Monday, December 23, 2013

merry christmas

I hope all is well in the land of utah!
I just wanted to share an amazing experience I had while serving here.
The beginning of this week was pretty awful, I was smart enough to say "I'd be happy if we just taught one lesson!" Lo and behold, we taught one lesson, and every single appointment afterwards canceled on us.....It was a rough start to a week. But friday, Miracles began to happen. So here's some background. Denise, is a less active woman who has a killer testimony of the church, so spiritually powerful! She's had some health issues so her brother Al came to watch over her for a while. We've been teaching Holly, which is Al's exwife and Denise's sister in law. Got it? Good. Anyways, so we were teaching Al with Denise present, and it was just not good. Al had so many questions and basically told us this religion was a lie. Halfway in the lesson Al and Denise invited Holly over, and it was a DISASTER. All three were yelling at each other trying to prove why or why not the church was true. Elder Birrell and I didn't have a second to breathe. Before we knew it Holly stormed off and the spirit was gone.
We all simmered a bit and Al took off too. We said a prayer and brought the spirit back, and told Denise she needs to be a support for Holly now that Holly's discovering the truth. Luckily Holly still accepted to have a lesson that night. We taught her the Plan of Happiness, and the spirit was so thick there. We were all beaming from cheek to cheek, understanding God's wonderful plan for us. At the end of the lesson, Holly said "I just want to bear my testimony, that I know the Book of Mormon is true!" The spirit hit us like a wall. It was so powerful. Holly immediately felt the spirit come over her and helped her realize how powerful her words were. Holly was in awe at what she just said, and the spirit was with all of us that day. It was one of the most powerful experiences I've ever had. Brothers and Sisters. What a blessing it is to have the Book of Mormon, another testament of the life of the Savior Jesus Christ. May we all remember how wonderfully sacred this time is! I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and will bring us closer to Heavenly Father than any other source. I love you all, so much. Merry Christmas from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania! 
With love,
Elder Johnson

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

weekly update in depth

Here's my weekly update! This time it's in depth.

we had Pday, then we had dinner at the Cooks. Their house is INSANE. they had 5 kids that were madly obsessed with Harry Potter, and every time we tried to teach they blurted out something about Harry Potter. It was a pretty interesting lesson.
We were low on miles the mileage limitation, so we walked to the service project we had. It was suuper cold, but we bundled up like walking sleeping bags. Then we met this old man named Ed. We shoveled his walk and spoke to him. We introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And Elder Birrell said he was from Utah. Then Ed yelled "Well at least you're not a mormon!" ......It was an interesting moment haha
We had zone conference, and it was SO inspiring! It was like a spiritual punch in the face. We were about a half hour late to it...luckily no one noticed...except for the president's wife. But all is well! I played angels we have heard on high on the violin! That was pretty cool. 
We were teaching a less active sister, and her daughter kaylee was there. Kaylee had investigated before, but she ran up to the elders one day and said she didn't want to be baptized until she was 14. And I haven't ever taught her since i've been here. But she just HAPPENED to be sick that day and stayed home from school, so we were able to see her. Coincidence? I think not. We taught her and the spirit was SO strong. We asked her how to get to heaven, and she said "Going to church, reading your scriptures, and being baptized!" Then her mom leaned over and said, do you want to be baptized? And Kaylee said YES! It was such a powerful moment!
We taught Holly about obedience. We started by watching Mountains to climb, one of the mormon messages. The spirit was super strong. Holly knew the spirit was there, and she said "The spirit is telling me I need to go to church and be baptized" It was such a powerful experience. The spirit was so strong.
The sisters in the ward had a baptism!
Then we taught a less active named Sis Stock. We planned on teaching the plan of salvation, but the spirit kept drawing my mind to the scriptures in Moroni 10:3-5. So I followed the prompting and read them to her. And immediately her spirit perked up, and her heart was softened. We commited her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and she whole heartedly agreed. After the lesson, she asked if we plan what to say before we teach, or if we just make it up. I told her to have faith that what we said was inspired of God. And it was. A few days later I looked in my study journal of saturday, and I had studied those exact verses right after studying for her, and I was completely oblivious to this until then. I don't know why she needed to hear those words, but I know it was an answer to her prayers, and it was exactly what she needed. 
It was so exciting! She fell asleep a few times because the spirit was too strong for her to handle.. But she came!
And that's the week! It was an amazing week and I learned so much! Anyways, thanks for everything you do for me. Thank you for your prayers, and thank you for your love and support. With Love,
-Elder Johnson

Monday, December 9, 2013

the true meaning of CHRISTmas

Hello friends and family!!
PA is SO strange. It snows one day and rains the next! Not a terribly good combination of things when all there is is hills and sharp turns. Driving is a nightmare! It's a good thing the Lord is watching over us! And yes mom, I'm driving as ridiculously safe as I can muster. So don't worry! I'm doing fine and dandy, our teaching pool has dropped reaally low, but it's okay! We'll get em! Yinz guys will be glad to hear that Brandon (the one we baptized) is now taking MISSION PREP to SERVE A MISSION IN THE COMING YEARS!!!!!!!!!!! Please keep him in your prayers as he prepares! Anywho. I have such a testimony that the Lord is preparing the hearts of men! This week was pretty sad.. We dropped an investigator named David. He wasn't totally humble about his religious background, but we loved him SO much. We bawled out our eyes as we left his house. But he knew and could feel we are Christ's messengers. Right after we got inside the car we said a prayer for him. We had 20 minutes extra until our next appointment so we got out and roamed the streets for a little bit. We bumped into a man walking his dog. We introduced ourselves. and BOOM. He asked SOOOOO many questions about our church. He said he was christian, and he was trying so hard to find out what was different about our church, it seemed like he was TRYING to have a problem with it, but every time he addressed something we said "Yeah! that's exactly what we believe" Every time he tried to stump us, the Lord gave us the answer. It was such an amazing moment. We looked at our watches and 40 minutes had past!!!!! We taught a guy the restoration on the streets for 40 minutes! It was such a testimony builder to me that the Lord prepares His children, and also, that if we're under the Lord's errand we will never be confounded against the wise.
Anywho, I love you all! Thanks for everything you do for me! :) In the spirit of Christmas, I invite you all to do what the Prophet Thomas S Monson has asked: To give up ourselves for the service of another. And I promise as you do so, you'll have a stronger testimony of the atonement, and appreciate the true meaning of CHRISTmas, ;)
-Elder Johnson

Monday, December 2, 2013

fan the flame of your faith

Hellooooo friends and family!!!!
I just love PA!! The people are nice, almost never sunny, and no one knows how to drive!!
Just kidding, I really do love it here! I have SUCH a strong testimony of missionary work! It's so powerful, and its blessing even so. Last week I have gained SUCH a testimony of talking to everyone! Elder Martin and I were on exchanges and our day was set and planned to perfection! Then almost every plan we had made fell through and things began to fall apart. We put our faith in the back ups we planned and pursued to see these people. We arrived at the home of a family we picked up two weeks ago, only one car was parked in their driveway and the lights were dim. We were discouraged to see signs showing that no one was home. Before we knocked on the door, we noticed a man quite a ways down the street walking his dog. Even though he was far away we ran down the street like ninjas sneakily and started talking to him. He wasn't at all interested and tried his hardest to get away. We invited him to accept a Book of Mormon and still declined. He walked away and we started to head back toward their home, but this time their was another car there! We knocked on the door and we saw a Larry, an investigator we've been trying to see for a while. We were let in, they fed us AMAZING FOOD. He's a chef, no big deal. And we had an AMAZING lesson with them. We talked about eternal families. Larry's wife asked how our church came to be, and Larry started to TEACH her the restoration!!!!!! The spirit was so powerful. Larry told us this was literally the only time he's been home all week, and it was a miracle we were even able to see them. Yes, yes it was a miracle!
Always put your faith first! It seems like we all know this principle, but it's over looked far too often. When Christ was here on this earth, the sick were healed by their Faith. And just as before, We too, are healed by our FAITH! I sure love this Gospel, It's blessed and changed my life! I never want to go home! (Sorry mom) Anyways, I love you all, thank you for being a torch of faith in my life. As counseled by Elder Jeffery R Holland. First and forever, fan the flame of your faith!! Thank you all, for fanning mine! Bye! Be safe, and have fun!
-Elder Johnson

