Monday, August 29, 2016

Our General Authority Experience

Finally got my iPad! It's an incredible tool and has helped so much in
planning and even more in finding new investigators and sharing our
message!

So we set our first solid baptismal date. The fun thing is that she
was the first person I ever contacted in Spanish! I'm super excited
for her, she's 16 and already looking to serve a mission!

There were some really awesome things that I have learned in the
exchange this week. The main thing being the initiative to go and do.
A lot of times it's hard to go straight out and take actions. As
members and missionaries we want to fellowship people into the church
but a lot of times our nonmember friends need our message before our
friendship. Hope this experience can help you. Love you guys!

We had a General Authority, Elder Dubei, come and speak to the
mission! Incredible experience and normally it would just end there
but while he was here he decided to tag along with a pair of Elders to
see what they did throughout the day. And no those elders weren't me
and Elder Langi, but they were the other companionship in the 4 man.
So you can only imagine our surprise when we came home and a member of
the Seventy is cracking jokes about how messy our apartment is 😂



I didn't take too many pictures but here's a pretty fun one.
Apparently my companion is really good at cutting hair.

Monday, August 15, 2016

3rd Week in Newark

So not to freak you guys out but this week has totally been crazy haha! Like I've been saying for the past couple weeks New Jersey is well.. Different. One of our appointments ended up being a guy who was pretty tipsy and a little too into my "pretty eyes" and then yesterday we got off the bus to see a guy casually strutting, very much naked, down the street! Anyways I guess if I were to put in words my experience of this week it would be that overused phrase in the MTC, " There is no growth in the comfort zone." Well it's very much true and often times it also means that there is no growth in knowing where you are going to end up.

      I really burnt myself out this week. I think that God gives us talents not only to help in His work but to also humble us in knowing that those tools are a gift. Being doubled into an area that just opened has really been difficult and it's taken all of our effort to utilize our skills and get this area up and running (For those of you who don't know mission terms we pretty much started from scratch in finding people to teach each day). My lesson from all the work we've been doing lately is that you can get burnt out. As members, missionaries or even just people we follow a monotonous cycle of being humbled to the point where we learn to use our tools and talents, and then working ourselves to death because we start depending on one way of using our tool.
    

  Hopefully some of this makes sense but the main message I'm trying to get across right now is that in order to break the cycle we must always turn to Lord. I personally know that such a commitment is unrealistic but it should be our end game. It should be on our minds. I have never regretted a moment in peace to gather my thoughts our seek for promptings. The world trains us to live that monotonous cycle, to be effective and efficient machines. Sad things is that we'll probably never be "efficient" but we can be "enough". I'm not quite sure what I'm getting to and I'm sure you want to get down to the fun stuff right below this but as a representative of Jesus Christ I am beginning to figure out what He wants from me. And if I can worthily and rightfully declare His word without ever fully understanding it then don't we all need a break? Take a step back an meditate for awhile, see if He has an extra tricks for using your tools in a way that only an old timer could.

-Elder Lucas Johnson

                                 We are Officially biking Misisonaries, at least for a short time.

                                   This is the Willy Wonka door...my companion, "The Giant"

Monday, August 8, 2016

2nd Week in Newark

Newark is absolutely incredible and like I said in my last email the people here are incredible! This week they have had a huge impact on the way I see mission work. 

 So there's been several times this week where we've taught people who were either drunk or just different. What I mean is that it can be difficult to give our message. And that's how they've taught me so much. I guess if I were to explain what I've gotten out of this week is the fact that I need to "Stop preaching and teach... A lesson!" I've come to learn that some of the most spiritually nurturing experiences come when the only thing I can do is listen and be taught by the spirit. These incredible people talk by the spirit and are some of the kindest hearts that I have ever met! 

 Oh and speaking of fun experiences there was a guy who started bible bashing me and Elder Langi at the train station. Anyways it resulted in people crowing around us and my companion got really really into it 😅 And at some point before it got confrontational I had the prompting to separate a couple boys from the group and speak with them. (For the record my companion was in sight and sound the entire time.) Just so happened that the boys spoke English and they were full of questions. Questions that I was able to answer, that led straight into the Restoration. Anyways we started teaching them and we are going to fallow up today on how their prayers went!

So the Phillie temple is opening in a couple months and our mission president just allowed us to take two trips to the open houses with some of our investigators and less actives! Anyways it's an incredible experience and I can't wait to go!

Well if there were any way to describe Newark it'd be this video one of the Elders took haha 😂

Elder Lucas Michael Johnson

video

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First Area...NEWARK!!!! Loving it!

Hi Everyone,

So coming into New Jersey was pretty crazy. Driving around the city I was sketched out! There are so many gangs and some seriously rough looking people. Anyways I was really nervous to just go around walking in the inner city talking to convicts about God. 
Oh! I should probably mention that I've been assigned to the North Newark walking area! 
My companion's name is Elder Langi, he's a super chill Tongan from Texas and I know that he's my companion for a reason.

Serving a mission is the greatest blessing that I have ever been given other than my family. Although every day is about work and planning and giving up more, and this area is super sketch, I don't think that I have ever been more comfortable with where I am or even who I am. I wish that I had more time to write about my experiences but there are just too many "best" things to do. 

I want to share my testimony that I know that life is hard. It can be incredibly difficult. But I know that the atonement is for our use in those everyday things that make life heavy. For those of us who are members of this church and even for those outside, too often we take the atonement for granted. Too often we're told that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. So if there is one thing that I could tell you about being a missionary in the field this last week it would be that He suffered that we may be happy. Happy in everything we do. 

Personally, I've struggled a lot with trying to be the best that I can be. I'm a lot like a wide-eyed child right before an Easter egg hunt, wanting to find everything at once so I won't lose my treasure. If we do that, if we place significance in every Easter egg than we will never truly value what is inside. In terms of counsel that we receive and experiences that allow us to better our selves, we must continually "become" because "becaming" is no fun.

Valuing the experiences and admiring the beauty within New Jersey is what makes me happy. It helps me love who I am as I continue to become. This place is beautiful and despite all the sirens and car alarms, despite all the trash littered in the streets and parks, there is a serenity in the service I am given as I do my best to serve the people.
The people here in New Jersey are incredible and I learn to love them more everyday. I don't see them anymore but instead there is a happiness I feel when I encounter them. It is absolutely marvelous to where His name on my chest. It is incredible to walk down a street, listening to gang bangers cursing each other out and then to see them stop their conversations just to turn to us and yell "God bless". 
It's these moments that I find beautiful, the cleansing power of the Lord and the Spirit in giving people a chance to be better. And I consider myself the luckiest man alive to be a tool, solely dedicated these two years to help people have the opportunity to do nice things, to become nicer people. Even if that means that they say "God bless" to one more person then us, that is progression and in the words of Alma 32, it must needs be good. 

Hopefully my words make sense and hopefully you feel the Spirit through my words. But thank you family, thank you friends, I love you all but now I must get back to work.

Elder Lucas Michael Johnson
New Jersey, Morristown Mission

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