Elder Eric Johnson
2516 Normandy Dr. SE Apt. 304-C
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

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

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Last week I left off that we were about to have pupusas, they were great. The members here are always giving us great food, and we are getting fed really well. Based on our branch's small size we get fed by the same people almost every week or ever other week, which I'd imagine is a pretty big burden for some but we are so grateful. We had a lesson on trade offs with one of the recent converts who was talking about the many miracles that have come because of what she does for us. 

I found a true hobby shop near our apartment. We stopped by on P-day and just looked around. Didn't really do much there, but bought some materials to build a blowgun and some darts.

On exchanges we taught a lesson with some of the investigators in the district leader's zone. One of the lessons was with a young couple who are planning on getting baptized pretty soon but are living together out of wedlock. We talked with them on the Word of Wisdom, but about half way through the lesson we started talking about their plans on baptism and living the law of chastity. Turns out they decided on getting married which is super cool.

Natividad and his family are still doing well. We set a new date and committed them to continue reading the scriptures and praying to figure out what they should do. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting, and a bunch of people shared testimonies on receiving answers to prayers and how much their life has been blessed by the gospel. It's so cool that people are being led by the spirit to share certain things that directly answer the questions of our investigators. 

Last week we had three really powerful lessons with the Agelar family. The Westons were able to come out to two of them, and are such a big help. As of right now my language skills are at the level that I can teach and not a whole lot more. Sustained small talk is really hard, so it's really nice to have the Westons with us because while they help teach they connect really well with everyone. In those three lessons the family expressed that they weren't quite ready to be baptized but are doing what they can to be ready. In those lessons we could see that they were feeling the soft comfort of the spirit as we taught and discussed the things we were talking about, which was super rewarding to see. Jose their son is really opening up to us and stays in the lessons. Aldo is tough though because he just wants to play with his 3 year old brother. The mother-in-law isn't on date, but she is a much tougher nut to crack. She will just leave lessons and not come back.  I'm not sure what's going on there, but we always invite her back. Our branch is kind of awesome. Their family, like I said, came to church and were early and I talked with them for a little bit. They sat down and a few members all swarmed them. This is their third week in a row and the members are so excited. They are being welcomed in so well.

We had two other investigators at church: German, and Tony. German is a boss and like I said last week is really sensitive to the spirit. He was really enjoying church, but I could see he was slightly uncomfortable. There is a good talk by Gordon B Hinckley in which he talks about how new members need three things, one of them being a friend because they need someone they can ask questions and have guidance because Mormons are weird (paraphrasing). This is so true. German has said that he feels slightly out of place because there aren't that many people his age. He is so awesome though and already has a strong Christian foundation of Christ, the power of repentance, the bible, and has even told us that he really believes the Book of Mormon truly is scripture and that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God. The spirit has testified these things in his heart and he knows they are true, but he just needs to be socially converted. Members are vital to this stage for all people who are looking at our church honestly and openly.

One thing I love about all the scriptures is that one of the most repeated ideas is that we can receive answers from God. James 1:5 is pretty clear and that's what we really try to emphasize with people. Think, ponder, pray. Anyone can receive guidance when they ask for it. We had a lesson with an English speaking women we knocked into, where she told us a story that she was about to be evicted and lost all governmental support and that everything was about to come down on her. She told us that she prayed all night for help and in the morning she opened up the Bible and the verse she opened up to said something about "trust in the lord and he will protect you". The spirit told her and testified to her heart that everything was going to be okay, so she trusted the Lord. She said she sees people struggle and she watches as they turn to everyone else except God, and they really lose out of the support they could have if they humbled themselves and asked. We had a great lesson with her, and it was one of those times when you wish you didn't have to pass her off to the English elders. 

Bienvenido is doing alright. We had a lesson with him on Sunday. We talked about keeping the Sabbath day holy and what that means. We shared the 10 commandments and a scripture in Isaiah that I can't really remember the location. He committed to go to church, but shared how tough it is at home. Apparently he is getting a lot of anti there and doesn't feel like he can do much in that apartment because of that, but also said that he has been sneaking in reading the Book of Mormon when they sleep though. We got some great news though that he might be getting a new apartment at the end of this month so he is going to be much more able to meet with us which will be great. 

Lastly the other elders are teaching an interesting guy we found knocking outside a member's trailer. Jose told us he had a dream where he saw three levels of heaven and saw his wife in the highest one, saw Jesus talking with his wife about him, and was led around by an angel in a white robe. Turns out he had another dream and told the other elders about it. He was talking with an angel in his dream and the angel told him that the Elders were telling him the truth and that it was the true church. Elder Rencher, Waters, and Barrows were pretty excited and then Jose said the Mormon church is the true church, but then he said that there are more than one true church out there. His reasoning was that if there was only one true church there wouldn't be space for everyone. I love that that is his reasoning haha. You meet a bunch of interesting people when you spend time knocking doors and trying to actually talk with them. 

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