Elder and Kids

Elder and Kids

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

Monday, September 7, 2015


Another Monday has come!

It was a long, but a very short week.  First, I am coming to the end of my first transfer at the end of this week, I am very happy about it.  For those that don't know a transfer is ever 6 weeks. So adding to the 2 weeks at the M.T.C, I've been out almost 2 months. CRAZY!

Elders Johnson, Hanson and Johnson

We had 2 more baptisms on Saturday, which kept us very busy the whole week. Mainly because there were more lessons we had to teach Franklin and King before baptism.  King is 17, he comes from a part member family. His brother, Angelo, returned from his mission about 6 months ago.  King has left a huge impact on me.  He goes to school in Accra (4 hours from here) and came back for a 5 week break in which he wanted to be taught to be baptized before returning to school this week. He has read the Book of Mormon twice while in school last year and had a powerful testimony even before being a member. Also, he is a really good soccer player.  Last year he traveled to Ireland and England for soccer. Franklin is 28 and a really awesome guy.  A funny thing about him is that he wanted to learn an American handshake.  People here shake hands very lose, then you snap your middle finger on the other persons.. it was weird getting used to.

On Wednesday we went on a last minute exchange. Elder Johnson's companion was sick for a few days and Elder J was tired of being in the apartment all day.  So we got permission for him to come with me, which was great because people were freaked out we had the same name.  It was my first time leading in the area and it was great.  While walking to our area, Elder J took me on a detour and showed me a monkey.  Bigggggg monkey.

Thursday was a normal day other than weekly planning, which takes 3 hours -_-   Elder Hanson and I are trying to be more detailed in planning so we do not do much planning wise the other days.  As for Friday, it was our "combined district meeting",  Basically the Zone Leaders that are over the districts go over things the President wanted us to know.  After which, I went on another exchange with my district leader, Elder 'Atu' Ake,  Really cool guy.  He came to my area for the rest of the day. When we were walking to meet up with my comp and his comp, he gave me a great "review".  I was told that I am a powerful at teaching lessons, and am doing very very good for being new. Also, that I am AP material for sure later in my mission (assistant to president) But I'm not letting it get to my head.

Saturday was a long long long day.  I failed to realize that I ran out of food and had nothing to eat for breakfast.  There was a wedding we were going to at the church building at noon, so I pushed until then.  The wedding did not start until 1 -_-  (African time, you say 6, they show up at 7).  The ceremony lasted 2 and a half hours.  Let's just say the only thing I ate was bread at 4 o'clock.  Elder Hanson and I went back to the reception after 4 after we tried to go see some people.  They were just about to serve food when a member came to use and introduced us to a friend who wanted to know more.  So we ended up teaching and missing all the food.  But, it was worth it to see the guy's smile at the end of the lesson.

Fast Sunday was great for the most part.  Fasting was hard just because all I ate Saturday was some bread.  But, walking home from meeting with a investigator, we met up again with Daniel.  Daniel was my first street contact on mission a month ago,  We have a meeting with him on Wednesday :)

I have seen many small miracles because of our hard work and obedience to all the rules.  Earlier in my life I thought all miracles will be so plainly obvious to you.  But, found that for the most part they are not.  They are small and can be easily missed, and we have to sit back and see the Lords hand in our lives.  I have grown closer to my Father in Heaven and I know he is there.  Something I look back on is people making fun of missionaries at my school.  I regret not standing up for missionary work and the church in general.  I was a terrible example of what I knew to be true.

Until next week.

Elder Johnson

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weeks are like days and months are like weeks

Moma Akye!!

First thing, I am really freaked out about how fast the weeks have gone by so far. When I woke up on Friday morning, I was sitting on my bed and thought it was Tuesday. So, the statement that I heard that weeks are like days and months are like weeks is true.
Trying to remember all that happened this week.....
1. We finally got rejected by someone! Elder Hanson and I were walking to one of our areas (Essikado) on Friday (??)  A younger man walked by us about 20 or so, came up to me and said, "stop spreading your message."  I thought he said keep spreading it haha.  He told my comp the same thing but included the word bull ___.  He quickly walked away but that was the first time for me to be rejected.  And for Elder Hanson as well  :P
2. The baptism.... STRESSFUL.  We received a call from the Bishop on Saturday morning and he said the font is being taken care of.  We had our program set.  Elder Hanson said it was so smooth that morning that he was expecting something to go wrong and he was right.  On our way to Sister Dina's house, who was getting baptized, the other Elder Johnson called at 3:00 and said the font was empty and water was not working.  We rushed over there with some buckets.  To get to the water there was a hatch outside the building underground.  The Bishop stayed on the ladder filling buckets while Elder Johnson, Hanson, and I would run the buckets to fill the font as much as possible before the start of the service at 5.  It took forever.  So ya... that wasn't fun.  We have 2 more baptisms on Saturday and if they don't fix the water, I won't be happy!

Dina's baptism on Saurday

Franklin who is getting baptized on September 5th

3. Elder Hanson and I went to Cape Coast on Friday, which is a 2 hour travel.  It was a follow up training meeting for those in my MTC group since it was the end of our 4th week in the field.  It was great to see my friends.  When everyone was arriving, all you heard is ELDER ____ followed by a hug.  Seeing how much everyone's attitude has changed is amazing.  Those that were scared and wanted to leave,  love there area.  One person from the MTC, Elder Nelson is up in the "bush" in a town that is the farthest from Cape Coast, about 6 hours.  He told a story of him and his companion killing a cobra and eating it.  The only place I want to serve is in the bush.  From what I heard, you only do service.  And it is farming, not like back home though.  But, my area is the best out of every where else though. :P

4. Elder Hanson took me to a really nice place for lunch today.  It was a Best Western Plus hotel on the coast.  It is called Atlantic Hotel Takoradi, if you want to look it up.  When I walked in, it was like a different world. The food was great and the bathrooms were the best :)  It cost 70 cedes for me, but it was worth it.  The great thing about my area is that it is very poor and such, but within a 20 minute drive you can be at a nice hotel.

Atlantic Hotel Takoradi with REAL bathrooms

Atlantic Hotel Takoradi

In the mornings I have a hard time - thinking about home.  Once we get out I'm totally fine.  What I came to the conclusion to is that I'm never going home.  I'll be here forever, which the Elders in the apartment said I would get to that point before the end of my second transfer.  So, they were surprised when I said this morning that I have just admitted to myself Africa is my home forever.

My district

Our Ward Mission Leader, Vincent.  He served his mission in Nigeria.

When we get home, you can find me in a manual studying and taking notes. Also, I bought 2 notebooks, one regular size and the other a pocket size.  In the small one I have three sections, one is for lesson scriptures I like to use, my favorite scriptures and with what it is about.  And the other is what I need to study and do better on as a missionary.  A very stress free part of the day is while eating dinner we all talk for a long period of time.  Make jokes and such.  Elder Johnson the older is so funny.  I have a lot of videos of Elder Johnson and Hanson.  Some, they are fighting about Disneyland. Another is them lip syncing to "We Are The World".  I'm excited to show them when I get home.

Sweating just a little after a morning run with Elder Hanson

People here ask really random questions. Questions that are really, really deep doctrine like, if God had blood and if sin existed before Adam and Eve  - why I have studied so much lol.  Elder Hanson and I want to answer the questions like this, "Does it matter?", but we should not do that.

I'm learning sooooo much here and enjoy it!

Elder Johnson