Monday, December 28, 2015

Headed to Hayden Lake ID

Transfers were this week. I am getting transferred to Hayden Lake ID. It is right by Couer D'Alene (I  still have no idea how to spell that). My new companion will be Elder Olsen! He came out with me so that's pretty exciting.
Elder Holmes will stay here in Rolling Hills with Elder Griffin who has been in the Moscow YSA wards. I'm bummed to be leaving Rolling Hills but I'm sure the new area will be fun.




Thank you for all of the awesome gifts! I really love them!


Christmas was tons of fun! We almost got hit by a car as we were chasing down a hobo to give him handwarmers as a gift. Then he declined them :( Then we gave the handwarmers to this guy in our ward who has to ride his electric wheelchair around everywhere. He was very grateful but informed us that he has electric gloves. I think God is trying to tell us that we are going to need those handwarmers.

It was lots of fun to see many of you over Skype!

This is the Deobald family that we were teaching. I'm sure going to miss them!



Love you guys!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson


Pictures from Christmas

Lots o' presents



I look really good!



My new sunglasses



Yes, those are panty hose :)




Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Life is going great here!

This is our Christmas tree. Its more like a Christmas branch. We found it on the side of the road. In fact we had to swerve to avoid it. After seeing it we quickly pulled over and put it on top of our car and drove it home. We're pretty sure it was a branch cut off from a tree that probably fell off the back of a trailer because there were a few other branches in the road as well. Its looking pretty good though. The Members donated ornaments and lights. We also decorated it with a few #asaviorisborn pass along cards.

Lots of investigators, and Less active members showed up to Church for the Christmas Program! It was great! One of our new investigators Kristine showed up for the first time. She accidently came an hour early. Luckily we were there for a meeting so we just sat there with her and looked through the hymn book. She really likes music so she enjoyed looking at our music.

Well I'm out of time. Love you!
-Elder Johnson

Monday, December 14, 2015

Awesome Week

This week was awesome! 

Wednesday night we were helping out at the Nativities around the World event that our Stake does every Christmas. We were helping out the live musicians transition on and off and helping the get Mic'd. One of the performers didn't show up so the lady asked if we could play for a bit. We were nervous because we didn't have any of our music or any time to prepare but it turned out pretty good! We only had sing for about 10 minutes though. But we played every Christmas song we knew. Its a good thing we did that on Wednesday because we realized we were going to need to learn a lot more songs for our 30 minute performance the next day. So we did! And it turned out great! We invited a nonmember family the day of to come and watch us sing and they all came! We also had a few other investigators go. 

Last night at about 8:00 we were struggling for some ideas to find new investigators. Its a pretty tough time to go knock on doors. But Elder Holmes remembered this nice older couple we had met a few weeks back and sung too. They said we could come back and sing to them again. So we knocked on their door and they let us right in. We played a song and the spirit was there. After we asked if we could share a short scripture. They said, "sure why don't we sit down?" So we shared 3 Nephi 27:16. They were much more welcoming than I was initially expecting so we just started teaching the restoration. They were very attentive. At the end they said that they would read the Book of Mormon and they agreed to have us come back! It was sweet! 

A few weeks back we lost all contact with one of our investigators. We knew he worked at Les Schwab tires so this morning we went there and asked if we could talk to him. He took us to the back of the store and we had a brief discussion. He said that he had heard some stuff about the church regarding recent events on policies on homosexuality. Luckily most of what he had heard were misconceptions that we cleared up. He agreed to meet with us tomorrow!

Love you!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Nativities Around the World

Things are getting pretty exciting with Christmas coming up! Our stake has a huge Christmas event every year that is attended very well by the community. Its called Nativities around the world. What they do is they have hundreds of different kinds of Nativity sets all set up in the cultural hall so you can walk through and look at them. There is also live music going in the Chapel. The doors are open so you can here it but they hang a see through sheet from the ceiling to make it feel more like background music but if you want you can go sit in the chapel and listen. There are also a few other rooms in the church that they use. They have a room all about Jesus Christ. Then they turn the primary room into a living room. It looks amazing. Its a place where kids can go and draw and do other activities. They also have a room where you can dress up in nativity clothes and get your picture taken. It looks really realistic too! The event is 5 days long! Anyway Elder Holmes and I jumped at the opportunity so we will be performing 30 minutes of the live music with our Ukelele. I'm pretty pumped! 

Tom and Michelle who are friends with our Stake President that we've been teaching came to church on Sunday with their two daughters!

Murry Christmas!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, November 30, 2015

Brandon and Logan!

Brandon and Logan got baptized! I know it looks like I'm disgusted. Its just one of those pictures. It was an awesome service!! The Spirit was very strong. They're good little kids. They were super excited that morning to finally get baptized. They were running and jumping around everywhere until of course their Mom calmed them down.



Another cool phenomenon we woke up to this week was "frog" all over the trees in Moscow. Frog is the nickname for frozen fog. It's pretty incredible. It's basically just a really thick frost. And the other incredible thing is it has stayed for 3 days now. I thought it would melt away the first day.





