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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 7, 2017


Long week. The first week of the transfer is always so long. We also had like no food because the P-day to P-day was super long and the proximity to the end of the month meant we didn't have a bunch of money. We had a lot of burgers this week...

The last two Sundays were really good. The first we had the Aguilars as usual but also Carmen. Carmen had a really good time from what it looked like. She has two young kids who came to Primary with Elder Rencher and me and they really enjoyed the songs and everything that goes on. Carmen had to leave for work during the third hour and they came out of Primary with huge smiles on their faces. 

In the following lessons we talked about their Primary experiences a little and that really sat well with Carmen. A lot of her motivation is to help her kids be better than she was/is. Once you know why someone needs something or what they need, teaching becomes so much easier. The Gospel is for everyone but can be hard to apply in your life if you don't have something pulling you to it. Christ said it best, "they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance." 

This week we did a fair amount of work with former investigators. It was great. We had two days in a row where we prayerfully picked people out to go visit from the old records and we caught nearly all of them as they were walking into their homes. Most weren't really interested in us coming back but one let us come back a few days later. The guy is a non-practicing Pentecostal and we talked about our message. He had a really good memory because he met with missionaries like two years ago. They had three lessons and he remembered the one chapter they left with him to read. He talked about why he didn't believe our message and by the end of our little visit he left it with "I like the Bible a lot and won't read the BoM." He didn't want us to come back which was unfortunate but even though he wasn't willing to try we left on good terms. I left him something to read in Mathew 21 to read which has a great parable about God sending servants to work in the vineyard and something else in the Book of Mormon. We left with a prayer and as we got in the car Elder Rencher saw through the door the guy opening up the BoM and starting to read. That's great but also unfortunate because I would want to come back and follow up on what he did but he asked us not to come back. Not everyone will accept our message, but not very many people accepted Christ when he taught.

Two highlights of the week 

The first was our lesson with Chris and Caryn. They were out of town for a little bit so we weren't able to pass them off like we planned. I don't like holding on the English people because they get attached and it makes the transition to the English Elders much harder. We planned to finally pass the first lesson with them, but they haven't had a solid enough foundation for us to feel like we could move on. We had a warm welcome as usual and after talking for a bit opened in prayer. Chris said something that sounded like he may have read all the way up to Third Nephi but I didn't notice at first and I failed in following up to make sure. He probably just read the first few chapters of Third Nephi, but still that's awesome. He kind of got off on a tangent on the whole day and a half of light prophesy coming true and then the new star in the sky at Christ's birth and at first it was hard to tell if he was bringing this up as some attempt to prove the BoM false but it turned out that he really really liked it. He kind of geeked out about that for a few minutes. That was funny. Caryn had some questions about that, mostly because she didn't read. Her questions were good and sincere for the most part in the first half of the lesson. We planned on going through the plan of salvation but with no time left, mostly because we had very little time to begin with, we decided to share something short. We read through the first 5 verses of Moroni chapter 10 and covered that again. We bore testimony on the BoM again and Chris and Caryn seemed touched by what we said.  That warm good feeling that always comes with the spirit was there and I could tell Caryn was feeling the same thing as we shared how the BoM has affected our lives. After that there was a little silence and Caryn was clearly thinking, but in a different way than before when she was contesting the points of doctrine we taught them. She asked us if she could ask us two questions. We told her we really had to run but we would love to hear them anyway and give answers when we would come back. She asked us, "Why do I need the BoM if I'm already saved?" and "Why do you need to teach me the plan of salvation if I've already come to Jesus Christ and been saved?" Two really good questions. The spirit has been working really hard with her the last few days and she has a whole new demeanor. It's been really interesting to watch her the last few visits we've been with her. I really hope she allows the spirit to continue to work with her and that she really starts to progress. They have been such a great example to me in the importance of the spirit. Caryn tried to pull the Bible on us to prove us wrong but couldn't, which for the most part only means we've done our homework. You can make an appeal from the Bible that nearly every church is correct and all the others are false, but with the spirit you can't do the same. The spirit testifies of truth and is the single most important factor in conversion. 

The other Elders also had a baptism this week! This kid named Diego had a great service yesterday. I played the piano as usual. We came extra early to practice for the special musical number I was going to play and Elder Barrows was going to sing and one of the English sisters was going to sing as well. They sang a duet of A child's prayer in Spanish, it came out so well. We also had great speakers and like 50 people show up, many of whom weren't members. We started about 40 minutes late and I started the prelude 30 minutes before it was supposed to start. Mistakes were made. (editorial note: sounds like Pres. Monson). The piano seat was really hard and after an hour of prelude I was dying, not to mention the hour and a half of practice we had before that. 

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