Saturday, February 21, 2015
This week has been so amazing. Full of so many tender mercies and miracles. I hope all is well at home and everyone is doing well! I want to say thank you for all of the kind Valentine's Day notes from everyone! That package was so amazing! Mom, you are the best. I am so lucky and am truly blessed to have so many amazing people who love and support me through out this incredible journey!
My heart is full of love and gratitude this week. I have been able to partake of Christ's love and to experience the power of his Atonement in my life. I have been opened up and have learned so much. I am progressing and growing so much every day. I know I say that every week in my e-mail, but it's because I am, and I am grateful for the opportunity that the Lord has given me to use me as a tool in his hands and that I am able to be a representative of him in all I do.
One thing I learned this week was that I need to become the Lord's "Golden Investigator." I am opening up to him and allowing him to change me. I am trying to keep his commitments and learn from each of my weaknesses every day.
The gift of Prayer is real. Through sincere prayer, we can receive answers to any questions we have or we can receive any help that we need. I have a strong testimony that the Lord always gives us what we need, at the exact time we need it! This week I have relied on my Savior in all I am doing. There have been so many miracles this week!
Today is a big holiday in Korea. It's the Lunar New Year. It is a time where all the families get together and celebrate the Lunar New Year. From what I've heard, they all gather together to eat a special kind of food called DuckGook (It is a soup with rice and meet, it's delicious) and the youth bow to the older people in the family to symbolize the welcoming of a New Year. Once they have done this, the elderly in the family give the youth money. Today we had the chance of going to one of our member's homes to eat and its was awesome! Unfortunately, they didn't have any young kids, but it was fun to talk and share a short message!
This last week was zone conference. It was so incredible!. I have been spiritually fed. President Shin is really focusing on consecrating our mission, and he has really been focusing on teaching us how to become consecrated missionaries and what things we need to do to give our all to the Lord.
After Zone Conference, Elder Oehler and I were talking and we really felt like we needed to fast. Fast to know how we could really consecrate ourselves to the Lord and that we would be led in every aspect of our work through the spirit. As we were fasting, we came up with a list of a few bad habits and weaknesses that we were willing to give up in order to be consecrated missionaries. After our fast ended the next day, we directly went out side after eating lunch to 전도 (proselyte). The first person we talked to walked right past us and didn't want to talk; however, we kept walking down the street but could see no one in front of us. I had a feeling to look back and right as I did, there was this college student who was right behind me. As we were talking to him, he said he didn't have any special beliefs and that he didn't really care to have religion. As we kept talking to him, I could feel his heart being opened up.
As we got to the tree where his bike was locked up, I just had a feeling to ask him if he had any plans and if he didn't we could go to our church and talk more about our church. As I asked him this question, he paused for a sec and replied back to us and said he would love to come! It was amazing! (originally we didn't have any plans and were just going to proselyte.) As we got to the church, we were able to teach him a little English and then after about 10 minutes, he started asking all these questions about our church and as we explained, he asked for a Book of Mormon and he just kept asking all these questions. It was a huge Miracle! The Lord answered our prayer and we are so grateful. We have been able to meet with him twice now, and we try to call him on some of the week nights to follow up on commitments and build a better relationship.
I have experienced so many other miracles this week. I feel so blessed and so thankful for all the Lord is giving me. I have been praying for five gifts each night: The gift of Teaching, Understanding of the Book of Mormon, Remembrance, Holy Ghost, and the Gift of Tongues. I have been trying my best to set goals to be accountable to myself and to the Lord. I have had countless experiences this week where I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life and where I have received answers to these things I have been praying for. I am grateful for prayer. It's weeks like these that I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me personally. He has a plan for me, and I am here on my mission trying to seek for that plan. He is giving me exactly what I need when I need it and I am so grateful for that.
The Book of Mormon is bringing a new light to my life. The feelings and thoughts I receive from reading it are so real. I am grateful to serve the Lord. I am doing all I can to strengthen my relationship with Him and am relying on Him in all I do. When we rely on the Savior, He is always there to help us.
One thing I have really come to know here on my mission is that we can never reach our full potential. There is always space to learn, grow, and improve. God has a SPECIFIC and SPECIAL PLAN for each and every one of his children and through that plan we must rely on the Savior's atonement. Because we have Jesus Christ, all things are possible. We, through his atonement, can become better. I know that for myself from these past 7 months.
I love the Lord and I am so grateful for the chance to serve him. Thank you for all the love and support you show me. It means so much. I love and miss my family so much. I have felt your prayers these past few weeks and am so thankful for them. Keep sending them my way:) I love you! Have a good safe week!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Sounds like all is well! Everyone is looking so happy and healthy, and then there is me... Just getting a little chunky.... I am loving it here! I am happy, healthy and I am slowly finding myself.
(Elder Johnson in front of a museum in Gwangju)
Each day is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow! I am progressing and I have realized so much this week. My potential is infinite and with the help of the Savior, I can become better each day. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have with the Lord. It is my time for him to teach me and to shape me into the person I will be for the rest of my life. There is never a point in our lives where we have progressed to our fullest--where we have done all we can and can't do any more. The most beautiful thing about this life is the opportunity to grow and progress everyday. Each and every one of us have a special plan and through the Grace of the Savior, we can progress and become better.
I want to share with you guys something that has been on my mind this past week. It is about the things of which I have just mentioned. A question that has come to my mind this week is this, "What can I do today that will prepare me for tomorrow?" As a missionary, there are so many things that need to be done and sometimes it gets so stressful because I don't know where to start. I try to do each thing perfectly, and I feel like I never move on to the next. I have realized something that will help me progress faster and will help change my thought process. That is, Step by step, Little by little, moving forward and climbing the mountain, finding out who God wants me to be, what he wants me to do during these 2 years, giving my best in completing each task and moving on to the next. I don't have to do each thing perfectly because that is impossible, but if I give my best and rely on the Lord in all I do, then I will learn and be able to progress.
The Korean language has taught me a lot about myself and about these things I just mentioned. Learning a new language requires a desire to act and a lot of patience. As I have been studying and learning this language, I really have learned a lot about who I am.
This week has been amazing. My and my new comp are working hard and praying for miracles. As I was studying "Preach My Gospel" this last week, I came across a part that talks about prayer. It says that we as missionaries need to pray to be lead to the people that the Lord has prepared for us. That is something I have been doing ever since I got here in Korea, but the next thing that it says is after praying to find them, "Pray that you will RECOGNIZE them." That is something I have been doing this week and I have really been led by the spirit. My prayers are being answered. I want to share a cool experience that I had this week as I did these things.
On Thursday, Elder Oehler and I just finished with a member visit and as we crossed the street and headed to the bus stop, I just figured that I should just study my vocab. Well, as we got to the bus stop and as I was looking at my vocab notebook, I saw a person in a blue coat walking toward me. I had this feeling to talk to them but I just told myself, "Ahhh, it's okay, I'm studying right now." The prompting came again and the person was getting closer and closer. I looked up and he passed me. I told myself, "Ahhhhh great, it's too late now, he is already past me." I looked back down at my vocab book, and I still had a feeling to say hello to him. (This feeling was so strong!) Well, as he walked past me and his back was turned away from me, I yelled, "안냥하새요." He immediately turned around as if he had just known I was directly talking to him. Before I said anything else, he started walking directly toward me and smiled. We were able to teach him a 30 minute lesson on the street and were able to get his number. We invited him to church, and so we are really excited to be able to meet with him and start teaching him about the Gospel. He is really prepared, and I hope and pray that he accepts our message. He told us he went to a church and they lied to him, and so he hasn't been back, but he seemed really interested in us and said he wanted to start coming out to our church to find out more.
I am grateful for the Lord answering my prayers. When we follow the promptings of the spirit, we are blessed. In that experience, I really felt the spirit prompt me so strong.
I am learning a lot and am working hard. This work is progressing, and I am trying to have a purpose behind everything I do.
I love you! Hope all is well. Happy Valentines day! Have a good safe week.
Love Elder Johnson
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Another great week. My eyes are being opened and I am learning and growing so much. The work is progressing and I am grateful to be a part of it. I have drawn closer to the Savior this week and have been trying my best each day to apply and share His teachings.
Not a ton happened this week. I am starting my 4th transfer! Crazy! At the End of this transfer I will have spent 6 months here is Gwang Ju. It has been great.
(Elder Oehler who is Elder Johnson's new companion.)
This next transfer I am going to work my hardest to become consecrated and to give the Lord my best. I am working hard trying to find someone to baptize. I really want to get a baptism here in Gwang Ju before I leave. I have spent a lot of time out on the streets trying to find people, and I have found a lot of success. I am seeking for the Holy Ghost and relying on the Lord to show me where to go, what to do, and what to say.
Yesterday, during Sacrament meeting as I sat pondering in my chair, I came to realize something. That is, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed me. It has opened my eyes and I see things so much differently. These last 6 months of my mission, I have gained a strong relationship with my Savior through prayer. Prayer is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. I remember many different times in my life where things have been hard or things have been good and I knelt in prayer asking for help or giving thanks. This transfer, I have a goal to pray vocally every night. As I've been reading the Book of Mormon this last week, it talks about praying vocally. I know that as I pray aloud, my conversations with Heavenly Father will really come to life, and I will be able to make my prayers more of a real conversation with Heavenly Father.
As of right now, we have 5 investigators that we are working with. We met with one this week and he seems like he has a lot of potential. He met with missionaries about 6 months ago and then was busy with school and things, so we are continuing to meet with him and praying that he accepts and receives our message.
Sorry, time is short this week. I am learning a lot and I am excited for this new transfer. The Lord has a lot in store for me and I am grateful to be doing His work.
I love you hope all is well!
Love, Elder Johnson