Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where Can I Turn for Peace

Hey hey hey from OH-HI-YO,
How are you? Thanks so much for all the things you sent... I loved them so much. I can't ever get tired of that.
My thoughts are definitely not very put together today. Today is a P-day, but not really. We have been cleaning all morning for inspections and next week we won't have p-day until Tuesday.  I think, because guess what?  Transfers are here!  I am so happy not to be the newbie anymore. :)
So a lot happened this week and a lot will happen this week:)  I got to go on an exchange with Sister Goodman (in picture).  That was seriously so fun... all we did was service for over three hours ha, but she is so sweet. She goes home this next week :/  

I am also singing in church this Sunday and maybe for transfers too with all the missionaries next week.  That will be scary. 

We get to go to the Johnson home this week, so I have to read up a lot, but it's probably my favorite place:)  So I am way excited to go there.  Also when we were at Kirtland this last week, we had sooooo many tours (one of them from Mission Viejo!!)  It will be crazy busy this summer and people have already been calling and scheduling (they don't have to, but they can).  I really want ya'll to come pick me up. :)  Then I can give you a tour!  

I also am the new pianist. :/ Not for the ward, but for everything else... I suck haha.  I wish I would have practiced more... 10 years wasn't enough haha.  

Oh and people keep asking me where my accent is from.  They think I'm from Texas.  They have dirty accents here. They say "fur", crick, "thur" and things like that.
This week we were able to bike, I was soooooo happy!  We did like a little over 10 miles one day and about 3 or 4 miles the next.  I was seriously laughing so hard.  Sister Joseph was panting and said she was gonna die and then biking in skirts is intense.  My skirt definitely got caught and ripped... almost pulled my skirt off.  I was laughing so hard.  Then bugs were going in our mouths and ya... it was so great :)  We also found it super effective.  Every person we talked to while biking, talked to us.  Their hearts were softened... probably because of Sister Joseph's red face and we were all sweaty and everyone kept saying.. "wow, you two are tough, it's so hot!"  We got TONS of numbers and set up a lot of appointments for this next week :)  Happy biking days... we are definitely going to be doing it a lot more.
We met one girl named Christina.  Her kids were adorable and so polite.  The mom said she was heading out the door, but she really wanted to talk to us and she said she knew who we were... not sure what she is going to say, but she set up an appointment with us! Then we go to the next ladies house riding our bikes and she said she LOVES Mormon's and knows who we are and she wants to know more.
We were also able to meet with Chuckie again... the appointment went really well.  We showed him the video of President Monson and he said he could tell that man was full of the spirit, but he needed more time and he asked us if we can keep teaching him so that he can learn.  We said...we can probably do that ;) haha  He's so great.

Then the Roberts... we meet with them again tonight.  We LOVE them and they said they would go to church this week to watch me sing (that's why I am singing ha)  We are kinda having a big lesson tonight so we are praying it will go well.  We love the Robert's.  Brad Robert's makes us hold hands when we pray and he kissed my hand last time and always hugs us.  They are just a friendly family... haha.  We always try to avoid it, but it doesn't work out too well.
Sorry my thoughts are so scattered. I feel like I am rambling a lot today, but this week was definitely a big change.  We were able to meet so many neat people and it made me so happy.  I just want to go out and meet everyone :)  I have such a strong desire to share this message.  It is so important.  A lot of people are looking for peace in their lives and the world provides temporal peace in so many ways.  Some don't even know where to look and have their own calming ways, it may be knitting, dancing, surfing, singing, sleeping, driving.  For me, a tropical beach in Fiji seems so so peaceful, or even sailing out in the ocean with the cool breeze.  It seems so amazing right now, (especially when I'm no where near it :)), but what if the weather changes?  What if there is a crazy storm?  It's not as peaceful as before.  It doesn't last :(  It reminds me of the Savior calming the storm.  He brought them out of distress (psalms 107:26-30) Just like in life... we can always look to our Savior to calm our storms.  I love the song, "Where can I turn for Peace".  I've sang it and heard it so many times, but never really "heard, heard" the words... "Where can I turn for Peace?  Where can I run?  Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?  Who can understand?  He ONLY one.  He answers privately, Savior and friend. Constant He is and kind, love without end."  So true. I would say that He is one of the BEST friends you can have.  He doesn't ever want us to fear.  He wants us to turn to prayer and turn to Him.  He will give us strength.  Gaining that long lasting peace and comfort in our lives is simple... just turning to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Always such a constant peace... unlike the storms that come may disrupt our peace.   In John 16:33 Jesus says, "These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world".
I know that prayer can bring us so much peace and comfort.  I know that it will get us closer to our Savior.  I know that Joseph Smith really did restore this gospel.  I know that there is a plan for all of us....a perfect plan and that through the Savior's atonement, we are able to live with Him one day.
I love you all so much.  More than you even know.  Be happy and Be safe.
Love always,
Sister Johnson
"I never promised it would be easy, I only promised it would be worth it"

"Talk, doesn't cook rice"
Sister Goodman and Sister Johnson on an exchange.  Sister Goodman goes home next week.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We All Need the Fullness of the Gospel

Hey ya'll,
Happy Mothers Day a day late to all the Mom's!!! It was so good to Skype my family last night.  I wish it could have been longer.  I'm not going to lie, it kinda made me homesick.  I loved it though. :) Oh and Happy Birthday to Ang this week! :)
So funny story... Sister Joseph and I were driving down the road. There are tons of trees around here and it is turning so green.  They say that it rains more here than in Seattle.  There are crazy Jurassic Park thunderstorms.  It's so cool :)  Anyways, we were passing by an open field and there was one random white tree and I said, "Hey look!  It looks like the Tree of Life!" Then Sister Joseph looked at me... there was a long pause... and then i was like, whhhaaa who says that?  I can't believe I just said that.  It seemed funnier in the moment, now that I just re-read it, it doesn't seem that funny haha, but a missionary would definitely say that. But ya... I'll just stop now.. :)
This last week was busy busy.  We had Zone Conference, which was so good!  We had to sit with missionaries at the lunch table and act like we were in a member's home.  Well, of course, President and Sister Vellinga and Elder and Sister Wells (Johnson Home missionaries) sat at our table.  It was good though.  They pretended to be a family with two teenage kids... and we were the missionaries.  President Vellinga told me and my companion that we were perfect and he wouldn't have changed a thing, that we did and our unity is awesome.  Soooo we felt pretty special. :)
We were also able to go to the Johnson farm this week.  I was being trained because we are the "back ups" for the Johnson Home. It is SO beautiful there and the spirit.  Wow.  I hope we get to go there a lot more.  I also gave about 8 tours the last little bit in Kirtland.  I am getting the history down a little bit more.  It's a lot of information and I'm studying as much as I can. We have had some very special moments on tour in the School of the Prophets.  We were telling one couple that came on the tour that there was "Amish" chocolate in Hyrum (about 45 minutes away) so they went to Hyrum and bought some chocolate on Saturday and then drove back to Kirtland to bring us some!  So nice of them!  I love meeting all these people who come in from all over the world to do church history tours.
We have also been able to get on chat.  We have been talking with people from ALL over the world.  We had a guy from Maylasia the other day.  We sent the missionaries to him and he told us that he knew he needed to convert and he knew that it would bring him happiness.  We bore testimony and said it will bring him so much joy, so he is going to go to church and he was so excited!  It made me so happy. :)
We were also going to go and see a former investigator named Brad (he had dead squirrels pinned all over in front of his house) and he told us we could teach him, but he also referred us to his friend named Chucky and his wife Elkie.  We get to his house and his wife doesn't want to talk to us... but Chucky says, "I love Jesus!  Come talk to me about him!" So we are like... okay.... haha and go sit on his front porch.  We end up talking about prophets and we tell him that just like there were prophets before, there is a prophet on earth today.  He freaked out and said, "WAIT A SECOND!  You know the prophet today?"  We told him we knew who he was.  He asked how we knew and long story short... he said, "If I heard the prophet speak, and I felt the spirit, I am sure I would know if he was the prophet."  WE got so excited!!! 

In John 21, Jesus is telling Peter, if you love me.... feed my sheep. One way to show our love for our Savior is sharing His gospel.  He says in those verses to "follow him".  If we think about it, He was baptized, partook of the sacrament, charitable, humble, etc.  We try to follow him in those ways, but he ALSO shared the Gospel and He wants us to follow Him in all ways... including sharing what we know.  It's a commandment.  I love the analogy Kory shared with me about sheep and why does the Savior always refer to us as sheep?  Because I mean... sheep are dumb.  It's true that they get completely stuck when walking into a bush and don't know how to back up.  They are too scared to drink out of a moving river and so they die of thirst.  They walk into a forest and already forget which way to get out.  But they do know the sound of their shepherds voice.  They NEED Him to direct them or they will become lost or die.  Just like we ALL need our Shepherd or the Savior.  We (the sheep) can't do it without help and guidance. 

The gospel isn't just a "cool" thing to share with others.  We NEED it. Others NEED it in order to progress and return back with our Heavenly Father.  I seriously never realized how much the missionaries need the members.  I never really thought that we are all instruments in His hands.  Just being there, planting seeds.  God is preparing His people through you and us.  In Preach My Gospel it tells us a quote from someone that says, "It filled a hole in my heart that I didn't even know was there".  Alma 29:1-2 is Alma having a desire to want to tell the world. He's so pumped!  We can be pumped too.  We all need the fullness of the Gospel.  It brings so much joy and happiness.  I know Heavenly Father created a perfect plan, a perfect Gospel, perfect world, perfect everything.  He loves all of us and wants us to succeed.
Missionary work is great!  We can all be missionaries!
Love you to the moon and back. Be happy. Keep working hard.
Sister Johnson
"Do you want to be happy?  Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause.  Lend your efforts to helping people.... stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down.  Live the gospel of Jesus Christ." President Hinckley

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day!!!

Today was our first time seeing Kelsi since she left on her mission.  It was awesome to visit with her for a while.  Very teary for all of us.  She is making a difference there, but still missing home.  There were lots of "I love you's" and "I phillia" (Greek for I love you).   I was great to have all of our kids kinda together for Mother's Day.

We are already looking forward to seeing her again at Christmas, when she and Kory will be on the screen.

Proud moments for these parents!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pictures from Kirland

Sister Johnson and Sister Joseph

Sister Johnson with her first companion in the field, Sister Joseph of Layton Utah.

 First day in Kirtland, Ohio at the Historic Visitor Center 4/15/13

The John Johnson Home

Sisters Christianson, Goodman, Joseph and Johnson


How are all of you?  

Mom, go on my fb.  That family I talked about in my last e-mail added me on fb and sent me (YOU) a message. :) They are so funny. oh and did you get the pictures I sent from my camera?
So we realized that being on a mission makes us weird and we are not even funny anymore.  Well, maybe I was just never funny :)  But I said a joke in the MTC and my teacher said... " Uhh... you should stop. Your sense of humor becomes lame when you are on a mission". haha dang!  We all thought it was funny... :/  Then my companion kept saying alllll day on May 4th... "May the fourth be with you". She said it to everyone and they were like really?  haha We come up with weird things to keep ourselves entertained. :) 
This week we had allll these appointments lined up and for some reason this was a canceling week.  We were pretty bummed, but we were like, there has to be a reason!  Maybe it is because we are supposed to meet someone else!
One night this week, we were supposed to go to the Robert's home... the family that I talked about in my last e-mail.  Well, on our way out the door, my companion, Sister Joseph said she didn't feel good about going.  I said if she had a bad feeling then we shouldn't go and she said, she didn't want to go.  Then I became sick to my stomach!  We called the Robert's and canceled and they were devastated and said they had already made dinner and were so bummed.  Sister Joseph said she felt good that we didn't go, but I was super nervous that we just lost trust with them.  We felt awful and ended up going out tracting instead and found a lot of service opportunities.  I still was not sure why weren't able to go, but whatever the reason, we are happy we followed our prompting.  The next day we brought the Robert's cookies (which we probably wouldn't have if we went to their house the night before) and when we showed up, they were with another guy named John.  Turns out, John's records are lost and he is a less active!  So now we are going to teach him as well :) Everything happens for a reason!
We had stake conference this week.  The main message was centered on families and how we need to build ourselves and our families on a sure foundation.  I read a quote in Preach my Gospel that says, "you cannot convert people beyond your own conversion".  That goes for missionary work, but it also goes for families and as parents.  The family is ordained of God and is sooo sooo important!  Satan knows that and so he tries so hard to destroy the family.  If we have a foundation built upon a rock... we will be able to withstand any temptation  (3rd Nephi 14: 24-27).  As adults, missionaries, parents we need to make sure we have the solid foundation.  How can we do this?  Well, for one... we need to CTR.  Choose the Right or Current Temple Recommend.  :) ha  We learned that from Pres Uchtdorf yesterday.  Then number two...  we need to study the word of God daily.  Our testimony will become stronger as we study the words in the scriptures.  Then number three... we need to speak with Heavenly Father daily and multiple times a day.  We will be blessed with peace and spiritual strength.  Other people.. and your kids will see your example.  Robert D. Hales said, "You will be a powerful influence of Christ in their lives".  These steps can then be applied into the home.  The home is the most important place for learning.  It is also the only place that can be compared to a temple!  How cool is that?  The lessons learned in the home will last the longest.  Sometimes it is so hard to have scripture study, family home evening, dinner as a family and family prayer.  But they are so important!  Satan is working his hardest and we need to make sure we have a home built with a sturdy and strong foundation.  It is hard to always do those things.... and sometimes it seems pointless when everyone is fighting and no one wants to do it, but Heavenly Father knows it's not going to ever be perfect.  He knows there is not always enough time in the day, but he will bless our families and homes if we are putting forth the effort.

I remember growing up and not even paying attention to what we were reading, but I know that because we did it, I have a testimony that it does UNIFY our family and it really does make us closer together even if we didn't always see it at the time.
Brigham Young said, "Live so the spirit of religion lives within us". I know that as we become converted ourselves, we will be able to bless the lives of our children, future children, friends, investigators, etc.  I know that it is so important every day because now Satan really is working harder than ever.  He wants our homes and families to fall apart.  I know we can be strong and so much happier if we center Christ in our lives and in our homes.  It will create a holy place and we will not be moved.
I love you family, soooooo much :) Be happy. Be strong. Be good. okay?
Love always,
Sister Johnson