Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why hello beautiful people.  Its been awhile hasn't it.  Well i hope this one doesn't bore you :)

From Hurricanes to Bishops not being on board, from organizing flood clean up to Halloween parties, from parents holding their kids back from progressing to sickness almost preventing covenants, and from visiting a district meeting where Elder A is the District leader to having one of the most spiritual baptismal services I've ever attended, this week I've done it all. Its been a wild ride and as I mentioned in another email to some of you, I feel like my mission is going so fast that if I even just blink, i will miss the rest of it.  We looked at what was ahead for this next transfer and every week is stacked with things to do and then this morning we got even more things to do from President in regards to all the new missionaries we will soon be having(Probably after i go home-so i get to do all the work but not get to see the fruits of my labors :(  But such is life.

So starting from the top. Monday was an incredible day! As the storm was raging outside, there were 20 of us missionaries chillin in the mission home with the Packard family.  We never lost power, we played games all day, ate, and then at night we did a big family home evening Packard style!  Everyone performed a talent as usual and there were some funny ones. A canadian elder sang the Star Spangled Banner haha.  Elder R and I actually performed, "In Christ Alone" by owl city and N P accompanied us on the piano. We had asked her to learn how to play it just a few days before we knew about the storm because we wanted to perform it at some point and it all worked out to do it that night. It went really well.  We of course had a spiritual thought as well about prayer. And I have come to realize that for me, I think i receive the most revelation in my prayers when i pray specifically about how i can help a certain individual. I've received some pretty specific things to do to help others. Now when i pray for personal matters, the answers are a bit harder to recognize.  I think thats when the scriptures come into play.  Kinda cool. Prayer is a great blessing.

Tuesday we got up and finally went home. The storm was done and only a few missionaries throughout the mission ever lost power.  As we were leaving, Michael(12) comes down stairs and says, "Are you guys coming back?" We said ya michael we come here pretty often remember? and then he said the funniest thing, "no i mean are you going to come back tonight and do the same thing as we did yesterday?" haha it was so sad to tell him no.  There was no real damage to our area so we just went back to normal missionary work.  But in the New Haven CT stake theres lots to do and half of the mission got to go down last saturday to help with some cleanup and this weekend the entire mission is going down to help out all wearing our Helping Hands T-Shirts so Im stoked! (We didn't get to go down cuz we were super busy Saturday....but when are we not?)

Tuesday we also found out that our bishop was not going to let the baptisms happen until he interviewed them and found them worthy and ready to be baptized.  Obviously he doesn't hold those keys so we called him and helped him see that and so he said then that he wants to meet with them in his office before the baptism so he can get to know them. Eventually everything turned out alright and T our investigator who has stopped smoking for over 3 weeks was able to get baptized.

Jumping to the baptism, It was one of the most spiritual services I've attended.  The members just love T and have been a big part of getting her in the ward.  Sis. K (the one from Portugal) gave a talk at it and did wonderfully even tho she's only been speaking english for like 3 months.  Its amazing to see the lord bless those who work hard with the gift of tongues. Sis K and her comp have been switching offf teaching with T over the past few months and I have no doubt that the reason she got baptized is because we got the sisters involved.  We have some really solid sister missionaries in our mission and they add so much to the work.  I had the opportunity and privilege to Confirm T that day as well and that was a cool experience.  She is such a sweet lady who has had a rough life.  She cried multiple times that day just out of joy and excitement.

Oh random side note, some italian reporters tried to interview me about the election but i told them no so instead they asked me about my mission and i was answering their questions and so they started filming me for a few seconds.  But then we had to tell them to leave the church grounds cuz we aren't affiliated with any political party.

So back to the DL kids not getting baptized.... That was probably the saddest and most frustrating days of my life. This week after hearing the mom say multiple times that YES her kids can get baptized, we went over to get her signature.  Well she wouldn't even show her face or talk to us and so we tried to communicate through messages passed to the kids to her and back to us and it went on forever and she just wouldn't budge. She said they can get baptized but that she was not going to sign anything.  J started crying when his mom said no to letting them get baptized and W kept saying over and over again, "I just want to be baptized, please let me do it." ;( It was heartbreaking.  But we will continue to work with them. I haven't given up all hope yet.

We've had some really spiritual moments with members at our dinner appointments lately and its because we actually prepare a lesson to teach them and think about their needs and teach to them.  But we often start out by asking them why it is they keep coming to church each week? What is it that brings you back? why?  And its been amazing the spirit that enters their home as they have the chance to bear their testimony to us but more importantly in front of their spouse or children in their own home.  Theres power in sharing testimony with each other in the home.  So i challenge all of you to do that this week sometime.  Ask each other what it is that keeps you coming back to the church or staying in it? And i promise that you will grow closer together and that you will share a spiritual experience, which are so essential to have in a family.  The reason why i keep coming to church is because it teaches me what it is that our Heavenly Father wants me to do and become.  I am a better person because of belonging to this church. I learn there. I learn that we can change. We can let go of our weaknesses and our mistakes and change and have hope in good things to come.  And that is something that i feel like everyone needs to know about.  Hope is what is missing in this world.  So share your light and bring hope to others this week and always. 

So yeah....This is why I never had the chance to write a real letter last week. We have a lot to do and I have only a little time left. Just Don't hate me, k? :) Love you all! Thanks to Blake Karli and Brody for being the first to send me something for my birthday! and Mom thanks for the package it was PERFECT!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Johnson

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