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