Address

Elder Eric Johnson
2935 Waterchase Way SW Apt. #308
Wyoming, MI 49519

Please send letters or packages by First class or Priority Mail via U.S.P.S. so they can be forwarded to him.

Monday, April 24, 2017

4/24/17

fam and friends,

Last Monday was spent helping some of the people I talked about last week. We spent the whole day outside emailing helping two people who are really struggling in their situations. We had an amazing meal as usual with a member who we found out runs a food service out of her home. She only really does it for money on the weekends but she told us how much she makes, and it's a lot. 

Tuesday was an awesome day, we picked up a bunch of solid investigators and put them all on date and they will probably make it. It was the family that we helped on Monday, and we taught the mom the Saturday before. They were down to get baptized when they were meeting with elders last year, but due to pressure and some things that happened to them from their family, they disappeared. But everything is better now. Like I said they contacted us, and want to come back to church, so that's what we're going to do. 

The same day we had a lesson with German, the other investigator that contacted us out of the blue. This man is a champ. He is so spiritually sensitive and wants to follow Christ with all his heart. During our first visit we gave him a BoM and asked him to read the introduction. The next day, he called us and told us that he read that and the intro and the first 7 chapters. How amazing, he feels that the book really is from God, but is a little timid and worried about baptism. He still accepted a baptismal date. The best part is he is really easy to teach, asks really good and sincere questions, and really studies what we give him. In the lesson after he told us all this he mentioned that he read everything he read twice so he could really understand what he read. He talked about a question he had about some things in the Bible and he found an answer in the Book of Mormon that really touched him. We try to teach, but really the Holly Ghost is the one doing the real work, and I'm so grateful for that. He came to church this week and in the gospel principles class he was asking really great questions. 

Tuesday night we had a dinner with a member, we were standing outside all together about to walk in and this guy walks up to us and from across the street asked if we were "bible bashers." We told him we were just missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We explained what we do, and he was like "that's all good, but do you read the Bible?" I could already see where this was going and the guy was asking us weird questions about the apocrypha. Any way, the funny part was at one point he was talking about some passage in Deuteronomy about slavery and he was like, "what group of people does this make you think of?" I knew where he was trying to go, so all I replied was "how far back are we going, because just about every group of people have been enslaved at one time or another." I forgot to mention this guy was black, but he just paused for a second and pivoted to another point. It was more funny than anything, and the meal we had right after was super good. Props to that guy though, 5 missionaries and he still was confidant enough to try to corner us.

The Suarez family came to church again. They are so awesome. Sadly though they aren't getting baptized this Saturday, but they really want to be. The said they wanted to go to church more before they make set a solid date. The read and pray as a family every night. They really believe everything we say and connect really well with the members we have brought to lessons. Turns out one of the members we had knew the mother-in-law when they lived in El Salvador. That was a little funny. Jose has opened up a lot more and actually stays when we teach. They also ask us about church all the time. Natividad (the father) is also reading from the teachings of the prophets for Gordon B. Hinckley, and we are trying to get him a Gospel Principles book to read from as well. They fed all the missionaries in the branch Saturday and are going to do it again this week. Hilda (the mom) apparently used to own a restaurant and cooks amazing Hispanic food. We'll be having hand made pupusas today. They are going to be really good. 

Also the new restoration video put out by the church is really good. Watch it.

2017 Restoration Video

Prophets of the Restoration Videos

4/17/17

Fam and Friends,

Monday last week was a little insane. Last week a very loud horn was going off while we were doing our studies and we joked it was an air raid horn because it was just so loud. Turns out it was just a tornado warning, and it was only a test. 



The next week we had this massive rain storm, more rain coming down than I've ever seen. It drizzled all day but really started coming down mid-lesson with our golden family we are working with, and sadly the car was about 30 yards away. After the lesson we ran like crazy to no avail. We were soaked through and through, luckily my bag kept my stuff dry. We drove home in little to no visibility, and a few inches of water in the streets at some points. Once we were close to our apartment the tornado warning came on. Sadly it was dark, so even if there was a tornado I wouldn't have been able to see it. Watching a tornado form and touch down is definitely something I want to see in person before I die.

