Elder and Kids

Elder and Kids

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Everything We Have Now Is All Because Of Him

Good morning, afternoon, or evening and welcome to Elder Johnson's special Christmas email.

Just kidding,  nothing too special or out of the ordinary.  Sorry to disappoint ;)

This past week was really fun and this week the fun will continue!!!

Elder Johnson & Swatbooi
Christmas 2015

Monday-- Pday.. washing... market... same 'ol Pday stuff.

Tuesday-- There was one lesson that I really love to teach and enjoy teaching to everyone. It is the Holy Ghost!  A recent convert named Lawrenica has been going through a hard time with her daughter.  Her daughter will leave at night and go to the club and won't come home for a couple days at a time (we have been talking to the daughter).  Elder Swartbooi and I agreed that we should re teach her about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and let her know (and to all of you) that God loves each and every one of us.

He never puts us in harms way, but when we are in a bad spot He wants us to ask for help!  He will help if we just ask Him.  In the New Testament when Christ was going to be crucified, He told his apostles that He will send another comforter after He goes away. That comforter is the Holy Ghost and that gift is available to each of us.

Missionary life - Assin Foso / Telecom 2 Zone
December 2015

Wednesday-- Being the companion of a District Leader has it's twists and turns.  One being that I will be going on exchanges with different Elders once a week or more.  On Wednesday it was a short day because I had to go with Elder Kenyah to his area while Elder Brooks and Swartbooi went and did a baptismal interview.  Then at 8:00pm, the Elders got together for one more choir practice for the Zone Conference in Cape Coast.

Thursday-- By far my favorite day. One reason being we did not have to do weekly planning. Two, the Zone traveled to Cape Coast to the mission home for a Christmas Zone Conference. While we were there,  President Stevenson instructed us.  We talked about different things about the temple that we are allowed to be talked about.  It was great reminder to all of us of our promises.  Sadly, we can't go again until the end of our missions.  After that we ate some lunch.  The normal chicken and rice, and they added fried plantain this time.  The chicken was soooooooooo good.  Especially the bone ;) After lunch we participated in some "Stevenson Christmas traditions"  First, of course, re-enactment of the nativity.  I got to play one of the wise men.  Then the Zone performed their musical numbers. The Elders went first and we sang hymn 201.  It sounded sweet because we sang in parts.  For the last part we watched, "A Christmas Carol."  The version from 1984.  The movie was awesome. When finished Elder Hanlon, a senior couple missionary, told us that a ward in Utah sent us each a Christmas gift.  Our names were given to families in that ward and they sent us a gift.  So nice of them to do and really thoughtful!!

Saturday-- The stake had a "Food Bizarre" that they do each Christmas. The wards will bring food and we all partake of that awesome food!  Sad part was that it cost money :)   It was really funny to me... not the normal food you would see in a ward back in America.

Thought of the week: I felt impressed to start a new way of studying. It is to spend a week studying one certain topic. And being that it is the Christmas season, I decided to study the Atonement. Let us all remember the true purpose of Christmas.  Though it is great to wake up and open presents, Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us because He loves us all.  He lived a perfect life with no sin. But He paid for OUR sins though.  He was perfect.  Everything we have now is all because of Him!!!

Merry Christmas!
Elder Johnson

Looking In From The Outside

As I wrote last week.. I am in a new area. The name of the area is Telecom 2. Sooooo stoked to be here.
Monday and Tuesday were really filled days. On Monday we did the usual emailing, going to the market, and cleaning.  Tuesday morning I got up early to hand wash most of my stuff. Then all the people in the Takoradi Zone came together for one big zone meeting.  Half of the zone was being transferred out!!!  Those leaving got the opportunity to bear their testimony at the end. The zone was great and I have a strange feeling that I will be back before the end of my mission.  After we went around Takoradi to get some things - one thing of mine being a cutlass. So, I have a big ol sword I will bring home to cut some people's grass!  You are welcome in advance!  On Tuesday night my companion and I went to a member's house to eat a lot of food.  Soon after the 4 missionaries in Sekondi ward got together with the Ward Council for a goodbye and some pictures.  After 2 big meals the missionaries were then invited over for a big bowl of fufu.  Afterwards I could not really walk.  Once home the packing commenced and we were up late getting everything in order before our departure on Wednesday morning.
Wednesday morning we went to the station and said our goodbyes.  It was sad for me to leave Elder Bay and Elder Zohner, but we will be good friends the rest of our lives.  At about 3 o'clock I and 6 other missionaries arrived at the Zone Leader's apartment in Assin Foso.  I was greeted by my awesome new companion, Elder Swartbooi.  The guy is a "boss" and we have had a lot of fun so far. He is from Namibia.  It is in South Africa.  He was a well known rapper back home!  My new apartment is HUUGGGEE and really nice.  In the apartment is my companion and I, Elder Brooks from my MTC group, Elder Kenyah, Elder Lumalo from Samoa, and Elder Lopez who is fresh from America.
The great thing about my new area is I do not have to walk 30 minutes to get to it.  It is a 30 second walk from the door to our gate!  Still a big area and a lot of walking though. Unlike my last area speaking, Fante now it is changed to Twi!  The people here do not think I can speak with them, but it is a surprise to them when I can.  Haha.  It is more in the middle of nowhere and I like it like that. Plenty of investigators and others to teach, so the past few days have been 6 or 7 lessons in a day. By the end of the day I am dead.
Saturday we attended a wedding.  We went for the free food!  Yesterday in church we were asked to teach the Primary kids, "Away in a Manger."  That was a lot of fun because the kids or the chorister could not hold the tune, but it's okay since they are cute kids.
Thought for the week: Yesterday my companion and I escorted a nice recent convert lady of ours to find her daughter.  The daughter has been going to the club to dance with guys and other things. As Elder Swartbooi and I saw the place from the side of the road with the loud music and really terrible inappropriate dancing, I was looking into the world while I was on the outside.  As my companion and I talked as we walked home, we agreed on how bad the world is getting.  What we saw was far from okay.  Satan is making things that are bad look good.  He does it ever so subtly for us that we may never notice. We are at the top of the hill and Satan will not make us come all the way down the hill to meet him.  He will come most of the way up and have us come down, and have us do whatever so we feel safe.  We never are or will be safe falling into the world.
Elder Johnson

