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.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

10 July 2017 New Mission President, Playing the piano


We had a really nice zone conference this week. It was our first week with President Brennan. 

President Brennan

Michigan Lansing Mission

Image title
Sterling Arthur Brennan, 57, and Annette Lamb Brennan, five children, Santa Margarita Ward, Santa Margarita California Stake: Michigan Lansing Mission, succeeding President Michael V. Jacobsen and Sister Alice A. Jacobsen. Brother Brennan is a former stake president, mission presidency counselor, bishop, stake mission president, elders quorum president, and missionary in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. Partner, Maschoff Brennan. Born in Clovis, New Mexico, to Clifford Arthur Brennan and Stania Clarene Lott.
Sister Brennan serves in a ward Relief Society presidency and is a former ward Relief Society and Young Women president, ward Relief Society and Young Women presidency counselor, and ward missionary. Born in Mesa, Arizona, to John Clyde Lamb and Willa Dean Hamblin Lamb.

He is a pretty interesting guy. He was a named partner with a law firm in California I believe. He worked with intellectual property and also did litigation. When he gave his training he started off with saying "I've prepared a slide show but besides the first slide I feel that's not what needs to be said here." He basically asked us some questions on what the mission should be then went into what he wants from every missionary. He really is putting an emphasis on Preach My Gospel, a lot more than the former President Jacobson. I appreciate the change. He then moved into like a 30 minute testimony which was very interesting. It was framed in a way that everything was simply conveyed, yet was subtle and deeply profound in doctrine. He portrayed many of the characteristics I imagine a litigator would have yet maintained a very loving demeanor. We all arrived early to meet with him. He gave everyone hugs and talked with every missionary there. I'll be interested in seeing what gets changed in the near future. 

Friday we lost power. Elder Rencher and I both woke up at around 3am to some very bright flashes from the windows. I stood up and opened the blinds and we watched one of the most intense lightning storms I have ever seen. 

There was more lighting per second than I've ever seen and it all was very, very close, very loud, and was shaking our apartment. We watched in awe for a few minutes until we lost power. Interestingly the tornado siren didn't go off. In the morning we called around and learned that a tornado came through our area. It hit around the Weston's apartment and there have been intermittent power outages around southern Michigan. We still had warm water in the morning, but without the ac, our weekly planning was a little warm. We planned on our balcony. 

Luckily the less active we set up welding still had electrical power. We brought our metal chair over and did a little bit of welding. We didn't really share any message with him. We just had a good talk and welded. It was fun, he is really nice. One thing I realized about half way through was that the chair was made of aluminum. It's painted black so I didn't really think about it. From what I've read, aluminum is really hard to weld. From what I remember aluminum oxide has a much higher melting temp than straight aluminum, which makes not melting through really hard. We melted through on one of the welds, and the rest are all really rough. We didn't have a bunch of welding material to work with to begin with and didn't finish the job. It was also really sketchy. No safety material is fine, but not having the goggles made it harder than it needed to be. If you can't see what you're welding, it might not come out all that well, and it didn't. I'll get a pic once we go back and finish the job. 

We had a miracle this week! We've been working with this lady for a while but she won't come to church. She keeps saying she will though... Anyway we've been trying to meet with the whole family for awhile.  The problem is all her daughters work different hours that vary week to week and often day to day. We've been praying pretty hard recently for help finding more people to teach and we caught one of the daughters home. She came to us and asked if she could meet with us! Crazy. The best thing about prayer is that God always give answers in one way or another.

 A few days later we had such an amazing lesson with her. We only were going to take 30 minutes with her and get out, but she started having really good questions and so we stayed for a while after that. The best thing is she is honest! She expressed doubts over some things we said and asked good questions which indicated she was actually thinking. I hope she progresses. We had a small miracle in the lesson. Out of nowhere she seemed really nervous about halfway through the lesson. We were outside and I was sitting behind their house and couldn't see. Elder Rencher turned around, but then turned back. We were having a really good lesson and I was praying that whatever was about to go down wouldn't interfere with the spirit in that lesson. She told us her ex boyfriend had just pulled up, but after the lesson Elder Rencher told me that the guy got out of his truck was walking towards us, looked up and made eye contact with Elder Rencher, turned and left. Who knows if anything would have happened, but she was freaked out. 

Did I say it's great being a missionary? 

July 4 we kind of got wrecked. We were told not to knock doors and our area doesn't have many good areas to street contact. We walked around for a bit with little success, and had a BBQ with a ward member and finished our proselytizing time by dropping off cupcakes to the people we teach.  After 6pm we stopped by the Westons and played games with them for the rest of the night. It was pretty great.

The miracle I was praying for with Santiago didn't exactly turn out in the way I wanted. We tried our best. Last week I said he was leaving for an unknown amount of time, this week we figured out why. We were having a really good lesson with him and we were answering a bunch of questions he had. Towards the end of the lesson he apologized because he said he can't give us his full attention in the coming days. He said he is leaving in a few days and really needs to focus on getting ready. We talked a little more about his trip. Turns out he has been having some weird health problems that he didn't get to specific with. He said that the many doctors he has visited with wanted to do some weird things with him to find out what's going on. He told us what they wanted to do, and said he really doesn't want that. He then goes on to explain that he is going to Mexico to seek out some witch doctors to heal him. We gave him a Book of Mormon and showed him how to invite missionaries to visit him while he is in Mexico, wished him the best of luck and he said the closing prayer. It's pretty fun being a missionary. 

(This makes Eric's mother VERY happy!)

Also I am now the branch pianist. With Elder Waters gone, that responsibility is mine now. Playing the children's hymns is way harder and crazy. I'm definitely getting a lot of help in my playing ability. That's helped a lot. 

Pictures to be attached later:
1) Elder Weston and his Chile socks we gave him for his birthday. 
2)B-day pics
3)all the cupcakes + me cooking
4)tacos and no power

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