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!
 Image
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.
 Image
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.
Image
 
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
 
Image

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.

 Image

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

Week 64

Hello!! Happy New Year!!

 
So looks like I don’t have much time to write. Like no time at all! Luckily I have nothing to say. Even though it was Christmas, not that much happened.
 
Christmas was super fun! Christmas Eve was really when we celebrated. We ate dinner with a family in the ward and and chicken and potatoes and ponche (a traditional hot drink filled with fruit, literally translates to punch). H Quezada is all about living up the hispanic traditions so we opened 1 gift each (instead of all of them) on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day we got to skype with family. We also ate with Raul the recent convert and his family. Even though they moved, we were allowed to go over to their area. 
 
Matilde has finally, 100% committed to the 12th of January for baptism. I am so excited for her! Her husband and her daughter Martha are going to be next I’m sure of it!
 
Also, if anyone didn’t know… I’m on facebook! Kinda. I have to clean it up, get rid of anything I shouldn’t have on there (but mainly it’s things I’m embarrassed about or dumb things). And I can only use it for proselyting purposes. I don’t know exactly what that entails just yet but I will soon. So I’m online, but I won’t be posting anything just yet.
 
We had a really awesome lesson with the girlfriend of a less active. It was cool. She felt the spirit really strong. Then the boyfriend asked, “Que paso?” (what happened). It was super funny, he wasn’t feeling it, wasn’t paying much attention. But oh well.
 
Today we went slack-lining. It’s a line between two trees, you try to walk across it. I couldn’t do it very well, but then again, none of us really could except E Wandry, he’s super good! He looks like a monkey when he does it, and he’s practiced for a long time. He can even do tricks. It made for some funny pictures of me and my companion!
 
Well have a good week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson
 
Image
 

Week 63

Image
After all there’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas! (I think I may have used that last year… wow one year already!)

Hello everyone! It’s been a hard week. Things have been crazy! One of the English sisters we live with went home so she could overcome some health problems. So we got to say goodbye, that was hard. She’ll come back to the mission soon enough though, I know it.

Our cute investigator Matilde got us presents! The people here are just so sweet! You can tell they love the gospel when they go out of their way to help us. We had a really good lesson with her last night as we went over the baptismal interview questions. She really got it, answered them without hesitation, she truly has a testimony. I just love to see it!

We have some other awesome investigators! Maria, Mario, Jaqueline we saw on Friday and they gave us cinnamon raisin bread from Panera :), a ride home with their truck for our bikes and they gave us a referral and we contacted it with them. They’re awesome! People really see the blessings of the gospel. The gospel changes people. It truly does! We taught the restoration in 20 minutes, and after the prayer we waited for them to feel the spirit testify to them. Well Mario about cried, it was amazing. I know that Jaqueline felt it, even though she didn’t say anything, she just loves it and is super willing to do things.

We had our Christmas party. It was so much fun decorating! We didn’t do that much but it was enough to make it Christmasy. At the party it was a dinner, and a play. The play was kind of boring until Anthony, Matilde’s son climbed right up on the stage! H Quezada tried to take him to the side, he did go with her for a second, but she got distracted and let go of his hand and he went back on. There was a couch mid-stage and he just sat down on it. Everyone was laughing, it was so funny. Matilde was embarrassed but I kept telling her that the play lacked humor, it brightened everyone’s mood. We all thought it ended on a good note. We were able to give her, and her family a tour at the party, show them the baptismal font, it was really good. We just are working on Fidel, the husband now to get him on board!

We are teaching a new family who really needs the gospel. We tried to teach them in 20 minutes but it didn’t work so much. Their lives and their stories come pouring out, so that’s really hard! But I know they’ll get baptized soon, they just need the Holy Ghost! 
 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson

Image

Week 62

Hi everyone!
This week has been good. We started teaching a new family! We got a referral off someone off the street awhile back, the guy wasn’t interested but the sister and her kids were. It turns out they have family who are members in Palmdale. So that is pretty sweet! They had a lot of questions since he had never shared what it is that we believe. It is really cool that we get to help them. There were a lot of really random things that happened which distracted us. Their cat actually bit me during the lesson! And random people were yelling outside, and the clock went off, and her phone went off a million times! Satan was working really hard. They are pretty solid so we’re really excited.

We had the mission party. It was way fun! Sadly I don’t have pictures today from it. It was H LaPierre’s last week! She’s my first companion who is finished, I can’t believe it! We also learned how to teach in 20 minutes using the pamphlets. It’s mostly questions, the point is to not overwhelm anyone. I like it so far, we have to teach it more!

We had a funny experience in Burger King. A lady I met my first week in Covina came up to us and told us some interesting information about someone we had visited. She told us that they live in a dangerous neighborhood, not to visit them. She told us that we should avoid a lot of places (like Walmart). She gave us toffee, and tried to give us pants from her car (we don’t wear pants so we denied those!). H Quezada was so confused! I was even confused, I couldn’t place her for a couple of minutes. It was so funny talking to her!

