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.

Monday, October 9, 2017

9 October 2017

We had a fun trade off on Monday. I went with Elder Guerrero and we taught one of their investigators Santiago, he has a colorful language. We stopped by to confirm for their appointment the next day and he invited us in to read a little with him. As we were talking with him about what he thinks and feels about what we have shared we found some gaps in his understanding of prayer. Prayer is crucially important to what we do as missionaries because our goal really is to help people form a relationship with God and prayer is one of those ways. People, if they pray, tend to only give thanks but prayer is more than a way of giving thanks for our many blessings. Through our prayer we can find guidance and ask for specific blessings. Often times people don't have faith in the often repeated "ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." We told Santiago that when he prays he should not only ask questions and for blessings but also spend time listening and searching pondering about his questions. This is because as it says in D&C 8:2 that we will by told in our heart and in our mind what to do by the holy ghost. 

Wednesday we drove down to Lansing for a mid training conference with President Brennan. It was okay. There was a portion where the new missionaries went off with the President and all the trainers went with the AP's and had a discussion on how the training is going and what we could do to improve. That was the highlight of the trip and there was a lot of really good advice shared there. Later that day something new happened to us. This one potential we picked up, who we thought was really nice, started to anti us over text. It was definitely different. He was asking us the typical leading anti-questions and told us we had a certain amount time to answer the questions. We just told him we aren't that good at tests but took just over the prescribed time to send that response. He kind of blew up our inbox so we just took a step back and moved on. 

Saturday we did service for one of the members in the morning. We ripped out a carpet and then prepped their hardwood floor to be refinished to the best of our abilities without power tools. It was a good opportunity to get to know the family and we were able to get a referral off of it. We went home, changed into our proselyting clothes and went up to the address we were given. No one was home, but a few houses down there were some Hispanic guys a few houses down siting outside. We went over to talk with them and had a really good discussion. Turns out one met with missionaries in Texas. When people want to talk with us is clear because the conversation actually flows naturally. When people ask questions it's normally pretty clear if they are there to really learn or there to argue or test us. In this moment we got some really good questions they were seeking to learn. We basically taught the restored gospel in its entirety in 45 minutes. We covered major parts of every single lesson as well as nearly all the commandments we teach people as they progress to baptism. It was actually a lot of fun, we weren't the ones who moved the conversation to these points. It was the conversation that naturally moved to these. Unfortunately I didn't step back and let Elder Magalei lead out but aside from that it was really good. We kind of hit a wall at the end because one of the things one of the guys kept bringing up is that you can't really ever know what is really right. 

Our point as missionaries isn't to convince or demonstrate through rhetoric that our message is true but really help people find that out for themselves, so the idea that you can't really ever know is a serious problem that people tend to have. The main problem is people lack the faith to actually ask and seek and knock for their answers, that or they are also complaisant with not knowing for certain. Very basically our message is that God called a prophet in our days. We even have pretty good evidence, the Book of Mormon. Everything relies on the BoM, because if it is true we have a prophet today leading and guiding our church who has restored things lost or changed and that that prophet can and is revealing great and important things pertaining specifically to us in these days. 

One thing I've learned is that every member in this church is so important. 1 Corinthians 12 sets it up pretty clearly. The church is like a body and while every part of your body has different jobs and responsibilities, each part is important. No one is paid for their labor in the Mormon church yet everyone is asked to participate. As a full time missionary the commandment found in John 6:27 is pretty easy to live because that's literally all I do. The priesthood responsibilities given to those who hold it really would fix basically all the problems people ever face. I think people tend to under estimate the importance of simple things we are asked to do, such as home teaching or visit teaching. 

Every person I've visited doing less active work has shared similar stories that would never have happened if people had home teachers doing their job. I like the true and slightly amended counsel given by President Gordon B. Hinkley which says that every member needs three things; a friend, a responsibility, and to be nourished by the good word of God. It's not an exact quote, but in the Saturday morning conference Sister Oscarson basically shared that sometimes the most important service we can do is to the people around us. Home teaching is so important. Something our district has focused on for awhile is real growth. Real growth builds the church through convert baptisms but also by building stronger members. For the branch to grow into a ward we need the members to actually be doing missionary work. That is because if a ward is doing that, the members build their testimonies as they build the size of the congregation. It's a win win. 

Sadly most members in the church aren't doing any form of missionary work outside of their family. I heard about a study that found that only around 10% of the church (not counting full-time missionaries) were doing missionary work of any kind. The mission veil is thick, but I think the name Christopherson should be related to that study. Gordon B. Hinkley in a conference a few years ago extended the commandment to double convert baptisms. We are given the assurance in 1 Nephi 3:7 that there is always a way to fulfill the commandments from God and there is a way to accomplish what has been said and it involves the help of every member acting in faith. 


We love our ducks, the majority of our bread we buy gets feed to them or the fish. 

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