Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 16 Cogeo

Magandang araw!
The work is continually progressing here in Cogeo! This week my anak left me for a day for his interview to leave for his mission in California. He's excited for sure. He'll leave either this week or next :( So I'm not sure what's going to happen. I could be staying another transfer here in Cogeo, we'll see!
Anyway, we're steadily pressing forward here, and we couldn't be happier! We're finishing up the 12 week program and my companion is on his way to do big things in his mission in Cali (he's lucky that hes got a great trainer ;) joke lang haha). I was able to work with one of the zone leaders this week.  It was a good experience. Since being in this mission I've noticed that it doesn't matter what calling you have, you're not magaling. The spirit is the real teacher. I'm just grateful to be his instrument.
I think one of my favorite things that happened this week was the opportunity to work with the RM's in our ward. Having them work with us makes us better missionaries because we get to learn from them! I'll share about brother Al Tabios: he's a recently returned missionary and he's so magaling its crazy.  I can't even explain the way he teaches..he's the "master" teacher! And he continues to help us and our work. He opened up and shared his experiences and the type of person he's become, grabe talaga converted siya! He's the type of person I want to be when I return. We're excited to continue to take his advice and become a PMG missionary.    (PQCM= mission of conversion!)
So our investigators are doing well! Good things have happened this week! We baptized Sister Joan on Saturday!! It was such a spiritual experience! I could really feel the spirit testify to me that Heavenly Father was proud and happy that we helped another soul get on the path back to Him. I can't describe the feelings...just unforgettable. The best part was that Brother June Bareno (her dad) was front row watching.. and yes he cried. We know he felt the feeling that we all had :) We're excited to follow up with him and his feelings later when we visit them tonight. Also, June talked to President Galang and he was able to help him with his Law of Chastity problem...let's just say good things are ahead!! Just keep praying for him! He's next to be baptized sana in July, we'll see.
Brother Oliver couldn't be any better haha. We have the best person to fellowship him and his family. He was also able to witness the baptism on Saturday and is preparing for this next Saturday! Pray that all will go well this week!
I would also like to share with y'all one of the chapters in the Book of Mormon that I read this week and how it has helped me as a servant of the Lord in this mission. 

2 Nephi 4: 34: "O lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. "

and also verse 35. I love these verses and the excellent example Nephi has set for us all. I truly have testimony that we need not to worry what will happen because the Lord has his own timing and works in His way. We as missionaries just need to put our faith in Him and trust Him and He will bless us!!
 One thing I hope my anak has learned from me that I have shown to him and done throughout my mission... Exact Obedience brings miracles!
Elder Johnson

 Joan's Baptism

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 15 Cogeo

Dear Family,

Although it was a short week, let me tell y'all...a lot happened, and not all of it is good news.

Tuesday was our last Zone Conference with President and Sister Revillo. I'm really going to miss them. They've made my first half of my mission the best. I'm especially grateful for President Revillo. The things that he has told me have changed my life and my whole mission experience. I will be forever grateful for his love and care he showed to me and his wisdom and inspiration that he's shared with me. During the conference they talked about Repentance. What a great topic. I learned that we as missionaries must really come to know what it means to repent- repent daily, and apply the Atonement in our life. Then, we have to teach Repentance! "I am called to cry repentance unto the people that they might be saved." 

We also had our last trainer and trainee meeting! Only a few more weeks being a trainer and training Elder Andrada. It's been a blast, and I've absolutely loved it. President shared a video about being a "Finisher"... and committed us to finish our mission and love it.

So it seemed like we've been on a high; many progressing investigators, investigators at church, baptisms coming up etc...We've been feelin good, Elder Andrada and I, until Saturday came...things turned.

As we gave Brother June and sister Joan their practice baptism interview, we found out that June has a big problem with Law Of Chastity. Like a really serious problem.  Also he says that he still hasn't received a confirmation from the spirit that the church is true. I don't feel the need to tell you all the details, but just know that he will not be baptized on June 25. He needs time. Hopefully this week we can really help him understand and feel the spirit. Sister Joan is great, she can be baptized on the 25th, but it's up to her if she wants to wait for her dad. 

It's really unfortunate the things that have happened. We've been a little depressed not knowing what to do, but I know that this is Heavenly Father's plan for the Bareno family. Elder Andrada and I regrouped this morning as we studied together what we need to do to help him. We're really relying on the guidance of the spirit as we teach him about the Atonement later tonight.

Also, brother Philip has a problem as well, although he came to church again and is progressing.  His family is against what he is doing because they are Muslim, so it's tough. But he's awesome and I know he'll continue to press forward. We just need your prayers.

Oliver is our bright spot pa rin!! haha. He continues to progress with no problems, and this week we will finish the lessons and prepare him for July 2

Sometimes I don't understand God's plan for us here, but since being in the mission I have realized that I have to put my trust in Him and most importantly have Faith in Him!! Faith is carrying me right now. I know everything will work out as long as I continue to be obedient and strive to help my investigators! 

Thank you for the prayers. We really need them this week. I love you all. 

Elder Johnson

Monday, June 13, 2016

Busy week!

Good afternoon family!

It's been a busy week for us here in the Quezon City mission. We just came from the mall in city, and we got to do a session this morning in the Temple! There's nothing better than being in the House Of The Lord. It's a time for us missionaries to get away from the work for a little bit and just focus on feeling the Spirit and the presence  of God. 

Well a lot has happened this past week. There is a ton to tell y'all!

During zone training this week, the Zone Leaders introduced to us the new expectations and goals from the Philippines area presidency! When they showed it to us, I was so excited!! They told us how we need to be having 16 baptisms a month.. yes.. 16! But they showed us how, and it's awesome. It's not going to be easy, and it's going to take a lot of faith and time, but I know it is possible! We just have to use the tools the Lord has given us! I'll explain more about this as time goes on. :)

We had a great 12 week program week this week. It's one of my favorite weeks, talking about extending commitments! Elder Andrada is coming to really understand that we need to give specific commitments boldly every lesson to help our investigators repent! 

Last Monday was so fun. We had FHE at the Bareno "home". It went really well.  I'll send pics :)

Heavenly Father gave them another trial this week.  Long story short, they ran out of money because June has no job right now. They needed food so we were able to help them and contact Bishop. Luckily the church is awesome (true) and helps people in need. We are one big family with 1 return back to our Heavenly Father! 

I love my investigators! 
Brother Oliver had a slip up on Saturday night. He took a shot of wine. When we stopped by his house to say hi he knew what he did was wrong and felt so bad. haha He's so awesome talaga. He texted us right away and apologized and told us that he needed to repent and never do that again. He's the perfect investigator. He's progressing and is preparing for July 2 :)

Brother June and Joan have no problems. They're ready to be baptized on June 25! The problem is Sister Bareno (member). She always tells June to read, pray, go to church, but she herself isn't doing it. We are now focusing on them as a family and helping her keep our commitments too. 

Brother Philip didn't come to church on Sunday and we didn't know why. During our visit on Sunday night our worries vanished. He told us that every day he thinks about his baptism on July 9 and is so excited. We taught him the importance of attending church every week. He's committed. The only problem is that we can only teach him once a week because his job is at a call center. 

The DeGuzman family is awesome.  They came to church again and are reading the BoM. Their baptism date is in August. They are golden as well. I love them. They will be a strong family in the church and a big help for the Cogeo Ward. 

WE HAD A BAPTISM on Saturday!!! After 3 months, sister Isabel was finally baptized! It went really well and we are so happy for her. She really showed us her desire and testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Well, that's mostly all haha. Continue to pray for the Bareno family. This week will be his interview with our district leader to be baptized. We are so excited for these next 4 weeks!!

I love y'all, ingat po kayo! 

P.S. Happy Fathers Day and Happy Birthday to my amazing dad who I am so proud of and miss so much. I love you my best friend- dad

Elder Johnson

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 13 Cogeo

I could tell you all the negative things that happened this week, the bad days, the rough lessons etc... but the blessings and experience that we had on Sunday trumps it all! Missionary work is hard- it's summer time, so it's flippin hot here and being a trainer isn't easy, but the amazing experiences that I am having is the reason why I'm serving.  I don't even remember the negative days/experiences when my investigators are progressing and becoming converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Elder Andrada and I learned a lot together this week in the 12 week program. I was able to help him understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and how we need to study it, and use it in every lesson! The Book of Mormon is the most powerful resource in conversion! I can truly testify of what Joseph Smith says in the introduction, "that a man would come closer to God by abiding to the precepts found in the BoM than any other book." (I'm used to saying that in Tagalog haha). I testify that the BoM is true and is the word of God. It is a powerful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I love the Book of Mormon!
I'll just go straight into the good news haha...
Our investigators are progressing! we had 11 investigators at church on Sunday. Yes im serious, 11!
We're teaching the DeGuzman family; golden talaga sila! They have a desire to be baptized and the 4 of them had a wonderful experience at church yesterday. Their baptism will be in August. 

The Bareno family is wonderful like always. June hasn't smoked a cigarette in 3 weeks and is on this way to baptism on June 25 with his daughter Joan. Joan has a lot of member friends and it's so good for her.  She worked with us one time this week haha. We're excited because later tonight we are having a FHE at their house because its June's birthday :)

When we visited brother Oliver this week, he felt bad because he hadn't read or come to church. He told us that he needed to repent haha. He came to church 45 min early on Sunday haha. His baptism is July 2.

Before church we taught brother Philip. Man, what a great lesson this was! We asked him if he had received an answer to his prayers about Joseph Smith and the BoM. He told us that he's felt the Spirit and knows this church is true! We are so excited for him.  He's so awesome.  He has a testimony of this Gospel! His baptism will be July 9.
I truly believe that obedience brings miracles, because we are experiencing it right now in Cogeo!
I love you all, and miss y'all, but this mission is the best and I couldn't be happier that I decided to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Until next week, ingat po kayo lahat!
I'm going to use a phrase that Elder Henry Livingston used while he served. Here's a quick shout out to you, elder!
Always Happy, Never Content!!
Elder Johnson

2 hours of laundry...hand washed...that's my P day! haha

Basketball this morning