Sunday, April 28, 2013

What a long week!

Today is April 24th and as you know last week I didn't have much time, energy, or strength to write anything amazing. So here it is something amazing! lol 
The last few days I spent in Yonkers were great but very busy because there was a lot I was trying to accomplish and prepare for the upcoming transfer. Honestly, it feels like that was just a dream (serving in Yonkers) because now that I'm back in the city it's hard to picture me anywhere else. However, I know the things I learned upstate were fundamental to my growth and my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
Sister Crawford, my new companion, is from South Central (Rye) Colorado and is a wonderful missionary! She loves riding horses and working on the farm. She has been well trained and I'm impressed at how much she is on top of things here. We have had some wonderful teaching experiences together so far. The very first lesson we had together was Wednesday night visiting a recently activated woman named Sister Crespo. We retaught the Law of Tithing and Fast Offerings. Although we had never taught together before it felt natural and smooth. It reminded me of the time I spent serving with Sister Maldarizzi. Our first teaching appointment together was very smooth and natural. 
The ward I'm in now is the Olmstead second ward. They have their fair share of problems but the improvements they've been making in the past few weeks are tremendous. I am so excited to be a part of the process in strengthening as they continue to improve.  We are helping them function and become more unified. A lot of members who move into this area feel that it is not as tight as their previous wards and they feel disappointed and stop coming. 

However, as we've been working this week with less active members we have focused on two main things: 
1. They are exactly what we need! Pretty much all of our members are converts and we need strong leadership and people with ideas to help make it what it needs to be. Be patient with the ward and help it become what it is capable of being. As the famous quote says, "Be the Change you wish to see in your Ward!" hahaha  ok obviously it's the change you wish to see in the world. But when we were at a dinner/lesson with a less active women, she had that quote on her wall and I changed it and said ward. =P 
2. Remember the real reason we come to church! To take the sacrament and remember our promises to our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Saturday we went to this fire safety training that was taking place at the church. It was informative and enjoyable. Our Bishop had asked us to come so we did. The retired fireman who talked to us was a joy!  So that was random... but moving forward to Sunday I was excited to see for myself what condition the ward was in. Sacrament meeting was interesting but good. One woman who was giving a talk spoke for about 5 minutes top! 
Anyways what I want you to know about our sacrament meeting is that at the very end as we had five minutes left the fire alarm went off! After we all moved outside and then made our way back inside once we got the ok our Bishop got up and announced that he had tripped the alarm! haha. He went on the talk about fire safety and how in an emergency we need to be prepared. He also said the reason why he did it during sacrament meeting is because a lot of people leave after that. So he invited everyone to use family home evening this week to make an emergency exit plan. 
As missionaries we have been asked to take turns switching around and going to all the different classes each Sunday (R.S., YW, Elders Q. Gospel Principles, Gospel Doctrine,, Primary, etc). I went to Gospel Principles which was really good. Sister White (another missionary) taught the lesson. We had about ten people in the class. A lot of them were recent converts. 
Later I went to senior primary with Sister Lee and we taught about the restoration.  We didn't end up having time to go back to Relief Society.
I have a lot of wonderful things to say about the ward and I know they will only continue to improve from here.

I'm doing my best to jump into the work in this area. It's really nice being back in an area where one companion already has the inside scoop on what's going on. My legs are having a hard time adjusting to being back in the city! haha they are sore and tight everyday. I'm walking around like an old person. We are also working out every morning at the park near our home. It's so nice to get outside and moving around now that the weather has warmed up!  I think I walked more this week then I did the whole time I was in Yonkers! lol
It's really good though. I want to get back in shape.
As for missionary work, it's so nice being in the city where there is so many people for you to talk to! Opening my mouth and sharing the gospel with the people here is coming naturally. Which I am grateful for because when I was upstate it was harder for me to connect with people. 
The main people we're teaching right, the people I feel is a big part of why I could be here right now, is Trevor and Jeffrey. Trevor is a less active member who is 13 but definitely mature and focused in coming back to church and strengthening his testimony. Jeffrey is his friend (20) who lives in his building. They are friends and play basketball together! Jeffrey is originally from Africa but has been here since he was eight years old. We taught them last night and they are so easy to talk to and both are really receptive to what we teach. We focused a lot on the Book of Mormon (what it is, why we should read it, likening to ourselves, and finding out if it's true) and the spirit was there so strong! Jeffrey is preparing to be baptized on May 25th. He is definitely on the right track for that to happen.  We also talked about the importance of going to church. It's going to be difficult for him to work it out with his mom but he's going to make it happen.

So I have a Eisenhower Silver Dollar that the stake president (Ballard) asked me to give to someone on my mission for them to start their mission fund. When I was in Yonkers it was starting to stress me out because I knew the time was coming and I didn't have any prospects of who I would give it to. Elder Ballard also told me that I would know who to give it to and that he wants to hear about it when I get home. I'm happy to report though that there are two individuals in this area that I feel could be who the Lord wants me to give it to.
The first person that I thought about is a seven year old girl named Madison. Her family is strong in the church but hasn't been coming as much because the mom wishes the relief society was stronger. After visiting with them they committed to come back to church (and they came this Sunday)! Madison is so smart! Apparently she reads her bible all the time. When we asked at the end of our lesson if there was anything else we could do for them she asked if we could read more scriptures. We asked her what she wanted to read. She said either Genesis or the story of Ester! Keep in mind she is seven years old. So we had her read some of Ester to us and we talked about it. She was able to tell us a lot about the story before she even read any of it. She even pronounced all the names right! I asked her when her birthday is (it's in October). and we talked about what she can do this year (BAPTISM!) She said she wanted to be baptized. I asked her why we get baptized. She told me to repent. I am so impressed with how smart she is. We talked a little bit about her serving a mission... or she's definitely a possibility.
The other person I have in mind is Trevor. He's such a great guy/kid (13) and he's really putting his heart into learning more about the gospel and I think he'd be a great missionary one day!

I am grateful to be serving the Lord. The mission experience is so intense and hard to explain. But in the midst of all of it I've come closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. They have been with me through each phase.  I know that I have been called by a prophet of God to teach repentance to all people. I know that repentance and humility to accept the will of our loving Heavenly Father is truly the only way to having lasting happiness. We need to trust Him because he knows better and he will help us succeed!
I know that we all have mountains to climb. But I also know that when we talk the path that the Lord has layed out we will be able to not only learn, grow, and cherish our experiences, we will also find ourselves returning to the presence of our Loving Heavenly Father. This I know with all my heart because of how many times the spirit has impressed it upon my heart with urgency while teaching Heavenly Father's children. My deepest hope and desire is that you will read these words and let them stir you up to remember the goodness of our God. That you may not be complacent, but compelled to act, to serve, to love, to obey, to listen, to experience, to taste the sweet joy and endure to the end. This is my humble prayer and I leave it with you in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Sister Emily Johnson

Miriam Ortega is coming out to NY in a week and I am soooo excited!
Mother's Day is right around the corner and I'll get to talk to my family!


 My short hair

 Mary (Recent convert)

 Sister Awerkamp's new missionary

Sister Crawford and I

A special Taiwanese message from Sister Lee and Sister Johnson!

if you don't have a Chinese program on your computer it might not show but for now enjoy a picture of us!

2013/4/24 Emily Johnson <>
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Sister Johnson is awesome!!!!!
Love Sister Lee

We are crazy!

A little more information

Hello Friends and Family,
I am so tired right now and feel kind of sick. I've been super busy and stressed most of today but it's coming together. I just endured a nasty bus ride down to the Bronx on a charter bus from Ossining. We still have another 20-30 minute bus ride to the other side of the Bronx. I have a lot to do in a limited about of time.  I'm not going to take the time right now to fill you in because I need to get food and unpack before our appointments tonight. But we have two appointments tonight and it seems like the work in this area is legit! Also I'm companions with Sister Crawford. She came in the same group as Sister Awerkamp. I miss Sister Awerkamp but I know she is going to do great. Sister Awerkamp's new missionary seems wonderful as well.
I am excited for the change and to do what the Lord needs me to do.
I will send pictures next week as well. I wish you the very best.
Sister Emily Johnson

Update on Transfers

I am going to Olmstead in the Bronx! The East side, last time I was in the West (kingsbridge)
Well I love you and I'll write later today.

Sister Johnson

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thurs. April 4th - Wed. April 10th

Hello again!
Did anyone like the new format verses the old way where I broke it down by weeks?
I think I'm going to write the new way today. The day by day break down was nice for the sake of mapping out what I did this week, but by writing a regular letter it flows better and I don't have to think as hard. I can just write what comes to my mind =)   (We all know that a lot of things are frequently in and out of my mind)

First things first  I  ABSOLUTELY  LOVED General Conference!!!!! If you missed it watch it ASAP... in fact stop reading my email right now to watch it! haha or you know, whenever you want. I just wanted to emphasis how amazing it is. I was spiritually nourished and I feel confident in how I can increase my faith and improve the quality of my relationship with the Savior and my Heavenly Father over the next six months.  I can't really recap on my favorites because I would probably tell you something from almost every talk! I know I would, I already did in a letter I wrote to Tristan today haha.  So what I would like to highlight is how much missionary work was talked about.
Have you CAUGHT THE WAVE? If not, I invite you, along with Russell M. Nelson to CATCH THE WAVE! There were so many wonderful talks about sharing the gospel and why the restored gospel is so significant! We really do have something amazing that needs to be shared with all of our brothers and sisters here in this mortal life.  Plus there are missionaries like me who are working hard to build up the Lord's kingdom and it's always more effective teaching people that members know. 
Please do as Elder Neil A. Andersen advised and let sharing the gospel take you to your knees, as it should.
The stone is being cut out from the mountain without hands and nothing can stop the work of God. Even though I don't understand the Daniel (2) scripture very well, I do understand that the Lord is hastening His work and now it the time! 

Monday April 8th was my 14 month mark!
Tuesday April 9th was Sister Awerkamp's 3 month mark!

This past week has been rewarding. We are trying to spend more time in our assigned focus. We work in the northern part of our area but we have permission to come down and work with less active sisters in Yonkers. We went up and spent some time doing a look up and tracting in Irvington and it was gorgeous!  The approach is a little different up there and I'm still getting the hang of it, but I know the Lord will help me find ways to touch the hearts of those rich people lol.
On Friday we went to the elder's APF (area proselyting focus) and Sister Awerkamp and I tried an approach tracting that I had thought of (or rather the spirit impressed upon my mind) a night or two earlier. It was to focus on the Book of Mormon. After the small talk that you do to start talking to people, just as the wealthier people want you to make your point  we asked them if they've ever heard of the Book of Mormon. The results have so much potential for good. We are able to teach an actual lesson because we tell them a little bit more about the Book of Mormon/what it is. We tell them we are giving away free copies and we'd love to leave them with a copy. From there if we can expound more on the restoration and set up a return appointment we do. If they aren't interested in that they let us leave them with a copy of the Book of Mormon, a restoration pamphlet, and our phone number.  It didn't work every time, but in the hour or so we gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon! Which is a big deal up here haha.
It's nice because if they are already religious we have something to build off of. If they're not religious they've at least heard of the bible. The Book of Mormon truly is our unique message we offer to the world. 
As I mentioned earlier I absolutely loved General Conference. Sunday in between sessions our Mission President and his wife had our zone over for waffles! Oh the blessings of serving in the zone that has a chapel literally next door to the mission home! I mentioned in the pictures I sent this week that I met Jill Frehoffner (previously known as Jill Harmin. Her sister Angie used to be in my mom's Young Women class and she baby sat for our family for years. And Jill served a mission here in NY city as well! Now she is married to someone who is a counselor to my mission president. CRAZY! lol
I am thankful for what the mission is helping me become. I am grateful for this investment my family and my heavenly father is making in me by providing for me to be out here.

Sister Awerkamp is going to be training! Our mission president pulled her aside on Sunday to tell her. I imagine this means I'll be going to open up a new area again. It's hard to say. I will definitely keep you posted. I will find out more specific details between Thursday-Sunday. There are 32 missionaries coming in April 17th. 16 of those 32 will be sisters! There are 10 Spanish and 6 English coming. CRAZY.

I love you and I pray for you often!
Sister Johnson


Our apartment
Sister Awerkamp and I might start going by Faith & Hope ;)

 On Easter we had a challenge where we played the Game Never Have I Ever, but each time we lost we all had to take an Easter egg bubble gum! Needless to say our mouths got really tired from chewing so much giant pieces of gum at once!

 In between general conference on Sunday I met Jill Harmin! Who's sister used to babysit for my family in UT before I was even born! She served a mission in NY city too! Now she's married and her husband is a counselor for my mission president. SMALL WORLD!

Off to go do some service for a lady in our Branch. We're helping them remodel their home which was built in the 1860s and added on to in 1920! 

Zone Conference Pictures

March 27th - April 3rd

Hello family and friends,
I have been inspired by Sister Awerkamp. I'm attempting to write this week without my regular format of days. We will see how this goes! 
In the pictures I'm attaching check out last weeks adventure to the city! I ran into Brendan my recent convert on the train on our way down to Times Sq.(no picture with me-sorry)
Later at the Lincoln Center chapel (temple) I ran into McClain and other friends of Luke's from the Baby Cute Boys! SMALL WORLD! 
Then there is a picture of the group of us that went to the city in front of a cool statue that said Love. I don't know why we have it in NY since the original is in Philli but I'm not complaining! It's fun to take pictures by.  We went to the Rockefeller center to see our relief society president's daughter perform in an ice skating showcase of choreographer   It was awesome! The piece she was in did a really cool modern piece to a song by FUN (a band I like). It was awesome!
Easter Sunday was really special =) I was asked by someone in our branch to speak for 5-7 minutes in the combined third hour about Christ and I definitely felt the spirit take over! I bore a strong testimony about the blessings available to us because of what our Savior did. I testified about our responsibility to keep the commandments and soften our hearts (being humble and submissive like children) so that we can be changed through grace and the atonement of Jesus Christ. That way we can be the people the Lord knows we can become. We can be confident in the presence of God one day =)
For Easter dinner the Hippen family (one of the greatest families ever known to missionaries) fed us a delicious meal and let us be apart of their Easter Egg Hunt! They take good care of us.
This has been a busy week and we're doing a lot of work to strengthen the less active members of our branch. We are also teaching two people that are friends or coworkers with Brother Johnson from our branch. Member referrals is the best way to go when it comes to missionary work. Please think about who you know that you can invite to meet with the missionaries!
Tuesdays we go to a member's home to help here with service. I think I mentioned this before but they are remolding their house and so we get to help with construction! We love it. This week we painted primer on over 30 boards that Sister Awerkamp and one of our members sanded last week.
The bummer of Tuesday was that Sister Awerkamp and I got a parking ticket because our meter expired when we were at lunch with some elders. We would have been fine on time but they were late. It costs $50! Ouch...
We're going to split it. Some silver lining to Tuesday is when we were walking to Buffalo Wild Wings (for lunch) we were walking against some INTENSE WINDS! It normally wouldn't be a silver lining but it was so ridiculous we were laughing and bent over holding our skirts down.  We looked ridiculous!
Today we went to the temple. On our way there the train was running a little slow and we were worried about making it there on time. This man named Richard who was sitting next to me started talking to me and we ended up talking to him all about the gospel! When Dalley commented on how we might not make it there on time Richard made some comment about how maybe the reason it was delayed was so that we could teach him about God. I told him I absolutely believed that and that God works in mysterious ways.  He is from Brooklyn and has Italian heritage. He seemed very receptive and open. He has a restoration pamphlet and information about the church website and information about general conference. He said he sees missionaries everyday in Brooklyn.  He's going to talk to them the next time he sees them. I was grateful to be able to share so much with him in the time we spent on the train.  When we got to the temple we were about 10 minutes too late to go to a session so we performed initiatories instead. I was able to feel the spirit very strong when we were there. It was cool. Mostly I was pondering some things in the near future. Also I got to see the bridesroom and the sealing rooms. In the sealing room I felt the spirit even stronger! I look forward to the very special day when I will be there (in AZ) for my own wedding!
After the temple Sister Awerkamp's boyfriend's parents were in town and we got permission for them to take us out to eat. It was us and the two Spanish sisters that we live with. We went to a really nice bakery/cafe near the temple. I had a delicious grilled chicken and mozzarella open sandwich with basil pesto sauce and a Belgium brownie =)
We had forgot our phone in our apartment today when we went down to the city so we were late to our appointment. She made us a ton of spaghetti! She sent us down to a 99c store to but some Tupperware lol. While we were in there we talked to two women about the church! One of them asked if we were Christian. Then she specified to Mormon. I told her yes! She said we looked like one because of what we were wearing and how we carried our self. I said that's good because we're missionaries so we should look like it. We didn't get much on her story except she wants us to pray for her. I think she's going through some hard times. We did get her phone number and are hoping to set something up to see her this next week. Her name is Mel.
After leaving the member's apartment with two containers FULL of spaghetti we went to look up another person that we were trying to get in contact with. There was NO WHERE to park! So we decided we'd have to come back another time when we had a better plan of people we could see in that area. I was so out of it and tired from the day. Without realizing it I guess we ran a red light. Shortly after we got pulled over by undercover cops! Yes indeed.  So we get pulled over by undercover cops and they asked us if we were lost.
 I said no we were just distracted, we've had a long day. I began to ramble about how we were looking for where to turn in at the mail box (as a visual marker of our apartment) because the GPS showed it on the map really close. Meanwhile mind you we are two white girls in Yonkers and I'm wearing a ring pop! We also have church music playing in the car (I'm not sure if they could hear it). They were standing on each side of the car (at each of our windows) When they found out we lived here they were surprised! They were even more surprised that we needed a GPS to get home! I started to explain that we're missionaries for our church and how we go visit people and that's why we were using the gps Luckily, shortly after I said that we were missionaries he said, "Don't worry about it, Have a good night!"  What a blessing!
I suppose that is a blessing when you are on the Lord's errand! lol
Sister McAllister is on the phone right now talking to her 9 yr old grand daughter. It's her birthday so she was telling her what was coming in the mail. She said, "It is MoNey HoNeY!" It cracked me up!
Well things seem to keep getting more crazy the longer I am in Yonkers! haha.
I hope you are preparing for the spiritual feast that awaits us this weekend! =)  Also, transfers are coming up in two weeks. I will keep you posted on what happens.
I love you very much.
Thank you for your love and support.
Sister Emily Johnson


The first one is Nini beating her pinata!

Then it's mary who got baptized on March 23rd

I dyed my hair a few weeks ago

This is when I first got the color done. It's faded since then. But it's all good. Now it's close to my natural.