I’ve been here for 20 years

Email from July 24, 2017

Two decades!!

I bet you can guess what I am about to say.

Another great week here in Bayfield!!!! Tons of work to do!!

My Brithday was well. I figured that this would be the only time in my life I could devote my whole birthday to others. And we did. We did 6 hours of service. (it was mostly unplanned) people just called needing our help and we were able to give it. It was a lot of fun!

Our investigators are doing well. I. is ready for baptism! He went to a football camp this week and he even took the Book of Mormon with him so he could read it every day! The Priest Quorum is doing amazing and befriending him. One of the priests is going to baptize him!! I am so excited for him! He is such a good kid!!

J. is doing great as well. Loving church and also being befriended. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and temples this week. He just soaked it all right up he loved it!!

The work is continuing forth. Lots to do and not enough time!!
We had zone conference this week and that was amazing!!!! Learned so much and was also able to see old companions!

I love being a missionary.

The other night we were driving home on this dirt road and there was just this huge ball in the middle of the road! It was a PORCUPINE!!!

Sunday night we were driving around and we had 10 minutes left and we were trying to find one new investigator to reach our goal! Well then I got pulled over!!! I didn’t use my turn signal so I got a warning. The amazing part was that I wasn’t mad. Before the mission I would’ve been super upset complaining “doesn’t he have anything better to do on a Sunday night?” But I wasn’t mad at all, I even thanked him for pulling me over to keep us safe. God’s ability to make more out of us than we can on our own is amazing!!

Love, Elder Johnston

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The Release!

Email from July 17, 2017

This week has a been another incredible one!! Bayfield really is just amazing!!
It is weird to think that I will be 20 years old tomorrow. I still feel like a kid sometimes. We teach a lot of youth and they say they are like 17 or 18 and I think, “oh I am the same age as them” well not anymore!!!

Last week I expressed a lot of fear of coming home, well I am happy to say it is all gone. It was just the perfect storm this week. I went on exchange with Elder Anders (one of my zone leaders) and he has been the last companion of alot of missionaries so he had a lot of good advice for me. Then the very next day in district meeting the Zone Leaders gave a training on working with the members and the Spirit was really strong. We went home at the end of that day and I was thinking about going home and there was no fear! It was all gone. All I felt was that I could succeed! Now that doesn’t mean going home will be easy. I still love being a missionary and the change will be hard, but I know with the Lord’s help I can succeed.

Anyway!!! Back to the work.
I. is doing great. He is really prepared. We went over the baptismal interview questions and he answered them all so well. We also told him that he could go on a mission when he was 18 and he said “Really? That would be awesome!!” I am excited for him.

J. (the kid who asked to be baptized at the end of church last week) he is doing great!! I was on exchanges that night so I haven’t taught him yet but from the text he sends us when we follow up on his Book of Mormon reading, he is also really prepared.

We met a lot of great people this week as well. This one guy told us we were a miracle. He also said “you guys are beautiful, much love” as he was closing the door. But he is prepared for the Gospel!!!

We met another great priest aged kid this week, Z. We went to go teach him yesterday and his sister answered and said he wasn’t home so we talked to her for a few seconds then were walking away and Z. comes running out the door, “wait, don’t leave!” It was funny.

No complaints here. Doing lots of walking. Enjoying the rain. And meeting lots of Catholics

We had dinner one night with a Catholic couple who’s son had joined the church years ago and then served a mission and all 8 of his kids have served missions. They were very nice to us. Then the next morning we were working out at Deacon J.’s house and he invited us in for breakfast!! Then we also met tons of Catholics on the street. If they aren’t careful there won’t be a Catholic congregation here anymore. 🙂

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Miracles after the trial of faith!!

Email from July 10, 2017

Another incredible week has come and gone. Time is just moving way to fast.
We have had some great miracles this week. The first one is what happened on Sunday. Our investigator I. came to church. We told him we would walk down to his house and then walk with him to the church. Well we were walking down the street and he drove up in his truck and said “I wasn’t sure if you guys were still coming so I left myself.” Then he gave us a ride to the church. It was ward conference so I was really worried he wasn’t going to have a good time. But the priests in the ward did a great job at fellowshipping him. During sacrament meeting President Smith called Elder Waite and I up to the stand, and then at the end of the meeting I. was leaving with one of the priests to Sunday School.

Then a member we ate with a few days earlier stopped us and said “I found someone for you to teach” and explained that he had been reading the book of mormon and was wanting to get baptized. (she didn’t tell us that he was at church today) but she said she would call us so I was anxiously awaiting the call. Well we went to priests quorum to be with I. and that other nonmember (J.) was there too. The lesson was on ordinances and covenants and I was worried because the member teaching was getting a little passionate and going off like he does. But the spirit taught I. and J. what they needed to know. At the end of the lesson J. asked “how can I get baptized?” I wish I could have seen my face. We have an appointment with him on Wednesday at his member friend’s house. I am very excited.

Great things are happening here. Elder Waite and I also started our “Bayfield Member Missionary” plan. At dinner appointments we are sharing a message to invite a member to do a specific thing. The one we are focusing on now is loving people at church. We are inviting all the members to introduce themselves to two new people every Sunday. We have a plan to call them and see how it went. I am excited. The work is growing.

The amazing thing is that God works it all out. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were really hard. We were working hard but I just didn’t feel like we were achieving what we should. I was a little discouraged and was thinking about home a lot (which I hate because whenever I think about home I only have fear). But then Sunday was amazing and now I am all pumped up again.

It is amazing to see God’s hand in it all. Honesty I am exhausted all the time. I can feel my body begging to rest, but there is a power beyond my own that gets me up in the morning excited for the day and that same power keeps me going when my body cannot.

I love my mission with all my heart. This week has been full of hard emotions. I have been avoiding the fact that I will be going home soon(not too soon) and all emotions about going home I have ingnored. Well Thursday during district meeting all those feelings hit me. It made me sick to my stomach and I started to cry. Then we had a role play and the scripture the missionary shared with me was: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.”

Yeah that hit me a little. But it was good because President Adams talks about the pendulum of a departing missionary. They either swing to one side and think about home too much and don’t finish strong, or they don’t think about home at all and they finish strong but then struggle when then get home and can’t start strong. Just as important as finishing (anything) strong is starting it strong.   I was probably at the end of not thinking about home at all, but God is mindful of what we need and he is the master planner.

I love you all.

Love, Elder Johnston

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Last p-day we had our 3rd of July BBQ at the lake

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All the Elders in the zone were on exchanges

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The day of that picture Elder Van Cleave had been on his mission the same amount of time I had left.

Knock?

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

White-wash=lost

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!

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12 WEEK????

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)

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Some one please stop time

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
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