Sunday, December 13, 2015

Puppets, Octopus and Persistence

Elder Johnson handing out toys sent in his Christmas Package
I am so glad that my letter made it before Christmas, I was a little worried!  haha But it is a relief to know that it made it there.  

I actually got my package last week!!  haha The stuff that I was able to open now is super amazing, you guys went above and beyond what you needed to do.  

I love Josh soo much, he truly is one of my best friends.  I know that he is going to do great things.  I have felt really strongly lately though that he should get his patriarchal blessing.  I know that will give him the drive to keep going.  

I am certain that the Lord is constantly knocking on everyone's door.  All we have to do is let him in.  Sometimes it can be hard, especially when Satan is in our ears telling us that we can't do certain things.  He wants us to think that we aren't worthy or we aren't good enough.  But the Lord is right there, even in the thick of it.  Sometimes, we may not know why we are prompted to do a certain thing.  At times, we may not even see the results of it until after the veil.  All we have to do is press forward in faith, trusting that the Lord has a hand in all things. 

One thing that I have learned being here the short time that I have, is you can always tune out Satan's words by occupying the stage in your mind with something good.  One thing that I like to do is to constantly have a hymn in my head.  It gives me the strength to keep going even when it is tough.  One other thing that really helps is praying more for thanks.  When we thank the Lord for what we have, our eyes are opened to how blessed we are.  I challenge you, when you pray to pray mostly for thanks, and try to limit how much you ask for.  I promise that if you do this you will see all the blessings the Lord is giving you and you will begin to recognize those tender mercies.  


- Tell us about your companion.  What is he like?  What is his background?  Did he do any sports or other activities in High School?  Have you been getting along with him?  Tell us a lot about him.

1:  My companion, Elder Kennedy is awesome.  He is super funny, and a really hard worker.  His faith is sooo strong.  He prays for trials and he doesn't let anything stop him from doing the work.   He played soccer in high school, and he was just like a super off the wall kid.  I love him, I already feel like he is one of my closest friends.  It has been hard at times, since I get in my head that "he is new and he can't teach me a lot"  but I know that he has a ton to teach me.  We spend a lot of time talking deep doctrine, pretty much any free time that we get.  I love it!  The stuff he says is super random, and funny, but that's what makes him him.  

Elders Johnson and Kennedy

- Tell us about what a typical day looks like to you.  As much detail as you can give us.  What time do you get up?  What time do you study?  How are you finding investigators? 

2) We start off the day waking up at 5:30 so we can get in as much study as we can.  We say our prayers (fifteen minutes) and then we work out. We work out for a half hour, but it doesn't really do a ton because the most we can really do is push ups and sit ups.  Next we have 45 minutes to shower with the bucket and a cup, get dressed and eat food.  Studies start at seven.  We have an hour and a half of personal, an hour of companion, hour and a half of language, then an hour of 12 week.  We start each study with a prayer, and we start companion study with a hymn.  After study we are out the door no later that 12:10.  We have our lessons set up from closest to furthest so it works better with the time.  It's go go go, no time for a lot of rest, but we stop at the stores a lot to buy packets of drinks called aiti (ice).  Lessons usually go for 45 minutes.  It gets dark around 6:30-7 so we have dinner at 7.  Most people don't have lights so they don't really like to have lessons at night.  Last night for dinner we had octopus!!!!  It was actually really good!


- What is the funniest thing that has happened to you out there? 

3)  The funniest thing so far is we were sitting in a lesson and I kind of spaced out.  (This was a couple weeks ago when I was with Elder Vula and Elder Powell)  They asked me to open with prayer, but I thought I was supposed to introduce my self so instead of praying I said, "Kam n bening ni Mauri!!!" Everyone was freaked out.  I looked at Vula and Powell and noticed that they were looking up from bowing their heads and folding their arms, but it was too late.... I had already done the whole introduction!!!

- How is the food treating you?  Are your cooking skills getting better?  Do you need more recipes?  If so, give me more ingredients you have access to and I will get you some things.

4) Food is going good, I am getting better.  I just have to experiment is all, I will send you a list of food they have next week.  

- Do you have interactions with any other missionaries on Tarawa?  What are their names and what do you think about them?

5) Every Monday we get to see all the missionaries in the East Zone, in the email place.  Then later we combine at Moroni.  Then once a month we combine with the West Zone.  It's way cool!!  But there are so many of them that I can't remember their names,  I have always been bad at names. But I can remember a face for ages!!

- How are your investigators?  Is your pool of them growing?  Any of them closer to baptism?  Give us details of names and ages and things like that.

6) Our investigators are solid.  We are sooo close with a lot of them, we just have to get them married!!  One of my favorite couples it Takinoa and Kueita,  They are sooo solid,  they took our challenge to fast and they fasted that Takinoa would receive strength to quit smoking and he didn't smoke for 3 days!!!! Kueita shares her testimony every time and they are super powerful!!  Then we sing a song every time before we leave! 

Another house is a couple of teenage boys about my age, Ruata, and Tekangae.  They eat our lessons up!! They are super into the lessons, and have so many questions! Yesterday we gave them Books of Mormon and they were soo pumped.  I also showed them my magic tricks and they flipped out and kept bringing more and more people to show them.  It is cool also because they tell their friends about our lessons so we have gotten a ton of referrals.  

- The one I want to know most of all, how is your standing with the Lord?  Tell me your testimony.  It brings me incredible joy to know the changes He is bringing into your life.

7) My standing with the Lord is solid.  I know that he is watching out for me, and putting us where we need to be.  An example of this happened last week.  We were running a little late, about a half hour or so.  We had our first lesson and were on our way to our next one when we got stopped because a girl was having a seizure.  If we weren't late we wouldn't have been there.  It was really scary, because they were pinning her down which you aren't supposed to do. But we got her in the ambulance and my lifeguard skills kicked in.  I am so thankful that the Lord gave me the opportunity to learn those skills, and put us in the right place at the right time.  I am recognizing more and more his influence and spirit in all I do.  

I love you I don't have time to do my week since this one was so long but I hope it is good.

Love your son,
Elder Johnson

Elder Powel, Sister Baldwin and Elder Johnson

Dear mom,
I love you so much!! 

I am definitely feeling tons better.  It has been rough, because we have been doing so much, but I know that the Lord is right there with me the entire time.  

It has been cool because this last week we have taught a lot about the Book of Mormon.  It is just amazing to me the kind of power that it really has.  And do you know why it has that kind of power?  Because it was translated directly from the power of God.  The book literally contains the fullness of the restored gospel.  The Book of Mormon is literally the keystone of our religion, if it is true, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church, and we can be happy no matter what situation we go through in this life.  

3 Month Mark- Celebrating with Fried Chicken. 
Elders Johnson, Kennedy, Vula and Powell

I remember one lesson I had in seminary, when all the church leaders in the boundaries of Cyprus came and answered a bunch of questions that we prepared earlier.  One thing that one of the Bishops said really stuck out to me.  The  question was,  "How do I resist temptation?"  His answer really stuck out to me.  A chapter a day keeps the devil away! It is so true, when we are doing exactly what we can to study the words of God we are blessed with strength to overcome all things.  

I love that you are reading the scriptures everyday.  I love that you are already seeing the blessings from it.  But now I challenge you to take it a step further, and study with a question in mind.  It might take a lot longer, but the blessings are even greater.  

Remember that you are worthy of a temple recommend, and that every time that you feel like you shouldn't go to the temple, that is when you need to go the most.  

I love you so much and I will continue to pray about you!

Love your son, 
Elder Johnson 

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