Monday, December 22, 2014

Final Email being a Missionary :( December 22

I am feeling many emotions today and I probably will be for the next few weeks. It doesn't seem real that I will be home next week. Of course I am thrilled to see my family and friends but I will miss all of the ones I have met out here. One of the good things about serving close to home is being able to come back and visit many times!
I am beyond grateful that I was given the opportunity to serve a mission and that I acted in faith to go. Many of you know that I never thought or wanted to go on a mission but I am so happy that i was given this experience, I wouldn't trade it for anything! Many people say missions are hard. I can say that I completely agree and understand! Elder Holland says it perfectly, "I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was never easy... why would we believe, why would we think, that it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?" He then goes on and talks about how we will walk some of the path that He walked and feel some of the pain He felt and even shed one of the tears that He shed. This is true, I know it is because I have felt this way throughout the last 18 months. I am grateful for the trials and hard times because it brought me closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ. The Atonement carried me when all I wanted to do was give up and stop walking. He will do this for all of us if we allow Him. I know God loves us and knows the desire of our hearts. He wants us to come unto Him. I have been blessed to teach this message to many people, it has brought me pure joy seeing others accept this message and truly come to Him. I know it doesn't have to stop just because I have to take off the name tag. I will always be a representative of Jesus Christ and share this wonderful message of hope and peace to all I meet. I love this gospel with all my heart and I know without a doubt that it is true! 
See you all soon! :) 
Love Sister Johnson

Thanks ward!! :)

Saying bye to Sister Dunford at the Christmas Devotional

some of the missionaries i came out with plus some photo bombers

some of the zone haha 

Elder Fernando and King :)

Elder Rentriea and Smith

Elder Bowman

Elder Fernando, Rudolph, King and sisters Riley and Bushman

Elder Shumway and Baker

another pic of the people we came out with!

Sister Lampinen and I :) At the Mission Christmas Devotional 

Debbie one of our investigatorsShe came to a Stake Christmas Concert! 

Our zone gingerbread house making contest!!

Sister Lampinen and I :) 

me being my crazy self :)

Ugly Sweater Zone Party!!

our master piece :)

The District in the Big Bear chapel 

Describes the missionaries in our ward! gotta love our ward mates :/ haha 

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 8 - December 14

Hello everyone! 
This week has flown by and I am pretty sure the next two weeks will only go faster and faster! Ah its so crazy to me to see this experience ending so soon. Its a bitter sweet moment for sure! This week was a great one and we were able to stay busy :) 

Dec 8- We had a zone activity at the church and played apples to apples which was fun and then we all went off and did our own things. That evening we had dinner with the Roberts family. We had tacos and they had some guacamole and i tried some and oh boy it was so spicy! me and spicy dont get along! haha but it sure gave everyone a good laugh at the table! We then went and talked with the Dunbars for a minute and came home and planned for our training we were giving at zone meeting the next day. 

Dec 9- Zone meeting was super great! It was sad to think that this was going to be my last one cause i sure do learn lots from them! Sister Lampinen and I were able to give another training but this one i really liked. We titled it Enjoy to the End, it was about enjoying missionary work and how it can be a fun time in our lives not something we have to endure and count down. in our training you could feel the spirit so strong and it was just what everyone needed. I love when the spirit gets to be the teacher. We ended the meeting with mine and sister Shaws testimony! Its something we do when missionaries are leaving. We then ended the meeting and took pictures. We went to a lesson with Ann soon after and then visited some other people but didn't have much luck. We then had dinner at the Parr's which we had a good time. We shared the He is the Gift message with them and Bro Parr told us that he shared this with his brother and that he is now ready to take the lessons! it was a neat experience to hear and we sure hope the best for him and their family!! we then went to Sister Kile's home for a lesson. We had a lesson and then went to go and see some christmas lights! it was really fun :) 

Dec10- We were able to go and visit with a former investigator this morning. She is still interested in learning but right now is a super busy time so she said to come back in January. Its times like those where it hits me that I wont be here :( its sad but i sure hope the best for her. We then went and had a lesson with Raquel and Leonard. They are doing so great! Leonard is super excited to get the Holy Ghost that is like all he could talk about since our lesson was about baptism and the Holy Ghost. We hope that he will get baptized soon! We then went and passed out more He is the Gift pass along cards and then the sisters picked us up to go and do After we went to dinner at sister Tuckers and her daughter was able to join us. We then went and had a lesson with the Dunbars! it was a great way to end the day :) 

Dec 11- We didn't have much success today but its okay we still worked hard and ended up having a few lessons that evening. We stopped by the cophers and talked to them about coming to church. We then had a lesson with the Kelly family which went well. after we had dinner with the Hedges which is always a blast! 

Dec 12- My 18 month mark! wow crazy to think that i did it! and how fast 18 months go. We weekly planned and then went and had a lesson with Ramona. The elders were kind enough to give us the truck since they were weekly planning and it was raining outside, they do have hearts sometimes haha We then went to the Ridings for dinner after we gave the truck back to the elders. After the Ridings we went to Sister Kellehers and visited with her for the evening. Goodness that lady can talk! it was a great evening though. 

Dec 13- We were able to help sister Shelton with decorating for the Christmas party all morning. We were in charge of the center pieces. she gave us a box of stuff and said the theme is Frozen so do whatever you think will work best! it turned out super cute :) We then went and tried some people before the party and then walked to Marie's house. She was taking us to the party. It was so great for her to be there she even brought her dad and then her brother who is a member came with his daughter. We were able to give them a church tour before the party started and then we got food and mingled with people. it turned out great! People brought non members and then Raquel and Leonard came! We enjoyed ourselves and so did everyone else :) 

Dec 14- We had our normal Sunday meetings. I can honestly say that I wont miss ward council when i get home haha At church Raquel and Leonard were able to sit with us in Sacrament meeting. We also had Carlos Copher there and his grandma and then Bro Wilcox and Sexton were there too! We had quite a few people come it was great! After church we went out and had a lesson with the Hammonds and then visited a few more people before we headed home for dinner and language study. It was a great productive day for sure! 

These next two weeks we are busy with the holidays and all of my departing things so im sure they will fly by! I hope you all have a wonderful week :) Love you and thanks for your love and support you give me! 

Love Sister Johnson :)  

the zone!

the ward mate picture at the Christmas party!

The theme was FrozenSister Lampinen and I were in charge of doing the center pieces

us setting up for our ward christmas party!we had to take pictures before everyone came :) 

me :) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 1 - December 7

Hey everyone! thanks for all the emails you have sent me! they have really helped me get through this tough time! I am trying to stay focused and work my hardest! i know that is what will make Marc proud! :) 

Dec 1- We went to Denny's that morning to celebrate Sister VanHeels birthday! it was lots of fun :) We always have a blast with these sisters. We then went and did our normal p-day things shopping and cleaning and emailing! We then went and had dinner at the Gibbons home. They were nice and asked about Marc since that is where i went to facetime home. They were very sweet about the whole thing. We then shared our message which is the He is the Gift video that the church has put out! please if you havent seen it yet go and watch it and share it with everyone you know! 

Dec 2- We were able to have district meeting at the Ridgecrest building which is a different building than we normally attend cause after district meeting we get to practice for the Apple Valley Tree lighting thing the community puts on. They asked us missionaries to sing for about 15 minutes you can say we weren't too thrilled to do this haha we get to sing 5 songs. we hope it goes well! In district meeting Sister Lampinen and I got to do separate trainings. They went really well! according to our district so thats good! We then went and picked up the truck from the elders which we were so grateful for cause it was pouring rain all day! We really didn't want to ride our bikes and the elders were troopers about it too! We went and saw Ann and had a lesson with the Wilcox's and then went to dinner with the Pope's! they are so cute and enjoyed having us over! Sister Pope told us how much we have helped her and mean to her. She is just the cutest! its always nice to hear those words and knowing that you really are making a difference.

Dec 3- We were able to have a great lesson with Raquel and Leonard! We taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the visual. We werent able to get through all of it so we get to finish it next time. They both enjoyed it and participated in the lesson! We then did some time and then went to the Cophers to have a lesson. That was as crazy as always. We then went to a less active, we just got his records so the ward council wanted us to visit with him. he isn't interested in having us come over but he was nice about it. We then went to dinner at the Esplins and had a good time there. After we went and visited with Sister Frank who is super sweet! We really enjoyed talking with her and she said she loved having us over and sharing this message with her! She said she needed it that night. Love it when things happen that way! The Lord really does know what we need and when. 

Dec 4- We were able to go and visit some former investigators this morning and we were able to get a contact of someone who would be interested in learning more! we were excited about that. We then had lunch and went and got the truck from the elders. We then went and had a lesson with Ann which she wasn't doing good at all. it was really short but the spirit was there. we then tried to see other single sisters in the elders area but had no luck! those days are a bit rough but it helps us appreciate the better days for sure!  We then had dinner at the Perkins who are such a cute young family! It was so much fun with them. We then went to the RS activity which Sonia was there. A less active we have been trying to work with. it was a super fun night! 

Dec 5- We had choir practice this morning which went well and we were excited to finally have this done and over with haha we then went home and had lunch and weekly planned. Sister Chapman brought over some Chinese for us for dinner and then we went out and had a lesson with Alberto who is a returning less active! This day was a bit of a hard one for me cause I wanted to be home with my family and support them but I did feel peace and comfort which helped me not want to do anything that day! 

Dec 6- We were able to do service at the squash farm today. We got to paint the whole time which was fun! We then came home and changed and had to leave to go to the Apple Valley Winter Wonderland event. We were able to sing first and then we went around and passed out bags of cookies that had the He is the Gift pass along cards stapled to them. The church was asked by the city to make about 500 cookies for this event but we ended up with about 1000 and passed them all out! :) we hope people will watch that video and feel the true meaning of Christmas. We had a good time there just talking with people and watching the fun entertainment, we then stayed for the lighting of the tree which a bit of a let down cause the tree was a bit of a sad tree haha but it was still a fun night. we then went to dinner at the Camire's. 

Dec 7- We had a great morning cause we didnt have to go to ward council this morning so we decided to go and visit and invite all the people we have been working with to church! Raquel and Leonard came as well as Bro Wilcox and Bro Sexton!! we were so excited! Sister Lampinen and I got to say the prayers in Sacrament meeting and then we had a really good lesson in RS. We then went out after church to try some more Former Investigators but had no luck we then went to the Culbertsons for dinner and we watched the First Presidency Devotional. We love that family! we even had an inside snowball fight!! haha it was really fun, of course we didnt have real snow though cause i am in Southern California! haha 

Well that was my week! i hope you all had a wonderful week! I heard about and saw pictures of the funeral! im so happy it went well!! I love you all so much!! and I know this Christmas season will bring us all peace and love and comfort! 

Love Sister Johnson :) 

our first thanksgiving meal with Marie and her family who are all non-members.

my second meal with the Landers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 1 -Thanksgiving for Marc

Hey everyone, 

This week has been quite the emotional roller coaster for me. On Thanksgiving I received the news that my uncle Marc, who is like a brother to me, passed away that morning. my world stopped and i felt every emotion over come me. this was my worst fear. i did know that his health was decreasing quickly but i didn't realize it would take him this soon. this trial has not been easy to face but i haven't had to face it alone. My Savior has been with me every step of the way! 
On Monday my parents and i had to have that tough conversation over email. they told me he wasn't doing well and it was probably coming to an end soon. they asked what i wanted to do. i couldn't imagine going home especially this far out. there wasn't much i could do there anyway. I then had the thought to see if i could face time home to say my goodbyes to him. my mission president granted my request. so on Tuesday night, which happened to be his birthday, i was able to talk with him. that was the hardest call i have ever had to make. he told me that i was in big trouble and that i wasn't suppose to call him haha i assured him i got permission. he then said how we can do this for 5 more weeks. that broke my heart cause i knew he wasn't going to make it that long nor did i want him to suffer anymore. he never stopped amazing me on how positive he was through this battle. i love him and miss him very much. 
I know the Lord's hand was involved in this because i witnessed many tender mercies. of course this wasn't the outcome i was hoping for but i feel closer to Marc then ever before. the morning he passed away i happened to be studying about the spirit world. as i was reading a talk, comfort and peace came over me. i knew that he was going to be okay and happy and i knew that i would see him again someday. he has important work to do on the other side. i know he came and visited me that morning! 
i have such a strong testimony of this church. i know this church is true. i know God loves us all individually and has a plan for each one of us. i know that families are forever and that i will be reunited with Marc again. its neat thinking that i get to serve with Marc, his mission is just on the other side. I also know that the Atonement is real. it has given me the strength and power that i need to get through this loss without my earthly family here with me. but i know i have my Father in Heaven and Christ to turn to for that comfort. my relationship with them has become stronger because i have relied on them to get me through this. the Atonement will carry us if we allow it to do so. i love my family very much and are praying for you all to feel the same peace that i have felt these past few days. losing a loved one isn't easy but with the knowledge we have we know this isn't the end! He is our guardian angel!! :) 
I now have even another reason to finish my mission strong! :) I love you Marc! 
until we meet again! :) 

Love Sister Johnson :) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 17-November 23

Hello everyone! 

In my personal study I came across this quote: "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. when those trials are not consequences of your disobedience they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. he therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain... this life is an experience in profound trust- trust in Jesus Christ!" Elder Richard G. Scott 
I have been thinking and trying to trust more in every situation of my life. I know that God has a plan for all of us and we need to trust Him and Aline our will with His. He loves us all very much and wants us to learn and to succeed and to come back and live with Him again. I am grateful for this knowledge and will continue to learn more everyday!   

Nov 17- We had a normal p-day with the village sisters. it was nice not being involved with transfers so we were able to have a normal day. We had dinner with the Moore family and then went and had our last lesson with Amy and Terry :( they are moving to Adelanto into an apartment which is exciting but we are super sad to see them leave. At least its still apart of our mission so we might be able to go to their baptism and we know the elders who will be teaching them and they are in good hands! 

Nov 18- We had district meeting which went well. we were able to share our thoughts about the meeting we had with Elder Golden. We then went to our usual lessons with Ann and Wilcox and Cophers. We then dropped off the truck to the elders and chatted with them for a minute and then went home to have our pizza for dinner. We were able to talk with the elders and tell them more about Amy and Terry. they were super excited to get them! Glad we all work on the same team haha 

Nov 19- Nothing went as planned today! Bro Dunbar who is our next door neighbor was fixing my bike tire and he ended up buying me a new tube and everything! they take great care of us! They took us to the library to do our time and then we went to our appointment but they had to go down the hill so we rescheduled for tomorrow. The elders then came to our door to ask for a scale that is when we found out that Elder March was going home :( we were super sad about it! He is going home for some health reasons so we hope he will get the help he needs but we had to take our last ward mate pictures since he was leaving that evening. We then went and had dinner at the Watts home which was fun. they have some cute kids! after we ended with language study. 

Nov 20- after studies we went on a walk to go by the elders and pick up the truck for the day and an office elder came up to drop off some beds for the other sisters! They wont be moving in until December but we are getting ready for them to move in. We then had a great lesson with Leonard and Raquel! We taught the restoration with the cups and they both loved it. Leonard wants to get baptized but we have to wait until he is off parole to even set a date with him. We have high hopes for him though! We then had a lesson with Ann and then took some pictures with Joshua Trees, they only are here and in Jerusalem, so that was fun and then we went and saw Melissa who is a new member of the ward and whos son got baptized not too long ago. we will be teaching them weekly! We then went and had dinner with Ramona and Ginger ( her roommate who isn't a member) and the Chapmans. That was fun! then we rushed off to our next appointment with Debbie. We were able to go with her to the R.S. craft activity. she loved it and had so much fun! 

Nov 21- We weekly planned and then took the truck back to the elders and met Elder Bakers new companion Elder Jones. He seems nice and excited to get to work. We then went and had a great lesson with the popes and did the 30 day challenge with them! they loved it and are excited to do it. We then went and had dinner with the Whitlock family which was fun. We had a good time getting to know them. We then went over to the Dunbars and talked with them and then we home and did some language study. 

Nov 22- We were able to go to a YSA baptism today cause Raquel and Leonard came to it! We got there and they weren't there yet. we were praying and hoping they would show and they did! they were only 10 minutes late but they had a great time and felt the spirit really strong. After the baptism we went and did service at the Squash farm with a few other missionaries it was lots of fun! We then got ready and walked to dinner at the White's. he wasn't feeling well so it was just a girls dinner. it was fun getting to know her better, she is from the Philippines. We then went to our appointment with the Jennings but he wasn't feeling well so we chatted with her and her dad. We rescheduled for next week though! 

Nov 23- We were able to go to our normal meetings but the elders weren't able to make it cause elder Jones got the stomach flu. At church we were able to have a less active sister Kile come and Sonya and the both Kathrine's which one of them will become a new investigator next week! she has already decided that she wants to join the church! We are excited to meet with her and to start teaching her. We then had dinner with the Culberston family which was lots of fun! they are a great family we then came home and did language study. 

Well that was my busy week and this next week just seems even busier! which is great! I love being able to do the Lords work. Hope you all have a good week. love you all :) 

Love Sister Johnson 

wardmates :) 

on a boat in the middle of the desert!! haha 

amy and terry in their motel room the last night with them :(

took a pic of me walking haha

another one

acting like Joshua Trees!! hahaha

cute one :)