Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's the Good Life

This has been a week full of really strange experiences. Strange, but super good. 

We have one o’clock church on Sunday's. It stinks right? Well, not really, considering I feel like I've been going to church now every day for over a year. It's whatever. 

Anyway we were going to do a referral that we got. Everything that day was going perfect. It was a beautiful sunny day. The weather was warm. My companion had made me breakfast (which he does frequently btw. He is kind of the cats pajamas.) I was even wearing one of my very favorite penguin brand skinny ties. We got to the building of the referral and the door was locked. We couldn't get in. I said a little prayer in my head that we could get in and sure enough right after I close the prayer, two decrepit guys popped around the corner and opened the door for us. They looked and smelled like the cigarettes they were smoking, but we thanked them anyway.

As we ascended the first set of stairs up to the fifth floor, I began to hear a familiar tune. I stopped, Elder Thompson and we carefully listened together. The song "I am a child of God" performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was ebbing and flowing throughout the stair well. Elder Thompson glanced back at me as if to say, "ooooh baby daddy." We had to find the person that was playing this Celestial music. We knew that it wasn't coming from our referrals house. We were trying to listen intently to where this music was coming from. I had a glimmer of hope in my heart. If we could find the apartment this music was coming we wouldn't be surprised if there was a family sitting around in their white baptism jumpsuits waiting for someone with the priesthood authority to knock on their door and do the job. I was more excited in this moment than I was when I was 10 years old and my mother was finna cook me up some Dino nuggets.

We were spazzing out, knocking on random doors that we thought might possibly be the right one. Nothing. Door after door nobody answered. It was as if the sound was running away from us. We would go up a floor and it would sound the same loudness as it was if we went down a floor. After ten minutes or so of spazzing out I made the bold but faith lacking comment, "I think it's just coming from your iPad Elder Thompson." Our hearts dropped it hotter than snoop dogg. Despite Elder Thomspon’s iPads screen being turned off and him not being connected to wifi, his iPad was playing the hymns off of God must think he's real funny sometimes haha. We felt like idiots.

Our Ward is having a Meet the Mormons open house at our chapel in a few weeks. We are opening the doors to anyone that wants to come and we will have members talking to people and then show the video. We have been trying to get the word out to the whole neighborhood. We made a plethora of flyers and have been tossing those out like Cheerios in the nursery. It's gonna be sick. 
So much paper, I should start a bank!

So much paper, they should call Mr. Printer!
Unfortunately there's not a lot of priesthood in our Ward... In the young men's presidency everybody but the Young Men’s President is inactive so they have us act as the counselors. We get to teach the youth class and sit in on young men’s every week. It's a shame they don't have the members do it, but at the same time I'm not complaining because it means that I get to be in my dream calling on my mission. I think the youth are sooo awesome and I have mad respect for the youth here that have to put up with so much yet they are still solid kids. 

We went and looked up a media referral that we had received in Parkchester which is a part of the Bronx that is basically it's own city entirely full of project buildings. We entered the project, rode the urine stricken elevator up to the top floor, and knocked on this guy’s door. He answered and told us that he had a ton of health problems and was feeling too sick to meet and told us to come back, but just as he was closing the door he said, "You know what, why don't you fellas come on in." Within the first few minutes he told us that he has a health issue that makes it so he gets the hiccups for months on end. This guy had the hiccups this time for the WHOLE entire month without it going away.

We asked him a few questions about his background and through his hiccups he began to unfold to us his whole life story. Usually when someone proceeds to tell you their whole life story it's a little annoying. You would think that through constant hiccups it would be even more annoying, but it wasn't. There was patience and consideration. This guy was born in Louisville, Kentucky in the late 60's. At the age of 7 he was outside playing in the yard. His mom was standing on the sidewalk talking to his father who was working on the car at the curbside. Two guys walked on the sidewalk and pushed his mom out of the way to get by and said some less that stellar words. His father told them to not talk to a woman that way, especially his wife. One of the guys pulled out a gun and shot this guy’s dad right in front of his eyes when he was 7 years old. Less than a year later his mom was suffering from high blood pressure. He knew she was in the hospital but didn't know what condition she was in. After a while his extended family all came to the house. He saw them taking stuff from his house and dividing it up but he didn't know why. He was only 8 at the time, so why question right? One afternoon him and his older cousin were sitting on the porch when his older cousin said, "You haven't heard that your mom’s been dead for a couple weeks now have you?" No one told this poor guy that his mom had passed away.

After both his parents passed away, he and his 6 brothers and sisters were sent here to the Bronx to be raised by his aunt and uncle. While in the Bronx, he was physically bullied growing up because he was black living in a Dominican neighborhood. His aunt and uncle didn't show him much love growing up either. For years his uncle was always a jerk to him and would tease him about his mother’s death. One night during dinner, his uncle made a joke about his dead mom. His little sister spoke up. His uncle didn't like that so he got an extension cord and whipped his little sister with it. He had no choice but to stand up to his uncle. He had taken it for too long. He got up from the table and stopped his uncle from whipping his sister. His uncle and him got into a huge quarrel. He decided that he needed to run away, so run away he did.

For over twenty years this guy lived on the streets of the Bronx until the last couple years where he was able to get a project apartment. Here this man sat. The same man that had told me one of the saddest stories ever told. Here he was after a lifetime of being broken and never really put back together. Here he was intensely humbled, ready to hear something to change his life and give him hope.

Elder Thompson and I sat there feeling that we were the ones appointed to do that. We explained to him the Book of Mormon using the pictures in the front. We talked of hope. We talked of redemption. We talked of Jesus Christ. By the end this man was weeping. He told us how grateful he was that we stopped by. He said, "I usually don't step foot outside of my apartment unless I have to because I don't trust anybody. I don't tell anybody my life story. Something about you makes me trust you guys. You're always welcome in my apartment."

Within one hour Elder Thompson and I felt we had made strides with this man if that really was the case. He is going to the hospital for the next couple weeks for an operation but he said that when he gets back, he will have us over. 

I am meeting the craziest people and hearing the craziest stories. We sometimes forget how truly special the knowledge of this gospel is until we see the lives of those that don't have it. The Gospel life is the good life my friends. If something gives you this much happiness it has to be true. 

-Elder Tyler J Johanson

Thursday, April 9, 2015

That Week was Fleek

This last week has been great! My new companion is great. His name is Elder Thompson from Rigby, Idaho. It's only been a week but I can tell we are going to get a long great.

There's a lot that has happened this week. We have been extremely busy. I could write about the fight that started right in front of our eyes because of skin color, the public demonstrations of the crucifixion for Easter that were taking place, or I could try to describe the smell in the project elevators. There is simply just not enough time for that. Maybe one of these weeks I will have the time to adequately describe everything that has happened to me. 
Some guys thought it would be a good idea to reenact the crucifixion…...
How about general conference tho? Wasn't it amazing?? In case you didn't watch it I advise you to go watch them all on It was incredible. So if you don't know now you know. 

Again I can't adequately describe to you all the emotions and thoughts I had on conference but I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes with you:

"A lot of things are good, many important, but only a few are essential."- D. Todd Christofferson 

"Many of the things you can count don't really count. Many of the things you can't count do count."- Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

"Average is the enemy of excellence." - Kevin W. Pearson

"I'm no saint. Unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying" originally by Nelson Mandela shared by - Dale G. Renlund 

Prayers were answered this Easter weekend through general conference. God is real.
 District Picture in between Conference
In other matters. I picked up a new slang word off of the streets this week. Fleek. Apparently it's a good thing. If the kids are doing it I guess I better start too. The word fleek is fleek.  

Elder Thompson and I were sitting together on the train the other night right? The day had been a gloomy one. It had been cloudy and the rain had been falling sporadically all day. We had just gotten back from getting lost in the Bronx. We went to look up a media referral that was .4 miles away from the train station but we had taken a couple wrong turns and got further and further away from the destination. Each time we tried to do a short cut to get back on the right track we kept getting more lost. We had gotten so lost that we wandered up along the very east side of the Bronx where the land gently kisses the body of water known as the Long Island Sound. We were seeing water, grass, and even a couple geese which is very unlike any part of the Bronx I have ever been to. 

We ended up walking an unnecessary 3 extra miles in the rain. Needless to say Elder Thompson and I were ready to go home, eat dinner, and call it a night. Our morale was as damp as our clothes. I was getting frustrated at my less than stellar attitude. I often get frustrated at the fact that I get frustrated because that is something you choose and I don't like not living up to my potential. 

I was privately entertaining the elephant in the room of my mind when a young man probably about the same age as myself entered the train. He had on big bulky Patrick Ewing basketball shoes, a flat brim hat with the embroidered word "FLY" on it that he wore under a sweatshirt hood. He sported true religion jeans that sagged so low that if my mom saw me wearing my pants like that she would probably tell daddy to go get the belt ready for an old fashioned hick style licking. 

There was one thing somewhat odd about this guy. He had a guitar in his hands and was playing it beautifully, the kind of music that angels in the heavens listen to when they get a moment to unwind. It was the kind of song that plays with your inner emotions causing some sort of internal battle.  I don't know the guitar very well but I do feel that I know when something is good. This my friends was the good stuff. 

At the end of his song he started walking up the train saying, "thank you ladies and gentleman I hope you enjoyed what you heard. God bless you and have a great day." He wasn't asking for money or anything. He was playing for the sole purpose of brightening someone's day. The sad part is nobody said anything back to him. Nobody thanked him. As a matter of fact nobody even made eye contact with him. He might as well have been playing at a wall. This irked me. 

When he made his way to the end of the train toward Elder Thompson and I he looked me in the eye and went through his little spiel. I told him God bless you back and told him I loved his song. The train had stopped and he had to exit abruptly. He told me I was welcome, to have a good night and then he was off into the brisk Bronx night. 

What am I trying to prove by sharing this story in more detail than is probably necessary? The answer is..... I don't know. I don't know why I wanted to share this experience. I'm still questioning why I thought this was so cool. It could be the fact that this guy as different as we may be have a lot in common. He had a talent of playing the guitar. He had a gift to share. Despite the unresponsiveness of others around him he continued to play his music and thank everybody for their time. This guy is a dood of courage and persistence. I can respect that. 

If nobody else on the train other than Elder Thompson and I appreciated his gift he knows that we did. It sounds a lot like missionary work to me. Members of the church have a gift to share. Not a lot of people are responsive to it at least at a specific point in their life. My mission has been teaching me courage and persistence just as this homie. Again although it may not seem like we have a lot in common we are both advocates. We are both advocates for happiness. He advocates music and I'm trying to advocate Christ. There's a lot I have/get to learn from the amazing people of New York. 

With luv, 

Elder Tyler J Johanson
Get it while the getting is good

Back 2 da Bronx

----Shot Calls---- came on Saturday. It was super hard to focus the whole day knowing that I was going to be leaving. I was really hoping that I would be going to serve somewhere in Manhattan because I have been upstate for the last 10 months and I haven't had a chance to serve on the island yet.

I got the call a little earlier that day because President Morgan does the leadership calls first and he called to release me as district leader. 
Our Awesome District in New Rochelle
He asked if I would accept the call to serve as a zone leader with Elder Thompson in the Olmstead Zone. Olmstead is in the Bronx (don't look my area up on google, Mom.) It's very different from Manhattan but still the city. 
Elder Haycock Shipping me off to Olmsteezy
Dueces New Roc
I thought I got all of my Bronx jitters out at the beginning of the mission when I served in the Kingsbridge Zone but I guess not. Not only am I going back to the Bronx but I am staying in the Westchester Stake. After serving in Olmstead, I will have served in every single English Ward in the Westchester Stake. This Stake can't get rid of me, haha. Even though it's not Manhattan like I was hoping, I'm very excited to be in the Olmstead Zone. I've lost the language of Ebonics over time but I'm hoping that with the gift of tongues, I will quickly remember how to communicate with the people of the Bronx. 

It's always tough saying goodbye to people that you have come to love. New Rochelle has been great to me and I'm blessed to say that I had the opportunity to serve there. 
Some of our Incredible Investigators in New Rochelle
I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in the office around President Morgan. Honestly, before I was serving in the office, I felt like I was starting to hit the point where I was just going through the motions of missionary work. All the "greenie fire" that I had at the beginning of my mission had fled me. My last companion before the office, who I love to death, was a little older in the mission, so we were both experienced but we both had the "newness" of being a missionary worn off of us. I was getting caught up in the routine of things. Being able to serve around President Morgan and see his passion and love for the work has been a sort of "spiritual rebirth" for me. I feel like my desire has increased. I'm very much looking forward to being able to have more time to proselyte and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's gonna be the cat’s pajamas. 

I don't have much time to write today because of transfers but I will write more next week. I can't believe Easter and general conference are here again! Time is flying by waaaaay to quick.

Love yall. 

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Sixth Sense

March 25, 2015

We have a staff meeting every Monday with President Morgan, the assistants, and the senior couples what work in the office. We discuss all the juiciest details of things going on in the mission and things that are up coming. 

We were going over stuff next week for transfer and departing missionaries and arriving missionaries and blah blah blah. President Morgan shot a glance at Elder Haycock and was all, "Yo elda H. Are you getting everything. Because Elder @TjYoungBuck won't be here to help you. He's getting transferred."  The conversation in the room died faster than Bambi's mom in that one movie about the deer named Bambi. Idk I can't really remember what the name of the movie is. 

After a couple agonizingly awkward seconds Sister Gardner (Elder Haycock and I refer to her as Grandma Gardner because she is old and nice) spoke up and uttered the very words that I was thinking but was too nervous to ask, "Where is Elder Johanson getting transferred to?" 

Moments passed. 


To break the awkward silence I spoke up and said, "Thank you Sister Gardner I will give you your money later."

President Morgan looked at me with a serious gesture and then comically said, "No need to pay her. You can just give me the money right now!" #YouKnowYourPresidentsABankerWhen #HeGetsHuneds #StacksOnStacksOnStacks

President Morgan spilled the beans that I was getting transferred but he wouldn't tell me where I was going or with whom. I don't know if it was a good thing or not to find out that I am getting transferred next week because now I'm super anxious. I guess I will just have to wait until Saturday like everybody else for --- Shot Calls ---

I want to share an experience that I had this last week that proves to me that The Spirit is real and not some made up thing that primary teachers have been lying to kids about for all these years. If it helps solidify your testimony that The Spirit is real then let it be done. 

Tuesday I was able to go on a wonderful companionship exchange with my friend/roomie/Zone Leader Elder Critchfield aka Elder CritchFish. I went to his area and he is in the Spanish program so you know it was a good time. My day consisted of a lot of rice, beans, and nodding my head saying "Si" while I stared blankly at those Elder CritchFish was teaching. But for real though it was a great day. We had a day full of service and appointments and every person we were able to teach I was able to feel the spirit super strong. We had an appointment with one man in particular, his name was... Well I can't remember his name but It was Juan or Pedro or something of that nature. Anyway, during his prayer at the end I had no clue what he was saying but I heard my name and I heard him mention Elder Critchfield’s name. He prayed for about 5 minutes. I didn't want the prayer to end. Even though I couldn't understand the words this guy was using I could feel of his sincerity and Spirit. When the prayer ended Elder Critchfield looked over at me and whispered, "he was praying for us that whole time."

