Week 7 Thanksgiving

Hola! Happy Thanksgiving!!

This email will mostly be about Thanksgiving since there was a lot of action yesterday.

Oh guess how many days I have left!?! I have NINE full days here! I leave next Tuesday at 5 in the morning! I get to the Ontario, CA airport at 9:35 AM and so that will be a LONG day!

Also Hermana Prestwich left today for the Dominican Republic MTC. So that was pretty sad.

Ok, Thanksgiving. The first big thing was a devotional. We knew it was supposed to be an apostle, we just didn’t know which one. My guess was Elder Holland, and…. I WAS RIGHT! It was so awesome! His family came and he had his grandkids perform and bear testimonies for us. One of the funniest parts of her granddaughter’s testimony was that he didn’t necessarily hint to his granddaughter but slyly told her to start her mission papers a little early because sometimes it takes people a long time to get everything done (she doesn’t turn 21 until May). Then when she found out about the age change she had them in pretty quick. He talked about how amazing it is that we were all born in this dispensation. The Prophet Joseph Smith is the prophet that should change our lives the most, second to Jesus Christ. We owe him everything. Everything we have, are and can become.

After Devotional, we had Thanksgiving lunch. We had it as our main meal so people could go home and eat dinner with their families. The turkey was good, but everything else tasted mass produced. Like the potatoes were boxed, stuffing was gross, and rolls were storebought. Kind of disappointing. But I did have two pieces of pie, chocolate chip cookie pie and apple. Those were good. And we got sack dinners, sandwiches, chips, drinks and fruit or cookies. Yep it’s the life.

After lunch we went back to the auditorium (gym) and had a presentation on the service we would be doing. We then had a fun Thanksgiving presentation including a play. And guess who was part of the play!? My zone! I was an Indian princess. I had a cool headband, necklace and bracelet. We raised one of our arms and said, “How!” It was funny because Hermana Billings kept wanting to say “Como”. We did it once then President Hacking did the whole play a second time but really fast. We sang favorite hymns and had some musical numbers which were pretty fantastic.

Our district is also super cute (lindo districto). On Tuesdays we have a devotional review with the Branch Presidency. One of our elders suggested we do the same thing but just the eight of us. We walked up to the temple and sat on benches and talked about what we liked from Elder Holland’s talk. It was adorbs. He said that, “Heaven can’t even be fully complete, even for God, when a lot of his family is missing.” I think that is pretty cool.

Hermana Snow’s birthday was yesterday as well! We ate our sack dinners in the room and ate sugar cookies with frosting her sister sent. And there were even crowns and noise makers, and the cutest sign saying Happy birthday she put on her bed.

Then we did a service project, making educational kits, and watched 17 miracles. I just love that movie. Watch it if you haven’t yet, or just watch it again. Basically Thanksgiving was really awesome.

We finally got a baptism date for Rancho. We barely teach anymore, we have a ton of subs, so the one day we taught we made sure to get a definite day set.

Quick story. At dinner the other day, Hermana Connelly got up to get something. She got her ID card caught behind me. The ID cards are on these strings so you can keep them on your skirt (since we don’t have pockets usually). She walked a couple feet away and I noticed her card behind me. I turned around to look at her and it flew out from behind me and smacked her in the back. She thought someone had punched her or hit her so she looked in all directions. Our whole district watched it happen and we pretty much died laughing. Another table by us watched too. She was a tiny bit embarrassed but it was so hilarious and luckily she realized that and wasn’t too upset, more confused than anything else.

Well that’s all I got for today.

Love you all!
Hermana Johnson


Week 6

Hello everyone!

So I’ve been here six weeks now! I only have two and a half left! So excited to head out of here! It’s cold and I’ve been dreaming of the California sun for quite awhile.

First up, there are definite perks to Hermana Billings and Snow being BFFs with President Brown. Last Sunday we were walking around the administration building (sadly Hermana Connelly was at a meeting so we were a threesome). As we approached on of the halls, President Brown called their names (not mine because he barely knows me) and said he wanted to introduce them to someone. I immediately saw who, but they didn’t, they were looking at President Brown the whole time. There was a short man, who blended in with the other missionaries, Elder Bednar. President Brown told Elder Bednar to shake our hands. I introduced myself and shook his hand. Then when the other two shook his hand, they both realized who it was. Hermana Billings was visibly surprised and Elder Bednar even laughed. Later we thanked President Brown and he told us that he told Elder Bednar, “It doesn’t get better than those three.” And Elder Bednar responded, “I can feel it.” Isn’t that awesome!?!? I just was so excited, and we were so happy for the rest of the day.

Thank you surprise cookie sender! There wasn’t a name with it, but Hermana Kara Prestwich and I are very grateful! Please tell us who you are!

We committed Angel to baptism this week! He was sick for a week so it has taken us forever, but when we asked he was truly excited, and that made me happy. I wanted to make sure he didn’t just commit because we asked a zillion times, he truly wanted it for himself. He wants to be better, and he has seen the changes in his life that have come.

Living the gospel makes you change, and makes you better. I can already see how focusing on it night and day here has changed me. I’m sure you guys would be able to see more since it’s been awhile, I see a couple things that are for sure better. Definitely happier, more desire to have the spirit, closer to Christ… all that stuff.

Oso conmigo=bear with me
Guardar en tocar=keep in touch (it would actually be mantener en contacto)

Our teachers have been gone on and off for the last week. Hermano Gunter was sick, and Hermano Christofferson had… frisbee golf tournaments? That meant we’ve had a lot of first lessons with other teachers. It’s been fun. It’s really when people make up first impressions of us. For a lot of people, especially me, first impressions are REALLY important! You decide whether you like the missionaries for themselves, and whether you want to hear more of their message. This week at our Devotional Elder Foster of the 70 came. He talked about how we specifically will be able to touch certain investigators, and we are here to do just that, convert those only we can. Heavenly Father has called more people to the work with the new age change so that more people will have the opportunity to go touch His children individually. This week I really feel that there is some family out there in Arcadia that I am meant to touch. A very specific family. One that will embrace the gospel with open arms and be excited to have an eternal family.

The oldest district in our zone left. We were all good friends so it’s actually pretty sad. We are now the oldest! So two of our Elders are the zone leaders now.

We hosted this week! It was so exciting! I hosted a girl from PA! She brought me news about how the hurricane affected PA. I haven’t actually heard much so I was very happy to hear that things were alright. I just loved hosting!!! I have this huge love for new missionaries. And we have a new district this week, with 3 hermanas!! We’re so happy around here!! I also have a feeling that I will be training for almost all of my mission…. With the new age change and my crazy love for new missionaries, I’ll definitely be put to good use.

Our classroom was FREEZING this week. We put up a blanket over the window since there was a draft. At night it made it so dark in our classroom, and we decided to put that to good use. The hermanas all hid in the classroom with our hoods up over our heads and stared at the door with the lights off. When people walked in and turned on the lights they were freaked out. We scared a teacher from our zone, Hermano Christofferson, and all the Elders in our district. It was hilarious! I think we got Elder Brueggeman the best, he was like, “what are you doing?!?!” And his eyes bugged out. The other teacher said that if we were a foot taller he would have been legitimately scared and not just freaked out.

One last thing. During class Wednesday one of the teachers in our zone, Hermano Wright (who served in DC) told us a joke. It was a pun, so we had to know what a couple words meant in order to get it. He wrote a word up on the board so we could look it up in the dictionary. Hermana Billings pulled out her book and looked through it. She put it down and said, “Jesus the Christ,” in a frustrated way. Hermano Wright immediately turned around with a shocked look on his face and said, “Hermana!?!? You’re a missionary!!!! You just took the Lord’s name in vain!!!” Hermana Billings turned bright red, and looked at her book on her desk, Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. I saw the whole thing and I started laughing so hard I cried, even more than usual though, I had to get a tissue to wipe my tears. We were supposed to teach Angel just then but I just couldn’t, it was pretty bad how much I was laughing and crying. Even still, at random moments I’ve thought of that and I get a huge grin on my face.

