The Johnsons

March 21, 2011

G’day folks!
This week was great!  I had a good week.  We had some major breakthroughs in progress that will be some highlight memories in my mission.  One at a time.
The teacher’s quorum of 14-15 year olds volunteered to do a service project.  They asked us if we had anybody they could help.  The Johnson family came to mind, as they had an overgrown lawn like a forest and couldn’t cut it down themselves.  With an army equipped with whippersnippers, rakes, and mowers, we flattened most of the lawn in an hour and a half.  Graham and Jane were blown away with gratitude and amazement that such young boys would cheerfully do such a chore just for the sake of helping them.  Graham has injuries in his tendons from work to the point that he can barely pour a glass of milk, let along push a lawnmower.  Their young adult boys don’t care enough to volunteer to do it.  They were so happy they offered to throw the boys a party.  They’ve also provided groceries for Elder Smith and I.  Graham even went as far as to draw cartoons of us helping them.  I’ve attached photos.  These are some of the best souvenirs I will ever receive.
After the project, we asked how things were going at home.  They came right out with the turmoil they have experienced.  They said their is no respect or love at home, especially between them and their kids.  Graham and Jane said they have both had trouble working together to fix the problems and leaning more on unhealthy crutches.  After seeing the spirit that was with the boys doing the yard, they both felt certain that they needed the spirit back with them.  Since then, they are determined to read their scriptures, pray, and come back to church.  We are having lessons with them every week as much as we can fit, and working to teach them all about the church once more.  Their enthusiasm and determination is miraculous.  Graham has already stopped smoking completely, and he said his depression has disappeared as well.  It’s incredible.
The other miracle was a refferal from a bishop in a neighboring ward, in Lynbrook.  He does maintenance work at homes, and he met a mother named Wendy who he talked with about the church.  She was told by the real estate folks who own her home that they are going to sell it, so she has to clean it up and move out within 30 days.  It was causing a lot of stress for her.  This Bishop said that we could come and help her clean up.  He also invited her to church, and she agreed to come.  We visited her on Friday and helped her clean the dirt off the walls and repaint some of them.  I did the dishes for good measure.  I could see the stress on her face.  She has a boy with autism and another with asperger’s, and other kids to care for as well.  She really appreciated the help, and we had a prayer with her family.  She came to church on Sunday with 3 of her kids, including the autistic one, Casey.  She loved church.  The ward was perfect with fellowshipping and making her comfortable.  The kids enjoyed it even more.  After church, they were holding up their papers talking about priesthood and baptism saying, “Look, mom!  Look what I made!”
I asked them, “Did you have fun?”
“Yeah!” they all shouted.
“Do you want to come back next week?”
“YEAH!” They were jumping up and down!  So we set up another appointment with Wendy to talk a bit more with her later this week. She really enjoyed herself, which is what we love.  Honestly, few things feel better on a mission than bringing someone to church and them having a good time.  I love it!
Today, we’re going to shift things up a bit and go bowling.  It’s funny how for things like that I can say, “wow, bowling!  I haven’t done that in years!
The weird thing now is that I have almost hit 14 months, which is beyond the whole year hump hurdle.  I’m officially becoming an old dog, a wise man, a veteran.  All the new missionaries will look up to me.  But I still feel new and clueless sometimes!  But it’s okay.  I’ve learned so much out here, and I can honestly say that it is really fun to be a missionary.  This kind of life is completely unique.  Nobody else in the world lives like this.  From morning to night, basically all we do is try to help people, and we are responsible for all the people in entire towns.  And they don’t have a clue.  How weird is that?  But it’s true.  It’s a fun job.
I love you!
-Elder Scott Baker
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