Tuesday, July 14, 2015

We are SO spoiled out in Utah.. We could probably travel to a dozen temples in 3 hours!

Hello friends and family!

Well. take all the emotions known to the human mind and shake them up in a liter bottle......
that's how I feel! haha. So many mixed emotions!

Sorry, but not sorry, I'll be sending a few emails this time! I've got loads to say!

Going to the temple was WONDERFUL. Oh goodness.... I was FLOATING that day! I received so many answers to prayers! Even things that I asked at the beginning of my mission! It was so wonderful! Here's some pics!

The drive to the temple took THREE HOURSSSS!!!!!!!!!
That's a whole session of CHURCH! But with DRIVING!

We are SO spoiled out in Utah.. We could probably travel to a dozen temples in 3 hours! We are so spoiled! I sure hope we all take advantage of having temples so near. I know I surely will never take for granted the unique pure beauty and peace that can only be found in the House of the Lord. I plan on going at least once a week until I die! 

Anywho. I felt so many answers to prayers while at the temple. As I was praying in the temple I realized SO many things. But i think this one is okay to share.

I realized the IMPORTANCE of the family! I always knew deep down that family was important, but in the temple I realized it is the core of all we do. The family is the PINNACLE, OF THE PLAN of salvation!
It is all possible through Jesus Christ, but the point, is the Divine Nature of the FAMILY. 

It's so much more important than I realized.. Seriously! Please ponder the importance of your family! 

"Only the Home can compare with the Temple in holiness"
From the bible dictionary under "temple"

I have a ROCK solid testimony that this Church really is true. God is not a nice thought, He is a tangible being and "has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected." More importantly though, He LOVES us with the Love that a Father does for His Child. We are God's most important Creations. We are not little monkeys running around to see if we're pleasing to God. We are God's entire Life and Purpose. He loves us. He didn't make the universe and then suddenly decide to put people on it. We ARE God's universe. We are His EVERYTHING. He loves us so perfectly that we can't even comprehend His perfect and overwhelming Love for each individual child. He is perfectly patient and forgiving, He loves us, and desires our happiness. All He cares about is our Happiness.

I truly know that Jesus is the Christ. And I testify from my soul, and unflinchingly declare that Jesus Christ LIVES. He is not a nice figure in literature. He is an actual being that truly walks this earth, and He, in reality did die and suffer for our every pain, sorrow, and sin. He truly paid the price for our sins with His life, and has the scars in His palms to prove it. 
The Atonement is indeed REAL. I've felt it's power each and every day of my entire Life. It and He, are real. 

I know that this church is true. I know it is the ONLY true church in the entire universe. I know that there is no other church that holds the priesthood keys, or has the fulness of the Gospel. This Church truly is led by God and Jesus Christ, and not of man. It is God's Kingdom that we are a part of. And He will help us reach our Divine Potential as Heirs of God.

The Book of Mormon is indeed the word of God. I did not sail with Nephi, I did not proselyte with Alma and Amulek, I did not witness the Savior Himself personally minister to the Nephites, But without restraint I bear my witness that the Book of Mormon is the very word of God and comes from Him and not of man. I truly know it. I have prayed and asked God, and He told me so. And My life has been CHANGED! I am infinitely more happy knowing these simple truths.

I love my mission. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I know that God is real, and so testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

See you at the AIRPORT!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

MY HEART JUMPED TO THE MOON and landed in Niagara falls! Oh my goodness I was so happy I could've DIED.

Hello there friends and family!!  It's long but worth it!

AHH!!!! I have until wed the 15th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then I'm DEAD!!!! Missionary language for going home!! Ahhhh!!!!!! I'm freaking out!!!! But not really, but totally....
I have learned so stinking much! Where do I even start?!?!?!
Okay! Miracles #1!!!
CRAIG! Craig is a members boyfriend and he is SO AWESOME!!!!! Go Alaina for being a missionary!!!!! (she is also planning on serving a mission! pray for her that it all works out okay!)

