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!!!

Week 23/ Week 15 Cambodia: Land of Change

Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Dear Peoples of other Places besides Cambodia,

Well everyone, it has come. I have been transferred!!! Yes. I am no longer with my awesome trainer but I am with another awesome companion named Elder Lyman. He is Zone Leader and is a super hard worker and is fantastic. He one of the biggest missionaries we have :) haha so he's big and I'm little. Super fun. He loves sports (football and basketball), loves music (Les Mis and the Forgotten Carols for example), and loves being a missionary. He is so wonderful.

So let me go through the week a little. I didn't get the call to be Emergency Transferred (when you transfer not on a regular transfer date) until Tuesday night. I had proselyted with Elder Noot and Vuat until then. I was tranferred Thursday morning so I could teach English class on Wednesday. It was a lot of fun and I taught well my last time. I got to say goodbye to my recent convert Sok Eang who I baptized. We got to teach them one last lesson and as she said the closing prayer I peeked and saw her, her already member husband, her 12 year old son, and newborn baby. I pictured them in all white, sealed in the temple. It was a beautiful sight.

So Thursday morning I packed everything I had into a tuk-tuk and headed to the mission home to meet Elder Lyman. We planned for the week once we got home. Oh our home is HUGE!!!! It's got 4 floors plus a balcony. 3 bedrooms, 2 storage rooms, a kitchen, two huge living rooms, and 6 bathrooms!!! It rocks!

My new area is on the opposite side of the city than my last. My area is now near the north west side of the city. It is called Tukthla (duck tla). We have like 5 investigators with a baptismal date the coming month. All of them are super good too. I have already gotten close to them and am so happy to teach them. I love learning from Elder Lyman. He is a great teacher and is always helping the investigator or member do better. We also do lots of less active work too. We had one less active come back yesterday to church. Less active work is so fun. I used to never think about working with less active members before my mission but you do it just as much as with investigators.

Something funny about my new Zone is that we have 4 Johnsons in it. We have Elder and Sister Johnson, a really old, crazy senior couple. We get to translate for them once a week so I got to ride in their really nice car. Ahhh cars. AC and automatic drive. Boy do I miss driving my car Harold. haha Anyways (Uncle Greg that is for you ;)) we have the Johnson senior couple, then there is Elder Johnson the II, he has been out for a year now, and I am Elder Johnson the III. All the Johnsons are in one zone now. Johnson Zone!!!

Finally we had Sunday. Sunday is my favorite day of the week as well as Monday. The Sacrament is so much more to me now than it ever has been. Every week I WANT the sacrament and I realize I NEED it. The sacrament is so much more than just making us clean from our sins. It can give us strength to help us do better, be better, be stronger to resist temptation and overcome evil. We can receive help from on high to make ourselves claeaner, happier, and stronger. More loving, kind, obedient, diligent, and virtuous. I know it is so important. I love it and I hope you grow to love it too.

Well that's all I got. Love you all so much and miss you. Thank you for all the prayers.

Elder Johnson

Week 22/ Week 14 Cambodia: Land of Exploding Grenades

Sunday, August 25, 2013 9:00 PM

Dear Family and Friends,

Yes, there are exploding grenades everywhere in this country!!! Haha in Cambodian we have a term "bauk gro baik" (spelled how you would pronounce it in English). This is the term that means to have been ditched or stood up. So many times on a mission you need to have patience and get used to being stood up and having an appointment fall through. This week I think we had one fall through almost every day and one day we had all 3 fall through. But we are ok. We continue to do work.

Even though we do our best it is still difficult to be happy and optimistic when things fall through. This week was especially hard on us. We did all this preparation in anticipation and then it falls through. It is hard. I was in a down mood one of these days when I remembered that I had my grandfather's (mom's dad) conversion story. I unfortunately hadn't read it yet. I decided to read it in a spare, private moment. I want to share a brief outline of his story.

My grandfather was raised in a home with a mom who believed in a God. She had my grandfather and his brother go to many churches. In one day he said they might go up to 3 different churches just to worship God. They moved to California where they went to many churches and my grandfather got a job. He also was enrolled in school. At this time his family moved to Arizona and he stayed behind because he was earning money for the family. At this time in high school he met J.R. in biology (I believe). He found out that J.R. was a Mormon. They quickly became friends. J.R. introduced my grandfather to his friend group and my grandfather started going to activities, mutuals, and even sacrament meetings. They never pressured him though to get baptized. It was 3 years later that J.R. was about to leave on his mission when him and my grandfather talked. He asked my grandfather if he wanted to be baptized. With a little apprehension but with no doubt in his mind my grandfather said yes. J.R. then baptized him a short time later. I am forever grateful that my grandfather decided to join the church. It was the "small, still voice"that told him that it was true, he said.

When I read my grandfather's story I was immediately grateful to him and the Lord for showing him the way. I was also relieved of my burden and sour mood and was able to work harder afterwards.

There really wasn't much else that happened this week. Thank you all for your prayers and support. They are much appreciated. May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Elder Johnson