Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hey family!

So i spent the last little while looking at all the adorable pictures from memorial day and my time on the library computer is running out. So either in the next half hour or sometime tomorrow I will email you again with a longer account of this past week. I love you all so much!
Dad, I saw a picture of you and Brad and Brayden and you are loosing so much weight! You look great!

Mom, you are just  the best! Thank you so much for everything you do. I know the grandkids are so lucky to have you for a grandma!

who would have thought jaz would help you find a new full time job?! lol Keep up the good work

Your family is beautiful!! I loved the picture of Amelia. Please keep them coming.

How are you?! Annie your dark hair is so cute! Every time I see a picture of it I think it's your sister Emily lol. It looks great. Finley is getting so big. 
I am so excited for you! You are going to love AZ. And I know everyone will love having Brayden close by to love on and babysit! I can't wait to do just that when I come home. Heck i'm going to be at your place all the time! ;)

I love you! You are so cool! I hope you have a great day!

I love you! Did you see pictures of my blond hair? 

Sister Emily Johnson

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The start of my 3rd cycle

Hello hello everyone!
This week has been really good :)
We did some look ups of people we had received contact information from who might be interested in learning more about our message. The nice thing about doing look ups is that you can start to determine if they were just being nice but don't want to learn, or if they genuinely have a desire to learn more. It felt good to drop a few of the names that day so we could start devoting our efforts to those who the Lord is preparing.
That night we got fed by a couple in our ward. They are awesome! The wife reminds me a lot of my mom because of her strong faith and the many Many miracles she has seen the Lord reveal in her life after being baptized.
We had dinner with one of my favorite sisters from the ward. She is a SASSY Black lady who reminds me a lot of one of my friends from home. It's mostly because they are both very opinionated, have studied physology, and because they can tell you stories for hours and I sit and laugh hysterically.
Afterwards we went and contacted people.
We had the priviledge of hearing Elder Rasband speak to us.
The speaker of the talk The Divine Call of a Missionary.
He's the president of the quorum of the 70. It was an awesome experience and I was so uplifted! He talked to us about a lot of things. Back in  the day he served a mission in the Eastern States Mission. Later he and his wife were the mission president in the NY NY North Mission (My mission!)
Next week when I have my notes with you I will tell you more about that experience and what I learned.
We met at the stake center in Manhattan, which is also the temple (just a different floor). It was awesome =)
We had a BBQ with one of our members in their backyard and the weather was beautiful! I talked to the members daughter about dental work :) haha

We received shot calls (finding out if anyone was getting transferred)
Sister T and I are staying together! I thought she might get transferred.  But she didn't =) We've got four more weeks together for now. This next transfer is going to be shorter than normal because President Smith didn't want the new mission president coming in to also have to deal with transfers the week of his arrivals.
The only change happening in our zone is Sister Pipes coming in to replace the dying Sister Vander Does
This was the best day of the week by far!!!
We had such a legit lesson with a new investigator.  He had previously been taught by missionaries and he was close to getting baptized last time but he wasn't ready to make the commitment, but he was the one who contacted the missionaries this time around.  The spirit was so strong in our appointment with him! He remembered quite a bit about what the other missionaries had taught him. He even felt the spirit and teared up.  He has committed to work towards June 23rd for a baptismal date! =)
After that appointment I was on cloud 9! I was grinning from ear to ear. Sister T. didn't think it was possible for me to be even happier than I normally am. lol.
After that I was contacting it up and talking to everyone! I was just so happy. Then on the bus I was smiling so much. I made I contact with a black guy and after a few long moments he eventually smiled too.
It reminded me of something Elder Rasband said, Smile at the people of New York. You disarm them when you smile.  I love smiling at people! lol
We spent the rest of the day talking to anyone we could and spreading the good word of the gospel =)

One of our goals this cycle is to contact 1,000 people so that works out about 35 a day (it doesn't matter if they listen or reject us). That statistical number is suppose to help us find someone who is ready to learn and progress in the gospel. Plus I just like how it pushes me to talk to everyone.

Also, Monday I started the Eat Clean Diet with Sister Tu'akalau. There is a book about it called Just the Rules and it's sweet! I'm learning how to make informed decisions and not eat processed foods.  I'm excited to loose weight and be in my optimal health weight. This summer is going to be hot! I'm doing all I can to prepare now lol.

I love all of you.
I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I hope you enjoy the pictures and remember, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."-Mosiah 2:17

Peace and Blessings!
Peace and Blessins'!


Sister Emily A. Johnson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Life In The Bronx

Hello everyone =)
Where does the time go? The days are long but the weeks and the months are fast! 
I hope everyone is doing well. From the sounds of it, I know my family is doing well since I got to talk to them on Mothers Day =)
So this past week has been an interesting one. 
We had our interviews with President Smith. It was my first time talking to him one on one.  It went really well.  I felt like I learned more about him while seeking his advice on somethings. He is absolutely great. Now that I'm getting to know him I'm sad he's leaving in four weeks.  However, I am looking forward to building a relationship with my new Mission President and his wife. 
Just a little back ground on President Smith: He's a farmer from Idaho, a lawyer, and he has a helicopter license! haha he is all around a diverse man.
I went on a split in the morning with Sister Ortega because both of our companions were feeling sick.  We went to the Blitz, which was in our area, and then we left early to go to an appointment she had.
We got there a little early a grabbed a bite of lunch. I wanted Chinese food because I hadn't had any since I've been here.  Sister T and I got back together in the afternoon to have a lesson with one of our investigators and a member from the ward. His name is Brother Johnson! lol After that lesson I was really not feeling well. I was worried I caught whatever our roommates had. However, that night I put the pieces together and I'm pretty sure I was sick from some strong MSG in the Chinese food. I've only had this experience twice now, but I feel so bad for my sister in law Jane who used to run into that problem a lot! MSG migraines are a killer! lol
I saw a scene go down in front of the church! lol
First and foremost I was watching all this behind the glass doors of the church while making a phone call.
There was a man walking down the slant of the sidewalk and a lady and her younger daughter walking up the sidewalk (towards the bus stop). Also following close behind was another girl and guy that I think was the woman's daughter and boyfriend (but that is purely speculation).
Anyhow the first man either ran into the young daughter or almost did. The Mom started yelling at him about watching where he was going. He seemed pretty non-responsive. She kept saying, "What's the matter with you?!" With a tad more color ;) Then she started hollering to the daughter and boyfriend who were still a little bit behind them. One they arrived got closer the older daughter started yelling similar things at him.  Then the boyfriend swung a right hook and punch the first guy.  The force of the hit and with his lack of stability the guy fell back, hit the church, and fell to the ground.  The others just walked away. I was freaking out that all this just happened in front of me and so fast! I went and grabbed Sister T and two of the Elders that were at the chapel. We went outside to ask him if he was ok.
When we got out there we was non responsive. We kept asking him questions but he didn't say a word. He got to his feet and we offered him some water (p.s. I'm not loving the humidity! haha) I figured whether he was dehydrated, drunk, or on drugs some water would do him good. He took one sip and wouldn't drink anymore. He motioned to give the water bottle back but Sister T told him to keep it. He still didn't say anything to us he just started walking down the sidewalk and dumped the water out of the water bottle on the ground! It was so bizarre!
We pretty sure he was tripping out on some drug because he was soooo out of it.
Moral of the story-Don't Do Drugs!
I'm so grateful to understand the freedom the commandments allows me to have in my life. It is a blessing to be in control of my body, spirit, and mind.
Mother's Day!
I LOVED talking to my family! I am so blessed to have such an extraordinary family! I love you all so much. It was a true blessing to talk to you on the phone.
After our goals meeting our zone went and got lunch and brought it back to the chapel.  While being at the chapel with the zone Elder Sayao (my Brazilian friend) taught me how to Whistle!!! Yes it's true! I am learning! So many others have tried to teach me and I have never been able to get it, but Elder Sayao actually succeeded.  I feel like a whole new person! lol ok maybe not, but I feel pretty awesome for learning a new talent. I'm still not great but practice my friends, practice.
The other main thing we did on Monday was help the Olsen's back. They are a family in my ward who are about to move across the U.S.  They'll be in a few different states for a while. Eventually, after putting some things in storage and seeing family they will be heading over to Germany. I believe for school or work, I forget which one. There son David who is just over a year is so cute! He reminds me of baby Binks from Baby's Day Out! lol  It was really nice to be able to help them in their time of need. Having all the extra hands really helped them accelerate the time it'd take them to finish packing.
It was raining like CRAZY!!! I was not prepared for the rain at all. Needless to say after one of our appointments we went and bought me some rain boots and an umbrella. Annoyingly enough, it has not rained one drop since I bought those lol, but those will come in handy eventually.
That night we had a cottage meeting with a family in our ward. I can't remember if I explained this or not, but a cottage meeting is basically the members opening their home for missionaries, investigators, and anyone the members have in mind to come together, have spiritual thought, and typically have some dinner.  We brought one of our more solid investigators and it was a nice time :) We talked about how we are literally children of God and how wonderful and empowering that fact is.
That night when we returned home we had a P-day eve party and Sister Vanderdose and I both colored our hair (with the help of Sister T and Sister Ortega) Sister V put red in her dark brown hair. I went a light blond color! Pictures soon to come.
That brings us to today, Wednesday May 16th.  Monday we will find out if anyone is getting transferred. Those are called Shot Calls.  After I log off I'm going to make Elder Eliason a planner cover.  He made me a really funny one.
Here's a spiritual thought for the week:
I've been reading the Ensign with April's conference addresses and it is so uplifting! One quote that has really touched my heart is in Thomas S, Monson's talk called the Race of Life
He begins by telling of his boyhood days when him and some friends would carve toy boats from the soft wood of a willow tree. On one particular race down the Provo river one of the boats got carried by the current too close to a large whirlpool and the boat capsized.  "The toy boats of childhood had no keel for stability, no rudder to provide direction, and no source of power. Inevitably, their destination was downstream-the path of least resistance."
"Unlike toy boats, we have been provided divine attributes to guide our journey.
We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life but with the
power to think, to reason, and to achieve."
"Our Heavenly Father did not launch us on our eternal voyage without providing the means whereby we could receive from Him guidance to ensure our safe return.  I speak of prayer.  I speak too of the whisperings from that still, small voice; and I do not overlook the holy scriptures, which contain the word of the Lord and the words of the prophets-provided to us to help us successfully cross the finish line."
I thought that was such a beautiful example because it demonstrates just how much our Father in Heaven loves us.  He has provided us the tools to safely navigate homeward.
One other spiritual thought I'd like to share with you came from my studies the past couple of days.  Sister Tu'akalau and I were doing training (which simply involves an extra hour of companionship study within my first few months in the mission field).  We were studying how to help people make and keep commitments.  During which we were reading about the importance of helping people repent and draw closer to God.  This example came to my mind.  Dad and Brad I'm sure you can appreciate this in more depth. lol
What I realized is that Repentance is a lot like a Root Canal! Haha I never thought I'd say that.
But it's so true! You see, people are so afraid of Root Canals. They have a negative feeling towards them because they think of pain.  What they don't understand is that a Root Canal is the procedure to take away the pain. It makes you feel better.  The real pain is already there because of the abscess in the tooth.  The tooth is in so much pain and the root canal is the fix, or cure. 
It's the same with Repentance. So many people look at repentance as a bad thing or a painful thing. When in reality the pain is already there from the sin. When we make wrong choice and allow sin into our lives that is when the pain begins. We don't always recognize it at first or it might throb here and there. Eventually, though it becomes unbearable. Repentance is the procedure to take that pain away. It heals us.
I feel the spirit work through me more each day and I'm excited to continue on this road and see all the Lord has in store for me.  He's constantly reshaping me and molding something better. It's rather a bizarre experience, but it's good :)
I love you all!
I pray that the Lord will bless you and protect you. Have you had a heart felt prayer with the Lord today? What did he say back? Tell him I said hi =D
Peace and Blessins'
Peace and Blessings!
Sister Emily A. Johnson

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hello again,

I hope everything is going well your way!
I just hit my three month mark on May 8th! Only 15 more months to go lol, but seriously I hear it goes by fast. I guess we will see if that is true. I feel like three months is a big mile stone in mission life.  Pretty much every three months is significant. 6 months, 9 months, 12 months! 15 months and 18 months and I'm home!!!

I'm trying to think back about what happened in my life in the past week.  I know what I did today though which was way fun! In the morning we went the Kingsbridge chapel and met up with some of our zone. We played the game sardines where one person hides and the rest are looking for them.  It was a lot of fun!
Then we came out to Manhattan and went to Central Park.  A lot of the missionaries played sand volleyball and a few others played ultimate Frisbee. I sat and enjoyed the soft damp sand (it's been raining) and wrote some letters. The weather was brilliant! Afterwards we came to the Manhattan East Side Chapel. That's actually where I'm emailing right now. On our way here a man fainted on the sidewalk. We all stopped to help him.  It was really bizarre. When he came around he was so grateful.  Then I got a Jamba Juice =) It was so good!

This week Sister T. and I have been working really hard! Last week after P-day it was kinda of an epic fail. lol. It was just a rough few days. However this week has been great! I'm so pleased with the way the Lord has been blessing our efforts. 
Tomorrow we have our interviews with President Smith. It'll be my first and last interview with him. Everyone will be meeting with him. Then next cycle will be his last zone conference (he does interviews and zone conferences on an alternating basis). However, then we're getting a new mission president.

Sunday I get to call home to talk to my amazing family! I am so excited! It'll be great talking to them.

If there is anything else I forgot to tell you about last week I'll write it later. Right now we need to travel back up to the Bronx and go to a dinner appointment at our member's house.  She's awesome  =)

I love you all! I pray that the Lord will bless you in all that you have going on in your life at this time.

Peace and Blessings
Peace and Blessin's

Sister Emily Johnson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My talk in church

In about a week I will hit my three month mark of mission life! It's crazy how that happens ;) I hope all is going well for each of you. This is what's been taking place in my life during the past week.

Thursday we had the Sister's Lunchin
That was sweet because all of the Sisters in the mission get to go to Scarsdale and be spiritually uplifted by President Smith and Sister Smith.  Not to mention socialize with all the other sisters :)  It was definitely an enjoyable day.  I realized I am getting to know the other missionaries in our mission and that makes me quite happy.

Friday we visited Alexa again and her knee is definitely getting better.  She is such an awesome person! She has such a good energy and hilarious personality. I could sit and listen to her talk and tell stories for hours! I always feel happy when we leave after visiting her.

Saturday we went to a "cottage meeting" that went quite well. Cottage meetings are basically our ward mission plan.  What it entitles is having members open their homes to the missionaries and their investigators. It could be for a dinner or refreshments, but what it should start turning into is members inviting their friends and family over to interact with the missionaries and share a spiritual thought.  It's kind of hard to explain, but it's suppose to be simple.
With this last one it was really cool. It was put on by our Gospel Principles teacher (in church) who is such a sweet heart! It was really neat to see how the Lord prepared one of the Elder's investigators to connect with the woman in our ward who felt impressed to make the dinner for the missionaries into a cottage meeting.

Talk went really well on Sunday
In Church this last Sunday Sister Tu'akalau, Sister Denison, and I all spoke about missionary work.  I made some changes to my talk, but in essence this is what it said. Now you don't have to feel bad if you couldn't make it out to the Bronx this past Sunday lol
Sunday April 29th, 2012
Kingsbridge second ward
Sister Emily Johnson

All the people who know me in my life know I have a big sweet tooth! So much so, that I would rather eat oreos all day than eat real food. 

After discussing this once, Sister Tu’akalau told me about something she learned regarding cravings.  The theory is if you are craving something, in my case Oreos, your body is actually thirsty but you don’t realize it.  It has been said that a craving will only last 15 minutes and if you drink a lot of water it will go away.  However, if you try to satisfy that desire with a whole package of oreos, which will never, be enough for your body. Trust me, I know. 

You may be wondering what Oreos have to do with the gospel and with missionary work.
We’re getting there
A craving can be defined as a great or eager desire… a yearning.

Just as our bodies misunderstand when we are thirsty, so do our souls.

There are so many people out there, people that we interact with on a daily basis who have no idea that their spirit is thirsty for the refreshing feeling we receive from having the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
As a result they try everything under the sun in an attempt to satisfy the yearning for something more.  They follow the world’s ways because they think it is the way to find happiness or joy. 

In Doctrine and Covenants the Lord reveals to the prophet Joseph Smith this reality,
“For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it-” (D&C 123:12)

What a significant point, they are only kept from the truth because they know NOT where to find it!

This scripture has impacted my missionary mindset because I know not everyone is ready for the gospel, but I need to be talking about it as much as I can to find those who are eagerly search to quench their thirst.

The Lord continues, “These should then be attended to with great earnestness.”

The Lord cares deeply for each of his children and he wants all of us to be nourished by his word, and receive the saving ordinances each of us needs in order to return to live with him again.

In the new testament Gospel of John there is the story of the woman of Sameria. Jesus stops in the city Sameria while traveling between Judeaa and Galilee. He stops to rest at Jacobs well after being weary from his journey. A woman approaches the well and Jesus asks her for a drink. She is confused by this since she is a Samaritan and He is a jew. The two usually don’t interact. The savior says in essence how if she knew who he was she would ask him for a drink. Because he has water that will cause men to never thirst again.
Seeing that we has no bucket she is confused as to what water he refers to.
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never athirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water bspringing up into ceverlasting life.

Christ is Water, the living waters, which cause us to thirst no more. It is him we yearn to feel more in our lives. It is through him our spirits are satisfied.

As we look around us, this is a time of spiritual drought in the world.  Because people don’t even know that they are thirsty.
But we can see they are thirsty because they keep eating the world’s Oreos and they crash from the affects of the sugar. And they continue to do so over and over.

What does that mean for someone who has the fullness of the gospel?

In Doctrine and Covenants 71:1
It says,

1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in aproclaiming my gospel...

One study technique that I’ve heard people do is to replace their name in the scriptures with their own name.

I challenge each of you right now to insert your name in your mind when I read this again,
“Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant _(your name)__ that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel…”

The Lord doesn’t say it’d be nice if you could share his gospel. He says it is necessary and expedient.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “The process of bringing new people into the Church is not the responsibility alone of the missionaries.  They succeed best when members become the source from which new investigators are found.” (Ensign, May 1999, 105-6)

It is so true.  As members of the church you can contribute to the missionary efforts so much more than we, as missionaries, are able to do by ourselves.

We need you.
We really need your help finding people to teach.

We want to help you in anyways we can: 
If you are not sure how to bring up gospel topics with your friends we would love to help you practice.
If you’re worried about offending them, consider this fact:
You love them and you want them to have the same joy you feel from the gospel, perhaps tell them that is why you want to share it with them.
“If you are sincere in your friendship with them, they will be able to feel the spirit of your testimony and happiness.” (True to the Faith 105)

The only way to not be intimidated or afraid of talking about the Gospel is through practice.
The Lord will support us.
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things preceded that which is great.” (D&C 64:33)   

Thomas S. Monson said
Let us never despair, for the work in which we are engaged is the work of the Lord. It has been said, “The Lord shapes the back to bear the burden placed upon it.”
(Be your best self)

I testify that these things are true and as we work together in the ward missionary efforts the Lord will bless you. Furthermore, we will see the Lord bless this area in rich abundance.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

And ever since I shared this talk the ward likes to ask me about if I have recently eaten any oreos! haha
Actually it was cool because the investigator who came on Saturday night was at church and she felt like all three of our talks were speaking just to her!
During my talk she really connected to the part about cravings.  She said her's were cigarettes, but that she was changing her ways.  Seriously, she is so solid. She almost in 2 Nephi in her Book of Mormon reading! Hah we are lucky if our investigators read one page in between the time we see them.

Yesterday Sister T and I got ice cream to celebrate our two month anniversary as companions. But mostly it was just because we wanted ice cream! haha

For this week these are the weekly goals Sister T. and I decided on:
Loose yourself in the work
Budget money and eat healthy
Dive into the work
Service! =) Think of others
drink three bottles of water a day
update teaching records daily
complete training by the end of the cycle

So we are staying focused and moving forward with the work. Actually we have to investigators who are coming out of the wood work that we recently found.
They were both found tracting. The second one was one we found when I had taken over. As of Monday I've been taking over the area and calling the shots as to what we were going to do and where we were going to go.  I like it =) haha. Anyhow it was cool though because I got to explore and just be guided by what felt "right".  I really enjoy having more of a say in everything.  Anyhow, that's how we found the second new potential investigator and she is so amazing! We taught her the restoration and she was really touched by the spirit.  What's even better is that she's excited to read.

The only other thing that has been happening is that yesterday we had two lessons with a member present and both of those went really well. The first potential investigator that I mentioned was one of those lessons and he actually accepted a baptismal date! I am so excited for him!
Sadly some of the others we were working with previously have slowed down in their progression. This new person is our only current baptismal date. However, we have it set for the 19th so stay tuned on that!

Tomorrow we will be planning for week 5 of the cycle! Ahhh how crazy?! In two more weeks I'll be going into my third cycle. The timing of mission life is definitely picking up.

Plus I will be calling home on Mother's Day =) 

The Lord is so amazing and it's incredible to witness how he works in my life and those all around me.
I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church once again on this earth.  I also know the Lord provides us a way we can know for ourselves. I am thankful for this increased understanding as I serve in the New York New York North mission.  I encourage any who lack wisdom to ask of God (James 1:5) The Lord will answer those who seek with a sincere desire to know the truth. So what are you waiting for? Do you want to know for yourself? Or even be reminded? It's time you picked up the communication line to the Lord and had a good ol' heart to heart! =)

Sister Emily A. Johnson

Sister Ortega and I