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, June 18, 2018

June 18, 2018


We met with the Sarmientos on Wednesday and we were able to follow up on the 7 day challenge of reading the BOM everyday and praying to know if it's true every day. The family took the challenge and it turned out pretty well. Daniel still feels like he hasn't received an answer but I've never seen him so excited to read the scriptures. He had skipped to Moroni to read what the last person to write in the BOM would include. He mentioned how struck he was by the hope that Moroni had as he was writing his portion in the book. (For  some context he is the last Nephite who hasn't been put to death because he won't deny the christ. He is on the run for his life and he chooses to write about how to organize the church again.) He includes in his chapters how to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, how to ordain people to the priesthood, and how to bless the sacrament. Thinking about his point it made me think of the last chapter in the BOM. Moroni 10 is a profound call to his brethren the Lamanites to remember the scriptures, remember God, and to come unto Christ to gain a remission of their sins. It's a pretty powerful chapter and I was thinking about how awesome it's going to be for Daniel to read that chapter. He also had a question on why we don't drink wine during the sacrament. To answer that question we pulled out D&C 27 and read verse 2. He thought that was really interesting and continued to read to veces 3-5 about how when Jesus comes again he will "drink of the fruit of the vine" and that blew up his curiosity, he probably read it over and over again three times. 

Thursday was tradeoffs. This time I went with Elder Wilkins. The new missionary study schedule is just absolutely brutal. We have our normal personal, comp, and language studies but we've been asked to do an hour and a half of putting old records into the phone and then on top of that we had been asked to extend the 12 week program from 30 minutes back to an hour. We were both dead after 5.5 hours of just study.

The morning of tradeoffs we meet with the Francos. That lesson reminded me that Elder Wilkins speaks about 10 weeks of Spanish. We walked in and I caught up with the Francos for a few minutes and I turned to him giving him a confirming nod to start the lesson and got a wide eyed blank stare in return. I continued talking with the Francos for another second or two and gave the same reassuring nod to him to start, only to get the same look back. I said the opening prayer and gave him again another reassuring nod to start off what we had planned. This time he sent the nod back to me which I then sent back to him with a smile hearing the words in my head of our President when he said, referring to giving new missionaries moments to stretch a little bit, "Let 'em hang." After another pause and another back and forth he was able to get things going and did a great job. The thing is the missionaries we work with are either the Zone Leaders or the missionaries we've spent basically our whole missions with so it slipped my mind that it is Elder Wilkins' first transfer in the field. 

A few weeks ago we had interviews with President Brennan, something I always enjoy. During my mother's day call Mark asked if I had ever thought about seeing if we could change our attire to help people not be ask scared of us on the streets, so that we aren't confuse with ICE. I didn't really think about the idea much but it stayed on my mind. I spoke to President about it and he said that the quorum of the twelve have been thinking about changes to missionary work that would include a change of attire, something that has felt more and more like a needed change. This problem was bought up again this week after Elder Wilkins and I had spent the afternoon stopping by former investigators. We pulled up to one street and there were three families outside on the street, near the former investigator, enjoying the evening on their porches. We said a quick prayer, jumped out of the car to talk to everyone and literally everyone on the street quickly slipped into their homes the second they saw us. Within a minute kids where off the street, and things went quiet. Elder Wilkins and I were just stunned. We stood in the street for a second, copies of the Book of Mormon in hand, just astonished. We knocked the door we came for with no response and just kind of looked at each other thinking, "what just happened?"

Sunday we had a pretty awesome lesson with a kid named Edin. He is a referral from the Duran family. They work with an organization called the Bethany program which brings in youth from South and Central America to the United States to teach them how to be productive residents/citizens. They help the youth get a basic education, good housing, and a job. The Durans rent out housing to like 6-7 youth, which they love to do because then they are able to share the gospel with all these hard working motivated youth. It turns out to be a pretty good referral source for us. Edin has come to church three times now and really enjoys what he sees. Due to his work and school schedule, yesterday was the first day we could meet with him outside of church. We taught a pretty decent restoration lesson. He said he had prayed about which church he should be attending and really felt strongly that the church he had been attending was not true. He then attended another Christian church and felt the same things but then felt something special about our church when he came with the Duran family. Edin is a pretty awesome guy and hopefully things turn out well for him. 

Sunday morning we had a really short lesson with Teodoro. He is on date for July 14 and things seem to be going well. We documented our plan for all the things we wanted to review before his baptism and will be giving him that soon. Sunday we taught the very last topic he hasn't been taught: tithing! It was an intense lesson, not for what we covered but the situation. We taught the lesson in under 20 minutes because the poor guy was wrestling his four kids the whole time. The two oldest, ages 5 and 7 where running around playing and getting dressed for church. He had his new baby on his lap feeding her while she was trying to eat the pamphlet, and he was feeding the next youngest between crying fits. It wasn't the best teaching environment but he said he'd pay his tithing.

Happy fathers day! 


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