Oct 22, 2013

10-22-13 Slinging Mud...........

Sorry about the weird Links - not sure what that glitch is all about...

The rainy season has started kicking into gear so every night it will just down pour! One night mud was being blown into our room. And when the power goes out it’s almost impossible to get a full nights rest. But that is Africa, and I love it!

This week has been very fast and not too many crazy stories. We are teaching a Nigerian named John. He’s amazing. He quit his job because they won’t give him Sundays off and now owns a hat selling stand. He is awesome and should continue to progress. He also somehow knew about the marriage rule in the church before we taught him. He was already working on the DOT and so we will see where that goes! 

Ngasaki was supposed to be baptized but he never showed up for his interview. We will try again next week. Ricardo is doing well. His dad reopened his monetary support so Ricardo does not have to worry about starving! 

Elder Lundberg and I are getting along very well.  We teach very well together and are both dedicated. We are on opposite ends of the mission though. He has 4 months left and I have been out for 5 months. By the way - that is ridiculous! Almost a 1/4 of the mission finished and I am still learning French and the scriptures. Transfer letters come this week again and so I don’t know where I’ll be in 2 weeks. I’ve been here for 3 transfers so I could change spots. 

We have a fun activity planned for today - we are going to the beach one last time with the Wheatly’s before they leave for America.  Should be fun! Well life continues for both me and all you at home. What are you all doing for Halloween? I don’t think we do anything special. 

Well, if you have any questions I am here to answer them. Thanks for all the prayers and support. Congrats Maya on all the great things you are doing at home. Sounds like you are getting really involved in school and church activities which is great! Hopefully you are all having success in all your endeavors - school, work, and play. 

Love you guys! 
Elder Johnson

Oct 14, 2013

10-14-13 Choose Ye The Gospel or “Everything You Ever Wanted”

A former investigator who left for a trip to Gabon returned this week and explained that he was excited to talk with us. He had kept his testimony even though it has been 3 months since we saw him. That got us pretty excited as well.  He then relayed to us that his dad told him he would never have a son who was Mormon, and threw out all the scriptures, magazines, dvds, and other church related materials. His dad gave him two options; One - stay in Point Noire and be baptized and lose all monetary support from his father which would leave him homeless and without a job as a student; or Two - go out to live in a village where the Gospel is not yet and get everything he has ever wanted - including a visa to America and an all-expense paid trip. (I should let you know that his dad definitely has the money and could have followed through on that promise). He called us Thursday and explained that he will stay in Pointe Noire!  I will keep you updated. 

Steven, from Ghana, his house was broken into and burned down. He lost everything. His wife was at the hospital, his daughter was at school, and he was at work. He told the branch (church congregation) yesterday that when he came home he saw his wife and daughter who were safe and said, "I am ok".  It’s difficult as a missionary in Africa because we all wish we could help people monetarily and physically. But we are here for spiritual aid. The most we can offer is prayers and spiritual thoughts (and also service, but not in this sort of problem). It takes a lot of faith that God will take care of them, and that the Branch members who can help physically, will do their part.  I learned that this is why everyone needs to lift where they stand. 

Fun story, I took a bucket shower yesterday for the first time! Our power was out all day and so it was necessary. And actually it’s not that bad. Maybe I’ll continue to take them when I get home! All is well in Africa and I am enjoying the work here. I would be lying if I said there aren’t occasionally doubts and negative feelings, but it is all going well and I will keep going. 5 months have gone by very fast!

To answer your question for clarification - So baptisms shouldn’t be in the cow trough because we actually have a real font at the other church owned building - so it makes the occasion a little more special.

I’m happy all is going well for you at home. All those prayers seem to be paying off.  Keep pressing forward because all is truly well in Zion!

Elder Johnson

To view pics of Julius and see what life is like in the Congo - click on the Senior Couples Blog Link on the right side of this page. 

10-07-13 Keeping the Fruits of Our Labor

So Elder Lundberg was able to transfer to my area now, which was nice.  It sort of took some pressure off me for this week. We are getting to know each other and I think we’ll teach well together. He is tall and skinny and from Utah. I will keep you updated on how things are going with our companionship. 

Gilberto was baptized! He is the brother of Jeannela, who was baptized recently as well. We started teaching him because one day he was just in the room with Jeannela and after our visit he showed some interest.  He is a nice kid that reminds me of my older brother Ferious!  So, just picture Ferious speaking French and that’s Gilberto. haha  He’s a nice kid and I love him. 

Ismael was also baptized. He has been meeting with missionaries for forever.  He’s really smart and was recently accepted into the next level of school, high school!  He is very proud of that and for people here in Congo that’s a pretty big step.  Now we have 10 new members that we need to fellowship and help out – it’s going to be a lot of work but it’s worth it!  Like president Hinckley said, "You have to keep the fruits of our labor or there is no point in doing this work". 

I was going through our area book and came across a name of someone that was dropped, Kevin.  He was on track to be married and was progressing but was dropped for some reason. So I called him up and asked if we could stop by. To which he agreed. As soon as we met he said, "I was surprised when you called, today is my only day off. So it must be the will of God." Heavenly father definitely knows His children better than we do – that’s a testimony that is continually being fortified for me out here. 

Some random things this week - We watched the priesthood session of conference with the Wheatly’s as a zone last night. How it works, is the branches will receive the translated CD's and we will set aside a weekend to watch them. Also as I was working with branch missionaries this week and it gave me the chance to work on French.  As I learned, I still can’t pronounce my "R’s" correctly.  I guess all that speech therapy training in elementary school went to waste. haha - ohh well.  I'll keep at it, but until then my French can get me around perfectly fine!

I think that that is really all that I have got to relay to you all at home. Life here is going good, I find the happiest times on my mission are the times I’m out doing things like teaching. So until next week, I will be here - saving the world!


Elder Johnson

09/30/13 Working Tirelessly

I’ve been working tirelessly by myself for this week to help the people in my sector this week.  In simple terms it has stretched me and has stripped me of some pride - so maybe it’s for the better. But it’s exhausting! I have passed out (almost literally) on our couches every night this week. That’s what is called a growing experience on a mission. 

Earlier in the week, I started finishing the new member lessons with Djo. He is a 35 year old man who was baptized by us. We covered the law of chastity and then he asked me about marriage. He asked me, "How can I find a wife and get married?".  I was the only true missionary there so literally all eyes were on me.  So a 19 year old (me) gave dating advice to a 35 year old man and the other members who were at the lesson (all single) but the Lord keeps his promises and the words came - the advice I had seemed to help. After Soeur asked for me to give her a blessing! That was the first blessing I’ve given in French and it went over very well! (Although because of the nature of blessings I don’t really remember what I said)

Bakay was baptized!!  He has been studying with missionaries for 6 months now and I was privileged to be the missionary who wrapped up all his preparations for baptism.  At first he seemed like a hard hearted person, but as I got to know him I realized he is a very friendly sincere person!  He had a lot of questions that could have been road blocks to his progression but with enough faith he overcame them.  I also see again with him the real power of repentance. Bakay has made some mistakes like us all, but he did all he needed to do to overcome past sins and there was a very real difference in who he was after.  Bakay is a very good friend of mine and I love him and his willingness to be baptized. 

Being a solo missionary is pushing my French, planning, and teaching skills but I’m sure it’s all for the better.  I have been changing companions each 3 or 4 days. I also prepared a baptism this week and have 3 more to prepare for this Saturday. President Sombo (the branch president) gave me a little bit of trouble by demanding baptisms happen at our building, which uses a cow trough as a font.  Yesterday I had to go into his office and explain my position on the matter.  It might not sound nerve racking, but it was not all fun and games. Right before I started speaking I remembered the words in my setting apart blessing - "you will feel comfortable in front of church, civil, and social leaders."  In that moment that blessing was fulfilled. We talked and he turned the decision over to me.  So life continues in the Congo!

Kaleb, happy birthday this Sunday!! Wow 16 years old, that’s crazy. You can start dating!! Good luck on the driving test, I am sure you will do fine. Hopefully you are having fun in school and getting ripped with that weight training class - haha.  Best of luck, I love you!

I hope everything is going well with you at home.  Even Maya’s pet :)  I once heard that the families of missionaries always hope that their missionary comes home with his faults lessened.  Well as I said, this week is stripping me of my pride and giving me increased patience. Hopefully when I do come home I can keep some of the things I am learning here in Africa with me throughout my life. 


Elder Johnson