Sorry this is long....
BUT I PROMISE YOU'LL REGRET NOT READING IT
So far my mission has been fantastic..
It has been wonderful and the Lord has taught me SO much. I've learned so much about satan's lies it's crazy! he'll try ANYTHING to get us away from confession. he'll do ANYTHING to get us away from confession and ANY steps of repentance. He's SO desperate to get us away from confessing our sins to priesthood leaders. satan puts those feelings of fear and ridicule. he and his minions broadcast all sorts of lies and filth to get us away from confession. He will do anything. he'll say "what will the bishop or mission president think? he will hate you, he will ridicule you, you will get sent home."
Whether or not someone gets sent home, I know that the blessing of repentance and full forgiveness are more powerful and long lasting than serving a mission without fully repenting and DEEP cleaning and SCRUBBING the sin out! I liked the talk by Sister Linda Reeves from the Stake Conference Broadcast yesterday. Her husband was the mission president of a mission and there was a missionary who was not fully repentant and indeed had to get sent home. That FAITHFUL, and OBEDIENT missionary showed so much humility and went home. He repented and came back out. That part got me. I wanted to cry, because it helped me understand the DEPTH of repentance.
Repentance is not repentance if it doesn't scrub out deeply ALL of the sin. Not most of the sin, not a little bit of it, ALL. of the sin. Only then can we receive the Lord's forgiveness and receive healing and peace.
Sin is like moldy peaches in the fridge. It's disgusting and every time one looks at it they are repulsed and think "maybe if i shut the fridge I can ignore my problem." But alas, leaving the moldy peaches in there will only cause the problem to get worse and to spread bacteria and sickness to everything else in the fridge. We can only get rid of it by FACING the problem boldly and with courage, maybe even with a stick, but we need to GET it OUT! THEN we can start cleaning the rest out. Confession is like facing that moldy peach with courage and faith in Christ that we can be clean, and then grabbing it and throwing it out.
One cannot simply "wish" it to be gone. You can't repent halfway or halfway confess anymore than you can only discard and dispose half of the moldy peach. Then, after that step of the repentance process, confession being one of the most important, THEN we can begin cleaning up the rest and making things right, replacing it with better healthier things. We can become clean only after we confess, as well as throw it out. Repentance is more than just stopping the evil practice of something. We must accept full accountability for what is in our fridge. In the kitchen of your own soul, one cannot blame someone else for the moldy peaches in there.
Imagine a young man, "MOM!! why didn't you clean my moldy peaches! or clean up my mess!" She simply cannot clean it because she's not there. There's only one soul in your kitchen and that's YOU! Sorry, mom's can do wonders but they can't repent for you. We can't even blame satan for the moldy peaches either!
God promises agency, we will NEVER be forced to sin, and we will NEVER be forced to keep commandments either. No one can force us to read daily or to pray. But boy, one surely will face the consequences of choosing to make excuses. There are NO excuses for not keeping commandments, ZERO. We also can't blame satan for our sins. satan can't walk or barge into your kitchen and place those moldy peaches there. he can only come in if we open the door.
But I testify. From my Soul. That Repentance is REAL. I testify from my heart that not only can we be clean. I testify if we have faith instead of fear and FACE our problems and COURAGEOUSLY CONFESS our sins, if needed to a bishop. that we can receive forgiveness. I testify forgiveness is real.. I testify that it's possible. Not only is it possible, but that's why Christ came in the first place. Every time we sin, we are literally looking Heavenly Father in the eyes and spitting in His face. Every time we sin we are hurting the Savior. If you are struggling with something, imagine the Savior, hurt, bleeding, hanging from the cross. Every time you transgress, you are pounding another nail into his hands. But please, don't let this discourage you, remember Christ did that for you, so that you can be clean. That price is ALREADY paid for. We can show Christ appreciation for this Gift of the Atonement by USING it. EVERY DAY.
I also testify that if GET cleaned up and repent, no matter how hard it is, no matter how scary. I testify that satan is the one putting the fear there. You are not born evil. And even if that were possible, and it ISN'T, the the Atonement of Jesus Christ would reverse it and fix it.
I also testify if you fix your life, if you confess. If you repent CORRECTLY taking ALL the necessary steps you can receive forgiveness. You WILL NOT RECEIVE FORGIVENESS WITHOUT CONFESSION. satan will do anything he can to get you away from boldly and fearlessly repenting.
I invite you to take a FEARLESS inventory of yourself. Ask:
"Do I enjoy sinning? If so, am I willing to humble myself enough to ask for God's help and then change my actions so He can change my heart so that I will eventually be so converted that I hate sin?"
"If I were to die today, am I prepared to meet God in absolute and fearless confidence?"
"Are my actions inviting the Holy Ghost or pushing Him away."
After you repent, though the journey may be hard and difficult, you have two choices.
Repent. or suffer. Heaven or hell. you choose! Only the repentant will make it to Heaven.That not only will Christ forgive you, not only will He help you dispose of those things in your soul..
He will replace what was in your heart, with the Fruit of the Tree of LIFE!
I testify the sweet joy is real. Alma's words are my words.
in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
I forgot to share the COOLEST thing EVVVERRR!!!
So Elder Watkins and I are trying our HARDEST to be exactly obedient and to work our butts off! But because we are, satan will also be working double time on us and God's children! So please pray for us and pray that those we speak with will receive the Gospel!!
Here are my two favorite quotes of the week.
"The more obedient we are to God's commandments the more eager satan is to attack and target you. BUT! the less power he has to do so!"
"If you want to punch satan in the face, OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND SHARE THE GOSPEL!"
Anywho,Every time I feel satan trying to get us I go hunt down someone and talk to them! satan is angry! mwahaha!
I've been doing that like crazy! I can't even count how many strangers I've invited to church in the past few days! okay I can...it's like....3... But still! I"m talking to EVERYONE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEIR DOGs! haha
But really it's been so awesome! I wanted to share this experience with you. SO the Sister missionaries in the ward and us Elders went over to visit a sickly woman in the ward Sis Smego. We all went over and while we were there one of her friends Rich came in. I felt satan again and I wanted to punch him in the face so I opened my mouth and started a Gospel discussion with Rich. He actually knows LOTS about our church because of Sis Smego (go sis smego! way to teach the gospel!!!) and he knew almost everything about our church...well from what I gather at least haha. He's even taken discussions before.
All the sudden I feel this prompting to ask him to be baptized. I FOLLOWED. The second I decided in my mind to follow that prompting satan went crazy! Everyone in the room was jumping in to say or do something. It was nuts! then Rich and Sis Smego went WAY off topic. and I was losing my chance! I kept trying to open my mouth but I couldn't. But I knew that was a lie. Our tongues are NEVER bound. Just like when Joseph Smith received the first vision? satan tried to bind his tongue! Even if I couldn't say anything or get a word in. I could still use my hands!
I raised my hand high! and I had everyone's attention. the room was silent. Then I said.
"Rich, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ. And be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?"
The Spirit filled the room and my words. Rich declined. But we assured him that God Himself would reveal truth to him by the power of the Holy Ghost, but only if one is sincere, is willing to act on the answer given, and has Faith in Christ. He admitted that he only thumbed through the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy and he promised to read it cover to cover and we are going to see him tomorrow to follow up.
I was ever grateful for that experience, and I know if I had not been working so hard or trying hard to be obedient I would not have been prepared to follow that prompting. I would've let satan win. But I wanted to punch him in the face! so I opened my mouth!
Now this is for all you missionaries.
It doesn't matter how awful, how tired, how scared you feel. Remember, satan puts those feelings there, he doesn't want you to share the gospel. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve! I didn't come out on my mission to be a gerbil. I came out to declare BOLDLY what I KNOW is right.
Faithfully keep the commandments and the mission rules. They will keep you safe and protected, and work your tails off! I heard this quote from my Sister April.
"If you feel saddened, or afraid, or tired. THROW YOURSELF INTO THE WORK EVEN MORE!"
The Spirit of missionary work will heal your soul, more than trying to heal your soul will. And The healing spirit of working hard and being exactly obedient will not only heal you, but it will heal EVERYONE AROUND YOU.
All of you will know what I"m talking about when I say this next statement.
"You can feel in the letters from missionaries if they are working hard and being obedient, and when they are not. The spirit, happiness, and LOVE that radiates from missionaries letters can only be rewarded by obedience and hard work."
You can feel in this email here that I am indeed engaged in the work and I"m being exactly obedient and working my tail off. You can tell from the miracle of meeting Rich that I am working hard. And regrettably, you can probably feel that the past long while of my mission I have not been working very hard. And I admit I have not been. I've gotten lazy, and relaxed with the rules. I admit I was letting satan have a party with my idlness and laziness. I'm sure he couldn't have been happier than these past few months.
But. NO MORE! I have Repented and I will kick satan in the face so hard that he gets sent to outer darkness' outer darkness! I will work SO hard that satan will look under his bed at night and look for Elder Johnson!!!
I testify Christ lives. I testify His work is WORK. No one in HIS work can be a lazy bum, or a disobedient bum. Repent and get to work. I promise through my own personal experiences that miracles will proceed.
OBEDIENCE TRUMPS EVERYTHING.
If you are exactly obedient, EXPECT miracles. For they are there, I testify from my soul that that is true.
Don't flake out like I did. Don't get relaxed with the rules, don't work less. WORK MORE. You will only serve a mission once in your life. Don't blow it now. Forget yourself and GET TO WORK!
Your happiness is measured by your obedience and hard work. IF you are not crying every day because of the joy and peace you feel. You are not serving a mission right. I know I'm speaking boldly, but experiment upon my words and commit to be exactly obedient and work your tail off. I promise you two things. satan will be more eager to get you. But I also promise he won't be able to, that you will have Christ's protection, and you will be HAPPY! You will have those "mission experiences" that you've heard about your whole life.
I testify this is true. IN the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Johnson :)