Monday, December 28, 2015

Weeks 73 and 74 - December 21, 2015

Subject:  Merry Christmas 
I feel very comforted and grateful for the gift of eternal families.  What a blessing.  The knowledge that we have of the Savior Jesus Christ, as well as His Father, is truly remarkable.  As this last week has passed, I am still blown away at the fact, that the knowledge of just knowing who God is,  is such a blessing.  This last week I have been able to meet with a handful of new investigators and a few of them had personal ideas of who "God" is but don't really know or have knowledge of Him.  They believe in the Deity but don't believe that it is God, nor do they believe that prayer is a way of communication.
The sentence, "I believe in God" and the sentence "I have a knowledge of my belief in God" are very different.  We can believe, but if we don't have a knowledge, our belief can become as sand.
I truly believe that it is through our experience by which we gain knowledge.  We can go to Harvard, Yale, Stanford  or any of the top schools in the world, but until we have experienced for ourselves, we cannot have an asurety of that knowledge or belief which brings me to the importance of the special promise given in the Book of Mormon:  To Read, Pray, and Ponder upon the word and gain personal experience or witness that it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  What a blessing.
As I was reading in 2 Nephi Chapter 2 this morning about the fall of Adam and Eve, I was grateful for another strong witness of the Fall and for Lehi's teachings.  Seeing it from the same story but different view.  I was able to apply things in my life and compare a lot of things that have come to pass throughout my service to the Lord.
I am putting all my efforts here.  Focused on the Lord.  I am striving to change.  I hope that I will be at the top of the mountain on the last day of my mission.  I am climbing and am not going to stop.  Fighting everyday to change and see my weakness with a focus on the Savior, always staying positive with my strengths.
I have also been thinking a lot about our life's purpose and the true meaning of Christmas.  I am trying to do all things unto Christ and create a stronger relationship with Him.
I love you.
I am thankful for everything and my family
I dont have much time left here in Korea, and I cannot wait to be reunited with my family.
Love,

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
 On Christmas Day, Elder Johnson's family was thrilled to have a call coming from Korea from their son.  
 Elder Johnson was just as excited on the other end of the connection to see his family, including his grandparents.  It was the perfect Christmas gift for everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 72 - December 7, 2015

Family!

Whoa.. Watch out!  I think mom's gratitude is going to send tsunamis across the oceans! Mom, I am so humbled to hear of all your experiences and cherished testimonies you are gaining at this time.  I feel that you as well as each of the members of our family are serving our own kind of missions, in our own kind of ways.  It's interesting that as we accept the Savior in our life, He begins to enlighten and reveal to us the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us.  I can't imagine how God works.  His ways are mysterious, but He asks us to follow His Only Begotten Son and by doing so, He has promised to lead us on that path back to him.  The Knowledge that we have, (not just the Belief) but the knowledge we have of the Resurrected and Living Christ, is truly remarkable. 


I have been thinking a lot this week about my thoughts and my beliefs.  I have asked myself a question that formed as I was reading Elder Rasband's talk this week.  Are my beliefs just beliefs or are they true Knowledge.  It's one thing to believe in something and it's one thing to have a knowledge of something.  As I have been pondering this throughout the week, I  have come to the conclusion that before my mission a lot of my belief was just "belief."  As I have been out on my mission and experienced the Gospel in my own way, It has become a sure, pure, and precious Knowledge. 

(The Korean Thanksgiving feast Elder Johnson and his companion made.)

I have also been thinking a lot on what it means to Become One.
We focus a lot about that in our mission.  We focus on the importance of being one with the Lord.  Our Companionship.  Our districts.  Zones.  And as a mission.

As I have been thinking about this, I have been led to the thought of our Johnson Family.  How special our family and extended family is.  I am amazed at the amount of "oneness" we have within our family.  Our family does a great job with being one.  And I truly believe that it comes from living a Gospel Centered life.  Centered on Jesus Christ.  I have seen families while growing up and throughout my mission that don't have that "oneness," and it has been sad.  I know that the Gospel of Jesus gives anything to anyone, if they will just live according to it.

This week, we have seen lots of miracles!  Met lots of new investigators and have been deeply blessed!  Serious!  Tons of good things are going on right now.  We are Finding.  Teaching and it is leading to baptism.  We have lots and lots of potentials, and we were so close to setting a baptismal date yesterday for the day that Ty left on his mission--December 19!  The person is the guy from China that I have talked about a little.  We met him through a fast, and he is progressing well!  He leaves back to China this month, so we don't really know what to do!  He will eventually come back.  We are just jot sure when!  Anyway, he has a few things to overcome, and he can be baptized.

Cole's new comp Elder Jung Ingyu

We have seen lots of other miracles as we have fasted this week as well.  One of the days we fasted, it was snowing and freezing!  It was like one of five people we were able to start conversations with, and he had had the thought as he walked our the door that day, "Today I want to make a foreigner friend."  Well, sure enough, because we followed the prompting to talk to him and get off at a later bus stop, we were able to meet him and he has great interest.  Lots of time and wants to come to church this week!

I love you and hope you have a safe week!  Plant your seeds of guided gratitude and let it grow!  Mine is starting to grow slowly.  This week I have been extremely grateful for Change

Change to Become.

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the Source

(Elder Johnson got his pre-Christmas presents.  He was pretty excited!)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 71 - November 30, 2015

Family and Friends!

Hope all is well and hope every one had a good safe Thanksgiving week end!
This week was solid!  Full of a million things and we were able to see a lot of miracles.
It is crazy to measure your self progression over the course of a transfer or even a week.
I constantly feel like I am growing and learning.  Our potential is infinite and we have but a short time on this earth to fulfill it.  I have grown a lot over the course of the last 6 weeks.  I have learned things that will help me throughout my life and have strengthen me as an individual and instrument in the Lord's hand.  I look up to my Mission President greatly, and he is truly an inspired man.  I learn great amounts from him and I am truly blessed to be able to follow his counsel.

We had Zone Conference this last week and preparing for it was a BEAUTY!  We only had like a total of two days to completely prepare for it, but with much sincere prayer and communication, things went very well. The Spirit was very strong and each member of our Zone felt a special spirit.  Elder Butterfield and I relied on the Lord so much and we know He honored our preparation and gave us so much more in the exact moment we needed it.  We are focusing a lot on becoming one--as a mission, but especially in our Zone.  We didn't have any baptismal dates these last two weeks, but two days after Zone Conference, we were able to set two in our Zone!  Huge miracles!  We are focusing on giving a gift to Christ for Christmas. Time is short and things are getting tight.  We are going so 열심히 here in our area and have seen lots of miracles! 

We followed the Spirit very well this week and were led to an apartment where three people out of 70+ rooms accepted us!  One of them invited us in to share a message!  That was huge.  Another guy seemed interested and then another guy came to the door with no shirt on with a mouth full of food--hahah super funny.  He said he couldn't talk, but I quickly asked for his number and he gave me it!  Crazy!  He seems interested and wants to meet with us!

We met with a guy from Sir Lanka, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Korean, American, and African haha.  That's exactly how the Lord wants His Gospel going forth.  We had a miracle church attendance this last week.  The first week with my new companion we met this really cool 28 year old on the street and he said he really would come to church.  He came out yesterday and had a great experience!  It was his first time ever in his life going to church!  It was hilarious singing hymns with him!  I also gave a talk in church yesterday and talked about JOY.  I asked a question, "What is Joy to you?  When have you experienced Joy?"  I didn't have much time to prepare cuz we had a million other things, but it went really well!  The members were really excited to have our investigator at church, and he said in two weeks he is coming out with a friend! 
 
It snowed a million this week!!!!!!!!  Holy cow!  It is also super cold!  I love it:)) hahah  Also, I am having a blast with my Korean comp.  He is the best.  We get a long so well and I am learning so much Korean from him! 
I didn't tell you this, but someone who I found on the street and met with was baptized three weeks ago!  He works across the street from our church in the area right beside our area, and we found him right directly in front of our church one day when we were waiting for an investigator to show up.  I had a feeling to go outside and talk to people, and we met him. He was baptized three weeks ago!  Such a good guy!  He has overcome smoking and drinking!
I love you and hope you have a good safe week! 

Love, Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the source.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week 70 - November 23, 2015

Family!

How are you?  Sounds like everything is going well there at home.  First of all, Shout out to my beautiful younger sis Iz.  HAAPPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS.  I miss and love you.  I hope you had the best day.  I saw a video Mom sent to me of you eating whipping cream or something super funny!  I was dying.  I miss and love you, Iz.  You have grown up so much since I have left.  Two birthdays have now passed since I have been a missionary, which means for your 18th, we will be partying together!  Love and miss you!  Big 17!

This week has been super busy.  Very different and pretty stressful.  I had to go in several different areas this last week for Zone leader responsibilities.  It was great.  I was able to learn a lot and am really excited for the next up-coming transfer.

New transfers!  I am staying here in Onyoung  Elder Bombasi just moved over to the area right next to me.  He is in the bigger city, Cheonan where we have district meeting.  I just got an Elder from Korea who was originally in our zone!  I went on a few splits with him, and I am soo pumped to serve with him!  His name is Elder Jung.  He is super fun and we get along well.  I am excited to work with him and to serve together.  I am speaking Korean with him all day, and I am so excited to learn Korean on a different level!  Last year at this time, I served with a Korean, but I was fairly new to Korea and missionary work, so I couldn't soak up quite everything I wanted to, but now I can converse and speak how I want to with him.  I can understand more and my learning ability will grow!

I was able to go to Daejeon this week as well.  Elder Park went home and Elder Butterfield became the new Zone Leader with me.  I am so excited to work with him.  He is super great, and he is who I replaced when I came here to Onyoung  It's super funny because he went from Onyoung to Cheonan just like Elder Bombasi did.  They are now living together again. We got a lot of new members in our Zone, and I am excited to work with them.  Elder Butterfield and I are praying super hard together trying to lead the Zone and to pull out baptisms this transfer.  If our mission gets around 22 baptisms this month, we will beat the record of 200 baptisms in one year.  We, as a mission, are working hard and relying on our faith in the Savior to lead us along.


 (The foreigner family in the branch, with the investigator on the right.)


I have studied about faith as well as what I talked about last week, "Changing to Become." In and through all things, if we act in faith, the Savior will be there.

We are focusing, also, in our mission to give a present to Christ for Christmas, and I want to close with a scripture I found this morning during studies.  It goes hand in hand with what we are doing here in our mission and with what you can do there:

"Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith."  Ether 12:9

Have a great week!  I love you!  Be save and Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, 

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the Source

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 68 and 69 - November 16, 2015


Family,

This week has been great! I have learned a lot and have been able to change myself in many ways.  I have been focusing on two words these last two weeks and they are two words with great power and meaning. 1. Change.  2. Become.  These are two words that have helped me constantly strive to be better and to recognize my many weaknesses and make them strengths through the Savior.  As I have pondered upon these two words these last few weeks, I have come to understand through the Spirit that these two words are made possible through one person, the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Only through Jesus Christ and His Atonement can we Change.  He gives us a Change to Become.  A change that cannot fully be explained or comprehended.  It is something that I am continuing to ponder about. 

We change to Become.  We change to reach our potential.  We change to become humble. We change not for us but for Him.   We change then become.. change then become..change then become..  It is a constant process.  The Savior is the start of that process and has promised us that if we change, we can become who He would have us be. I hope that as you ponder upon these to words, you will feel of that same power and reality of which I have felt.  Our potential is divine.  And we can reach it if we will just change our ways to His ways.  Change to Become.

 
This week is transfer calls!  I will be getting my call today at three.  I'm thinking I will probably stay here for another 2 or 3 transfers.  On this transfer, the other Zone leader, Elder Park, will be going home. I love him and have learned so much from him.  He is an outstanding missionary. His knowledge is crazy, and I was so grateful to have spent the time running the Zone here in Chonan.  My responsibility is now doubled, and I am so excited for what the Lord has in store.  Our Zone is going great and it should be changed a lot as these transfer calls come in.  I am excited and ready for new opportunity, realizing that I still need to Change to Become.
 
This last week after one of our appointments with our Chinese investigator, we were coming home and ran into our old investigator who almost got baptized last transfer.  He had a baptismal date and due to a few other things, the baptism just didn't end up going through. He hadn't answered our calls for about 7 weeks and we were able to see him on the street! Huge miracle.  I was so pumped!  We are hoping to get back in touch with him.
 
It rained and was super cold this last week!  Also, we were able to have a very special lesson with another one of our investigators who is almost ready for baptism. He didn't quite understand the importance of the Book of Mormon, but we shared Alma 37:36-37.  It was when we were following up on the commitment to pray and he said he had felt a very positive feeling when he would pray in the morning.  He could feel the Love of God and understand that God will really help him. So we shared this scripture with him and He said he felt something.  He said he needed to make the Book of Mormon a priority in his life and that he needed to memorize that verse!  So cool!
 
This week I had crazy octopus soup!  Brain and intestine.  Everything.... It was alive at the time it was being boiled!  Crazy!  Super different but kinda gooood! 
 
 (Above:  Elder Johnson with friends in Korea; picture below is Elder Johnson with a good buddy who came back to visit the mission--Elder Skinner.)
 
Love you! Have a great week and be safe!
Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
PACE Trust(ing) in the Source

My ponderize for this week has been Mosiah 4:27. I invite you all to ponderize as well. What great blessings and inspirations! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Weeks 64, 65, 66, 67 - November 2, 2015

Family! 

How are you?  I miss and love you, praying for you every day!  I hope all is well!  I am so excited for Ty and Kate!  That is sooooo crazy!  Feb 11-- that is coming up so soooon!



 
(Elder Johnson's older brother, Tyler, was engaged to Kate LeFrandt.  They both served their 
mission in Paris, France.)

These last few weeks have been super great!  I have been taught so many powerful lessons and have learned so many things as I have been trying to change myself to who the Lord wants me to become.  It's interesting how the minute you think you have found yourself and are comfortable where you're at, the Lord will push you to change yourself and will invite you to exercise your faith to become a little bit better and to improve yourself in the way of which He asks.  I have been focusing on the daily blessings and miracles.  They are countless.  In Alma Chapter 26 verse 2, Ammon is talking to his brothers and he says something very powerful I think we can all learns something from.  He says, "What big blessing has the Lord given us?"  (In their Service to the Lord) Can you tell?

I have focused on that I and have seen more of the Lord's blessing these last few weeks.  Every day since my 4th transfer I have recorded a miracle in my planner.  That is also what I stress to the members in our Zone.  YOU CAN'T SERVE YOUR MISSION WITHOUT SEEING MIRACLES; or in other words, YOU CAN'T LIVE LIFE WITHOUT SEEING THE LORD'S HAND. 
 
I think back to the night of my farewell gathering when Brother Steve Lindsley looked at me in the eyes and promised me that if I put two feet into my mission, if I went in with both feet, I would be able to obtain all the blessings the Lord has in store for me and I would be able to become a sharp instrument in His hands.  I am grateful for that great advice from a wise man and thought about it a lot throughout my mission, asking myself, "Do I have one foot in my mission or am I focusing here with two feet in giving my all to the Lord?"  As I have focused with two feet in, I have seen that promise be fulfilled.

I have learned  a lot about faith as well, having a plan, trusting in the Lord, and acting with faith through the spirit. This last week we were able to extend a baptismal invitation to our investigator.  He is such an amazing guy.  He met missionaries 20 years ago, and then last year on the street.  The first week I moved to this area, he randomly called us.  Long story short ,it has been really interesting to see God's personal plan for him.  He is slowly recognizing it and we are really praying for him to be baptized.  He didn't quite accept the date fully but accepted to pray about the date.  He is such a good guy.  He has to overcome a few things, but he can do it!  He has become such a close friend. He is 37 and isn't married.  He is looking for his vision and we are helping him grasp a hold of it through the Savior.  This last week when we met him, I felt very inspired to ask him if he really knew he was a Child of God.  I looked at him in the eyes and said, "Among all of God's children, do you believe that you are a child of Him and that He knows you and loves you infinitely?  He wasn't quite sure and didn't quite have the knowledge, but as my companion, our member, and I all testified that we are all children of a Father in Heaven who loves us, he was able to partake a little bit of that knowledge and feel of it. What a great blessing to know for ourselves that we are children of our Heavenly Father. Who Loves us. More than we can comprehend.
 
I also had a very humbling experience on the street this week after a lesson. We saw a guy from Sri Lanka sitting on the bench smoking and eating some Ramen.  As we walked over to him, his health just looked horrible.  He literally looked like he was hit by a car.  After talking to him for a little bit, he just started bawling.  Crying so hard.  And I could just see in his eyes how much he wanted to give up on life.  He was so sad and was having such a hard time. Being a foreigner here in Korea and working in the factories is soooo hard. They are not treated well and barley receive enough to provide for their family, whom they never see.... The only thing keeping this man alive was his daughter.  The love that he has for his daughter is perfect.  It is just a fraction of the love God has for us, but I was able to learn a powerful lesson of love and just seeing this man, working and never giving up, was such a humbling moment.  We both just gave him a hug and told him that Christ will heal him. 
To be honest, I will never know the answer to this, but I wonder what the result would have been if we would have not gone over to him and followed the prompting.  I saw him stare off into the distance as we were talking to him and it was like time stopped.  It was like he saw his daughter and wasn't going to give up.  Love is what makes us strong.
 
I will end with a quote from President Uchtdorf, 
"For what we love determines what we seek.  What we seek determines what we think and do.  What we think and do determines who we are and who we will become."
 
(Click on the link above to hear the talk given by President Uchtdorf about the Love of God.)
 
I love you!
 
Have a great week.  Be safe and pray pray pray!
 
Love Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
 
PACE Trust(ing) in the Source.

 (Elder Johnson and Elder Bombasinwith a friend from Korea.)
(Elder Johnson and Elder Ogle)


Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 63 - October 5, 2015

Family,

Looking back throughout the course of my mission, I've come to realize how blessed we truly are.  I've seen the hand of the Lord countless times, I've seen and experienced God's perfect and infinite love He has for His children and most importantly, I've seen, felt and have come to know that the blessings of the Atonement are infinite when we come unto him, purify our hearts, and consecrate our minds.

The miracle of which I want to share today is one I saw in my fourth transfer serving in my first area, 광주.
 
It was a cold Wednesday night after zone conference when Elder Oehler and I were on the street walking home, talking and pondering upon what we had just learned in the conference and how we could apply the principles we learned in our everyday missionary work.  It was when President Shin first came out with the consecration talk and it was the time in our mission when we were focusing on consecration ourselves, giving up everything for the Lord, becoming one as a Daejeon Mission.  I remember at the time in our companionship, we didn't have a lot of investigators--if any at all.  I remember talking with Elder Oehler and hearing about some of his past experiences and I yearned for my own.  I was a young missionary and I remember telling Elder Oehler that I just wanted an investigator to love.  I have always heard missionaries talking about the perfect Christ-like love you see and feel when you teach and progress with investigators in the Gospel, but being a young missionary and not being able to quite hold on to investigators long enough, I hadn't quite experienced it yet.
 
As we arrived to our home that night after planning, I remember us sharing a few more of our thoughts and feelings from the uplifting meeting, coming to a conclusion, that in order to truly humble and consecrate ourselves, becoming one, giving everything to the Lord, we would dedicate a 24-hour fast to Him, calling upon His name and asking for His help.  Throughout the course of the fast, we shared ideas and set goals for the things we wanted to accomplish. We wrote down our weaknesses and any difficulties in  obedience where improvement was needed.  We made plans and did so accordingly.

Being the start of a new transfer, we knew we had a fresh start and the opportunity of baptizing someone within the period of those upcoming six weeks.  We understood it was according to God's will but made the promise to trust in Him to lead us to His prepared children. 
 
As the fast came to an end, we knelt down and offered a prayer, telling the Lord what it was exactly that we were able to realize during the course of the fast.  We told Him of our plans and how we would carry them out throughout the transfer.  Most importantly, we asked the Lord to please guide us in our everyday efforts and to receive special guidance from the Spirit. 

After ending the fast, I remember having a feeling of urgency that we needed to go somewhere.  I remember Elder Oehler as well having the same sense of urgency, not quite understanding what it was or where it was coming from. According to the feeling of which we felt, we directly acted and we went outside.  I will never forget the feeling that was in my heart that day as we walked out the door, feeling the special Love of God.  

After being in the area for already one transfer, there were two paths to take to get out to the main street.  I recall just about every day taking the left path.  But the day we ended our fast as we went down the left path, I had a feeling come in to my heart that we needed to take the right path that day.  I ignored the feeling and continued down the path.  The feeling came very strongly again.  I finally told my companion.  We agreed and said, "Why not Choose the Right?!" (CTR)  
 
As we got down to the bottom of the hill down the right path, I remember having another feeling.  "Look behind you."  It was a very strong feeling that I will forever remember.  We introduced ourselves to the first person we talked to that day... It was six weeks later that this young college student who became my eternal friend, 천준상 came unto the waters of baptism to commit to follow the Savior Jesus Christ for the rest of his life by being baptized.  During the course of teaching him, we fasted and prayed for him.  I also recall us fasting for him to receive his witness that the Savior lives and that God knows him perfectly.  Immediately after breaking our fast that day, he suddenly called and told us that he believed God and His Son, Jesus Christ, live.

That day my testimony was forever impacted, and I came to know that God Lives and His Son Jesus Christ is with us every step of the way.  I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He lives and loves us perfectly. I am grateful for my mission and words can't quite describe the love I have for my mission, these people, the Gospel, and the Savior. He is our Redeemer and in deed, he is the way.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
Elder Cole Johnson 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 62 - September 28, 2015

Family!

This week has been incredible.  I  have seen countless Miracles.  'Its been another week on my mission that I will never forget.  The work here in Onyoung is special.  I have been able to see, know, and feel that the work here has been and is being prepared by the Lord.  I have felt this week that it is truly a special time to be here in Onyoung, and I know it is a blessing and a privilege from the Lord.
 
(Elder J(Elder Johnson had to buy new shoes.  He just couldn't make these last until the end of the mission!!)
This week has been one of the busiest weeks I have had on my mission.  We were able to reach our mission goal of 20 lessons this week which was HUGE. The Lord gave us so much opportunity.  It has been something that I have been giving my all to accomplish with my companions for about four months now.  I have gotten 17 and 19 a few times but haven't been able to  reach 20 until this last week.  We had over 20 lessons, over 950 minutes of teaching time.  We had 4 investigators come out to church and we had countless tender mercies and miracles from the Lord.  I have tried to write each of them down, but every time I think of one, there are like five others that just fall out from the one of which we first recognized.  When we are exactly obedient, grateful, diligent, and show love in all things, the Lord always takes the rest and blesses us with more things than we can quite comprehend.

This week in Korea, it is 추석 (Chu seouk).  It is very similar to Thanksgiving for us in America.  It's where Koreans all gather around with their families, spend time together, play games, eat lots of food, and in some cases they give thanks and show gratitude for their ancestors.  I haven't seen it, but I hear that they bow down and show very sacred thanks to either their living ancestors or their ancestor who has passed away.  It is around this time of the year and always includes a full moon.  The streets have been super busy throughout the week, but once it hit Saturday, Sunday, and today (Monday), the streets are just empty and everyone is spending time with their families.


Yesterday, we had four investigators out to church on the holiday!  We had like no members there because they all went to their home towns, but each of our investigators loved church!  We were planning on two investigators coming, but randomly one of them brought a friend and another one of our investigators just walked in randomly in one of our lessons before Sacrament meeting!  We had a Chinese investigator come who we met on the street about four weeks ago, where he denied us and wouldn't give us another chance to meet... We fasted about one week later and saw him on the street!  He said out of nowhere, "How can I get to your church?"  Then we got his number and ended up seeing him again on the street the next week.  We had an appointment with him this week and he made it out to church!  After the appointment with him, we called the next day to confirm him coming to church but he blocked our number out of nowhere!!

On Sunday morning and Saturday night after praying so hard for investigators to come to church, we got an invitation to go to another ward for a lunch for the holiday. I wanted to go, but I felt as if we shouldn't.  I prayed and still had the feeling that we shouldn't... I told them we had to meet an investigator to bring to church (the Chinese guy that had blocked our number and I'm sure had cancelled coming to church).  But about two hours before church started, we called his number one last time and it WORKED!  He answered and told us to meet him out front of the train station!  On the way to church, one of our members passed us and gave us a ride.  We got to church and our other new investigator was there!  He brought a friend!  (Before church on Saturday night, I was talking to my comp and said, "Hey, we really need a referral this week. We have to try and ask or get one at church!")  Our investigator came with a friend!  We had a lesson with all three of them and a member!  Super awesome!  During the middle of that lesson, another investigator from Cameroon walked in!  We met for like 40 minutes then went to Sacrament meeting!  After Sacrament, we said goodbye to everyone and asked our Cameroon investigator if we could meet with him cuz our first lesson was in Korean and he can't speak or understand it. 

Well, as we were meeting, (2nd time we met with him), we felt that we needed to talk about baptism.  His belief in God and Christ is very strong.  He has very good intentions and understands things very well.  We asked some very good questions that helped him ponder.  The Last question we asked him was, "If Jesus Christ wants you to do one thing, What do you think that is?"  And as he thought about that he responded and said, "Are you going to ask me to be baptized?"  From then on till the very last of the lesson, I learned the principle that the Lord does give you exactly what you need in the exact moment.  I said, "Lovise, it is not me that wants you to be baptized.  It is the Lord, Jesus Christ."  He responded and said, "I have already been baptized..."  We explained to him that because he was baptized when he was younger, his baptism enabled him to strengthen his faith in the Savior and bring him closer to him.  I promised that he was blessed because of that.  I promised that, that is what Christ wanted him to do.  It brought him closer to Christ. 

After promising him blessings, we slowly started to begin the conversation on the priesthood and how important it is.  If we must enter into God's kingdom, we must enter in by his power and authority, His key.  I had no idea that I knew what I was saying.  I do know though that my words were the Lord's.  I felt it. He felt it and my companion, as he bore testimony, felt it as well.  We invited him to be baptized, and he said he will think about it this week!  We are praying for him! 

We met a kid this week, as well, on the street who is 16 and is fluent in English.  He studied in China.  Long story short, he has a dream to be a magician.  He is super good at magic and is such a good kid with so many good intentions.  We met with him and he opened up to us so big.  He told us of his life struggles.  He told us his parents don't believe in him and don't support him in his magic efforts.  He has been bullied and kids are not very nice to him.  We told him he can accomplish anything he wants to, and we gave him a commitment to go home, kiss his mom on the cheek, and give her a big hug!  (We said go do it for us cuz we can't see our moms!)  Hah!  He did and said it went well!  He is such a stud.  I call him my little brother and I know that if his parents ok everything, he can and will be baptized.  (When he was younger, he e-mailed one of the best magicians in the world and was sent a pack of cards from Chris Angel.)  Super cool!

This week was amazing!  I'm learning about boldness, and I am learning about how to bear  testimony though the Spirit.  I have been praying for love 5x everyday and am feeling the Savior's love.  The Lord is placing prepared people in our path! He is helping us and giving us the specific revelation for each of His children.  I love my mission.

Have a good safe week!  I love you!

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE. Trust(ing) in the Source. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 61 - September 21, 2015


Family!

Hope all is well!  Dad, happy birthday.  Hope you had a great day!  Crazy to think that you have had two birthdays now since I have been gone!  That's crazy!   Next one, we will be celebrating together!  Super Pumped!  I love you and hope you had a great day.  Gramps told me about your party!  Hah Hope it was great!  Sounded like you ate some delicious tacos!

Well, it's officially been one year since I landed here in Korea.  I can now say that I have spent a full year out of my homeland.  It has been a year I will forever be grateful for and It will defiantly be a year that I will never forget.  I am so blessed and look forward to cherishing my experiences to come and the ones of which I have already had, for an eternity. 


  (Elder Skinner comes back to Korea. Fun to see him at church.)
 
 (Elders in Korea)
 (Service in the kitchen.)

This week was great!  It was pretty busy and we have still been able to see so many miracles.  On Wednesday, we had an Elder from the First Quorum of the Seventy come and speak to us.  (Mission Tour).  It was super great!  I was able to receive lots of uplifting inspiration and revelation to help me in my everyday missionary work.  He talked a lot about elevating our thoughts--not to see things how a normal person would, but to stand taller and elevate our thoughts to find the people the Lord would have us find.  He also talked about some things they established when he was a mission president in Seattle, Washington.  His name is Elder Choi.  He and his wife also talked about our thoughts--where they need to be directed and how we can act upon them.  He said our thoughts lead to action, which leads to habits which leads to characteristics and our character leads to destiny.  It was very humbling.  He opened his message with the question, "Who are you?"  It was a question to really take into mind and ponder.  It caused me to think of my calling as a representative of the Savior and to understand a little bit more of Who called me and where my call came from.  He shared a scripture that really hit me too.  I was able to feel the spirit just as if the Lord was speaking to me.  In John 15:16, the Lord is talking to one of His Apostles and it basically says, "Remember it is not you that chose me, but it is I that chose you."  It was very humbling to know that the Savior indeed did call me to His work and is trusting in me to accomplish it by His hand, following His light. 



This week I also fasted with my companion for help on the principle of planning.  We were taught from the spirit and we both have been able to improve our planning abilities.  The base of every good thing and successful work is a solid plan.  A plan that can be changed immediately when a trial or mishap occurs. A plan that is solid and very specific. 

Plans must have plans. 
Ponder upon that statement. 

The day we fasted we had three appointments and at the close of our last appointment, we had such a cool spiritual message with one of our investigators.  He is super awesome.  He is about 50 and has great interest.  The Lord has really prepared him and anyway I felt inspired that I needed to ask Elder Bombasi to pray before we started our lesson.  Well, we had planned on teaching about faith, but in the prayer, our investigator listened intently and asked what one of the words that he said meant.  It was Holy Ghost in Korean.  Our message completely changed and we taught him about the Light of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We were able to talk a little bit about baptism as well.  It was so cool to feel the Spirit guiding the lesson.  We shared some great scriptures that he pondered upon.  He loves the Book of Mormon and is learning so well.  I was grateful the Lord was able to give us an experience like that. 

I also was able to baptize one of the sisters' investigators.  Long story short.  They are two sons about age 12 and 10 of two less-active parents.  Our members got the wife back out to church and she started attending again.  Because of that, she was able to get her two sons out with her and they were baptized yesterday!  The Father was not reconnected with the church quite yet but after the baptism yesterday, the father because he was there and received the priesthood quite a while ago, was able to confirm the Holy Ghost upon his two sons.  It was super spiritual.  After the baptism, he talked for a little bit and committed that he would start coming back out to church.  It was cool to see the Plan that the Lord had for these two boys as well as their parents, in the bigger picture, their FAMILY.

 (Such a great family!)

I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  More than that, I am grateful for the ability to share it and to live it with my family and to enjoy it for an eternity.

Love you.  Be safe.  Have a great week!

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the Source.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 60 - September 14, 2015


FAMILY!

It's weeks and days like these where I know that the Savior is with us and guiding us in His work. My companion and I have seen countless miracles this week and have seen the hand of the Lord in His work!  I have studied a lot about diligence, repentance, and humility this week and I know that because of that, we have been able to see soooooo many miracles.  Two of the miracles of which we saw are probably two of the biggest ones I have seen in my time serving thus far!



The first one that I want to share happened on two different days this week. 
On Wednesday as we were on the way to go to a member lunch appointment, I sat in the back of the bus talking to this girl who attends another church that is similar to the message of the restoration.  She talked about how her church was restored and what things they believed in.  As I continued to talk to her, we began the topic of our Gospel and how we believe and as we did that, the Lord gave me an opportunity to share my personal testimony of the Restoration.  As we got to our stop we quickly exited and right as we did so, an older man that sat a few rows in front of us exited with us as well and began to talk to us.  As we were walking up the hill, he gave us his number and told us that he just started attending a church about two months ago, but he met with missionaries a while ago and wanted to start meeting again.  He was very nice and as we continued to talk, I heard him say his address of where he lives.  Like the exact building and door.  As he said that, I have a strong sudden impression that I needed to write it down. I pulled out my white hand book and on the back side of it on the sticky note I wrote:  105-225. 

Well, the next day we intended on visiting him.  He was on our plan, but we had another appointment that ended up going over that was on the total opposite side of our area, so we assumed that the Lord had prepared something else for us and we decided not to visit him.  (which was like four other huge miracles that happened!)

The next day, we called his number that he gave us... which for some odd reason, is a phone number that cant be reached??  When I first obtained his number, we called it and it came through to his phone, so it was really weird that after several times of calling him, it wouldn't go through.

But, because we followed the Spirit and wrote his address down, we had nothing to worry about:)  Hah.  We just figured that we would do it the easy way and just show up at his house and share a message with him.

Well, come Saturday afternoon as we took the bus about 40 minutes over to his house area, we exited the bus and made our way up to the address that we had written down earlier in the week.  As we approached his apartment building, I pulled out the white hand book with my sticky note to confirm the address, but apparently my eyes saw something different.... I had what was written 105-225 but apparently then, my eyes saw 105-205.  Why?  Because the Spirit had another plan for us.  Did I know at that time that we were going to another apartment?  No.  I looked at the sticky note and saw 105-205 when it was actually written 105-225.

As we got of the stairs to floor two of this HUGE building with tons of people living in it, we turned the corner and there was a door slightly opened.  We approached the door and realized that it was the house we were intending to visit.  We turned back around, went back around the corner and said a quick but very sincere prayer.  I don't think I have prayed in English in a long time, but for the first time I said a few English words because I wasn't quite sure how to word them in Korean.  The English words of which I used were, "Arm us with thy power."  After saying those words, I went back into Korean and shortly ended the prayer. 

We knocked at the door.  No one came.  It was opened so we knew someone had to be home.  We knocked again.  I looked though the crack of the door and saw a little girl run away from the frame of the door.  We continued to wait and then still no one came to the door.

We knew someone was in there but started to think maybe that little girl was in there alone and she was probably frightened out of her mind!  Haha  So we gave it one last shot.  We rang the door bell and waited.  Finally, a woman came to the door.  She wasn't Korean.  I introduced us and asked her where she was from.  Before I did so, my companion already knew it in his heart.  She was from the Philippines.  Her first reaction was a little different and she didn't show much interest, but we continued talking.  We told her who we were, what we are doing, and asked her a few questions. 

Her heart began to be opened.  We were seeing it!  We were feeling it!  My comp was talking and bearing strong testimony in Tagalog.  I had absolutely no idea what was going on.  I could only see smiles and feel the feelings of the Spirit. 

Apparently my comp was talking about the Restoration and sharing his personal testimony and how it changed his life as well as his family.  As he finished talking, he looked at me and said, "Okay, talk about the restoration!"  Haha  I had no idea what he just said and I didn't want to say exactly what he just said in English.  (She could speak fluent English.)  But, I paused for about three seconds, kind of gathered my thoughts, and relied on the spirit to give me exactly what I needed to say.  I talked about families, happiness and how we can live together forever as a family unit through the priesthood authority restored again on this earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I began to testify probably the strongest I have ever done, in my native language, (feeling and being armed with power, as we prayed for earlier.)

Her heart was softened.  We could see in her eyes how she knew that what we were speaking was true.  She pointed to the Book of Mormon, and being Catholic, she said, "I want one of those.  I like the Book of Mormon."

We continued talking to her and she later said that she knew that it was by God's will that we met.  She wants us to come back and teach her again and we have set up another appointment with her.  She invited us in so many times but we told her because of the rule we weren't able to.  She then offered to buy us lunch and it was just so crazy to see how much her heart was opened.  She has the cutest little 3 year old and her husband is Korean and is believing in Buddhism, but we look forward trying to meet with their family.

From our house to a very large apartment about 40 minutes away, the Lord guided us straight there.  We did not knock one other door except for hers.  She was the first and according the number of the grandpa that we had written down, we had made a mistake but it was according to the will of the Lord that we went to 105-205.  He led us there.  I know that we were guided there and that we followed His will. 

He led us because we have focused on becoming humble and have been repenting to be consecrated unto the Lord.  Elder Bombasi and I are becoming one and are seeing so many miracles.  We have focused on sharing pure personal testimony and people are responding and are beginning to slowly accept our message.
 
I have learned a lot about personal testimony, what it can do, and why it's important.  I have been given many opportunities to share it this week.
I love my mission more than I can explain.  If there is one thing that I want my companions to know and the people around me to know it is that I love my mission.  It has changed me and in the most hard and happy times, I can't help but be so grateful to the Lord for all of the miracles he has poured out upon me.
I love you and hope you have a great week!  Hope all is well!  Have a good safe week!  I wish I could share the other miracles, but I have no time.  We had a very special miracle with a less active from a different ward here in Korea this week.  I will never forget how I felt as we sat on the bench with this man, looking and seeing first hand how alcohol and tobacco ruined his life.  He sat there in tears.  Pain.  Something that I never want to put myself through.  We sat there on the bench next to him, testified of the reality of the Atonement, and promised him he can come back.  The Lord will heal him. 

I reached in his pocket, grabbed cigarettes, he took them from me, grabbed them and threw them as far as he could.  My comp suggested to pray.  We did so and the feeling that we felt will never be forgotten.  We felt the pure love of Christ.  The kind of love that heals any kind of wound or heart ache.

I testify that the Atonement is real. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ. 
He Lives. 
I will never forget that experience.  We met him through a prompting as well.  The Spirit told us that we needed to wait five more minutes outside of the train station.  We had no idea why, but we felt that we needed to wait.  After about two minutes passed, the man came around the corner and before we knew he was a less active, we approached him.  We knew we were led my the spirit. 

Love,

Elder Johnson