Monday, December 28, 2015

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Happy New Years everybody!!! Man it was so good to see the lot of you. Yall are so great. Well this week, was pretty slow going as far as teaching and investigators go. We did have some good lessons with the people we did see so that was nice :) 

Christmas was so good! On Christmas Adam all of our zone went to downtown Greenville and sang Christmas carols while some missionaries passed out the A Savior is Born pass along cards. It wasn't too successful because it was raining. But it was fun! Our Zone leaders asked me to be in charge of all the songs and conduct them. So everyone stood on the steps with their umbrellas while I stood out in the rain leading them in song. But it was fun, I enjoyed it. 

Then Christmas Eve we got to spend it with the Kunzlers, there was no acting out of the nativity but it was still very spiritual and it felt like Christmas Eve. Holy cow, never so much mac n cheese in my life. Luckily it's not Kraft-y. It's the good kind. 

Christmas morning we woke up and opened all our presents, I think we've got enough sweets to last the rest of my mission, so all is well. Don't bother sending me anymore. 

For dinner we went to the Lahuskys and they had all their family over. We played the states game!! Man, it was a game me and Sister Smith introduced to them. They really seemed to enjoy whacking people on the head with a roll of christmas wrapping. Things got a little violent but no fatal injuries. All in all it was just a good holiday. 

But to focus more on my favorite part of everything, Christ was very much at the center of everything. The more I showed the Savior is Born video the more it meant to me. Some of my favorite parts in that video is where they say "rejoice greatly." No wonder Christmas time is the most wonderful part of the year. Whether we realize it or not, the spirit of Christ is pouring out over the world and it's the real reason why we feel so joyful at christmas time. I rejoice because this week is New Years, and Jesus Christ has given me the chance to make new years goals. Things I'm going to change this year, so when I'm home this time next year, you'll know that the Savior has impacted my life greatly. That Because of Him I've changed. I hope that you'll be able to see the Savior in me more and I'm grateful to be doing what He would've been doing when He was on the earth. They talk all the time here in the south about being saved by grace. I'm so eternally grateful that we've all been saved by grace. But I hope to be changed by grace and I hope you will all be too. I love my Savior and my hope is that we live our lives so that when people talk of Christ, they immediately think of us. 

I love you guys so much and hope you have a great new years! May it bring many changes and choices that lead us to our Father in Heaven :) 

Sister Johanson JR

Sister Johanson's before and after picture of her rain biking adventure

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joy to the World

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!!

It's finally here. It doesn't really feel like it's Christmas but I'm excited it is. Excited to see all your faces!!!

So this last week was transfers, my new companion is Sister Smith. She is from Middleton, Idaho and she is so awesome!! She is a fireball and I can tell we are going to have a lot of success!!! It's going to be great :)

Let's see training..I don't feel like much is changed. Sister Smith is just so prepared to be here, she knows all the lessons really well. Things are just gonna be swell. 

Man oh man I'm so excited for it to be Christmas. I'm also excited for holidays to be over so people will stop putting us off. But the spirit of Christ is so strong this time of year and we've been able to have some cool experiences with people this last week. 

Sister Smith's first experience in the mission field was our ride making us wait for 2 hours after transfer meeting while they went to the temple. So that was fun. 

We got missionaried to last night. Two women from a baptist church knocked on our apartment door and when they found out we were missionaries they thought it was their duty to "warn" us by kindly reading from the bible and sweetly telling us we were cursed and going to hell unless we repented. It was really funny, they were so sweet about it. So we gave them a card and wished them a Merry Christmas. We are so nice :) 

Everything is all a little fuzzy so I'm not sure what to tell you this week. So I'll just let you know about our Savior Jesus Christ. I know He lives and I know He is the reason we are here. He is why we celebrate and why we sing. My heart is so full of love for Him and the chance I have to be out here representing Him. That's not an easy task, or a light one to take on. So I'm trying to be like Jesus and follow in His ways. I watch for the days of gladness when He will come again. I love you all so much and hope you all have a very Christ filled Christmas. Thank you for supporting me and praying for me and helping me be out here. Couldn't do this without you guys. 

Love you!! Merry Christmas!!

Our district,
My lovely Sister Withers
And our Santa that drives around Easley #thisisthesouth

Monday, December 14, 2015

A cheerful heart is good medicine

Man I forgot a title again last week. Sheesh.

Well it's another week and things are still crazy! So much happened last week! Transfers are this week and guess who's getting transferred? Ha, not me! Jokes, you thought it was me. No but my companion is, this will make for 5 companions in 5 transfers. And this one will be green in honor of the Christmas season. If you don't know what that means, it means I'm training. Yes siree, fun stuff. I don't know what I'm gonna do when I don't have to go to a transfer meeting.

This last week we had zone conference and that was so great! It was just what I needed, other than the little black box they stuck in my car. Our mission finally got tiwis so we can all drive better. But don't worry cuz Sister Johanson is an awesome driver and her tiwi never talks to her. 

But something really cool I learned at zone conference was president talked about a baptist guy he had been talking to and had described the feeling he felt after helping someone. He described it as feeling Very "up." Then he went on to say, "I bet Christ felt very 'up' after He went through what He did" and we always think about the atonement of His suffering. Which we should. But can you imagine how "up" He must've felt after taking on all the pains of the world? And suffering for all mankind? He helped us all. I love Christmas time on my mission because I don't have all those traditions and activities going on, so all I really have to focus on is what this season is really about. I'm so grateful for my Savior.

I hope you guys remember too and that you all have a very "up" week. I love you all and can't wait to see you!

Have a blessed one,
Sister Johanson Jr

Dad! It's Spanky!!

We helped the Killoughs move in this week and they live in a haunted
house. Someday I coming back and making a horror film in there. There
are mirrors everywhere.

The first family is the Roberts, we had thanksgiving with the,. They
are so good to us and have is over all the time. The other family is

the Turoks. They are so great too!

Monday, December 7, 2015

This week Ali forgot to give a title so this is it

Hi errybody!! 

Not much time today but I'll hit you with some highlights. 

I finally got to meet one of my investigators this week! Woot woot!! And! Crazy crazy story. She has a missionary friend who she's been writing. She met this girl once at a college tour, but neither of them ended up going to that college. So they literally only met each other once and have stayed in contact since then. But she told us this week she finally wrote her friend back, I asked her where she was serving. Well she's serving in Belgium/Netherlands mission! Guess what her name is? Keagan Hanny! Dressas old companion. Now if that isn't divine intervention, I don't know what is. 

We had stake conference this week and it was amazing. Something that I learned I need to do is bear my testimony more frequently, I encourage you all to do the same. 

Ah shoot, I gotta go. Next week are transfers. If that didn't sneak up on us I don't know what did! Zone conference is this week as well and I'm excited :)

I wrote a letter to the mission president a few weeks ago and he actually replied. He came to our stake conference yesterday and made me come talk to him. Don't worry, he didn't get mad at me. He just told me it made him laugh and that he printed it out to keep. Haha. I also got to see some old Anderson friends since it was stake conference! That was so great :) Not all the ones that I wanted to see but I got to see my old bishop and that was great :) 

Anyway gots to go. Love y'all!!! See your faces in 18 days! :)


Sister Johanson JR

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Oh come let us adore Him

Ok, well I don't have much to say. This week was so long. But so good! And also boring, it's hard to do missionary work here around the holidays. Isn't that the opposite of what they tell you before you come out? Well yeah, nobody wants to listen to you or let you in their door around the holidays so it's kinda frustrating. The work just slows to a turtle pace. And even tho it's just a week it feels like forever cuz mission weeks are much longer than normal weeks when you're a normal person!

We had dinner at the Robert's house; he is the assistant ward mission leader and his wife is just awesome. It wasn't homemade or anything but it was still very good. We had like 3 other Thanksgiving appts we were gonna go to but somehow we ended up being at the Robert's all day yet, it didn't even feel like it, it was so weird. Also! The one thing that was homemade was the turkey. You know those jokes you make about having fried turkey in the South for Thanksgiving? Well they are not actually jokes. It is real. I got to watch them stick the birds into a giant pot of boiling grease. Man, doesn't taste too much different. Pretty good, but I think I prefer the traditional way. 

We went and sang in a nursing home. Oh my goodness that was so fun. We took the ZL's and the Spanish elders and I played the piano while my comp and the elders sang. Oh goodness, so funny. Sister Withers and I picked the songs and I just wish I coulda gotten on camera the elders singing do as I'm doing. Man, great stuff. 

Lets see..we are working more on faith as a power. If you could specifically pray for our zone to have 14 baptisms by the end of the year, your prayers will make a lot of difference. We are going to see miracles!! It's great!!! 

Um...I think that's all for now. Even if it's not I gotta go. So have a great week! Love yall!!
Sister Johanson JR

So I got your packages this week, Mom! Well at least the ones with my
coat and scarves in it. Thank you sooo much! But one of the scarves
was rather large. But I decided I would send you a picture showing
that I'm putting all my things into good use.

The other pic is of us at the Roberts house. Us and our Spanish
elders. We decorated ornaments :) mine is a snowman and he's so cute.

His name is Oatmeal

Our district had a Mexican Thanksgiving

And then I showed the Roberts how to do this :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus is coming. Are you going?


I just want to start off by saying all the things I'm grateful for. I'm so grateful for my wonderful friends all around the world who are just great examples to me of serving the Lord no matter what they are doing or circumstance they are in, but that they always strive to do exactly what the Lord expects of them. It's so great to have amazing friends and knowing that everywhere around the world people get to meet my amazing friends and experience their love and talents. 

I'm grateful for my family, all of them. The crazy ones too and for showing me why and how to raise a righteous family in a world with shifting values. Everyone feels so lost and scared because of how crazy our world is right now. But I'm grateful that Jesus Christ is at the center of our home, and that He's there because my parents had wonderful parents who taught and raised them in the gospel. I'm grateful that I have people to miss while I'm out here on my mission.

Okay, I'm cutting the list short cuz things could get really out of hand here. But I'm grateful to be on my mission being able to share the good news of this gospel. There is no better spirit found in the gospel than when you share that spirit with others. I'm convinced. This work is great, and it's hard because it's great. Man..I just love things and people and the Lord. Isn't life fantastic?

This week, we got people to teach! Isn't that great? Cuz before, we had nothin! So it was a really good week. We found some crazy people, but also some really great, humble people. Our new investigator, as we were walking up to our lesson he was sitting outside. He sees us coming and says, "Here comes the two girls who are gonna change my life!" Man he is so great.

I think my favorite day was yesterday tho. First off, I got a potato. From my friend, Taylor and kinda from Zack but not really ;) Did you know you can just put stamps on a potato and send it in the mail? Yeah well neither did I, but somebody did and that is what I received this week. The APs and the ZLs got a real kick in that one. As well as the mission office did I'm sure. Haha I'll show some proof. 

But yesterday at church one of my favorite families from Anderson came and visited!! I was so happy to see them and they were happy to see me too!!! So that was great! And they said that they are prolly moving into that ward in a couple weeks!! Yay :) And then my favorite investigator from Anderson, turns out moved to Greenville and the elders have been teaching her! Well her grandkids came to church yesterday and remembered me :) I was asked to go bear my testimony during sacrament so when I got up there, all these kids were smiling at me and waving. It was a great sight to see :) 

Things are gonna be a little challenging in Greenville and definitely different from my other areas, but it will be great! Heavenly Father has something planned. Also, as much as I love Orangeburg and Anderson, I think if I were to move to SC I would live in Greenville. I think it's the safest place and it's very pretty. But I love you and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Tods ziens to ya! (is that even how you spell it)
Wait..that's not me ;)


Sister Johanson JR.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When your heart is filled with the Holy Ghost, it leaves no room for sin

Hello friends and family, 

Alright, we'll start out with a couple of shout outs. 
Shout out to Morgan Thurston! Because my new comp reminds me a LOT of morgan. I love her lots, she is so great! And crazy!! ;)

Second shout out is to the Finch family. Cuz one of the Spanish elders in my ward (his name is Elder Finch) is cousins with the Finches. So yes..important things going on.

Alright, so I'm back upstate. I am in Greenville, which is guess what? Right next to Anderson! Like they are next door neighbors!! Tender mercy of that. They send out baptism texts to the zone when missionaries put somebody on date; and we got a text the other day of the Anderson sisters putting someone on date. And it was my first investigator I found!! The one with a million grandchildren who was my most favorite person to teach and I had some of the best experiences with. She and her daughter and some of her grandchildren are getting baptized in December!! Yay!! So cool :) 

So anyway, Greenville is soooo different from Orangeburg. Orangeburg was very humble, and very poor, a little bit sketchy but was sooo great. Greenville is a bigger city and lots of well off people who don't feel like they need very much from missionaries. So...yeah. Take me back to the ghetto!! Just kidding. But the ward is so great!! My comp is so great. The work is a little bit slow here, it will be a little bit of an uphill for a while. But what else is new right? 

Got to Greenville on Wednesday and then Saturday we had mini missions! Which is where some Laurels from another stake came and were missionaries with us for two days. We had two girls, so we basically just went on splits for two days. It was crazy, because my comp just got out of training and I just got to the area so we had no idea what we were doing and these girls had no idea what they were doing but it all went smoothly and we are just praying that it didn't make them NOT want to go on a mission. That would be bad. 

I really don't know what else to say...we get fed a lot! That always makes me and my tummy happy :) I guess that's it! I will try to send pictures, I don't think I'm a real girl. Cuz you'll notice in funny pictures when girls say funny picture they do some cute "silly" face that just makes them look more adorable than silly. And then Sister Johanson does..something with her face that can't be explained. So yeah..but anyway. 

I love you guys!! And hope you have a great week filled with the spirit!!

Love Sister Johanson JR. 

See what I mean

Monday, November 9, 2015

Things may be bad but God is good

This week...I dunno. 

First off, some cool things of this week. We taught a college class!! We got an A+! Ha, so I told you guys a while ago how we got asked to teach the psychology class? Well we did it finally. It was a class on death and dying, so we were asked to talk about funerals and how our view of the afterlife affects our funeral and burial services. So we taught the plan of salvation. It was really really cool. We showed "Because of Him." The spirit was soo strong in that classroom of like 40 kids and a college professor. There were quite a few kids who were really engaged, this one kid who was asking a lot of questions and was really intent on everything we were saying. I picture his face a lot and pray for him. We got to hand out plan of salvation pamphlets with our number on it and the address of the church. Some good will come of it, maybe not today but definitely in the future. 

We had ZTM and it was really good. We learned different ways to approach people which is just to testify as soon as you talk to them. Like this.."Hey I'm Sister Johanson and I know God loves you!" and then your companion will teach and then you ask a question and then testify again. And then boom! You find the elect. We went and tried it, really cool experience. This really neat lady that we met. 

And then I guess the other news of the week. I am being transferred..again. What's going on? I'm not sure. Not just transferred we're being whitewashed. I guess I just keep ruining my areas and so the Lord needs to start from scratch. Sister Rymer is staying in Orangeburg though and being put into a 3 pack with the the sisters and transferring elders in. So it is I, the lone ranger off into the unknown. It's ok, I know it's what the Lord wants. He needs me somewhere else. We'll see what happens.
This weeks been rough, if you could all pray for Donald, he could use a lot of prayers right now. Please and thank you. Sorry not much writing this week. But I love you all!! It's very reassuring to know that God's hand is very much a part in our lives. Especially as a missionary. Hope you all have a great week!!

Sister Johanson Jr.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The devils trick is no treat

Whats up everybody!!

Well, why are weeks so weird here? This week, it feels like nothing happened but then all these wonderful great small things happened that just made this week seem like it was great. I went on an eternal exchange! Because of scheduling conflicts we exchanged Monday night and then unexchanged Wednesday afternoon. I went to Irmo with Sister Swanson. I love her. And it just felt like I was there for an eternity, I'm pretty sure I just thought that Sister Swanson was just my companion. But it was really good and I love exchanges. nothing really did happen this week. But! Well first Saturday was halloween. We got put on lockdown after dinner because everybody here gets drunk and it's not safe to be out, also it's very unproductive. So us sisters had a halloween party! Sister Rymer and I carved punkins and the other sisters painted theirs. They are super cute. And we dressed up, I dressed up as Sister Rymer just cuz I was lame. But she gets super cold so in the morning she wears like 13 jackets and 5 scarves so I dressed up as her in the morning. Was funny...but really hot. And of course we ate like junk loads of candy. Not a very good idea. 

Sunday was the best day of all. Church was just so good. 2 of our investigators came. One of them is getting ready to be baptized next week (please pray for him this week. He needs lots of Gods help). But he is just so prepared!!! We taught him about fasting this week, and then he started teaching us! He already has a testimony of most of the things we teach him. I'm pretty sure I never really understood fasting until he explained it to me this week. He just wants to be as involved as he can be with the church. Man what an awesome guy. Sister Johanson's tribute to the mission is her firm handshake, because every male I ever shake hands with always comments on it. So our investigator always shakes hands with me twice. Then our other investigator who we've been trying to get to church forever!! Finally came :) She is so cute, and funny. But in Sunday school, she started talking about a miscarriage she had a long time ago and a dream that she had about it. She starts talking about how in it there is this ice cream truck and inside of it there are all these dead babies hung up!! Oh my gosh, I did not know what to do when she started telling that story. Actually I was pretty vocal about my feelings...but, she ended up really liking church. Especially after Relief Society. So that's awesome. 

And!! We had an awesome testimony meeting. You know how the first presidency made that announcement yesterday about the immigrants and refugees? Well one of our really outspoken brothers in the ward went up to bear his testimony and started talking about how he was really surprised about the announcement. Because he is a conservative and all the things he's heard about it. But then he said, "So I have to make a choice. Do I listen to the worlds voices and what they're telling me these refugees are? Or do I listen to the prophet? I think I'll follow the prophet!" It was really neat. 

Guys listen, this gospel is just the best isn't it?! Don't you just want to shout it from the rooftops? Don't you just want everyone to have all the blessings you have? I do. I'm so glad I'm on my mission :) I hope you all have a great week and find time to think about all the things you love about this gospel and that it motivates you to share it. Happy fall y'all!

Love, Sister Johanson :)

I was Sister Rymer for Halloween. She's always super cold so this is

literally how she dresses in the mornings.

Mine is the small punkin.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

God so Loved the World

Hola Amigos!

So what to say to you all. This might be a short email...this week was just amazing!! We had so many lessons!!! And we had many mighty miracles and we are teaching just the most awesome guy ever. I was really worried for him cuz the last lesson we taught him he got upset at us for asking him questions during our lessons and told us not to ask questions. And so I was praying a lot, because asking questions is so important in discussions so you can help them understand and know what you need to teach. So I prayed a lot a lot about our next lesson cuz I wanted to help him progress but didn't know how to do it if he wasn't going to open up to us. But lo and behold we taught him this morning and the spirit guided us in what to say that got him talking and opening up without even having to ask questions. It was awesome :)

We found these two guys this week...we were going to visit one guy we taught last week but his grandson and son were outside. So we started talking to them and the grandson was a former who had met with the elders a couple years ago. We were asking him what he remembered, and he remembered a lot! He started talking about the plan of salvation and 3 kingdoms of glory. But then his uncles who had been sitting in the car not really paying any attention to us started getting mad. He was saying there was no middle ground, only heaven and hell. Soon enough he started bible bashing, but not with us he started bible bashing with his nephew! And we just sat back and listened cuz we didn't know what to do. But it was so cute, his nephew would say, "Well that's what I love about the Mormons. They're all about the straight and narrow path. Don't look to the right or the left, just the straight and narrow path." Then his uncle pulls out the bible and has his nephew read it. I think it turned into a sermon.. Hell fire and brimstone was being called down and he was yelling and getting excited. It was interesting. But we wanted to meet with the nephew again, so we said we had to go and I shared a scripture with them and bore my testimony and asked when we could meet with him. The uncle jumped in and set up an appointment and gave us his number. We tried getting the nephews number but he said we could just reach him on his uncles yes. Later that night when we were tracting a car pulled up next to us and rolled down the window to talk to us. Lo and behold, who was it but the uncle!! Ah! He was everywhere. But we have yet to meet with them again..but it will be interesting I believe. 

Anyway...back to spiritual matters. I have been able to see the power and importance of the atonement this week. It's the basis and center of this gospel. I'm so grateful for the knowledge and power of the atonement. I'm learning why it needs to be at the center of all our teaching. Because it's the one and only way. 

I hope you all take time to read from the Book of Mormon everyday and think about the atonement. What better time than..Halloween time?! I think Halloween is perfect for it ;)

We are gonna carve punkins this week and since we'll prolly be on lockdown halloween night we're gonna trick or treat at the other sisters apartments and role play door knocking! Yay missionary fun :) Happy Birthday Daddy-o! How old are ya now? Like 62? Hope you don't feel that old, eat lots of ice cream and cake for me. Maybe I'll do it myself; thinking about you in the south end of the country!! 

Love you all! Have a grand one.

Sister Ali Johanson

Monday, October 19, 2015

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Well, can I even remember this week?

It feels like so much has happened that nothing has happened. I guess the biggest thing for this week was when we got to go to Columbia and help out with some flood damage. Man, it was so crazy and sad. The house that we helped out with was built like a beach house. It was on some pretty high stilts and it still go flooded to the second floor. The area we were in the water came up about 18 feet. That's right, feet not inches. When we first got there we started cleaning off the furniture that they were trying to keep. Just thick layers of mud covered the entire thing. Just walking to the house, every house on that block and just piles of stuff out in the front of the yard that had been ruined and things they had to get rid of. They had to completely strip the insides of their house. Man it was so sad. We went up with Brother and Sister Redmond (the bishopric counselor and relief society president in our ward). We worked from about 10 am til 4:30 pm. We are really hoping we can get out some more this week and help out. 

On a great note, we had some investigators at church yesterday!!! Our one friend Donald showed up late tho, heard the end of a talk and thought that the service was over so he went to a different church. But he'll come next time and hopefully we can help him out more. But one really cool experience. We went to contact a bible referral we got and the guy didn't live there anymore. But his friend, who just moved from India, wanted a bible and a Book of Mormon. She was Hindu but she loves her Savior Jesus Christ. We were able to start teaching her about prophets and the beginning of lesson 1. She was so humble and teachable. It was different teaching someone without a Christian background but it was soo neat. 

Let's see, things happening...I guess it's notable to say that we are going to be having some miracles happen these next few weeks. So if you could just pray for us that would be awesome. We're looking forward to some trials, because we know miracles only come after the trial of your faith.
This is not a super upbeat email..but you have to read it anyway!

I guess funny moments of the week, we are teaching this one lady and every single time we show up she's in her bathrobe. The first time we taught her she didn't go change so she was just like flashing us the entire lesson. But now she'll go change. But for some reason, we'll call her 30 minutes before our appointments and she just thinks she has time to hurry and shower and is so surprised when we show up and she is still in her bathrobe. Ha people out here are so funny. They get so mad at you for calling during work or for coming to their house when they are only partially dressed. Advice for everyone: if you don't have clothes on, please don't answer the door. But anyways.

I really love missionary work. Something that I'm stealing from Elder Kimzey's email from a few weeks ago. "If you don't love missionary work, you won't like heaven."

I know that this gospel is true. And I love it!!

Have a blessed one :)

Love, Sister Johanson Jr.