Friday, September 25, 2015

Learning the Language

(Bits in blue are from my letters to Jeff to clarify his responses.)

Dear Dad,

    We are related to Benjamin F. Johnson.  His brother Joseph Ellis Johnson is our direct ancestor.  Their dad, Ezekial is the one I told you about that stood up to the mobs in Nauvoo and lost his life for it.  So you guys are cousins!
That is so funny that my first companion is a relative of mine! haha

I got the package and it had everything I need so that was helpful!

    Ana had a swim meet over the weekend.  She did great and dropped time on all her events.  I have to admit it had me missing you pretty bad.  But then I received a confirmation of the spirit that all those years of swimming and team leadership have prepared you for what you are going to face.  I love those tender mercies that come from Heavenly Father.

I wrote her an email asking her about it, not gonna lie I wish I could swim cause I'm starting to get shin splints with how much running we're doing! haha

    The whole family is doing good.  The kids are doing good in school.  Kaleb won an arm wrestling contest and it has boosted his confidence a ton.  Josh is really busy with the SBO's.  They are doing things almost every day.  Ana is doing great with swim and working on her schoolwork.  Vegard is gaining more friends and feeling more a part of the family every day.  Mom and I are plugging along like always.  You are in all of our prayers and we are already seeing blessings in our family for your service.  We were looking at a video of the coconut crabs last night as they were cracking open a coconut.  I made a really stupid comment.  I said, wow, if they could crack a coconut like that, they could crack open someone's head.  Your mom totally freaked out about it.  I felt terrible.  You may have to wear a helmet to bed now just to make sure your mom is at peace, sorry! ;)

I am glad that everyone is doing well, Tell everyone that they can send me dear elders on that website it's a little easier than mailing letters, and I can hear from you during the week.  You are all in my prayers as well I love you guys, oh and tell mom that I will buy a helmet today for the crabs!! haha XD

    I talked about you to the primary class yesterday.  They all wanted me to tell you hi. 

Tell all of them they are goofballs and That I miss them as well and say hi!

Yeah I made some pretty cool drawings so far both spiritual and funny! they help me a lot!

The food is getting better and I drink at least two glasses of milk every meal!  I love the never ending supply!

That is soo cool to hear!  I love that you started doing FHE with other families. We have been teaching our teachers as investigators and I am able to hold a lesson using broken Kiribati, but even though its broken, the spirit is still present and that's all that matters! 

I had the impression during the week to tell you to read your mission scriptures, I don't know why I just felt like I needed to tell you that!

I came up with this poem today in the Temple:

You have no need to stress

You have no need to fear

for behold, Your Lord,

Thy God is near. 

Love you 


Elder Johnson

Dear Mom,

This week has flown by! There is a saying going around, the days are long but the weeks fly by! It is absolutely true, it felt like yesterday that I emailed you last.  I've been having a great time and felt have felt the spirit soo many times!  

Thank you so much for the package you sent me it helped me a lot.  It turned out super awesome! I love it! where am I supposed to mail the stuff I don't need when I leave the MTC?

I love you so much and can't wait to hear more about everyone.  I went to the temple again today and the spirit was soo strong.  I know that the person that I went through for was present during the whole session.  I prayed about the family in the temple as well I hope everything is going well.

I am glad you are wearing the bracelet I bought you, I wanted to get something for you before I left, and I saw that one literally right before you did! haha! XD

I've been kind of struggling with the language, and it seems like everyone around me is getting it a lot faster than I am.  But after my meeting with District Leader Elder Ellis, I realized that I have been putting in the work, but I haven't been praying constantly for the gift of tongues.  I know that when I am putting in the work for the Lord, I have the right to ask him for blessings like that.  

The food is pretty good, nothing like home meals but it's edible.  haha anyway I love you and miss you and know that you are in my prayers.


Elder Johnson

Psych Buddies- With Elder Graham

Elders Tomlinson, Osborne and Johnson Studying

Jeff didn't choose the mission life, the mission life chose him-
Elders Osborne, Graham, Johnson and ...

MTC Hug Attack!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Getting into the groove of the MTC

A lot of Jeff's emails had answers to questions we sent to him, so I will includes some of our messages to him as well...

Mom and Dad,

(From My letter: It was so great to receive your emails this week.  They were perfectly what we needed to hear.  I am so glad that you have a great first companion, it makes a huge difference to have someone you click with.)

It definitely does make a difference, I feel really comfortable around him. They want to know if we are related to Benjamin F. Johnson, because if so, then we might be related! How insane would that be?

