Elder and Kids

Elder and Kids

Monday, June 12, 2017

And So It Ends

Well, here I am emailing in Ghana for the last time. I think Ghana is sad I am leaving because the weather has been nothing but cloudy and raining with some sun all week. Even right now it is dumping buckets outside.

Thank you too everyone for the last 2 years, reading my emails, writing me, and prayers in my behalf. I am excited to reconnect with everyone upon my return this Friday. This last week in zone conference President Stevenson talked about " Last Sermons". He told us if he has it his way he would not even mention going home but its the Presidents responsibility to prepare the missionaries for a new mission president. Pres Stevenson started with a video of Bruce R. McConkie's final testimony in general conference of April 1985. We went over other examples of final sermons like Paul in the new testament, King Benjamin, Moroni etc. And for all of them talked about the elements in each of them. So I will use this email for my almost final sermon (I count my talk in sacrament meeting a couple weeks tho I will be released already)

It has been quite a journey the last 2 years. Been filled with every emotion that you can think of because missions are just really big scary roller coasters but at the end we are pumped and ready to do it again. Though hard at times I will forever be grateful for this missionary experience. Through it all it has left me with a strong testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. A deeper conversion and a love for my Savior Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ lives and made the greatest and last sacrifice for the sins of us all. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knows me personally and loves me. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that we are in the true church of Jesus Christ. I know that we are being lead today by prophets and apostles that have been called by God. And I know that Jesus Christ has left a path for us to follow and if we follow Him we can live with God again.

I am nervous to come home... but really happy. This country is great and all but God bless America! #Merica

-- Elder Johnson

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fire Week

Hello once again!

You would think after writing so many emails every week my memory of what happened over the week would get better but that is not the case. The week just flew by in the blink of an eye.

As I am coming close to finishing my service as a full- time missionary the thoughts have come that have been saying "I am not a good missionary" or "You have not done enough".  As the thoughts have come I first thought, those are thoughts that are coming from down below not above. Second, I have thought about the hours I have been out, The copies of The Book of Mormon I have handed out, and the lessons I have taught. Though mistakes have been made through the last two years, I feel I have done all that I can. This week will be my "fire" week :P

My favorite discussion from the week was this past Friday. We met with a less active, Patrick - older man, really nice, a lot of questions, which I like.  Our plan was just to meet with him and introduce him to Elder Sowah and teach from whatever question Patrick asked. Well, it was the one time he had no questions from us.  So I had a prompting to open one of the Jehovah Witness books ( ya... they teach him too...) and when I opened it I stopped on a page and knew this is what we had to teach. The lesson was about "Where do we go when we die, which our beliefs differ from the Jehovah Witnesses' beliefs.

The quote that I will remember for the rest of my life is this... "Preach the Gospel wherever you go and when necessary, open your mouth."  People watch how we act, what we say and our actions so make sure all of that goes a long with the gospel standards.

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Joy and Satisfaction


What a great week it has been! Last week was our transfer week and Elder Momoh has gone and my new companion is Elder Sowah. He is from Ghana and a really chill guy, he knows american talk because he has been to Utah and also has been to London. He even has been accepted into BYU Provo. My mission right now is to make sure he knows the area and the people so he is not left with nothing. What did not help is Elder Sowah was sick on Friday so we have been knocked one day.

The work is going well in the area. We met President Stevenson at the adult session of conference on Saturday and he asked me how the ward is doing. My response was that it is not so great but small small. He told me "Work harder so next time I ask you tell me it is great". So I am working harderererer so when we have zone conference next week I can tell him it is great haha.

The adventures of mission are continuing. I am really thankful I am able to be apart of this service because there is nothing that has brought me more joy and satisfaction at the end of the day than being a full time missionary.

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Last Transfer


Well another week has come and gone I guess. Today is the start of my last transfer... flip. Usually they are 6 weeks but I drew the lucky stick and go home on the transfer they had to cut in half. Four out of my 9 (soon to be 10 cuz Elder Momoh is getting transferred Wednesday) are going home this week. Again... Flip.

Elder Momoh and I have put some good work in this last week. Our focus right now is more on the strengthening the members in the ward. But we do have 2 people we will baptize next Saturday. My plan for my last companion is to walk him on his first day in the area to the farthest village in the area which is about an hour walk :D HE WILL LOVE ME!!!!

On Tuesday Elder Harward instructed on something very cool, we discussed how do we know if we have been a successful missionary. Yesterday was a good day! The Anzie family invited us 4 over to their house. Had some sweet fufu with groundnut soup and had some time chatting and laughing.

" The Gospel of Jesus Christ opens the path to what we may become"

Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, May 15, 2017



I am really out of many words to email to all of you. Everything is going well in Abakrampa! Elder Momoh and I are teaching quite a few people right now. We have 3 people to be baptized, 2 on the 27th of May and hopefully the other on June 10th. Alive and well!

