Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our attitude can make or break our destiny.

Hey friends and family! And maybe some other random people :)

Love you guys! Just throwing that out there early in the email. But I'll probably say it again at the end of this baby. Just so filled with love..does that mean I've developed charity yet? Ha just kidding. Still praying for that one :)

This week has been awesome! So many awesome miracles and blessings and craziness. This next week will be even crazier, can already tell that. But, craziness is what makes missionary life fun! Man, loving it.

Miracle of the week! We did a service thing on Saturday, we helped out a part member family with a walk that they were in charge of that was funding for kids with apraxia. And so they had lots of games and treats and raffles. The raffle tickets were $1 and we went to look at the raffle prizes and one of them was this small bag with some gift cards in it. One of the gift cards was to...Jimmy
Johns!! We looked in the little raffle box to see how many people had bid on it and guess how many? 0 people! So I ran to the car to look for my wallet and I looked and lo and behold! It was completely empty (ohhhh). But then I ran back and there was this lady I had talked to at her booth and talked to her about the church. And she was buying some raffle tickets and then said, "and I'll get one for the girl over there with the yellow ponytail" And that was me! So totally won the Jimmy johns gift card..for free! Woo hoo! Testimony of fast offerings! Pay em! The Lord provides.

Oh! Oh! Seng got the priesthood on Sunday!! WOooooooo!!! Well..advanced in the priesthood. He's gonna baptize his wife!!! Holla! It was so cool, because they opened the back curtain on Sunday! One of the speakers was giving his talk in sacrament and he is about in his late 30's or 40's. And at the beginning of his talk he says, "I have been in this ward since I was 15 and I have never seen the back curtain get opened." It was so amazing. And there weren't even visitors, it was all less actives and investigators coming to church. Faith is a power brothers and sisters.

This area has been so cool for me to be in and I've been so blessed to be with Sister Hill the past two transfers. She's been such a good example to me of having an attitude of gratitude. I've used faith to make things happen other times in my mission but since I've been with her she's helped me see how to use it without making it feel forced. And it just all comes back to being humble and having a grateful heart. President Monson says, if ingratitude is one of the worst of sins, than gratitude is one of the most heavenly virtues. I've seen how much gratitude has changed my experience as a missionary and changed the way that the Lord has provided me with blessings.

Things are just moving along here, enjoying every other second of it ;) I hope you guys continue to see miracles in your life. Expect them, the Lord wants to give.

Love you!!

Sister Johanson 

Monday, August 22, 2016

It's hot outside, but hell is hotter.

Hello everybody out there! Time for my weekly report. Things have gone really well this week. Did I mention last week that our area exploded? Well it did, we don't even know what happened. But we are glad it did.

Oh cool thing! So a few weeks ago, Sister Hill and I were talking about how we just don't really have any youth in our ward and so we wanted to bring some more youth in. So we have been making a plan to go to each families home that has youth in it and teach them the restoration and help the youth get excited to share the gospel for the upcoming school year.

Also a few weeks ago we were getting our boundaries changed for the wards in our stake. Preparing for it we were hoping we would get a lot of families coming in because we really don't have a lot of families in our ward. I kept praying that we would get some families and then when the ward boundaries changed we ended up just getting cut a lot of people out of our ward and we weren't added any. So I was a little disappointed.

But then! The Lord, within the last couple of weeks has moved in 5 new families into our ward, also in mine and Sister Hill's area. With! Several youth :) Man the Lord just has a plan. All we are required to do is take our desires to him with faith, and do what we can to make things happen.
We really can't do a lot, but the Lord takes it anyways and then dumps blessings on us.
I think there is a talk by S. Michael Wilcox (my favorite guy) and he talks about his son one time wanted to give him a present. So he put together a small pencil holder made out of macaroni. Then he borrowed 2 dollars from his dad and went and bought some pencils to put inside. That was the present he gave his dad and of course his dad loved it for what it was and also because he knew what his son would be capable of in the future. And God is so much the same. All we really have to offer are our pencil holders made of macaroni, also having to borrow "money" from Him just to be able to make our gift complete. But He takes it with so much happiness and satisfaction for what we've given Him, knowing what we can give in the future. What have we to boast of? Everything that we have is given to us from God? If we are successful it is because God has blessed us with the circumstances to make success. If we are blessed than God has given us those blessings. I am just so grateful to be indebted to a merciful and loving God.

He has blessed us so much this week. Our mong family continues to progress, Seng got interviewed for the priesthood this week and will be ordained to a priest next week and will be worthy to baptize his wife in the coming weeks. I've just seen so many small miracles and large in this area. I'm just so grateful to have the gospel in my life. Greatest blessing ever :)

Ha awkward Sister Johanson moment of the week: we knocked into this one guy who was super friendly and he invited us to come back and share more. So as we were setting up a time to come back he mentioned he had to work so I asked him where he worked. He answered that he worked at Jimmy Johns and before the words were out of his mouth I started freaking out a little bit. So did sister Hill and we just had to reassure him that I just really liked Jimmy Johns. He was a little caught off guard by these girls who were so ecstatic about where he worked. And so to top it all off, we went to leave and were walking down the stairs. I tripped, almost face planted but gracefully got myself into an erect position. Waved goodbye and gracefully exited the premises. 👋 thank  you thank you. I'll be here all week...and a little while longer.

Love yall! Hope you have a great week!!!

Sister Johanson

Monday, August 15, 2016

We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.

Hello again world!

It's been such a good week! Update on the Hmong family. They all came to church yesterday! Woo hoo!!! "There will be mirrrracles!! When you belieeeve" #princeofegypt But yeah it was so awesome to have them all there. I just love them :)

As far as news of the rest of the week, oh goodness. I just don't know. It's been really cool because Sister Hill and I have been a little upset with how solid the people have been that we have been finding and we just have wanted to get more solid people and less actives to teach. So we decided to change the tactic of how we count our key indicators.

Brief lesson! A key indicator is a number that represents a certain amount of something. So like how many lessons you had during the week with an active member with you. How many less active people you have taught that week. How many new investigators you have gotten. Okay..briefing over.
So we decided that we wanted our key indicators to represent more solid people, so we decided we would only count something if it was completely solid. Thus our key indicators suffered last week, meaning that they were pretty low. But we knew that if we showed the Lord that this is the kind of people we are counting He would bless us with those kind of people to teach! And lo and behold He did!

Now how can we apply this to our every day lives? ;) ha

Well I just think it's so amazing to see that Heavenly Father really is going to grant us according to our desires, and we show Him what our desires are by how we act. I read in Mormon today about miracles and how God is an unchanging God, and that He has been and always will be a God of miracles, and how He always works miracles by our faith. Well if we really want to have faith to produce a miracle we really have to come to know the person that we rely on the miracle for. And that's what I have learned. Is that we don't have faith in the miracle produced but in the Being that produced it. I know that as I've come to know who really is my Father in Heaven, then I come to know that He is a loving, kind and gentle Heavenly Father who delights in blessing His children. And it allows me to really trust that He really does want what's best for me and He wants to bless me to have miracles in my life. I know that for certain. I love you guys so much! I hope you continue to see blessings in your lives. They are always present. Sometimes God waits to give us more until we decide to be grateful for the ones we already have. I hope you choose to do so.

I love you!

Sister Johanson

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Don't just be yourself, be someone nicer.

Hey guys, this week has been eventful but uneventful. We had lots of meetings again, which just happens every first week of each month. But I just don't think my brain is ever mentally prepared for it. We also had to move out of our old apartment and into the Spanish elders apartment (they moved out, it's ok). So needless to say our proselyting time was very limited. But within our proselyting time the Lord blessed us with lots of miracles which was of course great.

At the beginning of the week we drove up to Columbia and slept at the sisters apartment in Irmo with them and the Seneca sisters. And then the next day all of the sisters before MLC got up and played volleyball. To say the least I was one of the best players there which is not super impressive because I'm really bad at volleyball. Hahah so not a lot of hitting the ball went on during that game. That's okay, it was fun nonetheless and next time we'll have to try something different. But I just love being a missionary. It's so great! I have a hard time letting myself do fun things because I just have in my head that I'm supposed to be suffering at all times. Luckily Heavenly Father placed me with Sister Hill who helps me a lot with that kind of stuff. We are a good balance for each other.

Last week I told yall about that member, Papa Lor, that passed away. Well, his funeral was this week and I think it was the neatest experience ever. All of his family was there, which took up the entire chapel! He had 8 kids, among which 2 are active, and then I think like 47 grandchildren and 30 something great grands. A lot of people. But it was so neat to see them all in the chapel. Because they are all Hmong so they have certain ceremonies and traditions for things. But before Papa Lor, before he died, told his family that he wanted to have an LDS funeral. So Saturday  morning they we were and there they were in the chapel. And some of the kids who were active gave talks about their dad. This was a man who moved to Spartanburg 19 years ago, didn't speak a lick of English, and yet never missed church for 19 years since living here. Even though he couldn't understand what was being said. When asked why he would go he always answered, "Because it is true. Why go anywhere else when I have found the truth? I found the good spot and so I lowered my anchor" and there he stayed. What a perfect example of a true disciple of Christ. It was just so neat to be able to sit there and have the spirit testify to me as well as to his family, that he was definitely dwelling with God. It's so amazing to have the eternal perspective that the gospel brings. That death truly is just a step in our eternal progression and how short our time is here to prepare for that day. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ability to be cleansed of our sins. That's what it's all about. That's why we are here.

Mmm..missionary work :)
I love you guys and I hope you have a great week!!! Good luck with school everybody  and with life and stuff.

Sister Johanson

Friday, August 5, 2016

Stop focusing on burdens and start focusing on blessings.

Good morning everybody! I hope yall have a real blessed week :) Haha it's been pretty blessed for us. But you know me, can't really remember...🤔most of it. No meetings this week because of transfers. That only happens if you are not getting transferred, which I wasn't and neither was Sister Hill. So all is well with calm waters here in Spartanburg. But!! Guess who came to join me in the Greenville East zone?! My one and only greenie Sister Smith! Woo hoo!! She is serving in Gaffney so I'll actually be going on exchanges with her here in a couple weeks. Don't tell her that tho, it will be a surprise (don't worry it's inspiration not just for fun.)

Also! My good ole comp Sister Rymer came up to join me in the zone as well. Everybody is just flocking to me, just couldn't get enough :)
Don't worry there will probably be pictures of some sort next week; but you know, also we'll see because I'm sure you can tell from all the pictures I send, or the lack thereof, of how good I am at taking them.

But, it's been a pretty good week. Bad news is, is that the huge Mong family we have in the ward; Papa Lor (the head honcho of the family..or patriarch is probably a better word for it) passed away this week. And so Bao (one of the granddaughter in laws) was supposed to be baptized this weekend but instead we will be having a funeral :/ but it will actually be a blessing because now there will be time for her husband, who is a returning less active, to get the priesthood and be able to baptize her! And he is just doing awesome and is on fire. Also we will now have the aid of Papa Lor helping us out on the other side to bring back all of his family to the gospel. The Lord has a plan for us and more importantly for them and their family.

I've studied a lot about covenants the past few weeks. God is so good to us. He is so good. And not because He has to be, not because He is programmed to be, but because that is His character. Our great Creator and Master, is giving us everything He has. He has given us the very keys with which to unlock the gates of heaven and to enter in. The very tools to access heavens blessings everyday.There is this talk I read by Elder Holland and he talks about the way that we build the kingdom is one covenant at a time. The core of the gospel is about making and keeping covenants. And you know, God IS so good, and sometimes I get a little discouraged because I'm just not that good. My character is very flawed. But the way that we change our character is by acting on our faith. Elder Scott talks all about how our faith can transform our character into becoming like Christ's character. Which is an example of God's. And I think He's laid it all out there for us. He's left nothing out to show us how we can do just that. How we can become just that. And it's through our covenants, through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We gain access to Christ's atonement, we gain insight and power from on high. We gain the ability to become that very person of who we want to become. I love the gospel! I know it's true!!
I love you guys lots and lots!!! I hope you have a great week!

Love! Sister Johanson

Sorry I'm extra energetic this morning, that's what running will do to ya.