Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 27th, 2019:

G'mornin y'all

Here we are finally! It has been a hectic week! I didn't think this day would ever come. But, thanks to the help of Heavenly Father, I was able to get through it all and everything turned out great! It was a good week, just exhausting.

We had to go to 6 week training this week, which put a wrench into the week. But it was still super good! I got to learn a lot and I got to get together with some of my old MTC pals! They are all super great and I was so happy to see them! They all seem to be doing good and are adjusting pretty okay, which is good to hear.

I got to go to a steakhouse this week! That was delicious! This part member couple, the Crocketts, took us Greenwood sisters and the Fort Smith elders out to eat, cuz they are well off financially, and were able to all have a fun time together. It was a little bit of a sad evening because Elder Yeates, who also was my zone leader, was being transferred out of the area. We were all sad to see him go! He was an amazing zone leader and a really good missionary.

The next night, we went over and cooked dinner for the Crocketts, which was fun! I miss cooking so much and I was happy to have that opportunity. It was also a great service for Annie Crockett, as she had been exhausted and we don't know if she would have eaten anything if we hadn't been there to make dinner. However, I did make a silly mistake. I accidentally cut my hand off! It was quite messy, with blood all over the place. Just kidding! I didn't cut my whole hand off, just a few fingers. Actually, it was a cut on my hand, but it still hurt like crazy! I'm not used to using sharp knives when cooking. But thankfully, the couple wasn't around, so they didn't find out!

The two girls, Kadie and Presley, had their interview, which went really well. They both passed! Hip hop hooray! So we were able to have them baptized on Saturday, which was good. It was a busy day, as Sister Nelson and I had so much to do! We had to help out with a funeral in the morning, with food and cleaning. Then, we had to make a small refreshment for after the baptism, while we filled the font, printed the program, and set up chairs. It was chaos that day and we didn't have time for much else. When people started freaking show up, it was a little hectic. You could tell Satan was working, trying to disrupt the holy meeting we had planned. But, all worked out just fine, as Kadie and Presley were baptized and then confirmed yesterday. I was so happy for them!

This week, I would like to talk to you all about personal study. Unfortunately, it is from my own follies and experiences this week. With all the things we had to do this week, we didn't have time to have personal studies. Because of that, my Spirit started to go hungry and needed nourishment. I had some struggles because of it and it was harder to be in tune with the Spirit. I learned how important it is to take time to study the gospel, pray about certain things, and seek Heavenly Father's guidance and answers. Now, I was still praying and I was trying to get answers from the Holy Ghost. However, it was much harder as I had not been able to look for the answers and gain knowledge of these things.

I would like to invite you all to take time out of your day and study the gospel. Now, I spend an hour, which doesn't feel like long enough for me, but you do not need to make it that long. Twenty to thirty minutes will be just fine. Now some of you may think this is too long, that your current Book of Mormon reading takes about 5 minutes, if not less. Take another look at those 5 minute studies. Are you getting all you can from what you are reading? Are you actively looking for answers and learning about the stories and teachings? If not, it might do you better to take a little longer.

There are many different ways to read the Book of Mormon. You can read it straight through, study a certain subject and look for relating scriptures, jump to your favorite parts, use cross references. There are many options. Find what best works for you. I recommend that if you feel as if you don't know the Book of Mormon well enough, to start from the beginning and intently read each chapter with spiritual eyes.

It also is helpful to start with a prayer. You can ask Heavenly Father certain questions and look for the answers as you read. You can ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you find and read what you need. You can pray to know what is the best way to study. Never be afraid to ask Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. If you have the faith, He will answer. The only times He doesn't is if we are lacking on our part or perhaps it is not the time for us to receive the answer.

Taking notes is also beneficial. You can keep record to certain insights you receive so that you might look back on them and see how what you studied helped you at that time or be reminded of what you need to do.

I would like to ask all of you to try and study in the morning or the day. Though there is nothing wrong with studying at night, as you still can get that spiritual guidance. However, it can be harder to pay attention and the events of the day may distract you and you may be too tired to invest your full attention. You also are able to receive that spiritual strength at the beginning of your day when you do it in the morning and find yourself more in tune with the Spirit as you go throughout your day.

Lastly, I hope you are all doing Come, Follow Me. For those of you who aren't, I would invite you to please do so. Whether you are a family or one person, it doesn't matter. It was made for family and individuals. If you are missing out on family discussions, I would invite you to take time a study it on your own. It is a valuable tool and you will find your knowledge and spirituality increase.

I know that this will bless your life, as you can be closer to your Heavenly Father and have the Spirit in your life more. You will find it easier to choose right from wrong. I have seen it change my life and I can feel the difference when I don't take the time to feed my spirit. I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and I know the Holy Ghost can guide us in our lives every day.

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Love, Sister Savannah Johanson

Monday, May 20, 2019

May 20th: 🎉TWO MONTHS!!🎉

Dearest Family, Friends, and Colleagues,

I'VE NOW BEEN OUT OFFICIALLY 2 MONTHS! WOOHOO! I can't say whether or not I feel like I've been out 2 months, whether it's too long or too short. It just feels like it's my normal life now. But boy, has it been an exciting week!

The week started out pretty normal. We had plenty of people we visited with. We had to drop a couple people, but that is okay. We were able to find 7 new people this week! Usually we only have three, but our zone leader challenged us to finding 7 this week and we were able to meet our goal! Fun times!

We had to go back and visit the basher we met with last week, because we said we would look into his questions and come back. I was so scared! I did not want to go and I was worried he was going to find other stuff to argue about. Thankfully, he didn't. We just had a conversation about our beliefs and he shared what he thought and I was able to recognize that it was a difference in belief. His belief didn't quite make sense to me, as it seemed to contradict itself, but it's okay. I was shaking so bad at first, although.

We also a visiting with this 90 year old lady named Pibble. We are more serving her and loving her than teaching, but we do talk about certain things. We gave her a Book of Mormon, saying that it was something that makes us happy and we hope it will make her happy. She said thank you, "but I'm baptist". I told her "we know. We just think it will make you happy." She accepted it graciously and said she was going to read it. We are so sneaky! She doesn't know that we are going to try and teach her eventually.

Kadie and Presley are still set for baptism! They get baptized this Saturday! I am so excited!

The rest of our week was more finding and short visits with people. Nothing too much to report.

So I bet y'all are wondering what makes this week so darned exciting. Well, let me tell you.

It was Saturday, and we knew it was going to be stormy. There was warnings for severe weather, so we kept our eyes to the sky. But it was a pretty typical day. We didn't have a whole bunch planned, as we had scheduled some time for studies, since we had early morning service. So, as the story goes, we had lunch with our ward mission leader and discussed the people we were teaching. I can feel my phone buzzing a couple times, meaning I was getting several text messages. As soon as our lunch is over, we head out and I look at my phone. I see several text messages from the bishop's wife, telling us that there was a tornado warning and to find shelter. We hurry on out and contemplate where to go. We were set on going to the bishop's, however, as soon as the sirens started going off, we decided going to the school close to our apartment would be a better option. At first I was pretty calm, but Sister Nelson wasn't, so that made me nervous. So we make it to the shelter and hide out there. We decided to say a prayer for comfort, in which Sister Nelson started to cry, so then I started to cry. While we waited for the all clear, we did some embroidery that Sister Nelson had brought with us. As soon as we were good, we decided to stay inside for the rest of the day. We were both too scared to go anywhere after that. It was stormy and rainy. It was great!

But it gave us some service to do the next day. Us and some ward members went out and helped clean people's yards of the damage that had happened from the storm. Nothing too major, but some damage nonetheless. It was so fun!

I learned this week how Heavenly Father's timing is perfect and that He makes sure that things work out exactly as they should. We never have to worry if the things that are happening are right, because if we are doing what we are supposed to, He will take care of the rest. We just have to make sure we are doing our part.

I love you all so much!

Love, Sister Johanson

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 13th, 2019: Week 8

Howdy Folks,

This week has been interesting to say the least. I can't decide whether it was long or short, but I'm surprised that it is already Monday. So weird!

I had both interviews and exchanges this week, right after the other, so it was an adventurous 2 days at the beginning. I got to meet plenty of interesting people on exchanges, as I went up to Van Buren. I got to spend time with my Sister training leader, Sister Buhler, and she is absolutely fantastic! I love her! We had so much fun and were able to learn more about each other. After that on Wednesday, we went to Young Womens and had a fun time there, as they had an activity based around mothers. We had 2 investigators there! It was a teenage girl named Lita and her mom, Kristy. We were so happy to have them there.

I had my first bashing experience this week, which was great. We had found him last week and asked him to read the Book of Mormon, but when we came back to check up, he had been doing "research" and was saying how we believed that people are supposed to be perfect and how that isn't possible. That was pretty frustrating as we were trying to explain things, but he wasn't trying to understand.

I get to go to the temple! Sister Skelton, a less active who we have been reactivating for awhile is going to have her interview with the bishop to get her temple recommend. We plan on going June 15th, the day before her birthday. I'm so excited!

We also get to start teaching lessons to this guy named Roger. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and he is willing to hear more of what we have for him. It will be so good!

Kadie and Presley are well on their way to being baptized! We taught them the Plan of Salvation this week and they understood it really well. Presley is just eating all of it up and Kadie is slowly starting to open up to us. We are going to her softball game tonight.

Mothers Day was amazing! I was so happy I got to talk to my mom and grandma. I love them so much and it is still so special to talk to them on that day. I got to talk about the role of mothers in church during sacrament meeting. I would say it went pretty well and everyone now knows how special my mom is to me.

I have learned so many amazing things this week. One thing is about goal making. We got to have a meeting with bishop, where he taught us how to achieve our goals. Everyone teaches you how to set goals, but never how to achieve them. So, I will relate some of that knowledge to you.

First thing to remember when you are setting goals is to keep it at 2-3 at a time. Statistically, it is shown if you set 11-20 goals, you will achieve 0. Setting 4-10, you will achieve maybe 1-2. When you set 2-3 goals, you will achieve 2-3.

Each of us has different whirlwinds in our lives. The stuff we have to do every day, every week, every month. We have so many demands. You wildly important goals (WIGS) should be the thing you devote your best effort to. It is priority #1. Use the good, better, best to decipher how to best use your time. But you should keep doing the things in your whirlwind, because it is important. Not doing them is as being as successful as a person with 11-20 goals.

Next, are your lead goals. There are 2 types of goals, lag goals and lead goals. Lag goals are focused on where you are right now. Such as, " I'm not going to be 190 lbs." Lead goals are focused on where you want to be, such as "I am going to be 140 lbs." Then, you come up with small and simple steps or things you can do that will help you achieve this. For this example, things like exercising 5 times a week and eating right.

After you have done this, you will set yourself up a scorecard. You will take a calendar or something similar, and at the top, right one of your simple steps. Remember, by small and simple things do great things come to pass. For each day you have accomplished that step, mark it. This shows you how you have done and helps you be accountable.

Last step is to find someone who you can be accountable to. Find someone who will be willing to help you succeed at your goal, and maybe once a week, tell them of your progress. Show them your score card. Ask them for advice and help in areas you are struggling with.

Another thing I learned this week is how I should be happy with my gifts and talents. I have been given certain abilities and Heavenly Father will reveal truths and his his will to me in a way that best suits my personal needs. We should never desire to have someone else's gifts, as we each are a beautiful individual who has their own way of feeling the spirit. We each do have spiritual gifts, and I would encourage you to find them out, so refine and strengthen them, and use them in your everyday life. You will be surprised in yourself on how it blesses you and others and will recognize how special you are. Turn to prayer and the scriptures, and for those of you who have it, read your patriarchal blessing. Go through it and find those strengths and talents you have.

Heavenly Father is always there for you. He hears your prayers and knows your struggles. He will not abandon you. He loves you. I love you. Know that all things are possible with Heavenly Father and the Lord on your side. I know that He is there for me and that I receive an extra amount of strength each time I pray and I feel the showers of prayers that are bestowed upon me. I know that my Savior and Redeemer lives and that I am able to return to my Father in Heaven because of Him. I know this church is true and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

With all my love,
Sister Johanson

Sunday, May 12, 2019

May 6th, 2019: Week 7

Hello, hello, hello!

Hopefully everyone has had a good week. From a few of your letters, it sounds like it has been a little rough. Sad to say, it's been that way for me too. It was still a good week, just a little harder to get through. Thankfully, Heavenly Father blesses us in many ways, and one is by having the week go by so fast! I can't believe it's already Monday and that I get to talk to ya'll.

A lot of this week was appointments falling through. So that's been fun. Also, the golden couple we have been trying to teach hasn't contacted us for over a week and when we go their home, no one is home. Plus, we had some issues we had to resolve with the girls we are teaching and push back their baptism. But that was okay. We got it figured out and they will be more prepared with the more time we have. We visited more less actives this week, because appointments fell through. They are all so stubborn! But we will get there.

The good news is that I know with all these hardships, great things are in store. I know I will see many miracles these next couple weeks.

With all the service projects I am doing, I am learning a lot of homey skills. I now know how to crochet and how to garden, and I'm soon going to learn how to quilt! I'm also realizing how much I love to cook, as I don't get to do it as much. I also don't mind cleaning too much. Still don't like cleaning the dishes, but everything else is fine. Thankfully, I have a companion who likes to do the dishes. So it all works out.

I've learned a lot about faith and prayers this week. I realized that those marvelous experiences that everyone else has can happen for me too. It can happen to anyone who prays and has faith in it. Sometimes, it may not be what you expected or asked for exactly, but it will suit you and your needs and you will always receive an answer. Faith takes practice and you must have a sincere desire to have. Also studying it, in scriptures and other resources will help to increase it. I promise as you sincerely desire and seek for faith and practice it daily in your life, you will see amazing things.

I love you all so very much!