The rest I wanted to share a talk called, "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson from April 1989.

"The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that the Book of Mormon is the “record of a fallen people.” (D&C 20:9.) Why did they fall? This is one of the major messages of the Book of Mormon. Mormon gives the answer in the closing chapters of the book in these words: “Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction.” (Moro. 8:27.) And then, lest we miss that momentous Book of Mormon message from that fallen people, the Lord warns us in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 38:39.)

"Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. (See Mosiah 3:11; 3 Ne. 6:18.) In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby. (See 2 Ne. 4:15; Mosiah 1:3–7; Alma 5:61.)

Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.

Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.” As Paul said, they “seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” (Philip. 2:21.)

"Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them." (See Hel. 6:17; D&C 58:41.)

The proud stand more in fear of men’s judgment than of God’s judgment. (See D&C 3:6–7; D&C 30:1–2; D&C 60:2.) “What will men think of me?” weighs heavier than “What will God think of me?”

Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See 2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.

Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride.

Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away. It also drives many of our family members away. Contention ranges from a hostile spoken word to worldwide conflicts. The scriptures tell us that “only by pride cometh contention.” (Prov. 13:10; see also Prov. 28:25.)

Think of the tens of thousands of additional young men and couples who could be on missions except for the pride that keeps them from yielding their hearts unto God. (See Alma 10:6; Hel. 3:34–35.)

Think how temple work would increase if the time spent in this godly service were more important than the many prideful pursuits that compete for our time.


Elder Johnson

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Reason Missionaries Are So Happy....

Hello friends and family!

Another week has gone by and my how it has flown. We had a pretty good week!

Tuesday was the day we walked A LOT! There are investigators and some less actives in the villages around ABK so he villages are where we headed. We were able to meet with Brother George and his family in "Mpredu". They are a less active family and my how I hope they can get back to church. The blessings are right there waiting for them!!! After that village we walked another hour to "Asemase" to see a member family, the Anzies. Brother Anzie has not been able to come to church due to a leg issue.

Thursday was sweet because we got to go farming for a member in Elder Harward and Elder Tupola area, Asebu. We farmed for the famous Auntie Alice as a district and it was... funny. She is old and kinda of out of it, we love her though. Famous quote of the day is " I want you to go get the wood from the sticks" -- Auntie Alice. Her food has gotten whole districts of missionaries sick so we are grateful there are bushes around. Elder Tupola still got a little stomach problem.

Friday was our zone conference! It was legendary because the Zone leaders organized to get a good discount on little individual pizzas. It was nice to have a change from the usual rice and chicken. The Zone conference was about "Member/ Less active/ Recent convert visits" and President Stevenson instructed on "Working with Stake and Ward Leaders". President can instruct on how to grow our grass and I would still be interested in what he is saying. Very good teacher and I always leave a conference with him feeling great.

Yamoransa Zone Conference - the Guy in The Purple Tie

Special treat for the zone meeting

Who is that guy in the purple tie totally focused on his pizza??

Sunday our branch was made to be a ward! It is very exciting news for the members around. Sad though the Bishop was called and no counselors called yet. It will help the members and the ward council to step up their game. Plus instead of the whole meeting not being in English, half of it was this time!

"The reason the missionaries are so happy is because they have lost themselves in the work and focus on others and not themselves"

-- Elder Johnson

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Wonderful Week

Hello friends and family!

I hope you all had a wonderful week because I sure did! There were some really fun things that we were able to do this last week.

Elder Johnson and Elder Momoh

Elder Momoh and I have been working with the investigators that are being prepared for baptism. We have 5 scheduled for May 13th but there may be a few that will be pushed back. One of those with a baptism date is Richard. He is good friends with the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency, Brother Ankrumah. Richard has been coming to church for a month or so. He and Brother Ankrumah work on a rice farm. Our next task is finding and bringing back the many less actives in the branch. Fun stuff... people saying they will come back when the branch president is released.. others saying the church does not care about them... funniest one is a lady who had a baby and left the church (so called) because when she had a baby the church did not help her but they did... oh people.

Something cool that we were able to do this last Thursday was farming for a lady named Grace. She is in the Abura- Dunkwa branch but the Elders in that branch are in our district and they invited us to come. Our whole district went and we met at Sister Graces at 9 am. It was an hour walk through the bush trails of West Africa (sounds cool.. haha) to finally arrive in her farm. The job for the day was to harvest Coco. It took some hours. She fed us boiled cassava and plaintain with kontombre stew for lunch. I walked back to her house with a big metal basin of palm nuts on my head.

I learned a lot this week but here are 2 things. First, in our area we have Abakrampa where we live it is a small town.. I say village. Then we have 6 villages farther out surrounding us. I love my last area....... if only I can grow a beard. Second, when you tell a member in ABK that you want to try her fufu and light soup she will actually prepare it for you the next day. The family called us at 8:30pm the next day and brought it to our apartment. Did not eat it that night though.... ball of carbs.

