Monday, March 27, 2017

Start of Weekly Baptisms

Happy spring! (summer in the Philippines.. haha it's really hot right now)

Last monday night was so perfect...we had an FHE (Family Home Evening) at the rooftop of a condo where one of the Seventy lives (one of the leaders of our church)! Brother Pagaduan offered to have an FHE at his place where we could bring investigators. At first we thought Nelia and her anak weren't going to show up. We were praying so hard, and at 8:30 pm they finally came! It was a short, fun, and spiritual FHE where 6 of our investigators were able to experience the fun of a FHE.

We were led "not knowing where to go" multiple times again this week. It's been amazing. The Lord just continues to guide us to his children. We met Marie, who's husband worked as a driver for all the seventys, mission presidents etc. He died last year but always tried to get his wife Marie to come to church. We were led to her house this week, taught her about eternal families, and she cried with joy knowing one day she'll see her husband again.

Another time was Saturday night, it was 8:30 pm as well. We were sure the member was home, but they weren't. Elder Enari and I were so confused. We thought this was where Heavenly Father wanted us to go, we both felt prompted to go to this specific area, and all of the sudden as we walk down the stairs we walk by a less active (who usual hides or doesn't talk to us). Surprisingly he calls to us, "Elders, I need your help." Long story but this guy has been going through some trials where he feels trapped by Satan. He's done some things and he knows he needs to come back to church. We were able to give him a blessing and he came to church yesterday!

I testify of Jesus Christ's power. Through Christ's Atonement, we can be made free. We can feel forgiveness, peace, joy, and God's love for us. I know that we are all children of God, and he loves us all. I also testify that God knows us, and he has a plan for us. We may not know "why this? why that?" But God knows best. We just need to trust Him. It's been humbling this week for us. I need to trust in Him more and rely on Him more. He will lead us back to his kingdom one day if we simple let Him and follow Him.

We baptized Christian Rollo Valentin yesterday! It was awesome, the whole ward stayed and supported. Because of Mark, his friends are also receiving the Gospel. Rollo is amazing. I can't wait to see him serve a mission and be sealed in the temple one day. 

Next week we will baptize sister Nelia! 
Adrian is preparing for the 15th. We need your prayers for who will be baptized on the 22nd. We are also teaching Rowie (young men referral) and sister Melaine (anak ni Nelia) and are preparing them for April 29. It's going to be a solid month of work, we couldn't be doing better! :)

Love,
Elder Johnson








Mark's Baptism




Week 7 Quezon City

We've seen the tender mercies from the Lord in our area and with our investigators that will be baptized in April. Hearts have been softened, and things are going smoothly for now. We are going to baptize weekly for the first time since the Lord has revealed his expectations to our mission- weekly baptisms. It's been a grind, and my companion and I can't stop talking about it. We even talk in our sleep about it haha. President is waiting for a companionship in the mission to be able to accomplish it and we feel that with absolutely relying on the Lord it will be done this April in the Bago Bantay ward Quezon City zone! It'll be a big impact on the mission. We need your prayers more than ever!
Rollo was interviewed and will be baptized on Sunday after the church service. Nelia is progressing and has shown her desire by coming to church even with so many trials. She also brought her daughter and her grandchild who we are going to try and baptized on the 29th of April. Adrian and Rowie are progressing as well. We've loved being able to teach them and see their change :)
The Lord has revealed to Elder Enari and I a new goal for the month of April as a zone for baptisms...25. It might sound crazy, people think we are haha. But we couldn't be more excited for this!
Love,
Elder Johnson





Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 6 Quezon City

Dear fam,
Tuesday was one of the best days we've had all transfer. Elder Enari and I put our faith in Jesus Christ, not knowing where to go early in the afternoon. We were blessed tremendously for following the spirit's promptings. We received a referral from President who is a call center agent, who had a mormon customer from Texas refer her to us. Man, she's so ready for the Gospel. It's going to be a huge blessing for her. She cried in front of us and it was just powerful to be able to testify and tell her that she is loved by a Heavenly Father. Her name is Kathy :) We're excited for her. 

After that we contacted the referral of one of the young men, Brother Javen. His friend is Rowie has a desire to come unto Christ. He came to church on Sunday and has a baptismal date for April 29.

We are looking at 4 baptisms for the month of April... Rollo on the 1st, Adrian on the 15th (they are the friends of Mark), Rowie on the 29th, and Nelia on the 8th. we need your prayers for sister Nelia. It's a long story but just know that the members are sketching out about her. We're discerning if she has a true desire. She's great. Pray for her please!! Thanks family.
We had exchanges with the APs this week. I worked with Elder Lopez (we were kabahays in Sablayan). We had a great day together. It was awesome.
Like I mentioned last email, we are working on making history here in the mission with baptisms. Elder Enari are doing everything we can to be the instruments in the Lord's hand to accomplish weekly baptisms and to accomplish 20 as a zone in April.
By the way, it's transfer week, Elder Enari is staying here in QC! We get to go again together and it's so exciting!
Lovin' it, love y'all too.
Elder Johnson


Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 5 Quezon City

Talofa lava (hello in Samoan) (My companion is Samoan, hes from Australia),
We saw the Lords hand in our work this week, even when things weren't going as planned. He blessed us with new opportunities and new investigators yesterday which kept our high hopes up for the month of April. 

My companion and I have been blessed to have the spirit work through us as we've given two workshops this week, with zone training and also zone conference. It gets more powerful every time, and the growth we are experiencing doesn't stop. It's been absolutely wonderful. We've had chances to administer to a companionship who had a real problem that my companion and I have never faced before. This brought a learning experience which has brought us to rely on the Lord in everything we do.(D&C 6:36) The zone is doing well. We are closer than ever before, and we've set a goal for baptisms for the month of April at 20. That'll be the highest in years. We need your prayers.
As of now, we are focusing on April for these 4 progressing investigators. Rollo, Adrian, Nelia, and Cris. 
The ward is slowly getting on board with our weekly baptism goal. There has been a continued improvement which has been nice. 

That's it, love yall!
Love,
Elder Johnson

Monday, March 6, 2017

6 months na lang

What a special weekend we had!! 

We baptized Mark Gobres into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints! Miracle baptism talaga. Elder Enari and I feel so lucky and special to be a part of this kid's life. After his confirmation on Sunday he went up and bore his testimony. It almost made my companion and me cry haha. He testified how Heavenly Father put us in his path that day and how it wasn't an accident. He has truly been prepared by the Lord. I can't put into words how grateful I am to be here in Quezon city on my mission that has changed my life. I only have 6 months to go...it's crazy. But these next 6 months will be the most incredible yet. 

I'll send pictures fam...that was the highlight of my week. 
I love the Lord, and I know that this is His Kingdom here on the earth today. I hope you all are letting the gospel change you. I hope it has sunk into your heart and you feel the joy that it brings. The spirit is our best friend. He helps us become like Jesus Christ. 

I love y'all, 

Love,
Elder Johnson




Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 3 Quezon City

Maayong buntag, (bisaya language)
We had a solid end to our week. Mark is getting baptized on Saturday! He's amazing, he cried during his baptismal interview because of how excited he his to become a Mormon haha. Also, we gave a baptismal date to his friend Rollo for March 25! He came to church yesterday. We had 9 investigators which was a big improvement for us here. The members are seeing that we are baptizing and bringing people into their ward so they are getting excited. We continue to visit them like crazy, like I'm talking every day we have at least 1 appointment with a member. We are gonna bug them and help them get on board to this wonderful work of the Lord. We've got some power houses in our ward. I've never experienced this until now where the members are experienced, a little mayabang haha because there are former stake presidents, area seventys and mission presidents here. It's awesome. 

Elder Bednar came to the Philippines and we heard his broadcast the other day. It was so powerful. I was able to talk in sacrament yesterday about it as well. 

