Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Will Make Weak Things Become Strong

Hi my wonderful beautiful family! 

I got some e-mails from people saying they haven't been getting my e-mails.   

How are you guys?  And what the?  What happened to Kolton?  Ouch, that was so gross!  He is the only one in the family who breaks his bones.   Did he break his arm? 

Kathy Ellison wants you to add her on my fb mom :)  She is the one who is amazing and about to go to the temple!!!  I love her, she just called and said she misses us.  It's been a couple days... ha

So you know how last week I told you that Michael broke up with us?  Well, I think he has been thinking a lot... because he called and asked if he could come to church!  What?  So weird.  But he came... he said, "It was interesting".  I said, well, what is your definition of interesting?  He said, "not good and not bad." haha  but he said he will give it another shot, although he still doesn't really want us to teach him.  He knows it's true, that's why he is being weird :) jk  He might come to church when I sing and he is coming to watch General Conference with us at a members home and then he is going to go to Stake Conference with Elder Ballard.  He is going to get baptized.  Don't worry ;) 

Lisa and Jim didn't come to Kirtland.  I about cried... Then Jim... I don't know, we are surprised he hasn't gotten alcohol poisoning.  He has still been drinking like crazy.  All day every day.  Whiskey and beer.  He is trying to stop now and should have stopped now, we are going to see them tonight with a member who was addicted as well... Then we have Nora and others aren't as solid YET,  but they will be.  Nora's husband doesn't want her coming to church :( we are trying to figure out how to get her to come. 

Oh!  Some funny stories and cool things.  Michael is an author.  One of his books called "Unrequited" is going on Amazon as a digital copy in February.  He said that we made it into his book.  I want to read it when I get home.  haha

THEN get ready for this one...  so we took a lady on tour.  She had three kids 13, 10 and 2 or something.  Well, we are going pretty fast through the Johnson home because they were tired and hungry.  We get to the Revelation room... the best and most sacred room and she pulls down her dress, pulls up her shirt and says "come here" to her little girl and breast fed!  I was like.... wait.  Is this really happening?  I didn't know where to look. I felt soooo awkward.   Definitely saw everything and then I was telling the Sisters on our way to Kirtland what happened and then they took her on tour in Kirtland!  In the School of the Prophets! haha  That was a story for the Kirtland Sisters. 

Then we were taking a lot of tours from Australia   Another funny moment, we were walking out of the Whitney home and we were asking what the differences were between Australia and America?  They started talking about the toilets and how when you go to public places it automatically flushes while you are sitting there and then there are such giant gaps on the sides of the doors every one can see in!  They said they are never coming back to America for that reason.  They were laughing sooooooo hard that they were crying and had tears going down their face which of course made us bust out laughing!  haha  They thought it was the funniest thing.  Most fun tour I have ever taken.  We were practicing our Australian accents the rest of the day :)  I want to go there some day!

Sister Coontz spoke in church this last week and we are really trying hard to work with them members and trying hard to get referrals.  Bishop said he doesn't even want us tracting.  He said that our time is better spent calling and seeing members to get them to work on their missionary work.  So.. we have been seeing as many members and we told them that we are going to be annoying missionaries! 

I also went on an exchange this week.  It was awesome. I went with sister Gee.  We went to the Amish community!  They were everywhere.  I wish I had brought my camera.  The Amish men who have long beards are the married ones and the side burn Amish are single so we were finding all the single men. haha jk jk.  No Amish men.  no no ha   They are just cool.  We went and got an Amish cinnamon roll.  It was yummy :)  And the people that we were teaching were sad I wasn't coming back.  They were super cute and made me feel good :)  It was a good exchange.

So I have realized more than ever that I have so many weaknesses this week.  Like a million.  I kept praying that I could be better.  I was reading in Ether 12:27 where it talks about how our weaknesses can become strengths.

 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. 

We just have to turn to our Savior.  We can't do it alone.  I get annoyed with myself when I think the way I think and do some of the things I do, but I know when we turn to the Savior, we can overcome anything.  We can become more like him and be happier :) 

I think of brother Greiner, when he said that before his mission he couldn't retain anything and he had the worst memory, but he turned to the Savior and worked hard on trying to become better and it worked!  He has a photographic memory now and remembers everything.  The Savior can mold us more than we could ever try to do ourselves.  Then Shelly Mann- she had Polio when she was 5.  She could not even move her arms out of the water, but when she did, she cried for joy.  She kept trying and trying and making goals to become better and she made it to the Olympics and got a gold medal for the butterfly stroke.  What an inspiration! I heard a quote... "that which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed but that our power to do is increased". 

Sometimes we put an "artificial limit" on what we can become.  At least I definitely do.  But we don't have to.  We can become anything when we turn to the Lord for help.  Think of someone who you admire, who you strive to become, who is an example to you.  You can have those same attributes.  You can become the happiest person who loves everyone and loves life.  You can become humble.  You can become a scriptorian.  You can become anything and make any weakness into a strength. 

I know that the Atonement is real.  I know that when we humble ourselves and turn to the Savior, we will be happier and we can have immense potential.  I know that our Heavenly Father loves every single one of us.  He knows us.  He knows what our potential is and knows every detail in our lives.  He will do anything and everything to help us reach our full potential.  I know this gospel is true.

Love you mucho. 

Nana and Grandma Johnson, I love you. Happy birthday :)


Sister Johnson

"We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

He Loves Us Beyond All Comprehension

Hi hi hi  How are you?!  Mom, I heard your voice on the phone at sites!   It was weird.  I choked up a little bit...

This has been a great learning week.  It was pretty sad... we text Michael this week and just asked how he was doing.  Well, he responded saying... "Hello ladies, we need to talk."  Doesn't that sound like the break up line?  He called and broke up with us! :/   It was sad... all we could do was just bear testimony.  Satan was definitely working on him like no other because our last lesson was so powerful, the spirit was so strong.  Anyways, we asked him if he still wanted to meet the apostle, Elder Ballard.  He said... maybe.  Well, we got a text last night from him saying, "just in case I made the wrong choice about everything, can I have the address to your church building and for the event that the apostle is coming to."  We were happy.... he knows its true, we know it!

Then after Michael broke up with us, we went to Lisa and Jim's.  Jim broke and started drinking again.  He kept apologizing to us over and over.  We said, that's okay, you can do it.  Then we go over the next time and hes drunk again, then the next time and he was so drunk and was asleep.  We are going to get him on the 12 step.  He was doing sooooo well.  We know he can do it, but we definitely chastised them a little bit. We want them to take us more seriously and set up expectations again so they understand that we won't always be here.  They need to follow everything and have a desire to gain the close relationship with their Heavenly Father, etc, etc.  We told them we love them, so hopefully that helped.  They are all coming to Kirtland on Friday :)  She is bringing her non-member family, it should be fun.  We are going to the Kirtland temple too!  

I am not even sure if I told you all about Elder Ballard, we are eating breakfast with him, going on a walk and he is handing out coins for the 10th anniversary of Kirtland.  Then, we are going to be hosts at a small meeting with him and inviting guests only and then a fireside and then adult stake conference and stake conference.   We are stoked.  That is the week after conference. 

I wish I can talk about everyone, but there are too many people to remember.  We have a couple new investigators, but our other progressing investigator is Nora... :)  She is the cutest lady.  Pretty much already a member.  She met with the missionaries in 2008 and was not interested.  We taught her Alma 22 and incorporated the Plan of Salvation because she wants to hear "stories".  Well, we both testified and I started to cry, she said that everything that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes is just so beautiful and she believes it is true.  Yay!  She says the best prayers and she prays for our future husbands.  She says they are out there some where!  haha

One more story from this week, last p-day we went to Bob Evans and there was this kid who opened the door for us and I gave him a card and told him to check it out.  He said he would :)  Then our district wanted to go out to lunch after district meeting yesterday and so they said, Sister Johnson we have to go back to see all the people you gave a card to!  So we went back and Tyrell (the guy who opened the door) came up to me and said!  I checked it out!  Then he started asking questions.  It was great :)  I got his number and we are going to start teaching him on the phone at sites :)  We are also still teaching that guy Patrick on the phone at sites who shot himself... if you remember him.  People are prepared all around us!!

Well, this week Sister Coontz and I were learning a lot about the Plan of Salvation. (we got to study at the Johnson home in the most perfect weather and in the revelation room)  We got on some deep discussions and our sites director, Elder Sorensen pulled us in his office and even talked deeper.  Our brains hurt.  We learned that we really have so much to be thankful for.  The more that we keep thinking, journaling and praying for everything that we are thankful for.  The more we will realize all of the blessings we have in our life that have been given to us, the closer we will become to our Savior.  

I was reading in the Ensign about how big everything is comparing to us.  The universe is HUGE! The speed of light travels at 186,282 miles per second. There are worlds without end and the universe is infinite in size. "The galaxies in the visible universe contain an estimated 30 billion trillion stars, yet that number may be a small fraction of all there are."  There is SO much out there and still...  He loves us beyond all comprehension.  I am so thankful for that. 

I am thankful for this earth and all the beauty that surrounds us.  I am so thankful for an eternal family.  I am grateful for parents who raised me in the gospel and who have strong testimonies.  I am grateful for a dad who is still a kid and will play with me and go to the beach :)  I am grateful that he taught us how to work as well and to always try our best and be our best.  I am grateful for a mom who loves and who will do anything for her family.  I am grateful to have been in the family I am in and have the brothers and sister that I have.  I am thankful for the opportunity to come on a mission.  Best decision I have ever made.  I learn so much every day, even though it is honestly sooooo hard and it's really easy to think about what you want to do, but this is the only time we have to give to the Lord 100 percent.  I am thankful for a prophet.  He is a true and living prophet.  There is no doubt.  I am very thankful for the Atonement.  I am using it every day... and I will use it the rest of my life. 

Well, I gotta run.  Happy 35th birthday Daddio!!

Sister Johnson 

"This is a paradox of man; compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God.  While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within out breast.  We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation- worlds without end- within our grasp.  And if it is God's great desire to help us reach it."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

When We Know Who We Are, We Act Differently

This week was so crazy packed with meetings.  We hardly had any time in our area and hardly any time to find this week.  We did get to meet with Michael though.  If you have a deep question about the gospel... ask him haha.  He can tell you all about the Priesthood especially.  Way better than me haha.  He's legit.  Too legit to quit ;)

Lisa and Jim are coming to church and...we are going over to their house tonight and they said they will have a wedding day picked out so that they can get MARRIED!  Then baptized.  So it's going to be like on The District.  It will be so great :)  We are a little worried about Jim and the word of Wisdom because he thinks that he needs the bottle of beer sitting in front of him and then he can tell it "no".  We are like... Jim No!  That is temptation. haha  and he thinks that the issue with smoking is not that it is even bad for you, but that it is expensive and they should warn people about the price instead... we are like, oh dear Jim haha.  He's starting to understand everything else though.

It was SO cute though..we went over to their Jim and Lisa's home and we had showed them a picture of the temple on a card and gave it to them and Lisa put it on her coffee table and leaned it up against the light.  She said, "it was just so beautiful, I wanted to look at it all the time and then I can remember it :)"  Brother Sears printed them out some pretty pictures of the temple for them to put up and they were stoked.

Something funny.. you know you are missionary minded when you have dreams about missionary work all the time. hah  Sister Coontz said that I talk in my sleep all the time.  She said that this week I was saying, "but but...we were teaching and serving..." haha

We found a couple new people this week, but for the most part.... we had amazing meetings.  I really want to talk about them.  The first one was our "trainee" meeting for my companion with our mission president. It was almost all day long.... then we had another meeting with our zone.  It was so inspiring.  We were preparing for the general authority who was coming to our mission.  Then the general authority, Elder Bowen, came!  I wanted to share what I learned.

But first, we were at sites and Elder Bowen came with his wife and our mission president and his wife and then our site directors and Karl Anderson.  Karl Anderson is the patriarch who wrote the book i was reading before I came out about Kirtland (he is a legend around here).  We were coming back from one of our tours and we stopped and talked to them.  They were so sweet, so we were the first missionaries that got to meet Elder Bowen.  Then we went upstairs and prepared a song to sing for him with just a couple of sisters.  So we sang to him "More Holiness Give Me".  He said that now he can say he has heard the angels sing.  Then we had lunch with Elder Bowen yesterday after the meeting and he came and sat with me, Sister Coontz, Sister Ence and Sister Derrek! ha ha  he quized us a lot and asked us what we learned and then we got to ask him deep doctrinal questions.  We just felt special :)

I seriously learned so much... Elder Bowen asked us to study the Abrahamic covenant, the gathering of Israel, the baptismal covenant and the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.  At first I didn't understand why he would ask us to study those, but really they all intertwine together.  The gospel really is so perfect.  I cannot even begin to describe the feelings that I felt this week.  When you learn to know who you are, you really do act differently.  When you don't know who you are and what your goals are, what your potential is, what lies in store for you in the future then it is harder to be obedient and be as happy.  We need to decide now what we want to be like, who we are going to be and decide RIGHT now where we are going.  That is why he had a study the Abrahamic covenant because of the blessings that come from that.

God gives us commandments and we are asked to follow them.  He then in return gives us SOO many blessings.  To follow the commandments can be so simple when you realize what is in store in the future. Then when we are obedient, even more blessings come.  Why wouldn't we want blessings?

Then... the priesthood.  This world that was created was created by the power of the priesthood.  It is a power, but only "worthy" men can exercise it.  Once you have the Priesthood, there are places you can never go again.  If you choose wrong, the Priesthood power is lost.  Elder Bowen just said, "Don't do stupid stuff."   We all make covenants.  In the temple, at baptism, the Priesthood, to be faithful serving a mission, etc.  If we ever choose wrong, we can always repent only through our Savior.  He can always mold us, but only if we come to Him.  Don't ever forget that.  He knows the desires of our hearts.  He knows what we can become.  He also talked about pride.... Satan can grab you when you have pride, he can make you think things that aren't true or real.  Satan doesn't have a body or a family.  With that being said, that is what he will attack.

The sooner we realize life's hard and that it isn't about us... and the sooner that we realize that we are nothing... that is the moment that God can use you, the moment that He can mold you.  It's so wonderful. The Savior is the living bread, he is the way and the only way.  We have been offered so much and sometimes people choose the world instead.  Just remember when we understand who we are, we act differently.  We need to understand WHO we are and what our potential is.  We can become like God.  It is fantastic.  We can receive all that He has.  If God broke His promise, He would cease to be God. Understand who are.  Choose now who we want to be and where you want to be in the next life.

This is a crazy world and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are weird, we stand out like a sore thumb, but that is okay. "If you ever, EVER feel comfortable in this world, shame on you!"
I am grateful that we are able to learn and to grow and are able to receive insight's.  Elder Bowen helped inspire me to want to be better.  I know this is Christ's church.  It is so real.  So true.
Love always,

Sister Johnson

Elder Bowen said that when I get home and am going to get married... ask my fiance "Sweetheart, can you tell me where the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood is found?  What it means to you? and How you have applied it in your life?"

Kirtland and Kirtland East Zone Conference

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Grateful for Eternal Families

Hi family,

Man, how is everything going?  I like your pictures.  Thanks for sending those :)  I miss you Kolton, Kaden and Keeks!  I think you have gotten bigger?  That is also crazy that Kory's mission president is 7 feet tall! Wow!  Will you tell Nana and Grandma Diss I say hi and I love them? 

We had a very busy week this week!  To start off, we had a young men and young women activity on Wednesday.  That was seriously so fun.  I remember we did something like it when we were in the Las Sendas ward... so what we did was go to all these businesses and ask if the youth could come and do service.  They divided up into teams and so it was a service scavenger hunt.  We had them do goofy things too, but they had to take a picture doing everything.  They did dishes for restaurants, took out trash, washed windows, watered flowers, took shopping carts into the stores, had to find goofy things in stores and then to end they took a picture doing a pyramid and then we had fruit pizza and of course, we shared a spiritual thought.  It was the best.  The youth are still talking about it and all the leaders have been saying thank you over and over again.  They said the youth never say that they have fun. haha  It was great because we got to go around and do service with them!  We earned the trust of businesses and also met a lot of people and the youth brought a non-member.   So that was a way fun night.

We also saw our investigators, The Stamm's.  We have had to be very creative with them because they don't have that "full" desire to want the gospel.  They will listen... but they are content.  We didn't want to lose them, so we felt so strongly that we should get some fellowship going on.  We had a game night at the McIntyre's home.  It was all of these married couples around my age and then me and sister Coontz were awkwardly there. haha No, it wasn't too awkward.  Some of those couples are just super lovey dovey and we want to throw up...  ;) jk we love them.  The game night turned out sooooo good.  We shared a message there as well.  The spirit was so strong and a lot of the members bore testimony and the Stamm's thanked us and they are all going to hang out again!  Soo..... over time... at least they are friends for now.  They said they will come to church too, so they will realize soon enough :)

Then there is Michael... we talked about the temple with a lot of people this week.  Michael was one of them.  Me and Sister Coontz were doing our 12 week training yesterday and revelation just started flowing in for Michael and so used that in our lesson yesterday.  Something in him totally flipped... I don't know what it was, but Heavenly Father's hand is in everything. :)  He said he wants to become closer to God and he thinks making these steps could be it.  He also opened up a lot more.  He LOVES Steve Nash...soooooo we talked about basketball a little bit haha.  He used to live in Cali.

Then Lisa and Jim.... man oh man.  I love them so much.  THEY CAME TO CHURCH.  Finally!  We were so so happy when they showed up.  Then we took them on a tour of the Johnson Home.  Me and Sister Coontz took them up to the Revelation room (it was her first time there too :))  So I told them about everything that had happened and the room was very quiet.... me and sister Coontz sang "I know that my Redeemer Lives".  They just closed their eyes and really focused on the spirit that was there.  We asked them how they were feeling and they said it was so peaceful and calm... we told them that the temple is like that too.  We told them to go home and write down the feelings that they were having, so that they would never forget it.  There was a look in Jim's eyes that I have never seen.  He usually is such a chatter box.  Tears were coming to my eyes as I looked and thought about the progress they have made... They have had such a dramatic change.  We love them. 

We also took quite a few tours this week.  We took one with President Vellinga's nephew and his family.  They kept saying, "this better be good or we will tell your mission president". haha rude.  It was really good :)  And they gave us two referrals! 

We talked about the temple/ Plan of Salvation with Michael, Lisa and Jim and Kathy.  We learned a lot this week regarding the temple and the covenants that we make in the temple.  We have Elder Bowen from the 70 next week and so we have also been asked to study more about it as well since he is coming.  He actually lost one of his children.  His baby inhaled chalk and stopped breathing.  He said there was a point that he said, "why me?"  He ended up getting bitter and angry.  He said that he prayed for a change of  heart because he could tell that guilt, anger and self-pity were consuming him.  The Lord ended up giving him a new heart.  He was able to look forward with hope, rather than backward with despair. 

Bitter, almost unbearable pain can become sweet as we turn to our Heavenly Father.  It would be sad if we didn't feel sad when we experienced trials and pain or in his case, a loss of a child.  The fact that we are allowed to love deeply and love eternally is such a blessing.  I am so grateful for eternal families.  I am grateful the the Lord has promised us that He wont leave us comfortless.  I know we will see our family again after this life.  Like Grandpa Diss and Uncle Mike and all the children that you lost, Mom.  It is such a happy plan, a comforting plan and to have temples is such a blessing.  In the temple, the veil is thinner than any where else on earth.  We are able to seal our families together so that we can live for eternity.  I love this plan that our loving Heavenly Father has given us and I love that we have temples.  I can't wait to go back to the temple when I get home :)

Have a wonderful week... I love you all so very much.

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

picture of the Amish people

The Amish People