if they swing by to say hi. 

We had a way cool experience this week when knocking we found someone who belongs to the RLDS (Community of Christ) Church and haven't been active in a while. They we were able to get a return appointment with them. I look forward to this unique teaching opportunity. It's really cool. 

We have planned to take a youth out from the ward who is 6 months younger then me and has his mission call. It's so so weird for me to think i was in his position a year ago. I was so grateful for those missionaries who took the time to hang out with the 17 year old noob I was. 

I've been thinking a lot about this scripture this week and what I really want to become as time goes on.

3 Nephi 5 1-3 

1 And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.

 2 And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.

 3 Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.

I really enjoy how in this scripture we learn about a people who changed their hearts and, with that, their ways. But, in verse 3, we get a really cool insight. "Serve God with all diligence day and night.". I love that the word diligence was used instead of obedience or love or any manner of words. 

"Diligence: careful and persistent work or effort." it does not mean the people were perfect or without all sin but they continued to work.  And, as we learn later on in 3 Nephi, they received many blessings for it. None of us will be perfectly obedient in our lives.  None of will be perfect but if we recognize our sins and are persistently working to get better, then we too may receive blessings from God. I'm not saying we should just accept that we're not perfect and stop striving for perfection. We should try everyday to walk exactly in Christ's footsteps. But when we fall short we need to be reminded that it's ok. Falling short was in the plan we just need to persistently obedient to God's commandments.

I gotta go. Love you all so much

-Elder Johnson

Monday, June 1, 2015

We will continue to grow and learn...

This week was started off with an exchange with Elder Tani!!! Always my favorite exchanges. He was able to give a baptism interview to someone being baptized this weekend in our ward. Always fun to be with someone from the homeland! We had a lot of fun knocking a lot of doors.

The following day I had to give a training on the role of the spirit in conversion, which I always learn from preparing it. After the training we had our interviews with President Blatter. That never goes bad (yet, cross your fingers it doesn't). We talked a lot about my growth so far in the mission and what trials I need next to grow more from. I think this has been one concept people have a hard time grasping… the fact that growth and change requires hard trials to overcome. I feel blessed to have grown up around family and friends who understand this and try to do hard things to grow from it.

The area I’m in has very little city area and a lot of boonies. Since I’ve been here I have spent a lot of time in the city because we talk to a lot more people and seem to get more done. But the past few weeks we have tried to go out to the more boony areas. It can be frustrating walking 5 min to each house and not talking to as many of people but it needs to be done. It has been beautiful out there as well so it’s a nice place to walk around. And as a result of people having a lot of property a lot of old folks need service! So we went and did that this week. We helped a lady plant tomatoes and cucumbers and pull down an 8 foot scotch-broom. I was sore from that. ha-ha

Teaching this week was great. There has been a huge push from the 1st presidency about baptism. We’re being trained more and more on how to help people get baptized. It’s a great thing to see the view of the whole mission get and more and more focused on one thing. This work is definitely moving in leaps and bounds. There is a new line to our recitations. We do recitations at the beginning of any mission meeting it’s just a bunch of scriptures but now we have added "and in the WA-Tac we Baptize" It’s not a pride thing, it’s a way for us to focus more and more on the result of us fulfilling our purpose.
"Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."
But it’s true the Wa-Tac does baptize and we will continue to grow and learn and become more and more focused on our purpose while we are here on a mission. I love it here.

-Elder Johnson