Thursday, July 28, 2016

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer

Hi everybody. How goes things?
This week has been much faster paced than last week which is really nice. Both Sister Hill and I prayed that we would be busy and would you look at that? God answered our prayers. So nice :)

We had lots of good ole teaching appointments which were awesome. Our friends Bao and Seng are just chugging along at light speed and progressing to the top (aka eternal life). It's so cool. And they're trying to bring their family with them. They made sure they came to church yesterday even tho they were the only ones from their family there. Unfortunately church was only 30 minutes long because the power went out earlier that day and so the AC wasn't working and half the lights were out. Then in the middle of the sacrament all of the lights just shut off. So they just had the primary kids sing and "postponed" church until next week. But you know, at least we got the sacrament :)

Hey guess what?! Okay, I know most of this stuff is only really exciting for me, but there was a part member family I was teaching back in Greenville: Annie and Chris. And Annie emailed me last week and said that she is getting baptized this Saturday!! So exciting! 

Well..let's see what did I learn about this week? I have continued to learn about God's will and having joy amidst every day trials and mundane tasks. We had a really good DDM on Tuesday and one of the sisters gave a training on Diligence. It was really interesting because before she gave it she just asked us to be really open to the spirit so it could teach us. And diligence is always something that I've felt that I've been pretty good at, at least while on my mission. I feel like I've been pretty steady, consistent and hard working. But along with those 3 characteristics of diligence, it includes energetic effort. And once again the spirit confirmed to me that as we are working and striving to do His will, He wants us to be happy within doing His work. I dunno why, but my brain likes to tell me that because things are hard or because I'm on a mission or because this life is a time of testing, that things just need to be hard. But you know what? "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy" God's purpose for us is to have joy. In this life and in the life to come. I will always reflect on President Uchtdorf's talk from October 2015 general conference and his parable of great aunt rose. And as we talk about having faith in the future and looking forward to happiness in eternity, we must remember that part of eternity is right now. And God wants us to enjoy life and He wants us to be happy. I don't know why I always forget about that part, must be Satan. I always knew that humility wasn't weakness but I guess some part of me thought it was because you are submitting your will to the Lord and trusting whatever He has in store. But I think the greatest part of humility is trusting that the Lord is working everything together for your good, to help you be happy in this moment. God really does love us, His object isn't to have us suffer, although suffering happens. He offers us hope, and peace and faith amidst the suffering of the world. That's something I'm trying to internalize. I hope you have had an easier time applying that in yalls lives, but I encourage you to continue to do it. And continue to know and strive to know, that God is love. Perfect and everlasting.
I love y'all and I hope you all have a bright shiny week! Keep up the good work. You all inspire and bless my life so much! :)

Until next time,

Sister Johanson

The pictures are not too good, but I hope you get the jist of how cool I am ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Proud to be an American

Hi guys!!

This week has been pretty uneventful, but still exciting and..Spartanburg is just the weirdest place ever. It's feel like nothing is happening here and then you look up and everybody is just flocking to the fonts. I don't know it's a really weird dynamic. We can't seem to figure it out. But it's a good thing I guess. It really makes you feel like it's nothing that you are doing..which I guess in all reality it's not. Except our faith and the faith of those around us.

We had a stake meeting yesterday instead of church and they split the wards in the stake. So they took out a chunk of our ward, which is kinda lummy because our ward was already the smallest one. But it's okay, that's what the Lord sees is best. Except it's really sad because the Bass family, our recent convert family, got taken out of our ward :/ I love those guys. But this will just give them a chance to prove to God that they are converted to the gospel and the church and not the people in it. Which I believe they are so it helps me to trust God and His will.

This week, I was slacking off a little bit on my diligence in making my studies really effective and meaningful. And I was just having a hard time during the week, but then I repented and realized that I need to have a lot more hope and a lot more joy during adversity. And I've just gained such an appreciation for repentance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, enduring to the end). It really is the cure for any ailment, affliction, infirmity that we have in this life. It's brought me so much more joy into my work as a missionary and although I may not have an angel seeing, earth shaking experience to bring me closer to God, it allows me to use the atonement to edify and enlighten my life. So I hope you feel that too. I love you guys! Hope you have a blessed week.

Sister Johanson

This is the pictures from the 4th of July; us making paper hats.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

If you are reading this, then the vineyard is praying for you.

Hola amigos! Hermana Johanson here. I've been switched to a Spanish speaking missionary now. Ha just kidding that was a joke. Fooled ya huh? ;)

Well this week was really good. We had some good meetings. MLC which was awesome, President talked all about mental exertion and virtue. It was so good. And we had ZTM which surprisingly was not stressful so that is the first in a while. Yay! Progress. Man I just love our missionaries. They are so awesome. The Lord is just preparing everybody who is out here. It's really cool to see as a missionary, not just how the Lord is playing a part in everybody's lives who doesn't have the gospel, but with those that do as well. Everybody here made the decision to come here, and they all have their reasons why. And God is always a part of that.

We had a super 4th of July. It was really cool. Our zone leaders put together a finding activity for them and 3 sets of us sisters in the zone. We went to the Spartanburg 4th of July festival and set up a family history booth. We had one of the members set up a slideshow and have people sign up for a family history class and talk to them about it. And while she did that us missionaries made newspaper hats! They weren't the sailor kind of hats, they looked more like bowler hats. It was a funny process to make them. You would stick the newspaper right on their head and then tape around their head. Then you would roll up the newspaper and tape it, tie a ribbon around it and stick a flag in it. They looked kinda funny, but they were so fun! And everybody wanted them! We were making hats non stop for over 3 hours, all of our faces and hands were completely black from the ink. But we got to watch the fireworks and that was a blessing. It was just an overall real good day. God Bless America.

We taught a Mong couple this week, Bao and Seng. Ah they are so cool. Seng is less-active and we've been teaching Bao for a while. But we've never been able to teach them together, but we finally got to this week! And it's going to help so much in Bao's progression. We taught the plan of salvation and taught about repentance and Seng was so excited to repent. It's crazy the joy that comes from knowing that our life is not a dead end, and our mistakes are not permanent. Oh the joy the gospel brings. It's just been a really good week and we're looking forward to another one. I love you guys and hope you have a great week!!!

Love, Sister Johanson

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Does the world leave you cold? Grab the comforter.

Hello world! Happy 4th of July!! Yay America!

So this week has been really good. We had zone conference and got to give a training with the ZL's. It went pretty good. Always love hearing from president and seeing all the missionaries. Yay for this week cuz we get to do it again since tomorrow is Mlc and Friday is ZTM. Yay :)

Our recent convert John got the priesthood yesterday! Ah best ever. He was so excited. Maybe as excited as me, but you know I just don't know. I was pretty excited :) Our other recent convert, Shelley, said she invited her coworker to come have the missionary discussions in her home and he said yes! I just love these converts, they are such good examples of being disciples of Christ. Hopefully I can be like them when I go home.

Got to go on exchanges with one of the sisters this week and it's just so cool to see how amazing these sisters are. God is really just preparing his servants that come out here. We had some really good talks about our goals for ourselves while on our missions, and you know it's been a lesson that I've had to learn over and over while on my mission. But the hard truth is that I'm not going to be perfect while I'm here and I won't be perfect by the time I go home. I've had this idea in my mind that I have all of these habits and weaknesses that I've wanted to overcome and perfect while I'm out on my mission, and it gets really frustrating when I move farther along in the mission and realize that I haven't made it super far along in my progression. But I've come to terms (mostly) with knowing that my mission really is a preparation period. That Heavenly Father is showing me how to overcome these habits and it's been a time to prepare to overcome those weaknesses throughout the rest of my life. I just have aspiration to be an apostle someday. Apostasy. Haha not actually but, they are living proof that although we won't be perfect while here on earth, we can come pretty darn close. I've also learned just over the past couple days about self honesty, and our standing before God. I've been really trying to understand more deeply the effects of the Fall. Because true repentance is what brings forth the love of God in our life. And for true repentance to occur, we have to truly understand our spiritual peril. So Ive been praying for that.

I hope you guys have a great week! And that you continue to bask in the sunshine and enjoy the summer. Happy Independence Day. Yay for this great country that made it possible for the gospel to be restored to the earth. 3 cheers for the restoration!

Love you guys!! Have a great week :)

Sister Johanson