Monday, February 24, 2014

24 February 2014

I'm leaving Mesa! 

It was a good run here. I've become the best I've ever been and yet there is still much room for needed growth. I've seen amazing miracles. I've met amazing people. I've grown my testimony. 7.5 months of joy and stress and exhaustion and peace. It has been a good experience. 

I am happy to say that I am leaving it better than I found it. Right now we have three people with a baptismal date. In the past months I've been blessed to see many come closer to Christ through baptism and know that this area is better than it was 7.5 months ago. I'm (righteously) proud that I have not fallen into a rut in that time: the area has been growing progressively and I haven't gotten comfortable. You can't grow if you're comfortable.

This was a very strange transfer. Elder Diaz is also leaving Mesa...which means we're getting whitewashed! Logically I can't wrap my head around it since we've had so much success, both measurable and non measurable. Oh well, I'll go where He wants me to go!

I'm 99.9% sure that I'm going to Phoenix South with Elder Myler! We'll find out! 

Until then, keep sending letters to the mission office 1871 E Del Rio Dr, Tempe AZ 85282.

As per our hope, Mesa zone is being torn apart. There are many here who need a new start somewhere else, a new environment, and a new companion. This has been a hard transfer and a new area will definitely help those.

I'm sad to say goodbye to everyone. I'm sad to say goodbye to Elder Diaz. We've seen amazing miracles together. He's the best of the best and has helped me so much. I love serving with him. We have so much fun and we see amazing things happen.

Well, I weighed myself this past week on a scale at the hospital. I've gained 10 pounds in 6 weeks! Not surprising, I guess, since we live with the best members in the world. How can you say no to homebaked goodies? I can't. 

To combat that, the Elders Quorum President in one of our wards has graciously offered us personal training from 6:30am to 7:00am everymorning at his CrossFit gym! OH MY GOODNESS IT HURTS. An hour after the first workout I couldn't move. The next day every step seemed to destroy me. And the second day was just the worst experience ever. I biked on an exchange and was in agony. The next day I was back in our area and getting in and out of the car has never hurt so bad.

Dad, this one is for you. Does the Arlington 2nd ward cover the hospital? Here's why:

(Elder) Corporal Boyd Haskell was sent to Arlington Hospital after being injured in combat in Afghanistan in late February/early March of 2013. This last week we went on an awesome exchange together and he mentioned to me that the local members of the congregation, including the Bishop, had visited him in the hospital! That's one of the two Arlington wards! So, Dad, do you remember a Corporal Boyd Haskell, 19 years old, from Iowa? Small world! 

It has been an exciting week for the Missionary Department with Facebook going live in at least one Japan mission. Jared Hall, my cousin, is serving there and connected with me this past week about Facebook! There mission seems to be rolling it out a little more cautiously than we did; we just put everyone on from day one, they only have three on right now testing it. Smart. I was able to share some tips that should hopefully save them and their mission president from much heartache. 

What an exciting time this is...

Last night was the Mission President's Fireside and was, I think, the last time that I will be translating there since I will not be in Mesa anymore. It's always an amazing experience to do that. I learn so much about trusting in God rather than my own (lack of) abilities. 

I was also able to say goodbye last night to Elder Egbert. Elder Egbert was one of my favorite missionaries. Today is his last day. Elder Egbert was my zone leader in Queen Creek during a hard time in my mission. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices that he made to help us through that dark time. I'll forever be grateful for him.

The more that I think about transfers the more I get sad. I'm going to miss our recent converts. I'm going to miss them so much. I love them all so much.

I am going to miss the members here as well. There are some who have impacted me forever, who have taught me profound things, and who have showed me by example the kind of person that I want to be.

Mesa has changed my life.

We are continuing with our Book of Mormon read-a-thon! I am very far behind and in Jacob but it's coming along! It is amazing to see focus on how the prophets of old taught effectively! So inspiring! 

The Arizona Tempe Mission has changed so much. As I watch more and more people that I came out with and came out before me go home, it is a very very strange feeling. The culture of the mission has changed completely. Everything is different. New boundaries, new mission president, new zones, new missionaries. But I do believe that it is better than ever.

President Howes always said, "If this mission falters when I leave, I will be devastated. That will mean that it was not founded upon the right cornerstone. The best legacy that we can leave is that our successors/posterity will do better than we did." 

Words of wisdom, President Howes. He always had good ones...

To bid me a nice farewell, Mesa gave me the best sunset I've seen in a long time. See attached.

And to bid me an even better farewell, Mesa blessed us with our last baptism here. Uniting a family. She was baptized in January. It was flawless and a powerful experience.

Ehhh, maybe flawless is an exaggeration... You see, spanish wards are extra special. I will never forget them. Ever. And maybe not for reasons that I like haha.

Last night at the baptism, one of the members spoke on the gift of the Holy Ghost. When he got up there he started it off about the holy ghost and then for some reason taught about Adam and Eve and God senior, God junior, and the Holy Ghost. About God Junior is Heavenly Father. 


We were sitting in our chairs DYING. 

There really is no such thing as a perfect baptism. But that's ok :)

I love you all! Thanks for your support! 
Elder Johnson

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