My companion Elder Enari and I couldn't be doing better, really though. It's been fun leading this zone with him.
Love y'all. have a great week :)
Love,
Elder Johnson

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 2 Quezon City

Kumusta na kayo?
I dont even know how many times the Spirit has guided us to Heavenly Father's children this week. More than ever before on my mission, I've felt the most spiritual promptings to stop, turn back, and talk to the person we just passed by. We've talked to less actives who haven't been to church in years, former investigators, and people that are prepared to receive the restored gospel. All because we listened to the still small voice of the spirit. It's been incredible. I can't really put into words what has happened to us this week. We have been used as the Lord's instruments, and the Holy Ghost has been working through us. There isn't a better feeling. It all hit me this week. I can't describe the joy this work has brought to my life.
I had the opportunity to study a talk in the Liahona (church magazine) about the Spirit and one of our greatest examples in the BoM; Nephi! I studied and pondered the things that he did to be led by the Spirit. I've been applying these 4 things in my life and I invite y'all to do so as well.
1. Desire 
2. Exercise Faith in Jesus Christ 
3. Prayerfullness
4. Obedience.

These things will help us be sensitive to the Spirit and prepare us to return back to our Heavenly Father one day.
Our work has been solid. We've visited basically all of the members in our ward this week and have been doing our best to help them exercise their faith in the Savior. its coming along.
Brother Mark (our miracle) is going to be baptized on March 4. We are also working on his friends. My companion and I are doing great, we turned to each other and said "man missionary work is hard." (because nothing has gone our way) and then we realized that it's not about us, it never was. It's about God's children. It's about His will, not ours. We've been struggling with that a little bit, but we are helping each other.
I've never felt more power as a missionary. I've been striving really hard for this, and it comes to the righteous. I truly understand that I can do nothing without the Spirit, but according to how clean I am, I have spiritual power. It's been evident this week.
I love y'all, pray for me and my companion Elder Enari and for our investigators. Pray that we can get and teach some referral families from some members :)
Love,
Elder Johnson 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 1 Quezon City

Hoy!
My first week in Quezon City, Bago Bantay area was awesome! It's been a blast working with my new companion Elder Enari! Hes a stud. 2 foreigners teaching the restored gospel in the Philippines...nothing much better than this. We have a lot in common. Best of all, we both understand our purpose and have a burning desire to serve the Lord. Our zone needs some work, but we are excited to be together and to be able to change the culture here in Quezon City.
Our miracle this week was incredible. The Lord blesses those who are righteous and obedient! So, I had a feeling to buy a drink from a tindahan on Thursday as we were walking to one of our appointments. As we stopped, this 12 year old kid came up and asked us "Are you mormons?" We were surprised because 1. He spoke fluent English and 2.He sounded like he's been waiting for us. He then talked about how his Lola (grandmother) is Mormon and that when she used to live here she would take him to church every Sunday (she now lives in America). He told us, "Ya I've been waiting on you elders to come and visit me, but none ever came.  Then, "I want to become Mormon." haha. We were shocked man. We then went to his house and talked to his yaya and his legal guardian. They are super nice and have no problem with kuya Mark coming to church and becoming a member of the church. 

Anyway, on Sunday we picked him and his yaya up and took them to church. They met some friends and we are going to try and baptize Mark on Feb. 25. This will be a miracle baptism and a solid start to me and Elder Enari's transfer.
My companion and I both have the mindset to baptize weekly, and it's gonna happen. We met with the stake president this week, had a missionary fireside with the stake and are planning to visit all the members of our ward and help them get fired up about missionary work. A lot of good things are happening. I'm excited to let y'all know about the miracles the Lord will be working in our area and in our zone.
We baptized brother Jubert this past Saturday (he's a part member). There are a lot of part members here in our area that we are going to try and get baptized in the next month or so. The area isn't hard (I don't believe in that) but it is different. The way to find new investigators is going to take more effort on us working well with the ward. Tracting isn't effective here so we are working on doing some unique finding ways :)
Ingat,
Love,
Elder Johnson



Monday, February 6, 2017

After 6 months in Pasig..I'm going back to Quezon City!!

My dear family!!

After 6 months in Pasig, I'm going back to my 2nd area- Quezon City!!! If y'all remember, I was there with Elder Petilla for 2 weeks and then got emergency transferred to Antipolo Cogeo. I'm not in that same area like last year, I'm in Bago Bantay! I don't really know what it's like, but my new companion is Elder Enarie! He's Tongan. I've never had a foreigner companion so this will be a cool experience for me. I'm still a Zone Leader, now over the Quezon City zone. I'm excited for the miracles that we'll experience! It's gonna be awesome. 

