Wednesday, August 2, 2017

SISTER SARAH JOHNSON - June 5 - July 24



SISTER SARAH JOHNSON – Letters from June 5-July 24 – Getting Caught up.

June 5
Hello everyone! 

This week was kind of crazy! 
Tuesday we got to hang out with the zone, and we played kickball and frisbee and signs, and it was fantastic. We have a really good zone. Tuesday night we stayed over at the YSA sisters' apartment :) they are the sweetest, and I'm pumped to get to see them more often. :)
Wednesday we had MLC, and Sister Cheney was there! She gave me a whole bunch of hugs from Sister Mitchell, it made me feel all special. It was good to see her, I've missed Moscow a lot. But MLC was really good too! We talked a lot about how we need to focus on having faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and figuring out what that means for us individually, as well as for our investigators. It was a really good council, and I really loved it. One of the elders going home gave a farewell testimony, and in it he quoted President Uchtdorf, "Exaltation is our goal, discipleship is our journey", and it just stuck to my heart, and I realized I need to love the journey of learning to be better, and not just be frustrated that I haven't gotten there already. 
THURSDAY WAS THE BEST THOUGH! Because Anastasia got baptized and confirmed! She was just glowing, she was so happy to be there and be baptized. We're grateful everything worked out so well. We just love her and her family. Also, sorry the baptism pics are blurry, we're going to try to hunt down the lady who took a pic on her phone so we can get that one someday.... But let me tell you, the Gospel is so, so true! It's amazing how it works, and it changes people. It's incredible to be able to see people make that jump into the Gospel, and see their whole life brighten up :). I last minute had to prepare a talk for her baptism, and I wrote it on the temple, and how to get there. It was an awesome experience, because it really felt like it wasn't my talk, it was totally the Spirit. I used this hiking analogy. Mountains are symbolic of the temple in the scriptures, and the 5 things in the gospel get us to the top (or to the temple). Faith=flashlight, that helps us see the path at least for a few paces, until the sun comes up and we can see more clearly. Repentance=a change of clothes (so wearing good shoes) so that we can be protected from the dangers on the hike, like bushes or animals. Baptism=water bottle, which keeps us rejuvenated (like taking the sacrament). The Gift of the Holy Ghost=a compass that helps you determine where you are and where you're going. Enduring to the End=having the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And then the most important part being he Atonement of Jesus Christ. Hiking is no fun if you get there and there's nobody to share it with, so don't forget to bring your friend, Jesus Christ, so that he can encourage you the whole hike, he can refill your water bottle and patch up your shoes. He can recharge your flashlight and your strength. And with Him, you can make it to the top of the mountain, where you can be with God. It was a really cool idea, and it was totally not mine. I learned so much from it. 
Friday we got to go with Anastasia to her son's 4 year old graduation from his preschool. It was the cutest! We were helping her grill all the carne asada meat, and it was SOOOO GOOD! I'm excited to know how to make some really good carne asada now. It as worth smelling like a grill the rest of the day. :) Mmmm 
Also on Friday we got to have dinner with the Morefields. They are seriously the cutest little elderly couple, and you can totally tell they are still so in love. That's my new goal, to be a friendly, sweet old couple that's still in love after 50 years, because it was just so fantastic and comfortable to be in their home. Brother Morefield told us all about his mission and how he met Sister Morefield, and they let us practice a lesson on Family History with them (So sister Latu can start practicing :) ), and they loved us. It was awesome :) I hope we have a good reason to go out and see them again soon. 
On Sunday we got to go to the Idaho Falls Temple rededication at the Coeur d'Alene stake center! It was really cool to be able to go :). We actually got to go to 2 of the different broadcasts, because we didn't know Anastasia would be coming, so we went with her too! She loved it, and it was really awesome because all of the talks aimed at families and temples and how the Gospel can heal everything. She's aiming for the temple right now, and her husband is interested in taking the missionary discussions now too. So there's a lot of hope there for her, and we're excited about that :). 
Anyways, today should be awesome! We're doing a double zone pday with the Hayden Lake zone, and that should be quite the riot. Also we're going on an exchange tonight with the YSA sisters, and I'm excited to show Sister Nance how fantastically crazy Plummer is. Haha 
I love you all so much!! 
Sister Johnson 

Here are a couple of pics Sister Latu took of the drive to St. Maries for the baptism! It was gorgeous! 


Also we rode our bikes a little this week. And by a little I mean for an hour on Saturday. It was an adventure! 



And the baptism pics! Elder Horne from the St. Maries area got to baptize her :). 







JUNE 12

Hello my beautiful people! 
It's been a crazy/weird/stressful week. The biggest news being that Sis Latu got what's called "Emergency Transferred" to Spokane to learn Marshalese, and to serve in the Marshalese branch there with a sister from the Marshal Islands. So that pretty much took up our Saturday! Now I have a new companion who just finished training. Her name is Sister Hartman, I'll send a pic of her later. Plummer has been one whirlwind of a trip. 
We started teaching Anastasia's husband, Johnothon this last week! And a 13 year old friend of theirs, Allen. It's been really exciting :). I love just being at their home, it's so fun! Anastasia actually made us fry bread this week, and it was absolutely incredible. And this coming week, Anastasia said she knows me well enough that she'll share her 100 year old tamale recipe with me, and teach me how to make it this coming Friday. So look out, world! I'm about to be a tamale prodigy!! 
We also met a member this week, Sister Williams, who totally reminds me of Jennika back home! But like, an adult. She's even part Swiss! We got to go and share a message with her last night, and it made me so happy. I want to be her friend so bad. It's amazing how many people you meet and love on your mission. Missions are the best. 
Otherwise, I'll be totally honest, this week was kind of boring. But I love being a missionary! And I'm learning to love Plummer so much. I'll be sad to leave, whenever that happens. The branch is so cute.... except they asked me to give a talk yesterday, and only gave me 2 days warning. But it turned out really good! And Johnothon basically slept through the whole things, so I was able to give him a lot of attitude about that. But church sleep is the best sleep, right? And at least he was awake for the Priesthood meeting, because he loved that. It made me smile :). 
I hope that all is well at home! I am loving my mission here, and I'm so excited for all the adventures up ahead. I hit my 11 month mark tomorrow, people! It's been almost a year since I've been home. It's kind of bizarre to think about. It goes so fast. But I'm loving it. 
Speaking of loving things, I love you all! Keep being fantastic :). 
Love, 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pics from this week. Enjoy. :) 

   

JUNE 20

Hello all you cute people! 
It's been quite the week, for sure. Complete with 2 mini exchanges with the YSA sisters, interviews with President Dymock, having family night with Anastasia and Johnothon, learning to make tamales, a taco social, and a new investigator! Things are good in Plummer this week :). 
So.... I guess I"ll start with the family night, because it was super cute! We did this "stepping stones to Jesus" kind of Gospel lesson, using Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End as steps to get to Jesus on the other side of the room. It kept Anastasia's kids pretty involved, and it was really simple and fun. And we got to eat some really, really good Mexican food. Let me tell you, I have gained weight in Plummer solely because Anastasia cooks food fit for the Celestial Kingdom. I am not even kidding. No regrets. 
Tuesday we got to go out with a girl from our Branch, TaShanna! She drove us all over Tensed and Tekoa, and we got to meet some really good people. We even made cookies to take to some of her neighbors. :) We met a guy who lives in the old Sanders store way out in the middle of nowhere, and he was the sweetest old guy. We'll have to go back and see if he's interested in learning more about the Gospel.... he insists he's Catholic, but so was my dad, so I don't take that as a very good excuse ;) haha. 
On Thursday we got to teach Johnothon the Plan of Salvation, which is absolutely my favorite lesson to share. There's so much to it, but I love the hope it gives people. Johnothon said he loves how our church just really aims at helping and building families, and it all about how it can help that unit to get back to Heavenly Father, instead of how families can help the church grow. It was a really cool lesson. He seems to be understanding pretty well, and Anastasia loves having us over all the time, which is really nice. 
FRIDAY I LEARNED HOW TO MAKE TAMALES, PEOPLE. There's one bucket list item I can cross off. Sister Nance and I went over to help make them for the taco social on Saturday night, and we had a lot of fun just talking and making tamales. Anastasia and Johnothon both asked some really good questions, and we had a good Gospel discussion going :). And they even gave me their secret ingredient.... and now I can be a tamale pro almost as good as Anastasia someday! She made me promise to make them sometime on my mission, and to never give away the secret ingredient... sorry guys. But I'll make you all tamales someday :). 
Saturday I went on a mini exchange with Sister Nickle, and we got to help Melody paint some shelves for her new craft shed. Melody is this super eccentric lady who is very passionate about her crafts.... but we had fun! Haha it's good to have weird things to do on exchanges sometimes. After Sister Hartman got back home, we went out to the taco social for the Plummer Branch, and it was a success! Anastasia brought her family, plus her nephew and his family, and it was really nice :). She brought some of the tamales, and they were gone so fast. It's hard to pass up a good tamale. 
SUNDAY we had a little miracle! Anastasia had said we could come over Sunday morning and they'd steam us a fresh batch of tamales for ourselves to have, so we planned on studying a little before, and then following her family to church. During my studies I found this short little story in an older Ensign about the sacrament (here is the link! it's good!  https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/12/the-last-sacrament-cup?lang=eng ), and I really wanted to be able to share it with Anastasia and Johnothon before church, even though there wouldn't be a lot of time. So I brought the Ensign with me, even though we got to her house a little after 1:45. Turns out, she had felt so sad and lonely, and said she felt like her light was gone, and she just couldn't face going to church. I pulled out my little article and read it to her, and at the end said 'I don't think its a coincidence that I would find this during my studies and think of you", and within 5 minutes we were out the door heading to church with her whole family. The whole way to church I just prayed we would be able to get there in time for Anastasia to take the sacrament, because that's what she really needed to feel ready for her next week. And just as we walked into the church building, the sacrament bread started being passed. We made it with seconds to spare. Guys, the Spirit works in funny little ways, and you just have to roll with it! I am definitely a witness that God takes us at our weakest points, and turns that around for both our good and the good of others. It's incredible that everything just worked out, and she felt 100% better after church was over. I love this work! 
Oh! And yesterday I found a kindred spirit, and a new investigator! Sister Williams in our Branch is basically the older Jennika, and we get along so, so well. I just love her already. And she has a grandson who is 9 who wants to be baptized so badly! So we taught him the Gospel yesterday with his 2 little brothers using the same lesson we shared with Anastasia's kids. It was super cute and surprisingly spiritual for being with a 6, 7, and 9 year old. He is solid, I'm so pumped to teach him. At the end we admittedly played their favorite game with them, which was like this war game with all these plastic guns. Haha it was the most fun of the day, and they thought we were pretty cool playing with them. Sister Williams took a picture of us, but we're still waiting on her to send it. I"ll have to send it when we get it :). 
Anyways, we're going to the temple today! Thats why pday was moved.... sorry! But I hope you all have a fantastic week :) I sure love you guys. 
Sister Johnson 

Here are some pictures! I don't really know what happened... but all my pictures from like, my whole mission got deleted on my memory stick.... so that kind of stinks. But here are a couple! One of a sign on our Tuesday adventures,


 one of Ana's kids with my name tags on, and Allison is the baby who crashed the picture :).



And then a picture after we painted at Melody's :). 




JUNE 26

So It's been good! Plummer has grown on me so much, that I'll be incredibly sad when I have to leave here. It's the worst when you really love somewhere and you know it'll have to end someday.... but "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard", ya know? (AA Milne)
Anyways, this week was pretty busy! We got to go to the temple, and it was absolutely beautiful. I had this really cool experience I decided I can share with you all :). So on Tuesday I got an email that my mom would be moving to Kanab, UT, and it stressed me out a little bit because it throws a little wrench in the plans. It just felt like home was going to be so different, no matter what I decide to do when I get back. But then, as soon as I stepped into the temple, I felt so at home. I had this soft impression that I always have a home, and it's not on Earth. I felt for the first time "homesick for heaven", and it changed my perspective. So I'm trying not to worry so much :). It was really neat. 
Thursday we had Zone Conference, so Sis Hartman and I got to be in Coeur d'Alene all day. I got to do a training on "Teaching people, not lessons" with Sister Hulsey :) and it went really well! It helped me refocus on my purpose as a missionary, which is to individually know people so I can individually teach them the lessons. It went really well :). We also had stake reports that night, and we got to meet with President Moss. He's a pretty cool guy, and he's excited to do missionary work, which is so nice! 
We've also been able to see Anastasia and Johnothon pretty much every day this week. They are seriously my favorite people. We had a lesson with Johnothon on Faith and Repentance, and we got him crying. He felt it so much. I had this thought while we were preparing for the lesson, that what if someone we really loved like, jumped in front of a bullet for us. And their last words were something like "Just become the best person you can be, and don't forget me". Wouldn't you do everything you could to live up to that? So why is it so hard to keep Christ's commandments? Why is it such a sacrifice for us to become our best selves? It changed my life, guys. And it felt right to use it with Johnothon, and he felt it so strong. He understands it now. :) I'm so excited for him!! 
Also this week, at zone conference, I got to play the piano for the opening and closing hymns (yes, I can hear mom and Jill saying "I told you so", so I don't want to hear it) and I got to play hymn 60, the battle hymn of the Republic :). And in it, my favorite line is "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free". And let me tell you, it hit me so hard! I've written it everywhere since then. Christ died for us! And it's our job to tell others they are free because of it. It's amazing. 
Anyways.... I don't have a lot more to report... but things are good in Plummer :). I'm excited for transfers in a week, we'll see what happens! And I'm pumped I'm about to hit my year mark in like 2 weeks. I can hardly believe it. Time moves so fast out here....
I love you all! I hope you all have an amazing week :).
Love,
Sister Johnson 

Our whole zone got to go to the temple together, it was fantastic. Here's the crew! :) 
Sorry not a lot of pictures... I'm out of time. But I love you all! 


JULY 3

Hello everyone!
This week had some good adventures and lessons learned, so I thought I'd share them with you. :)
Probably my favorite things that happened this week was yesterday during testimony meeting. I got to sit next to Alayla, Anastasia's 7 year old daughter, and she asked if she could go up to bear her testimony. Of course she can! So we talked about what she wanted to say, and then we went up right at the end of Sacrament meeting. She made me go first, which I kind of expected. But her testimony was seriously the cutest testimony ever! It went something like "I love Jesus and Heavenly Father, and they love me! I know they love me. And sometimes I read the Holy Bible to my family. It makes me happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen". It was the best testimony all day, because it was so simple and straight out of her little heart. What more do you need? We're loved, and we have the scriptures :).
Also this week, a mission buddy sent me a card, and on the front was the quote "Happiness must be grown in one's own garden". It's a quote I've heard/read a lot of times before, but this time it just hit me. And I have written it everywhere since then. I decided I'm meant to be a whole lot happier than I have been, and I'm going to start cultivating flowers of happiness and kindness instead of all the pessimistic thistles. :) Life is meant to be joyful and hopeful, so I'm going to make it be that way.
Oh! Also we got our transfer calls! Sister Hartman is leaving for the Spokane YSA ward tomorrow, and I'm staying in Plummer and taking Sister Hulsey with me! Sis. Hulsey is such a sweetheart, and a hard worker, and I'm excited to get to know her :). I think it'll be a fantastic transfer. I won't be the STL anymore, so no more meetings in Spokane for a while. But that will be ok, we don't have enough assigned miles for that anyways. We're just going to rock it in Plummer todos los dias.
Anastasia is still doing fantastic, and so is Johnothon. We go see them every day, and they always have good questions for us. We got to watch the Restoration video with them this week, and they really liked it. It was also a nice break for us ;) haha.
And guess what guys! Moroni and Cynthia (the 10 and 8 year olds we are teaching) are on-date to be baptized on July 31! They want to be baptized on a Monday for some reason.... so we're going to roll with it. But we are super excited to finally see some progress in them. Moroni went from absolutely refusing to talk about baptism, to being chill with it. And Cynthia is out of her mind excited, she's way cute. We're going to work so hard to get everything to work out for them. :) Ah! Things are going good :).
Anyways, that's about it from me.
I love you all!
Sister Johnson
Also here are some pictures of Sis Hartman and I with the sword of Gryffindor. The members we ate with let us see it. It was pretty sweet.


And a picture of Sydra! One of the best young women ever. She made us each a cupcake. Mine was the super cute panda looking one. :)


And one more of me! We took a cute little back path the other day, because it was shady and we were tired. :)  

JULY 10

Hey everyone :)
So.... I poorly timed my emailing, and I have like 2 minutes to write this.... I'm so sorry!
This week was good! Sis Hulsey and I get along SO GOOD and we've had a lot of fun talking. She's also from Florence, AZ, so we are going to hang out together forever now. She's got a fiery heart and a love for people and it's contagious and I'm excited to work with her.
Anastasia fed us the best tacos I've ever had in my entire life this week, and that is no joke. I honestly think her food is a little preview of the Celestial Kingdom.
We got to teach Moroni and Cynthia some more this week, and they really like Sis Husley :). It's so fun when people like your comp really quickly, because you avoid the whole awkward transition thing. They're still planning on baptism at the end of this month, and we're pumped for them :).
We watched everyone shooting off fireworks on the 4th from our window. Everybody on the reservation has the mortar fireworks, so it was probably just about as good as fireworks I've seen anywhere else, only all around us. Pretty unique!
We got to have a concert with Claire Ryann Crosby on Saturday, and it ROCKED! Just kidding, it wasn't a rock concert, but the Spirit was there :) And Anastasia got to tell her conversion story at it, and she just did absolutely perfectly. I was so proud of her, she was so nervous and you couldn't even tell! Also I got to high five Claire. I have now officially high fived a celebrity. Checking that off my bucket list now!
Um.... oh yeah! We found a creepy basement crawl space in our house! It was super weird. I'll send a pic.
Anyways, I love you all and hope things are well! Sorry the email is short.... here are some pictures..... :)
Some of these super cute tire minions this guy has in his yard! He let us take pictures of them :).
 
Also Sis Hulsey when we discovered the creepy hole under the house.....
Ok bye! :)
Hey everyone! Here's the mission picture from the Elder Holland meeting! I'm in the 3rd row on the right, with a pink sweater on..... it's like playing "Where's Waldo" a little bit.



JULY 17

Hi guys!
It's been a good week here! Here are some pictures of some of our adventures.
I celebrated my 1 year mark by getting Zips, because I wanted to have a huckleberry shake. And while it was really fun to eat fried mushrooms and drink that shake in the moment, I can promise you all right now that I will never ever eat at Zips again. I know I said that last time I ate there, but this time I'm serious, Zips is out. Two thumbs down for the punishment I received.
Also Sister Hulsey and I got to volunteer for Plummer Days! It's the local celebration, and we got to help set up and stuff :). And we looked way cute, if we do say so ourselves. Sister Hulsey curled my hair because she's the nicest. And we got to eat a ton of junk food, including a fantastic pulled pork sandwich, which this random returned missionary paid for out of the blue. Literally have no idea where he came from or where he went, just came up and was like "Hey I'm paying for whatever the sisters are getting", talked to us for 2 minutes, and disappeared. Tender Mercies. :)







Sorry, I couldn't attach more pictures to that email.... and I'm really too lazy to write one big email today, so here's part 2!
We were traveling out to a member's home for dinner down in Tensed, and decided to go on an adventure to DeSmet (because we've never been there.... because everyone tells us how ghetto and evil it is and stuff....). Turns out DeSmet is actually pretty ghetto, and we won't go there without a member to try to find people to teach. But! We did find a beautiful wheat field, and decided to take some fantastic pictures with it :).

    







"The field is white" here in Plummer, in more than one way! And we're going to try our hardest to harvest :). It was a fun little break for us.
Then we got to go to the best lesson ever, and the Spirit was so strong! We taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, using Luke 22:40-44 (what happened), Alma 7:11-12 (what Christ suffered), D&C122:7-9 (what we know because of His sacrifice), and D&C123:17 (what we can do with our freedom from sin). It was a really incredible experience, I loved it so much :).
Being a missionary is seriously the coolest thing ever. I'm so excited to be here in Plummer with Sister Hulsey, and all the sweet people I've been able to meet. I'm just SO PUMPED AH! It's going to be a really good week :).
Love you all so much!
Sister Johnson

JULY 24

Happy Pioneer day, guys! :) 
First off, we had the BEST district pday ever! We got to go Huckleberry picking way out in the mountains somewhere! None of us had ever been there, so we texted this guy who texted us these directions to basically the middle of nowhere. The elders thought we were leading them up the mountain to kill them and hide the bodies, that's how far we ended up going. We went until we were sure we were lost, and then went a little further, and picked so many huckleberries! Haha I'll have to attach more pictures in another email. We've had a lot of fun with all the berries :). 
We got to finally catch Christine and Carlyle at home this week, and they are the cutest family ever! They have 5 kids- one who's 9, one who's 3, twin 2 year olds, and a baby. Teaching them is always an adventure, and we already love them so much :). Carlyle is a member, and he says he's excited to get back to church now. We're so excited! 
Also Moroni and Cynthia will be getting baptized tomorrow evening! We couldn't be happier about it. It's been a long road for the missionaries on that one, but they've been counting down the days to their baptism too, and we're glad to organize it for them. They're so cute about it. :) We just love them. 
We got to have a zone conference this week too! It was nice to not be in charge of any of the trainings, because I'm not an STL, it was great! But the trainings were really good. And sister Dymock read us a poem that was awesome! Here, I'll copy and paste it for you all: 
IF YOU WANT A THING BAD ENOUGH…
(By Berton Braley)
If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it
To work day and night for it
To give up your time, your peace and sleep for it
If all that you dream and scheme is about it
And life seems useless and worthless without it
If you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it
And lose all your terror of the opposition for it
If you simply go after that thing that you want
With all your capacity, strength and sagacity*
Faith, hope and confidence and stern pertinacity**
If neither cold, poverty, famine, nor gout
Sickness nor pain, of body and brain,
Can keep you away from the thing that you want
If dogged and grim you beseech and beset it
With the help of God,
YOU WILL GET IT!
Let me tell you, that made an impact on me and I really like the idea of it. We can be whatever we want to be, if we're willing to work hard enough for it. And that makes me really excited to be a human being, I don't know about you! 
We got to go out to Tensed the other day too, and ate dinner with some of our favorite members. They're so funny, I just love them. They're the ones I took the sword picture with a few weeks back. We also got to meet a cute little old man named Bob who's going to let us help him paint his house bright yellow. Like, sunflower yellow. He lives behind our house and I've watched this guy slowly paint his house this incredible color, and I finally got the courage to go ask him if we can help him paint his house. So Tuesday we're going to get to help! I'm pumped about it. Also, his little dog is like a mix of my childhood dog Woofers, and my teenhood dog Oscar.... it's weird. I like her. :) 
Sunday was awesome! Anastasia got released as a door greeter and now will be in the Primary Presidency! I'm so so excited for her! She's going to do so good there :). She's just the coolest. 
Sunday night we got to have the nicest dinner with the nicest people with the nicest view. No joke. They're lake people, so they're not permanent, but we had so much fun going there. We got to take a tram down to their house because they live right right on lake Coeur d'Alene. It was awesome :). 
Anyways, I hope everyone is doing GREAT! Life is so good. It's so good to be a missionary. And it's so good to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days :). I LOVE YOU ALL! 
   

Also sister Hulsey makes me fabulous breakfasts! And the last email I forgot the car pic, and accidentally sent my huckleberry waffle pic. But regardless, we've been eating huckleberries on everything. :D 


 

So we took a picture with our car to show you how dirty our car got... but it was too shady. 
We also got to buy Ranier cherries today!! I love them so much! 
And Christine and Carlyle brought us fry bread last night.... we just love them so much! 
And this family is the Gearhardts! They let us pick raspberries from their garden after they fed us the best deer tacos ever. Then after we picked berries they gave us buck knives so we can feel safer in Plummer. They're the nicest :). They also showed us their cute new cow :) He was just a little baby guy.