Monday, April 25, 2016

First Week as a Trainer

Hey Family!
What an awesome week here on my mission! On Wednesday I headed to the mission home to have a trainer orientation and to pick up my anak!! My companion is Elder Andrada! He's a stud. He's from Manila and his dad is the mission president over the Laoag mission. Elder Andrada is is a visa waiter and his call is to serve in California San Jose mission. He'll probably be here in the Quezon city mission for 6 months. I was so excited when I met him and got to take him to our area, and let the journey begin!  We got straight to work! There's no time to sit and adjust- the adjustment is the work!  It's been a great week for us here. When we taught our first lesson together, Elder Andrada was so happy that he taught his first lesson in the mission field! haha. It was a cool feeling to see my companion so happy and excited to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people. He has the desire to work and learn, so it's going to be a great transfer with him. 
This week, training, it's been a throwback to when I was getting trained and when I was first in the mission. I can relate to Elder Andrada and his inexperience with the lessons (especially lesson 1) and planning, etc. It's been really fun to help him adjust to missionary life this past week. I've been applying the things that I was taught and helping my anak! It's definitely not easy. It's a lot of pressure actually. I need to be my absolute best at all times!  Luckily, the Lord has really been by my side, guiding me, and helping me be the trainer/ missionary that He wants me to be.
Ever since Elder Andrada has arrived, miracles have occured talaga! I've seen so many blessings in our work this past week, it's incredible! 

We dropped our special 2, Nick and Ervin. Now we have moved on with others and it seems like the Lord has provided for us! We have found so many new investigators who Heavenly Father has put in our path. We are especially excited for Brother Oliver! We taught him on Saturday night, and he told us that he is really interested. The next day he came to church!
I want to share one memorable experience/lesson we had this week with our special 2 brother June. Brother June Barreno is progressing. His wife is no longer less active and she's helping him on his journey to baptism on May 28. On Saturday night we taught him the Word of Wisdom. Even though we made a lesson plan, I was still nervous going into the lesson. I haven't taught WoW many times, so I was really relying on the Spirit. Long story short- the lesson was so powerful and I felt as if the spirit was speaking through me. I truly felt like the tool for the Lord. Half the lesson I didn't even know what I was saying, but brother seemed to understand. 

The problem is Brother June has an addiction to cigarettes. We made a plan for him and committed him to it. He has the desire to quit, and we told him that through prayer and scripture study, he'll overcome his addiction... because nothing is impossible with God!

At the end of the lesson I had the opportunity to give him a priesthood blessing. I don't remember what I said, but I do know that the blessing came from our Heavenly Father. I'll never forget this experience. I know the Lord will bless us and him and that he will be baptized on May 28.
I need your prayers family. Please pray for Brother June Barreno, that he can overcome his addiction and that he'll come to church these next 4 weeks and be baptized!
I'm doing my absolute best to have 2 baptisms in May (goal for the mission). I've been working my hardest doing everything I can. Now I'm just putting my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ. I know he'll provide.  
That's all for this week family. I love y'all!
P.S. I love training!

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 18, 2016

Transfer week...I've been called as a TRAINER

Magandang araw pamilya ko!
On Sunday night I received a call from President Revillo. He has called me as a TRAINER! When he told me this, I didn't know what to say haha. My heart was beating too fast. This calling is a big responsibility.  It still feels surreal but tomorrow I will officially be training a new missionary! I'm excited for this opportunity and I'm grateful for the trust that President Revillo has in me. I think I'm the most excited to share with my anak the things that my trainer (Elder Santiago- who is going home- he finished his mission ) taught me! 
My companion, Elder Barrientos is transferring. I'm so grateful for these past 6 weeks I've had to work with him. He's been my favorite companion so far in my mission. Many, many memories of him and I as a companionship here in Cogeo. I will never forget the laughs, the struggles, the disappointments, the fun times, the joyous times etc. The one thing that he has taught me, not through his words, but through actions is love. He has served me in so many different ways this past transfer. Unfortunately, I haven't appreciated it, or shown that same love for him as much as I should have. But that's a lesson that I've learned and I'll always be grateful for. Because of the love that Elder Barrientos has shown to me, I've realized how much I need to change and be better. I'm excited to love and serve my anak (trainee).
Our area is still struggling. I continue to figure out what Heavenly Fathers plan for me is dito sa Cogeo. This past week we found 2 new investigators who I'm really excited for. brother June Barreno, lives with Sister Vilma (she's a member but less active). It's been good- we've taught them 3 times so far. It's like 2 birds with 1 stone- rescuing a less active and baptizing her husband. We extended a baptism date for May 28 and I believe he can be ready by then. We don't know if they have any problems but this next week we'll find out. Potential siya talaga. 

Also brother Ronnie- he's been prepared for sure. He's ready for the gospel; this is his time. 

Brother Nick (our special 2) is really frustrating us. We told him on Saturday after a powerful lesson that we would pick him up for church and then Sunday morning he texts us and bails. We gave him a "do or die" lesson yesterday. So he has 1 more chance.

Brother Ervin is also not really progressing. We heard he has a Law of Chastity problem. He makes a lot of excuses too. I'm not sure about May 14. But this week we'll really find out.
The Ortiz family (recent converts) are awesome. Long story short, their faithfulness and trust in the Lord is absolutely incredible. They experience so many trials (this week they had no electricity or water) but they remain strong in the gospel. It's humbling to know how blessed we are, even as missionaries. Seeing these people here struggle day to day with money to feed their kids is humbling talaga.
Well family, I hope you are all doing well.  Just continue to pray for my area. I miss y'all and love y'all so much! 
I love my calling as a missionary! :)

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 5 Cogeo

Magandang tanghali po!

I'm so grateful to be serving here in the PQCM as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I feel so blessed to be a servant of the Lord and share this wonderful gospel with these amazing people here. 

This week unfortunately wasn't the best. We continue to struggle in our day to day work. It seemed like we got punted over 100 times this week. The thing I love about missionary work is that every day is different and there are ups and downs everyday.  Although there are more downs usually, I look for the joyous experiences each day. This week we had a few...which outweigh the bad days/experiences/disappointments by a ton. We have a progressing investigator!! Brother Ervin came to church and was able to listen to the prophet and apostles speak. He told us that he believes that Thomas S. Monson is the true living prophet on the earth today. We are excited for Brother Ervin. He continues to develop, exercising his faith in Jesus Christ. We are now preparing him for baptism on May 14!
We continue to find new investigators, and this week we found some potentials for sure. Another thing that I've come to absolutely love is to find! The chance to meet someone, get to know them, and teach them the restored gospel is awesome.

The experiences that I'm having here in my mission are changing my life. Each day I grow to a knowledge of my Savior and his love for me and us all. It's fun to see that I can communicate pretty well in Tagalog now and talk to the cute little kids that yell at me and say, "Hey JOE!" haha. I love the Filipino people. Their hospitality is inspiring. They are the most kind and Christlike people. To be serving among them is a blessing, and I continue every day to strive and find that one "person or family" that is waiting for me. I know that day will come and I'm so excited for it.
What an inspiring, spirit-filled weekend we had, to watch and listen to the prophet and apostles of the Lord. I could write for days the things I learned and loved from our leaders during General conference, but I'll share with y'all some quotes that touched my heart.
"Be humble, without being compelled to be humble." - Steven E. Snow
"Jesus Christ is the greatest leader, because he was the greatest follower." So to be a great leader I have to be a great follower. True leadership is the commitment to follow Jesus Christ! 
"Choices determine our destiny." - Thomas S. Monson
"Bring the gospel from your head, to your heart."- Bonnie L. Oscarson
"Our faith should influence the way we live!" - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"Heavenly Father doesn't make it easy, but He does make it possible!"
" The Lord blesses those who want to improve!" - Jeffrey R. Holland

I know that this church is true, and I love this work. That's all for this week family. I love you all!

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 4 Cogeo

Kumusta po pamilya ko!
As this week was coming to an end, Elder Barrientos and I were feeling as if we had another unsuccessful week with our investigators. Our special 2 are wala na and we thought that we were going to have 0 at church again. This past week we've done what the mission wants us to- focus on 50% reactivation and 50% baptizing. Although we know we aren't going to have a baptism for April, we are keeping the faith for May. On Sunday, a miracle occurred. As we were greeting the members of the ward, 3 of our investigators walked into the chapel! The Villamor family (they are a referral from brother Galang and we had not even taught them yet!!) We taught them yesterday after church and they are super potential. Their only problem is that they are not married. And then the other investigator- Sister Isabelle (the girl we dropped, but she came to church and told us that she wants to continue to be taught!).

But family, that wasn't even the miracle, this was; to our surprise, 4 of our Less Active families attended church! Elder Barrientos and I turned to each other and almost cried talaga. It was the sweetest feeling I've had since being on my mission. We felt the spirit so strong and knew that our companionship fast and prayers were answered. Although we've been pleading with Heavenly Father for progressing investigators, I think God has a different plan for us - to help the less active families become active in the Cogeo ward. I have a firm testimony that God answers prayers. Maybe not in the way the you think, but he hears and answers our prayers according to our faith! 

I want to share with you some of the things I learned about FAITH in my studies this week. Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him in everything we do! It is an ASSURANCE of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We express our faith by our actions- the way we live! The Lord will work miracles if we pray in faith, study the scriptures every day and be diligent in everything we do (especially missionary work).  Keeping the commandments and being exactly obedient brings miracles. I know this is true, and I know that as I continue to trust in my Savior Jesus Christ, I'll be blessed and this area will progress!
That's all for this week family, I miss and love you all! 
Ill send pictures :)

Elder Johnson