Friday, June 19, 2015

Send a Knee Mail


I had the unique and delightful opportunity to go on a split with my current district leader Elder Burton who also happens to be the same chap that I trained that one time. It was awesome being able to spend 24 hours with him. He has grown so much (not necessarily physically. He is still shorter than my shoulders.) in the last year and has gained a lot of confidence as a missionary. 

It was a proud day. We worked super hard running from appointment to appointment in the hot humidity. For some reason nobody here has air conditioning.... How do you live in apartment with no a/c in New York City? So yeah I was sweating bullets the whole day. He spent the day working me into the ground. I guess it's payback for what I did to him last summer haha.  I have gained a lot of appreciation and respect for Elder Burton. I love that guy. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures so I can't prove we went on this split but you will just have to trust me.
Words can't adequately describe this picture.
I just imagine Terio from those YouTube videos
 ninja kicking a hole in the wall haha #OohKillEm
You know you is in da Bronx when people go out
and break the fire hydrants so their kids can play in the water. 
We see this all the time.
I have the blessing of meeting the most interesting people in the world. Unfortunately sometimes you judge the most interesting people in the world. There is a homeless woman by the name of Carol that begs for money and sleeps on the ground in the streets near our chapel. Having people beg us for money here is something that we have on the daily. After a while it kind of gets annoying. Sometimes when I have seen her begging for money I have been annoyed or whatever thinking that she is "just another homeless person in New York City". That was terrible of me. 

This week our church hosted a free clothing drive. Carol came to get some clothes. While there us missionaries talked to her more and got to know her. She shared with us her past and how she used to have a fancy job working in a hotel. The last few years have been rough on her. Hearing her story and finding out about who she really is caused me to have sympathy for her. I had no other choice but to change my view of this woman. Now whenever we see her, which is almost everyday we shout "Hello Carol!" And she smiles back at us and says "Hello Elders! God Bless You!" Carol is truly a wonderful lady. Don't judge guys it's not good. It made me think of the line from that one jam, "Should You Feel Inclined To Censure" when it says, "those of whom we thought unkindly oft become our warmest friends." 

Now that we are back on Facebook there has been talk that people are scared to get back on Facebook. At first I was somewhat scared to get it back because it has been partially nice not to have it the last few months. However, from the time that Elder Wallace and I have first logged on again we have seen some pretty cool stuff happen. There is this phenomenon that often happens in The Bronx that has to do with people switching phones frequently and/or their phones getting shut off. That's where Facebook comes in handy. We have met some legit new potential investigators but none of them have phones that work right now but of course everybody has a Facebook so we have been able to contact them that way. Another thing with Facebook is that some missionaries think that creating posts is a waste of time and doesn't accomplish anything. I enjoy creating posts and I think it does good. Plus if God thought Facebook was a waste of time as missionaries then He probably wouldn't have given Thomas S. Monson the thumbs up that it was kosher. 

We try to target posts at specific people we are working with that way there is more purpose behind it as opposed to us just throwing something up and hoping it inspires someone. This week I was praying to know what I could post to help one of our fleek investigators out. I couldn't help but thinking of the topic of prayer even though I hadn't originally thought that was what he needed. Anyway, I spent personal study studying about prayer so I could pen a post. Later that night after I posted we got a text from the investigator I made it for thanking us for the posts we made. He said that it gave him a lot to think about and it inspired him. Chalk one point up for social media. As I was studying for the post I read a sick talk by Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy called "Improving Your Personal Prayers" it's the cats pajamas. You should all look it up. There is a quote that goes a little like this:

"Prayer is not a negotiation process. It is an alignment process. We don’t move God to our point of view. Prayer is less about changing our circumstances and more about changing us. It is about seeking His will and asking for His help to do what we need to do. When we align our will with Heavenly Father’s will, answers and spiritual power will flow more freely. Following this pattern allows us to pray with faith."

After reading that it made me realize how a good 90% of the prayers over my life have been asking God for stuff, almost as if I was trying to convince God to bless me with stuff. If you are trying to change Gods mind with your prayers you are going to be disappointed. No wonder I didn't always feel like the answers were coming. I was doing it wrong. This talk changed my whole outlook on prayer. It really is a time for us to talk to our Heavenly Father and find out what we can do to align our will with His. God is going to bless us with our needs not always our wants. Prayer is a time for us to change our wants to our needs. We need to align our will with Gods. #LineItUpBoyz

-Elder Tyler J Johanson

This Cat food isn't just for normal felines.
This food is only for your cat if it's a straight up G!
 - (plz say in your best Mr. T voice.)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Get Hype

Dear Guys, 

I had the exquisite opportunity of going on companion exchange with the sassy and classy, but never trashy district leader and friend Elder Price. Elder Price is from Redlands, California. "He's from Califooorrrrnia. He's a Californian" (please read in your best Petey impersonation from Remember The Titans.) We have roomed together for the past couple months. He's a cool cat. He's a Spanish missionary so he came off the bench into the English program, but he handled it better than Bobby Flay handles a basted turkey. It was a blast of a split.

We did a ton of service that day helped move this super sick new couple into the ward. The ward could reeeeaallly use a couple in the ward with experience. This is like an answer to a lot of people's prayers. We did a little finding. I don't know why, but miracles happen on exchanges. They just do. Errrybody wanted to talk with us that night. It was kind of like how I imagined the mission before I got on the mission. To top it all off we went to a muy delicioso (that means very delicioso for you non Spanish speakers) Mexican restaurant equipped with a Mariachi band and everything. That was a good day with a good friend. 

The muy delicioso Mexican restaurant Myself and Elder Price
went to on the split. That mariachi band surrounding us was loud.
Cool but kinda awkward for everybody involved. 
One of the guys we are working with is named Alfredo. He is such a cool Dood. He referred himself after knowing a member of the church for sometime. We have been progressing towards baptism with him. This week he was able to fast for the first time with a specific purpose in mind. We haven't been able to meet with him yet so we haven't talked in depth on how it went, but he texted and said it went great! To help him "GET HYPE" for the fast we had him watch the "Hope of Gods Light" Mormon message. That vid is grade A if you haven't checked it out. Needless to say the vid brought the proper amount of hype. 

We had our last Zone Conference with President Morgan this last week. It was very sad knowing that this would be one of the last times seeing them with a bunch of missionaries gathered together. President and Sister Morgan are spiritual Giants in my eyes and I am forever indebted to them for the way they have affected my testimony. There was a couple instances that President Morgan brought up the importance of our divine DNA as children of God. Because we are spirit children of Heavenly Father we possess within us a capability of being better than our natural man. I read a talk by the mighty Tad R. Callister called "Our Identity and Destiny" that talks about the importance of knowing who we are and where we came from. He says: 

"The Gospel of Philip, an apocryphal book, makes this simple statement of logic: “A horse sires a horse, a man begets man, a god brings forth a god.” The difference between man and God is significant—but it is one of degree, not kind. It is the difference between an acorn and an oak tree, a rosebud and a rose, a son and a father. In truth, every man is a potential god in embryo, in fulfillment of that eternal law that like begets like."

I just think that statement that a God brings forth a God helps us to exercise more faith in Christ so that we may do things that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do on our own. 

Oh yaaaaa we also got Facebook back. I'm kind of scared to get on again. Haven't been on yet. It's just been so nice to feel completely cut off from the world a little bit. Even though we never spent a ton of time on the newsfeed you still see stuff that distracts you. I've been getting a little hype tho for it after Zone Conference. Now that we have had more training on how to be more effective online I feel more empowered. It should be good. Now I'm not asking for "likes" and comments on my future posts if you really don't like it in real life, but if you wanna throw me a bone I will probably snatch it up like Air Bud if you're picking up what I'm putting down. 

Love you guys! Have a good week.

Elder Tyler J Joe-Hand-Sun

It happened forever ago but I just recently found out
Elder Torgersen and I made the mission blog for our matching sweaters
 at the mission Christmas Party! Had to slap this pic up here!

Sumthin Called Charity

Hey guys, gals, and everybody somewhere in between. I've missed you.

This has been one of those busy weeks that fly by and it's so crazy you can hardly remember what happened. I can't remember much so I'm just going to share whatever it is that comes to my mind. Brace yourselves. 

Today for P-day Elder Wallace and I went and explored the North Woods in Central Park, and visited The Cathedral of St. John The Divine with Elder Beardall and Elder Burton. Elder Burton is the cool cat that I trained that one time. It's fun having him in the same district as me. Especially now that he is my district leader. It almost makes me shed a tear seeing all the progress he has made over the last year. 
My Companion is a Lovely Deseret
Anyway, it was awesome being able to spend time in Central Park. Central Park is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable things for me to do in the city in my opinion. As you walk through the North Woods you would completely forget you were in the city if it weren't for the sirens going off in the background. 
City or Forest? I'm so confused.
I think I found the lamp post from Narnia. Call me Mr. Tumness.
After Central Park we went to The Cathedral of St. John The Divine which is the largest cathedral in the world. This place is YUGE. They have been constructing it without using modern methods. They have been working on it for the last 100 years and it's projected completion date is in about 100 years. You kind of don't feel as cool saying it took the saints 40 years to build the Salt Lake Temple when you compare it to that. It was funny because when we went inside the cathedral we bumped into a school group from Utah Valley University that was visiting for a trip. Basically all of the kids were LDS. There were more Mormons inside of that Episcopalian chapel than Episcopalians haha. 

Man oh man. Look at the church on that one.
President Morgan goes home in three weeks and pretty soon President Smith will be taking the throne. The Assistants wanted to do a special split with Elder Wallace and I to get a better feel for the area so they can let President Smith learn more about the unique hints in every area. I spent the day with Elder Reid from Hawaii! Elder Reid and I served together when I was in Scarsdale, so it was fun being able to be companions with him for the day. Even back towards the beginning of my mission I remember thinking how cool it would be to be companions with Elder Reid. With the way things worked out I was able to experience a little of what it would be like to be his companion. I wanted to make sure the split was a memorable experience for him. That's why I took him down to Hunts Point hehe. Don't look it up on a map mom. 

I don't know what was in the air that day but everybody was willing to talk to us for some reason. Miracles happen in splits I'm telling you. Elder Reid and I were able to have some great conversation talking about what qualities are truly important in a good leader. One of the things that was brought up was charity. I feel as though I have been slapped in the face with talk of charity. It's been brought up in so many instances. It's been brought up with other missionaries, members, even in emails that I have received from my friends (Shoutout to Elder Garrett Lewis. His email on charity was on point.) Elder Reid was sharing how faith, hope and charity are all linked together. Not only are they all interconnected, but they are also interdependent. As we develop one of those qualities it will affect the other qualities. When we excel and use faith naturally we gain hope. When we have faith and hope we are compelled to bless the lives of others by being charitable. As we are charitable toward others it helps us develop greater hope and faith. Crazy stuff man. Crazy. 

Sorry this email is short but I don't have a lot of time with all the shenanigans we've been up to. 

Bye n stuff. 

Elder Tyler J Johanson

Knuckle Sammiches with a Side of Faith

Hey hey hey, 

My week’s been a pretty weird one. 
I Love the Bronx?
Elder Wallace and I went and looked up a less active member of the ward. He is an older Jamaican man. Cool fella. He has a lot of health problems that prevent him from coming to church. At one point he was talking about how he has been gaining weight. To show us all the weight he has gained this old Jamaican man started lifting up his shirt and fondled his bare belly in abnormal ways. Who does that? That def made my top ten of weirdest things I've seen this week. 
This sketchy dentist's office is right down the street from where we live.
Why in the world would you go to a sketchy dentist office
when there is a hearse parked out front???
We had a drunk guy wobble up to us on the street call us a couple of highly explicit things and tell us he was going to knock us out haha. It was pretty funny considering I could have blown in his face and he would've tipped over. We starting walking away and he tried following us. Every time he would call us a terrible name we would keep telling him thank you. It made him even more mad and he wanted to give us a knuckle sammich even more but he couldn't keep up with our fast paced walking. The people I get to meet out here haha.

Don't miss the guy that looks like 2 chainz drinking an icee. That's my favorite part. 
Elder Wallace and I saw a miracle this morning. We were doing our laundry in the basement of our apartment complex. We still have to pay just as much money as we would if we were going to a laundromat, but hey at least it's close to home. We washed our clothes and then we went to move them into the dryer. There's two dryers in the basement of our apartment. One doesn't work and has never worked since I've been here, and the other is sketchy with how often it works. We moved all of our goodies into the dryer, put our quarters in the dryer slot, and the dealio that you slide in with all of our quarters in it got jammed. We couldn't get that homeboy to budge! If we didn't get our clothes to dry in that dryer it would have botched our p-day. My faithful companion suggested that we say a prayer. Ladies and gents, doods and doodettes sometimes in life we feel that we can't pray about certain things because we aren't worthy/not full of enough faith/we don't think God will answer our prayer. That thought is from the adversary. We should never entertain such a thought. With that in mind we prayed. We expressed to God how we wanted to do the best we could to keep our covenants that we had both previously made with Him in a holy place, but it would be a hard thing to do if our covenants were soaking wet. After our prayer and us pushing and pounding on the dryer for a couple of minutes the dryer started working! And I kid you not, this was the driest our clothes have ever been. Usually the dryer is kind of wimpy and leaves our clothes a lil bit damp, but this time they were as dry as my companions chicken that he cooks. It was marvelous. Is God real or what??? #WowzaGeeBoomBoomPowDropTheBassSkrrrrrt

Something I've been wanting to know lately is how I can have more faith. In order to be a bigger TOOL (in the hands of the Lord) and have miracles occur you have to first demonstrate your faith. I was able to get a cool email this last week from President Morgan that answers that question of, "How can we have more faith?" 

-"How do we increase our faith?” Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness. It is always given when righteousness is present, and the greater the measure of obedience to God’s laws the greater will be the endowment of faith”. 
If we desire more faith and the power which comes with it, we must be more obedient. When we allow ourselves to be casual or situational in obeying God's commandments, we prevent ourselves from fully receiving the vital spiritual gift of faith. Increased faith requires an attitude of exact obedience, even in our small, simple behaviors. Faith, as a principle of power, comes from a consistent pattern of obedient behaviors and attitudes. As representatives of the Savior, let's deny the adversaries attempts to create doubt, discouragement and distraction by increasing our faith in Jesus Christ through our obedience and love for Him." -President Morgan

I can't really say it better than that. Sooooo just read that and I'm sure you'll be good. 

Until next week.

-Elder Tyler "Jo Jo binks" Johanson