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy To Be Alive


Friends and family I can say today that I am happy to be alive. Transport is a little crazy around here with the one lane "highways". There were 2 close calls when I was on the tro going on transfers. But its fine, I am here ;)

I have to say that being in my last area is very very weird. Of course my time left it stays in the back of my brain but when my companion tells the members " Elder Johnson will only be here for ____ weeks". Mission time just goes at the end like nothing. My new area is sweet and everything I wished for in my "last area" wish. Out in the middle of no where, very secluded, no english really, and serve in a branch. Abakrampa is going up north to Assin Foso (2nd area) but you take a left on some little road and go for 20 minutes or so.

Elder Momoh is the most American Nigerian I have met on my mission. He was trained by an American with 2 other Americans in the apartment (all of them are truck drivin, boot wearin, gun shootin, rednecks). After he was trained another 3 Americans and now me. He will be 1 year on mission when June comes around. Sadly this is his 4th transfer so president will either send him away and leave me with a new comp for 3 weeks or put us in a 3 some. The other 2 that are with us in the house is Elder Harward and Elder Tupola. Our house is so sweet... its really really small... in a little gated compound with other small places. The landlord is already on my nerves.

No teaching has been done since I came on Wednesday because of the Easter season. When any holiday comes around its not easy to meet with investigators. So since I have been here we have just been seeing members. Sadly, the branch has close to 150 or so less actives. From what my companion said the branch president is not very helpful in missionary work. My biggest headache as a missionary is leaders that do not help us.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 10, 2017

Goodbye Takoradi, Hello Yamoransa

Hello friends and family!!

Well the time has come for me to leave Takoradi zone and go back to my old zone, Yamoransa, Abakrampa, as we say "once a yamo always a yamo". But I have been released as a zone leader and will be with Elder Momoh from Nigeria. He has been on mission about 8 months. Also I will be serving in my first branch!!  And I will be out of the city.   President Stevenson knew how I wanted to finish my mission because the Assistants knew from a conversation I had with one a couple months ago.

The week was full of meetings and one exchange. Wednesday we went to what I did not know to be my last MLC ever. The major topic of discussion was how we do our transfer news on Saturdays. After much discussion it was decided to no longer tell the missionary where they are going or their new companion until they get to Cape Coast the Wednesday to the following Saturday. All we will say is if the missionary is going and what station to be at. I know where I am going because President Stevenson called me to inform me of my release.

Thursday night I left to Apowa with Elder Jones for an exchange. The tro ride there was the longest 20 minutes of my life because some lady liked to talk to loud. But Friday was a nice day with Elder Jones. I did a baptism interview for him as well and was my first time to not give the go ahead for the baptism. It is very important for us to have the understanding of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Without the true understanding of them we can not have true faith that leads to power and salvation. Friday night we held a meeting with the District and the Sister training leaders. These sisters drive me nuts. Happy to be going to a brethren zone with no sisters :)

Saturday we went nice and early to go and help Sister McCarthy with food prep for the wedding in the Chapel Hill ward. We then dressed and went to the wedding. It was nice, reminded me that I really want to get married haha. Then Saturday evening I found out that I am going.

Sunday it was sweet! My departing testimony. And then some nice food with other Elders at the McCarthy home. As we were about to leave it started pouring down rain. Wind was blowing and thunder was rolling. We ended up helping people that had water flooding into their rooms. Then got home and found I left the window open in my room so my sheets, pillow, and mattress were wet.

All in all a good week! Love you all!!

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Gospel Just Comes Up


Weeks just keep going on and on and on and on. P-days are coming by in the blink of an eye as of late. Maybe because I have been out long enough that emailing is just not as exciting as it used to be.

We have been focusing on the investigators that have a baptismal date a lot to get them prepared for their hopeful baptism in a month. The most progressing one is still Odalee. She comes to church every week and is happy when we come around (some people run away). Odalee is a really slow learner though so we are being basic and using pictures. Elder Robert and I struggle with the 2 members that we use to translate and to help us with Odalee. They say part of what we say then will explain things in another way and tell us " I am putting it in a way to help her understand."  Funny part is when Elder Robert and I teach her again a couple days later she remembers nothing of what they said. She only remembers the small parts Elder Robert and I had a teaching influence. #Spiritfordays. Lisa is progressing more then she was some time ago. Hard to be able to see her the last couple weeks. Elizabeth just straight avoids us most of the time..... one part of me says just forget about her but the other part says to keep trying.

