Saturday, September 10, 2011

Can I have 2 Gatorades and a smile?

Dear Family, how are you?

This week has been great. It's truly amazing to me how much you can learn in a week on the mission. It's amazing to me how much I can learn in one hour of devoted personal study. It's amazing how much I can learn from one sentence of an investigator. The Church is true. No doubt in my mind. But how do we show that to others more effectively? Well, first we've gotta know it for ourselves. Sometimes I feel like as members we get comfortable in just feeling good about being in the true church and stop our own personal progression. The commandment is become as Jesus (3 Nephi 27:27) so why do we get comfortable and lax? It should be fun to push forward and not look back. That's something I'm learning how to explain to my investigators. Don't look back. Too many of them have had bad experiencias con miembros that weren't acting like miembros.

I just got a haircut today and thought about Rose, how is she? Did you ever go back with the Farsi Book of Mormon? Doo ittt!

For mis padres. Gracias por apoyarme y ayudarme my whole life. I liked the insight from the teacher in Elders Quorum about Mosiah 4:14. Parents can't tolerate that their children don't know for themselves how to keep the commandments. Thank you for your patience and love in getting me to early morning seminary and such. Les quiero mucho.

So in the CCM they told us we would all have experiences of saying something wrong in Spanish and it would be funny. I told myself I'd never say anything wrong in Spanish that would be funny. Well, I was wrong. I shouldn't have fought it, haha. Today I bought some crackers and a Gatorade . After I got the Gatorade, I asked the guy to give me a "Risa" (but the cracker is called Ricas). So basically I said "Can I have 2 Gatorades and a smile?" Haha, my companion was laughing, me too.

We had Zone Conference this week and it was sooo good. Our president spoke and taught on the importance of having a positive attitude. He called me up to give a baptismal commitment and then after I did it he said "good job" and that I "looked like a winner". There are two other newbies from my district in the CCM in my zone here in Guayaquil. It was an awesome conference and I learned a lot, the president likes me and the other guy from my district.

This week we taught a guy who we had contacted while looking for someone else. This man, Angel Saurez, has a family and the first time we visited, we talked through his window. He let us come back to explain why we didn't drink coffee. So we went back and, man, that was not his only doubt! He doubted just about every bit of the Catholic church, though he said he was Catholic, but was thinking that it all was just a sham. We talked with him patiently about the Apostasy and Restoration. I explained to him the purpose of the BoM and bore testimony a lot. Finally I told him I thought he was the kind of guy who knows how to think long and hard about something and ponder it in his heart and handed him my blue BoM and told him to read it. He said, "But that's your book!", and I said "It's yours!" then he said he would read the whole thing in a week and for us to come back then. I promised him he would receive his answer and he commented that he liked how I said "his". I don't know if I did that on purpose. When we left his house I felt older. It was interesting. The more I testify and teach about the Restored Gospel, the Eternal Gospel, I feel a little bit older. I am starting to understand my calling better.

Yesterday, after two teaching appointments fell through, my companion asked me if I still wanted to go to a part-member family I had suggested we include in our plans for the day. I said yeah and we went, and there they were: All home and ready to be taught, haha. They have two sons, one on a mission and the other, age 22, not a member and the dad isn't either. The non-members were our focus. The dad hasn't joined the church because of members that don't live what they preach in his opinion. I tried telling him that only God can judge and we shouldn't. He said he wasn't, just a critic. I shared Mosiah 18:9-10 and asked him what was keeping him from being baptized if he knew everything we taught was true. He said members. So today we are teaching them again and I'm going to use what Elder Holland taught in the Liahona of Enero 2010. Don't look back. The story of Lot's Wife. La fe es para el futuro. Vivan para ver los milagros del arrepentimiento y del perdón, de la confianza y del amor divino que transformarán su vida hoy, mañana y para siempre. Forgiveness applies to ourselves too. We must become new creatures in Christ. We remember our past mistakes enough to not do them again, but we don't dwell there. We forget. We move on. The father I was teaching, asked if I was studying to be a lawyer. He said I was so convincing while teaching about the BoM. It wasn't me, haha, and I'd never be a lawyer. The only case I'd ever take, and I'd argue the case any day, is that the Book of Mormon is true. Accept it, World, and apply it! We can have that peace and joy. Don't hold on to the past. Forget the bad things. Faith is for the future. Live to see the miracles this life brings.

Pray for me today and this week as we will be teaching a lot of part-member families. We want to complete their families. I'm so happy to hear Tio Freddy will help complete ours.

We had a baptism and confirmation this last weekend of an awesome young man se llama Michael Jonathan Zambrano. Cool that he has two of my brother's names, huh?

We are working hard and changing the image of the missionaries in this ward. I guess they haven't always had the greatest elders here and not a lot was expected out of them. There are some really great members here. I bore my testimony and thanked all the mamitas that give us lunch. Some days I finish the whole plate, haha. I don't know why my appetite has always been tiny, kind of a personal trial every day with lunch. Hahaha, but it's delicious, just bastante.

I love this work, I love you all. Thank you for your love and prayers. Pray for me to have the Spirit unto the convincing of men, in Spanish. The gift of toungues is real, so all of those gifts are real. Have faith in that. God lives. I know now more than ever that Jesus knows me, that I am His friend and He is my Saviour. You can know too. Seek it diligently, salvation was never supposed to be easy.

Les Quiero mucho,
Elder Johnson

P.S. Continue to write me so I have something to read next week!

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