Monday, June 24, 2013

Patience is Required

Hello hello :)

How is home?  How's summer?  It's summer right? ha ha.

You can tell that it is summer here.  The tours have been coming in like crazy.  A lot of girls camps, youth conferences and even senior groups come in. ;)  We were at sites 3 days this week instead of 2.  One of the days we had 1200 people come when we went to Kirtland,  then when we went to the Johnson Farm, we had over 500 people from 8 am -12.  There are only a couple of us at the Johnson Farm, so we kept going and going and going.  It doesn't seem like it would be tiring because it's just giving a tour... but when the tour changes every time and you are trying to listen to the spirit ... it becomes mentally/physically tiring, but it's all a good kind of tired.  :)

Mom... thanks for the note at Walgreen's.  I freaked out haha.  The lady who had my meds said there is a lil surprise attatched to your meds... I was way confused and there was an envelope that said, "open Me" haha.  It made me happy :)  Love you too!

We were tracting this week and we see this guy from a little ways away behind his garage and so we go behind his garage to go say hi.. (he looked kinda intimidating) and as we walk up he says, "don't worry, I'm not going to shoot you."  He said it really creepy and we both are not really into details I guess.  I didn't pay attention that he was holding a huge riffle - loaded.  Not sure what he was doing, but he didn't shoot us, so it's all good.

Brother Lauck came to church this week, but we had a little bit of a struggle because he showed up drunk to our lesson and was really argumentative at everything we were saying.  I looked at Sister Joseph and said, "he's so drunk" and she just said "huh" with a super dazed and oblivious look. haha  We will be teaching him the word of wisdom this week. :)

From the youth conference tours... it was really neat.  We had some of the same people from Kirtland and the Johnson Farm.  A lady came up to me and said told me that they had a meeting the night before, she said that everyone was sharing their favorite part of youth conference and one of the groups I took said "the tour with Sister Johnson while in the School of the Prophets."  It made me smile.  I am glad they felt the spirit.

Did you listen to the broadcast?!  It was so good!  I got so pumped... so was Matthew Gallego's mission testing out the Facebook thing?  In case you didn't watch it, they talked a lot about member/missionary work.  We might get Ipads (hint from our mission president) and we can go on Facebook and blogs and start using our technology for missionary work.  How cool is that?  The work is truly hastening.  70,000 plus missionaries are out and 173 new mission presidents.  I love this work :)

We met some really cool people this week.  In our prayers we were focusing on praying more specifically that we will recognize those prepared people, that they will recognize us.  Later that day I felt like that happened.  We met a dad and he has had so much contact with the LDS church and seems so interested.  We are going to start teaching his family.  I felt like we recognized him and he recognized us.  I know our prayers were answered. 

We were talking to this guy named Tsan this last week and I asked him what he thought our purpose was in this life. He said he didn't know.  It made me really think.  I tried putting myself in his shoes.  He has no family, not very many friends, in a foreign country, no religion, no job and doesn't know if their is a God and has always been an atheist.  I don't know how I would get up in the morning if I didn't know there was a purpose.  I feel like I take advantage of what I am doing, what I have and what I know.  I have a loving family, the opportunity to serve Heavenly Father 24/7, I know about this Plan of Happiness, I know what I need to do and I know I am a daughter of God.  What can be better?

Sometimes it is hard enjoying life and finding that joy and peace.  Thomas S. Monson said, "Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature.  There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all.  Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the Heavenly virtue of patience is required." 

Sometimes I forget what I know, and I am impatient where I am in life.  When I was 15, I wanted to be 16, so I could date. When I was 17, I wanted to be 18, or when its summer I want it to be winter or even being on a mission and wanting to be a mom.  I feel like I have always wanted to be somewhere that I am not.  Instead of just enjoying the journey and being patient!

There will always be something to complain about. "We can spend our days feeling sad, alone, misunderstood or unwanted, but that isn't why we are here on earth"  We really are children of a loving Heavenly Father.  We have A LOT to be happy about.  If you look at all of our blessings and all of the happiness that is around us then we will be so much stronger and so much happier.