Sunday, December 13, 2015

We Either Follow Them Or We Do Not


As the subject of the email states, I am being transferred to Assin Fosu in the area Telecom. I will be serving with Elder Swatboy (Wrong spelling). He is an African and is the district leader. The apartment is a 6 man apartment instead of the 4 man I am in now. Plus they speak Twi and not Fante like I am now. So I'll need to learn a different language and I hope I can be really good in Twi.

This week was pretty long just because transfer news was coming on Saturday night and we were all excited and sad it was coming. And because our district is sooo awesome we planned to get together on Saturday night for food and Sunday night as well. To add to the longness of the week, our area is dead.  Our investigator Lizzy got a job so we could not meet with her anymore except for on Sunday's.The others we met with did not want to meet with us or were not around. So there were some days with no lessons and just walking around talking to people.

 I will miss this district
On Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Hounkpe our District Leader. Him and I have gotten very close the past 8 weeks and I am sad that I will not be able to serve with him anymore. He has helped me grow and learn new important lessons in life and for my mission. While with him we taught our investigator Mary. Just followed up with her about her reading in the Book of Mormon, which is something very important that needs to be done. The thing in my area and maybe in Ghana is " I do not have time or I was not feeling well". We kindly explained to her that it needs to be made important to her. If something is important to you, you make time for it. For example, if watching football is important to you, you will make time for it.

Elder Bakula put a mattress on the table.. I asked why his response was, "I want to be closer to heaven." Hahaha. The guy is sooo funny

After Mary we treked over to Palmlands to visit the Valentina family and share a message with them. They currently have a house guest, he is from Nigeria, and returned home from the Accra mission in July. He has given me so much help and advice. I will be staying in contact with him! When we all arrived at the apartment Saturday night, we got out ice cream (fan ice), bread, and Hersheys spread to get nice and fat. We awaited the call for transfers. They went trough the other districts then ours. Side note... no one thought they would be transferred, so this was a shock to us all. "The Sekondi 1 and 2 Elders will be going and Sisters will be coming into Sekondi 1 and 2...."  We all freaked out. My companion, Elder Chinedu will be going back to the same apartment in Cape Coast and serving in a different area. Elder Bakula and Hounkpe will be going to open a new area in Assin Fosu. It was a sad night. I have grown to love each of these missionaries. We have had many laughs together and memories that I will forever hold dear to me. We are needed in other areas and I am happy to serve wherever the Lord calls me.

Elder Pohahau and I at church

Thought of the week: I shared this with the ward on Sunday... we have been given commandments from God to follow. They have been given for a reason and not just for reading material. We either follow them or we do not. I urge everyone to keep them.  They are a list of happiness not a list of rules. As we become more converted to the Gospel they will become easier to follow. Do the things God has asked and prophets from the different generations. As it says in Amos 3:7, God reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.

Elder Johnson

Great Results In Due Season

Hello friends and Family!

I hope your Thanksgiving meals were fantastic and also no one got hurt Black Friday shopping. Now it is almost Christmas... that is weird.

This past week went by pretty fast which just makes me sad now! Things happened this week I promise, but I can not remember much :P 

A continuation of my cooking. French toast this morning with eggs and rice porridge

Missionary work is the most difficult thing ever but also the most enjoyable thing ever!! The days are getting hotter and hotter which is not good at all which does not make thing's any easier.

When I first came, the power did not go out so much as it does now. Here it is called Doomso. The electrical company will turn off the power in different parts of the region. When it happens, no fan, no water, and no lights. As of the last couple weeks there will be a day when power is off all night (really hot with no fan so usually I sleep without a blanket) followed by a day of all power then the next day lights will be off in the morning. After some issues, we are finally prepared for lights to go off! There have been a few mornings that I did not iron my shirt at night so I used our old iron with the fire from the stove to iron my shirt. If you are not careful the shirt will not look so nice :)

Cologne models - I still like to smell good!

The few investigators we have are doing very well. One of them, Lizzy, has been coming to church the last few weeks.  Yesterday she brought her friend to church. Her name is Anneta. We met with her after church and taught her why in our church we do not use drums and a band. It is an issue here with people we teach... they like their loud music among other things at church. She asked us why, so that is why we taught her. Also, from our street contacting on Friday we found 2 young men to teach. They are pretty cool. I really like to teach the youth here because they are the future to build up the church here in Ghana!! On Saturday we got a call from who we call "Mystery lady" and she liked the Restoration pamphlet we gave so she gave us a call. Neither Elder Chinedu or I remembered who she was. We had the opportunity to teach her after church as well!

My good friend "Colorado", Elder Jarvies. We found it funny about the cokes. Share a cook with Fafa!

Other than that, just good old missionary work! I am finishing my #3 transfer as of Monday. We find out if anyone is leaving on Saturday night. So we will see if I am leaving my first area in 5 days!

Thought: While washing my clothes in the good ol bucket on Thursday night, I listened to an awesome devotional given by John Bytheway. It was about weeding our gardens (our testimony). The talk was a reminder to me that we can have beautiful gardens (testimony) but weeds can come out anywhere at anytime. Weeding a garden and growing plants is a constant labor but brings great results in a due season. Let us all weed our gardens and labor in it everyday. By that... scripture study and prayer. Two of the most basic things that can bring great results!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Count Your Blessings!

Happy Monday all!

Thanksgiving is this week and I am really happy that I kind of get to celebrate it here in Ghana for two years!  Sadly, I do not get to have turkey and other foods, which is okay since bonku and kenkay are better!

Go Big - pain!

Stuffed and in a food coma - Atlantic Hotel

Elders Zohner and Bay - Atlantic Hotel

Cooking skills - Ghana style

This week went by scary fast. It was a busy week which is always a good thing. On Tuesday we had interviews with President Stevenson. And had a district meeting that was instructed by the Assistants and Sister Stevenson. It took a good portion of the day, so we only had one lesson on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Bakula in his area. Wednesday it was really, really, really hot. Thankfully Elder Bakula's and Hounkpe's area is around our apartment and not a good walk away like my area.  Elder Bakula is a great guy and has been out now for about 6 weeks!  We only taught a couple lessons through the day, but did a lot of street contacting.  When we first went out I asked him to count the pamphlets that he had combined with the ones that I had.  In total we had 25 pamphlets. I told him that before we go home that night we will hand out each of the pamphlets, which we accomplished!!!  For the last hour of the day we stood in front of the church and stopped people and talked to them.  One lady that we talked to, Lizzy, got off of the trotro right in front of us. Elder Bakula went and talked to her and I joined in.  After she left he told me that was the lady he sat next to on the trotro on Monday going to Takoradi. He felt prompted to talk to her, but did not. On Tuesday they saw her again in front of a church, but did not talk to her again. Then Wednesday she came right to us. Really was a testimony builder to me of how we are put in the paths of people or vice versa for a reason!  Then after that, goofy old me just gave a couple pamphlets to the trotro (taxi but a van) mates (collects money and opens the door) when they stopped to drop people off. Fastest 10 second explanation of the gospel ever.

Elder Chinedu and Johnson - Atlantic Hotel

Thursday was a downer day :(  We had 0 lessons happen. They all canceled on us. We had some good time for finding new investigators.

The area is doing very well now and we are happy that it is doing well! On Sunday we had 4 investigators come to church ( Does not happen much). The work is going well :) We find out the transfer news on December 5th and I hope not to be transferred yet, but if I am... village. I want to go to the villages soooo bad.

Elder Hughes and the "other" Elder Johnson

Thought of the week: Since Thanksgiving is close, I have thought a lot about what I am thankful for. Sometimes life is tough but there is always things that go unnoticed that are good things. I hope all of us focus on the good things in our lives and what God has provided for us. Count your blessings!!!!!

-- Elder Johnson

Have A Bright Enough Light


Alright, this past week was pretty awesome, which I am really happy about of course!!

On Tuesday we had our usual district meeting at the church building. Elder Pohahau and Elder Jarvies gave the instruction. After district meeting we usually go to our chop bar, Quagis, but instead we went to Mama Grace's house. It was Elder Pohahau's birthday so she prepared a whole bunch of bonku for us! After eating, all of us just wanted to go sleep. Soooooo much food, but of course it was time to go out and teach. The 40 minute walk to Essikado was the longest walk of my life, but it was well worth it because the food was really good.

Bottled coconut water - whatever! Directly from the coconut!

We did not have as many appointments as we have in the past because people just did not have time for us this week. It made the days longer than normal but at the end of the day you look back and it had gone faster than you realize. Elder Chinedu and I have noticed things we need to improve on like, member present lessons and lessons with recent converts. So, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us to meet the goals we made for the coming week(s).

This past Saturday we had a baptism!!!!  His name is Emmanuel Cudjo and he is 18 years old. He was a referral from his friend... Emmanuel. Teaching was fun because you would say, "Emmanuel" and they both looked. He has been and investigator since June but had to stop until September because he moved away until school started again.  It was also my first time baptizing anyone. I was not planning on baptizing, but Emmanuel, who was going to baptize his friend, was to nervous to do it. So he asked me to do it. And I did not bring extra clothes with me sooooo it was an uncomfortable walk home. I am really happy for the opportunity that was given to me. Plus I got some packages in the afternoon soo Saturday was a very good day.

Emmanuel, Emmanuel Cudjo, Elder Chinedu & Elder Johnson

To put a cherry on top of the week.. they finally re-broadcasted conference! They showed Saturday afternoon session and Sunday morning. What my brother said last year for his first General Conference is sooooo true.. I was on the edge of my seat, taking notes like crazy, and felt the spirit so strong!!!  My eyes were teary during the whole thing. What I wish we could do is stand up, throw an arm up and say, "YES SO TRUE!"  Conference pumped me up.  I know that those men have been called to where they have been. And that we do have a true prophet here on the earth. Side-note: Jeffery R. Holland's talk about mothers made Elder Bay, Zohner, Jarvies and I sit there and cry (happy tears). We miss our mothers. haha.

The sense of humor remains

This morning we did some deep cleaning of apartment.  It is really clean. My cleaning skills that I obtained from home, Sonic, and Chickfila really helped :P

The apartment shoe collection

Thought for the week: As you know I have kind of struggled so far. Just with missing home and such, but I really love a talk that was given in conference. I forgot his name, but he talked about a bike ride him and his family did going into a dark tunnel on a bike with insufficient lights. It really got me thinking. In life there are plenty of dark tunnels that we go through. What makes it easier is when we are prepared!!!!  Having a bright enough light (scripture study and prayer) we will get through the tunnel.  Stronger and with a stronger testimony, but if we go in without being prepared, we will have a hard time.  Let us all keep our testimonies of the gospel "fresh" as Henry B. Eyring put it. The devil is real. He really is attacking us in small ways that we may not even see. Rely on the Lord and you can do all things!

Elder Johnson

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rely On The Lord

Hello all!

This letter will be somehow shorter than usual. I do not have much to say and not a lot of energy to write a lot :P

Tamin the fake snake!

The week was fairly good with some rough patches. But to help with those bad moments we did have a couple really good lessons. One was with Thomas Lawson, the 73 year old man. He has been Roman Catholic for a good chunk of his life. Thomas has been coming to church the past few weeks and we are really happy about that, but we had some things that needed to be taught to him.  One, the word of wisdom. We taught that to him soon after we started to teach him. But as we were goin to his house this past week, I turned the corner about 200 feet from his house and just smelt a massive amount of smoke. Thomas was not outside smoking so i was confused. Once we started the lesson I followed up with him about it. He told us he smoked a couple hours ago. Next thin was all the crosses in his house and different things that Roman Catholics do. When the lesson went in further he told us he still goes to mass every morning. Elder Chinedu told him if you have fufu and bonku would you choose one or both? He said only one of course. We went about the crosses further and what helped is Elder Chinedu attended Roman Catholic school. Elder Chinedu was very direct with him. It had my heart racing.

Elder Chinedu - wisdom tooth removal

Second, our lesson with Mary that took place on the same day. We did not have a appointment with her but we stopped by to ask if she can hold the sugar cane another investigator ave to us. When we talked with her she told us that while she was in school the idea came to her to be baptized. But she is not entirely sure because of what her friends will think. After some minutes Mary said forget what I said. We went in and sat down with her. Lettin her know more the importance of being baptized and when you get a promptin you need to follow it. Most importantly do not fear your friends but fear God. (not fear God in a bad way of course). She started to cry... 

I am startin to realize more fully that a mission is more difficult than I have thought. Many times this past week I have doubted that I can do this. But I will not go home until July of 2017. These things are really teachin me to rely on the Lord. Without Him this can not be done. So prayer and humility is really important. While Joseph Smith was in liberty jail he was praying. I do not have the scripture with me (D&C 122:7 or section 121) but in summary it says all these things will be for a good experience. So if you are ever going through some rough times just pray. Heavenly father IS your father in heaven. And like your parents on earth he wants to hear from you. And in turn you also need to hear from Him.

"Onward and upward"

Elder Johnson

Monday, November 2, 2015

You Are In Africa And You Eat EVERYTHING!

What a fun filled week!!!! It did not go by fast but we worked hard and enjoyed.

As you know,  return missionaries have some cool stories about food they had to eat.  And after 3 months I have some!  First, for one meal we had, it included cow SKIN.  Not the meat - the skin. Elder Chinedu said it is the best part of cow.  I do not fully agree.  The texture is not very good.  It is really chewy.  Second, a investigator prepared some food for us on Thursday night before PEC.  She served us Bonku, which I really like.  It is usually served with some type of meat like fufu has, but this one had the small crabs.  I was really confused how to eat it, but my companion said just eat the whole thing - the shell, legs, and meat.  As you may imagine, it was really crunchy and good.  So, no one take me to Red lobster, you may be grossed out.  Third, the bone of the chicken.  After you finish the chicken meat, some people eat the bone.  So, I was adventurous and ate it.  Soooooo, add KFC or Buffalo Wild Wings to the list of places that you should not take me.  The last - shrimp.  Elder Chinedu and I bought Kenkay for dinner a couple nights.  Instead of getting fish I got shrimp.  We sat down to eat at home and I started to break open the body to get the meat, and Elder Chinedu said, "NO you're in Africa and you eat everything."  So, I ate the whole thing.  The legs were not so good haha.   This all happened in a week, yeess!

Elder Chinedu and Elder Johnson - Companionship study time.

Ever since Elder Hanson left, the area feels like it is not as busy.  So, we have spent a great amount of time finding new investigators.  It has brought us a good amount of progress.  The issue that we have is getting people to church.  In P.E.C on Thursday night I brought up the issue to see if they had any ideas.  The secretary, Brother Solo, who I love, compared getting investigators to church to talking to girls.  It was realllyyy funny.  After the meeting I let him know talking to girls and getting a date is way easier than getting investigators to church.  I have spent a great amount of time being discouraged because I feel like I am failing the area.  No one is coming to church, appointments fall through, but in the end, I know we are doing what we can.

Elders Zohner, Johnson and Bay - Cruising in a taxi

The weather is getting hotter than before, which makes the days exhausting and hard to keep going. My goal is to be that missionary on the plane that look's worn out.  I can not get that way sitting around.  The work must go on!

Elder Chinedu is awesome! The way he teaches is great.  He takes things around us and compares it to what we are teaching.  I have noticed it work's out really well.

Elder Johnson and Elder Chinedu

By the way.. cockroaches are gross.  I have had many run across my desk and show up out of nowhere in the bathroom.  One night there was even a gecko.  It scared me!  At nights, Elder Hounkpe is helping me with my Twi.  We have been reading over the Book of Mormon to help me read and at the same time learn some words.  I am really praying that I will be transferred into the village for 9 months to learn the language more, but for now we have to get our area with plenty of people to teach!

Now, time to start another week :)

Elder Johnson

Monday, October 26, 2015

Prayers Are Powerful

So quick reminder... I have already hit my 3 month mark (yyeess).  You may notice there are no pictures of me this week.  That is due to the fact I was so excited to have been out 3 months that I pulled a Brittany Spears and went to get my haircut, and did it really short.  Just kidding, it was too hot so I went really short.

Anyways, this week was harder than my other weeks being on my mission.  Elder Chinedu and I have been focusing a lot more on finding new investigators, which means talking to random people on the street.  Not something that I would have voted to do, but it gets me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing.  So far we have 6 new investigators. We tried to meet with the one Friday, but we only met with 2 on Saturday.

One new person's name is Frank. We met him while he was sitting by his house feeding pigeons on Wednesday and we taught him on Saturday.  First lesson of the day.  When we walked in, there was a ton of kids.  So, at the lesson there were 10 people.  It was not a very spiritual lesson due to them all talking and not listening.  We are hopefully going to meet with Frank sometime this week by himself.
The biggest thing we struggle with is getting investigators to church.  And what we can do to help them we do not know yet.  During this week I have really been praying to know what we can do to strengthen the area and bring the spirit to the lessons.  While watching "The District" yesterday it clicked.  We need to outline the entire lesson.  In the past it would be.., "Okay we are teaching lesson 1".. that is all we say and go no further.  As I have been out here for a good amount of time now,  I am noticing all the things I can improve on.  Planning being one of them.
This week I decided to workout in the evenings after getting home (8 pm or so) to distract me from thinking about home.  After I shower and study Twi.  As I have said prayers before studying I noticed a big difference from when I did not.  Prayers are so powerful and that is something I wish everyone could realize. 

Only picture this week... I sent a text to Elder Zohner and Bay ( came out with me) and told them we were at our 3 month mark. This was there reply:

Side note: I wore my cargo shorts and a t- shirt to our zone activity today. My legs are fried since they have not seen sun in forever. My tan lines are pretty sweet.

Have a great week,

Elder Johnson

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Maa bray :/

This past week has been exhausting and I really should just take a long nap. There is to much work to do though!

As mentioned last week, my companion, trainer, father, Elder Hanson has left me.  It really didn't hit me that he was leaving until, well, I got my new companion.  Elder Hanson was a boss and I really miss that guy. But there is still time for us to be in the same apartment, district, or zone since he goes home 4 months before me.  He was a great trainer and the major thing I learned from him was teaching by example.  Never told me what to do, but he did the right thing and he hoped I followed that example, which I did.

The Monkey

On Tuesday we went around to different families for him to say good bye.  Then that night the Bishop and the ward council had us come to the chapel for the good byes to Elder Hanson and Elder Bleh, who is going home.  That night we were up super late.  Elder Hanson had a lot of things to do, which kept me awake.  On Wednesday, we went to the station to meet the others that were going. Elder Hanson and I arrived on time like the zone leaders asked.  We were the only companionship there, everyone else came between 9-10:30  -_-   Then the bus left to Cape Coast at 12. 

My new companion is Elder Chinedu from Nigeria.  He is a cool guy and we get a long okay.  I enjoy teaching with him because he really teaches by the spirit and not his own pure knowledge.  And I am officially the only white guy in the apartment.  It is really weird.  When I came, there was 3 of us now I am the only survivor :)  On Friday morning, I had a really hard time - there is a lot going on in the area and it is all left on my shoulders, it feels like, to get it done.  Also, the change is hard to get used to.  After I called Elder Hanson and talked to him, I felt better.

My apartment crew. New companion Elder Chinedu (back left).

Elder Chinedu and I are teaching the investigators we already have and are also focusing on finding new ones so we are busy everyday, which I like, but it is hard work.  The best part of the week was yesterday!  I will explain why in a second, but it includes an older guy we came across and started to talk to him.  His name is Thomas Lawson,  I remember Elder Hanson and I talked with him before, but did not contact him again.  This guy is awesome.  He lives in a really small room by himself.  He said he is all alone, no friends, and no family close, but he really loves God and was happy that we came to meet with him.  He came to church yesterday and a member came up and started talking to him with us.  The member, Brother Duncan (I think), went to school with Thomas many, many years ago.  Thomas is 74 and they have not seen each other in 50 years.  As more members came in for church, he met 2 others that he went to school with.  Thomas was in tears and thanked us over and over again.  Although it was not us, it is The Man Upstairs. :)

We had to wait around after church until 2 for a baptism for the other Elders.  It was a 3 hour wait since we have church at 8 am.  I fell asleep on the chairs in a room while others talked to each other.

Elder Bay (came out on the mission the same time as me) trying to be cool

This week will be long and tough but that is how the mission is :)

Elder Johnson

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Transfer Day - October 12, 2015

 Elder Hanson (my Trainer) handing me my "diploma."  I will miss that guy.

Elder Holmgren - love this guy. We were not in the same zone, but he emailed at the same place. He is in the group going home today and will be attending Utah state

 Elder Thipe is also going home. He was my first zone leader.

Elder Johnson, Elder Hanson and Johnson - Elder Hanson is not smiling.  For what reason I don't know. Maybe he is sad to be leaving his first area! LOL

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Short Letter, But Alive And Well

What to write, what to write.......

This week was full of the same ol same ol.  A lot more walking around than compared to the past weeks, but that is OK, it keeps me skinny ;)

Nothing really interesting happened that I can remember at least... I am thinking about throwing my alarm clock out the window because Muslims pray and use a microphone with speakers to do it at 4 am. There really are no sound laws here.  You can play music as loud as you want... sadly.

Elders Johnson and Hanson's desks/study area

Most of the days were just filled with walking around. Appointments would fall through, so we would have a couple hours until our next appointment.  We visit less actives and other investigators and have a small lessons with them if it is possible. We have a few great investigators right now.  The only issue is getting them to church. One is a guy named Albert, 48 years old, stopped us on the street and asked us to teach him because he wants to join the church. He has a drinking problem, so we have addressed that. Second, James, 50 or so, tv repairman, notices all these things with other churches that he knows is not right.  He is progressing fast and loves all that we are teaching, but getting them to church is hard.

Elders Johnson and Hanson
I am really sad that we do not get to see General Conference.  Elder Hanson and I really wanted to know who the new apostles are.  Only 4 weeks until we get the re-broadcast in church. -__-  Also, Saturday is transfer news once again, Elder Hanson can get transferred, but I hope he doesn't. I am not in the clear either, but the chances of me leaving now is about 2%, which I am okay with.

Sorry for the short letter,  My time is short today, but I am still alive and doing well.

Have a good week!
Elder Johnson

Monday, September 28, 2015

In God's Time

Another week has come and gone. Pretty crazy stuff.

This past week has been good but nuts, and I am happy it is over.  My favorite day was by far Tuesday because it is the day for District meeting. Guess who got to instruct?! Elder Hanson and I. We were left to talk about our own topic from "Preach my Gospel."  After much thought, we decided to talk about the Book of Mormon. Elder Hanson took the first 30 minutes to speak about how it can help investigators. I loved his instruction. Being missionaries we are not salesman trying to sell someone our religion, although that is what non-members think.  Our role as missionaries is to be guides and to teach the people. All we ask is that they read and pray. As they read and pray it shows Heavenly Father that you are taking that step of faith.  When you pray, you will receive an answer from the the Holy Ghost - in God's time.  The issue we run into is that investigators think they will have a vision or an angel will come to them. While that would be great, that is not how it works. The Book of Mormon is key.  We read in the introduction that when you know the Book of Mormon is true, everything else is true with it.  Elder Hanson also touched on how the Book of Mormon answers questions and fills things in that the Bible does not make clear - if you will.  Some say we do not believe in the Bible, but we do!

Elders Honkpe, Johnson and Hanson

After his 30 minutes, I took 45 minutes (whoops) on teaching how the Book of Mormon helps us as individuals.  In my personal study on Tuesday morning, I decided that we would read some verses in Helaman about Nephi and Lehi and identifying characteristics that made them effective missionaries that we should develop and do as well.  My point in that was to show how the Book of Mormon relates to us in our lives. Everyday I wonder why people make fun of it. Oh well. Then I had each of them share their favorite verse that has helped motivate them in life or on their mission.  That was the BEST.  After District meeting all 6 of us went to Qugais to chop some fufu,  It was Elder Moore's first time,  It was SO FUNNY, but we love him still :P

Elders Honkpe, Johnson and Hanson

The rest of the week was just walking and teaching, as well as eating.  After being out for 2 months, I crave Ghanaian food.  On Wednesday one of the recent converts fed us, "Bonku" mmmmmmmmm yummmy. (look it up) As to answer for the subject line....... a lot of crazy changes happened for temporary. On Friday, Elder Hanson, Elder Honkpe (Elder Bleh's companion) and I went out together for the day.  Elder Bleh joined Elder Pohahau and Moore.  At about 4:30 Elder Hanson received a phone call form Elder Bleh. Elder Hanson walked to myself and Elder Honkpe and said "transfer news" (which should not happen for 2 weeks). Long story short, we went back to the apartment right away because Elder Honkpe would be companions with Elder Pohahau. And Elder Moore would be with Elder Bleh. Just as we were getting acquainted with Elder Honkpe (my workout bud).


Elder Honkpe hittin the trail

As of yesterday Elder Bleh is in a companionship of 3 total with Elder Pohahau and Honkpe. And he moved to their apartment. So Elder Hanson and I are alone. It has been really quiet. Only been a day. In 2 weeks everything will go back to normal. So much change in so little time.... As for this week, only big thing is another wedding on Saturday. Yay!

Elder Johnson

Monday, September 21, 2015

Focused on why I am out here and the missionary purpose

No, it is not Monday. I refuse to admit it to myself that another P-day has come. For some reason my computer says it is September 21? It is only August 21... silly people. Anyways on with the email...

This week has been a week of mixed emotions. I was really happy at the beginning of the week that my first transfer was done. Last Monday we went to the Ward Mission Leader's home for family home evening. They fed us fufu and pineapple.  For those that know me, I can not eat pineapple. I hate the taste of it... back home that is.  Pineapple here is so good!!!  A picture will be attached with Elder Hanson and both Johnsons standing on a trail. That was on the way to the house Monday night.

Elders Hanson, Johnson and Johnson
Tuesday my mood went down a little bit... We had a Zone meeting because a good amount of Elders were being transferred. After which, Elder Hanson, Bleh, and Johnson "squared" went to a chop bar called "Quagis."  It has the best groundnut soup and fufu.  It was a last Quagis visit for Elder Johnson. By Tuesday night I was really depressed because the Ward Leaders had us 4 Elders to the church building for what we call "Last supper" for Elder Johnson. We went around the room giving advice for Elder Johnson.  Elder Hanson and I got teary eyed.  Don't worry, I am still a man. :P

Wednesday was the saddest day for Elder Hanson and I. We escorted Elder Johnson along with his 50 bags (not really, had 4) with Elder Bleh down the hill to get a taxi. And just like that he was gone. Elder Hanson and I both talked about him the rest of the day. The apartment was going to be quiet after he left.... so it was for 8 or so hours... until Elder Bleh's new companion arrived. The first place we met him was at the "red red" stand at dinner time. Elder Hanson and I looked at each other and were scared. He was loud and crazy (Elder Honkpe, the new guy). We both agreed that we will be staying in our room forever.  We were quick to judge, he is a cool guy. We love him, maybe not the things he does but we still love him.

Also Elder Pohahau's new companion is Elder Moore.  He is from Logan, Utah - cool guy.  He has been having a rough time so far, but everyone does for the first couple weeks. I got the opportunity to talk to him last night for over an hour giving him some encouragement.  What is cool is that at the end of his training in December he is going to Liberia! When we talked to him, we refrained from telling him about the juju and the things that happen there :P

Elders ?, Johnson and Pohahau

As time went on after Wednesday, my mood slowly went back up. Thursday we got a new investigator named Albert, really cool guy. The next 3 days were bad.  I did not let them get the best of me. None of our appointments worked out. We still met with people, but none that we planned for. On Saturday we walked an hour to meet with a girl named Ester.  We got there annnnddd she was not there. Her friend, also named Ester, was with us, so we escorted her back home. Turns out her mom was having a rough day and told us that she is "losing faith."  She did not tell us why, but I asked if we can share scriptures with her.  Of course she agreed.  She lit up after we were done, which I was happy to see. The rest of the day we just wandered and tried to meet with people.  It was a hard, hard hard day.

Yesterday was good. It was stake conference, so all the wards and branches met together. Our mission president and his wife spoke.  It was awesome. After an Elder who finished his mission on Wednesday came and asked us to talk to his parent's driver (they are from Texas).  Their driver came to the conference and loved it, so we had the privilege to speak to him.  We then went home, did our studies and planned to meet with the investigator Ester again.  We called her, she said she would be there.... walked an hour... and she was not there again.  I have not been that angry in months.  I kept it in, and let it roll off my back and just went to meet with some others. Turned out to be really good.

The parents of the Elder that finished his mission took this picture and sent it to my family.

Elder Hanson celebrating 6 months with cookies and chocolate soy milk!

Today was just washing in a bucket again and deep cleaning the apartment. I cleaned the kitchen.. it was gross. I went the extra mile and mopped the floor. Even more gross. But all in all, missions are hard and test your patience.  I am just focused on why I am out here and the missionary purpose.

Hope to hear from some of you,

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I am so happy I made the decision to come on a mission

Good morning my American people!
As you may have noticed, it is Monday, again.  Last night while walking home, I mentioned something to Elder Hanson.  Most people do not like Mondays.  I know that I did not when I was in school, but now Monday's are my favorite!

When I signed onto my email, there were 2 emails that I loved in particular. In the emails it announced some mission calls.  Since ladies go first, Natalie Winkel is going to the Netherlands/ Belgium mission in January.  Then my best friend whom I have known about half my life, Noah Leavitt, will be going to North Carolina - also in January. I can not express how excited I am for them.  Missions are hard, but AWESOME!
Sad to announce, the other Elder Johnson is being transferred out of our area into another.  He has been a great help to me through his humor.  Elder Hanson and Elder Johnson are really good at improv.  I have gotten some HILARIOUS videos and watch them when I feel down.  One that they did on Friday night was talking like old men.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.  I am sad he is leaving, but on the on the bright side, we are getting a Ghanaian in our apartment.  For our transfer news, we got together as a district on Saturday night to have some dinner - cookies (packaged), and soda. Elder Hanson and I were of course very late.  When the District Leader and his companion called us when they arrived at the apartment, we were a hour walk plus away.  I am going to miss Elder Johnson and Elder 'Atu' Ake, they are so funny.  But, Elder Atu's companion Elder Pohahau is pregnant!  That is mission talk for, he is training and will not receive his son until Wednesday. Also we got to watch "Meet the Mormons" that night as well.
On Sunday at church we had a "Missionary Sunday."  All 4 of us Elders and our Ward Mission Leader were in charge of everything. Elder Hanson and Johnson gave talks in Sacrament meeting, We sang a special hymn,  I had a solo - scary stuff.  Then I had to teach Gospel Principles class, which was actually not bad since I was prepared and well.. I teach people everyday.  We were all exhausted.  I decided to lay down for 10 minutes.  It turned into a much needed hour nap.  On Saturday we had church building cleaning  -_-  We have to do it every Saturday every other month. It actually is not that bad, just have to get up earlier to do it.
I'll just close my eyes for a few....
I do not remember much of what happened this past week, and I do not have my planner to refer back to, but I learned a couple good lessons this week.  One is doing things with a happy heart and without complaining.  On Thursday after our weekly planning session (about 10am-1pm) we had a phone call from our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Moore, asking us to go get a manual for Sunday, which was not bad until he told us were we had to go - Palmlands to a members house.  It is a 70 minute walk to get there alone. Which meant we would be waiting almost 3 hours more until we had lunch (planned to eat out with Elder Johnson to eat fu fu). In my mind, I wanted to complain, say no, but it would make things miserable.  The other lesson is to keep going even when you want to stop.  Last night we had planned to just walk around and go see members of the church.  After our first lesson, the power went out in the city (usually does randomly) and then it started to rain.  It was getting late, I wanted to just head back home, but my companion told me we were going to meet with Kingsley.  So, we walked to his house.  He was not home.  Surely we were going to go back home now... NOPE.  We ended up going to see Jon, who I mentioned before is really sick and weak.  When I first met him, I had tears in my eyes, and was humbled.  Him and his mom love when we come to share a message with him.  Jon told us, when we walked in, he feels stronger, has energy to talk and read.  I love that guy.  
I am so happy I made the decision to come on a mission.  I have learned so much already. My testimony of the church has grown so much stronger.  Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. so so so so important,. as well as scripture study.  I thought one hour of personal study in the morning was too much to study the scriptures.  Now it is just too short. So much to learn in these two years. Hope I can learn all I need to :)
 Until Next week,

 Elder Johnson