The Elders in our district, our ward (8 missionaries!) Elders Jimenez, Steadmen, Bautista, Fatheringham, Turner, Meyers, (in front) Hna Davis, Johnson Advertisements

Week 55

Hello everyone!
This week has been super great as always!
We met with our investigator Hilda. We started reading from Alma 32 together. We read verse 26, she loved it so much! H Davis was reading it out loud, Hilda couldn’t keep it in herself, she read the end of the verse out loud as well, “it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” She said that that was exactly how she felt, it was delicious to her, she just loves the Book of Mormon. We asked if she thought the Book of Mormon is true. She said yes, she knows it’s true! It was an amazing lesson, she really gets it! We just hope her husband can soon. We had given her the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet last week, she read it all the night before we came. Apparently she read it all out loud even with her kids telling her to be quiet haha. She couldn’t put it down! She loved it so much. They both came to church, they stayed for Sunday school for the first time. It was on chastity, an awkward topic, but they loved it, want it for their kids!
We saw another investigator Bertha. We taught the restoration, it was really spiritual. We really helped her feel the spirit, recognize it. She had already been introduced to the Book of Mormon by her boyfriend, they have been reading it, praying together. That makes our job really easy, she already likes it, we just give a little more information, help her understand it more. We had a second lesson on Saturday. It was amazing. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. We taught the restoration again, watched the movie. I testified about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the gospel. I didn’t say anything unusual, just very basic but it was so sincere, one of the most sincere testimonies I’ve given on my mission, and I know she felt it. She definitely did. I’m so excited to see her progress.
We watched the Joseph Smith movie for an FHE. It was amazing, it was the 60 minute one. I really have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith. I’ve studied him a lot recently, he went through so much, all so we can have the fullness of the gospel! It is amazing!
We started teaching a new couple. We taught the wife on Wednesday, set up an appointment for Friday. The best part was on Friday. We had taught the wife Rosario how to pray on Wednesday, on Friday we asked if the husband Angel would do it after we taught him. We taught him, he said he felt weird, didn’t want to. Rosario didn’t take no for an answer, she told him to repeat what she said, he did. So he prayed like a little child being told what to say by their parents! I’ve never seen that except for with children. It taught me a lot. Prayers are really hard, they need to be done from the heart, but if you can’t do that, you just have to do them, pray for help to pray. I feel like I am constantly learning about prayer from these people, it is great!
We had our mission tour on Saturday. Elder Sitati from one of the 70’s came. He’s a convert from Kenya, had some really cool stories. He really helped us to remember our purpose as missionaries. I really want to understand our purpose better, help others understand it as well. It truly is only through baptism in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that everyone can get a remission of their sins, receive salvation. It is so important that we teach it!
Also funny story. I watched a video on bike safety this week. It’s really recent, it has Matt Meese from Divine Comedy in it! It was so funny to see him, I paused the video since I was so confused, surprised. He steals an Elder’s bike, his friend steals another, they ride off on them. It made me laugh.
One quick funny thing. A couple weeks ago H Davis said something like this, was super hilarious on accident. “Did Juan call? I mean Elder Bautista… uhh. Actually that was really funny. Because Juan el Bautista (John the Baptist)… I called Elder Bautista Juan…. hahahaha” I don’t know maybe that’s not funny for you all, but it was. Promise.
Have a good Halloween! It’ll be interesting over here for sure, I have no idea what we’re doing since we can’t really be out! 
Hermana Laura JohnsonImage

Week 54

This week rocked! So many miracles happened! So many hilarious, awesome things happened!
We had a lesson with a few families. They were awesome. One family sincerely wants to change, they really understood the Restoration. We are praying for them so much! We want them to come to church, to progress so the husband can stop drinking.
On Saturday I went on exchange. I went to Chino with H Vellinga. It was awesome. We biked, had fun talking, catching up. We met a crazy lady who was taught in the past by missionaries. Then we had lunch with the Elders, a member. It was pretty fun. That was pretty much our day working. Then we went to an activity. We got there around 3, we went around everywhere and helped out with a lot. I walked around with my backpack, pillow for awhile. One little kid asked me if I lived at the church. I said yes.
The activity was a presentation of the youth. Each ward did a different Disney movie, song. They were just funny. Hispanics can’t sing, so most were pretty bad singing wise but they had awesome costumes! We met with the Covina sisters at the activity since it was for the Stake. They apparently biked 5 1/2 miles with H Connelly’s stuff! Apparently she fell while on my bike, got all scraped up which is sad. And they just had a funny time cleaning up, getting put together again. I didn’t realize I would be biking home, we had no idea how to get everything home. So I put on my backpack, we put my pillow between me and my backpack and it was just hilarious. We realized we were starving, got dinner before we tried to leave (and everyone got to see me looking all strange). We then went outside, found out that someone had stolen the tires of our bikes!!! Actually no, surprise it was the Elders. They hid them just inside the building. They came back out to laugh at us and our tires, but then they ended up putting them back on for us because I couldn’t with the backpack, pillow, bag situation. “I can’t because I have a pillow on my back!!” After it got fixed I tried biking with my shoulderbag as well but I just immediately fell off the bike, so H Davis wore it. And we had my package. We somehow made it home 5 1/2 miles. It was hilariously funny, thus the picture.
It’s also been pretty hilarious since we haven’t gone shopping for food in the last two weeks. We’ve had to improvise food. I’ve had eggs and borrowed food from the English Sisters the last few days. Today was hilarious. The Senior couple who lived in our apartment before us left these things called “Shake or pudding” and it all depends on how much water you put in.  Today I had shake or pudding (shake) for breakfast. So that was laughable, we laughed all day about it. It was really strange, like a liquefied pudding. So funny!
Anyways that’s all I got! Have a good week!
Hermana Laura Johnson