(Definitely related!  We are directly related to Benjamin F. Johnson's brother Joseph Ellis Johnson) 

That is good to hear I pray about you a lot too.  I know though, as I forget about the worries of the world that I will be blessed and strengthened by the Lord.  I know that I just need to get lost in the Lord's work, and as I do that I won't allow for doubt or anything to enter into my mind.  I was reading in Preach my Gospel yesterday and I read something that said to not allow impure thoughts, doubts or any other negative thing enter the stage in your mind.  Never allow for the stage to be left empty, because that allows for these thoughts to creep in.

(I love that you are planting the scripture in all the stalls.  That makes me laugh every time I think of it!  You are awesome!  Let me know if you hear any feedback from that. (Jeff is putting the scripture Alma 60:7 in the bathroom stalls))

Haha! It's sooooo funny!! Everyone in our district found out that it was me and they thought it was one of the funniest things they have ever read!  The first one stayed on for almost an entire week moving from stall to stall!

(How are you liking the MTC?  Is the food still pretty good?  You getting into the rhythm of the classes and the missionary routine?  What has been you most spiritual experience so far?  How are you liking your companion/teachers/branch president?) 

Playing PIG with Elder Osborne
Brother Packer
The MTC is great! The food is decent, but not too bad!  It is definitely tough but my instructors Brother Packer, Brother Birell and Brother Sherman have helped a ton with the language and recognizing the Spirit for personal revelation.  I'm getting into the routine pretty well.  My most spiritual so far has definitely been when I found out why I went through what I did with my friends.  My companion is soo funny and my district is awesome, we played P.I.G with a paper ball and a trash can, Elder Osborne bounced it off my head into the trash can getting one of the other Elders out.  I bought a sketch book and started drawing both spiritual things and cartoons about the crazy stuff all the Elders do around the dorm and at home.    
Elder Birrell

Brother Sherman

 Iataia bwa e koaua te ekaretia aio.  Iataia bwe a tangiraira Iesu Kristo ao Te Atua.  I ataia bwe E tataro n te buokonikai Iotebwa Timitii.  Ti kona maeka ma te Atua.  N aran Iesu Kristo amen. 
I know that as I am obedient to the Lord's commandments I will be blessed, and to have you give me away to the Lord for two years he will bless your lives more then you know.  Search for the tender mercies in your every day life and your faith in the Lord will increase. 

Love your Son, 
Elder Johnson
P.S.  You should find out why my friends haven't been writing! ;)

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Letter Home!!

Mauri! (Hello!)

I mararung! (I am doing good!)

I've officially made it through the first two days! It was crazy and exciting all at the same time! Thank you so much for the letters you sent me they really helped a lot.  The first day was intense,  (just like circus fires), the first thing we got was a bag with all our language study manuals and stuff, and I swear it probably weighed at least a million pounds.  My first class was language, it was a little over whelming, I walked in and the teacher was speaking Kiribati and handed me a piece of chalk telling me to write.  That was pretty scary.  I love all those who are going to the Marshall Islands with me, we all clicked really well, and my companion is literally the coolest person ever.  

My companion is a lot like me and we have the same interests so we clicked really well, I forgot my thing to upload pictures and I can only get on for one hour on P-days so I will send you one next week, (sorry Kaleb!).  But everything is going well and I have had multiple spiritual experiences that have surpassed some of the ones that I already have had.  

Today we got to go do a session at the temple.  It was the first time for one of the sisters in the Kiribati group so that was special.

Tiabo!(Good bye)

love your missionary, 


Elder Johnson

Dear Father, 

Ko Uara? (how are you?)

I'm doing amazing the spirit is soo strong here I love it. Every class or lesson I have been apart of I have learned so much my brain felt like it was going to explode! haha but it has been good. I have had a few opportunities to put up sticky notes so that was fun.  I love my companion! we are going to have a blast learning the gospel and the language!

I know that because I am out on a mission you and the family will be blessed more than you ever know. We had the opportunity to answer questions for real investigators on the first day as a giant group, and on the second one the girl said she didn't quite understand sometimes why bad things happened, I had the impression to share my experience about my trials and applied it to the scripture you gave me Ether 12:27.  Then I went on to explain that we need difficult things to happen to us so that we can be made stronger in the lord's hands, it seemed to really touch her it was amazing!

I love you! Love your missionary 


Elder Johnson


Amber also received a wonderful email from Jeff that was personal and spoke directly to her greatest fears of sending Jeff on his mission. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Journey Begins

It was a glorious, miserable day. We took our oldest son Jeff to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to start his 2 year mission to the Marshall Islands. He has prepared his whole life for this moment, as have his Mom and I. It did not make it any easier to say goodbye. It hurt terribly to let him go, but we know he is where he is supposed to be.

I want to express my love and gratitude for all the teachers, coaches, leaders, family members and sweet friends that... have had such an impact on Jeffrey and our family. You have helped Jeff become an amazing man.