Monday, June 24, 2013


This morning I read Helaman 5-12, and it was amazing.  We are still teaching C. S., that awesome Czech guy that we talked to. Because of him, I am reading the Book of Mormon with my imagination. It is so much better because of it. 

As you guys can imagine, one of the hardest things for me to be bereft of is my books. Oof. I read Jesus the Christ a little too fast, then I memorized every poem that was from general conference, and finally I was left alone. My eyes needed it, and my spirit did too. In desperation (this makes me laugh) I thought to myself "The Book of Mormon? Yes! YES!" I cried, my eyes manic and frenzied, "That IS a book! AH HAH! I HAVE BEAT THE SYSTEM!" I started to tear through The Book of Mormon as a starving man would through a feast. 

Instead of long (and sometimes boring) doctrine and random stories, I started to realize that this all really made sense- I started to read it as a history, a story book of a people long ago. I read Alma 43 to the tune of one of the battles from the Lord of the Rings, and I actually got goose bumps. I am not saying all of this to prove to you once and for all that I am insane. But I am saying this to tell you of how blessed I am to finally read The Book of Mormon the way I normally read a book. 

To stop and digest ("To read without reflecting is to eat without digesting") about what I actually read- to imagine what it would like to be there. To have an inner music playing along with the words, to try to imagine what the author was feeling.

I legitimately love the Book of Mormon. I am increasingly convinced that the Book of Mormon is (without a doubt) the word of God. It is beautiful. The book reads wonderfully. It is full of poetry and description. Each author has his own distinct voice that leaves the words with his individual spirit. You can feel who each person is. The Bible is a wonderful book, but it takes a lot of work to decipher what the heck is going on, which stuff is relevant and which stuff is just Saul or David just killing some tribe that stands in the way. The Book of Mormon is abridged and contains only the stuff we need to hear.

So I am going to go get a replica of the first copy of The Book of Mormon after this library time and read it through as I would any other book. I am so excited to do this. No sane person should be this excited to read the Book of Mormon in a novel format.  

Last Tuesday, when we taught a lesson with C. S.  (He is the bomb) We taught the Plan of Salvation. He is answering most of his own questions with doctrine, and at one point (to our astonishment) he answered his friend why we need prophets. I am so blessed to watch him move towards the gospel. I am just the lucky guy that gets to watch as he starts to take in the truths. Beautiful. Beautiful.

 I wrote in my Journal the other day: "Imagine a place where people wake up at 5:30 and play basketball for an hour. One might rightly call this place hell. If I told you that they do it willingly, we might call it an insane asylum." This is morning sports, and as you could tell, I was a bit frustrated with sucking at basketball every morning.  (Just thought I'd include for a laugh.)

I love you guys so much. Hurrah for ISRAEL!



Saturday, June 22, 2013

We Thank Thee In The Long Run For Chicken Fajitas 6-20-13

Elder Johnson, a servant of the Lord, by the will of God.  To my family, my dearly beloved family:  Joy, hope, charity and peace.

Paper letter the first...

The dinner we ate last night was SO good,
6:00 a.m. we went to play sports with the zone...( you may need to edit this for delicate audiences) a troubling thing started to happen...  chicken fajita gas out of both ends.

7:00 a.m. we are home, both of us were feeling rather sick.

12:00 p.m. we were in bad shape...i.e... RATHER SICK

We received counsel from El Presidente to rest, and so we came home and napped with much caution.

2:00 p.m.  bodily evidence it was clear we were going nowhere.

Evening... I felt determined to make it to our lessons, but my poor companion wasn't moving he seemed to be worse off so I found someone to go with, Elder T--- a kind and good teacher and another man from the ward.

I realized I could ask these men for a blessing.  For a moment that stands in bold, I wondered if it would help.  I then realized all the miracles and blessings I have felt, I was called by a prophet,  I would be healed,  I knew that by the spirit and I fixed it in my mind with all the determination my blond eyebrows could muster from the Holy Ghost.  I knew that by faith we are blessed.  Receiving revelation is easy.  Believing and acting on it is the hardest part.  That is, we are blessed with free will, and we are given time to see how we use it.

They blessed me, and though I was still burping fajita, I was able to make it to the lesson.

All our trials can be for our gain.  This morning I was reading "Our Heritage",  I was quite surprised that as I was reading I honestly began to cry.  I was reading about the mobs, the massacres, and I remember thinking, "What Infamous Cowardice!"

I don't normally speak as if I were a 90 year old, but this morning, as my companion was sleeping, I cried on my reading chair.

Now, I'll admit this may be a stretch or sound really stupid, but those fajitas (Or the blessing from the trial of the fajitas) ended up giving me a strong testimony of the Lord's hand in His people's life.

I love my family so much.  Thank you Brynn & Davis for the letters, Thank you Bruce! Thank you Eliza!  Thank you Alida!  I love you SO much!  Thank you Zac, I reread that pink letter!  Thank you Mom & Dad - you have blessed my life from the beginning!  Send a thanks to Uncle Mike and Aunt Roxanne!


Elder Johnson

p.s.  I've noticed that generally Washington drivers are the worst.  But then I moved to Utah, and they were the worst.  Las Vegas follows this pattern as does Boston and Lousiana.

I think this is less about geography and more about the fact that everyone else is an idiot.   ;)

Alma 26:37

*editors date on letter, but best guess- written on or about 6-15-13 received in mail 6-21-13)

Best Friends and the Mob Boss 6-17-13

I am increasingly aware of the fact that my family is a rarity, a treasure. 

This is funny, but everybody I've lived with since I first left home has been measured up to Zac. I know this is unfair, but when you live with your best friend then all a sudden have no one to make Lost references to, an-- acute sense of loss fills the soul. 

So when I got Zac's letter it made me laugh so much. I wish he could meet Elder --- who, incidentally, caught a pigeon by hand. That was pretty hilarious.

We got sick last Tuesday & Wednesday, but on Thursday and Friday, we were blessed (or rather, the Lord was blessed?) with 6 new investigators. 

We had a wonderful lesson with the M family. She was bearing her testimony most of the time.  It was amazing.

Then, Chen. You would all love Chen. He has studied much philosophy, religion, etc. Long hair, from the Czech Republic (but completely American), played baseball. At different times throughout the lesson, he said things such as: 

"Oh. Yes! (throws little foam pad across room) I am learning something! This is good!" 

"You mean three dead Jews just showed up to Joseph and were all like 'God told us to tell you to baptize people'?"

 "The Book of Mormon is some gruesome stuff. Like, Nephi was all like 'there's that jerk that won't give us the gold scriptures' and God's all like 'Pop his head off!'" 

and Nephi's like 'I don't know man...' 

and God's like, 'trust me, do it for your kids.' So he cuts the dude's head off and wears his bloody clothes and steals his stuff! God seems like a mob boss."

It was the greatest lesson ever..

We also met two other great people we will be working with from the singles ward, it's looking like President is going to be sending us just to work only with the singles ward, because of the huge amount of work coming from it (Last week we filled a progress record).

I love you so much. I memorized invictus is like 10 minutes. It is my encouragement. I'm going to buy a replica of the first Book of Mormon to trick my brain into thinking I'm reading a long divine story, rather than the verses. 
I love you so much Mom. I will send pictures and stuff soon.


Elder Johnson

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Feast - No Famine 6-9-13

Oh, I love those pictures!

It is marvelous to be a missionary. A lot of the time, I'm really quite tired. 10:30 comes and I'm out like a light. Bizarre. 

Everyone here has something with missionaries and food. I can't figure out if they're terrified that I will starve, or if their is some mother guilt thing going on, or whether people in Vegas just love having good dinners, but we are getting stuffed full.

It has been a bizarre revelation to the other missionaries that I do not get a sugar coma or a sugar rush at all. People keep sending us home with dessert, and my companion won't eat any of it, as he is a self proclaimed health guy. I have been sacrificing my sugar tooth. lol. Send me some info on how to prevent early onset diabetes. 

It was 113 the other day, which was... rather warm. We have a game, as there are many stupid missionaries, it is not new, although we thought it was.  The game is called Sahara. 

We get in the car (only when we are in non-proselyting clothes) and turn on the heater. (Except last time we played, the heater was cooling the car down.) 

So we just sat in there for a good 35 minutes. 

I also love the poems that you sent, because those were the best. I've been reading them over and over. I love poetry. Soooooooo much.

The work is moving along. We are the busiest missionaries ever. Ever. In the world. We have been teaching, trying to contact the long list of referrals we keep getting, trying to remember faces, eating a ton... phew. 

We taught a guy named *** who is a really nice guy. we were worried that he only wanted to get baptized because when we commited him, he said, "Yeah. I mean, its just the next thing after going to church, right?" Worried, we taught the next lesson at a members house, and  watched the restoration. I remembered what you taught me about identifying the spirit, and as we did, and he told us he felt such a good vibe in the house.  We all felt it, and it was beautiful.  What fools we mortals be. It was great.

I have been wearing the tie Dad gave me from Grandpa Johnson.  I hope he (grandpa)  is helping me.  I can remember all of the beautiful stories that you've told me about him, and it inspires me to be more like him.  I loved that people gave me ties that were sentimental to them.
As I've been out here, I've been maybe a little too anxiously engaged (grinning) and in my effort to try to work my tail off, I've been a bit over-zealous. This work is not about sweating and working like crazy. 

