Monday, December 29, 2014

Letter from Michael 12-29-2014  Father Lead Families

Last week was pretty great! We all enjoyed Christmas very much with skypeing family and the Christmas party. At the Christmas party we got fed break fast and were given Christmas presets by the senior couple missionaries and some of the members. They got us all gifts since the post office has been on strike and Elder probably wouldn't get packages. We also got to watch the movie "Meet the Mormons." It was amazing! All of the Elder were stoked and especially got excited when it showed the part at the Johannesburg, South Africa MTC. It is very special that we got to watch it since it is still in theaters in America. President Dunn used to advertise for and produce church movies. That's how he was able to get connections so we could watch it so early. 
On Saturday we did some tacking on one street after teaching a new investigator who was a referral from a member. We just skipped around following the feelings of the Holy Spirit and each house we tracted into we met families and scheduled appointment with them. The last family we tracted into actually came to church this Sunday like they said they would. That almost never happens. I remember the father's name was Gorgeous, the son's name was Vision, & I don't remember the name of the mother or daughter. The whole family accept the daughter made it to the church. They arrived a bit late though because they got lost looking for a tent church. You will never find an LDS tent church, haha! Another father-lead family came to church as well. It was Tshedis and Mapule. They enjoyed church and Sthediso and Mphumsi realized that they are neighbors and just at church started to become friends. Mphumsi said he wants to come to our lessons with Sthediso as well. Mphumsi obviously came to church and is still on date for baptisms. Everybody in the ward loves him and wants to come with us to visit him. He is truly a golden investigator. Another investigator who came to church was Sam who is a member's cousin. He is Evanz's cousin. He said he always felt something was not right when he went to other churches. But he said this time at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints he said he felt happy and spiritually uplifted. We won't be teaching him anymore but the Rabie Ridge 2 Elders will be. He is moving back over to there side. He was living with Evanz because he got in a huge fight with his brother. So we taught him about forgiveness and prayer which helped him with that. That was about all for last week. Happy Old Year and Happy almost New Year!
- Elder Michael Johnson
P.S. - I have been inspired this week to write more in my journal. This quote I read yesterday motivates me. "HISTORY WILL BE KIND TO ME FOR I INTEND TO WRITE IT."-Winston Churchill  

Part of his letter to his mom:
Yep, we are spoiled! It was great to talk to and see you guys!
Yes, I opened the Christmas package early. Jessica told me about her postcard. In the interview he said this new year is my time to shine and he say he has good things in store for me. 
(about being chased by rhinos)
No, I hid behind the tree and then snuck away. We read in the brochure that there were jaguars but we didn't see any.

Part of his letter to his dad:
Shame about Ariel's car. Thanks for inviting her! It was great to see her and each of you on Christmas. It made my Christmas.I am glad you got to record it all. Technology is great but can be frustrating sometimes. We tried so many gadgets on Christmas that did not work. Shame about Simon. I will pray for him. Thanks for the updates about the BYU Brawl, haha! Tell the Smith's hi back for me! It was great to hear from you!

To see pictures of his mission Christmas party go to:

Monday, December 22, 2014

Letter from Michael 12-22-2014  Merry Christmas

Last week even more people left to Limpopo. We did our best though. Hardly anyone was at church on Sunday. Mphumsi came to church as always and the four of us Elders sang a Christmas song in sacrament meeting. We tried... The other elders had a baptism planed for that day but the pipes burst and we had to shut off the water. So, Tsshepo, their investigator will have to wait to get baptized the same day as Mphumsi on Jan. 11th.  We started teaching Mphumsi's  friend whose name is Bongani. He seemed excited. We will hopefully see him on Friday.
On Wednesday last week we had a lesson with Mphumsi. We brought a member with us and reviewed the restoration as we watch "Prophet of the Restoration." After the movie we talked about the movie and then one by one we bore testimony of the Restored gospel. Mphumsi was the last to bare testimony and we could feel the presence of the Holy Ghost strongly there. He and Elder Kolditz got pretty choked up. That is saying something for an African. They don't normally get emotional. In that lesson we learned how converted to the gospel Mphumsi really is. Perhaps the same can happen with 2 of his friends we are now teaching.
On Sunday yesterday I saw something I never thought I would ever see in my life. That was my week. Now Merry Christmas to everyone!
"Never give up... Never surrender" - Captain Taggart (Galaxy Quest)
- Elder Johnson

part of letter to his mom:
Yes, I will most likely Skype you around 7:00am Utah time. It will be about 4:00pm here. No, I don't cook special things. Just quick things. We never have time. Last week we did make "no-bake cookies" for members. I got a lot of letters from you and one from Uncle Jack. I need to email him. Yep, we found, Bongani, Mphumsi's friend. Love yoyu!
- Elder johnson

part of his letter to his dad:
Rams is okay. I gave him the last general conference issue.  Joyce made it clear that she never wants to hear or see us ever again. We did not teach Jack. I miss the Dutch oven cooking. It is great! Wow, I like that little lesson they taught. Good job grandma & grandpa! Yep, we have had some Christmas lesson's. All great to hear! I will see you on Christmas!
Elder Johnson

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter from Michael 12-15-2014 Mission Tour

     Another week in Rabi Ridge. Last week we had a mission tour. It was basically the same as our zone conferences except Elder Carl B. Cook of the 1st quorum of the seventy was there and spoke with us. It was great! We discussed loyalty 1st to the Lord, then mission president, & then companion. Also, we discussed putting out thoughts and studies towards the needs of our investigators. President Dunn wants us to have a goal on not just baptizing but building the Kingdom. For example goals for less active and helping recent converts get to the temple.
  We can definitely tell that it is the holidays now. Everyone including investigators and members are out of town in Limpopo, Zimbabwe, or Cape town. It is a bit frustrating but we are doing our best to make the most of what we have. We have been finding a lot lately. We found 2 people who are actually staying in Rabi Ridge. One of them is a man in Mayibuye named Jack. He is great! We have taught him twice now and he has a baptismal date for February. He understands the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and has a testimony of the Book of Mormon already.
     Mphumsi is still coming to church and still progressing. We are trying to reactivate a less active family and it is slowly happening. The family name is Mlhanga. The husband still has a firm testimony but is try to get his family back.

"If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you already got."
- Henry Ford.
- This quote was used in our mission tour when discussing how there is always a way to reach your goals but we have to be willing to try new ideas and not get stuck in the rut of doing the same old thing.
- Elder Johnson

Part of letter to his mom:
There were multiple clean awars. I won won of them and you saw me holding a prize which was clothes detergent. So may go ahead and pass out now....
Interviews are on the 23rd.
So the Skype thing... we have to do it now in Centurion with our zone leaders. We will discuss it with them today. I will let you know every detail next Monday. I have not gotten letters recently.

Part of his letter to his dad:
Hello! Only Mphumsi came to church. Last week we saw Xolani, Joyce's son, on his street. We talked with him briefly. He got a new job where he does not have to work on Sundays. Saturday night we talked to Mpumi for some time. She was very happy to see us again. From what Mpumi said it sounded like Joyce didn't read any anti-Mormonism stuff she is just still in great shock because her mother died. She is going a bit crazy it seems. Her brother might die soon too. So sad. Mpums said that she and Xolani would come to church next week. Rams is actually staying here a bit longer before he goes to Limpopo. This week I will give him the most recent general conference issue.
Letty and Alvin are in Limpopo.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Letter from Michael 12-8-2014 -20 Year Old

Happy birthday to me! It was a good birthday thanks too my family, companion, zone leaders, Brother Kevin, and all of those who wished me a happy birthday! It is weird to think I am 1/5 of a century old now. I enjoyed all of the gifts and delicious food that was prepared for me.
Well, on Tuesday last week we finally finished moving the other Elders into their flat. After the Christmas party last week everyone got the squirts because the chicken was bad. Elder Todd had it the worst... poor thing. Also, on Tuesday Elder Kolditz and      I went to court. Yes, court. It was held in Carletonville. A while ago in one of Elder Kolditz's previous areas he got in an accident. It was at night on a multiple lane road with no cars around. Then out of nowhere an ambulance smashed into the back of the car and totalled it. The ambulance did not even have any sirens or lights on. So obviously it was the ambulance driver's fault. But they tried to sue Elder Kolditz. So this last Tuesday in court was his 4th and last time. It all got resolved. I met his attorneys and one of them is a member in our Centurion stake. Anyway, all is well.
We receive 6 referrals last week and most of them are father lead families. We have so many to teach but last week was hectic and people are busy or out of town so we did not get to teach those families. Letti, an investigator, was supposed to go to church but the member who was supposed to take her to church forgot. ...Oops. Mphumsi and Mkosinthl came to church again. Mphumsi already wants to pay tithing and fast offerings right now! Incredible! He loves the gospel.
     On Saturday we saw Rams back from the hospital. His trachea is 90% healed now. We will see him again on Thursday and then on Friday he is going up to Limpopo for the Holidays. Last week Elder Kolditz and I gave talks in sacrament meeting. He talked about Christmas and I talked about Christ-like attributes. It went pretty well. It was just the 2 of us speakers.
"Sometimes the most precious and sacred things are right in front of us, in plain sight, but we cannot or woll not see them...
"I promise that if we unclutter our lives a little bit and in sincerity and humility seek the pure and gentle Christ with our hearts, we will find Him- on Christmas and throughout the year." - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

 Merry Christmas time!
- Elder Michael Johnson

part of letter to his mom:
Yes, I had a great Birthday! What a pleasant surprise! I was so shocked as too how you knew Kevin until I read your letters later on. I went on exchanges to Centurion. I thought we were going to a member lesson and going to cut a guys hair and it turned out to be a b-day party for me. We didn't have a lot of time but we ate, talked, had cake, and opened the gifts. The food was great. There was steak, chicken, fried pumpkin stuff, and cake... Delicious!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Letter from Michael 12-1-2014- Last Week of November

        It was quite the week this week. Like I said last Week Elder Kolditz is my new companion. He is from Indiana and has 4 months left on mission. Elder Ainslie is Elder Todd's new companion and he is from England. I love him. Elder Ainslie's jolly British accent cracks me up all the time. Elder Kolditz and I are doing well. He is a great missionary. We did so much finding last week and found more father lead families we can teach than I ever contacted before! We are teaching a new father lead family now and they are friends of one of the great members in our ward. They are young and only married for 2 years now. Letti, the wife, said she will come to church next week. Alvin, the husband, has work but said he would ask his boss to change his work schedule.
        Elder Todd and Ainslie are moving into our flat complex today. We are doing it to save gas and miles on the car. This morning the senior missionaries came up with a truck and trailer. They help us move the other Elders out and then we found out that the apartment they are moving into yet still hasn't been emptied yet. There is still someone there. So we had to do a lot of waiting and ended up just putting all of there stuff in our little apartment. We will have to move them in tonight I guess.
        After all of the moving we went to a place called Spur. After that Elder Kolditz and I went to the mall to email. We met a lady at the mall who lost her home and was going through a lot of hardships lately. She was in distressed  and confused so she prayed for God to send her help. She said that within a minute after she prayed she saw the 2 of us Elders walking toward her. We went to a quiet corner in the mall garage parking lot and we gave her a blessing. We talked with her and listen to her. We told her where to find the 2 nearest LDS chapels. She is going to stay tonight with someone in the Rabie Ridge 2 Elders area. So it is a member's house. But it is fascinating how we were in the right place at the right time to be an answer to her prayer. God often uses people to answer prayers. If we had not had so much trouble moving the other Elders then we would have come to the mall much earlier having missed the lady who needed help. I don't have a lot of time to explain all of the details but at least you got the summary. Anyway, now we are here emailing at the mall.
        Thanksgiving was last week but we were too busy and too poor to do anything for it. However, our ward did have a Christmas party (more like banquette) yesterday. It seemed kind of silly since it technically wasn't December yet but that is the way they do things here. The food was good and we had fun. Mphumsi, Kabelo, and another investigator whose name I don't know how to pronounce let alone spell came to church. We taught Mphumsi the word of wisdom and law of chastity. He is still doing great! 
        Well... that was my week in a nutshell. I can tell it will be a great transfer with Elder Kolditz.
- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of his letter to his mom:
The only one of those father lead families we saw last week was Tsediso and Mapule. But we didn't get to have a lesson with them. This week though. Vundisa has been busy and we have not heard from Rams in a long time. Yep, I saw both Elder Dutson and Elder Haynes at Transfers. Haynes is doing great and is still DL. Elder Dutson is still doing great in Orange Farm. He gave me a couple pics of us from earlier this year.
Sounds like you had a great week. Thank you for the B-day wish!
Elder Johnson
p.s. - Elder Christie is now serving in Protea Glen. Do you remember the investigator Jimmy who lived on the same street as the church? He had a friend named Douglas who Elder Dutson and I also started teaching. He is now getting baptized very soon. He has also had members I think do some temple work for his ancestors.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Letter from Michael 11-24-2014- 1Year –Transfer News