A cool thing that happened during the week is we found someone that used to be a buddhist! Why is this cool Elder Johnson? Well let me explain! There has not been a buddhist that I have met since being here since it is not common. His name is Daniel, works at the gym Elder Robert and I go to. I have met some sweet people at the gym and had some nice conversations. Was not anything that I forced for it to go in a gospel direction but when they ask " How long have you been in Ghana" or " what are you doing in Ghana?" the gospel just comes up. :)

Last week's family home evening the refreshments were pizza and vanilla ice cream waffle cones! Do you all know how long it has been since I have had a waffle cone? LONG TIME! Need to get one of the chocolate dipped ones with sprinkles from Cold Stone.. :) The FHE was with _____ family. I know them as Brother Rodney and Sister Sarah, they own a nice hotel close to our apartment. Brother Rodney lived in New York for 12 years so I asked him how the pizza is here compared to New York pizza. He said Ghana pizza does not even come close :P

I love you all. Have a great week!

- - Elder Johnson

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Most Important Reason

Good afternoon!

Another week has gone by fairly quickly for me and what a good week it was. A awesome district meeting on Tuesday started things off really great. Elder Taleni, our District leader, led a discussion to us in the district. 1) What did we do physically to prepare for mission 2) What did we do spiritually to prepare for our mission 3) What motivated us to come on mission 4) What are things that are nice to do on mission but are not to important, what should we do on mission, what do we need to do on mission. I loved the discussion because I remembered things that happened before my mission and sacrifices on my part and also on my families part. President Stevenson on our first day he drew a x,y graph on a board and asked us our reasons for coming on our mission and put them from least important reason to most important on the x axis and on the y axis put our level of dedication of obedience. At the end he told us he does not care so much why we came but only cares that it goes from whatever reason to the most important reason which is that we love Heavenly father and Jesus Christ.

Wednesday we spent another day in New Takoradi planting seeds and trying to follow up with people we have met previous. We had a member with us and he showed us to friends of his throughout the day. Elder Robert and I gained 2 new investigators in that day. For sure a really good day. To end the day we went to the Tanokrom Sisters missionary devotional. It always seems like we beg and beg and beg members to do what they should be doing without us begging them, missionary work. Talk to your friends about the gospel. Invite them to church. Thats all we ask. Thursday was just bounced appointments all day.

Friday I had my annual interview with President Stevenson. He mentioned about my face being on a mug back home.. I started laughing and said " How did you know about that?"... Guess President is friends with my parents on Facebook. We talked a little about the zone and some problems I am facing. I love my mission president so much and will really miss him when I go home. I also put it in there about how much I would love to stay in my area until the end of my mission. Would send Elder Robert home next transfer and then have 3 weeks with a new companion. My odds are fairly good to stay here :) Friday night was really really good!!!! My companion went to Kweikuma to go with the Sekondi district leader and I stayed to be with Elder Taylor. He is from Lehi, Utah and is 6 weeks younger then me on mission. We went to Paragon for dinner with Elder Taleni and Elder Riding. We each bought a cheeseburger with fries then shared a pizza (2 slices each). Although it was good food it will never come close to tasting as nice as American burgers/ fries/ and pizza. 

Saturday was a really short day because we had the adult session of stake conference to attend from 12-2. It was a really sweet session! President Stevenson laid it down like usual, dropped the mic and then sat down haha. Elder Nash also attended this weekend! He is the 1st counselor of the Africa west area presidency. After the session I organized some of the Elders to go to lunch at "God is love" chop bar. It ended up being way to overpriced so we left and went to bocadillos instead. Had more pizza and a milkshake (tasted like garbage). At the end of the exchange Elder Robert and I went to the gym and I ran on the treadmill to burn off the junk food.

Stake Conference

Sunday was a great session of conference. I failed to bring my notebook to church so my memory of what was spoken on is good now but I know later it may dim. Elder Nash spoke on faith and added the 2,000 stripling warriors and their mothers. The talk was ssswweeeettttttttttttt. Just so happened today that was the spot I was left at in my Book of Mormon reading.

Stake Patriarch, Stake Presidency 2nd Counselor, Elder Nash, Stake President, Stake Presidency 1st Counselor

Everything in summary is going well. I have not had a baptism in 3 months which is not normal from the others months of my mission. We do have 2 people that are being prepared for the 22nd of April.

Have a great week,

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 6, 2017

New Takoradi

Hello friends and family!

Everything is going well over here in good ol Ghana. I am having 2 problems right now.. 1.. The sun is really hot right now which makes the hours of 11 am-3pm pretty difficult. Second, my companion likes to remind everyone around him "I am going home!"  March to May is not that long but still he has 3 months... his bags are even packed. Makes it worse when I go home 3 weeks after him (trying to keep focused over here my friend). Rant over.

On Tuesday we held a zone meeting because of the missionaries getting transferred. There was 8 out of the 27 that were getting transferred out of the zone. Since we were doing well on time I opened it up for the other missionaries to bear their testimony. You would think they would all be happy to share their testimony but nooooooo. After I told them why they did it they stopped their conversations and we had some that got up to bear their testimonies. Ended up being a decent meeting.

First main event last week was our transfers that happened on Wednesday. Everything went smooth other then our little problem with the tro driver that was supposed to be taking the missionaries. He decided it would be a good idea to go and take a couple drinks that morning just before he came. Not calling him to drive us ever again :).

Elder Robert and I decided it was time for us to start going to another part of our area that we have not been going to, New Takoradi. It is a 10 minute or so tro ride to get their. It is not in the city where we usually are which is really nice. It is a quiet community close to the ocean. We got off the tro on Thursday to a place neither of us have been to and had no idea where to go. So we decided to start walking and talking to people. There was a shop we stopped at to talk to a older women that was the owner and she seemed interested. At the end Elder Robert asked if she knew anyone that would be interested in our message and she took us behind the shop to a seamstress shop to a lady named Martha. We taught her on Saturday and it went pretty well so we will see what happens!

We have 4 people with the 25th of March as a baptism date. From the looks of how they are progressing only one will make that date. Its weird going a transfer without any baptisms for me because there is usually someone. Elder Robert and I are working and hope that we are able to do some good in the Takoradi ward. Speaking of baptisms we did attend a baptism service for the East Tanokrom ward sisters ( Sister Tembo, Muyengwa, Kundundu, and Sekgetho). The baptism service was a nice way to prepare for the sabbath day!

I had a really good day yesterday being fast Sunday. It is usually difficult to fast as well as walk in the sun and do what we do on Sunday's. Turned out to be a really spiritually refreshing day for me which I enjoyed a lot. Good I had that refresh because this week... MLC tomorrow with Elder Stanfill of the seventy... Member of the area presidency is coming for a combined zone conference on Thursday.. and back to Cape coast on Friday for our finish strong meeting. Yipeee!

Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

had pictures... forgot my camera. Sorry mom!

Monday, February 27, 2017

More Handsome and Manly


Another week has come and gone and I am still alive but a little more handsome now with my haircut from today. My hair has gotten really curly lately.

First thing is that we had transfer news on Saturday evening and I am really excited for things to come this transfer. There is some really sweet missionaries coming to Takoradi zone. Elder Maumau, the missionary I trained, is coming to serve in the same ward as me! My hope was to serve around him again before I leave for home. Elder Taleni is going to help me make a "Welcome sign" for Elder Maumau. FATHER AND SON REUNITE!

The best part of the week that I will never forget is Thursday night. We just got finished doing a get to know you type lesson with someone that was referred to us by a member. The member is a young women named Mary. She helps us out a lot and causes me pain by hitting or pinching me. After the lesson still sitting with the man on the road side another guy named Muhammad came up to us. He wanted to ask us questions about the Book of Mormon which was sweet but I knew the direction he wanted to take it. He turned it into a "trying to prove that Mormon was not a prophet and the Book of Mormon is false" discussion. He was asking things like " Did Mormon meet Jesus Christ?, " What were his qualities to be a prophet?", "Why did he write scripture even though other prophets in the bible wrote scriptures, etc etc. We could answer each question that he gave us but he was not listening and was shouting to bring people to come around.. and they did. My companion got angry while talking to him so I cut in as much as possible to keep my companion calmer. Funny thing was that he said things as a Christian but then towards the end changed things to his muslim beliefs. Yes, there are people with big speakers and microphones that sing and preach about Christ and that's what they do for money. What his kind of people do is preach and say the weirdest things and wait for people to come and say something so they can bash with them.

Friday my companion and I went to a area about 45 minutes away to do a baptismal interview for Elder Jones and Nelson in Apowa. Her name was Sandra and the interview went well. As I do more and more interviews I think I am doing better in having it be more of a conversation then questioning people. After the interview we went to Sister Evelyns Nigerian chop bar to have some beans porridge. Nigerian food is so good and its nice to have a Nigerian companion to teach me how to prepare certain foods :)

Yesterday we had our ward conference and I and my companion were part of the ward choir. We both were singing bass (since I am more manly now haha). There were choir members that came to one practice then showed up to perform yesterday and then those that prepared and performed. Due to those that were not serious about it were were all of tune and did not do so well. My analogy out of this is that if we are not prepared for things in life and don't take time to learn then when the test comes, we will choke and be out of tune. But if we prepare and learn very well then when the test comes we will do well and have nothing to be worried about. This life is a time to prepare to meet God. Let us us this time wisely because at the last day " We will not be saved in ignorance."

Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 20, 2017

Strengthening Members and Less Actives


Missionary work here in the good old Takoradi is moving forward. Not as fast forward as other parts of the mission but we are managing. More of our attention is going to strengthening members and finding less actives and that seems to be harder then bringing new people in. This ward is a special ward so I hope when transfer news comes this Saturday I will not be transferred.

