Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Letter from Jamaica!

Hey Mom and family and Rachel! 

Wow, it is so humid here you sweat allllllll the time no matter what,  and it's pretty hot too,  but my companions tell me it's the cool season. Yep companions. I'm in a tripanionship, it's actually really nice to have 2 trainers. They're both really great and I like both of them and it's really fun the three of us together in a house with another companionship. So there's five in all living in our house. It's a super crappy house,  not as bad as Conners, but around here it's a pretty good house. At least it keeps the rain out. We cleaned today and I swept the floor three times and got the same amount of dirt each time-- it was crazy! We don't have a dryer,  we hang up our clothes to dry in our bedroom, which turns our bedroom into a huge swamp cooler with the fans running. 

I got a bike but Elder Humphrey's bike is broken right now so we walk everywhere, or taxi.  A taxi here is basically anyone with a car:) you just pay them 100$ (US $1) flat rate to go any where on their route (usually about 2 or 3 miles long) so to go 5 miles it costs 200$ one way. The taxi drivers are crazy and everyone drives like a maniac-- it's fun. Also everyone drives on the other side of the road which is weird. Wow, it's a third world country over here for sure. The shopping side of my area is way ghetto and there are people selling stuff everywhere. Everything is pretty cheap too, they give us plenty of money for food. The houses people build out here (everyone builds their own house) are all made from cement and cinder block and that's it. They build the first floor and live in it until they get the money to finish the second and third floors, which basically just means that 90% percent of the houses out here are only half built. Oh and the roads are terrible. 

So thats all the temporal stuff, but the people out here are amazing!!! For the most part they're kind, warm, and  friendly and want to talk. So many people want to learn the gospel. The members are super awesome and always feed us:) the food is amazing!!!! It's so good, mostly rice and chicken, but wow it's awesome!! Right now we have a few investigators. The ones that are progressing are named Suzette and Hores, they're married and have been trying to find the right church for a while, they never heard about our church but they're very open with the lessons and read the BoM every day and they're going to come to church. I can see they're starting to feel the truth of the restored gospel:)  I really hope they choose to be baptized. We extended the invitation and they said they'd prepare if they kept feeling the spirit:)  Our other awesome investigator is Anisha, she is really nice and smart, she has a boyfriend who she lives with and a daughter. She wants to be baptized but has to get married first, so she's working on that and hopefully we'll be able to help her from there:) 

We probably walk like fifty miles a day, but it's so beautiful out here it totally makes it worth it. Trees everywhere, green everywhere, no brown just green and every other tree is a fruit tree of some kind. But the only one we have in the US is mango, all the other fruit trees are totally new to me and so far they've all been really tasty. We just ordered a crate of 200 mangos for 15$US. Also they have cook shops over here for like 350$($3.50US) you can buy a huge plate of awesome food! And they give us enough money, I could literally buy cook shop every meal and never have to cook. The bugs really aren't that bad. I use bug spray at night since that's when they seeem to get me. Oh,  and get this, so my companions have never been in a Hurricane but this year they predict three!!! And one is supposed to be major! I'm so excited! Don't worry, my house is really solid and we have food and water storage. 

Oh my other companions name is Elder Packer and he's cool too. They've both been out almost two years one is leaving in 6 weeks the other  in 12 weeks, so they'll be around just long enough to train me. The way people talk out here is really hard to understand, even when the don't speak Patois (Slang English, like Pidgin in Hawaii). I can only understand half of it, if they do speak Patois, no chance I'll get any of it yet. I don't think I'll be coming back with an accent. We have done two service projects so far. One we built a tin roof, the other we hauled about a ton of rocks onto a roof for cement to build the third story of a house. We just put them in buckets and hauled them up on the roof. 

photo from the web
Everyone makes fun of us for being white it's pretty funny. Also eveyone calls me a China man, which I love! Little kids come up to me and say ''Ching chong ching chong"-- it's so funny. I think they can tell I'm Asian because in the humidity my hair sticks out a ton! So much for a nice hair cut:) Jerk chicken is awesome, stew chicken is awesome, curry chicken is awesome, brown sauce chicken is awesome, all the chicken is awesome!!! And they make really good pumpkin rice. We do a ton of planning, we plan our days for an hour every day after study and every week we have a super plan where we plan for three hours!! Not a fan. Oh well. I sleep super good-- my sheets (We got him bamboo sheets, because they are supposed to be cool) are also really awesome, thanks Mom. The other night the bar next door played music till 2am in the morning so loud it literally shook the house and I slept through it! They have these centipedes out here called 40 leggers, I  have yet to see them but look them up they're crazy! Super poisonous and apparently it hurts super bad to get stung. 

