Thursday, August 8, 2013

Keep Calm and be a Missionary!

Can you believe it's coming to an end? I honestly can not! I am excited =)
 I am sure once I come home it will hit me how much I miss serving as a missionary. However, I'm giving it everything I have right now knowing that around the corner I am going to party with all my friends and family.  It will be surreal being reunited but I also think it may be one of the most memorable and joyous experiences I ever experience in my life! 

Something we have been doing more this past week and will have a lot of opportunities before I go home is helping with service by doing physical labor. It's actually one of my favorite things to do. There is something about being able to exert my effort and strength for the well being of others that fills me with energy and joy.  It reminds me of when I was serving in my first area in Kingsbridge we were able to help one of our investigators deep clear and organize her apartment. It is incredible to see the way that kind of service can impact someone's heart.  Most people find it hard to believe I like to organize so much considering I have A.D.D. I tell them it's the perfect combination of ADD and OCD =) When I am able to make a difference through service I know with all my heart that,"...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

I have the majority of my mission experience written so I'll attach the finished copy sometime next week. Also, one week from today I have my exist interview with President Morgan and the temple trip. It's going to be an awesome P-day! I'm not sure how the timing will work out, so if I don't get a chance to email you Wednesday I'll make sure to email you Thursday. 

On Saturday we had dinner at a members home and they had an awesome playground! I'm going to attach a copy so you can see where we played with them before dinner.  There are some amazing families here in CT. I am continually impressed by the people that I meet. 

We had a lot of people we fasted for on Sunday. There were some amazing testimonies shared. I took the opportunity to share my testimony at both wards since it's my last fast Sunday in the mission.  In the singles ward NicolE our Brazilian member who is awesome, shared her testimony about a nanny experience she had the week before where the mom wanted to wash off the boy's foot from playing in the pond before dinner. Both her and the mom had noticed the dirt on his feet but didn't think much of it. However, when she went to rinse it off, come to find out it was two LEECHES! She was talking about how it was so gross and awkward! It was really hard to get them off and when they finally ripped them off it left holes in between his toes that squirted out blood! Then she related that experience to the gospel =) The Leeches are like Satan (gross and awkward! lol) and that even though the appearance/presence seems harmless, he is actually causing us damage and we need to get rid of him asap!

After doing a lot of service for one of our less active members we have become really good friends with her! She is great. She wasn't taught very much before she was somewhat pressured into being baptized. Yesterday as we made dinner with her we talked openly about her experience joining the church. She is open to us reteaching her the lessons! We are so excited to be able to help her start from the beginning to help her gain her own testimony of the restored gospel =)

Quick update on the work:
We got Sanna a copy of the Book of Mormon in Finish! It's pretty cool! We're trying to set up a time we can take it to her.
Kevin is going to get baptized but he's not sure when. I don't know whether or not it will be before I leave the mission. He's such a great guy =) I know everything is in the Lord's timing so I'm not worried.

I mentioned once before that I have a book mark in my planner that says, "Don't count the days. Make the days count." To help me apply this I wrote in my journal, "How can I make today count?"

I finish my mission Wednesday August 21st, but I'll stay in the mission home over night and fly out August 22nd.  I will also be speaking in church August 25th! So if you want to post this info on facebook so my friends can see that would be great! Thank you =)

The other day I was about to fill my journal so I decided to end it with my testimony! In closing of this email I am going to type what I wrote so you can see how much I've grown during this time.

I have learned for myself the importance of sharing the restored gospel with those around us.  I know we have a loving Heavenly Father who sent us here to grow. I know it is only through Christ we can be cleansed of our sins and be able to overcome the opposition in our life. I know we face opposition and struggle so we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father and learn to appreciate joy, peace, and love.
I know that we are taught our Heavenly Father's plan through prophets in every period of time. We can study their teachings through the scriptures.
I know our Heavenly Father has given us the priesthood authority on earth to perform the ordinances necessary for us to return to live with Him.  I know that when we make covenants and perform ordinances we are using our agency to follow Christ and accept the Lord's will for us.
I know we can have our own spiritual confirmation of gospel doctrine and principles. I know that if we do the Lord's will and embellish and enrich our lives with gospel related activities (temple attendance, family history, service, etc.) and develop our talents and strive to understand our life mission... Then we will be filled with unconditional Joy! Others will desire that same joy in their lives; Thus we will have the opportunity to share the gospel and help the Lord gather His lost sheep in these last days.  I know Heavenly Father loves us more than we understand. I know He has a plan for me! I know my mission has been more like the MTC, and my life as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ will be more like my mission.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the earth preparing us for when the Savior will come again.
I know Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore the fullness of the gospel.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God preserved for our day to bring us to  Christ.
I know I still have a lot to learn, but I also know I must endure to the end by taking the sacrament weekly, feasting on the scriptures daily, and praying always.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
I know these things for myself because I have studied, prayed, desired, fasted, applied, and seen them manifested in my life. Each time I see them manifested in my life it's by the power of the Spirit of God. It has confirmed the truth of these things unto me.
I love this gospel and I will continue to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.
I bare my witness to you in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, 

Sister Emily Alexandra Johnson

Member's playground/house
Brother Read (New Canaan ward mission leader)
Our member and her daughter had a wildflower sale!

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