That is a part of it. But this is an intensely social work, and I have learned that to be the best missionary I can be, I need to relax. That way I can use my natural charm and winning smile to help people open up. :) Where I can work the hardest is in studying for our investigators, by truly getting to know them and see what they need. In that way, this work is a much more beautiful and intriguing work.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Muggle Mail

On June 3, 2012 at 10:52 A.M. Colton Johnson wrote:

I've been grinning widely as I have received the same letter about the garage door about... 5 or 6 times.

 It brings to mind Molly Weasley and her letter entirely covered with stamps. The postscript was something like: "I do hope you receive this letter, as I wasn't sure how to use muggle mail. I hope this was the right amount of stamps." It made me laugh. :)

What an amazing mission I've been called to. God has truly led us to people prepared. We picked up a former investigator who we promptly set for Baptism on the 15th. We were talking with a family named the------ their son, ------ 11 years old, at the end of our lesson said he wanted to show us a new family he was friends with. 

We (as in mostly me) were surprised, and we went over to this family in the apartment complex. We meet this woman who is a recent convert.  

Her daughter comes up as we're introducing ourselves and listens in. She then proceeds to tell us she went to a Christian church, and had "a beef with y'all not being Christian." Then she says that that was before she actually read the Book of Mormon and received a witness of its truthfulness. 

"Doink. Oh, uh- that's uh, pretty great"! 

She then asks if she can retake the lessons, cause she missed one, so she can be baptized!

The last person we showed up to. whoa!

 Ok, so if you look at ---- Cr. on Streetview, you can see our house, the little cottage attached to a grey house. Two houses to the right there was a barbecue. Everyone there  is Mormon (everyone here in this circle is Mormon, it's amazing, like Grandma Johnson's land - *Barnwell, Alberta) 

We talked with -----18, who mentions she is a convert, and her mom is not a member. My missionary senses tingled.

 My companion is talking to somebody else, but I ask what her mom thinks about the church. She said, oh, she loves it. She called her mom over, and she came,  we laugh and talked, and then she wanted to set up lessons. WHAT?!?   So cool.

This whole experience of being a missionary has  been a huge testimony builder. 

I thought my mission was going to be hard and unfruitful, and only by hours walking and tracting we would find people. This is not my work though, it's God's, and He loves these people. He is going to help them, and I am a lucky vessel that can help deliver his gospel, the bread of life.

One more thing! (said in Jackie Chan Show imitation) We are covering a Singles Ward and a family ward, and as such, have been incredibly busy. When out with the YSA, a returned missionary was out and about with us. 

I asked him what advice he had. 

He told me the Lord had called ME on a mission, and I was to be the best version of myself, but Colton Johnson was called (and I would add, not a cheap imitation of John Groeburg). That hit me really hard, as I needed to hear that.

Also, a chef named T-------- payed for our meal at Maccaroni Grill- we payed a tip. But Crazy or what?

I love you so much. SO MUCH! Your poems from General Conference sustain me. Also, I see the need for music. I went crazy till I bought Lower Lights. 

I love your letters. 

Share the good news.

My family, and my mom, is the best.

Elder Johnson

PS Alma 56.48


Same day, 

(add on in answer to  Dads email)

Well butter,

I am being fed here until I drop. I have had an abundance of food. It is ridiculous. Everyone here thinks I am going to starve, and an oft repeated theme has been resurfacing, the call to "get some meat on them bones."

Unfortunately, I've got no letters yet. It's funny, because the only letters I've got so far (And I mean I've got no letters since I arrived in Las Vegas has been the one Mom sent me. It brings to mind Molly Weasley, sending a letter covered with stamps everywhere, and a postscript: "I do hope this makes it to you, I wasn't sure how many stamps to put on it." I have received that letter 6 times.

I really love you dad, and it's been marvelous out here.

We knocked on a door and a 13 year old girl bore her testimony on the Book of Mormon and expressed her desire to be baptized. Talk about a shocker.

Hurrah for Israel!
(Would you read these two to Bruce and Eliza?)

I love you buddy. Missionary work is amazing. How are you? What have you been doing? Have you read Redwall? :) Any good Nonfiction?

So excited to hear you get deodorant. Ever since you've been a wee lad, you've wanted to steal ours, and me and Zac always got a good laugh. :)

I love you dearly. You can just write me through email if it's easier. Love you


I love you! You are the best. I loved the first letter I got from you, and I shared it with everybody. It made me laugh. I saw a sign yesterday that had Alpha and Omega!

 How's everything at home?

Teach Tipper any tricks? Any good books?  I love you darling.

 If you want, email is easy, so you can write me here. 

Love you

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Oh I love my family!

I haven't got any paper letters yet, but oh well. I got to read the emails, and it was fantastic.
I flew in last Monday, which seems like ages. Milena. I found out that I went to Sunday school with Elder Heidinger when I was a kid. He's from Stirling Alberta, and he was born it Barnwell. Is that crazy or what? 

On our last day, we were handed pass along cards, and tasked with the heavy burden to give them out. The one non-LDS man in the plane was sitting next to me. He caught on to me as we were starting to leave, and was hurrying to get earplugs ready as I started telling him about missionaries. He went to sleep, and right before the plane landed, I gave a pathetic attempt at giving him a card. I was all "Would you like a card?" and he was all "No thank you." and I was all "Ohofcourse-thatstotallyunderstandableIjustwantedtoshareamessageyouknow..." So that wasn't my finest hour.  

 We got here at around 10 Pacific time. I came down the elevator and saw President Black and a host of missionaries, illumined by a billboard advertising "Coco's Peepshow!" What a stark contrast. 

We came, left, ate some food, watched 3 hours of training videos, then they shepherded the new missionaries into a partitioned room. The gym was right behind. They called our names individually and then we would go out and the entire mission would watch and clap as each missionary ran out and was hugged in more and more spectacular ways by their new companion. I got Elder Lee.

He's 5'7". He loves sports and is quite the health nut. He has been out for 3 months, just as his trainer was before him. We're in the Sandstone Zone, which is six weeks old and has 10 missionaries. The first thing he said to me (besides where are you from, how are you, etc.) was "We have got such a busy day. We've got dinner, then kickball. This week is going to be great!"

You see, we've got two wards, the YSA and a tiny ward called the Westcliff ward. We have got so many investigators. I asked if we ever tract, and he said we just don't have time. We've got a car, but we use our bikes for our family ward, because the YSA ward uses our allotted miles quickly. My second day out, we met ---- an investigator, and also a ---- and ----. We offered service to ---- (I did, booyah!)

He said no and his wife said yes. We came back on Wednesday and found that this man was a hoarder, and he was being evicted. 

The smell in that place. Oh. Eye hath not seen, nor nose smelled, the abomination we saw.  So it was pretty interesting. :)  It was good to help!

This is in reality a wonderful area.  That ----- bless her heart, is a single mother with --- kids, and her next door neighbors are dealers.  She has it tough.  

There are some really nice things all around here.

We had so many lessons we were going to teach this last week. All of them fell through. All. I felt legitimately sad to miss them, though I knew none of them.

This weekend I went on exchanges with Elder ----- , a young elder from Tonga. I love his accent. I got to know him, and my testimony was really strengthened by him. We spent almost the entire time serving, and the area they live in is very rough. It looks really cool.  I went out contacting referrals with him. It was the best. I got some pot stuck on my shoe. :)  He is a great guy.  Fun adventure.  

I've got 4 minutes left before this stupid computer logs me out.

Brynn, that is so freaking amazing. I am so pumped. Being a missionary is the best.

Mom, I love your emails.

Dad, I really want to see your letter, and I hope it didn't get sent to the MTC.
Everyone, look up ---- on google street view. I'll tell you more about it next time.
That's where I live.  Great place, great people. 
Ever since I've been out on my mission, I have felt this insane love bursting through me. I know I've been called by a prophet of God, and I know this is his work. I am so blessed to be here. I have felt so strongly here that Christ lives, and he is our redeemer. Because of him, all things are fair, and all can be saved. I love you so much. 30 seconds. I Love You.

Elder Johnson

Letter Home 5-20-13

This is a letter we received via mail written on Mission Stationary from the Vegas West Mission home with greeting letter From Mission President and his Wife and a photo enclosed :)


Dear Family

There is a man in Antarctica.  He has suffered his entire life with cold feet, and extremely dry feet.  This man had a revolutionary idea.

That man made my shoes.

I arrived in Las Vegas.  Crazy!  We woke up at 3:30 this morning.  I wrote a sappy letter to our district. We then left, and my life moved on to the next phase.

Las Vegas is a gigantic sprawl surrounded by hundreds of miles of an exact replica of Mars.  Inside of Las Vegas I can see mountains and sky, and guess what?  (Read this in your best Junie B. Jones voice)  It's actually rather nice here.  It's cool in the shade, and nice in the sun.  It's 73 out, though its supposed to get to... 88 today *oof :).  Apparently that's nothing.

I've been nervous and excited all day, I even tried to give a gent a pass along card.  He spoke to me as politely as possible, making it clear that he was watching for the moment he could be offended.  I could see it in his eyes.  We still had a nice enough conversation.  Booyah...

It's 2:10, At 6:00, I will have a Senior companion, an area, a lesson, and maybe an anxiety attack... lol, I am totally kidding, that just sounded like the perfect thing to put there.  I love you SO much.

O.K. Bye.

Colton Johnson