Hi Guys !!
This first week in the office has been absolutely the busiest week I have ever had in the mission field. Like I told you last week, I was J chillin' in Middletown with my homie of a companion, Elder Torgersen. We were sitting in a lesson when we get a call from President Morgan. President Morgan asked me if I would be willing to come to the office. Of course, I told him yes. He then told me that I needed to be there the next day.
The second I got to the mission home they put me to work. That night all of the returning missionaries were staying in the mission home. They had a nice dinner and a testimony meeting with all of the "dying" missionaries. Among some of the dying missionaries were some good friends of mine. I was able to serve around/live with a few of them and I have always looked up to them. It was amazing to hear the testimonies of these departing missionaries. Their testimonies weren't necessarily long and eloquent, but they had power behind their words. You could tell that all the time they had spent saving others' souls in New York, it had helped save their own souls.
Elder Moss and I returned home at 11 o’ clock that night and immediately went to bed. We had to wake up at 4:00 am the next morning to run the "dying" missionaries to the JFK Airport on Long Island. Which means, I was driving around the south mission in a big ole Range Rover (and by Range Rover I mean Sister Morgan's old minivan). Since there was a big group of missionaries leaving, Elder Moss and I had to drive separately. I had no clue where in the world I was going. so one of the AP's, Elder Smith, said I could follow him the whole way to the airport.
He was driving a blue minivan with a Florida license plate. The whole drive I was following that blue van with a Florida license plate. We came upon the George Washington Bridge and we had to pay a toll. The van I was driving has an E-Z pass but Elder Smith’s didn't, so we had to separate for a minute. I made it out of the toll booth a little quicker than he did. So I decided to drive a little slow so he could catch up. All of a sudden a blue minivan with a Florida license plate passes us. With assumption, and with the reassurance of the other missionaries that that blue van with the Florida license plate was Elder Smith, I followed. The blue minivan with the Florida license plate was driving like a madman. I wondered why Elder Smith was driving like a maniac. He weaved in and out of the traffic, so I did the same. I felt like James Bond the way I was maneuvering through tight spaces and construction zones.
I followed the van all the way to the JFK Airport. Mission accomplished right? Wrong. JFK is YUGE (so huge you have to say it with a Y to sound like one of those tools that lives their life in the gym working out). I didn't know which terminal to go to so I continued to follow the van. The van pulled into a car rental place and as we waited behind the van to see what Elder Smith wanted us to do, out of the blue minivan with a Florida license plate, steps a big Spanish cholo with a sassy black woman.... That cholo was not Elder Smith and that woman was not any of the returning sister missionaries I had ever seen before. Hahahaha I followed the wrong van!! What are the odds that there would be a blue minivan same make and model with a Florida license plate right in front of us???
Once we realized we followed the wrong car we were able to find the right terminal a few minutes later, but by that point they had made President Morgan, the assistants, and Elder Moss leave because they were parked by the curb. I didn't have a phone to call them to let them know I had made it and they had no way of contacting me. Haha.
I didn't know what to do, so I just decided to go back to Scarsdale. About an hour later I pulled up to the mission home to see Sister Morgan and Elder Moss anxiously awaiting my arrival. I wish I could describe to you how funny it was when we realized we had been following the wrong car most of the way. Definitely top 3 funniest things that have happened to me on the mission. It all turned out ok. Nobody missed their flights, and on the bright side President Morgan decided to give me my own phone now so he can contact me whenever he needs to! Haha. The moral of the story is, follow the prophet, not the cholo in the minivan.
This last week has been nuts but it has been the cats pajamas. We have been so busy we haven't had a single minute of proselyting time. Between delivering furniture and mail around the mission, to preparing for new missionaries, to driving missionaries around to get to places, from setting up and attending trainings and Leadership Conferences for the mission, we haven't had much time for anything else.
Being an office Elder seems more like a job than missionary work but I really enjoy it. There are a lot of perks to being an office elder such as seeing missionaries from all over the mission that I have become good friends with. Occasionally, I get to drive on my own, (that's something I miss -- driving alone, it's kinda therapeutic for me), and I love being able to learn from President Morgan and the Assistants. Last night after we had transfers (our transfers our chaotic here because we are in charge of taking city missionaries upstate and upstate missionaries to the city and there is always that kid that forgets stuff...) President Morgan and Sister Morgan wanted to do something nice for us so they took Elder Moss and I along with the Assistants out for a nice steak dinner. I loved the time they gave us. Being able to converse with them in a more chill setting really helped me to not only see how they are normal people that love to laugh but also to see the love they have for us missionaries. It motivates me to want to fulfill their inspired plans they have made for the mission even more. I love the Morgans!
My companion Elder Moss is a boss. We both attended Lone Peak together and graduated the same year but we didn't know each other. It's crazy that all those years of going to school together that the first time we talk to each other is in New York. He is hilarious tho, it makes me question why we weren't friends back in high school. I would have totally hung out with this guy!
With the new transfer we now have 5 out of the 8 missionaries in our Ward from Highland, Utah. There is Elder Moss and I, my zone leader that I now live with named Elder Christensen and a Senior Couple named the Gardners. So basically Highland Crew or die. #HCOD
I'm going to go deliver some mail or something now #SoMuchPaperIShouldStartABank #SoMuchPaperTheyShouldCallMeMrPrinter
But have a fantastic week. As the Spanish say, "I lobe you" (I love you)!
-Elder Tyler J Johanson
P.S. Last night with the windchill it got down to -25 degrees. Pray for me. Please.
Let me paint you the picture of what is going to happen before
we leave the apartment to embark in this kind of cold weather.
I button up my black coat. The same black trench coat that literally every missionary in the world has. One of those plain black trench coats that you buy from those missionary stores not because you like it but because since it’s at a missionary store you feel obligated to purchase. I fasten my scarf. Yes, I wear the occasional scarf. Fun fact: A scarf is something that straight people wear out here. I always thought if you wore a scarf you were a fruitcake, but I guess in New York it means you're in good styles.
I walk to the door. Give Elder Moss a nervous glance. He returns the glance as if to say, "Help me mommy". The room remains silent but on the inside it has never felt so loud.
*I nervously and shakily wipe the sweat that is beginning to bead from my forehead*
We pray at the door asking God for protection, that we will have The Spirit to be with us and that we can have a burning in our bosom to have as an internal heat source to keep us alive from the freezing January chill.
We depart the apartment with a newfound swagger. So much swagger that people mistake it for a leg injury. The people first question, "Are you cops"? We reply, "No, we are not cops." Since we aren't cops they follow with the question, "Is your leg ok? I see you're limping." We explain to them that we are ok and it's the Spirit that has given us the confidence to walk that way on that bitter cold day. Their innocent mistake has provided the perfect conversation starter. We talk with them, we teach them, and then we prepare them to make covenants with God through baptism. And that my friends, is one more soul that has come closer to Christ.
But for real now, have a great week. Bye!!