Monday, February 23, 2015

MIRACLES. The Reason I was sent here

Hello my friends and FAMILY!!!!!!!!
okay. you are going to pass out and die because of how great this week was!
Sorry! it's super long! But I promise it's super worth it!!!! :)
Missionaries I love:
SO.  first off!!!    Elder Gish is doing AWESOMEEEE. I just wanted to include him in here and say thanks for the prayers :) He's doing SO awesome!!!! He's a spiritual TANK.
Anywho! Next!!! We had our Zone training last week and it was awesome!!! I got to see Sister ROSENGREN!!!!!! I love herrrrrr!!! She's like my favorite Sister!!! She served with me in Berwick! 

Our Stake Conference was this weekend! but the saturday sessions were cancelled due to the weather......HEART BROKEN. And on sunday I wanted to go up to the Pitt 3rd stake center...because that was my FIRST AREAAAA!!!! I was sooooooooooooooo excited to go.  buuut.......meh.

So our chapel here in McKeesport had a broadcast so that we could watch it here instead of go up....opposite of what I wanted... But I was grateful to go to our chapel. Story time! We wanted to arrive early in case no one had shoveled the snow at the chapel. Turned out such was the case! We were the only ones there! as we showed up the Access bus (a bus system for those in wheelchairs) showed up to bring Sister Murphy and her husband. BUT THE WALKS WEREN'T SHOVELED SO SHE COULDN'T GET IN AND IT WAS 18 DEGREEES!!!!!!! Elders to the rescue! We jumped out of our car and shoveled ice bricks like hooligans. Luckily it all worked out and she was able to get inside just fine. The branch arrived and helped us finish the job.  Even though I wanted EVER so badly to go to Pitt 3rd, the Lord needed us somewhere else.  He needed us there at that specific time to offer a helping hand.  In a way, The Lord provided me an opportunity to Sacrifice. I am ever so grateful for that experience :)

MIRACLES. The Reason I was sent here
This week I heard a beautiful story from Elder Bashein (an elder I came out with! we're super close!)
He is actually serving in Pitt 3rd (my first area). Here's my story :)

A year ago when I was in Pitt 3rd with Elder Birrell. We were going to see a less active lady. We arrived 20 min early. We decided to try tracting on some doors. As we walked in the neighborhood I felt prompted to try a specific door. We went up and knocked. A woman named Amie came out and she was actually interested! But she was super busy and so were we. We looked at our watches. Time for our appointment with the less active! We told her we'd be back in 1 hour! We left her a card and went to our appointment. Afterwards we rushed one answered the door.... We tried again next week. Her husband answered and said "We're not interested!" slamming the door.      I was transferred and totally forgot about that experience.

Elder Bashein shared with me, that a month ago a referral came through Someone had requested a visit named Amie. Elder Bashein spoke with her over the phone. She said she was going to give up on the church and not learn again. But she remembered those 2 missionaries who came a year ago and wanted to give our church one last chance. Elder Bashein and his companion went and have been teaching not only her, but her family as well.
Amie is going to be baptized on March 7th. Her family may follow shortly after.

I'm EVER so grateful to have been able to be in McKeesport. SO. Grateful. to have been able to hear the fruits of my labors. I really feel like that's why I've been sent to this area at this time. To be able to witness the fruits of my labors while in Pitt 3rd. When I arrived here, two people that I taught while in pitt 3rd ended up moving into the Mckeesport branch. In both cases they needed help moving in. I was the first to hear and our branch came to the rescue to help. This is also the area where my first baptism Brandon Jones lives. I also have seen many wonderful members from Pitt 3rd here in McKeesport that I became very close with a year ago. I've been able to hear of the miracles that have happened. and the missionaries joy in pitt 3rd is mine as well. I've been able to hear how the members in pitt 3rd are doing as well. And I was able to see Sister Rosengren and hear somethings from her that I really needed to hear. By way of analogy, when I was in Pitt 3rd I pitched the baseball of my efforts. Now that I'm in McKeesport I was able to catch it. Hand signed by Heavenly Father. He had prepared many miracles for me to come back and be a part of once more. As if to say "Thank you my Son. For working so Faithfully. Thank you. for working for Me."

I really know that Heavenly Father loves us. I truly know it. He had prepared these beautiful miracles for me to witness and be a part of. I'm so grateful to be here in this mission. These people are wonderful. The missionaries, the members, the investigators. I'm so grateful to have been called to the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Mission. At the time I opened my mission call letter, my friends also did too. My best friend Tate, after opening his letter told me that he just had an overwhelming sense of peace come over him. Telling him that's where he needed to go. I felt bad, because I didn't have that feeling at all...But I pushed forward in trust. Trusting that it was the right place. As I've served here, for now what is 19 months. I've been able to slowly see the big picture and I have truly felt this is where I belong :) I love you all and I testify of a loving Heavenly Father that is ever aware of us. I testify His will is the Happiest way for all of us. His purpose is "to bring to has the immortality and eternal life of man." His purpose. Is us. I testify Christ does Live. He does live and direct this church. I so Testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 
Elder Johnson

Do these pillars look familiar?? THEY SHOULD! THEY'RE IN BATMAN!!!!
It was filmed in Pittsburgh! this is where Bayne fights Batman!

my district!!!     "many are cold but few or frozen!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I was so amazed that Darnell (Investigator) wanted to share the Gospel!


Hello my family and friends!!
This week was just JAM PACKED with explosive miracles of happiness and goodness!!!!!
aaaand.....the weather was like 0 degrees and negative 1.... which by the way. is TERRIBLE.
But besides that! It was FAAANTAASTIC.

okay! first miracle!!!
We saw Victoria and JJ!!!! It was suuuch and awesome lesson! As we taught Victoria was aggressively engaged in listening and learning! JJ and Victoria got into a little argument about the spirit world. Bye bye Spirit! Contention drives the Spirit away!

Not really sure what to say or do I just popped in and started to bare my testimony. The sweet love and peace of the Spirit came back and we were able to finish the lesson on a high note! Victoria was really struggling with forgiveness. She didn't believe she could be forgiven of what she's done. As we said the closing prayer, this thought came into my mind very clearly and I knew what I was supposed to do.
I told her this: "Okay, Victoria. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to find a room in your house that is free of any and all distractions. A place where you can meditate and not be distracted by anything. Then i want to kneel, and pray to God. As you do I want you to tell God how you are feeling. Whatever emotion it might be. For example "Dear Heavenly Father, I feel happy, sad, confused." Whatever it might be, tell Him how you feel. Yes He already knows how you feel, but He wants to hear from you. Then I want you to ask Him questions. About anything, whatever is on you mind."   She agreed. I felt the Spirit reaallly strong as I invited her to that commitment. I continued "Have you ever asked specifically fort he Holy Ghost?" She had indicated she had not. I invited her to do so. It was such a neat experience. I felt the Spirit so powerful. It amazed me the simplicity, yet POWER of prayer.

Then! We say Darnell!!!!! It was SOOOO amazinggg!!!! oh my goodness!!! We went in and sat on the couch as usual, but this time he told us to come upstairs... I was confused....that meant......wait! No! It couldn't be!!!!!    YEP! HIS GIRLFRIEND WAS GOING TO LISTEN!!!!! We went up and sure enough Tiffany was sitting there with Darnell. I was so amazed that Darnell wanted to share the Gospel.  Tiffany introduced herself. She told us she could see the challenges that Darnell was faces, but when he started learning about God and our church he was able to endure challenges with peace. She told us she wanted that too, and that by listening to us, she knew she could get that too. We were blown out of the water! wow. 

We began to teach her, she was SO receptive. Everything we shared she immediately said "Wow! That makes so much sense! I like that!"    It was so amazing how clear it was that Heavenly Father was answering her prayers. She told us she had recently started praying to God and has received help and happiness and peace. From what she said, it was clear she hadn't prayed like that until recently. Darnell told us that he had taught her to pray. It was such a powerful lesson. The Spirit of God was so evident. Wow. She is so prepared. The Spirit burned brightly into my soul a testimony, that God indeed sends us to His Children as promised. He is carrying His Truth to all of His Children.

I love you all and I wanted to share those tender moments with you. I invite all of you to deepen your conversion each and every day. I invite you to pray and ask Heavenly Father for a deepened testimony. It is 1000% okay, to pray and ask God to show His love for you. Is is absolutely okay to ask for His love and for His Spirit. I testify that His answer will come, and in your heart will burn His deep and abiding love. I also testify that it will surprise you how close He always has been, and will be. I testify Jesus Christ Lives, and is the very Son of God. He did Atone for our sins and our trials. His Atonement and Grace carry us every day. Oh how we need Him. And Oh how anxious are They to help us. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Johnson

it. is. so. cold.  I hate this place.. Just kidding!! love it! not the bitter cold though.

we had to abandon our poor little Corolla at the bottom of the hill because it couldn't make it up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sometimes we listen to satan's lie that the Gospel is hard to live. The Gospel is not hard to live! "LIFE is hard! .....NOT the Gospel!"

Hello my friends and family!!!
I just wanted to share something that I learned like,,,,10 minutes ago! haha.
Please excuse the terrible typing......I"m going fast because I have LOADS to share!!!
It's SUPSER long. but I promise you will not regret reading!!!

Soooo!!! This last week was GREAT. I got my new companion Elder Hinckley! From Syracuse Utah!
He is AWESOME. super obedient and very diligent!! And YES he's related to the Prophet!!!
Gordon B Hinckley is his...great great great grandpa''s....grandson.....?
yup!!!! Totally companion's with a future General Authority! that's right. BE JEALOUS.
hahaha.anywho. The work has been picking up like CRAZYYYYY!!!!! we taught loads of lessons!! and even  picked up a new investigator named Kelleka~!!!! wow talk about PREPARRREDDDD!!!!

She investigated mannnny years ago and still kept in touch with the sisters that taught her. She is still friends with them too!!! Her children have some health problems. Her 8 month old twins were born prematurely hand are VERY receptive to getting sick! SO when they get sick she ends up in the hospital!  She went there a few weeks ago and met two missionaries! She caught them and said "I know who you are! I know about you're church! Please come and visit me!"
Her info was passed along and we got to see her last saturday!!!  wowowowowowww!!! as we taught her she said "I remember that!"almost a million times! wow. Goes to show the slightest little bit of truth from God can stay in your heart forever :))))  anywho!! yesterday was AAMMAMAMMAMAMAAAAZZZINGGGG1!!!

okay! So the Greensburg area had a baptism yesterday!!!!! and We got permission to go there and attend the baptism!!! it was so great! to make it even better! Elder Hinckley (comp) 's trainer Elder Hunsaker also got to go to! and lo and behold Elder Hunsaker's companion is ELDER BIRRELLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FIRST SONNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Get this! so 8 MISSIONARIES all went to this baptism in Greensburg! Where Elder Gish was just transferred to!!!! I got to see both of my sons!!! (greenies) Talk about a happy dad! (trainer haha)
Sorry this email is exploding with too much happiness.

The Gospel IS happiness!!! Weird right? wrong! The Gospel IS happiness. We are EXPONENTIALLY happier when we are immersed in the Gospel. With lives dedicated and consecrated to Christ. Sometimes we listen to satan's lie that the Gospel is hard to live. 
FALSE. The Gospel is not hard to live!   "LIFE is hard! .....NOT the Gospel!"

The Gospel ENHANCES life. It enriches blesses, inspires and motivates. With the knowledge of the Gospel comes a feeling and sense of deep abiding and spiritual BELONGING. With the Gospel comes PEACE. With the Gospel comes REVELATION one of my personal favorites!
With the Gospel comes more happiness than we can ever have ANYWHERE else!!!

As we devote ourselves EVEN more to following Christ. our burdens are made light! I've been studying the Book of Mormon every day, reading 8 pages daily. As I came across the chapters in Alma about war. one phrase or theme has stuck out every time. DELIVERANCE.
The World teaches us that in order to escape challenges and difficulty we should sin!
Is that backwards or what?!?!?!? That's like saying....."Why hello there mister, I'm sorry you're struggling right now, Why don't you drink this rat poison?"

With the Gospel! we understand that in oder to face life's challenges we must turn to our Almighty creator. Even our Loving Heavenly Father. I find it quite humbling and comforting, that out of ALLLL the terms and phrases of deity that God deserves, He as asked us. His most Beloved Creations, to refer to and address Him as FATHER.

I testify that the Gospel will get us out of any pickle we might be in! I testify that God does love us and hears EVERY word we pray. I testify He is SO aware and DEEPLY engaged in blessing our lives. I encourage all of you to try something that I have done which has DEEPLY enriched my relationship with My Father in Heaven.

In the Scriptures the phrase "pour out" is often used to describe prayer. Think of your emotional well being as a glass pitcher. Every time you feel emotion (stress, happiness, sadness, pain) a splash of water is thrown into your pitcher. As you live life it gets more full and occupies your pitcher. Sooner or later you get full!!! You're at the brim! You feel sick, overwhelmed! Nothing makes sense anymore! God tries to teach you more!but He can't! Because you're too full!

So?!??! the solution???? Pray to God, and POUR OUT!! just dump out your feelings to Heavenly Father. Everything!!!!! DUMP IT OOUTTTT. Pour out every drop until you can't think of anything more to say!!! Then when you're empty God can teach you more!  "Pour out, so God can Pour in!"

I know that doing so will bless you immensely. I have had SUCH great peace and joy by praying like that and I feel Like I'm really talking to a person that cares enough to listen even if I think He doesn't. He DOES. He DOES care. Anywho. I love you all. I hope this email has helped or blessed you in some way! But Most importantly I really hope you understand WHO YOU ARE AS SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD.
I testify this work is true! and REAL!  I testify Christ does live, and will DELIVER us as we repent and put our trust in Him! In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  Elder Johnson

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Many miracles happened this week. Even today!

Well I've got a surprise!
President Johnson called and Elder Gish is being transferred tomorrow!
Weird huh!?!?
I'm getting my new companion tomorrow! He's Elder Hinckley and he's AWESOME!
I kinda already know him, so I'm EXCITEDDDD!!!!

Elder Gish is still in our stake luckily! So I'll get to see him at stake conferences and zone meetings. Which I'm super grateful for.

Many miracles happened this week. Even today!
We haven't been able to see Darnell FOR EVVVVVERRRRR. We've called and called and called and called and HAS NOT ANSWERED!!!! we were super sad about that.....It's been almost 4 weeks!!!

BUT! today I just had a thought "Hey maybe you should try him again?"
So I sent a text and HE RESPONDED!!!!! WE'RE SEEING HIM TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope it all goes well! 
Anywho. Sorry this one is short, but know that I love each and everyone of you so very much.

I just wanted to share my testimony that our Heavenly Father is EVER aware of us and our needs! We may not realize it, but He is watching over us always.

“And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” D&C 84:88

I beg of you to please be those angels for someone else. There's no greater feeling than knowing you've been an answer to someone's prayer. 
I love you all and leave you my testimony that Christ does live and His Atonement is real, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Johnson

Pics: so much SNOWWWW