We followed up with Craig to see if he got a testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. And he said "Every time I pray and read I feel that comforting feeling you guys keep talking about, and sometimes I hear a voice in my head, it says "I love you" and I see an image of Jesus in my mind, ya know the one in the front of the Book of Mormon?"

MY HEART JUMPED TO THE MOON and landed in Niagara falls! Oh my goodness I was so happy I could've DIED. The Spirit was so strong when we taught. WOW. I'm pretty sure he now understands the priesthood, covenants, ordinances, and dispensations than most members of the church! JK, but it was such a good lesson!
Also, I have come to know why I'm here on my mission. I know why I'm here...wow, God totally knew what He was doing, which brings me to my next point!
My mission president asked what I was learning about my mission, and I sent him this, I thought you might like it too :)

Hey President!
Wow, it has been such a roller coaster! Have you ever been to Lagoon in Utah? My mission has been a Spiritual SAMURAI. It has thrown me in so many directions. I have been whipped back and forth and thrown here and there, yet God's grace has kept me strapped in my seat even though I felt at many times that I'd be launched into outer space and never return! haha

It has been so difficult! But, with every maneuver it has strengthened my testimony that God will never let go of me. Even when I'm spinning in a million directions and I can't feel which way is up or down, I know God is there. Even when it feels like the safety bar is invisible and I'm going to be flung into Alberta Canada I'm still there in my seat, Thus I know that God's hand is there and I know He has never let go of me! And when the ride is over I realize something amazing.   "Wow, Heaven WAS in charge!" (quote from Sis Bednar)

It's beautiful the Order that is still in place, even and especially in Chaos! Oft times those very moments of difficulty and opposition are wonderful eye openers to see the value of having a safety bar at all! That safety bar is God's hand which is "outstretched still", and we will realize that "the Lord hath redeemed [our] soul[s] from hell; [we] have beheld his glory, and [we are] encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

Not to mention we can now help others who are struggling to hold on and have faith!
If I could give advice to anyone about missionary service...I would say this...

"Hold on! And have FAITH!   For surely everything will work out!"

 "There are always happy endings! If it's not happy...then it's not the end!"

"Life has a beautiful tendency of ALWAYS working out."

"God's Love for you is unconditional, it never changes. That Love neither magnifies or minimizes based on what you do. It is simply and stubbornly there. The only thing that changes when we DO feel God's love, is not that His view of us has changed...but rather, our view of HIM has begun to change over time :)  "

I testify to you that I know God lives and loves us. I know He weeps when we weeps. I know Jesus Christ really is Alive, He did indeed die that we may live. The Book of Mormon is indeed God's word. This Church IS true. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

More news!!!
I get to go to the temple this week!!!!  My LAST week as a missionary and I get to go to the temple with my 2nd son (greenie) Elder Redd!!!! my comp already went so I'm going on exchanges so Elder Redd can go too!!!!
I never have been to the temple as a set apart missionary, now I GET to on my last week...
What  tender mercy..   much love!   

This is craig!
Flowers in my opinion are one of the most hopeful creations God has ever made. They ALWAYS face the Sun…

At the 4th of July party they bought a rain gutter & used it to build ice cream sundaes!!!!!

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I am not crazy, and it doesn't matter what this man says or thinks about my testimony, no matter how much he tries to demean truth, Truth is STILL truth. and NEVER changes!

So my whole mission I've been very very blessed!
Heavenly Father knows that I do not like contention!!! And I do not like contentious people!
And alllll of my mission I've been blessed with not having mean crazy people hunt me down and bible bash!Cept........................last week!
It wasn't really that bad, but I found this man very absurd........here's why
So we're super late to district meeting and we're walking around and this man stops us and says "Oh mormons!" then he starts telling us that we're wrong and we're misled and he said

"You are absolutely absurd to believe what you believe! You'd have to be absolutely insane to think you're right!"

He went on to name off a list of some of our beliefs but exaggerated and defiled them. He said some very terrible things that I wouldn't dare repeat. He told us this list of things we "believe"

I was very tempted to say some nasty things back but I knew better. I was pretty proud of myself though! As he was spewing these anti mormon things I could think of billions of Scriptures to debunk every lie. It was pretty cool! But that's not the point.