Weeks 52 & 53

This week has been CRAZY! It’s been 10 days since p-day so we are exhausted! And it feels like everything happened this week, yet I have hardly any time to write this week!

Things that happened:
  • A missionary died
  • We ate a lot of double dinners
  • We made a cake with a blind woman on her birthday
  • Our investigators told us they are still going to the Catholic church on Saturdays but then they didn’t come to church
  • A random less active not on the ward list came to church with his girlfriend
  • We started teaching the girlfriend, her teenage daughters
  • A family wanted a blessing for their cousin in Santa Barbara, who was dying, I got to organize it all since it was a Sunday, meaning the mission office wasn’t open. She then died the next day after getting her blessing.
  • Our ride for the memorial service cancelled last minute, we had to figure out how to get there with no time (our car for emergencies was used by an English Elder with a collapsed lung, who was in the hospital, but it got returned in the end)
  • We went to the Memorial service
  • We met people who had just come back from a funeral, we were able to testify about the plan of salvation to them
  • H Davis’ tire popped again, it took forever to fix
  • We went to the temple today
  • There is no time to do anything!! We haven’t gone shopping yet and we have no food, we probably won’t go today, we’ll starve (JK)!
Life is just nuts right now. But wow am I glad we got to go to the temple, be free of that worry for a little while. It was really good.
The biggest things from this week I’ll mention. 
The memorial service was on Sunday. It was beautiful. They talked about Elder Page. He was only in the field for a month, I didn’t get to know him. When he was set apart, he was blessed that he would help this mission learn more about the plan of salvation. In life, he probably thought that was just the area, Arcadia, CA, but after his death, I really think it was us, the missionaries of the Arcadia mission. We all felt it so much this last weekend. The Plan of salvation is true doctrine. There is life after death. Christ is merciful, reaches out to us in our pains, sorrows, and really wants us to have happy lives. Trials happen, they are supposed to help change us into the people we are supposed to be. There was a beautiful rendition of Be Still my Soul. During the song, I truly felt that Christ was with us in that moment, comforting us. He has so much mercy, loves us so much! It gave us a renewed power in teaching the plan of salvation.
We went to the temple. It was so good! We got to relax, think about things. I loved the video. Eve was so full of emotion, it really showed the fall in a different way. The plan of salvation really is so important, it could never have happened without Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit. I know that it was a necessary thing, it was in God’s plans for it to happen that way. The fall means that we exist, that we can have both happiness and sadness. We have so much more capacity for emotions both good and bad. We can also choose how we want to live, we can choose to be happy or not. I am so glad for my opportunity to be a missionary, share this with people. The gospel changes lives!
This has been such an amazing, inspiring week. So much happened and I’m sure I’ll fill in the blanks one day with the details to the other things.
Have a good week!
Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 51: Happy Birthday to me!!! 1 year in my mission!‏

Hola!! Esta semana cumpli un ano en mi mision!! Wow! No puedo creer que he estado aqui por tanto tiempo. (Just google that if you can’t figure out what it says hehe)

It has been a week of miracles! Seriously.

On Thursday I finished 1 year in my mission and it was an amazing day! We went to our zone meeting in the Rimgrove building! It’s been so long since I was there, I was just so happy to be back and walk in the building, even if it was just for a little while. At the meeting they announced that we’re going to be using facebook to proselyte this month! So don’t be alarmed if you see me on it, I’ll be using my own facebook, talking to people. It’s going to be crazy! We don’t know too many details, but I am super excited for it!

After the meeting, we got back, got on our bikes. We were biking to visit a 17 year old in the ward but we decided to change directions. We went instead to visit a street some English members live on. They told us to talk to their neighbor the day before, we decided to go there. We knocked on the door, the lady Mary wasn’t interested. She said she was mad at God because a few family members had died recently, so she didn’t really feel open to religion. We testified about the plan of salvation, how there is life after death and she can see them again. We read a scripture about how Christ knows what we are going through, said a prayer. After that she accepted missionaries to come back. It was amazing! That is just what the spirit does, it opens people’s hearts! And she said the only day she could do it was a Thursday afternoon, exactly when we went by!

After that we went to visit the 17 year old Estephany. She didn’t really want us to come over because her house was a mess, she had dishes everywhere. Her sink wasn’t working because the drainage system was messed up. That meant a ton of cochroaches were attracted to the food, were coming in through the nasty drains. All of the drains were messed up except for the shower drain. We wanted to help her so we ended up washing the dishes in the shower for over an hour. It was so random but so much fun though. Afterwards she talked all about her biggest doubt, fear which was how she couldn’t forgive her father, she thought it meant God wouldn’t let her progress. We had a powerful lesson about forgiveness, the plan of salvation, and we should have another really amazing one this week.

As we left, we were biking and passed by a guy smoking. We decided to turn back. He told us he wanted help, wants to change his life around. Awesome! That’s exactly what we help people do! So we have a lesson set up for this week. It should be really great!

That night we decided to get pizza for my year mark. We stopped by a pizza hut. As we ordered, H Davis casually mentioned it was my birthday. This led to free breadsticks! We chatted with the workers. H Davis was two seconds from giving the stock boy a mormon.org card but didn’t have any. She gave him a familysearch.org one instead. Turns out he was super into family history, wants to learn about it! Tender mercies. The other lady overheard, wanted a card for our church. It was so exciting! I just love this area!!!

The best part of the week was general conference! It was so wonderful. I just loved conference. At conference, I got to see my recent converts in the stake center. They are doing wonderful! And I got to see a lot of Rimgrove ward. They are so loving, I was so happy to see them!
On Saturday we were fasting and walking, and we were exhausted. At around 7 we had the option of breaking our fast or trying two more houses of less actives who live on the same street. We decided to try the less actives. The second house was a less active family my companion had already met, the mom wasn’t very interested, so we weren’t super looking forward to it. We got in, started talking, she was a lot more interested this time. Then her 18 year old daughter came in, we taught the restoration, the less active remembered her testimony and had really good questions, the daughter became a new investigator. It was amazing! Seriously fasting really works when you’ve got the faith, are willing to push through it! As we were walking home, we met a blind lady. She wanted us to come by on a Thursday, this next Thursday is her birthday so we’re going to go help her make a birthday cake. I’m so excited for it!
Then Sunday we had a couple come to conference, they definitely had the spirit work on them. The husband said it left him with a lot to think about. A less active came before the afternoon session in time to see a baptism. She said she felt so much relief. We sat with her grandkids which enabled her to watch most of the session in peace, one of the few times she’s had recently.
On the bus yesterday I met a guy named Kasun. He was really cool. He was watching cricket on his phone. Somehow I turned it into a gospel discussion, he said he’s been looking to find a religion! So he’s going to go to the English ward next week. I’m so happy to have met him and helped.
I can’t even remember everything that happened. I’ve been so exhausted from all the miracles that every night I don’t have time to write in my journal! There’s just been so many wonderful things happening here in Covina! I just love it! Have a good week!
Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 50

Hello everyone!
Here’s the big news, I got transfered to Covina. I’ve been stressing to unhealthy levels, the big guys thought that if I went to a new area I would be able to start anew, be less stressed. And so far it has helped!
I am now working with H Davis from Arizona. She is a really awesome missionary. She’s been out only 4 or so months, and she has amazing Spanish, possibly better than my own! She is such a sweetheart, she just loves the gospel, these people.
We are working with a family, the Alvarez family. It’s the parents and four kids. The oldest two kids haven’t really sat in on any lessons with us. They are teenagers, we really want to teach them so hopefully soon! But the parents and little girls are the girls are the cutest! They came to church this Sunday and really enjoyed it. We are very excited for them. They are reading the Book of Mormon, they really do find that it brings them peace at home, more joy. We are going to help them recognize that the peace, joy is because it is the truth!
On Saturday we helped the stake RS get ready for the RS broadcast. We set up tables, chairs and everything. While in there, an English nonmember family came, they asked for money. It was super awkward for us, we didn’t know what to do. We got them the number of the Bishop and we’re not sure but they might have done something. They had 6 kids, the mom was pregnant, they didn’t have anywhere to stay for the night! It was a crazy situation!
On Thursday we went to see some people. We went to some house looking for a guy named Luis. A lady opened the door, said he wasn’t there. She said she was tired, she had a surgery recently. So we asked if we could pray, she said yes. We prayed with her, afterwards she told us she was super sorry, but she had just lied to us, Luis does live there! It was so interesting.
Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers!
Hermana Laura Johnson