If anyone has news from the outside world please tell me! What has happened on facebook since I’ve been away?! What is the news at BYU and in VA and PA?

Anyways, I would love to hear from anyone and everyone! News is sparse around here!

Well I love you guys!! Have a good week!!
Hermana Laura Johnson


Week Five

Hey everyone!

This week was pretty exciting. We’ve been here five weeks! We’re over halfway done. In fact on Tuesday it’s three weeks!

On Sunday we had mission conference. President Brown picks a couple people to bear testimony, which we didn’t know, and he picked two people from our district! In front of the whole MTC! Hermana Billings and Elder Christensen. We decided we shouldn’t sit by him at meals anymore! Actually he picked Elder Christensen partly because his dad works here, and we don’t think he realized the two he picked were from the same district. But basically we decided it means we’re the BEST district in the MTC.

We were missing our FHE this week so we had one in our room. We had popcorn, sang The Armies of Helaman, and had a lesson. It was awesome. It felt like girls’ camp. I wanted to hold hands and sway during our song haha.

For TRC this week, we taught an 18 year old girl who was wondering about going on a mission. It was so cool! We told her why we’re here on missions and basically that if she wants to go she should. I specifically said that once she gets an answer to follow it. I’ve seen a couple of people who try and fight it, and that just doesn’t work. That decision will basically follow you until you decide just to do what you need to do. I really hope she decides to go! It is awesome!

We’ve started this thing where we play investigators for a set of missionaries in the class. Mine is based off a friend from HS. It’s going pretty good. Apparently the other groups have issues staying in character but I was told that I should be an actress I was so good. Seriously though, I’m glad we’re taking it seriously. We get so much more out of it. 

This week Hermana Connelly was made Coordinating Sister for the zone. So basically she just participates in Branch meetings and informs the Branch how the Hermanas are doing. It was so weird though, because during her meetings I had to walk around without her. We went up to the temple and ate dinner without her. So strange.

So we all heard about the election. Everyone was talking about it. We then had our regular ask questions, about anything gospel related, to Hermano Christofferson session. This week it was on the end of the world…. I’m not really sure why everyone assumes it’s the end of the world just since Romney didn’t win. My opinion is that because everyone is guessing that, it’s not super likely… Hermano Christofferson likes to say, “Those who know don’t tell, and those who tell don’t know.” That’s in reference to instances where people see Christ but I think it’s the same. Nobody knows the time of the Lord’s coming, period. It could be in our lifetime, maybe not. I’m just not worrying about it. How was the response at BYU? Anna, Kaitlyn, Hannah, Sarah… etc. I’m sure it was very interesting. I also thought it was funny because we knew absolutely nothing about the election but we talked about it the whole day.

This week Hermana Connelly got these weird gummy snacks in the shape of Snoopy. She decided to dare someone to eat them all. But since we were speaking Spanish all day, she wrote it in Spanish. It was something like, “Yo doble perro desefiar a usted a comer todos los perros gormosos en su boca.” It made some sense… Except I think this was probably the biggest “gringoism” yet. Our teacher Hermano Gunter did it, and asked us if something was wrong with them. We jokingly told him that maybe there was. Well the two classes after that he has been sick! It just made us laugh a little that our dare might have done it.

Gringoismos- when we try to translate an English phrase or sentence into Spanish. It may make sense to us, but they just don’t understand why we would say that. We like to say “Hombre!” (man) “Que en el mundo!?” (what in the world?!) and things like that.

We cleaned in a construction area yesterday. The construction workers had on the radio and we caught like 20 seconds of a T-Swift and then a Rascal Flats song. We covered our ears and ran away. So weird.

One of the guys in our zone has been attacking us with Glade. On Monday, his companion zoomed through the halls in his wheely chair while he constantly sprayed him. It was hilarious. Then he came in our class and sprayed for 60 seconds straight. The girls tried to knock it out of his hands but he did air force and nobody could stop him because he is just way too strong. We hid the glade in the girls bathroom though so I hope it doesn’t become a problem again.

New missionaries in the building we have class in. Some Elders pointed them out to me and I said, “Awwww!” Elder Bruggeman told me not to treat them like they’re five. Hermana Connelly tried to make it better and told one, “You look really masculine!” That just made our Elders accuse her of being flirtatious. It was funny though. And seriously I love Wednesdays just for the new missionaries! They’re so cute! They ask where they’re going and where to put their trays after meals. It’s so cute.

Entonces, hasta luego mi amigos!

Mi amor,
Hermana Johnson

Week 4. The week we get new roommates

Hola mi familia y amigos!

We’ve been here a month! I can’t believe it’s been another week already. 

Well I have some good news and bad news. 

First bad news. We have new roommates! Can you believe there are six people sharing one room?!?! It’s the size of a classroom so it’s not huge. It’s a little chaotic when getting ready.

Now good news. And it’s so good I’ll make you scroll down to see it…

MY NEW ROOMMATE IS HERMANA KARA (BUNNY BETTY WHITE) PRESTWICH! No joke! Last week we got a note on our door mentioning the two new people and that we should get ready. At that moment I knew it was her, even though it didn’t mention their names. Seriously. So this whole last week I’ve been going crazy with excitement. Then after gym, I ran into her in our room and screamed for literally 5 minutes and almost ran through the halls (haha almost put walls, I’m no ghost though). Can I just say that prayer totally works. 100%. Heavenly Father knows us exactly and though his help is in his own timing, it is always the best thing for us. I had prayed so fervently for her to be in our zone or in our hall of classes. I had no idea that we could get roommates 4 weeks in and didn’t take that into account. But when I saw that note, I just visualized our living together in my prayers and lo and behold it happened. It was my answer, and it’s probably the best thing that could have happened. 

Now I just have to put the visualizing aspect of prayer to work in other parts of my mission! Gift of tongues? I know I can get it. I can do this!

We sang the EFY medley in Spanish for church on Sunday. It was so good! I just love that song! And so I’ve had it stuck in my head on and off for the past week. I got to do the alto part all by myself when the girls sang in parts. It was awesome. Hermana Billings played piano so only 3 girls sang. The guys only wanted to sing if we were really good, and I’m pretty sure we nailed it. 

So for TRC members come and we give them spiritual lessons. It’s different people every week so we introduce ourselves, and ask them about themselves. I said I was from VA, and one of the guys asked if my family was alright. I had absolutely no idea why he would ask that. So then he told us about the hurricane. They also mentioned it at devotional on Tuesday. It’s good I got a letter from you guys later that evening. Although I did figure it was just rain and wind knocking down trees that would be the problem. Let me know about the northern parts. I hear the metro in NY is flooded?! And power is out all in NY and NJ. We’ve heard missionaries have been moved inland.

Please send any news my way (hurricane, political election)! We have no idea what is going on in the world! 

Two quick stories, one of the teachers had his stuff by the window. The top thing, his journal fell out the window. His jaw dropped and he look devastated exactly when it hit the ground. Yesterday in order to learn numbers in Spanish, we did wall squats. Yes, wall squats counting to 100. It was funny to watch but not so much to participate in.

In our lessons we’ve done pretty good. We haven’t necessarily taught our best, but we’re still learning. We made some real progress yesterday with Angel. Hermana Connelly and I just weren’t connecting with him, but he just opened up and we sat there with a deep conviction about our message. I really think he understood the importance, and the application of it in his life. It was awesome. Then we read in Alma 34 about the Atonement as a class. It was so perfect after our lesson. I was sitting there thinking how much I need to study it so that I can accurately portray the importance to investigators, specifically Angel.

In the Devotional this week, Don R. Clarke of the 70 came. He talked about missionary work. Our opportunity is amazing, we are gaining so much spiritual knowledge and are changing to have better attitudes and beliefs. He said that as we bless our investigators lives, the Lord will bless the lives of our families. I hope you guys see exactly how you are being blessed by my service. 

Con amor,
Hermana Laura Johnson