Saturday, August 9, 2014

Week 30/Week 22 Battambang: And another, and another, and another, and another... Sunday October 27, 2013

Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 9:59 PM
Battambang: And another, and another, and another, and another...

"High on a mountain top, a banner was unfurled. A horn was blown so loud that it echoed in the valley." Lyrics I just wrote in dedication to the trip to Mount Banin. Might I say it was a lot of fun. There were some ruins on the top of the mount. I'm not going to even try to call it a mountain. It is just actually a hill for me coming from Utah. Man I miss real mountains.

This last week has been exciting. As I said P-day we went to a mount. It was a fun trip and we had a good time. No one got hurt and to be honest it was nice wearing regular clothes again. I loved the hike.

Tuesday we had a fun exchange with an AP. Every transfer the APs go around to all the provinces and visit with all the Zone leaders and missionaries. We were chosen as the other companionship to be trained by an AP. It was a lot of fun. It is a good experience learning from the leaders who have been called to their position by inspiration. It is also very important to sustain them and support them no matter who they are.

Wednesday we visited this less active man who was super sick the last time we were there. But through the power of the Priesthood and of Obedience to God's commandments he is a lot better. We gave him a blessing last time and now he quickly recovering strength. It also helped that he stopped drinking beer. Now we are working on the tea but are still excited for him and have faith in his progression.

Also, today there was apparently a fire at the base of our stairs. Our power was out when we got home and they were fixing it. A motor burned or something. But they quickly restored the power and water :).

October 24th, 2013; Thursday, 5:00pm Cambodian Standard Time. 7 people were baptized!!!! 4 of our investigators recieved baptism on Thursday!!! It was super cool seeing so many people covenant with the Lord to follow him. 4 of them were ages 8-11. Some of them were really funny when they went under the water they jumped out super fast brushing the water out of their face. Haha it was a wonderful experience. I baptized Phek, a young mother of two, who has such a wonderful testimony and comes to church with her children. She was so glorious and clean when she came out of the water. I was proud too that I did it in one shot not fumbling on words either. :) So if you haven't figured out about the title of my email it was dedicated to the baptisms. So many. So cool. So glorious.

Now from Friday-today I have been on an Exchange with Elder An another khmae because our companions went to Siem Riep for a new church building open house to help. It was for all Khmae missionaries in the provinces but Elder An didn't feel well enough to go so his comp went for him. So on Friday we served in his area and on Saturday we went in my area. We biked SO much. He has a big area and a lot of members live about an hour away. But it was still good. It was also interesting for me and good that I had to lead my area for a couple days. I had to be in charge and decide who and where we would go what time. We got a lot of lessons in! I know I had heavenly help on that.

Sunday was long. We went to 6 hours of church, both branches, plus 2 hours of Branch Council Meetings. It was so long but it was good to do a lot of work. I might just add that church here is a lot different than in Utah. It is a little...less reverent. But it is still the same Church :). That is what is cool. We are part of a global church for all people.

This week was a good week I think. I'm grateful for all of your prayers on my behalf. I love and miss all of you. Remember to Rise Up and be the child of God that you are. Until next time may God hold you in the palms of His hands.

Elder Johnson

Week 29/Week 21 Battambang: Land of the lost Magic Stick Sunday October 20, 2013

Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 9:47 PM
Battambang: Land of the lost Magic Stick

So Bat in Khmae means to lose and Tambang means magic stick. Apparently there is a legend of a god who was fighting near Phnom Penh a long time ago. He used a magic wand. but then he lost it and went looking for it. He found it here and so he stayed here. That's the legend.

This one will be kinda short because today we are going to a mountain and we have to leave earlier.

This week was AMAZING!!! Mainly because I got to watch General Conference. I loved it SO much but more on that later.

This week started with an exchange. I went to another area in Battambang with Elder Lao. He is just in his first transfer in the mission field but his mom is Cambodian so he understands them already he just is practicing his speaking now. We had a fun time. We served in his area so I don't know the people but we had good member help and investigators. We got lost haha so a member had to come save us :).

This week Elder Khlot and I prepared people for baptism next week. Unfortunately, 3 of them drank beer this week so they are pushed back for a little while longer. But we got 3 of them ready for interviews. They are all young boys almost 12. One of each of their parents are members already. They are all super sweet.

OH we had to go to the hospital this week to help a member. She had some intestinal thingy that bothered her and she was pretty sick but they helped her. It was cool because our new senior couple came to pay the bill and I had to translate being the only fluent English speaker who kind of understands Khmae :). It was a blessing that I understood some of what the doctors said. Also my companion helped me.

While I was at the hospital I weighed myself. I have gained 2 lbs in Battambang!!! I am now a whopping 152 lbs. When I started my mission I was 136 lbs. Wow!!!!

This week we got to watch conference. That was the highlight of my week. There is so much I could talk about but I don't have enough time. I will just talk about my favorite talk which was President Uchtdorf's during Priesthood Session. I LOVED it so much. I am sure on Facebook his meme of "Rise Up" is going around. That is now one of my mottos or sayings. Rise Up!!! And become a Son of God. Rise Up and spread the Gospel. I love it so much. It was such a pick-me-up talk. It helped me so much and it was my favorite :).

So I had a wonderful week and it is looking to be another wonderful week this week. I miss you all so much. I love you mom and dad. You two are such wonderful examples to me. Remember "You can do it now! Rise Up!" I love you all so much. Until next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hands.

Elder Johnson

Week 28/Week 20 Battambang: Land of the Hot, Sweaty, and Sick Sunday October 13, 2013

Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM
Battambang: Land of the Hot, Sweaty, and Sick

So this week I don't really remember much what happened the first 3 days because I was sick and my journal for all three days combined is like one page long :P. Haha oh well. It was a fun week. I think this week it was "let's see how many missionaries can be sick all at once." On one day we had 3/4 of our missionaries in our house sick and then some sisters too and some members who help us a lot :). It was an exciting week.

This week I had some good food. On Tuesday we ate pizza, it's the only pizza in Battambang, and it was pretty good. Then, Wednesday I had a cha with frog in it. Tastes like pork :). Thursday I ate a pancake in a bowl :), you buy the just add water mix and put it in the microwave for 5-6 minutes and vwalla you have a pancake in a bowl. Just add peanut butter and syrup :).

President Moon came up this week for interviews. I love interviews with him. He just is so nice and is so calm and peaceful. The spirit really is strong with him. We just talked about Battambang, my companion and how awesome we are together, my language and he just encouraged me some more. He is super cool. He went visiting members here with the District President. He was in jeans and old sneakers. It was SUPER funny. He is an amazing President.

So I REALLY like to give blessings. I want to go through my entire bottle of consecrated oil on my mission. We least 5 blessings this week. I am starting to get them down. I've refilled my little mini container twice :). I love giving blessings. The spirit is always so wonderful with them. At the same time it takes a little out of me :). I love it.

On Saturday was Elder Khlot's birthday!!! He is now 22 and is the coolest dude :). We have so much fun. He is from a branch in the city and is a super hard worker. I am tired everyday with him. But we have so much fun and we help each other a ton with the languages. Watch out ladies, he knows a ton of pick-up lines ;). He is also super good at basketball!

Sunday was awesome. I gave a talk. It was a lot of fun. I talked on being a disciple and witness of Christ. I used Mosiah 18:9, 1 Nephi 3:7 and 3 Nephi 5:13. I made up the last half of my talk and the last two scriptures while in the chapel waiting to talk :). I love giving talks I decided. I love sharing my knowledge and my testimony with other people. It was a lot of fun and I felt the spirit.

This week we had a couple of our baptisms get pushed back but that is ok. We have this ten year old boy who we are teaching. His mom is a member and so it is a lot of fun. He is super excited to be baptized and is always smiling when he gives an answer to a question. We also visited so many less actives or recent converts this week. We have so many I don't remember who is and who is a member and who is a less active. Haha. But I LOVE to teach. I love being a missionary.

I am just so happy right now I have no clue why. I love my mission. I am changing so much but it is so good. Until next time may God hold you in the palm of His hands.

Elder Johnson

Week 27/Week 19 Battambang: "I'm Singing in the FLOOD!?!" Sunday October 6, 2013

Sunday October 6, 2013 at 9:27 PM
Battambang: "I'm Singing in the FLOOD!?!"

Rain, rain, and more rain. That describes my week. :)

This week wasn't as eventful so this might be shorter.
Let's see. At the beginning of the week I was on exchange in a tripanionship because all of our companions had to go to the city for training by the President because they are either District or Zone leaders. It was quite the 3 days with 3 white guys who the oldest is on transfer ahead of me. It was interesting.

On Tuesday we biked so much and spent our day in one of the Elders' areas. We got some lessons and contacts. I love contacting. I was in a bad mood early but got better as soon as I contacted one person. Contacting is an awesome tool for me. I love talking to people. It is a lot of fun. I don't understand a lot but I still love it.

Wednesday was good though. Elder Khlot came back and it was a fun time teaching with him. It is hard getting to know the area and people we teach cause we have so many and the area is so big. It is huge compared to my last two areas. We did give Elder An a blessing because he is sick this week. Also Elder Harris and I did English class with the two American sisters. It was a lot of fun. He and I did the gospel part. We did the peanut butter example again about sin and controlling your emotions.

On Thursday we taught some people. Haha we always do. But we were lucky because from Thursday to Saturday was a Khmae holiday all about worshipping ancestors. It was hard for other missionaries to get any lessons in. But we did. We also cleaned the house too because if we didn't have lessons we were suppose to clean. We gave two more blessings today also. I love giving blessings :). I love using the priesthood :D. Oh if any of you want a good chapter to read on Faith read Hebrews 11. I LOVE it.

Friday was Zone training meeting. It was long :P and it rained ALL DAY. We literally got 0 lessons in. It just poured buckets of rain.

Saturday, does it ever stop raining? We biked, walked, and I stumbled in it too. It rained so much that the river flooded over. At one house I heard the rain coming a good 10 to 15 seconds before it hit us. That was a hard one. Good thing we were inside. We got a couple lessons in that day luckily.

Rain, rain go away. Come again some other year. Sunday. More rain and flood. It flooded so bad that we only had 50 people at church. Last week we had 115 people. The rain really kills the work here. Nobody wants to meet us or come to church. Oh well. There was a good 2 feet of water on the road down from our house. Also, we found out that one of our best investigators moved to another province and might not come back. Why?!!!! That's a second time in a month for me :P. Today was fast sunday :). I am gaining a testimony of fasting :). I love fasting now. It brings strength, faith, and self mastery over the natural man. I am so grateful to be able to fast.

This week really wasn't all that exciting. I hope next week will be better stories and spiritual moments for you to hear of. Love you all. Till next time, may God hold you in the palm of His hands.


Elder Johnson

Week 26/Week 18 Battambang: Jungle, Mud, and Mosquitos Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013 9:49 PM
Battambang: Jungle, Mud, and Mosquitos

So Battambang is the place to go if you want to go on adventures or get muddy or get a lot of mosquito bites :). My trainer, Elder Noot, still bets that I will get Dengue Fever up here. Haha we will see.

My new companion is wonderful. His name is Elder Klout. He is Khmae and is a super hard worker. He knows pretty good English but isn't fluent. He understands it a lot though. He loves basketball (the NBA) and loves to sing hymns while riding bikes (IN ENGLISH!!!). He is wonderful and I am excited to serve with him.

This week was all a blur to me now. Last P-day seemed an eternity ago. Let's see. On monday night we had a fun little FHE with the senior couples and a family who are half active. We made little cakes in homemade ovens. It was good. The sisters were there too and since it was pretty late the senior couple took them home. So we had to ride the sisters' bikes to our house. I got the little pink one! It was super funny.

Tuesday, we had a pretty rough day. We had district meeting and right after we had a zone lunch at the church. But one missionary didn't want to stay so he ditched his companion. Elder Lyman and his companion had to go find him and talk to him. The spirit wasn't really prevalent. It was sad. Latter that day though we had an awesome lesson with our Recent Convert Viasna. He pretty much conducted the lesson and we read in 2 Nephi 32 or 33...I forget. But it was really good and he asked some really good questions. We had a miracle though today. We randomly met two young men at the church who wanted to learn. And they were both in our area! We sat down, and set up another appointment with them a couple days later. To end the day we had one of our new investigators tell us she didn't want to learn anymore because of her parents, and then we visited two less active younger men, one who had served a mission, and they were both drunk. We didn't teach them. It was a roller coaster day.

Wednesday was fun. We taught our awesome returning less active Soreya who loves to sing to his American music. He is always happy and speaks super good english. Then we made a taco flavored cha. We then contacted all day at various places such as a karaoke place we found, the place where a carnival happens every night, and a place with a big Buddha statue. It was actually a Tao school/church. They were cool and let us in and we got a pic. Then we had English special activities night where we did a skit of Samuel the Lamanite but turned it to Cowboys and Indians style. I was Samuel :). It was a lot of fun.

Thursday wasn't just normal. The most exciting thing was the rain. It rained really hard for about an hour. Good thing we were in the church :). Haha it was fun to talk to the members who were there. Members here are so cool. I love seeing how we all have the same faith all the way around the world.

Friday, TRANSFERS!!!! I rode on a bus for 6 hours to Battambang. Ever seen a Bus go 60 on a two lane rode passing motos and cars? Oh yeah. We almost hit a cow once. We got to Battambang just before 9pm.

SO the last couple days were fun getting to know the area. We taught 9 lessons on Saturday. 9 LESSONS!!! So many. There are so many people to work with here. I am really excited. Randomly a 14-year-old girl told me I look like a toy/doll??? Say what??? I prefer action figure. Sunday, I gave a testimony in sacrament meeting. I also read a verse in Khmae and none of the members read it from the audience. It was super cool.

So if you want adventure, mud, mosquitos, zero stoplights, or Dengue Fever.. Go to BATTAMBANG!!!

I love you all so much. Let's Save Souls!!! Until next time may God hold you in the palm of His hands.

Elder Johnson

Week 25/Week 17 Cambodia: Land of Delivery Pizza?!?! Monday September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013-8:07 PM/Sunday, September 15, 2013 10:14 PM
Cambodia: Land of Delivery Pizza?!?!

Dear Family,

Does anyone like pizza? I don't know if you realize how lucky America is to have great pizza. Pizza is a wonderful food. Maybe Elder Walker Johnson can make me some wonderful pizza after our missions :). Well, even being in a third-world country we have pizza! So Elder Lyman and I decided on having it delivered to our house at about 8:30 pm on Friday the 13th! Haha that was our celebration for that day.

This week was fantastic! So many things happened and it was so much fun. Let's see, last Monday after we emailed Elder Lyman and I proselyted and tried to meet with a half-investigator. He wasn't home so we decided to play keep the ball in the air with tons of little kids. They thought it was hilarious that two barangs (Cambodian for Frenchman, that is what they call all white people) would play with them.

This week I went on 2 exchanges. With Elder Lyman and Elder Blocker (another elder in my house) being Zone leaders they have to go on exchanges with district leaders and Elder Lyman has to go on exchanges with our district too. So the first exchange was me and Elder Khem. He is a full Cambodian...from Texas :). Haha. He is Elder Blocker's comp. So the two ZLs left to different areas for a day so Elder Khem and I had our whole branch as our area for a day. We had a full day scheduled but many fell through. However, I think they fell through for a reason. In the time that they were scheduled we contacted 3 young men who were going to a university. They all knew how to pray and believed in God. So hopefully this week we can meet with them and teach them. It was really cool though because i know the Spirit directed me to where to go. We found them in less than 2 minutes. The Lord was directing us. Later that day we taught an investigator and a less active named Ganiga. She is like 23 and has been a member for a year or two but doesn't come to church because her family does not support her at all. Her younger sister was one week away from baptism then randomly just stopped learning and didn't want to join. That was sad. But we visited her and she has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith because I asked what her favorite story from the Book of Mormon was and she just talked about Joseph Smith. She told us everything that is in Preach My Gospel about it. She is awesome. The rest of the exchange was good. We just taught two other less actives in Elder Khem's area the next morning.

English class this week was fun. It was on Happiness. So for the Gospel discussion we decided to reinact the story of the Prodigal Son. (I didn't know this before but prodigal means wasteful, interesting). Anyways I was the good son and Elder Lyman was the father. Elder Blocker was the prodigal son and Elder Khem was the party people (the prodigal son's friends). It was a lot of fun.

I just want to say that Elder Lyman is wonderful. He is 6'3", from Logan, Utah, loves basketball and football, plays the piano and loves Les Mis, doesn't sing but he likes music, and he is an awesome missionary. He is very patient and loving with the people. Oh, and he likes good food :).

So we get along pretty well :).

I had another exchange from Thursday to Friday. I went to a different area with a Khmae elder named Elder Keo (Guy-oh). He is really nice and quite but loves teaching. We ate at a wonderful khmae restaurant and had this food called cha gruing, cha means fry and gruing is a type of seasoning thing that they use a lot in food. It is really good.

Sunday! The best day of the week! Why? Because the Sacrament and baptisms! Yesterday, I was asked to pass the sacrament. I was super excited to do it again. I miss passing the sacrament. It is such a wonderful feeling knowing that you are acting as the Lord while passing the sacrament. I loved it. A lady actually quoted Les Mis in her talk today too. That was impressive. Also, we had a baptism!!!! Last week I talked about Ray. He got baptized this week. He has been a golden investigator wanting to do the right thing, taking each commitment like it was a bowl of ice cream, and even already helping us teach other people the gospel. Ray has been prepared by the Lord and has a wonderful testimony. He teaches too with clarity so he is a wonderful help. It was a beautiful service.

So I want to talk about some cultural things. First, food. The food here is probably 75% chas, or stir fry dishes. Probably most things you eat are fried in oil. So not always the healthiest thing. The only things they don't fry is fruit, which can be expensive :P. For breakfast, if you eat the khmae breakfast, it is baay saec chrut (buy psych jroot). It literally translates to: rice flesh pig. It is a box of rice with pork strips on it with some pickled vegetables and seasonings on top, sometimes served with an egg. It is very good depending on where you go. Sometimes they give you a soup (more of a broth than soup but yeah whatever) too. We shop in markets outside and the food just sitting there in the open. But I haven't gotten sick yet from food :). Also, we bleach a lot of our food or cook it really hot so most germs/bacteria/other stuff dies. We do have some supermarkets here the equivalent of Smith's back home. It is called Lucky's and we go every week. Elder Lyman and I have a standard 4 now: cereal, milk, bread, and yogurt. The cereal is expensive but when you get 6 bowls from spending 6 dollars on one box of cereal and milk, then that is definitely worth it. It is awesome.

Now for my language. My language has gradually improved. I can talk about the first 4 lessons with pretty good detail. Lesson 5 is still hard with all the commandments like chastity and tithing and fasting. I think that my understanding and listening is a little better than my speaking but I'm trying to increase my vocabulary. Some days it is easier and some days it is harder. My reading is getting slowly better. I can read the letters it is just slow sometimes but reading is really quite fun! It feels like reading elvish.

So I love my mission! Thank you all for the prayers on my behalf. I love you all. May God hold you in the palm of His Hand.

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 24/ Week 16 Cambodia: First time I have seen a van in a living room :D

September 8, 2013 10:27:36 PM MDT

To the Fam,

I LOVE YOU!!!! You are all so wonderful and I miss you. But I am loooving my mission too. I feel like every week I grow more and more to love my mission and I am coming to find how the Lord looks at missionary work and taking His Gospel to all His children.

So this week we had an exchange with the APs. Usually for exchanges the companionships change companions for the day. But with APs they split up and go with your companionship. So we had a tripanionship for a day. (APs only go on exchanges with Zone leaders, Elder Lyman my comp is a ZL). So they came Tuesday night till Wednesday evening. The APs have this van...and so we parked it in our living room :). It was SUPER funny.

Wednesday night we had English class. I am teaching the advanced class with Elder Lyman. It is a lot of fun. They understand a lot of english. So for the Gospel Discussion (last half hour of English) we decided to teach on charity and using the Good Samaritan and act it out. For the day we had taught on body parts so we wanted to identify parts of the body that was hurt. I was the guy who got beat up :). Apparently I had a broken arm and a bad case of the laughs. I thought it was so funny I couldn't stop laughing while I was "unconscious." It was great.

So we randomly saw goats by our house :).

Oh so Elder Lyman plays the piano a little. And President said it was ok for him to give piano lessons. He has two students and teaches them. Then while we wait for another he plays the piano. I miss the sound of live piano playing :).

We have wonderful investigators. We have 3 who are really close to being baptized. Within the next 2 weeks probably. All are young men between the ages 23-28. Ray (sounds like the word rye) is one and he is probably going to be baptized this week. We meet him 2 or 3 times a week and we love him. He is quiet spoken but knows that this church is true. He and I have grown really close. The other investigator that I have really gotten close to is Veasna. He has already read into Jacob and beyond. He understands the Book of Mormon and loves it. He loves learning and meeting with us. We meet him 2 or 3 times weekly also. I have so much love for both of these investigators and I am so excited for them to receive the blessing of baptism. They will be wonderful members.

This week at church I saw Bun Thouen again. Bun Thouen is the tuk-tuk driver of my grandparents who served in Cambodia 10 years ago. He is a former branch president and is currently half inactive. But both weeks in this stake he has come. He also brought his family. His family hasn't been in an even longer time. He is a high councilman so he is more active and just goes to other branches a lot. But it is so wonderful to get to meet people who know my grandparents and help them grow in the faith. It was wonderful.

Well, that's all I got folks. Remember to be happy, be safe, choose the right, remember who you are and what you stand for, talk to strangers and make new friends, come back alive and temple worthy, don't go biking in heavy traffic or bad weather or when it is dark (haha umm....oops :P), smile, have fun, "Return with Honor," "Serve with No Regrets," "Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can't Lose," and until next time may God Hold You in the Palm of His Hands.

Elder Johnson

So this was a wedding at the church :). Elder Lyman is on the right, I'm in the middle, and Elder Johnson the II is on the left :). HAPPY MARRIAGE!!!