Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blessings and Lizards

To any Jews or Gentiles that may be reading, hello.

If you're just tuning in this is your boy, Elder Tyler J Johanson. I just got done playing some basketball for p-day. I made a couple hoops. It was ill.

This last week was, without a doubt, the most stressful of my mission so far. At the same time, it has been a great week. Between trying my best to be a good trainer for Elder Burton and adjusting to being a District Leader it's been tough. But, I love it. Elder Burton is a great companion. He is a shortie. He is 5 feet and 5 inches tall. He is from Salt Lake and he likes art. He is pretty shy but he is starting to come out of his shell a little bit.

On Friday we had a zone APF in New Rochelle. The whole zone was out street contacting and I was eyeing for who my next victim would be. I saw a man down the street and I told myself I was going to talk to him. As he approached, I saw 2 lizards on his body, one on his head and the other on his shoulder. I told him I liked them and I asked where he got them. He stopped for a second, looked me straight in the eyes and with a voice full of stern said, "I breed them." The he continued to walk away. What a man.

Elder Burton and I received a call from some missionaries in the Rochester mission. They asked if we could stop by a hospital and give a blessing to a member in their ward. We typed the address into the good ole GPS and it took us to this far out hospital hidden in the trees. We pull up to the hospital and this was no ordinary hospital. It was a mental hospital and looked like something out of "Shutter Island" (never seen it but that how I imagine it.) We went in and had to get cleared by security multiple times and then we walked around this massive, old, empty building trying to find this patient. We eventually found her and we were able to give her a blessing and share a message with her. The building was creepy but she was wonderful. That was a good experience.

I gave a talk this last week in church. We have an investigator who has been investigating the church for over a year. He comes every Sunday but he hasn't been baptized yet because in 1 Nephi there is a verse that talks about how there were horses, sheep, and goats in the Americas and he doesn't think there were those animals in America during that time period due to some science stuff on he read on the internet. He doubts the Book of Mormon but he hasn't read too much of it yet. We keep telling him that he needs to exercise faith and read it. Anyways, I wrote my talk specifically for him. I talked about how "faith without works is dead". Faith is more than just a belief. That belief is great but you have to act on that belief. Even Satan believes in Jesus Christ. The thing that separates us from Satan is that we can do good works and act on the belief in Jesus Christ that we have. The talk went great but our investigator didn't end up showing up... I was a lil chapped.

God loves you all. I hope you know that. I love you too.

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Plead the Fifth


Wanna hear a story that is absolutely radink-to the-hinkulous? So Elder Brown and I were driving around town, coming back home from an appointment when our phone starts ringing through the Bluetooth in our car. The caller ID reads "President Morgan" and my initial reaction was to start squealing like a 1-Direction fan girl, for we knew why he was calling. He called and asked me to train a brand new missionary! So yup, apparently I'm training. I received my brand new companion today at transfers. His name is Elder Burton. He is a short guy that just graduated high school from Salt Lake. That's really all I know about him at this point... We are going to have some fun and do some good work. 

Almost everybody in my district hit a milestone of some sort so we had this cool sign. I meet the top two criteria. (#1. Happy 6 Months! #2. Happy Training)

Then Saturday night I received a call from the Assistants to the President and they extended the call to be a District Leader. There are 4 companionships in my district and not a single missionary has been out over 1 year. 3 out of the 4 companionships will be training, so it will be a very young district. Needless to say, with training and the call to be a District Leader, I am feeling pretty overwhelmed. It will all be good though because God is real and He will help me.

Notable events this last week: 

Elder Brown and I received a 20 dollar parking ticket because we were parked in a 1 hour parking spot for 1 hour and 4 minutes. I guess it was still an illegal activity tho...

 This is after we received the parking ticket. I plead the 5th obvi.

I got asked to give a talk in church this Sunday. It will be the first time I will speak in church since my farewell.

On Friday there was a training done by President Morgan and The Assistants for all of us training. The thing that stood out to me the most was when President Morgan addressed feelings of inadequacy. He read in Ether 12:27 which reads:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

He talked about how the first step of becoming more like God is to recognize our weakness. If we don't recognize our weakness we can't become better. The problem with recognizing our weaknesses is that Satan's greates tool is to stop us from progressing past that first step to become more like God. It made me realize that it is ok to feel weaknesses, but it's not ok to let the adversary get the best of me and leave me stuck there. It will be a hard next few weeks, I am sure of it. I am also sure that I will look back at this time and appreciate the things I will learn. 

I don't know what it is about the mission but I love to learn and get better. Where were these feelings hiding before my mission?

-Elder Tyler J Johanson

Our beautiful district. Elder Schoenfeld was in the bathroom so we took this picture while he was gone. We threw a pic of him up on the iPad tho so we were content.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Met Richard Simmons


I am happy that I can write to you safely this  P-day.
For this last week it rained in an inexhaustible way.
It poured so much that we received warnings for floods.
I prayed so hard for sun, my knees and the floor are now best buds.
It's hard enough as it is to drive in New York when it's clear.
Throw in the rain and suddenly I drive like I've drunken beer.
But do not worry, we have remained safe and sound.
Now as I write, the sun is beginning to shine on the ground.
I realize this poem is getting corny and kind of lame.
But I think my companion reading over my shoulder is to blame.

So ya. It rained quite a bit this last week. When it rains on the East Coast, it pours.

On top of the rain, the work has been kind of slow this last week because everybody in Scarsdale leaves for the summer to go on vacation or what not. The best part of the week was that I was able to see one of my Priesthood Heroes, my home teacher, Brother David Norton from home! He was doing business in the White Plains area and so he got permission to come and say hello. He was kind enough to take Elder Brown and I out for lunch. He was introducing us to a bunch of people in there, telling them what we do as missionaries. I don't know what got into him (probably The Spirit) but he was as fired up about missionary work as I have ever been! Our meeting was short but the time spent with Brother Norton was great. I thought that seeing him would maybe make me miss home or something but all it did was pump me up even more!

My Priesthood hero, Brother Norton and I!

Today for P-Day we had a zone activity. The Zone Leaders received permission from President Morgan to watch The Saratov Approach. I love that movie. Of course I already knew what happens because I saw that movie come out but it was still good. It was hilarious to see all the missionaries that have been out forever watch that movie as if it was their firstborn child. Now all the missionaries are going around quoting the movie, freaking out about how good it is. Don't get me wrong, it is a good movie but for some of the older missionaries that have been distanced from media for a while, they are treating it like it’s the greatest movie ever. The Saratov Approach is good but come on.... It's no Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! (Am I right guyz?!?!)

Fun fact: We looked up a former investigator named Richard Simmons. Richard Simmons. Richard. Simmons.

Snapped this rubbish right outside of Richard Simmons apartment.

Yesterday Elder Brown and I were supposed to teach an online Facebook lesson to a recent convert who has essentially been struggling with the question of, "why do bad things happen to good people?" He juked us so we didn't get to share our wisdom that we studied up on so I would like to share a quote with you about that topic. Why do bad things happen to good people? "There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God."-Elder Neil L. Andersen

I love you guys. You know what they say, slow motion is better than no motion so keep it moving.

-Elder Tyler "'Twas the night before Christmas" Johanson

P.S. It's Elder Johanson's birthday on August 2nd (which is in about 2 weeks). If you'd like to send him something, his mailing address is on the sidebar!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Forth of Jew-lie


My 4th of July was aight. It was a regular day. We had no appointments or anything, everybody in Scarsdale goes to their beach house our wherever for the summer so it's kind of slower than before. Also, it was pouring rain all day. Since no missionaries had appointments, we got together and had a BBQ. It was a really, really ok 4th. The best part was that Elder Gleason, Elder Smith, Elder Brown and I took some selfies with some festive mustaches that I received in a package (S/O to Alex Fairchild for supplying).

Happy 4th of July from the missionaries that live at The Avalon (me, Elder Brown, Elder Smith, Elder Gleason).

I'm not gonna lie, not too many crazy notable things happened so I am just going to name the 3 best:

3. We saw an Amish man walking 6 dogs in the pouring East Coast rain.

2. There are fireflies here that come out at night. They are legit. I can see why Owl City wrote a song about em.

1. We saw an old man on one of those electric wheelchairs riding on the streets like it was street legal.

The old man riding thru da streetz

Tuesday we had a district APF (stands for Area Proselyting Focus. It's when all of the missionaries in the district focus on one companionship’s area, then we go out and get work done for that companionship.) I was on a split for the APF with Elder Schoenfeld who is a really quiet, gentle man. He has a powerful testimony tho... We went tracting for a couple hours in the blazingly muggy weather. I haven't had to do too much tracting thus far on my mission, so for some reason I was extremely pumped to go out there for a couple hours and do missionary work the old fashioned way. First door we knocked this old lady cracked the door open, poked her head out and yelled, "go away, I'm naked!" Elder Schoenfeld and I looked at each other and "peaced out" on that sitcheeashun pretty quick. Then all the other doors we knocked on nobody really cared. After being out there for 2 hours, both Elder Schoenfeld and myself were dripping sweat, we looked worse than Tom Hanks so I can see why nobody was letting us into their home. In my mind, I kind of jokingly asked God to have someone offer us some water even if they didn't accept our message. Sure enough, 4 houses later, a nice Roman Catholic lady named Janet Fitzpatrick who didn't care about our message whatsoever, offered us some water bottles. The water was Celestial. Even though she didn't care about our message, God answered my prayer (even if it wasn't a super serious one) through this woman. I bet God is a funny guy but at the same time when you need something, no matter how big or small, he doesn't joke.

Hugs and lubbs

-Elder Tyler "My Heart Will Go On" Johanson

Elder Smith and I acting tough

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

*Doesn't know how to start the email*

*Jumps into email without a proper greeting*

This last week was a tough one because Elder Brown and I were sick with nasty colds. We were never confined to our home but there were
days that we had to come back a little early because neither of us could function properly. Elder Brown and I are very different people. As we have been sick, I have really been learning to love him. Last Saturday, we had to come home early because my body was spazzing out and I had a huge headache and couldn't breathe. As I was on the couch, about to take my last few breaths before I trespassed into the Spirit World, I saw from afar, Elder Brown serving me by making me chicken noodle soup. In that moment I was like, whoa, this is a good kid. As weird as it may seem, I am grateful for the plague that we've had this last week because I have realized a lot of good in Elder Brown that I haven't seen before, and that chicken noodle soup thing was just one experience.

Want to hear a story of me getting ripped off? After district meeting on Monday, all the missionaries went to the food court at the White Plains mall and got lunch. I was thinking, "Yo, imma save some money because I wanna be thrifty." So I went to Taco Bell because that’s cheap, right? Wrong. I ended up paying $8.50 for two crunch wrap supremes. #WestchesterCountyProbs

There is this girl in our ward that reminds me of Eunice from She's the Man.

Today, as a mission, we went to a Yankees game!!! It was ridiculously hot and humid and we had to squint to see the ball from the nosebleeds but it was the bomb diggity. Everybody here worships Derek Jeter. Go baseball! (Even though I serve in New York and went to a Yankees game, can someone please tell Grandpa Wood not to worry? I haven't been converted to a Yankees fan quite yet). 
Gorgeous piece o real estate.

My words of advice for you today are to be humble and teachable. This last week, we went over to an investigator’s house that we are trying to help get off of cigarettes. He was smoking a pack a day and now he is down to a few every couple of days. This guy is in his 50s and doesn't have much education, he has no job and used to be an alcoholic. We have invited him to read The Book of Mormon every time he gets tempted to smoke and he has been doing so. He read Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi and was able to understand everything and told us about everything he learned from it which was quite a lot. I was surprised that he picked up on it because I have read over Lehi's dream with a philosopher, with a really rich retired guy that reads a lot, and a man that was an English college professor for 25 years and none of those guys understood how they could apply Lehi's dream to themselves. Yet this guy who never went to college and who has no job can get his spiritual glass of water spilling over. It is because he is teachable and willing to learn. There is a reason that God first came to Joseph Smith as a young, teachable 14 year old kid and didn't appear to an old, knowledgeable pastor that knew "everything". #BeHumble

I will try to do a better email next week.

Bye guys.

-Elder Tyler "How bout them Yankees" Johanson

A cool hallway thing with banners of boys in baseball pants.