Monday, March 30, 2015

It is SO important! Prayer and scripture study is your FOOD. Would you not eat for a day? Let alone a few months?!?!!

Hi there friends and family!
This one will be short. But I wanted to share neat lessons that I've learned over this week.
I've learned that what the Lord asks of us is great, but also easy and simple. I've learned that He doesn't ask for us to go and fight a war or do anything great and dramatic, But all He wants us to do is keep His commandments.
Our Father in Heaven wants us to pray daily and study His words.
Without EXCEPTION. We need to pray every day and read from the Scriptures.
No matter how bad of a day we have, no matter how awful we may feel, no matter how stressed out or tired we are, we will feel 100X worse without the Spiritual nourishment of daily prayer and Scripture study!

I remember that a teacher told me this in Sunday school once while I was very young.
"When we don't feel like praying.......Is when we need to pray the most!"
"When we don't feel like studying the when we need to the most!"

I cannot emphasize that enough! It is SO important! Prayer and scripture study is your FOOD. Would you not eat for a day? Let alone a few months?!?!!  Yet sometimes we do!!!  WHY.
Now, you don't have to go crazy and read all the standard works in a single day. The Lord says "It's not meet for men to run faster than they have strength," But He says to be diligent and steady!
It doesn't matter how much you read, or how long you are studying, what is most important is that it happens EVERY DAY. Without exception!

Even if you don't feel like you've learned, don't listen to satan's lie that it was a waste of time.
You see, even if you had a hard time focusing or didn't get very much out of what you read, you are still demonstrating your faith and are keeping the Lord's commandment to pray and feast upon His words. And eventually you will be taught amazing things that you would not have been able to learn had you stopped studying and praying.

and again. Don't go crazy. even a column of scripture is sufficient. Just like food, eating too much can also be bad for you, but the same with not eating enough. Just make sure, it happens every day!
I love you all!  I testify through experience, that the Lord is ready to teach you! 
I testify that POWER comes from the sunlight of the Scriptures and the nourishment of daily Prayer. 

I testify from my heart that these are God Given principles that, if applied, will bring you more joy and happiness!!!!
in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!  

 Elder Johnson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I told this couple that even when we don't feel like God is answering us, He does, but in His own timing and in His own way.

Hey there friends and family!!!!!!!!
Well! This week has been FILLED with miracles!

I sure love this ward! Everyone is SOOO nice and kind! They LOVE the missionaries.  I sure love it here! We finally got our old apt all cleaned up! It took SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much work! But my mom would be so proud!!!!! It's immaculate!
Wellll!!!!!   We almost died!
So we are all moved into our new apt. And the appliances and everything is new. We started preheating the oven, Elder Watkins and I started talking. I noticed a little switch on the top of the stove. And me being a curious boy tried flipping it to see what it did. It flipped on the light to the oven. Not to fantastic. But! when i looked inside I saw all the manuals and stuff for the oven inside! We could've dieddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO I got it out and everything was okay. But that was a close call!!! Just goes to show how the Lord can inspire our minds and keeps us safe!

Anywho. I had a wonderful experience that greatly lifted my spirits. The past few months of my mission have been the most difficult. It has pushed me to my limits. The other day we visited a couple who are members. The older man has Alzheimer's and they are really going through a hard time. As we met Elder Watkins threw me in the deep end and asked me to share a Spiritual thought. I thought of sharing my favorite scripture and the experience that made it my favorite. I talked about my trials, and how I felt the God had not answered me. I felt like God had abandoned me.I felt like He had left me and was not answering me.

 I told about the experience that I had in which He did indeed answer me. and He did so in a way that brought me the most joy and happiness. I told this couple that even when we don't feel like God is answering us, He does, but in His own timing and in His own way. I've learned that God does answer us, but He chooses the timing and way that brings us the most possible JOY. His way, and His time, is always geared to make us the happiest. He knows us better than we do. He knows what we need and what brings us the most joy!

The other day we were having a BAAAAD day. all of our appointments cancelled and we even got pulled over because Elder Watkins went through a stop sign (it's okay the cop was nice and let us go!) But that day  was AWFULL. We went to Wendy's to eat our sorrows away and I ordered 2 sandwiches and a frosty. Usually I allllllllways get fries! I think I love fries as much as the Gospel....hehe.   But this time I didn't! Anywho. We drove away and I looked in the bag. Inside were FRIESSSSSSSS. They messed up my order and gave me free fries. I just sat their gaping at the heavens thanking God for how much He loves me! 

Even though that story is about something as simple as french fries, it really showed how much God loves us. He knows us, He does. He knows that I love fries!  If He knows something as silly as french fries, Imagine how much compassion and Fatherly nurturing He offers when we are in our greatest despair!

I testify that God loves us, I testify and bear my personal witness of a LOVING God who is ever willing to pour out His blessings upon us. As a witness of the Atonement of Christ, having used it every day, I testify that Christ LIVES. He walks this earth, He governs and directs this Church. I testify that these things are true, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My arms feel like jello and my back feels like soggy cardboard! Let's just say I have deeply enjoyed bed time!

Hey there friends and family!!

Welp! I got transferred to BEAVER, PA. I'm here with Elder Ethan Watkins.
He's from Vernal, UT. He's 6' 4" and very loving and friendly. He's very silly and laughs at all of my stupid jokes. Which is a very good sign!!! hahaha. He's definitely the comp for me! He is a Spanish speaker, so he tries to teach me Spanish...not good. hahah. my lips are not meant to speak Spanish. He's been out as long as I have! We go home together! Ps i'm at 20 months!!!!! ahhh!!!!!!!

Well. We just moved to a new apt in Beaver, it was SOO much work. SHeesh! We had to do so much... A member came with his truck, but no one else came to help! So Elder Watkins and I had to move the entire apt BY OURSELVES. AND OUR APT IS ON THE 3RD FLOOR.

Let's just say. I will never have to exercise again in my life. Our new apt is pretty nice though! It's like Hogwarts. The structure makes NO sense, so you have no bearings of where you are. Not to mention the city plan is not a grid system. It's just..weird. They got a bowl of spaghetti and poured it over a map and then paved wherever the noodles went....So yeah. I feel very lost! haha.
Our old apt was super trashed... We had to do a looooot of cleaning. SO we didn't get to teach very many people at all. Not to mention the day after we moved, we went to help some other members move out.....My arms feel like jello and my back feels like soggy cardboard! Let's just say I have deeply enjoyed bed time!

The ward here is UH-MAZING!!! They are SO loving and so kind. They love the missionaries! Not to mention they LOVE the missionary WORK. They are sooo missionary minded it's ridiculous! I love it!!! It's definitely helping me reboot my systems! I feel recharged by being with them! 

Well, that's all that's happened so far! I"m grateful that the Lord has sent me here to this area. I know that God loves us infinitely. I had a grand experience that helped reiterate that. Last Thursday we had our district meeting. Elder Watkins is the district leader. We were roleplaying "Teaching by the Spirit". I pretended to be a less active man, I was supposed to choose a concern and the missionaries practicing were supposed to discern my needs and address my concern. As my concern I said in my mind "I don't feel that God loves me because I"m not seeing His blessings". As we role played one of the Elders asked me "Do you feel that God loves you?"
BAM!!!!! Is that revelation or what?!?!?!?!!  Everything they taught afterwards was directly connected to what I needed to here as that Less active man. Nothing was fluff. It ALLL helped me. That just boosted my confidence that God is truly the one teaching, not the missionaries!

Anywho. I love you all! I am ever grateful to serve the Lord is such a capacity. I know this Church is True. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Johnson

Here's my new address!

423 Sharon Rd. Apt 3
Beaver, Pa 15009

My new companion!

old dirty apt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Now I was ready to meet the Lord! I locked myself in the bedroom and knelt. I prayed vocally and expressed my thoughts.

Hey there family and friends!
I've greatly loved serving here! But! I'm getting the boot! I find out where I go tomorrow!

I have really loved these 7 months here in McKeesport, I truly have. It has been a wonderful area, and I have learned TREASURES of great wisdom that are forever etched into my heart. 

I'm excited for a new adventure though! I'm  ready for something new! 


I wanted to share with you and experience that greatly helped me improve my prayers. I learned a lot about prayer, and how to use it. It has greatly helped me and I encourage you to "experiment upon the word" and try it yourself :)

So, I felt very overwhelmed one day. I would text God a quick "help me help me, make me happy! thanks bye!"  and then go back to normal life. Truth is, Heavenly Father can't do very much with that. Only when we pray with a sincere and meaningful prayer, can we get a sincere and meaningful answer from our Heavenly Father.

I tried the following. I got out some scratch paper to scribble on and recorded my problems. Just writing as many as I could think of. Then I started a gratitude list and wrote down everything I'm grateful for. Then I thought to myself, "what would my Heavenly Father want me to say?" I immediately thought of His perfect son, Jesus Christ. Then I specifically wrote a long section for why I'm grateful for Christ. afterwards I picked up a Book of Mormon and read an entire chapter. Now I was ready to meet the Lord! I locked myself in the bedroom and knelt. I prayed vocally and expressed my thoughts. I felt soooo much better. I felt the Spirit. I felt like everything was okay. I felt that I was truly speaking with Heavenly Father. 

I encourage you to try it! and see what happens :)

I love you all. I testify from my heart.  That God Lives. He is alive, but more than that He is aware. He knows what is happening in our lives, and He is anxiously waiting to answer your pleas. He loves us. I testify from my heart, that Jesus Christ is indeed alive. He lives, and walks this earth. I know He is truly alive. His Atonement is real. I know that this Church and everything that pertains to it is true. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. :)

I love you all!!
Thanks for everything :)

Elder Johnson.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

So, Throughout these past few weeks I've had many challenges that taught me beautiful truths.

Well hello there my friends and family!!
Things SURE have been CRAZY.
Here are some miracles with the people we've been working with! :)
Sorry it's suuuper long..... But suuper worth it!!!! :)

We saw Victoria and JJ last tuesday and our lesson was AMAZZZING. She struggled believing that God loved her. We testified that He does. We shared some personal experiences with her. and the Spirit was there so powerfully. I told her with all my soul that no matter how hard or how dark our lives may seem, God's love is fully with us. As we taught we shared a tender moment. Tears feel from Victoria's face as we expressed how much we loved her. 

We also saw Darnell and Tiffany yesterday and had an AMAZZZING lesssssonnn!!!!! We taught the Restoration. As we taught Tiffany was just eating it up! She's so fun to teach! As we explained what a Dispensation was and what apostasy was she said "Wow! God must love us so much if He's so willing to keep sending Prophets to us!"   Is she great or what!!!!! We continued and began to teach about Joseph Smith's first prayer, when God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph. As we read the words to her, Tiffany exclaimed "Wow, I just got the chills!"
She is amazing!

Trials are school teachers: WEAKNESS
Alright! Now to what I've recently been learning.

So, Throughout these past few weeks I've had many challenges that taught me beautiful truths.
The lessons I learned are in 2 parts.
part 1 Relationships
So! There are 3 types of relationship that we have while in life!

1st. Our relationship with God is very easy to understand. Just as a Child desires to draw closer to his father, the same applies to our Heavenly Parent. That relationship is founded upon prayer, scripture study, obedience and so forth. It is made possible by Jesus Christ. We talk to Him as He is ACTUALLY listening!    PS-Which He is!

2nd. relationships with others. This is a very broad and generalized type. It can be family, friends, husbands and wives. fathers and children. Missionaries and companions. It is easy to understand that in this relationship we must treat each other with the utmost respect and love and adoration.

3rd.  We have a relationship...with OURSELVES. Strange you might say? Well, some people can't live with themselves!     hahaha. But truly we do. There are some of us who really need to work on having a better relationship with ourselves!!!

In the 1st and 2nd type, we love, and adore and cherish the time and memories created with each other. in the 2nd type We love others, we applaud them when they succeed. We are patient when they are struggling, we encourage bless, lift, inspire, motivate, and NOURISH.  Above all. We love.
But. When we change the cameras view from others to US, it can be alarming to see how quick we are to look at ourselves as worthless, imperfect, and ugly people. We look at ourselves as failures. We look at ourselves with all the doubt, shame, and hatred that we intentionally avoid directing at others. We degrade, chastise, and hate ourselves.
We must look at ourselves with the same words of compassion and patience that we would offer to our dearest friend or family. We must treat ourselves with that same LOVE. For, that is how Heavenly Father looks upon US. The 2nd greatest commandment "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" has a double charge. We must love ourselves as we love others.

part 2 Weaknesses
Believe it or not, your weaknesses are actually GIFTS from God.
The scripture in Ether 12:27 says "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I GIVE unto men weakness that they may be humble..." The Lord GAVE us weakness as special tools to teach us. In example, one might struggle with perfectionist attitudes. They are too hard on themselves, they struggle loving themselves as they are. This trials/weakness is not because you are dumb, or you have failed. The weakness does NOT define your worth! The weakness comes because God loves you, and He knows what trials will teach you the most, and bring you the MOST joy. The Scripture continues. "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Having weaknesses is a measuring unit of coming closer to God. It said "if men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness." Recognizing our weaknesses does not mean we are being distanced from God and that He's disappointed that we are not enough. It means He is ready to teach us, and because He is all knowing and loves us infinitely He knows that adverse circumstances when handled with faith bring us CLOSER to God and not further. When we are okay and life is good and easy, our prayers become more casual and light. When we are struggling our prayers are transformed! and we come closer to Him. 

Think of it like this! A humanitarian group shows up in the thriving metropolis of...England. (just an example I don't hate England)  The humanitarian group has limitless resources and is ready to help out!   "We've brought you all WATER!"  "England replies "We've already got water..."
Humanitarians: "ummm.... we've got FOOD!!!!"      England: "So do we...."

Humanitarian group shyly retreats embarrassed. Now, if that same group showed up in Africa with those resources the response would be "YES COME!PLEASE!!! WE NEED YOU!" The humanitarian group dumps its resources. needs are met, Lives are touched, and love lives. They come closer.

The same is with us. If we are "ok" and our needs are met already, we don't have need of Heavenly Father and we become snooty brats. But when we are in need and we are desperate for His help. He can DUMP His love upon us and every resource we need from a perfect Loving Heavenly Father. We come closer to Him, our hearts are stretched and we become more like God. and that is why we came here!

Think of the woman with the issue of blood who reached out to touch Christ's clothes as He passed by. Were it not for her GREAT affliction, she would not have come to Christ.

I testify that God loves us. I testify that Christ's Atonement covers and enriches us. His Grace. is Sufficient. With Christ we can overcome our weaknesses and come closer to Him. With Christ all is possible. I testify that He really does live and walk this earth.

This is His church. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Elder Johnson