Week 68

Hola mis amigos!

 
Can you say exciting week?? Seriously. Tuesday we picked up our new Hermana. Her name is Hermana Covington, and she’s 19 and she’s from St. George, Utah. We are super excited to have her! She graduated in 2013 so that’s super crazy! Now I feel old! We get along really well, all 3 of us, it’s been super fun already!
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The most interesting thing of the week was biking on Friday. It was our first day biking as a trio, and H Covington’s first time riding in a skirt. Well, it didn’t go super well. We made it just fine to an appointment, but after the appointment we tried biking elsewhere. H Covington was a little close to the side, hit a brick wall, and her bike stopped but she didn’t. She fell forward onto her arm, her head actually hit the ground too, but luckily she had her helmet on. We thought it wasn’t too bad and got a few streets away by bike. After that we had to stop, we called a ton of people and figured out what we needed to do–go to the clinic! So we called the zone leaders and they came to pick us up. They actually just took us to our house so we could get our car… then we got to the clinic and Hna Siu was there waiting for us with In-n-out. After an hour or so, we got in, got x-rays, and found out that the radiologist who reads the x-rays wasn’t in, but would be on Monday. So no conclusion then, but she got it wrapped up, just in case.
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We’re teaching this lady who we think is a little crazy. She is scared of the spirit world, pre-earth life, baptisms for the dead (we didn’t even want to get into that!) so many things. A member went to pick her up. Well, she told her no when she got to her house… That was annoying. She wants to go to the English ward, so we might just let her! It’s like pulling teeth!
 
On the other side of things, Fidel, Matilde’s husband, and Matilde are both going well. He came to church, enjoyed it a lot. Matilde got the Holy Ghost! Somehow Anthony, didn’t scream during the ordinance. He cried silently to himself on the floor which was a miracle!
 
Basically, things are moving along just fine here. H Covington is learning Spanish and is doing well in spite of the circumstances. We are learning to use the buses a lot better! It’s great! I just love being a missionary. I just have so much happiness sharing the gospel. I love the gospel so much and I have grown my testimony so much as I’ve been here. I know that as we go out, we can change people’s lives forever and I find so much joy in it, that can never be taken away.
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

Week 67

Surprise suprise! Hermana Quezada and I are staying together! Transfer 4 in Covina for me! And the biggest surprise of all? We are about to be proud parents! That’s right, a brand new missionary is coming tomorrow and we’re the two trainers! Trio training, again! Things are about to get crazy around here. The English sisters are moving back in so… 5 pad! Man, that will be nuts!

 
We were headed off to interviews with President Becerra when we got the call from the APs. We thought it was something like the interviews were delayed. Nope. “Hermana Johnson and Hermana Quezada You have been called as trainers!” “What…? What do you mean training….?” “You will be training a new missionary who will be coming in on Tuesday.” “Training? Together?” “Yes.” As soon as we hung up the shock just came out of me. “Uhhhhhhhh, training? That can’t be right. I thought I was leaving Covina for sure… I’m staying!!!” I just love Covina, so it’s a good thing! It’s great, to have a new missionary. It was a shock though! Missionary life always keeps you on your toes for sure!
 
The husband (Fidel) of our newly baptized convert (Matilde) really felt the spirit at the baptism. He says that he doesn’t get it, doesn’t know it but we have taught him the restoration twice (one month apart). We reviewed it yesterday because their 15 year old daughter Brenda was there, and he answered a lot of the questions to help her get it, he really does know. We really feel that he will get baptized very soon, in the next month or so. It is very exciting. 
 
At church there was this weird broadcast for stake conference. There were apostles speaking, and some women from the General Relief Society presidency. There was a story of a woman who baptized 14 of her friends and family within a year of her conversion. Matilde loved that story. In the lesson we had with the family, she counted out loud the number of people in her family who could be baptized-6. Fidel and Brenda were a little shocked to hear her plans for them, but they took it well. We laughed, she definitely has the vision for them. We just have to teach them the doctrine so they can catch the vision too, and we are excited to do so.
 
Also at stake conference I got to see people from Rimgrove!!! It was the first time since May of last year that I’ve seen Oswald. Seriously, it was one of the best parts of the week, and of the last few months. I loved it!! He’s doing great, preparing to go to the temple. Awesome.
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Also we had an awesome lesson with investigators of the English Elders… yeah they really speak Spanish so we got to do a pass-over lesson and teach them. They are awesome though! They all went to church at the English ward last week, and a translator helped. One of them came yesterday, she had so many questions! Questions about food storage, the gift of tongues, baptisms for the dead. Pretty much everything except the restoration and the Book of Mormon… well, we’re going to help her by teaching doctrine!
 
Thanks for everything!! I hope everyone has a good week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson
 
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Week 66

Hello everyone!
 

