Monday, January 27, 2014

Bob Was Baptized

Holy smokes-

I don't know where to start.  This week was a good week... BOB was BAPTIZED!  He is seriously going to be a leader one day...  he needs a wife though.  Annndddd he thinks Nana is cute ;)  The night of his baptism, it was snowing soooo much!  The roads were terrible and a lot of people were texting us, saying that they couldn't make it because of the winds and weather.  We were so nervous that no one was going to show. :(  We went early to fill the font and we saw a car drive up, we thought it was the other sisters, but it was Bob.  He showed up 2 hours early. ha ha.  He was so pumped.   When the baptism was about to start, hardly anyone was there, but a miracle happened.  Just a few minutes before it started, SO MANY people came that we didn't even know were coming.  We didn't even have enough seats, people were standing.  It was a great night and Bob bore his testimony at the end and said some nice things to us.  He also wrote me the nicest thank you note I've ever received.  He is such a good man.  He had 16 people in his circle when he was confirmed!  Everyone loves him. 

Oh, we also went and heart-attacked Bob's house the day before his baptism.  He told the whole world and even cried.  He loved it so much.  We just cut out hearts and I drew Goofy and funny notes.  He text us later and said "Did you sweet loving angels put hearts on my door?  I am touched...very touched".  It made us feel good. :)  We just love him.

We also went to Kia 3 times this week.  Once was to just say hi last night.  She was watching the Grammy's.  That was very, very distracting.  Good thing we were just there for a few minutes.  But we also brought her frozen yogurt this week and had another lesson.  She is great and she really wants to know if this is true.  The lessons we had with her were perfect.  The spirit was so strong. We love our little sis, Kia.

Jason is still doing great and also Laura.  Laura fed us last night.  She cried and cried.  She knows this is right and that her mom is proud of her.  She also was nervous because we told her missionaries don't stay here forever.  She does not want any new missionaries .  She was putting her foot down. haha! 

We had such an amazing Sunday yesterday.  The stake presidency came and we received so much insight.  The spirit was so strong in every meeting.  President Haymond got up and told us that this area around Kirtland is about to see a ton of blessings and a ton of challenges.  He said that he knows this because of when Elder Ballard was here.  Then he told us a story about Karl Anderson in our ward.  Karl's daughter just married President Eyrings daughter.  Karl said that President Eyring gave this young couple some advice.  Our Stake President said, "keep in mind that this is a prophet, seer and revelator who gave this advice."

President Eyring said, "You need to have the spirit in your lives.
1. Make sure you have childlike faith in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the prophet
2. Establish a 2 way communication with Heavenly Father
3. Elliminate contention in you lives
4. Emmerse yourselves in the scriptures."

In the scriptures we have heard that we need to be converted AND become as a little child.  Not one or the other. 

If we do these things, I know that it will bless us, help us get through challenges and give us more peace and happiness.  It will especially give us the guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives.  We NEED to develop the talent of listening to the spirit.  It is a talent just like any other talent.  We need to practice, take the time to be quiet, pray and act when the Holy Ghost does give us a prompting. 

Ask yourself some of these questions

How childlike is my faith?
Am I humble and willing to submit to His will?
Am I happy with the direction of my life?
Am I doing the simple things of life that have been asked of me?
Am I being honest?
Am I following the guidance of the prophets?
Am I kind to those around me?
Do I attend the temple as frequently as I can?
Do I weekly partake of the sacrament?

I know these are important... if we do these things and more, the Holy Ghost will be in our life more.  The stake president said, "nothing more important as a mother, than to teach your children HOW to listen and recognize the spirit".  We need to be living worthily in order to have the Holy Ghost.

It truly is such a blessing to have the Holy Ghost.  I know this gospel is true! 

I love you.

Sister Johnson

"godly sorrow worketh repentance to Salvation... but the sorrow of the world worketh death"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Constantly Turn To the Lord

Hey :)

How are you doing?

I am not even sure what happened this week.  It was all a blurr! 

We had a training meeting this last week.  We taught the sisters how to make the most use of our time and how to be most productive. This next week will be in the School of the Prophets.  It is the anniversary.... we have planned it, it will be so powerful and amazing.

Last night, we had a Fireside at Historic Kirtland.  President Vellinga (mission president) came and President Stacey, Elder and Sister Sorenson, etc.  I conducted.  I love conducting :)  Bishop Hatfield from my Hiram ward came! Along with Jimmy, Brother Jeffrey, the Sender's, Jon Carlo Hale, etc.  It was a Hiram ward event.  I loved seeing everyone.  Brother Hale is sooooo sweet.  He was telling everyone how I teach.  He said, "have you seen her teach?"   And went on talking to everyone about it.  Whatever, ha they are so nice.  They all said they missed me.  I love them and miss them too.

We have been seeing our less-actives and have been practicing teaching on a lot of members.  They get so excited to help!  The ward is being wonderful in trying to work with the missionaries.  I am still just trying to get to know the ward.  There are a lot of members and a ton of kids plus in school/ residency, so they are all so busy.

We watched the Joseph Smith movie with Laura last night.  She is SO close to having a small testimony, knowing it's true.... she is the one who met with the missionaries before, then her mom died and she was having such a hard time that she referred herself on for us to come over.  She is a sweet lady.  Jason and Kia, are doing great as well. 

Bob however, is getting baptized on Saturday :)  He is one of the most honest, sincere and charitable people I have ever met.  He is always wanting to help.  He will be a solid member of the church and the ward is helping so much with fellow-shipping and helping him with everything that he needs to do.

This last week was really hard, probably harder than any other time on the mission.  I am doing everything I can to constantly turn to the Lord.  I love Him.  I am so blessed to be able to know who God is.  During the Apostasy, they didn't know who God was.  We are seriously so blessed to know who He is.  He has a glorified body,  He is a person, He has a massive capacity to love.  I think about my parents and they only have five kids.  They love us all, easily.  If one of us kids left the gospel, my parents would pray every second for their return NO matter what they have done.  That is the same with us to Heavenly Father.  No matter what we have done, we can turn back to Him.  It is such an amazing knowledge to know that we are created in His likeness and image.  Which means, we are like Him in personality and we resemble Him. 

This mom wanted to go on a jog and asked her older 11 year old son to watch the younger 7 year old son.  She took a few minutes to pack up her things when her younger son was begging to go to the gym with her.  He wanted to go so bad.  So, she took him without realizing she forgot to tell the 11 year old son.  As time went by, the 11 year old realized he hadn't seen his younger brother.  He searched everywhere looking for him, in closets, the backyard, cupboards, everywhere.  He could not find his little brother.  He was panicking and didn't know what to do.  When finally he heard the garage come up.  He ran outside and said, "mom, I can't find him!" she said, "find who?"  When all of a sudden his little brother walks out of the van.  The 11 year old burst into tears, falls onto the ground and grabs his little brother, holding him as tight as he could. 

I can picture that perfectly.  I feel like that is what it is going to be like when we see our Father in Heaven again.  He is going to hold onto us so tight, no matter what mistakes we have made, He will be happy we eventually made it back to Him.  We can ONLY reach Him through the Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love my Heavenly Father.  I can't always imagine how he loves me more than my earthly parents do, but He does.  There is no doubt.

I love you.

Sister Johnson

"As we emulate His perfect example
Our hands can become His hands
Our eyes, His eyes
Our heart, His heart"


Monday, January 13, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Hi Mom, Dad, Kory, Kolton, Kaden, Kierra, and Kobe,

I have never felt such cold weather before!  We had to stay inside because with the wind chill, it was -40- -50.  We were at sites that day anyway and so we helped take down Nativities and then planned for our training meeting last Friday. 

It was amazing, we had a conference call last week with President Vellinga , AP's and Zone Leaders,  before our cold- stay inside day.   It was so great!  He made sure we were all safe.  Schools were shut down because no one was allowed to drive on the icy roads.  They said that it hasn't been this cold in over 30 years and this is the worst winter since 1994.  They used 1,400 tons of salt last year and they have used 27,000 so far this year.  So it's been a joy to be a part of... just kiiidddinnngg. not really. :)

I went on another exchange this week with Sister Esplin.  I LOVE her.  Do you remember when I used to live with her and we would do our work outs every morning?  (I am setting her up with Nyal btw..... :) )  When I first got here, we both talked about how we looked so familiar to each other.  We can't think of a single place that we both were.  So, we decided it was just in thepre-existence and we were just meant to be friends.  Our appointments fell through when we were together, so we went to our back-ups.  We stopped by Kia, which it was a miracle she was home because she usually takes the bus to Cleveland on Friday's.  She is my other new little sister.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation... it was seriously such a powerful lesson.  We invited her to be baptized and she said YES!!

Sister Esplin and I went and taught Jason after that at the Price's home.  Brother Price is from Mesa and he grew up Catholic and Atheist.  So did Jason... So Brother Price bore a powerful testimony about how he came to know that this was true.  They talked about the blessings that they have seen since they made that decision.  Jason said he wouldn't come to church before, but this time, he said he wanted to come and he did.  The spirit is the best teacher.

Bob is still set to go for the 25th.  We had a couple awesome lessons with him.  We always do... he is such a story teller.  It is hard to stay on topic all the time. haha. It's ridiculous.  We tell him and teach him about the gospel and he just agrees with everything.  I have never had this before.  It's hard to believe, he is just so prepared.  He told us yesterday that he wants to tell all his friends and family and have them get baptized.  He is already doing missionary work! 

Remember when I talked about Marsha a long time ago?  Well, I could not find her number!  I was going to cry.   I thought I put it in the online system, but I didn't .... so I was freaking out.  I said a prayer in my heart and then literally two seconds later a sister yelled my name.  She said, "do you know a Larsha?"  I was like MARSHA?  My prayer was answered so fast!  Marsha called me on Christmas day and left a message for me and she left her number!   She is such a sweetheart.  I called her and she was so excited to talk.  She told me that we changed her whole entire life from the tour we took in Kirtland and said, it was meant to be.   She is taking the discussions from the Elders and going to church (sometimes).   I asked her if I could continue calling her and reading the Book of Mormon.   She wanted to know where to get the Glenn Beck conversion story.   Mom, I told her to call you.   She got so excited...  She called me back later in the day after talking to you and said, "I couldn't wait until TUESDAY!,   Your family loves you and they miss you!"   She talked a lot.   I wish I had time to tell you all, she is amazing.

This last week, we had a Zone training meeting, a Kirtland training meeting (which I taught), Mission Leadership Council, Elder Sorensen's powerpoint and Sunday School, ALL on the Atonement. Sisters have said that it was an answer to their prayers.  Everyone in Kirtland is struggling right now... I think the weather is a big part of that.  One sister went home... it was so sad :( I know how important the Atonement is.   It gives us hope in times of trouble.  That is something that I learned most this last week.  I learned that I really need to always study the Atonement as much as we can.  We truly will be endowed with power from on high.  We will face the future with much more faith, joy and hope. 

In the Ensign this month, it talks a lot about the Atonement as well.  There was one talk that talked about Dory in Finding Nemo.   Marlin and Dory went through many trials, but they were willing to do anything and everything for his son, Nemo.   Dory was the prime example of what it means to find joy in the journey.   We can find that joy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

No matter what they went through, Dory had a positive outlook and sang songs, laughed, made jokes, etc.  That is what we need to do! 

We have so much to look forward to in the future.  We can find joy in the journey.  We need to just keep swimming like Dory.  Remember that we chose this plan, we chose to endure well and we can choose to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

I love you!   Got to run....have a great week:)

Sister Johnson

"We should not expect the Lord to remove our challenges just because we promise Him that we will always be faithful if He does.   Rather, we are to endure well and then we will be blessed"

PS- Karl Anderson, the one who wrote the book about Kirtland I was reading before I left of my mission, and the Stake Patriarch, is in my ward.  :) 

Monday, January 6, 2014

It is COLD!!!


We do not have a ton of time today... we have been instructed to stay inside today and tomorrow, so this will be quick. I think :) I  t is going to be -37 DEGREES!  The only bummer is that we had AWESOME appointments scheduled for tonight!  I am way sad...

I forgot to tell you, I live on the Kirtland site.   I can see the room from our house of where the Savior appeared.   I live in an old historic home.  The man who lived there was John Boynton.  I don't know too much about him... I don't think he did the best things, but it is really awesome living here.   We also get to go on our runs around the Kirtland temple. :)

I have so much to talk about.  This week was AMAZING!  As far as investigators go.... almost everyone is starting to progress.  Bob received a Priesthood blessing.  All the men in the ward were amazed with Bob.  After the blessing, one of them said, "There is no doubt, you are going to be a bishop or a high leader in the church one day."  How cool is that?  Our investigator is amazing and I love him :)  He is all set to go to be baptized on the 25th :) And he is my new best friend.

I went on my first exchange with Sister Nance.  Remember she is my friend on Facebook?  haha.  And I saw her at the MTC?  She is way cute.  We had such a fun day.  It was so funny... we went to go help this guy get his car out of the snow and I stepped back into the snow on the side of the road and it was not just snow.  It was a stream and I fell way deep in the snow and was all wet.  It was not fun.  Then we just continued tracting. brrrrr.  Then our car got stuck in the snow.  It was awesome. 

We also met this really cool guy named Darell.  He is African American and about 6'8".  He is awesome.  So fun to talk to!  He was the one we were meeting with tonight :( 

Then KIA!  She is also African American.  We get along so well.  She likes basketball and I said she can come to our house in California and hang with my brothers.  She is really excited. haha.  She said she has always wanted to come to California. ;) 

We also have Laura (who is doing awesome), Colleen, Jason, Latasha (A WHOLE CUTE FAMILY) , more I can't think of this second and now Speedy.  We met Speedy yesterday.  It was hilarious.. we went up to him and talked about the Book of Mormon.  He was so interested!  So was his friend.  While we were talking to his friend, Speedy was calling the number to get a free Book of Mormon! haha.  We were like, we have one right here!  He said, YES!  I will start reading tonight!  Then he said he was going to invite a lot of his friends over to listen to us and also give the other Book of Mormon to his daughter :)  He is SO COOL! 

We have seen so many miracles and we have found so many people within the last couple weeks.  I can't believe how many people we have found who are so ready to hear more.  I can't even remember all of the people.

I also learned so much this week.  I have probably learned more this week than ANY other week on my mission.  I wish I had more time to tell you everything... 

Do you remember in my setting apart blessing it said, I will have a clear sense of the role of the temple in my life and and a deep and abiding love for the temple or something like that?   Well, who knew I would have a leader/ sites director named Elder Sorensen.  I work alongside him.  He LOVES to teach.  He was a mission president twice, a temple sealer, a stake president and bishop multiple times and he is on his 6th mission with his wife.  HE has worked alongside the general authorities and he has a deep love and understanding of the temple.  He spent a few hours this week, even some one on one time teaching me. 

Brother Sorensen said that he can't see me just as a missionary and he can't see any of the sisters as missionaries.  He said that he sees all of us as what we are going to become in the next life.  I will share more next week... so many insights.  It was one of the BEST discussions.  The plan of Salvation came alive. 

Our Heavenly Father was in our spot at one time as well.  He had to go through life.  HE has a Heavenly Father.  We CAN become like Him. :) We were all with Him before this life... that thought has become so much more real this last week.

"At one time we were in the presence of our Eternal Father.  There is not a soul in this world, not one, that has not seen him.  You do not remember it, I do not remember it, but nevertheless there was a time before we ever came into this world when we dwelt in His presence.  We knew what kind of a being he is.  One thing we saw was how glorious He is.  Another thing, how great was his wisdom, His understanding, how wonderful was His power and His inspiration.  And we wanted to be like Him.  Because we wanted to be like him, we are here.  We could not be like him and stay in His presence, because we did not have glorious bodies of flesh and bones.  WE were just spirits, and the spirit does not have flesh and bones.  But we saw Him in his glory and it was made known to us that by keeping his commandments and observing every covenant that would be given to us on this earth, we could come back again into His presence, receiving our bodies in the resurrection --our spirits and bodies being united again, inseparably, never again to be divided." Elder Sorensen  D&C 132 18 and 19.

Well, we have to go now.  The storm is coming!  I love you so much!!  Always and forever.  Have a great week!!  Enjoy the warmth!

Sister Johnson