Monday, November 25, 2013

ask in faith and thank in gratitude

Hello my friends and family! I hope utah and wherever you may be is treating you nicely! PA sure is getting cold here! The wind just cuts right through our clothes! Hallulujah for scarves! Anywho, I sure have been doing great this past week! It was really...reaaally weird though. A ton of our appointments cancelled and we ended up teaching random investigators we thought wouldn't progress. It's been an interesting mix up. It snowed a bit this week too, we're super excited for the holidays!!!!. Elder Birrell and I have been listening to elder david archuleta's christmas album since october! Our thanksgiving plans seem super promising too! we're eating at a members home and doing some service for a nonmember!
This week I've definitely gained a testimony of praying in faith. These past few weeks we were having a really hard time seeing our investigator Holly. We've tried seeing her for so long and we've had absolutely no luck. We prayed intently that we'd be able to see her. And we did! I also prayed that we'd have a better relationship with the bishop. Lo and behold he asked us if he and his wife could come to our appointment with Holly. It truly was so inspired. We talked about repentance, and read from the powerful scriptures from D&C 121, it was so amazing. We honestly had no idea if we'd actually see her that day, but we put our faith first and did all we could to make it happen. And the Lord answered our prayers. I know that the Lord will, ALWAYS answer our prayers, when we ask in FAITH. If we ask for blessings and then don't do anything about it there's no point in asking! That's like asking santa for a unicorn and then being naughty anyways. Tisk tisk, that surely isn't the way! Heavenly Father has definitely blessed me, and answered my prayers. And I know it's because I didn't give up! No matter how discouraging trials may feel, it would serve us well if we did our best to be grateful! This thanksgiving surely is a blessing in helping us remember how much the Lord's hand is in our lives. I invite all of yinz to 'Ask in faith, and thank in gratitude', and I promise you will find it to be one of the most powerful resources prayer can offer!
I love you guys!! Thank you for your prayers and support! I'm so grateful to hear from ya'll, and for those of you who don't write me I'll track you down and throw a pennsylvania snowball at you!
Love Elder Johnson


Monday, November 18, 2013

don't take temples for granted

All is well here in da Burgh! It snowed the other day, not sure if i'm happy or sad. The cold wind cuts right through you! But that's okay, I have the spirit of God like a fire is burning. Some members in the ward love korean food so we ate some at their house the other day. I was definitely a happy camper. And my companion hates it with all his might. I may or may not have chased him around the living room with a jar of kimchi... 
Today I wanted to talk about the beauty, and amazing experiences that the temple offers us. The temple is literally the House of The Lord. Only purity, love, and the spirit reside in its dedicated walls. It's such an amazing blessing from the Lord. This week we taught a less active member about temples. She was so thrilled and excited to once again walk into the temple doors and feel the indescribable spirit there. A married couple came with us to help us teach, and they bore powerful testimonies of how the sealing ordinance has blessed them, and helped them improve their relationship with each other and the Lord. This less active's brother also sat in the lesson. He was pretty stubborn in his faith, and seemed like this grumpy old dude, but he was so glad to hear that these ordinances can be offered to those who have passed away. Rather than be confused or freaked out, a light came on in his eyes. Of course our Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children. 
My invitation to all of you, is to attend the temple as frequently as your time will permit you. I promise you, that you're LIFE will glow, and everything will feel, and BE better and happier. Temple work, is the exact same as Missionary work. And the Lord will bless you for your diligence. I'm not sure if this is absolutely correct, but I heard Pittsburgh is the largest city in the US without a temple. I can't attend one for 2 years of my life. And most of you live 5 minutes from one. I'm pretty jealous! haha, Anyways, I love you all. Thanks so much for being an example to me. I know this work is real, and that the Book of Mormon is true. Love yinz!
-Elder Johnson

Monday, November 11, 2013

put your trust in the Lord

Hello friends and family! Wow it's getting ridiculously cold here! And yes mom, i'll dress warm. Today I wanted to share a quick story of the small miracles we've seen as we've strived to serve the Lord with FAITH! So the other day, almost every single appointment we had scheduled cancelled on us. We had no idea what we were going to do, and we didn't want to waste the Lord's time. We decided we needed to have FAITH that everything would work out and that we would be led to those that the Lord had prepared. We went to the home of a former investigator, who blew us off quite a bit... For example, we ran into her and scheduled an appointment for sunday, and when we got there we found out she went to a Steelers game the entire day... Anyways, We stopped by her house having faith that everything would all work out. Carla was very open and very kind. She's just this bubbly personality. We were super excited to teach her, but nothing seemed quite right. We offered to have a prayer and we did. After we opened our eyes her husband had run inside and joined the prayer. (He told us he was a chef, so we totally got a killer good caesar salad.) And we taught Carla and Larry (her husband) Carla ended up leaving for an emergency, and the spirit began to take place. We taught Larry the restoration, the spirit was so strong as he read Joseph Smith's first vision. During the lesson, the TV went quieter, his son was nowhere around to distract, the pets went away. It was just us three, and the Holy Ghost. The second we ended the lesson, I heard the TV his son came downstairs and the room was filled with noise. It just goes to show how much the Lord loves His children, US. He loves Him so much, we wanted this moment to be completely still and perfect, so the spirit could testify to Larry's heart that it was true. I invite all of you, to put your trust in the Lord, if you already do, try taking another baby step of devotion to our loving Heavenly Father. When we make time for our Heavenly Father, He will make MORE time, for us. I promise you, small and simple miracles will become more and more evident in your lives. I love you all, thank you for your love and support. I know this work is true. I know our Heavenly Father lives and loves us.

