Elder Austin J. Johnson

Elder Austin J. Johnson
Elder Austin Johnson has been called to serve in the Marshall Islands Marjuro Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and invites you to share in his adventure! "You will know at the finish line."

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Photos from the MTC

The District studying the language.
Another view from the MTC

Commonly used Marshallese phrases.

Elder Ross and I translated "Called to Serve" into Marshallese!

First Missionary Selfie!

This Sister is headed to Fiji!!

Brother Sherman, one of the Marshallese Language Teachers.

The Classroom Door

This is where I am headed!!!

From here to there....wow!

Speaking Marshallese in Church

Friends and Family:

How is everyone doing??? The MTC is the same old same old and I really do love it here. Unfortunately, I do want to leave and get out to the Marshall Islands as soon as I can. My flight plans should be here on Friday so I cannot wait to see where I am headed :). Highlights of the week:

Got to sing with the Nashville Tribute Band in the choir on Sunday. if you haven't heard of them, look them up. They are a Christian country band and I love their music. One of the founding members was the pianist from Diamond Rio so that is pretty legit.

The language is going super well. It is pretty confusing at time just because of how they structure their sentences but I need to stop thinking and comparing it to English. 

I've really gotten into playing volleyball during exercise time! It is such a joy to play with my district!

So every Sunday we are asked to prepare a talk for sacrament meeting, because they announce who is speaking DURING sacrament meeting. So as we are saying goodbye to the Samoans, one of the counselors of the Branch Pres. walks up to me and asks if I am ready. I didn't know what he meant, so i said yeah. And then I was called up to speak in sacrament meeting IN MARSHALLESE to speak about enduring to the end. I was so nervous because I only prepared half of a talk (must be 5 mins) So I was super nervous but I did it! Somehow I squeezed out a five minute talk about enduring to the end in marshallese. Gift of Tongues is real. Especially on week 3
Saying goodbye to the Sisters.

It was really difficult because we had to say goodbye to the Samoans, Fijians, and Tongans this week. The most spiritual experiences happened on Saturday when we all gathered as a branch and sung one hymn for each language. Although we had no idea what we were saying, it was awesome and super spiritual.

I have memorized the First Vision and My Purpose in Marshallese. Really hard but I did it :)

Love my district so much. We are all so different but I love them so much.

My Purpose:

To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end

Un Eo Ad

Jej karuwaineinek ro jet bwe ren itok nan Kraist, kon ad jipan er bok kojpel eo emoj an jeplaaktok, kon Tomak ilo Jisos Kraist im Pinmuur eo an, ukelok, Peptaij, bok menin letok eo an Jetob Kwojarjar im niknik nan jemlokin.

Word of the day:

Niknik nan jemlokin (Endure to the End)
(nig uh nig ngan gem a log in)

 Elder Austin Johnson

Friday, August 19, 2016

The language is coming along......

iokwe :)

Hey Mom!

This week has honestly flown by! To answer all of the questions in your email before I get down into the swing of things:

It is going great! Spirit prison is the best but the more I stay here the more I cannot wait to head out to the Marshall Islands. The language is going super great I no doubt have been blessed with the Gift of Tongues, but I will get to that in the chain email. I actually have started to read the Bok in Mormon in Marshallese. I read about 5 verses a day and then attempt to translate what I have read. Remember when I tried to read 1 Nephi at home? Well the good news is I was able to fully understand the first 10 verses of it so thats pretty great. I am writing in my journal everyday during quiet time so 10:15-10:30. I average about a page everyday and try to include all of the spiritual experiences that happen that day. I really do miss your cooking already and it has been MTC food haha. They do spoil us sometimes here and give us Chick Fil A and Taco Bell. I have stayed away from the orange juice and have mostly been tanking on the chocolate milk to put on a few pounds before I head out. I have gained about 3 pounds since I left. Elder Kennerly's dad is a bodybuilder so he takes me to the weight room every other day and kills me. I have been sore in just about every muscle all week. Tomorrow we are going to lose all of our Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji districts. It was really sad because I love all the Poly's in the district. Honestly we have some of the best Elders and Sisters. We got to hear from Sister Oscarson about Missions. She emphasized that the Lord is here to tear us down so He can build us back up to what he needs us to become. Really good talk. In summary, y'all should watch the Mormon Message about the Current Bush by D Todd Christofferson.
The District outside the Provo LDS Temple
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE. Honestly it made my entire stay here. I do not need another package while I am in the MTC haha. Even when sharing all the food I don't think we can finish by the end of six weeks:)

This week was a rollercoaster of emotions. On Tuesday there were rumors going around the MTC that our devotional speaker would be Elder Holland so I was getting really excited because he is my absolute favorite. But the rumors were soon dispelled and we instead got to hear from Sister Oscarson (Pres YW) talk about Missionary work and the role of the MTC. She said the purpose of the MTC is to break us down to our very root (shake of the natural man) and regrow us into what He wants us to become. The Mormon Message that goes along with it is the Current Bush by D. Todd Christofferson. Really powerful testimony and story. 

As for the language, Everything is going great. The Marshallese language is really difficult to grasp because of all of their weird rules. For example, if I was saying "God loves you" I have to say "God he loves you". That is because they conjugate their pronouns instead of verbs. Also, if I was trying to say "I like this food" I have to say "This food is good with me". Also, if I want to tell someone "We want you to come to church" I have to say "We want that you should come to church". Its pretty difficult but I am slowly understanding it. Also, I had a come to Jesus moment as well. So we have been having some rough waters in our district, and I love to read the book of Proverbs. As Dad says it is full of "spiritual fortune cookies". And Proverbs 13:10 says "Only by pride cometh contention". It really made me take a step back and not take part in any arguments. They still happen, I just haven't been a part of them lately. I love getting to know everyone. Elder Sheffield is teaching me how to rap and do rap battles. I'm nowhere near good yet, but I am getting there :). Sister Tatonga (the only girl in our little Marshallese district) is teaching me how to speak Kiribati as well.

We have learned about the culture as well. Marshallese don't really cook their chicken all the way so I have been told to almost avoid chicken once I get there. It is going to be a crazy experience but honestly I can't wait to get out there. We had to teach another investigator yesterday and it was a real testimony about the Gift of Tongues. I honestly never thought that I had had it until that lesson when it left me. The spirit was not there and for the first time during a lesson I had no idea how to formulate sentences and complete my thoughts. We didn't get him to commit to anything, not even prayer. I felt so bad once we left I almost immediately knelt down and asked forgiveness for whatever it is I had done. What a testimony builder that if you don't have the Language of the Spirit present you will not be able to speak.

I will try to attach a picture later, these computers are messed up

Love all of you and I will talk to y'all next week

Marshallese Word of the Day:

kojatdikdik - hope
(kuh jet uh deek uh diik)

Elder Johnson

Friday, August 12, 2016

MTC: Week 2


Quick update on Elder Johnson here in the MTC! In class we were given two packets filled with Marshallese phrases and nouns and verbs all to memorize by the end of six weeks. I just finished memorizing them yesterday :). I love the language so much! It is ridiculous but the cool thing is that they don't conjugate their verbs! They conjugate their PRONOUNS! So like past, now, future. Thats it. Just 42 words to conjugate and you can easily form sentences! For our devotionals, we got to hear from Apostle Neil L. Andersen and he gave us advice about becoming better missionaries of Christ. He said to BE CLEAN, BE OBEDIENT, and BE BUSY. Very powerful talk! On Sunday (fast Sunday) choir offered an incentive that if you joined the choir you got to eat dinner at 4 instead of 5:30. So I joined the choir haha. But in the end I am so grateful I did that. Immediately filled with the Spirit as we sang "Praise to the Man" after Elder Holland's son, Matthew Holland, talked to us about the hardships and trials Joseph Smith had to overcome while establishing the church. Easily one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Language is going good. I am feeling the spirit. And I am making friends. Next email will be introducing my district :)

Iokwe Kom!

Elder J

Here is the description of the district:  (See photo sent last week).

Top Left to right:

Elder Kennerly: This Elder (he calls himself the Brown Elder) is the exact manifestation of Walker. It is spooky. Sounds like him too. He is probably my closest friend during my stay here. Hilarious and his dad is a bodybuilder, so I go out with him to the weight room sometimes to lift and boy he looks skinny but he can double whatever I lift it is insane!

Elder Turnbow: Humble and Kind Elder from Idaho. He contacted me before the mission and he is a super nice guy. He is our DL and he is Elder Kennerly's companion. He is so nice and really reminds us to focus during study time if we begin to be loud.

Elder Robinson: My companion from the UK. Very passionate about England and Soccer. Has the tendency to make you laugh and always willing to counter anything you say :)

Elder Sevison: He is also the closest of my friends here. He is so funny and really reminds me of the friends I have back home. He loves joking around and really carries the spirit with him when it needs to be there.

Elder Ross: He is Elder Sevison's companion and he is the most athletic of our group. Loves to talk about the glory days of baseball and has several offers and scholarships waiting for him when he gets home. Love spending time with him.

Elder Rider: This Californian is part of the only companionship in our district not headed to the Marshall Islands. He and his companion are headed to Hawaii Marshallese-Speaking. He is pretty softspoken but laughs at my jokes so hes cool :P. He comes to me when he needs help memorizing something in Marshallese. Also a good friend of mine.

Elder Bichsel (pronounced Bixel): He is such a stud. He is from Utah and he is Elder Rider's comp so he is also headed to Hawaii. He always has a funny story up his sleeve and is always there to make you feel happy and comforted. One of my close friends as well.

Bottom Left to Right:

Elder Thiel (pronounced Teal): He reminds me so much of Adam Nielson. He is a huge tall guy who loves the gospel and can bring the Spirit in quickly. Love him so much and all that he does to help our district.

Elder J: Yours truly ;)

Elder Scott: Elder Thiel's comp. Although he looks like a skinny ginger guy, he has a picture of him on his camera of him with a full fledged curly beard lookin like a Viking. He is a stud and I respect that. Reminds me of Bro. Archibald. So I guess leaving for the MTC I couldn't even get away from him haha ;).

Last thing I wanted to say was the testimony meeting we had on Sunday. We were asked to speak in the mission language. Although it was very spiritual, the most spiritual testimonies I saw (yes saw, not heard) were the ASL Elders. Holy cow. It is incredible that although they just move their hands in weird ways the Holy Ghost just confirms in your heart that what they were saying was true. You could hear a pin drop. It was incredible.

Love you All and I will talk to ya next week!

Elder J

Friday, August 5, 2016

First Letter From MTC

Dear family,

This is my P day :) at the MTC I have Preparation Day on Fridays! I love it here. The Spirit is so great and the district is so cool. We are all trying to learn the language as best as possible. The language is so weird. It requires a lot of mouth exercises to help you pronounce all the letters in the alphabet. We are actually giving our first Marshallese lesson tonight. I am a bit nervous but I know that I will have the spirit with me to at least assist in all of my plans. I have a very happy branch president. We are asked to prepare talks every Sunday and two of us will be chosen at random. Crazy right?? Another cool thing is our branch houses 8 different languages, including Malagassi, Samoan, Tahitian, Fijian, Marshallese, Kiribati, ASL, and Asian-Creole. Testimony meetings and prayers in our mission language are going to be incredible! Attached are some pictures of the district as well as my companion, Elder Robinson. He's British, so he's a pretty cool guy. I can't wait to go out to the field and teach! Please send this as a chain email :)

Cam - Hope you are already following my counsel! Love you bud

Lex - How are things?? Whats up?? Miss ya!

Ponton - Gid Giiiiiiilll

Much love

Ij yokwe eok!

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The MTC Arrival...Finally.

Brothers Forever

"It's your turn now, brother."

Temple Square

Joseph Smith, The Prophet 
Skylar, Zac, Blake, Reggie and I overlooking Temple Square.

The Christus with my brother and cousins.

The Salt Lake Temple.

Grandma and Grandpa Johnson

Three Great Men.

Grandma, Aunt Jen, Blake, Skylar, Aunt Suz, Reggie and I.

SLC Arrival

If you look closely behind Zac, you can see my grandparents, aunts and cousins acting crazy.
 I didn't know they were coming!  What a surprise.

My brother. My chauffeur.

The Departure.

Checking in at Richmond International Airport

After an early morning rescheduled flight, I am off to SLC via NYC

730 days.......