Monday, July 11, 2016

I suppose this is it...

Well I suppose this is it. I’ve thought a little bit about what I want to say but I really don’t know where to start and where to end. My whole life I’ve wanted to do what I am doing right now. I’ve sung, dreamt and strived be on a mission. It’s been all I expected and more. No poet or world renowned writer motivational speaker could express what’s happened the last 2 years of my life. I am forever grateful for my Savior. I love these people here with my whole heart. It’s going to be hard to leave but, if I’ve learned anything, it’s the Lord will be with me as long as I let Him. He will get me through every step I take with Him.

Please ask me about my mission when I get home. Please come up to me and ask for a funny story or a miracle I witnessed or anything about this 2 years! I will share the message of the restoration in a minute or tell a 3-hour long story… whatever you want. I love my God. I love his children I love His son, Jesus.

Elder Johnson

Monday, July 4, 2016

I suppose this dream is about to end...

Holy smokes what a week! Elder Bird got a pretty gnarly concision on Monday but still worked. He’s a good kid to treat me so well. He understands how important it is to me to keep working.

At the end of a race there is always a big voice in your head telling you to slow down or stop. But at the end of the race you also have a new sense of inspiration knowing the end is near. You understand that if you don’t give it your best now, you will feel regret later and not live up to what you’ve worked so hard to be.

A mission, I feel, is similar but different in a few ways. In a mission there is no 1st or last place. No medals should be awarded. After crossing the finish line of a mission you can choose to take a breather and rest or keep going. As I understand it, when I cross the mission finish line next Wednesday I get to work just as hard with a similar purpose as I have had on a mission but doing it from a different perspective. 

I had my last interview with President Blatter this week. I have loved serving with that man. I feel so blessed to to have him direct this work while I have served here. I feel as if he has taught me at every chance he has by testifying of Christ.

Well, I suppose this dream is about to end. But until I get on that plane I’m going to have one more magical week. I’ve wanted to serve a mission ever since I was a child and I am forever grateful I served a mission here. 

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better birthday...

Well this week was great as always. I got to go on a final temple trip with all the missionaries who are going home with me. It’s been a huge blessing to see the changes made in our lives because of the mission.  It was inspiring to be able to go and be in the House of the Lord and learn from Him as well as give thanks. 

Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given. Even so amen. (D&C 42:69) 

We have keys in this church! Many leaders we work with have these keys, the same authority and power that was given in times of old. I have seen firsthand people who righteously have these keys and exercise them for Christ’s cause. I have been influenced by many church leaders in my life. But never have I appreciated what they have done for me as much as I have on my mission. I can now look back and see the caring leaders who worked diligently to help me grow spiritually as they helped me to the iron rod.

At first glance it seems we have many strange rules on a mission, especially in the WA-Tac. At the beginning of my mission they were very frustrating. Some rules seemed so small, as if it wouldn’t affect me if I just didn’t keep them. Unlike the commandments in the church where you often can see why you would like to obey them, the rules in the mission field seem to be a little more camouflaged to as of why we keep them (at least that’s how I felt at the start of my mission). But these rules are all here for a reason. They were not just put there to limit. I know that inspired men lead this work. We need to obey their council whenever they see fit to give it to us. I find peace and safety following my leaders now. It no longer feels binding. I feel more direction in my life and God’s hands are working through his servants.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. ! I am so blessed everyday though. Never have I felt more blessed to have a family who is sealed forever. I love them but I love my savior, Jesus Christ, even more.

-Elder Thomas Johnson 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I must keep going and I will...

Well I feel kind of weary comparing myself to such a great person as Alma. But I feel that I can relate to him right now as we learn in Alma 43:1, "And Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth." I sure am tired lately but I don’t think I am nearly as tired as Alma was. I still feel as he, that I don’t feel I have time to rest. I must keep going and I will.

We went on a few exchanges this week. I got to spend a day down in my old area of Silverdale 1st and Brownsville. It was pretty cool to be able to go back after a whole yearish.  The other exchange we went on was with Poulsbo 1st elders. Elder Hoffers companion, Elder Anderson was really sick and could get out of the home. So my companion went and stayed with him while Hoffer came with me to do some work in his area along with my 2 areas. It’s always fun being able to spend time doing missionary work with someone or somewhere I’ve been before.

