Monday, December 26, 2011

Things to do before the year ends

-Read the whole Book of Mormon in Spanish (voy por Alma 50)
-Learn how to teach the doctrine of the restoration in a way that can't be denied. Talmage is helping me with that. -Write something more meaningful my journal.

Dear Family,
I have got a lot in my head. I hope that what comes out today will be of use to your lives and your testimonies. I invite you all to learn how to speed read. There is something that happens to the mind when it is done. What is read is explored by the deeper part of the mind and new insights are given. I would describe it as "pondering in the moment." The scriptures are opening up to me in a way I never thought possible. The time I spent before the mission trying to learn how to speed read wasn't in vain after all, haha. I think I am reading better right now in Spanish than I ever could in English. I think part of it has to do with the grammar of the Spanish language. It flows better with the mind, haha. (It's funny how I'm getting a red squiggly line under every word I type because this computer is in Spanish.) Anyway, I want to shout through the computer so that you will all read the Book of Mormon. I love the words of Alma as he describes faith and its growth into a pure testimony and how we can apply it to the things of God and this world.

¿Y no es esto verdadero? Os digo que sí porque es luz, y lo que es luz es bueno por que se puede discernir. The Book of Mormon is true because it is light. It teaches man to do what's good. I'm not sure how to describe in English pero lo que es luz es bueno. Dios existe, esta es la unica iglesia verdadera. It's got to be so obvious. Just read the history! I'm going to try to teach the people here of the false tradicions of their fathers as the sons of Mosiah did with the Lamanites. And they did it using the words of Christ. We've got to search the words of our dear prophet. What he said in this last conference will have a deeper meaning as we are not to cast our pearls to the swine. With the spirit we will be able to find the deeper meaning. Let's learn this lesson now. Learn wisdom in thy youth. God will open up our minds to the truths of this world if we are willing to learn them. Doesn't that get you excited to learn? I know I don't have any of my science books here, but there is a Joseph Smith translation that says the key to science is the fullness of the scriptures.

I'm grateful to be a missionary, I love you all with all my heart. Search the prophets. Merry Christmas and a HappyNew Year! Make some goals and let me know what they are so I can pray for you!

Elder Johnson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Looking Forward with the Eye of Faith

This phrase had me thinking a lot this week. Well, in Spanish.
Hey I forgot to say thank you to Alondra and Kelli and TJ, I got your dearelders!

Dear Family,
I want to relate some great experiences I have had this week. I kind of spoiled myself. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot chocolate and toast, and we had a baptism and confirmation.

Karol Silva was baptized and confirmed. She is 18 years old. One day a few weeks ago I was looking in the area folder and a name stood out. It said to talk to the Vallejo family and to contact the reference. We had lunch with them but they said they didn't know the reference. So instead of giving up we went looking. The first door I knocked on was answered by Karol. I asked her if she had listened to missionaries before and she said no. We left her with a pamphlet on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a meeting...

Gosh, I can't speak in English. Or write it.

We taught her and met the rest of her family. She was baptized and her mom will be baptized this Saturday. We have a goal of 5 baptisms this Saturday. Pray for everything to go well. This just shows that the Lord prepares the people and we just have to follow the Spirit. If I am being obedient and worthy, the feelings and impressions I get are from the Spirit. That is the faith I have. I know it's true. Learn to have that confidence with the Spirit. Life is great. I love it here.

So I spoiled myself and opened the other Jiffy creamy peanut butter. Sooo good. I just wanted to thank everyone who has ever made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'm pretty sure I can count all of you with my two hands, just know that I am thankful. Especially my Mom and Christian.

MMmm hot chocolate and toast. Twice this week. Helped me sleep like a rock. The first time eating and drinking the hot chocolate I almost started crying because I began to think of Abuelita and how she ate her hot chocolate and toast. I felt her love. Did I tell you I had a dream where I talked to her in Spanish?

Let me tell you about a guy named Johnny. One afternoon Elder Ludlam and I are walking down a street. Big smile on my face as I look at the clear sky and sun...

"Hey, mister!" calls out a tall black guy.
I approach and Elder Ludlam follows.
"Hey, how's it goin?"
"Uh no sé jaja solo un poco ingles."
"No se preocupe amigo yo hablo los dos. ¿no ha hablado con misioneros antes?"
"No nada más que "hey mister" porque siempre siguen caminando."
"Bueno, ya es tiempo que escucha."

So this was a contact left with a pamphlet of the Restoration. We went back a few nights later for the visit but he wasn't there and there were just drunks there. We passed by another time a couple weeks later and he was there and we set a new visit. We passed by the next night for the visit and he wasn't there. Then weeks passed and I have a new companion and a couple nights ago we put him in our plans. We show up and he is there and we teach him the first lesson and he is golden. Persistence. Talk with everyone. I love this work.

Elder Johnson

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Week of Growth

Dear Friends,
I am asking this part to be posted especially for my friends. Friends, Hi! I would like all of you to know I am doing great here in the suburbia of Guayaquil, Ecuador. While walking the streets of Los Angeles or Van Nuys I never felt unprotected or scared, though sometimes there might be reason to feel so. But I have never felt more protected in my life and I've never walked around with more confidence. You guys need to know that God exists, for those of you who are still doubting. I'm speaking to you, as a voice that cries from the dust. Jesus Christ lives.

I hope my friends from Van Nuys are doing great. Arman, you listening? Use your bright mind to find the truth. Read the Book of Mormon. Investigate. And be happy. Love you.

Dashawn, I hope Spencer told you what I told him to tell you. It's a bit difficult to get a letter off. I don't use a lot of time here to think about things back at home, I'm sure there's been some changes. I've been gone for almost half a year.

Hey everyone, I really appreciate DEARELDERS, it's nice to hear about people, I won't promise i'll write back but I will promise a prayer in your behalf.

Dear Family,
Wow, time really does fly doesn't it? Alondra, thank you for sharing the picture of everyone playing Dominion. Haha, I can see Spencer is enjoying the laptop. Did he have music playing? (Yes, he did! Christmas carols of course.)

Well this week has really been incredible. This was our first full week together as companions and we followed the weekly plan that we had done together. We had set some pretty high goals. And we fulfilled most of them. We worked really hard this week. And we aren't going to let down. I'm really thankful for my companion. He is willing to work hard and be obedient, and that is what we need in this work. Dad, again, thank you so much for your example of integrity you have shown me my whole life. I know I inherited at least some of that from you, and now my companion too. The other day he told me, "Wow, I now feel bad from breaking even a small rule." You and mom taught me how to work well within the rules and limits set. I've got to give credit to sports too, I learned how to work well, effective, and creative within the limits. Within the boundaries. I really appreciated a comment from Elder Alvarez when he told me that he really liked being my companion because he was being obedient, but didn't feel obligated, and he was enjoying his mission. We have grown close in just these 2 weeks. We really felt the spirit in our last weekly planning as we set even higher goals.

Our mission president is the best one in the World. He taught us a lot about faith through the zone leaders this last week. Familia Lucero es una familia aquí en el barrio. Elkin es uno de mis conversos, un chico de nueve años. La mamá no es miembro, y ella no ha aceptado una fecha bautismal. Dice que se quiere bautizar en enero. Bueno. Su hijo Kevin es miembro, tiene 19 años pero ha estado muy inactivo. Pero el es muy, un poco bago. Pero lo bueno es que él nos acompañó dos veces esta semana y ya se está activando. He reminds me of Bobby Rosen. I hope Bobby is doing well.

So there is a family on the other side of the chapel that we contacted a few weeks ago with Elder Ludlam. I found a name in the area folder and it stuck out so we went looking. We didn't find the person we were looking for and no one on the street knows them, but the second house I knocked turned out to be who God wanted us to find. The daughter, Karol, will be baptized this week and the mom, María, the next. And hopefully the dad the next. Pray for the Silva Family.

I bore my testimony yesterday in church. My fourth time doing it here in Ecuador. It was a very spiritual meeting, our investigators loved it. We are having more success than before and feel the help of God. We also feel the anger of the adversary. And you know how sensitive I can be to that. But we feel very protected here. All is well, let your hearts swell.

I love you all so much. I can't believe I've been gone for this much time but I don't feel like I've been away from home. Not even a little bit. I guess it's true what they say; home is where the heart is. Feel free to send another candy box!
Elder Johnson