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