Monday, April 24, 2017

"Don't be afraid to try new things....".

Hey Everybody, I hope all is going well for ya’ll. 

This week has sort of been a blur. This week we had gone up to Zap. (a city about 5 hours from Kreevoy Rog) for zone conference. Zone conference this month has been good. Lots of fun and lots of lessons learned. One of the lessons that was stressed was not letting the fear of failure get to you, and get in your way when moving forward. 
The analogy was given if there was a two by four on the flour and a hundred dollar bill at the end of it, we would have no problem walking across to get the prize (hundred bucks). If the board however, was suspended 400 feet in the air, it would not be as easy (because our focus is on the height, not the prize.)  Similar to the board and 100 dollars, if we focus on our fear, we will not be able to perform and ultimately win the prize. This applies to every principle of missionary work. Our finding, language, service, and testimonies in our message are nothing but void if our focus is how afraid we are. I really enjoyed it. 
So that was really emphasized at our zone conference. It was a good time. Learned a lot about how we can be better people in general and not be afraid to try new things and even if we fail, so what, we tried. A quote that was shared that I really liked was from Teddy Roosevelt:

We also did our usually running around and more university lectures. It was a busy and tiring week, but I’m grateful to be here and to serve the good people of Ukraine, and more importantly serve the Lord.

Love you all, have a great week. 

-Elder Johnson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Picnic, Baptism & Bomb Shelters

This week has been a good one. We have had bomb shelters, baptisms, and a pretty nice picnic.

I guess I'll start with the most interesting first. Jason (fake name for the sake of privacy) was baptized this week. He is a legit kid. He used to play professional soccer and is now getting back into it in college. When we first met him, he said that he would not come to church until he read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. Then he met with some of our members and saw how cool they are and realized that we were actually normal people who don't have horns (that's a myth here), he flipped like a switch and took the lessons and agreed to be baptized as soon as we felt he was ready. So we are super grateful to say that we were able to have Jason baptized this past Monday in a quarry outside of the city. It was an awesome experience for everyone who was able to make it there. I'd say that goes to show how important church members are in missionary work.

This week was also my first Easter in Ukraine, and it's something for sure. People will walk past you on the street and say "Christ is resurrected" and then you are supposed to say, "truth is resurrected". We said that a lot yesterday as we were walking down the street. There were Russian orthodox priests standing outside of their huge temples and they would baptized, bless (or something like that ) any objects for some cash. I watched some people have family artifacts blessed, and I also saw some vodka blessed too, so all in all it seems like a good tradition. To celebrate Easter our congregation of now 10 people went out and had a picnic at the same quarry were "Jason" was baptized and had a big Easter picnic. It was a super fun time, and a great reminder of the blessings of being with those you love and it's even cooler to know that the Lord’s plan is to have that joy be with us forever.

Bomber Shelter
Lastly this week, on Monday, we went out on an adventure as a district. One morning, Elder Houghton and I were running and we found a trail that lead into the forest and we stumbled across this giant concrete entrance that lead into the ground. I would honestly describe it as a gate to hell. With that said, Houghton and I thought it would be a good idea to explore it on P-Day. So five days later, we as a district went out, had some sushi for courage, and then went into the dark mouth of the concrete cave. Turns out it was an old bomb shelter. We found that out by all the gas masks scattered on the ground, and the few little rooms. Pretty crazy stuff. It honestly seemed like the set up of a horror film. After that venture we went out and explored even further outside of the city and found some giant ruins of buildings. After exploring more a random solider came out of no where and asked us kindly to get closer to civilization. So we went home with some gas masks and good stories from our crazy venture.

All in all this week has been a great adventure! I miss all of you guys, but I love being here and working with such great people. I love you all and do something good this week!

-Elder Cody Johnson

Monday, April 10, 2017

Missing Being A Slack Line Hippy.

This week has been an epic one lots of adventures.

We have still been working with a lot of universities. Although, training faculty and presenting lectures is fun, I was missing some of the outdoorsy hippy stuff I liked doing before I moved here. Elder Houghton also seems to miss the outdoors, but he has refused to be called a hippy. With that said, this week we wanted to do some outdoorsy things while also doing the work. We went out contacting in some of our cities more pretty parks and woods. We made some good friends and got a lot of people to come to our practice and actually take lessons with us as well. We still wanted to get some more adventures in.  

Well one day, I got a call from Elder McCleary. 
"Johnson! There’s slack lining in the park! You gotta come over here!" 
I just hung up the phone Elder Houghton and I ran to the park, wanting to get some adventure in. We found the slack liners and made friends with them really quick, slack lined, and got their numbers for some meetings. Goes to show we can always have fun and get good work done at the same time. 

Along with that we were able to watch General Conference this week. Conference was super, super cool! I had a lot of favorite talks, but my favorite was probably about fear, love, and the influence both can play in our lives by President Utchdorf. I would try to explain it but I could not give it justice. Here's a link to it though. I'd highly recommend everybody watch or read it, even if you are not of our faith.

Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear - click on the title to go to the talk. 
Ya'll have a happy week.
I love you all. 

-Elder Cody Johnson

Monday, April 3, 2017

Well Worth The 12 Hr. Long Train Ride

This week was a bit more special. Elder McCleary and I had the opportunity to go up to Kharkov to see one of our friends, Artyem, get baptized. Artyem was the first person that I really made friends with here in Ukraine, about six months ago. When I left my first area I wasn't sure if I would see him again but when we got the news he was going to be baptized, we were more than happy get permission to take the 12 hour train ride to Kharkov. The venture was long but worth it. 

Artyem & Elder Johnson

It was super fun to see all of the old friends in Kharkov and to see one of my best friends baptized. He definitely had a different kind of joy about him when I saw him. It was a super good trip! 

This blog is a little bit short.  But it’s Creed's Birthday! Tell him Happy Birthday and do something to embarrass him. 

Love You all! Have a wonderful day!

-Elder Cody Johnson