Sorry it’s short this week! I’ll write more later (or not!).
 

Love,
Hermana Johnson

Week 61

Hey everyone!
 
Hooray I have 6 more weeks in Covina! This time around I’ll be with Hermana Quezada. She’s really cool, she’s been out for 8 months or so. We’re enjoying things here, it was a crazy morning for transfers though! Everyone going here and there. H Davis is in Arroyo (East LA) with H Connelly! It’s so cool that they’re together now. They’re going to be awesome together! Also, Sister Fjeldsted is leaving, so our apartment is getting all changed around. So we had some sad goodbyes this morning.
 
This week was really fun. We continued teaching the Melchor/Aguilar family. They’re doing great! The mom didn’t come to church this week since her daughter came to town but we had a really awesome lesson with them. Matilde already knew what every part of the gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end) meant before we taught them. She explained to us what repentance is, shared some experiences, it was really awesome.
 
Monday last week was interesting just for one thing–an orange. We went to Vons the local store to use the bathroom. Turns out you have to pay 25 cents! Neither of us had a quarter, so we went to buy an orange to get 25 cents back. Well that didn’t work–it cost 92 cents! So I just had the cashier give me some change back for another dollar I had. Hilarious. We were just laughing all day.
 
On Friday we took the bus, it was pretty exciting. At around 7:30 we went and saw someone who lives in the apartment Raul lives in. We were let in, we mentioned that we wanted to share something, the girl Rosa asked if we could wait for her to shower…. We told her it would only be a minute, but she really wanted to shower…. So we waited a good 50 minutes! It was super late but we had a lesson with her. I was practically asleep on the couch when she came back out. We’ve been trying to teach herforever, we finally did. She didn’t get it though… She’s just not prepared just yet. In time!
 
On Saturday we went to contact a lady from the English sister’s area book because she actually spoke Spanish. We went by, the house didn’t exist! We walked around, talked to the neighbors, we were about to give up. The people in the house closest to the number we were looking for had pulled into their driveway while we were talking to their neighbors. We decided to go back. We talked to them as they got out of the car, unloaded a couple things. It turned out that they were related to a family that got baptized in Rimgrove last year! H Davis had even met the husband at a party that family had a couple months ago when she served in Rimgrove. That’s so crazy!
 
Also, we celebrated my 1 year in CA mark last Wednesday! We celebrated it by eating elotes or corn on the cob covered in mayo, cheese and chili powder. It’s actually really good! We’ve also eaten a lot at fast food places lately. Our member meals have been cut down since we’ve been on bike due to far travel distances, so we have brought our dinners, go to Burger King or something, buy a drink and eat our food. On Friday I had a lunchable at Burger King, the workers there thought I was strange, they all just kind of laughed.
 
Have a good week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura Johnson
Image
Image

Week 60

Image
Hello everyone!
 
Guess what? I’m at 1 year in California on Wednesday! It’s just downhill from here. I can’t believe it! Time is just flying!
 
The family we’re teaching is super solid! Seriously. The mom came to church on Sunday, practically felt like a member. Last week we taught her, helped her feel the spirit during the lesson. We asked how she felt, said, “Me siento raro,” (I feel weird) then cried. Later we clarified it was actually a good weird. We taught her whole family yesterday with the mom’s brother’s family there since they’re all members. It just worked out really well. Really strong spirit present. They don’t have baptismal dates at the moment, but they will soon! The mom told us she already knows it’s true. It was amazing!
 
Our less active Juanita is doing good. She came to church with her whole family, and is reading the Book of Mormon. She’s reading in Alma now! What the! That’s a few hundred pages in just a couple weeks. She’s almost completely active now!
 
Our other less actives that we’ve been working with are almost fully active as well. Esther with her 7 grandkids has come to church weekly for the last month. She may not stay very long, but it is amazing. Their family has changed a lot, she has too. The gospel changes people! People can become way more than they are right now if they base their life in the gospel of Jesus Christ, reach their full potential.
 
We found, taught, were dropped by a guy Ramon this last week. We met Tuesday, taught him Wednesday and Friday, on Friday he dropped us. We taught the Restoration both days to help him understand more about it, he complained that we don’t teach enough about Christ, we aren’t focused out of the Bible. Oh well. It was a really fast turn over! The member we took to our lesson on Friday was hilarious. She picked us up, was a few minutes late. Over the phone she just yelled, “I’M LATE!” in a panicked, frantic voice. It was hilarious.
 
Thanksgiving was this last week! It was pretty good. We ate with the Siu family (see pictures). It was so amazing. There were so many people there! We just had so much fun. I ate some of everything except for pie! There was a variety of everything–salad, egg salad, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potatoes, turkey, pork, chicken etc. The Chinese family next door brought a whole chick for us which was super nice, unexpected. Then we ate with Raul Cerros and his family at 8 PM. Oh man, we were stuffed. I could hardly eat that second dinner! 
 
Friday we went to the temple visitor’s center with the ward. It was supposed to be a missionary activity, but nobody brought friends, not too many came (probably because it was the day after Thanksgiving). But we had fun, we got to see the lights which was a first for me here. It was the first day they were lit up so it was a fun experience.
 
Also we contacted a French guy this week since H Davis speaks French pretty well. It was super random. I could pick out a few words because they’re similar in Spanish but I was no help. It took me back to my first week on my mission when I had no idea how to speak Spanish! He said he wants a Book of Mormon in Arabic however, since he speaks it fluently as well. It was definitely a strange experience. I never thought I would be hearing French on my mission!
 
Well I hope everyone has a good week!
 
Love,
Hermana Laura JohnsonImage

Week 59

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
Important announcement! Our mission office is changing which means you will have to write me at a different address. We just barely found out but the change becomes effective sometime in early December. I think you can do both for a little while so I should get anything sent to either one.
 
Hermana Laura Johnson
614 W. Foothill Blvd.
Arcadia, CA 91006
 
This week was just amazing. Something happened to H Davis and I between exchanges and zone conference, I don’t even know what happened but baptism just clicked for us both. It’s hard to explain but I now get why investigators need it, why it is central in our teaching, why we can’t be afraid to mention it at every instance etc. We have used the picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in almost every contact, lesson since then. It has truly opened people’s hearts in a way I’ve never seen before. Baptism is truly what this is all about. And for those already baptized it is renewing those covenants. It really did change us, our teaching, I am so glad it just makes sense now. That means it changes our priorities, how we interact with people. I hope it really does show in the quality of our teaching, and investigators–we want people who want to progress!
One of the things mentioned at zone conference was a funny story that really got to us. Elder Ingram said he and his companion were at a lesson and the family they were teaching was making jokes with their member friends. The Elders didn’t get the joke since it was Spanish. To bring it back, Elder Ostler said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about but here’s something I do know about: baptism.” And then they got back on topic, it kind of shocked everyone. Baptism! It was awesome! I get it now, I feel like the rest of my whole mission will be so much more purposeful now. People don’t stay investigating if they don’t get what it’s all about baptism by the proper authority to receive salvation. You can only find it here, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Wow. It’s amazing. It’s not about Joseph Smith, not about prophets or the Book of Mormon. Those are important, but just the means to baptism by the proper authority. It’s about baptism to return to Heavenly Father. I’m so glad I’ve figured it out!
 
On Monday we met a referral from other members of the ward, started teaching them. They already have had good experiences with the church, so they are really excited to learn. The family in our ward is really willing to go out of their way to help, I am positive they will be baptized, just when we’re not sure. On Friday we taught the restoration, and the spirit was really strong! I know they felt it, want it for themselves. The Hna that came with us gave a powerful testimony that touched their hearts. The 22 year old daughter Martha agreed to be baptized on December 22 and last night we read 3 Nephi 19 together (such an amazing chapter!! all about praying, receiving the Holy Ghost, a testimony, then straight away being baptized). That chapter really solidified her for baptism, and helped her understand what she has to do–pray for the Holy Ghost to manifest the truth to her. It will happen, I am sure of it. They are very open, and want it to be true because they know the happiness it brings their cousins. Martha even said in her prayer she is 100% open to find out the truth, act on it. Wow it was so special!
 
Sunday was super special. We had the primary program and 9 less actives, and non-members came from our area. It really surprised us! It was a miracle! One of the people who came was the husband of a recent convert. He liked it, said he would possibly come again, and we even set up an FHE for this week. It will be a great week, we hope to start teaching him soon!
 
Yesterday H Davis said the funniest thing in Spanish. She was talking about a recent convert who was sick, said he didn’t come to church because “El esta muy malo” which made him sound like he was a bad little boy instead of just sick. She said it to our ward mission leader, I about died laughing, had to leave the room.
 
Also before zone conference our car died! So we had the Elders come jump our car. It was an ordeal. We couldn’t move the car because it wouldn’t go into neutral, there was a car next to ours. We had to wander around trying to find long jumper cables or the owner of the car. Luckily the owner left really quickly after.
 
Friday night was crazy as well because Sister Dewitt got hit by a car!!! We just got a text saying they were headed to the hospital, we had no idea what had happened for the longest time. A guy who they think was drunk hit her full speed. He came up really fast in the intersection, didn’t stop completely. Her body took the impact, she fell on the ground. The guy stopped after he saw what happened, but she was able to move so he drove off! She had a gash on her left side that had to be stitched up with 12 stitches and she got a small cut on her spleen but that was it besides the nasty bruise. Somehow nothing else happened! We have no idea how she didn’t break any bones or fracture anything, no scrapes or anything. Right now she’s in a lot of pain but nothing too bad, she’s at home resting. It was a crazy weekend for them!
 
There’s so much more but that’s all I’ve got time for this week!
 
Love you all! Happy holidays!
Hermana Laura Johnson
Image