Week 78

Hola familia, y amigos!

Well it’s been one fun week. And I just have one more to go. Just one more!

Random thing of the week– We were at an apartment complex when a teenager came up to us and tried to sell us stuff. He had a cool little spiel and everything. He had a duffel bag that he opened up, showed us all the things we could buy. Neither of us had money, so we said it was nice but sorry, we couldn’t. H Covington checked, and did have money so she bought a coloring book. It was so useful! We used it during piano lessons, during conference, during a lesson at Matilde’s for Lorena, and Anthony. It was great!

 
On Sunday, someone on the bus asked me if I had some Mexican in me! It was awesome!

This week was amazing, just for the fact that it was General Conference! I loved Elder Hollands talk! It was so good, he always has something amazing to say, and it is always powerful! And President Uchtdorf was super amazing. When we are unhappy even when we are doing everything right in our lives, the thing we need to most is be grateful, count our blessings!

One of the coolest things was that our mission president, President Becerra is now a 70! He’s a general authority! He went out to Utah and got set apart on Saturday. Wow! We were sitting with a bunch of missionaries, we all exclaimed something like, “Was that President?!” “President’s a general authority!” We all knew he was going to be eventually, so it was pretty cool. Nobody thought it would be this soon however. 

 
Other cool story, we got a new investigator yesterday. Her name is Juana, and I met her my first full day in Covina! We met her looking for someone else, we prayed with her. Well we have to go through our area book in order to put it in the iPad, and knowing that I will be leaving, I know I have to get everyone I know in there. There’s someone I know on that street that wasn’t written down, so we went to at street to get the address. I decided to go by Juana just to say hi. The last time she wasn’t there at our set appointment and she gave us a number that didn’t work, so we figured she didn’t really want us back. We got there, and she remembered me! It was 6 months ago  she immediately said, “why didn’t you call me?” Apparently she tried to give us to her right number, it got lost in translation. So we taught her and it was awesome. She’s great, she nodded the whole time we asked her to be baptized. So hopefully she will come along well. Interestingly enough she already studies with the Jehovah’s witnesses. 
 
Pues, looks like this will probably be my last letter. I want everyone to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that God calls prophets, He has in the past, He does now. I know that God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and to restore the church of God. I know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God upon the earth. I know that the words of the prophets, apostles come from God and are inspired for us in our day. I know that God has a plan for each one of us, that He loves us, wants the best for us. I know that if we live the commandments we really will be blessed. I know that if we are baptized in His church and we live the commandments and endure to the end, we can have eternal life, the greatest gift we can possibly receive from God. I know these things because I have prayed about them. I know because I have lived the teachings, and I have seen the blessings that have come from them, and I know without a doubt that this is from God. There is no way that God is not involved in this work. He always is looking to help His children come unto Him and that is exactly what we do as  His missionaries, we invite His precious children to come unto Christ and to partake of the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and to prepare for exaltation. 
 
I have been so blessed to be apart of this work for the last 18 months (and a few extra days). I have had some of the best days of my life here serving the Lord. I hope to continue serving the Lord and doing what He asks of me in my life. I invite all of you to more fully serve the Lord in your lives. Go help the missionaries find those people! I want to reiterate the challenge of Elder Ballard for everyone to read Preach my Gospel daily along with your regular scriptures, and to invite one person every 3 months to listen to the missionaries. If you do, you will see more of God’s blessings, more happiness in your life and have more love for those around you. This has been one of the best times of my life and you can have some of that as well when you help the missionaries!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson
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Week 77

Hey everyone!

So this week I felt my first earthquake! Friday night we had one
during planning, it was a pretty big one. From what I heard it was a
5.1 in La Habra, just 3 cities south of us. Our apartment shook, and
we are on the second floor so it probably just made it seem even
bigger. H Covington and I stopped planning for a second, she was a bit
freaked out, “Ahh, hey what was that? What’s happening?” I was super
excited, “Earthquake!! Our first earthquake in California! Yeah!!”
Then we high-fived. It was sweet. The apartment shook slightly for the
next few minutes. One of the mirrors which was propped up against the
wall kept bouncing for awhile. Then Saturday we were in our apartment
again during the day for studies when it happened again. That one
wasn’t as strong, it just made the building slightly shake. I think
that one was a 4ish earthquake in east LA. Sweet.

Last night we had a lesson with Fidel where we watched a Mormon.org
video, tried to convince him that we are normal people. He thinks we
are not allowed to do anything apparently, like he thought we couldn’t
go to Disneyland or go to parties. Yeah, ok. I even showed him
pictures of myself on Facebook to prove that I had a life and did
things. During the lesson I even told him to go ahead and stalk me on
Facebook… I’ve never invited anyone to do that before, especially
not on my mission. Fidel is just funny, really just needs to get
baptized! He just has all these weird reasons that are holding him
back, but they’re all not true, he’s freaking out about them. It’s
just making me laugh and roll my eyes.

On Saturday we went to the women’s conference. It was really great! I
loved how much they talked about covenants. Until I became a
missionary I never understood their importance. I still don’t think I
fully understand their importance but I see it so much more. Nobody
can have eternal life without having made covenants, covenants done by
someone holding the proper authority. It was also cool seeing all the
little girls there. It meant they talked about not just keeping
covenants we’ve made, but preparing for more. It made me even more
excited for general conference!

Well in other news I am at 18 months in 3 days. Wow! And just 2 more
weeks to go. I love it here and I don’t want to leave! I’m just going
to live it up!

Love you all!
Hermana Laura Johnson
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Week 75

Hey family and friends!

This week has been another good week as always.

Elodia is great! There’s been such a big change in her over the time
we’ve taught her. The elders ran into her last week (the ones who
started teaching her) and she told them that she just loves us now,
she loves what she’s learning. That was way cool! At the beginning she
was super scared about everything but now it’s starting to make sense
to her, doesn’t scare her. She came to our lesson on Tuesday filled
with questions about the restoration. She kept telling us it’s so
believable–the fact there were witnesses who saw the Book of Mormon
as plates, that he and others even died for it. Hearing that made an
impression on her. She told us how much she wants to read, it’s really
cool. We really enjoy teaching her now!

We also taught Martha. We went over the baptismal questions with her.
She’s prepared for it, she just has to make the decision. She knows
it’s true and everything. She told us that he Holy Ghost just helps
her feel confident. She didn’t know how her mom Matilde could be so
sure but now she says she feels the same way, she just knows and she’s
sure of it. She said she had a test last week, she prayed before, she
felt the same confidence about the test, that all would be well. I
just love hearing experiences of how the gospel helps regular, every
day happenings!

Saturday we had a ward party. We played monkey in the middle while we
were waiting for people to show up. It was fun with the missionaries
and the little kids. When any of the missionaries were in the middle
it was hard to throw over them, get it to the kids. On time, it led to
me being hit in the head, also because I can’t catch, it just hit me
smack dab on the forehead. We just laughed about it. The next throw,
one of the little girls threw the ball and it didn’t get very much
height. It hit H Covington right above her ear at full speed. At that
we just left, we were done playing! We laughed until we cried about
it. Then the dinner came, it was sad but hardly anyone came! That’s
one thing I wish we could improve, attendance of activities, but all
the members are so busy.

That’s about it for today! I’m getting back to relaxing! Have a good week!

Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 74

Hey everyone! So this week it’s definitely been sunny! Hello summer!
Last night I got a sun burn with a line from my bag’s strap– it looks
weird. I can’t believe it’s only March!

What else. H Covington and I are rocking it in Covina! As always… We
just love it here. Monday night we could barely make it past our
lesson, we were almost asleep during it. We could barely plan for
Tuesday, we fell asleep right after planning, like I pretty much
rolled into bed I could hardly do anything. We were SO exhausted from
moving and grocery shopping, the heat, and especially cleaning our
nasty apartment. But it’s no longer nasty so I guess that is a good
compromise.

We had a good lesson with Martha! She’s reading and learning and loves
it all. We taught her more in depth about the plan of salvation. She
absolutely loves it, it’s really cool, I don’t think I’ve ever taught
anyone so excited about it before, she wants to know as much as she
can. Since she understands it it so well, she also is doing the acting
part of it– we have to live in accordance with it. She’s progressing,
doing it all pretty much, except she unfortunately didn’t realize the
time changed so she didn’t go to church this week, even though she was
super excited to go. But we’re excited for her to keel progressing!

We went to the market and talked to some crazy people. Yeah. We were
asked to go picket to stop abortion… It was an interesting
conversation. The lady told us she has shirts for it! It’s of Jesus
holding a baby still in the womb. She showed us in the parking lot, it
was strange. That’s not to say we like abortion, actually it’s totally
the opposite. We do not believe in abortion, unless there is a dire
situation for the baby or mother, or if there was a rape or incest. We
just don’t believe that picketing is a very good idea is all. There
are better ways to solve problems.

We started teaching a guy Oscar on Facebook! It’s a little different.
My favorite part was after we taught how Jesus gave his authority to
his apostles. Oscar asked if that is why lending a helping hand can be
so powerful. Uhh we had no idea how to respond to that, it took us 5
minutes to respond. We had no idea to tie that into authority, and the
priesthood.

Elodia is doing well. We had time to do service– we trimmed her trees
and she was so thankful she took us out to eat. We’re getting to enjoy
her company more and more. She’s such a sweet lady who really tries
hard. She’s finally started the Book of Mormon with real intent! That
was a lot of progress! She got confused by the names so we gave her a
list of people and who they are. She’s definitely going to get it a
lot more now! I really want to see her progress, she really wants it
more and more every day. She finally understands the plan of salvation
and isn’t scared! She enjoys the gospel now!!

We had our six week training meeting. It was fun to have one on one
time with president. We talked about planning, then we asked
questions. My question was about repentance, how in depth we need to
go. We need to make sure everyone we teach knows why and how we
repent. It was cool because this week I was able to use those same
exact scriptures with Fidel. He didn’t realize the difference between
big and small sins, didn’t think he’s done much wrong. We shared with
him how even those small things can be repented of. Because he gets it
more, baptism is more and more important for him, he really sees the
big picture how it will help him get salvation. It is always fun
teaching him!

And we drove the zone leaders car to the meeting, to go to the doctor.
It was funny first to see the ninja I put in one of my cars, then the
cd they had. It was super girly, and we laughed along to it the whole
time going home. Oh elders!

Well I think that’s about everything. Since I don’t have time
constraints, I now put way too much on here! Hopefully you all enjoy
it at least!

Love,
Hermana Laura JohnsonImage

Week 73

Hey everyone!

Onto another week, another transfer. This is actually my last one.
Eeeeeek! And today I’m 17 months in the mission. Ahhhhh! That is just
crazy. I don’t even know. It’s weird to think about but it is bound to
be AWESOME!

Tuesday night was a little crazy. H Quezada got a call that she would
be opening another area in Covina but roaming or covering the whole
ward. Usually they don’t just tell you that, they told us because
she’ll also be training! Oh man. She started freaking out while H
Covington and I high fived and laughed. We’re staying together! And
I’ll be finishing in Covina. Yeah! So we are super excited! It’s going
to be awesome!

We had an awesome lesson with Fidel and Martha. Fidel was showing some
doubts and Martha just started combating them with her own thoughts.
She said that he was unsure, and she was too but for different
reasons. She said that she knew it was true, then she thought about it
and wondered why she was so unsure about baptism if she knows it’s
true. That was pretty cool, she resolved some of her own concerns.

It rained a lot on Friday, and Saturday. We had some funny
experiences. We got picked up by members and we got helped out so
much. We didn’t bring umbrellas for Saturday…. oh man that was just
bad. One of the members asked if I wanted to blow dry my hair at her
house haha, I did because it was so wet.

We had a lunch with Elodia at hometown buffet. One of the members took
us and it was so much fun! We showed up expecting her to have made
something but she had her coat on and off we went. I really enjoyed
myself, it was super unexpected and there was a lot of random things
that went on she told us a lot of funny stories. Like how her husband
couldn’t even speak Spanish but they somehow made it work, they got
married. Hna Tovar told us how her husband was 17 when they started
dating, and she was a little older. That made us laugh. We just loved
it. I laughed the whole time.

Right after we ran into the chase building to get money on our bus
cards. It closed at 2 and it was a minute to 2. We ran in and the
elevator was messed up. And they don’t have stairs!? It wouldn’t go to
the second floor, we were playing with the buttons and hit 4. And up
we went. At the fourth floor we saw stairs and we went in. We ran down
to the second floor but the problem was you had to have a code to get
through the door. We freaked out, how would we get out?! All the
floors had those! I ran to the bottom floor, luckily the bottom floor
let out. And then we waited for the elevator guy to fix it. But
someone told us the office was closed that day. So all that craziness
for nothing. It was a hilarious 2 minutes though!

And the baptism. Another crazy one with the kids of record this time.
Esther’s kids were ok. I stood guard over the piano. The baptism
itself went smoothly. Then they showed a movie, not a church movie so
H Covington and I left the room, then we had to tell H Quezada not to. Watch either.

That was funny. We couldn’t even watch the movie at the baptism! Love, Hermana Laura Johnson Image

Week 72

Hola!

So the best weeks are always those that end with baptisms! And so last
week was super great!

We saw Esther and Brianna and the grandkids a few times. We stopped by
Friday to finish teaching her about obeying the law. Brianna was
getting super excited for her baptism! We had a lesson that was far
away walking distance, for the first time, she offered to drive us! We
had no idea how we were getting there but it all worked out. We went
back Saturday and Brianna told us she wanted to wear all white for her
baptism, yes a white jumpsuit! She was excited to get everything
ready. We bought her a white flower headband to complete the look. She
was so cute, beautiful for her baptism! Esther was so cute too. She
invited one of the older grandsons to come to the baptism, she said
“just this once, the baptism is a one time thing” but then she looked
at us and said “but we’ll get him to come back, it just starts with
one time!” It was precious. Someone called her while we were there and
she invited them as well, she was just so excited.

Sunday was so special. The baptism was super small- only the elders,
Brianna’s family, the bishop, and the ward mission leader were there.
It was perfect because it would have been crazy with more people (see
pictures). Brianna was super hilarious, she told us she looked like a
marshmallow. We just had the songs, prayers, a musical number, the
baptism, and we gave her a picture frame with a picture of Jesus.
While she was changing I played the piano. I was super surprised
because the kids were pretty quiet. I was really amazed by them, I’ve
seen such a change in them since I first started teaching them. They
were crazy but not that much. At the end Esther repeated to us a few
times, “estoy bien contenta, bien happy.” Esther was so proud of
Brianna and her decision. We could just see it in every smile. I am so
proud of Esther and her family! And I can’t wait for Jayda’s baptism
next week! Seriously, I just love them, they’ve changed a lot. Seeing
people change is the best thing in the world. Brianna said that she
felt really good when she was baptized, when she receives the Holy
Ghost next week it will be able to stay with her forever!

We had a funny relief society activity. We played games the funniest
one was where everyone had a jug on their head and their partner tried
tomorrow a ping pong ball in the jug. I was with H Covington and she
just laughed and was scared that I would hit her in the face. Of our 5
tries each, neither of us made any. It was a funny game. We also did
the balloon game where everyone tries to pop the balloons tied to
everyone else’s legs. Hna Pelayo pretended to not be playing then
jumped in and she did some yoga and put her leg up on the chairs and
table so nobody could pop it. It was so funny.

Last night we had a lesson with Fidel, the husband of our recent
convert. He told us that he doesn’t feel ready for his baptismal date
which was set for next Sunday. So we’re going to move it. He has come
to church almost every Sunday and he reads, he just hasn’t felt it
100%. We asked if he’s prayed about Joseph smith and he has, but never
with full intent, listening for his answer. He was telling us how
excited he was for baptism and he understood the restoration when we
taught his daughter that we thought he was feeling it more than he
actually is. It’s ok though, he’s still very committed to church and
reading until he gets his answer. We will just wait a little longer.

Today has been fun already. We explored in IKEA for an hour and yes we
took lots of funny pictures. And we are currently in Johnny Carinos!
Yes!! I found one here in West Covina, and I definitely had to take
advantage of it! I’m currently enjoying an Italian soda and bread
dipped in olive oil and herbs… Delicious.

As always other stuff happened but I don’t really remember what… And
that’s the most important anyways. Have a good week!

Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

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Week 71

Oh hey there! It’s me, writing from my iPad mini! Yeah it’s great.
Pday is so quick now, we can just write whenever through the day. It’s
the best. I love having this iPad! The bad thing is that I can’t send
pictures… So we might go to the library sometimes to send pictures.
We’ll see.

So this was such a great week. First up-iPads! We were there when
Elder Evans from the head of the missionary department came. He talked
to us about Adam and Eve and how they had to decide to act. We can’t
just wait for things to happen, we must act and act well. They ate of
the fruit, that was their act. Eve really had to understand heavenly
fathers plan to be able to make the first decision, and it was
interesting that Adam didn’t. He had to have it explained to him by
Eve and it was the only option at that point to keep them together.
With technology there is so much we have to decide on, what websites
to go on, who to talk to, what to share etc. We must use technology
for only the best things. That’s why we have them as missionaries,
because they can be used for so much good. Sharing the gospel has
never been easier! I invite anyone reading to share something online
with your friends and family. It will help to prepare the hearts of
many!

The best part was exchanges. I just love those normally and this one
was especially great, because I went to Rimgrove, my first area! It
was cool being back, it’s been so long. Planning was interesting since
it was on our brand new iPads and because I actually knew what they
were talking about. We started the day by face booking. Then we went
to see someone I taught, Victor! That was so weird! He moved but they
got his address from him from on the bus. Just another reason why the
buses are awesome, so inspired. We taught a new investigator, the
father of one person they’re teaching right now. His name was Jose. He
said he wasn’t interested but it wasn’t true. In our lesson he told us
he’s been searching for the truth and he thinks this could be it. It
was a very spiritual lesson and it was way cool. We had a lesson after
that with Juan 2! We were supposed to teach his niece but she wasn’t
home so we just taught him. It was cool, he remembered it all
perfectly. It was so good to see him, it was a total surprise for him,
the smile didn’t wipe off either of our faces.

Briana, Esther’s granddaughter is getting baptized next week! They’ve
come to church pretty regularly the entire time I’ve been in Covina so
it’s about time. Briana will be next Sunday and Jayda, her 8 year old
sister will be the next week. The baptism will be really different
because she wants the fewest number of people there as possible. So
that means her family, the bishop, an elder to baptize her, one to
witness. We’ll probably just have a prayer and the beginning and end
and two songs. I’m so excited for it!

I may not be from the tribe of Manasseh but I did have a dream last
night that could have been revelation! I dreamed that our little trio
was walking around when I had the impression that we needed to stop
and pray to meet a family with some non members, and that isn’t on the
ward list. Well were now praying for it so I hope something comes out
of it!

Well that’s all for this week!

Love, Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 70

Hello everyone!!
 
It has been another great week and there is another amazing week ahead!
 
First up, is iPads tomorrow!! I’m really excited about that one. We’re going to have everything online–our planners, area books, sheets for the ward, our scriptures, everything! That means we’re going to have really light bags now which is great! No more back aches from carrying everything with us. Also it means that online prostelysing will explode! It’s going to be great.
 
We had some really great lessons with Fidel. He is reading a lot, he read 8 chapters from Friday to Sunday. We taught him about tithing, he said that he would definitely pay it. He said that if he’s doing this whole Mormon thing he’s doing all of it. I just loved that answer. And we had a lesson with Matilde’s brother, his family, and Brenda, Fidel, Matilde. We taught Brenda the restoration, finally! Her question was not if Joseph Smith was a prophet, but why he was a prophet, why God called him. We can see that she is very receptive to the gospel! She’s also so sweet, she’s such a great girl.
 
On Friday we got to clean the Mission office. That was fun! We just cleaned the kitchen, then we went to Dennys for dinner! I got delicious cinnamon pancakes that tasted like cinnamon rolls. Then we got to the ward movie night a little late. We watched the testaments. It was really cool, it’s when Christ went to the Americas. Matilde really enjoyed it, now she wants a copy. Love it.
 
Actually not a lot of interesting things happened. That’s it. So sorry. Maybe next week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson
 
Ps. Pictures of me matching H Quezada, and me with a Rimgrove member, Hna Garcia!
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Week 69

Hello Everyone!
 
This week was a good. I’ll just start with the most exciting thing, we saw a car burn yesterday. It was on fire and it was crazy! Sadly I can’t put in the video because it’s too big, but it was crazy! There was an explosion of stuff, we drove away (in a member’s car) because we didn’t want to be in the way if something bad happened. Later the member texted us saying that the car was melted. Crazy!
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Fidel, the husband of our recent convert is going well. He has a baptismal date and is very excited. He is listening to the BOM and he enjoys it. We had 3 lessons with him this week, every day this weekend. They are so funny! We love spending time with them. We taught the 10 commandments, and we taught about chastity. We told him what it meant and he joked saying he didn’t know if he was married. Matilde just looked at him and rolled her eyes, and he convienently remembered haha.  He’s gone to church 3 times now, and we really see his faith! He is starting to meet the members of the ward and is friendly with them. He is fitting in really well, and we’re excited for March 2nd with him. 
 
Another investigator is set for baptism soon. He really wants to be baptized and everything, has a testimony but he hasn’t come to church yet. Weird things keep happening to him like his alarm not going off, him waking up sick at 2 AM etc. We really hope it is soon though. He had to ask of Sundays from work, and he got them off, so we know he really has the desires and faith. It’s just hard that he hasn’t come yet.
 
We went to a diner called the Sugar Bowl (like in Arthur). It was really delicious. And it’s also super famous. There was a movie made there called Pop Jenks Sugar Bowl or something like that. 
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We had some sad times this week as well. We taught a lady Rosie the restoration. She loved it, almost cried! We went back a couple days later to teach her about the Book of Mormon, and she told us her husband told her she couldn’t study with us anymore! It was only the second time we saw her! It was so sad, she told us she really felt it but just couldn’t keep with us. We did end up teaching the Book of Mormon and giving her a copy so she can keep reading. Then Friday came, we had a lesson planned with Marisela, our investigator that cried during the first vision. She told us the same thing. Her husband doesn’t like it, the only difference is that he is a less active!! That was really sad as well.
 
We went to the doctor with H Covington to find out what is wrong with her arm. The doctor said that it is not a fracture that they can see but there was some fluid, (which comes from breaks) that was by her elbow. They said that she probably has a small fracture that didn’t come up on the x-ray but it’s not that big so she doesn’t have to wear a cast. She just has a sling for when her arm hurts, she can rest it. So we’re busing everywhere! It’s really fun, but is also hard. I am just loving this area though! Covina rocks! Also it’s my 16 month mark!!! Ahhh
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson