Tuesday, March 24, 2015
What a week! I am experiencing things in my life that I never thought I would experience. So many crazy things and so many learning experiences. I am training and there are so many new responsibilities I have, and I am learning so much. This training experience thus far has taught me that I really can't do missionary work on my own. I need the help of my companion and I need the help of my Savior. This has been a humbling experience, and I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me this opportunity. I am still a very young missionary, but I am so thankful for all the lessons the Lord is teaching me.
New companion. New area. New Members. New responsibility. New adventure. New Investigators. New People, and New Blessings.
I am so grateful for the time that I had to serve in Gwang Ju. I learned so much. I was able to create some relationships with the members that I will have forever. I am so grateful for all my experiences I had there in that city. I learned a lot, met so many people and really worked hard to leave my mark.
Its been one year since I have received my mission call and 6 months since I arrived here in Korea. It is really crazy how time works!
This week has been great. I am learning a lot about member missionary work. I am trying to have members come to some of our appointments to help better explain things in depth and to gain a better relationship with them. One of the most important things in missionary work is establishing a relationship with the member and the investigator. I have found a few people to meet with on the street, and I came into the area with 2 investigators who are slowly progressing but have a Word of Wisdom problem. We got a referral from the other Elders last week, and he came to church. It was a miracle! The Lord has really prepared him. I extended a baptismal date to him this last week, but he talked about how he wanted to wait till he graduated (next year). I know that as he continues meeting with us, he will understand why this gospel is important.
Yesterday I went to a member's home in our ward. It was by far the best member visit I have had on my mission! Holy cow, it was amazing! First of all, on the way to the member visit, we were walking in between these apartments and I saw an American kid playing football with another kid. When I saw the football, I got so pumped!!! As I went up closer to him, I could see he was wearing a Colts sweat shirt haha. Me and some of the Elders played catch with him and were able to get his number. He is here with his parents for his church, so I don't think we will be able to really teach him a lot about our church, but you have no idea how pumped I was to see an American, and let alone..one with an American NFL jersey on! It was super fun to play catch for a few minutes and break the ball out again! Hah!
After that, we headed to our appointment and when we got to our member's home, it was the nicest apartment home I have been in on my mission. SO nice. She prepared the most amazing meal I have had on my mission. So healthy and goooood! They had a huge dining table we sat at and it was seriously probably the greatest thing ever. All the Elders in my home went there. (There are 4 of us.) I was able to share a message about service. I talked a lot about how through service we can come to know who God is. As I look back on my mission experience, I can name so many times where I have come to know who I am and how I feel the love of God through serving His children. I am so grateful for a family who has taught me to give selfless service. I talked a lot about how I am grateful for an amazing mother who has taught me to always give to others. Through serving, we can really feel the love of the Savior, and we can come to know that we are all children of God.
This gospel is so amazing, and it's really changed me. I have been incredibly blessed in my life, and I came out here to change myself, learn and grow, and to know what role that the Book of Mormon and the Savior Jesus Christ are in my life.
I am so excited! This week on Saturday, I will be baptizing Chun Joon Sang. I am so blessed, and he was and is truly a miracle. The story of how I met him and the way things lined up, I know for a surety that it was the will of God. I am so thankful and am so excited. I have developed such a strong relationship with him. I really, really love him.
Hope all is well. Keep your head up. PACE. And allow the Lord to be a part of your life. He will lead you if you let him. Focus on what's important and Have a good week! I love you all and thank you for your support!
Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Not a lot of time this week but wow, my heart is full. There has been so many great experiences this week. I have received so many miracles from the Lord and am so blessed! Mom and Izzy, I hope all went well in Cuba. Sounds like an adventure of a life time! That's awesome! I miss you guys and love you tons!
I'm being transferred! I am done with my first area and am on to my next! Time has gone by so fast. I cant believe it! I will be transferring to a place called 유성 (Yousang). I am half training!!! My new companion is Elder Young, he has been in Korea for one transfer and I will be picking up where his trainer left off. I am so excited! I have been praying about transfers so much this week, and I know this is where the Lord needs me. I am called to a big responsibility and am so excited for this new opportunity to really find out who I am. I just need to continue relying on my Savior in all I do, and I know that He will continue to guide me in my missionary efforts.
Well, it has all come to an end here in 충장 Gwangju. I can't tell you enough of all the many tender mercies that the Lord has provided me with here in this amazing area. I am truly blessed. I am so grateful for my time here, and I am extremely grateful for each thing I learned, each companion I had, and each investigator that I got to change. This last week has been my most successful week that I have had here in this area and in my mission. I have seen the Lord's hand in my life, and He has blessed me with so many miracles.
This week Elder Oehler and I had to opportunity of setting a baptismal date with our miracle 구도자 천준상 형제님 (Our Investigator ). I am so excited !! I have never put so much heart into a prayer for someone else like I have for him. He is progressing so well. Last week after P-day he called us that night and told us he needed to tell us something. He told us that he just knew God was real, and he knew that Jesus is His Son. He told us that he believed. It was very interesting because we found him through a fast and the day previous to him calling us was Fast Sunday when we fasted for him. I know the Lord is hearing and answering my prayers. I am receiving so much help from him, and I am really seeking his will. We have set our baptismal date for March 29 and look forward to continuing to pray for him and help him progress. I am so grateful.
The scripture in 3 Nephi 12:16 is coming to life for me. It has been something that I have been working day in and day out on. "Let your light so shine." These past few months in Korea and as I have been serving my mission, I have really tried to find myself. When I first arrived in Korea, I felt pretty lost and realized I couldn't do very many things I wanted to. Being a missionary was hard, being in Korea was difficult, and I just couldn't speak the language or understand anyone. Well, it wasn't until this week where I have felt like I have truly found myself. My foundation is set and I am progressing and growing so much. My light is going forth. I really believe that I have been blessed with a special light that needs to touch the lives of others here in Korea. The lyrics to the song, "The Lord is My Light," have had so much meaning to me throughout these past few weeks. I know that the Lord is blessing me, and I know that through Him I am able to become a better me. I have been focusing a lot on the scriptures and am trying to align my will with his in all I do.
I love you all and hope you have a amazing week. You are in my prayers, and I am so thankful for the support that I receive each week from everyone. Have a good safe week. I love you!
Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
Monday, March 2, 2015
This week has been great! Not a whole bunch of new things, but I want to share a few funny stories in my email today. I hope I can explain them so they will be funny!
So after email time this last week, I went to the barber shop to get a hair cut. Well, first of all... I just want to challenge anyone to go to a haircut store and tell them how you want your hair cut with out using words. Only actions. Ohhh and did I mention, you can't understand them clearly when they speak back to you. Anyway, that's how I do it every time. So this last week as I went to the hair cut place, I tried to do my best explanation of how I wanted my hair cut.. As she kept cutting and cutting, I told her to just go shorter and shorter. As she got to the length I like, I told her to stop there. Well, long story short... As she was cutting my side burns, I didn't realize this at first but she was turning me into a "SPIKE," (hence, my nick name for the past week by all the Elders in my district). She cut one of my side burns completely in a triangle and my other one on my right side the way it is supposed to be. The one that is cut in a triangle shape, she also nicked the side by the top of my ear, so I have a little bald spot and when she got done washing my hair at the end, my front left side of my hair had not been cut at all... So she took the scissors and cut a straight line right across my fore head. I guess you could say I am one of the more stylish missionaries walking the streets. Haha The other Elders have been laughing at me all week! It has been great! Definitely a good memory! When someone cuts your hair and all you can say back to them is, "Yeah IT LOOKS PERFECT," or "YEAH, THAT'S OKAY," because you don't know hair cut vocabulary, things get real interesting. :)
I was able to go out on a bus to the country side today and help one of our members with some farming stuff. It was so amazing. Such a cool experience. We had to take these big pipes and move them like a half mile to this other place, we had to wrap these big plastic things up that they put on the top of the big flower gardens, and we got to fix these walls that needed to be repaired out on the farm. It was amazing.
I was grateful that the Lord gave me an amazing opportunity to serve. It was a lot of hard work, and it was nice to get out in the dirt and fields and get all dirty!
After we worked in the field our member took us back and we had a big lunch at his house. It was amazing, we had these hand picked strawberries from his huge strawberry garden and he fed us this really good meat and lettuce wrap things, (of course with rice). It was awesome. Such a good experience.
This week we have been able to continue to meet with our investigator. He is the one I found on the street that I have been talking about each week. We were able to spend basically a half day with him on Thursday. We taught him a lesson and then went to a member's home together for a dinner and an activity! It was perfect, something that he really needed. He is slowly starting to progress. He and another one of our investigators came out to church this last week. Those were two big miracles! Each night I have been able to call him and talk to him on the phone. I have developed such a good relationship with him. We have such a strong friendship, and I have really just been trying hard to gain that relationship with him and help him to see the love God has for Him. That is one of the most important things, Letting your investigators know that God loves them. I have been doing that by example. Trying to let them see the light that I have been blessed with. I have been bearing my testimony of the fact that I know God Loves me. I know He knows me personally. I have been grateful for that testimony I have gained while I have been serving.
I love everyone! Hope you all have a good week! Be safe and work hard. I feel impressed to share this to anyone who reads my e-mail. God Lives and He loves. He knows each and every one of us. I challenge all to give thanks each day, and I promise that as you do this, you will feel His love and a new light will come into your life. I know that God knows each and every one of us. He has a plan for us and we are down on this earth seeking that plan, and we need to allow his son Jesus Christ to be a part of that plan. He can if we let Him. God loves each and every one of His Children.
I love you!