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!


Elder Johnson

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