How in the world could I feel the love of God if I couldn't understand a word he was saying. It was much more than just a "warm fuzzy feeling". In the church we often talk about The Spirit as a "burning in the bosom" or sometimes The Spirit speaks to us in our own thoughts. There are many ways we use to describe The Spirit in the way that we best know how but I feel that it's something more than just those things previously mentioned. The Spirit is like a sixth sense that uses our other senses to help us realize what is happening. Sometimes it's hard to pick out the Spirit but when we do it is in a way that we will be able to recognize. For example, on Sunday Elder Haycock and I were blessed with the opportunity to teach a lesson about the Book of Mormon and The Spirit to a man that has been holding out on getting baptized for years. He is the only member of his family that is not a member of the church because he has some doubts about The Book of Mormon. He has some doubts about how God can answer prayers through The Spirit. His wife has a stake calling, his son recently returned from serving a mission, he has other children who are strong in youth programs and primary. Why has he not been touched by their example and made a covenant with God to take Christ’s name upon him? Because he doesn't understand how The Spirit works.  

In an address given by Boyd K. Packer back in the 80's he compared The Spirit to Salt. Even though most of you will skip the story I included it so you could read it. 
Boyd K errybody. Boyd K:

"I will tell you of an experience I had before I was a General Authority which affected me profoundly. I sat on a plane next to a professed atheist who pressed his disbelief in God so urgently that I bore my testimony to him. “You are wrong,” I said, “there is a God. I know He lives!”

He protested, “You don’t know. Nobody knows that! You can’t know it!” When I would not yield, the atheist, who was an attorney, asked perhaps the ultimate question on the subject of testimony. “All right,” he said in a sneering, condescending way, “you say you know. Tell me how you know.”

When I attempted to answer, even though I held advanced academic degrees, I was helpless to communicate.

Sometimes in your youth, you young missionaries are embarrassed when the cynic, the skeptic, treat you with contempt because you do not have ready answers for everything. Before such ridicule, some turn away in shame. (Remember the iron rod, the spacious building, and the mocking? See 1 Ne. 8:28.)

When I used the words Spirit and witness, the atheist responded, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The words prayer, discernment, and faith, were equally meaningless to him. “You see,” he said, “you don’t really know. If you did, you would be able to tell me how you know.”

I felt, perhaps, that I had borne my testimony to him unwisely and was at a loss as to what to do. Then came the experience! Something came into my mind. And I mention here a statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas … and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 151.)

Such an idea came into my mind and I said to the atheist, “Let me ask if you know what salt tastes like.”

“Of course I do,” was his reply.

“When did you taste salt last?”

“I just had dinner on the plane."

“You just think you know what salt tastes like,” I said.

He insisted, “I know what salt tastes like as well as I know anything.”

“If I gave you a cup of salt and a cup of sugar and let you taste them both, could you tell the salt from the sugar?

“Now you are getting juvenile,” was his reply. “Of course I could tell the difference. I know what salt tastes like. It is an everyday experience--I know it as well as I know anything.”

“Then,” I said, “assuming that I have never tasted salt, explain to me just what it tastes like.”

After some thought, he ventured, “Well-I-uh, it is not sweet and it is not sour.”

“You’ve told me what it isn’t, not what it is.”

After several attempts, of course, he could not do it. He could not convey, in words alone, so ordinary an experience as tasting salt. I bore testimony to him once again and said, “I know there is a God. You ridiculed that testimony and said that if I did know, I would be able to tell you exactly how I know. My friend, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt. I am no more able to convey to you in words how this knowledge has come than you are to tell me what salt tastes like. But I say to you again, there is a God! He does live! And just because you don’t know, don’t try to tell me that I don’t know, for I do!”

As we parted, I heard him mutter, “I don’t need your religion for a crutch! I don’t need it.”

From that experience forward, I have never been embarrassed or ashamed that I could not explain in words alone everything I know spiritually. The Apostle Paul said it this way:

“We speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)

In order for God to answer all the prayers his children are chucking up God uses The Spirit to answer them. The Spirit is real and when you feel The Spirit you will be able to know. 

Missions are so legit. Everyday is an adventure. I love it here. You guys are the cat’s pajamas. 

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Pic: I have had a lot of people requesting a picture of the crew back in our high school days so I dug through the photo album and found this puppy. Enjoy. 

Woof it was Ruff

March 18, 2015

This week was like a dog. Woof it was ruff.

I was getting worried for St. Patrick's Day because I didn't have any green. I was afraid I was going to get pinched to the point that my skin was going to go raw. As the day of St. Patrick approached I had a hard time sleeping at night. The days continued to approach and my fear increased. My deodorant was working double time nah mean? Then as I woke up on the morning of St. Patrick's Day, ready to face whatever would happen to me, something green caught my eye. On my study desk sat a green tie that my friend/roomie/zone leader Elder Critchfield aka Elder CritchFish had delicately placed on my desk with a note. He gave me a green tie so I wouldn't have to be pinched and tickled. Oh my goodness he is such a stud. One of the best things about the mission is being able to make friends with the missionaries that you serve around. There are three things we do in the New York, New York North Mission:

1. We find
2. We teach
3. We watch out for each other so they don't get pinched and tickled on St. Pattys Day.

Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, Elder Haycock and I were in the city delivering all the mail to the missionaries in the mission that actually get it. For some reason the missionaries in the city get way more mail than those upstate. The number of missionaries in the city and upstate are about even. I haven't figured out if you have to be cool to serve in the city or you become cool as you serve in the city. Either way I'm seeing a correlation as to why I haven't been in the city since the beginning of my mission. I guess I had my shot and I wasn't cool enough. Anyway it was interesting to see how many people weren't wearing green. It was pretty disgusting actually. I wanted to get out of the soccer van and pinch ‘em all. To ease the tension that Elder Haycock and I had from the lack of green we went and got shamrock shakes at McDonald's so don't worry we have since chilled.

We went over and had another unreal lesson with the homosexual couple we have been teaching. For the first time in a long time we had investigators actually keep their commitments. We invited them to read the restoration pamphlet and read the introduction to the Book of Mormon. We went back and they had done it and formulated some amazing questions. One of them is the Pastor at the local Episcopal church so he knows a lot about the bible and in a non argumentative way he let us know his questions with the need for the restoration and the Book of Mormon. They were some tough questions that we didn't really have the clearest answers on. The good news is that they are open and have real intent so we were able to teach about the restoration and testify of the Book of Mormon. They committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it so by doing that the questions that they had can be consoled by the Spirit. It sure is easier to teach when you really have the Spirit there to help you out. #TeamSpirit

I spoke on Sunday about Christ's ministry. I didn't get as much time as I would have liked to prepare because of zone conferences last week. We only were able to have studies two times. The task to speak about all of the ministry of Christ was daunting. I just decided to focus on the love Christ showed in his ministry. I talked about when He cast out the legion of Devils from the one guy. Everybody's favorite right? Haha my intention was to not scare the kids talking about this healing that Christ did. It has become one of my favorite things that Christ did during his ministry because I love the drastic change the man that was possessed had after Christ appeared in his life. I'm not going to lie here I am going to copy and paste the account of this story given in Jesus the Christ. 1. Being I am too lazy to summarize the whole story 2. Because it is the best summarization of the story I can find. Here it goes:

"Jesus and the disciples with Him landed on the Eastern or Perean side of the lake, in a region known as the country of the Gadarenes or Gergesenes. The precise spot has not been identified, but it was
evidently a country district apart from the towns. As the party left the boat, two maniacs, who were sorely tormented by evil spirits, approached. Matthew states there were two; the other writers speak of
but one; it is possible that one of the afflicted pair was in a condition so much worse than that of his companion that to him is accorded greater prominence in the narrative; or, one may have run away while the other remained. The demoniac was in a pitiful plight. His frenzy had become so violent and the physical strength incident to his mania so great that all attempts to hold him in captivity had failed. He had been bound in chains and fetters, but these he had broken asunder by the aid of demon power; and he had fled to the mountains, to the caverns that served as tombs, and there he had lived more like a wild beast than a man. Night and day his weird, terrifying shrieks had been heard, and through dread of meeting him people traveled by other ways rather than pass near his haunts. He wandered about naked, and in his madness often gashed his flesh with sharp stones.

Seeing Jesus, the poor creature ran toward Him, and, impelled by the power of his demon control, prostrated himself before Christ, the while crying out with a loud voice: “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?” As Jesus commanded the evil spirits to leave, one or more of them through the voice of the man, pleaded to be left alone, and with blasphemous presumption exclaimed: 

“I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” Matthew records the further question addressed to Jesus: “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The demons, by whom the man was possessed and controlled, recognized the Master, whom they knew they had to obey; but they pleaded to be left alone until the decreed time of their final punishment would come.

Jesus asked, “What is thy name?” and the demons within the man answered, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” The fact of the man’s dual consciousness or multipersonality is here apparent. So complete was his possession by wicked spirits that he could no longer distinguish between his individual personality and theirs. The devils implored that Jesus would not banish them from that country; or as Luke records in words of awful import, “that he would not command them to go out into the deep.” In their wretched plight, and out of diabolical eagerness to find abode in bodies of flesh even though of beasts, they begged that, being compelled to leave the man they be allowed to enter a herd of hogs feeding nearby. Jesus gave permission; the unclean demons entered the swine; and the whole herd, numbering about two thousand, went wild, stampeded in terror, ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and were drowned. The swineherds were frightened, and, hastening to the town, told what had happened to the hogs. 

People came out in crowds to see for themselves; and all were astounded to behold the once wild man of whom they had all been afraid, now clothed, and restored to a normal state of mind, sitting quietly and reverently at the feet of Jesus. They were afraid of One who could work such wonders, and, conscious of their sinful unworthiness, begged Him to leave their country. The man who had been rid of the demons feared not; in his heart love and gratitude superseded all other feelings; and as Jesus returned to the boat he prayed that he might go also. But Jesus forbade, saying: “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” The man became a missionary, not alone in his home town but throughout Decapolis, the region of the ten cities; wherever he went he told of the marvelous change Jesus had wrought on him."

I just love visualizing this story. Here you have this man that is greatly afflicted to the point that he can't even function normally. You have those people that gave up trying to help this guy to the point that they wouldn't even walk on the road near him. Christ comes and he heals this man from his affliction and casts out the evil spirits in him. When the people come and see what had happened to their pigs they see this man who everybody had given up all hope on, "now clothed, and restored to a normal state of mind, sitting quietly and reverently at the feet of Jesus." This man had been changed completely because of his interaction with Christ. He then goes out and is a missionary and testifies of the change that has occurred within him. I'm not saying we are possessed, just some of us are (just kidding). But there are times when each of us feels helpless and lost. With Christ we can be changed into something amazing. Everybody has the potential to change. Everybody has the potential to feel of Christ's love, and everybody has the potential to be able to pass our Saviors love on. Christ is amazing.

Smell ya L8er

Elder Tyler J Johanson

P.S. I was able to watch the Because He Lives video that's coming out on the 28th of this month and it is the cats pajamas. Y'all better be ready for some crazy stuff to happen this Easter season.

I don't really have any pictures to send this week but how about I send a time lapse of us driving through Ching Chong Chinatown? Good thing there wasn't any traffic that day or it could have gotten ugly.