Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Like a Sprained Ankle Boy I Ain't Nothin to Play With

Last P day we were playing that one game where you throw the ball in the peach basket, I think the kids these days call it "basketball". Elder Burton rolled his ankle while we were playing but didn't think much of it and kept playing. Later that night, when we started Proselyting, it started to swell up. To make matters worse, that was the day that we were car fasting so we were left there until 9 o clock. Elder Burton was in pain and in need of some ice to keep his ankle from swelling so he threw his arm around my shoulder and we limped the mile or so to the K-Mart down the street to secure an ice pack and Advil. We waited out the rest of the night and tended to his ankle. His ankle has been affecting him this last week and he has been limping around on a crutch. He kind of looks like Tiny Tim haha. His ankle is getting better and he is starting to walk normally.
One of our many breaks that we took as we hobbled on over to k-mart.

Waiting it out at k-mart until our ride could come.

I went on an exchange to Yonkers this last week with Elder Holtom (also from Highland, cool guy, cool friend). Yonkers is always an interesting experience. The name fits it perfectly. We had a zone APF (Area Proselyting Focus) in New Rochelle. For the APF we did a car wash where people could come and get their car washed for free. While they were getting their car washed, we had some missionaries making conversation. Elder Holtom and I were scrub a dub dubbin this car and the young males thanked us and wanted to give us a donation. They gave Elder Holtom a dollar bill with a nice blunt in it. We had to break the news to the hooligans that we don't accept any donations, even "special" donations. Great times, great times.

On Monday, during district meeting, I taught about the importance of baptism. As I prepare for district trainings every Monday, I'm convinced that I get way more out of it than anybody in the district. In studying for it, I was reminded of how amazing baptism is. Baptism is more than just being dunked in water. It is the act of taking upon you the name of Christ. When I first got on my mission, I thought it was so cool how I could walk around The Bronx with Jesus Christ's name on my tag. We would walk on the subway and everybody would stare at our tag, wondering who we were. I'm realizing that I don’t need a tag to have Christ’s name because I was baptized at 8. I already took upon myself the name of Jesus Christ and every action I do should be a reflection of that. After I come home from my mission and I can't wear the tag anymore I will still have Jesus Christ's name scripted not on a tag, by on my character. I don't know... Maybe I make it sound cheesy but I thought it was cool.

Have a good week cholos.

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Gummy Smiles and Spanish Encounters

Hola Cholos,

Last Thursday, Elder Burton and I went to the good ole Tuckahoe Community Center and served some lunch up to some old folks. I was on bread and butter duty. At first I felt that my skills weren't being utilized because I had the lowly job of bread and butter. However, all of a sudden the old people started to flock to my table as fast as the little wheels on their walkers would carry them. Seeing their gummy smiles and jolly wrinkles made it all worth it.

Sunday night Elder Burton and I had the impression to go look up a former investigator that we have both never met. We drove our way on over to the apartment building and as we walked up, we saw the Sister missionaries in our ward, Sister Groberg and Sister Orullian, walking out. They stopped us and told us they had just talked to someone that they wanted us to meet. They introduced us to a guy named Greg. Greg is big. Greg is black. Greg was fighting back tears in his bloodshot eyes that he acquired from a mugging a few days earlier. The Sisters met him at the apartment building while Greg was drinking. As they talked to him, he poured his alcohol out and listened up. They bore testimony of Jesus Christ and The Book of Mormon. He was touched by the Holy Spirit and had a joyous feeling come over him. He had never felt it before and he wanted to know how he could feel it again. We have a rule in our mission that single females have to be taught by Sisters and single males have to be taught by Elders. The Sisters were planning on passing him off to us but there a lot of times that people fall through the cracks that way. It was a miracle that we were able to show up at the exact moment Gregory was walking away. We get to meet with him on Saturday!

I was able to go on a split with my Zone Leader, Elder Ritter. On our split, we got a media referral which we get in the form of a text whenever somebody orders something or wants the missionaries to stop by. We went by that day and the guy that opened the door knew English about as well as The Baja Men know who let the dogs out in that one song. Luckily, Elder Ritter is in the Spanish program and was able to talk with the guy. In the text we got for the media referral it said that the guy wanted a bible but this guy had no clue who ordered the bible. Elder Ritter was able to work his magic on the guy and the guy accepted the bible anyways and wants the Spanish missionaries to come by. It was a miracle that wouldn't have been able to happen if Elder Ritter wasn't there with me, because Elder Burton and I don't know squat in Spanish. God is real!!!