Love you guys!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, November 23, 2015

15 Years

I appreciate all of the letters of support from family this week due to this week being the 15th anniversary of "The Accident" I don't know the full effect that that event had on my life personally as well as on my family. I often experience things that I figure are probably tied back to it. I'm sure I will continue to find more as I grow up. But I do know that this is true: John 16:33 
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; have overcome the world." 
Crazy things happen in this imperfect fallen state that we are in. But Christ has overcome all the Pain, sorrow, and confusion that we carry. I also find comfort in 2 Ne 2 which explains why we have opposition and the eternal role it plays in our lives. With knowledge of both of these things it helps me to develop an attitude described in Mos 3:19
"...submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."
I don't know all the reasons why this event happened. But I do know that it happened for a reason. There are a lot of different emotions tied to this experience. Deep grief, sorrow, and despair. Anger, fear. But also Happiness and love in my new family as well as deep exquisite joy and empathy from moments of healing from deep wounds. But ultimately I think my greatest peace and excitement comes from my faith that there is a reason for every experience I go through in life. Good and bad. They all have a purpose for helping me to be what god wants me to be. 

This week has been pretty awesome! A few of our lessons this week were focused on recognizing the Spirit. I learned a ton about how simple it really is to feel the Spirit. Moroni 7:16 says it pretty clear. If it invites and entices you to do good and believe in God than it is the Spirit of Christ. That can be as simple as helping someone, then feeling good about it after. Or it can be the simple feeling of peace and excitement I felt yesterday as I sang a Christmas song for ward choir. It was really cool to see some of the people we are teaching as they realized that they were feeling the Spirit. And that that was God communicating with them.

Some may feel as I have before that yes this is a small way of feeling the Spirit, but I want to feel it stronger. I want it to be a powerful part of my life! How to get to that point is simple. 2 Ne 28:30 
"I will give unto men line upon line... For unto them that receiveth I will give more, and from them that shall say I have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have."
If you want to have a powerful experience with the Spirit start by recognizing the small simple workings of the Spirit within you and it will grow. Usually surprisingly quickly. In my experience its immediate. You don't have to wait a day, or an hour, or a minute. But the moment you recognize that you are feeling the Spirit your awareness and sensitivity to the Spirit dramatically increases.  Yesterday as we taught Tom, when he recognized that he had felt the Spirit he got super excited. You could see it all over his face. It does something to us when we realize that the God of the universe is communicating with us.
Sorry for all the preaching, but I'm a Missionary, its kinda just a habit. And its exciting to me because I just learned this.

We found another prepared person the other day. Recently as a new finding tool we have been boony tracting. It just means tracting all the houses in our area that are out of town in the boons. There was a certain house that we had driven by many many times in our adventures in the boons but never tried. So this last week we went out and knocked on the door. There was a super awesome lady there who just recently converted to Christianity like 2 years ago. She was really excited to share all of her experiences about how she came to know that God was there and that Jesus Christ was her Savior. We will start teaching her after Thanksgiving!
We've got two 10 year old twins getting baptized in our ward this Sunday! We're pretty excited for it!

Love Ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, November 16, 2015

Getting a grandson

Hey family hows it going?

Transfers were yesterday! We're both staying which I'm pretty happy about. Elder Morse my son who is in Cour D'Alene is a district leader and training! That means I'm getting a grandson. Yay.

This week we were tracting and giving out invitations to a big Christmas activity our stake does. We came across Nancy who with out us doing anything said, "You know I just got back from a trip to Utah and I'd really like to meet with you guys sometime to find out what you believe." It was sweet! Except she wants to meet at a coffee shop. Haha we'll figure it out.

We had a great lesson with a couple we met last week named Asia and Parker. They're awesome! They are excited to read about the Book of Mormon. But we won't be able to finish teaching them because they aren't in our area.

My Nephew Ethan was born! That's pretty exciting! This is the 3rd baby I've missed since I've been out. Please hold in anymore babies that may be trying to get out until I get home! Thanks.

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What's craziest thing you've ever hear about Mormons?

Sorry its been a while since I've written. I'm still alive. We went to the Temple today. It was sweeeeeeet! The Temple is my favorite!

WRiters block..............................................................................................................................

Nothing particularly interesting has happened in the last few weeks. I guess yesterday we were on foot all day in the pouring rain so by the end of the day our coats were completely soaked through and it was cold! With the recent daylight savings change it now gets dark at 4:30pm up here. Its a weird sensation.

