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