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! :)