Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Almost New Year

Feliz Navidad and Happy new year! 

It was fun to Skype!  I got an email saying they saw my picture on Instagram of us Skyping... hmmm. :)

The rest of Christmas was way fun.  We went to the visitor center and all the seniors were eating a big Christmas dinner.  We decided to have a little as our appetizer.  It was delicious, but we were on our way to a members home.  I am really glad we ate at the visitor center because it was a normal Christmas dinner, but we both felt so sick after the members home.  They didn't have a Christmas dinner, but they put all the food on our plate and were waiting for us to finish.... I tried so hard, but I could not finish the food.  Then we went back to the visitor center and had a talent show.  That was hilarious!  A lot of the sisters did some weird things for their talents... with singing really bad, interpretive dancing with shaving cream and all that.  So funny... Everyone told us that we HAD to do Kolton, the joke you told me when we were Skyping... that was our talent.  About 30 people fell for it :)  So thanks bud :)  Then we watched Christmas for a Dollar, but it was 9:00, so we had to go home and did not finish it. :/

So me and Sister Wygant stopped by someone's house who wasn't home the day after Christmas, so we went to the neighbors home.  We heard him hustling to the door and he opened the door saying, "well hello there!".   He said it all flirty.... I definitely think he thought we were someone else.  After he saw it was 2 girls wearing skirts and tags, he was very embarrassed.  He was dripping wet and in a very tiny towel.  It was a little awkward.  I was trying really hard not to be rude and laugh.  He told us he was expecting someone and he started to slowly close the door... Sister Wygant didn't think it was that funny haha.  She didn't say a word.  I just told him he should come to Kirtland and that we were missionaries... he kept apologizing and his face was so red. ha ha.  Good times. 

Oh, I forgot to tell you.  We went to the bishop's house and we acted out the Nativity scene... and guess what?  I got to fulfill my role! I was Mary :)  There was a less-active there who said, "She needs a baby! "  And she put her cute, cute baby on my lap and we had to tell her I couldn't hold it.  I was so sad :( I miss holding babies.  But it was really fun. 

We also had a referral come in this week.  We went over to her house and she told us to come back in a little bit because she was on the phone, so we went and ate dinner and then went back to her house.  When we went back, she said "so how can I help you?"  We told her who we were and she said, "get in here. I have been expecting you."  So we go inside and she starts to cry!  She said, "My mom just died, I know who you are.  I used to meet with the missionaries in 2008.  I know this whole routine, but I feel like I need this more than ever.  I need the missionaries to teach me again."  We just looked at each other, so happy. I told her she would see her mom again and that her mom is in the Spirit World.  She said that that was what she needed to hear and she continued to cry.  We are going back tomorrow to teach her.  Her boyfriend also used to live in Laguna Hills.  He said that we can't convert him, but he might listen, so we will see :) haha

Bob is doing great.  He is still getting baptized on January 5th.  We had a powerful lesson with him at President Stacey's house (in the mission presidency). Bob is so ready to get baptized.  He agrees and understands everything.  We kept thinking that he was on a spiritual high though and that he needs to have a more solid foundation.  We can all have a testimony, but a testimony really isn't enough.  We explained this to him and how just like the primary song, we need to be built upon a rock and not the sand.  We do that with continuous effort. 

It's like a doctor. He/she goes to school and has to do a lot of prerequisites, then he has to qualify for med school, then he goes to med school and he doesn't stop and say, "Hey I'm done now.  I understand how to be a doctor."  Those are all prerequisites to help him while he is a doctor.  That is the same concept with our testimonies.  It is just a prerequisite.  It is not the destination.  As a doctor graduates and starts his practice, he is applying the things that he learned in medical school every day.  He is continuing to practice and gain more knowledge and strengthening his understanding. 

If he didn't practice, he would forget all the things he learned.  We need to constantly be applying the things that we have learned.  We need to renew our testimonies, so that when a trial or a hard time comes our way, we will be ready and prepared.  

There will always be trials in our lives... I know how important it is to strengthen our understanding of this gospel, so that when those trials come, our faith won't shake.  I still feel like I have such a long way to go.  I will never have a perfect understanding during this life, but we can all try our best to deepen our understanding. 

"Conversion is an offering of self, of love, and of loyalty we give to God in gratitude for the gift of testimony."

I know this gospel is true. A testimony is a gift of God. I am so grateful we can all have one and I am so grateful for my parents testimonies.  It has strengthen mine so much. :)

Love you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

ps- guess what?  The Poulos are about to leave their missions.  They are taking us to Chick-fil-a and Gelato today.... dun dun dun

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Hello family!

How are you doing? It is almost CHRISTMAS!!! I seriously cannot wait to see my family..... You will never believe... it was a high of 67 degrees yesterday. It lasted about 20 minutes and now it's back in the 20's and 30's and snowing :) But I kept saying, "California came to me!" It was awesome. Also Kory, the surgery looks like it went very well :) I am glad you get to get back out so soon. Love you... you should start writing me every week again.

So, I am in Shaker Heights East now, a CITY. We share a ward with the zone leaders (one of them was just released as AP) and a set of Kirtland sisters. We have a lot of new responsibilities. It's hard to remember all the things that need to get done, but we got it. We really are on the phone a lot communicating with a lot of different people and trying to make everyone happy with scheduling. We haven't done any training yet, but that will be fun. We have started to plan a little bit for our training meeting this next week.

I also miss Hiram so much :( I was on the verge of tears the first day when I left Hiram. I felt like it was my new home ward and just felt so close to everyone. It's okay, i'll be back to visit soon. This new area is way different. Most of the members in the ward are all newly weds and in medical, law or dental school (and from Utah). And we are also on the border of Cleveland and so there are a lot of black people. Which is awesome, I love them all so much! 

We had a hot chocolate stand this week with the Elder's. It was fun and we met a lot of people. The elders probably have a new investigator from it, so that was good. It was really cold and wet, but that just meant people wanted hot chocolate and were willing to listen because they felt bad haha

We went and visited Michael one last time this last week. He said he just wanted to talk about doctrine and a member said that they would love to come.   He has seen a lot of anti... and we ended on him saying, "I hope you will still talk to me again when you get home after the lessson we just had". I told him of course we would still be friends, but I felt so sick to my stomach from the things he was saying.  I know that whatever we said was completely by the spirit. The ward member text us when we got home and said he was so impressed by our lesson and how powerful it was. I didn't see it at the moment, but we were just pretty blunt with him.

So, in my new area we have a new investigator who kinda looks like Michael actually. His name is Bob and he is getting baptized in a few weeks. I guess he just showed up to church and said he wanted to be baptized. ha ha so he was a miracle. He is amazing, so prepared.

Then we have Jason who is also really prepared, Colleen (she used to work in LA at Disney). She is way cool and prepared as well. She is also a writer like Michael and a very deep thinker as well.

We really met a lot of amazing people this week and it was kinda overwhelming to take everything in and all the changes. Everyone at sites keeps calling me the Queen and trying to measure me for my tiara. It embarrasses me. ha, but it will just take a while to adjust to everything. I don't think I have gotten there yet :) I was way too comfortable where I was before coming here. My companion is from Provo and she went to BYU studying/ playing the flute before she came out. We are very very different, but it will be good :) I will learn lots, I am sure.

Well, since it is Christmas I have been reading a little bit about the Savior and His birth. Something that President Davis said really stuck out to me. In Luke 1 it talks about how Mary really wants to tell her cousin Elizabeth that she is going to have the Savior of the world. When she talks to Elizabeth about having the Savior it says, "The babe leaped for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost." I know that when we talk to others about the Savior, the same thing will happen. When we talk about the Restoration, the same exact thing will happen. It will bring joy to them, just like it did with Elizabeth and John the baptist (who she was pregnant with). 

Our Savior was the most wonderful gift that we could have received. I know that when we share with others our love for Him and what He has established here on the earth again, we will be showing our gratitude and love to him.

I love my Savior. I love the example that He was on earth, so I can have a little bit of an idea, of what it means to be Christlike. I know He atoned for our sins and because of that, we get to live for eternity in happiness. 

Let us all remember our Savior and the wonderful gift that He was to us:)


I love you all so much and I can't wait to see you...

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm Being Transferred and a New Calling

Hey family,
How is my family?  I feel like I haven't talked to anyone in forever.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY KOLTON!!!!!!  Doing anything fun today?  

We had a great week, especially considering we had three days out of our area.   We got a lot done and saw the most people I have ever seen since being out on my mission.   Which was very exciting.
Guess what is tomorrow?   Well, transfers.   I am singing... I was nervous because I guess the flute didn't go along well enough with the arrangement I had practiced, so we had to learn a new song. I grabbed another sister and making her sing with me.  We are going to harmonize... It is a Silent Night lullaby.  It is pretty.  

I also found out I am leaving Hiram for sure :(  I am leaving my trainee Sister Coontz and all our people :( and our awesome district. so sad....  We had our last district lunch yesterday.  Someone paid for all of us!  We have no idea who did it.  Such a nice person, whoever that was.
President Vellinga called us.  We didn't see that he called us until a lot later, but normally he doesn't call unless he has specific business to take care of.   We were in a snow storm and we saw he was calling again, so we pulled over and he said, "can I please talk to Sister Johnson alone?"   I was super nervous... he said, "Sister Johnson, I have an important question for you.   "Then he asked me to be a Sister Training Leader.  A Sister Training Leader is like a Zone Leader.   So, every week I will be going on exchanges with the sisters and then a normal sister training leader does a little workshop once every other month, but then there is a "Kirtland Sister Training leader".   Where that Sister Training Leader is in charge of Kirtland basically.   The rules, the example, the car schedules, site schedules, help and EVERYTHING.   They also teach the senior couple missionaries and all the sisters every Friday morning.   I have always said, "I feel bad for those sisters, I would never want to be the Kirtland Sister Training Leader."  They are kinda like the sister AP's. haha.   Well, I just found out I am out-zoned and in-stake, which means.......... 99.9% I am the Kirtland Sister Training Leader.... Sister Nelson, (who is beyond perfect and going to be translated one day) is the Sister Training Leader right now, but she is going home... I am so so nervous.
I might have already told this story before when Bishop Whitney was called to be the second bishop of this dispensation, he said, "Brother Joseph, I just don't see a bishop in myself".  Joseph said, "well, I am not the one who has asked you, go and ask the Lord."  So as Newel K. Whitney was praying, he received the answer that Heavenly Father's strength would be in him and not to worry.
I was up for hours.   There are so many wonderful sisters who are so qualified!   I really had in my head that I never wanted to do that. :)  But I know that Heavenly Father knows what is best and that He truly will help us with anything.   I know that I need to have a better attitude and learn something from this. ha ha

But I truly am humbled....
There was a lady who was talking a while ago about how she loves to do embroidery.  She was making a beautiful picture and someone was looking up at the back side while she was embroidering and they didn't think it was that pretty.  They thought it was a picture of a garden which, she was actually embroidering a river, with flowers, a sun and it was beautiful.  We talked about how this is the same with Heavenly Father.   He can see the bigger picture from where He is sitting.   From down here, we don't know exactly what He is trying to make of us.  But when we listen to the spirit and follow what He wants us to do, He can help us reach our full potential.
When the judgment day comes, we aren't going to be judged on what we have done in our lives, but we are going to be judged on what we have become!  We need to try our hardest to always be faithful and improving each and every day.  When we are moving forward and feel the spirit in our lives, we know that He is happy with the choices and decisions that we are making in our lives.
This week, I spoke in church, we also saw Sister Kindall.   She is a less-active.   She has completely changed since I have been here.   It is seriously amazing.  We went to an appointment with her and her two little girls and they weren't there.   We were about to leave when one of her daughters said, "come here!"  So we ran over to a neighbors home.  Well, Sister Kindall, asked her friend if we could teach her, and we taught her right on the spot.   What an amazing member missionary!   We love her and she even came teaching with us to Bob this week :)
Bob is doing well!   He is so funny, he wants me to add him on fb really bad.   I am going to go and say good-bye to the Stamm's tonight, Michael, McIntyres, we said bye to Al and Loretta last night, Kathy (she cried), Giang, Gerry, Hellen, Florence and Sister Busath.
Giang is so funny.   He always calls and says, "Sista Johnsun.   It's zang.  Call Zang, ok sista Johnson. bye."   We went and saw him and he told me he loved me, he asked if I was married and I told him Sister Coontz was married.   haha.   And then he said, "I need woman."   It was kinda weird.... he wants to paint my nails and bought me nail polish.   He is Vietnamese.

Hellen and Flourence ask everytime where my man is and ask where my ring is and that the next time I see them, I better have a wedding ring.   People don't understand that missionaries don't get married. haha
Oh and Sister Coontz is going to be in a trio in Hiram!!   2 sisters are replacing me!   She is nervous about that as well.  She is taking over the area.  She is going to be so great.  Her mom just e-mailed her and said she is sad, us girls are being split up.   Awww man.
Anyways, we have a lot of packing and things to do today.  I love you all, I hope you all have a wonderful week.   Be safe, happy and be good :)
I get to see you in 7 1/2 days!   YAY!
Love always,
Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merry Christmas from Sister Johnson

Dear Family and Friends,

We haven't heard from Kelsi yet this morning so I am assuming we will get her email on Wednesday.  She is being transferred to a new area so we are anxious to hear where.  

We did receive a Christmas card from her to share.  We are excited to Skype with her on Christmas Day. :)

If you would like to send her a card her address is:

Historic Kirtland Visitor Center
Sister Kelsi Johnson
7800 Kirtland Chardon Rd.
Kirtland, OH 44094

or her email address is:

Thanks so much for all your love and support.


Monday, December 9, 2013

I Want To Be Homesick for My Heavenly Home

Hello Family :)
We are sitting in the computer lab and Mariah Carey's, "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is playing in the other room.  One of my favorites.  haha   We are singing to it :)
This week was crazy!  There was a lot going on.  First of all, did you get the picture with my little cast on my hand?  We made a trip to the emergency room this week.  That was fun.  We were on exchanges, I went to Chardon (where the Amish are) and we went to a lady's house to do service.  Well, she wanted her windows cleaned... they were giant windows.  We pulled the window up and we had to work together on pulling it up because it was so heavy.  The lady got a stick to prop it up so that we could clean under it.  Well, as I was cleaning the stick fell and the window fell right on my hand.   I just sat there and looked at it... it looked like my hand was chopped in half.  I don't know why I just looked at it.  It all just happened so fast. ha.  They both saw and ran to lift the window up so I could take my hand out.   It hurt a little...:)  My hand was instantly swollen.  A physical therapist ran over and said I definitely fractured it and that there could have been some broken bones. So now I definitely can't do push ups or anything ha, but we went to the ER and it was honestly a miracle.  The doctor said it will feel like its broken, but no broken bones!  You should have seen it.  I love being on a mission.  I am so blessed.
Our zone leaders called and said "hey, we have a potential that is in your area and they said it would do better in our hands then in theirs". So we took this as a sign and went and stopped by immediately.  When we got there, the guy basically told us to go away.  I said, "maybe we came here for another reason...."  Then I pointed to a yellow house and said , "that looks like a pretty cute house."  Then that is when we found Bob!  He is GOLDEN.  He has so many questions.  His daughter just died and all he wants to know is that he will see her again.  We are stoked to go back to him :)
We met so many people this week.  Al and Loretta called US and said, "it's been too long, when are you coming back?"  We were unsure about them.  I am speaking in church this next Sunday... so we are going to invite EVERYONE and tell them all I am speaking so they have to come :)  Al, Loretta, Katherine and Drew will definitely come.
We have been working with the ward a lot and trying to encourage them to invite others to the Christmas Nativity in Kirtland.  There was a member who came to Kirtland (not from our ward) who brought their friend from work.  Oh my, it was so awesome.  We took the friend of the member (Marsha) into the Whitney Store and she kept saying, "there is something special about this room" as we sat in the Revelation room.  She said she felt calm and peaceful.  We told her that it was the spirit.  We asked her member friend (who was a convert) to bare testimony.  She bore a strong testimony to her friend and she told her why she knew this was all true.  Marsha said, "maybe, I met you for a reason.  Maybe this is what God is trying to tell me."  I looked at her and bore my testimony of why I was here on a mission.  She got emotional and then I invited her to be baptized.  She said yes when she knows for sure.  We are going to send the elders over and keep calling her at sites. How cool is that?  All it takes is an invite and it can change someone's life.  I LOVE Marsha.  I feel so blessed that I was able to take her on tour... I will forever remember her.  She said she will never ever forget this time in Kirtland.  The funny part is that she writes, "doggy raps" and she rapped for us.  She is like 70 haha.  It was seriously so hilarious.  I tried to record her but she was afraid someone will steal her rap.  She is a super cute lady.  We laughed a lot.
The other best part about this week was that we had our Christmas Mission Conference.  Not only did we have a mission conference with the whole mission, but we had it in the very first temple ever built.   Inside the Kirtland temple.  It was a historic moment.  There were 250 plus missionaries inside the Kirtland temple.  There have never been so many set-apart missionaries inside that temple before.

I wanted to try to describe the experience that I had there...
President Vellinga told us that Elder Ballard grabbed him by the coat jacket and said, "you need to bring more people to Kirtland".  So we, Sisters, were able to give all the Elders and Sisters in the mission a tour in Kirtland.  We were helping everyone see the importance of Kirtland and that we need to bring our investigators there.  Just like it did with Marsha, it can change lives.
As we were sitting in the Kirtland temple, I felt so overwhelmed.  It was hard to take it all in!  We all stood and sang, "The Spirit of God".  I really pictured what the words said and what it must have been like back then as they sang it during the dedication.  It says, "We will sing and we will shout with the armies of heaven."  I knew without a doubt that there were others who were there singing with us.   I KNEW Uncle Mike and Grandpa Diss were there...  
The Savior had appeared 7 recorded times right in the place where we were sitting.  We are so blessed to have the opportunity to gain a stronger understanding of our Heavenly Father and Savior.  I am SO grateful to serve in the place where Christ our Savior has shown His face.  It is such a unique opportunity and blessing.
President Packer told Elder Seldon (who is the area 70 who came) he said, "I Wish I could tell you everything I know, but I can't."  The Savior is no stranger to the 12 apostles.  Can you imagine if the veil was lifted from our eyes for just 5 minutes?
I want so badly to have an even stronger relationship with my Savior.  I want to be homesick.  Not for my earthly home, but for my Heavenly home.  I love this plan.  I love this gospel and I love the wonderful experiences that I am having out here. It is amazing.
I love you all so much. 
Sister Johnson 
"I love my Holy Ghost, Sister Vellinga. She's holy, but sometimes she's a little spooky." President Vellinga

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Week in Kirtland

This week was a very good week.  I did miss being at home for Thanksgiving.  It was a fun Thanksgiving here though.  We went and had a brunch with Sister Busath.  She is so cute.  She made blueberry muffins that were so good!  She told us to sit on the couch and that we weren't allowed to help.  That was the first ever.  I was so tired and I fell asleep for probably 5 minutes and then I woke up with a blanket on me.  She is such a mom :)  We love her.  We played Yahtzee (I won and got 2 Yahtzee's in the game haha 1st time ever) and Apples to Apples, banana grahams and ...Bunko.  It was super fun!  There were a lot of ward members and less-actives there as well.  So that was our lazy Thanksgiving.  It was weird going back into missionary mode.
Al and Loretta came to the lighting ceremony in Kirtland.  There were so many people there... we got to sing with all the sisters and then me and sister Coontz ran outside.  We got assigned to turn all the lights on!  They were counting down and we had the privilege of turning them on :)  It is beautiful right now in Kirtland.  So many non-members are coming and we aren't allowed to proselyte.  Just visit and get to know people.
We took the most amazing tours this week.  It is getting a lot busier now.  Wow, I cannot even put it into words.  Our bishop came with his extended family and requested "the Hiram" sisters!   So we ran downstairs and were so excited to see and meet all of them.  Bishop cried a lot on tour and so did his mom and dad... it was a very touching tour.  His grandma is HILARIOUS. haha she has hearing aides and when she puts her hands on her ears, it sounds like she tunes into a radio station and it sounds like men are speaking. She kept hitting her ears and then she would giggle.  It was so funny.  The family kept hugging us after the tour and said, you better come and visit us before we go back home to Utah.  So we got permission from sites to leave early and go to bishops house.  The grandma kept holding my hand and telling me she loved me and kept telling me the same stories haha I loved her so much.  I want to stay in contact with bishops family and Sister Busath's (the relief society president).  We honestly have the best ward.  I have been here almost 6 months.  It's my new home ward :)  Bishop just told me I'm speaking in church the Sunday before transfers.... I will probably be transferred. :(
One of the other tours was with two couples.  They honestly looked like punk kids.  They said they wanted to watch the 90 minute Restoration movie.  We normally just show the Kirtland movie, so we had to get permission.  We both made the comment that they probably just want time alone. ha ha.  Boy, were we so wrong!  I feel terrible.  One of the boys joined the church 13 months ago.  I guess he was a drugee and met the missionaries, he said he just knew it was true and now he has had 20 friends and family members take the missionary discussions.  The girl he was with, worked with his sister.  He said, "I just walked up to her a Dairy Queen and said, hey do you wanna come to church with me?" haha and now she is getting baptized in 2 weeks!  That is a member missionary right there.  They cried as well.  When we were in the School of the Prophets he said, "man, you two are awesome sister missionaries."  He was so nice.  We got a picture with them and exchanged information.  He has his mission call to Mexico and leaves in a few weeks. He just inspired me!
Then we took other awesome people, one interesting lady, who has a special calling with the gathering of the jews.  She said, the second coming is coming soon and I said, "I have to get married and have kids first because of what it says in my blessing!" and she said, "well then you are getting married asap when you get home from your mission."  It was a little interesting.  She said President Monson was involved and she said Joseph Smith comes to Kirtland every day.  I am sure that that is true, but I wasn't sure why she was so open about it. :)
Katherine Stamm let us teach her :)  She was so interested and happy.  Miracle.  We watched the Elder Holland Mormon message, "Safety For the Soul".  Watch it.  Dang, it's powerful.  She said, this has all sounded so appealing since we have been coming and she trusts us and she wants to start studying more.   She says she has already been praying about it!   She is so cute :)  I just kept remembering the dream I had when Drew in Katherine were in white in the temple... it will come someday soon:)
Michael asked us to question our faith and try other churches. HA.... that is a long story, I'll save for later.
I found out that I have ancestors in Kirtland!   How come I never knew this!?  I ask people every day and they ask me if I have any and I say, "no I don't think so." BUT Levi Hancock is our relative!   He built the upstairs of the Whitney Store for the Smith's and Joel Hills Johnson.  The one who wrote the song, "High on the Mountain Top", is our relative.   He built the Sawmill and was a recent covert in Kirtland.  Ezekiel who we are also related to, he was there, but he was a drunk.  He eventually had a change of heart.  He was not baptized yet because they were going across from Missouri to Nauvoo.  Joseph Smith was just murdered and he was helping the saints get across and helping them escape.  In one story, it said that he was standing behind a tree and stepping out telling the captain and mobs, "leave or I'll shoot".  So they did, but eventually they grabbed him and whipped him to death :( He was never able to get baptized.  President Woodruff said, "Ezekiel was one of the first martyrs to the cause of the church in this dispensation."
I was reading something that said, "great men and women in ages past were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best. not because they knew that they would succeed, but they knew that WE would!"   They endured so much, I think that it is so easy to forget how much they had to endure.  We could have had another apostasy, just like before because, it could have been "too hard".  But it didn't happen.  This dispensation will not fail!   They saw our time, they knew that they had to endure. "In order for them to consider themselves fully successful depends on our faithfulness and our victory".
Wow, we NEED to be our best selves.  We need to be faithful and be instruments in His hands in spreading the gospel, or all that they did, would have been for nothing.
Just like Joseph Smith said, "The greatest and most important work is to preach the gospel."
I am so thankful for our ancestors who endured long winters without air condition here.  It is so cold haha.  I am grateful for everything that they did and that they PERSERVERED.
Let us keep persevering from day to day and prepare ourselves for the day that the Lord comes again.
Love you more than anything.  Hope your Thanksgiving was great.  I get to see you in just a couple weeks!  Weird!
Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson
ps- I get to call my friends at home and talk/ teach when we get I-pads soon!!
pss- I was asked to sing at the ward Kirtland nativity night and transfer meeting.  So scary.
pss- sorry I am typing so much, hope you don't get bored :)

Sister Coontz and Sister Johnson on Thanksgiving in Aurora, Ohio

Monday, November 25, 2013

We All Can Have The Lord's Acceptance

Woah, I can't believe Kory is home.  That was fast.  I wish I could see all of you, not going to lie.  That will be a fun holiday for everyone at home!   Happy you all are together... We are doing missionary work on Thanksgiving.   Just no knocking doors.

It is so so cold here.  I honestly don't think my coat is warm enough.  I can pile on everything I have though.  There is a wind chill.  It's been about 19 degrees, but feels 10 degrees colder with the wind chill and very icy!   We were going down a big hill and I was driving super slow.  There were cars up at a stop light and then we hit black ice and I pumped the wasn't working.   We were going to fly right into the cars, but I turned and we went off the side of the other side of the road.   Did not want another black ice accident.
I also had a little accident this week.   I was working out... I am not as strong as I used to be.  I had a set of weights in a plank position and lifted the weight up and something tore.   It sounded like sticks breaking in my shoulder.  So now it is in a sling!   Me and Kory both tore something.
Brother Jeffrey gave me his really expensive model car.  It's a convertible and I am not sure what to do with it. haha  He gives me stuff every Sunday.  He even made me a mini wake board to put in the passenger seat ha ha.  I love him.  He called us and said, "I hope that makes you happy the rest of your mission."  He told me to show you when I Skype my family and tell you all about it.   He has no money at all so I felt awful for taking it :(  But he said the spirit told him I would need it this week.  He is the best.
Michael....well, lets just say.  He yelled in our lesson.  Good thing we had a member there :)  He really wants to know if its true... he gets so worked up. haha.  He has been texting us and asking us questions. 21 page text.. phew. at least it wasn't 22. ;)
We went to Lorenzo Snow's home this week.  It hasn't had much done to it so we were able to see the exact floors and walls and where there summer kitchen were and all that. The people that live there gave us a tour and they are strong Catholics, but they were reading us Eliza Snow's testimony.  Then the guy who lives there... he paused when we were about to leave and he said, "are you the sister who sang at the Johnson Home commemoration?"  I said yes... and he said, "I have never in my life heard an angel sing, but now I have." haha  They were freaking out.  I think they just felt the spirit.  They will join the church one day!
We took Al and Loretta to the Johnson home and then we went to their home to teach them the Restoration.  They had prepared for us to stay and eat to!   Good thing we didn't have an appointment.  They don't understand that we can't just hang out as missionaries.  After we finished the Restoration... Al said, So is lunch ready?  And nothing else.... when we were saying Joseph Smith's words during the 1st vision... the spirit was so strong.  We know they felt it.  They are totally open to us sharing, but don't really care. They are coming to Kirtland on Friday though for the lighting ceremony!  All of us sisters are singing and they are having a beautiful program.  That will be a place where they can feel the spirit again.  They said, "we are going to miss you girls when you get transferred."
Then the Stamms:) ahhh man.  We invited them to the Johnson home as well.  The Hale's invited them over for lunch and they the Hales and the Stamm's came to the Johnson home.  It was the amazing.  At first, it was a little rough.... they really liked the historical aspect, but as time went on, it got more and more spiritual.  Me and Sister Coontz sang a song in the revelation room.  Brother Hale (who I want to be like - has the strongest testimony) bore a powerful testimony that they needed to hear.  We talked about how we are spirit children of our Heavenly Father... Katherine's eyes lit up and said "that makes sense."  Then we talked about the three kingdoms of glory and how wonderful it is to have continuing revelation.  She wanted to know more.  So as they left.  Drew said, "call Katherine to set up a time so you can teach us".  What?!  They were so against it at the beginning.  Their hearts have softened.  I am going to be friends with them for the rest of my life.  While we were in the Revelation room I remembered my dream I had about them. They were dressed in all white.  I was there.  It's going to happen :)
Okay, Crazy story.  Sorry this is so long.  A lot happened this week!  So we were at sites.  The phone was ringing... I was going to just let someone else answer it and instead I just went and answered it anyways and said, "Historic Kirtland Visitor Center, this is Sister Johnson, how may I help you?"  Well, he kept talking and was trying to reach some sisters.... his name was Richie. I recognized his voice.  I asked if he was from Arizona.  I said I was Kelsi Johnson and he was like, you're on a mission?!  haha Anyways, I was literally shaking.  I was talking to a boy.  I am weird.  Now I know.  All the sisters ran over and heard me talking... and they were like, what is going on?!  haha it was a big thing. But I am pretty sure I am going to be weird when I get home if I was weird on the phone.  It was cool though.
Then we were calling referrals and people that we have talked to on chat.  I called a lady from a referral that we got in June.  It said that her son was an apostate and to be careful. So I called her to get more information.  She was really happy that I called her.  She said things had changed and he wasn't even speaking to her anymore since then.  I told her I had been looking at her card for a while.  She said, "you have?"  She started to cry....she said  "That just answered my prayer."   "Now I know that Heavenly Father loves my son and is aware of Him. Thank you so much."  We talked a little bit longer... and she told me she loved me so much and to call her back soon.  I sincerely loved and cared for her. Calling people really is so great.
Heavenly Father loves all His children.  He is aware of the ones who have even made poor choices and He still loves them unconditionally.
I was reading this week about how we can have the Lords acceptance.  I think about famous people and how they are always trying to gain acceptance from everyone in the world. But it wont last.  I think its natural for us to seek acceptance from those around us.  From friends and family.  But that isn't where we can find it.  The Lord doesn't care what our title is, he doesn't care how much money we make, he doesn't care if we are really good at things.  He cares about our heart and how we use the talents and things that we are good at for the good of others.  He cares if we recognize our weaknesses and want to improve.  He cares if we have a genuine love for others and true charity.  He cares if we are honest with ourselves and recognize that we are broken.

We can feel the most accepted and loved by the Lord, by looking at our heart, letting Him fix us and keeping the covenants and promises that we have made to Him.

The spirit will be with us and when the spirit is with us that is the ULTIMATE INDICATOR that we are accepted of Him.

We will increase in confidence, faith and happiness.

Seek for the Lord's acceptance.  He wants us to.  He loves you.  He wants to mold you.  He can make you stronger then what you think you can do by yourself.
I love you, love you.  Kory I hope you heal fast after surgery, so you can get back out.
Sister Kelsi Denae
I think I have already written this before.... but I still love it
Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word.  We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate.  But really, true charity is much, much more.

Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself.  When the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again.  It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet.  Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped.   Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us.  Charity is expecting the best of each other.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wrong Road

Hola como estas?
How is everything at home?  Good I hope!  I pray for all of you each and every day.
This week was fun... We were in Kirtland of course.  We basically didn't take one tour :(  That was a bummer.  It really is soooo slow right now, BUT starting the day after Thanksgiving, everything is going to get busier because the lights will be up with all of the Nativities :)  Ahhh can't wait!  We will be singing too.  They said they are going to assign some solo's, duets and group numbers.
I love having sister Coontz as my companion. I never want to switch companions again.  I feel like we are both growing each and every day.  Especially in our teaching.  I love being so focused in a lesson and the spirit takes over and we are able to help the person in coming closer to Christ.  We both have been digging deeper and deeper into our studies and gaining new insights.  I LOVE studies so much and I LOVE people.  I love making new friends out here :)
Michael has been reading the Book of Mormon every day.  He basically started over in 1st Nephi a week ago and now he is almost to Alma.  Or he is already in Alma.  I can't remember.  He asked us to come over last night.  We weren't sure what he needed to talk about, but he asked the deepest questions.  To be honest, they are things that don't really matter.  I was trying so hard to just listen to Him and I knew that the whatever I needed to say, would come as I opened my mouth.  I started to cry as I opened my mouth. He just stared at me and then Sister Coontz bore a powerful testimony.  Man, the spirit was so strong.  He has had so many spiritual moments.  He is just going to be one of those people who investigate for a while.  Now he wants to read the Doctrine and Covenants after he finishes the Book of Mormon ha ha.  One day, one day.
We also visited the Katherine Stamm this week.  Man, she is great :)  She was so excited to see us!  They said that they are going to come to the Johnson Home this Saturday :) We have been praying on what we need to say.... and already preparing for when they come... it is time for them to progress.
We also LOVE Al and Loretta.  They printed off the pictures they took of us while we were making cider haha.  We are taking them to the Johnson home tomorrow :)   We are SO blessed to have such a wonderful home so close to us and I feel so blessed to know the details about what happened there.  We are going to take advantage of it.  It is a place that can really soften hearts.  We know it will soften all of theirs.  I can't even describe.... can't wait for you to go one day :)
I feel like we keep meeting people who are not in our area.  We are giving referrals to every other missionary.  We were tracting and this cute 20 year old girl let us right in.  She said she is really open minded and we taught her the Restoration.   She said she wants to know more.  She has definitely been prepared... but she lives far away, she was just visiting her family, but we get to call her on the phone at sites and see how she is doing with the other missionaries.
We also just went in the other room a couple of minutes ago to make a copy of Sister Coontz's driver license.  The lady who works here is seriously so sweet and always asks how we are doing.  Well, we started talking and found out she used to take the discussions.   WAY back in the day.   Wow!   She said it wasn't the right time right then, BUT I said, "timing is everything.  If you ever want missionaries again, let us know".   She said she knew where to find us and she would let us know :)  She really seems interested...She said people always ask if we are nuns and she said she LOVES the missionaries and she always stands up for the Mormon's and missionaries.   What a sweet lady.   She isn't in our area either, but another one for someone else!   I love missionary work.   More and more every day.
We also taught seminary this week at 6 am.   There are 2 cute non-member girls who go to seminary a couple times a week.   There is one girl named Carly who comes to church a lot, but she avoids eye contact... we got to talk to her more at seminary and now becoming friends :)
Right after you read this, go to and watch "wrong roads".   Elder Holland gives and interesting thought that I know we can all relate to.
As I was watching it a couple days ago, I started to cry.  Why do we pray on what we need to do and sometimes we get an answer that we feel is the right thing to do, but it leads us down to a dead end, or a wrong path.

I feel like that has happened so many times.  I KNOW Heavenly Father can see the beginning to the end.  Sometimes it's so we understand more clearly why we should go down that path and why we should go on another one.   Maybe we were going to be unsure of our decision.   There are always lessons that we need to learn.

A couple of big ones stick out to me, why did mom and dad continue putting money into a company that wasn't going to do well?   Why did we move to California for a job that didn't do well?   Why did I move to Idaho when I didn't get credit?  Why do we do a lot of things in life where we feel right about and it doesn't work out? :(  We felt right about all of these decisions.   They led to a dead end, but we were able to learn so much because of it.

To be honest, I really don't care why I go through things anymore.  It doesn't matter.  Just look at every trial as a blessing.  Just think, "how much more wisdom, knowledge and strength are we all going to gain because of this trial?"   It is so much easier to endure.   As we look at it that way, then we do become stronger.  This is a test here on earth.  He is testing us on how well we can endure.
One of my favorite scriptures,
"My son, apeace be unto thy soul; thine badversity and thine afflictions shall be but a csmall moment;
 And then, if thou aendure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy bfoes."
Remember to watch the video. I know that this work is so important. These are the last days. The world is already wicked enough for the Savior to come again. Remember that. He is waiting for the members to become better.
I love you very very much and miss you more than you know.
Love always,
Sister Kelsi
ps~ everyone keeps saying the winter is about to begin...what?  Crazy peeps.  I thought it already did begin!
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Do We Treat the Book?

How are you doing?

Well, this week was suuuppppeerrr long.  Don't even know where to start.

Good news!  I am staying in Hiram over Thanksgiving with Sister Coontz :)  I am so spoiled.  I don't know how I got so lucky to be in the best area and I have been here since July!  It is so great., but cold.   It's snowing this very second.

We were planning for Michael's baptism.  We had everything done and printed.  It was all ready.  He even had a baptismal interview with our zone leader and we all congratulated him.  Then Friday night, Michael said he needed to talk to us.  We talked for a very long time and he decided not to get baptized.  Not only that, but he didn't want to reschedule and he doesn't want us to meet with him anymore and doesn't want to come to church.  I said, "well can we will stay in contact?" and he said after a long period of thinking... "I suppose so".
Michael knows without a doubt that this is true.  Cool story... Sister Neslen, before I came on the mission, told me to read a talk by Elder Holland called, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence".  I thought about it and thought that that talk might be good for Michael.  Then our ward mission leader said that he wanted Michael to hear that talk. We kinda brushed it off and didn't do anything about it.  Then I was studying last p-day and that talk was referenced... and I was thinking... maybe I should re-read this and give it to Michael.  Well, we get the mail later on in that day and Grandma Johnson randomly send it in the mail!!  Sign # one hundred.  So we had him read that talk.  (Thanks Grandma).  He loved it... he read it multiple times.  He said that he was praying all weekend and he doesn't feel like he has a strong enough belief yet.  He said he hasn't finished the Book of Mormon and he feels like he shouldn't join a church when he hasn't read the keystone to our religion.

He made us a 2 promises though.  He said that he never makes promises.  Well, he said he only makes promises to very few people.  He said he will read the whole Book of Mormon no matter what for the first promise and he said if we ever need ANYTHING from us... he will do it and be there.  Very nice guy.  So, we have gotten a few random texts from him since we said "bye".  He said he has been reading a ton of the Book of Mormon and has a lot of questions. So, we are going to be responding to him today.  Anyways, that was most of our week.  It was all surrounded by Michael.  It was sad that he didn't get baptized, but we know he will someday.

Twp less-actives are almost active again!  One said they are never missing church again. I was pretty sure that I was going to get transferred this week and so we went over to their homes to basically say bye.  Their daughters were writing me notes the whole time saying "you orent oloud to leave, I love you, I will miss you, you are my feverit." It was cute :) They kept trying to sit on my lap... which, is against the rules.  I was like....ahh I don't know what to do!

We lost all of our investigators this week.  Even Theresa (the miracle family) called and said not to come back again.  This week was definitely a test a faith, but its' fine.  We will find more people.  Are you being missionaries at home?   I hope so!

We have a few awesome potentials.  One gave us homemade soap this week and the other couple took us to Ruby Tuesday's last night :)  They So cute!

Have you ever had a time when someone gave you a gift and you were like ... uhhhh thanks and in your head you were thinking "I have no idea what I am going to do with this". Then the person who gave you the present is asking you if you have been using it and how you have liked it.  Then you feel so guilty?  But you know that the person put a lot of thought into it, they prepared and worked hard in order to get it for you.  BECAUSE they love you and they want to help you?

Well, I was thinking about a gift that we have all received.  This gift is better than any discovery that has ever been made in the Atlantic Ocean, it is better than space travel, cars, movies, technology, etc. It is the greatest gift.  That gift is the Book of Mormon.  Have you ever wondered why the Book of Mormon came before the revelations, Priesthood, church organization, etc?   Doesn't that tell us something about how that Lord views this sacred work?

This gift was prepared.  It was prepared for over 1,000 years.  For US.  The Lamanites and the Nephites never had the Book of Mormon.  We have it.  We live in a time unlike any other, where we have a strong attachment to material possessions and where the earth is flooded with info and technology.

Why is this gift that has been given to you so important?  You should study that this week and tell me why :)  I want to hear.

Sometimes I feel like we may have done the same thing with The Book of Mormon as  we have done with other gifts we didn't appreciate.  We might have said, "Why is it so important to read every day?  or It's just a book?  or It's not really "that" great or just have not even thought about the importance.  When we realize how sacred an important it is, we will treat it differently.

There was a story I read of these two missionaries who were bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon.  They were extending their hand out to hand the investigator a Book of Mormon.  They said that the investigator looked at the Book and just stood up and left the room without saying anything.  They were so confused why he just left.  The investigator came back in to the room and said... "we always wash our hands before touching such sacred things."

How do we treat the Book of Mormon?  Do we love it?  Do we cherish it?  Do not ever treat it lightly!  During the judgment day, I know there will be a time when we are asked if we read it and cherished it.  We don't want to be the one who forgot, or misused this wonderful Book that has been prepared for us.

I know this book is one of the most significant gifts ever given to the world and to me.  More so now than ever.  I know that the enemies of the church understand this.  They know that if they prove the Book Of Mormon false then Joseph Smith is not a prophet, then there is no Priesthood and no revelation and no restored church.  It does draw us nearer to God, gives us an increase of love and greater respect between our families and an increase in spirituality.  It's the greatest!

Love you!

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

"Our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble, but by the number of times we stand up, dust ourselves off, and strive forward."  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf