Friday, June 12, 2015

Boogie Down

Salutations from "The boogie down Bronx",

At least that's what the kids on the streets are calling it these days. They're calling it a lot of other names too but this was definitely the most appropriate one. 
Happy Cinco de Mayo! We didn't know if that was really a thing
 but we got Mexican food anyway 

This last week was a week of miracles, warmth, sickness, stories that I won't share until I come home so I don't scare my mother, and excitement. 

We got the exciting news this week that on July 3rd we will be going to the Yankees game as a mission. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be singing 5 songs that night at the game, the last of which will be the Star Spangled Banner to start the game. That's only the second coolest news too. On top of that, President Morgan was telling us that Quentin L. Cook aka an Apostle of the church is coming to our mission this week. We are going to be able to hear from him at the temple chapel in Manhattan.

We don't really know what it is going to be about though. Some missionaries are speculating that he is coming here to chastise our mission for something crazy, others think that he is telling us to hurry up and save all the righteous souls in New York before the second coming haha. All I know is that I'm going to do a little bit of repenting before hand so I have nothing to be ashamed of and then I'm going to go enjoy being in the presence of an apostle. 

Elder Thompson and I are teaching a guy that is legit! He has so much potential in this church. The gospel could do him so much good. The first few lessons we had with him he was progressing quickly, but then he started not doing any of the commitments we were extending. He was missing church and all that jazz. Going in to our lesson with him we were lovingly and lightly going to call him to repentance. We didn't know if he was serious about this. We wanted to know. Going in to the lesson we had our game faces on. We were ready for business.

He showed up and we picked a room in the chapel for our lesson. Before we could sit down and have a prayer he got really excited and told us that he had read ALL of 1 Nephi in just a couple days and that he loved it and had some questions! Elder Thompson and I exchanged that "y'all ready know" glance. We didn't have to chastise him at all. He read and had some great questions that we were able to answer. There are few better feelings than when those that you're working with actually do what you have told them to do. Teaching is my favorite, I could be in lessons all day and be content. 

It's warming up here in the Bronx. It's getting hot and humid. The good news is there are more people outside. It makes it easier to talk to people because they're not in a rush to get out of the bone chilling wind. The bad news is all the crazies are staring to come out too. I can almost guarantee you that the emails home will be getting a lot more juicy and interesting for the next couple months. Stay tuned. 

Do the Harlem Shake

Fun Fact:  the Harlem Shake dance was invented in 1981 at Rucker Park.  Another fun fact, the shake that I got at Harlem Shake may have been the most expensive Shake I've ever purchased. But we don't discuss those things.
Every Tuesday morning Elder Thompson and I along with one other companionship go and sing/converse with patients in this rehab. The rehab is mainly a rehab for people that have recently gotten out of surgeries or dialysis, but the reasons why they are there are all across the board. This has really been a special part of my week every week. We have a few favorite people that we like to sing to each week. One of our favorites is a guy named George. George growing up was the drummer in a rock band for years. He lived a crazy life. More recently he quit the rock n roll scene and formed a country group with his brother.

Within the last few years he has found out that he has diabetes. Because of certain complications George is now blind. Even though he has trials in his life he keeps a positive attitude and I love talking to him every week. Every Tuesday morning we see him. It's kind of like that amazing book, Tuesday With Morrie, only its Tuesday's with George. He tells us stories about his old music days and how he is in love with Carrie Underwood. We tell him triumph stories that we've had in the last week and laugh at all his jokes even if they aren't that funny. The occasional courtesy smile escapes my mouth at his attempts to be a comedian even though I know he can't see it. He is a special guy.

Last time we were there he was talking about how his girlfriend from Queens is Jewish, and how he wants anything in the world for her to recognize Jesus Christ. This humble man was at the point of tears talking about how Christ would be a good thing for her. He asked if we could pray with him. He held out his palms waiting for us to grasp them and begin a prayer. We all held hands in a circle in the same way that Dad would try to get us to do sometimes at home but never ended up working because all of us kids couldn't take it seriously. This time was different. This time was special. We prayed to God and the Spirit was definitely there. We ended the prayer and he meekly thanked us. We told him we would be back next week. We left the room excited.

About 5 minutes later we walked back down the hall and glanced through the open door to his room just to catch a glance at George. There he was, sitting in his wheel chair right where we left him. Hands clasped together in prayer. His faith shone through that day. You could tell he was pleading with God. It appeared as though he was pleading to God as if God was in the room with him. I've seen plenty of people pray before, not like this though. This was a more humbling sight than normal. He is a good man.

God is so good. God is so real. 

Elder Tyler J Johanson

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