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