I knew he wouldn't listen, my companion and I tried to defuse these lies but he just was not listening... and I knew there was no point. not to mention we were super late!

I learned something very powerful from Preach My Gospel that has blessed my entire mission. So I've never been a scripture wiz, everrr!!!!! Before I came out I couldn't name all the books in the book of mormon! But what I can do is bear my testimony!

Our testimony trumps everything, It is difficult to battle a sincere and heartfelt testimony shared by someone and then the confirming and powerful witness of the Holy Ghost also brings feelings of love and Godliness. But only if the other person is receptive...he...was definitely not!

But I stood there and raised my hand, he let me speak, and as sincerely as I could I bore a short, but powerful testimony of my witness of Jesus Christ.
I said "I testify to you, that I KNOW Jesus Christ Lives!.................But we're very late and we have to go!"

The man laughed with us and we were able to leave on a good note. 
I don't think he felt anything from that witness. But I sure know that I did. I felt the Spirit so strong as I testified to this man. And I know that I am not crazy, nor am I absurd. I am not crazy, and it doesn't matter what this man says or thinks about my testimony, no matter how much he tries to demean truth, Truth is STILL truth. and NEVER changes! 

My companion later told me of a funny analogy of that experience with that man. He compared it to a pet owner yelling at his cat. "DOG! you are a DOG!!!!!!!"
No matter how hard that person yells....it's still going to be a cat!
And that's how God's Truth is! and His Promises! They NEVER change! and I know that God is real and Alive! 
So is the Savior Jesus Christ, and I testify He loves us and LIVES. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Johnson

We helped someone move... and we found cool pointy things!!! Just kidding, it wasn't pointy at all, but we still had fun! it was SAFFFEEE!!! don't worry :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I have used this promise, and I know it is true. The Holy Ghost told me so and I will never deny what I know.

Hello friends and family!

When people find out you're going home in a few weeks they freak out and ask you a billion questions about home and whatnot. And my first thought is "why do you hate mee!!!!!"
Just joking though, it's just really sad to think that my mission is coming to a close.

This last week was my last Zone Conference, during a missionaries last ZC they are asked to give a final testimony in front of the other missionaries. 

When I went up 99% of it was just pure laughter hahah. Some lovely ladies from Relief Society came and helped prepare our lunches and as I was testifying there was an eruption of laughter from down the hall. So I was standing bearing my testimony.

"And I know. That God loves each of us!"

I pointed over to the hall.
"And so do THEY!"

hahahahahaha. It was really funny. The Spirit was super strong though when I got serious and testified. The Spirit was super strong.

So, I wanted to share my testimony with you.

From my heart, I testify that I know Jesus Christ really and truly does live. He is a real person, and He is real. I know that God is real. I know that He loves us more than we can comprehend. I know that He wants us back home and has brought forth the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to help us do so. He called Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God to be that messenger. And as evidence to the truthfulness of the Restoration God has also brought forth the Book of Mormon. One can read and ponder its message and pray and ask God in the name of Christ if it is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will receive a witness by the Holy Ghost that it is indeed true.

I have used this promise, and I know it is true. The Holy Ghost told me so and I will never deny what I know. 

I know Jesus Christ is the ONLY way back home, He IS the way, the Light and the LIFE. He is truth. And He will never leave us comfortless. Ever.
I know this Work is true, and it is real. I know it, and I know that God knows it.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Johnson.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What is the difference of fear and courage?

This week was fantastic!!!!!

but any who, I wanted to share a neat insight that I got from my studies!
Okay, so this is similar to my moldy peach analogy!

Without confession we cannot receive forgiveness.
The Atonement is like rain. Hiding our sins and not confessing them is like throwing a tarp over them.
The Atonement can only touch the sins that are confessed.

Fortunately, even if we are afraid, the Atonement will help us UN hide our sins and confess them too. The Atonement will pour into us the strength and courage needed to face our fears and come clean. 

Coming clean is one of the happiest joys one can feel because of the infinite availability of the Atonement of Christ.

What is the difference of fear and courage?
Courage is still feeling afraid, but choosing the right regardless :)

Love you!!  have a great week!    

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

We do not need to be worthy to pray, or read, or go to church. It's the OPPOSITE. Those very things help us BECOME worthy.

Hey there!!!!!!!

So! Elder Watkins has been transferred to Lancaster! And my new comp is Elder Jake Story! From Orem Utah. 
He's been out for 17 months!  He's super high energy and very friendly and optimistic!  Okay. I know this is long, but I PROMISE it's worth reading!

So this Sunday at church there was a woman that came that I've never seen before. I greeted her and then didn't think anything of it. After sacrament I was headed toward the door to go to class, but the back area was too crowded, I ended up cutting through the middle section of benches and bumped into her again. I felt a prompting that I needed to speak with her. We talked a little and I asked her if she normally attended at this building. She told me that she hadn't been to church in a long time and was currently going through very difficult things.

 It broke my heart to hear of the pain and burden she was carrying. I encouraged her and told her she could do it. She ended up coming into Sunday school with another woman, who I later discovered was her visiting teacher, who brought her to church. I'm confident that were it not for her visiting teacher this less active woman would not have chosen to come to church and ask for help. As we were walking to Gospel Principles the teacher came by and said they had to leave church, he asked me to teach......talk about being thrown under the bus! I silently prayed that the Spirit would guide me and teach those in the class what they needed to hear. 

This less active woman and her visiting teach were already sitting in class and a few others as well. We began with a prayer and I started to read about final judgment. As I taught I felt impressed to share something and I somehow managed to connect it with judging haha so it was smoother but anywho. I said "It frightens me when people think they are not worthy to pray, or read, or go to church. It frightens me when they think they are not worthy to feel God's love or receive His blessings. Yes, there is a standard of worthiness, and we are oft interviewed for those purposes. the bishop, stake pres or whoever is ordained and given that authority to judge and determine our worthiness. He is also set apart to help us make correct choices. But it is all in love. 

The bishop or whomever doesn't yell and scream at us that we're failures, rather he hugs us and encourages us to make correct choices and I'm confident that he too is praying for your success and for guidance of the Spirit to know how God would like us to receive help. That is Christ's way, and Christ is no different with what He thinks of us. He loves us perfectly, and He is ALWAYS encouraging, not discouraging. He is LOVE, and He invites us and directs us to follow Him. We do not need to be worthy to pray, or read, or go to church. It's the OPPOSITE. Those very things help us BECOME worthy. 

As I said those words I felt the Spirit really strong dumping from me into her.  After church I saw her sitting outside the bishops office, us 4 missionaries were close by so we decided to say hello and talk a bit. She told us she was getting her self back into gear and needed to stop being lazy about it, that salvation is in her hands. I encouraged her the best I could, while it is wonderful of her choices, it made me sad to see how harshly she was treating herself. That was something to be celebrated! Not something that we'd say "well it's about time you failure!" That is definitely NOT what Christ would do. He would celebrate. Anywho, as we spoke she was called into a room and left for a few minutes. As we waited Sister Beutler, one of the sister missionaries leaned over and said "I think she could really use a blessing! Maybe you Elders could go over sometime and give her one?"

I agreed wholeheartedly! And I told her I'd ask her if she would like one. As we were speaking Bro Nelson called for Elder Story and I. He said "Elders I need you, could you help me give a blessing?"
We agreed. My jay dropped and I looked at the sister missionary who had a similar expression. We stepped into the room and there was this woman sitting. There was a beautiful Spirit in the room, it was precious. Bro Nelson offered a beautiful blessing. In tears she hugged him and thanked us for our time.  It was a beautiful experience that I won't soon forget. I pray for her.

