Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spanish Choir

Thank you for your dear elder dad, alondra, cara... the rest of your already know. Haha, ya saben. There are phrases I will say in Spanish that don't translate back to English.
I really am so grateful for the friends I have made here in the mission. And being in the office has let me meet a lot of great guys. There is a good sized group of us who will be going to BYU after. It just gives me so much happiness seeing the blessing of the gospel restored. And what do I do with all this happiness that gets built up inside me? Go share it! And spread the good news. Las buenas nuevas. The trials are hard too though. But the solution always comes if i put my trust in the Lord. I invite you all to put your trust in the Lord and endure through whatever trial you have. The morning will come, it always does. I love this church. Well you can all write me for next week and I will be able to share some cool experiences.

Oh, I forgot something. This next Saturday the Apostle of the Lord Elder Christopherson is coming to our mission! He will be at a bigger stake center for both the North and South mission. Our mission was given the assignment of making a choir! And President gave me the charge to find a choir, haha. We did auditions through the phone. And there is a cool Elder from Colombia who is like a profressional director. So we got it together and we will be singing Lead Kindly Light in spanish. I am standing next to Elder Josh Nilsen in the choir, haha. We have sung together at a baptism one time too. It is nice to have him here. So I will let you know how all that goes.

Love Elder Johnson

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Buenas Tardes

Mi querida familia, Muy buenas tardes, Espero que todo vaya bien donde estén. No tenemos bautismo esta semana pero la próxima esperamos que un hombre se bautice con sus dos hijos de 12 y 13 años. La esposa es conversa reciente. El tenía un desafío con alcohol así que oren por el y su familia.

They are reading the Book of Mormon as a family and the dad is reading personally every day and it is working miracles in their lives. I love when we go over and he explains how the Lord helped him overcome some challenge or temptation. He said "I'm not mad anymore. I don't get mad at my wife and my kids. I know this church is true." The spirit really can and does change hearts. I see it working through the lives of many people. It has been nice to be in this ward for almost 5 months because I have been able to witness the progress of our converts. Oscar and Vanessa are now both members. They have two little girls. They have a goal to be sealed in the temple next year around August 12th. Naybe that would be a good time to come down and visit? That would be so nice to go to the sealing with mom and dad and whatever brothers and sisters can. And it is cool that I will be in the mission to send them letters of encouragement up until June to help them reach their goal.

Oscar is a ward missionary now and goes out with us or the other secretaries on visits all the time. He is doing great. I am excited to be able to share all of these experiences when I return. I appreciate and am so thankful for all your prayers. I have made great friends here in the office too. Elder Cesar Hernandez is tha finance secretary. He is a great guy. And it is a blessing to be with Elder White. We have plans with a few guys to all go to BYU after. Elder Nilsen (we were already friends in BYU), Elder Carnese, Elder Applegate(the assistant), Elder White, Elder Warner, and more. Alondra was right when she wrote me that I would meet my best friends for life on the mission. But of course I don't forget about any of my friends from before the mission. I would invite all of them to come unto Christ. To read the Book of Mormon if you don't know in what to believe and to not deny more the reality of God, and the divinity of his son, Jesus Christ.

I feel more love for my family and desires to help everyone be active in the church. We are all in this together.

This week should be good. I had to get up early a few times this week with Elder White to go to the airport for one or more reasons, haha. Being secretary has been such a blessing. I am a better missionary, a better teacher, and a better friend and disciple.

I hope all is well wherever you are.

Love, Elder Johnson

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Changes coming soon maybe

I hope all is well wherever you find yourself. I cannot be more thankful for the opportunities that I have been given as a missionary to learn and grow. An interesting thing, and I'm sure those who have gone on missions have experienced this, is that everything I learn, I feel like I knew before and I can't imagine being able to get along without that knowledge or experience.

Oscar Marshall (27 years) was baptized last week with Michael Sciníca (23 years). It was really nice. And Oscar received the priesthood on Sunday and will be baptizing his wife tonight.

I feel like I am leaving soon from this sector. Apart from the fact that I am already training my replacement as secretary (Elder White from my MTC group) I feel it in my heart. It's like the Spirit is calling me away to a different part of this city, or country. But I think I will be staying in Guayaquil. All I know is that it will not be longer than 3 more weeks. That's what President told me, but it could be sooner. Haha, time certainly keeps rolling forward.

We are really trying to advance the work here in Guayaquil. The people are open to listen, I feel like sometimes it's the missionaries themselves who limit the potential of growth. I have come to realize and feel in my heart that this is the most important work that there is. I will be sure to find some way to preach the gospel for the rest of my life. The Book of Mormon is a key in all of this. No other book will lead us to the tree of life like this one. If you are not reading it regularly, I invite you to do so.

It is fun to be with Elder White. We played on the same soccer team in the Peru training center and we were remembering a few goals we scored against real soccer players, haha.

I am so grateful to have you all as my family. I am ready to keep the momentum going for the rest of my mission, and the rest of my life. I really didn't expect to learn so much out here, I think part of that comes from not limiting myself to any expectations. Big goals are good. Never limit yourself. That was one of the things that Elder Pino from the Seventy stressed with us. He also taught us a little about grace. And wow, the secret to receiving blessings in life is so simple. Just try your hardest to keep the commandments, and then grace will replace what you can't do and you will receive the blessings with time and patience. And your capacity to obey will increase, meaning a greater effort is required to receive grace. We do this until we arrive at full conversion. And then on till the end. :) Don't worry, be happy.

Love, Elder Johnson

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Guesseppe Part 3 kind of

This week has been so busy. Elder Rafael Pino from the 70 came to our mission! And we as the office made sure everything worked out. He interviewed me and my companion personally! It was really nice. He sends his regards to you guys and says thank you for all the support you give me. I thank you, too. Apart from the fact that we are all in this true gospel together I have your prayers and your support that really gives me strength daily. The last thing he told me was something like "Never get tired of doing good". I love that line. Paul says it a lot. And so did Joseph Smith. It is such an important principle. The end hasn't come yet, and we must keep working and doing what's right, forever. Elder Pino said in one of the conferences that after the mission we would see the success of our mission in the manner in which we live our lives. I am so grateful to have a father and two older brothers who all served with honor. And great uncles as examples too. I hope to apply everything I am learning for the rest of my life. I plan on it.

 Oh, a new missionary came this week, Elder Martinez, who met Uncle Barry and is Krista's friend. We spent some time together because he arrived the night before the rest of the new missionaries. It was nice to hear him tell me that Uncle Barry reads the blog. I forgot about the blog but I felt the love of the family and all my family in all parts, especially Utah. Bradley will be coming home soon right?

 Geussepe is such a great kid, this whole week we haven't been able to see him but he has been going to the chapel daily for seminary and went with the ward to do baptisms in the temple. I was so happy when he gave me the news. I understand more of the joy that comes from helping others receive the restored gospel. Hopefully we can still get people to come to church tomorrow. We hardly haven't had any time in the sector. Enjoy summer break everyone! And be safe.

Love, Elder Johnson
 P.S. Wow, I have met the whole presidency of the South American Northwest area, Elder Pino, Elder Uceda, and Elder Waddell. Such a privilege. You can just feel that these men figured it out on their missions and applied it for the rest of their lives. Blessings and challenges and more blessings await those who enter this road with all their heart. I invite all to join in.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Geussepe Part TWO! and other miracles

Dear Family,

We had the baptism and confirmation of Geussepe Patiño. He is such a great guy. He had been waiting for the gospel and nothing could stop him from receiving it. It was interesting and a little bothering to see how Satan tried to stop him from being baptized. That guy just doesn't quit, ever. Just gotta keep giving him the good ol' 1, 2 (boxing reference, haha). Geussepe was a boxer. On Wednesday night Geussepe had his interview with the Bishop to receive the Priesthood. Remember Antonio Lavayen? The old guy who was baptized a few weeks ago. He also received the Priesthood and last Sunday helped prepare the Sacrament with the Bishop. Our plans with some other people fell so we won't be having any baptisms until the 4th of August. There is a new couple that we found while looking for a street contact we had made. They are already married! It is nice to hear him (Oscar) explain how things in his life that have happened have prepared him and his wife to join the true church right now. They are both excited to come to church tomorrow and keep preparing to be baptized. He asked if his tattoos were a problem and my companion told him to leave them in the past and not get any new ones, and that men don't wear earrings. The next visit he had a long sleeve soccer shirt on and had taken out the earring and he let us know that he is trying to live better the Law of Chastity. He had already given up things that would have been a trial for him with the Word of Wisdom. What I can see is that the Lord has prepared him to receive the fullness of the Gospel. As I accept more fully my call to invite an increasing number of people to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel I have been allowed to see how the Lord works in the lives of others and if I am willing, how He can use me to reap what has already been sowed. I can't use the fact that I work in the mission office as an excuse to not have success in the mission field. Bringing others unto Christ and watching them repent is what gives me the greatest joy, not the office work, haha. 

But I would like to share a little office miracle: I recognize that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the other missionaries as President's Secretary. It has given me a lot of opportunities to see the inside of how a mission is run, and also how perfectly organized the church is. My testimony of this work has grown in ways it might not have had I not been given this assignment. Can you believe I already have 4 months in the office? I believe that time goes by faster here. The more I talk with Elder Carnese who is a zone leader right now in Machala, the more I realize how precious this time in the mission is. I already bought his plane ticket home, haha. He told me that time only goes by faster and faster as you get to the end. Was it like that for you guys? Well, I can attest to that as without me noticing I am finishing my 13th month. Some people say that it is not a good idea to count that time that you have left as a missionary. But I like the way my mission president  looks at it. He loves that quote from Pres. Monson about us measuring ourselves to be able to progress and get better. 

"Cuando el rendimiento se mide, dicho rendimiento se mejora. Cuando rendimiento se mide y se informa, el ritmo de mejoramiento se acelera." 

When you measure yourself, you get better. When you measure yourself and inform on your progress, you get better faster. 

I testify that this is true. In our prayers we daily express to our Father in Heaven the things we do and have done. I have come to appreciate so much the relationship I have with my parents. Dad and mom. Me, always talking to you guys about the things I was doing and working on and informing you about my progress and sharing experiences helped me get better and have success in the things I did as a child and teenager and even at BYU. That is key in being a parent I think. That relationship with your children and I am glad that we have that relationship. We are so blessed. What was I getting at...

Well, I can see that my time is short as a missionary and I want to become the best disciple I can before I get released as a full-time missionary. I have hopes of always being given opportunities to share this Gospel with those I love and know, and those who I will get to know. 

I've been going through the conference talks on P-day and with some few free minutes at night. I am so glad I studied about speed reading before I came out here. Read Moroni 7 and you may realize how key it is to study the modern revelation on our road to discipleship and clinging to everything that is good. 

Well, I'm running around in the things I am saying. (aka I am rambling.)

We need to find new people to have a good program built for August. My mission President said I may just end the year here in the office. It just means I've still got things to learn. Every time I learned something new or got over a challenge a change came in my mission that put me in a new situation. Being secretary I get new situations almost every day. Read the talks from General Conference. These eternal patterns of learning and growing that God has given us are essential to our salvation. We've just got to want it. 

So pray that the people here in the downtown part of Guayaquil will have that wanting deep inside to learn more about their Creator. And then pray that I will be able to recognize them with my companion Elder Mauricio. 

Wow, I totally forgot to share the miracle. Okay, so in the finance secretary's office there is a safe. It is green, and old looking, but the old looking kind that looks like it could survive a nuke. So we don't lock this thing. We just shut it. No one even bothers to mess with it. We keep the missionaries passports there. So Elder Hernandez, the finance secretary, put a document there that he was saving for something. Turns out that he needed that document and when he went to open the safe it had been locked!

Now Elder Carnese gave me the code but we never practiced opening it because he said it was really hard and better to leave it open. Let's just say we were a little worried because he really needed that document!

So I start messing with the lock. Luckily Elder Carnese has a cell phone since he is a zone leader and he gave me some instructions. It wasn't working. We all tried. Then everyone left and it was just me and Elder Hernandez. I really wanted to leave the office because I was going to have a lesson with our recent converts and investigators in the chapel with some members too. So I did as mom taught me. I prayed. Mas o menos and it still didn't open. Then I stopped, and thought about the situation more. I examined the dial and noticed that it was a little loose. The little line that points to what number you stop on would jiggle to the left or right. I moved it to the right and held it where it looked like it should go. Didn't work. Then I said the most specific prayer with the greatest desire so I could leave and teach. The words came into my mind to turn the little arrow thing just a little to the left, not all the way. So I did, and then the words guided my hand as I turned the dial. Finishing the combo we heard a loud click. I was sure it worked. I went to open it and it didn't open! Elder Hernandez came around and said he thought I had to turn it just a little more and he began to turn it and CLICK. Even louder. My hand shot to turn it open and it opened! We were so happy. And we got on a bus and to the sector in time to teach a great lesson to everyone who was there waiting for us. There are no little miracles. Search the scriptures every day. 

Elder Johnson

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Geusseppe Part One

Dear Family,

This week has gone really great. I only have about 8 more minutes to write because we are going to have a baptism today. :)

So we are cutting short our P-day a little. But thank you so much for all your prayers. I will tell you the story of Geusseppe Patiño.

So one day we were walking through this apartment building. We were looking for a guy named Bryan that we had met. He had told us that he really wanted to be baptized but has always had trouble being able to go to church because of work. He's a young, single guy of 25 years about. Well this time when we were looking for him it would have been our second visit with him. In the first visit he mentioned a young guy who is 17 years old who lives with him because his family kicked him out. He told us his name was Geusseppe and that he didn't think he would be that interested but we could give it a shot if we ever ran into him. 

So after knocking on the door for awhile and realizing that no one was there we started walking away and going to the stairs since the elevator was under maintenance. A teenager passed by us and as he passed I felt the impression that this kid was Geusseppe.

"Hey Geusseppe!"

He paused, stopped and turned to look with a confused look on his face. 

"You're Geusseppe, right?" I asked him. 

He kept staring.

"Your friend Bryan told us a little about you. We wanted to meet you."

He finally smiled and asked how I knew it was him. I told him I just felt it and he let us in and we taught him real quick at the door and he accepted to be baptized.

We lost contact for about two weeks. He was never there when we got there and we were getting back a little late from the office for changes and things that were going on. On Sunday a member kid tells us that he saw Geusseppe and he had complained to him that we never went back. 

So we went back of course. He has come to church three weeks in a row and made friends with the local members. We have helped him understand God's laws and plan and he has a strong testimony of the Restoration. Pray that everything goes well tonight with the baptism and tomorrow with the confirmation. 

We are being really blessed and I know your prayers are part of it. What a privilege we have to be members of this church. Sometimes it is hard on me to realize how many people are not members. But it gets me to get up and work harder. I am starting to use my head more and our plans are not falling through. May the Lord bless each of you in your personal road to discipleship. We are all in this together. Go out and open your mouth to share the beautiful truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives and directs this church. Love you all, I'll share some cool stories next week and be glad to hear yours. 


Elder Johnson 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Short & Sweet

Dear Family,

Let's see how I can make this meaningful in a short amount of time. We finally kind of had a P-Day today so we spent some time relaxing in the house. We had our baptism last week! Antonio, an older guy of 65 years. It was great. We are working with a few different sets of people and families. It's been a little difficult to find the time for everyone, but we had a really good planning session today and so this next week can bring forth much fruit with a lot of prayer and diligent seeking. One has really got to work like a machine here. I know the Lord will help us here in our sector. We are starting to work better with the members. The Bishop's first son just left on the mission and they are already missing him, ahha. Have a Good Week!

Elder Johnson

P.S. We should have a baptism if everything goes well this week so pray that our plans follow through! :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stay close to the Spirit FOREVER

Muy buenas tardes,

Me toca escribir muchos correos en español a diferentes personas que trabajan por la iglesia. Hay muchos miembros aqui en latino america que trabajan por la iglesia. Seria bueno, no tener que preocuparse de nada solo trabajo y iglesia, haha. Pero yo no creo que yo vaya a trabajar por la iglesia, no pagan bien. Me veo trabajando en alguna impresa de energia mientras estudio y busco una solución a muchos de los problemas de energia. Despues doy la tecnologia a la iglesia gratis para las capillas y el nuevo Jerusalen. Hahaha. Wow tengo buenos amigos aqui en la mision. Yo veo a Elder Josh Nilsen como una vez a la semana a menos. Es increible que estamos aqui en la misma mision. Yo se que seremos amigos despues. Tambien con Elder Alex P. Carnese. El es super bueno. Hay nuevos asistentes tambien y so buenos amigos. Elder Camren Applegate de utah y Elder Zuleta de Quito Ecuador. Tambien Elder Jativa tambien es de Quito. Ya tengo personas con quien quedarme cuando venga a visitar. 

Un gran deseo mio ahorita es llevar mas fruto a Dios por medio de las personas que se bautizan y se confirman. Estamos viendo que podemos tener 8 bautismos el mes de Julio. O mas. Pedro bautizo a 3mil personas en un dia. El Libro de Mormon habla de misioneros que bautizaron a mas que 100 en un dia. Si esta alli en el libro es porque es posible. No hay que dudar. El Señor vive y esta es su iglesia. Estoy en tierra prometida con personas que estan preparadas. Oren para que yo tenga la sensibilidad al Espiritu para reconocer los escogidos en la calle. 

Well, maybe that's enough Spanish. I don't know if you'll all be able to understand. What's important is that I am picking up the pace as a missionary. I have a little more energy now. There is a lot to learn still, but I can start by teaching other people what I do know and helping them make their first covenant with God. I am really excited to keep working. It's not that things are going easy, every day is a new challenge. But I am happy to keep learning something new every day. I wonder if the rest of my life can be like this. Learning something new every day. I refuse to say that it can't be like that. Why do people say that this is the only time in my life when I can be so close to the spirit? I don't think that is correct. Wouldn't that mean it was all for naught? Maybe it's just the way I am but I don't like the idea of lowering or lessening any part of the good things I am learning and doing. What do you think of that? A mi me parace correcto.

We can all apply the things we already know. Simple things. Small and simple things. By doing those things, great things are brought to pass. So many times we have the right answer but we just fight it off looking for an easier way. Like what dad said to me about shortcuts. There are none. We must all pass through the refining fire of the converting power of the Atonement and Holy Ghost and stay in communion with Christ for as long as we can until we die. And then we keep learning. We just need to teach these simple principles with love to those we love and we can live and learn and grow together. I am so happy to have the family I do have. we are all going to make it together. What joy! :)

Well I'd love to hear how you are all doing and I'd be glad to give advice or commentary on anything. I'm doing push ups like Michael told me, hahaha. Have a good week.


Elder Johnson

Happy Birthday Jenna

My dear sister Jenna Belle Johnson,

Your name is the name of a princess. You were my first and only little sister. I remember when you were first born, we were all so excited to see you and were a little bugged that we had to wait until July 4th to see you the first time. I remember being really surprised that you had so much hair, and you didn't cry but let all of us hold you. Michael was the best at holding you and didn't let us hold you as much but we were patient. I then remember one night where all of us brothers stayed in the living room with you until late so that mom could rest. You fell asleep on Christian's chest I think and we all kind of fell asleep on what were our new couches at the time. It was the first time I saw you yawn so big that it scared me because you looked like a little cute monster growling. I remember when you walked for the first time to each one of us as we all kneeled around mom and dad's bed, you were so happy to be walking and laughed as you fell into each of our arms. I remember when you came to visit me at BYU and I was so happy to see you and Jonathan, it was the first time I had left you for a long time. You are becoming such a little woman, a true princess of God. Remember that a Princess is nice to everyone and is friends with everyone, especially her brothers who love and protect her. I carried you to bed every night for my last years in High school as we shared a room, haha. Remember when you fell from the top bunk and I caught you? It was a blessing that I was there on the floor. I was stretching out my back that was really sore and tight from football I think. I am happy to have had that back problem just so I could be in the right place at the right time to catch you when you fell. I will always be there to protect you my dear little sister. And remember that you now have the Holy Ghost to protect you and help you learn. Read your scriptures and help mom in the house in cleaning and cooking. Have a happy Birthday! And be safe always. I love you so much.

Your big brother number 3,
Elder Jacob H. Johnson

Saturday, June 23, 2012



Me imagino que papa me escribio ahorita diciendome que yo puedo escribir en español. Haha, no he escuchado que me dice boo boo en mucho tiempo. Estoy tan feliz. Tuvimos 2 bautismos la semana pasada. Nos fue muy bien. Tendrè que enviarles fotos la proxima semana. Lo que pasa es que no tengo mucho tiempo. Creo que uso mucho tiempo para pensar y meditar las cosas. Mi entendimiento de la Expiaciòn ha crecido mucho y es tan real. Todo. Jesus es el Cristo, nuestro Salvador. Me encantò a mi la carta de michael a papa. Su ejemplo de la carrera de esta vido fue muy buena. Se me salieron las lagrimas. Wow, Jenna ya va a cumplir 9 años. Jenna, this is the last birthday party I will miss, I promise :)

Re-energized from the two baptisms we had, we will be having another baptism this next week. A humble man of about 60 years. He came walking into the church a few weeks ago alone and said he had always wanted to go inside. He felt peace when he came and will be getting baptized. 

Well a year has gone by since I left my humble home in Tujunga, California. In a way it feels as if it was yesterday. I can honestly say I have grown and learned so much. I am not the same person who left. I am happier and more sure of the divinity of our Savior and of the reality of His atoning sacrifice. This knowledge gives me peace and drives me to round up others into the pasture of the Good Shepard. This is my desire. It has become part of me. It was not easy or simple to arrive at the conversion I am now enjoying. The fruit has been tasted and it is desirable above all other fruits. It makes me happy and I want to share it with others. Thank you for your prayers. They make my faith stronger. I love when mom and Tia Patti remind me to pray for angels to protect me and guide me. I think that is a resource I will be striving to utilize from now on. That's all I've got to do, bring more souls to Christ. What a blessing to be able to do that for two years. Well, I only have one year left and I definitely need to bring more fruit. I will be grateful for tips and advice to help others accept Christ. If we really accept Christ, then we accept his command to bring others unto him. We are all in this work together. Continue to pray for me, as I continue to pray for you. 

With all the love of my heart,
Elder Johnson 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Timing is everything

Dear Family and Friends,

Well I must say thank you to Kelli, Dashawn, Bryan and Cara for your DearElders. I must say sorry for not writing anyone back yet. Time is shorter here in Ecuador. But I love you all and felt the love of your friendship in the letters. And keep them coming, haha. Try and imagine me responding to you. I will find time to write back. 

This week went by really fast. But at the same time it feels like it's been awhile since I've written. Sunday was great because Nelly came to church with her daughter. We taught a powerful lesson of the Restoration. I even pulled out the Bible, haha. I'm trying to find time to study the scriptures more. Sometimes there are things to be done in the morning that take away from my study time. I go to the government buildings and register the visas of the missionaries. I've made friends with all the workers there, even the security guards, haha. They even helped me out with a favor last week, haha. Nothing illegal, I just had to renew a couple visas of two Colombian missionaries but we had to do it in the afternoon because they were coming from outside of Guayaquil. The visas are only done in the morning but they let us do it in the afternoon. It's all about having friends, haha. I also met a white family of Jehovah's Witnesses there. Friendly people. 

Sunday afternoon we went looking for new investigators. I honestly believe that it is possible to walk being led in every footstep by the spirit. You've just got to listen. Really, you've just got to feel. So we went walking, and I was leading the way trying to feel out where to go. I felt impressed to talk to a few people and then the impression to leave them and keep walking. We got to a building where there was an inactive family, and entered. I stopped, "not yet" I said and we walked back out. We chatted with a lady seated outside of the building. She didn't want anything. The door to the building closed as we turned back to it to enter and maybe talk to the inactive family. 
The doors here all lock automatically because of robbers. Sometimes you get lucky and one is left open. A second later a man in his 20's shows up and opens the door with his key. "Can we come in with you?" we asked and he said "sure Elder". 

Then started a quick conversation on how he knew the Elders and he said he was about to be baptized when he lived in Argentina but his family moved to Ecuador and for 7 years he lost contact with the Church. He accepted the baptismal date for the 23 of June that night. We were blessed to have another lesson with him with the Elder's Quorum President and he committed more to come to church and be baptized. Se llama Bryan. His dad was a Pastor and that's why he never let him join the church. He's 25. It's a little hard to contact him because he has to work a lot so we need your prayers to help him progress. He knows a ton and knows the church is true. We are being careful to make sure he is genuine. 

Sometimes we feel like we are guided in one direction and we follow it and it leads to no results. We have to remember that we can't see the whole plan. If we keep following the spirit we will end up in the right place. I felt the impressions to talk to certain people before we found Bryan. But they weren't the ones I was looking for. But the timing was perfect because we did follow the earlier impressions. If we didn't talk to the lady outside of the building at the last moment we would have never met Bryan. It was part of the plan. You never know what is waiting right around the corner. With the guidance of the spirit, the timing will always be perfect. 

Elder Johnson

Saturday, May 26, 2012

11 Months

Congratulations to Spencer! wow I can't believe he graduated already. It feels like yesterday that we were playing hide and go seek in the clothes aisle of K Mart, with me ending up lost and crying. Haha, I feel like Spencer has never really gotten lost like I have. Have you all noticed that?

Congratulations Spencer :)

So now that I think about it, I haven't talked to you since Mother's day. Well, I got changed again. Haha, not from the office. Just changed in my area. But it was a good change. We were working in a sector with a pair of sisters and the assistants. So we got changed to the sector with the other two secretaries. The sad part was that it crashed any plans we had of having baptisms this month. 

But we were blessed this Sunday when a lady came to church with a member. We presented ourselves saying it was our first Sunday there and she said "Great, it's mine too". She accepted the message well. That same night we went to her humble home and met her daughter and invited them both to the next Sunday. They both accepted. 

That Monday we picked an elder up from the airport who was waiting in Bogota Colombia for his Visa to go through. He is a good guy from Santa Marta Colombia. A convert of three years but has a great foundation and is really ready and eager to learn. So I was able to mini-train him. He just left today to a sector that"s growing about 2 hours outside the city.

This last Thursday we were able to have a good lesson with that lady who came to church and her daughter of 19 years. We invited them both to be baptized. They both accepted. The mom has the date for the 9th of June and the daughter is the next week since she hasn't been to church yet. It was a great blessing coming from the other sector. We hope to be able to keep up the momentum. We are really learning how to manage our time better, but there is still a long ways to go. I love my companion. I'll try and send photos next time. 

Well I hit 11 months last week and before I blink I will have a year. I honestly did not believe anyone when they told me that the mission goes by really fast. But it really does. 

When ye are in the service of your fellow men, ye are in the service of your God. That's really true being secretary. I am finding new ways to serve the missionaries and make their lives a little easier so they can focus more on the work. And in return I can see the Lord's hand in helping me in my personal labor and discipleship. I love you all. May the peace of Christ be upon you. 

Elder Johnson

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

Dear Family,

I will dedicate this letter to my mom. Instead of writing a general letter of how moms influence the lives of their sons and how important that is, I will express to MY mom the way she has influenced my life:

Wow, I always knew I had great parents, but until I came out here I never realized how great. I remember when our stake president told me I would realize how blessed I was to have parents like the ones I have while I served here on the mission. He was right.

Mom taught me how to express my feelings, how to share testimony, how to think rationally and critically, and how to act in the moment. "I know I've taught my sons to not be in the crowd and watch, but to stand up and do something." That's something she told me when I told her about a fight I had stopped in football practice one day.

She taught us to be peacemakers, to seek to be better and to follow the example of Christ. I know that this has helped me in the mission.

Haha, I remember turning 12 and being ready to leave the Primary. But because my birthday was in January I had to stay in the Primary being 12 years old for the rest of the year. I would be singing the Mother's Day songs with the rest of the little kids. Haha, I didn't want to. "Sing to your mother." She told me and I went up there to sing when all the little kids walked up. I was so tall to everyone else and felt too big to be there. I think I sang the first two lines of "Mother, I Love You" and then started crying. I don't think I understood the emotions at that time, but I was feeling love for my mom. The love of the Savior. Pure love. I love you mom.

Elder Johnson
P.S. We´ll talk tomorrow :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Busy Bee

Dear Family,

This last week was pretty crazy actually. We had 11 missionaries go home and 11 come in. And I had to make sure everything went just right. I certainly learned something about airports, migration, and negotiating. I am trying to learn something from the stuff I have to do as secretary. I definitely have to have a mind that remembers everything, and I get to work on my Christlike attributes as I deal with many people and missionaries in many different situations. It was cool, the other day while waiting in line to register the visas of the new missionaries I sat next to an Italian Jehovah's Witness and taught him the Restoration. I also taught a French catholic guy. And a white lady who came here to live after her husband died. My life is a lot more busy. But I always have time to have a prayer for you guys. I hope and pray that you are being blessed. You were all part of my preparation to be here and complete this mission for the Lord. Pray for me, as I pray for you.

Elder Johnson

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Re-activating a Family

This has been a geat week. Last Sunday people showed up to church. They became our investigators that same day, haha. It's a big family, but most of them are members. A mom, the dad, two older daughters with their novios, and one wayward son, and 3 little ones. Everyone is a member except the two husbands to the daughters and the wayward son, but they all went to church. We've been teaching them the whole week.
The daughters aren't married, but we were able to commit them to getting married and that the men get baptized. We had some really nice lessons with members and broke down barriers. It was interesting and a blessing to see how the Lord blessed my companion and I. We don't have a lot of time in the sector. Which means we don't have a lot of time to find new people to teach. We rely a lot on the members. We were blessed to have these people dropped into our lives. The mom commented last night, "I feel like God is giving us another chance to return to church and the gospel and to live it the way it should be lived. I fear that if we don't take this chance we won't have another one. I want to do this right and with my family." It was really special. We stopped by a couple nights ago to teach the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity to Ricardo, the husband to one of the daughters. He accepted. It was also the birthday of one of the little ones but he was suffering and miserable on the couch with a fever. One of the members who was there said we should give a blessing and I asked the boy if he desired one. He nodded weakly. I annointed and my companion gave the blessing.

My companion is great. He just turned 22 on Thursday. I bought him some ice cream. He is from northern Mexico, close to Texas. He was baptized less than 2 years ago! He has a great testimony and is the only member of his family. I know the Lord has many blessing in store for him.

He gave a great blessing and the boy was healed. He was happy and running around and the next day. They said he was perfectly fine.

I love this work. I will pray for all of you to be able to reach your personal goals and family goals. Don't lose hope and don't become complacent. Let's keep progressing together as a family.

Elder Johnson

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Free Agency

Dear Family,

Do you feel time go by as fast as I do? Time goes by a lot faster working here as secretary. I wonder sometimes if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I've come to think that it means that I must learn to use my time better. At least, I will be learning how to get full use of my time without wasting any. That would be the ideal.

So the last week I asked you all to pray for the family of that guy Enrique. I thank you for your prayers. I will relate the miracle, and then the sadness of the truth. I've learned something about prayer. So in my prayers about Enrique and his family, I asked for some kind of miracle that would allow Enrique to go to church with his family. That Saturday night we found out that he would have to work early in the morning and wouldn't be back until late. Which means he wouldn´t go to church. Elder Carnese and I walked home thinking of some way to get him to church in the morning. By the time we got to the house we figured the only thing we could do was pray for a miracle. We prayed fervently that something would happen, acknowledging that God knew best what should happen, that would allow Enrique to not have to work and be able to go to church in the morning. We also did our part. We woke up earlier and got ready fast to get to his house and see if our prayer was answered. Arriving to the house, we walked to the window and called for someone to come. Johana, the wife came. We asked if Enrique was still there and hadn't left to work yet.
"No va a trabajar, está con vómito." Apparently, something he had eaten the night before left him sick and vomiting. Prayer answered. He came out after a little while and said he was still feeling sick. (Earlier that morning I had had a second thought about bringing my oil and at the last second clipped it on my belt loop)
We administered the blessing and the man was healed. Great experience. Proof that God is attentive to our needs and our prayers. Then I learned a lesson about agency. With Enrique feeling better he decided to use his new strength to take his son to buy the new school uniform since he was starting classes the next day.
¿What? I was heart-broken. You can imagine me there trying to convince the guy but in the end he used his agency to not go to church. None of them went.

Walking away and going to church we pondered on what had just happened. Our prayers were answered, a miracle occured that allowed him to go to church IF HE CHOSE TO. That's the sad truth. But really it's a happy truth. It's called the great plan of happiness. Agency. "God will punish him." We both thought. We found out yesterday that he had been in a car accident that next week and hurt his knee and shoulder pretty bad. Some day he will get his life straight. Maybe I'll be there to see it and help him along the way.

2 days ago one of the secretaries that was training another one finished his extension and went back to Colombia. This meant that Elder Carnese and I were split up and are only together in the office. We were only a little sad. He is a great missionary. Oh and by the way, the bishop's mom was baptized and confirmed, the one we got to accept baptism. We were already in the office for her baptism though. I am really happy in my new sector. But Elder Carnese will be leaving the office soon with his companion as soon as this change ends.

I love you all. I'm working on a letter to send to you. Happy Birthday Christian! I finally figured out the birthday song in Spanish that we always sang while we clapped hahahahhaha. So funny.

Elder Johnson

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Moving Mountains

Dear Family,

Okay guys, I must apologize for not writing a whole lot and not informing you on things here. I have had some life-changing experiences this past month. I live in downtown Guayaquil. It really is a nice city. They keep the streets nice and clean and the huge trash trucks play a song that's just full of whistling and not to bad on the ears. You can hear it coming from a couple blocks away so you know when it's coming and you can take out the trash. It'd be a good idea to bring the the US.

My sector is pretty big. It includes a huge chunk of downtown and also these two communities on these two hills. At the bottom of the hills there is a Catholic Church and at the top of one of them is a lighthouse. I am having great experiences with teaching the gospel to people. I like talking to taxi drivers and inviting them to be baptized on the ride home or to the office. Half the time they say yes and we take down their information and give it as a reference to missionaries that live by them. That's a cool part about working in the office. I get to meet all the other missionaries and also serve them.

On one of the hills we are teaching a few families that all live right next to eachother. There is a couple, Enrique and Johana, and their two kids, Alessandro and Milena. They are the same ages as Jonathan and Jenna so that's cool. We are helping this couple so that they can get married and baptized with their kids.

I don't have a lot of time in the sector since I also have to work in the office so we really need the Lord's help when it comes to using our time to teach. We are teaching them about forgiving and repenting and having faith in the future. The gospel solves all problems. It's hard when you can get a person to realize the truth but then they don't have the faith or the will to apply it. I think that is part of moving mountains by faith. These mountains of problems in front of their hearts.

Please pray for them.

I love you all,
Elder Johnson

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Short & Sweet

Dear Family,

Today we really have to secure some baptisms for the next week. David Lucio, 18 years old, and Reynaldo Ceballos, 28 years. Which means I have no time to write today. We don't really have P-Day here in the office. Just a short time to write if we find it. I love you all and appreciate your prayers. I will be giving a talk in the new ward tomorrow about the life of Christ. Pray for me!


Elder Johnson

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crazy Turn of Events

Dear Family,
Key Updates:
  • I was in Machala for 1 week.
  • I was pulled out and returned to Guayaquil because I have a new responsibility.
  • I am President Montalti's new secretary.
  • I am companions with Elder Carnese again and he's training me as secretary.
Oh I wanted to let you know I received some DearElders so you know I got them. I got Alondra's, Dashawn's, and Allison Malmrose's. I just wanted to say thanks! I love reading them.

One goes through everything on the mission. I didn't understand what people meant when they said that to me before but now I understand. I can't wait to share everything with you guys when I get back. Yeah, I really don't have a ton of time to share everything. I do have a little time to write in my journal and I am able to write things there. I can't use this as a journal becuase of some rules. Gotta keep the rules to have the spirit :)

I just wanted to invite you guys to go watch conference. I'm excited for priesthood session. Pray that we can bring a lot of people to tomorrow morning's session. I will be writing some hand written letters to be more personal with you guys. I'm really excited to be in the office as secretary. I like telling people that my older brother was also secretary. So I'll write some letters. Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bye Guayaquil

Dear Family,

I am in a city called Machala. I finally left Guayaquil, I'm kinda gonna miss it but this new city is awesome. It's a lot cleaner too and I hear it might be a little safer. The weather is also awesome. Really hot, but the sky is so blue with lots of clouds and it's just so great. We live on the fourth floor and the view is great. There are mountains in the distance that look like California mountains. Gosh, I'm just so happy. I was a little sad to be leaving Elder Carnese. He reminds me of Christian and we were great friends. It's amazing how much stuff you can go through and learn in 2 weeks. Sunday night was really special too. So we had ward council and were talking about a big plan to bring a lot of people to general conference and after we were just talking to the Bishop. His mom lives with him and she's not a member. I had a special feeling about her when I first met her. Anyway, I guess she's gone through a few pairs of missionaries. So that night I was like "Hey Bishop, can we teach your mom?" Then Elder Carnese said "Yeah, we still owe you a spiritual thought." He agreed and we went. Man, this lady was a little rough, but everyone bore testimony. The Bishop told her that she had already been taught by a few pairs of Elders and was worried she wouldn't be getting any more chances. The problem is that she is Catholic by tradition, and the family would make fun of her like they did to her son when he got baptized. We talked nicely and shared scriptures from the Bible and BoM. Man, it was special. I asked her if she would be baptized finally on April 7th and she said no. Then we talked more and more and then....Yes! She is going to be baptized! She started crying and so did the Bishop. It was his birthday. That night the call came that I was leaving. Guess I did what I needed to there. They are really nice people.

My new sector is called La Aurora. I don't know anything about it yet but I am with an Elder Savage. He's from Utah. It's nice because he says he'll be able to eat what I can't. You know I have a small apetite. They just eat so much rice here! Everyone makes fun of how slow I eat. I imagine it's the healthier way to eat, or that's what I tell myself.

Those who can adapt the fastest to changes are those who progress most. This life is short. And it's a test. How long will we wait to adapt to the will of the Lord? God loves all of his children equally, but he trusts some more than others. What are we willing to give up in order to gain the trust of God? That's the only thing that matters. We can learn his will as we seek it. I have had a change of heart. Before I wanted to know the plan. My plan. I wanted to just know what it was that God wanted to me to do. See the expectation and reach it. In my two weeks in the city part of Guayaqil I learned that I can be thinking bigger than that. I think that God wants me to reach my potential, but he won't tell me what my potential is. What does that mean to me now? Well, before, I wanted to know my potential so I could reach it. Like knowing that I wanted to jump just high enough to dunk a volleyball. That was the goal. But it's different now. I haven't been told what the potential is. It's like an open slate. The sky is the limit. Which means my faith has grown so much. The change of heart is that the barrier was taken out of my mind. The barrier of reaching a certain limit or potential. I'm ready to fly!

I love you all so much. I'll try and send pictures next week. Oh, so the zone is called "El Oro". I'm leading the Gold zone with Elder Savage! Oh, and Elder Whitney is here with me living in my house. He's from my group. It's cool.

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Area, Zone, and Responsibility

Dear Family,

My dear family. I love you guys so much. Thanks for those birthday and Valentine cards. They were cool. I like singing to the one from you, mommy. May the peace of the Lord be with you with the death of Tia Elsa. I know she's happy.

So we had 3 baptisms this last week of Arly, Ariel, and Eddy Zambrano. They are three brothers and are super excited and cool. They have no fear about sharing the gospel or walking around with us in the street. Even when everyone is laughing and pointing. It's exactly what the people do in the great and spacious building, haha. So we had the 3 confirmations and I had to call my zone leader after. He verified that we had the confirmations and then said "Good job, be in your house at 2:30pm to pack your bags!" I said, "What!" Haha, we had just finished the fourth week of the transfer. There were two more left! And I had some really nice baptisms lined up. But it's totally fine. It was cool because I just felt at peace. I've been happy to not have to get mad or angry like others, haha. But I did almost cry while saying goodbye to my Branch President. He's such a humble guy.

So we get to the house and I start packing. My "son" (that's what you call someone you are training) was complaining and laughing saying how he barely has a month in the field and how are they going to take his dad away. It was funny. He only knows how to shout "shut up" in english with a really funny accent. So Elder Pavon arrives at the house with Elder Carnese. Elder Pavon is from the sierra of Argentina and he was the Assistant and Elder Carnese is a zone leader who was the Secretary before. Turns out that Elder Pavon took my place as district leader to finish the mission and I left to be a Zone Leader with Elder Carnese in the Garcia Moreno zone. It's the zone that has the downtown city of Guayaquil so that's really cool. We are ready to lift this zone up. I met Elder Carnese in my first change and he's always been a cool guy and really smart so it's a great companionship.  I had deja vu like 3 times yesterday too so I know this was supposed to happen, haha. No but really I had a cool experience. Two nights ago as I was planning with Elder Olaya for Sunday, my mind kept going blank. I couldn't really plan. So I told him to plan saying that he had to learn. I couldn't plan past 4pm and that's when we left the house to go to my new sector. I live by a hill that looks like the Burbank hills. Reminds me of home.

Until next week! Thank you for all the prayers. They give me strength.

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 27, 2012


Dear Family,

I've got to go. I think I will be able to send some handwritten letters next week. I hear they take two weeks to arrive. I hope everyone is reading their scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. Man, did you guys know how much the Bible testifies of the Restoration and the true church? It just can't be denied. I've been thinking about praying for a flood so everyone here would be humbled to repent, haha. The sun will come out tomorrow.


P.S. We should have 4 baptisms this week. 3 are all brothers that kind of remind me of us. One is an old Catholic guy who finally saw the light. Pray for everything to go well! Arly, Ariel, y Eddy Zambrano. 18, 16, and 14. And Cesar Caruha, 61years.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yellow brick road to baptism/Dungeons & Dragons

Dear Family,

I have had some good realizations this week, and a great baptism and confirmation :)

So Thannyat Gabriela Lopez was baptized and confirmed a member of the church this last weekend. She's 21 and we met her the day of her birthday, Jan 14 of this year. This last week we had her baptismal interview and she said some cool things to the zone leader that he told me later on. She said that on her birthday she had been praying to find the truth, that she wanted to be doing what was right, what God wanted for her. That same day we showed up at her house following her little brother Moses who we had met and taught in the street with a bunch of other little street kids, haha. Everything I had studied to counter Jehovas Witness' doctrine came in handy as I taught her the Restoration of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. It really is the Plan of Salvation that all the other religions just get so mixed up. But she read and prayed and received a testimony and was baptized within a month of meeting her. It is incredible seeing how God works and nothing makes me happier than to know that I was in the right place at the right time. I think I am really learning to recognize the Spirit better and follow it. All you have to do is seek the will of the Lord and He puts us where we need to be. I also have to be willing to be wrong. As I have done that I have been shown my weaknesses, and been given the tools to make them strengths.

I am trying to be better at lifting others up. Como dijo Jesucristo en Lucas 22 "Una vez vuelto, fortalece a tus hermanos." Once you're converted, strengthen your brethren. I am converted to this Gospel. I want to be able to say what Paul said in Efesios 3:1 about being a prisoner a Christ. There is a good talk in the May Liahona of 2011 about what it means to "Remember Him always" like it says in the sacrament prayer. My companion and I gave talks in Sacrament meeting. We had about 20 people there I think. But I really think we are just going to hit a point and have a ton of people, haha. Patience. The Elder's Quorum President asked us to go out with him this Friday and help him get people to church. We'll do that and keep our eyes peeled for new investigators. March should be a really successful month. Right now in Guayaquil is whats called Carnaval. 3 days where no one works and everyone stays home partying, which means drinking and getting everyone wet. We heard some horror stories of how they soaked the missionaries last year with paint, but we'll see what happens. We are staying away from the more sketchy parts of the neighborhood.

Oh yeah, so something I realized this week, well yesterday. A false idea I used to have was that the mission was going to get easier with time. Haha, I mean, with my investigators and their challenges and the challenge of leading them to baptism. It was really hard my first few months and I thought that it would eventually just get easier, that Satan would kind of give up once he realized I couldn't be discouraged and it would be like "follow the yellow brick road to baptism" for everyone I talked to. Well, I learned, just as Dorothy that the yellow brick road to baptism has trials. And the trials are specific and difficult for each person that takes the road. The tin man, the lion, and the scarecrow each had to overcome their personal trials. Every person I help on the road to baptism has to overcome their personal trials too. I don't know why I thought Satan would give up on trying to beat me. I now know for a surety that he won't, but I have to tools to make him powerless.

I had a dream here on the mission where it was like I was in a really cool looking video game of knights and dragons and stuff. I was a knight with this cool armour and I was fighting this mean looking dragon. I had like a magical guide that told me where to hit the dragon to beat him. So I got the dragon chained up and I kept giving him blows with my cool sword. But then my magical guide told me that if I stopped fighting him he would break out of the chains and destroy more things. He told me I had to keep fighting constantly until the King came and killed him. Then iI woke up. The significance of this dream has changed the way I go about my day. I have a new focus. We just can't get comfortable.

Going back to the house to grab the baptismal clothes before going for Thannyat with some members was just going to be an in-and-out of the house kind of thing. But we always pray before leaving the house. In that prayer I usually remember everything I had forgotten to grab. So we went in and out and I had the second thought of praying and thought "Nah, we were here for 2 seconds and they are waiting for us." and we went out. The door shut. We live upstairs and there is a second door downstairs that leads outside. You need the key to leave the house. I forgot the keys. We were stuck and the landlords family wasn't home. We can't get comfortable. Prayer, scripture study, every day, all day. I said a prayer in my heart and climbed up and through the window and got in the house in like 10 seconds. All that parkour training came in handy, haha. And the baptism was great.

We can't afford to think ever that Satan had forgotten about us because we are in the Church. On the contrary it is us who he wants to get most. He already has everyone else. We must keep striking blows against that dragon until the King comes and puts him in his place for a good thousand years of peace. I hope this email is of use to you. I hope you are all reading. I won't hear that someone went inactive while i was gone. I love you all so much.

Until the King comes again,
Elder Johnson

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pride Test

Dear Family,

My companion is Elder Enrique Olaya from Bogota, Colombia, the south-mission part. He is great, he's honest, has a testimony, and is ready to work. He told me he had been praying all of the MTC to have a companion who wouldn't be lazy. That makes me really happy. We started out great this week. We will have a baptism this next Saturday of Thannyat Lopez, 21 anos. Pray it goes through. She is the lady who was a Jehovas Witness for 10 years but at the last second left and didn't get baptized because she felt like they didn't have all the truth. Okay, the power of the Book of Mormon is real. She accepted a baptismal date early and is getting baptized within a month of meeting her. Now what's the difference? Why did she study 10 years with them and not get baptized and now she is getting baptized within a month? The Book of Mormon. We explained the doctrine simply, clearly, and by the Spirit, and she completed her reading assignments and came to church. God answered her humble prayer and she received a testimony from the Spirit.