So much happens every week. There is a new adventure every day. But this week was my 3rd time being able to go to Zions camp! What a wonderful experience. Zions camp is a church owned campground. There is a lake and ropes courses. We, of course, didn't do anything on the lake but we did spend half the day on ropes courses. It was very similar to the last 2 years. But I’m in a different position so I am able to learn different things and it was a real pleasure to be able to be a part of that again.  

With it being father’s day yesterday, I could sit here and tell you all about my dad, Kurt, and the marvelous things he has done in his life and for me. But you can meet him in person. I’m sure he would sign a poster if you asked him to.

Our Heavenly Father is something entirely different. We could talk about many different subject involving him. But since I don’t have all day I will only speak on one subject, prayer. I haven't been able to speak to my dad for almost 2 years. That’s been hard. I’ve been in some tough spots where I just want the advice from my dad, maybe only a few loving words. I’m not able to get that at this time in my life. But prayer is that act of faith that allows us to let God know what’s going on and what we are feeling. He knows how we are feeling already. It matters that we talk to Him. He will council with us.

I love the story of Hezekiah…how he pleads with a loving god for a righteous cause. I know God not only heard Hezekiah's prayers but he hears yours and mine. God is our loving Heavenly Father. That might be the most basic doctrine taught in this church but I do believe it’s one we will never fully understand. I do love my God and I know he loves me.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Monday, June 13, 2016

I could go on and on for what I have learned...

What a great week again. We have seen a lot of good things happen this week. I don't feel I have ever been so busy on my mission. I feel as if we are always teaching someone something or having to be somewhere to do stuff. I feel so blessed to be where I am. Our health is good and things are moving quickly. 

It feels as if we have hit a bit of a slow patch as far as seeing people progress to the waters of baptism which is frustrating because I’ve never tried harder for that. I understand that people can choose for themselves and I am grateful for that. But sometimes I wish people would pick more righteously… haha 

I have so much rushing through my mind I wish I could tell you about everything. But the point is to really love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel I have learned about it on my mission, more than ever before. Even more so I’ve come to a better understanding of the atonement and with that come a desire to share the gospel. Learning all of this has changed some major priorities in my life. The things that came first before my mission have been replaced with faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to put others first instead of myself. I could go on and on for what I have learned but now is not the time. Stay safe this week and thank you for the support.

-Elder Thomas Johnson 

Things are going well. I’m sorry I don’t write about specifically who I am teaching. I just wouldn't want that to be posted on the internet if I was one of our investigators. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

I love my life...

Warm weather this week. Holy smokes… it felt so so good! I’ve never been so happy to see the sun. 

Me and Elder Bird are getting along really well. He reminds me of Elder MacQueen. I am very happy to spend 6 weeks with him. He is from Tooele, Utah.

Miracles are real. They happen every single day. I really believe we just have to keep our eyes open. I’ve seen miracles in my life but never more than since I’ve been on a mission. I do not believe it’s because more miracles happen on a mission but simply because I’m in a place where my eyes are open to see these miracles. God is a God of miracles. I really hope you guys take the time to step back and ask the question "Have I seen God’s hand in my life today?" When you recognize these things, write them down. I’ve been able to do this in my life and it helps me be more humble and understanding of God’s ways. 

"This is what happens when you're off the job for 2 years serving God"
Life is so very good. We live on a wonderful world and I feel blessed. I love my life. I hope all of you find peace and happiness in something in your life. I can promise you that the full gospel of Jesus Christ will bring the most happiness into anyone's life.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I feel very blessed...

I am staying in Poulsbo 2nd and Bainbridge Island for the next 6 weeks. Elder Simkins is going to the Shelton 2nd Ward and I am getting Elder Bird. I am very excited to be able to stay here. It’s such a wonderful place to be. I feel very blessed. I am going to miss Elder Simkins immensely. He has become one of my closest friends and someone I feel blessed to have been with. It will be hard saying goodbye to him.

We went on exchanges this week with Elder Hoffer and Anderson. It was way cool to be with Hoffer again. The last time I did missionary work with him was when I was training him. It was great to see the change he has made in a quick 8 months’ time! I’m very proud of him. He is a wonderful man and missionary.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Man- I don’t have much to say. Things are going very well. I am happy I feel well grounded. I am very excited to be where I am right now. I look forward to coming home but not to the point where I’m not focused on what I am doing right now. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

So I will be happy...

This week we got lots of great opportunities to feel the spirit in a way that we usually don’t. We got to go to the temple as a mission this past week which only happens once a year. It was my 3rd time being able to go through, a very special experience. The temple is one of the rare places for a missionary. It’s a place that, rather than teaching others, we are all taught. It is something I look forward to being more involved with when I go home.

In Poulsbo there was the annual "Viking Fest." It is more or less a fair that is Viking themed. It turns out that everyone who doesn't answer there door to talk to us will talk to us at Viking fest. At least that is what it felt like.  (Note: the photo is from a member's Facebook post and came with the following caption... "It was fun seeing some awesome elders while we were there. Elder Thomas Johnson saw me taking a pic from across the street and had to be funny!!! It was a good place for them to talk to people!"

We had another missionary "Why I Believe" fireside. I believe I have described those in the past. But it’s an hour-ish long fireside where we, as missionaries (about 50), sing a few songs and recent converts share their story with everyone. I really love these firesides. It’s one of the things that make this mission what it is. I sure do love where I am. I’ve always wanted to go on a mission. On top of being on a mission, it’s just another blessing to be able to serve in this mission!

Transfer calls are this week so next Monday. I will know where my last area on my mission will be. I would not be surprised if I stay or are moved. Whatever happens, I will be staying inside the Washington Tacoma Mission so I will be happy.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

PS... a story from one of Elder Johnson's former companions who is now serving in an adjoining area of Poulsbo.
If you remember, Elder Johnson liked to play pranks with his companions when we were all in Gig Harbor…He still likes to play pranks. At the beginning of the transfer, he and Elder Simkins broke into our apartment, and put an opened can of tuna under Elder Anderson’s bed. They would always bring up tuna in conversations, and we kept wondering why they did. A few days ago, it started smelling really bad in our bedroom, and we found the tuna. Up to that point, we hadn’t found it yet, and they were disappointed that we hadn’t. A day before that point, they had broken in again to pour some juice from a different can into the already moldy can so that it would start to smell. They were about to leave when they saw us coming up the steps, and they hid. Elder Johnson told Elder Simkins to hide outside on the deck, and Johnson hid behind the shower curtain. Elder Anderson went over to the air conditioner to adjust it with Elder Simkins right behind the window. I went to the bathroom mirror to retie my tie. We have a clear shower curtain, but I didn’t notice him. Nor did Elder Anderson see Elder Simkins. It was around 3 o’clock so I asked Elder Anderson if he wanted to take dinner now, and start knocking early, or go street contacting, then come back at 4 for dinner. Elder Johnson was willing and ready to wait there for a whole hour, but luckily (for him) Elder Anderson said to take dinner at 4. So we left, and a few minutes after, Elder Johnson and Elder Simkins left undetected. That night, we started smelling something fishy. In the morning, when they picked us up for running, I put it under their car seat. It smelled very bad however, so they found it quickly after they dropped us off…. Any ideas for getting them back?

Monday, May 16, 2016

So I kind of dug myself into that hole...

Yet again a wonderful week with many great adventures and memories made. We were able to split wood again this week which is always fun. I really believe that some of the best ways to get close with your companion is by doing physical, manual labor with him. I’ve really enjoyed doing service with Elder Simkins.

Along with doing service Elder Simkins and I were able to get a little closer to each other by both venturing into the unknown and eating for the first time… balut. For people who don’t know what that is look it up. I am very happy I tried it just to say that I have. But I do not plan on eating anytime soon for fun. Strangely enough there is a decent amount of Filipinos in Kitsap County, many member and nonmembers. We were able to meet with many of them and they brought balut and made us eat it. To be honest a few weeks ago while talking to some of them when I told them I would try it if they got it. So I kind of dug myself into that hole.

This week we got to do lots of teaching as always. But for the first time in my life I was in a young women’s class and got to teach that! That was a very cool experience to see what goes on there.

We got to celebrate a recent convert’s birthday. On a cheap missionary budget we decided to get him a cake. This cake was a Hostess Ding Dong but I think he appreciated the thought.

I am so grateful for all the places I have gone on my mission. I feel every area I have been in is so much different than anything else. I have lived in 7 different places on my mission and none of them are similar to the next one. I feel that to be a great blessing. I have been able to learn how adapt too many different situations and see how people react in different environments.

I love what I’m doing. I love my Savior. I love my leaders, family, and friends. Thank you again for the support. It is felt and appreciated.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Monday, May 9, 2016

I wake up every morning just happy to be doing what I’m doing...

Skyping home for the last time was very odd. The thought that the next time I will see you guys will be in person is a bitter sweet thing. I’ve became quite accustomed to missionary life and don’t know how I feel about my time to go home coming quicker then I thought it would. 

Anyway… along with Skyping home, things are going well. I am looking forward to this next week. We will have a lot of time to be outside talking to people. We don't have too many missionary meeting planned. But the week after will be really nice. We get to go to the temple and have a missionary musical fireside down in Gig Harbor! I am looking forward to it.
I don’t know if I want to compare what I’ve been doing for almost the past 2 years to an everyday normal job. What I am doing is so much more sacred than any job. But people always talk about loving a job so much that you wake up in the morning you can’t wait to get started. That’s exactly how I feel about missionary life. . I would never want to be doing what I’m doing for money. I think it would take a lot of the satisfaction away. But if I could do this for a living I think I would. I love the feeling that comes from helping people for a living and learning everyday because of it. 

I have so many experiences I can’t wait to share with all my loved ones when I get home. I love you all and hope you all are safe. :)

-Elder Thomas Johnson 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Two for one..

A note from Elder Johnson's parents....
We have been negligent getting email messages posted from the last two weeks.  Thus, you get a bonus this week.  Two weeks worth of messages.
April 25, 2016

Well, I’m sorry but yet again I don’t feel much has changed this past week besides the weather. Ha-ha! It was super sunny at the beginning of the week but as time went on it got a little more cloudy and gloomy. But I didn’t email you to tell you the weather. You would have gone to another website for that huh.

Its been a wonderful week in the Wa-Tac. I feel so blessed this week for many things, but two in particular. First, the blessing I have to be on a mission. My whole life I’ve wanted this! I’m so happy to finally make it here. : ) I always find myself telling Elder Simkins that I can’t believe how real this is! It’s so remarkable!

The second thing is that I’m so blessed to be in THIS mission! holy smokes I honestly would have had been so happy to be anywhere on a mission but I get to be here! this place I’m serving in is so beautiful. It really isn’t the geographical land that makes this place so wonderful. It’s the people here! I love the people. I get to serve. I came out here for my investigators. I wanted to help others that didn't know this gospel. But as I’ve been here I’ve found that it is not just them, it’s about everyone I’m around… church leaders to people I pass on the street. But most importantly it’s about serving God and letting him serve you to the fullest.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

P.S.- I am staying with Elder Simkins I am happy about that.

May 2, 2016

Well this week I get to talk to you (Mother’s Day) so I don’t know how much I have to share!  But yet again its been a wonderful week.  I have no particular reason its been so good. It just that it is always a good week when your serving God in any position you are in.

I suppose since I don’t have much to say I will talk a little about what we really do everyday. I’ve told you before my daily schedule but in my current areas the schedule is the same. We are doing more teaching now then perhaps my whole mission which means is a result a lot more planning! Planning is something I’ve learned to love on my mission. We have to plan not only when and where we will be but also about those we teach. When we teach someone we get to plan very specifically what we will teach and how we will teach. I love planning for that very specifically. It’s so satisfying getting counseled by the Holy Ghost what to talk about. And when you finally get to teach them you really realize it is exactly what they needed to hear at that time. 

The week for you seems to always to be an adventure it always comforting to me to see you safe and happy. 

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Well again I don’t have anything for the blog...

Well again I don’t have anything for the blog, I don’t have anything new to tell everyone.

My favorite talk was probably Elder Nelson’s in priesthood session… he talked about living worthy to exercise the priesthood and learning how to exercise it. I just hope to always be able to resist the devil and be worthy to use the priesthood when the spirit calls me to. I could really go on all day about all the talks. But the only other one I will mention is Elder Holland’s. I was watching that session with an investigator and right when Uchtdorf got up to announce the last speaker I said another prayer for the investigator that he might receive and act on a spiritual prompting. Well, you can probably guess how the rest of the story goes. Elder Holland hit a home run and the investigator will soon be in the waters of baptism.

Elder Holland’s talk spoke to me maybe in a different way than others. The feelings he described come along with conference weekend are many of the feelings that come along with a mission. While Elder Holland helped people understand how to keep those same feelings for the next 6 months till conference, he was telling me how to keep the feelings of the last 2 years for eternity. It is possible and I will rely on the Lord in all things. I will continue to council with Him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's a weird feeling being so tired but not wanting to sleep...

