Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 18/ Week 10 Cambodia: Land of Ice Cream and Chess

Side note: All of the Birthday wishes from Facebook were sent to Braden, and Several Family Home Evening members from his BYU ward wrote him. Two packages were sent to him from His Mom, and Tom and his Mom... Pens, paper, markers, Reese Puffs (a favorite of Braden's), Oreos, Notebooks, Ensigns, sucking candy, pictures of the Savior, painting by Hannah, cake mix, frosting, candles....

Sunday, July 28, 2013 8:57 PM


To start of I want to thank all of you for helping make my birthday fantastic. Thank you for all the birthday wishes and the prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

So last P-day after I emailed you all Elder Noot and I ate some good food. We actually had pizza!! So good. We followed that by going to Swenson's again. Haha I admit I LOVE Swenson's. This time I got an Earthquake. The Earthquake has 8 scoops of ice cream with tones of whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and cherries. It was SO good. Haha and yes. I finished it :D.

The rest of the week we did a lot of contacting and some teaching. It was a tough week though as it was voting week and people were busy.

We did get to teach two less actives this week together. Their names are Soksan and Khoon. Soksan has been to church 3 of the last 4 weeks!!!! Khoon we are still working on but Soksan is helping now. They both know a ton of doctrine of the church though and are both really smart. They have testimonies. The key is just getting them to act upon them.

Yesterday, we had a miracle at church. Since everyone was voting yesterday nobody was working so we had a total of 5 less actives come!!!! It was so cool!!! They really have a desire to go to church. Work is a big reason people don't come though.

Something fun this week though, I played a Khmae man about 40 in Khmae chess. Haha I was very humbled and loved playing and learning from him.
Well this week was just tommattaa (normal). I love you all so much and may God be with you.

Elder Johnson

Elder Noot and I in our raincoats :D They are wonderful

Crazy Pioneer Day Party
Don't you love how fat this dog is???

Yay for walking through muddy water :D

Week 17/ Week 9 Cambodia: Land of...It's a Small World?!?!?!?!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 9:01 PM

Yes...sadly the song It's A Small World has been found in Cambodia. I heard it as a noise that a truck made when it was backing up. I could not get it out of my head for hours.

This week was just filled with miracles and I'm sure I won't be able to remember them all. Yesterday we had one investigator and her husband who is already a member but was less active until we met them invited to church. We were waiting for them and the meeting already started. When the opening prayer was finished we went outside to call them but they didn't pick up. Then the first thing I thought of was just to pray. So we went in the corner of the hall and prayed. I said it in English because I had specific things I wanted to ask for. I remember the words just coming out, asking for a miracle that they would come to church. We closed and I remember as we were walking back to the chapel we looked at the stairs...and up was walking the husband with their month old baby in his arms with his wife behind him. I almost fell to my knees right there and started crying. Haha I wanted to so badly. I was so grateful for the miracle we had. I know miracles happen and that God hears our prayers. It was so cool :).

On Saturday we celebrated Pioneer day. Haha Cambodians LOVE celebrating it (well the one's who actually know what it is). They did a big celebration thingy with lots of singing, dancing, and lots of curry :) I liked the curry. Haha. They even played some American music too. It was entertaining.

This week we have had several wonderful lessons with investigators. When you actually prepare for the day and do your studies and focus during the mornings the Spirit is with you all day and you truly teach with the Spirit :).

Something fun that happened this week was I turned 19!!!! I'm officially at missionary age!!! It was weird. I didn't even realize it until halfway through studies. Then I was like...oh I'm to studying :). Elder Noot did take me out to get ice cream at Swenson's. Oh I miss ice cream sooo much. It was so good. Haha.

Well that's pretty much all this week. It was wonderful and we truly had miracles.

Elder Johnson

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week 16 / Week 8 Cambodia: Land of OREOS!!!!!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:21 PM

Yes.  I did just say that Cambodia is the land of Oreos!  :D

Elder Noot and I have started this tradition in order to stay sane. We eat one sleeve of oreos every night :D.  It is the most relaxing (and probably a little fattening) thing to do at night.  But we love

it so much.  Haha

Now what Cambodia really is probably land of is alcohol and smoking. Elder Noot and I make a pretty good pair because he almost dies from the smell of alcohol and I almost die from the smell of cigarette smoke.  Together, we are almost always dying.  :)  Alcohol is the biggest enemy of the mission in Cambodia.  When investigators or

members go inactive it is usually because of alcohol.  I hate alcohol.  You never want to contact people at night because everyone is drinking.  Did you know that Asians have the lowest tolerance rate for alcohol?  So after one little can of beer they are usually partly drunk if not all the way.  I love Cambodians, just not alcohol.

Anyway, this week was just a lot of meetings and contacting and being really tired.  It was a lot of fun though.  Elder Noot and I did a wonderful study of Ammon and Aaron and the way that they taught King Lamoni and his father.  We decided to teach exactly like them and it is fantastic.  We have had several good lessons with it.

Food: food here is good...most of the time.  I'm still not brave enough to eat coagulated pig's blood... but most other stuff is good :).  Haha Elder Noot and I actually make a lot of stuff... a lot of non-Cambodian food.  We actually made pasta with alfredo sauce earlier this week!!! Oh I miss alfredo.  We then followed it up by making peach cobbler!!!! SO GOOD.   Haha we did actually make curry though so we did make some native food :).

We had exchanges this week with our District Leader.  Our DL happens to be the Assistant to the President as well so the APs split up with companions.  Elder Sorenson is really cool and fun.  We had a good day.

One fantastic experience was when Elder Noot and I were contacting. We found a family who has 2 electric keyboards and an electric guitar!!! We found them because we saw that the father who knows music had written music notes on a whiteboard!!!  I was super excited.  I was reminded of Music Theory Class and I was super happy.

Well that's all for this week.  I love you all.  Alma 4:19!


Elder Johnson

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Week 15/ Week 7 Cambodia: The Land of Fungi!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 9:28 PM

Yes I just called this email the land of fungi. That is because I have RINGWORM!!!! Pretty much it is just a rash that is in the shape of a ring. It supposedly itches a lot but I just put a little bleach on it and it didn't itch. haha do NOT put a lot of bleach on... first it is bad for you and can poison you, hurts a LOT!! Haha found that out the hard way. Anyway, I now have anti-fungal cream to put on it and it is almost gone!

Now wasn't that a great introduction paragraph? Haha I think it was a good B+ grade in English. Anyway this week was AWESOME!!!! To start of I will share one thing that I have bought from this country. Last P-day I bought a horn that I can blow into and it makes noise!!! If you have seen "Lord of the Rings" then you will know the character Boromir. He has a horn just like mine!!! I feel like charging into battle...or contacting when I blow mine :D.

This week we got 2 of our investigators to church! It was so cool. They are two really old people and they live the farthest in our area away from the church but they still go, on a bike also! They are champions because the husband dopes (having someone sit on the back of the bike) the wife the whole way! So inspiring. They are set to be baptized on August 4th!!! The husband is really into it but his wife is just kinda. She is only half listening to our lessons and half committing but we are working with her.

We also got two more investigators this week. they are already Christian and just got married 2 months ago. What sparked their interest was when I randomly pulled out the Book of Mormon to show this group of Christians that we were contacting. They wanted to learn about the Book of Mormon. We taught them the first lesson on the spot. It was so cool! The Book of Mormon is the most important tool in our ministry that we can use. It always brings the Spirit and testifies of Jesus Christ. I love it so much.

Those were two of our miracles this week that we had.

With transfers past Elder Noot and I are stuck with each other for another 6 weeks...and we LOVE it :D. We love to play board games: Khmae chess, Chinese chess, King's chess (regular chess), and GO. We love to talk and eat. Oh do we like to eat haha. For July 4th we celebrated with scones :D. Mmmm so good.

The language is still hard but I am able to hold a conversation a little bit. It is difficult to understand still but talking I can do about a few things. Some days I feel I have the gift of tongues and then the next I can barely talk. Oh well. I keep trying. I love it so much. Such a fun language but something that I love to do more than study the language is reading the Book of Mormon. It really is from God and it really is the most important book that this world has. It is true and I know it is.

Well... That's All Folks!!!


Elder Johnson

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 14- Week 6 1/8th of the way done with my mission?!?!?!

Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:23 pm

Wow. I'm already 1/8th of the way done with my mission. How can it be? It has gone so fast!!! Missions really are the fastest weeks, months, and years of you life! (the days are long though hahaha). It feels just like last week I arrived in Cambodia.

It wasn't a very eventful week. As I said in my last email we had 9 new investigators. We still have a few but it is so hard to get appointments with them. We also may have to drop a few because one of them just like to "sit and play" which means just talk and tease my white/red skin, pointy nose, and anything else she can talk about. Haha oh well. Another investigator just wants money from the church. A lot of people here think that they will get money if they join the church. Apparently some Korean churches do that so it is sometimes frustrating.

We did have an awesome lesson though with one of our investigators. His name is Bunlua and he is awesome. He was a taxi driver and now is retired. He started learning with the missionaries before us because he just wanted to "squal" or know more about Christianity. He said he was hardcore Buddhist to them. But now he is praying and he is actually excited to read the Book of Mormon. It is soooo cool because he is more educated and he GETS it. He might not believe but he gets that if the Book of Mormon is true then this is the true church. SO excited for him!

Near the end of the week I caught a cold here :P. Who knew you could get colds in a place that drops no less than 80 degrees F??? Ugh. Haha but it has been a wonderful experience too. I was consigned to get more sleep and my companion is the BEST because as I would rest he would make me stew and soup and he orders me to rest sometimes too :) haha. Elder Noot is the best!

Yesterday night was transfer calls night. We made a pork pot roast to eat while waiting for the calls. As it turns out me and Elder Noot will be staying companions but our two Viet roommates (one is actually Vietnamese) are both being transferred. The Vietnamese one is being transferred back to Hanoi, Vietnam. We will miss them and their food.

Well, that is all for this week. Love you all so much!!! Return with Honor!!!! Serve with No Regrets!!!!!


Elder Johnson

Week 13- Week 5 Holy Cow already A Month in the Field!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013 8:19 pm

Dear Family and Friends,

Can you believe I've already been in the field for a month?!?! I can't. It hasn't felt like I have been gone that long. So crazy. The days and weeks already are going by so fast. Wow. Anyway, this week has been amazing! Miracles!

So at the beginning of the week we started of with 0 investigators. All we were doing was contacting and meeting with less-actives. But this week the Lord has blessed us with miracles. Nearly everyday we contacted someone who wanted to learn. As of right now we have 9 investigators!!! 9 new investigators in a week!!! SO COOL!!!

The Lord is hastening his work. He has called us to serve him and we are reaping the already white fields of harvest. Probably my favorite lesson we gave this week was to two Oms (about 70 year old couple). The live SO far away though and we have to book it home to get home on time. But our first lesson with them was so cool. We taught them in their tiny 1 room home about 12 ft x 12 ft. Also we taught by candlelight! It was so cozy and cool!!! Haha.

One of my favorite investigators is Ming Pou (a 40ish year old lady). She is super energetic and sarcastic but also she wants to learn. We randomly stumbled by her and her neighbors and she called us over and said that she wants to hear what we teach. Whoa! We never get that. Haha she is so cool. We then returned and there were like 10 or 15 people there who, though may not have been all apart of the lesson, knows who we are and what we do. Pou really likes us...probably because we're white.

Oh, some info about Cambodians... They loooove white skin. They think it is so attractive. And what is even more than that is pointy noses. AGH!!!! I should NOT be here because I have already been asked to be in a relationship/get married/if I'm going to marry a Khmae girl like 5 times this week!!! Everyone comments about our noses and calls us is really weird.

Anyway, Pou is awesome and she is so enthusiastic about our message too :). It is really cool.

I am so excited for this week and the adventures it will bring. May God be with you all.


Elder Johnson

Week 12- Week 4 Cambodia: Land of the Broken Bicycles and RAIN!!!

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Dear Peoples Halfway Around the World!!!

Boy I say boy, fixing bikes is pushing the limits of my medication!!! (that's for you Tom :D). Anyways, I have come to find out that each week in Cambodia is very different from the last. Each day is an adventure, whether it is getting soaked in the rain, talking to drunk people, or just singing Disney music with your roommates at night.

The beginning of the week was very contrasted to the end. The beginning we contacted a ton of people. We talked to nearly everyone we passed it felt like and we tried sooooo hard to get someone to teach. We had several return appointments with people and even with our first referral. Unfortunately, each and every contact and appointment fell through. It was kind of discouraging but we just say that tomorrow will be better. We have had more success with our less actives though. By success I mean that we actually meet with them. None of them have come to church yet but we are always inviting and trying to strengthen their faith.

The end of the week we had a ton of meetings that we went to so we had literally no contacting time. In our area we are across a pretty big bridge, away from the main part of the city. Our church, and where all of our meetings are held, are on the other side of the bridge. It takes about 20 minutes to bike to the church. 10-15 minutes if we book it fast. I have come to realize that this bridge is a literal obstacle in the work of our area. People just don't want to come to church when they realize how far away it is and that they have to cross the bridge. Haha it is sometimes an obstacle for me and Elder Noot too. Sometimes we know we have to cross it and we are just anticipating it. Haha. It is so tiring sometimes but it is also kinda fun to race motos on a bike.

One cool thing is our Mission President!!! He had a personal meeting with us and we talked about our area and how to contact all the inactive members and get them to return. We have a lot more people than we thought. We are working to get a branch in our area!!! After the meeting it was pouring rain outside and President rode bikes with us to a pizza place and bought us pizza!!! :D YUM!!!

That really sums up a lot of our week. Some fun things that happened was while contacting and stopping at a bakery we got to talk to a monk. He was super interested in us and asked a lot of questions. Right before we left we actually got a picture with him!!! Haha it was awesome. Another day we contacted through a huge storm :D. We were walking in water halfway up the calves and it was so much fun!!! Hahaha. It has rained everyday since. In some places there are little rivers because of how much rain there is!

Finally, after all this time riding our bikes it has taken a toll on them. I have a brand new chain and Elder Noot has a brand new tire and brand new pedals. Hahaha. We spent so much money on fixing our bikes this week hahaha. Well I guess it is a sign of working hard :).

Until next week, stay strong and keep the faith. Even when no one wants to hear our message we keep pushing forward and keep our heads held high. I know that angels are with us watching our backs and lifting us higher and higher. This is the true church and I know that Jesus Christ leads the church. I love him and I know that he lives. I love you all and may God be with you.


Elder Johnson
You can tell by Elder Noot's face the little boy doesn't want to let us in :D
An awesome old blacksmith we met while contacting. He reminds me of Grandpa Johnson :)
A picture that Elder Noot took of me contacting a guy

Elder Noot and me with our helmets and our surgical masks so we don't die by the car fumes. :D

Week 11-- Week 3 Cambodia: Land of the Crazy Children

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Yes people, Cambodia has crazy children. I will talk more about that later. Anyways, this week has been full of adventures if not investigators.

So last week we did a couple fun service projects for members in the branch. The first one was just on the spot. We went to go visit them and the Lookpuu (older man about 50+) was out in front of his house pounding his dirt flat because it had just rained and he was smoothing his "drive way." So being us missionaries we started helping him pound dirt. It was really cool because next door a monk was visiting his family. They were watching us and all of a sudden the monk came over and started talking to us!!! In English too!!!!. Hahaha. It was so cool to talk to him. He was really nice and humble and we invited him to English class... at the church :D. He didn't show up but that is ok haha. BUT something cool is he looks like an Air Bender Nomad off of Avatar!!! The robes are so legit...I'm gonna get some :D.

We also were able to teach some lessons to less-actives. Unfortunately we found out one drinks a little. He thinks the Word of Wisdom says that it is ok to drink as long as you don't get drunk. We are working with him though. He is so kind and nice. Also, we taught him the Restoration again! I said the whole 1st Vision in Khmer and it was really cool. I was rusty but the Spirit was definitely there.

This week we made Curry!!!! I LOVE curry. So much. Mmmmm!!! It had pork and potatoes and carrots and awesome flavor! Yum. We made a ton...but it only lasted 3 days. Haha. We have eaten good food this week. Lots of new foods plus one cheeseburger and fries :). Haha it was so good.

One night this week we woke up to Elder Barker saying he saw a mouse. We were chasing it all around the room. Elder Vu (he is Vietnamese) didn't wake up though. He didn't even budge :D. Haha but we finally caught it when it crawled into a plastic bag. We took it outside and killed it...yeah I know we are horrible but we had to. Anyway, you think that would be over with right? Nope! Elder Noot and I found another one in our room during the next day. We chased it around and...He killed it with my flip flop. MY FLIP FLOP!!!..... I just washed it with lots of soap. Haha. Now there are no mice in our room... I think.

Everyday Elder Noot and I try to meet with less-actives. We usually have one a day. So we spend about an hour a day teaching less-active members and then we spend the rest of the day contacting and tracting. The members haven't given us any referrals yet so that's all we've been doing. We are giving out so many pamphlets that someone HAS to want to learn. Well it is sometimes discouraging but we always are working hard. I do love the work though.

Also, this week we helped another member. We weeded!!! I thought I was done with that for 2 years...I was wrong :D haha. It was really quite enjoyable.

Some quick notes:

1. I am taller than the average Cambodian :D!!!!!

2. I am getting tan!!!! I look good too haha.

3. Dad, can you tell grandma and grandpa that I randomly met Bun Thoeun at the church. I will have to meet him again to give him grandpa's letter but yeah. It was weird. (Bun Thoen was my grandparents' driver when they served their mission here in Cambodia 10 years ago.)

Lastly, the little children. Everywhere we go the little children are saying "Hello"and in some places they literally mob us. They try to get rides on our bikes haha. The children next door (yes...we have children next door) became zombie children as it was dusk and we were sitting in our living room and they started pounding on the door trying to get in kinda haha. Kinda creepy. Anyway, children here are crazy. Probably because parents give them Samurai drinks (energy drinks). Bad idea. haha.

Well we are working hard. Hope you are all safe at home. Love and miss you all.


Elder Johnson

Week 10/Week 2 Cambodia!!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013 9:27 pm

Where to start? Hmm so much to talk about. Haha well this week has been amazing! I love Cambodia! So my trainer, Elder Noot, is the best trainer I could have asked for. Getting to know him has been like getting to know myself! We love all the same things and it is really weird at how well we get along :). He is from Pleasant Grove, UT and went to BYU Hawaii for college. He has been in the field for about 8 months now. He is the youngest trainer currently and is a stud :). He is half Korean and loves having fun with me. One thing we do is play Chinese Chess! We have two chess boards so that us and our Vietnamese speaking Elders (roommates) can all play together. We play it while eating lunch or dinner or after we return to the apartment at nights. It is so much fun. Tom, you would loooove this game. Reminds me of our chess, stratego, go moments :).

Last P-Day after emailing we went shopping at a market then at a convenience store. I got some sunglasses (FINALLY!!!), a kromaa (spelling?) (a cool thing that I use to wipe my sweat and dry my clothes, and hold my super cold water bottle when it is frozen), and we bought a lot of food. Some food we got: cereal and milk, PB + J sandwiches, and NUTELLA!!!!! They have it here! I totally have been eating American food this week :D. Haha.

You all might be thinking if we do any missionary work. We do a lot actually. We have no investigators still. We have been out contacting a lot though and have talked to countless numbers of people. They just don't ever answer their phones out here :P. The most common excuse they have is that they are too busy. I hear that about every other person we talk to. Haha. We do a lot of CBR book hunting. Which is we are trying to meet every member (active and less active) in our area. We then try to teach the less actives. We have met twice with Bong Khoon. He is less active and is a moto-dope (likes motobikes). But He absolutely loves the scriptures. We are working with him to return to church. I think he might soon. We also have met Jumbo...yeah that's what we were told to call him. He is an English teacher...kinda. We taught him in English haha. I still didn't understand everything. the most worldly person I have ever met. Let's just say that he likes money and has friends in high places..... Yeah it was an awkward meeting.

Yesterday it rained for the first time that I had to ride in :) really hard too. BUT I had my awesome raincoat from Mr. Mac's!!! Yeah! I was dry while my comp was soaked hahaha but It was so nice to feel rain on my face.

The Spirit is so amazing. I can feel it when I bear my testimony and teach the truths of the gospel. I know that this church is true. I know Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the church. I know Jesus Lives. I testify this to be true. I love this mission and I know I have been called here by the Lord.

May God be with you until next time.


Elder Johnson
Me hugging a ginormous tree

Me with a huge Watt (Buddhist temple building)

Elder Barker on the right and Elder Vu on left
(Vietnamese speaking)

Me and Elder Noot

Our house from the street

With Elder Spencer Lee

A Tuk-tuk

Me eating cereal while playing Chinese Chess :D

Week 9/Week 1 in Cambodia

Received email: Monday May 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

May 26, 2013

CAMBODIA!!! Dirty, smelly, chaotic, no traffic laws, happy people, motorbikes with 6 people on them... I love it. It is super crazy here but so fun. Cambodia may be really old and dirty but it is homey sometimes.

So my trainer, Elder Noot (note), is super cool. He is super chill and a hard worker and we get along so well. We currently are starting a new area. We are doing what is called "whitewashing". We have no investigators. We are trying to get to know the members and to meet the inactive members. I love it because it is like starting a mission. My area is Chamkamorn, it is Phnom Penh but closer to the outskirts. It is in the south east. There is a huge bridge from the main part of the city and our area is just over it.

The language is really hard but I actually am already catching on to a little bit. We have been contacting so my trainer is making me do a lot of it. It has helped a lot. Also, i love ALL of the food here that I have eaten so far. The fruit here is 10x better than in America. And their stir fries are delicious. I love having rice for breakfast.

I forgot to mention that it is super hot. I am always covered in sweat and it is so funny how much I sweat at times. Haha. But I love it. I love our Mission President, President Moon. He is so nice, funny, and spiritual. Just amazing.

Cambodians are either the best or worst drivers. There is not traffic laws whatever but I haven't seen a crash yet. So fun and crazy to navigate through traffic. I love riding on tuk-tuks. They are so fun.

Something cool. On Saturday we had the opportunity to give a less active member a blessing. I anointed the oil and my companion gave the blessing. Already giving blessings. It is awesome.

The branch is small but really cool and strong. We hope to strengthen it.

Cambodia is so cool. It is so fun. I love it. I love the people. Elder Noot loves adventures. And there are plenty here. I love them. "Adventures are out there!"

I love you all and thank you for your prayers. May God bless you.


Elder Johnson

Week 8- Made it!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:12 am

After more than 30 hours of travel and some delays we made it to Cambodia!!! It is super hot and humid and crazy drivers but I am safe. I am so excited to get to work. I love you so much. I will write you soon. Lots of loves.


Elder Johnson

Week 8 FINAL WEEK!!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:57 am

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you first of all everyone again for the love, support, letters, candy, and caring for my family that you all have given me. I love you all so much.

So I officially leave in 6 days!!!!!! I can't believe that in 8 days I will be in Cambodia teaching, tracting, and testifying. It is so nerveracking and exciting all at once. I will be flying first to LA then to Hong Kong and finally to Cambodia!!! It is so exciting. May 22nd doesn't even exist for me but for only an hour because of the time change. Haha it is funny to me :).

This week was fun and amazing. I got to see a couple of my best friends here. I saw Sister Michaelah Thompson who is going to the Houston South mission and I saw Elder Wilson Hulme who is going to the Mexico City mission. It really was so much fun to see them. They both just got in like a week or two ago. I know they and all my other friends that I have seen will be great missionaries.

I have learned so much this week and have been spiritually fed so much. Something one of my teachers said was to stay focused on the present. Satan will do anything to make us think about the past or future, but the present is where we actually make a difference. We serve others and do good in the present. So stay focused. Another thing that I learned is that God's standards for us get higher as we improve. We have to constantly strive to do better than ever because Heavenly Father wants us to be the best that we can become. I know that the First Vision has power. The Adversary will do anything to interrupt the First Vision. It has so much power and instantly brings the Spirit. I LOVE it. Plus it sounds really cool in Cambodian :D.

Sundays really have been the best days because it is ice cream day, Temple walk day, and watch awesome talks by the Apostles. I watched Jeffrey R. Holland. I LOVE it. He said that as a missionary we are similar to an apostle. He called us apostles with lower case "a" while he is an Apostle with an uppercase "A." He had some wonderful quotes. "Don't miss it" when talking about the mission and serving with all that you can. He reminded me of Aunt Karen's quote "Serve with no Regrets." (or "Have No Regrets" I forget the phrasing :P). Elder Holland also said that we must make "His work and His glory" become "[my] work and [my] glory" too. Not that we take the glory or anything like that. Only in that we want to do exactly what the Father wants done. I try to gain the vision that Heavenly Father has for missionary work everyday.

One of the coolest parts of the week was listening to Elder Russell M. Nelson come to speak to us on Tuesday, yesterday. He was amazing and his wife was awesome. Something his wife said was "We can ask for Angels to be with us; by name sometimes or even by attribute." That is SO COOL. Because I know that angels are with us all the time. But we can ask for their help! They talked a lot about how the people on the other side of the veil all want to help us and are helping us and praying for us to succeed. Somethign thtat Elder Nelson said was "We Follow Jesus Christ." He said to use that to answer the question why we are here. Whether on the earth or on a mission that is why we are here because we Follow Jesus Christ. I loved it.

So, as my stay in the MTC winds up I realized how amazing it was. I have grown so much and have learned a new language. I have made amazing friends and had spiritual experiences. I have had fun and have sang for two Apostles. I think it has been so good to be here and I almost hate to leave but I know I am so excited to be out in the field. So I think this is my last email until the field. I love you all and I want you all to know that I have a firm testimony of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. I love them all so much. May God be with you all.


Elder Johnson

Love you lots Mom

A scripture I love- 3 Nephi 5:13

Me and Sister Thompson :D

 My desk space

My new name tag :D
Me at the Provo Temple

Week 7!!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 9:25 am

Dear Everybody,

I leave the MTC in less than 2 weeks now!!!!! At least I should unless some unforseen problem comes up. So hopefully there are none. This letter will probably be short again because the MTC is a very repetitive part of the mission and most of it is studying the language and the gospel, which is fantastic but is, well, repetitive.

So first I want to say thank you SO much for the love and the letters and the goodies that are sent on my behalf. I know that the prayers that are said for me are answered. I mean I couldn't have learned this language without the help and prayers of all of you. Thank you so much. A highlight this week was TRC on Saturday. TRC is where volunteers come to the MTC and we teach them as who they are (they don't act and usually are members). The Cambodian speaking volunteers are mostly RMs. This week we taught David Olsen. He is asian and served in Cambodia. He is wonderful. We taught him about Church attendance and how it blesses us. One question that I asked was amazing. Not the question but his reply. I asked him what blessings/ how he feels when he goes to church. He then gave his testimony about how it made him feel and he knows that church blesses him so much and makes him feel stronger and more loved by the Savior. David started crying and I was on the verge of it too. The spirit was so powerful and strong. I loved it.

Sunday was Fast Sunday and it was fantastic. We had the MTC Presidency speak to us and it was fantastic. It was my last week as Zone leader for they want to share the leadership positions as much as possible in the MTC. I sang This Is the Christ in sacrament meeting and though I wasn't a Josh Groban I sure did feel the spirit and the truthfulness of what I sang about. It is such a wonderful song and I love it. That was my testimony that day. Later that day Chad Lewis came to speak to us. For those who don't know he went to Orem High, played football at BYU and in the NFL and went to the Superbowl. He loved to jump over people. It was so great.

I know that Jesus Christ Lives and that he loves us.

One of my teachers this week told us about how we are the "Workbenches of the Spirit." That we need to prepare ourselves to have the tools that the spirit needs to use that day. We need to be organized and help the spirit do its job. I loved this so much and I am trying to be a better organized and prepared "Workbench."

So this week was really spiritual and fantastic. We are now writing all in script (trying to) and are preping for the field now. I can't wait to get out there. I love this work so much. I KNOW that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that God created a Plan for us to return to Him. I am out here to bring families together for eternity. I love it. I know it is true and I know that Heavenly Father knows that I know it is true. I love the Book of Mormon. Especially 3 Nephi and Alma 18 (I've been reading this chapter in script, so fun). Ammon is such a great example for me as a missionary. Go read it and learn from him.

I love you all. May God be with you until next time.


Elder Johnson

Week...uhh 6? Yep

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 9:09 am

Dear Everyone,

Cumrapsua from the MTC! (that means hi). I hope you are all doing amazing. Thank you all for the wonderful letters and love. I am so glad and excited when I get to hear from all of you. thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

This week in the MTC (sounds like an introduction to some tv show :)), was pretty normal. There really weren't all that much that happened other then the regular studies that I do everyday. Let's see last Wednesday was a lot of fun because I got to Host new missionaries for the first time. It was a lot of fun and I loved it. It made me think about my first days and how confusing and long they were. It was a lot of fun. So that was on Wednesday. The rest of the week was really boring and all so yeah. they switched our MTC schedule and it was annoying but now it is a lot better. My P-days are now Wednesday but after today I only have two more before I leave to Cambodia. Yikes so close!!! Anyway on Saturday I had TRC where we teach volunteers who can speak our language. IT was a lot of fun. We taught a guy named Dave Thompson. He is so cool and he totally helped us become better teachers. The spirit was so strong even though we can still barely speak the language it comes when we pray, read the scriptures, and bear our testimonies. I love it. The rest of the week until now wasn't anything special. Yep. Oh but I'm going to try to do a musical number in sacrament meeting this week. Wish me luck and hope I sound good.

Anyway, sorry for the short letter but it is rather monotonous now. I love you all. I know that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. I know that Families can be forever and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Until next time may God be with you.


Elder Johnson

In Cambodia our teacher told us that guys hold hands and girls hold hands and it means nothing. Just that's what they do. So the Elders of the district did this...Except I never actually held hands. I am the only one who hasn't officially held hands. I just pretended to.

In this one I look like a stud because I'm the only one turned around :). I like it.

This is me just running back being crazy :)

Week...5? Wow

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:20 am

Hello Everybody!!

Wow 5 weeks already? I just passed my halfway mark through the MTC this past Sat. It has gone by so fast. I've been here a month...1/24 of my mission is gone! Caum!!! (Woah in Cambodian) (sounds like jome!). Haha so this week has been crazy and fun and slightly painful. Oh and SO SPIRITUAL!!!

So after I emailed you all last week I had a fantastic day. Went to the temple and it being P-Day and all. But the best part was that Elder Scott came to speak to us!!! It was so cool!. He said that "We are called to SUCCEED not to Fail." It is so true. He taught us about being in constant communication with Heavenly Father and he blessed us that we will be able to learn our languages and succeed. He actually promised that to us after the closing song and before the closing prayer (he ran up before the Sister who was saying the prayer could start). So inspiring. We had our district devotional testimony meeting after and I totally used the song "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee." I almost sang it haha. God will NEVER leave us and He will always be there to help us. So that was Tuesday right?.

Thursday was pretty rough. For those who don't know i am TERRIFIED of shots. I absolutely hate them. It just so happened I had to get the second shot to both the Japanese something or other and the Hep A. The first one I barely felt so I was like yes I can do it. Then the second one was big. haha. Absolutely hated it. But luckily I didn't get a sore shoulder :). Haha. Oh Mom!!! I also saw Jalyn Macedone then. It was wonderful and she said you look wonderful :). Of course you do. Friday was a rough day too. Fridays are always the worst. You still have another day before Sunday and you are just burned out. But it was really cool too. We got to become "investigators" or people who other companionship's in the district taught in Cambodian. You were encouraged to be someone you knew really well whether member or not so that you could act just like them. Well guess who I was? You're right! My brother Cutler!!! It was so much fun to be you brother. I felt so much closer to you. I even drew one of your funny little pictures with the buck teeth and curly hair. I named the picture "Choncho" ;). Was that good enough? Hopefully. It was so wonderful to be you. I get to do it again tomorrow!!! So much fun. I love you bro.

So the last exciting day was Sunday. First one as being a Zone Leader and it was so much fun. Got a ton of meetings and all but it was so wonderful. Just like being 2nd councilor in the Elder's Quorum all over agian. The best part of the week is on Sundays, Temple Walks. We have an hour on Sunday to go walk around the Provo Temple. it is the most refreshing time of the week and it totally calms me down and prepares me for the coming week. You just feel so much better and stronger. Later that night we had Devotional. It was amazing!!! The BYU Men's Chorus came and I got to see Josh Frei, Cameron Raps, and Xander Moffitt all from my BYU ward. Haha. I almost cried hugging them. They are some of the most amazing people that I have ever met. We did several musical numbers together and I miss it. But what spiritual and wonderful experiences did we have together. Oh and one of my teachers, Locruu (teacher in cambodian) Mickelson was in it too. Haha. Oh not to mention that I got FRONT ROW SEATS was fantastic. I kinda had to give the opening prayer for the devotional to get those seats though. Haha. Boy, I say boy was that a nerve racking prayer. I stumbled along. I should have done it in Cambodian haha. Anyway it was amazing still. The spirit was SO strong during that devotional. Music is the best way to communicate and bring the spirit I believe. I felt wonderful the entire time. I am so happy that they came. After the devo we saw the movie the Testaments! Remember how whenever I was sick on Sundays and couldn't go to churhc I would watch that movie, mom? Yeah. So good. Again i almost started crying. haha. I loved it. I KNOW that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior. I KNOW that He LIVES!!! And He is always with us through anything. I love it so much. I love being on a mission. It will be the best two years of my life. haha.

I don't know if I told you before but my room is TOTALLY the Best Two Years Elders. I am obviously Elder Johnson, my companion, Elder Plothow, is Elder Van Pelt. We both got bottom bunks like they do in the movie. And then Elder Clark is Elder Rogers and he has the top bunk like Elder Rogers. And then Elder Clawson is Elder Calhoun. It is SO funny. haha. I wish I saw that movie one more time. CUTLER!!! Watch it for me :). Thanks buddy.

So I just want to say thank you all again for the wonderful letters and emails. It is so amazing to hear from all of you. Connor, you sound like you're growing so much. You have been such a wonderful example. Thank you. Well until next time, may God be with you.

Love, Elder Johnson

Week 4

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 7:57 am
Hello Everyone!!!!

Wow has it seriously been 4 whole weeks since I've left? It feels like I have been gone an eternity and yet only a few days at the same time. It really is amazing at how time flies after the first few days. I can't believe at how much I have left to go but also at how much I've grown. The MTC seriously is the place where boys turn into men.

So even though I have said that the weeks have gone by fast this week still was long and tiring. But there were so many wonderful things that happened. I saw so many missionaries that I know who came in this week and last week (by so many I saw like 4). But it was so good to see them. I saw cousin Carson Johnson here!!! I was looking for him for days and in the cafeteria I prayed that I might be led to him. As I was walking out I almost ran into him. Literally :). It was so cool to see him. He has been here only a week and I loved to see how he was doing. I couldn't talk with him then but on Sunday I got to talk to him for several minutes. I bragged about him to my companion a bit haha. It made me realize how much I missed family and I was so grateful that I have some family that I can see every once in a while here. Another person that I saw this week was Elder Christian Wawro. Just got here this week too and he was looking just like himself. He is going to Denmark and the language looks difficult haha. We got a picture with him at the temple and I'll try to send some pictures soon. It was great to see him. Let's see.... Oh! For all those who are from Wyview I saw Elder Spencer Lee. He is from Minnesota and is going to Albania speaking Albanian. He and I became really good friends at Wyview and did a number of ensemble pieces for the ward and stake down there. HOLY COW does that language seem hard. haha anyways we see each other quite often actually and it is so much fun to just see him. I literally ran into him the first time I saw him haha. He is looking fine and I look forward to seeing him a lot. I also saw Spencer Mace!! I saw him a few times before and he found me at the temple and lifted me up from behind. He is SO TALL!!!! I was flying haha. It was awesome seeing so many people.

So this week was really long because I had a cold ALL week :P. haha it was rough. I got it last Tuesday and am just feeling better. It was pretty bad on Thursday but i quickly recovered. it was really hard to learn though. I forgot how to say so many words and I just wanted to not do anything. But the Lord pulled me through it. Turns out I feel like i am doing better in the language by a lot since my cold. I totally was humbled on begging for help and health. That seriously was most of last week. Saturday we did our first TRC which is you teach volunteers who come to the MTC and come to just be taught by the missionaries. They are not investigators. They are themselves, they don't pretend to be someone else. Sometimes investigators or nonmembers do come but we didn't have any this week. It was such a learning experience. haha we didn't know how to say much and communicating was really hard but it was ok. haha. We taught two people. We taught a Brady Johnson :D and a Dave Thompson. They were so cool and it was so spiritual even though we couldn't teach a lot.

Sunday was crazy though. It was just so spiritual and fun. Church was amazing. I just felt the spirit. We talked on how to recognize the spirit and on faith. Also, this was the last Sunday of the Cambodian district right above us. They leave today. The Branch President called Elder Plothow and I to be the new Zone Leaders. It is crazy. Already a zone leader?? Honestly we have no idea what to do right now but we are working on helping our zone (our zone is our branch which includes: Cambodians, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Thai). Pretty intense. Such a big job and I pray SOOOO much more now (like haven't here already). It was intense. Also later we had choir practice. Brother Eggett is just an amazing guy. I love how much I learn from him. I plan to at least take one class from him even though I don't go to UVU when I come back in 2 years. It was fun to sing. We had a pretty cool devotional that night where the guy talked about what the Church was doing with media to tell the world who we are. They have done some amazing stuff and just finished some amazing "I am a Mormon" campaign in London. The Mormons just arrived in London :). After the Sunday night devos we get to choose to watch a film (a church movie or recorded talk from a list of 4 per week). we saw Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration!!!!! I LOVE THAT MOVIE!!!!! Yes people. I teared up but I felt the spirit so strong. I KNOW Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Church. Sunday was great.

Well, that was pretty much my week. Hope you are all doing great. Thank you all for your love and support and letters. They help so much. Have a wonderful week.
Till next time may God be with you.


Elder Johnson

Elders of my district starting from left: Elder Plothow, Me, Elder Clark, Elder Clawson, Elder Garrow, Elder Anthony, and Elder Whitney. 

Me, Elder Plothow, and Elder Brady Call who we went to school with.

A cool picture I took of the temple :D

Week Bei (3 in Khmae)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 8:47 am

Hey Everyone!!!

So wasn't everything fantastic this General Conference? Holy smokes was it wonderful. Hahaha it was so cool to have General Conference here at the MTC. It really was something although the chairs were not that comfortable. I didn't fall asleep once this year mom!!! Although the spiritual nod came a couple of times haha. I'll talk more about conference later. I am so glad to hear about everyone's week. It was so wonderful. Grandpa thank you for the picture of Adam-Ondi-Amen...(spelling?) it is beautiful. I really am excited for the day when all the Saints are gathered there for one big sacrament meeting with the Savior himself there. Mom and Cutler I haven't received the photos yet but I bet I will get them later today. Thank you all for the wonderful letters. I can't begin to tell you how much they mean to me. If you remember the Best Two Years how crazy they went when they got mail, yep, that is all us missionaries here. We are all so excited when we get one. Hahaha it really is so funny 
Cutler, I hope you are having fun on choir tour. tell me how it goes. I know that you will have so much fun and that you have an amazing voice. haha. i have never been to san fran before but i bet it is pretty cool. just don't do anything to be put into Alcatraz ;). haha and i loved how much you have spent time with Flynn. Agh I miss our puppy. I am so excited to see his picture. you seem to have had a busy spring break which is wonderful. don't become to lazy or bored because that's not good. remember to always be striving to have the spirit in your life. :).

Thank you mom for keeping me caught up with things. also i'm glad you are having a wonderful time at work I will remember to ask Sister Melton about sister Boulter.

I am so glad to hear from Connor. It sounds like Georgia is a rough place to be but he is handling it wonderfully. I just want to also say the same thing Connor did with bathrooms how they are wonderful as the only place to have privacy. And when you're falling asleep. Those are nice. This week was tough. Isn't every week tough? Haha. Well this week was pretty tough because of the language. I felt that I couldn't get the language hardly at all this week. It wasn't coming to me at all and it was stressing me out. i felt that i was better last week than this week until we had General Conference. GC definitely is amazing. it rejuvenated me and inspired me. so many talks were for me and about my mission it was like manna from heaven. how cool is it we have over 90,000 missionaries (65,634 full time; 20,000 waiting to enter the MTC Week 2; and 6,000 waiting to be called). That is SO cool. hopefully we'll break 100,000 soon. I particularly looooved Priesthood Conference...don't I always ;). President Monson taught an amazing talk of missionary service. He gave 4 steps to success: 1. Search Scriptures diligently 2. plan life with purpose 3. teach the truth with testimony and 4. Serve the Lord with love. Those are such great steps especially for being a missionary. This was only one of the many wonderful talks that were amazing. We listened to a couple afterwards in Cambodian...0_0 wow. I got like 1 out of 100 words. ha but it was so cool too. So this week we started singing the hymns only in the script (the crazy squiggles that the language is made out of). The singing is quiet right now :). We have consistently taught in Cambodian now and have consistently struggled but the spirit is always there no matter how awkward or bad we get. phew. My testimony of the Savior and of Joseph Smith and of Thomas S. Monson have strengthened so much this week. oh and especially of the Book of Mormon. I was reading about it in Preach My Gospel and I got an overwhelming feeling of the spirit testifying it was true. I love it so much.

Since I've last emailed I actually gone to the temple twice. I went last Tuesday after I emailed and did initiatories. I had 3 Frenchmen with awesome names that I wish I could remember and I had one English guy from 1616 who's name was Lancelot :D it made me so happy and it was so cool. I also did endowments this morning at 5 am. It was wonderful. haha. I actually was focused most of the time, unfortunately we had gone twenty minutes too early... the temple cafeteria wasn't open grandpa :P. But I looooved it. I miss our weekly temple sessions. I still love remembering about the St. George trip to the temple. So white.\

Well, sorry for a jumbled and sometimes not concentrated email. so hard to remember what I did this week :). thank you all again for all the letters and emails. They lift up the struggling spirit. My companion's brother told him some wonderful words of advice; "the mission gets hard. sometimes you wonder if you can do those last two weeks for two more years. you say I don't think i can do it. but you don't have to. you'll never have those same two weeks again. they will be better. you say that about the first month and say you don't know if you can take another month like that. you don't have to. that month won't happen again. you say that the first year was so hard you can't do it for another. you don't have to. the next year is 10x better." I love that saying and it is so true. Each week is hard but it gets progressively better. I have a testimony of our Savior and this work. It truly is the work of God our Loving Heavenly Father. I love them. Until next time may God be with you.

Love, Elder Johnson

Week Two: Easter Time

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 8:45 am

Hello Everyone,

Again thank you SOOOO much for all the letters you send to me. They are one of my favorite things about a mission. Every evening our District Leader hand out the letters to whoever got them and whenever I get one I am just so happy. I love hearing about everyone and the support that you guys send me. It seriously means so much to me. Oh!!! Happy Birthday Grandma!!! Sorry I missed it. I bet you're looking great :).Mom, everything that you sent me is working wonderfully thank you. So I don't think I told you guys about my district last week. I have 12 people in my district. there are 5 sisters and 7 elders. We are such a tight district already and we are working hard (if not unfocused and loud at times). There is me and my comp: Elder Plothow. He loves basketball and to whistle music. Like he is always whistling and sometimes it is too much but honestly since there is very little music here I enjoy it. He is like 6 inches taller than me, he is the tallest elder and I am the shortest elder (of course). He is so cool though and he goes to choir with me. He loves Brother Eggett too. (Oh mom, tell Brother Eggett hi for me and that he has been such a wonderful example to me. He is amazing too). Next are Elders Clark and Clawson, our roommates. I actually shouldn't call them roommates. We are all so tight that we have like a quadruple companionship going on. Elder Clawson is from Texas and is actually speaking Cambodian in the Long Beach Cali mission. He did track like you Cutler, the 400, 4x1 too. He was like a low 48 second 400 m runner. Fast. He is quite in class but is so funny when its just us four. Yeah. His comp is Elder Clark. Clark is from Cali and sounds like he came from a well to do fam. Left a car, man cave, pool, girl, etc behind for the mission. He and Clawson are so funny they keep me and Plothow laughing all the time. Clark has grown so much since I have met him and it is crazy what he has done. He gave his first blessing on Monday and us 4 were in the circle. So proud of him. His testimony has grown so much and it has strengthened mine as well. Then there are Elders Whitney, Garrow, and Anthony. Anthony loves basketball and gets updates on the NCAA tourney (what are they bytheway?). Whitney is from Provo, lives like a block away. And Garrow is from NY not city though. Was in the Hill Cumora Pageant for 9 years now. So i saw him in it like 3 or 4 summers ago when I went on the Church History Tour. They all are a trio of companions and I love them. They all love Avatar the Last Airbender and we sometimes talk about it cuz we all love it. The sisters are Homer and Hartley, and then the trio McQuivey, Orton, and Melton. I don't know them that well. Just that Sister Hartley loves fanta and that Cambodia lives on Fanta. Literally. Number one soda there. Also, Sister Homer is super good at the language already. (So are Garrow and Whitney). They all have great memories. Yep. That is my wonderful district.

My teachers are locruu Mickelson and locruu Thomas. Locruu Thomas (locruu means teacher in Cambodian) was our first "investigator" Boon Somnop (closest spelling with English alphabet). They seriously care about us so much and have strengthened my testimony like no other. I love them. Mickelson is always always smiling and Thomas understands us and how we have grown with teaching him. We taught him 4 times before he became our teacher. Anyway I love them both.This week has gone by so fast it feels. Literally after my first few days this one has blown by. The language is still hard but it is coming. We started learning script, the actual writing of the squiggleys, and have started to learn to read them. It is CRAZY!!!! when I come home I will have my own secret language :D. It is starting to become enjoyable now to learn the language. But honestly, If i could choose what to study i would definitely do the Book of Mormon. I love it so much. I read so much of it this week and AHHH i just love it. It is the most true book in the world. I have felt the Spirit so much by reading it. This past week i read about the Stripling Warriors and Captain Moroni. I know that I have the mother of a Stripling Warrior as my own mom. I know that :). Love you mom. One little detail about Captain Moroni that I thought was funny was, He has a temper. I mean in one part of the BoM it says that He was angry with the Lamanites and the next thing it says is something like, he commanded his men to slaughter them. So don't mess with Captain Moroni and liberty and religion. I almost felt bad for the Lamanites. But I seriously love the Book of Mormon so much. It is so fun and enjoyable and i learn so much.

So this week was Easter. We thought an apostle was going to come to talk to us but it was actually Bishop Causse (he's from France with the whole accent and everything. SO cool) and his wife. They taught about the Savior but I didn't actually get the most out of that. What I got the most out of was actually the sacrament meeting. It was combined... 3,000 missionaries taking it all at the same time!!! Never had they done that before. It was just like the Savior feeding the thousands with loaves of bread and fish. It was so cool. It reminded me of the huge sacrament meeting going to happen with the Savior before his second coming at Adam Ondi Aamen (spelling?). The spirit was definitely there and we in the choir sang the Lord is My Shepherd. It was great. Sundays p.s. are the best day of the week along with P-day. So after meetings on Sundays we go on a temple walk and take pictures and just enjoy the weather. It was great. We had a devotional that evening and Sister Sheri Dew spoke to us. She has definitely been the best speaker here by far. She taught about how the Savior is not our last chance, he is our ONLY chance. I know that to be true. She knows it too. She has never been married and she HATES it but she also has grown so close to the Savior and knows that he is looking out for her. It was amazing. Later, we watched a talk of Elder Bednar teaching how to recognize the spirit. He said quit worrying about it. If it is something good then just do it. Every good thing comes from the spirit and more often then not you will not know if it is the spirit till after you do what you felt. it helped me soooo much because i was worried about that.

I love this work and this mission i am on. It is so hard but the letters, the people, and the Lord pull me through it. I know that He loves me and that He Lives. He is the way. I am here to share this message to everyone who will listen. I love it so much. I miss you all but I know that God is with you. I love you all so much. Until next time, may God be with you.


Elder Johnson