-Elder Johnson

p.s. April got her call to Korea!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap that is so amazing!!! I'm so flippin excited!! OHHHMYYYGOODDDNEESSSSSSSS!!! The computer was being super slow today, and i was DYING to find out where she was going, and I was on the email thing, trying to click on one of the emails from dad mom or April, AND. IT. WOULDN'T. LOAD. I was goin crazy! But holy cow! KOREA??!?!?!?!?! Totes jeal.
Anywho, I love you April, this is such an amazing and life changing experience, I'm so happy for you :) :) :) proud of youu poop face!!!... i mean SISTER POOP FACE!!

Stay strong. Stay Pure. Stay awake. Stay away. From.....BOYS. Much love.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

keeping the word of wisdom

Hello friends and family!!!! 
Pittsburgh is getting FREEEZZZZING nowadays. Okay not that bad, but pretty darn cold. I started training Elder Birrell last week. He's such an awesome missionary. He has a strong testimony and such a strong desire to serve the Lord! We're not quite used to each other's personalities but hey! It's a fun learning process! He's a goon, and he's awesome.
Today's I wanted to share a little miracle that the Lord blessed us with last week. Lately we've been teaching H, she is so prepared!! She's so hungry for knowledge of the gospel! We originally planned for a member to come and help us teach, but he got sick and couldn't come. For some reason J came to my mind, so we texted him and he said he could give us a ride and help us out. That morning we prepared to teach her the Restoration again. We saw her sitting on the porch as we drove by, and she had pulled out a cigarette and sat there puffing away waiting for us to arrive. She saw us and recognized it was us in the car and jumped out of surprise! She scrambled to throw it away. We walked inside and she was sitting at the table trying to look innocent. I pointed my two fingers to my eyes then glared and pointed back to hers. It was funny. We ended up teaching the Word of Wisdom, even though we had already made a lesson plan, the spirit told us to teach something else. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever seen or been a part of. The spirit was so incredibly strong. We all cried, including me ;) I told her "You've tried to quit smoking by yourself, and it hasn't worked, but now you can quit with God on your side" The spirit was so powerful.
The member we brought bore a powerful testimony of how he learned to live the Word of Wisdom. It brought the spirit so strongly. After the lesson ended we gave her a blessing and left. On the drive home, J turned and asked "How'd you know I was on vacation?"
It was a miracle. I'm so blessed to have been there to witness the power that God has to change hearts. I invite all of you to pray and ask the Lord to change your heart. Ask for help in becoming more like the Savior. and I promise you, from my own experience with this, that He will help you, and I promise you will feel God's Love. 
I love you all, thanks for being a part of my life. This work is true! There's no way I could deny the miracles that happen every day! 
-Elder Johnson

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

pierced even to the very soul

How yinz guys doin!
Pitt sure is getting chilly! The leaves are turning, and it's SO PRETTY! Transfers are comin around, and Elder Sparrow's leaving to be a district leader. and I'm training a new missionary! I hope I know enough, oh well! a sister told me that the Lord always qualifies those who desire to serve. What a wonderful promise! If we get a scary calling, or even get asked to go on a split, be not afraid. Only believe. The Lord will qualify us for anything He needs us to do. And by all means, if the Lord asks me to do something. I'm going to do it! Only blessings come from following the Savior! 
Last week we taught a members sister in law Holly. This sister has been trying to get Holly to hear the missionaries for over a year. We were the ones who got to teach her. The spirit was so thick, no one could deny it was there! She told us of a dream she had years and years ago. She was sitting on her bed, and Jesus was sitting next to her, whispering in her ear. She was told to type out all of these words as she heard them. The words appeared on a large television screen as she typed. I felt prompted to share Helaman 5:30. She read the verse. And tears fell from her eyes. These words touched her heart, and pierced even to the very soul. In all of these years, no one has been able to help her understand her dream. Not one could answer her question. And she finally understood the voice of perfect mildness.
Brothers and sisters. I love you all, the Lord DOES qualify us, and DOES answer our prayers. This wonderful daughter of God waited for years, but she did get her answer, and it changed her life. I invite you all, to read the scriptures every day, and pray for understanding and enlightenment before you begin. Ask for the Holy Ghost to be with you. I promise you, that you will feel and see the Lord's hand in your life, and that your eyes will be opened to something you didn't understand before.
With love. Elder Johnson

One of our investigators, Brandon. He's awesome.

Monday, October 14, 2013

chewed us up and spit us back out

How all yinz doing!
I've been doing well here in da Burgh. We went to a mission tour and a 70 came. He chewed us up and spit us back out.
AND IT WAS AWESOME! WOW, such a spiritual powerhouse. Missionary work is such a blessing! I hope all of you can feel the missionary fire! It's so amazing seeing one of our beloved brothers and sisters come into the fold of the savior. One of our investigator's named brandon is progressing so well. He's so enthusiastic about the gospel, and he's so hungry for this knowledge we can barely keep up. I've never seen someone with such a passion for following our savior Jesus Christ. Last week he said he was going to write up a huge talk and bear his testimony during sacrament. And he actually did! This tall, black, lanky 18 year old made his way up to the pulpit and began reading scriptures to us. It was amazing to see him express his feelings about the importance of the relationships we hold with our Heavenly Father and with those around us....He also spent a good chunk of time talking about the law of chastity. But! It was an awesome testimony. It was so great seeing him bear his testimony. He hasn't missed a week of church in 2 months straight. The power of testimony sure is amazing. The very books we read from, and should be reading from every day, contain testimonies of Christ. Some, witnessed for themselves the very coming of Christ. Some have touched his hands and feet, and have heard his voice. Our Latter Day testimonies are no different from theirs. Live true to the knowledge of the gospel. It only brings us joy. That's why we have it! I invite you all, to share with one of your close friends, WHY you are a member of this church. Bear your testimony to them of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I promise, that the words you speak will be given to you in that very moment. I promise that those words will ring a familiarity in their ears, and that you will feel the greatest Joy there is on this earth. Our Heavenly Father's Love.
I love you all, thank you for your love, and for your prayers. I'm so blessed to know you! 
-Elder Johnson

Elder Sparrow pointing at his parents who sang in conference.

The baby's name is Mathew, he has a lot of health problems, but he's super cute.

A GIGANTIC rubber duck, that some guy in europe made, and it just sits there and floats in the river. this year pitt got it! we went to a zone conference so we saw down town!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

ending our declaration of faith with an exclamation point

Hello my friends and family!
This week sure has been a spiritual power house! Conference was amazing! We're so blessed to have the inspired counsel of prophets seers and revelators to guide us in these Latter Days! I don't know if you could tell, but every sentence I said ended with an exclamation point! Just as a counsel given to us about the excitement of the gospel, I want to speak of the talk given about ending our declaration of faith with an exclamation point! You can't help but get excited about missionary work. It is such a blessing to hear about how the gospel has changed the lives of those seeking the truth, but an even greater blessing to be there, and be a part of it. Missionary work is most definitely not limited to a name tag and a tie, but can be LIVED! Our Father in Heaven knew that these last days would be filled with calamities, disasters, and growing moral decay, which is why we were sent to live at this time. We were handpicked to live here on the earth, because the Lord knew we would be strong enough, and brave enough to stand as Latter. Day. SAINTS. Live with joy and praise! There is no better calling then helping your brother or sister come to know of the truthfulness of this church. Exclamation point! Enjoy life, live this time that the savior has given you to the fullest you can. And live your testimony as you do. Because you may never know who will grow from your shining, pure, and loving example. After all, there are many, who are kept from the gospel, because they know not where to find it.
I know this church is true, I know that we are all brothers and sisters, created by a Heavenly Father who so dearly wants us to succeed and be happy. I know God lives.
I love you all, thank you for your optimism and joy, and your enthusiasm about this work. Thank you for being a light to me.
-Elder Johnson
Here's a pic of our neighbors birthday present. We wrapped a bom in newspaper, and threw in some mints and crackers into a box haha. She liked it, but she's oober catholic and tries to convert us

We did some service for the Zebroski's after watching conference with them and found those masks. Oh, and I parted my hair ;)

A caterpillar I picked up.

Elder Sparrow with my glasses.

