Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 9, 2014

I think the absolute highlight of this last week was a spontaneous companionship study with President Toone. I've always had questions that I don't have the answers to and he ALWAYS has the answers. I think for a year straight I've been texting him at random intervals with questions that I cannot answer. A few weeks ago he said, "Elder Johnson, why don't we have a companionship study together?" I wasn't sure how serious he was.

On an exchange with Elder Nelson this last week, I told that very story to him. Elder Nelson said he had always wanted to do one with President and encouraged me to text President and invite him to come over the next morning. At 9:45 pm we sent the text to President. Ten minutes later we got the best text ever.

"Oh wow...I would love that! Let me check my schedule. I will call you."

We got a text from him the next morning saying, 

"I'll be there in 20 minutes!" 

We were stoked! Luckily our apartment was suuuuper clean (isn't it always?) and we invited him in. He had to lean over to fit his head through our door frame. We all sat down in our room and bam, it started. We asked him some questions which triggered his excitement and for 1.5 hours he taught the two of us in our small room.

It was one of the coolest memories of my mission. President Toone LOVES church history and knows absolutely EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. All three of us were all smiles that morning as we talked about the doctrine and some very interesting things that he has learned over the years. It was an amazing experience. President Toone has instilled a passion into me for church history. He knows the absolute coolest things in the world. 

I got a message from President Toone this morning saying, 

"I loved out companion study the other day. We should do that more often."

If you insist!! :) 

I'm going to miss President and Sister Toone.

This past week was zone meeting. In all my time giving them, I had never struggled so much to plan one as we did for this one. Our zone is perfect. There are no problems. We sat there for hours and tried to figure out what to do. Eventually we concluded that we'd show them the improvement. We made a graph of the last 16 week statistical areas for each area and the zone. We are 3x as high as we were 16 weeks ago. This is the place to be! We also talked about a mission-wide push for a family mission plan. 

After the zone lunch we went to heaven: Canton Wong #8! We squeezed 21 missionaries into the tiny restaurant and had a great lunch. We all love that place haha. 

Story time. This last week the craziest thing that has ever happened to me happened. A missionary almost died. [Paul often writes stories about people dying.]

Here's the story. We have the best district in the world. Elder Sylvester and I, Elder Nelson and Torres, and Hnas Smuin and Acosta all serve in the same ward and we make up district 1. We usually eat dinners with Elders Nelson and Torres. This past week we were slated to eat together but the member asked us if they could drop Carls Jr (haha) off for us at the church at 5:45. We said yes and went a little before that so that we could just eat dinner in 15 minutes and be out at 6:00 to work. At 6:05 she showed up and we were all starving and out of time so we quickly blessed the food and ate.

Elder Torres and I are both allergic to sea food, except he is deathly allergic. Once consumed, he has 30 minutes to live.

We opened the giant bag and pulled out the food she had brought us. There were two chicken nuggets inside of it that Elder Torres and I grabbed. He ate the entire one and I took a bite, looked inside, and said it tasted funny. It was fish.

In a moment of pure panic, he ran to the bathroom to gag himself. I hadn't swallowed and spat it up in the kitchen. I came back and we waited for Elder Torres to come out of the bathroom. Panic started to set in as Elder Nelson explained to us the seriousness of what had happened. While waiting, we quickly called President and Sister Toone. No answer. We kept calling. No answer.

Eventually Elder Torres runs out of the bathroom with tears running down his face with a look of pure terror. "Guys," he said, "I don't want to die! I can't throw it up! I don't want to die!"

The expression on his face was one that I will never forget. It was one of someone who was sure they were about to die.

Elder Nelson quickly grabbed a chair and said, "Sit down, we're going to give you a priesthood blessing!" We gave the phones to Elder Sylvester and had him call President and Sister Toone over and over until they answered. 

During the blessing we had contacted President Toone and been approved to go to the ER or Urgent Care. We ran to the car and I floored it backwards. 

I like driving fast. [from mom: better not drive fast there OR when you get home!]

As I backed, I called 911 and asked for the nearest location. I had a 15 second battle over not sending an ambulance. He insisted, I insisted against it. ($$$). He gave us the cross streets and I raced around the corner a safe speed. Thank goodness we did not have Tiwi - that was the first miracle. [from mom:  I think we need a tiwi for him as a coming home present!]

We left the zone then the mission as we raced to downtown Phoenix. We sat in utter silence as Elder Nelson encouraged Elder Torres. It was a weird feeling. I was watching the clock closely, terrified that 30 minutes would expire before we arrived. Elder Torres started to react with his throat closing off and his tongue becoming inflamed. His speech was slurred. 

We kept driving.

After five or so minutes, I commented that I felt a very strong peace in the car. Elder Nelson agreed and we kept driving.

We arrived at the Urgent Care. Elder Torres ran inside, naturally still scared. 

There was absolutely nothing wrong with him. The doctor thought we were crazy since he had no symptoms of any allergic reaction.

He had been healed. Completely healed. His life was saved.

And with that miracle came a secondary miracle to all four of us: an assurance that the Lord runs the show. This is His church, His priesthood and authority to perform miracles is back. 

And it works.

We reflected on it after we left and I continue to think back to it. He should have died. But he didn't. He is completely fine.


Another miracle happened when the only missionary couple on Sri Lanka contacted a referral I sent them! They have a return appointment today :) She told me the entire family was excited to see them! So excited, actually, that they called another family member at the doorstep and let the senior couple talk to them over the phone!!!

It is so hot in Arizona.

Yesterday, eight of our 10 zones were affected by an ET. Hna Acosta, our favorite Australian sister, was transferred back to her last (and only other) area in Northern Phoenix. Sister Smuin is staying and will be training someone who has been out for three weeks, Sister Finau. She's from Tonga but lives in Hawaii. She'll be a good addition to our weekly zone gatorball activity! 

Elder Sylvester and I found a hornet nest on a door at church yesterday. The building we go to is really unique: there is a courtyard and the classrooms go around the perimeter of it. We pointed it out to Bishop. He's a tough guy. We had seen hornets fly in and out of it. He walked over to it, grabbed it with his hand, and ripped it off! Somehow there were none inside haha. His response, "Will it kill me? Then I'm going to take it down!" Hahahahahah. He's the man.

This last week I finished a personal goal that I had set to read the New Testament in 3.5 weeks. What a great experience! I've read the gospels many times but never all the way through the epistles. Every chapter I read just reinforced my gratefulness for the our church. Everything that no one else can explained is so clearly explained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! There isn't confusion! "God is not the author of confusion." 

This morning I started my next challenge: read the Book of Mormon in 22 days. My goal is to read about 25 pages a day looking for attributes that I want to have. I read 28 this morning and am loving it so far. It's about 150 a week or so. I'll keep you updated as I go along but I have already learned so much from Nephi, Lehi, Laman, Lemuel, and more. 

Thank you all for your continued support! I hope it's freezing cold wherever you are!

Elder Johnson

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