                We have received the Transfer news but the Transfer is on Tuesday as always. Elder Harris is leaving as expected. I will be getting the new district leader whose name is Elder Coldits. Elder Matos and Elder Warton are staying in the district as the Zone Leaders and Elder Todd is training.
We have 4 father lead families that we are teaching now. I have never had so many to teach. There is Charles and Mpho, Andres and his family, Rose and Timothy, and then Sediso (David) and Mapule. We saw Sediso and Mapule on Tuesday. She had read the pamphlet we gave her and she understood very well. She also started reading the Book of Mormon.

                On Sunday it was raining hard and we were worried that investigators would not be able to make it. members. Oh yes, and we had finished teaching him about the plan of salvation. This Sunday we had a two hour stake conference. It was not the usual stake conference though. They played a DVD (recording) of Robert Gay, Elder Badnar, and President Uktdorf speaking to the people in Africa. It was great! All of them taught a lot about Labola, Ebola, cultural traditions, priorities, and excuses. It was just what Africa needs to know.

- Elder Michael Johnson 

Part of his letter to his dad:
HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY! You are getting so old. I was going to send you a birthday post card but the post office has been on strike. I still have it with me though.
Yes, we taught David and Mapule. We had a short visit with Vundisa. Mphumsi came to church.

Part of his letter to his mom:
Okay, we already figure out where we are skyping for Christmas. It is at a member's house in the Rabie Ridge 2 area. They do it almost every year for the Elders. At least one of the 2 letters I got from you last week was from August. Awesome, about the AF band! Mphumsi is kind of like that. I can't take any credit for his acceptance to the gospel or his testimony. I know he has it because of our Father in Heaven who prepared his heart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Letter from Michael 11-17-2014 Middle of November

Letter from Michael 11-17-2014  Middle of November

Last week was a good week for Elder Harris and me. We got to teach many people and found more people to teach. We taught two father lead families and both of which we found just this last week. We had two exchanges last week. The first was with the zone leaders on Tuesday. Elder Matos from Venezuela came to our area with me. Then on Thursday I went to the Rabie Ridge 2 area with Elder Todd. It was nice to finally go to another area for the exchange. In the area I have been on many exchanges but the only one where I got to go to another area was the first week when I went to Centurion.
On Saturday we saw Ram's son walking on the street. We talked to him briefly. He said that Ram's trachea cracked and will be in the hospital for at least 4 more weeks. I hope he will recover well.

My first transfer here I think I wrote about an investigator named David or in his on language, Sediso, who was a great guy that got caught up in work and we never saw him again. Well on Tuesday Elder Matos and I found him again and we set up an appointment. We saw him last night. He was happy to see us again and wanted to teach his family. We did some catching up with him and then taught about the Book of Mormon mostly towards his hopefully soon to be wife, Mapule. He also has a son named Sean. We gave Mapule a copy of the Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet. We will see them again on Tuesday. On Wednesday we saw Vundisa. She loves the Book of Mormon and she was already finishing up Mosiah. She is reading from the Zulu Book of Mormon though. The English is a bit difficult for her. 

Sunday was a pleasant surprize to us by the way. There is an investigator we have been teaching in Muyibuye whose name is Mphumsi. We taught him the first half of the plan of salvation on Saturday and he made a commitment to come to church on Sunday. Sunday came around and I called him up at 7:00 in the morning to see if he was still coming. He told me that he forgot to tell us that he actually had to got to some society meeting and could not come to church. Elder Harris and I were a bit disappointed. Then at the beginning of Sacrament Elder Harris whispered my name and pointed to Mphumsi walking into the chapel.  He stayed for all 3 hours and loved it. He kept thanking me for the call in the morning. He said after he hung up the phone he had a change of heart and decided to keep hi promise with us. He said he learned much more than he had imagined he would. He said will come every Sunday to the church. Nobody knew him but members came up to talk with him and treated him as a good friend. He belonged already. After church I saw him talk for a while with Bro. Ronald, Bro. Amos, and Bulelani. Amos, Bulelani, and Mphumsi all live in Muyibuye so they even walked back home from church together. It was great. And I could ask much more from our members and great recent converts Amos and Bulelani. Amos said he is getting pretty involved with the bishop in less active work in Muyibuye. He also wants to start having us and Members in Muyibuye to come over weekly for family home evening at his house. Anyway, Mphumsi coming to church was our highlight for the week.

Well this last week it has rain a ton which is awesome! I love it! We saw a dead guy in the street on Thursday.(who had been hit by a car) We protected a recent converts house from a drunk man until the police came. The police never came though but he ran away anyway. Apparently he does this a lot. But the recent convert family in the other Elder's area said that he does this a lot and they just threaten him with the "calling the police" trick and then he runs away.

- Elder Johnson

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do so is increased." - Heber J. Grant

Letter from his mom: P-Day: so the ball was different. The ball had a tube that we would fit in. There we 2 handles that we held and then shoulder straps. Our legs poked out the bottom so that we could run and kick. It was indoors and sooo hot! We would play soccer but you could run top speed at each other and blast them. Then you just roll and roll and get back on your feet. I have some pictures of it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Letter from Michael 11-10-2014 2nd Week in November

Letter from Michael 11-10-2014  2nd Week in November

It was a better week for us thankfully. On Sunday Onkabetsi was confirmed a member of the church and I had my first time of conferring someone the Holy Ghost.

There was a guy named Francis who we met on the street a while ago. He said he had been taught by the missionaries before but then they left. He said he still wanted to be baptised though. We got his contact information so we will see how that goes.

Fortunately we got to meet with Charles and Mpho again. The lesson went so much better this time. Charles was sober and we talked about the restoration of the gospel.

There is a Lady named Dorcus who we tracted into a while ago. We met with her for the 2nd time on Saturday. She is a very nice lady. She said she was once taught by the missionaries and then never saw them again. She said she wanted to learn more and come to church. Surprisingly she did come to church on Sunday. Most people who say they will commit to something don't actually keep their commitment. She has a good friend who is a member of the church somewhere else and Dorcus has been talking with her over the phone. Her friend's name is Maria. Maria came with Dorcus to church on Sunday.

At church we received many referrals but only one of them lives in our area. The others stay in Rabie Ridge 2 area which is closer to the chapel.

This week was much better than the last one. Even the weather was better at the end of the week. Saturday, Sunday, and Today have been much cooler rainy days. I definitely appreciate rain more than I used to.

FUN FACT: (Johannesburg is the lightning capital of the world. More lightning strikes occur here more than anywhere else in the world. I can testify of that. It hasn't stopped all weekend.)
(I was reading the other day in the bible dictionary and came across "weights and measurements."  I figure out that last time I checked weigh approximately 8,250 shekels or 2.75 talents. I sound much bigger in shekels.)

There is a quote from Gordon B. Hinckley that I really enjoy. He said, "Don't be gloomy. Do not dwell on unkind things. Stop seeking out storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. Even if you are not happy, put a smile on your face. 'Accentuate the positive.' Look a little deeper for the good. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your hear. Love life."  This was my quote of the week.

- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of his letter to his mom:
By the way on Saturday night I dropped my top retainer in the dark and the wire got bent. It doesn't fit anymore. If I force it will scrape my teeth. I will try to bend it back into shape if possible.

I have been studying new testament and Helaman in the Book of Mormon. I really enjoy teaching about the restoration. Book of Mormon, and Plan of Salvation. I can't decide which one I like teaching best.

Part of his letter to his dad:

Today we are having a zone activity. We are going to a place where we play soccer but everyone will be in big individual blow up hamster ball things. I will tell you more about it next week. Should be tons of fun!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Letter from Michael 11-3-2014 (Beginning November –Baptism)

Letter from Michael 11-3-2014  (Beginning November –Baptism)
            It is the Holiday season now... I guess at least for America. For Halloween last week we went to the temple. I can safely say I have never celebrated Halloween in such a spiritual way. On Sunday our investigators that came were Onkabetsi and Kabelo. Onkabetsi got baptised yesterday. The funny thing about it is that she asked Elder Christie, a missionary in another area, to baptise. I am surprised she even knew his name. Elder Christie today doesn't even remember her name. It is what she wanted though.
            Last week we started doing some less active searching. We set up a couple more appointments for this week. There is a new guy we have been teaching this lately whose name is Mphumsi. We taught him the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and then the Book of Mormon. He was very happy to receive it and read it. Rams is unfortunately still in the hospital and we have not seen him in a long while. I hope he comes out this week. As for Joyce's family we don't see them anymore. So this week hasn't been any easier than last week. Hopefully we will jump the work back up where it usually is. We had a zone meeting on Friday. It was a short one. We mostly talked about some announcements and about being happier missionaries. He said he wants the mission to come closer together, be happier, and have some more fun in missionary work. President Dunn also gave us a compliment. He said we are doing great and that our zone is the most successful zone in the mission.
            Fun Fact: Apparently I laugh occasionally in my sleep. I scared Elder Harris a few times. At least I am not having nightmares.
            Testimony meeting was nice yesterday. In fact it is really nice every month. I must say they are much nicer here than back home. The nice thing about Africans is they give pure testimony. There are no unnecessary stories, they don't do it to make themselves look good, and they are not afraid. It is powerful. Even in the little branch in Polokwane there was never spaces of time between testimonies. They love the gospel and all testify of it often.  That is something I would like to try to take back to my home ward where there are even more members who can bare their testimonies. I know the restored gospel is true. It works and I see it bless my life and the lives of others every day. God loves us all and the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God.

- Elder Johnson

Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter from Michael 10-27-2014 (11 Months)

Letter from Michael 10-27-2014 (11 Months)
            It is getting into the Holiday seasons Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Only one of these Holidays do they kind of celebrate here. For Christmas Africans besides drinking might have a BBQ (Braai) and that is about it. Anyway, it has been about 11 months since I have left to South Africa and it has been great so far. One of the greatest things someone learns on mission is patience. It is tried all of the time.
            So I learned that the Post office will probably be on strike even till sometime next year. I would be shocked if the Post Office was off strike in January. I did hear that UPS or FedEx would still work. So Mom, perhaps you can send things to me through FedEx.
            Well we have another Temple trip coming up that I am looking forward to it. The weather last week was very hot at times and then at other times it was cold and raining. I am very grateful for the rain lately. It has been too long. The rainy season came late this year.     Unfortunately we never saw Joyce and Mpumi last week and they did not come to church. Something sad happened to Joyce which is why we have not seen her in a while. It has been a rough week. Throughout most of the week almost all of our appointments got cancelled so we had to do a lot of improvising. We have been tracting quite a bit but it really isn't very fruitful. We need to find more through the members.
            On Tuesday the AP's went on splits with Rabie Ridge 2 Elders and us. Elder Menendez who is the new AP who came with us. He is from Lehi, Utah Just like Elder Todd who is being trained by Elder Christie. A few days after the APs were here President Dunn told us that he is pleased and impressed with the work that we are doing in our District.

- Elder Michael Johnson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Letter from Michael 10-20-2014 -New Zone Leader

Letter from Michael 10-20-2014- New Zone Leader

                        It was another average week in the work this week. On Thursday Elder Harris and I went on exchanges. The new zone leader came with me into our area. It turns out our new zone leader is Elder Warton who I flew with from Salt Lake to Johannesburg. Him and one other Elder from our MTC group is a zone leader now. So exchanges were pretty fun this time catching up with each other and talking about mission and the MTC.
                Anyway, in this new transfer President Dunn gave us a new rule. We have to always have 2.5 kg of pap and 2L of water everywhere we go even when we are transferred. On Sunday we heard the stake president talk about sleeping through the restoration. Lots of funny things are going on in the world which are warning signs to us today. Elder Harris and I were thinking, "Uho!.... Is there about to be a famine, disaster, or apocalypse happening soon or something, haha! We heard from the stake president because the Rabie Ridge ward had a stake conference on Sunday. It was pretty good.
                The members last week did a great job at coming out to teach with us. They are always a great help. We had a lot more member present this week. Hopefully we can have the usual members come to befriend Joyce and Rams. Last week we taught Joyce, Mpumi, and Xolani. I am surprised they didn't make it to church yesterday. We will have to call them today. Only Rams and Kabelo were the investigators who came to church today. I worry about Rams. He is old, recently divorced, has health problems, and is so lonely. His highlights every week are when we come and he is heart broken whenever we have to leave. So we are going to bring members with us so he can have friends other than us who can spend more time with him. His son is the only family member who lives with him. But the son never talks to him. Maybe only a grunt or too. So family, it would be great if you could say a prayer for him. Hopefully Rams can be baptised in November.
Fun Fact: (I have to drink more soda in a week on mission than I ever did in one year back home.)
                You really don't have much control much of your diet when you can't afford healthy food and you are force fed unhealthy food everyday. But We eat some great tasting food though. On Sunday a member cooked us some African style Mexican food. Oh, boy! It was Heavenly! It has been so long since I have had good Mexican food.

- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of Michael’s letter to his mom:
                We got to teach that father lead family once last week. The husband even brought the Book of Mormon to work with him. Oh, by the way. Last week Joyce told us that she gave a Book of Mormon to her friend and challenged her to read it in one week and pray about it and the church. Powerful, eh? That was good to here. She seems pretty converted and has a testimony.

                We don't tract everyday but a few times a week. We didn't really see anyone we had tracted into other than the father lead family. We teach lessons day and night. Most of our solid appointment are in the evening though. We don't tract or find in the evening because it is too dangerous at night. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes from the flat to the area. It depends on the time of day and traffic though of course.

I keep hearing rumours about the post office being opened again and then we find out that it is false. I really don't know when it will open again. It is super frustrating. My guess is it will open up sometime next year. Okay, say thank to Grandma and the Smiths. I really appreciate it even if I don't write back anytime soon. 

                By the way, I heard the movie "Meeet the Mormons" might be going global and coming to South Africa. I don't know if that is true though. On Saturday morning we had to go give a 17 year old boy a blessing because his mother just died that morning. He was freaking out but when we got there we gave him a blessing, said some comforting words, and taught a bit about the Plan of Salvation. He is the younger brother of one of the 18 year old members who teaches with us some times. They don't have the same mother though. So That experience made me think of you and how grateful I am to have you and that I love you! I love you and Dad very much! thank you for supporting me, raising me, and being a great example. I was meant to be with you guys. Love you!
- Elder Johnson

By the way, this year Elder Cook is coming to SA to speak to us! Actually he will be here in SA

by this week.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letter from Michael 10-13-2014 - Just Another Transfer

Letter from Michael 10-13-2014- Just another transfer

On Saturday we got the transfer news. Nothing has changed in the district except for our new zone leader is leaving now. So Elder Harris and I will be together for 4 & 1/2 months. Church this week was good. 5 investigators came to church. We found some people while tracting. We even found a father lead family on the same street as Joyce, Mpumi, and Xolani.  Rams has had some health problems this week. We missed an appointment with him because he had to go to the doctor. We will check up on him soon. This weekend we started teaching a less active family. They seem very nice and they want us to come again every week.
Fun Fact: In South Africa to pass a class or test you only need to score 30%
....that is incredible! You could pass the hardest classes without even trying.
By the way, Rabie Ridge is the ward or area. But we actually don't serve in Rabie Ridge. We serve in mostly in Maybuye, some in Pumelong, some in Klipfontein, and Friendship Town.  
- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of his letter to his mom:
The restored gospel is the greatest thing there is. Meet the Mormons sounds great and inspiring. I can't wait to see it. What other stories were in it?
 Joyce and Mpumi are still getting baptised this month. We moved it to the 26th as well as for Onkabetsi. Joyce & Mpumi came to church yesterday. We had taught them the Plan of Salvation last week. Joyce really enjoyed it. She participates in church and has a great desire to get baptised and to learn more.
(By the way, next week I'll have a couple pictures sent)
Today I went to the Rhino & Lion park in Krugers Dorp again. This time I got to play with tiger cubs. They love to wrestle a lot... so fun

The mail will never come until the post office is off strike. We are supposed to get mail weekly.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Letter from Michael 10-6-204- Last Week of Transfers and General Conference

Letter from Michael 10-6-2014 - Last Week of the Transfer and General Conference

This week not as much happened. Conference this weekend was good. We saw all of it accept Sunday 2nd session. I liked that they tried to have speakers in different languages. But especially with the Asian guy it was difficult to focus. I didn't like hearing two voices at the same time. It went on till midnight here. Kalebo, Rams, Joyce, and Impumi each came to a session of conference. They enjoyed it. I think it was in the Priesthood session I was surprised to see Blake Mower singing in the choir. I wasn't aware he was in the MTC at this time.
Anyway, our water never came back on till the middle of last week. So we went a week and 1 half without water at our flat. I am very grateful to have it now. We saw Vundisa again last week. She said she really ejoys our church and says it is different than any other church she has been to. She said she felt the Spirit strongly. We have had some more service as well. We helped Sister Ngwenia re-do the foundation for one of the rooms in her house. it was fun but we all got matching blisters on our hands from the service. Also, we did some washing for some members. We washed a bunch of huge rugs that they had.
- Elder Johnson

Monday, September 29, 2014

Letter from Michael 9-29-2014 (10 Months)

Letter from Michael 9-29-2014 (10 Months)

I have now served 10 months of missionary work. It is hard to believe. Rabie Ridge is still going well. Transfers are coming up pretty soon after a couple of weeks. Most likely Elder Harris will be the only one leaving and the only one in the district. It has been great serving with him and these last two weeks will be great.
This Sunday our only investigators who came to church was Incabetsi. I don't know what the deal is with everyone else. Joyce's family has been busy though with the death of her mother and all. We taught her kids last week and rescheduled an appointment with all of them. Our recent converts were at church today though. In sacrament meeting Bro. Amos received the priesthood.

Next weekend is going to be very exciting with General conference. Joyce said she would be there for at least half of it. We are watching all of general conference live except for the 2nd Saturday session we will watch Sunday night.

This week in our area everyone's water went out. So we fill a bunch of bottles and water containers to take it to the members. After doing that our own water went out, the pipes clogged, the water began backing up out of the drain in our sink. So our flat is now filthy. At least we have water again after almost a week. So lately we have had tons of service. Very different  from Polokwane. I notice something funny about the areas I have served in. I have a list of all of the areas in our mission in alphabetical order. My 1st area was Polokwane, then Protea Glen. and now Robie Ridge which is all in alphabetical order. So I looked at the next "R" area and it is Randburg or something. It is an area that covers part of Sandton which is apparently the wealthiest city in the southern hemisphere. It would be hilarious if I end up serving there next. Ayway, that was my week.

- Elder Michael Johnson 

Parts of his letter to his mom:
I still felt a bit sick last week but I'm okay now.... all of us now I think. On mission you just almost always have the squirts it seems like. Joyce and Impumi are good but it is hard to see them all at the same time. We will teach them this Wednesday. We did not see Ananias. Elder Christie serving in Rabie Ridge 2 is from Houston, Texas.

Parts of his letter to his dad:
They (Joyce and Impumi ) might be baptised same date. they can't miss church or appointments anymore. Today is cool and overcast. Last night was an insanely loud thunderstorm. It didn't last to long though.

Letter to his cousin Calvin:
To Calvin,
Hey, Calvin! It has been a long time. I enjoyed reading the letter you sent me a few months ago. I hope you are doing well. Serving a mission has been great and I really enjoy it. I know it is a bit of time from home and family but I know it is all worth it. The harder you work the faster time goes. Serving a mission is what the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to do. He will always bless us for our obedience to him and sacrifice. We leave our families for a little while to bless others so that they may be with their families in Heaven forever like us. Our families are eternal and will always be there.
Anyway, How are you doing? Are you still playing soccer? What grade are you in now? Thanks again for your thoughts and the letter you sent. Be happy and be good!

- Michael

Monday, September 22, 2014

Letter from Michael 9-22-2014 –Amos is now a Member

Letter from Michael 9-22-2014 –Amos is now a Member

                        This Sunday Amos received the gift of the Holy Ghost. We found some people to teach while tracting last week. One of them was another man named Amos. Only 1 investigator came to church this Sunday. His name is Ananias. He is a friend of Bulelani's. He jumped in on a lesson before one time when we were teaching Bulelani the Restoration. Ananias said he enjoyed church and also said he would come to Bulelani's house this Saturday for a lesson.
Joyce and Impumi are still great. Joyce's mother just passed away and her family wasn't able to make it to church this Sunday even though they wanted to. Next time we are them we will share the Plan of Salvation with them. That should comfort Joyce after the loss of her mother. Last week we read some of the Book of Mormon with Joyce, Impumi, and Xolani. Xolani is there for the lessons but his job always requires him to work on Sundays. Anyway, we read with them Alma chapter 32 about Faith with them. Joyce absolutely loved it! She thought it was so beautiful she kept going on and on about it. They are understanding the Book of Mormon much better and understand the role of it and why we have put so much focus on it.

                We did some service for a lady in the ward named Nini. She had piles and piles of rat invested garbage in her yard. So we took care of it with some rakes, shovels, and a wheelbarrow. It was hilarious to hear Elder Harris scream like a girl when he saw the first rat. At first we thought it was Nini who screamed. On Saturday night we were at a members house and it started to rain and hail outside. It was the first of the season. Rain or hail in township is horrible for having a conversation. All of their roof are made of those tin sheets so it makes a really loud noise throughout the house. You can be standing next to someone and not hear a word they are saying unless they yell at the top of their lungs to you. It was fun though. Last Monday for P-Day we went to a Mosk in Midrand not far from where we stay. It was very pretty and incredible to hear that it only took them three years to build it. I have some good pictures at the Mosk. Perhaps I send some pictures of it next week. By the way, I don't know if I ever mentioned this but Elder Bednar is the Apostle who looks over south eastern Africa. It used to be Holland a while ago. I can't wait to hear from all of them this coming General Conference. It is about time for me to see one. 
- Elder Michael Johnson 

Part of letter to Michael’s Dad:   Joyce and Impumi were officially put on date last week for the 2nd week of October. They are great! This weekend was rough. I was sick again. Saturday was the worst. I was surprised I made it through the day. I had stomach pain, aches, chile, nausea, head ache, fatigue.... Elder Christ and Elder Harris got it too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter from Michael 9-15, 2014-Amos got Baptized!

Letter from Michael 9-15, 2014-Amos got Baptized!

Well, it has been another week. Amos got baptised on Sunday by Brother Musikito. Finally after years of investigating! Unfortunately his wife didn't make it to the service but at least he did. Three investigators came to church this week namely Amos, Rams, and Vundisa. Rams is doing well and mentioned how much he appreciates us coming to visit and teach him. We are his family. Vundisa is an older woman who we have started to teach. After church yesterday Brother Kevin from the stake presidency came out with Elder Harris and I to visit some less actives. He help out a lot. What a great man!

