Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 27 - January 26, 2015


Family! 

This week has been great!  Full of more and more things to learn and grow from.  Six months down, I  have grown, changed, and learned so much.  I am still the same Cole as I was when I left, but I  have a new light to me and I am trying to just improve myself everyday.  I am really focusing on the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ, how he lived, how he loved, and how he  reached out to everyone.  In a talk that I read in the MTC called, "The Charatcer of Christ," it talks about how Christ always turned outward in love and compassion to others in need and never turned inward and was selfish.  I have truly come to know that some of the happiest times I have had on my mission have come from giving love and service to everyone I come in contact with.  I have a goal in my planner everyday to serve at least 2 different people.  I have a 1. and a 2. written on the page and at the end of the day I am accountable to myself and write my acts of service in for the day.  As I do this, I am blessed.  I am blessed to serve these Korean people everyday.

Transfer calls came!  I am staying in my same area!  I'm pumped.  I am getting a new companion.  My time with my Korean comp is over. I am grateful for all I learned.  I really learned so much.  It's really interesting how the Lord really gives us what we need and He knows exactly when we need it.  I have gained a testimony of that this week.

This week we have visited a lot of members and have spent a lot of time on the street.  In each of the member visits I could feel the gift of tongues being given to me by the Lord.  I was just opening my mouth and things were just coming out.  It was such an amazing experience.  Also, I gave a lesson at English class on Friday night to a big group of people, and I talked about prayer and how if we exercise faith in Jesus Christ we can receive answers to our prayers.  I spent a lot of time preparing for that lesson, and while I was giving it, the Spirit was testifying so strong to the things I was saying.  I felt the love of Christ and the gift of tongues being given to me.  It was a cool experience.

These past few weeks I have continued studying about the prophet Joseph Smith.  I know that he restored this Gospel.  I have lived it my whole life and the happiness of which I have obtained from it is so unexplainable.  I am so thankful that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I can be made clean from sin, experience happiness and live with my family for eternity.  There is no other church on the earth or gospel which allows families to be together forever.

As I have studied about the experience of which Joseph had, I have strengthened my testimony on the power of prayer.  First, in Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision, he tells us that had a question that he was inquiring of the Lord.  Second, he tells us he  knelt down in a silent place, then he exerted all his power upon the heavens and prayed VOCALLY from the desires of his heart. 


  There really isn't any other method by which we can obtain answers to our prayers than this. Some of my most spiritual moments on my mission have been on my knees in a vocal prayer to God.  When we need answers, we can kneel in prayer.  "Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers," one of my favorite quotes by Elder Neil L. Anderson.  I am so grateful for my Savior.  I'm growing and trying to improve myself like the Savior.  This Gospel is Happiness. It has been hard for me to gain a knowledge of everything, but I am grateful for a lifetime to learn.  I am also grateful to know that God knows and loves me.

Hope all is well.  I love, miss, and pray for everyone daily.  The work is moving forward.  Still working hard trying to find investigators.  Miracle.... Three of my old investigators came to church this week.  My very first person I found here in Korea, Dennis (his English name) came to church.  Elder Skinner contacted him and he finally decided to come.  I am grateful for the small tender mercies in which the Lord provides me with everyday.  Keeping investigators and consistently meeting with them can be hard at times, but I am keeping a good attitude and pushing forward.

Love you all!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 26 - January 19, 2016

Family! 

So glad you got my package!  Hope you liked everything.  The squid and the candies!!  haha  They aren't very good, but I wanted to give you a little taste of the Korean Life:)  Hope you enjoyed it!  I love and appreciate you guys so much.  My family is amazing!

(This is a picture of the squid candy Elder Johnson sent home for his family to try.)
(Elder Johnson's sister and her two friends try the "candy.")

This week has been great!  Full of lots of hard work and lots of blessings.  I am continuing to learn so much.  I am really trying to focus on applying all the things I learn during my personal study.  In "Preach My Gospel," it teaches that by living and applying gospel principles, I will be able to gain a better understanding and I will be able to teach more productively.  I have noticed that as I have been doing this, my knowledge of the gospel is increasing and new Ideas are coming to me.  During my companion studies me and my comp role play.  It is soooooo HARD.  But I am really trying to find my teaching style, and I am really focusing on trying to teach simple gospel truths.  Sometimes I get so caught up in how hard the language is and it is so hard for me to say what I want, but I am then reminded that If I stay simple and rely on the Spirit, everything will go smoothly and go how it is suppose to.  I am really learning to rely on the Savior in everything, and I am applying his infinite Atonement in my life. 

Something that I have been thinking about this week is that, we as people living on this earth, will never fully understand how great the Atonement is.  How powerful and infinite it is. The Savior really did suffer for the sins of all mankind and through him we can receive eternal life.  I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ.  I am trying to become like him in every way I can.  I have really come to realize I just have to throw myself into his arms and trust he will guide me in my actions, this work, and my life.

I am learning and applying something that was taught to me while I was growing up by my most amazing parents:)))  It's the power of planning.  Planning is so important in missionary work.  Often times I find myself with so much on my mind and so much to do, and it just stresses me out.  I sometimes let things build up and it just gets distracting.  But I have noticed as I plan and find a way to accomplish the things, I see big results.  I have learned so much and I have so much to learn.  As I plan, pray, and execute with a purpose, the Lord helps me in all I do.

Me and my comp are still working hard trying to find investigators.  I love him! He teaches me so much.  We have two investigators right now.  One is really sad and really needs the gospel in his life.  We are trying to help him in every way we can.  He is slowly progressing, but he works on construction things so he is always unable to meet.

We have just been spending a lot of time talking to people on the streets.  It has its ups and downs.  I really want to meet and grow a love for my investigators and teach lessons, but I have started doing something on the street that has helped me grow spiritually and has helped me progress in my Korean teaching abilities.  I try to teach a principle of the gospel to each person I talk to on the street.  It has helped me so much.  I know as we keep working hard, the Lord will lead us to the people he is preparing for me.

I am grateful for prayer and and gaining a close relationship with my Savior.
I hope all is well.  I Love you all soooo soo much.  Thanks for your love and support!

Have a good week.

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 25 - January 12, 2015


Family! I hope all is well! 

I got two post cards in the mail this week from Paris!  Thank you so much, they meant so much to me.  Thank you for all your love and support you show me.  I appreciated your email and your thoughts to help me discover my special gifts I have been blessed with.  Last week because of time purposes, I wasn't able to share a quote that I wanted to.  I can't remember who it's from, but it came from a talk in the Ensign that I read.  It goes like this, "Remember, its what you do with what you have that makes you who you are."  That is so true.  I am really trying to bless the lives of others by being myself and using the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with.  I am so grateful.

I am learning so much everyday.  I am slowly starting to find myself and I have made some big improvements over the past couple of weeks.  My companion is teaching me so much.  I love him!  He is the coolest Korean and is full of energy!  We get along so well, I swear he is like my twin--just in a Korean form haha.  I have seen huge improvements with my language ability from just serving with him.  I am able to understand a lot more, and I am able to say things I want to say better and better each day.  I have continued to pray for the gift of tongues and I know I am being blessed so much.  I am so grateful.

(Strength in numbers.  Elder Johnson with other missionaries serving in this area.)

 (Lower picture:  View from Elder Johnson's apartment in Gwangju.)
Being a missionary is truly remarkable.  I receive so many blessings each day and the happiness and love that comes from this work is incredible.  I know the Lord is very involved. 

This last week as we were out talking to people on the street, it was freezing cold.  We weren't having much success, but we continued to talk to everyone, and we eventually ran into this girl who was carrying a lot of groceries and looked like she needed help.  As we helped her, she saw that I wasn't wearing my gloves and my hands were about to freeze off! She reached into her bag and pulled out these brand new really nice leather gloves and gave them to me.  It was an amazing miracle!  I felt so blessed and I was so grateful.  I started to think back on why everything happened like it did, and it was simply because I have been showing the Lord my gratitude for His countless blessings he provides me. 
I am reading in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi right now, and one thing I have observed is after each blessing the Lord grants unto Lehi and his Family, they build an altar and offer a burnt offering and give thanks.  In the back of the Book of Mormon when Christ visits the Americas, he tells us that the burnt offering that we need to offer him is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  If we do this we will be blessed beyond our own.

I want to share an experience of something that happened this week that really sent me to my knees to seek an answer from my loving Heavenly Father.  A simple question.  Did Joseph Smith really restore this Gospel?   Did Jesus Christ and God really appear to him in the Sacred Grove and tell him that he had a work to do?

On Wednesday this week, I felt as if my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith was taken from me.  I believed, but I didn't know.  I felt as if I was in a dark place--a place that I had never before been.  I wasn't myself, I felt depressed, and I really was having some negative thoughts.  I ignored the negative thoughts and put them away.  A scripture came to mind that is in Alma Chapter 32.  "If you can have no desire to believe, let this desire work within you."  I held tight to the testimony I previously gained of the prophet Joseph Smith, that I received on Originations, my trip back east to each church history sight.   After praying and asking for myself in the Sacred Grove, after thinking about that scripture, it brought me to another scripture in the Book of Ether which tells us that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.


I believed.  I started to really ponder the question.   Was Joseph Smith really a prophet?  As I read a talk about Joseph Smith given by Neil A. Anderson in this last conference, it immediately changed my thought process.  He gives a challenge in there of gaining a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.  There is also a quote that I love, "Spiritual questions receive spiritual answers from God."  There is not a more true statement that I can think of.  I thought to myself that there is only one way that I can find out for myself.  I realized that I could not rely on the testimony of my companion. 

I prayed.  I asked.  And I acted.  I can tell you with everything I have that Joseph Smith restored this Church.  Joseph Smith did more for the salvation of mankind save our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ only.  I am so grateful for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It has brought me more happiness in my life than I can explain.  There is only one way in which we can know for ourselves and that is to ask.  Ask our loving God who gave us life.  Even if we need a reconfirmation.  Like I did.  When we seek the things of God, he will reveal them unto us.  I want to share my testimony of the restored gospel with everyone I come in contact with.  The Book of Mormon has brought more truth and light to my life than any other book here on this earth.  And without a young 14 year old boy seeking for truth, we wouldn't have it.  I am continuing to build my testimony on the Restoration of this Gospel.  And I know that this is God's true church here upon this earth.  I rejoice in the restoration, and I glory in my Savior.  I love this gospel, and I am grateful for the opportunity I can share it everyday. 

I love you!  Have a safe week!  I miss and pray for you every day!

Love,

Elder Johnson

Friday, January 9, 2015

Week 24 - January 4, 2015


Family!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  2015.  

I'm so excited.  I have a lot of goals and things set that I want to accomplish this year.  I have so many cool and fun experiences that await me.  Sorry not a lot of time.  But this week in Korea I turned 20!  Every Korean gains an age on New Years.  It's super weird how it works.  Apparently every New Year's day, Koreas gain an age if you eat this special soup. Yesterday, Bishop invited us over and we all ate it.  It was a cool experience.


(Elder Johnson with his companions.  He thinks they are great!)

 (On the streets of Korea)
I don't have a lot of time this week. But I want to share with you something that I am learning--the principle of being yourself.  Sometimes as a missionary, that can be the hardest thing to do.  With all the things you are learning, studying, and doing, sometimes you tend to be someone you aren't.  Well, as I was going throughout this week, I was really focusing on being myself--trying to find all the special things I have been blessed with and using them to bless others' lives.  I know that I have been called to Korea because I have been blessed with special gifts I need to use to bless these people's lives.  I have been praying a lot to figure out what my gifts are and how I can use them.


I have also gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  For some reason, I realized that I haven't been reading the Book of Mormon as much as I need to.  I have been studying other things like "Preach My Gospel" and to help me prepare for my lessons.  But I had the feeling the other day that I really need to just focus my studies on the Book of Mormon.  As I have been doing this, I have really noticed new ideas and thoughts come into my head from just reading the Book of Mormon.  I know that when we read the Book of Mormon, we really receive special revelation for our lives.  I love this gospel, and it brings me so much happiness.



(Click on the link above to see a short 5-minute video about the Book of Mormon.)


Love you.   Have a great week!



Elder Johnson