Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Surround Ourselves With the Good

Hey there! 

THANK YOU FOR THE GPS!  I got it when i was at sites the day of transfers.  Thank you!  We haven't gotten lost once!

Whaa? Kory, kory.... glad he's doing okay. :/

Wow, this week was so crazy.  We had transfers, sites, meetings, and a lot of planning and then just taking over the area and training.  I've had a lot of headaches this week haha it's been crazy, but so great.  I don't know how I am so happy all the time when being so exhausted. :)

My companion, Sister Coontz is cute.  I give Kory permission to marry her. haha  She is 19 and from Saratoga Springs, Utah.  But she was born in California and lived in Arkansas and Texas and most recently Utah.  She is very sweet and wow she is so on top of her life.  She is catching onto everything so well.  It's funny seeing her and how she is getting used to the mission, especially being tired all the time and waking up in the morning.   Her head has been bobbing up and down in a few meetings including one right in front of President Vellinga.  I was laughing.  She is great. haha

We saw Lisa and Jim three times last week. We had a lesson on the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and the temple.  Right after we had our Word of Wisdom lesson, we went back over and he was slurring his words.  He had definitely been drinking.  I said, "Jim! How's the Word of Wisdom going?" haha  He said he didn't want to do it... the last night that we were talking about the temple, there was a different look in his eyes.  He so so so bad wants to make it there one day.  He said he will do everything he can and try his hardest. (He just needs to get on meds, hopefully soon that will help)  Lisa is trying too. We promised them that they would be able to overcome it.  The following day was Sunday and they promised that they would make it to church.  Jim looks up to the guy members who come teaching with us so much.  He keeps say, "I can't wait to go to the Priesthood class!"  We saved them a seat and they didn't come :/  We called and he said he drank too much and didn't want to drink and drive.  We were very very sad... they could tell.  We told them how important it was to go to church if they want to progress.  It will take some time, but that is okay.  I know they can do it.

We also have been seeing Michael more.  He is doing well... he is just so intellectual.  He said he still has not gotten an answer YET, but he said he will be baptized once he does get an answer.  So the three of them are the ones who have baptismal dates in September. 

Then we are meeting with our other investigators Nora, the Stamm's and starting to meet with some more this week!  We have Brandon, Dusty, Barbara, Kimberly, and Carol.  Hopefully they will all be progressing investigators soon!  Some of them have come to church on their own!   We are also working with a lot of less-actives still.  More than half of the ward is in-active.  It is hard to see.  They all seem to say the same thing, "the know it's true, but it's hard getting up and going to church." 

Haha Nick Jeffrey showed me his big tool room this week.  He has collected tools for over 40 years and when we got there he said, "Sister JOHNSON!  Come over here!  Quick! "  He had me sit in the front seat in his bright yellow car. (it looks like Bumblebee on Transformers)  Then he leaned over and pressed play on the stereo... the Beach Boys were playing. haha he said,  "Do you feel at home?  Do you feel like your in California surfing those waves?" haha  He is the best.  I was definitely nervous the whole time, feeling like I was breaking the rules listening to the Beach Boys, but he was too excited to show me!  He's awesome.  He also came up to Kirtland this week so we could take him out on site and he is just received the Priesthood and is preparing for the temple!  Ahhh  I love it :)

One of our investigators, Nora was reading a lot of things online about Mormons.  We talked about that last night and how we should stick to the good sources :)  It reminded me of something that I read this week in the Ensign.  There was this girl and she was in the check-out line at the store.  She was a single mom and not very wealthy.  There was a man checking out in front of her and he ended up running short and not having enough money.  The cashier seemed annoyed and said, "Sir, you don't have enough".  The other people in line were annoyed, frustrated and rolling their eyes.  She had remembered that she had an extra 10 dollars and that was how much he needed.  So she pulled out the money and handed it to him.  The other people in line were shocked that she would do such a thing.  When he left she had learned that he had done that more times than once.  She went to the car and was really pondering that and began to sob.  Not because she had given him the money, but because she had remembered our Savior.

We fall short ALL the time.  We make mistakes and He doesn't throw His hands up in the air and say, "really, again??"  He comes to our rescue and will be there when we need Him. 

