Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Week in Kirtland

This week was a very good week.  I did miss being at home for Thanksgiving.  It was a fun Thanksgiving here though.  We went and had a brunch with Sister Busath.  She is so cute.  She made blueberry muffins that were so good!  She told us to sit on the couch and that we weren't allowed to help.  That was the first ever.  I was so tired and I fell asleep for probably 5 minutes and then I woke up with a blanket on me.  She is such a mom :)  We love her.  We played Yahtzee (I won and got 2 Yahtzee's in the game haha 1st time ever) and Apples to Apples, banana grahams and ...Bunko.  It was super fun!  There were a lot of ward members and less-actives there as well.  So that was our lazy Thanksgiving.  It was weird going back into missionary mode.
Al and Loretta came to the lighting ceremony in Kirtland.  There were so many people there... we got to sing with all the sisters and then me and sister Coontz ran outside.  We got assigned to turn all the lights on!  They were counting down and we had the privilege of turning them on :)  It is beautiful right now in Kirtland.  So many non-members are coming and we aren't allowed to proselyte.  Just visit and get to know people.
We took the most amazing tours this week.  It is getting a lot busier now.  Wow, I cannot even put it into words.  Our bishop came with his extended family and requested "the Hiram" sisters!   So we ran downstairs and were so excited to see and meet all of them.  Bishop cried a lot on tour and so did his mom and dad... it was a very touching tour.  His grandma is HILARIOUS. haha she has hearing aides and when she puts her hands on her ears, it sounds like she tunes into a radio station and it sounds like men are speaking. She kept hitting her ears and then she would giggle.  It was so funny.  The family kept hugging us after the tour and said, you better come and visit us before we go back home to Utah.  So we got permission from sites to leave early and go to bishops house.  The grandma kept holding my hand and telling me she loved me and kept telling me the same stories haha I loved her so much.  I want to stay in contact with bishops family and Sister Busath's (the relief society president).  We honestly have the best ward.  I have been here almost 6 months.  It's my new home ward :)  Bishop just told me I'm speaking in church the Sunday before transfers.... I will probably be transferred. :(
One of the other tours was with two couples.  They honestly looked like punk kids.  They said they wanted to watch the 90 minute Restoration movie.  We normally just show the Kirtland movie, so we had to get permission.  We both made the comment that they probably just want time alone. ha ha.  Boy, were we so wrong!  I feel terrible.  One of the boys joined the church 13 months ago.  I guess he was a drugee and met the missionaries, he said he just knew it was true and now he has had 20 friends and family members take the missionary discussions.  The girl he was with, worked with his sister.  He said, "I just walked up to her a Dairy Queen and said, hey do you wanna come to church with me?" haha and now she is getting baptized in 2 weeks!  That is a member missionary right there.  They cried as well.  When we were in the School of the Prophets he said, "man, you two are awesome sister missionaries."  He was so nice.  We got a picture with them and exchanged information.  He has his mission call to Mexico and leaves in a few weeks. He just inspired me!
Then we took other awesome people, one interesting lady, who has a special calling with the gathering of the jews.  She said, the second coming is coming soon and I said, "I have to get married and have kids first because of what it says in my blessing!" and she said, "well then you are getting married asap when you get home from your mission."  It was a little interesting.  She said President Monson was involved and she said Joseph Smith comes to Kirtland every day.  I am sure that that is true, but I wasn't sure why she was so open about it. :)
Katherine Stamm let us teach her :)  She was so interested and happy.  Miracle.  We watched the Elder Holland Mormon message, "Safety For the Soul".  Watch it.  Dang, it's powerful.  She said, this has all sounded so appealing since we have been coming and she trusts us and she wants to start studying more.   She says she has already been praying about it!   She is so cute :)  I just kept remembering the dream I had when Drew in Katherine were in white in the temple... it will come someday soon:)
Michael asked us to question our faith and try other churches. HA.... that is a long story, I'll save for later.
I found out that I have ancestors in Kirtland!   How come I never knew this!?  I ask people every day and they ask me if I have any and I say, "no I don't think so." BUT Levi Hancock is our relative!   He built the upstairs of the Whitney Store for the Smith's and Joel Hills Johnson.  The one who wrote the song, "High on the Mountain Top", is our relative.   He built the Sawmill and was a recent covert in Kirtland.  Ezekiel who we are also related to, he was there, but he was a drunk.  He eventually had a change of heart.  He was not baptized yet because they were going across from Missouri to Nauvoo.  Joseph Smith was just murdered and he was helping the saints get across and helping them escape.  In one story, it said that he was standing behind a tree and stepping out telling the captain and mobs, "leave or I'll shoot".  So they did, but eventually they grabbed him and whipped him to death :( He was never able to get baptized.  President Woodruff said, "Ezekiel was one of the first martyrs to the cause of the church in this dispensation."
I was reading something that said, "great men and women in ages past were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best. not because they knew that they would succeed, but they knew that WE would!"   They endured so much, I think that it is so easy to forget how much they had to endure.  We could have had another apostasy, just like before because, it could have been "too hard".  But it didn't happen.  This dispensation will not fail!   They saw our time, they knew that they had to endure. "In order for them to consider themselves fully successful depends on our faithfulness and our victory".
Wow, we NEED to be our best selves.  We need to be faithful and be instruments in His hands in spreading the gospel, or all that they did, would have been for nothing.
Just like Joseph Smith said, "The greatest and most important work is to preach the gospel."
I am so thankful for our ancestors who endured long winters without air condition here.  It is so cold haha.  I am grateful for everything that they did and that they PERSERVERED.
Let us keep persevering from day to day and prepare ourselves for the day that the Lord comes again.
Love you more than anything.  Hope your Thanksgiving was great.  I get to see you in just a couple weeks!  Weird!
Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson
ps- I get to call my friends at home and talk/ teach when we get I-pads soon!!
pss- I was asked to sing at the ward Kirtland nativity night and transfer meeting.  So scary.
pss- sorry I am typing so much, hope you don't get bored :)

Sister Coontz and Sister Johnson on Thanksgiving in Aurora, Ohio

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