Email from July 3, 2017
This week has been great here in Bayfield. It has gone by super fast but so much has happened it feels like it lasted forever.
The most exciting news and miracle is we found an incredibly elect investigator named I. We found him on Monday and taught him Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday. He is reading the Book of Mormon and has a really strong desire to follow God. He is 16 and is good friends with some of the priests in the ward. His parents were out of town so we will be meeting them tomorrow when we have our lesson with him. He honestly is the most prepared person I have ever taught on my mission. It is pretty exciting. We found him just by knocking doors. It was Monday night and our plans got all conjumbled so we just decided to knock and he was the first door we knocked on. It has been fun.
I. really is so extremely prepared.He prays every morning and night, he has been to different churches trying to find the one that will teach him the word of God without opinions. He studies the Bible, he read the Book of Mormon and believes it to be true!! It reminds me of teaching Carmen. We found out later that he almost left with his family on the trip but decided to stay! God is so good to us.
We also taught a lot of other people. Some lessons good and some lessons bad! But it all worked out. There is a lot of work here to do and lots of people to find. But everything is spread out!! Too much driving! Especially after Blanding, but I love it here I really do.
We have a booth in the 4th of July parade tomorrow, which should be really good. Hopefully lots of people show up!
I love this work. Time is just going too fast!
Love, Elder Johnston
Email from June 26, 2017
This week has been a lot different than I thought it would have been!! But it has also been great!!
So Monday we drove into Farmington and Tuesday morning I got my trainee. His name is Elder Waite and he is from a small city in northwest Wyoming called Powell.
We got to Bayfield. Luckily we have a GPS and the sisters from our district were in Farmington so we could follow them. Let me tell you, Bayfield is beautiful!!!! We cover the city of Bayfield along with Ignacio and a place called Vallecito Lake. There is forests and pine trees everywhere and people live out in the middle of the forest. There is this one neighborhood called Forest Lakes this is literally a neighborhood in the middle of a pine forest!
The work here has great potential! It was slow this week because we were trying to contact the investigates of the previous Elders. Which only about 2 wanted to keep meeting with us. So that was kinda sad, especially because it took some much time to get out to where they live. We still get lost a time or two. A lot of our area we don’t receive phone service which makes it even more of an adventure. One day we were late 40 minutes to a dinner appointment, I felt so bad.
There are a ton of great people here to meet and the members are really helpful to us. We have these one members who are super missionaries, the Spragues. He payed to have the ward have a spot in the fourth of July parade with handcarts and he even has a booth that he is getting set up on his own and he just asked us to be there. I am excited.
We did get to meet some amazing people this week and teach a few lessons. It is fun being with Elder Waite teaching. He knows the lessons very well but he is also a quite guy so he doesn’t say much, so when he does it is gold!! Still working on finding new investigators but this next week should be great for that!
I don’t know how but the members here found out that I go home in September and they like to remind me that I don’t have long left. Sometimes is just want to lie when people ask how long I have been out. But I can’t.
Time is just going way to fast!! I am excited to get working here!
Email from June 19, 2017
TRANSFERS!! Well that time has come again. AND I am getting transferred….to Bayfield Colorado. I will be white washing an area with a training. So my last 12 weeks will be his first 12 weeks and I am stoked!!!!!!!!!! But sad to leave Blanding Utah!