The last couple weeks have been difficult for us. It seems that all of our appointments are canceling. Every door we knock gets slammed in our face before we even get a chance to explain who we are. It's funny because two weeks ago I was sincerely praying to God that he would help me be humble and teachable so that I could be molded into the kind of missionary that He needs. I don't know how I expected Him to answer that prayer... I guess I just assumed he would magically change me to become better which was stupid of me because that is NOT how prayer works at all. Instead of God magically making me humble, I have been realizing that He is placing me in situations to keep me humble and teachable. I've been learning a bunch these last few weeks about trusting God. Usually God doesn't "just make things right." He places us in situations that allow us to prove our faith and learn. I need to be better. We all need to be better. We all can be better.

I'm doing great. Lubb ya!

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Hi, I like your chicken fetus"

This last week was a toughie. Just about every appointment that we had fell through which led us to do heaps of tracting. I think we knocked somewhere in the quadrant vicinity sector of one or two million doors..idk...I forget exactly how much.

The good news is, now that school has started back up here, the members of our ward are coming back from their awesome vacations and luxurious beach houses. The ward is coming back to life. Even though I've been here three months I feel as though I hardly know anybody but I'm excited to meet them.

I started taking a multi vitamin! That's cool right? Anyway...

Elder Burton and I were car fasting this last week and while we were out walking around the village streets of Tuckahoe, New York we saw a lady with a dog. You're probably wondering why that matters. Well, dogs are a great conversation starter. I know as much about dogs as I know about what is going on with college football this year. Not much. However, all you have to do is tell people how beautiful their dog is (even if it looks like a chicken fetus) and they will usually open up to you. We went up to this lady and complimented her dog and we were able to talk for a solid hour. She told us how she had met sister missionaries about six months ago and then came down with cancer and lost contact with the sisters before she could really learn anything. We were able to bear testimony of Jesus Christ and The Plan of Salvation to the point that she was tearing up on us. That is what our mission is all about!

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meeting My Godfather

Hola mi Gorditos,
Last P-Day my zone had a wonderful volleyball tournament. Volleyball is my jam. I spiked the ball like it was an unmonitored Christmas punch. Kizzy Willey style. It was legendary. JK my district took last place in the standings... Last in the standings, but number one in your hearts.

My Zone

I went on a split with Elder Schoenfeld in my district. I spent the day in his area, Yonkers. The city of Yonkers is an interesting city. The feeling that you get as the name "Yonkers" comes out of your mouth is a lot like how you feel as you walk the streets. It was a great time. Elder Schoenfeld is a very consecrated missionary. I have a lot that I can learn from him.

A couple of weeks ago Elder Burton and I were walking down Manhattan (Avenue. The street, not the actual city) and we saw a house with a slab of rock. On the rock was painted the words, "God answers prayers". We liked the rock so we decided to knock on their door and tell them that we appreciated it. We approached the door like we do every other door... Caucasian and sweaty.

*knock knock*

Nothing. We wrote a note that basically said how we were missionaries from our church and that we like the rock and they should give us a call. 

This is the rock that stirred Elder Burton and I to knock on Godfather Milton’s door.

A couple weeks later we were in the same area and we decided to stop by their door again. We again approached the door Caucasian and sweaty. This time when we knocked however, an over joyous African American woman said, "Elders!" and greeted us like we were old friends. We talked to her and she wasn't too interested but was very nice and kind. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and she said she would get around to reading it. She said we could come back anytime. Flash forward another week or so. We were in the area again, so we stopped by. The nice lady’s husband came out and started talking to us. This guy is a Vietnam vet that doubles as a famous Saxaphone player that played with Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Eric Clapton. He has played for President Obama, Donald Trump, and at the Apollo Theater. Fancy Pants. We talked with Him for an hour about life and how he came to find God. He said we were welcome back anytime, so yesterday Elder Burton and I went back. He gave us water and we sat on his porch and we talked about God. He is a very wise man and he told us about his experiences in Vietnam and what we need to do when we meet/teach people about Jesus. Everything this guy was telling us was true doctrine. He is the coolest man. He was telling us about how after only meeting with us for a couple hours he considers us his sons. He said we can call him GodFather Milton and if we ever need anything, he can bail is out. I've always wanted a GodFather and now I have him! I will try to send pics of us sometime.

Sunday was a beautiful day. We had an investigator and two less actives at church! The most I've been blessed to see in this area is one investigator at church. Elder Burton and I have been working hard with less actives and investigators to get them to come to church. Attending church is where we can receive revelation for ourselves. Many people in life wonder why they're lost and don't know what to do but don't realize that by going to church you're putting yourself in a position to let God help you. Consistent church attendance is crucial because it shows God that you're willing to go out of your way to come closer to Him.

-Elder Tyler J Johanson

Romans 1:16
Alma 26:12