Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 71 - November 30, 2015

Family and Friends!

Hope all is well and hope every one had a good safe Thanksgiving week end!
This week was solid!  Full of a million things and we were able to see a lot of miracles.
It is crazy to measure your self progression over the course of a transfer or even a week.
I constantly feel like I am growing and learning.  Our potential is infinite and we have but a short time on this earth to fulfill it.  I have grown a lot over the course of the last 6 weeks.  I have learned things that will help me throughout my life and have strengthen me as an individual and instrument in the Lord's hand.  I look up to my Mission President greatly, and he is truly an inspired man.  I learn great amounts from him and I am truly blessed to be able to follow his counsel.

We had Zone Conference this last week and preparing for it was a BEAUTY!  We only had like a total of two days to completely prepare for it, but with much sincere prayer and communication, things went very well. The Spirit was very strong and each member of our Zone felt a special spirit.  Elder Butterfield and I relied on the Lord so much and we know He honored our preparation and gave us so much more in the exact moment we needed it.  We are focusing a lot on becoming one--as a mission, but especially in our Zone.  We didn't have any baptismal dates these last two weeks, but two days after Zone Conference, we were able to set two in our Zone!  Huge miracles!  We are focusing on giving a gift to Christ for Christmas. Time is short and things are getting tight.  We are going so 열심히 here in our area and have seen lots of miracles! 

We followed the Spirit very well this week and were led to an apartment where three people out of 70+ rooms accepted us!  One of them invited us in to share a message!  That was huge.  Another guy seemed interested and then another guy came to the door with no shirt on with a mouth full of food--hahah super funny.  He said he couldn't talk, but I quickly asked for his number and he gave me it!  Crazy!  He seems interested and wants to meet with us!

We met with a guy from Sir Lanka, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Korean, American, and African haha.  That's exactly how the Lord wants His Gospel going forth.  We had a miracle church attendance this last week.  The first week with my new companion we met this really cool 28 year old on the street and he said he really would come to church.  He came out yesterday and had a great experience!  It was his first time ever in his life going to church!  It was hilarious singing hymns with him!  I also gave a talk in church yesterday and talked about JOY.  I asked a question, "What is Joy to you?  When have you experienced Joy?"  I didn't have much time to prepare cuz we had a million other things, but it went really well!  The members were really excited to have our investigator at church, and he said in two weeks he is coming out with a friend! 
It snowed a million this week!!!!!!!!  Holy cow!  It is also super cold!  I love it:)) hahah  Also, I am having a blast with my Korean comp.  He is the best.  We get a long so well and I am learning so much Korean from him! 
I didn't tell you this, but someone who I found on the street and met with was baptized three weeks ago!  He works across the street from our church in the area right beside our area, and we found him right directly in front of our church one day when we were waiting for an investigator to show up.  I had a feeling to go outside and talk to people, and we met him. He was baptized three weeks ago!  Such a good guy!  He has overcome smoking and drinking!
I love you and hope you have a good safe week! 

Love, Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the source.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week 70 - November 23, 2015


How are you?  Sounds like everything is going well there at home.  First of all, Shout out to my beautiful younger sis Iz.  HAAPPPY BIRTHDAY, SIS.  I miss and love you.  I hope you had the best day.  I saw a video Mom sent to me of you eating whipping cream or something super funny!  I was dying.  I miss and love you, Iz.  You have grown up so much since I have left.  Two birthdays have now passed since I have been a missionary, which means for your 18th, we will be partying together!  Love and miss you!  Big 17!

This week has been super busy.  Very different and pretty stressful.  I had to go in several different areas this last week for Zone leader responsibilities.  It was great.  I was able to learn a lot and am really excited for the next up-coming transfer.

New transfers!  I am staying here in Onyoung  Elder Bombasi just moved over to the area right next to me.  He is in the bigger city, Cheonan where we have district meeting.  I just got an Elder from Korea who was originally in our zone!  I went on a few splits with him, and I am soo pumped to serve with him!  His name is Elder Jung.  He is super fun and we get along well.  I am excited to work with him and to serve together.  I am speaking Korean with him all day, and I am so excited to learn Korean on a different level!  Last year at this time, I served with a Korean, but I was fairly new to Korea and missionary work, so I couldn't soak up quite everything I wanted to, but now I can converse and speak how I want to with him.  I can understand more and my learning ability will grow!

I was able to go to Daejeon this week as well.  Elder Park went home and Elder Butterfield became the new Zone Leader with me.  I am so excited to work with him.  He is super great, and he is who I replaced when I came here to Onyoung  It's super funny because he went from Onyoung to Cheonan just like Elder Bombasi did.  They are now living together again. We got a lot of new members in our Zone, and I am excited to work with them.  Elder Butterfield and I are praying super hard together trying to lead the Zone and to pull out baptisms this transfer.  If our mission gets around 22 baptisms this month, we will beat the record of 200 baptisms in one year.  We, as a mission, are working hard and relying on our faith in the Savior to lead us along.

 (The foreigner family in the branch, with the investigator on the right.)

I have studied about faith as well as what I talked about last week, "Changing to Become." In and through all things, if we act in faith, the Savior will be there.

We are focusing, also, in our mission to give a present to Christ for Christmas, and I want to close with a scripture I found this morning during studies.  It goes hand in hand with what we are doing here in our mission and with what you can do there:

"Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith."  Ether 12:9

Have a great week!  I love you!  Be save and Happy Thanksgiving!


Elder Cole Thomas Johnson

PACE Trust(ing) in the Source

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 68 and 69 - November 16, 2015


This week has been great! I have learned a lot and have been able to change myself in many ways.  I have been focusing on two words these last two weeks and they are two words with great power and meaning. 1. Change.  2. Become.  These are two words that have helped me constantly strive to be better and to recognize my many weaknesses and make them strengths through the Savior.  As I have pondered upon these two words these last few weeks, I have come to understand through the Spirit that these two words are made possible through one person, the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Only through Jesus Christ and His Atonement can we Change.  He gives us a Change to Become.  A change that cannot fully be explained or comprehended.  It is something that I am continuing to ponder about. 

We change to Become.  We change to reach our potential.  We change to become humble. We change not for us but for Him.   We change then become.. change then become..change then become..  It is a constant process.  The Savior is the start of that process and has promised us that if we change, we can become who He would have us be. I hope that as you ponder upon these to words, you will feel of that same power and reality of which I have felt.  Our potential is divine.  And we can reach it if we will just change our ways to His ways.  Change to Become.

This week is transfer calls!  I will be getting my call today at three.  I'm thinking I will probably stay here for another 2 or 3 transfers.  On this transfer, the other Zone leader, Elder Park, will be going home. I love him and have learned so much from him.  He is an outstanding missionary. His knowledge is crazy, and I was so grateful to have spent the time running the Zone here in Chonan.  My responsibility is now doubled, and I am so excited for what the Lord has in store.  Our Zone is going great and it should be changed a lot as these transfer calls come in.  I am excited and ready for new opportunity, realizing that I still need to Change to Become.
This last week after one of our appointments with our Chinese investigator, we were coming home and ran into our old investigator who almost got baptized last transfer.  He had a baptismal date and due to a few other things, the baptism just didn't end up going through. He hadn't answered our calls for about 7 weeks and we were able to see him on the street! Huge miracle.  I was so pumped!  We are hoping to get back in touch with him.
It rained and was super cold this last week!  Also, we were able to have a very special lesson with another one of our investigators who is almost ready for baptism. He didn't quite understand the importance of the Book of Mormon, but we shared Alma 37:36-37.  It was when we were following up on the commitment to pray and he said he had felt a very positive feeling when he would pray in the morning.  He could feel the Love of God and understand that God will really help him. So we shared this scripture with him and He said he felt something.  He said he needed to make the Book of Mormon a priority in his life and that he needed to memorize that verse!  So cool!
This week I had crazy octopus soup!  Brain and intestine.  Everything.... It was alive at the time it was being boiled!  Crazy!  Super different but kinda gooood! 
 (Above:  Elder Johnson with friends in Korea; picture below is Elder Johnson with a good buddy who came back to visit the mission--Elder Skinner.)
Love you! Have a great week and be safe!
Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
PACE Trust(ing) in the Source

My ponderize for this week has been Mosiah 4:27. I invite you all to ponderize as well. What great blessings and inspirations! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Weeks 64, 65, 66, 67 - November 2, 2015


How are you?  I miss and love you, praying for you every day!  I hope all is well!  I am so excited for Ty and Kate!  That is sooooo crazy!  Feb 11-- that is coming up so soooon!

(Elder Johnson's older brother, Tyler, was engaged to Kate LeFrandt.  They both served their 
mission in Paris, France.)

These last few weeks have been super great!  I have been taught so many powerful lessons and have learned so many things as I have been trying to change myself to who the Lord wants me to become.  It's interesting how the minute you think you have found yourself and are comfortable where you're at, the Lord will push you to change yourself and will invite you to exercise your faith to become a little bit better and to improve yourself in the way of which He asks.  I have been focusing on the daily blessings and miracles.  They are countless.  In Alma Chapter 26 verse 2, Ammon is talking to his brothers and he says something very powerful I think we can all learns something from.  He says, "What big blessing has the Lord given us?"  (In their Service to the Lord) Can you tell?

I have focused on that I and have seen more of the Lord's blessing these last few weeks.  Every day since my 4th transfer I have recorded a miracle in my planner.  That is also what I stress to the members in our Zone.  YOU CAN'T SERVE YOUR MISSION WITHOUT SEEING MIRACLES; or in other words, YOU CAN'T LIVE LIFE WITHOUT SEEING THE LORD'S HAND. 
I think back to the night of my farewell gathering when Brother Steve Lindsley looked at me in the eyes and promised me that if I put two feet into my mission, if I went in with both feet, I would be able to obtain all the blessings the Lord has in store for me and I would be able to become a sharp instrument in His hands.  I am grateful for that great advice from a wise man and thought about it a lot throughout my mission, asking myself, "Do I have one foot in my mission or am I focusing here with two feet in giving my all to the Lord?"  As I have focused with two feet in, I have seen that promise be fulfilled.

I have learned  a lot about faith as well, having a plan, trusting in the Lord, and acting with faith through the spirit. This last week we were able to extend a baptismal invitation to our investigator.  He is such an amazing guy.  He met missionaries 20 years ago, and then last year on the street.  The first week I moved to this area, he randomly called us.  Long story short ,it has been really interesting to see God's personal plan for him.  He is slowly recognizing it and we are really praying for him to be baptized.  He didn't quite accept the date fully but accepted to pray about the date.  He is such a good guy.  He has to overcome a few things, but he can do it!  He has become such a close friend. He is 37 and isn't married.  He is looking for his vision and we are helping him grasp a hold of it through the Savior.  This last week when we met him, I felt very inspired to ask him if he really knew he was a Child of God.  I looked at him in the eyes and said, "Among all of God's children, do you believe that you are a child of Him and that He knows you and loves you infinitely?  He wasn't quite sure and didn't quite have the knowledge, but as my companion, our member, and I all testified that we are all children of a Father in Heaven who loves us, he was able to partake a little bit of that knowledge and feel of it. What a great blessing to know for ourselves that we are children of our Heavenly Father. Who Loves us. More than we can comprehend.
I also had a very humbling experience on the street this week after a lesson. We saw a guy from Sri Lanka sitting on the bench smoking and eating some Ramen.  As we walked over to him, his health just looked horrible.  He literally looked like he was hit by a car.  After talking to him for a little bit, he just started bawling.  Crying so hard.  And I could just see in his eyes how much he wanted to give up on life.  He was so sad and was having such a hard time. Being a foreigner here in Korea and working in the factories is soooo hard. They are not treated well and barley receive enough to provide for their family, whom they never see.... The only thing keeping this man alive was his daughter.  The love that he has for his daughter is perfect.  It is just a fraction of the love God has for us, but I was able to learn a powerful lesson of love and just seeing this man, working and never giving up, was such a humbling moment.  We both just gave him a hug and told him that Christ will heal him. 
To be honest, I will never know the answer to this, but I wonder what the result would have been if we would have not gone over to him and followed the prompting.  I saw him stare off into the distance as we were talking to him and it was like time stopped.  It was like he saw his daughter and wasn't going to give up.  Love is what makes us strong.
I will end with a quote from President Uchtdorf, 
"For what we love determines what we seek.  What we seek determines what we think and do.  What we think and do determines who we are and who we will become."
(Click on the link above to hear the talk given by President Uchtdorf about the Love of God.)
I love you!
Have a great week.  Be safe and pray pray pray!
Love Elder Cole Thomas Johnson
PACE Trust(ing) in the Source.

 (Elder Johnson and Elder Bombasinwith a friend from Korea.)
(Elder Johnson and Elder Ogle)