Monday, July 27, 2015

Faith is an investment that never loses interest

Well hello again friends! It's nice to be talking to you and telling you about my week.

This week I gotta go on exchanges!! It was awesome!! I went to Seneca which is just about 40 minutes more upstate from Anderson. It was really awesome, cuz I got to be with Sister Call and she is just the bestest thing on this planet. She is actually going home in 3 weeks as well. But she and I were very similar in our teaching methods but I still learned so much from her. 

Haha! So this week, this lady we ran into while contacting, she goes to a nondenominational church and she is awesome. We talked about family's so we gave her a Family: Proclamation to the World. She read it last week and texted us saying, "That is the best thing I've ever read! I agree with everything on it. I'm going to see if I can put it up on my church bulletin and then ask the pastor to read it to the saints during church!" isn't that awesome? Man, it was great. 

I must say, besides teaching lessons, visiting members, and converting people to the gospel; knocking is my most favorite part of missionary work. I love knocking! I'm not very good at it but I'm getting better and it's just awesome :) When I was door contacting with Sister Call we talked to this one lady and her daughter showed up while we were talking to her. We asked them if they had ever heard of the LDS church and her daughter laughed and said, "Are you kidding? I grew up in Utah, all my friends were LDS." Turns out she's from St. George and graduated from Dixie! Crazy right?
Everyone is going to St. George, all the people in my ward. Just makes me remember how much I love Utah. 

Oh yes! So when we were door contacting this one neighborhood this week it was so weird. Cuz, it was a circle. So we started out at the beginning and everyone was normal and nice but the further along we got the people got a little weirder. And then we realized that it was a bunch of Special needs people living in the houses. And we weren't sure what to do so we offered some service. Well we start sweeping this lady's floor and we can't really understand what she is saying to us. And then her neighbor comes and tells her that she is in trouble for letting us in and that someone was telling on her. So we go outside and there's a bunch of special needs people wandering the streets going crazy cuz there are two girls knocking on everybody's doors. So, the office lady came and talked to us to find out what we were doing. Turns out it was kind of like a care facility and most of the houses were occupied by special needs people or the employees that work there. Everything ended up alright, but it was definitely interesting. 

I'm trying to think of other things that happened this week. We definitely saw a lot of miracles happen. Got to teach more lessons and, it was interesting week lesson wise. But I'm excited for the weeks to come. Finally got to meet the bishop yesterday. Man I just love this ward. I think I'll say that in every single email because they are just miraculous! Well I love you all! Hope you have a fantastic week!! 

-Sister Ali Johanson

Monday, July 20, 2015

God will smite the earth with a curse

Alright now y'all, this place is crazy!!! I think God has sent many a curses over here. I now feel like I can say I'm fully immersed in the south. This week I got to see just how many bugs there really are here. Bleh.

This last week we went over to this ladies house to teach some kids and have dinner. Well, the kids didn't show up for us to teach and she told us that she was gonna have us make ourselves the dinner. But, her kitchen was in no shape for making anything. It was legitimately crawling with bugs. The dirty dishes had been sitting out for days so a swarm of gnats and flies hovered over the sink and countertops. Then wherever you went there were cockroaches. In the fridge, on the stove; you opened up the cupboards and they just lined every nook and cranny. So, I worked on the dishes while my comp worked on the room and the food. Needless to say, those dirty dishes were the nastiest smelling and feeling things ever. I had cockroaches crawling all over my hands the entire time. Luckily for us, we had an appointment so we didn't get to stay to eat dinner. It was a fun adventure and service project. The lady texted us a couple days later thanking us for it so I'm glad we were able to help her. Just bleh tho. Also, my comp woke up to a tick's head jammed into her side. She tried pulling it off and then all that's left was the head. So I tried performing surgery with a needle and some tweezers. Man, that sucker was in there (haha punny). We got it out, but I won't go into details how. However, after all these experiences with bugs I think it's safe to say I'm the most paranoid person on the planet. Every little thing I feel touching me I start swatting my entire body. Utah, you don't know what you're blessed with. 

We also experienced a mini flood. The rain doesn't come down in drops here, it comes down in buckets. It's crazy! I'l have to send you my picture next week, but there were entire full grown trees entirely uprooted! It was so insane.

Something that God has not smitten the South with is famine. There's so much delicious food here! I may be coming back a chubby bunny, but I'm working my hardest not to. This week we had some frozen yogurt. Holy cow, it's an entire buffet of every sweet you can imagine to top on your froyo. 
But despite all the craziness, this week has been awesome for actual missionary work. We read the introduction of the Book of Mormon with one of our investigators, because she just kept not keeping commitments or understanding. And we got to see the amazing power of the Book of Mormon. We saw, just while reading the introduction, her countenance change, her attitude change and she was finally understanding and told us she was now interested and curious about learning what we were teaching! Woo hoo! The rest of the week didn't go at all to plans. Because they all got cancelled!! Every single one of them. But I was glad actually :) Sad I couldn't see those people we had planned to. But we got to go knock and find people! And great things came out of that. And it doesn't really matter how effective knocking door to door is, it just shows the Lord that you're being diligent and trying to find people to teach. So He will bless us in our efforts :) 

Also my comitment to you guys (man I must be a real missionary now, leaving commitments and stuff) but read Jacob 5. I've read that chapter so many times but every single time I read it, I find different ways to interpret that analogy. It's one of my favorite chapters ever.

Well I'm glad to hear from you all! Happy pioneer day Utah, I send it my best wishes. I love you all!! 

-Sister Ali Johanson

Monday, July 13, 2015

7 days without prayer makes 1 weak


Do y'all like my subject title? It was on one of the church bulletin things out front. They have soooooooooo many churches here! And unlike St.George they're not LDS churches. They're all completely different churches on like every single corner. I figured I would make one of their sayings my title each week. Man!! I would like to tell you guys about my last week at the MTC but that would take up too much time. So I'll just tell you about this week. Although the last week was awesome!! Man I love the MTC.

So we woke up at 2:30 Tuesday morning to head to the airport. Ali really needs her sleep because I was messed up from that for the next 3 days, plus the time change. We got to SC about 4:00 in the afternoon. The first few days I didn't think that the humidity was super bad (Shawn Hirschi prepared me to be walking in a sauna) but the more I've been in it...yeah. I don't like humidity very much. It's so freaking hot here. Needless to say, missionary is not what I pictured it. I mean it is but it's not. I have a hard time with that. I think it's cuz we drive most everywhere. Oh yeah! I guess I'll tell you where I'm at. I'm in Anderson! It's very upstate South Carolina. I'm with Sister Barnson. mmmmm....she is something different. I think it's pretty safe to say that we are nothing alike. If I were a watermelon, she would be...a giraffe. See nothing alike. Ha for someone reason I think of Josh and how he would think of her. But to give you an idea, when she's older she wants to raise peacocks and crows. She's a very talented artist. This is actually her last transfer! I'm her last companion because she leaves in 5 weeks now. She's been in Anderson for 7 months! So she's pretty experienced. So that's really nice. She really is a good companion, I learn a lot a lot from her. So yeah, we work in all the outer parts of Anderson and the elders work in a smaller area, but they have to ride bikes. haha :) Something super fun about having a car is that the person not driving has to "back" the other person out. Which basically means I stand behind the car while my companion backs out and runs me over. 

They also have the great and abominable church here! This is not a joke. It's like the worst thing in the world. Apparently they even have like special effects in their church so that they can make the floor shake or something like that to make people think they're feeling the spirit or the power of God. Idk its crazy.

When I got here, there was almost no work. We had no investigators and it sounded like nobody was progressing. But! Things have picked up and we're super busy! I feel like Elder Calhoun though haha. I found myself saying to myself, "My first Book of Mormon. Already a baptism!" and "my first discussion." Haha I'm like a real live greenie. We're teaching one lady, and her kids are the funniest thing ever! Something her kid said was she was so willing to go to church cuz they feed us bread. The last time she went she didn't get breakfast but then they passed around bread and she knew God was watching out for her. Haha. Southern people are awesome! Church is not dull! Also..hehe, we taught an investigator yesterday for the first time. Got him on date for baptism! Woo hoo!

Also, I had grits already this week! Yeah, its like, grainy mashed potatoes. I eat lots of biscuits. And I had southern ice cream. Don't ask me what the difference is but I just know that it's heavenly. Oh! I had my first bible basher yesterday too! That was the worst experience of my entire life. Cuz we had gone to teach a discussion to this lady and her grandkids and then her son was there, he wasn't rude. But he was an atheist (all I could think of was Nacho Libre tho "I don't know why you always judging me, just cuz I only believe in science") but it was so awful. And we couldn't just bear our testimony and leave cuz we were there to teach a lesson! It was never ending. I had to sit and listen to him for like half an hour! It was so bad, made me want to cry. But it turned out ok cuz my comp thinks his mom gained more respect for us after that and invited us to come back again on Tuesday. Ah man, but I had to go get a blessing after that. The ward is awesome, need I say it anymore? I definitely love the people here. We always get fed! Also, the other elder in my district is from St. George too! Although he went to desert hills, who knows how he got on a mission. ;) hehe just kidding. 

Well I love y'all! Have a great week! And happy birthday momma!!