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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

God Expects Spiritual Fruit not Religious Nuts

Hello Rest of the World!

This is Sister Johanson! All is well. It's been quite a crazy week! I know you are all prolly expecting to hear about our experiences with the floods and all that jazz...but not much to report on that yet. I promise there will be some in the weeks to come. Our church leaders had been prompted not to dive in to all the service opportunities yet and then it rained some more this weekend and broke some more dams throughout the state and cities close to us. So now we are really going to get the ball rolling with helping out with neighboring cities. Orangeburg was hit, but not nearly as bad as the rest of the state fortunately. So us missionaries are excited to get out and help in the weeks to come. There is a lot of devastation and its so sad to see and hear about. 

Although we haven't been able to help out a whole lot with clean up yet, Sister Rymer and I had a bunch of other service opportunities this week! Amazingly. We helped clean out one of our Less Actives closets who gave us lots of her old clothes. She's about like 80 somethin so we got some real nice sweaters..;) I think my favorite service project of the week was with this one lady who we met a few weeks ago. We texted her Thursday night to see how she was doing and then she texted us back Friday morning saying she had had a really bad week and needed help and company peeling apples. So we got to help her peel apples!! Cuz shes making lots of pies :) She gave us some to take home but it was my most favorite fall service project I've ever done. And then we were able to have a great spiritual thought afterward and got her thinking about baptism. 

I think one of my favorite things about being a missionary is being able to see how God really does play a part in every one of His children's lives. We went and taught a lady named Mayhellen this week. We had met her a couple weeks ago and this was the first real lesson we had. But we committed her to be baptized and she said she has been thinking about baptism ever since we started coming around. But every single person I've talked to, being that God is such a common topic here in the South, it's amazing to see how God is preparing every person to receive the gospel. They may not be completely ready to accept it right now but He is preparing them. We're just helping along in the process. 

I think our most interesting day of the week had to be Saturday. We went to visit a referral who we've been able to talk to on the phone but haven't been able to meet him in person yet. So we went to just stop by and see if we could catch him. We pull up to his house (or what we thought was his house) and there are 3 older guys standing out in the garage. We could tell they were drunk but we wanted to go see if we could find Pernell (that's the referrals name). We asked if Pernell was there and they said that he had died 15 years ago. Well we knew that wasn't possible being that we had talked to him on the phone. So we gave them a Book of Mormon and said that we had to go. As we were leaving one of them yells, "I love you!" so we both just kinda laughed. Then he yells, "Say it back!!" so I yell, "We Love you!!!" and then we get in our car and drive away. Then later that night we had dinner at a members house who said she said she had some investigators for us. Man, you learn a lot of different things in the south. The one lady we actually got to teach some of the restoration to was..very "learned." She has done a lot of research in her days and really enlightened our minds to things I had never even considered. She asked us about where Jesus was in his childhood and teenage years. Well she knows! "Because He was such a mischievous child, his parents didn't know how to help in control His powers. And everybody in Egypt were partiers, they all loved beer. So He went over to India and learned from the monks. They helped Him learn how to channel His powers by meditation and yoga. Ya know things like that. But then they kicked Him out because He was trying to convert them." (By the way kids, that is false doctrine. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.) But anyway...she demanded us to ask her to be baptized so we did. But we didn't feel it was appropriate to put her on date yet. We want her to come to church so she can get an idea of what she's actually learning.

But anyway...that was our week in a nutshell. Hope you guys are all doing well, that you're dry wherever you are. I love you all! 

Sister Johanson JR

A yw who wanted to take selfies.
Our nice drive through the country
And north South Carolina...which lies I. The middle of SC.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The rains came down and the floods came up

This is Sister Ali Johanson, reporting from the confines of her
apartment in Orangeburg where she has been stuck for the past 3.5
days. (Except if this email gets sent it means I've discovered wifi
which is not available in my apartment. So if you get this it means
I've survived the floods) Because of the hurricane all the
missionaries in SC have been on lockdown since Friday night. Luckily
we have the other sister missionaries that live in the same apartment
complex so we have had some social interaction over the weekend. We
hear more everyday of people's houses and missionaries apartments
being flooded. We got to go to a members house for conference on
Saturday but then Sunday the city asked nobody to be on the roads so
our bishop asked us not to ask any of the members to come get
we missed conference on Sunday so that was sad. Good thing for
technology. But we're not sure if anyone is actually alive might just be us 4 left. Just kidding...sorry that was a
cruel joke.

We've made about a million cookies and other things, but we can't wash
our dishes because our water is contaminated. So everything is chaos
here, in a really non chaotic way. We don't feel like anything is going
on cuz we look outside and we only have a few deep puddles surrounding
our apartment. But everybody we call talks about how bad things are.
So really we are just extremely blessed. Our ZL's apartment got flooded
16 inches of water and they lost a lot of their stuff, like their
journals and one elder lost his guitar. We feel a little gypped cuz we
don't get to see any of the exciting stuff but really we are just
super duper blessed. Except we're going insane! Is there still a world
out there? Am I still a missionary?

Hello! This is Sister Johanson a day later. No arks had to be built
and we've made it onto the streets today so I think we're ok. So yes,
it's been quite an uneventful eventful past few days. You can look to
the news for more details, I'm tired of typing about it. Plus my time
is up. But it's been confirmed, I am still a missionary. I checked
this morning. So that's pretty cool, lots of roads are washed out and
homes have been flooded so that's sad. Oh also transfers were last
week. What? Guess you're not gonna hear about that today. I actually
did missionary work last week, and it was super spiritual and my
testimony grew and people were converted and hearts were touched.
Things will be back to normal next week. 

Love ya!

Sister Johanson jr

Really lame hootenannys