Monday, September 30, 2013

stand ye in holy places, and not be moved

Why hello friends and family! All is well here in da Burgh! The temperature is dropping and the leaves are changin! Sounds like FALLL! I can't wait to see the fall colors in full force! It's going to be great!
Anywho, last week I had a great experience. We visited a less active named Sister Mcclendon, she misses a lot of church because of her job, but she has such a powerful testimony of the gospel. Her grand daughter is also a member, but lately she's been pressured with the bent views of high schoolers. Sis mcclendon expressed her feelings of wanting her granddaughter to be safe, and protected in high school, she said that she has gotten a lot of peer pressure lately. I felt prompted to speak about the youth's theme to "Stand ye in Holy places, and be not moved", I spoke about it, and why the Lord has asked us to stand firm, and live as an example. The spirit was there. Her grand daughter felt our love as we spoke to her. When I was in high school, (which was only a few months ago, goodness!) I carried around a small For the Strength of Youth card in my wallet, and I had it with me almost all 3 years. Every now and then I would unfold it and read from it. It really did help me throughout high school. While sitting in the Mcclendon's home, I remembered the card in my pocket. I told them my story of how the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet helped me through high school. And I gave it to her grand daughter. She was so touched, and tears welled in her eyes. 
The gospel is meant to be an anchor in our lives. It keeps us grounded to the eternal truths of this church, and always guides us to a happier and blessed life. By living the gospel, we not only help ourselves, but bless those around us. Our example, and our testimony burns bright in the eyes of those who have never heard of this great news. I want to challenge all of you, to live your testimony, and stand anchored to the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, particularly to the Youth. By doing so, we truly can stand in Holy Places, and be not moved. I bear my witness, of the power of example, if it were not for all of you, and your wonderful light in my life, I might not have made it out here in Pittsburgh. I bear my witness, that God lives, He loves us. Jesus lives, and his atonement can bless and lift us from any pit of despair. I know this is God's kingdom upon the earth.
I love you all. Thank you for your love.
-Elder Johnson

Monday, September 23, 2013

trust in the spirit

Hello friends and family!!! Life in da Burgh is pretty grand! It's been getting colder than a polar bears coca cola! Just kidding, it's just cold because all this darn humidity! Anywho, Elder Sparrow and I had a great experience teaching a recent convert. We had plans to see her at 7 o clock yesterday, but because her husband wasn't home, we had to bring another male with us, and we were struggling to find anyone available. We called and texted loads of people and no one responded or could make it. We sat and pondered, and almost immediately we said the same person. Excited that we both felt the spirit, we texted him and he was available, and more than willing to help us. We reviewed the lesson we had prepared for her, and then took off. We arrived at this sister's house, and i felt the spirit tell me not to teach what we prepared. It was strange, because I wasn't expecting that prompting, especially right then during the lesson. I thought of continuing to teach it, but the spirit refused to let me do so, I trusted it's prompting and we started talking about the role of prayer in our conversion. It ended up being an amazing lesson, one of the greatest I've felt. When we trusted the spirit we were given the words, and the questions to ask, to help this sister further develop her relationship with our Heavenly Father. Prayer truly is such a wonderful gift to us. If I wasn't a part of this church, and knew nothing of God, I would be so scared, and so afraid of what comes next, let alone the fact that we have the sacred privilege of conversing with Him as well. Our personal relationship is so important to establish, it shows God our love for Him, and greatly improves our relationships in all other forms, With our families, our friends, and just about any other human being on the planet! I love this church, I am so blessed to have this wonderful knowledge, and also the knowledge that my Father in Heaven is listening to every care, worry, and desire my heart could possibly hold. And He is more than willing to bless us with His grace, as we ask in faith. I love you all, thanks for your prayers, and for all that you have done to help me come out here in Pitt. 

Love Elder Johnson

We did service at the bishop's house. We destroyed his deck with sledge hammers and crow bars.
It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the importance of family home evening

HELLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! The weather forecast here in the Burgh of Pitt consists of rain, more rain, and literally dumptrucks of water EVERY OTHER DAY. But i don't complain, it's a nice twist from snow, rain, and sunshine in the same hour ;)
Time's a wastin! so I can't say much, but i've been doing grand! I sure love it here in Armpit. The people are so polite...kinda. But oh well, one way or another they'll get to hear about the gospel! Yesterday I was told something very peculiar. We met with a part member family and taught them how to hold a Family Home Evening. Another active family joined us to help out. We watched the Restoration video, it was very cool. The Spirit was definitely there. The father of the home asked me why I went to church, and pretty much politely demanded that I bear my testimony of my "conversion story" and how I knew the church was true for myself. I was comfortable doing so, so I didn't mind. I told him about the darkness, and light, and grace I felt as I lived through high school. He continued his questions of why I came back. I answered and bore my testimony of how the gospel has offered me the  protection, joy, and peace that comes from remaining anchored to this everlasting gospel. He looked over to his son who was also in high school. And I knew why he had asked. After we left, the member who accompanied us leaned over and told me "That, that is why you're here" I didn't quite understand what she said, and it was apparent to me at all, the effects of the words I spoke as I bore my testimony. But she saw how perfectly that piece of my life aligned with what this boy needed to hear. It was so amazing to be a part of that experience with their family. Families truly are ordained of God, every member of a family, has such divine potential, to serve one another, to lift and inspire, and to bless with words of true love and compassion. This is why we have Family Home Evening, so we can build those sacred experiences and relationships with each other. After all, the Home, is the only place that can compare to the sacredness of the Temple. I know this gospel is true, and I also know that we've all been prepared to speak with someone, and declare our testimonies of how we came to know of its truthfulness. I challenge all of you to hold a Family Home Evening, and offer up the words you might not normally speak. Tell your parents why you love them, thank them for the powerful and inspired counsel as they raised you into this world. Tell your siblings how special they are you to, and how blessed you are to have them. EVEN if the bug the daylights out of you. Thanks for all of your love and support. I love you all. 
-Elder Johnson

Monday, September 9, 2013

really. freaky. bugs

How all yinz doin!! SORRY! I've been busy beyond belief here in Pitt, so I didn't have time. But here I am!
All is well here in da burgh, the weather is very slowly getting cold, so that's going to suck.. But the leaves are beginning to turn yellow, I'm super excited. Apparently it's absolutely gorgeous. We've been getting REALLY. FREAKY. BUGS. More centipede things, plenty of spiders, and the other day I found the most terrifying spider ever. It was red, and had striped legs, and had a cheetah pattern on it's abdomen. No big deal though, indiana jones had it easy.

Anyways! It has been a spectacular week! Absolutely amazing. And it was all because we were trying to be exactly obedient. 
Elder Sparrow and I decided we should probably work harder at being exactly obedient, so we tried our hardest to get to bed on time, which was something we didn't do all the time. We did our best, and the next day we had the most amazing lesson I've ever been a part of. Elder Sparrow felt prompted to talk about prophets to a less active lady. We went to her house and started teaching the first lesson. Immediately after mentioning Joseph Smith, she brought up her concerns about why we even needed a prophet. Further guided by the spirit, I felt that revelation come to my mind, so that I could answer her question. I ended up telling her something along the lines of this "The Gospel is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But satan's temptations and craft are always changing to try and bring us into his grasp. They aren't the same, he's constantly thinking of new ways to distract us from this Gospel. We are given a prophet and revelations so we can combat those things."
She understood clearly this concept, and the Spirit bore testimony to her that it was true. Because of our obedience, the Spirit was there, completely and unrestrained. He prompted us what to say, and when to say it. He inspired our questions and the Spirit pierced her heart, and filled her with truth. She asked me to say the closing prayer, and as I did so, the Holy Ghost prompted me to know what to say. Afterwards, tears were in her eyes, and she was amazed at how personally those words have touched her. 
I felt as though I was just sitting there and watching, I only "participated" in the work. By striving to be obedient, the Lord provided the way, and all we did was listen.
I know this church is true. And all of our brothers and sisters need to hear about this message, that Jesus is the Christ, and by being obedient to his commandments and living worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are given the privilege of Eternal Exaltation. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God, and that Thomas S. Monson holds that same mantle. I know that living by their words, we can receive that further knowledge of how to protect ourselves from the adversaries snares, and we can feel the peace and impossible joy that comes from this Gospel. I want to challenge you, to invite someone to hear the words of these servants of the Lord, and invite them to watch General Conference. Ask them to have a question in their mind. A sincere, and genuine question, and I promise that it will be answered while watching, through, and because of the Holy Ghost. I love you all, thanks for your prayers and for your support! Bye!
-Elder Johnson

Monday, August 19, 2013

one month and true blessings

How all yinz doing!! Gee wiz, the mission is great! Can you believe I've been out for a MONTH?!?!?! Missionary work is such a blessing, no other work can compare with how sacred and special it is. Something I learned, That by doing all that we can to follow God, we are blessed. Like offering help, having a family and protecting your kids, withstanding the evils of the world and being as pure as we can be, All of these things have blessings that are promised with obedience. But missionary work, entitled us to ALL of those blessings. And I've seen it and felt it in my life. All of you are missionaries, you definitely don't have to have a name tag and a tie to be able to bear your testimony to someone, or offer a kind word. Missionary work is why we exist here, So that all of our brothers and sisters may partake of the fruit of this gospel. And as we do so, we will not only bless and lift them, but we will be lifted and blessed as well.
This week felt pretty crummy, almost all of our appointments cancelled on us, and one of our investigators called and said she knew it was true, but didn't want to change. Our hearts were discouraged, and we felt the full force of the trial of our faith. But it would be selfish to ignore the blessing that came toward the end of our week. We taught some of the greatest lessons we've ever had. The spirit was the strongest I've ever felt while out here, and we could see how special the light of the gospel was in their eyes.
A less active member said "Thank you for coming over, how did you know I needed this?" 
Heavenly Father loves us so dearly, He is so delicately placing opportunities in our lives. As we obey his commandments, and exercise our faith, we are qualified for the blessings He entitled to us. I love you all, thank you for being a part of my life, and for allowing me the opportunity to learn from your examples. 

Love Elder Johnson

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

mountain dew and pizza rolls

How all yins doing!! (That's Pittsburgh slang for "all of you")
The mission is grand! I'm learning a lot, and I can feel myself growing. It's weird to think I even had a life before this! Out of Elder Sparrow and I our motherhooding skills sum up to be a few pancakes and eggs. Other than that we suck at cooking. We tried heating up some meatballs someone gave us. And not knowing how to cook it. It managed to get heated in the microwave, frying pan, aand the oven. But hey, we're learning. We've enjoyed a lovely diet of mountain dews and pizza rolls. Luckily members feed us! Without em we'd die! You'll be happy to know my awkward clumsiness hasn't gone away. I was leaving a message over the phone, and while trying to push the hang up button, I missed and dropped it. So the message probably sounds a little something like this
"Yeah so call us back when you get the chance, see ya! HJJAOIFOHKKKKKSHHHHHH and then me yelling "Crap I dropped it!"
Oh well.

We found a lovely lady in her 60's named Diane. She's missing her front teeth so it's kind of hard to understand her. But she's so sweet and nice. We scheduled an appointment, and taught her last friday. The spirit was so strong, and Diane could understand everything. We bore our testimonies after the lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon. She held it so delicately, like it was the most  valuable thing she's ever touched. And the biggest smile was stretched over her face. We invited her to be baptized. And silence followed, but I knew the spirit would bear witness to her. And in the smallest whisper, she said yes. Emotion welled in our hearts and eyes, and she could see how much we loved her. It was truly an amazing experience. She came to church that sunday and she loved it. She said all churches should be like that.

Anyways, I love you all, thank you for your prayers and for your letters of encouragement. The Lord loves you, and He lives, I know it.

The Lord has held you in reserve for these last days. Look for opportunities to share the gospel, I promise that as you do, you'll come to understand WHY
-Elder Johnson

Monday, August 5, 2013

first week in the pitt

Hey guys and gals!!! WOW! Pittsburgh is GREAT. Everything is so lush and alive! You could plant a shoe in the ground and it'd turn into a tree! It's so green here, and full of life. The air is clean and healthy, and fireflies come out every night! Everyone here is suuuuper friendly, it's really different from Utah. If I were proselyting anywhere else they'd freak out and get mad, but everyone here is respectful and declines very politely. So. I guess there's a bright side. They all suck at driving too, I guess it's a requirement haha. They'll tailgate your car suuuuper bad, but they'd stop miles and miles of traffic for a duck in the road. It doesn't matter HOW FAST a car is going, they will stop in their tracks and let you turn in. Kinda funny. Anyways, my companion is great, His name is Ashton Sparrow from Ogden. We're both goofballs so you can probably imagine the fun we have. But for some reason he still thinks it's weird when I burst into the room belting songs from Tangled....

Yesterday we taught those golden investigators that everyone talks about. He was super receptive to everything we said. It was amazing!! A few days before that, we flagged us down as we were tracting our neighborhood, and we scheduled a meeting. Jason (the guy) sure has been through a lot, and God has blessed him all his life. Jason has a  very strong relationship with God, and he wants to do all that he can to serve Him. Jason soaked up everything we said. It was amazing, I love him so much, and I'm so excited for him as well. 

Our area was split when I came, so the Sisters got allllllllllllllllllllll the investigators, and we got AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL of the less actives. Jason was the only lesson we taught who wasn't already baptized... Anyways, we taught a less active named Levi. He returned from his mission and everything, but he hasn't been to church in forever. I bore my testimony about faith, and trusting in the Lord. Being further guided by the spirit, I ended up telling him that he had the gift of Faith, and that I KNEW him, even though I had just met him. I said I knew that he had a testimony, and had one of his gift of Faith. Wow. The Holy Ghost IS the true teacher. That lesson truly proved it. The spirit did all the work, I just sat there and listened. :)

Anyways, I love you all. And I want to leave you my testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the restored church of our loving Heavenly Father. Joseph Smith is his revelator, and through that love and spirit, translated the Book of Mormon and is the most correct book, of any kind on this earth. I have felt its indescribable power and truth, and I know that it can bless everyone, in every circumstance. I also know that I was called by God, to help the people of Pittsburgh understand this message, and that I am here to REMIND, my brothers and sisters of our Heavenly Father's divine plan. I love this church. I love you. And thank you for your prayers and letters of support.

 with love. Elduh JOHNSON! YAY YUH!

Andrew and his first comp, Ashton Sparrow!

There used to be a dog living in their house and it was full of dog hair!

Mission family tree. When someone trains you, they're your "dad," so here's a pic of my generations/grandparents.

Record breaking group of new missionaries

The city of Pittsburgh