Monday, January 6, 2014

6 January 2014

When Elder Diaz and I are together, miracles happen. Everytime. It's ridiculous. We both just have the expectation that we're going to see miracles and we do everything we can to qualify ourselves for miracles.

One of the miracles from this past week was putting a very prepared woman on date for baptism. She and her husband have come to church for over a month, have read the entire gospel principles book (in two weeks), and read the Book of Mormon daily. They're past chapter 8 and LOVE it. It's awesome. But they were hesitant to get baptized since they wanted to wait until the husband's family from Colombia arrived. 

But they're read now.

We had a powerful lesson with them this past weekend. Their children (10, 14) live in Mexico and are members. The daughter called the mother before the lesson started and we had the daughter, 10, on the phone for the whole lesson. IT was awesome. She said she wanted her parents to get baptized. She also said she wanted to serve a mission, "and teach all the Catholics!" We laughed super hard.

We watched, "On the Road to Damascus," and talked about acting in faith. Now, the mother is on date for two weeks from now. The father is still wanting to wait for Feb. That's ok, we feel. She is so ready and so excited for baptism and we are sure that he will be baptized when she does. They are an amazing family and the result of much prayer.

Another miracle that we saw this past week happened on Friday. Oh man. It. Was. AWESOME! Here's the story:

 We had both just done an exchange with two other missionaries (changing companions for 24 hours as a learning experience). We both had awesome exchanges and specifically looked for miracles. Two of our miracles included getting two twenty dollar bills from random people.  Another one was finding a very prepared Muslim from Fiji who wanted to get baptized.

After our exchange, we realized we had inadvertently taught and focused on the same exact things. Inspired! We were excited and when we got home we decided to check the mail. To our surprise we found a referral inside.

I looked at it and said, "This is going to be a family of four who wants to get baptized."

We opened it...

And it was! A family of four who wanted to get baptized! We called them immediately and set up an appointment for the next day. The father referred themselves. They go to SLC twice a year, every year. They're surrounded by members and have been for years.They go to the temple lights every year and already own church DVDs. 

Our first visit was inspiring. They're an amazing family. As soon as we entered that home, we felt something special. It was powerful. They accepted a baptismal date ten minutes into our first visit. He quickly said, "But wait, I still want to have these lessons!" I replied, "Haha, don't worry, we do too!!" 

We love that family. They came to church and LOVED it. The five year old didn't want to leave the mother and so she sat through primary with her. She loved Primary. They both loved Primary.

And behind this whole story is a man who has been offering help for years. Their close friend who lives some miles away. He has always been there for him. In fact, this family has had inspiring encounters with Mormons for years: one included a random wrong phone call that turned into a friendship from a member of the church. 

Members, you don't know when your efforts will come to blossom, but they do and we love you for it!!!! 

The funny thing about this story is that the father that we were teaching is the one who invited his member friend to church. He called him up one day and said, "Hey, friend, I'm going to church tomorrow! Will you come with me?" Hahahaha. I responded, "Wait, wait, wait, so YOU invited your member friend to church?" I died, so funny.

This family is the most elect family I've ever seen. They're all ready. They're all progressing. And after 24 hours they commented to us on the changes they're already seeing in their family and their happiness. They're putting the gospel to the test and making it happen!!! 

We love them. After that visit we made a frantic phone call to President Toone and said, "YOU CAN'T TRANSFER US." He laughed and said he doesn't want to split us up and will do everything he can to not. That means 7.5 months in Mesa for me! Elder Diaz and I will have had over 15 baptisms together. That's a good companionship...

Our Bishops are calling and requesting we stay too haha. WHATEVER IT TAKES! When we walked through the door with the family last week, the bishop pulled me aside and said, "I just got chills! Good work Elders!" 

And that's just one ward...we have another family of 3 in the Spanish ward that, "want to get baptized" and it will be a February baptism.

Life. Is. So. Good.

And you know what goes behind it? President Toone, in their zone conference trainings, has been making this promise to all the missionaries. "I promise you that if you're obedient, you will unite a family in the gospel in these next few months."

Well, we're doing everything we can and we have found two families in both of our wards who want to get baptized! And President hasn't even come to Mesa to do those trainings yet, the promise is just working! We're getting the members super involved and every visit we have, the members invite the investigator family in the Spanish ward to get baptized. One said, "It was great to see you today! I'll see you on Saturday at your baptism, right?!" 

Spanish members have no shame! They're all converts and they're all super bold! It's awesome.

We've been developing a game this past week to use with members. It was Elder Diaz's idea and was super inspired. The game is called, "Many are called...many are chosen." The idea is that we visit member families and get the competitive side out. We sit down, go over some rules, and then give them two minutes to write every name they know - members, family, friends, whatever it could be. After two minutes we see which team has the most. That team chooses someone to say a prayer. Afterwards, we sit in silence and look over the names and see they feel inspired to visit/call/Facebook/whatever. We have those members call/contact those people right there on the spot while the spirit is super strong.

It works. We're seeing miracles now because of it. And the whole zone is catching fire! 

In January, that will be our focus. Miracles, miracles, miracles, and miracles. We are envisioning that each companionship can get 20 referrals per week (15x what we're at right now) and help fourteen people come closer to Christ through baptism. There are 17 who are working towards a baptismal date as of last night, 17 at church, and 17 progressing towards that date. 

It's just all coming together.
And if I get transferred away... idontevenknowwhatiddo!

I've got a good feeling that I'll be here for nine months. We'll see though! It might be safest to send any letters to the mission office if you can't send them by Wednesday.

Thank you, family, for the letters this past week!

Con mucho amor,!
Elder Johnson

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