Sadly not everyone is that humble. Isaías 29 is the chapter of the week. After my study today, combine that chapter with 3 Nefi 11 and you will be undeniable. The doctrine of Christ. Pride Test. Okay what am I trying to get at is that I have found a good pride test. Now I'm not sure how accurate it is but I do have the scriptures to back it up. It goes a little something like this: You know you have a problem with Pride when you are not reading the Book of Mormon Every Day.Wow, strong right? I don't know. Not really, I think it works. I know I had some problems with pride all through high school because of this. Deuteronomio 8:3 We live not only by bread but by the word of God. Every day el pueblo de Israel was given manna. Everyday they ate from the mouth of God. EVERY day we need to eat from the mouth of God. Okay, now you say "I read the scriptures every day and what does this have to do with Pride?" This is the cool part. Isaías 29:18-19 Okay so it's talking about the Book of Mormon obviously in verse 18 because it is the book that was brought to light so that we could learn DOCTRINE (last verse) and we look to 3 Nefi 11:28-30 and we see that the true doctrine of Christ destroys confusion and obviously the Bible has not done that for the world alone up until now. So it becomes obvious that verse 18 in Isaias 29 is talking about the Book of Mormon, now the next verse tells us if we have too much Pride. "Los humildes crecerán en alegría en Jehova y los pobres entre los hombres se regocijarán en el Santo de Israel." In english it would say something like: The humble will grow in joy and the poor among men will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

If we are humble we accept the Book of Mormon. If we are humble we read every day (Duet.8:3) This is the book that would open the eyes of the blind. This is the book that will give us what we need in preparation for the Second Coming. How am I applying this in the mission field? The simple doctrine, faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. 3 Nephi 11:40 more or less isn't from God. I don't care if all religions teach about the same Jesus or they all teach us to do what's right, God is not a God of confusion, but of Peace (1 Cor. 14:33) You show me another church where the peace of God is felt like it is in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You can't.

We teach with love. So that we can be filled with love and charity we refrain from being too passionate, Alma 38:12. We pray that God fills our heart with this love, Moroni 7, last verse. It's all true! Just accept the little things such as family and friends. Be constant. How are we with the Pride Test? I challenge you all to read every day the Book of Mormon and to keep a study journal of the things you learn. (1Nefi 1:16 and 2 Nefi 4:15)

I love you all so much. Ask me questions about things you want to know. I haven't gotten the birthday letters yet. It's been pretty rainy lately, the streets flood a few good inches. Then it gets really hot. Mosquitos aren't too bad. We use repellent. My shoes are wearing through. Might have to start looking into that. I hear Ecuador doesn't carry size 12, haha. Hasta la próxima.

Elder Jacob Johnson

Monday, February 6, 2012

I am feeling that this Gospel is True

Dear Family,

It is amazing how much can happen in one week. We've had some rough days and some great ones too. We know that the Lord has been blessing us with every little piece of success we have. But as I grow to understand the nature of the gospel, what one has to do to be saved, a sadness I've never felt before pains me. I haven't always been a crier have I? Maybe I have, haha. But it is getting more and more interesting as the Lord opens my eyes to the truths of the Gospel and how to teach it so clearly that it can't be denied. And the people don't deny it can be true, but they act on their agency to choose the wrong. I know the Lord will bless us with great people to teach, he says "Los míos escuchan mi voz, y no endurecen sus corazones." It says that those of His sheep hear His voice and will not harden their hearts. But my job as a missionary of Christ is to make it possible that they do Hear HIS voice, and not just mine.

We had a powerful experience this last week in a lesson. I was testifying of The Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ to a leader of the local Evangelical Church in a lesson after we had taught the Restoration, and I felt like the room was shaking. I asked my companion afterwards and he said he had felt the same thing. In the end, the man accepted the Book of Mormon to read and pray, but it was sad because he has kind of disappeared himself from us now. All the people have to do is understand the nature of God and His plan for us and they themselves will remember these truths. But they are backed up against the wall of faith. "But my pastor says this...blah blah." I'm not frustrated, just excited to find people prepared. Just pray that the Lord pours His Spirit over my sector, and also over La Isla Trinitaria. We have some good baptismal dates for this next month. Obedience is the key to everything. What would make me happiest would be to know that my family is strong in the Church and reading the Book of Mormon every day as a family. Nothing else matters. I really am so happy though. The Lord allows me to suffer and then gives me peace. I love life.

So I will be District leader over three areas. The Zone leaders are in my district. We are Zone Cisne. Tomorrow I will be receiving my new companion. He is from Argentina I heard. Right now I am with my good friend Elder Josh Nilsen. We can't believe we are together. He will be training also so he is staying the night at my house since his companion just became Zone leader in my district. Small world. There really aren't coincidences. I am so happy to see how he has progressed and matured. There really isn't anything that makes me happier right now than to see other people choose the right and change for the better. I sometimes wonder and have thoughts like Alma in Alma 29, but it is better to realize what he realizes. The Lord does his work the way he does it and we can do it or not. I want to do it. and I want to do it right. And we don't do it to satisfy our vain ambitions. We do it because we love the Lord and depend on Him. Pray for Charity for 3 months every night and you'll see the change and know what I'm talking about. Do you think the Apostles get sad?

Well the Lord has blessed me so much. I love you all with all my heart. Te quiero y te agradezco mucho mami. Mom and Dad, your example of love, forgiveness, and loyalty to the Lord in the Home growing up made all the difference. It was the fact that we never gave up. If we missed a week of family night, we never gave up and said "Forget it, we are done." We always had the goals and tried our best and it was that constant reminder of the Lord in my life that has helped me know I can trust Him with everything. Even when we start a Sacrament Meeting with 50% of the attendance that is my little group of investigators. Please hold to The Rod. The Rod of Iron. Chemical symbol for Iron is Fe. Faith in Spanish. Love it. Love you. We get to go to the temple tomorrow with the new group! :)

With all my heart,
Elder Jacob H Johnson

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1 Nefi 1:20, Find the hidden clue

Thank you for your prayers, I have felt the Lord's protection this last week for sure. We had an interchange and I went to the Isla Trinitaria which is just over the bridge from where I am so you can look on the map to see where that is and you can see where I am!
I can't believe there is only one week left in the transfer. I think I am staying here another transfers with my companion. We think we are finally getting the hang of this area. It requires a lot of everything. I do feel like the branch is growing. I hope we can help it. The Lord really has blessed us this week. A lady accepted a baptismal date for the 18th of Feb. She was a Jehova's Witness from age 7-17 but said at the last moment she didn't get baptized because she said she felt something was missing. Also we finally got in to teach a family of 5 where the parents are married! But the dad is pretty strong on his beliefs in the Evangelical church. (All truth is in the Bible and 10 commandments and you don't need anything else. Especially not Mormon and John Smith) BUT, after some good talking he accepted a Book of Mormon with his whole family right there! It was great. We've also found another family that has 9 kids and the parents are married. We look for the nicer looking houses. The Lord blesses these people because they obey his laws. So we hope to be able to get into that house too. We talked to the dad and he also goes to an Evangelical church but accepted that we visit him this next Saturday when he's home with his family. Pray for a miracle!

The way people started reacting in Helaman 16:16-22 is exactly how people are reacting today. It's even how missionaries may act towards their leaders. We just need to be humble! And accept counsel. And guidance. Align our will with God's will. Pray for me to have the energy and strength to be alert and excited all the time. I've been a little tired. I love you all so much. I can't wait to get birthday letters! Time flies way too fast. Pray for me as I pray for you. Que la paz del Señor esté con ustedes.

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quite a Week

Dear Family,
Well this week was hard, I mean physically and emotionally hard. But we ended on a spiritual high so you don´t have to think it's still hard and I'm not happy or anything.
La Hna Carmen used her agency and decided not to get baptized the Saturday of her baptism. My birthday. We did everything we could. She is a mom, 50 years or so. She's had some hard things happen to her in life, and she now wants to be "free" to have fun and do what she wants now that her kids are older. Men are free to choose between eternal life from the great Mediator or misery and captivity according to the misery and captivity of the devil, for he seeks that all men be miserable like he is. That hit us hard, her decision. My body was kind of drained, for some reason I woke up sore the past few days. So this was Saturday. Lets go back now to earlier in the week.

Monday night we were called and told we had a training for the senior companions. I was really excited to go and learn from the Pres first hand and from all the older missionaries. I felt left out the last couple times when my other companions went and I had to stay at home with the other junior companions, haha. So I took good notes to be able to share with my companion. The training was great. And it was Tuesday morning, and also Thursday and Friday. Wednesday morning was district meeting, and it was cool to see my friend again there. So in the training we talked and learned about the techniques to help someone accept a baptismal date. I really liked how our Pres stressed how to make the problem theirs and help them find the solution for themselves. these are just great principles for everything. It reminded me a lot of the techniques I learned with Uncle Jerry's work thing.

So I know the Lord answers my prayers. This area is rough. There hasn't been real missionary work for a good year. And it affects everything. I don't think we realize how much the missionary work in our ward affects the spiritual state of the ward. Spiritual influence is real. If you want people to get active, get active on missionary work. It will bring a spirit to the land that will influence the lives of people and the way things play out. By the faith of a few the spirit of the Lord can be poured out on a ward and just affect everything in the best way possible. I regret not really working with the missionaries in Sunland Ward. Learn from this! Read the last couple of verses of James in the Bible.

So there were spiritual boosts coming back from the trainings this week and then the punch to the gut on Saturday. Sunday was a bright day of hope as we brought a few good people to church and gained the trust of a father of a family we want to teach. Then we did our weekly planning. This was right after lunch, before the good lessons that we had where we got in more with the dad of familia Loor. This planning session made the difference. I know Elder McRae was supposed to be my companion. We both felt the spirit give us peace and inspiration to start new here again with a new drive. We both want to be able to come home from the mission as men of God like the paintings of Book of Mormon prophets and missionaries.

I know this is the only true church, there are no other options, no other condiciones of salvation. One needs to humble himself and read the Book of Mormon, ponder the message it contains of the Savior and "receive" the answer from God. Like in the comfirmation prayers we must "receive" the Holy Ghost. Be humble. Accept the will of the Lord in our lives and be happy. I am so excited for the next week of perfect obedience and great results. This is what we have planned at least, haha.

Love you all so much. Don't forget to read the Book of Mormon everyday right when you wake up! That's what I do now.

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 16, 2012

La Única Doctrina Verdadera

Dear Family,

So we did a lot of finding this week. We also had our baptism :) We had done a fast the last Sunday to be able to find legally married families to be able to teach. One of the big challenges here is marriage. The country recently raised the price of marriage from $6 to $50. Minimum wage here is like $10 on a full day's work so this presents a challenge. But we decided to have the faith that the Lord has already been preparing people for us and we'd be able to find them through faith and obedience. We were really happy to find 6 families where the parents are already legally married. A technique came to my mind when thinking of how we would be able to find these people. We don't live in the nicest neighborhood, so we decided to go to the houses that were neater and nicer and cleaner. The nicest houses in the sector sure enough had the nicest looking families with legal marriage. The Lord blesses us when we keep His commanments. Now we've just got to get into their houses and teach them the restored gospel. We just finished a fast to speak better Spanish and know what to teach them. There is a difficulty in changing some of the mindsets but I know it's possible. I have been blessed to see and notice the mind of someone being illuminated to the truth with the restored Gospel. We want to baptize familes, not just their kids. There is only one path that leads us to salvation. Alma 11.

I love you guys so much. Hope everything is going well. I just barely remembered I'll be turing 20 this Saturday. We might have a baptism. That'd be a great present.

Les quiero!
Elder Johnson

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lots of Blessings

A few things:
  • 50+ people in Sacrament meeting. A 500% increase :)
  • We will have a baptism this week.
  • I got the Christmas package. I loved it. It was perfect. The tie is nice. The peanut butter cookies are perfect and I can't wait to break my fast to that jerky. I love you guys so much and that package was great. I have our family picture on the entrance table with the mini-tree and ornaments. The other elders like it. 
I live with my companion Elder McRae, and the elders from the other ward that meets in the same building as us. Elder Curtis and Elder Tait. Elder Curtis looked familiar to me and I looked familiar to him but we don't know how. He has one transfer less than me like my companion. My friend, Elder Nilsen, just got transferred into my zone so I will see him tomorrow for the first time at the district meeting! They just changed the assistants too so Elder Duarte won't be there because he is finishing his mission but he will be my district leader so that's so cool! I love watching good elders teach. It would be so amazing to see our Saviour teach, when he had 20 years. I can't believe I'm turning 20, gosh.

Okay, so this week was full of miracles. I don't have time to write about every one, and I need to do better in my journal, but I will relate a few experiences. First, don't ever miss an opportunity to answer a question. I have no fear of walking up to any person and talking about the church, and until last night, I really had never had anyone tell me to go away in a mean way (the person was a little drunk I think).

We were really blessed to find to families where the parents are already married. That just takes a huge obstacle out of the way. We have been praying for the Lord to pour out His Spirit here and soften the hearts of the people. We will have a baptism this week of a girl named Carolina, and the next week of her mom Carmen. There are 2 other possibilities for the 21 and 4 for the 29. We can bring a lot of fruit to Christ. That's why I was called. John 15:16

Ohhh yeah, I wanted to shout thanks to you for sending me that Ensign too in the package. And the picture of the first vision. And the card with the prophets. They are so nice.

The Book of Mormon is so powerful. The iron rod is the word of God. We need to hold to the rod continually. That means we need to read continually, even a little. But continually. Those who clung to the rod and tasted the fruit fell away. They had spurts of going to church and being obedient and reading the scriptures, but they weren't consistent. A good setter in volleyball has to be consistent. Consistency with God. That is persevering to the end. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I am so happy to hear you are reading and keeping up with the class and reading with the kids. These little things will have a huge impact.
I love you all. Te quiero mami. Thank you for making and helping us be consistent with church attendance, school grades and everything. It is an important principle.

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Dear Family,

So I didn't reach my goal of finishing the Book of Mormon, mainly because I got distracted as I am in a new part of the city of Guayaquil! Monday night after I wrote you last we went to an investigator and couldn't find him so we went walking towards my first baptism Hector. He was close and I wanted to see if he had gotten my present. I made him a Book of Mormon case with cardboard and pictures covering it of Jesus and stuff. He lives with the Landasuri family and they are strong members and give us lunch every other Sunday. They had expressed how they were happy with our companionship because it was the first time in a while where there were two elders who talked and smiled.

Well, we were walking down the street (we had told people Sunday at church that there might be changes that night) and from far away sister Landasuri saw us. "Elder Johnson!!" she shouted, turning to her window and those in her house, "Elder Johnson didn't get changed!" I was almost in tears. We got closer and explained that we still didn't know if we would have changes or not because no one had called us. She had us sit down and gave us cola, bread, more cola, and more bread. It seemed like everyone in the ward showed up and all of them laughed when they first saw me and said like "I told you so! I knew you weren't leaving!" At the end of all of the emotion (the whole young single adults group had showed up for an activity at a house across the street) We got serious and told them that there was still a chance for changes. I said goodbye to them as they left to the activities, it was a sad moment. I had gotten close to a few of them, especially Juan Jose who will be going on his mission soon. We said goodbye and they said "See you tomorrow!" because no one knew that that wasn't going to happen.

Well, I'd like to say I felt the change coming but the Bishop loved telling me I have no keys or rights to that revelation, haha. The next morning we studied a little abnormally as we were both kind of tense waiting for the phone to ring. Our district leader called and told me to pack my bags, and to tell my compainion to pack his bags, and then said just kidding he didn't know anything. You can imagine the emotion, haha. We continued studying when our zone leader called at 10AM and told my companion to hand me the phone. "You got changes man, it's been a pleasure to work with you." said Elder Wood from Utah.

I didn't know what to think. I had left everything out thinking the change wouldn't come but also feeling it would and then not wanting to pack unknowingly to not jinx anything. So my companion was really nice and got my suitcase ready with all the stuff on my desk and I did the other suitcase with all the stuff in my room. We had to do it quick to be at the terminal within 30 minutes. We got there in 45min but it was fine. It was just the bus terminal where we always do the changes and there I found myself with the assistants. "God trusts you, you're going to be senior companion."  said Elder Duarte from Colombia.

I found out I was going to the Cisne Zone in the Branch Independencia. My new companion is Elder McRae from Peoria, AZ and has one transfer less than me. We are so excited to work here. He is a cool guy and really direct with the people and I like that he isn't afraid to talk in his Spanish. We need to do a lot here for this branch. There weren't the greatest number of people in sacrament meeting but there is so much potential here. Pray for us to have the strength to be perfectly obedient and focused this week!

Love you all,
Elder Johnson