Wednesday night we got a text from our branch president asking us to do the Easter program. just a reminder this was Wednesday night.... at least he had specific instructions haha. We met as a district and figured what we were going to do and called the chorister and she picked some filler hymns that same night. He asked us to use the choir and sing "Sus manos" which is super hard. We were able to have one practice and we only practiced "Sus Manos". We didn't do a full run though or anything, just an hour of "Sus Manos," It was really rough. We had to leave early though because things came up so we had to finish weekly planning and pack for trade offs. 

Sus Manos

When Sunday rolled around we were pretty nervous. Elder Weston thankfully organized what we were doing onto papers that we could look at. The program started and was really rough, but we really were able to pull it together. We ended with a few testimonies about Christ, and it ended super powerfully. The spirit was so strong and thankfully the Suarez family (golden fam) came and it looked like Natividad was really feeling what was going on. They are scheduled to be baptized on the 29, and this week will be when we really get ready. 

Trade offs were on Friday. Nothing really exciting happened that day. I was with Elder Waters and we taught a lesson with one of their recent converts, Berta, and her husband Jorge. I sat down in their living room, realized I forgot my planner in the car, and realized I had no idea what we were about to teach. Haha. After some small talk with the couple Elder Waters looked at me and everyone looked at me as if to start the lesson. Stalling I just said, "Well, today our lesson comes from the scriptures," and leaned down and was slowly opening my Spanish scriptures. Luckily Elder Waters said we were going to talk about the Sabbath day as I was opening my scriptures so I just opened up to the 10 commandments in Exodus. Outside that we had a decent lesson. Berta is pretty old, and has the "High Priest" sized Book of Mormon because of her vision. That thing is massive, it's pretty funny. 

Two potentials called us out of the blue. Both miracles. German is this 23 year old who is really awesome. Reading over his teaching records it sounds like he got anti-ed pretty hard by the priest at the church he used to go to. He called us out of the blue and we had a really nice lesson with him. He talked about how he feels distanced from God and wants help to come back. He talked about how he felt when he was going to church and meeting with missionaries a lot and how that's all gone now. He also said he saw different missionaries a few times in the streets and he really started thinking about what he had left. That was such a great lesson, he said the closing prayer and it was such a sweet and sincere prayer. 

The other potential was meeting with missionaries a year ago and was doing really well until her family started fighting against her about  what she was getting into. Our lesson with her was really sad because she was just telling us about everything that happened. She told us that a few days ago she was feeling especially down and decided she needed to read from that book the missionaries gave her a year ago. She opened the book of Mormon and one of our ITL or pass along cards fell out. She picked it up and our number was on the back so she texted us out of the blue. It was a super cool experience and was nothing short of a miracle. 

The scriptures are such a powerful tool. If you are not studying from them or at least reading them daily you're missing out on spiritual experiences you could be having every day. The Book of Mormon changes lives, and is truly the word of God. Give it a chance. 

Have a free copy of the Book of Mormon delivered to your home

Dual meaning words I learned this week
Wives = Esposas = handcuffs 
Married = Casadoz = hunted

Monday, April 10, 2017

4/10/17 Happy Easter

fam,

Sometimes you do all you can and things just can't line up. We had a good week as usual. We did our best but after all, we can do, we can't make other people's decisions. 

Starting off with the overwhelmingly good news, Bienvenido is safely back in the country! We heard a little more about what happened to him. So he is here legally but his wife wasn't here under the same circumstances so when her visa expired she actually returned home to the Dominican Republic. When Bienvenido arrived in country for his son's funeral at some point he was with his wife and was abducted at gun point with his wife. His wife was able to hide a few dollars but everything else of value was taken. They were held blindfolded for a little bit and were dumped off somewhere, and where able to use the few hidden dollars to return to family. Basically a crazy experience. We were able to meet with him, have a nice little lesson, and see how he was doing. He seems to be doing pretty well, obviously shaken and down from everything that happened, but still wants to get baptized and really has a testimony in the power of the Book of Mormon. Dominicans are basically impossible to understand, so this is only what Elder Guerrero told me. If everyone spoke gringo Spanish como yo (like me) it would be super easy to understand people. 

Wednesday was a little bit of a bummer. It was a little over freezing and just pouring, a great day to knock doors. 




Luckily I stayed mostly dry and we had a really good conversation with a 7th day Adventist. Other than that we didn't get a lot done that day due to cancellation and the visible success rate of door knocking.

Monday was super cool though. Things fell a little too perfectly in place. Our Malibu doesn't have a CD reader so we were back to just talking and no music, but Elder Rencher graciously let us borrow his USB drive to listen to some music and talks he has. We have a crappy old CD player in our apartment that can also play off USB drives. I was going to leave the USB in the car but had a thought to bring it inside to listen to music at the end of the day. We were listening to this great talk by this guy that I wanted to finish so I hoped it would start where we left off. Once we were in our apartment I plugged it in to listen and it would only play this one story that wasn't what I wanted to hear. I turned the CD player off and ignored it. I had this feeling to try again, so I did. Still the CD player wouldn't change and was stuck on this random talk. For a third time I felt the need to try again, still nothing, but this time Elder Guerrero heard the first few seconds and said he really liked that talk and that it was really good. As he was saying this, for the 4th time I felt being drawn to listen. I realized it was the spirit pushing me, and that it was that specific talk that I needed to hear, so I did. I started listening and the spirit was just so strong, I was basically sucked in and before I realized I had listened to the whole thing. Once I finished I was just a little confused. I have no idea why I needed to watch that, but the feeling was undeniable. Its called "The Conversion Story of Brother Carpenter." To say the least, it's pretty good. A quick google search and it'll pop right up, and I hope everyone listens to it.

The Conversion Story of Brother Carpenter (youtube)

Last week I also expressed concern over one of our investigators. We've had a lot of trouble contacting them, but they're basically golden. They connect SUPER well with the Rosales family and are such and awesome family. We finally contacted Natividad over the phone and he told us he has been reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon every night with his family and has been reading one of the Teachings of the Prophets books which was given to him by Brother Rosales. Golden. We have them on date on April 29, and we have a lot to do. There are a few things that need to happen before they are ready, but they want to be baptized. Spring break didn't help us at all, because they've been in Chicago for awhile. 

The same way we had a little bit of a disappointment. We stopped by a less active man we've been working with to remind him we were going to give him a ride to a dinner and lesson at a member's home. We saw him outside and he kinda walked into his house once he saw us. We knocked 3 times on his door and nothing. Wanting to really get this kid's attention, I knocked a 4th time kinda loud haha. He opened and was clearly high. We told him we were going to pick him up after our lesson and go to dinner at a member's home. We got an okay and left. We came back after our lesson and wasn't home. The worst part is we haven't been able to talk with him since. On the bright side our dinner with the member was SO GOOD. Tacos.



Sunday we had a mixture of really good and awkward ITL's. One really good ITL was like the first house of the day with this old lean guy who was pretty raggedy looking and had a shaggy beard down to mid chest. At first he said he didn't want anything to do with us, which happens a lot. I was able to get out of him that he didn't want anything to do with us because he said we wouldn't accept him or that he wouldn't fit in and that we only wanted him for his money. My goodness, the spirit was so strong, for some reason I just felt such a love for this old man. Elder Guerrero and I talked about Christ a little but we weren't able to do much besides invite him to see the Easter video the church has put out and give him a pass along card. (Watch it with the link provided) 

Easter Video
I hope he was able to feel at least a little of what the Lord's love for him that I felt at his door. That was such a cool experience. He didn't accept what we said, but we are just out here planting seeds. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

4/3/17 Pitbulls, new malibu, church tour

3 months!

Due to the weird P day schedule we had two Sundays between emails. Last Sunday was awesome. We had fast and testimony meeting, where people just share their testimonies on anything they want so it can be interesting sometimes. Sadly we weren't able to get any investigators out, but the meeting was fantastic. We had a few really powerful lessons that week where members participated with us, and they shared their testimonies on those experiences and it was incredible. I was just so happy, it was kind of weird. So many people where trying to share their testimonies, so the branch president finally said we had time for one last quick one. I feel like everything we do with the members starts 15 minutes late and goes 30 minutes over. Half way through the meeting Luis, the less active kid we are working with, showed up. I heard the door open and was super happy to see him walk in. Elder Guerrero was sitting in the back with someone and Luis sat with him. The only thing stopping him from going to church is his inability to go to sleep and wake up on time haha. 

Spectrum Health Grand Rapids

That night we got called to give a blessing to someone who has been in the hospital for the past few weeks. That was such a beautiful night. The hospital is massive, like crazy big. Spectrum Health Grand Rapids. We parked in the wrong building and there are sky bridges from building to building, but we just walked outside. It was a perfect night at dusk. We meet up with one of the members of the branch and walked to the room. I've had a few opportunities to give blessings, none in Spanish...yet, but they are always really touching moments. 



The next day we had a fantastic lesson on the Plan of Salvation with the family we found. They asked some really good questions and offered to feed us after. It was great. We had handmade pupusas which were awesome. We had another lesson with them later on in the week in the church where we gave a little tour and finished next to the baptismal font. 




We put them on date! They were super excited to come to church to watch conference but last minute had to cancel because "something came up." We asked if there was anything we could do for them and if everything was alright. They just said "pray for us," so I'm slightly worried for them. They are awesome though. They pray as a family, do a bunch of family oriented activities, and have read a little of the Book of Mormon. 

Tuesday was a little funny. We spent a fair amount of time knocking doors and one guy opened the doors asked if we were Mormons and I said, "Yes". He then said he wasn't interested in talking with us and started closing the door. I asked why he wasn't interested and he said we were one of the "false religions". I asked him why he thought that and couldn't say why. I asked if we could maybe talk with him about our church and he said he didn't want to waste time talking with someone about a false religion. That was a little funny, I wish we could have talked with him. Door knocking just makes me think of the scripture in Mark about how people with ears to hear will hear. Door knocking is not the way to find people ready to hear. I cannot stress the importance of member missionary work enough. We also had a funny dog encounter the same day. We were talking with this lady, and after she left we were writing down her info to call later and this massive pitbull walks out of its dog house. It charged at us, but luckily was chained to the little doggy house. We laughed a little bit until it started dragging the doggy house towards us, we crossed the street and the owner came out and yelled at the dog. Never have I seen a more muscular dog. My goodness.



Friday we picked up our new Malibu! It rained our whole way down to Lansing and the people weren't ready for us once we got there, which wasn't that good. We chilled in the mission office, and once we made all the calls we could to potentials and investigators we ran out of things to do. We played ping pong and read through sections of "Mormon Doctrine" by McConkie that are not scripturally backed up and are not actually doctrine. That was fun, there are some weird things in that book haha. After a few hours we were able to take the car. It's sweet. Its color is "nightfall grey steel," but best of all TIWI wasn't working on the way home so I drove home at a comfortable pace. 



Saturday and Sunday were pretty great. Every six months we get to hear from the Apostles and Prophets who lead our church. Saturday my favorite talks were definitely Elder Holland's talk on the hymn "There is Sunshine in my Soul" 

Elder Holland's talk

and especially Elder Sabin's talk on being fully committed to the gospel. He made a point of connecting the symbolism of baptism with being fully committed to the gospel. The ordinance of baptism needs to be done correctly, and if the person isn't fully submerged it must be done again. For the gospel of Jesus Christ we need to be all in, and when we are truly all in we are eligible to receive the greatest blessings God can give. 

Elder Sabin's talk

In the Priesthood session, President Eyring made a really good point on leadership and service. He said the Lord's work is not to solve problems, but to build people. When we help people we need to be thinking of what will actually help them, instead how to fix the situation. Once they can help themselves they can fix the situation on their own. This builds off the idea of the importance of building strong capable people, instead of making life easier. Capable people solve problems while people who haven't had to learn and grow shrink at challenge.

Elder Eyring's talk

I hope everyone reads or watches at least one talk. These people truly were called of God, and that's a powerful gift.