Monday, November 13, 2017

Week 54

How are all you doing? I am doing AWESOME, as always!!
This week has been a very good week full of good service and a lot of hard work! 

I would like to tell you all about something that made me very happy this week. There is an old man in our ward named Brother Murphy. Now brother Murphy is a very kind-hearted old man in his 70's. He is all alone with no wife or kids and calls his ward his family and spends all his time doing what he can to tirelessly help others. He is an old Navy vet and because of old age he hurts in his joints and has already had many joint replacements. Even with crazy amounts of pain this man continues to serve with everything he has to offer. Almost every time we see him he is tired, but very happy. 

This last week we were called on by a member to come to the church and help set up for a wedding reception that was to take place that night. Upon arriving to the church we found that Brother Murphy and a few others had just finished putting up all the chairs and tables in the church gyms. Brother Murphy sat down on a chair and we pulled up one for each of us. He started talking about how much work he had to do at home but how at the same time he had some other people he had  promised to help that day. We asked if we could help, but he said that he would be able to do it. 

 Many hours later after going to Lodi Ca(about 1 n'a half hrs out of our area) for an appointment for our RAV4 that didn't happen, we decided to put on service clothes and go and see if brother Murphy wanted any help. When we got to his house we found that he wasn't home, but we went to work on what he had told us a few hrs earlier that he needed to do. Brother Murphy has a good size chunk of land that is wooded, and that is on the side of a hill. He had gone out to all the dead trees and cut them down and then cut them into 18'' pieces. He then needed to carry them up his hill and then pile them next to his splitter.

 Well, we did just that. With the help of our RAV4's big truck like trunk we got all the wood up the hill to his splitter. We were able to get all the work done before he got home.

 The next morning at a joint ward wood splitting activity that turned out to be great, we saw brother Murphy!  He at once came up to us and gave us each a big hug(as we do in this Ward Family) and told us thank you. He told us that he hadn't gotten home till after dark the night before and had gone straight to bed. The next morning when he went out early to get to work on his wood he saw the huge pile of wood. 

He told us that he couldn't understand how the wood had gotten there. He then noticed that his broom that was on the porch was out of place(we had used it to sweep out our trunk), he said from the out of place broom and the pile of wood he put 2 and 2 together and knew that it was us.

Later that day President Palmer and Sister Palmer took my comp and me along with the sisters in our district to lunch and we had brownie lasagnas (as seen in the photo). 

Love you all!!! 
Go serve someone and feel happy!!!!!
Be AWESOME member missionaries!!!!!
Love ya'll!!!!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week 53

Alma 26:16
 Therefore, let us gloryyea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will
 praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? 
Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his 
mercyand of his long-sufferintowards the children of men? Behold, say unto you, cannot say the smallest part whicfeel.

 Brothers, sisters, family, friends, this past week has been a very good week! I have an awesome district leader who gives awesome messages every Thursday for district meeting. His messages are always so inspired and I always feel the spirit and learn a lot. I always feel re-energized and full of faith! This week I had many days where I didn't want to get out of the car and work for reasons that I am still not sure about. But I kept getting out of the car and working. As I put forth my effort and gave what I had in me the Lord filled in and gave me the hope, desire, and strength, and I kept going giving my all.

I am so filled with joy, peace, love, and a desire to share what I know and feel with everyone. God Lives!! He is there for you!!! If you put forth all your effort, God will step in and give you the needed strength to keep you going!!!
Love you all!!!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Week 52

Howdy all!!!

I would not be surprised if you have all already seen some of the videos that my awesome ward members posted on Facebook or shared of my companion and I being killed by primary kids at a Halloween party. Believe me it was awesome. As missionaries we are not allowed to play with kids but we are allowed to participate in games like the one we were asked to set up. A member who has only been in the ward but a few months told us about what the missionaries had done in their last ward.

The missionaries had gotten a box and cut 2 holes in the top and then poked their heads in and out as the kids hit their heads with pool noodles. The member asked if we would be interested in doing the same activity in our joint ward Halloween party! We said yes! We were able to get our hands on a few boxes from a member who works at Lowes and went the extra mile and a half by cutting 5 holes. So for about an hour I popped my head in and out of 2 holes while my comp. manned the other 3. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH THE SORE NECK THAT I HAVE HAD THE PAST 2 DAYS!!!!! The faces and the laughs that came from the kids were priceless!!! I would do it all over again!!!! 

Last night we received transfer calls and both Elder Powell and I are staying here in Jackson! We are both very excited and we both love this area very much. The work is going awesome. the work is starting to pick up speed and we both feel like part of that is due to our obedience. We have 3 investigators.

 1 Don Jackzola, He is has been investigating the church for the past year. He says that he wants to investigate like Brigham Young for 2 years(he doesn't understand that he is supposed to be doing his best to study and live the commandments like Brigham Young did). We dropped him about 5 weeks ago and went back to his place last week when he asked for help. Let me tell you a little bit about this guy. He has no job and his dream is to flip houses. Using the money that his wife makes(hardly anything) he buys junk(drywall, tile, warped boards, old car parts, an old camper). Anyway he made a very stupid choice by buying a house with the last of his wife's money(he now has 3 houses and no money along with a wife who might leave him). He pretty much came to us begging that we would teach him a way to get happy and keep his family together. We taught him about faith and enduring to the end and were pretty blunt with him about how he needs to read the Book of Mormon and pray and come to church. He said that he would start reading the Book of Mormon and praying right away.

 2 Shawn. He is 24 years old and has already had 4 open heart surgeries and will be receiving a 5th in February. he has had a hard time with this being the only true church and finding time to read the Book of Mormon. Yesterday though, brother Gale(an awesome member) felt inspired to testify of the Book of Mormon in gospel Principles. Shawn was in tears by the end of the hour and said that he would read the Book of Mormon and then truly pray about it. 

3 Wayne is a tree cutter for the state of California, a hunter, and a fly fisherman. I don't have much to say about him other then he is awesome. He does everything that we ask him to do and we will be teaching him his 3rd lesson this next week. He is reading the Book of Mormon and praying. This last week when we taught him the Plan of Salvation we finished by asking him to pray. He followed the instructions that we had just given to him and he gave a wonderful prayer!

We have been working very hard with some less actives. In fact tonight we will be going to visit one with our ward mission leader. My comp and I went to visit a 95 year old woman who can't make it to church anymore because of some medical issues. Other than the medical issue that comes from taking a pill she is as sharp as a whip and is in good shape. She is 4 foot 7 and totally awesome!

One of the photos today shows a bad wreck that the Lord protected us from. The wreck happened just seconds after we passed through the very middle of the intersection. 

The old lady in the green shirt will be having her 100th birthday in a few days. She can only remember the missionaries, the Book of Mormon, and that she was sealed in the Salt Lake City, Temple.

A picture of my awesome district! 

And of us traveling at light speed.

Thank you to Sister Hansen who took the awesome picture of me being killed by kids.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Week 51

I got my feet checked out this last week and the Doctor is really impressed with my improvement! I have to call in today to find out the details about how often I need to be wearing the boot. Anyway, I will have another checkup on December 12(in 8 weeks). My doctor is a member of the church and understands priesthood blessings and the power of prayer. He told me that by the way my feet were improving he could tell that I was really being prayed for and that the Lord was watching over me and that it is not normal for what I have to heal this fast. Thank you all very much for all your prayers and fasting. It really does work!

  The work is going really well right now! I think that last week I mentioned in my letter that a less active sister came to church last week for the first time in many years and that her nonmember husband decided that he wanted to come to church. We gave him a pamphlet on the Plan of salvation and we later found out that he lost it in his house and then when looking for it found one in his house of the restoration. He thought that that was the one that we had given him and read it and then studied all the scriptures the pamphlet has in the back(study questions). 

Well on Sunday they signed up for dinner on Friday. So on friday, we had an awesome meal with them and afterwards had one of the best gospel discussions that I have ever had with an investigator on my mission so far!!! He was very surprised with how the bible talked about the Book of Mormon, he was also very surprised when my comp and I were able to answer all his questions about the gospel and our church. He then surprised us both by asking for a Book of Mormon just seconds before we offered him one. He instantly opened it up from the first page and started reading it as we continued talking to his wife about a question that she had just asked. 

The next day we came back at 1 pm to teach the restoration. We had some awesome Members with us who we later found that they were all related somehow. The lesson went really well. Wayne(the investigator) had already read several chapters of the Book of Mormon. After the lesson we stayed a little while longer to get to know them a little better. Wayne loves hunting and fly fishing! My comp talked to him about hunting and guns and I talked to him about fly fishing and then we looked at his rods.

  Please keep in your prayers the Sheppard Family. They are the close friends of some of the members in my current ward. The Sheppard family was trying to evacuate from the big fires last week when their family car was overtaken by the fire. The mother and father turned out the best in the family of 4. They were severely burned and are just now stable, but unable to move much or communicate. Their 16 year old daughter was burned so bad that she had to have her legs amputated below the knee, she may never see again because her eyes were so badly burned. Their 14 boy died in the burning car.

Please do not worry about me. my comp and I are safe from the fires. 
I love you all!!! 

ELDER Johnson
                  California Modesto Mission

                                      4300 Dale Rd Modesto CA 95356

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Week 50

TODAY IS DAY 365!!!!!!

OH YEAH!!!!!!! 1 Year in and one to go!!! I have loved every single second of the past year!!!! Every moment of sadness, pain, heartache, fun, learning has been worth it! Every day that I am out serving my joy and desire to serve seems to grow more and more!!! This week has been a very good week with lots of walking, driving, teaching, and pain. 

We have been working with a less active who came to church for the first time in about 12 years!!! we were so excited when she came to church with her husband who is not a member. We will be teaching her husband this coming Saturday at noon and are very excited. we both felt inspired to(my comp and I) to give her husband a pamphlet from the plan of salvation and told him that that was the message we would be sharing this next Saturday. Sacrament meeting turned out to be perfect! the Speakers talked about our purpose on earth and temple marriage!! The Bishop then got up and testified of the truthfulness of the gospel! 2nd hrs lesson was on the nature of our Heavenly Father, and then Elders quorum was about the leadership in the church and about the priesthood. Church couldn't have turned out better for the returning member and her investigating husband. 

 We were able to teach Shawn the Word of Wisdom this week! He has not been reading the book of Mormon and I testified to him of the power that the book of Mormon has and promised him that if he were to read it and pray about it not only would he receive an answer about the book of Mormon, but that he would be able to overcome his addiction to coffee. Shawn is really struggling with the coffee right now along with his scripture reading. I once again testified to Monica the returning member that if she were to read the book of Mormon that she would receive the strength to overcome her addiction to coffee and smoking. I love you all!!!! Thank you for your prayers!!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 49 Faith Trust and a little Pixie Dust

Howdy all!!!

One week from today I will be hitting my 1 year mark from the time that I was set apart as a full time missionary, and in 9 days I will be hitting my 1 year mark of when I entered the MTC in Sao Paulo Brasil!!!

 I have done a lot of growing in the past year of my life. This past week I have found myself looking in my journal and a half of the past 12 months. I have changed in many ways. I have changed in ways such as; I have more confidence in myself, I have more determination to do things, I tend to be more selfless, I think a lot more before I act, I talk a lot less and say more of what needs to be said. I have little to no fear of what people might think or say about what I think or do that I feel is right. I find myself searching for ways to serve someone, or to make them smile and be happy. 
 Ya know, before the mission I was totally fine with just walking up to some random person and striking up a conversation with them and becoming their friend. Now when it came to church stuff I was a big fat Chicken! I wouldn't say much and would get scared of what the person might think of me after I shared what I believed. Yes I know that I am a missionary now and that it is supposed to be easy for me to just walk up to some person and preach the Gospel to them. Nope not true! The first few months of my mission I was scared to open my mouth and talk. I was afraid of what people might think or say about what I was sharing with them. The bottom line is, that I Feared man!! Well I got over that Fear of man. And just how did I get over that Fear of man? I put my Trust In God!

 Now one doesn't just decide one night to forget all fear and have perfect Faith and Trust in God the next morning. Now, with every ladder in this world, one must start at the bottom and climb to the top. 

 The scripture on the plaque in my home ward building is Alma 26:12. That is a scripture that became my favorite after my father showed it to me a few years ago. There is one line in verse 12 that has become so real to me.
 "For in his Strength I can do All things." 

I have had many trials in the past year. Trials with disobedient or hard to deal with companions, sickness, language, and my current problem with Plantar Fasciitis. Each and every one of my trials has strengthened my faith and trust in God. God really is there. He knows us personally. As one of my new favorite scriptures says (1 Nephi 3:7) God has a plan prepared for us, and he prepareth a way for us to accomplish that plan. 

I am now here in the Jackson Ward covering most of Amador County. I am very grateful to be here. I am very grateful that I am still able to be serving a mission. 
 I will now tell you all somewhat concerning an experience I have had in the past weekish. A Wise Old Man sent me an email and challenged me to memorize a new scripture every day. When I read the challenge I thought, "There is no way in the world that I can do one new scripture every day!!" I took the challenge. And I found that the Wise Old Man's challenge was possible with God's strength.

 On the first day I prayed and asked God for help. I explained the challenge and how much I wanted to be able to memorize one scripture a day. I explained to the Lord that in the past I had struggled with memorizing things. I then asked for the faith to be able to memorize a new scripture every day. I then went and tried my best! 15min later I was surprised to find that I had Ether12:6 memorized! And today over one week later it is still in my brain along with many other verses of scripture. We can do anything with the Strength of our God!
Love you all!! have a good week!