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, November 5, 2017

30 October 2017


Monday was a pretty good day. It was the third day of constant rain and we were on foot for all our proselyting time. It was fun and we actually had some pretty good opportunities to talk with people. As long as your feet stay dry you're pretty much fine in the rain. We stopped by the Franco families taco shop and had a good little lesson with them. We walked in to set up a lesson with them and they had a question on why we go to church on Sundays instead of Saturdays. We answered that question and they started asking some more questions that aren't really important doctrinal questions, such as why is Christmas celebrated in December. I think they started to think we had all the answers, we don't. It was fun though, they enjoyed the visit and gave us some good horchata and we left. It was pretty late and we had a brisk walk in the rain to make before we had to be in our apartments. 

This Saturday we had a branch party that was pretty good. We had like 120 people come out. It was really good but it was super hectic. There as practically no time to really talk with people because it was just presentations and dances. We still set up a few lessons. Every member we visited and we asked they bring a friend, brought a friend which was really good. Elder Magalei and I both represented Samoa with our lava lavas. We also made something called musubi, its a seaweed wrap with rice, furikake, spam, and eggs. Pics below. Lava lava pics will be sent separately by Elder Weston, hopefully today. 

We had a good conversation this week. We talked with this one guy who was sitting listening to music and he saw us and said, "Mormons?" We talked about a few things. It was really funny because we were talking and he said something about how other pastors and religious people throw "test style" questions at him to check his knowledge and that he always gets the answers right. Anyway we were having a really good conversation and he paused and asked if he could ask a weird question. He asked us what we thought about angels and their role and purpose. A weird question I've never been asked and I remembered what he said about test questions and threw the question back at him and he couldn't answer it. 

We all laughed because we  remembered the whole part we talked about "test questions" and how they really don't help anyone. We talked a little more about the BoM and he asked us to read him some things out of the BoM. I luckily had my personal set and flipped through just racking my brain for something good. Alma 37:31-37 caught my eye and we read it to him. Its really good and after we read this to him he just stood for a moment and said "wow.... I didn't think anything like that would be in that book." A crazy guy once said something funny to us but has some true application. He said "The golden plates probably weren't golden, they were probably plastic, but the words......... the words were what were golden." 

Regardless of how the Book of Mormon is displayed or explained it won't really mean anything if people don't first read the word, ponder, and ask in prayer if it is true.  Alma 37 is just a passage in the Book of Mormon and there are many people who will read the BoM and not get anything out of it. When we read with real intent we open our hearts to the spirit which then through the thoughts and feelings that come to us tells us the truth of whats in front of us. 

The guy we talked to wasn't quite ready for formal sit down visits to really test out what we share with people, but just being willing to read or listen to the words in the Book of Mormon allowed him to have a spiritual moment. In reading through Preach My Gospel this week in one of our companion studies we came across a line in chapter 5 that I really liked. Moroni 10:3-5 shares a few steps we can follow to receive answers to our prayers. One of them is that we ask with real intent, meaning we intend to act on what we get. 

We try pretty hard to get people to read in the BoM because that's basically the only physical evidence of the truth of our message. Everyone already has a bible or a knowledge of what that is, and Preach my gospel made a point that we must not only pray with real intent but also read with real intent. Like I said before there are people who will read the BoM and not be Mormon by the end of the book. The biggest problem would likely be a lack of real intent in their reading. Joseph Smith said that "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." To see real change you have to put some effort into bringing your life into accordance of what it teaches, and thus by the promise in John 7:17 you can know if its of God or not.

Sunday was really good. I'm normally playing the piano but Elder Magalei and I have been switching off recently which has given me an opportunity to translate during sacrament meeting. It was super fun, slightly challenging. We had three speakers and the first girl lost her voice and read a talk very quietly, monotone, and without pauses. It was rough, I couldn't even come close to word for word translation so I took the few puzzle pieces I could and made some things up haha. No one would know is the funny thing. The other two talks I could hear well, so those went smoothly.   

After quite a bit of effort Elder Magalei got an answer to what we are to do with the one of our families. Basically we are passing responsibility to a few members and focusing on just reading with them and helping them understand the BoM.

November 11 President Nelson as well  as Elders Randall K. Bennett and Daniel F. Dunningan of the seventy will be visiting the mission. I anticipate some sweet things are gonna happen.

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