Washington Tacoma Mission; May 2012 - June 2013
Washington Federal Way Mission; July 2013 - May 2014

I want to share my testimony with you. I know God lives, he loves and cares about me and is very watchful of me. He is my Father in Heaven, I am his Son. Heavenly Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ to come to this earth, to show us the way to return to live with our Father in Heaven. Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for my sins, my bad days, and my hard aches willingly. He then died on the cross. He rose three days. He is my Savior, my Redeemer. I would have no hope without Jesus Christ. He is my Light and Life. I am so grateful for my Mother and Father here on earth. They have truly sacrificed so much for me to be here on a mission. Thank You. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ in the grove. Joseph restored the true and living church back to this earth, and because of that, i can take the sacrament each week, and be cleansed from sin. I love the temple so much, there is truly a spirit of power there. God is over this work. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission. May God bless you until we meet again. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Becoming Spiritual

Well, as we almost all know, this is it. My last email as a Full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I would like to go to the beginning,
March 7, 2012:
Dear Elder Johnson:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Washington Tacoma Mission.
Although scared and confused of why I got called to a mission only 3 hours from my mother and somewhere were I spent my whole childhood summers since I was 13, running on the beaches of Westport and driving around Port Angeles. I would go!

May 1, 2012:
I was set apart by my stake president to be a missionary.

May 2, 2012:
I was dropped of, kicked to the curb for the lack of a better term, by my father and gave that man i so respected a hug and walked into something I could never picture to be real, a journey that would take two years and 10 days to complete and a lifetime to ponder over.

May 23, 2012: (or something close to it)
I boarded a plane that I have taken some many times, a trip I'm so familiar with. I'm scared out my suit pants, died tired, but ready to go, meet president and sister weaver, people I didn't even know but would come to love.

May 29, 2013: (or something close to it)
A Saturday, The phone rings, I look, it says President Weaver, knowing this to be transfer calls day, my heart rate stopped and hoping it to be for my companion, I answer. over the next 15-20 minutes, President and Sister Weaver give me the news that I'm going to the new mission. Although this seemed at the time a tragic news for someone about ready to shine, I at the point had no idea what God had in store for me.

October 19, 2013:
My mother now, returned to activity in the Church. Picks me up to go to the temple. Weird to say the least bit, if you would of told me at my setting apart, that my mother would come back to the church and you would be to be apart of it, I would of told no sense. As we make that drive to the temple. Memories were shared and testimonies strengthened. In the changing room, after changing, walked out and saw this long haired man, that looked oddly familiar. Wait that's my brother, Chad. I gave that man a Hug. As I sat in the celestial room, taken back by what was taking place, I couldn't stand. My knees were shaking, emotions were high, but I knew as promised to me in a blessing only 7 hours earlier by a member of the ward I was serving, "I would glimpse the eternities that day."

Although, you would read this email and you might think wow, that is amazing. Many more miracles were to come, many more memories were to still be made.

although, still the most amazing change was still to come, which was in myself.
Starting in January 2014, although I knew what I was teaching was true, I hadn't had that mighty change of heart as everybody was talking about, and with my mission coming to close, i knew I need to make some changes, President Eaton in an interview provide the gears for me to put that change into play. Although, I wont mention the means by how this change about, I will say that it took a sincere heart, real intent, and having faith, repentance, and being born again, receiving the mighty change of heart, and having no more desire to sin against my God. Although my last couple of transfers in Hylebos were ultimately tough, it was that refiners fire, that every missionary said they went through. My testimony strengthened and began to become unshakeable. I became more bold in the declaration of my Savior, and the reality of His church being restored through a young boy.

I know, first off God Lives. and He leads and guides me when I allow him, its no mistake that God sent to a mission were I spent my childhood summers. He is my Father and I am His son.
I am nothing compared to God, but I am everything to my Heavenly Father. He loves all of His children, He loved him enough to send His only begotten Son in the flesh. The Savior, did many wondrous things in His life, stories and examples that we could learn to follow and become more Christ-like disciples of Him. He taught us the way to love each other, have compassion on those that offend us, those beat us with stripes. Christ was mocked, more then we will ever be mocked, he was spit upon by those who persecuted Him, but He continued faithfully. He taught me how to forgive myself of things that I had done in the past to harm others and myself, He taught how to stand and how to lift myself up. He taught me urgency of repentance, the first recorded thing out of Christ mouth, was "Repent ye, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." That process of repentance was beautiful, wonderful, painful, trying, and some many other words. I have been asked this questions before I ever put on a name tag, "why would you willing give up things that bring you joy?" this is my answer, Because I am a Son of God, and I can't let my Father down.
I know for reality that God and His Son appeared to a boy, that had question,

 "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. …“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

I know with out a shadow of doubt that this in reality happened, it is true! You might then ask how could you ever believe such a ridiculous statement, it seems like a fairy tale. "He was on drugs", as once one man said to me. It took 4 years for me to find this out, and be where I am today, but it started back in January 2011, I had to read the fruits of this restoration, the Book of Mormon, I fully believe, that you must daily read from the Book of Mormon, to nourish and strengthen your testimony of it and the precepts found therein, and that of Joseph Smith.
I know that if you lack faith, it waivers from time to time, that you must repent, and read that little blue book, God never ever ever requires to much of us, He says, if you want to know if what my prophet is teaching is true, and wither Joseph was prophet or not, then read 531 pages, 1/3 of the bible in length. and you can then know for yourself, its truthfulness. I bear my humble witness for the last time to my loved ones. I know that everything that I have sent you, every promise I have made, and every declaration of testimony that you have received, while I have been a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. The temple blessings, when we accept them and make an honest effort to attend as often as we can, will change your life. Attending the temple on my mission has been hard, I have only been 5 times on my mission, I know more than most missionaries. I wish I could attend more, the blessing and the power of attending the Lord's House are miraculous. Words of advice, and things to ponder over, where am I along the Gospel path, am I struggling with my testimony? could I use a little more faith? could I use and recognize God's blessings in my life more fully? Do I know who and what the Savior is? Have I felt, spiritually, the prints of the nails in His hands and in His feet by feeling the effects of the Atonement? We all might want to take a look at our lives and become more spiritual. Pray Always, and be believing, drink deeply of the scriptures, attend your church meetings, attend the temple, and remove the sins that easily doth beset you. In the sacred name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.