Hey again! I don’t think I have a blog post this week. It’s been a really good week but I don’t feel I have anything new to put up on the blog. I don’t just want to say something I’ve already said before.

My Easter was really good… super busy had a 4 dinners. 3 of them were with non-members. We had 6 investigators at church yesterday which might be a record for me (not counting families). We had a few families give us baskets for Easter. Most all full of candy but the Bishop of the Bainbridge Island ward’s Easter basket was full of candy along with a Izze and a nice journal. We are definitely taken care of well here.

I sure have loved serving with Elder Simkins… super super easy to get along with! I love him. He is from the same small town Elder Porter is from. I don’t remember if I had already told you that? Enterprise is the town. I’m going to have to go visit both Simkin’s and Porter's family before they get home.

This next week is full of appointments. We have zone conference tomorrow. I’m exited I don’t have to give any trainings or direct it. (I’m not a zone leader) :). Then my favorite part of the week… General Conference!! Awe man! I’m looking forward to it so very much.

It’s funny how fast time goes. I wish it would just stop. I have so much I need to do out here but time is moving faster and faster. It's a weird feeling being so tired but not wanting to sleep. Haha.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

PS (from Elder Johnson's Parents)...
We received several emails with photos this week.  Included was the following photo and explanation...  Love it!!!!
Elder Johnson helping out in Primary!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I do know that this week was really pretty...

Well… weeks are mush now and I don’t know what was this week and what was last week. But, I do know that this week was really pretty! The sun was out all week and that can honestly make my week no matter how bad everything else was.

This week consisted of

  • Meeting many less actives 
  •  Helping an older guy with his home 
  • Meetings in both wards leadership. 
  • Splits with the EQ presidents 
  • Having a great WOW (word of wisdom) lesson.

I don’t have much to put up on the blog this week but please remember the true meaning of Easter. Enjoy time with family remember Christ is rising to raise us up as well.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The past 2 weeks is kind of what I expected a mission to be like...

Holy smokes, I don’t know about this week. It’s felt really long and really short at the same time. Although we are not allowed to swim on our mission, I don’t believe that there was a difference between being outside for half an hour or being in a swimming pool. It dumped all week! It was craazzy.

I feel sooo busy all the time. There is always something to do, always someone to help. It is wonderful! The past 2 weeks is kind of what I expected a mission to be like when I left home. A lot of really great times and a lot of really hard times as a result of other people’s agency. It’s been a good 2 weeks. I’ve been very happy.

Sundays as always are super crazy and hectic but this Sunday in particular was nuts. First off… all week we had been hearing warnings of a big storm coming in on Sunday so people didn't know if church was even going to happen because power might be out. But Sunday came rolling around and we had church. I got to speak in both sacrament meetings we attended. I really do enjoy speaking. It’s nice to be able to prepare a talk and learn from that preparation. Maybe that’s another thing that has changed on my mission. I sure do like moving my jaw up and down all the time now. It’s actually turned into a bad thing how much I talk.

But anyways, I kind of got off subject there, Sunday turned out to be a great day! I love being in that church building. I find it to be one of the few places where I am able sit down for a long enough time to gather all my thoughts and just ponder everything that is going on. I find myself just giving thanks for all the great things God has given me.

My friends… I love you very much. Thank you for the prayers and support.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I love what I am doing in my life right now...

Heyo! Well, it’s been a really big week I guess. It’s been odd getting into a new area that hasn't had elders for 4 years. Although it does mean there is never a dull moment or I’m wondering what to do next. There are many great families I have met this past week from both the Bainbridge Island Ward and the Poulsbo 2nd Ward.

I’m loving my new companion. His name is Elder Simkins from Enterprise, Utah. He played baseball as well as ran XC in school. We get along really well. I’m happy to be able to serve with him. He has been in the Poulsbo 2nd Ward for the past 6 weeks and has done a very good job with it. So it’s not like we are completely blind in 2 new areas.

We are seeing a few baptisms this weekend that I’m looking forward to. One is a particular lady who we had a really great lesson with this week on the Word of Wisdom. It was one of the most spirit filled lessons I’ve had on my mission. After the lesson we then were able to give her a blessing to help her overcome her addictions and be ready to enter the waters of baptism this weekend. I love what I am doing in my life right now. It’s the most fulfilling I’ve experienced.

I’ve never been so excited to do stuff in my life. I have to keep telling Elder Simkins that this is so cool! What we are doing is so cool! Being a missionary is the coolest thing on this planet. If you haven’t had a chance to do missionary work in your life, try it out! It’s so fulfilling!

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Monday, February 29, 2016

I kind of had a midlife crisis...

Wow! it’s funny how after a week that I don’t feel I have much to write is always a week with too much to write about.

Well I’m getting transferred to a whole new area, Bainbridge Island! If I’m not mistaken we will be the first elders in the area since my trainer closed it almost 4 years ago… when he got done training! I will also be covering the Poulsbo 2nd Ward! So the elder I am going to be with (Simkins) has been in that area for 6 weeks. I am really excited about this. I’m looking forward to applying everything that I’ve learned on my mission to one new fresh area! I’ve never been more pumped to find, teach, and baptize people.

Last night was another fireside… this time in Silverdale. I kind of had a midlife crisis on the way back home. We drove through my first area. I got to see the streets I was on my first transfer in the mission. It was kind of emotional for me to think back and see where I was and realize that times have changed. I now have less fear and more faith in my Savior. I loved that trial God gave me though. I love all the tough times. It only helps me grow closer to my Savior. And I look forward to the trials that lay ahead and growing from them as well. I don’t want to leave this great land of the Wa Tac.

This week was stake conference as well. The visiting General Authority was Elder Sitati. He had some wonderful, great advice and I received some great personal revelation on what I need to change in my life as a missionary and a person. So I liked it a lot.

I am so happy to be here where I am at. I love life

-Elder Thomas Johnson

ps.  long story but there is a member here who's done lots of studies.  This is a replica of Nephi's boat, He has a book written about it called "voyage of the book of Mormon"

Monday, February 22, 2016

Time seemed to have flown by fast...

Last week of this transfer! I will find out Saturday what is going to happen to me. :)

As for this past week… it’s been pretty good! Time seemed to have flown by fast. While we were busy teaching a lot of different people not much seemed to have happened!

We did have a wonderful musical fireside last night and I look forward to the one this next week in Silverdale! I look forward to going back up to my old area to sing. At these musical firesides we sing some classic hymns but our version of them. Hymns like Amazing Grace, Called to Serve, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and the EFY medley. Recent converts also bear testimony during the fireside. It really is a powerful thing to be a part of. During the song Amazing Grace I always feel so humble for all I have received from my Heavenly Father.

This next week is stake conference. I’m excited for that as well. We seem to have a busy week in front of us. Days and nights are full of scheduled appointments. I feel like I’m finally getting a hold on how to do missionary work a little bit. haha

Although it’s been a busy week I don’t have much to report from this week, I love my mission so much. These missionaries I serve around have become my best friends. I love them. I love the people of Gig Harbor. Each and every investigator I devote all my time and efforts to help them get closer to Jesus Christ.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How cool is that...

I wish I could pick a highlight for the week but I don't know if I can. I’ll start off with the bad news. We had to see another Brother go home this week early. I had the chance to go on exchanges with him the day before he left. The short time he has been in the mission field has changed his life as it would change anyone's. I do look forward to seeing him come back on a mission soon.

One of the great blessings of being an only child I’ve found on my mission is having the ability to love my missionary friends like real brothers. I don't know what having a brother feels like but I imagine it’s something like the feelings I have for these great men I serve with out here. Sometimes they drive me up the wall. I feel like I’m babysitting them and sometimes I feel they are babysitting me. But in the end whatever we don't agree on is of no big importance. I love these kids I love meeting more of them each transfer but I hate leaving some each transfer as well. And I dread the day I have to leave them all and go on that plane home.

Pretty cool story of the week though! We have been working with an investigator for a little while who seemed waaay solid at first. Had lots of contact with the church in the past and we really looked forward to teaching them. As time went on however we found in tough to get in contact with them… near impossible really. This past week, out of desperation to get in contact with them, we randomly stopped at their house. As we got to the door and was about to knock both me and Hastings paused a little, confused as we thought we heard angels singing. As we listened closer from inside we heard the mother and the daughter (8 months old) on the piano playing and singing along to "I need thee every hour." What a great uplift to mine and Hastings spirits. Needless to say we were able to get inside and have a great lesson with hem.

I was pretty much in the same meeting my family was in on Sunday!!!! How cool is that?!?! There was a regional broadcast and when I heard Hawaii was tuned in my heart beat for joy. I had to take a small moment and close my eyes and picture my mom and dad sitting right next me as I listened to the conference. Don’t get me wrong, I love this mission more than anything before but my heart aches for my parent’s souls. I love this gospel. I have an eternal family and because of repentance I’ve been able to help others make covenants with God and make their families eternal. I love my brothers out here. I love my brother Jesus Christ. I love My Father in Heaven. I feel his love though Christ. Repentance is real. The atonement washes everything clean.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I hope this note will make your heart swell with pride...

Note: The following message was sent to Elder Johnson's parents via Facebook. (and parents love to brag about their children)
Hi, I live in Olympia 4th Ward. I'm sure you recall that your son served here for a very short time. He did great work, planted some seeds and moved on. I remember being touched when you wrote to our ward page to thank us for our kindness to your son. I thought it was such a nice gesture. 
So today, a woman visiting from the ward he is currently serving in, asked her to look up a few people from our ward. For the life of me I cannot remember her name but her daughter is in Oly 4th ward. Anyway, he wanted to know how I was doing. Of course I remembered him and shared a few things with her that came to my mind about him. He also asked about a few people that she did not know. None of whom were at church today. I gave her updates to send back to him.
What an amazing son you have. He has such a sweet heart, a great memory and incredible sensitivity to those he serves. I plan to write a note to him as well but I wanted you to know that your son is every bit as delightful as you think he is. What a pleasure to know him. I have a daughter currently serving a mission. I long for every tidbit of information I get from her and about her. I hope this note will make your heart swell with pride. You've raised a good man.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Being able to see the change someone has made...

Well… this week Elder Hastings and me weren’t able to spend much time in our own area. On Tuesday we were out on the KPN (Key Peninsula north) working with 2 elders who are both new to their area! It was a beautiful day to be out there though! There are many lakes and a lot less houses then my area so it was a breath of fresh air.

Later on in the week we got to go out near the same area to do a baptismal interview. I always love doing those… being able to see the change someone has made to get baptized. It's probably one of the things that makes the mission so so wonderful!!

We had MLC (mission leadership council) this past week. It was one of my favorite MLC's I have had the chance to be part of. The focus was on the Spirit and the power of it. The fact that the Spirit is not a tool we use rather we should be tools of the spirit. We do so by being obedient and sensitive to it. We got to teach elders quorum on Sunday. It was kind of nice to practice the training we plan on giving our zone on Wednesday.

Most Sundays you can find me in with the Priest quorum though. I remember being at home and loving having the missionaries coming into class. I try my very hardest to help them do missionary work for themself and get a greater desire to go on a mission for themselves.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Monday, February 1, 2016

A week with no interruptions...

A week with no interruptions to the work are the best kind of weeks! Although nothing crazy has happened, it is always satisfying working hard.

I would sit hear and tell you about this less active member we found one day but his story written in the Ensign is told far better then what I could say. It has been great working with this man. Rekindling his testimony has helped mine grow more as well.
The famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Man, I love this mission thing. I really do! It’s so hard every day. I miss home. I don’t like being wet and cold day in and day out but I still love this mission! I don’t think I know perfectly why I love it so much but it might be something along the lines of Matthew 16:25. It’s nice not having to worry about myself at all really! I wish I had done it more when I was at home! I know that as we focus on others we no longer think about our well being as a person and become happier all together.

-Elder Thomas Johnson

Living in the Gig house is really nice for a lot of reasons. First, it’s right across the street from our church so there is a certain peace seeing our church every morning. Second, I love living with a lot of people. It is just plain fun sometimes.

Monday, January 25, 2016

It makes me nervous to see the last quarter of my mission...

January 18, 2016

Another transfer has come and gone and the end to this blessed 2 years of my life seems too close.

Elder Hasting and me are staying together in Gig Harbor. Elder Sulcer and Stewart are leaving however. I am very happy to be where the Lord needs me to be. I’m exited for another 6 weeks with Elder Hastings. It will be nice just to be in a normal companionship as well, instead of a foursome.

It was a really good transfer. I feel like each transfer I learn how to work harder and more effectively and it is so very satisfying! Although we have seen a lot of missionaries go home this winter it’s been very satisfying for me to be able to help some struggling missionaries out, but its been even more helpful to me, to realize how truly blessed I am.