Our latest finding tool has been pretty fun. As we walk past people on the street we say, "we are asking everyone 1 simple question, What is the craziest thing you've ever heard about Mormons?" The most common answer is plural wifes and Magic Underwear. We just give them a Mormon.org card and say well if you want to find out what we really believe go to this website. We've had some pretty good discussions with people that usually wouldn't give us the time a day. Many people that usually wouldn't talk to us are taken back by the opportunity to tell us why our church is crazy. Many times I've been surprised because they state the thing they don't like about our church then they wait for an explanation from us why we believe that. So we teach them the gospel! Its sweet!
ANyway I got to go 

Love ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, October 26, 2015

Delicious to Me


My delicious breakfast! Pancakes with an egg cooked in the middle of it. Mom you would be proud of all the cooking we've been doing! This last week we made fajitas! Ya I know right. And they were actually good! We are getting so good at cooking that we've decided that we will bring chili to our ward trunk or treat and Chili Dinner this Friday! We may or may not just buy a few cans of chili from Wal-mart and warm it up in a pan but hey, I'm sure they'll be impressed. We just started a new tradition that hopefully sticks. Free quesadilla Thursday from the Elders! I know the name doesn't flow but Thursdays just work best for our schedule. We live right next to Moscow High school so every day at lunch time we see tons of students leaving the school to go get lunch. So we're gonna start giving free quesadillas out on Thursdays. We'll just start by inviting members from our ward but if there's free food involved I'm sure they'll invite their friends. Our greatest cooking adventure however since Elder Holmes and I have been together is our invention of the Chicken Nugget Bean Burrito! Its basically exactly what it sounds like. Tortilla, beans, Chicken Nuggets (we prefer the frozen dino nuggets from Wal-Mart) and cheese. And you can add hot sauce if you want. When Elder Holmes first came up with the idea my thought was probably the same as yours is now, Thats disgusting! Though I didn't believe at that time that it was good I had nothing save a desire for it to be good and I exercised a particle of faith and experimented on the word and found out that it did indeed become delicious to me. (Alma 32:27-28) The mixture of chicken bean and cheese was very complimentary.

Well now that you are either inspired or disgusted I invite you to act accordingly.

The missionary work is going great too! We are teaching some really great people right now. We had another meeting with the Pikarella family last night. It was inspiring to hear their stories about how God had given them answers to their prayers in their past, and we taught about how God can give them answers to their prayers about the Book of Mormon today.

This week I've been learning more about having Faith all the time. I've really learned through experience that Satan wants our lives to be miserable. He wants us to be uncomfortable and to worry. He wants our minds to be in confusion. He wants us to react to fear rather than act in Faith. He is always putting thoughts into our minds that make us doubt in fear and make our life uncomfortable. Faith is the firmness of mind, the trust in God, that make these temptations from Satan loose all their power. This week I've been practicing having faith every moment and never allowing fear and doubt to creep in. I'm far from perfect, but as I've been working on it I have felt a lot more peace in my day to day life and I'm all around more happy.

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jiffy Lube and Kitchen Garbage

Today we had a sweet miracle. We had to take our car in for an oil change. As we were walking up to the Jiffy Lube a worker's head pop out of the underground area and yelled, "Hey Elders! I need to get you my contact info before you leave?" It was sweet! As he handed us his name and phone number he said, "I've been less active for quite a while now and its time to come back!" 

Last night we were walking around downtown moscow with our ukelele and we saw across the street there was a couple walking and the guy was strumming a guitar. So I purposely strummed really loud to get his attention. We both looked at each other and were like hey! So they came over. We played I am a child of God for them and he played a song for us it was sweet!

Yesterday we had a less-active show up to church out of the blue! It was very surprising!

All I can say is at least the garbage is in bags and not all over our apartment :)


We're havin lots of fun and I'm learning a ton right now! But I'm also out of time.

Love ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Elder Holmes

Well life's been pretty good up here. My new companion's name is Elder Holmes! Here's a picture of him.



This week we had some great lessons with Justin and Danya. But it was also pretty stressful because I was adjusting to having a brand new missionary and also trying to prepare for zone training that happened on friday. But things are pretty smooth now. 

This week I've also been searching diligently to understand more about how the spirit gives us an answer to whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. I've learned a lot as I pondered my own experience as well as read the scriptures and PMG. This is what I've come up with so far. As we read the BofM certain passages with ring true with us, this is the Light of Christ. If we ask God through prayer if the Book is true then read a passage that rings true to us, then we recognize that God is communicating with us and giving us an answer to our question. (The Holy Spirit works through the light of Christ. PMG Chap 4) That feels pretty cool to realize that the creator of everything is communicating with us personally. It builds our faith. The fruits of this realization are "love, joy, peace" etc. (Galatians 5). When we have this experience we naturally want to repent. I have seen many investigators read the Book of Mormon and experience the Light of Christ. They like the Book. They think its good. But they often don't realize the ways that God is communicating with them. Without the personal connection to God their faith is not strong enough to influence them to repent.

Well Love yall!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson


BTW: There are two great ways to follow the events of the Washington, Spokane Mission:
Facebook Mission Group Page: Washington, Spokane Mission - President Dymock
Blog: https://washingtonspokanemission.wordpress.com/

Love ya!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Doug (the spaghetti squash)

Well transfers are tomorrow. I will be staying here in Rolling Hills and training another new missionary. Elder Morse is going to CDA. I'm gonna miss him a ton! We had some good times. As a tribute to some of the good times we had together we will attach one of the songs we made up together. 

Well my guesses about conference were completely wrong. But thats ok I still sustain them anyway! 
Conference was sweet! Elder Holland's talk is definitely true! I am a living testimony of that! My Mom stuck with me, bore my sorrows, and carried me through the 2 most difficult years of my life. I definitely couldn't have done it without her! Love you Mom!

This week we found a new investigator named Katrina. She is friends with some members in our ward. She is awesome! Most of her friends growing up were Mormon so she went to activity days and Stake Dances. 

Once upon a time Elder Morse and I were given a Spaghetti Squash from this lady that we helped with her garden. We loved this squash so we named it Doug. And we drew a face on him. This is his story. (p.s. I love life cereal. I eat it every morning)

(Note from Lane: The audio clip he sent was not understandable)







Monday, September 28, 2015

Concrete Bear

I'm pumped for General Conference! Here are my guesses on whats going to happen.

New Apostles:
1. Tad R. Callister
2. L. Whitney Clayton
3. Lynn G. Robbins

New Seventy
1. Nelson Boren
2. Donald E. Mullen
3. David Wilkes :)

This week was great! There is a family in our ward that are all active except for the father. The father had not given permission for his 9 year old twin children to be baptized until this week when the daughter turned 8 and wanted to be baptized. So she was baptized this week and the twins are planning on being baptized in the next few months. 

Last night we had a great lesson with Justin. He expressed that growing up he had prayed many times but never felt like he got an answer. I know I and most of us in the world have struggled with that same problem. We had a very edifying discussion about how to recognized answers from God.

So last night we made a bear out of concrete inside our apartment. I don't really know why. Elder Morse just really wanted to when he saw the empty container of animal crackers shaped like a bear. You can't really see it but there is an "M" on his belly because Moscow High school's mascot is a bear. And the High School is literally right outside our door. I'll send a picture when its done drying and we've peeled the plastic off.



Love you guys!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2015

Yo - 3 things...

Yo

1. About a week and a half ago Elder Morse and I went to the Monsons (member in our ward) house to share a quick message with them. Turns out their parents were visiting from Pleasant Grove Utah! They also work at the MTC. Oh ya and the fathers name is Thomas R. Monson. We shared a quick message sang them a song and left. A few days later we came back and the Thomas Monson and wife were still in town. They said that due to some car trouble they had spent a lot of time at Les Schwab. They had a good gospel conversation with one of the workers named Justin and he said he was interested in hearing from the missionaries. We just met with him last night at the Monsons house and the lesson went really well. I was floored that Thomas Monson comes into town for 4 days finds us an awesome person to teach, sets it up so we can teach in a members home then leaves. 

2. Last p-day I got an email from somebody named Travis. He said that he was interested in meeting with missionaries. So we set up a time and met with him. He is super solid! It was incredible to hear how God has been guiding him and how he has courageously followed. He had met with missionaries about a year and a half ago but didn't follow through with baptism. But he said that he knew that God wanted him to start meeting with us again. 

3. Last Monday I was on exchanges in the Troy area. Troy is a tiny town 30 minutes outside of Moscow. There are also a few other tiny towns in their area. Elder Dugan and I were together. I came out with Elder Dugan by the way so it was fun to be reunited with him. We decided to got tracting for a while and we had the classic "Homecoming talk" experience. After being rejected a few houses in a row we knocked on one and a lady answered the door. It was obvious she wasn't very interested and she mentioned that she attended another one of the churches in town. We stalled by asking her if we could sing her a song (I had my ukelele). You could tell she kind of wanted to say no but she couldn't resist so she agreed. The song was about familes which got her talking. We had a good discussion about protecting the family in our society. Then she asked us a question, "Are your families strong in their faith in God?" We both said yes. "Thas really really good" This kind of gave me the impression that hers wasn't and it concerned her a little bit. So we talked a little bit about the spirit world. She became very interested and asked "do you want a drink of water? Come on in." She got us some water and sat us down at the table and got everyone else in the house to come join us. So we started teaching! It went super smooth. Every question she asked was super good. At one point I started quoting a scripture then I looked down at my scriptures and I had unknowingly flipped right open to it! She eventually opened up to us about how her father didn't believe in God and had passed away. She was pretty worried about what would happen to him. It was amazing to see the relief that came on her face when we told her about Gods plan. Unfortunately I don't get to teach the family because  they're not in my area but I'll try to stay informed on how things go with them.

Elder Morse and I got to speak on Sunday again. We got asked on Thursday if we could do it. The member of the Bishopric that asked us was gone about a month ago on the Sunday that we spoke so he asked us if we could speak. We were both super excited for the opportunity. When we got to church everyone was like "why are you speaking again?" but by then it was too late. Our name was already on the program. HA HA! We both talked on faith. I learned a ton preparing for it! Faith is a deep concept. We know that its believing in something we can't see but we also know that we can do some crazy stuff with faith.  
"and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea."
Snap

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, September 14, 2015

Apostles, Baptisms, Burning holes in Suits, and Brigham Young

Apostles

This week Elder Daniel L. Johnson of the Seventy toured the mission. It was super awesome! I had a personal interview with him! That was fun!

On Sunday all the missionaries from our zone and two others went down to Lewiston for their Stake Conference because they were having a special visitor. Before the conference we had a missionary meeting with Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Stapleton of the Seventy. It was sweet! Man he is a good teacher! My favorite part of the meeting was then end when he was testifying of Jesus Christ. He quoted doctrine and covenants 46 which says something like "to some it is given to know of Jesus Christ and others it is given to believe on their words" "I know that Jesus Christ lives". Oh snap! He was pounding his knuckles on the primary podium.

Baptisms

Gregory got baptized!!!!!!! It was a little crazy before service but once it started the spirit was super strong!

Burning holes in suits

We had the classic missionary experience of boiling water in the kitchen an hour before the baptism because the hot water in the building ran out. We were boiling water in a giant metal pot that covered two of the stove circle deals. The whole stove was extremely hot when we were done. Unfortunately Elder Morse was leaning over one and burn a whole in his suit. If you look closely at the picture above you can see it. 

Brigham Young

We walked into A&W to buy a hamburger and this bearded man walks up to us and says get whatever you want its on me. Then he pulled out his Wallet and showed us his drivers licence which carried the name Brigham Young. Nuff Said

Elder (Andre) Johnson  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Probably a felon or something

Its been cold and rainy lately. We had to wear our jackets for the first time. It was literally Elder Morse's first time wearing a jacket. He's from Tucson. He was pretty excited about it.

Well I've got an exciting week coming up. Elder Daniel Johnson of the Seventy is touring our mission. I've got a meeting with him this Wednesday night, then also with our zone on friday. I was also very surprised to hear that I will be having a personal interview with Elder Johnson on friday morning. AHHHHH! I might as well confess to him that I chewed gum in public last week because if I don't the Spirit will tell him. (that's only funny if you are familiar with the White handbook). Its nothing special. A bunch of random missionaries were selected to do interviews with him. He just wants to get a feel for the mission.

This past week I made beer in the apartment. Alyse's fault. Don't worry I didn't drink it. For my birthday Alyse sent me a homemade root beer making kit. So we made it and it was delicious! But we left one of the bottles out over night and the next day it smelled very strongly of alcohol! I actually thought it was pretty cool so I kept it for a few days. Every day it got stronger and stronger. But eventually I dumped it out when I realized that I was probably a felon or something because I'm underage. 


Yesterday we got antied by a Seventh-day adventist, athiest, and a Christian. It was interesting to see how they all used the bible to try and prove our doctrine wrong and prove their's right. Even the athiest was quoting the bible. The Seventh Day Adventist and the Christian both claimed that the bible was the perfect source of knowledge yet they both interpreted it so differently. It was amazing how different their doctrine was. Joseph Smith was right when he said  "for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible". 

I'm glad to know that we can go directly to God for answers. That is the most powerful evidence we can receive in this life is witnesses from the Holy Ghost. We love the scriptures. We learn from them. We believe they contain the fullness of the Gospel. But we also know that all truth is confirmed by the Holy Ghost. That's how we Know that God is real, that Jesus is the Savior and that the things being taught from the scriptures and from the Prophets is true. The Church is true!
 
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthday, smoke, and 3 miracles


Thank you for all of the Birthday gifts! They were awesome! The Raspberry bars turned out delicious despite the look on my face. But we did have to squish them into the one corner of the pan because thats the only pan we have. The food is greatly appreciated because we are running out!! And thank you Mom for the extra tabernacle choir cd's. We just met someone the other day that teaches music at the University of Idaho. I think they will love one!



Here is a picture from our apartment window of all the smoke that's been in Moscow. Its crazy. If you spend a few minutes outside then your clothes smell like you've been sitting by a campfire. And yes we like to doodle on our window. Its actually super helpful.

3 awesome miracles this week!

1. Gregory. 11 year old boy, Supposed to be baptized a few weeks ago but didn't, was having second thoughts about baptism. We met with him on Wednesday and he said he wasn't sure if he wanted to be baptized because his Dad is a little Anti and he was afraid that if he got baptized his Dad wouldn't want to be with him as much. It was pretty sad to see the situation. But we invited him to pray and find out what God wanted him to do. On Saturday he said that when he prayed he felt the Holy Spirit before, during, and after the prayer and so he wants to be baptized! Still working on a date.

2. Angie. Angie is a former investigator here in Rolling Hills ward that we have never met. But we had a challenge in our district to invite someone to be baptized over the phone so we looked through old records and decided to call Angie. I introduced myself as Elder Johnson and she just went off and started talking about a bunch of random things. She wasn't very decisive about the invite to be baptized but we also invited her to our Ward Social. And crazy thing is that she showed up! She met lots of members and apparently liked it because she came to church too!!! Even crazier thing was that we didn't even know that she came until we had 5th sunday meeting 3rd hour in the relief society room and she was sitting in front of us! "What are you doing here!?!?!?"
3. Danya. We had a super powerful lesson with Danya on Saturday. Our Ward Mission Leader came with us. He is a convert and also had some similar struggles in his youth that she has. He bore his testimony about her divinity and also about the importance of finding out if the Book of Mormon is true. The spirit was intense. There were tears in both of their eyes. If you are willing, please pray for Danya to receive and recognize an answer to her prayers regarding the Book of Mormon.
Growing up I always learned that faith is more than believing, it's acting. But I've learned on my mission that faith is more than just acting, it is also believing. Using our agency and choosing to believe, to have faith, empowers us and destroys Satan's power. Satan would have us use our agency to fear. Fear limits us. And it doesn't feel good. Believing feels awesome! Choose to believe over and over again. Its key for feeling the spirit.

Love ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, August 24, 2015

Smoke!

Well its only been a few days since I wrote last so I don't have much to say.

However transfer calls were last night. Elder Morse and I will be staying in the Rolling Hills ward in Moscow Id! I'm pumped! I love my son so I'm glad I'm not leaving. 

Danya didn't show up to church :( But she did text us and say sorry. Hopefully the spirit is working on her and making her feel a little guilty. :)

 Moscow has been super smokey! There's tons of wildfires everywhere. So it makes it kinda hard to ride bikes because we breath so heavy. Funny story. We got a bunch of furniture from this lady we helped move last week. We have a bunch of extra dining table chairs. They are pretty nice and have cushions on the seats. But the lady we got them from smoked so they smell a little bit. We stuck all of the extra chairs in the back bedroom and opened the window so they could air out. Then as a joke Elder Morse put a sign on the door that says, "Smoke Room" with a picture of a cigarette. Well the joke was on us because we came home that night and the smoke had settled in Moscow so when we went into that room it was definitely a smoke room. It smelled way more like smoke than it did before.

2 And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire. -2 Nephi 26:2

All I have to say is the church is true.

Love ya! -Elder Andre Johnson

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ukelele!

We went to the temple this morning! It was a great experience! Every time I go I love it a little bit more!

Unfortunately Gregory's baptism was postponed :( The night before Amber, Gregory's mom who is a recent convert, got super sick so she asked if we could postpone the baptism. She is still pretty sick so we haven't rescheduled it yet.
 
We had some pretty cool experiences this week though. Yesterday we were split with some of the youth in the neighboring ward and we were tracting. I brought my Ukelele because it does miracles when your tracting. Oh yeah I can't remember if I told you but I bought a Ukelele a few weeks ago. Toootally worth it. Anyway after a few houses we met a guy named Jeremy. He told us that he was a missionary once too. But after his mission he became involved in a serious alcohol addiction which basically destroyed his life. After going through alcoholics anonymous his testimony of the atonement of Christ was super strong. His testimony is simple. He says that if God tells him to go back to the mormon church than he would do it. But he is just taking life one step at a time. At the end we asked him if we could sing I am a child of God for him. He agreed in fact he sang with us. The spirit was super strong and he started crying! After giving him a hug he asked if we could come by again. It was awesome!

Danya came to church! She only stayed for sacrament meeting because she had to go to work. Our lessons have been super edifying. She has started reading from the Book of Mormon and Praying too. 

We've been making up lots of songs on the ukelele. I'll have to record some of them and send them to you guys. 

Love ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Little Spice

Well I was reading a copy of the blessing I received when I was set apart as a missionary and it gave me some advice about writing emails home. It said to write home about your successes, your struggles and your testimony. I realized that I write a lot about successes and my testimony but I don't usually write about my struggles... because I don't want to get depressed and I don't want to make all you guys depressed. But I think it's good advice because, what's a mission without a little struggle? What's life without some sweat and tears? This email is suppose to bring a little spice to our sometimes overly sweet view of the "perfect missionary experience." Too much spice in food makes it too strong and inedible. But just the right amount of spice makes food delicious. This has been the case for my mission.

High expectations are placed on missionaries. Before I came out I had high expectations for myself. I knew that this short period of two years would go by quickly (which it has!) and I wanted to make sure that I didn't waste a moment of it. I wanted to baptize many. This alone probably sounds great. I had the attitude a new missionary should have. But as I started my missionary service I found myself very very stressed all the time. I wanted to go go go. I wanted to spend every minute out talking to people. However at the beginning of my mission, my companions were a little less anxious about the work. At the time this was extremely frustrating. I didn't want to waste my time! I had many "more than mild" conversations with my companions about more effective use of time, better weekly planning, talking to more people, and teaching with more power. 

After several difficult companionships, and in the middle of another I sat at my desk frustrated. As I prayed for help I had something come to me which I consider revelation. It changed me, which had a powerful effect on my future companionships. I realized that there are many different aspects to missionary work. And I put them in priority order as to what makes a missionary most effective: 

  1. Personal Testimony. A missionary won't do anything if he doesn't have a testimony 
  2. Companionship. The Lord does missionary work with two missionaries. He only works with them if their is unity.
  3. Obedience. Obedience is key to having the spirit. Depending on the situation obedience can be put above companionship. If it is the case of serious disobedience. However in my case I mostly dealt with minor disobedience. It is more effective to have a powerful unified companionship that is striving for obedience than to have a companionship that is torn down by constant nitpicking at tiny rules. 
  4. Teaching skills, use of time, numbers of lessons taught. This was the big one for me. I realized that the other 3 must come first or number 4 will not work. I had been so focused on number 4 that I was destroying unity in companionships. This helped me a ton in future companionships and I was able to help many other companionships while I was a Zone Leader.

My next companion was a super star! Elder Maguet! He has been the AP ever since he was with me. We would go go go. We taught and taught and taught. It was a blast! I got higher numbers with him than I got with anyone else. My next companion was Elder Leavitt. We worked hard. We taught like crazy. We put tons of people on date. At one point we were looking at having 10 people baptized in one month! It was exciting. But unfortunately one by one each person fell off date and never made it to baptism. This was extremely hard to deal with. I was working hard and fast. Constantly trying to change to become better. But I learned that I was moving too fast. Mosiah 4:27 took on a whole new meaning for me. I needed to learn to slow down. This wasn't just something that I needed to know for my mission but for my life. I have a tendency of working myself past the point of cheerfulness. So for the last few months I've been working on slowing down. It was super hard for me but its been amazing!!!!  I've found that I have the spirit with me so much more.

The last thing that I have struggled with on and off is feeling like a successful missionary. I think every missionary struggles with this somewhat. We come out with the attitude and expectation that if we work hard and are obedient than we will baptize. Well its not always like that. Other people have their choice. If Gregory's baptism this Saturday goes through then that will be my 2nd convert baptism in my 15 months of serving. Before I started I definitely would not have chosen to have such little fruit from my long labors but now that I have experienced it I'm so grateful. It has helped me become significantly more humble. Its helped me to have a greater love for the Lord. 

There was one day when I was feeling frustrated and I turned open to a scripture in Alma. The scriptures that I read have completely changed my attitude and look on missionary work. (this will be more meaningful if you read the scriptures with the email) Alma 29:1,2 "oh that I were an angel" Alma wishes he could be a better missionary. He wishes that people would listen to him. v. 3 "But I sin in my wish... I ought to be content with the things the Lord has allotted me."  V. 7,8 "Why do I desire to be an angel? The Lord has a plan for how all of his children will receive the word of god." V. 9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory in myself, I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." 

Bam! It completely changed my view! I'm not here to bring tons of people to repentance. God has a plan for how each of his children will receive the gospel. I'm here to bring exactly who I'm here to bring to repentance. No more, No less. I'm here to do God's will. That is my glory! That is my Joy! To do what God wants me to do everyday. Does this mean I should slacken in my work? No! Moroni 9:6 is a great scripture about that. Missionary work has always been fun for me but ever since this hit me missionary work has become much more meaningful. I love every moment. I love every miracle I get to see! I love every time I get rejected! I am grateful for all that heavenly father sends me. I love seeking to do my fathers will. It brings me joy and fulfillment. Am I a perfect missionary? No way. I'm always striving to be better. If I were a more effective missionary would I have more baptisms? Probably! But I'm not, and that's ok! I'm not here to be more than what I am.

Well hopefully you're not depressed, or asleep because this is a super long email. I hope your life and view of missionary work is spiced up a little. I hope you realize that you aren't the only one that is imperfect. I'm right there with you. I hope you realize that to those who are faithful in keeping the commandments everything that comes good or bad becomes a blessing. I hope you have a greater love for our Savior who righted every wrong and made up for every imperfect situation we have gone through.

Love you guys!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, July 27, 2015

Syringa

Dear Family, 

My area is a pretty rich area and it is pretty small as well. Friday we got rejected hard core a bunch of times. It was kind of depressing. But in the evening we went out of town about 5 minutes to a trailer park called Syringa. Its kinda the dump of Moscow. Half of the trailers are deemed unlivable and lets be honest the rest should be. But that night I gained a greater understanding about why Jesus spent so much time with the sinners and the publicans. Everyone there was super nice to us. First we had a great lesson with a recent convert named Amber and her family and now her son Gregory is on date for august 15th. Then we had a guy that was outside grilling call to us to have us come talk to him. We had several other great lessons there that night. It was a pretty stark contrast to the earlier part of the day. 

Man I've been trying to write this letter for like 30 minutes now but I can't think of anything interesting or clever to say. So hope you guys have a great week!

-eLDER (aNDRE) jOHNSON

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Companion - Elder Morse

My new companion I am training is name Elder Morse. He is from Tucson Arizona. He is a super solid missionary already (ya I'm an awesome trainer) Ha ha just kiddin. He was just super prepared before he came out so I basically don't have to train him at all.  

Rolling Hills ward has been fun. Currently it is an all bike area so we are definitely gaining a testimony that the name chosen for this ward was inspired of God and very true. The ward members are awesome though. They just had a baptism the Saturday before we got here so everyone in the ward is excited to do missionary work. I have never got so many referrals in one week as I have this week. Our area is pretty small though besides a big section of booniness that we can basically never go to because we don't have a car. 
We are teaching a 24 year old girl here named Danya. She is super awesome. She has had a hard life. She has been involved in drugs and other bad things like that. But she is really humble and wants to know if God is really there. She was originally found by the previous missionaries because she just walked into church and at the end of Sacrament meeting asked the bishop for advice in her life. He of course referred her to the missionaries. Right now she lives at her parents house. Her Mom is very supportive of us coming over and teaching her, in fact she sits in on the lessons and adds in her own insights. They lived in Salt Lake City for about 12 years before recently moving here so they are acquainted with lots of Mormons.  We are also going to start teaching the Son of the Recent Convert in the ward. 
(Mom don't read this next part)
Because we are opening up a new area we moved into a brand new apartment. As we were bringing things in from the truck several of our neighbors surprised me at how welcoming and excited they were to have us as their new neighbors. One neighbor Christina, talked to us for a while. She told us, we're excited to have you as our new neighbors, you are much better than the last tenant that lived in #8. "Ha ha sweet! We are representing the church well!" were my thoughts. "Wait, who was the last tenant that lived her?". She explained that the last tenant who had lived in the very apartment that we were bringing our bags into had just so happened to murder 3 people in that apartment complex 6 months ago. "Great! This place seems like a great environment conducive to the spirit!" She went on to say that the man had of course been sent to jail to await trial after the crime. "In fact the county jail he is staying in is right there" she pointed to a large building several hundred feet away. "Great now if he escapes his first destination will be back home!" So if you don't hear from me again, just know that I love you guys and I hope you have better luck in housing assignments than me.

Anyway Moscow is awesome, My son is sweet, the ward is stellar, and the Church is true.

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Transferring to Rolling Hills ward in Moscow Idaho

Well its transfers once again. They were a bit surprising for me this time. I will be leaving Sandpoint and going to the Rolling Hills ward in Moscow Idaho. I will also be training a new missionary! I'm pretty excited about that.

I won't find out who he is till tomorrow. He is flying in to Spokane today.  Moscow Idaho is home to University of Idaho. However I will be in a family ward.



I finally took a picture of Pend Oreille (Ponderay) lake. I know, not the best photography. In my defense I was driving while I took this. We are driving on the Long Bridge which is a mile long across the lake. Its super pretty.  Well I can't think of much more to say than that this week. Don't worry I'm sure I'll have some awesome adventures this week to talk about in my next email.

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, July 6, 2015

Schweitzer mountain; New Pres

Today for P-day was an adventure. We rode our bikes down Schweitzer mountain. This is the first time I have ever really mountain biked. Elder Baczuk had only been 1 other time in our life so we didn't really know what we were doing but we made it back alive... with a few scrapes and bruises. I only crashed 3 times. We took some awesome pictures that I was going to show you but I left my camera at home so I can't. Sorry.

We got a new mission president this week! President and Sister Dymock (Dim-ick). For the last few weeks Elder Baczuk and I have been guessing what they looked like. I guess 5' 10" With blondish hair. Sister Dymock as tall with Dark hair. Well when they walked into our "Meet the dymocks" meeting last friday it turns out that they look like exactly what you would picture a Mission President and his wife to look like. He is about 5' 11" with dark hair partially balding and a little gray in there. She is tall with dark hair. They are pretty awesome! They are super pumped for this calling. I would show you pictures but I don't have any.
Love you!

-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Companion!

It was my companion's Birthday this week!



We saw some pretty sweet miracles this week! 1. We stopped at a gas station in Hope Idaho to use the bathroom. Hope is a tiny town in the Clarkfork branch boundaries. We started talking to the cashier and she told us that she accepted Christ about 3 weeks ago. Apparently she just got out of Jail and while she was there she realized that there was a God and that Christ was her Savior. But she said, "I have no idea what I'm doing". So we told her that she needed to be baptized. We had a great conversation about how God would help her in her life. She started crying right there. It was kind of interesting because while all of this is happening people are coming in and out of the gas station and buying stuff. But the spirit was really strong. I'm excited to meet with her again. 2. Later that day we were driving the streets of Clarkfork and we saw a lady walking her dog so we pulled over and handed her a card through the window. We told her that we were messengers God and he wants you to be baptized. She said, "Ya I've actually been thinking about that" I'm stoked to meet with her as well.

Well I love you guys!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ready to have your mind blown?

Ready to have your mind blown away with doctrine?

D&C 78:18 "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours." 

This scripture has meant a lot to me lately. I've grown in my understanding of the depth of the love that God has for me and how much he wants me to feel that everyday. I've learned that we as people create expectations of how good or successful we should be. But rarely do we actually meet these expectations. The result is stress, discontent and mental turmoil. But that is not the way that God wants us to live our lives. We can be happy even though our lives aren't perfect. "And ye cannot bear all things now" You can't do everything right now. You're no perfect right now. You're not going to achieve every goal and expectation right now. But its ok. "Nevertheless, be of good cheer" God wants us to be happy. There is always something to be happy about and have joy in beholding. "For I will lead you along" God will make you become what he wants you to become if you trust in him. Don't willfully take on stress and anguish and put off joy and gratitude in an effort to be "that great person you think you should be" or to be "the best at something". Trust in the Lord. That he will make you become exactly who he wants you to be. "The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are your" Those who follow this counsel have a bright future. The Kingdom of God and eternal life. 

There you go. Use your knowledge of this doctrine wisely.

Love ya!
-Elder (Andre) Johnson