The meeting was really good. Honestly, I think I like the Trainers meeting more than I like the Mission Leadership Counsel meetings or any other meeting we do. The Trainers meeting gets me more excited about doing missionary work than just about anything else. At the beginning of the meeting President Morgan has each person stand and say something that they have learned/appreciated from their trainer.
Every time I talk about my trainer in this way I about cry. There aren't too many people that have helped me more out here than my trainer Elder Reynolds. Whenever I am asked what I appreciated most about my trainer I say the same thing every time. I am grateful for how he showed me he loved me. Elder Reynolds went through a lot of stress when he was training me. Even when his father died and he was worried about his mom back home he always gave me the attention and focus that I needed to thrive as a new missionary. Because of his example of how to show love I have become a better person. Elder Reynolds is going home this week. The coolest part of it all is that I will get to be the one to drop him off at the airport. He was there with me when I first started my mission and now I have the opportunity to be with him when he ends his. Cheers to good trainers!!
Elder Moss and I hold many titles within the mission. We are soccer moms, mailmen, work horses, but sometimes we are (un)professional movers. We have had multiple moves to do around the mission this last week, two of them fell on the same day. After we had spent the whole day moving stuff out of apartments, Elder Moss and I came home and we were pooped. We were far to lazy to make anything for dinner and so we decided to make a Micky D's run. Plus McDonald's has Shamrock shakes now, so like, why not?
We were at McDonald's eating our sin when a man across the aisle made a comment about something. I can't even remember what it was. We started having small conversation with him. He told us how a couple guys from his church were going to be holding a little meeting/bible study at McDonald's and he was waiting for the guys from the church to come. We kept talking to the guy and as a few minutes pass a guy walks in and then another one and then another. 4 guys in all, as they were getting ready to start their meeting thang one of the guys invited Elder Moss and I to stay. Of course we stayed. Turns out the original guy that was there runs a non denominational ministry and they were having the equivalent of a bishopric meeting.
The first part would have been boring if I wasn't interested in how these guys ran their meetings because they were just talking about upcoming things happening in the church. Then at the end there was a guy that gave a spiritual message about how we need to keep our bodies clean so we can be in tune with the spirit. He basically taught the word of wisdom to us. Elder Moss and I threw in our two cents, we talked a little Jesus, read a little Bible, you know the good stuff. Two of the men there actually had copies of the Book of Mormon back at home, the original guy that we started talking to has served missions too! He served three, one year missions when he was our age. He told us some of his mission stories from when he served in Minnesota. Crazy stuff man. We had to leave before the meeting was over but we thanked them for letting us attend the meeting. It was so good to come across good Christian people that are striving to actually LIVE what they believe. Sometimes I start to lose faith in humanity but experiences like this help keep that lil flame alive!
Have a great week you lovely Deserets!
Elder Tyler J Johanson
Friday, February 20, 2015
I went on another split with my Zone Leader, Elder Critchfield. This guy is a stud. One of the best leaders I've served around by far. Basically all that we did that whole day on the split was mail deliveries down to the city! Which I love. Deliveries are the bomb diggity. You get your snacks, grab your friend (your companion) and drive around all day delivering mail to all your missionary friends around the mission. Being in the office is the greatest! On our way back to Westchester County we stopped off at Serendipity to get frozen hat chacalate. We heard about this place that sells frozen hot chocolate and Elder Chritchfish and I haaddd to go. We walked in the place and it looked a lot like a gay bar.... We felt weird in their for obvious reasons, it didn't help that we were wearing our mandatory man purses. We got in there, purchased the packages of frozen hot chocolate and got out of dodge! To top it all off we took pics in the van when we got back to the car. Pics or it didn't happen people!
Monday we had district meeting. The other elders in the district were ill with the lupus or something like that so they didn't make it to district meeting. The sisters are the Sister Trainer Leaders and they were at a different district’s meeting. Our district meeting was just Elder Moss and I and our Zone Leader Elder Christensen, also from Highland. We had a Highlanders only district meeting. It was Gouda.
On Tuesday we do our upstate deliveries. For lunch we stopped off in small town Cornwall, New York and went to the best Pizza Place in New York that missionaries know of. Primas Pizza baby. They deliver pizza overnight to anywhere in the country, if you don't know now you know. Ate some pizza, took some pics, had some laughs, delivered mail. Good day.
Last Sunday Elder moss and I were... Uhhh... Going to church right? Just like we do some Sunday's, and by some Sunday's I mean every Sunday. #NoWeeksOff
Satan doesn't take time off. Why should we??? Anyway we had just pulled up to the parking lot in our swagger wagon, the silver bullet, Sister Morgan's old van, whatever you want to call it. We got out of the car and there was a man walking through the parking lot. The New Roc chapel is on a main road and often people will cut through our parking lot to get to the neighborhood behind the church. I felt a prompting to invite this guy to church. At the time it just seemed like a thought so half jokingly I asked the guy how he was doing and then asked him if he wanted to join us for church. Elder Moss and I started to talk to him and he made mention that he had a son who lives in Arizona that "passes out the bread and water" or in Mormon lingo, a deacon. He said that he had been to our church in Arizona before and went in Jeans and a t shirt. He felt out of place so he said that he wouldn't join us this week but he said he would come sometime. He asked for OUR info, which never happens! Then we got his info. I don't know if anything cool will happen from this but to me there is no better feeling than getting a prompting from the Spirit, knowing its a prompting from the Spirit, and then acting on it in the way that you received it. Being able to feel of Gods approval of what you do in that moment is AMAZING!
Love you guys,
Elder Tyler J Johanson
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Saturday morning we were sitting there doing our studies and we hear the fire alarm go off in the halls. It went off for a couple minutes before we decided to do something about it. We called the Portuguese Elders that live on the floor below us and they said that they had evacuated. We decided we probably better evacuate too. We grabbed our stuff, some grabbed journals, others grabbed pics of girls back home, I snatched a couple of those classic caramel apple suckers off of my desk and we called it Gucci. The lights were flashing in the hallway as the beeping of the fire alarm deafened our ears. The elevators weren't working so we did the first thing that we could think of… We ran down twenty six floors worth of stairs. We got outside of our building to see it surrounded by 6 fire trucks, but no fire in sight. Turns out there was no fire and the alarms malfunctioned. We were out of breath and had sore legs for nothing but at least we got a picture haha. Pics or it didn't happen!
My companion from highland and I parted ways for the day so that I could go on a split with my Zone Leader, also from highland, Elder Christensen. I love splits when you already know the person well. Elder Christensen and I served together the whole time I was in the Bronx and now we room together in New Roc. It was a busy day because we had to deliver all the mail to the city. We deliver the mail to the city every Tuesday but since #StormJuno was last Tuesday we weren't able to go out, so all the mail accumulated.
|Split with Elder Christensen - Word to your mother|
When we started deliveries our sleek minivan, with all the seats taken out was filled to the very brim. The city was madness because it was the city of course. It was my first time driving through the city without my trustee guide, Elder Moss. It is so hard to be a good representative of Jesus Christ when you are trying to maneuver through NY city traffic, your patience gets zapped. I never considered myself to have road rage but when everybody is honkin' for no fetching reason I become..... A.. A.. A monster. Other than almost getting side swiped by some taxis it ended up being a great time. All that time in the van gave Elder Christensen some good talking time, I was able to learn a lot about him. There is a lot that can be learned from hearing part of someone's life story. There is great things to be learned from people's pasts. Just think about the scriptures and how we learn about other people's pasts. I will let that one bake your noodle!
Elder Moss and I were wandering around the streets of New Roc last P-Day and we came across a ghetto old fashioned suit store. Inside we found some gorgeous ties. The ties had Bulldogs on em and were some of the fattest ties I have ever seen. We decided to purchase the ties for 10 bucks and have companionship ties (a common tradition in our mission). But since this is New York and we are a couple of classy young chaps we couldn't be walking around with fatty ties. Nobody would respect us! So we decided to skinny the ties by ourselves. It took an hour or two but we unstitched the ties, cut off excess material, sewed those puppies back up half the width that they were and wore them to Mission Leadership Council.
Speaking of Mission Leadership Council, it was amazing! President Morgan is such a stud. Every time he talks I feel like he tears the roof off of the room and let's the inspiration from the heavens come rushing into my soul. This MLC was a little different than the other ones I have attended. This time we had an egg drop activity. We broke off into groups and had to make something out of 50 straws and a roll of tape that could catch an egg dropping from 10 ft high. We had 15 minutes to complete the task. For 15 minutes we along with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders created something that could catch the egg. Ours ended up catching the egg and it was unharmed. It was a fun activity but there was a point to be made, we didn't just drop eggs cuz it's fun.
President Morgan at the end of the activity asked if anybody had thoughts of home, or if anybody was jealous about the vacation their family was going on, or if anybody was thinking about the fun stuff they were going to do when they completed their mission. For these 15 minutes everybody was engaged in this activity and thought nothing of other things. For the short two years I am serving the Lord I need to be focused on the mission. It's easy to get distracted of what your purpose is as a missionary and honestly, I needed to hear that. President Morgan always says, "One foot in, one foot out, leaves the heart and mind with doubt." That applies to any task in our life. If we are anxiously engaged in something we will be able to see miracles.
Thanks for the support.
Elder Tyler J Johanson
Friday, February 6, 2015
So you're probably wondering if I made it through #StormJuno?
The answer is yes. This week we were getting reports that we were going to have a historic storm hit the New York area. It was scheduled to hit us Monday. Monday morning we have staff meeting where we meet with President Morgan, the assistants and the senior missionaries in the office. We discuss upcoming events and things going on in the mission. In the morning when we walked in, President Morgan was visibly in a hurry. He was saying that the storm was supposed to be brutal and we were going to have a shortened meeting. At the end of the meeting he asked Elder Moss and I to go fill up gas cans at the mission home and prep the generator. President Morgan asked us to go out and buy water, food, and flashlights. Everybody was flipping out about this storm. Elder Moss and I went to the store to buy stuff and the shelves were empty. People were buying any food they could. It felt like something from the walking dead. Everybody was preparing for it like it was the apocalypse. All the missionaries had to be in early. It started snowing a little bit and we anticipated it to continue to dump. The snowstorm wasn't even bad. The news said we were going to get 2-3 feet but it only showed about 8 inches. It was more anticlimactic than Kony 2012. So just like most things in New York the storm was all hype.
Even though the storm wasn't nearly what people thought it was going to be, there was still a bunch of snow on the ground on Tuesday. So Elder Moss and I, along with our Zone Leaders/roommates/friends, Elder Critchfield and Elder Christensen went out with snow shovels and walked the streets of New Rochelle in the bitter cold looking for people to help. We were out all day and when we got back home we calculated that we had walked 8 miles and had been out for about 5 straight hours. It felt so good to serve people. Sometimes doing good old fashioned service because you're a good Christian and not because you're out to make them a baptismal statistic is really fun.
The lunch was the cat’s pajamas. We ate salad. For the main course... But it was a Sister’s Conference so what was I suppose to expect. Sister’s Conference was basically the sickest.
I want to end by posting the Facebook post that I put up this week, for a couple of reasons.
1. I want to make it seem like I wrote more.
2. Since I'm a missionary doing spiritual stuff all the time, I guess I should end on a spiritual note.
3. The way we are advised to do Facebook posts, is we are supposed to pray about a post and pray with somebody in mind to post for. Instead of throwing up a post and hope people like it, they want us to try to seek revelation and post for a specific person to their specific needs. I had the hardest time coming up with a post and I sat there for a while. Elder Moss already had his post done and I couldn't think of anything. He told me to just post something that I need. I came up with this post and felt confident that it could inspire somebody. I don't know if it inspired somebody over Facebook but I want to include it here in this email to hopefully have it reach someone that it wouldn't normally have reached. Here it is:
There is SO much I do not know!
I don't know why they make microwaves with a popcorn button if the instructions on the bag tell you not to use it. If your car broke down on the highway and you asked me to look under the hood and find out what the problem was I wouldn't have the slightest idea of what was going on. I don't know why some are born into lavish circumstances while others don't have the time to wipe the sweat from their brow as they try to make ends meet. I don't exactly know how depression works or why some children pass away and slip into eternity at a young age.
Sometimes I find myself praying to God asking Him if He loves me not because I haven't felt his love before, but because sometimes I want to be reassured that there is a purpose for the struggle in life. I don't know a lot, but I do know that sometimes God lets us struggle a little bit so we can learn to rely on Him. I know that there is a purpose to the trials that stare us in the face of life. I know that just because I don't know the answer doesn't mean there isn't one.
"Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days."-D&C 24:8
Elder Tyler J Johanson
Wanna hear something that means a lot to me? Ok, here we go. Since I've been in New Rochelle we wake up early at 6 in the morning and go to the church to play lightning (speed, revenge, knockout, or whatever the kids at your local playground call it) with a bunch of other missionaries here in this area. Some mornings I think about going to workout in the free penthouse gym that we have at our apartment building but then I remember how fun it is to relive elementary school memories. Elementary School >>> Real life
On Sunday morning we woke up to freezing rain! We looked out the window of our apartment on the 26th floor and looked out to the skyline of the city. You can see the highway out of our window and cars were stopped and were not moving at all. The ice on the roads were so bad. We got a call that morning from our bishop that they needed help icing the sidewalks before church so that people wouldn't slip. I've never really experienced too bad of freezing rain here before, so Elder Moss and I were making fun of the cars that were stopped for being wusses. Saying that this kind of stuff wouldn't happen if they were as hardcore as Utah Mormons and that our ancestors crossed the plains in these conditions.
Well folks, karma is a real thing because within 30 seconds of us leaving our apartment to walk to the church I slipped and fell on my hiney. The ice was so slick that before I realized that I was falling I was laying on my back looking up at the gray skies. Elder Moss and I were basically ice skating to the church in our worn out church shoes. Us and the other Elders in the ward, Elder Christensen and Elder Driggs salted the sidewalks of the church. Just as fast as we put salt down, the rain would fall and freeze over the ice. It was ridiculous. The ice would freeze over the layer of salt we just layed! They had to delay church an hour and a half for people to get there and they ended up canceling everything but sacrament meeting, so people could go home. It was Radink to the hinkulious.
There is a new senior couple coming in this mission next week that will be serving in Chinatown. They needed help setting up the apartment and getting it all ready for them. It was myself and Elder Moss’ task to drive the van with a bunch of stuff down and help move in. It was us two along with two other senior couples. After we got the apartment all nice and fancy like, we went and got some dumprings (sometimes pronounced dumplings if you're feeling extra white) and ate them with the other missionaries. Here I was eating some *pork dumprings looking out the glass window with what feels like China below and Little Italy out of the corner of my eye around the block. And it hit me, how cool it is that I get to be doing this whole mission thing in New York City.
Believe it or not,
this Halal food cart has the most 5 star reviews on Yelp
than any other restaurant in the world
Then today for P-day we went to the City and saw the Freedom Tower and the September 11th Memorial. Seeing the 9/11 Memorial was one of my favorite things I have done so far in NY. That is hallowed ground. The best way to describe the feeling I had is there was static coursing through my veins. I felt chills as I walked the grounds. It was a somber feeling. I feel so privileged to be here in this world renowned place of New York doing what I have come to love, which is living and preaching the doctrine of Christ. This has been the coolest year of my life so far. Without a doubt the hardest, but by far the most rewarding.
Elder Moss and I don't really have any investigators that meet with us. We have very little time to proselyte. The time that we would normally spend proselyting and finding investigators, we spend doing office duties. We also spend a lot of our time in the car driving. Because I’m in the car driving, I have a lot of time to think and reflect. I don't mean this in a selfish way but I have had a lot of time to think about myself and the qualities I have gained thus far, the qualities I still want to gain and where my testimony is at and how much it needs to grow. I hope that when I see you people in a year you will be able to see how much my testimony has grown of this work. I love Christ.
Loves and lollipops,
Elder Tyler J Johanson