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, July 9, 2018

June 25, 2018


Well this week was quite the week in a few different ways. 

Thursday we had a trip out to Holland. We had two appointments, the first being with a referral from the Holland sisters and the second being a lesson with Mercedes. 

We received a call from the Holland sisters explaining that two hispanic guys just showed up to church and that they couldn't communicate with them but that they set up a return appointment for us to meet with them. They called us a little frantically that Sunday afternoon asking if we could join them. Thursday came and we headed to the member's home that the lesson was going to be in and had a great visit with them. Turns out the two guys were actually members who just came up on visas to work for six months. They have a car and seem like really stalwart men who would be a very good influence on the Branch. Their arrival was a big answer to prayer. We put them in contact with the branch leadership and showed them where our Chapel was in Grand Rapids. 

Mercedes' lesson was just about ideal. She had some problems with Sabbath day worship that we had been discussing and that wasn't going super well. It wasn't bad, but we weren't doing that great of a job. Unfortunately opening the scriptures to people isn't always the best route to resolve concerns, regardless of scriptural proficiency. Feeling guided we decided to jump over her concerns for a minute and teach more important doctrine. We decided we were going to read 2 Nephi 31 and talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Turned out she hadn't read since our last appointment, which is a problem, so we decided to just read where she was. She had gotten stuck in 1 Nephi 13 because of lack of comprehension so we decided to help her get through that chapter. We read up to verse 16 and Elder Magalei asked a really good question about being humble in context of the phrase, "[and they] had humbled themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them,"  which helped spark a good discussion. It helped her open up about some trials going on in her life and family. As she was explaining some things going on I had a clear prompting to invite her to be baptized using the passage in the BOM we had previously planned. I kind of thought about it for a second, thinking about all the doctrinal questions she had and all these things I thought would make her really not ready to say yes, but following the prompting we opened up to 2 Nephi 31 and read verses 4-12. Using verse 12 we made a pretty bold invite and the spirit was super strong. There were a few moments of silence as she recognized the spirit and she let out a quiet yes. It was a really good moment. We had been going at the problem of her doctrinal doubts in the wrong way and thankfully we were open enough to follow the spirit trying to tell us how we really should be handling the problem. 

As we drove off I was thinking about that moment and the scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9 came to mind which says 

"8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" 

The scripture fit perfectly for what I was thinking in the moment. God always knows best no matter what we think or can rationalize on our own. Our success comes as we yield to the spirit and do missionary work the way it should be done.

Sunday we met with Edin again. He is just a stellar kid. After our first lesson last week the Duran family asked us if we could give them a blessing. It was really good because we had just had a lesson on the restoration where the spirit was quite strong and continued to be during the blessing. Yesterday we had simple lesson where we read a little with him. Our last lesson he said that he knew this was the church for him after a series of spiritual experiences that he shared with us, and that he would prepare to be baptized. Yesterday he explained that while he was sitting in church he had a really strong feeling that he needed to be baptized as soon as he could. It was super cool because he bore a really nice testimony of how he knew these things for himself. We set a date for July 21 and we have a standing appointment everyday until then! Of all the miracles of the mission this one was the one I've hoped for for the longest. The blessing we gave him was very special and we dedicated his apartment right after and it was a sweet moment in every sense possible.  

Teodoro is doing pretty well. We've been helping him out a little with his wedding that will be this Saturday! Hoping that everything goes well he should be able to make July 14 for his baptism. There are still a few things that we want to make sure are set in stone before he is baptized but on the other hand he has been steady, consistent and solid for the amount of time I've been in the Branch, so we'll see what we think will be best. 

Today I bought some new non-prosyliting shoes. I took off my everyday dress shoes and started trying on some shoes. Elder Magalei was absolutely and thoroughy destracted by the wooden heels. Before I had them resoled you could click the heels together and make a loud clicking sound that would mimic a wood block pretty well, it still does that now but not as loudly, but it was that feature grabbed the attention of Elder Magalei the whole time it took me to pick some shoes. It was pretty humorous.

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