Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Shizuoka - Land of Miracles

Date: 8/29/2016
Place: Shizuoka
Companion: Elder Wilson

Elder Wilson

I'm in Shizuoka!!
In the morning we went to the train station together and I saw Elder
Gubbay off (he went to go stay with Elder McClellan for transfers). It
was way sad to part ways. I love my bean and I will miss him! He's
such an awesome missionary and Inuyama is on the verge of seeing a ton
of success right now. Bruna's Mom is set for the 18th, Carolina is so
close to accepting a baptismal commitment and there a lot of other
investigators (mostly referrals and part members) that are really
starting to come together! I'm so sad to leave! I popped my bike tire
and the patch kit didn't work so I just packed it up with the punk and
took it to the train station. There at the station, I met Yuna and a
couple of guys who were way cool! It was nice of them to come and see
me off. Then I hopped on a train headed for Jingumae and hopped off at

Brother Sakai

Actually bring alone was really boring. I was way happy to see Elder Iwaasa on the train 

Since everyone was transferring, I saw a lot of missionaries
at Nagoya Station! I thought I might enjoy transferring solo but I
realized on the way down there that I actually didn't know what to do
with myself and hated being alone so it was great to see some
missionaries at the station. 

Random peeps I met at Nagoya when I exchanged trains

I freaking love this human. Elder Hunsaker is a homie. I bumped into him at Nagoya as well.

Then I switched to JR and hopped on a
train to Toyohashi. I was lucky enough to bump into Elder Iwaasa, who
is transferring to Numazu! That was awesome and so we just rode all
the way to Fujieda together to get our companions. It was a good 3
hour ride with several changes, which was a pain but we got there!

The ride to Shizuoka! With Elder Iwaasa

We carry our bikes in bags when we transfer. It's a bit of a pain but hey, it makes for a great adventure getting in the way of everyone ;)

Elder Wilson is a beast! This is going to be the best transfer ever!
He grabbed my  bike for me and we got on a train for Shizuoka. On the
way there we found an awesome potential investigator! Then we got off
the train and had to walk in the rain all the way to the apartment
because my tire was flat. Shizuoka is a big city! The biggest I've
served in so far. We live in a nice neighborhood about an hour's walk
from the station. Then we spent the next few days in a blur of
planning, making goals, making phone calls, heading back to Fukutoku
(where I just came from) for Mission Leadership Training and more
planning for the zone. Mission Leadership training was awesome! Elder
Coleman is the new AP and he has a lot of fire. The mission is
changing a lot. They are working really hard to change the mindset of
the mission and boost everyone's faith. MLC was AWESOME and got us
really fired up! Usually, after big meetings like this, missionaries
all get on a train and hang out all the way to Nagoya before splitting
up. But this time, everyone got on the same train and then scattered
and started talking to people! We took an entire train car by storm!
It was the coolest thing I've ever seen! In Japan, all train rides are
pretty silent because you're not supposed to talk on trains, but this
time the entire train car was alive with people talking to
missionaries! This is how it should be all the time! We split off from
everyone at Nagoya and then us and the Shizuoka Sisters talked to
people almost the entire 3 hour ride home.

This is Shizuoka missionaries! Plus Sister Thomas' popcorn.

Then we planned and schemed some more for the zone. I'm losing my mind
in the apartment! But it's been good. We still had time to get out for
an hour or two though and found a handful of potentials and an
investigator! THIS PLACE IS SO GOLDEN! Almost everyone we talk to
actually has a good conversation with us! People here are super nice.
We found a PI and an investigator just walking from the apartment to
the church! It's been awesome! Elder Wilson is a beast of a missionary
and he works hard so all has been well.

The apartment here is pretty big and rumor has it that we are going 4人(4 people)
next transfer if all goes well! The ward here is awesome! The bishop
is a BODY BUILDER. Yeah we're going lifting with him on Saturday.
Chikano Ryou Kyoudai (Bro くん) from Kariya (one of my old areas) moved
here for work so I get to see him again! I love that guy! This is
going to be awesome! This Ward seems to be pretty high class. We live
in a sort of rich neighborhood, surrounded by big houses (big for
Japan). I'm so used to Aichi and everyone we talk to being a factory
worker! This is way cool! Our ward is amazing! In Ward council, they
talked a lot about part member families and set up a music activity
right there on the spot so that we could invite our investigators! Our
ward is comprised primarily of part member families and they gave us a
list of 15 families with good potential to start working on! This area
is THE PROMISED LAND. I love this ward so much already!
I'm so excited and so happy to be dendoing here with Elder Wilson!
Also we have sister missionaries in our area! Sister Thomas (this is
her last transfer) and Tsujimoto Shimai! Haha Tsujimoto shimai and I
for some reason keep on following each other around the mission for
some reason. We were in the same district in Suwa and then in Inuyama
and now we are in the same area! Haha it's been fun. Sister Thomas and
I were in the same zone in Okazaki, which was way cool! She also
served in Nonami as soon as I left it so we know a lot of the same
people. Elder Wilson and I though have been in opposite areas for our
entire missions! So we don't know any of the same people or have any
of the same stories which means we have a lot to talk about and it's
way fun!

Random weird experience of the week: we got serenaded by an old,
half-naked Japanese man on a bamboo flute (shakuhachi) from his second
story window as we were walking to the church. We were just walking by
and heard him practicing. He noticed us through the window and called
out to us and then started playing! Haha it was the most Japanese,
bizarre thing I have experienced in a while! I'm so mad at myself for
not taking a video!
Yeah it's been quite a week!

Love ya guys!

Elder Johnson

Enviado do meu iPad

The people at MLC (Mission Leadership Council?)
Me, Sister Pasi, Sister Lyman, Elder Decker and Elder Wilson

Monday, August 22, 2016

Miracle Summer - Goodbye Inuyama

Date: 8/22/2016
Place: Inuyama, Aichi
Companion: Elder Gubbay



Yesterday we had a cool one. We were out delivering cookies to people
all day. We were able to meet Miyata San's mom and she was super nice
and talked to us for a while and gave us a ton of fresh vegetables out
of her garden! I love her! 

Then we biked up to the top of this
mountain on the border of Kakamigahara and Unuma and went hunting for
Kawaguchi San. Her dog died recently and so we felt like she needed
cookies. But we rode around and around and couldn't find her house!
(House numbers are not a thing in Japan) We saw this random elderly
couple out on a stroll at night in the dark so we went and asked them
if they knew our friend, Kawaguchi. Now keep in mind that Kawaguchi is
a SUPER common name in Japan so chances of them even knowing the right
Kawaguchi were near zero. But they asked a couple of clarifying
questions as to who she was and it turns out that THEY ACTUALLY KNEW
HER! Turns out there's not a lot of Kawaguchis in the area who can
hula dance. Anyway they took us to her house, which was nowhere near
where google maps sent us, and we dropped off a batch of cookies for
her. She loved it! Anyway that was a cool miracle.

Then today we had another big miracle! We were teaching Bruna's mom
(in Portuguese of course, so I couldn't fully participate in the
lesson but I tried) when Elder Gubbay felt impressed to invite her to
baptism! And she accepted!!! YEAH!! This is the second time in my
mission that I've seen someone accept the invitation to be baptized!!!
This is such a big event for her and for Bruna too! I'm so excited for


We had a koukan on Friday with Ichinomiya so I got to go with Elder
Daniels. It was fun! I love Elder Daniels. We had a jam session with
some of the members that night and it ended up being a sort of band
reunion! Some of the members had gotten together and formed a band a
long time ago and had long since stopped playing music and then at the
jam session they were able to get back together and play again! It was
really cool to see them come back together and have fun. One of them
was a member that hasn't let his face be seen for a long long time. He
finally came out and started seeing people again last week and then he
got to meet his old band at the jam session! He got to reconnect with
his old church friends (and also shred on an electric guitar that he
brought). It was a huge miracle! I'm so happy for him! We didn't plan
any of that, it just happened! God works in mysterious, wonderful
ways. Isshiki Kyoudai wrote a song so we spent most of the time
practicing that, then we ended the jam session off with the primary
song Families can be Together Forever. It was awesome!

I'm going to Shizuoka with Elder Wilson! Elder Arscott will be
followup training Elder Gubbay (I LOVE ELDER ARSCOTT). Elder Daniels
and Leiendecker are staying in Ichinomiya, Sister Lyman and Jensen
will be staying and becoming a 3人 with sister Henderson! Elder Warren
will be replacing Elder Despain as Zone Leader in 福徳 and Sister
Tsujimoto is coming to Shizuoka! Sister Tsujimoto will be replaced by
Sister Talbot, who will followup train Sister Imamiya.
Oh and also they made me a Zone Leader. That's way scary!
I'm super excited for Shizuoka and I'm way stoked to be with Elder Wilson!
But I'm also so so sad to leave behind Inuyama. I know it sounds all
poetic and gross but this area owns my heart. I've developed a
connection with this place and with these people that I never thought
possible. It's going to be so hard to leave these people! We've had
some tearful goodbyes, we'll have some more today and tomorrow morning
and then I'll be on a train out to Shizuoka. But since we didn't have
normal Sunday meetings yesterday, most of them I won't get to say
goodbye to.
It's been a really good two transfers with Elder Gubbay. I'm going to
miss him a lot. He's going to be an awesome missionary. He and Elder
Arscott are going to do wonders here in Inuyama. I'm already seeing a
surge of potential success coming out of the woodwork here. In the
next few weeks this place is going to explode.

This week was so full of miracles that I don't have time to write them
all but I will just write down the best one real quick. 

On Saturday night, we met with my grandparents and President and Sister Ishii at
the Komaki Meitetsu hotel. It was such an incredible opportunity! And
it was so cool to see my grandparents becoming friends with President
and Sister Ishii. In their conversation, I came to realize just how
awesome my grandparents are and just how much they love me. It makes
me want to do everything I can to be a better missionary and a better
grandson. My grandparents are truly awesome and I've come to
appreciate them a lot more these past couple of transfers.
Hey guys, grandparents are awesome. Go call your grandparents or mail
them or something and tell them that you love them :)

I'm extremely grateful for the incredible three transfers that I have
had here in Inuyama. I feel incredibly blessed to have been sent to
this mission, out of all the missions in the world, and then to get
sent to Inuyama, of all places. I will never forget this summer that I
got to spend in Inuyama and the effect that it has had on me. It's
been a dream come true and an experience that has changed me. I love
this place, I love these people and I love the God that sent me here.
This whole summer has been nothing short of a miracle.

I love you guys!
You're awesome. Never forget that.

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No one Speaks Japanese Here... 誰もここでは日本語を喋りません。

Date: 8/15/2016
Place: Inuyama, Aichi
Companion: Elder Gubbay


On Monday we dropped in on the Mizuno family and shared a quick
message. The Mizunos are great! 


Then on Tuesday we taught Teresa, Sister Teru's mom. 
That went pretty well I think but she speaks really
hard Portuguese and I was pretty lost for the whole thing. (Side note:
while we were there, Aira was watching TV and いないいないばあ came on and I
freaked out for a second because it was one of my favorite shows as a
kid! Then I turned around and we kept the lesson going.) Also Terue
made us loaded Brazilian hotdogs (Cachorro-quente com ovinhos y
batatas and other good stuff).

火曜日は、テル姉妹のお母さんのテレサさんにレッスンをしました。レッスンはうまくいったと思うんですが、彼女のポルトガル語は、私には難しくてさっぱり意味がわからずにいました。(レッスン中に、娘さんのアイラちゃんがテレビを見ていたんですが、いないいないばあが始まって、私は小さい時に大好きな番組だったので、思わずすごいこうふんしてしまったんですが、自制心を取り戻してレッスンに戻りました) その後、照江姉妹は美味しいブラジルのホットドッグを作ってくれました。

Wednesday we went to Inuyama Matsuri (festival) with Keisuke (a kid we found last
week who is chill and speaks English) and Daisuke (an eikaiwa student
who is shy). Later we met up with Kevin and had a ton of fun! 
I got me a squid on a stick and enjoyed the fireworks! I tried handing out some 
eikaiwa fliers but it was hard to do with a mouthful of fried squid so I finished it as
quickly as a could and then started passing out chirashis (fliers). But Elder
Gubbay gave out a HUGE stack! It was awesome. I LOVE MATSURI (festival) SEASON.


On Thursday we taught Carolina at her apartment with none other than
the legendary Tsutsumi Kyoudai as our tachiai (helper). The whole thing went
down in rapid-fire Peruvian Spanish so he and I kinda just sat there
and watched haha. It was good to hear so much Spanish though. The
lesson went pretty well! Also Carolina just happens to be a master
cook so she made us a very Peruvian meal! Papas a la Guancaina (I'm
sure I butchered the spelling). Guancaina is apparently some kind of
red pepper that only grows in certain regions of Peru and has a very
unique flavor. So she made a sauce out of it and it was AWESOME. Wow I
love Peruvians and Peruvian food!

Carolina also came to church on Sunday and we had a great lesson! 
She declined the previous invitation to be baptized because she felt that
she wasn't ready. So this time we explained a lot about the Gift of
the Holy Ghost. She really wants to be baptized and receive the Holy
Ghost. We just need to keep teaching her and help her to prepare.
She's doing SO AWESOME.

木曜日、あの伝説的な有名人、堤兄弟が、キャロライナさんのお宅でレッスンの立会いをしてくださいました。レッスンは早口のスペイン語で行われたので、堤兄弟と私は、ただそこに座って見ているだけでした。笑 でも沢山スペイン語が聞けて、よかったです。レッスンは順調にいったようです。キャロライナさんは、料理がとても上手で、ペルー料理をご馳走してくださいました。パパス ア ラ グアンカイナ(発音?)という料理で、グアンカイナはペルーのある地域にしか育たない赤いピーマンなんだそうで、独特な味がします。キャロライナさんが、それの赤いピーマンでソースを作ってくれて、めっちゃくちゃ美味しかったです。ペルー人とペルーの食べ物が大好きです。

On Friday, I went to Ichinomiya on an exchange with Elder Leiendecker.
He's a good guy and we had fun! Lots of street contacting.

Saturday was crazy! We left after personal study to come back to
Inuyama and switch companions, then immediately bounced back outta
Inuyama and met up with Kevin down in Komaki. 



We then went to Indian Curry! It was my first time going out to eat 
Indian Curry here in Japan! Now I know we talk about going out to eat 
Indo curry all the time here but what the usual stuff is is actually NEPALESE curry. 
So when we say we are going to go out for Indo curry we actually go eat
Nepalese curry. So this Saturday was my first INDIAN Indo curry. It
had a different taste and texture that was pretty good but I think I
still prefer Nepalese curry. In any case, we went out to go see Kevin
and have kind of a parting lunch for him since he is leaving Inuyama
today. It's been really great having him around to strengthen us
Spiritually and give us life advice. He's helped us a lot when we were
down and also tachiaied for a ton of our lessons. Its been so good
having him around and now it's really sad to see him leave. We're
gonna miss our crazy, ginger friend!


After lunch we all went back up to Inuyama together and then commenced
the mad scramble that leads up to all Ward activities. Pretty much
what happened, in short, was all of the men were running around
screaming and building forts and dragging hoses all over as the church
slowly burned to the ground until the Relief Society showed up. And
then suddenly everything was in order, peace reigned throughout the
land and we had 10-15 kilograms of noodles ready to dump down the
bamboo pipe.

Actually that's not exactly what happened but that's kinda what it
feels like sometimes. Anyway so the main event of this activity was
Nagashi Somen, which is where you have a long bamboo half-pipe with
water running down it. You then run noodles down the bamboo as people
pick them out of the pipe with chopsticks and put it in their soup
bowls and eat. It's a good party food and it's really fun! 



Endo Shimai (Sister Endo) gave us Yukata (summer kimono) which were really cool 
and comfortable and we had a lot of fun! 

After the Nagashi Somen we attempted to do
the Bon Odori dance, which I of course failed miserably at because
dancing, and then we had a water balloon fight! The kids loved
it and some of the parents even joined! It ended up being really good
and the entire activity was a huge success! Lots of members came as
well as two nonmembers.


On Sunday night we went to Cintia's house. Cintia has been less active
for a while and her husband is not a member (he's such a stud, I love
him). Her sister, who is an active member, happened to be in town so
we all hung out at Cintia's apartment and had a lesson! It was
awesome! I love Brazilians and the Portuguese language. After the
lesson they fed us good Brazilian food and we sat and talked for a
while, which was really good practice for me because no one ever
considered slowing down to my pace so I had to think really hard to
try to keep up! That's seriously the best way to learn a language
though! Be stuck in a room full of natives who don't feel like slowing
down for you. I LOVED IT! I want to be able to communicate with these
people so bad! I'm getting there, SLOWLY. Very slowly haha. I love
this weird place so much! I'm super lucky. There are not many places
where you can talk to Japanese, Nepalese, Indians, Filipinos,
Brazilians and Peruvians all in one place. We even bumped into some
Turks last week (from Istanbul)! That was definitely a first.


This week I have been learning more about the importance of studying
the scriptures. I really want to get to know the scriptures better. I
have forgotten a lot of my seminary knowledge (which wasn't a lot to
begin with because I'm not a smart human) and I want to get it back. I
feel like memorized scriptures are important. And sometimes reading
the scriptures in another language will give you surprising insights
just because of the way things are said. I am reading a talk by Elder
Bednar called The Answer Is the Doctrine right now and it's completely
changing my view on the scriptures. I didn't realize how precious the
scriptures were until I had an experience a couple weeks ago. I left
my scriptures on the train on accident. We changed trains a time or
two and then I realized once we got to our stop that I didn't have my
scriptures. I was absolutely devastated! I thought I had lost my
scriptures! We went and talked to the train station folks and they
took us to lost and found and there on the desk they had my
scriptures! I was so surprised and very relieved! I don't know how
those scriptures ended up at Inuyama or how they arrived so quickly
but I now appreciate my scriptures a lot more after that.
Read your scriptures folks, and take good care of em.

Aight love you guys!
Hope you have another fantastic week!

Elder Johnson




Monday, August 8, 2016

Ridiculous Amounts of Rain... And Loving It! 土砂降り

Date: 8/8/2016
Place: Inuyama, Aichi
Companion: Elder Gubbay

日付: 2016年8月8日
赴任地: 愛知県犬山市
同僚: グベイ長老

On Tuesday, we went to the Yoshida family's house and taught a lesson.
They fed us a grand amount of ice creams, puddings with fruit, roll
cakes and cookies and then when we didn't have room to stuff down the
cream puffs they decided to send them home with us. Oh yeah. The
appointment went splendidly and the Spirit was there. 

They are such an incredible couple! Please pray for them. 


After the appointment we stepped outside into
the blazing hot sun and road a little ways off to make some phone
calls. It was a HOT day in Gifu and there were few, if any clouds in
the sky. While we were making calls, suddenly clouds happened. Like A
LOT. Then just as suddenly, rain happened. Like, A LOT MORE. It was
raining extremely hard so we figured it would just be one of those
freak rainstorms and it would end in a couple minutes. So we waited 5
mins and it kept raining. So we waited 10 mins and it kept going. We
couldn't wait to dendo (missionary work) any longer so we just put our Book of Mormons
in plastic bags for protection and headed out into it! We biked up the
mountain to Kakamigahara and the torrential downpour continued to
increase! That is easily the most water I have ever seen fall from the
sky! Every now and then the sky would just shut off and the water
would stop and the asphalt would just start steaming like crazy! Big
clouds of white steam would start to rise off of the road until the
rain came back.
It was way cool to be up in the mountains of Gifu out on a forest
road, getting dumped on by ridiculous amounts of water. The ride back
home was pretty dangerous and my brakes apparently don't really work
when they get wet so that was a mild problem but we had fun and made
it home nonetheless. The deluge continued for the rest of the day, to
the point where it shut down every train coming out of Nagoya. So
pretty much all of Aichi was in chaos and general confusion reigned at
every train station. It was insane! 


We had South America FHE that night so we hopped on a train (our line was still running,
fortunately) and headed up to Imawatari, where Alice picked us up and
took us to the Kuratomi family's house. Alice, Danilo, Bruno, Julia,
Daniele, Cintia and her kids came and my companion taught them an
awesome lesson in Portuguese. Then we ate Greek food (also my
companions idea, IT WAS AWESOME). It was a good, soggy day!


Sorry I don't have a ton of time left to write now but I'll just go
over the highlights of the week!

I GOT A PACKAGE FROM MY FAMILY! It was amazing! They sent me these rad
sushi socks and supplied elder Gubbay with Swedish Fish.


Rockin'em at the castle! I LOVE THESE SOCKS. Thanks Mom and Maile :)

On Saturday we went to Yokkaichi for specialized training. I got to
meet a lot of old friends out there! It was especially good to see
Elder Hansen!


Elder Gubbay, Elder Hansen and me

Then we watched The Mormon Show, which is the touring missionary band
here and MAN THEY'RE GOOD. I miss music so so much.

Then today we went to Inuyama Castle (the locals claim it to be the oldest,
nonreplica castle in Japan).
I love our district :)

Have a great week!
Love y'all!
フォースと共にあれ〜 (May the Force be with you)

Elder Johnson





The District! Inuyama-Ichinomiya-Fukutoku ディストリクトのみんな 犬山、一宮と福徳

The view from the castle (north east)
お城からの眺め (北東)

(South) (南)

Best-looking human alive. Meet Elder Clark Kent!
美男子 クラーク・ケント長老!
Momotaro tribute? (Local folktales character) + disrespectful pigeon droppings

This is a video he sent last month but this will give you idea what it's like to go to Kakamigahara. :)