Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Officially, almost...


The day has officially come!!! Well, almost. Today is Monday and we get to email today even though P-day is tomorrow because tomorrow we are saying bye to President Cook!! So we got transfer calls on Saturday and we found out that we are going to stay together again and that we will both be Irvine missionaries for sure! Crazy. So tomorrow we will have one last transfer meeting with everyone as a Carlsbad mission where people who are going home will leave and only a few people will be moved around to fill in the spots of those going home. Also at the meeting we will say our last goodbyes to President Cook and all the people in the Carlsbad mission that we wont see again. Way sad! But then after the meeting we will officially be the Irvine mission. What does that mean? Well, there are only 2 spanish wards in the Irvine mission: San Clemente and Mission Viejo. There are 2 areas for Hermanas in the Mission Viejo ward, so in total there will be 6 Spanish Hermanas in all of the Irvine mission, and only 3 areas. So if I don't ever get switched to English work, which I hope I don't, I will spend my entire mission in 2 wards! Kinda crazy. At first I was kind of annoyed by that, but now I am kind of excited. I will get to know the members really well, and I will get to know the 6 Hermanas really well too and probably be companions with almost all of them. Its going to be wierd though because I will pretty much be able to guess what will happen to me for the rest of my mission, transfer guessing won't really be that fun! But its ok, I am super excited for all of this and i am really excited to meet my new mission president and stuff. Oh yeah, and it also means that I will go home 3 weeks earlier (cause their transfer schedule is different) than I would have if I stayed in Carlsbad, which will be kind of nice cause it will give me a little bit more time to figure out where I am going to school and stuff before it starts. So yeah, there you go. I am an Irvine missionary.

Ok so this week was awesome!! Highlight of the week. SHANNON GOT BAPTIZED!! It was sooooooooooooooo good!! Seriously I can't put enough ohs in so to explain to you how good it was. Elder Belnap gave a talk (one of the other missionaries who taught her) and he was crying like the whole time. The spirit was so strong. Then we had an amazing musical number by another missionary, where again the spirit was really strong. Then after the baptism and confirmation we had a couple testimonies that were also super awesome. I bore my testimony and I almost started crying cause I looked at Shannon and she was bawling. Then Shannon finished us off with an awesome testimony. It compared to Grace's baptism, so good. Then afterwards we all went to Baja Fish Taco's and ate lunch together. While eating, I was just so happy. Those moments are really what a mission is all about, being surrounded by friends, all of us doing our very best to follow Christ, and having a good time. So good. Shannon is one of my favorite people I have met here, I know I've said that about a couple people, but really, we get along suuuper well. We are going to do yoga by the beach next tuesday! I am so excited! :)

Other highlight of the week. The world-wide mission broadcast from the first presidency yesterday!! As a missionary, that was like the best thing that could ever happen. Really members are the best way to do missionary work. In a district meeting a couple days ago we all thought about our converts to the church so far, and not a single person that we have converted has been baptized without a member friend in the church! In fact, 95% of them were refferrals from members! So that is definitely the best way to get baptisms! And it is super awesome cause we got a call this morning during studies from a guy in the singles ward, and he asked us to come to FHE tonight and talk to the ward about what they can and need to do to help us out. Man, I love the singles ward. They are awesome! The only bummer part of that conference was that no one in our spanish ward heard it...and they are the ones who need the kick in the pants. They didn't announce it to our spanish ward, so no one even knew about it. But that's ok, we can still use it to help them help us so that we can improve the missionary work here!

I love being a missionary! This is a great time to be on a mission! I love you all and remember this promise from an apostle, "There is always someone in your life that is ready to hear the gospel!" So I invite everyone to look for those people! (oh boy, I'm such a missionary)

Les Quiero!
Hermana Johnson

More investigators

So we have been trying to focus on picking up more investigators these last couple weeks...and guess what?! We got 5 new investigators this week! They aren't all super strong and we are pretty positive with a couple of them it won't go anywhere, but we got a couple pretty good ones. 2 of them were definitely directed by the spirit. We were going to go see a couple potential investigators in this apartment complex and we remembered that someone had told us once that a hispanic family lived one of the bottom apartments. So we decided to knock on her door before we went upstairs to visit our potential. When she came to the door she was pretty cold and we didn't think anything would come out of it, but then Hermana Garner said, "Well if there is anything we can do to help you out we would love to help. We can help you clean or do whatever!" Then she was like, oh seriously? And let us in. We were thinking that we would just end up doing service, but instead we just sat down and started talking. We found out that she has been to Temple Square and watched every single video there. She said she loved how all the people looked like they had a light around them and were always so happy. She really wants to learn how to pray and communicate with God better because she thinks her life will be better. It was so awesome. So we set a return appointment and taught her how to pray and stuff. They are going on vacation for like 3 weeks, but she said she wants us to come over when she gets back and teach her more about how to communicate with God and to help her clean her house, haha. We were sooo excited!

Then a couple days later we were going to visit a referral and there were people outside of her house. So we started talking to this other lady for a while and we were able to pick her up as a new investigator too! It turns out that our referral didn't even live there, but we were supposed to go there so we could talk to the other lady. Missionary work is awesome, I swear that always happens.
This week was super busy. Even though we spent time finding new investigators, we still taught 28 lessons and we are planning 2 baptisms! So we have had a ton to do.
Shannon and Tabby are both going strong. They are both super excited for their baptisms! Its awesome cause we have been seeing them a lot and they are both good cooks and they just love to feed us :) That is another good part of being a missionary, haha.

As a missionary you get to see a lot of people grow in the gospel and see them come to know these things are true, but you also get to see a lot of people who are really struggling with their faith. We had a couple lessons with people who are just really struggling to have faith this week, and it is seriously the saddest thing. But it has really grown my testimony in faith. Because the people who are struggling are the ones who are not following all the commandments and who are not doing all the things we are telling them to do. And those that grow in the gospel are the ones who do what we invite them to. I have really learned that the only way to have true faith is to just trust God and do the things he is telling us to do!

Well I am out of time. Les quiero mucho y gracias por todos sus oraciones! Puedo sentirlas!
Hermana Johnson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hola familia y amigos!!!

First and foremost, we just had an awesome miracle!! So I can't remember how much I have told you guys about Shannon, but she is an investigator we just got from the English Elders and she is going to be going to the singles ward. Well, she's pretty much soooooo awesome and could be baptized tomorrow. But the problem is that she wanted Elder Armstrong to baptize her and he isn't coming back to the mission until August. (yeah i'm pretty sure I already emailed this) But anyways, we got a call late last night that we couldn't answer from the English Elders and we just barely called them back this morning. They said that they were teaching Jack, her boyfriend, (because he is still in their ward) and at the end of the lesson Shannon came in. She asked one of the elders what day he was going to be leaving because he is about to go home and he said on the 25th of this month. Then she said that Elder Armstrong was actually not going to be able to come back and visit the mission so she wanted to get baptized earlier, and before he left if possible!!! So she is going to get baptized this month!!!! We are soo excited! As a zone we have a goal to get 5 baptisms this month and it wasn't looking like it was going to happen, but now it will! So cool.

So this week was pretty busy. On Thursday we had a zone training meeting. It was all about studying. It was perfect because just the day before me and Hermana Garner were talking about how we wanted to learn how to study better. It was really good. Pretty much what we did was spent an hour and half, almost 2 hours reading 2 pages of Preach my Gospel. If you really sit there and "escundrinar las escrituras" (scrutinize or pick apart the scriptures) then you can get sooo much out of them. So I have had this goal to read 5 pages in the Spanish scriptures every morning out loud and I have been doing really well at it. But I realized at this conference that that wasn't really helping me learn because I was just trying to read it really fast. So instead we learned a different way to study. Instead we learned that we should have a question in mind about one of our investigators while we are reading the chapter. Then begin with a prayer and ask that we will know how to help our investigators while we are reading. You get WAY more out of the scriptures when you do that. So it was really cool and I think it has helped my studies a lot. 

Then the next day we had a Spanish conference. It was way fun!! It was with all the Spanish missionaries in the mission and afterward we did a mission-wide exchange. The conference part was good, it was cool cause the whole thing was in Spanish and usually all of our meetings are in English. And we could do all the practices in Spanish too, which we usually can't do also. I was kind of scared to do the practices in Spanish, but I actually did really good! My group said that I was really good at Spanish for how long I've been out so that made me super happy. Then we went on exchanges and I went with Hermana Schwaggler, but stayed up here in San Clemente. It was the funnest exchange I have ever been on (out of all 2 of them). She reminds me a TON of Autumn. We didn't stop talking like the whole time and she is a really good missionary. I just felt really confident with her and super bubbly. Maybe I was just having withdrawals or something from not living with Autumn for so long and because she was so much like her my crazy side came out again, I don't know. But it was really fun. 

But yeah this week was awesome!! These next couple weeks are going to be awesome too! We are coming down to the wire, only 2 more weeks until all the changes are made! Yeah, I'm pretty much 100% positive both me and Hermana Garner will be staying up in the Irvine mission now, so we aren't nearly as stressed about that anymore. We really want to make sure Areli gets baptized in June like we have planned, but she has been really hard to find at home lately. And her mom might want her to wait for July so we are praying that we will be able to make it happen! We need her to get baptized to reach our goal for the zone! 

I love you all and I hope everyone is having a great week!

Les Quiero!
Hermana Johnson

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shrimp Soup


This week has been awesome!! One of the better weeks here in the mission field. First and foremost I have some great news. I ate an entire bowl of a fish and shrimp soup!!! (yeah super weird, it was a fish soup. I have never heard of that before) There was like 8 pieces of shrimp in there and I ate it all!!! I thought everyone would be proud of me so i wrote it down in my planner so I would remember to tell everyone. :) Oh, and that doesn't necessarily mean that I liked all of it, but I ate it and that's what matters!
But on to more important things, today we were able to go to the temple for the first time. It was really awesome. We went to the Newport beach temple because that one is closer and it is suuper pretty. It is really small, but I like it a lot. It was really nice to be able to relax and just think for a while. You don't really ever get that opportunity in the mission. 

But we had another awesome miracle the other day! We received a golden refferel. A girl named Shannon Brady has been being taught by the English elders because she was going to a family ward with her boyfriend. But because her and her boyfriend want to start living the commandments, he moved out and she wants to start coming to the singles ward. So now we get to teach her! She is solid, she is for sure going to get baptized and she is really excited for it. The only problem is that she really wants Elder Armstrong to baptize her because he is the Elder that found her and taught her the longest, but he just went home and lives in New Zealand. But he is coming back at the end of August so that is when she wants to get baptized. So...we'll probably have to wait a while, but she is super awesome! I am really excited to teach her. 

Also we had another really good lesson with Giovani. We are definitely seeing progress with him. He pretty much told us that he wants to get baptized and that he really likes everything that we tell him and all this stuff, but that he doesn't know what to do about his wife. Because he really respects her and what she wants, cause he is a really good guy, but she is just super catholic. She is as catholic as we are mormon and she wants her kids to grow up that way and all this stuff. So it has been really hard for him lately because he doesn't want to lose his relationship, but he also wants to do the things we are telling him. He said at one point, "Seria muy bonita para ir a la iglesia con todo mi familia." (it would be super amazing to go to church with my whole family)  We have been talking about the family a lot and how we can have peace in the home and he wants that so badly! So we are really going to work with Candi a lot these next couple weeks. 

Anyways, this week was just really good. I love San Clemente, I love the people here, I love having the opportunity to work in the singles ward and in the spanish ward, and I have loved my mission so far! I know this gospel is true and I love sharing it with others. This next week is going to be awesome, we have a lot of cool training things this next week. 

Andre and Brian you are gruaduated!!!! O my gosh!!!!!! Brian you are going to be a missionary as of tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AH!!!! Suerte! Vas a ser bueno misionero! Recuerda que el campo blanco esta ya para la siegra!! :) Estoy muy emocionada por ti! 

Les Quiero mucho! Nos Vemos!
Hermana Johnson