Monday, June 23, 2014


Hi family,

Oh my, my heart hurts.  My prayers are going out to the Minor family.  I actually met someone yesterday who knew them from Hemet...

3 people I have taught are getting baptized this Saturday.  I have been asking for for a while to go to Marsha's baptism.  It's usually not allowed because otherwise missionaries would be traveling all over the mission to see people that they taught.  I asked my District Leader and I never heard back.  He was waiting for the Zone leaders to talk to the AP's so they can talk to the Mission President. Anywho, I just asked Elder Sorenson...(because I was impatient) and he said, "one second".  He turned around and called President Vellinga.... then he text him and long story, but President ended up calling me.  Still, nothing decided.  Then I saw him at the fireside last night and I said, "I have been thinking about it and I don't think that I should go. " He said, "Do you think you shouldn't?"  I told him it wasn't fair because other sisters have been able to go to their baptisms after they got transferred.... well, long story short, he said..."hmm... I think you should go, you have my permission."  I was SHOCKED and reallllyyyy happy.  Elder Sorenson is driving me and we wont get home until after 10 (after curfew because it's far away).  I am reallllllyyyy spoiled.  All the sisters kept saying, "how do you get permission for everything?"  I feel guilty :/ but I get to go to MARSHA'S baptism!  And Alexandria and Kayla's was on Saturday and he said I can go to all 3, but Alexandria and Kayla didn't show up to church, so they had to cancel...

Elder Sorenson was out of town for a while sealing his grandson and new granddaughter in the temple.  He said, "Do you realize that this is a dedicated site, just like the temple is dedicated?"  He said that being in the world really opened his eyes again and he said that being on site feels just like being in the temple and he said, "basically, we get to live in a temple every single day."  So cool, huh? :)

I talked to Dakoda!  Did you hear?  He is pretty cool.  I told him about the Johnson home and how we have section 76 in the D&C. Then we talked about the Plan of Salvation.  I also talked to Kent twice!  He has a cool hick accent.  I told him about Newel K. Whitney and Joseph first meeting each other in Kirtland and talked about prayers being answered.

We were pulling weeds this week and It was sunny and hot outside.  We were so sweaty.  We were going to stop by a few people after we were done and when we did, we ran into a cute lady and told her about Primary (we had just practiced telling people about Primary in district meeting in the morning).  She was so interested and says she has been looking for a church that is family oriented.  Well, all of a sudden HUGE clouds were rolling in...and there was a ton of thunder. We were thinking... "we better get going" but there was another lady sitting out front.  We HAD to talk to her too... so we ran up to her and she said, "what on earth are you doing outside?  Did you know there are tornado warnings!?  It's almost here!  Get in my house!"  Well, as missionaries, we definitely cannot decline that, so we went in her house and we were able to talk to her about the gospel.  She was the sweetest lady and really so prepared.  She saved us from the storm and we stayed in her house until it ended :)  It was meant to be and really a miracle.  She is going to be a strong member one day, I know it.  We are so grateful that we were in the right place at the right time.  Before we left, I felt strongly like I needed to testify from the bottom of my heart that I knew that these things were true.  I prayed really hard that the spirit was there and that she felt it...

Sorry I am so long winded today. We did too much this week and I took so many neat tours with non-members and people from all over the United States.  We even got to play volleyball and go on a hike for Family Home Evening with the Community of Christ this week.  We did not feel like missionaries.  It was too much fun. 

We have also been in Kirtland a ton and have given so many tours. Kaden, guess what?  I took a tour with this family and this boy kind of looked like you.  I said, "hey you look like my little brother."  This kid said, "really?  No way.  That is cool!" I asked him how old he was and he said that he was 12.  I said, "Hey! My brother is 12!  Then I said, "what is your name?"  And he said, "Kaden."  I said, "How do you spell it?"  He said, K.A.D.E.N. I said, "Do you play basketball?"  He said, "I am playing on a league right now." Then I told him that my brother's name is Kaden and it's spelled the same and he plays bball!  He got really excited. ha ha.  It made me happy because it reminded me of you :) I love and miss you too much.

When we ate dinner with Uma the other day, she told us what the food was called, "white melon soup." Well, then she said it in Thai. When she said it, she said the F word!  The word melon in Thai is the F word! She started laughing and said, "we have melon all the time, it don't bother me." It was kinda funny, but I was kinda uncomfortable. ha ha. 

I love being a missionary.  I learn so much.  

Anyways, I love you a lot. I hope you have a great week. 

Love always,

Sister Johnson

"For those who feel physically or emotionally exhausted, start getting regular sleep and rest and make time to eat and relax. Recognize that being busy is not the same as being worthy and being worthy does not require perfection."

Monday, June 16, 2014


A big part of this week we were in Shaker and the other part of the week, I was in Chardon.  I had a last meeting with Laura and we really set expectations.  We were going to drop her, but she said she understands and she said she will start keeping committments, so that is good.

We took Jason to Kirtland.  The School of the Prophets was really awesome.  We told him about the men who threw their pipes and tobacco straight into the fireplace and we invited him to do the same with his coffee.   He said, "I don't think the senior missionaries would be very happy with me if I broke glass all over." ha ha.... everything is sarcasm.  I kept pulling pranks... we just have to do that with Jason because we are so bold with him and then we have to lighten things up a bit.  It was good and it was sad to say bye.  He will get baptized one day soon.  I told him he better go quick so he can find a cute Mormon girl and get married in the temple. 

They had me bear my testimony when I left Shake Heights and then they had me bear testimony in Chardon.  I am officially in my first branch.  Man, it was so small.  Not much is going on in Chardon right now... so we have a ton of work to do.  A ton... It's all country- kinda like Rootstown again.  There is one area where they have a couple shopping spots and food, but that is it.  It's weird not being the only white person anymore!   I kinda really liked it :)

We went to the Strawberry Festival again this year!   We served yummy Strawberry shortcake.  It was SO fun.... I loved seeing so many people and talking to so many people in line.

Well, we had the sweetest tour yesterday.  An elder from our mission came with his family (Elder Williams- She tried to set me up with him and his companion all the time ha ha and the bishop told her to stop).  So he actually was one of the elders that I sent Marsha to!  So we got to talk about Marsha.

There was a couple of families combined because it is getting so busy again.   One family was just moving here... and guess what there new ward is?  Shaker Heights.  They were adorable... they would have been in my area too.  Anyways, one of the little boys was named Luke and you could tell that he had a disability.  We kept talking to him and directing everything towards him.  When we were in the School of the Prophets, Luke was acting up and moving around a ton.  After we read the testimony of John Murdock of the vision he had, I turned to Luke and said, "Did you hear that Luke?  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came in this room."  He smiled and turned his head into his mom as if he was embarrassed.  Such a sweet little boy.  After we went out of the store, the mom came up to me and said, "When Luke has high emotions, he reacts just as he did in the School of the Prophets."  Then she started to choke up and cry... she said, "It was very special to get to see him react to the spirit.  I know that he was feeling the spirit."

I heard a quote the last couple of days, it said, "the key to know God is a struggle."  Sometimes that is very true.  I did not realize how hard it would be to leave Shaker and get released... it's been really hard.  A lot harder to get released than to get called.  At least I am still serving and still a missionary! 

Well, I have to run, but I love you. 

I attached the note from Elder Holland...

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

Monday, June 9, 2014

Being Transferred One Last Time

Another really fun week and last week in Shaker Heights East.  I am really sad.... I am getting transferred.   I have spent 1/3 of my mission here being Sister Training Leader and I will really miss it.  It's almost like a weight is being lifted because I don't have to do training meetings and other training meetings and exchanges and scheduling and all the tasks anymore.  But then again, I really really liked being able to serve in that way.  I will now be ending my mission in Chardon West.  It is the Amish Community and very rural.  So, it will be such a change from Shaker!  We aren't teaching a single white person here and I love it.  
President called me and asked to talk with me alone.  Then he released me as a Sister Training Leader and complimented me.  I was trying not to cry.  Then Elder Sorenson called me... he made it seem like someone was dying.  I was balling.  He told me that he honored, respected and that he has really grown to love me and that he would really miss serving alongside with me.  He kept going on and on.... it made me even more sad to know that I am leaving.  I love Elder Sorenson and Sister Sorenson.  He said, "thanks for being my AP".  I am so ssadd.....
More crazy news... remember how Jeanie Owens tried to set me up with a guy?  Then I found out his sister was going to be in my mission?  Well, she is my new companion, starting Wednesday!  I am killing another Sister!  I sent home Sister Wygant, Frankenberry and now Tiejten and then someone will send me home.... crazy... I said to president, "I am sending another one home!"  He just laughed and said, "Hmmm, Heavenly Father must think your good at pushing them to the very end."  I don't think so.
MORE AWESOME news.  Elder Holland wrote Elder Sorenson and thanked Sister Newren and I for our musical number and complimented us... Elder Sorenson said that he will send us a copy :)  I am so excited to see what it says.. did you realize in the picture that it went, Karl Anderson (Mr. Kirtland), Elder Seldon (area 70), Elder Holland (12) and Elder Hallstrom (pres of 70). That's a lot of Priesthood!!
Haha Sister Newren and I were just talking about how we also ate more this week than in our entire lives... pretty sure I gained 100 pounds.  Sometimes we had 2 dinners a night.  Lots of fries and pizza this week.  I also had my last Zone Training (where I did some training), Mission Leadership council (so spiritual), and my last Kirtland Training meeting (we wrote love notes to each other, it was fun:)) sad :( I had to say bye to every one..  I got a couple pictures.
We have so many people who are about to get baptized.  Susan, Jason, Alexandria, Kayla and Patar.  We taught Patar last night. He is from Indonesia and his wife is a member from Thailand.  They are so dang cute. He really wants to know the truth... he really feels it and when he prayed last night, Uma jumped on him and started kissing him!  She was so happy that he prayed.  We committed them to remind each other about praying every night and pray together.  He has never really prayed, so this is a huge step.
We also took MORE great tours.... I wish I could talk about all of them.  SO great.
Have you ever heard of the Parable of the push-ups?  The seminary teacher had a boy do 10 push-ups so that every one in the room could have a donut? I will tell you :)  We decided to do that this week for part of our discussion.  We asked Elder Vavra to do the push-ups and we turned it into a roll play.  To describe Elder Vavra... he reminds me of Jordan Wheeler, just very sweet.
We walked up to each person in the room and said, "Elder Carr, would you like a cookie?"  Elder Carr said yes and we turned to Elder Vavra and said, "would you do ten push-ups so that Elder Carr can have a cookie?"  We weren't even half way through and Elder Vavra was really struggling.  He had to keep stopping and regaining strength in order to continue with the push-ups.  It really was so touching.  Elder Vavra was struggling so much... we really wanted to help him.  Some people didn't even want a cookie, but he still had to do 10 push-ups.
We talked about Jesus Christ and how he gave us a wonderful gift.  He suffered so much for every single one of us, even the people who didn't want his gift (like the cookie.)  Then we talked about how we can accept His gift by repenting.  I am so grateful for the wonderful gift that we have received.  I am so grateful that we are able to repent, change and become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
Have a wonderful week!! Love you!
Sister Johnson

Monday, June 2, 2014

This IS Real Life

Hello, hello!

Well, I am so excited it is p-day.  I don't know what is wrong, but I was soooo tired this week.  I kept falling asleep everywhere.  We didn't eat too well, so maybe that was why.  It will be nice to eat what I want one day... we get fed so much in our ward. 

This week was great though.  I went to the Johnson Home for the last time on my mission... we took Jason there since he didn't get his tour last week.   He really is so close to getting baptized. We prayed with him before we started the tour and I know that really helped.  It invited the spirit immediately.  He didn't talk too much, but he said that he was taking everything in.  I kept asking questions to try and open him up... he said he felt really good though and we said, that is the spirit and he just smiled. :)  We are taking him on tour in Kirtland next Tuesday and now he is really excited to go. 

We also took other special tours this week... there were these boys who came on tour from all over Utah.  You could kinda tell that their moms made them come on the trip, so that they would consider going on a mission.  We started the tour at the Sawmill and Ashery... they were not listening to anything we said and just joking around.  Well, by the time we got to the Whitney Store, they were still hyper and I was pretty blunt with them and told them that this could be a special experience for them, but only if they wanted it to be and I bore testimony.  They all got really quiet and by the end of the tour...  they were sharing their testimonies and some were even crying and sharing their experiences.  It was amazing to see how the spirit can work with people.
Another tour we took came up to me and said, "Your parents would be proud." and he started to choke up... it made me feel really special...

We went on exchanges this week.  We were supposed to go on 2 exchanges, but I really wasn't feeling well one day and we had to cancel.  I felt so bad... :(  On exchanges we went to Uma's house.  She is from Thailand and she is just the CUTEST!  We got there to do service because they just moved into their new home, but she said, "in just a minute we will do service because I am hungry".  So we taught a lesson and then she has a friend who is a chef from Indonesia who was cooking us food!  We had 2 giant dinners.... It was so weird because their dessert was a red bean pancake.  They don't use jelly and stuff because it's too sugary. No wonder they stay so thin.  But they sure eat a lot... we felt so sick.  We are going back tonight- her husband is a non-member and wants to take the discussions and get baptized.  It's wonderful.  Hopefully they wont feed us, but I bet they will!  They are too cute.

We seriously have so many cultures around us.  We go to Kirtland and it's all Utah and Mormon people, then we go to our area and we are the only white people.  It's the best of both worlds for sure!

Okay, continuing with Elder Holland.. did I tell you I cried when I was singing?  I was really embarrassed....  I really learned so much from him and I have been sharing my experience with everyone all week. (except for the singing, because I can't tell anyone in Ohio).  All of my notes are pretty much quotes.  I could put almost everything that he said and frame it. 

He said that they have a huge fear that missionaries are going to get home from their missions and He raised his voice quite loud and said, "Don't you EVER leave this church.  DON'T leave us.  How are we supposed to find the sheep when we are looking for the shepherds?  You can never go, not in my lifetime, you CANNOT run and you CANNOT hide.  Clint Eastwood is baby talk.  If you are hiding down a dark alley, don't you worry, I will come and I will FIND YOU!"  He was pointing his fingers and very serious. He told us to stretch to the very end, to the last moment.

He told us that he has a friend from high school who won 4 Gold Metals in the Olympics.  Elder Holland said that he went and asked him what is trick was and his friend replied, "It means I kick when I don't want to kick and I stroke when I don't want to stroke."

Elder Holland said that, that is how we should always be in life.  He said, "There may be a struggle or 2 but welcome to the mission, welcome to life."  "Don't say, 'when I get home from the mission and be in real life... This is the CLOSEST we are going to come to REAL LIFE, with a capital R and a capital L.  Understand that."

He said that salvation is not easy and we need to come home from our missions SO powerful that the little kids in the front row have their eyes wide open.

He said to think about this... "we are God's investigators.  Just like you want your investigators to be praying more sincerely... are you praying sincerely?  Just like you want your investigators to come to church with a question and read to learn, do you come to church with a question and ready to learn?   Just like you want your investigators to read the Book of Mormon with real intent, are you?" 

This all really opened my mind.  I told us that as missionaries, we are apostolic.  I do what the apostles do.  Their mission is for their life, mine is only for 18 months.  He told us to savor it all.  He said that he has looked back on his mission for the last 50 something years and we will too, so do all that we can.

One more thing.... Elder Holland said he prays for the 2nd coming every night.  I thought that was interesting.  I am going to start doing that as well.  We live in a corrupt world, but I know we will make it to the end if we work as hard as we can to the very end. if we "kick when we don't want to kick and stroke when we don't want to stroke."

I love this gospel.

Sister Johnson

Ps- I forgot to say I went to the Morley Farm as well this week.   It was my first time.... and they said, "It's just like the Sacred Grove and it was a Sacred Grove like experience."  We invited Karl Anderson for our training meeting to come and speak there.