Then I was thinking about the influences that were around her.  Would I have still given him the money after the people around me had been influencing otherwise.  We live in a world where there are so many influences around us.  Good and bad.  It is OUR job to make sure that we are surrounded by good influences.  It may be hard for us to be the bigger person, to do what is right sometimes, but the cool thing is that when we come unto Him, no matter how hard it may be, He will make out weaknesses our strengths.  The more we turn to our Savior, the STRONGER we will be and He will help us.  He is not our last chance, but the ONLY way and our only chance.  

One more thought Kory told me one time.  He said that there was a humming bird that got stuck in the Turner's garage.  He said that it kept hitting the side walls and couldn't find the way out, even though the garage door was wide open and by the time the Turner's got home, the beak was bloody and the Humming bird was dying.  They got a broom and guided it out of the garage door.  Kory said to think of the Humming bird as us.  The walls around us are the sins, the broom is our Savior's hand and the garage door is the Atonement.  The garage door is always open.  We are always able to access the Atonement and the Savior will always be there to help us, even when we think there is no way out.  He will be there. 

There are a lot of influences out there.  There are a lot of times that we fall, but when you remember the Savior then no one will be able to influence you.  Know who the enemy is.  Remember that we are on the winning team.  That is so comforting to know.  I know that the Atonement is real.  I have seen it work in my life.  I know that it is easy to be influenced down the wrong path, but through the Savior, we can always come back.  I know He is also on the sideline cheering us on.  I have learned that so strongly this last week.  Always remember to surround ourselves with the good and turn to the Savior constantly. 

Have the best week.


Love always, 

Sister Johnson

“Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for.”  Charles Stanley (Isaiah 64:4)

Kelsi is a trainer!  The sister to her left is her new companion, Sister Coontz, to her right is her trainer, Sister Joseph that just went home last week. 

Kelsi with her former MTC companions, Sister Clark and Sister Smith, at the Visitor Center.

Kelsi with her companion Sister Spong.  They were only together for one transfer.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Demonstrating More Love Towards Others


Hey!  How is life?  I liked the pictures.  Mom, you look pretty in the picture from Nola.

This was a crazy week!

First, I am staying in Hiram!  Sister Spong is leaving, but she is excited to leave to a new area because she has never been anywhere else.

My brain is fried... I am not sure what happened this week.... I wasn't very good at keeping notes :)   Lisa and Jim are good... Michael is good.  We have appointments with all of them today.  We are doing Word of Wisdom with Lisa and Jim.  Jim says he has drank coffee four days in a row without any food at all and so we will see how he handles this :)  He llloooovveeess his coffee.  Michael is an author and he said that he feels like he can't finish his book he is writing (which is kind of about him) until he finds out more about our religion.

We did go to a training meeting with all the mission office and mission president and his wife.  That was really good... we got to learn how to be good trainers, AKA "Mom's".  Everyone keeps saying, "Sister Johnson your baby is almost due" haha missionaries have weird lingo.

I came up with a couple things that I really wanted to work on in the meeting and thought I'd share some of my thoughts...

1. How to cope with adversity and stressful situations better


2. Demonstrating more love towards others

For the first one, I was reading one of the books by Elder Ballard.  He talked about how he was a mission president and when he got home from his mission, one of his awesome missionaries was also home and
stopped by his house.  He said, "remember how you said when we get engaged, you want to meet the person we get engaged to?" and Elder Ballard was like, yesss.... and the missionary said, "Well, meet my
new fiance!"  They talked for a little while and he said you could tell they were just the sweetest, most beautiful couple.  He said that he was asked to speak at their reception.  Then the next day Elder
Ballard got a phone call and that wonderful missionary had been killed in a car crash.  He said that instead of speaking at his reception, he was asked to speak at the funeral.  He said that his heart really hurt...

It is easy to feel pain and stress during really hard times and we will feel that, but when we think about the eternal perspective, it is nothing but a very small moment.  It gives us a sense of peace, comfort and reassurance.  Bad things happen and sometimes bad things happen to even good people.   This last week, I did not handle a situation as well as I should have :)  We had a training meeting in Kirtland for site sisters with the mission president and our sites director.  I was talking to president and he said that if I could guess where my new companion is from, he will give me two free tickets to stake conference haha.  Anyways, he said he would see us in just a bit at our training meeting in Cleveland.  We put in the address to the mission office and went on our way!  Well, when we got there, we realized that we were in the wrong place as we were in  downtown Cleveland by the stadium and tall buildings.  We called the mission home and they had no idea where we were... at this moment, it was exactly the time that we were supposed to be at the meeting (and we
were using over 100 miles on our car in 1 day).  Me and Sister Nance were stressing out.  Sister Rigby was asking us what our favorite scriptures were and favorite moments in Kirtland to get our minds off the fact that we were going to be so late to a leadership meeting.  Well, we were over an hour late.  I was still close to tears and maybe a little more.. :)  From that experience, we all learned that we need to not be stressed in situations that we can't control.  That is when the spirit leaves us and don't think as clearly.  It was only but a
small moment in time...

Then when it comes to demonstrating love.  In Kirtland, we play the words of our Savior before we start every tour.  He says, "...another commandment I give unto thee, love one another as I have loved you."  I thought hard about that this week.  I thought about how much I love my family and my earthly parents and how much they probably love me.  ;)  Then I thought how Christ loves us even more. How am I supposed to love everyone as much as He loves us?  That is so much!   I think it is good to never ask, how do you love me?  But ask, how do I demonstrate love unto thee?

It's easy to think people don't show enough kindness or love for us at times., but what do you do to show your love for them?  No one is perfect and I know the more we turn outward rather than inward, it will make life easier and happier.  The more we show our love for them, the more we will love them and they will feel that and be able to demonstrate that back to you.  I want to take these two things, handling stressful situations better and demonstrate more love towards others.  I want to love everyone around me, just as Christ loves.  I know that if we follow Christ's example, we can become happier, stronger and blessings will flow in more as we humble ourselves to constantly become better.  I am grateful for the Atonement and that we are able to use it to change, to become better and become more as our Savior.

Love you! Have a wonderful week :)

Sister Johnson

I found a great quote by Elder Marvin J. Ashton...

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.  And 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.

Historic Visitor Center Sisters - August Transfer Meeting

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Dear Family and Friends -

This week from Kelsi was a little extra special.  Last Saturday I received an email from a man that took a tour from her and felt inclined to write us and send a picture of her.  He told how much he was touched by her and that we must be so proud.  The picture of Kelsi and her companion that he took is attached.

We also received short video clips from her camera giving us a tour of the John Johnson home.  I will send some of those separately.

Each week I contemplate a topic of a letter to send Kelsi and Kory.  This week came the word "Remember" came constantly to my mind.  I thought of ways for us to remember who we are, remember why we are here, remember to keep our covenants with the Lord, remember the Savior, remember to be obedient, etc.  I was at the doctor this morning when her email came and she talked about Remembering Who We Are.  I teared up as I read her letter.  A Tender Mercy From the Lord, that he is in charge of the details of our Life.  He knows us, he knows our struggles and he knows our divine potential.   We just need to follow him. 

Love you all and thanks for all your support and prayers. 



Hello hello!

Oh man, looks like you all had so much fun or are having fun in AZ.  Tell Matthew congrats for me!  Also, give Jordo a big hug from me too!  That is awesome he is home.  Did you get my videos from my camera???

So guess what?????? I am.....  TRAINING!  Me and sister Spong wont be companions anymore :/  And I am not sure if I will still be in Hiram.  I am freaking out and going to write president and tell him I have to stay here.  And poor little trainee.  I still don't know what I am doing.  I just make it up as I go, but it will be fun :)  We have a training meeting on Friday, WHICH is the last day we get to EVER serve at the Johnson Home!!!  I am so sad because now, most of the day I will be at the training meeting :( I am blessed that I was able to serve there... love that home.  I tell everyone I live there... and when I answer the phones I say, "Hello this is Sister Johnson from the Johnson home". Everyone laughs :)  I will miss telling everyone that the holes in the floor are original to the Johnson's (called air-conditioning) :) haha my companion says I am mean because I tease and everyone believes me. 

We got another church, referral.  That wasn't very good... the guy wasn't a very safe person.  The spirit was screaming at us to get out of there.  We told President Vellinga what he said to us and President wants documents and reported it to the police.  We knew angels were surrounding us while we were there. 

We met with Lisa and Jim.  Ah man I love them :)  They forgot about our appointment and we had a member with us and the thought came in my head that I should ask her if she had just a couple minutes for a blessing.  Jim and Lisa received blessings.  Lisa said that while she received the blessing, it was as if all of her problems and concerns went away and she said she saw a girl in a pure white dress.  I thought that was a very interesting comment.  Then a couple days later we watched the Restoration with them and then last night we talked more about prophets.  They are moving right along.  Lisa said we can help her plan for their wedding!  We are stoked!  Wedding and a baptism!  I really hope I don't leave.  We have 5 investigators we are working with and a couple former investigators we are about to start meeting with and less-actives and when we first got here there wasn't really anyone.  So, it is growing and I just don't want to leave, I love the people and the ward too much. 

Hmmm what else.... Oh the Pay's. I saw them :)  All of the senior couples who met them talked to me about how much they liked the Pay's.  I guess Brother Pay sent them a PDF about the Morley Farm and they were all freaking out and telling me about it and saying, "it was from the guy in your home ward!  He was so great!"

There is a recent convert named, Brother Jefferey.  He called us multiple times saying, I have something for Sister Johnson.  You HAVE to come over!  So we finally went over... he really wanted to show me all of his tools and then he said the Holy Spirit spoke to him and told him he needed to buy me a leather wallet.  He told me I HAD to write home and tell my family about it.  He doesn't have any money so he traded things from in his home to buy me this real leather wallet.  He is a sweetheart.

We are also having a member of the Seventy coming to our mission.  Our mission President asked us to read all of his talks from conference, Elder Bowen.  We heard they were good.  You should read them too!  We ALSO have ELDER BALLARD coming next month to our stake conference.  I will cry if I am not in this ward or stake.  Lisa and Jim marked it on their calenders, they are so excited to meet an apostle. :)

We were listening to a talk this week... it talked about remembering who we are and how it is sometimes hard to always remember who we are.  In Alma 37:35, Alma is telling his son to remember who he is. Just like when we leave the house to go on a date or hang with friends, our parents say, "Remember who you are and what you stand for!"  And then the kids are usually like, mom, dad, I am your son, duh.  But it really is so much more than that.  We are children of a LOVING Heavenly Father.  In the Lion King, Simba actually forgets who he is and he runs into the monkey, Rafiki,  and he says, "you knew my father?" and Rafiki says, "Correction, I know your faduh".  Then he takes him to look in the water to look at his reflection and showed him that his father lives within Him.  Simba forgot that he has such a great father and that he has the opportunity to live as his father lived and serve as his father served and lead as his father leads.  That is the same with all of us.  We have those same opportunities to live, serve, lead and love just like our father.  We have immense potential and are here on earth to learn and to grow, to gain experience, to use to atonement all to become like our Heavenly Father.  We need to remember our Savior and the sacrifices he made.  If we remember Him, He promises to remember us.  When we are constantly trying to always become what we know we can and remember who we are, we will find ourselves and we will become what our Father in Heaven knows we can become.  The prophets have been talking about our generation for 6000 years.  We are the generation that MUST be prepared to meet God.  Understand how wonderful you are.  Remember who you are.  I know He always remembers us.

I love you so much. Until next time... I'll probably be with my new companion from the MTC.  So fun!

Love always,

Sister Johnson

"Those who keep a book of remembrance are most likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity"

Sister Johnson with her companion, Sister Spong.  Picture taken by a visitor and emailed to Mom.

Strawberry Festival...

Sister Johnson at the Strawberry Festival.  She is standing next to her companion Sister Joseph and Elder Jones.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Be One and if Ye Are Not One, Ye Are Not Mine

Dearest familia,
Mom... Keep me updated.  How are you doing??  I  won't be on until next Wednesday!  Long week waiting.

