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."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

First Week on Majuro Atoll

 I want people to know how grateful I am for them. I found out that I will be training in 4 weeks. That is the shortest time ever to train but I know that I can do it with the help of the Lord. So my "son" is still in the MTC so I will have 6 weeks on him and I have to train him in the culture, the language, and the gospel! Wish me luck! The kids here are adorable. It is hilarious because some kids laugh at me because i am white and call me "ri-palle" (white guy) and some burst into tears because apparently white people are scary! Talk about racism huh? ;) im just playing the kids in the ward love me because I can do a little magic and it astounds them, as well as the fact that I can wiggle my ears. Some old lady thought that that was the funniest thing ever and she couldn't stop laughing. So it was my first Sunday in the ward i am assigned to and we had to teach sunday school and elders quorum on the spot... and my comp took the lead in sunday school but when he found out about elders quorum he said "its all you son" so I attempted to teach about likening the scriptures to ourselves and they just looked at me puzzled... it was the worst haha. But turns out I am older than the ward mission leader... they are lacking in priesthood so the guy just turned 18. it was funny! I will be 19 next week and I am older than the guy in charge! Anyway I hope you all enjoyed the stories and I will try to acquire more this week! Stay true and faithful always and keep being obedient!

Elder J

(ps. my volleyball skills are insane thanks to the islanders!)

Elder Johnson was very short on words today, but here are a few snippets from the letters he wrote to his mother and I.

"This is truly a different mission than most and I agree with that, but it isn't gonna stop me from being obedient. I have only had one Marshallese meal so far and it is interesting!
Sasheemi (raw fish)
Bwiro (preserved breadfruit) (makes orange scat look like a joke)
Ma (breadfruit) (the most tasteless fruit ever)
Ni (coconut) that is the best

That is all I have had that is Marshallese. They also love Ramen here so Cameron would be in heaven."

"I get to sleep on a pad, so not a mat yet but in the outer islands you get to sleep on the floor :)

"I found out that I will be training next transfer. I am so nervous because I don't feel ready but I have faith that the lord will help me despite only knowing the area for 5 weeks. But I will be sent somewhere else. So both transfers so far will be whitewashing (both missionaries are new). LOVE YOU SO MUCH <3"
The apartment.

My bed.

This bridge is the highest point in the Marshall Islands.

Proof of the water clearness, but it is hot! 

Islands we waded through knee deep water to get to.

The islands we waded to on P-Day

The urban area of Majuro.

May have not put on enough sunscreen today.

The bananas that grow here are super tiny, but the sweetest ever. We hang them outside our window to ripen.

So I have a drivers license!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

First Letter from Majuro

So I would like to begin by saying that I am alive and well and doing great!

this email will be a little short because I have an hour on P Days to reach everyone, most importantly the fam.


Landing here was the weirdest experience ever. Like it is all ocean in the windows until the plane hits the ground and then you see a little bit of land. It was a bit unnerving. So then once we got out I saw all the Utah missionaries drenched in sweat as soon as we got off the plane. It was hilarious. Then we got in and met the mission president and some APs (Assistants to the President). They are such nice people and I am excited to work with him. Next we learned where we were going. Turns out they closed more Islands and they will be opening more when the next intake comes in 6 weeks. So most of us were sent to Majuro or Ebeye with two of us getting sent to outer islands (1 in Lae and 1 in Woje). Sheffield got put in Woje and Wakefield got put in Lae. I am in Delap, which is a pretty sizeable area on the coast next to Uliga and Rita. My companion, who comes home in December, is not here yet because Air Marshall is called Air Maybe because sometimes they just cancel flights just cause. So he should be here tomorrow so I can start working in my area. I am rooming with Elders from the Uliga area, Elder Peterson and Elder Helgenberger. They are awesome people and it has been fun going in their area preaching to people. 

Next, to all the people who said this would be a 2 year vacation:
You couldn't be more wrong! From the google pictures the place looks beautiful and tropical when in reality, everyone is impoverished, malnourished, litter everywhere, smells terrible everywhere, and just a big dump. Sure we don't have to worry about snakes or poisonous things, but we have to worry about Dogs. They are everywhere and most are without a home. We need to carry rocks with us wherever we go in case one comes bounding toward us. It is scary out here, and I pray that I will get used to it. 

But I am grateful I am here. I have met some wonderful people with bright smiles and humility and happiness everywhere. They have so little but know the real cause of happiness is love and family. I am excited to work here and I am ready to learn this language.

Everyone talks super fast and uses slang that we didn't learn in the MTC, so basically I am relearning the language I thought I knew pretty well.

I will try and get some pictures out so you all can see Majuro :)

I love you all and will talk to you all next week

Elder Johnson

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Marshall Islands Arrival

Parent Note:  We were able to speak with Austin when he arrived in Hawaii.  He sounded great and very happy.  He was able to speak to us in Marshallese  and we were very impressed with how it sounded.  He was excited and looking forward to the early morning flight to Majuro.

Email received from President and Sister Larkin:

Just to let you know that your wonderful son, Elder Johnson arrived safely in Majuro yesterday. We had a wonderful orientation meeting with all our new missionaries followed by lunch. Today we had a 'Train-the-Trainer' meeting followed by a Zone Conference - a great couple of days of 'on the ground' training. 

Elder Johnson has been assigned to the Delap area on Majuro island and his trainer, Elder Bradley is an excellent and experienced missionary.  

We are so grateful to have your son serving in our mission. 

With Love

President and Sister Larkin

Friday, September 9, 2016

Last Week at MTC

Iokwe Friends and Family (Motta ro im baamle!)

Lets talk about my week, shall I? I am so glad everyone is doing well and that we are slowly moving the work forward. Lets talk about it:

Sunday: Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, which was my last one in the MTC. I saw a professional football player speak Chris Lewis of the Eagles (ew) but he delivered probably the most powerful talk I have heard in a long time. Super strong testimony who basically said being in the Super Bowl and catching a TD pass was NOTHING compared to serving his mission in Taiwan. I love sunday Devotionals at the MTC.

Monday: Was actually a pretty regular day with just being busy a lot. Our new teacher Bro Tonini just got back from the Marshall Islands one month ago and he is still in contact with the zone leaders there and he said:

4 are going to Majuro (main Island)
3 to Ebeye (military base)
1 to Jaluit (outer Island)

I am honestly so excited to just get out there. I have waited for the leaving day for a long time now and I look forward to going!

Tuesday: We were able to hear an apostle speak, Elder D Todd Christofferson. He delivered a powerful message on the power of Repentance and the role it plays in the people we teach lives. I always love hearing an apostle speak and to sing in the choir, where we did a rendition of the Hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer"

Wednesday: Normal day where it was all the same. You still feel the spirit, it just bums me that nothing out of the ordinary happens on days like that. 

Thursday: We had IN FIELD ORIENTATION, where we find out what to expect and how to succeed in the mission field. It started at 8am and ended at 5pm. Lets just say that yesterday was a really long day, although I did learn a lot about the field.

SO a bit more info before I leave:

As the travel leader: I have to call a best western to come get us for our 18 hour layover in Hawaii. We will head over to the hotel and we are free to roam about the island, taking pics and having some fun before the work gets serious. I am excited and nervous to head out at 4:50am on Tuesday but I know that I will have one heck of a time out there. 

and a quick reminder: If I get sent to an outer Island odds are I wont have email. So if I dont respond to your emails for weeks at a time, it is not because I hate you, but rather I am unable to do it :)

Much love from Provo for the last time <3

Elder J

juon (jew-on) - ONE
ruo (roo-oh) - TWO
jilu (gee-lu) - THREE
jeraamman (jare-ah-mon) - Bye!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 5

Hello All!

Saying goodbye to Bro. Nelson, our teacher.
Week 5 at the MTC has just begun. It is super crazy to think that I have been here for already one month. I love it here but I am so ready to leave and get outta here! My Marshallese is alright and I am ready to join the 12 other missionaries that are already in the Marshall Islands! When we arrive, one of us will be sent to an outer island, Jakuit, so if that is me these weekly updates will be postposed for around 6 weeks depending on how long I would stay there if I was selected. The rest of the 11 will go to Majuro, so it is more likely these will continue for a little while.

Spiritual thought for the week,

Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young. Two people who were a huge influence on the church. Lived in separate towns during the 1830s. Both saw the same thing one night. Heber C. Kimball describes it as he "saw a rainbow of smoke rising through the air until it was high in the air, then it plateaued. Then as the smoke went over my head, the smoke began to be transparent. I saw an army above my head that moved in unison unlike any thing I had ever seen before, marching to the southwest. They marched and fought forces up there for what seemed like hours". Brigham Young records in his journal that same smoke and army in another town, not far from Heber C. Kimball. When both were baptized into the Church and met with Joseph Smith, they found out that the smoke that they saw and the army they saw all fought on the same day Joseph Smith went out to receive the Gold Plates (the Book of Mormon) from the Hill Cumorah with the help of Angel Moroni. The cool thing also is that they moved the same direction where Joseph lived. So, when Joseph went to receive the plates he was guarded in heaven as angels were fighting the evil spirits so that Joseph would have no problem receiving the plates.  THAT IS SO COOL!
Brother Nelson:  MTC Teacher

The food here is great-ish. I love their French Toast Sticks.

Flight plans come today so when I receive them I will send them to ya so I can be tracked :)

I really do love the Spirit that is here. I have grown closer to my Savior and felt His love in my life.

Want you all to know that you are in my prayers, I am always thinking about y'all, and I am so glad everyone is doing alright :)

Ilukkuun iokwe kom!

Elder J

Word of the Day:

monono (muh-nuh-nuh) - happy, happiness
melele (muh-lay-lay) - to understand