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