Also the other day I saw a snail that was like 3 pounds! It was twice as big as my name tag! And they have these huge bannana spiders out here-- they're really cool and they get like as big as my hand! Everyone hangs out outside here. It's a totally different culture, very effective for meeting people though. There are soooooo many dogs and goats and chickens just wandering around everywhere!!!! The goats and chickens all look pretty good and normal but the dogs out here are the saddest things you've ever seen. They all look like puppies even though they're older, they just are skinny and their growth is stunted, but they're friendly for the most part. 
photo from the web

I'm having an amazing time out here spiritually. God has blessed me to feel his love for everyone I've met and it's almost been more than I can handle because it's so awesome. Also, He's really helping me learn a lot, even though I'm not really sure what it is yet-- when I figure it out I'll tell you:) Love you Mom and Dad. I really miss talking to you. You guys are my best friends. Oh, just so you know, it takes a month for letters to come and leave Jamaica, so we should just email. Also packages can take 2-4 months, up to 6, so if you send a package, make sure it's ahead of time. Also, make sure it's nothing too valuable because they go through every package and take what they what they please. One missionary got an empty pack of Oreo's, because they decided to eat them. Tape pictures of Jesus on packages you send me, people over her are superstitious and apparently that works. 

I think that is about everything-- is that enough Mom?;) (When we found out Rachel got four page letters from the MTC, and we only got a paragraph, I told him that I wiped his butt for 3 years and he owed me MORE! lol)

I miss talking with you and I love you all a ton.

Love Luke

P.S. I'm really sorry, I have pics but I can't send them on this computer. I'll send them as soon as I can. My P day is on Monday, so that's when I will be emailing.

Friday, May 22, 2015

He made it!

                                 THE CHURCH OF 

Jamaica Kingston Mission
4 Garelli Avenue
Kingston 10
Phone:  1-876-618-1625

Christopher & Kristin Johnson 
10642 S. Vermillion Dr. 
South Jordan, UT 8409

21 May 2015

Dear Brother & Sister Johnson:

We are happy to let you know your son, Elder Luke Nakaya Johnson, arrived safely in Kingston, Jamaica.  He is in good spirits and arrived anxious to become involved in the great work being done here.  When he arrived we met him at the airport and brought him to the mission home where he spent his first night.  We helped him with banking and immigration matters and then provided training and orientation. 

He was interviewed and met his trainer, Elder Humpherys. They then went to their area where they began the work he came here to do.  Your son will be serving in the Linstead Ward.  As parents, we can appreciate your concern for him and his welfare and felt you would like to know he is safe and doing fine.  

We want to thank you for raising such a fine son and for your support for him while he is here.  Your support for the next few weeks while he may experience some homesickness will be very important.  The work is really beginning to blossom here in Jamaica and the people are warm and friendly.  We are confident he will have a special experience.  We can assure you we will do everything we can to help him grow and develop and are confident his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ will increase.  Through his mission experiences he will draw closer to our Savior.  We are so grateful to have him here.

We will appreciate your continued support.  Please feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance.  The mission office number is 876-618-1625 and our email address is: 


Kevin G. Brown Sister Nadine Brown
Jamaica Kingston Mission

Sis. Brown is 3rd from the left, Pres. Brown on the far right, next to Luke.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Last letter from the MTC

Thanks for all the letters from you and dad:) i sure love you mom:)  

I'm having so many spiritual experiences. I've been completely overwhelmed. I don't think the MTC is like it used to be, all they focus on is Jesus and the spirit and it's so awesome! I haven't even heard that much lame stuff-- it's all been about sharing the love of Christ! I'm so excited to go to Jamaica and I know good things are coming for everyone who loves God! I don't know how,  I can just feel it!

I'll call you at the airport. 

Love you Mom and Dad.

*Luke did call this morning when he was on layover in Atlanta GA. He said the flight to Jamaica would only be 2 more hours. He was traveling with an Elder and a Sister, and they had permission to call people on the layover. I tried to soak it all in, knowing I won't hear his voice again until Christmas! He is super excited, the 3 of them were trying to convert their seat mates on the plane! His p-days are Monday in Jamaica, so I'll be posting his letters then. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

First Letter from the MTC

Hey Mom and Dad,

I really appreciate your letters. Your ideas about truth are awesome Dad, and I think you're right about the BofM having truth (being worthy of attention) besides being 'true'. Anyway, I love you so much and I really miss our talks. God has been teaching me that if I just love and listen to an investigator without thinking of what I'm going to say, the love can spill over to them and the spirit will talk through me. I've been having a lot of really amazing stuff happen, like yesterday I helped Elder Lybird while we were role playing. He was acting as his friend in college who feels like he's not good enough to be baptized.  I was playing the part of the missionary and told him that we're not going to be perfect but we are going to try and even though we might let go of Jesus' hand for a while, he still keeps it extended and we just have to take it and he will always help us up. Anyway, Elder Lybird was like, "Now I know what to tell my friend!" We were all crying and we felt Jesus' love-- it was cool!
I tried slack lining today with the elders in my district, but after about half an hour they made us take it down :) Oh well. I really like getting your letters Mom, that Dear John* was so funny! I read it to all my buddies and they laughed. My friends here are really cool and I'm having awesome spiritual experiences every day. I can't wait to get out there and share the love of Christ so everyone can be as happy as I am :) God has really been teaching me that all you have to do is love the investigator and the spirit just talks for you. It's really been amazing! I cry every day :) 
Love you so much,

*From Kristin: The Dear Elder website has a page of Dear John letters that peeps have submitted. So I was reading through some of them after writing to Luke and came across one that was just so funny, and was signed Rachel (Luke's girlfriends name), and so I copied it and sent it to him for a laugh. Here it is:

Dear Elder Mills,

How are you doing? Are you baptizing lots? I hope the mission is going well for you. How is your health? Drinking lots of water? I was once told water cures everything ;). Well all the roomies are doing well... Madison is missing Joshua - seeing as he just left. Mike is Abby's NCMO hehe. Jessica and Dylan are enduring hay season... Vanessa is as usual - stressed with all the things she is accomplishing, oh and she has an A- in one of her classes! Jenny... well sad to say... is engaged to Brad. By the way Brad says to tell you hi! So I guess that leaves me... and well... ya, me. So Logan, I've been thinking, you are just too tall and skinny and I find it disturbing that you can wear my pants. Your hair is too short; you can't even part it. I hate Will Ferrell movies and especially The Family Guy!! The fact that you are soooo stupid that you didn't listen and get your visa in on time and now you're stuck in California complaining about it just makes me sick.

So due to higher quality applicants, you're candidacy has been terminated for the position of long-term partner. I am way out of your league, aim lower next time ;)! 

Manny Handshakes,
Sister Winterton

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day phone call

Luke called on Mother's Day, which was really great, even though he'd only been gone for 4 days. He was upbeat and positive, but it sounded like he was really tired. He says his companion and district are cool. His teacher is awesome (Do they have only one?), and his Branch president is hard to listen too. lol. Not sure why, as he didn't elaborate.

He asked us to invite Rachel, so she was there too. He talked to her for about 10 minutes of the 30. She felt bad taking any time away from us, but I know he really wanted to talk to her, so it was ok. We didn't have much to tell him, since it's only been four days.

He said they play volleyball, and they won't let him wear his 5 fingers, so he has to wear his heavy hiking boots, since he didn't take any tennis shoes. He also said they won't allow ultimate frisbee, just regular frisbee, and that there is no time to slack line. lol. I wonder if he'll ever be able to do that? With only 4 hours on Pday, and so much to do in those 4 hours, it might never get used.

He also said the food is good, and he can eat as much as he wants, so he's been over eating. I'm sure he'll get sick of it and slow down soon. Although I hear they have a whole wall of every cereal imaginable, so I'm sure that'll never get old with him!

He leaves on May 19th at 7:05am. I wish we could go give him one more hug, but maybe it's for the best. It started raining after we dropped him at the MTC and it didn't stop for 3 days. It felt like heaven was crying with us!

His info is on the side bar, I know he'd appreciate the mail, though I'm not sure he'll have much time to write anyone back. He's only allowed to email us, and his handwriting is really hard to decipher.
Dearelder.com prints up your emails and delivers them the same day, so that's a good option while he's in the MTC.

Friday, May 8, 2015


One last breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa at the Original Pancake house.

Last sibling photo for two years...

This is  Jessica Bird, she graduated with Luke, and is going to Washington. She went in 15 min. before Luke.

Chris took this up close and personal shot. 

The drop off sucked. I'll just leave it at that. We went to the Provo DI after to drown our sorrows in bargain hunting. It didn't work. We went home and finished moving all the girls around to their 'new' bedrooms. And cried some more. Bleh. 
The only thing that made it bearable was how excited Luke was to just GO ALREADY! I tried to keep my smile on till we drove away. It worked... mostly. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Farewell Talk

A few people asked for a copy of Luke's talk, so I had him write it up. I didn't edit it, and you have to look up the scriptures that are listed. He read them all. He quoted the poet, Lau Tzu who is the author of the Tao Te Ching, Taoism philosopher,  just in case you're wondering.