I'm gonna miss these people here in Pasig. It's been a life changing journey for me here. I've grown the most here these past months. I can't even describe my happiness for this work.

I couldn't be more excited than to serve the Lord the absolute best I can these next 7 months of my mission. It's truly incredible to be a full time missionary sharing the restored gospel to these Filipino people. It's so special. It makes me sad to think that my time is coming to an end soon. But, this is just the beginning. I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I love y'all so much! This work is true, the church is true. Let's follow the commandments of our God and experience the joy of this sweet Gospel!

Love ,
Elder Johnson

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pasig Week 21

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!

I love y'all. Mom, have a great birthday on the 24th. I'm doing well here. Kind of a hard week but we continue to press forward with faith in Jesus Christ. And, we have a baptism this Saturday, so like President Hinckley used to always say, "It will all work out!" 


Love,
Elder Johnson

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pasig Week 20

We've just been working hard this week. Missionary work is my life! I love it.

We had a great zone training on Tuesday. President has focused on striving to really help each companionship in every zone to have at least 1 baptism every month. Our workshop was on finding and using a new tool- the MY FAMILY booklet. Talking, testifiying, and finding families is what we do 24/7 now. There's no stopping. It's been effective. We don't go somewhere without opening our mouth, to literally everyone. Miracles have occurred in our area because of it.

Ryan Gutierrez is preparing to be baptized this Saturday. We need your prayers family. Heavenly Father has already tested our faith by giving us challenges with him. He's not making this baptism easy. We are working for it haha.

I'm in the mode where if I'm not teaching the restored gospel to people, I feel that I'm not fulfilling my calling. I couldn't be happier with my companion. We are really striving to help these wonderful recent converts, investigators, and less actives here in Pasig. 

I love y'all! Have a great week! 

Love, 
Elder Johnson

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pasig Week 19

Magandang hapon!!
We just got done with a successful service project with one of the members in our ward! We built him a new gate for his house. It was fun!
I loved this week, mostly because of how many times we were led by the Spirit in our work. 

Elder Montera and I couldn't be happier. It's frustrating somedays when we don't even want to go home- we run out of time! On Saturday we taught the most lessons in one day than ever before, 10! It's was a miracle. We just had such a successful week and have found so many new potential investigators like the Ramirez family who came to church on Sunday. It's such a joyful feeling when we are able to listen and teach by the spirit. This week, we had countless lessons that were powerful, but the sad part is, unfortunately almost all of the people ignore and don't follow the spirit that they feel. That's whats hard. But needless to say, everyone has their agency, and at least we as missionaries raised a voice of warning. That's what my companion and I have been doing, really teaching repentance. It's been awesome.
Some of these less active members that we've been teaching forever (Real, Escobanes, Aneban family) , we have done everything, taught everything, and still nothing. It's hard when they don't follow the commandments. It makes us sad, it really does. I have really come to know that Heavenly Father will bless us,"if we but have faith" (Ether 12 in the Book of Mormon). It's just having the trust and faith in Christ, that's what we need to be successful in life.
Ryan and Edgar are doing well! They continue to progress and follow the commandments. We are hoping that they will both be baptized the Jan 28, but we aren't sure. We need your prayers! Pray that Edgar's dad will allow him to baptized and that Ryan will continue to live Gospel and avoid the worldly temptations of being a teenager! :) 

I love y'all!!
Love,
Elder Johnson

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year...2017!!!

It was another happy and successful New Years here in the Philippines! I can't believe this year I'll be coming home, but I'm so glad that I still have many months to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary! 

We ate a ton this week. Members are too kind haha.
We are doing well, still teaching the Restored Gospel to our fellow brothers and sisters here in Pasig. I'm gonna send a lot of pictures so y'all can see what I've been up to :)

I love you all!

I hope y'all are excited for this new year! It's great to be a member of the true church and to have the gospel in our lives! Be grateful!! 

Love,
Elder Johnson








 Choir at Eastwood Mall :)




 Christmas Conference 2016





 We had a gift exchange with the zone. For New Years we had to be home by 5, so we balled up the kids at our apartment!! Check out the shirt me and my comp made :) esteeg