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


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


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