I definitely know that Christ is ever aware of us. God does know us! It would surprise you how well He knows you. He knows us better than we do. He also knows when someone is in need, and He knows how to help them. Oh how He loves us. This is just Elder Johnson's doctrine and I don't have scriptures for this, but my personal opinion, is the reason mortals can't bear the presences of God without being translated is because He loves us so much that if we were fully in its presence we'd be incinerated immediately. He DOES LOVE US.
I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

 Elder Johnson

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I ALSO know, that when the Spirit is the teacher....Miracles abound in great abundance.

Story time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last Thursday we went on team ups with Bro Stapleton. The first person we tried wasn't home, but my companion suggested trying Bro E. We agreed and headed over. He's kind of a gruff man, he was in the military and is a little head strong, but very loving and kind. In the past I only met with him once, usually he says their busy and tells us to call first.
As we knocked on the door I was afraid he wasn't going to let us in again, but he greeted us warmly and invited us in. 
As we chatted I prayed fervently to know what we might share to best help our brother come back into the church. I didn't feel any guidance. But I knew to still have faith. As we kept talking I kept worrying, how can we help him! And How do we get this conversation to get there! The opportunity arose and I seized it quickly. I began to share a wonderful and beautiful experience that I had a few months before. 

We went and visited a less active woman Sis S, her sister J has severe Cerebral Palsy, so Sis S takes care of her constantly. J can't move very well and can't form words. But She smiles from ear to ear! and She is so happy and cheery. When we were visiting Sis S I thought of bringing my violin, but as the lesson ended it was time to start heading home, I didn't think we'd have time for me to play a song for Sis s and J. I kept thinking about how we needed to go, but for some reason I never brought up that we needed to leave. Neither did my companion. 
Later when we left, he told me that he too was worrying about leaving, but while sitting into his mind he heard a voice quoting the Prophet. into his mind he heard
"Never let a problem to be fixed, be more important than a person to be Loved."

Soon enough, J who was sitting in her wheel chair wheeled herself down the hall to come and say Hi. She was smiling so big. She was so happy to see us. I asked if I could play a song for J. Sis S was thrilled as well as J. I pulled out my violin, I knew which song to play.
Before I play, I always have a buzz of anxiety and worry. What if I forget the notes! what If I mess up! 
As I set the bow down on the string ready to play. I completely forgot how to play this song. My mind was blank, I forgot the notes. ....AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I said a prayer in my heart, asking for help. In response I remembered the first note is an F Sharp. I placed my finger down, and leapt forward in faith. 
I played I Am a Child of God in perfection. Not a single note was out of tune or misplaced.
I looked at J.  Tears, running down her cheeks.
She could not properly speak, but with the sounds she made I could tell what she was saying.
"Thank you, Thank you, Thank you."

I shared this story with Bro E. I could see the Spirit had touched his heart. The Spirit was very strong. I knew he could feel it. He said he knew he needed to come to church, and said himself he was unsure why he didn't go. It was a beautiful experience. I don't know if he really will come back in the immediate future, but this I know. God SENDS each of us to those that we can have the largest and deepest impact.

I ALSO know, that when the Spirit is the teacher....Miracles abound in great abundance. Were it not for the Spirit, I don't think Bro E would have come to that wondrous conclusion. But I know that the Spirit softened this man's heart, and God made His invitation clear, that His arms are "outstretched still". I know that God loves us. And It breaks His heart to see us hurt, in pain, or living contrary to His Gospel. Even when we slip into disobedience, God's arms are "Outstretched still" and He will always welcome the Repentant sinner. He did for me, and He will for all. 

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
 11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
 12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
 13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!

I testify God welcomes all who repent. I testify there is NO place too far or dark, that the Savior cannot rescue you. I testify turning to Christ is the Greatest Joy in all this world, And I speak from my own life, that the Atonement is real, and is ever available. 

The Atonement is INFINITE and never runs out. There is no limit upon the Atonement and how often we can use it. There is no meter that fills up saying we have run out of chances to repent. Never. The Atonement is Infinite and will help us overcome every weakness, as well as the weaknesses not related to sin.
 I so Testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

with Love,   Elder Johnson