We have seen many miracles at the end of this transfer.

I love you guys I’m sorry I got to keep it short this week, but things are great in the WA-Tac we are finding teaching and baptizing people and the spirit is being felt all around in my life. I have many blessing to count… one the biggest one being the Savior.

January 25, 2016

It was my first week in over 6 months with only having 1 companion. Needless to say, it was a little weird! Just being with 1 guy. Lucky we still have 4 people living in the house so when we get home there is still excitement to draw our attention away from the rain and cold.

There are a lot of pros and cons with only having one companion. But, over all, I have really enjoyed it. It’s a lot easier to stay focused during planning and studies. But with just Elder Hastings and me here we are sort of spread thin over 2 separate wards.

I think the theme for my whole mission has been humility since day one to now. I find myself coming short time and time again, whether I don't live up my expectations or things don't happen the way I think it should. Or I find myself not being able to communicate with people my feelings and thoughts. I feel awful every time I come up short of expectations of my Heavenly Father. It’s really weighed me down. I’ve been taught by my wonderful parents that I have infinite potential and it’s hard not living up to that potential. We truly are beggars and I find myself begging and pleading with Heavenly Father a lot the last 18 months to become better able to find teach and baptize people for Him. And I’m learning more and more to be humble and rely on him to get me through each day.

I sure do love what I’m doing. I cant ever picture myself not doing missionary work. But it makes me nervous to see the last quarter of my mission start.

-Elder Johnson

Monday, January 11, 2016

I take advantage of every opportunity...

What a crazy week! Last Monday turned from p-day to a road trip, as we had to drive 2 hours to pick up a new companion. I’m looking forward to having a p-day to myself again today. (ha-ha) Honestly, a lot of my week consisted of busy work… a sister in the zone went into the ER the other day and we had a few doctors’ appointments to go to throughout the week. Keep the health and safety of the WA TAC missionaries in your prayers this week!

Although we were busy, I got to really put my priorities straight. And what truly comes first are the health and safety of the missionaries I serve. I know my Savior would want me to help them be safe. It’s been very hard for me to sit around and not be out working hard to find teach and baptize people. But to share this gospel even if it’s in a doctors’ office.

We got to speak in church this last Sunday, I was asked to speak on the 3rd lesson we teach which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is about our message and our purpose. It was great to prepare this talk. Although I only got to speak for maybe 2 minutes because I was the last speaker and didn’t have any time, it was wonderful to bear my testimony to the great ward I am serving!

Anyways I am doing well. There are a lot of missionaries who are not doing as well physically as I am. I have no reason to complain. Please keep the health and safety of the missionaries of the WA TAC in your prayers this week. Love you guys very much.

-Elder Johnson

P.S. Its weird all the sisters I came out with go home next Tuesday. Time truly is flying.

Monday, January 4, 2016

So much has happened this transfer...

Well happy new years! It was weird to think about this next year. Although I did not put together a "new years resolution list" I was thinking of what I would like to accomplish this next calendar year. At first everything that popped into my head was mission related. Then my heart stopped when I remembered that about half this year I would be at home. What a strange idea... Well, needless to say, I thought of some things that I would like to do when I’m home from my mission as well.
Gig Harbor Zone @ Wa-Tac Mission Christmas party

We had a wonderful zone conference this past week on member work and how we can start doing more member work without changing much of what we are doing already. That what we have been doing so far in missionary work is awesome. It shows the Lord we will serve but perhaps it’s not the smartest way to do it. So we are going to continue to do what we are doing but also involve members more in all phases of the work… finding, teaching, and baptizing. I look forward to doing missionary work in this way although it takes a lot more sacrifice on our part to plan and make sure everything goes perfectly. But also it takes our willing members to sacrifice both time and efforts to help that investigator.

The bad news in zone conference was that we would no longer be having our wonderful transfer meetings. In a mission president training elder Oaks really was clear that missions should not be having transfer meetings. Although I do not completely understand why I am exited to to follow this council. I know that special blessing are in store for the Wa-Tac as we listen and obey the council of the prophets.

Oh also we will no longer be in a 3-some today. We are getting a missionary named Elder Stewart so there will be 4 of us in the companionship again! That’s always exiting. So much has happened this transfer. It’s been a crazy one.

Anyways I love you all thanks again for the support. It means a lot to me!

-Elder Thomas Johnson