Kory, how is the MTC?  Dad, Kolton, Kaden, Keeks miss you and love you:)
Alrighty, this week was shorter, our p-days keep switching all over the place.  We have zone conference this week, so that should be fun :)
I led the discussion in district meeting again... not my favorite thing to do. ha.  Oh, and I got proposed to by some guy we contacted in to... he was very drunk.
Then funny story.  A sister at the visitor center was out and saw this guy.  He was like, you are very pretty ladies.  I am not sure what she thought he said, but she said, "Great!  Is there a time that we can get together?"  He said, "Sure, I like women."  Then she didn't hear him so she said... "what?"  With an oblivious smile on her face and he said, "I like women."  And she got super happy all of a sudden and said, "THAT's GREAT!  Because we are Mormon's!!!"  Sister Rigby was rolling her eyes... saying.. quietly, "He said women sister, he said women." haha  It was so awesome.
We also went to our neighbors and gave them cookies and one of our neighbors name is Tami.  She was a little bit frustrating :)  I was excited to talk to her at first because she was asking what we do as missionaries   So we started telling her that we get to serve for 18 months, etc.  Then she started asking what we believed in and sister Spong said, something about living with our Father in Heaven again.  Then she freaked out and said, "again?"  What do you mean see Him again?  Then she went on and on saying we have never lived with him... and tried to get us to prove everything from the Bible and would not stop asking questions.  We were like... we would love to come back another time and we tried to leave, but it seriously would not work!  It ended with her giving us a hug and her saying, "I am going to be praying for you girls because I love you two already, and I want to see you in heaven.  So stop reading that Book of Mormon.  Stick only to the Bible and get away from that non-sense because Satan blinds your eyes sometimes and you need to open them!"  We were like... great.. thank you so much, Tami.  We will be praying for you too. haha  I was just frustrated...
I went on exchanges this week with Sister Neslen.  The one who wrote me a letter before I got out here.  That was fun :)  Miracle exchange!!  We were at the Johnson home.  We took probably 5 tours and the best tours ever.  Almost every single one of the tours cried.  The spirit was so strong... I can't even tell you.  I felt a connection with all the people who came in and some said it was their favorite part of the whole entire church history tour.  Then we went to Jim and Lisa's home (our investigators)  They have a baptism date :)  Lisa cried.  We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and she broke down when she heard that she can see her mom again... I love Lisa and Jim so much.  It made me cry... Then the last stop of the day, we went to Kathy's (A Less-active).  We sang, "where can I turn for Peace?"  And by that time, Kathy was crying and I was crying again.  That was a miracle exchange.  A water works day, but I am so grateful for the gift of the spirit and grateful that I am a missionary, so that I can help others become closer to our Savior and Father in Heaven.
We also went back to the nursing home.  They are so much fun!  We just talk and do activities like Simon Says for their exercise and work out time, sing songs, puzzles ,etc.  It's the best. One lady was like, are you an angel?  You are so bright!  She made my day :)  Most of them always ask if we are nuns... haha.  We get that a lot. A nother lady named Helen always is shaking and really cold and so another lady decided she wanted to knit her a blanket.  It was so sweet!  It probably could have been a blanket for a Barbie, but it was so sweet that she was trying her best.  She said that God gave her talents to help other people.  I said, you are so right!
It reminded me of the Saints :)  Of course... I am always relating everything to the Saints now.  The Saints were commanded to build a temple, but they didn't know how and it wasn't until 6 months later after the Lord had chastised them that they started building the Kirtland temple.  No one had money, but everyone had talents.  Joel Hills Johnson built Saw Mills.  That was one of his talents and because of that, they were able to get moving!
In D&C 38 it says; Be one and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.
In D&C 46 it talks about how we should always remember and always retain in our minds our gifts.  But that we all don't have every gift for there are so many gifts!  And to every man is given a gift by the spirit of God.  And to some is given one and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
Think about what your talents are. You could be good at communicating, good with details, loving, multi-tasking, dicerning, singing, dancing, being humble, smiling, basketball, laughing. We all have different gifts and talents.  Our Heavenly Father gave them to us so that we can become as one!  As the scripture says in D&C.  We are not using them for ourselves.  We are able to help each other build talents, serve, lift each other up.
We need to recognize and be so thankful for what He has given us... and we need to use them.  Even just getting out there and using your talents and being the person you are, you are able to be an example, a shining light to those around you.  Sometimes we will see the fruits of our labors, but sometimes we won't.  Heavenly Father just wants us to use our talents and He wants us to use them so that we really can all become as one.
I know that the Saints were able to use their time and talents to help build the temple.  They worked so hard.  Some would cook for the men, some would babysit, some would sing, cut lumber, etc and because of that they were able to bless so many lives.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves every single one of us and every single one of you.  He knows you personally.  He knows the desires of your hearts and He is right by your side cheering you on.  He wants you to be your best and magnify those gifts you have been given.
I pray for you everyday and I miss you...
Love you sooo much.
Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson
"The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead."