Monday, April 16, 2018

Elder Rasband, the legend?


Moin boys and girls, nice to have you back.

I’m sure many of you are thinking, „When is he going to find a different way to open up his weekly emails?“ Let me tell you when. Probably never actually—they will always be weird to start.

ANYWAYS this week was crazy. We basically spent our week on trains and in different cities again, so that’s cool. I guess I’ll start off with the highlight of my week, I got to meet an amazing man. A man who taught me much, showed me how a legend lives his life, and is a great example. His name is Elder Payton Wright. Great man.

I’m just kidding, as most of you know, we had a very special meeting with Elder Rasband from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles this week, and it was really an awesome experience. Not just because of the life changing sack lunches we got after, but because we got to hear from an apostle of the Lord on how we can be better missionaries. But more from what he said later.

Where is this place? Never seen it before

We met with our golden investigator that is going to be baptized sometime in the unforeseeable future, and that was also good. He had a lot of deeper questions about Adam and Eve, which is really good that we had Arabic translation there. He said to the translator, „I’m not asking all these questions because I am doubting the things I’ve learned, but because I want to know everything so that I can teach my friends.“ How cool is that? I feel like we as members could be better at that, trying to learn as much as possible so that we can teach our friends and answer their questions.

Tausch (splits) Bavarian wursts

We were in Berlin 2 times this week. That means we made the 6.5 hour trip to Berlin 4 different times. On our way back after the first time (Zone conference) on Wednesday, our one train that could get us back to Hof in time fell out which meant we could get back to Hof at around 12AM but that’s a no no for missionaries. Instead we took the fastest alternative and went back with my legend Elder Wright and his comp to their area near ours, and slept over there again. We didn’t get home until 11PM but at least it wasn’t midnight, right? There’s been a lot of getting home late this week because of all this craziness in Berlin.

ZoKo legend meet up


Hamburg pic?

On our way to Berlin the second time I made about 15 new 12 year old girlfriends. They entered our train and sat near us talking being crazy until they realized we were speaking English and then we were the main attraction of that ride. (The girls probably thought they were in an American boy band, haha!) Once one of them pulled it together to speak to me, and found out we were Americans, they just lost all dignity and started talking over each other in their broken English and telling me all their connections to America, including one girl whose uncle lives in some city in Canada. The city didn’t matter though because it wasn’t Toronto and we all know any city in Canada that’s not Toronto is a waste of land 😉. It was pretty funny though. At one point I switched over to German as they were all staring at me and I hit them with a, „Wir sind keine Tiere meine Freunde,“ or for you lesser species who don’t speak German, „We aren’t animals my friends,“ and they had a good laugh at that one. Funny experience, I choked though and didn’t take a selfie with them. Next time.


checkpoint Charlie and crazy flag holding dude

Elder Rasmussen and me at the Reichstag building in Berlin




😍😍
some az legends


pay close attention to our name tags (my mission goal of getting a Sister Johnson name tag has been fulfilled)

One thing that Elder Rasband shared that I found very deep, heartfelt, and profound, was when he was talking about President Fingerle being almost done with his mission and said the profound words, „Don’t get trunky, President Fingerle!“ Just kidding those weren’t the most profound things I heard from him, but they were pretty funny ones. 

He recounted a story of when he had heard the news of President Monson‘s passing, and knew it was going to be time soon to set apart President Nelson as the new prophet of God. He knew it was always the most experienced apostle/President of the Quorum of the 12 that would be the next prophet, but he needed to get the spiritual confirmation that this was God‘s will. He prayed and fasted for a long time and received his confirmation as they all had to put their hands on President Nelson’s head in the upper room of the temple, and President Oaks said the words, „Russel Marion Nelson...,“ he got his confirmation and knew this was God’s next prophet.

our small little mission, aww

He then invited us all to receive this confirmation for ourselves, which I think many of us have lacked to have done. He promised that with this spiritual confirmation, our testimony will be strengthened so much when we say the words, „I know President Russel M. Nelson is a Prophet of God.“ So try it, will ya?

Anyways, overall pretty good week besides a few blaspheming, but it’s all good.

See you all next week I guess bye



Elder Johnson
Ludwigstrasse 52
95028 Hof
Germany

Monday, April 9, 2018

Know Yourself



Hallo leuteeeee, wie geht es diiirrrrrrrr

Ay lit, we had a good week. Started it off quite strong with exchanges with the legend himself, Elder Payton Morris Wright, also known as one of the only legends to be able to drop 300 at LDs. We had a great time, did some good work, and I took a few Ls at a bakery we went to. So I went in to this bakery hoping to get me a Schokobrötchen, a tasty bread thing with chocolate in it. So I go up to the lady, ask all nice and polite, „I would like one Schokobrötchen please,“ just to get the reply of, „DAS HABEN WIR GAR NICHT“ (we do not have that at all), okay, L number one, no Problem. Well I wasn’t mentally prepared for such an answer so now I have to find something tasty from this place while the lady is waiting for my choice, so I see a donut. „Alright sick, I’ll take this white donut,“ and get the reply, „Das ist KEIN Donut, das ist ein .....“ (that’s not a Donut, that’s a.....) and I forgot the word for it right after she said what it was. L number two. „Oh man, another L“ I say as I’m being thrown L after L from this very particular old German lady. I finally made my decision, „Alrighty, I’ll take the thing that looks like a donut then.“ „Den ......?“ she asked. „Of course,“ I told her. I don’t think she was very fond of my lack of knowledge of pastry names. The important thing is the donut thing tasted exactly like a donut and was really tasty. I’m not sure how much importance this story had to your eternal salvation but I felt like I should share it because Elder Wright and I were dying afterwards.


6️⃣ upside down it’s a 9️⃣ now

Hmm, we had a pretty good lesson with a Persian friend of ours and his Arabic friends. That was real fun. The girl made us some real tasty Arabic food, some delicious Mate (basically hot water put in grass with lots of sugar, Elder Rasmussen’s favorite), and we had a good time. She brought two other of her Arabic friends who were quite interested in what we do. They recommended we play a game where they have us say a hard Arabic word and we have them say a hard English word which was fun. I stumped them with a good antidisestablishmentarianism and Rasmussen hit them with a young supercalifragalisticexpialidocious, to which their jaws hit the floor. But they got us with a few weird hard ones so it was fun all around.


Speaking of words - I’m not sure why they used mei instead of my, but I’m considering adding it to my collection of funny English mistakes on printed out things from Germany

Ayyyy what’s also pretty cool is that last week we got a new friend of the Farsi language to whom we taught the first lesson and gave a Book of Mormon. He seemed quite interested and it was dope. Well he’s out of town right now, but we have been texting him and apparently he reads a few pages every night and really enjoys that book. How legendary is that? Hopefully we can meet with him sometime this week that’d be dope.


we visited this cool rock mine thing. Got to skip some good rocks like the good old days

My Persian skills are really being put to test down here without a comp who can speak it well I’m all on my own, but it’s helped, and I think I’m making some good progress.

Cool news, so turns out we’re going to Berlin 2 times this week. Once for zone conference with half the mission which will be cool, and the second time to have a special conference with Elder Rasband from the Quorum of the 12! That’ll be sick, I’m super pumped.

I also found out that today is my 6 month left mark! How crazy is that haha. Time flies man, but it’s fun out here.

We had district pday today and balled and grilled so that was chill. Too bad I didn’t have the former Elder Kevin Oliver Hillyard to destroy all of those noobs with me in volleyball.



district pdayyyyyyyyy
double fetching rainbow
monsoon season?
In front of the huge church that’s right next to our church that’s in an office building... 



welp anyways, see ya

Elder Johnson
Ludwigstrasse 52
95028 Hof
Germany

Monday, April 2, 2018

Georg's Long awaited baptism

Hello my friends

The great news you’ve all been waiting for, Georg got baptized finally! It was an awesome experience that we had all been waiting for for a very long time. So, let’s talk about my good friend, Georg Kosytorz. This ~75 year old man had searched his entire life for the true church, but never felt perfectly happy in one of the many religions he tried. He was baptized as a child but didn’t feel that church had the whole truth. He walked by our church building many times, not knowing what time we started church services (even though there’s a giant sign), although he would very much like to learn about our beliefs. Well, one day, he was walking somewhere and saw some paper on the ground, picks it up, and it turns out to be a card from our church explaining when our church starts every week! He came that Sunday, met and visited with the elders, and started learning more about our religion. Every single thing we taught him, he accepted without second question. He learned the doctrine of Christ and took everything he learned upon himself and exercised true faith in Jesus Christ. He reads more than 1 hour each day in the holy scriptures, and he has read many extra materials from the church, and loves everything he learns and wants to keep learning more.

my legend

We came across a few (like 100) problems as we were preparing for him to be baptized. One of those involved him having to get married, which is not easy to do in Germany, to say the least. He had many hard struggles trying to make everything work out so he could follow Jesus Christ’s example and be baptized. He is truly a huge example to me, how freely he accepts the things he learns and really practices his faith. Last week, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in his wedding, and that awesome time spent with him and his wife. This week, I was able to baptize him and help him come closer to Christ.

It was a Long Trip up to Hamburg for his baptism, but it was worth every minute. It seemed as if it would have a big chance for something to go wrong and make the baptism not happen, but it all worked perfectly. It was an awesome experience that I’ll never forget. It was also great to see the ward members again and to see their great support for this wonderful brother, Georg Kosytorz. No better day to have his baptism than the day before Easter.

Denny boy (nice European suit!)

Matching ties!

throwback to the great mtc days

Well, the rest of our week was good, not much comparable to the baptism except General Conference was awesome. Lots of changes—should be interesting. I hope we all can take something with us out of the talks.

Bye friends



Elder Johnson
Ludwigstrasse 52
95028 Hof
Germany


Von meinem iPad gesendet

Monday, March 26, 2018

I was caught


Good day friends.

I should switch up my email writing schedule because I write all my legends back first and then I get to the time to write this email, and I am just completely drained of drive haha. But alas it will not prevail, I will fill your minds with knowledge of what the heck I’m up to down here in Hof.

Well this week was actually quite full of traveling. We were traveling altogether this week for easily more than 30 hours. We had to travel to Hof, back up to Hamburg for a wedding, back down to Hof, up to Zwickau and Werdau for district meeting, up to Leipzig for stake conference, back down to Werdau to sleep, back up to Leipzig for Stake Conference, and then back to Hof.

Here are some interesting things that happened amongst these many travelings. We got moved into different ICEs (high speed trains) twice on the way to Leipzig because of technical problems, got roasted for not having a German personal ID card (not possible for Americans to get), (which is actually a compliment, because she must’ve thought they were native Germans!), talked to a pretty cool dude from Missouri who’s living here for work, we contemplated going GTA mode and stealing a car during our walk to the home from the train station with our three suitcase bags each, uphill. Just met some good ole legends.

my freaking SON elder wright (mtc reunion?)

random city (beautiful Germany!)

We also were with the opportunity to see the marriage from our good friend and one of my investigators from Hamburg, Georg. That was an awesome experience and I’m really excited to be able to go back this coming Saturday to have the honor of baptizing him! He is a great man who I’ll write more about next week. I swear a lot of stuff happened this week, but I must’ve lost all of it with the sleep we lost Saturday night. 

saw my boy hillyard before this boy conquers the land of eternal pdays

Story for you legends. So 2 sisters in our district were planning on sleeping over in Leipzig for Stake Conference, but didn’t wanna carry their heavy overnight bags (filled with like 40 pounds of make up or bricks or something I swear) so they gave it to us to bring to them later, because they thought we were driving. Well turns out we forgot we weren’t driving, so we accepted their plea of help and took their luggage. Once we realized we weren’t driving, it was too late. We brought them in to the apartment to not forget to take the bags with us when we ride the train back. Well, we choked and forgot them. The moment we realized it was when we were walking to the train AFTER the meeting and the Sisters asked us where their bags were.....so we contemplated how we could get them back and still make it home on time and found it was impossible for that night. So we went home, ate pizzza and partied, woke up the next morning at 5:30 (technically 4:30 with Europe going on daylight savings time—screw daylight savings—I’m Arizonan) and drove the stuff up to them. That was quite an experience.

me with a few legends

with a few more legends (rip family home evenings)

goodbye to the greats, the Storeys. Unfortunately they’re from Northern California

Well a lot more crap happened, but I’m gonna draw the line here because I’ve exerted all my energy into this and I’m just running on fumes now. I’m excited to get to work here in Hof and me and Elder Rasmussen are gonna have lots of fun.


some Hof (actual hills, weird)

Don’t forget to watch General Conference and hear from some inspired prophets!!!

Byee



Elder Johnson
Ludwigstrasse 52
95028 Hof
Germany


Von meinem iPad gesendet

Monday, March 19, 2018

Alright ladies, your time is up

Servus my legends,

We had quite the week. I’ll begin with the wonderful news of transfers. I am being blessed with the opportunity to join with a good friend of mine, the „I Mean, Why Not?“ inventor, apfel sherle lover himself, even Elder Cole Rasmussen. We are going to be tackling the city of Hof together with no idea what we are doing. Our city is the most south part of our mission, inside of Bavaria (Bavaria is the thing people think about when someone mentions Germans; with Lederhosen and beer, the whole 9 yards). We are white washing this area, which means we both come in at the same time with no experienced person to teach us the ways of this city. It will be an interesting experience for sure.

a district

We had two interesting miracles this week I’d love to recount. The first was when we took an interesting path we had never seen, which led us to finding a random pasture of like 4 goats in the middle of nowhere, but gated in. Naturally I tried to pet them, but they didn’t let me. 

a sheep

We also found a large body of water somewhat frozen still so naturally we threw rocks at it to break the ice which was cool. Then we found a giant water tower near the body of water in which there were apartments where people live! So that was cool, we had to ring them, and a Turkish man answered one of them and was interested but sick, so we need to come back later. That’ll be cool. Then we talked to a man who had been taught earlier by missionaries but wasn’t interested in the gospel, rather much more interested in talking about gun laws in America and politics—which is obviously our favorite topic as Americans in a liberal country hahaha. Not really. After that, we went to our bus stop to head to institute, when my companion had a freak out when the bus was coming and thought it would be on the other side of the road, so he started running across the street but then realized what he was doing halfway so he ran back. As we were discussing this odd occurrence in the bus, a man standing next to us asks, „Where are you guys from?“ and we’re like America. And he’s like, yeah I knew that, but where and then we told him and turns out he is from Virginia! He was doing work here for his church too which is cool. We had a great conversation with him until he had to exit the bus. But THEN as he’s leaving, we give him a card of ours in case he ever needs help or anything and a man sitting behind us saw the picture of Jesus on the card and said, „Hello my brother, can you give me also picture of Jesus yes?“ and so we gave him and his friend one, and turns out they both speak Turkish as well, and were Christians! So, Morrell talked to them and one was quite interested in more words about Jesus in the Book of Mormon and took one. He also said he’s going to hook us up with his pastor here in Germany of his Turkish Christian church, so they can all also hear about this book, haha. Pretty cool. Then on the S Bahn a man had heard Elder Morrell speaking Turkish, so he came up to him and started talking to him and we’re like no way 3 times in a row. But he only wanted money so that wasn’t too crazy but still very cool experience.

The other miracle we had this week started on Tuesday. We had taken some time to go through our people we have phone numbers for that haven’t been contacted in a long time and call them to see if they are interested in meeting. Well we were calling a number for a German that we had in our system, no answer. Okay well the number is probably not working anymore like the other numbers we’ve called, moving on. About 5 minutes later this number calls back, I start off in German, and he replies in some foreign language I don’t understand. My comp yells out, „Wait. That’s Turkish,“ so I gave him the phone, they spoke for a bit, and we made an appointment for yesterday. This Romanian man who bought this phone from some random German turned out to speak Turkish (not his native language) to me, sparking Elder Morrell’s Turkish skills, which led to our appointment yesterday which was really good (apparently, didn’t understand any of it). The man is Christian and is really excited to learn more about God and His plan for us. Really cool how that all perfectly happened!

Anyways, that’s a lot already and I gotta pack and do things to get ready for the 7.5 hour train ride to Hof on Wednesday. Georg is getting married this week! I’m quite excited for the chance to come back up here and be a witness for his wedding! He’s a legend.

Hope you enjoyed. Kolay Gelsin




Elder Glenn Johnson
Kirche Jesu Christi
Heckengang 55
21079 Hamburg
Germany
(for a few more days)


Monday, March 12, 2018

Enough


Salami ladies and gentlemen.

Nice to see you this fine warmer pday. Our week was interesting. We had a few highs and lows and an explosion at the main train station but whatever, normal stuff here in Germany.

Some highs: We taught a really cool 18 year old from Syria. This legend can speak quite good English and even better German. We taught him about the restored gospel and our beliefs and he was quite open and would love to learn more! The dope thing is how we came to teaching him. He was invited by some elders to play soccer every Saturday with us and just noticed that we were really nice people and wanted to know why we were so nice and seemed so happy. Boom. Roasted. Another high: We taught the first lesson to a Persian man and it was cool to be able to understand and communicate better in Farsi. Also it was a good lesson and our friend was pretty interested it seemed. Georg came to church and is still one of the most rock solid investigators that has set foot on this earth, we had also a friendly Italian friend of ours also make it (it’s a me, Mario!).

A low part of our week: We had a very packed Saturday full of 5 appointments and a street display, and every single one of our appointments fell out. That happens every now and then haha. But the street display was fun talked to a few legends. We spent a lot of time on Friday going to potential friends of the church of the Turkish origin but no one had interest really. We talked to many Turks, I understood like nothing, and all but one woman had no interest. But we’ll see if something comes from our Turkish lady that wants to meet again and talk about the Mormon Kitabi. Also our good friend Faiz wasn’t able to make it to church again, so that means we’ll be having to work with him some more a little bit longer to help him prepare to be baptized. He is really an awesome guy.

Freezing Cold Street Display


Explosion? At one of the largest train stations in Germany? Yes, that was seen by me live. On Sunday, we headed over to Hauptbahnhof to meet with our zone leaders to make a quick exchange for our Turkish speaking comps to visit a man of the Turkish origin (who ended up not being home). I was with Elder Parry again and we started off doing some finding over there and got roasted by a lot of people. We talked to a man who’s actually an investigator of the Elders in Altona, which was cool. He told us he had lost contact for the past few weeks with them and really wanted to meet again because he’s interested to learn more, so we could give that further on the Altona elders, which was cool! He told us it was no accident that we met that night. Then as we headed back into the train station to meet up with a friend from Eritrea, we heard quite the ruckus going on over by one of the trains. There was a large group of people all kinda yelling and screaming and chanting and everything you can think of. As we watched (from a safe distance) next thing I see is a big white flash accompanied by a fairly large💥BANG💥. Interested, came many people over near us as we had a great view of it. No longer than 45 seconds later, a large squadron of German riot police came guarded with helmets and shields to go calm the crowd down. About 2 minutes later came another large group of police. No tear gas was thrown or shots were shot but it was insane. I couldn’t tell you what the bang was. It was loud enough to have been a half stick of dynamite, a blank from a gun, whatever your imagination allows it to be. For those 10-15 minutes no trains came in or out of the giant train station and it was crazy. Sick that I got to experience that in real life, but glad none of us got hurt. Could’ve been potentially pretty bad.

Well, those were pretty much the big parts of our week. Hope you have found entertainment through the digital reading of this large collections of letters forming words which formed sentences which formed paragraphs which finally formed a new weekly from yours truly.

Much fun this week 👊🏼

a tasty dish I made all myself (yes mother, myself)


we rolled weighted spheres in the direction of weighted down shaped pieces of plastic with the goal of knocking as many over as possible





Elder Glenn Johnson
Kirche Jesu Christi
Heckengang 55
21079 Hamburg
Germany


Monday, March 5, 2018

Back to the Promised Land


Well my friends, this week went by quite speedily.

We had 3 different exchanges this week, which was a little nuts. My first Tausch was with Elder Parry, one of our zone leaders. We had a pretty good time despite the fact that it took about 20 minutes to walk a normal 5 minute walk. The highlights were: a dope lesson with Georg about priesthood and temples, got some delicious Döner from Fresh Kebabs, talked to most likely half of the population of Hamburg, and ended up our Tausch with a dope family home evening led by the senior couple, the Storeys. Let me just tell you a bit about these 2 legends. They are from California, Elder Storey expects himself to become an apostle some day (even though he’s far from it 😉), and they understand jokes quite well. We played some games, had a spiritual thought, and then we were blessed with some tasty banana bread afterwards as I taught one of our investigators from Italy how to play „Do What is Right“ on the piano.


Freezing
the legends, not the Stewart’s though unfortunately 

The next day I headed down to Hannover to go on Tausch with this elder called Elder Smartt. He’s currently companions with Elder Neale, the group leader for Persian in our mission, so I got sent over to work with him. Highlights: We met a woman polygamist, who was quite interesting. She was actually interested in our church and wants to meet with us again, but needless to say we passed her information on to the sisters there. We froze at a street display for the entire day on Thursday, we had temperatures from 23 degrees Fahrenheit as a high, all the way down to about 8 degrees where it stayed with a stabbing wind haha. Other than almost losing our ears and faces, it wasn’t too bad.

The last Tausch of the week was definitely the most legendary of them all. It started with an hour delay because Interviews with President were delayed which is classic but it was all good. The legend Elder Hillyard and I finally made our way down to the promised land of Brandenburg an der Havel, where some of the greatest people in Germany reside. We had time to visit 2 legends. We were first with Sister Musehold, the sweet old lady that the previous Elder Oliver and I brought to the temple, and we had a great appointment. Just like the good old days. Afterwards we had evening bread with most likely the greatest family in this country, the Osbecks. The time with them was amazing, and also way too short. But nevertheless, we had an awesome time. We also did a thing or two the next day in Berlin, including feasting from the greatest Döner in this country, Babelsberg, playing a bit of basketball in which I almost beat Hillyard, and some other random things. We became phones.



Sister Musehold, the Angel (dig those matching ties!)



The greatest Doner (back with Elder Hillyard)

Other than that, we just froze this week. Never thought I would miss 80 degree winters so much.

Not much more I feel like saying so bye Felicia





Elder Glenn Johnson
Kirche Jesu Christi
Heckengang 55
21079 Hamburg
Germany