Monday, February 24, 2014

Thank goodness for sister missionaries...

So Elder Johnson didn't say too much in his email home today, but luckily a sister missionary, Sister Goudie posted some pictures of what they did on their PDay--hiking and raking leaves, sounds fun!  From the looks of the pictures, the weather looks just about perfect.  Unfortunately, that's all I know about his week, except they were on bikes all week and didn't get to run much because they were sooo busy.  I'm sure they're busy doing great things, hopefully next week I'll hear more about those great things.  Elder Johnson's companion, Elder Nielson is the one in the light green shirt and I think they get along really well.                                                     

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gotta love pictures...especially when they're of Elder Johnson

Elder Johnson must have been bored on his P Day (either that or he got tired of me asking for visual proof that he's alive) because I finally got some pictures, yay!
Everyone in the MTC called this look on Elder Johnson's face...the gazelle look!

His favorite...Elder Steed!

Sister Armstrong--Elijah Armstrong's (the runner) sister

The Gazelle boys

Snow in Little Rock!


1st baptism

Monday, February 17, 2014

New companion, same area, epic 3 days--week 7 in Arkansas

A lot happened this week out here in arkansas. The first big event of the week was transfers on wednesday. elder Nielson is my new companion. He is from Rexburg Idaho and loves adventure sports, mountain biking, BMX, etc. He has been in oxford mississippi for his whole mission so far and has been out for a total of 7 months. He was actually my last companions companion in the MTC. luckily hes ok with getting up at 6 everyday to workout so I still get a pretty good run in everyday, but im getting really sick of the treadmill, 2 straight months of only running on a treadmill. we have worked really hard these last few days and have had a lot of success with a great story to go with it. On thursday we focused the entire day to finding new people and setting appointments with them to come back and teach lessons. I believe we found 11 new investigators that day and taught 9 quick lessons. which is more lessons and investigators I have ever had in a day. Friday started out really slow, no one was answering there door and several of our appointments with our new investigators had fallen through already. it was dinner time and we had two more appointments set up for that night one with a old lady named Zettie and another with Erika, both were single ladies and we werent aloud to teach them in there homes without a ward member with us. we quickly called several of our most reliable ward members to come out with us, but with it being valentines day everyone had other plans. we decided that we would probably be able to teach zettie from on the porch but we probably wouldnt be able to teach erika on the porch through the door because she has a baby that cant be in the cold for very long. We got to zetties appartment and began teaching her about the restoration and gave her a book of mormon. she said that she had read part of it before but that she had always thought that it was taking away from the bible instead of adding to it. (she loves the bible, she has 24 copies of it) we invited her to be baptized on the 1st of march and she accepted. after we left me and elder nielson were both really excited and we were getting out our phone to text the baptism date to some of the other missionaries when brother hiatt called. I had never met brother hiatt before and I didnt even know who he was. he explained to us that his whole family was out of town except for him and so he didnt have any plans for valentines and that he had this feeling that he should call us and see if we needed any help. since he had offered to go we would be able to teach erika in her home and not have to skip the appointment. When we got to erikas house we expected we would be teaching just her but once we went inside her 4 kids and her mom were all there waiting to hear our message. we started teaching, which at first was very difficult since her mom (joann) would interrupt us constantly with scriptures from the bible making it very hard to stay on track. but eventually she went quiet and was just listening, until after we taught her about the first vision and then she started to tell us about a prayer she had said earlier that day about how she wanted guidance in her life and a new path to take. we then invited both her and erika to be baptized on the 1st of march and they both accepted. I know that brother hiatt was inspired to call us and offer us help that night so that we could visit erika and joann and help them come unto christ. The next day we re committed Phillip to baptism for the first of march as well. sunday we taught another new investigator we found name Aaron. he is kinda crazy but is a great guy he has 4 kids, one of which he named Phat king.... I almost started laughing when he was telling us there names. he loves scriptures as well, he had a rough life of being in and out of prison a few years back but changed his life around by going to a church down the street. we gave him a book of mormon the day we met him and he was really excited, he reads it to his kids everyday even though they are all 7 or younger and probably dont understand what he is reading. after a long lesson with him with lots of random comments from him about something he read in the book of mormon, which is good i guess but made it hard to stay on track, we invited him to be baptized on the 8th of marchand he accepted. with the help of the lord we were able to set 5 baptism dates in 3 days. we were really blessed to have so much success in one week. the whole last transfer we only set 3 dates and two of them fell through. in those three days we also found 15 new investigators and taught 15 other lessons along with 8 member lessons. we were really blessed to have that much success in those three days. ive never taught that many lessons in an entire week.
Love, elder johnson

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two months gone, staying in Little Rock with a new companion and best of all...a Baptism!

Hello to everyone back home! I miss you all a lot! Im super excited to hear about everyone signing with weber, the teams gonna be stacked in 2 years! cant wait to run with them again. congrats to everyone racing through this indoor season. I believe simplot is usually this weekend so good luck to everyone competing in idaho! DXC!! i have enjoyed a lot of running this week and got a good tempo run on the treadmill today, 3 miles in 15:27.
Transfers are coming up this next week and we got word yesterday that my companion, Elder Jardine, will be transfered somewhere and that I will be staying here unless something really unexpected happens at transfers this wednesday. So as of now I dont know who my companion will be this next transfer. im hoping I can be companions with an ultra marathoner I met last week. I would love to go on a long distance run every day. Along with elder jardine leaving there will be a lot more responsibility put onto me, which I think will be a good thing. I dont like not have responsibilities. I will have to teach the area to my new companion, im hoping I will get to be the designated driver because of that.
James Sears was scheduled to be baptized yesterday, but had a tough challenge of not smoking for an entire week to have the baptism go through. we prayed and fasted twice for him at the beginning of the week and he was able to have the strength to completely stop smoking and be baptized yesterday. it was one of the greatest feelings I have had being out here watching the joy in his family as he was baptized and joined them in the church.
Last friday we had a blizzard here and got 3 inches of snow. doesnt sound like much compared to what we are used to in utah but here in the south none of the cities are equipped with equipment to handle the snow. so that three inches closed the entire city for 2 days. we were out on the roads as everyone was trying to get home and there were pile ups of cars everywhere and cop cars and fire trucks trying to help people all over the place. It took us an hour to drive a little under 2 miles, it was ridiculous! The area we live in is really hilly so at the bottom of all the hills there were always big groups of crashed cars. It was kinda funny seeing how cities react here compared to back in utah where 3 inches wouldnt be much snow at all.
Miss you all! hope everything is going great back home!
Love, Elder Johnson

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 5 in Arkansas

I dont feel like much happened this week that is really exciting. On tuesday I got to go on exchanges with one of our zone leaders in conway so I was up there for tuesday and part of wednesday with Elder randall. That area is a lot cleaner and more of a nice area than the one I am in right now. The area im in now is the more rough part of town. I thought conway was a really cool area though. The members there seemed really supportive of missionary work and were lots of fun to work with. One of the houses I went to I was told was from the church of christ and we went in and started teaching and they were really rough and just criticized everything about our religion and were really rude. After a half hour of teaching everyone there just started laughing. apparently whenever there are exchanges they like to trick the new missionary and try and scare them, they all had been members there whole lives. They are a really cool family and they make great chocolate cake. while on exchanges I also met a ultra marathoner from washington. I finally found someone that loves to run and didnt think I was really weird. Thats another thing ive learned while Ive been here, runners are a lot different than the rest of the world. The rest of the week was really slow and included several "zero" days where we taught no one. We had been biking all week and it had been really hard contacting anyone. On saturday we had taught 5 of our goal 13 lessons so far that week and it was 34 degrees and pouring rain and all we had were bikes. we prayed for success and for investigators to be put in our paths to teach and that day we were able to teach 7 lessons. That was the most lessons my companion had ever taught in one day. The slow week turned out to be pretty successful. James baptism is scheduled for this sunday, but if he isnt successful in quitting smoking by tonight then it will be canceled. President wants him off smoking for a week before he can be baptized. Friday night we had a conference with elder L. Tom Perry. It was for all the leaders in our mission to try and encourage leaders in the wards to help the missionaries be more productive. Listening to him outside of general conference is a lot different than when it is general conference. He is really funny and it seemed like lots of his stories were jokes, he was really entertaining. He told us about how he always gives his card to nonmembers and tells them to bring it to a member show it to them and tell them that this guy wants you to share the gospel with me. The nonmember usually goes on to ask will they know who you are? and he replies by saying i dont know, maybe they will.
Transfers are in one week and I dont really have a opinion on whether I want to stay here or go somewhere else. I would like to go to memphis but if i leave then I will have to cancel my gym membership here and find a new gym there, sooo its a toss up.
Being in the south isnt as different as I had previously thought it would be. at least in the area i am in there are very few people that have bad southern accents or that eat any different food.
Love, Elder JohnsonWeek