On Tuesday we had our "Valentines Day" district meeting! It was nice for 8/10 members of the district. Due to Elder Taleni and I cutting back on certain things we could not partake of the treats we brought. The instruction was sweet! We did a scripture chase and I was the one leading it so I did not get to participate. Then Wednesday morning President was around to do our interviews with each and every member of the Takoradi zone (27 missionaries). Sister Stevenson talked with us about food and safety.. I need to change a few things I do I guess, like bleach my eggs???

Our ward has their conference this Sunday so a choir has been practicing and I and my companion take part in it. Since I am a man now I am singing bass... lets just say I will leave the music stuff to my brother and younger sisters.

Elder Robert and I walk in the sun and use all our energy and then crash in the evening. With that effort it was sweet to have 2 investigators and one person we has a gospel conversation with a couple weeks ago come to church! One of them is a recent converts daughter, Lisa. We have been working with her for 4.5 months now and it is a slow progression but its better then nothing. She seems to be doing really well now a days. After church we went to a members and she made my stomach explode with waakye and noodles ( rice/beans with stew).

Everything is going really well right now and am enjoying every moment here :)

Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happiness of the Gospel

Hello friends and family!

Well it is perfect napping weather right now with the cloudy skies, rain, and the cold wind. Too bad I can not nap. My exhaustion level is high at this point in my mission as well as for my companion so if we are sitting doing nothing for a few minutes both of us will have fallen asleep. #missionprobs

It was an eventful week for us but at the same time a really good week. A lot better then the last few weeks have been. On Wednesday Elder Zohner came on exchange with me and Elder Robert to be with Elder Taleni.  Elder Zohner is my best bud on mission hands down so it was nice to be with him for the day. Thursday is what I called our "problem fixing day". Elder Robert and I got a message from a Elder in the zone saying that his companion was really angry at him and the Elder did not know why. His companion was not going out and was not talking to him. With that type of situation Elder Robert and I went quickly to that apartment. And everything is good now. Shortly after returning we met with the Elders that serve in the same ward as us to fix their problem. This one they accidentally offended a old fante woman which is not a good thing at all. So Elder Robert and I went to help the situation. Then Friday we spent the day at various medical clinics for a sister missionary in the zone. During the time we were sitting and waiting was prime power nap situations that I took.

Our area was slow moving but now is picking up again which I am very happy about. Walking around the area with no people to teach is discouraging but I am happy to know that their are people in our area that are being prepared in their various ways to hear the message of the restored gospel. Just have to be prayerful and follow the spirit and you will find them. There was some time that I was thinking about things that helped me at the beginning of my mission to help me keep pushing forward... one of those things is the church hymns. Never did I take time before to actually read and understand what is being sung about until my mission. The second was a scripture that is in Mosiah 28:3 that is speaking about the sons of Mosiah wanting to go and preach the gospel to the Lamanites.

"Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble."

It is in my thoughts often and what pushes me to do more as a missionary. I do not let people pass me by or drop investigators because I know the happiness that the gospel will bring and I know what is to come.

Happy Valentines day to you all! Or as I put it in our zone meeting last week "Zone leader appreciation day"

-- Elder Johnson

Monday, February 6, 2017

5 Things That Are All Encompassed

Hello Friends in Family!

This week went by pretty fast so I will try to remember some of the good stuff that happened. Last week Monday we were able to attend a Family home evening with the McCarthy family and Elder Zohner/ Taleni. The family is in the Chapel Hill ward (I am in Takoradi ward) but she involves the whole apartment in activities. My favorite part is her food... she feeds us for lunch each Sunday and the food is so good. The normal Ghana food is just not good to me because I eat it over and over and over again.

Tuesday we gathered as Takoradi zone to watch the broadcast for missionaries from Salt Lake. Sadly we could not watch it live so it was put on a disc for us to watch it as a zone. It was a hustle to get things together plus when we got to the chapel the electricity was off (Will not miss that). Then had to get the projector and laptop set up for the whole thing. The broadcast was sweet... I plan to watch it again this week. Elder Bednar shared some awesome thoughts... The gospel of Jesus Christ is not 5 individual things but 5 things that are all encompassed. Later we were able to have our coordination meeting with our Ward mission leader. Right now we are struggling with the Bishopric since they have no interest in helping us with any work. With no help from leaders means little to no help from the members which leaves the missionaries walking in the sun all day finding people by their own means.

Wednesday we headed to Cape Coast for MLC report.

There are few that we have been working with. Figured last night we should change the way we are doing things to see if a difference will be made. The one I will share is Elizabeth.  She was referred to us by a member so we have been going to see her. The discussions always go really good and we even have given her a baptismal date. Problem is she will not come to church from what we found to be the influences from her Mother. Church is a really big thing here, that is why they have a different church on every corner and every guy and their dog is a "prophet", "Pastor", "Apostle", or a "Reverend". Once someone understands the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are good to go. Teaching for understanding is different with each person so each person we have to find how much we explain, how long, and what style.

I officially have a recent convert that is moving to being in- active. Esther was baptized on Christmas eve and was coming to church for a couple months before we started to teach and baptize. She has stopped coming because our Bishop would not help with school fees (Love was not there at all) and Esther left crying. She wants to go back to school so bad that now because we will not provide she is finding someone that will. Her grandma (who she stays with) is of no help either. Esther is dodging us now.
Everything else is going really good :)

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 30, 2017

Goodbye Elder Tugume, Hello Elder Robert

Hello all!

Well my stomach is grumbling and not in the good way. One of the meals we ate at a members yesterday is not sitting well with Elder Johnson. Grumbling stomachs are just part of the Ghana Cape Coast mission I guess.

Elder Tugume and Elder Johnson

Elder Robert and Elder Johnson

We had our transfers on Wednesday! The process went very well and did not cause to much stress to me. Elder Tugume is now in Cape Coast and Elder Robert is here in Takoradi with me. I sent the missionaries to Cape Cost by 10am and we received the new missionaries at 3pm or so. Takoradi zone is now the biggest zone in the mission with 27 missionaries. The change has been good but hard on me because our district was the sweetest and Elder Tugume and I were really really close.

From Thursday to Sunday we were walking. My exhaustion levels were high so it was nice to sleep last night especially with the breeze and rain storm. We have a really cool new investigator! Her name is Elizabeth. She went to some church that I do not remember the name but Elder Robert knows the church and says they are crazy. There are a lot of interesting churches around west Africa. Elizabeth has a baptism date of 18th February. Sadly did not come to church yesterday because there was a funeral going on (funerals are a big thing around here).

My salad creation #1

My salad creation #2

Rainy season has also started again which is really nice. After leaving a members house where we had lunch the thunder and lightning rolled in and the rain came down hard. left Elder Robert and I stranded for 30 minutes. Elder Robert and I are also putting the finishing touches on our instruction for zone conference tomorrow. The theme of the conference is about the commitment pattern. It is sweet finding scriptures and thinking of some sweet things to do.

Zone picture at our combined district meeting

The Tanokrom District! Minus the skinny Samoan in the front

My thought of the week today has to do with the Book of Mormon. Something I told Elder Robert is I love to read the Book of Mormon with my recent converts. Here it can be hard to get people to read since the understanding is small. I know there is such a great power in the Book of Mormon. Reading the Book of Mormon each day provides us with spiritual protection. Even reading any scripture of church talk. I love to read it for that reason and there are so many things to learn from the bible and the Book of Mormon. Are each of us doing something each day to protect ourselves spiritually? We may not see the protection but i can assure you it is there when you C (keep the commandments) P (Pray each morning and night R (read the scriptures)

Love you all!  Elder Johnson

Monday, January 16, 2017

Transfer Week January 2017

Hello friends and family!!

Transfers are this week and I am actually really happy but really sad at the same time. On Saturday night we found that Elder Tugume is leaving and Elder Roberts from Nigeria will be my next companion. They are adding a new companionship to the zone. Wednesday will be interesting with 20 missionaries leaving the western region and 20 coming to us. Elder Tugume and I make the transport arrangements for the transfers in Western region. Since we are not cool enough to have vans like other missions oorrrrr A/C ;)

Today I just want to share this thought with you from the 1991 general conference entitled "Be thou and Example". To lead into it most of us know a scripture in 1 Timothy 4:12 which reads.... "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

"A believer is someone who follows and knows the teachings of Christ not only in his mind but also in his heart and whose actions are a witness of that belief. It isn’t easy to be an example of the believers. We don’t usually wake up in the morning and say, “Today I’m going to be an example of the believers!” Yet we can say, “Today I will be kind and thoughtful, or considerate, or honest, or whatever quality I need to work on.” And then we will try hard all day to make a conscious effort to do so. That we can do!"

Have a great week!  -- Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Want to Help by Smiling and Being Kind

Hello my people!!!

I am telling you these weeks just keep going on and on quicker and quicker. Which is good but also not at the same time.

As for last week it is all just blurred together. It has been said for the last 18 months that I will try to un-blur my weeks but by this point in my mission I give up :P The 2 major things that happened are first, the Mission Leadership training. Instead of it just being the Zone leaders and the Sister training leaders this time it was with all the District leaders. They talked about companion exchanges, proper district meeting, and President talked about Leadership attributes. It was a nice long meeting as usual. Some say it was boring and others say it was a sweet meeting. I say sweet but it all depends others brains and if they wanted to learn something new or not.

Thursday evening we had 3 companionships for Tarkwa zone come and stay with us before there follow up trainers meeting on Friday in Cape Coast. We ended up going to the Best Western to eat some nice food. What I found funny, one of the Americans that was there for the first time (been out for a month or so) said that being inside the hotel feels like he is back home haha. That was the same way I reacted the first time being there. The head MTC cook was there on her little vacation away from Accra. She remembered each of us, not only the tag but each of our special needs with food. She remembers that she gave me soy milk because the "milk" we had wrecked my stomach. One thing she said I loved so much... " You missionaries are away from home and everything you once knew. You are nervous and scared what is to come. I want to help by smiling and being kind and helping each of you feel comfortable." Do we smile? Do we help others feel comfortable? Have we tried to make a frown turn upside down?

Sunday was wonderful! I enjoy going to church each week even though I can hardly understand what they say haha. After church Elder Zohner and Elder Taleni called us to come to a members house from their ward. Sister McCarthy is the coolest lady ever! I was really hungry because I did not eat that morning so a nice big plate of Jollof with rice, fried plantain, and fish hit the spot. After we took the Elders to our member to eat. We sat and waited a while which was ok to let the last meal digest. Sister Amanful brought in a huge plate of boiled cassava and stew with chicken and malts (I do not like malts). At the end we were all overloaded with food. The most painful meal of my life but really good at the same time.

Mosiah 16: 6-12

6 And now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption.

7 And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

8 But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.

9 He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.

10 Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—

11 If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of endless damnation, being delivered up to the devil, who hath subjected them, which is damnation—

12 Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord while the arms of mercy were extended towards them; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.

Love you all!  Elder Johnson

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I Have Seen the Light

Hello friends and family!

My memory is pretty bad when I email on Monday's but now I am emailing on Tuesday which makes my memory that much worse. Yesterday we had a stake activity at the chapel all day (10-5) so no time to email yesterday. In the morning I had a ton of laundry to catch up on because I have been lazy for some time. Hand washing is actually really nice because all I need to do is throw a pair of clothes in a bucket with washing powder and wash it in the shower. Elder Zohner and I have joked that our parents will find us in the bathroom washing our clothes in the bathtub haha. 

President and Sister Stevenson's dead battery - Tugume and Johnson to the rescue

One thing that happened on Tuesday that was my favorite part of the day was a sweet member present lesson. We were teaching our recent convert, Esther, who is a very sweet girl. We brought our other recent convert, Frieda, and though there is a 5 year difference they made a awesome connection. There is nothing more to love then seeing your recent converts continue to work up the path. There is times that I have seen that missionaries baptize someone and then after a couple weeks they do not come to church again. I am happy that in our last MLC President Stevenson talked about the qualifications of baptism so we can avoid as much as possible people to go in active after 2 weeks.

We also had our interviews with President Stevenson on Wednesday. Elder Tugume and I were first on the list. He usually keeps it pretty short but mine was a little longer because he was talking about different things. Telling me about what is happening in the office and things that the Brethren are making changes to with missionaries like our daily schedule... wonder what that will be like. His car battery also was dead at the end of the day and we just happened to bet there when the interviews were done. We went searching for jumper cables but no luck. We called Elder Zohner to get the from some members that had some and called the stake president.

Thursday was a great day because I was able to see my "son". He is now ONE year on mission which is crazy. Elder Maumau... lets just say I miss him so much. Really grateful for the time I was given to be his companion; he taught me so many different things that he may not even know. Later that day we started our exchange with one of the 3 district leaders in our zone. Elder Masame came to be with me and my companion went to Sekondi to be with the DL. Elder Masame sadly got to take part in a not so fun thing. I can not say all the details because there is a lot... but President Ad-je whom is the 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency gave me a call Thursday evening to come to Praises house(baptized her a couple weeks ago). Her Mother is not happy with her at all with things she has been doing so we were called for back up haha. Praise needs to open her eyes to reality... just looking down on everyone around her and it shows.

Friday was really sweet because Brother and Sister Akroma invited us over to there house as a district. They own a nice hotel near our apartment and their house is on the same property as the hotel. Big old spread of food on the table and drinks. Members around us is who plays a big part in making mission a enjoyable experience. Missionaries in the Denver, Colorado mission here I come!!!!

Saturday, Elder Tugume and I went to the Tanokrom chapel to be with Frieda while she was working on her family history work. I love family history work. I regret not working on it while I was at home but will be something I work on after mission. Since I have learned the doctrine behind why we do family history it brought a stronger desire to work on family history. And Sunday Elder and Sister Clements invited us to their house. By the time we got there the other missionaries forgot about common courtesy and ate most of the food. Love and patience were worked that afternoon.... Sister Clements taught us about the "signs the Jews missed" when Jesus Christ was born. In Luke 2 we learned a lot of things. SYMBOLS SYMBOLS SYMBOLS. His birth itself testifies of His mission.

" I have seen the light"... I have gone far through the mission tunnel and now in the last 6 months can see the light.   Love you all,   Elder Johnson