Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 29th, 2019: Week 6


I hope everyone's had an amazing week! Mine has been pretty good. Lots of things to do and so little time to do it all. But I'm managing pretty well. It helps when you have a wonderful companion to help you through it all. Hopefully I can remember everything that has happened.

Tuesday was pretty cool. We had lots of things that happened that day. We did service at a senior center here, where we help with whatever odd jobs they need us to do and typically we will serve them their food. Afterwards, they will also give us food for helping them out. It's a great way to serve and we get to talk to lots of people. On that day, we sat down next to this one lady, whom Sister Nelson felt prompted to sit by. She didn't tell me till after, but Sister Nelson was nervous to do so, because this lady had been pretty rude to the missionaries before. But we sat by her anyway, and it was a good thing we did. She was going through a hard time, as her son was in the ER and going to have surgery soon. She was pretty upset about it and was glad that we were there to comfort her. 

We are also doing service by crocheting for this prayer shawl service. I am slowly learning, but I will get there eventually. It's a pretty interesting experience, as we do it with this Baptist lady, who's super nice, and we just talk to her about whatever. This last time, we talked about beliefs, as Sister Nelson and I asked her what the Baptists believed. It was pretty interesting as she told us and she would compare it to what she knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Apparently, she thought we were still practicing polygamy. We were happy to tell her that we no longer do that.

Later, we went to visit people and go finding. Our appointments fell through, which was sad. One of the people who are trying to teach keeps forgetting that we are coming by and will already have something else that she has to do. It's pretty frustrating. The other person wasn't home, but that is okay. When we went finding, we got two new people to teach/visit!

That night, we taught Kadie and Presley, the two little girls. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed them to baptism! Ah, it is so great to be a missionary! They are so cute and they are warming up to us, sisters.

Wednesday was also pretty good. We had district council, which was fine. I don't know why but other missionaries intimidated me.  Our maybe it is just the elders. Who knows. We then visited Sister Spoon, who was having a rough day. We hope she will realize that she can get peace in her life and feel the Spirit wherever she is. We're also did some finding and got one more new person! Then we had dinner with the Hobbs in our ward, who are fairly recent converts. I got to hear their story about the missionaries, as one by one, each person in their family got baptized. They are going to Utah next month to be sealed! Ah, happy times.

Not much happened on Thursday. It's our daily planning day, so we spend a lot of our time doing that, along with online training. But we did meet with a less active couple, the Rogers, and then had dinner with the Holders and got to share a spiritual message with them. It's actually pretty funny what happened with that. We were eating dinner with them and we had a Book of Mormon study later. So we were talking with the family and about how we had our study later. They asked what time it was at 7. One of the daughters looks at her watch and says it was 7:15. Sister Nelson and I were worried, as we were still a good 15 minutes away from the church, if not more. So we hurried out of there, said our goodbyes, and started driving away. However, we got a text from one of our regular attendees, saying that he wasn't going to make it. We already knew that the other person was going to show up, as she had told us earlier that week, and no one else texted us, wondering where we were. So we were pretty sure that no one was there. So what do? We decide to turn around and go back to the Holders and share a spiritual message with them. That was a fun experience.

Friday was probably the most stressful day of my mission. We went on exchanges here on Greenwood and I was having to lead the area out. I realized how much I love my companion and how happy I am that I still have many weeks left of my training. I'm happy that the next time we do exchanges, I won't be leading it out.

Saturday was pretty good. Not much you report, as it was a more service oriented day. Sunday was kind of the same, but more study wise. Sister Nelson also had a bad headache that day, so I had to make her take a nap. But I got to meet one of the families we are trying to teach and they are so wonderful. I love them so much!

Welp, that's about all I gots to say. I've learned so much while I've been out here and I am so grateful that I get to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love you all!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

April 22nd, 2019: Week 5

Hello Everyone!

Happy late Easter! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday and remembered the real meaning of Easter. It's been a pretty good week for me. Lots to do on a mission, so I'm always busy, which is a good thing.

The first couple days of this last week were kind of rough. Tuesday was a lot of trying to visit people, but they were a bit too busy to meet with us. How can you be too busy to hear the gospel? Just kidding! I still love them and it was all okay. Just not what would be your favorite day of the mission. Wednesday was also a little rough, as things didn't work out quite how we would have liked with the people we visited. But that's okay!

Thursday was better. It was zone conference and I got to go and spend time with other missionaries and the mission president! Fun times! I learned a lot of things that would be helpful. However, it's a little hard to evaluate yourself and see how you can improve when you've only been out a week and you are still adjusting to things. But, I know it will be helpful eventually, and there were still good things to learn and improve on. After we got back is when we went to our wards Enrichment Night for Relief Society. It was so good! I love the ward members so much! They are so cute and kind. The whole night was about Christ and I got to learn a lot. It was a pretty good day.

Friday was the best day of all! We got to meet with Presley and Kadie, which is always great! It's a bit of an adjustment teaching younger kids, but Sister Nelson and I are getting there. Even when they might not understand everything, you can still see the light in their eyes and you know they feel something. Ah! It's the best! I also love as we teach, Sister Bowman makes comments and answers some of the questions when her daughters don't know the answers. You can see her progressing as well. They both were at church Sunday, which is always exciting to see.

We also got to meet Karen and Scott. Oh. My. Goodness. They are just about the best in the world! Their faith is already so strong and they are willing to believe whatever we teach them! They have been so prepared for us and you know that they are going to make amazing strides. Sister Nelson and I are so excited! We started freaking out in the car as soon as we finished meeting with them.

Unfortunately, the next couple days were a little rough for me, as far as physically. I'm starting to get sick, and it is not fun. I didn't sleep very well Friday night, so then I felt really crummy all Saturday. I had to take a couple naps throughout the day, cause I was struggling. We had some ward Easter stuff that we did that day and then the rest of the day was finding. Sadly, not too much success there.

Sunday was pretty good. Our ward had a good Easter program set up. A lot of it was musical numbers. The choir sang four songs and I was in there with them. I'm still not sure it was a good idea, as there were only 10 of us total, but it turned out okay. We had one speaker in total. My favorite part was when Brother Pratt sang His Hands. It was so beautiful. I love the song and when he got to the part about Gethsemane and the crucifixion, I got chills and I started crying. The thing was, so did Brother Pratt. The spirit was so strong and he was able to push on with the song, but the last line, he could barely finish. I don't think there was a dry eye in the congregation. The rest of the day was study and finding, which was all fine and good. That evening, we went to the Crocketts and spent the night with them. Brother Crockett is a member but his wife isn't. She had some struggles with the first elders she met so now we are working slowly with her, being her friend, and helping her in any way we can. She is the sweetest lady in the world and she just has so much love to give.

I would say it's been a pretty good week and I am hopeful about this next week. Every day feels like Easter on your mission because you are remembering Christ every single day. I hope things are going well for all of you and that you are able to see His hand in your life every day. I love you all!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

It's definitely not Utah here. April 15th: Week 3 & 4

Hi Ya'll!

Man oh, man! So much has happened since I last wrote. Hopefully, I will remember everything.

My last week in the MTC was pretty good. I really enjoyed conference, as I'm sure many of you did. I got to feel all warm and fuzzy the whole time. I feel like a lot was about loving people, missionary work, and repentance. At least that's what I got out of it. My favorite was when President Russell M. Nelson spoke, which is probably everyone's favorite. It was really funny when we were sitting there, as all of us missionaries were gathered in an auditorium watching, super quiet and reverent. When it was announced that the prophet was going to speak, the entire auditorium was filled with excited hushed voices. I thought it was pretty funny how anxious everyone was to hear him speak. Saturday night, while the elders went and listened to the priesthood session, us sisters had a devotional with Sister Dalton speaking. It was pretty cool. It was my 3rd or 4th time hearing her speak at a devotional, because she loves to do that sort of thing.

I got to perform at the departing devotional! I sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives." It was a pretty good performance, if I do say so myself. Not flawless, but good nonetheless. There was a picture of Christ that came up when I was singing and I was just overwhelmed by the Spirit as I thought about what I was singing. My accompanist was phenomenal! I'm so grateful for him and he did an amazing job. I'm a little sad, although because he accidentally stole my sheet music. He forgot to give it back to me before I left the MTC. But it's okay.

I got really close with my district the last week while I was there, and it was sad times having to say goodbye to the elders. I don't know if I will ever see those guys again. I know they will all be great missionaries and be helpful to so many people. Thankfully, I'm in the same mission as the sisters, so I still get to see them. All of us traveled together to Arkansas and had a party at 3:00 am on Wednesday to leave the MTC.

Our travel wasn't super eventful, as it was just moving from bus to train, to train, to airport, to plane, to plane, to car. Super fun stuff. We were at the mission home for the evening, eating dinner and getting to know our mission president, his wife, and other missionaries. We learned the rules and some basic stuff. They aren't doing the full on training until after 6 weeks in the field. We sisters were sent over to a member's house to spend the night.

In the morning, we got ready, headed back over to the mission home, had breakfast, and found out who our companions were and what area we would be serving. I am in the Greenwood, Arkansas Area in the Fort Smith Stake in the South Zone with Sister Nelson, my companion and trainer! She is super great and we are getting along super well and we are both working hard. I was sad that I had to say goodbye to my old companion and the other sisters, but I'm sure I will see them again. I have zone conference this week and Sister Young is in the south zone with me, so we will see each other then.

So much has happened within the last couple days. Our area book was kind of a mess, so we had to figure that out. There were people marked as investigators when they hadn't been visited in months. We've visited all kinds of people. It's interesting here in Arkansas. It was a bit of a culture shock when I first got here, but I'm adjusting and learning to love it here. It's definitely not Utah here.

Thursday consisted mainly of visiting people who are interested. We visit them, share a scripture, and slowly progress towards having them take the discussions. We met with Loretta and Roy, who are a nice elderly couple. They talked with us for a long time and I got to know them. We are hoping to start discussions with them next week, but both Sister Nelson and I aren't sure how that is going to go. We also met with Jeannie and talked with her. She doesn't feel well all the time, so it's hard for her to go to church. But she is going to try and go on Easter! Happy days! We hope to start discussions with her as well. 

I got to meet the ward mission leader and I love him so darn much! He is so funny! He's a convert of 5 years and has some interesting stories to tell us. 

Friday was more service than anything else. Our mission is a half service mission, as that is a big focus during the week, so we do that. We went to the Senior Center and served lunch and I got to know the people there. After that was crocheting, which we make stuff for a prayer shawl community. We visited some people who we are trying to get to church, and that was pretty good. The amazing part of the day was when we were heading back for dinner. Sister Nelson got a text from Sister Bowman, a less active, about teaching her 2 daughters. We have been trying to get in touch with her family for awhile, but we lost their number! So we finally heard from them and Sister Bowman wants us to meet with them on Fridays! So we rushed over to their house and we met the family and the young girls, Kadie and Presley. They are 9 and 10. They told us that before, both wanted to be baptized! We haven't set a date, as they are also learning about the Baptist church but you can see it in their eyes that they like what we have taught them. I am so excited!

Saturday was an interesting day. It was raining a lot and we did a lot of tracking and tried contacting people. Sadly, we have not yet seen the fruits of our labors. But it is okay. We were still good missionaries doing our part.

Sunday I got to meet the ward members. Also, the Bowmans were there! It was a beautiful day! We also did some tracking (still nothing) and we visited Sister Chu, who is a less active. She was so sweet and cute. I love her so much.

Things are going so well and I feel like a successful missionary. As long as I am doing what I need to do, than God will take care of the rest. My testimony is growing so much and am praying for all of you. 

Love you all!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Proof of Life

Savannah made it to Arkansas last week!
Here is the letter from the mission home the day she got there:

Dear Brother and Sister Johanson,

   Your daughter has arrived at the Mission Home, has been well fed, and will sleep at the home of a nearby member (who loves to pamper sister missionaries) tonight.  Attached, as “proof of life” is a snapshot of your tired but excited missionary with President and Sister Strong.  Tomorrow morning, she will receive her (prayerfully considered) first assignment, then one of the mission vans will transport her to her first location!  She will be able to email you on Monday with her new address.  Let me reassure you that President Strong assigns his best missionaries as trainers, so your daughter will have a cream-of-the-crop companion.

   You’re welcome to call or email me with any concerns.   Meanwhile, we invite you to join the Arkansas Bentonville Mission – For Friends and Family Facebook Group, where you can watch for future photos of your missionary!

Sister Dodds,
Secretary, Arkansas Bentonville Mission

Friday, April 5, 2019

April 4th: Week Two

Yellow and shmellow all friends, family, inbetween, and alike,

Here we are, the second week of the MTC. I can hardly believe it's been that short yet it makes complete sense at the same time. It's been said that the days are like weeks and the weeks are like days, which is all too true. Time is definitely moving faster than it did the first week. This next week will be my last week in the MTC! Ah! I am so excited (and a little nervous). I've got some of my departure information for Wednesday. I have to be up and ready to go at 4:00 in the morning. Bleh!

I don't have too much to write about this week, as not a lot has happened. Our days mainly consist of sitting in class and studying. Three hours of class at a time is exhausting. It's hard to focus, but I'm always trying to learn something new in the lessons. I'm definitely have grown so much in so short of time.

I got to host the newbies this week, which was pretty fun. I remember when I was like that, so lost and confused and dealing with so many emotions. Ah, great days those were. But they all were super cute. Luckily, all the missionaries I hosted were more excited than sad, but they all were nervous.

In case any of you don't know what hosting is, I will explain it in detail. Ahem. So, hosting is when you get to welcome the new missionaries coming into the MTC. You wait by their car and help them with their luggage and help them know where their room is and where their classroom is. It takes about 10-15 minutes per missionary. I did one and half. I helped an elder for a little bit, but handed him over to another elder because I wasn't going to be able to help him find his residency hall.

What I can tell you all about it my beautiful sister missionaries in my district. I have the best sisters that anyone could ever ask for. We have spent a good amount of time during our breaks and exercise time talking and laughing. It's been great times. We are all going to the same mission, so we will very likely see each other again. I might even be companions with some of them. We all will be on the same plane as well until we reach our mission, so party all day! We are all excited to get some non-MTC food, as we are all heartily sick of it.

In the MTC, you are able to audition for musical numbers for devotionals and things, and I did that today. Wasn't my best performance, but it was good nonetheless. I will find out by the end of today what I will be doing. Lots of fun adventures to talk about next week.

I'm so happy to be out here and I am so excited to get out into the field and start bringing people to Christ. I love this gospel and I know that this is exactly where the Lord wants me to be. I've grown and learned so much and I feel so close to my Heavenly Father.

I love you all!
Sister Savannah Johanson

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

First week of MTC Life: March 28, 2019: Week 1

Hello Friends!

I finally made it to P-day. What a week it has been. It feels like I've already been here for a month. The days were so long and slow last week that I'm surprised I actually made it to today. But here I am! Made it to the MTC. I don't even know where to start!

First day, I had so many emotions, but it wasn't too hard. Thankfully, I was blessed with a wonderful companion, Sister Mehlhoff, and a great district. They're pretty great! We all became friends pretty quickly and tried to navigate the campus best we could. They definitely keep you busy that first day so you don't think about home too much. I wasn't really homesick that first day but I was nervous and excited. We did some training and there was lots of getting to know you stuff. That happens when you are a newbie and nobody knows you ;) We met our sister training leaders, zone leaders, and technology specialists that night, and they were super cool.

The next day felt even longer than the last and they just kept getting longer. Wednesday night, I went to bed 8 minutes late and I found myself so tired the next day. I kept falling asleep in my classes after lunch 😬. So, I was especially careful every night afterwards to make sure I went to bed on time. We spend a lot of our time in classes, so it's hard to focus sometimes. But, we do learn some really helpful things to be great missionaries. I've learned a lot of things so far and I'm so anxious and excited to get out into the field. My favorite time of the day is when we get to read the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes. The Spirit is so strong that it feels like every verse is golden.

Sunday was probably the weirdest day for me. I would say it will take some adjusting, but none of my Sundays are going to be the same while I'm here at the MTC. This Sunday is fast Sunday and after that is general conference. So.....yeah. Anyway, my companion got to speak in sacrament meeting, which was fun for her since she didn't have a chance to prepare one, but it was still super good. My favorite part was when I got to go to choir. It was fun to go and sing and the choir director is really funny and we learned lots of new things. We got to sing Praise to the Man, which sounded really good. I could have sworn I was with the Tabernacle Choir. Later that night was our devotional, which was also really good. I learned a lot about how important it is to serve as a missionary and love everyone around you. We watched a video afterwards. It was the devotional talk of Elder Bednar "The Character of Christ". It was good and it really motivated me to not focus as much on myself but on the people around me whom I can love and serve.

After that day, the days moved faster. Probably because you don't have as much workshops and classes. We get a lot of study time, which is really helpful. I met my first TRC on Saturday and then we got to teach her on Monday. Her name is Aleska and she is so cute! Sister Mehlhoff and I were nervous to teach her because when we contacted her, we didn't know what to teach her. But, thanks to inspiration from the Spirit, I was able to get an idea of what to focus on, so Sister Mehlhoff and I planned our lesson on that. It turned out that it was exactly what we needed to teach! The gospel is true! We feel like we are really making some progress with her and our lessons are going pretty well (Sister Mehlhoff and I have a hunch that she is actually a non-member and the first time she has come, so we are super excited about teaching her. She is doing so great and her faith has really increased.) Our other TRC is a referral and her name is Ellie and she is so sweet. We've only met with her once, but our lesson went pretty well and we think that she's making progress.

Tuesday was super cool. We had our devotional with one of the twelve, so we got to hear from Elder Rasband and his wife. They are so amazing. They talked about the new temple in Rome and we learned some amazing things from them. Elder Rasband made me cry! But it was so good and the Lord really is hastening his work. (Did you know that within the last 60 something years, we went from 19 temples to around 160?)

This week has been good and I'm so excited to get out into the field. I get to go out in about a week and a half. It will be so good. I can't wait to go out and share the gospel. 

With all my love,
Sister Savannah Johanson