The weather definitely feels like summer already. Too soon! Two days ago we had to start opening windows and turn on the fan. We always thought that our car had really good air conditioning but now we realize it was just because it was winder and already cold. On Saturday we saw two white guys standing at a super market. It was so odd to see other white people in township. We made eye contact, grinned, and sharped each other from a distance. "Sharp" is like a slang word often used when we would say something like "What's up" or "good good."

On Friday we had a zone conference, It went quite well and I enjoyed it. We talked about a ton of things. We learned about the role of the Book of Mormon and the Holy Spirit in conversion, working with members in missionary  which we now call "Mesh-inary" work, the importance of our calling, and diligence. President Dunn is great and has a lot of enthusiasm that gets us fired up and motivate. He is helping us do great things. In a nutshell that was the week.

- Elder Michael Johnson

Part of letter from his Mom: Investigators are good. We have some new referrals last week who we can contact this week. Yes we do service. I don't know if I told you about us fixing a part member's roof, and helping pull out a big tree for them. The tree thing was rough to get out. I felt like the Steed family without proper equipment. Then last week we hand washed tons of great big blankets for a member. Boy that was some work! Especially wringing the soapy water out and then the rinsing water out.

Centurion Zone at Zone Conference Sept. 2014

Eating at zone conference

See below for last weeks letter.

Letter from Michael 9-8-2014 Car Trouble and Transfers

Letter from Michael 9-8-2014  Car Trouble and Transfers

On Tuesday we had another transfer. One of the 2 Centurion areas in our district got closed. Now we have a 6 man district including the zone leaders. Elder Christie is a missionary in the Rabie Ridge 2 area. He is now training 18 year old Elder Todd from Lehi, Utah and moved to Utah his sophomore year of high school. He seems okay.
On transfer day our car broke. We are not sure but something like the clutch cable might have snapped. So we got a beat up loner car for a few day. Good thing too. We almost didn't get that car. If we didn't we would have to walk many miles to and from our area everyday.
As far as the work this week it was pretty decent considering the dilemmas we had. We Taught all together in one lesson Welehminah, Putsoletso, Inclabetse, and surprise about the law of chastity. Surprise is getting really into the lessons now. He is very excited about the gospel. We had taught them about the law of chastity. Inclabetse, Joyce, and Impumi were the investigators at church yesterday. Surprise said he would come but something must have come up and the same as for Xolani. We also taught Xolani and Impumi last we. Joyce just got home from work and fell asleep so she wasn't there for the lesson. Joyce did participate a lot at church and enjoys it. With Xolani and Impumi we just answered questions and re taught the restoration again because Xolani wasn't there for it last time. Amos we taught on Thursday. We talked to him about his situation with baptism and his wife. He said he talked with the bishop and came to the conclusion that he will be baptised on the 14th this month and he will bring his wife. Finally! After 5 years he will finally be baptised. So that was probably the best news all week. We got a few referrals from last week that we will try to contact this week. That is all for this week.

- Elder Johnson
From his mom:
As of right now we have 5 investigators close to baptism. (Inclabetse, Surprise, Joyce, and Impumi) That was not the centurion area that was closed. The one I went to on exchanges is still there. It is the zone leader area. In Protea Glen I had a South African Zone leader. He is now my new zone leader Hear. Elder Matos from Venezuela is the other one.  Food... I don't remember what I have told you. I have eaten disgusting Mopane worms... ox tail... kidney... pig's head. And non of them were very good to be honest. The pig head actually wasn't that bad when you get past the harry skin.

Awesome, sounds like BYU football might be pretty good this year! Thanks for the update!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Letter from Michael 8-26-2013- Nine months in the Mission

Letter from Michael 8-26-2013- Nine months in the Mission

                        Putsoletso and Welhaminah were confirmed members of the church on Sunday. They are very happy and being fellowshiped very well. The releif society in this ward is great at being friends to new people. I am very greatful for them. Bullelani is still doing well. Joyce and her daughter Imbuso came to church on Sunday. They said they enjoyed it. Sister Beatris is the member in Joburg who referred us to Joyce and her family. Sister Beatris came this Sunday to sit with Joyce and Imbuso through all of the meetings. It was good to have her there. 

            The weather last week was a bit colder and often overcast. It wasn't a week as good as usual for us though. It was a tough week even for the whole district. On Friday we went to the temple. It was really nice going there again. We have been anxious for the spiritual boost. We are struggling but trying to get more of the men in the ward to come teaching with us to fellowship the investigators. Part of the reason is becuse they and we want the members to baptise the new converts. But the missionaries are always chosen to baptise because our investigators only know us. Anyway, I am glad to be out here. The work is bringing forth many blessings.
- Elder Johnson

Part of letter to his dad: Hey! Yes, we taught Amos about Spiritual Whirlwinds from Elder Nelson's general conferance talk. Going to the gym feels great. I am very greatful for that priveledge we have been given. 

Part of letter to his Mom: We didn't get a chance to meet many more referrals yet. I have learned some cool stuff about temples and eternals marriage. I have been enjoying studying out of the D&C manual. The internet was down yesterday but we couldn't. We had time but there was no way we could do it.

Baptism of Putsoleto and Welheminah 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Letter from Michael 8-18-2014- 2 baptisms and 1 confirmation

Letter from Michael 8-18-2014- 2 baptisms and 1 confirmation
Bullelani was confirmed a member of the church on Sunday. The mother and daughter we have been teaching got baptised this Sunday as well. Elder Harris baptised the mother whose name is Welheminah. I baptised the daughter whose name is Putsoletso. They were very happy and excited. They were nervous about the cold water but the baptismal service went well.

We have a recent convert named Tshiamo who is 21 I think. He got a job this week which was good but he also got a very bad tooth ache. Pain killers didn't help much so we taught him a bit about faith and priesthood blessings for the sick and afflicted. He would like to have one. So we did and immediately the pain went away. We told him he should still go to the dentist though.

A while ago I wrote about our family home evenings with the members and how we planned to fast together to find less actives or people to teach. It was a huge success. We received 15 referrals from those members and they say more are on their way. We just need to meet with them. Out of those 15 we received so far we contacted 14. It has been great! We met a great family on Thursday I believe. The father wasn't there but the mother and 2 kids we. The mother's name is Joyce, the son's is Xolani, and the daughter's is Imbuso. Joyce asked many great questions and said she was very interested in the church. She asked us about all sorts of things and asked what she can do to be baptised into the church. Anyway, it was a fun family to teach. Imbuso is 17 and Xolani is 21. Xolani was pretty quiet but at least he was paying close attention. Those were the highlights for this week.
- Elder Johnson

Part of  letter to his mom:
Yes, president interviewed me. It went well. I like him a lot. We just talked about family and getting to know each other. Then talked about Rabie Ridge, my mission as a whole so far. Amos and Rams might be baptised soon. Amos has been investigating the church for 5 years. He is super powerful and knows tons. His wife is the only thing holding him back. I'm glad you got the letter and so quickly, wow! Just pray for our investigators and recent converts.

Part of letter to his dad:
We haven't seen Kennedy again yet. I was reading section 2 I think in D&C. The one that talks about Elijah coming to the Kirtland temple if I remember correctly. I thought it was pretty cool. The Paschal Feast is the Jewish tradition and on the third day they have "the third cup" which is the 3rd day of April. So on April 3rd 1836 the Jews opened their doors to see if Elijah came and were disappointed even though he actually did come. But he came to the temple before Joseph Smith to restore sealing ordinances, I think it was. Cool cool, huh!? All prophesy is eventually fulfilled.

The gym here is trying to find out a  way to fix the system to where we can get memberships here. So in the mean time they are allowing us to exercise here for free. Plus there is free internet but no plug to be able to send pictures. So we are using this one for now and then next month when we have money to afford the email shop we will be able to send pictures.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hand written letter received from Michael 8-14-2014

Hand written letter received from Michael 8-14-2014

Dear Mom, Dad, & Jessica,
July 21 [2014]
                Hey  Fam! I emailed you guys today and I forgot to tell you one of the highlights of my week. It is about a less active member Lazerous. He hasn’t been to church in so long that not even Elder Dutson has not seen him at church. We visit him every now and then and have been teaching him about the principles of the gospel, baptismal covenants, and the importance of church. We tried teaching his wife and his 16 year old daughter too but only got as far as the Book of Mormon. Lazerous kept promising he would start coming to church but he never did. He would say something like “ I definatly will maybe come to church. I have to. I must.” But there was always an excuse whether it was culture or something else. His family began to complain to him that he doesn’t even come to his own church. He always breaks his own promise. He wouldn’t keep a lot of appointments. Then last time we taught him he explained to us that he was feeling sick because he is not doing what he needs to do. Sure enough he actually came this Sunday. I greeted him at the door but my mind didn’t even register who it was because he was one of the last people I would expect to be at church. It is a good thing we never gave up on him. At times I felt like it because there was zero progress for so long. At church he told me that after he comes a few times he will bring his family with him. He said his wife has even started to read a bit of the pamphlets and I think the Book of Mormon. Hope we continue to see progress. I ‘d love to teach the whole family and have them join the church. That is why you never give up.
July 24, [2014]
                This past Sunday Lazarus came to church a 2nd time.  We have transfers on Tuesday. Elder Dutson to Orange farm and myself to Robie Ridge. My new companion is elder Harris who has been out almost a year. He also is from Utah. He is very funny and talkative guy. This area seems pretty great. I only heard good things and people raving about Robie Ridge. They get a lot more success with teaching here. There are many powerful people here. 7 investigators on date. One investigator just got baptized last week. His name is TJ. He came a long way. He used to be a drug dealer but the gospel changed him and he helps us with teaching appointments often.
                Yesterday, Elder Harris took me to a Kota shop. It didn’t taste that great. Not long after I felt sick and had very bad stomach pain that came in waves. Last night I felt cold, achey, and nauseated. It was a horrible sleep last night. I still feel it today but not as bad. Oh, by the way I’m in a two man flat. About time. I was getting sick of noisy 4 man flats.
(August 3, 2014)
                Sorry, writing letters are difficult. It is hard to find the time and also I end up emailing you stuff that I write. On Friday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders so that one of them could interview Bulleani for baptism. It was a good exchange. The zone leaders came up with a good idea, they make a deal with all the members that they would come teach them the 1st three lessons but by the 2nd or 3rd the members have to bring a friend or someone to sit in for the lesson. Elder Wilkinson, the zone leader and I taught a member family about the restoration. It went well and they had a nanny come for the lesson. She didn’t understand English well though…bummer.
                Later that night we visited and Afrikaans member family. They were pretty crazy and fun. I love that family. It reminded me of home. It is quite different teaching and working with the Africaans people. We did tracting that day too. It was very unfruitful. It is in town full of whit people. Everyone rejected us as soon as we started to speak with them. It is very different from tracking in a township. I’m glad to be serving where I’m serving.
                The other Elders in Centurian are struggling a lot. They had 5 lessons last week and 3 of them were members. Anywayin …In the morning Centurian we had a great wok outs.  It was my first real one on mission. We just hop over the fence to the guy who owns the little placer where the Elders stay. We did a ton of abb workouts, bent over rows, military dumbbell press, pull-ups, and bench. I’m SORE! Thankfully my bench isn’t too much worse that it use to be.
                Anyway, I am learning the area and the people. I love it. It is great how well some of the members here are involved in the work. I wish I had been a better fellowshipper back home. Or helped out somehow more than I did. I had not realized how much help the missionaries need from members till I became a missionary. President Gordon B. Hinkley said something like, “There is absolutely no point in doing missionary work… unless they get fellowshipped by members” If I were an investigater why would I go to a church where no one knows me or cares about me. Everyone must feel like they belong. We should love everyone as family. I will try to help out a lot more when I get home. I ‘m out of paper… love you all!

Elder Johnson

Buleani's baptism

To see the photo and read what the Mission president's wife said about the baptism of Buleani go to:

to go to the front page of the mission presidents blog go to:

You can read about his survival of an attack by a bear attack 20 years ago.