Here’s a picture of Matilde who got baptized yesterday. It was a beautiful baptism. Her whole family was there supporting her, and her brother (a member of our ward) and his family supported them as well. Her sister in law spoke, and it was with so much love, sincerity, it was beautiful. During the service, we had a musical number- H Quezada sang, while I played the piano. The spirit was just so strong. Then the actual baptism. Hno Siu, one of the counselors in the bishopric baptized her. He was so honored, it was great hearing about it from him.

 
Her husband totally felt the spirit, during the service. Afterwards he pointed at some of the pictures on his phone, told us he would be standing in her place next time. So, pretty much he has the vision, and we do too! So he probably will be the next one of their family! We’ve taught him a few different times, he just doesn’t get it just yet. He definitely will though, he really has the desire, especially after the baptism! I just can’t wait until this family goes to the temple together. It will be amazing. The closing hymn was Families can be Together Forever. It really is true! I am way excited for them!
 
Also this week, we had a lesson with a referral from someone we met off the street. Turns out it was an amazing referral. The referral was for Marisela, as we talked to her we found out her husband and most of his family are members, they’re just less active. Our lesson was amazing, we taught the restoration and she cried during the first vision! She felt the spirit so strong. We saw her a second time to teach about the Book of Mormon, which she loves already! And we gave her a baptismal date of February 16th. She definitely can make it. In her prayer she wanted to know if this is what she’s been looking for for so long. It was beautiful. She has a lot of real intent, and is very humble. I am very excited to see the progress of her and hopefully her family!
 
After the baptismal interview on Friday we went to Ihop with a gift card. We were really excited for it, it’s not often we go to a nice restaurant in this area. Well turns out some very nice person paid for our dinner! I just love being a missionary. Really, not for the free food (although that’s nice), but because we really can see the blessings of God all around us. They are really abundant if we have the vision to see them! I just know God is blessing that person. And I love this area, the people here in Covina are so humble and prepared! I see it everyday!
 
Love you!
Hermana Laura Johnson
 
PS. I deleted a lot of family from facebook, I’m sorry. If I want an iPad I had to do it. And I do want one (in the next 3-4 weeks!!!). I can still be friends with some family, especially if you speak Spanish. You can help me! You can help comment on things that I post or repost them for you Spanish speaking friends.

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Week 65

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a good New Years! Today is another holiday for the hispanics. It’s the dia de los reyes (I think). Family and friends get together and eat a circular bread that has mini baby figurines in it. Whoever gets a baby has to plan the next party. We had it last year, it was super fun. Sadly we didn’t have a party… but oh well.

 
For New Years, we celebrated with food and glowsticks. We put the glows sticks on our bikes and rode around. It was awesome and super fun. It made us feel festive.ImageImage
 
We ate with Esther, her grandkids and other family members. They were just the best. As we met a lot of her family, we realized that a lot of Esther’s family were baptized Mormon about 20 years ago. So that was cool to find out. We got addresses and phone numbers to be able to contact them.
 
On Saturday we had an exchange. Those are usually eventful, and it was! I stayed in Covina while H Quezada went to East LA. H Duran was my companion for the day, we started our missions on the same day over a year ago, so it was really cool to work with her. We had some really funny things happen. She is super tall, H Quezada is not. She rode H Quezada’s bike for the first couple of minutes, and couldn’t get it to work comfortably so we switched. The seat was angled upwards, which felt super weird but I got used to it. After we switched, she said that the angled seat messed up her skirt, as she was riding, she could hear the seams popping on her skirt. We stopped and looked, luckily it was just coming loose, and there wasn’t a hole quite yet. She managed the whole day somehow!
 
We also had a really cool contact. We were about to walk past someone to go to a lesson we were late for but we stopped to give a card to a man. Turns out he was baptized like 20 years ago! We find people who were baptized 15+ years ago all the time now. It is so crazy! God is really trying to round up the less actives, and bring them back to the church. 
 
We also had a really good lesson with Esther and her grandkids. It was a little nuts but her and her 5 grandkids sat at on the couch for a lesson. We taught the Atonement, and the 8 and 9 year olds really understood. They didn’t have much of a background in Jesus, and that lesson really helped them. They realized that God knowingly sent Christ, and knowingly let Him die for us so that all of us can be saved. It was a powerful lesson. It really amazes me how much children really understand. They are just soaking up the lessons and knowledge that those who have been members a long time take for granted. They all came to church this week. They loved it. They behaved so well, they stayed for all 3 hours! It was a huge accomplishment for them. Briana is working towards the baptismal date of February 9th. Everything they are doing right now is just leading to that. It is great to see it all happening.
 
Matilde is getting baptized next week! We are very excited for her. She is doing super well with her reading and everything. She just loves it all. We just love working with her because she really wants this, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it. That’s how it should be. 
 
Baptism is to wipe away all your sins, so you can enter into the kingdom of God. Wow, why wouldn’t you want that? It’s amazing. And living the gospel just makes you happy. I love it! I know that this church is true, and that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore it. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and is the proof that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet. I know that families can be together forever. I know it’s true and anyone can as well if they ask God.
 
Have a good week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson