Monday, July 28, 2014

John Bytheway and My Birthday!


Well, another week has flown by.  Actually this was a longer week. haha.  I have had 2 different companions this week. Sister Tietjen has now gone home.  So crazy.  I keep sending missionaries home.  My new companion is cute.  Her name is Sister Heckert and she is from Orem Utah.  She is Italian and loves to be healthy... soooooo hopefully we can be a little healthy together.  I still can't run :(  I ran today and my knee didn't like it too much.  There still inflammation, so I am still just taking a lot of medication. 

So much happened this week.  First off... whoa such a great birthday.  I got sung to 100 times.  Maryanna (from our branch) talked to Sister Wygant, who talked to Mom and when I got back from a tour in Kirtland yesterday... there was Happy birthday signs and balloons and presents, confetti cake (with trick candles) frozen yogurt (cake batter) and she even went to the Disney store and got be a stuff animal of Goofy because I guess Sister Tietjen told her that I draw Goofy all the time. haha.... there was even more.  Sister Sorenson and Sister Wygant sent a little baggy of my favorite Dark choc acai berries from Costco.  Then I got the cute necklace from Mom and oh I just felt so spoiled.  Too much fun.  Sister Germaine (a less-active from our branch) drove a half hour to come give me a hug and say Happy Birthday.  I just loved it.  And at the end of the day, we were stuck at the sites. Alarms were sounding and there were tornado warnings and a big storm, so we just hung out at the Visitor center.  I LOVE thunder storms.  It was really fun.  Thank you to every one who wrote me... made my day.

We had some neat experiences this week.  We have a solid new investigator.  She is a member referral with two little girls.  She is so beautiful and loves God.  She has family prayer every day with her girls.  She kept saying, "I have an open mind.  I am searching for something in my life.... I need it, especially for my girls."  She is such a great mom and she told her friend that she really connected with me... she almost wasn't in our area, but a miracle happened and she is!  So we are teaching her again tonight and she will be at church this next week. 

We went to a pizza place with someone the other day in Chardon and we were listening to these people talk.  They seemed really cool and the guy looked like a guy off a movie, so I took it as an opportunity to talk.  I told him he looked familiar... then he said, "hmmm do you go to the YMCA?  I said no... then he asked a ton of other places and then he said, "well what church do you go to?"  It was the perfect way to start talking about the church :)  Turns out he and his wife lived in Kirtland and never went to the sites before.  We invited them to go and then he said, "I will never be a Mormon.  So don't try to convert me."  I told him not to worry... then he told us he went to Salt Lake and they did family history... well, the conversation kinda stopped, but then he turned back around and said, "I have to tell you something.  One time, I felt prompted to go to the Chardon library.  Then I felt prompted to go to the basement and I never go to the basement.  I walked down and saw two girls.  They looked Mormon, so I asked if they were Mormon.  We got talking and they were very nice."  Then he turned back around....  It was so cool that he said that he had a "prompting".  As we were leaving, I reached for my wallet and accidentally pulled out card instead.  I was like... well that is a sign, so I went back and gave the card to them and told them how I got called to a place where my ancestors were.  It really just felt sooooo inspired.  They are going to join the church one day :)

There was another really neat story.  This lady joined the church a couple weeks ago and she came to one of the missionary training meetings.  She walked in with a giant suitcase... it was heavy full of books... she said, "I have a ton more of these books at home."  She told us that she had read every single one of those books (and there was a ton!) and she was searching for answers and found nothing.  Then.... she held up the Book Of Mormon and said, "I read this book and I found...everything."  It was so powerful.  Never underestimate the Book of Mormon.  It really does help us find peace in this life. 

One more quick funny story.  We were talking to John Bytheway this week.  He came on tour with his family.  He's awesome.  We shook his hand and said bye and we were called straight on another tour.. then I asked the next tour if they saw him.  I told the tour that we were just talking with him and Sister Tietjen looks at me with the most shocking look.  She says, "YOU MET JOHN BYTHEWAY?" I said, "You did too hunny.  You even shook his hand." haha  She was freaking out and said, "why didn't you tell me?!"  It was so funny. 

Oh, and I got to drive a tractor this week as we were pulling weeds and stuff.  It was so fun, I really love doing service.  I wish I can finish telling you all the miracles we saw this week.  I guess there was a lady who hasn't talked with anyone from the church in a long time and didn't want anything to do with it.  We stopped by this week and she stepped out on the porch... wasn't going to let us in, but then I really had to go to the bathroom.... so I asked if I come in. haha  Then she let us in and we were able to teach her.  The spirit was so strong and by the end, she said she would think about going to church in the future.  It was so powerful.

I love being a missionary.  I love talking to anyone and every one.  Probably one of my favorite parts about the mission!  I just love people.  I just love missionary work... too much.  It will never end.

Love you all!

Sister Kelsi Denae Johnson

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm Training for My Last 6 Weeks

Hi family,

Guess what?  I am training a new missionary!  It's crazy.  Last preparation day President called and I wasn't thinking anything of it, but he said, "can you train a new missionary for your last 6 weeks?"  When you train, you train for 12 weeks, so I didn't think that was a possibility, but I am excited.  It will really push me to work even harder for the last 6 weeks!  I can't believe I am sending another companion home.  I have had so many companions for only 6 weeks.  I had an interview with President Vellinga this week and we were talking about that and he said, "well at least you know you aren't a problem missionary, every one just needs a taste of ya."  He's just trying to make me feel better. ha 

We have been fed soo very much this last week.  2 dinners a night makes ya sick.  And I have made a promise to Elder Sorenson that I would not exercise in the mornings because I hurt my knees.  He has tons of experience in the health field, so I will comply. 

Did Aunt Laura get a message from her friends in Nashville?  They took a picture of me and they are friends with Jed and Alyson too.  Oh and someone else's family came a took a picture with me?   There was Elder Fogg, that served in our home ward, who sent his mom my weekly emails and she wanted to meet me.   I also met all the seminary and institute directors.  They all came to Kirtland.  So... I asked them all who they knew!  They all knew my mission president and they all knew Angela's dad.  Angela's dad was the boss for most of them and tons of them knew Russ Greiner.  I love making connections with people.  I have found a connection with every tour I took this week!  Oh and there was one set of sisters this week that took over 47 tours!  They were at the Johnson home though and that was a bit shorter, but that is pageant week!  The pageant in Palmyra is now over.

Justine LOVED church this week.  She really loved it and will probably get baptized in the next couple weeks.  She says it seems great for her boys and then SHE was the one who brought up baptism and was talking about how she wants to learn more because her boys want to get baptized when they are 8.  It is really wonderful.  It's so important to talk to every one... I just keep thinking..."what if we didn't talk to her?"

I have really learned more about being Christlike this last week at the training meeting with President Vellinga.  He brought up a really good was in Proverbs.  I can't remember it at the moment, but it talks about how a fool uttereth his mind and the wise people know how to listen.   As a trainer, as a friend, as a sister and daughter... I can be so much better if I listen better.  He talked about how that is one of the hardest traits to accomplish.  To be more interested in other people than yourselves.  I am definitely going to be working on that even more!  I love learning... I feel like I have really started to see more of the eternal perspective of things.  I was asleep before my mission.  I didn't understand.  I still don't understand, but I have just a little bit more and I am eternally grateful for that!

I love you!!

Sister Johnson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Busy in Chardon

okay this week.... well, it was my first really, really great week in Chardon.  Except I have a knee brace on my knee... and I have to get another one for my right knee.  Looks like I am getting old.  Elder Sorenson has been chastising me a lot.  He says I am not allowed to work out :( (Sister Vellinga said that too)  I told him I'd be fine and could do a little :) and he gave me a scary look. haha. He said, "do you want Mr. Right to be pushing you around in a wheel chair at your wedding?"   He said, "you are done until you heal." 

So, we took some really great tours this week. We took 11 between Friday and Saturday.  There were people from Tahiti and Australia and literally just ALL over.  We took this tour with a cute Australian family and there was another couple that joined in as well.   Well, I didn't think anything of it, but the next day... I saw that couple again!  They ran up to me and said, "Sister Johnson, we need to talk to you."  I was thinking I did something wrong, but he said, "You probably don't ever get to hear feedback and we wanted to come and tell you that you did an amazing job on the tour yesterday."  He said that his testimony had been strengthen so much and he was very overwhelmed by the spirit that we brought.  It was so sweet.  His wife was standing there crying and said it was a wonderful experience for them, especially when we sang, A Child's Prayer in the Whitney home. Made me smile so much.

Sister Wygant is here... she came and worked out with us all this morning... since I can't do anything, I just bossed Sister Newren, Pugh, Tietjen and Wygant around.  We run together every morning.  Well, most mornings. 

I have to tell you some amazing miracles in the Chardon West area.  We had 2 days in our area this week.  Basically it was 2 half days and an evening and we worked as hard as we could.  The mission goal is to have 20 lessons a week and we got 20 lessons in our 2 days! It made us so happy. We only had a few more minutes left before we had to head home and so we prayed for where we needed to go and which door to knock on.  Well, we knocked on a door and asked if we could teach him and he said yes!  So he was our 20th lesson. 

We were also stopping by a less-active this week and he was not home.  We were walking by another home and I said, "hey I think we should knock on this door."  A man answered and we asked him if we could practice teaching him for 5 minutes.  He told us that we only had 5 minutes.  As we started to talk, we asked him a couple of questions to get to know him a little bit and turns out he knew a lot about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so we taught him the Plan of Salvation.  During the lesson, he kept asking us so many questions and we went well over 5 minutes... it was over 20 minutes. Turns out, his TWIN brother served a mission and is Mormon and living in Salt Lake.  How neat is that!  He was having a hard time figuring out if there was a God. We testified and he loved it.  It was really a miracle... we were so happy that we were able to meet him.  That happened a couple more times this week as well. 

Chris, the recent convert in our area that has been coming teaching with us is not doing so well.  I can't disclose a lot of information, but it is really bad.  We got involved and his dad yelled at us and told us to get off his property.  Sister Tietjen cried a lot.  I really wanted to say a lot of things to that man, but the spirit was there and my mouth would not open.  We were very Christlike about the whole thing and I learned a lot.  I have never experienced something like that before.  Pray for Chris and his family...

I have a lot of random things to tell you!  For starters, the thunderstorms have been AMAZING here.  We have been soked on tour.  Justine and her 2 boys came to church.  The Packer's also went home :( I cried so much... I love the Packer's. They were my grandparents here.  Sister Packer has to get surgery I think.  She needs a lot of prayers too.  I got to meet her new son in-law that I heard so many stories about! 

Oh and yes, I have had so many connections on tour.  One family has my number and I "have" to go have Sunday dinner with them in Utah.  That is what they said. :) They were fun and yes I took a tour with Brother Short's son and the Garlock's grand-daughter :)

We also got to sing in the Kirtland temple this week for the Emma Festival.  It was a neat experience, now I can say that I sang in the Kirtland temple!!

Also, I totally saw a kid yesterday that I have been on quite a few dates with... it was weird.  He was walking out of the School of the Prophets and he said my name!  Well, then he turned and said, "meet my wife!"  Oh it was great. I said, "I didn't know you were married!"  The senior couple taking them on tour saw what happened and so they told all of Kirtland that I saw an old boyfriend and he was married.  He was never my boyfriend. haha.  They keep telling everyone that, but they just like to joke. haha. 

Lastly, Mom, I can't believe you called the cops on Marsha. hahah.  She really enjoyed telling me. :)

How was your birthday Kierra? 

Well, sorry this all over the place.  Too many little things to tell you.  It was a fun week!  I love you!  very much.

And... that is weird that you have my flight information!!

Sister Johnson

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Marsha is Baptized!

Dear Family,

Well, my week was so fantastic!  SO many wonderful events took place.

We have a recent convert named Christ, who got baptized the week before I got to this area.  He is awesome.  He is in his 20's and really new the church was true.  Anyways, we are teaching him the new member lessons and we asked him if he would stay and teach another guy with us.  He stayed and taught this kid, Nate.  Christ LOVED it.  He was bearing testimony the whole time and he kept saying things like, "I promise you, if you read the Book of Mormon and if you pray about it, you will know that it is true."  "Dude, it's changed my whole life, especially since I got the Holy Ghost."  He even was talking about how it's sometimes hard with the law of chastity and the word of wisdom.... and I kinda stopped him there.... Nate hasn't been taught anything and had never even heard of the Book of Mormon. ha ha  But Chris was just so excited and when we finished, Chris said, "he totally has potential!  I hope he comes to church."  Then when Nate didn't show up to church, Chris was really sad, but we are still going to teach again this week.  It was so awesome.

So many amazing things happened... I got to go to MARSHA'S baptism!  Oh, it was so wonderful.  I was in Kirtland the whole day and so I decided to callMarsha and have a lesson with her to prepare for her baptism.  Mostly just words of encouragement.  I was sick a lot this week... and she said, "oh, you sound so sick, are you going to come? Did you get permission?"  I told her I did not get permission, but I told her that I knew of someone that was going and I said it was a surprise.  Well, of course, that someone was me!  It was hard not to tell her right then because she was so sad I couldn't go.  BUT when I got there, I saw the Elders and they said, "She is going to scream!"  I said, "where is she?"  I ran to the bathroom and I walked in and said, "Marsha", (in a different voice so she didn't know it was me).  Then I walked up to her and said, "I'm here!"  It took her a second to process what was going on and she said, "It's YOU!  Oh hunny, I told everyone you were sick!  Did you trick me on purpose?  Were you that secret spy?  Oh I can't believe you came all this way!"  She kept talking... that is Marsha, she is a talker :)  Then, she kept saying, "did you know, this is my 3rd time to get dipped?  I sure hope it's the last one."  Then when she went to get baptized the men were helping her and telling her again what was going to happen.  She said, "I got it, I am going to lean forward , right?"  They told her no.... and that she was going to be going backwards.  Well...Marsha was almost in tears after that. haha.  She kept whispering, "Oh dear Lord, Oh dear Lord.  Please help us all. "  It was hilarious because she was so serious.  Then they told her that she could plug her nose and I have never seen someone hold on to their nose so tight!  After it was done, she said, "oh, that wasn't that bad." ha ha.  She is a sweetheart and so complimentary.  I really love her... and I was so grateful President Vellinga allowed me to go.  We didn't get home until after 10:30.  It was so fun to go on a road trip with Elder and Sister Sorenson. :)

We have also been taking so many tours.  I love it, we feel so fulfilled.  We fell right on our beds last night, we were so tired.  We took 4 two hour long tours in a row.... my brain was fried, plus we had phone lessons and chats.  We took so many cute little families and prepared families.  So many connections.  One girl was way good friends with McKenzie Hunter and Kenny Roberts. One family worked for Angela Whimpey's dad and knows Angela's family!  And the boy is dating Heather Allan... almost every tour, we have some kind of connection.  It's so fun.  Two girls are adding me on fb too.... ha ha.

One tour was non-members stopping in from New York.  That was amazing... they accidentally made a wrong turn and pulled into the parking lot.  They thought, "well, let's see what this place is."  They were letting us share a ton of information with them.  The dad was really into history and loved learning about it all.  We bore testimony and told them what happened in the School of the Prophets.  I wasn't sure how they would react, but when we asked them what their favorite part of the tour was, they said, "the school room upstairs."  I asked why?... they said, "It just felt peaceful."  That was the best answer!  We talked about the spirit and they kept saying, "this is so cool".  We asked if they wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon and they said that they did.  So we gave out 4 copies.  Then the girls said, "I am definitely going to read this."  I asked the girls if they wanted me to call and read the Book of Mormon with them and be there if they had any questions.  They said, "oh you are so cute, yes!  We would love that!"  So now I am going to call them.  It was MEANT to be that they randomly stopped in Kirtland, Ohio.  They are going to be baptized. :) It was one of the most powerful non-member tours I have taken.  Kinda likeMarsha's tour. :) 

I wish I could tell everything.. I gave a discussion this week and I made everyone do planks and had them do certain things while doing the planks.  It was so funny.  We then related it to "enduring the end".  We met a guy who teaches people acrobats.  Like at sea world... I totally want to do that now!  We watched it... it was amazing! 

I really felt like this week I was in my only little world and have been evaluating my life a ton.  I have realized that when I get home, I want to do things differently.  I love the spirit.  It really can change you and make you want to be a better person, if you have an open heart.  I realized that I want to be the best that I can be now, and when I get home.  I want to be better at studying and constantly nourishing my testimony.  I want to have the spirit with me always and make my home like a temple.  I have been surrounded by so many people who really understand the gospel and they are just so inspiring.   I want to raise my standards even more.  This gospel truly is what makes us happy.

I love you all so much!!! 

Sister Johnson

ps- 2 boys came in preparing for missions ... I felt inspired to share an experience Dad had on his mission, when he remembered a time when he was in seminary.  I told them and they were really appreciative..

Sister Johnson with Marsha

Sister Johnson with Marsha at her baptism 6/28/14