Salvation unto the perfection of our souls.
Eternal life.
To live in the kingdom with our father who is god.
To see the face of christ and feel the prints of the nails in his hands.

It is my testimony that this is what life is all about, it is the way. In this life or lives to come i know that is what we all exist to become.

before we talk about the way let us first define the word repentance, repentance is essential to salvation but today id like us all to look at it with a different frame of mind. In the bible dictionary the greek translation denotes “a change of mind, a fresh view about god, about oneself, and about the world.”
I want us all to to form a new paradigm of repentance based on this definition and keep it in mind when thinking about the path to eternal life and salvation.

Helaman 8:15 --It says that as many as will look on the serpent shall live, and its true to look on the things of the world making them your focus in life will most likely bring you a prosperous and long life, but only in the worldly sense. The great poet Lau Tzu author of Tao TE Ching said “one who gives himself to his position surely lives long, but one who gives himself to Tao (God) surely lives forever.” to give yourself to life in this world will bring you possession and titles that will undoubtedly die with you. but if we look upon the son of god with faith and a contrite spirt we might “live, even unto that life which is eternal.”

Romans 8:5-6, 13-14 --We know that to be the sons of god and have life eternal we must be spiritually minded and be led by the spirt of god. To reiterate this point let us read 2 Nephi 9:39

It says in D&C 49:5-- that we must receive christ to be saved. but what does it mean to receive christ?

ST Luke 9:24-26-- Here it shows ones own life can only be saved by losing it, i would interpret this to mean you can only save your life by giving/dedicating your life to god. 

In ST Luke 13:7-27-- Christ gives Parables to the Pharisees saying that only those that humble themselves can be exalted. he also teaches that some have been invited but have made excuses because of their possessions and vanity and so the poor and humble are brought higher than them. have we been called? and if so have we heeded the call to humble ourselves and come into the feast that christ has prepared for us?

ST Luke 12:41-48-- Christ gives another parable and warns that he that knows his father cometh and prepares not will be beaten with far more stripes than those who didn't know to begin with. have we not been given the Knowledge that our father cometh? i would say to you that we do, we have been given the scriptures and know of the restored gospel we know also that the spirt can teach all things, therefore we have the responsibility to prepare lest we be beaten with many stripes.

2 Nephi 28:29-30, D&C 50:24, Moses 1:3.-- God is endless and so we must always be wary that we never put a halt to our learnings, god reminds us that he is infinite so it needs be essential that we learn line upon line precept upon precept, “and he that receiveth light and continueth in god receiveth more light and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”

This is the Way. look upon the son of god. be spiritually minded and be led by the spirit. receive christ. give your life to god. heed the call and humble yourself in order to receive it. take responsibility in what you know and prepare for the day. learn line upon line never ceasing in growth. All of this brings eternal life and salvation for ourselves but once we our selves begin on this path there comes more responsibility with it and that is to gather everyone else to the path also.

Mosiah 2:17, D&C section 4-- this lays it out pretty simply. but in ST Luke 15:1-32 Christ teaches the same principle with three different parables, and reminds us that greater will be the joy over one lost sheep than the ninety and nine that never strayed, and shows us that we should bring in the sinner. Lau Tzu says “if a person seems wicked do not cast him away, awaken him with your words, elevate him with your deeds, requite his injury with your kindness, do not cast him away, cast away his wickedness.” In the parable of the prodigal son, the older son questions the father saying “all my years have i been righteous to thee but you never gave me the fatted calf”, the father says in reply “son thou art ever with me, and all that i have is thine.” in the parable it never says if the older brother goes and joins the celebration for the return of the prodigal son, but we should remember that if we are with the father we already have all that he has and we need no more cause for celebration, just the joy that comes with bringing others to god.

Mosiah 4:15-20-- king Benjamin teaches his people not to let the beggar put up his petition in vain, but to impart of all your substances and be charitable. He teaches that all we have his gods and we are all beggars to him for repentance.

Mosiah 17:8-9, 21-22 -- Alma teaches his people gathered at the waters of Mormon that to be saved and numbered of the people of god we need to mourn with those that mourn have no contention one with one another and have our hearts knit together with one eye and one faith.

Love God
Love Jesus
Love everyone around you
“this is the way of heaven 
this is the way to heaven” - Lau Tzu

In the name of Jesus Christ amen.