This week has been full of miracles!!! We have been super busy!! Taking over the sisters area and taking care of ours!! At zone conference (a week and half ago) we were committed to find 8 new investigators by the end of the transfer which is a lot for Blanding! WE SUCCEEDED!!! I don’t think I have prayed for anything more intensely!! Every prayer I asked to be blessed with new investigators. We found 7 of the investigators this week! Saturday we found our 7th and then Sunday after being in church for 7 hours we were feeling a little stressed to find one more. We had only 10 minutes until our day was going to be over (because of meetings and teaching appointments). So we prayed and asked to know where to go and for the blessing of finding one more. We finished the prayer and looked up (we were in our truck) and there was a man with two kids walking through the park right in front of us. I thought “wow Heavenly Father is amazing” and we got out and speed walked over to them and stopped them and they were not interested. So they turned around and kept walking, we turned around and sprinted to our truck. Elder Roskelley felt prompted to go to this apartment complex to contact a previous potential. So we did, and on the way there there was a lady walking down the side walk carrying a baby carrier and a bunch of grocery bags, so we stopped and helped her. Again I thought “Wow Heavenly Father is amazing.” So we carried her bags with her to her house and she was interested just not at the moment. So then we sprinted back to the truck and drove to the apartment complex and they didn’t answer. Our time was up and we had to go to the meeting.
I do believe it was inspiration guiding us, the smallest nudges. Did we find one more investigator like we thought we needed? No. But did we help people and fulfill our purpose, plant a few seeds? Yes and that is what God needed at that moment.
Then that night we were taking the numbers for the zone and we remembered that we had found one last week and that made 8. I was so pumped!!! Screaming my head off! I was excited.
We taught our elect investigator J. (in the YSA) last night and we found out he is leaving this week on Friday, so he will not be able to be baptized this week. As we were discussing the plans for him to be baptized I just felt a big amount of peace, and I was at ease. Usually when some one moves I just stress out, that they will never get baptized. But J. I am confident he will. He is one of my favorite people from my mission!!
Missions are a wonderful thing and I can’t wait to help a missionary start his off right. Sprinting to the tape!!
I love you all! As much as it makes my soul weep, my brain likes to remind me how much I miss you and how soon I will see you!
Love, Elder Johnston
p.s. it has been super hot here!!! and our swamp cooler is broken so we have been trying everything to stay cool (head in the sink, ice baths, freezing bandannas, and lots of fans)
Email from June 12, 2017
This week has gone by crazy fast. Full of zone conference and exchanges!!
We had a baptism this Saturday! V. is 13 and was taught 100% by the sisters, we only read the Book of Mormon with her, her interview was super fast because she knew everything so well. It was exciting to see how excited she was to be baptized.
J. our investigator in YSA is doing great, he came to church again on his own. So prepared. We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation Sunday night and it really touched him, he loved the idea of it. He is just so willing to do it all so he can be baptized.
D. and T. are doing great! The ward has just loved them so much and just really made them apart of everything. I think they are more apart of the ward than we are.
Wednesday we had zone conference which was all about finding and gave us some great ideas. We were committed to find 8 new investigators by the end of the transfer (1 week) for our mission that is rare. Elder Roskelley and I have been finding like crazy!! Always trying to do our best.
We had exchanges with the assistants so I got to go back to Farmington and work in my old area. So lucky to be able to see all my converts. But also sad, when we got back into Blanding Thursday night I just cried. I just love people so much, I don’t ever want to leave them.
Sorry if this isn’t super detailed. Just a great week, super busy, running around with our heads chopped off. Trying to do a million things at once and just loving every second of it. The weeks feel like days and the days feel like hours. We are always upset when 9 o clock comes because we have so much more work to do and not enough time.
I love this work.
Love, Elder Johnston
Email from June 5, 2017
This week has been a blast! We have been really busy and I have been dying of heat!!
Well on Saturday we got a call from President Adams telling us that because of a lack of sister in other places in the mission the sisters here in Blanding will be leaving (today) and we will be taking over their area, for the last 2 weeks of the transfer, if not longer. So that was nuts!
So Saturday we met their 2 investigators on baptismal date and that was quite the experience. It was really weird. On Sunday we went to the YSA branch and there was a lot of people there, it was also weird being around so many young adults! There was a non member from Ganado who is here going to the USU blanding campus and he came to church on his own and we set up and appointment with him for that night and he brought his friend! So we got two new investigators already in YSA! It was totally in answer to our fast we had as a zone that day for finding. We road bikes like crazy this week, I was so soar, but then it was a new month and we could drive again. So that was nice.
The T. family is doing well. They came to church and the ward just helped a ton. We had one lesson in a members home and we are seeing them tonight having dinner in a members home! Sadly the parents got in another argument so D. the dad, is staying with his mom and didn’t come to church.
We also met this new less active family we got referred to and they are great! Their names are the L. They had us over for dinner, it was over a fire we had hot dogs and burgers. It was fun and they really like us. Then they made us promise to come back later that night to have smores. I hadn’t had one in forever! Then we got to teach them Sunday and it was good to be there, they are ready for some changes. Elder Roskelley and I are super busy which is great! Can’t complain at all. Time is just going to fast!!
Email from May 29, 2017
This week has been incredible!!! We had MLC this week, President Adams is so inspired. I don’t know how but he found this amazing talk and encouraged us to read it “You-Leaders of 1988” it changed my life. I encourage all of you to read it.
The work here in small town Blanding is great! We finally got new investigators! They came to church and they are on a baptismal date! It is a less active family who have an 11 and 9 year old daughters that want to be baptized so badly! They pause the movies they watch as a family and tell them they need to read the Book of Mormon, they want to pray every lesson. They are just on fire and it is a great blessing to the family.
So that is just super exciting
We also did a lot of biking this week. Because of our 3 trips into Farmington and a trip to zone conference, we are over miles. So we are biking like crazy!! We were biking along this road, and this van pulled over and the driver asked “Elders, what can I help you with?” we asked if he knew where Abajo Haven was, he said “yeah but I don’t think you want to bike there.” So we put our bikes in the back and he drove us there. He was just a member visiting for vacation, I told him thank you and he said “it isn’t for you, it is in honor of the man you serve” How true is that! Anyway he drove us way up there, like five miles up the mountain, so we talked to the people we found in our area book and then we biked home. It was fun, five miles of downhill!
We have also been receiving great help from the members, they see us biking and almost all of them offer to help us! What would we do without them?
We also went on our District Hike to Natural Bridges monument.
I love being a missionary, it is hard work but so worth it!
We went on a hike and found a boat!
As always this week has been great!! Can’t complain with Elder Roskelley. Having fun and working our hardest. Sadly we have yet to find any new investigators, but the Lord is planting seeds that will soon be harvested. We would ask people for referrals at dinner and then go contact them right after dinner. The timing on some of them was nothing but divine. Very powerful moments. Sadly they were always just leaving so hopefully this week we will be able to meet with them. This one guy almost even started crying right on the door when he saw us. Pretty amazing! The members here are great! They love to help us.
It snowed this week which is crazy!! It was so warm and then out of nowhere it snowed. So that made for some fun.
J. and S. were baptized on Saturday. They were two kids I taught when I also covered the south side of Blanding. So they was fun. Elder McGuire baptized S. and I baptized J. and then on Sunday Elder McGuire confirmed J. and I confirmed S. Very spiritual.
J. J., an excommunicated member was re-baptized. He has been working with the Elders for a while and then a few months ago he found out he had stage 4 cancer and was going to be baptized the end of May. But then on Wednesday he had a major stroke and was given days to live. So they were just going to baptize him in the temple after he passed because he is so immobile. But he was determined to be baptized. So Sunday he was baptized. That was neat. Three guys carried him in a blanket and held him above the water, and one guy said the prayer and they lowered him in and then pulled him out. Then they brought him out and put him back in his wheel chair, all wet and confirmed him. It was very spiritual. Very unique, but spiritual.
Another family told us that she is moving out of Blanding back to South Dakota. It is sad to see her go but really neat to hear her talk about the major seeds that were planted and the major impact we made on her kids. God has a hand it all things. He works in mysterious ways.
Still working as hard as ever!! Loving it.
This really is the best thing ever.
Love, Elder Johnston