Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Almost Became Tipsy

K. So. Ya. This week was good/hard/interesting. So I am going to stop this greeting part of my letter and start writing my email to you guys if that's ok.

I thought I should warn you that this letter might be "all over the place". On the way to the church this morning we were driving along, listening to our favorite EFY CD, when all of a sudden I see a bush on the side of the road start to shake. Out of the corner of my eye we see this family of 4 squirrels make a beeline across the street. With no time to slow down we hit 2 of them. One of them passed on and the other one that was hit was able to stumble off the road. I am still a little shaken from this traumatic experience so please forgive me for any imperfections in this letter. 

We met a haggard man on the streets in White Plains. He kept saying that our church was started by the Illuminati. When we told him we weren't part of the Illuminati, he told us that we should, "really find out about the history of our church." There aren't too many things more interesting than a haggard man that thinks he knows more about your life-long religion than you do.

As I was checking out of the grocery store I caught a glimpse on a magazine that Emily from the Bachelor is getting married?! I had been thinking that my chances with her were slim, considering she hasn't written me yet, but that was really the salt in the wound. 

We had the opportunity of doing service at another church this weekend. There is a church that feeds breakfast to the homeless people in White Plains once a month. The church loves us missionaries because we love to help people so they invited us. I had the glorious job of serving the bacon. There were extreme amounts of bacon there, so much that I don't even think Josh Jensen could have downed it all. Of course since my table had the bacon, it was poppin’. Errybody wanted that bacon. 

We have this one investigator named Frank who is a man. When I say man I don't mean that his chromosomes are XY, he is a boy who is old. I mean he is an ex-Marine that fought in The Battle of the Pacific during World War 2 as a 17 year old. He served as a Sheriff and he drinks a glass of Scotch before bed every night (I am not making this up). He is 89 and reminds us of the old guy from "UP". Anyways, we were teaching him about The Plan of Salvation. Teaching The Plan of Salvation to a man that is nearing the end of his life, not knowing what his purpose is or where he is going, is a cool thing. The lesson went great, when all of a sudden he said he needed a drink. He asked us if we wanted some apple cider. Of course I accepted because it was a muggy day and what is better than drinking a cold apple cider with a really cool old guy? He handed the cold apple cider to me in a glass bottle and it looked delicious. A lil too delicious if you know what I mean.... because as I went to drink it, I noticed the label said, "HARD apple cider". In my mind I was thinking, "Oh no, I have to break the news to this man of a man that I am a young, little Mormon boy that doesn't drink." I told him that I was grateful he fetched it for me but I couldn't drink it because I don't drink alcohol. He kept saying that it only had a little bit of alcohol and that it wouldn't affect me but I had to stand strong.

The story of being offered alcohol got me thinking. At The Sermon On the Mount, Jesus taught us that we need to, "Be ye therefore perfect…" That is the standard that God has set for us, we need to be perfect. It wouldn't have mattered if that apple cider that I had been offered had a little alcohol or a lot. It would still be a sin to partake. It is the same with other sins. It doesn't matter if, for example, we tell a little lie or rob a bank. That little lie we told is a sin and God cannot and will not stand for that. Just because we don't commit huge sins does not mean that we shouldn't take advantage of the Atonement. We can use the Atonement as much as we need to! I invite you all to repent of even the little sins, because a sin is still a sin no matter how small.

Luv U guys.

Elder Tyler J Johanson

I accidentally almost drank alcohol!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Flat Tires and Pinterest Fires


This last week was an adventure here in my new area. I am not going to lie, I miss the Bronx desperately. I never thought I would miss it when I first arrived but it grew on me. This new area of Scarsdale feels like a completely different mission. 

During transfers last week something happened with my bags when they got transferred from the city to upstate and they couldn't find my bags anywhere. I had to live with nothing but the clothes on my back, feasting on nothing but the words of Christ, for two days until they tracked those bad boys down. I had no toothbrush, no deodorant, "our pet’s heads were falling off!!!"(Name that movie). I'm just being dramatic, it wasn't even that bad. I just bought some stuff at the store and called it good. 

My new companion is Elder Brown. He has been out for 6 weeks so I am finishing off his training. It's interesting because I am newer and I feel like I don't know a lot sometimes, but yet he looks to me to know what to do. It's been hard because he is still new and doesn't know what's going on a lot of the time but he doesn't want to admit he doesn't know, and it's not like I know to correct him, so even though we both don't know, we continue on and go with the flow, ya know? 

Thursday night we was a-driven in our car. I'm not saying Elder Brown is a bad driver but… we were making a simple right hand turn, with absolutely no cars in sight and he took it too sharp, drove up on the curb and punctured our tire. We got a flat, ladies and gentleman. I didn't know whether to laugh or to shake my head... So instead we just did both together. Luckily, from experiences from my past, we were able to fix our flat. It was a good memory we made. Skkkrrrrrtttt #Swerve

Tire Change Selfie!!

Scarsdale is super rich. They've got that cash money flow. But seriously, it's like the Alpine of Alpines #MoneyInTheBank . We went to a member’s house for dinner and they live in what looks like a massive cottage. On the inside everything from the furniture to paint is perfect. Even what they fed us for dinner was perfectly laid out on pretty porcelain plates and they had freshly squeezed lemonade which I DRANK out of a fancy goblet thing. It was almost as if I was living in Pinterest. 

We are teaching a man that lives in the Ritz Carlton. It the cats pajamas.

Faith is how Jesus Christ was able to perform miracles here on Earth. We can exercise that same faith. There is two parts to faith, the first is that belief that everyone talks about but the second is work. Faith without works is dead people. In the Book of Mormon when it talks about Nephi building the ship, it didn't say, "And I Nephi exhorted my faith and God plopped a pre made ship down in the waters for us to sail safely across the ocean to the promised land." No, he didn't say that. 

In 1 Nephi 18:1 it says, "And it came to pass that they did worship the Lord, and did go forth with me; and we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship."

It talks about how The Lord showed Nephi from time to time how to build the ship, but guess what Nephi was doing in between those times? He was working, as should we. It is not enough to just want something to happen. We must pray like it's up to God but work like it's up to us.  

If you skipped over all the spiritual stuff and didn't actually read it, like I sometimes do in other peoples letters, please go back and read it. 

Loves and Lollipops,

-Elder Tyler J Johanson

Final picture with my boy Elder Schneider

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Dear people,

I have some bad news... I got the call last week and was told that I am being transferred out of The Bronx upstate juss a lil bit to
Scarsdale. I am really super bummed. My homeboy Elder Schneider is going to be training a new missionary. It is a real shame that I was only able to spend one cycle (6 weeks) with him. Like I said, I will be going to Scarsdale. What I know about Scarsdale is that it is where the mission home is located. I will be serving in President Morgan’s ward.  I will get a car with air conditioning which will be nice because walking around these last few weeks in the city have been both hot and humid. I can't imagine what going through a full- fledged summer would be like. Scarsdale is apparently supa rich. Also, there will be lots of white people which will be weird. I don't think I fully remember how to talk to them... Leaving The Bronx has been hard. I didn't contemplate how attached I would grow to the people. When I first came in, I was thinking of all the ways that I could strengthen the ward. Now as I am leaving, I am realizing that the ward here has done way more for me than I could ever do for it.

My new companion’s name is Elder Brown, he has been out just 6 weeks. I will be finishing off his training. I'm kind of nervous because I feel like I don't know enough yet to be with a missionary that has been out less than me. But everybody keeps assuring me that although I don't know everything, I know enough. I will let you all know about how cool he is next week.

Elder Schneider and I, since this was our last week here, decided to work ridiculously hard and have buckets of fun. We accomplished both.

Work: Elder Schneider and I have had a goal since the first week he got here to get 10 lessons in a week from solely street contacting. We have come close a couple of times but never quite hit it. Sunday, we made a goal that we wanted to get 10 this week even though I was leaving. As we went out and worked, God blessed us with 8 people on the streets that stopped and listened to our message. We have been able to teach 8 lessons in two days just from talking to people on the street. Even though we didn't reach 10, I am hoping that Elder Schneider and his new companion will be able to get at least 2 more lessons the rest of this week to accomplish our goal.

We had an APF (area proselyting focus) activity with the zone this last week. Some of the Spanish Elders went out and bought a huge piece of plywood. They painted the plywood to look like a Book of Mormon. We had an 8 foot tall Book of Mormon and we went out to Fordham Square and set up a little stand. All 24 of the missionaries went out in our zone, and for an hour and a half, attempted to talk to as many people as possible. By the end of the hour and a half/two hour period, as a zone, we placed 65 copies of The Book of Mormon and taught close to 50 lessons on the street.

Our zone APF with our massive Book of Mormon

We looked up loads of less actives in da projects.

Fun: This whole cycle we have been together, Elder Schneider and I have wanted to have an authentic Bronx meal. We went to Kennedy Fried Chicken (a staple here in the beautiful Bronx) and bought fried chicken, biscuits and made a big ole pitcher of Kool Aid. It was delicious.

Fried Chicken Selfies for dayzz

Our district (10 of us) had a district lunch yesterday to end the cycle. At the lunch, we had a rap battle!! I will include my part of the rap at the end of this letter so you can see my fresh rhymes.

Preparing for our rap battle

We hung out in the projects doing less active look ups. I wish you could see the stuff that goes on down there.

Like I have mentioned many times, I am sad to chuck up the deuce to The Bronx but I am excited to see the work in store for me in Scarsdale. I love you guys a ton!! Thanks for the support.

Elder Tyler "That's My Story & I'm Sticking To It" Johanson

P.S. Here's my verse in the rap battle:

M-I- double S I-O to the Nary
My words cut like sharp cheddar and it's bouta get scary
Praying that sister Lopez will digest this dairy
Lets form a line and buzz our heads it's gonna get hairy

It goes Schneider, Griffiths and this dood named Kia
No questions aksed his name is an Onomatopoeia
After that we have Elders Cameron, Tyler and Tyler two
We got bap dates in every city from here to Peru

Tryna burn some bosoms out here left and right
Together as a district we've all reached a new height
Like unto a dish I would consider us tight
Start up the engines cuz we about to take flight

Out here they have dunkin donuts, they need Krispy Kremes
They need to be told that true religion isn't found in jeans
And that food stamps doesn't have to be in their wildest dreams

They can be happy free of hate, guilt and diabeetus
By accepting our message they've needed since a fetus

Together we wanna baptize but sometimes it's about planting the seeds.
Putting in the work to pick out the flowers from the weeds
But once we do they can have a reason for righteous pride
It's through the atonement of Jesus Christ that your sins will hide.

"What you know about dat?"

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Did You Think To Pray??

Hi. K, I will start the letter now,

This last week we had what's called a mission tour. Every year, each mission is visited by a general authority. This year, for our mission
tour, we had Elder Snow from the Seventy visit us. There was two meetings, one for upstate missionaries and one for the city missionaries (Manhattan, Bronx, Harlem). The night before President Morgan told us each to write a 5 minute talk. When we got there Elder Snow was like, "I am going to call 4 missionaries to come up and give a talk and then afterwards we will all critique them." I am usually fine with speaking in public but I was praying I wouldn't get picked. Luckily I wasn't picked and I was able to sit and enjoy the other talks.

We had stake conference this last week. Since President Taylor (stake president of the Westchester stake) is leaving, we received a new stake president, which means that Elder Snow was there. All of us missionaries in the Bronx are a part of the Westchester stake which is half city and half upstate. The meeting was upstate a little bit so all the missionaries and most of the members without cars loaded up on buses and went to stake conference. It was magical seeing buses taking loads of people to attend stake conference.

Elder Schneider aka Schneiderman and I a few weeks ago contacted a man outside of his apartment building. He said he would love to have us come by sometime so we got his information and told him we would come back. Unfortunately, we lost the card with his information on it so we had no way of calling him or no way of knowing his apartment number. This man was legit and we couldn't let him slip through our fingers so we decided to go back to that apartment and knock on every single door until we found him. We got outside of the apartment and there was a locked gate that we couldn't get passed, along with a locked front door. We decided to pray because 1. We couldn't get in.  2. We had no clue what his apartment number was and we really didn't want to knock 100 doors. 3. Why not pray? We prayed and a little less than 2 minutes later a guy walked out and we were able to sneak in behind him and get inside the gate. We were now past the gate but needed to get in last that main door. Turns out the guy "forgot something" so he turned back and opened the main door so we were in suckas!! Schneiderman and I both looked at each other and said at almost the same time, "Let's try 4F". We went up and tried apartment 4F and, sure enough, his cousin answered and said that he lived there. Now we have his info so his baptism date is TBD. Was this a coincidence that we were able to get in both locked doors and the first door we tried was his apartment? I think not!!! #IBelieveInMiracles

We met with an investigator that hasn't been able to come to church in months for health reasons. We taught her a lesson and offered to give her a blessing. She wanted the blessing so just as Elder Schneider and I stood up to give her a blessing she reaches on to her head and pulls off her hair!!!! She has had a wig this whole time. We laid our hands on her naked head and gave her a blessing. We love her and it doesn't matter to us that she wears a wig... we just..... thought she had hair all this time.

Last night we were at the church doing the sports night with youth,  like we do every Tuesday. After it ended and we were locking up the chapel with Bishop Merkley, we went into the gym and shot a few hoops. Bishop Merkley made a wager that if we (Schneider, Kia, Griffiths, and I) made a full court shot before he did, he would buy us dinner sometime. After about 10 minutes of taking turns shooting full court shots I finally made it! Bishop Merkley now owes us dinner, but even more than that, he is a fun guy. What a champ.

It is incredible being able to see miracles out here every day. I encourage each of you to look for the miracles in your life. They're there, I promise.

-Elder Tyler "The Snack That Smiles Back" Johanson

"The world is our toilet"-Every Male 

 On the bus for stake conference. #skkkrttt

There are pretty dangerous gangs of 9 year olds. Watch out for "The Boys."