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.  :) 

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