I have seen that serving others and serving our Heavenly Father is a way for that happiness. I am still learning patience, it's definitely not easy, but I know if we have it, we can endure our struggles and hardships.  The trials and challenges can't always come easier, but we can always become stronger.

I am so blessed to be in this wave of missionaries all throughout the world.  I know why I am here.  I know where I am going and I know why we go through hard times. I know that the church has been restored with that proper authority and I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father.  I want everyone to have that peace and happiness from knowing that too.

I love you all so very very much.

Be happy, be strong and enjoy your week!

Sister Johnson

                       "LIFE IS SHORT

Roads near the Johnson Farm...

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Spirit is a Blessing

June 17, 2103

Hey there,
Loved seeing the pictures of Kory's graduation and temple trip.  Wish I could have been there...
This week was full of miracles and kinda some discouraging moments as well.  

Chuckie (Brother Lauck now) is doing so well.  He has a baptism date!  The members have been inviting him over for dinner at their homes and ahh he is doing great.  He said, "We have church on Sunday (on Fathers day), right?"  I said, yes of course!  And he said, "Good, more the reason to go, for your Heavenly Father."  I had never thought of it like that, but he's doing great.

Did you know that Randy Nunley grew up in the ward I am serving in?

Sister Christiansen and Farmer's old companion came to the Johnson home.  She just got home from Carlsbad mission.

The guy who came to church and had already read the Book of Mormon is still coming.  We found out he is not in our boundaries, but he only wants US to teach him... so we might get permission.  Not sure... pretty complicated.
We had a lot of appointments cancel this week, but at the beginning of this week we had tornado warnings, so we had to cancel our plans and go home.  It was kinda fun because it was the biggest storm I have ever seen!  I was counting the seconds between the lightening flashes and it was about every 1, 2 and 3 seconds.  The thunder was loud all night.  I guess I was sleeping weird because Sister Joseph said I was sleep talking a lot and that I yelled at her for getting up in the middle of the night, asking where she was going and was saying a lot of numbers? Idk ha.
We went out biking and you know the big dog from the movie, Sandlot?  An English Mastiff.  Well, we saw so many of those big things and then we see two wolf looking dogs and they just stared at us as we were walking up to this house.  I said, "Sister Joseph, I'm kinda scared."  Then out comes 7 more dogs and we keep walking to the door and the dogs start coming at us so fast!  I tried to hide behind Sister Joseph, but that didn't work too well and they attacked both of us.  I was cracking up at the horrified look on Sister Joseph's face and she kept knocking on the door saying, "Please open, please just open!" while they were jumping on us.   I guess you had to be there, but it was pretty intense.
We also got to go to a Strawberry festival.  There were roller coasters and cool things to buy.  It's the biggest event they have in these small towns. Ever.  It reminded me of the swap meet/ Knotts.  It was so fun.  We were with a senior couple, and they had the DJ right next to us as we were serving Strawberry Shortcakes.  They were playing all my favorite country songs, plus YMCA and all this fun music.  I kinda felt bad for singing along to everything... we couldn't help it :)  
As we walked back from the loud festival to Kirtland the spirit instantly came back when we stepped foot on the grounds.  It was like coming back into another world.  It's so peaceful in Kirtland.
To have that spirit with us after we are baptized is really such a blessing.  I forget sometimes how much of a blessing that really is.  If you think about it, we have a member of the GODHEAD with us. To guide us, direct, comfort, inspire, help us discern between certain things.  I really figured out this week how to really listen to the spirit and to figure out what the people I am teaching don't understand or what they need to hear.
I was in the teaching room in Kirtlland and other sisters were yelling, "someone is on the phone for Kelsi".  I was confused on who would be calling me and I didn't remember calling anyone who needed to call me back.  I picked up the phone and it was a girl named, Lillian.  She is from London, England.  She was really shy and so I just got to know her for a few minutes and mentioned that I am a missionary and I get to share a unique message with other people.  We talked for about 20 minutes and about half way through... I felt prompted to share about Uncle Mike and how I know I will get to see him again :) and how it was really hard on us, but knowing that we will see him again is such a blessing.  She opened up immediately after that. She told me her 12 year old little sister just died from cancer.  She asked how I knew that there is life after this?  I ended up setting up an appointment to call her the next day.  We called back and taught her about the Restoration.  She is so interested and said she wants to know more and more. She had a lot of questions.  She really wanted us to call her back again soon and didn't want to wait until the following week.  She is so cute!  We can't wait to talk to her again. :)
I'm really so grateful to be somewhere where I can utilize the history, the examples and spirit that's in Kirtland.  We are able to help uplift and inspire those people who come to the Johnson Home and Kirtland.  We also had a family with four boys come to the Johnson Home.  The four boys are all preparing for missions.  The boys really listened and wanted to be there. Their parents told me that I had looked familiar to them.  They said that they knew that we had seen each other before and it was planned that I would take their family and boys on tour to help encourage/inspire them to go on missions.  They started to cry and it made me cry.  They kept saying, "Thank you, thank you".   I love, love these sacred homes and the spirit that is there to testify of truth!
Elder Sorensen (our sites director) talked to us about his little girl.  He said that one night he was walking by her room and he heard talking.  He said he thought to himself... "that's weird, I didn't know there was a sleepover going on tonight".  So he opened the door and saw that he was wrong.  He saw his little girl kneeling next to her bed and talking to Heavenly Father.  He said she was talking to Him as if He were her friend. He started to choke up and told us to always keep that relationship with our Father in Heaven.  He is not only our father, but our friend. "As you make a habit of approaching God in prayer, you will come to know Him and draw ever nearer to Him".
Just like we are to talk to our Heavenly Father, we also get to talk to our earthly father.  I love my earthly father.  He has taught me so much... taught me how to work, how to think "logically", how to always do my best, taught me how to love and just helped mold me into the person I am today.  I love him this <-> much :)  I hope you had a Happy Father's Day.... I love you more than you know and Heavenly Father loves you beyond comprehension as well.
I hope you all have a great week and remember, what a blessing it is to have the spirit with us constantly.  May we do all that we can to keep it with us.
Love you! xoxo
Sister Johnson
Whatever is worrying you right now, forget about it, take a deep breath and trust in God.
“God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as he always has. But he can't if you don't pray, and he can't if you don't dream. In short, he can't if you don't believe.” ― Jeffrey R. Holland

Monday, June 10, 2013


June 10, 2013

Dearest family,
I tried to read up on some of the things that everyone sent... but, I definitely have to print the emails out. Thanks for the pictures and thank you Mom for the letters :)  It made me so so happy, I didn't expect anything when I came home from sites.  Dad- 17 stitches plus 13?  Ouch!  Good there will be no scar. :)
My memory is gone on the mission... too much happens every week that I wish I could tell all!  I will just start listing some things I wrote down.

For starters, this morning I made Sister Joseph get up with me at 5:50 so we could go bike. :) When we started biking this morning it started to rain pretty good.  Our clothes were drenched!

To answer your question... no, I haven't missed a day in writing in my journal. :)

We made a trip to Pennsylvania!  On accident :)  Don't worry... we told our district leaders.  We made a wrong turn somehow after zone training, but now I can add another state to my list of states I've been to. :)

A guy in our ward is from Page, AZ and was in the Anderson's ward (our cousins).

We had a tour with Jackie Waldron's (from Newport Beach) best friend.

A new sister serving at the visitor center lived in Ventana apartments annnddd we were definitely in the same ward and know all the same people. She is friends with Salah, Christopher and Johnny Ahn haha and knows of Aubrey.

We also went out with a member of the Stake Presidency on Thursday.  The spirit was really strong at both lessons.  The member of the Stake Presidency told us he has been going out with missionaries for years and he had never had such a good experience before.  He said he was going to call our Mission President to tell him how awesome we were.  We were like... uhhh that was definitely just the spirit that was there.  We didn't even think it went that great haha but, his testimony really made it great.

We had a mini missionary this week with us!  She was just putting her papers in and so she came and stayed with us for three days.  By the end, she said she was really tired, but that it was fun.  We tried to get her to come to Kirtland with us, but she was so exhausted haha.  We said, we hope you still want to go!  haha  She was so cute and will do great on her mission.  It was fun having a third person with us.
We were able to take some amazing tours this week.  One family was just baptized this last weekend and wow... they were so amazing.  They were just driving down the road and saw an LDS church one day and felt the spirit.  So, she became interested and read Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants... then she called the missionaries and the missionaries said...."You are so prepared, would you want to get baptized this weekend?"  So they were baptized and then came to Kirtland.  We were able to talk about how the first patriarchal blessings were given there and how they can start preparing for that and going to the temple. 
Chuckie came to church on Sunday :) (yesterday)  Do you remember when I talked about him?  He is the one who loves learning about Jesus... he is super cool, and he is learning.  He was looking at pictures in the church yesterday of Jesus Christ and he said, "hey! That looks like me."  So, yes, Chuckie looks like Jesus haha.  Everyone at church kept telling him that.  He said he has a lot of questions... we are going over tonight to talk about how it all went.  I am a lil nervous because the lessons in church yesterday were kind of hard topics.  Sister Joseph kept looking at me and saying, "pray harder, pray harder that the spirit is here." :)
This week I was trying to figure out what else I could say in Emma's kitchen inside the Whitney store.  I started thinking about how much family meant to the Smith family and how they would eat together as a family in that room.  They had to endure so much and sometimes... they weren't able to eat together, or be together.  They had 11 children and only 5 lived after childhood. They lost everything, they were persecuted, looked down upon, threatened and so much more.  They were tested and tried in so many ways. I tried to put myself in their position and it hurts... I don't know if I could do it.  And especially seeing my husband after being tarred and feathered... that would be so awful.  When did it ever end?  When does it get better?  These are questions that we all ask at times....

I was reading in Doctrine & Covenants 122 and it talks about a revelation from the Lord and he is talking about all the trials Joseph went through.  At the end of verse 7 it says, "if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that ALL these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good".  Then he goes on to say in verse 9...."Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore fear not that man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever".  One of the reasons we go through hard times is for our own good, so we can grow!  He tells us that He is aware of us and our days, but NO MATTER WHAT influence man or the world has on you or your family - FEAR NOT!  He promises He will be with us forever and ever.  The Smith's went through so much, but we all have our own personal trials... just remember He is with us forever and ever.  We just need to remember to be faithful.
One more quick thought to add... our Mission President encouraged us to memorize a hymn or song in the children songbook.  He told us that when we are faced with hard times, we can overcome it with a hymn in our mind and hearts.  It can be a way to overcome an attack from the adversary and all the commotion of the world.  In the hymn book... read the preface by the 1st presidency. :)  Just a simple hymn can do numbers.  I think about our home and the hymns and uplifting music that we played growing up.  Whenever there is contention or discouragement, think of, sing or play a hymn.  It promises in the preface... that they move us to repentance, good works, builds testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning and inspire us to endure to the end.  It can also bring a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity in the home and families.  What AMAZING blessings from just listening, reading, singing a hymn.
I'm so thankful that we had those hymns playing in our home.  It created a place where the spirit could dwell.  It is just ONE way that we can overcome that adversary.  May we all keep a hymn in our heart and overcome the challenges that face us and remember that He is ALWAYS with us.  I know this is true.  Doctrine & Covenants 25:12 "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."
I am so grateful to have such amazing examples in my life... and an amazing family.

I love you :)
Sister Johnson
ps~ sorry this was so long!!
"Our desire to share the gospel takes each of us to our knees, and it should, because we need the Lord's help."
"The seed of kindness you plant today will one day bloom in the hearts of all you touch."

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Prepared

June 3, 2013

Hey there,
Soo good to hear from you... that is cool Jake and Doug were at the house!  Sounds like it was a busy busy week.  Dad, good luck on your surgery today... love you.

It has been a changed week!  Guess who our new roomie is?  Sister Lauren Nance :)  She is sister Esplin's new companion.  She is so sweet.  I am still with Sister Joseph because I am still in training... but I might be her last companion as well because she goes home next transfer.

Elder Prince and Sister Goodman went home this week... I am so sad Sister Goodman went home (in pic with me last week I think).  She is one of the most sincere and sweet people.  Mom, Elder Prince said he was going to write you to tell you I am doing well. ha.
Oh and Kory... I met a couple boys on tour who are going to your same mission!  Elder Lyman... he leaves in August and I don't remember the other one.  I'll try and remember.

I also have allergies... I sneeze like 100 times a day and they said this state is known for allergies.  Weird!  Never had it before.
The summer at Kirtland is sooooo busy.  They have bus tours coming in all the time.  We had one bus tour in Kirtland with about 100 plus people (another one coming up with about 400).   Then when we went to the Johnson home the next day, we had the same tour again!  It was one of the best tours I have taken thus far.  There was one kid who kept taking my picture... and showing everyone pictures of me and then when I saw him again the next day, he grabbed his camera took more pictures. It was a little creepy...

But the tour was amazing.  We sat in the School of the Prophets and one of the leaders with them was just released as a mission president.  I told them that when I first came on my mission, our mission president had us pray and really reflect while in this sacred, sacred room.  I asked them to do the same... so they all sat and prayed... the spirit was so strong and then the mission president bore testimony.  Words can't describe how powerful it was...
This week we also mucked horse stalls.  By the time we were done... it was like we jumped in a pool from the humidity.  I was so sweaty and nasty.  I wish we were allowed to wear capris or shorts or something!  Jeans and boots were hot, but it was pretty fun :)  I wish I could have rode the horses.
We also had a lot, a lot of miracles this week. It was amazing... I can't wait to tell you :)

So first, a couple weeks ago, we ran into a lady named Sharon on our bikes.  We hadn't been able to teach her, but we finally went again and were able to set up an appointment.  We had handed her a Restoration pamphlet and asked her to read it (which usually we don't... my lack of faith).  Well, we sit down in her home and she says... "oh, I read your pamphlet!" So we didn't even have to ask, which was so great.  Then we start going over the pamphlet with her, we get to Joseph Smith and I start reading the "First Vision".  After I read it, she said, can I tell you a story?  And she told us how she has felt the spirit prompt her before, just like Joseph Smith.  She said she has been searching for something like this her whole life... and she really thinks that the message we are sharing with her is IT.  Woah.  First of all... we did nothing.  The spirit was there and she is so dang prepared!  I wish I could tell you the whole story...but she gave us a hug and kiss on the cheek when we left and man... I have never met someone so prepared.
We also went to church yesterday and Brother Edwards came and grabbed us and said, there is a non-member here!  So we of course ran to greet him.  He came and sat next to us and the whole time during sacrament meeting... I was explaining what was going on.  He told me a little bit of his story and how he started talking to someone online who was LDS and they gave him the address to a building in Ohio.  During sacrament he said, "Sister Johnson, look- I am even prepared!  He showed me how he downloaded the Book of Mormon and all the scriptures.... I was like Serious??? haha and I asked him if he had a chance to read it.  He said, oh ya I just finished the whole thing.  He said "It was great. People always says The Book of Mormon contradicts the bible, but really it just supports it and for Mormon's not believing in Christ, you sure talk about Christ a lot." haha  Can you talk about another prepared person?  He took everything in and said how much he loves our service and he knows God sent him here to learn more of this truthful message.
I was thinking a lot this week about how a mission is preparing me for so many things... to be a wife and a mom for sure. I never really believed it when people said that :)  But it is so true... you learn how to really listen and discern needs, how to serve, how to compromise,  how to put on a happy face no matter how tired you are, to accomplish a lot, set goals, be loving and sincere, learn to love others for who they are, and be with someone 24/7, you learn how to rely on the Lord, how to pray more consistently, and of course, gain a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father and really learn more about the Gospel.
Just like the prepared people I met this week... there are so many more people being prepared.  They are being prepared to hear the gospel through US.  Through YOU.  They are going through spiritual experiences (just like Sharon) and realizing that they need something more.  We are all being prepared for something in our lives.  Like just being prepared for an experience or a trial that you will or are having in your life.  Heavenly Father prepares us for everything. Most importantly, we are being prepared to return to live with Him again.
Thanks for all you do... I love you very much.  Be strong.  Be happy.  Be Pure.  Be safe.
Love always,
Sister Johnson
"I've learned that people will forget what you said...people will forget what you did...but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
"Better to do something imperfectly...than to do nothing flawlessly." - Robert Schuller

Labor for the Happiness of Others

May 28th, 2013

Hey! How is everyone?
Okay where to even start! Guess what? I hit 2 months yesterday! 

Mom- the senior couple that got called here is President Packer's nephew. Do you think we are related to them?  They keep asking how we are cousins with President Packer... but, I don't know what to say. haha

This week was a little different.  We weren't at Kirtland hardly at all.  We had the privilege of being at the Johnson Home this week.  :) We did go to Kirtland for a testimony meeting.  The visitor center sisters, who were leaving, bore their testimonies and pretty much everyone balled.  They all loved their missions.  It was a really good testimony meeting.

Oh and I got wedding invites from Majken and Mia!  So happy for them.... and cute cute notes from Adi and Truman. :)

We also went and handed out family history cards at the parade yesterday in the rain. It was fun.  We saw the Robert's there... They are great.  They tell everyone about us and introduced us to their entire family.

We were also on bikes a ton this week again!  It is seriously my favorite.  The best way to meet people!  We even have a new investigator named Sharon from biking.  She's solid:)  This time, we were prepared and wore pencil skirts and pants underneath too.  :)

We stopped by this one guy on our bikes who was getting out of his car... he was a little shy (probably my age)... he wasn't too interested, so we went on to the next door neighbors and all of a sudden we see him in the window and he starts screaming and howling and making monkey noises... we were cracking up.  It echoed through the whole neighborhood.  It was just weird haha.  We thought it sounded like he was turning into a werewolf like on Twilight.

Then we were driving down the street (in the city) a couple days ago and a HUGE BLACK BEAR was just sitting in the middle of the street.  Sister Joseph screamed and said, "GET MY CAMERA!"  Then I was screaming and she rolled down the window and then I got out of the car to take a picture... and it ran down the hill... probably because we were screaming so loud and so excited, so we missed it!  Another car pulled over and freaked out too.  We took it as a sign and gave them a card with our number. :) ha

I also sang in church this week. I don't think I have ever felt so special before... I think the whole ward came up to me afterwards... and I asked a lady to come to church because I was singing. (good way to get people to come:)) and SHE CAME!  Everyone said it was a miracle that she came because it's been years.  Her name is Debbie Edwards.  She cried... and said she loved it.  She is so great.

In D&C says
22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the atestimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he blives!
23 For we asaw him, even on the bright hand of cGod; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the dOnly Begotten of the Father—
24 That by ahim, and through him, and of him, the bworlds are and were created, and the cinhabitants thereof are begotten dsons and daughters unto God.

What a powerful testimony...  I know that they love all of us so much... they are giving us revelation for our day.  They have given us a prophet to lead and guide us. They haven't left us.  They are helping us return to live with them again.  What a blessing it is to even have the Gospel, I am so grateful and I know that it is what we need in order to endure to the end until He comes again.
I love you family. I miss you a lot. I pray for you. Be happy and be safe.

Love always,

Sister Johnson

Our mission theme song: (to armies of Helaman)
We have been called to serve in the place.;
Where Christ our Savior has shown His face.
We know the words the Lord has proclaimed,
"Kirtland will be built up again."
We are in the Ohio Cleveland.
We have prepared since our youth,
And we are in the Ohio Cleaveland
To bring Ohio His truth- to bring Ohio His truth

"The true key to happiness is a labor for the happiness of others"