Week 41

Hola mis amigos!
 
Sorry but this week was kind of boring. We went to Chinatown in LA last week for p-day. It’s the farthest place here still in our mission, not in the LA mission. It was fun. We loved all the Asian stuff. There was a lot of cute stuff that I wanted to buy, we might go back sometime to buy souvenirs. I asked the price of something, the lady tried to bargain with me. She was asking $20 for a shirt, I was completely not interested. As I walked away she called back, “Hey for you, I make $17.” I told her no, I was thinking much lower, she waved me away.
 
Last week, we ate with some less active members. After dinner, Hno went to the store to buy us ice cream, as he was leaving, the ice cream man came by, he got us some there. He got us each these huge banana splits! We were already on our second dinner, so dessert on top was too much. We were exploding at the seams. It was delicious but I’m sure I’m just packing on the pounds from days like that!
 
We planned some activities we want to do this upcoming month. One idea was hiking, which turned into Hiking for Jesus (Sermon on the Mount). We want to hike, at the end have people bear testimony of Christ. I’m not sure if that idea will or will not happen. It’s kind of interesting.
 
I went on exchange on Saturday. I went down to Montebello, in the East LA area. Downtown LA is just so close from over there! One wrong turn and you’re there practically! Well I was in a trio for exchanges. That was interesting. Although they’re both being traied, they were pretty confident in what they were doing so I just followed along. We got invited to a Catholic baptism party and we went. It was the most awkward thing ever! We thought people would be up walking, talking. Nope. They were all sitting, all 40 of them, staring at us when we walked up. The guy who invited us, Manuel, wasn’t even there. So yeah. We congratulated them, left. I was not entirely sure what we were doing there, none of us really knew, other than that we were invited. Mormons crashing the Catholic party. Awkward. People thought we were Jehovah’s witnesses because we knocked a few doors on Saturday, their proselyting day. Awesome. Yep. We taught a lesson, the word of wisdom. That was pretty much it.
 
That’s pretty much all that happened last week. Sorry it’s kind of boring! Hope everyone’s doing well!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

 

 

Week 40: The case of the strange fortune cookies‏

Hola!
 
I don’t think I’ve mentioned the weird fortunes from fortune cookies we keep finding. It’s like God’s little way of telling us that things are going to be alright. Because yeah…. things have been difficult. This has been a trial for sure. Ohh Tujunga. The fortunes have appeared around the house we live in. Then when we find them they all say things that are encouraging. Like “The project you have planned will soon gain momentum.” “You will soon see a miracle.” “Treat a friend to flowers” (that one was interesting because a couple days before, President told us to send flowers to an investigator that dropped off the face of the earth). It’s been crazy.
 
We left the mission this week! It was only my second time, just when we went to the temple. We had to go to the Anaheim mission office to see a doctor. We got to see signs for Disneyland, we saw the Angels stadium. Unfortunately Disneyland is way too far from the freeway so we couldn’t see any rides but it was still exciting! We also passed Knottsbury farm.
 
We’re focusing on less actives and we had some interesting experiences this week. One 50 year old lady didn’t know who Christ was. She said, “God? The Holy Ghost?” uhhhhh no. So we’re starting from scratch with her. We met with one who is just crazy. Says he knows this church is true, but says Joseph Smith couldn’t have seen God, Christ, it must have been Moroni and another angel… Also didn’t get coffee, going to church. Oh goodness. Then another told us how other members offended her by going to her house to tell her that her non-member daughter was a devil child for some of the things she does with her life. That was an awful story to hear. She went back to church the next week, but it was brought up again so she decided to stop going. It wasn’t just an accidental offense, it was on purpose, to her face! Some of these members… they’re nuts! With a lot of these members, both active and less active, they need to see a talk and we want to start reading it with them, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them.” I even think this talk would be good for people who hold grudges towards others regardless if it is gospel related or not.
 
Seriously, we are awful human beings sometimes. I think that it is really good to be a missionary and have a perspective where we have to love everyone. We talk to everyone in the ward, everyone on the street. Some of these people would probably never talk to us if we weren’t missionaries, I definitely didn’t talk to everyone before, it has helped change my vision of things. I get to understand them in a way I probably never would have before my mission. I can get along with most people because they are all children of God! Loved by God, important to Him. It doesn’t matter who they are, what has happened to them in their life, I can and do love them.
 
We went to lunch at a Japanese restaurant this week. One of those restaurants where they cook your food in front of you. Since it was lunch, it wasn’t quite a show. Just a small one. He lit a lot of our food on fire to cook it. It was awesome! There was an onion volcano thing, as it got hot the onion pieces cooked smaller, got went back into the ring and it fell down.
 
On Saturday we went to a nursing home, some of the girls in the ward did the hula. We sang a couple of songs. The people there enjoyed it but we’re not sure how much. Nobody would volunteer to dance with us for the Hukilau which was pretty sad. Eventually one did after realizing it wasn’t hard. We tried to sing happy birthday but nobody even wanted to tell us if they had a July birthday, so we just skipped the song. Old people… On the way to the nursing home we were followed. H Hernandez got on paranoid mode, noticed someone following us from a couple streets back. She turned on a random street, made a circle, the lady noticed and backed up and went in a different direction. Then as we walked into the home someone flipped us off. So that was exciting. H Hernandez went all paranoid about that too. “Why did they do that?!?! That’s awful!!” It was crazy.
 
We went to see some people, were there for about 4 minutes in front of the house figuring out what we were going to do. In that time the family got in the car, backed up and left. So we sat there. And then, as they passed us, they stopped the car and stared at us. It was creepy. And we’re going to have to go back, be creepy again.
 
This week go out there, talk to someone about the gospel!! It’s fun! Seriously! Here’s some inspiration. And yes when members do it, it does work.
 
Love,
Hermana Laura JohnsonImageImage

Week 39

Hola amigos,
 

This week……. So much stuff. I am going nuts!

 
Number one-the mission summer party! We had a mission conference, then had lunch, played water games. It was so much fun! Everyone was running around with buckets of water dumping it on everyone else. We were soaked. I also got to talk with everyone. All my old companions are doing good.
 
A few of the achievement day girls are going to a nursing home this week to perform the hula. We got invited to sing this song called, Pearly Shells, they’re dancing to it. It was fun, I’m excited to do it for the old folks on Saturday.
 
We got a call from a convert from San Francisco. She invited us to teach her mother, a 87 year old blind lady, and to teach her brother, sister in law. When we went, we just met the mother, sister in law. Well, let’s just say they’re really Catholic. She said she was really open, then in the middle of the lesson, she proceeded to turn on the TV to some Catholic sermon thing. Then she turned up and up the volume, where she was almost screaming. It was bad. The recent convert cried, knowing her mom has not been baptized under the right authority. That was super sad, I hugged her, told her everything would be alright, she just has to do the work when she dies.
 
Our companionship is super cute now. We accidentally bought matching bow jewelry. I got a ring, H Hernandez has a cute bracelet.
 
We went to a tea party last week with a potential. She had absolutely delicious pastries, and tea is just gross. We had ginger tea, it took everything in me to drink it.
 
Weirdest moment was when we street contacted people. Two guys, they came up to us. One had never met missionaries before, surprise! The other had. They asked if we were Jehovah’s witnesses (no!). Then they asked who we are, Mormons! They said they had never met girl mormons before, but had met the guys before. And surprise, there they are. The one guy pointed them out to us from a block away, they were still in their car. It was so weird. Tujunga is crazy!
Well that’s all I have the attention span to write today!
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

 

Week 38: Happy 4th of July

Hola mis amigos! Ojala que todos tuvieran un bueno 4th de Julio! (I hope everyone had a good July 4th!) I know we did!

 
This week…. was all over the place like always. Less actives, finding. That kind of thing.
 
Tuesday had the most exciting things. Seriously. It all started at 5 AM on the dot. H Hernandez went to the bathroom, came back and announced, “Hermana Johnson, I have bed bugs!!! Can I turn on the light?” She turned on the light, showed me the bites, grabbed a flashlight and checked the bed frame, and the mattress for them. There were not any. She just got a bunch of mosquito bites is all. 
 
Then we went to see a woman we contacted awhile ago. She wasn’t there, we asked her neighbor. I said she told us to come in the morning. The neighbor said that, yes indeed, Suzi was mourning because of the loss of a child. That was sad to hear, but so random/weird that she confused it like that. 
 
We went to see a member, while there I went to the bathroom. I knocked over a shelf that was sitting on the toilet, a bunch of things all fell off, a bunch into the tub. I didn’t know what to do, but “Ahhh!” Came out of my mouth. I came out to H Hernandez laughing at me, the member didn’t even hear anything!
 
Wednesday there was one random incident. We were driving in Tujunga, saw a guy lying on the sidewalk. Some other girls stopped their car as well. He wasn’t hit or anything, he was just drunk and fell over. It was this older Armenian man. The other girls called 911, a fire truck came to help. We kept trying to give him water, but he kept trying to drink some of his vodka… After awhile we couldn’t really do anything since we don’t speak Armenian, there was already an emergency group, so we left not knowing what happened.
 
Thursday we had our zone meeting! Technically we’re a blob, in both the English and Spanish zones so we got to choose. We went to the Spanish zone one because it promised to be a zone meeting of destiny. It was a really good thing, I got to see E Christensen from my MTC district. We had already planned on getting blessings to have more understanding of what to do here (we were a little lost about how to work here since it’s been overworked), I asked him. My blessing was great, it was very specific of how to find these people, the first thing he said was to “Look in the area book. There are people in there you haven’t met yet that are prepared, waiting for you.” Well, considering nobody has thrown anything away in the area book for years (since 2010) we have over 500 names, 18 pages, to go through. I was told to follow the spirit, even more. More! And Tujunga is an area for us, both H Hernandez and I to be tested, develop. Well if there’s not comfort in a growing zone and no growth in a comfort zone, I would say that yes we are growing spiritually, possibly physically with all this food, and mentally. We are changing, becoming refined because things are indeed hard! But good, I love it here!
 
After that, we went home, went through the area book again, screamed about how we couldn’t burn it, and prayed for some of the names. I would say we’ve truly gotten somewhere since that night. The people we’re seeing have legitimate potential, are not wasting our time like it was before. That night we looked more, I saw a street contact in there. One I thought had never met missionaries before. Well surprise I found her in the area book. Every single person I’ve met since coming to this area has talked to missionaries in the past! And a quote from my journal, “I overdramatically screamed for about 5-10 minutes. NO!!!!!” At the same time, there was the Ross’ July 4th party going on, they were really confused, asked us about it in the morning. Why in the world were you screaming?? What was going on up there?! Hahahahah
 
That’s the most of our week, not much after Thursday. A very dramatic first half, much calmer second half. And here we are, H Hernandez and I in some random town full of mostly English, Armenians and Koreans, trying to find the few Spanish speakers (not in Tujunga, in the surrounding areas), talk to them about the gospel. It’s crazy but we love it!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 37: Happy 9 months

Dearest family, friends, everyone who creepily reads this blog,

 
I am at my halfway mark on Wednesday (ish, I get a little more then 18 months). HOLY COW! Has it really been that long? It does not feel like it. Not one bit. How am I feeling about my mission goals? Hmm.
  • Those I have baptized are truly converted, will stay active, returning less actives will stay active. I think so, they’re pretty solid.
  • A family will work to be able to go to the temple. Not yet 😦
  • I am one of those missionaries that just talks to everyone about the gospel. Definitely, I think it creeps out my companion how much I talk to everyone, including creepy homeless people
  • I have effected the salvation of everyone I could. So that’s a little hard to judge, but I know the Lord accepts my mission, up to this point. So I’m saying I’m on track on this one.
  • I want to be more Christlike, nicer, friendlier, happier. To this point, things are going good. I feel like I really am a different, better version of me before my mission. You’ll all see by the time I’m back!
And now, this week.
 
Last Monday we had this awesome contact with a lady that went to SLC. She told us she didn’t believe in a lot of things we do since they’re not in the Bible. So we showed her where they all are in the Bible. And she got really interested, she wrote down the references to research it. We also gave her a Book of Mormon so she could research it too. I never imagined using the scriptures about Christ preaching to the dead, going to the spirit world, the scripture about baptisms for the dead in a contact. It was cool.
 
We met this guy, Greg, aka Goat Man on Wednesday. It was so funny. We taught the restoration, he actually really understood it. We said how after the people reject the prophets, there is an apostasy. So we asked him what happened after the people rejected Christ. He jumped a little too far and said, “We’re in an apostasy!!!” And he freaked out a bit, until we explained to him about Joseph Smith. Then right after he took us to his backyard, showed us his goats, fruit trees. It was so random/weird. He did give us a lot of fruit!
 
This week was H Hernandez’s birthday. We didn’t really do much for it, we just bought ice cream at the grocery store. She did get a lot of stuff the next day in the mail. Lots of shampoo, nail polish!
 
Yesterday we ate with the Elders at a member’s house. They gave us steak, potatoes, corn on the cob. Well as I bit into my corn, corn juice sprayed one of the Elders which was hilarious.
 
Things are flowing out here in Tujunga. Slowly but surely. 
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson