Thursday, April 2, 2015

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.

video

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