Monday, May 30, 2016

Another Transfer Here in Cogeo :)

Good morning family!

It is transfer week here and I'm excited to stay dito sa Cogeo with my trainee Elder Andrada! We had another successful, productive week in our wonderful area with our awesome investigators. We really are lucky, our area looks a lot different today than it did when I first arrived in Cogeo. We have many progressing investigators and the Lord continues to bless us! 

This week during the 12 week program with my anak we discussed, "Revelation through Prayer." We were able to learn, role play and practice boldly inviting investigators to pray and helping them recognize answers to their prayers through the Holy Ghost. Elder Andrada continues to progress. It's the coolest feeling being his trainer and helping him learn and apply the fundamentals of missionary work. This calling is humbling and I'm really excited to continue training Elder Andrada this next transfer to the best of my ability. 

P.S. I feel like I'm becoming like my father (Elder Santiago) haha

We found so more potential investigators this week and were able to extend baptism dates to them for the next coming months July and August.
Our baptism with sister Isabel fell through, but I know that was God's plan because she's not quite ready. In the next weeks she'll be baptized.

I'm excited to update y'all on the Bareno family! They're doing so well. They have electricity now :). We continue to contact them daily and prepare June Bareno to be baptized June 25! Also, his daughter Joan wants to be baptized with her dad so later tonight when we visit them we're excited to invite her to be baptized as well. On Saturday, brother June was able to attend a baptism of one of the other elders in our district. We believe that he felt the spirit talaga because we caught him wiping some tears from his face during the service :) 

On Sunday we had 5 investigators at church. Every week we are striving to improve. Before church we were able to teach brother Philip and he accepted a bapt date for July 9! He's been to church 3 times now and is progressing! It's been so nice, the 3 RM's here have been working with us and fellowshipping him! Brother Oliver continues to progress although he wasn't able to come to church on Sunday because he had duty (police). We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he is really starting to gain a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately his bapt date will be extended to July 2.  

That's all for this week family. I'm doing so well here. I haven't been this positive and excited about investigators since being on my mission. We really are being blessed and it's so amazing to be a part of. I love you all! 

Love your PQCM missionary,
Elder Johnson

Rainy season here in Cogeo!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 11 Cogeo

Magandang umaga po sa aking pamilyia,

I have a firm testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers each and every one of our prayers! You'll know why later as I talk about brother June Barreno :)

This week, our work was ok lang. We had some trouble finding new investigators but the investigators that we do have right now are mostly all progressing! We're so excited for the Barreno family, Oliver, Philip, Isabel (whose baptism is next Sunday!) and Kael. 

The highlight of my week was the miracle that Heavenly Father has blessed us with. It's quite amazing actually. So... this week we continued to follow up with Brother June Barreno about his smoking cigarettes. Each day he was smoking less and less which was good. Pero on Wednesday when we visited him, he was sick (caught the flu/ fever). We then asked him, so brother "this means no cigarettes today right?" He responded, "wala" which means none. Although we were sad that he was sick, we believe that this was Heavenly Fathers plan for him! We know it was because the past 5 days he has smoked 0 cigarettes and continues to tell us "wala na". He has no desire to smoke again because he feels sick to his stomach all the time now. We expressed to him our gratitude for his faithfulness and courage to quit, but I know that this was all Heavenly Father. He works in mysterious ways to help his children. 

He has answered my prayers, our companionship prayers, and my personal fast. I truly believe that because I fasted for him last Sunday, the Lord blessed me and brother June! God hears and answers our prayers according to our faith and diligence! I KNOW IT! 

My anak Elder Andrada is doing so well. We continue to grow in unity and get to know each other more. Our goal this week is find new investigators and to help Isabel, June, and Oliver prepare for baptism! 

Last night we visited the Barreno family, and although Heavenly Father has blessed us and their family, he has also given them a huge trial. As we walked into their "home" they had no electricity (just candles lit). They told us that they had no money to pay for their electricity. Sister Barreno started crying. She told us that she knew God would give them trials and challenges like this as brother June continues progressing in the Gospel. We shared a verse in the BoM (Alma 36:27) and tried to comfort them. This is a really difficult trial of their faith but they are strong and I know they'll press forward. We committed them to pray as a family and to ask our Heavenly Father for help. I have nothing but love for this family. I can't even imagine what it's like to have no electricity or money to pay the bills. It's humbling to be here in this wonderful country. These Filipinos really have the greatest attitude and faith in Jesus Christ. It's incredible.

Continue to pray for the Barreno family. That's really all I can ask. I'm excited for the plans that God has for us this week :)  Man, every day is a new challenge and I've learned to expect the unexpected! I love this work, the gospel is true, and God lives and loves us! 

P.S. Congratulations Kaley and Mitchell, I'm sure your wedding was awesome. Love you all!! 

Elder Johnson

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 10 Cogeo

Dear Family,
Sobrang masaya ako! 

What an awesome week for Elder Andrada and I here in Cogeo! We continue to receive blessings and we experience miracles everyday...well where should I start haha. This week the Lord blessed us with many new potential investigators. We went into this week with only 4 people with a baptism date, and now we have 10! We are really excited about the coming weeks and the progression of our investigators. 

This week Elder Andrada and I worked hard on using the cycle of inspired teaching every lesson. The results of our efforts were incredible. The spirit and noticeable difference in our lessons were extreme. We truly felt edified after many of our lessons this week.
My anak is a stud! Being his trainer is so amazing and I absolutely love it! This week in one of our lessons he lead the HTBT with one of a new investigators. As I sat and listened I was so proud! He testified boldly of our purpose as missionaries and he set expectations!  It was so great.  And at the end of the lesson we gave this guy a baptism date! (This guy is brother Kael who I'll share real quick how we met him- so we were tracting and it was about to rain. Just our luck- we saw this guy outside his house with his shirt off covered with tattoos and piercings. I think most missionaries would have just kept on walking. But I decided to stop and talk to him. Long story short, he's one of the nicest Filipinos I've ever met and has great faith in Jesus Christ! The moral of this story is, as missionaries we talk to everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you look like. The Gospel is for everyone!
We had a lot of help from the members this week, which is necessary talaga. It was a lot of fun to work with RMs and members to fellowship our investigators. I know that every lesson goes so much better with a member present.
Brother June Barreno is doing so well, as usual. He continues to show his faithfulness and willingness to repent. He's becoming converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Also by the way, during his closing prayer on Saturday night, he cried. What a powerful and spiritual experience that was :). 

Brother Oliver is so great. This week we taught the Word of Wisdom. He has no problems. We committed him to give up drinking tea and he didn't hesitate to accept living this commandment.
On Sunday I experienced true joy ulit. Brother June Barreno and his wife, Oliver, Philip (progressing investigator), and Isabel (her baptism date is next Monday May 23) all came to church! So much hope here in the Cogeo ward! The work is progressing and I'm so excited to baptize in the month of June!
Family, continue to pray for brother June, that he can overcome his addiction. We taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it can help him with this problem. We told him by the end of this week that he needs to be completely clean! I had the opportunity to fast for him and I know that any thing is possible with God!
I love my mission, I love this work, and watching my investigators become converted to the gospel builds my testimony of this true church!
Until next week, ingat po kayo palagi
Elder Johnson

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!!

It was great skyping yall. I miss and love y'all so much!!

Now that you're all caught up on my life here in Cogeo, I'll keep this week's letter short.
Training is going well. My companion is doing so great. We are both learning together. Like I've said, it's hard. Each day is a new challenge but I'm loving it. I'm not perfect, and he's not perfect as well, but our unity is improving and it's been a lot of fun to see my trainee's improvement. 

Our investigators are doing so well; especially Brother June Barreno. Every day he improves with his addiction to cigarettes. We are praying that he can become completely clean in the next week or so! So lets keep praying!

Brother Oliver accepted our baptism invitation before I could even finish the invitation haha. He's been prepared by Heavenly Father for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we're excited to continue to teach him and baptize him in June! 

Elder Andrada and I are super excited about the next few weeks and the miracles that will occur! I said this earlier, but the Lord is blessing us tremendously. It is incredible to be a part of. I'm so grateful to be here in the Philippines serving and helping these people feel the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

I had my last meeting with President Revillo this past week. I'll never forget what he told me. "Elder Johnson, exact obedience doesn't bring brings miracles." I couldn't be more thankful for my mission President and the advice, council, and love he's given me since being here. I will cherish the meetings I've had with him for the rest of my life. 

One quote stuck out to me at the Trainer Training meeting we had this week I would like to share. This will be with me for the rest of my mission: 


Till next week fam, I love you all!!

P.S. Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful Mom who I dearly love and miss very much :)

Elder Johnson 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 8 Cogeo

Happy May family!
The weeks continue to fly by. It's crazy that I've been in the mission field for 8 months now! 

The beauty of being a trainer is that I am constantly learning! This week we had some unsuccessful days with our work. I remember one of the TA's telling us that our attitude as trainers is so important for our trainees. Sometimes this week I got discouraged because of some lessons. Let's just say, having this responsibility has been stressful for me at times. It's not easy- constantly I'm striving to be the best I can for my anak- Elder Andrada. I received a letter from President Revillo that talked about the importance and sacredness of my calling to train a new missionary. It really is the foundation of my trainee's whole mission, what type of missionary he will become, who he is, what he learns...all depends on me! grabe mahirap talaga haha
Watching my companion grow every day and improve in the adjustment to missionary life is one of the best feelings/joys of this work. Every day he improves in teaching and is doing so well in applying the things from the 12 weeks program. It really is amazing to be a part of this- seeing the development of a new missionary, my anak, Elder Andrada! The best thing is, I feel like I'm learning more than he is!! haha
Not much has changed with our work. We did find some more potentials to be baptized in the later months. But right now, we are really focusing on Brother June Barreno and Oliver! 

June is doing so well. The Lord is working miracles here for us. After having the opportunity to fast for my investigators, I was afraid that June and his family weren't going to show up at church because it was 10:40. But during the sacrament they walked through the chapel doors!! The relief and joy that I experienced was indescribable. Brother June is really showing his faith and his fruit is his repentance!  The only problem is still his addiction to cigarettes. We're hoping that he can still be baptized on May 28, but he needs to be completely clean soon. We're doing everything we can to help him and to achieve the goal of 2 baptisms this month pero it's up to the will of the Lord. 

That's all for the week family. I truly believe that Heavenly Father answers prayers talaga.  He answered mine this week! He is watching out for me here and is blessing us tremendously! I'm excited to continue in this wonderful work! 

I love y'all! Talk to y'all next week.. skype tayo :)
Elder Johnson

My anak, Elder Andrada