Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 62 - September 28, 2015


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


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


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. 


Elder Johnson

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 58 and 59 - September 6, 2015


This week was incredible.  Full of so many miracles!  I feel that I have to humble myself before the Lord to really receive each of them with gratitude.  I am so grateful for each tender mercy the Lord has provided me with thus far on my mission.  I have had the on- going thought from the spirit this week of, "Do all things for thy personal experience."  Each thing we experience in this life is simply for us to gain experience and to become a little bit better every day.  I feel very blessed thus far on my mission for the Lord placing people in my path whether it be a member, investigator, companion, or random person on the street for building me up and helping me to reach a little bit more of my potential.  The Lord Lives.

I want to start this email off with a little funny experience yesterday that happened on the way home from our member's home.  We ran into these people from Alabama and they were coming home from a baseball game.  They saw that we were the Mormon Missionaries and as we started talking, somehow we got on the topic of football.  Well, as soon as he made the connection to BYU and Mormons, he asked me what I thought about the BYU game on Saturday.  He is like, "Didn't you hear or see what happened?  THAT'S SO CRAZY!"  Well, I had absolutely no idea of what he was talking about........ until he later told me that BYU beat Nebraska on a Hail Mary!  Haha BOOM!  I was super pumped!  GO COUGS! 

Six Months in Gwang Ju.  Six Months in Youseoung.  And now I made it to my 3rd area! Onyoung.  I am so excited to be here.  There are lots of people the Lord is preparing and we are seeking for the spirit to be led to them!  It is a little different than my last two areas.  It is a small branch and we are close to being a ward.  It is a countryside area, which is very different from my last areas, (my last areas were huge city areas).   I am starting to get the feel and adjust.  I am super excited to see what we can bring out here in this area.  There are lots of great members in our branch and they all want to help and be involved with this work.  They are super great!  Lots of responsibility and commitment to President Shin and  the Lord!


 (The chapel in Onyoung)
The Lord will always provide a way.  He asks that we accept His commandment and follow it, doing all we can to complete it.  Nephi and his brethren failed two times in getting the plates.  Laman and lameul wanted out.  Their attitude was very poor and they were not commited. But Nephi was rather an example and a believer knowing that HE COULD ACCOMPLISH THAT OF WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED HIM.  He understood that it was a commandment and he was not going to give up but find a way in which he could accomplish this great commandment given to him.  It took him three tries and on the third time he acted through the Spirit and found success.  He did it.  He accomplished that of which he was commanded to do.  The Lord will provide a way to accomplish His commandments.  He asks that we create that way, (exercise faith).  He will not always show us that way because if he does, we won't be able to learn and gain full experience, but rather He promises that He will be with us on the way while accomplishing His commandment.  Something very interesting to give some thought to. 

As well as in Ether Chapter 2.... taking a look at how the Lord answers the two prayers that he offered.  I have gained a lot of knowledge about prayer and faith through that chapter.

Also, I have studied 1NE Chapter 8 this week and understand that all that was good in Lehi's dream came from his prayer he offered when darkness came.  Very interesting how we can apply the same 
principles taught in the Book of Mormon and apply it to our daily lives.  I testify that the Book of Mormon is and was written for our day, that as Joseph Smith states in the introduction page that there is no other book that man can get closer to God but by reading and abiding by the precpets given in the Book of Mormon.  As I was studying about the fruit in the dream, we find out later that it was the Love of God, but I think that we can put any gospel principle in its place and do as Lehi did which was share and invite others to do so.   I am grateful for that opportunity to share and bear my witness every day.

Yesterday, we had a baptism!  We baptized a young couple with two young kids!  It was such a spiritual experience.  So cool to see how baptism changes lives. 

 (The couple that was baptized.  Such a great day!)

(At the baptism with Elder Boombasi, who is Elder Johnson's new companion.)
 (One of the children of the couple above.)
Four investigators came to church!  We were in the middle of a lesson with our Uzbecastan investigator and an old investigator from Cameroon suddenly came in, and we were able to have a great lesson on the great apostasy and Restoration!  We set a baptismal date with our investigator Jenya from Uzbec.! 

Lots of great miracles this week! 


Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

 (Spiders in Korea.  Yikes!)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weeks 56 and 57 - August 24, 2015


Hope all is well!  Sounds like everyone had a great week!  MOM AND DAD, 23 years!! WHOOOAAA that's big time!  Congrats on the big anniversary!  That's amazing.  I love my parents, and I am so grateful for each thing that you taught me to prepare me for this eternal journey of happiness.  When times are rough or even when things are going great, I apply the simple things that I was taught from my youth and every time I have seemed to find success.  I love you!

This week was great.  Found some great people but before I explain a little more about them, I want to talk about transfers.  My Yoseuong,  유성 experience is coming to an end.  I am so grateful for the experiences I obtained from my four transfers here in my second area.  I learned countless lessons and I met countless people whom I will remember throughout my life.  The Lord sent people in my path to help me at different times here in this land.  I have a big testimony that the Lord will send you those people who will build you up and who will help you will specific needs that we might have in our lives.  The Lord sent people to me to help build me up and make me a sharper instrument in His hands.

(Yoseuong District)
(This is the Bishop's family in Yoseuong.  They have nine kids!  Elder Johnson is going to miss this crazy, cute bunch of kids!  Elder Holden and Elder Johnson are in the front.)
(Elder Johnson says:  "One of my closest friends.  Jimmy Primero")
(Missionaries at the Stake President's Home with his family.)

 (On to his next area:  OnYang)
I will be transferring to a bigger branch in a place that is called, OnYang.. 온양.  I will be serving with an Elder named Elder Boombasi.  He is from Philippians.  I have never met him, but I hear great things and I hear that they have about five people prepared to receive baptism.  President called me today after transfer calls and told me he is sending me there to help out with baptisms.  If they get about 10 more baptisms, they will be a ward.  I have a big responsibility and I will do everything I can with an attitude of gratitude and helping there.  I know that with the help of the Lord, I will and can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I will rely on Him and do everything through Him.  I am really focusing on expanding my knowledge of the Savior Jesus Christ.  I love Him and I have come to know a little bit of the role He plays in my life everyday of my mission. 

Saying good bye to everyone will be hard.  I love these members and each of the people we are meeting with.  They have changed me in many ways. 

Our investigator that moved to Seoul came back down to Daejeon this week.  It was great to meet with him.  He was one of the first people I met here in this area.  He explained to me that the desire of his heart is to be baptized.  I am praying for him very strongly, and I really think he will be baptized in a few months.  He told me that he doesn't have anyone who loves him in his life like we do as missionaries.  I feel a very close bond with him and I pray he is baptized here in the future.

I love the Lord and I love this work. 

I love you,

Elder Cole Thomas Johnson