Monday, April 22, 2013

First Week in the Mission Field

Hi family!
Okay, just like the other weeks ... there has been so much change and I don't even know where to start! I haven't had time to read the emails yet, so I will just print them out and write back.
This week was a little different .... I left the MTC and flew to Cleveland! I love my mission president and his wife. They are seriously so sweet. I told President Vellinga about the "Chigga Cheer" when I met with him and then he started singing ... haha it made me laugh. They have a daughter named Kristin, who is 16. We hit it off and I talked to her a lot when I first arrived.

The next morning we woke up super early and went straight to Kirtland. It was so green and beautiful and it was raining. We went inside the Kirtland Temple and President Andersen (the Patriarch who wrote the book I was reading before I left) was there and talked all about the temple.  We sang the Spirit of God where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ had appeared. It was sooooo powerful and my MTC companion, Sister Smith, played the piano ... she was like, "woah, that is going in my journal!"  

Then we went to the school of the prophets and prayed. We learned that the School of the Prophets was used as the temple for a while.  The Savior also appeared in that room. President Vellinga had us pray to Heavenly Father and tell him what kind of missionaries we are going to be. That was just as powerful or even more. I don't think I have ever felt the spirit so strong than in those two moments. Kirtland is beautiful :) I am so blessed to be able to go there. We serve there twice a week, usually Friday and Saturday this transfer.
Mom, my zone leader is Elder Prince! haha My companion’s name is Sister Joseph. She is from Layton, Utah. We are complete opposites, but she is way nice and very patient with me.  I ask so many questions, sometimes I feel super annoying. There is sooo much to know and learn! She is actually really healthy too :) I live with two other sisters and we went and worked out for one of the first times on Saturday.  It's been hard to go with the weather.  They were telling everyone at church that they can't walk and I killed them haha. We did a 30 minute boot camp ... I made them do suicides or ladders. It was great:)
My favorite thing to do now is personal study in the morning! I have read my whole life, but ever since being on my mission, things have stuck out to me more than ever. I never want to stop studying now.
We were able to meet with a few people this week. We are meeting with this 18 year old named, Bobb. He reminds me of Daniel Gantz.  He is awesome.  I asked him to be baptized and he said YES! So, we are having a baptism on May 25th :) Then we went tracting for the first time. That was super intimidating ... I feel so pushy knocking on people's doors, but the first house we went to, they let us right in! We had a lesson and everything, then the next house we went to, I totally fell down the steps and was bleeding everywhere ... haha I was excited to get a sweet battle wound my first time tracting. :)
Something I have really learned this week is obedience. Not just obedience, but exact obedience. (your favorite word, mom :) ) When we went to the Provo Temple last week, we walked out and we started discussing about the promises and covenants that we make in the temple and how would anyone forget those promises after going? Well, it's the same with everything in life. You forget if you don't go to the temple. You forget those feelings, the promises, the knowledge, etc. It's the same with church. We go to not only renew our covenants each week, but to remember Him, to feel the spirit and to increase our knowledge. It is SO important to pray, to read our scriptures, to pay our tithing, to have faith and follow the commandments. If we do these things, we will be able to come closer to our Heavenly Father. That's why He gives us those commandments, it's to become closer to Him. That's why we are told to constantly nourish because we can easily forget and distance ourselves from Him.

We went to a less actives house this week, her name is Sister Lynn. Her husband is out of work and she stopped going to church and stopped praying and doing all of the little things because she said it's hard and life gets busy. I was able to tell her about our family’s experience and how our faith was really tested, but everything always turned out ok and Heavenly Father blessed us for doing the little things and we gave her a scripture to read... Ether 12:6. We told her sometimes life gets hard and Heavenly Father gives us trials and challenges, but He is testing our faith. He is trying to get us closer to Him and to rely on Him. I told her that in our family we had to rely so much on Heavenly Father when dad didn't have work, we got discouraged and realized that we needed to continuing to have faith.  Sometimes it was really hard, but He is always with us. A couple days later, she called and she said she paid her tithing and all of this unexpected money came in. She was able to get gas money and food and she started crying.
Heavenly Father wants us to come closer to Him, we just need to follow His commandments and endure to the end. I know it's easy to get discouraged.  That is something really hard for me. I just need to rely on Him more. Especially on the mission, it's really easy to wake up at 6:35 when we are supposed to wake up at 6:30. I never really thought it would be that hard to be obedient, but it's kinda been a struggle. Especially when Me and mom always think the rules don't apply to us ;) I just have to remember I am not on my time, I am on the Lord's time.

It's all surrounded by obedience. Not just "getting by" obedience, but "exact" obedience. I love this gospel and the joy it brings to our family and to everyone else's families. I know that if we follow the counsel of our loving Heavenly Father and follow Him with exact obedience, we will have immense joy!
I love you all. I will write you letters today. Be happy :)
Sister Johnson
"Obedience brings blessings, but EXACT obedience brings miracles"
"The Lord can only teach an inquiring mind"

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