Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Oct 11th- Oct 17th

I love emailing you once a week!
It is so fun to feel like I am connected to love ones at home. I also have a chance to reflect on the many ways I see the Lord bless my life and it is such a great reminder to look at how the Lord has played a part in my week.

Let me just say this is going to be an interesting email for the week because the majority of the week I was sick with a cold and didn't do much but rest. Yet the past day or so as I've regained my health have been way cool! I'm on a spiritual high right now because today in particular I have seen how brilliant the Lord is!
Before I recap on my week and tell about the miracles of today I want to mention how much I love my companion Sister Maldarizzi! <3


Thursday October 11th 
I could tell I was getting sick. Highlight of the day was at a dinner appointment with one of our members and her boyfriend who is not a member of the church. Why was that the highlight? For a few reasons, the main one being he designs playgrounds! Anyone who has talked to me about my interests, hobbies, and future possibilities since I've returned home from London may know I am considering playground equipment design! 
Anyhow I thought it was incredible. I've never met anyone who does that. It was neat to get the inside scoop on the process. He gave me some neat websites and companies to check out! We're hoping to teach him more about the gospel. I'd say we have a great connection going so far! haha. I don't actually know him that well yet, but he seems super nice and I was just so happy that he designs playgrounds and parks! Who knew that the Lord could bring people together with something as unique as that?

Friday the 12th 
I was officially sick! We had a lesson with Jose and it went really well =) He is excited to get baptized later this month and he accepted the commandments really well. I am so grateful I've been able to teach him about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. After we left there it was clear to me that I needed to lay down. On our way to the train so we could head home there were some gorgeous collage paintings leaning against a table. I was in love! The art was just my style. Later the artist Carlito came over with some more. We got talking to him about his work. I love his process! He burns photography into silk screens. He was super friendly and used to meet with missionaries before. We got his info and I gave him a Book of Mormon and wrote a message in the front of it about how much it has influenced my life and my passions (my art! believe it or not lol) for the better. He was happy to accept it and I told him I might want to collaborate ideas and work in the future! He was very much on board with that. I love that I am able to share the greatest gift god has given me, which is the knowledge that I am a child of god and I have a purpose here on earth, and in return I am also able to network and meet some incredible individuals. What a blessing!

Saturday the 13th
I was way sick but we still went to our lunch appointment. One of the roommates named Toby played a two songs for us on the viola!
It was really cool to see how the instrument could come alive. His performance for us when we were there inspired the angle I took on the spiritual thought. I talked about how the Gospel is something that is so beautiful and sweet that we want to turn it up and share it with the world. Also that we don't need to worry how others will perceive it or feel about it because just as music can instantly communicate feelings to our heart, the spirit can instantly communicate with our spirit or soul. We can just feel it.Also in life there are dissonances that we want to be resolved. They may even feel uncomfortable at times but the opposition is what makes the music so sweet. And just like the resolve of orchestra it is going to be in the master's time. After all this is Heavenly Father's masterpiece and he knows when the that perfect moment is. He is creating something more complex and beautiful than we can see or always understand. Thus we need to trust his and in his timing.

Sunday the 14th
I was VERY sick this day haha but it's ok because we decided it'd be my recovery day. I pretty much rested all day which really helped a lot. Also Elder Topham, who I served with the whole time I was in the Bronx is now in Harlem, came over with his companion to give me a blessing.

I am short on time today so next week I will write about what happened Monday.

Oh and yesterday I found out our mission will get to hear Elder D. Todd Christopherson speak to us this Saturday!!!

Today was fabulous!
We went to the temple this morning! It was such a sweet experience. I felt closer to Heavenly Father than I ever have before. I know the mission is stretching my brain and my spirit in so many wonderful ways! It's just crazy. I wrote like five pages in my journal right after. It was a tender experience I will truly cherish. Next week I will try to tell you a little more about why it was so special to me.
After that we went on a quest to find Bath and Body works on Lexington and 44th. My companion loves their products but had never been to their store. We went to time square to be on 44th and then we were going to take the bus over to Lexington. After waiting about 15 minutes we decided to walk. We say some really cool things and took a lot of pictures! "Randomly" we decided to go into the make up store Safora. I had never been in there. It was incredible though because right once we got in there we ran into a man we met about a week and a half ago who I know God wanted us to meet! It was the guy who I gave a Book of Mormon to that we met while seeing four not in service buses go by. 
It was crazy running into him! But it was truly incredible!!! I know God put him in our path. We were able to talk to him and he is so prepared for the gospel it is incredible! We got his address and more information to give to the elders in Brooklyn. It was such a serial experience to reflect on with my companion because there are thousands of people in NY city and he's lives in Brooklyn! Yet we ran right into him!!! The Lord is so talented. His timing is incredible it is too much for my simple mind to be able to understand. Wow. Incredible. 
It really opened my eyes to how much the spirit can prompt even the littlest of decisions. That is a miracle that I can not deny!

I love you all!
I will write more next week. 
Tomorrow we have interviews with our mission president. I'm looking forward to that =)

Sister Emily A. Johnson

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 4th - October 10th

This time last year I had my call to the New York New York North Mission and I was attending a semester of school in Flagstaff. It is so bizarre to realize how quickly time goes. I had heard from people that missions go by fast! The first six months I did not believe them haha. However, I do believe once you lock six months into serving the Lord it does indeed start to speed up. 

This has been a really spiritual week for me!

Thursday October 4th
That morning during my personal study I was really intrigued by the story of Lazareth because of the Relief Society General Broadcast. One of the speakers had mentioned Lazareth's death and how the Savior comforted Mary and Martha. Ever since she spoke about this chapter in the bible with so much emotion I desired to read it.I studied that portion of scripture as depicted in Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. 
James E. Talmage describes the manner of Jesus's words as ASSURING TENDERNESS
This phrase sunk to the bottom of my heart in the depths of humility. I felt an overwhelming sweet peace from the spirit. I can not think of a better expression to convey how the Savior speaks. Assuring: to inform confidently, to make sure, insure  Tenderness:  gentle and loving.  

We had a really wonderful lesson that night with a student. He has been dating a member for sometime. He's from Los Vegas but is out here for school. He's been looking into the church on his own for the past few months but it's great to actually start working with him. During our lesson with Him and a member I had a few really special experiences with the spirit. I love that as a missionary I am able to feel the spirit confirm to me the truth of the things I teach. My purpose is to bring others closer to Jesus Christ by receiving the restored gospel, and at the same time I am becoming deeply converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am learning to become a disciple of Christ.

That night when we were on our way home from a dinner appointment we were waiting for the bus. There were four Not in Service buses that came through!!! I was so annoyed because of how many buses weren't coming. Then I thought, I wonder if there is someone here I am suppose to talk to! There was a guy I had noticed about two buses into our wait. I decided to talk to him and I know the Lord put him in our path! Without a doubt I know we were meant to meet him. It was awesome! He has been through such a rough life but he had been recently very humbled and had a spiritual experience and felt the Lord was asking Him to let the Lord guide his life. He wanted to let the Lord guide his life but he wasn't totally sure how. We gave him a Book of Mormon and I testified that the Book of Mormon was the iron rod that he could hold on to. That if he wanted the Lord to guide his life I knew this was the perfect way! He was so grateful! He was going into the hospital that night but we're going to give him a call one week later.

Friday October 5th
We had another lesson with Jose and he is so humble and ready for the gospel it makes my heart smile.  We went over some of the commandments and helped him understand what General Conference is and he was pretty excited! 
We had a dinner appointment that night with a graduate student named Darren. He is awesome! One thing that really impressed my heart was when we were having our spiritual thought with him we were talking about how people need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said not only do people need the gospel of Jesus Christ, everyone DESERVES the gospel of Jesus Christ. This touched my heart because it really helps focus on what our role is the process. With saying people need the gospel it's almost implying that you are going to bring these people something that they can only find through you and you are so great for bringing that to them. However, when you say, everyone deserves the gospel it's placing you in the servant position. We are all children of God and we are bringing them the knowledge they are entitled to.  Plus when I compare the words need and deserve it changes my out look on why it's important to share it with them. 

Saturday October 6th
General Conference was AMAZING!!! I am so grateful so such inspired men who are called of God to guide us in these latter-days. I'm not sure if it's because I am more focused on the needs of others as well as my own or what, but I really took a lot away from this conference. 

I love you! I appreciate the support and prayers you send my way.

I pray that everyone was able to watch general conference with an open heart and accept the influence of the Holy Ghost inviting you to change for the better. Thus allowing ourselves to become the very best that we can in this mortal probation as we prepare to meet God.

Love with all my heart,
Sister Emily A. Johnson

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This Week Sept. 26th - Oct. 3rd


Wow I feel like this is going to be one of the most eventful emails ever!
I suppose that is what happens during a transfers week when I move for the first time to a new area.
I moved from the Bronx to Manhattan and Sister Maldarizzi and I are over the Harlem YSA Ward!

Wednesday September 26th
I absolutely love Sister Maldarizzi! She is artistic too =) She is such a loving sweet and silly Italian girl and we have so much fun together! 

My new address
Sister Johnson
153 E. 108th St. #2
NY, NY  10029

Thursday September 27th
In the morning we ran to Central Park =) It's right by where we live.
Highlight of Thursday was that night at an appointment with a student named Chase who is going to Columbia University. He just returned home from a mission in Canada. He is awesome! 
Back story: a few weeks ago they had a university club fair and the LDS club had a sign up for institute classes. Jose was one of the people that signed up. He is not a member of the church but he started attending institute classes. After a few times Chase invited us and some other members over to meet Jose. We got to know him a little better and then taught him the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was an amazing experience! He accepted everything and accepted a baptismal invitation for October 27th! I knew the 27th was a Saturday because my birthday the 29th is on Monday haha. Anyways I thought that would be really neat right before my birthday =)

Friday September 28th
A wonderful day!
We had lunch and dinner with members! In between the two we met a girl named Shannon who is was awesome. She just moved here from Montana. She reminds me of a mix between me and my sister CJ lol. It was a great way to spend the afternoon. 

Saturday September 29th
We had correlation with our ward mission leader Alex Kim. He is awesome.
Also, the Relief Society Broadcast was amazing! I can't wait to re-watch it or read it when it is published. The talks focused on the atonement and what exactly that means for us and I was truly touched. I'm so excited for General Conference!

Sunday September 30th
We taught Jose the Plan of Salvation in the morning. It went really well. I love seeing how prepared he is for this gospel! 
After that we attended ward counsel. It was Legit! Our ward is very efficient. It was hard for me at first because it's very different that the Bronx in the sense that I don't have as much responsibility on a ward level. However, it's great to see so many people come together for the greater good of the ward.
Church was great! I bore my testimony and I felt the spirit so strong! There are so many amazing young single adults here. The vast majority are studying or working within Theater, Dance and Art! I want to be best friends with everyone! haha
That night we had dinner with an awesome apartment of girls. 

Monday October 1st
The main thing I want to share about Monday is that at District Meeting I had a very tender experience. The training that was being taught by my new district leader Elder Goode was about developing the Christ like attributes of Patience and Humility.  It was a tender mercy for me to realize Heavenly Father is very aware of me and my needs. Focusing on Patience and Humility in depth, such as what they are and why they are important I heard words come out of my mouth that I new were for me right then. lol
Really it's all about taking things one day at a time. Since everything else is going well in this area (the work, my relationship with my companion, the strength of the ward) I really have nothing to feel anxious about. It's just different... but I am happy to be here. I know this is where the Lord wants me to be! I am happy to be here =)  To help me transition I will be focusing a lot on patience and humility. 

Tuesday October 2nd
We had another lesson with Jose! This is his third lesson in one week! While teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ Sister Maldarizzi did a really cool object lesson about how the gift of the Holy Ghost keeps us safe from the filth and temptation of the world. It was so cool! 
You dirty a container of water with pepper. 
Then you dip your finger in it and bring it out. 
Naturally when we live in the world we get dirty. 
However, when we are baptized we get to wipe off the pepper and be clean. 
Then we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost you put liquid soap on your finger. 
Therefore when you enter back into the dirty world WaZAM (visual aid affect) you can be protected. 
The soap immediately pushes the pepper away (like a force field) 
Thus we can be in the world but not of the world. We are protected from the temptations and filth of the world. 
After that lesson we went and had a pastry/dessert in a local cafe. I included what we ordered to make your mouth water! haha 
From there we were deciding what we wanted to do because we had planned on contacting again at Columbia University but the rain was throwing us off. 
We said a prayer and went to go attempt tracting in the dorms. On our way to do that we past a dorm that was open and had a person at the desk. Then the idea came to me to ask about leaving pamphlets at the desk (as recommended as a finding idea in Preach my Gospel).  The security guy at the desk, Richard, suggested to us that we could tape a flyer up on the bulletin board! 
This sparked a wave of ideas. We then created flyers about the YSA ward and things available for students that age (for example weekly activities and bible study classes-aka Institute). We put a few of them up around campus. One housing place let us put up the flyer, leave pamphlets and leave pass along cards. We are excited to go again and use the resources of contacting through the college.

Wednesday October 3rd
Today we collect the last of my things from the Bronx apartment. It was so great to see the Bronx again! haha I forgot how much I love it until I had a chance to go back. I know I will love my new area as well. I just have more memories in the Bronx.

It's been a long week but I am excited for what's coming. We get fed pretty much every night here by members! It's amazing. However, I don't think it's going to help me with my birthday prep diet plans haha.
My goal was to not eat any sweets all October so i could really enjoy my birthday but I don't know if that is realistic at this point. We will see.

Speaking of my birthday... well here are some ideas in case anyone wants to send a little love to a poor missionary haha but don't worry about it. My birthday present is serving the Lord! I just figured if you're thinking about sending me something, this could be a great place to start. 

Birthday Ideas
  • money so my companion and I can go to some awesome art museums that I want to go to but they cost money
  • SD card/s for my camera (so I don't have to send home the ones I have-i usually print pictures for what we call bye bye books-it's when other missionaries go home, it's like a scrapbook)
  • sticky notes (lol-great for missionaries)
  • thin tipped sharpie markers (again, great for missionaries!)
  • gum (5 brand-light blue)
  • kleenex
  • church cds (sold at desest book)
  • money for me to get a new bag or clothes
  • jamba juice gift card
  • if you don't want to purchase the office supplies such as sharpies or sticky notes- STAPLES gift card is ideal
I hope you have a marvelous week.
Sister Emily Johnson

Last Week Sept. 21st - Sept. 26th

I have so much to fill everyone in on.  This has been a really incredible week.
First things first, I am officially getting settled in Manhattan! I LOVE Sister Maldarizzi =) 
(See picture below) I feel so wonderful about this transfer! The spirit has been burning inside me so strongly today. I am so energized and excited about the change in routine! It's like there is a part inside of me that has come back to life with a new energy and charge!
The apartment is narrow and long. It feels so perfect and cozy. I never thought I'd say that, but now that it's filled with my things it is perfect. I love the room and the office with our study desks. In my apartment in the Bronx all of our beds were in the same room and it was kind of distracting. I think having the companionships in two separate sides of the apartment will really help us stay focused and be obedient. There is definitely still the common area but as far as study desks and rooms we're on opposite sides of the apartment.
I am ready to get to work!

Friday Sept. 21st
We were having a long day.  I was tired and needing a spiritual recharge. It was so great though because we had an appointment with a family in the ward who has a daughter that turned eight over the summer who wants to be baptized. It was wonderful to go into their home and feel the spirit as we taught her the basics.

Saturday Sept. 22nd
I got a letter from my Dad! It was so sweet, simple, and wonderful. It truly made my heart smile.

Sunday Sept. 23rd
Church on Sunday was fabulous! It was great to say my last good byes to the ward. I told them I was pretty certain I was getting transferred. It was satisfying because a few of the members thanked me for all the work I did in the ward and praised me for making a difference. It was a fantastic feeling to have the members acknowledge the work I had done. I knew I tried to build up the ward and leave it better than I found it, but to know that other people noticed and appreciated my efforts, was truly rewarding.
That night we had dinner with the Dilleys. They are a new family in the ward. Brother Dilley is going to Columbia studying business. He served a mission in Mexico and Sister Dilley served a mission in Chile. They are an incredible family! They are very missionary minded and I know they are going to have such a positive impact on the ward and the area. They have two daughters and the younger one in named Emery and they call her Eme. She has blond hair and blue eyes!  
Brother Dilley gave us a ride home and we stopped by the contact we had met last week after the Blitz-the lady I had met on the bus and later talked to outside of subway (Friday Sept. 16th) who lives in our building.  Her and her husband were home and they happily let us in. We had a fantastic lesson with them about the restoration. They were both pretty receptive. It was a neat experience.

Monday Sept. 24th

District meeting was really good. It's great each cycle to get to know the zone. The other missionaries really help me have an enriching experience in the mission because they are the ones standing by my side. Other aspects of the mission can change any minute, but the other missionaries and the meetings we have each week is the only consistent part about missionary life.
After district meeting we had lunch and went to Sister Ortega's funeral (WHEN MISSIONARIES ARE FINISHING THEIR MISSION WE SAY THEY ARE DYING) Thus when you have a missionary funeral you honor the life that individual missionary has lived. A select few share their feelings about that missionary and the way they served. I was part of the musical number! I wrote a parody to Kelly Clarkson's Since You've Been Gone called When You Are Gone. It was about Sister Ortega leaving and how it would impact the rest of us. Sister Pipes, Sister Asregadoo, and I performed it =D
Later that day I found out where I was going to be transferred to and who I'd be with. Immediately after I found out I felt a great sense of peace and excitement. It just felt right.
That night we had dinner with the Britton family! They are amazing! I will definitely miss them. I'm glad to know that the friendships I make on the mission are not just for now, but rather friendships I will have forever!
And on top of that I got a letter from Janice! It was lovely to hear from one of my very Very Best Friends!

Tuesday Sept. 25th
Tuesday was an incredible day! The opposition in all things applied in this one day as well. It was a very crazy day but so amazing as well. It was crazy because we were trying to plan a member split to be in two places at once that night. We needed to get members to come with each of us and the second appointment we could not get a hold of to confirm with.  
It was really hectic trying to pack and coordinate the possible member split happening that night. 
Everytime I wanted to just forget about the split and say it was too challenging Heavenly Father helped coordinate one part. It gave me hope each time. It was like "ok, this could work!" 
We already had Lisa Jackson set to go with Sis. A to the first appointment. I just needed to find someone to come with me. We had a lesson with Ethel and Sister Britton at the church. I proposed the situation to them. Ethel eyes got really big and she said she'd come with me. When I planned out the details with her I knew she was who the Lord wanted to come with us. Once we coordinated with the members about who would come with us I knew it was going to happen.  I felt that we just needed to plan on it unless we heard otherwise from Candy. It was kind of crazy but she was the one that originally said Tuesday night would work for her. I figured the worse thing that could happen is that Candy wouldn't be there and we'd have to do something else.  We ended up going by and she wasn't there, but her boyfriend who we've been trying to coordinate with the spanish missionaries was there and he let us in. He only speaks spanish. Elder Fife and Ethel were able to teach him an awesome lesson in Spanish! 
When we met back up at the church after both lessons the positive impact those teaching experiences made on Lisa and Ethel was phenomenal!!! They were both glowing and over joyed at feeling the spirit and realizing how much an impact their testimony can make! It was such a magnificent way to end my last night in the area. I am so thrilled about the growth I've seen take place in the Kingsbridge second ward. 

Wednesday Sept. 26th
Today was awesome! I received a lot of spiritual direction and guidance at transfers when President Morgan spoke. I wanted to include some of the things I learned and felt today 

I love you!
Have an amazing week! We will be in touch =D

Sister Johnson

My new address
Sister Johnson
153 E. 108th St. #2
NY, NY  10029