Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 24th, 2019: So long, farewell

Hi friends!

It's been a wonderful week, let me tell you! So many wonderful things happened, I almost don't know where to start. Its probably because it's the end of transfers. The most miracles happen then.

So, this last week, we met this amazing elderly couple named Mary Lou and Chuck. They are so sweet! We've talked to them at the Greenwood Senior Center a couple of times, but we never had anything major. But, one day we went over and sat with them for lunch and we really got to know them. Mary Lou is chatty Kathy and told us all kinds of stories. Chuck used to be a police officer, so there's all kinds of things there. They actually know a lot about the church. They actually invited us to come over some time and visit and crochet with Mary Lou. So, we did. We went over and they were so happy to see us. We talked to Mary Lou and got to know more about her. They've had interactions with the missionaries before and she even owns a Book of Mormon. We'll just have to do some digging and find out some more. She told us that we have a certain light around us and she just loves to be around us. At the end of our visit, she gave us some rosemary and garlic from her garden and some peanuts that she had been snacking on and needed to stop 😂.

This week was kind of all over the place this week. We were going to have exchanges, but things happened with our sister training leader that made it that we had to cancel, but that was just fine and dandy for me! But we had already switched everything up, so it was very different this week.

We had this really cool experience this week with "finding" a new person. So on Friday, the phone had been off while were doing service and it had gone through updates while we were in a companion study. When it was finally finished, we noticed that there was a voicemail from a number that we didn't know. So we listened to it, and it was a man, asking what time our services were at. So we called him back and talked to him. We told him church was at 10-12. He said he had just moved to Greenwood, and that a friend had given him a Book of Mormon. He had been reading it and he also came across a Restoration pamphlet and that he had some questions he'd like to discuss. We said we could totally help him and we set up a time to meet him this next week. Best experience ever! Miracles really do happen!

Saturday was service again! Whoohoo! It's a party! We actually went to go do flood cleanup, however, we were needed somewhere else. A lady in our ward has a driveway that has been needing work for so long, but with all the other things that have been going on, it's kind of been put on the back burner. So, Bishop took his team to her house and fixed the gravel driveway! It was a lot of fun. Very tiring, though, and my shoulders are paying for all that shoveling I did. But it was worth it!

We got transfer calls that night. Sadly, I'm leaving Greenwood. I'm headed up to Orchard Hills, Missouri on Wednesday. Sister Nelson will be staying and training again. She's so excited! (*whispers* no, not really!) I wish I didn't have to leave. I love it here so much and the people here are amazing. Most of all, I have the best companion in the world who has truly become one of my best friends. However, I know that I have fulfilled my purpose here and I know that it will thrive with a new missionary here. I've learned so much from this area and my trainer and I'm so grateful for the new experiences I've had here in Arkansas and for how much I have learned and grown. I wish I could stay longer, but it is my time to go.

This week, I've learned about the power of prayers. I know I've probably already talked about this, but you never stop learning things and it's never bad to have a little refresher. I've truly seen how Heavenly Father answers my prayers and is in the details in all of our lives. His timing is perfect and has things set to go exactly as they should. There is no such thing as a coincidence or an accident. Everything happens how it should. There is also so much more power and you can see so many more miracles around you when you pray for others. You can see how your prayers bless their lives and how much they grow because of you.

I would encourage you all this next week to look at your life with different eyes. Try and keep in mind why things happen and understand Heavenly Father's will and timing. Find ways that you can help it along and how you can improve the Lord's work, whether it is your own life or someone else's.

I love you all so much and I will tell you all about my new adventures up in crazy Missouri. It will be different, for sure. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Savannah Johanson

Monday, June 24, 2019

June 17th, 2019: Have I done any good in the world today?

Hello, my fellow beings!

Man, it has been an exhausting week! Well, I guess more of an exhausting weekend. Sorry, it's going to be a shorter letter this week. But, I'll provide plenty of pictures ;). Not too many things happened throughout the week. We went out and visited some people and started teaching a few. We did have to drop this one person. Her name was Wanda, and unfortunately, the Jehovah witnesses got to her before us. We had gone over to start teaching her, but this lady was there with her. She asked us a bunch of questions, which were borderline bashing. Thankfully, Heavenly Father kept it from getting too bad. It was a real interesting encounter.

But, both yesterday and Saturday was a party! Why, do you ask? Because we did flood cleanup! Whoohoo! So much fun! We worked on 2 1/2 houses this weekend. The first house was on Saturday. We cleaned up this lady's yard. Her name was Ilene. We cleaned up the debris in her front yard left from her house and in the backyard we cleaned up the leaves and branches that had been swept in by the river, which were all contaminated by the nasty flood water.

Sunday, we started off at this one member's house. But she didn't have any damage. We just moved her fridge back and took the sandbags in her backyard. But, then we went to this one house that had been very badly damaged. They were not members. We spent our day ripping the floors out. It was fun! Very hot and humid. I was very gross at the end of the day. And tired. Needless to say, I am very sore from all that work.

I learned a lot about the importance of service. It does amazing things and works many miracles. I know when I am serving people, I am serving my Lord and Savior and my Father in Heaven. I have seen how it touches people's lives and how they feel the love you have for them and they know that they have a Heavenly Father who is watching out for them and loves them. They also will know of the love you have for your Heavenly Father and your Savior Jesus Christ.

So this week, I would like to invite you all to find a way to serve your fellow man. Whether it be big or small, it doesn't matter. Anyway you can show your love for someone will suffice. Any opportunity you can find in your day and week, seek for ways to serve someone. I promise that it will change your life, along with many others. You will know how Heavenly Father feels about you and you will know that you will be able to become more like the Savior through you actions.

I hope you all have an amazing week and I love you all dearly. Until next time.

With my sincerest love,
Sister Savannah Johanson

Sunday, June 16, 2019

June 10th, 2019: Up, down, and around

Hello Everyone!

Another week gone by! Man, does time fly! So many amazing things happen during the week and it always surprises me when it's over. It's been a wonderful week, as every week is. I love it so much. It has been an adventure!

We had exchanges, which, for me, is always a tough day to get through. Appointments always seem to fall through on that day and you spend time trying to find out what the heck to do. It didn't help that I was in Charleston all day, where we don't really have any investigators. With how boonie it is in my area, we typically try to stay in one place that day. Sister Buhler, my amazing sister training leader, and I spent a lot of time knocking doors. Luckily, we were able to find a good street to tract on. We got a couple of potentials and we even placed a Book of Mormon! That was exciting.

We are planning on going to the temple soon! I am so excited! I miss the temple! We have a lady in our ward, Sister S., who we have been working with for awhile to get her temple recommend. She just got it yesterday! Now we just have to find someone who can take us all there. Sister S. doesn't have a car.

We started teaching this lady named Tonya. She lives next door. It was actually pretty weird how that happened. She was one day looking at the apartment to buy. We see her and say hi. Suddenly, Sister Nelson is doing all this stuff that just was kind of a curve ball for me. But it was fine. I found out later that the Spirit told her that we were going to teach her and that all the stuff she said and did was just from the spirit. Crazy! Couple days later, we see her in front of the other apartment. We go over and talk to get. She got the apartment! We celebrated with her and got talking. Then she says, "I'm looking for a church to go to." Well, lucky for her we know a great church to go to! She came on the following Sunday. We then go over to teach her this last week and get to know her more. She tells us about herself and the struggles she is going through. We then started telling her about the Book of Mormon. She was like, oh so you guys are Mormons? We were like, yeah, we're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She then tells us that she was baptized in our church. Uh....what?! It doesn't seem like she remembers anything, so we are still going to teach her. We are currently working on finding her records.

We had lunch with a less active member on Saturday. She is a small, Vietnamese old lady. It was an interesting lunch to be sure. She was going to take us to Fort Smith for lunch, but she then decided to buy it and come back home. So, we had it at her house. It was pretty good. Nothing to amazing, though. But she did make us this disgusting drink. It was basically just ice, black beans, and sugar. It was disgusting. I didn't drink too much of it. Neither did Sister Nelson. We both thought if was gross. But, Sister Chu surprised us at the end of lunch, asking where we sit in church. We told her where, and she said she was going to come to church! And she did! Happy day!!! It took us by surprise. 

Our nights have been a rollercoaster this week. We've started doing this book of Mormon study with Sister Sp. Some nights are amazing, where we read with her and she feels like the scriptures are talking to here and she raves about how amazing these studies are and how much they help her. Others, its mediocre. Sometimes she will even cancel because things don't work out. Then, sometimes we get nights like we had on Friday. She calls us in tears and says she doesn't want to do it anymore! She talks about how its too hard and nothing is helping anymore. That was a fun night. But we talked her through some things. It didn't fix anything, but we called her in the morning. She was doing better and then we went and saw her that day. She's doing okay now. But it is always an adventure with her. You never know what it's going to be like with her. 

This week, I've learned about how to be in tune with the Spirit and recognizing his voice. Even after almost 3 months of being on a mission, you still have to learn exactly what the Holy Ghost sounds like. But, you can recognize him. I've learned how close I am with him and how much of a friend he is to me. He understands me and will always help me. I can always rely on him and I know I won't be led astray. I know that as long as I am living righteously, I can always have him right next to me. I have strengthened my faith a lot this week. I'm trusting Heavenly Father's plan and the Holy Ghost and that what he knows and says it best.

This week, I would like to talk about families. I hope you are all close to your family. If you are not, I would encourage you to do so. Nothing is more important than your family. We have been promised by our Heavenly Father that by being sealed in the temple, we can live with our families forever. But, it is up to us if we want to. Do you want to live with your family forever right now? Would you rather be separated from them and walk away from them? So you let contention rule your life and home and let it creep into your relationships and let it break them apart? Satan is actively trying to tear down the most important thing. He knows that the family is one of the most valuable things in all of eternity. He knows our weaknesses and will attack us on all fronts, never leaving us alone and working to destroying us. Do not let him. Please. I beg you to build up those who are important to you and do what you can to make things right. I have seen so many families that have contention ruling your lives, and I wish there was something I could do to help them. Unfortunately, sometimes the most I can do is pray. I would invite you all to focus on your family. Try to make it the center of your lives and work earnestly to rid yourself to unloving feelings you have. If you have answered yes to any of my questions, turn to Heavenly Father for guidance and forgiveness. He will help you. He loves you. He loves your family. He knows what is best for you. Listen to the Spirit. Let him guide you in your everyday life. Allow Him to help you and keep yourself in time with his direction and promptings.

I love you all very much and I wish the very best for all of you. I hope you all are doing well and are keeping yourselves close to Heavenly Father and actively seeking out the Holy Ghost and the light of Christ in your lives.

With all my love and prayers,
Sister Savannah Johanson

Monday, June 3, 2019

June 3rd, 2019: And the rains came down and the floods came up

Hello Young, old, and undecided!

This has been a really good week. Every week is good as a missionary! As long as you keep your eye central to the mission blessings and joy will accrue and you can receive them by faith, patience, and dedication.

We have made so much progress on teaching this week and were able to meet our goal with finding 3 new people this week. Woohoo! Happy days! We actually have yet to not reach our goal (knock on wood). The people here are so wonderful and I love them so much!

We were finally able to meet with this guy Albert. We have been struggling for a bit to find time and meet with him, but when we finally got to, it was so good. He is still willing to listen to the gospel and is trying to understand his purpose for why he is till here. I just keep thinking, well buddy, we got this thing called the gospel of Jesus Christ. That might be the thing you is looking for.

Sadly, we had to drop our 2 golden investigators, Karen and Scott. We actually haven't seen or heard from them in weeks, but one final time when we tried to reach out, we got a text that we would have to stop coming by for awhile. The husband was having issues and the wife didn't think it would be good for us to come over until they got things sorted out. We were so sad! Needless to say, we had to come home that night and eat some ice cream as we cried our little eyes out. But we are okay now. After some scripture study, we came up with this is just a time trying our faith and that things would work out okay.

We had zone conference, which was pretty darn great! Learned some fun things and all about using the Book of Mormon in our lessons. Also, we talked a lot about having the members be a part of our missionary work and helping them to do their part in getting people to church and bring people to come and see. We actually talked about the come and see videos that came out and sharing it with the members we visited to help them be motivated to bring people. I really liked it! I'm super excited to get the members even more involved. We already have a really good ward who is good at accepting and welcoming people, but I know we can do so much more and I am so excited!

One of the fun cool things that I got to see on my way up to zone conference was the flooding. I don't know if you folks knew, but the Arkansas River is flooded. Majorly. Worst in all of history. Exciting! What a time to be out on a mission. There's going to be some major cleanup once the river drains out, but who knows when that will be. We've got more rain coming our way this week. Hooray!

We actually went to a meeting about flood clean-up on Sunday. Our bishop wanted us to learn how to help and what to do when such circumstances arise. Well, it was interesting to say the least. It was actually held at a Baptist church in Fort Smith, (so we had to get permission from our zone leader). Let's just say that Sister Nelson probably won't be helping clean the houses. It's way to dangerous with all the things that are in there. They basically talked about how you are gonna have to buy all this stuff, go in and clean, and then die. We will probably just help out by making sandwiches for the workers. Plus, the baptist church is weird. Did not feel the Spirit there.

But on a positive note, we are teaching this cute, teenage girl named Daisie! She is so smart and I can see the light and interest in her eyes. We found her by visiting with her grandma, who is a less active. Her name is Sister Spoon. It was kind of funny how it happened, because we were talking about her family and she turns to Daisie and asks, "Do you wanna be baptized?" Sister Nelson and I were like, woah, slow down. We can start by teaching her and then we will see if she's interested in being baptized. But she said she is interested in learning and she really has made progress so far.

One of my favorite things we did this week was have dinner with the Hugheys. They. Are. Amazing! I love them so much! Brother Hughey is so funny and he know A LOT about the gospel. If you have a question, you can ask him and he will have an answer. Guaranteed. So we talked all about the second coming and the signs of it. Truth is, he teaches us more than we teach him. But it was so good. Each of us have been chosen for this day and are warriors of the last times. It's going to get more difficult and scarier, but if we are each prepared spiritually, than it will be okay. I'm sure y'all talked about it in Come, Follow Me this week. ;)

This week, I really learned about how powerful faith and prayers are. I'm working right now to have better faith. Usually, we think that we do pretty good with faith and that we are good at where we are. Well, there's this saying that if your faith is the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Can you move mountains with your faith? I don't know about you, but I sure can't. But I'm working on it. I want to get to where I have little to no doubt on anything. I won't be perfect, but I can be the best that I can be.

So I have a question for all of you? How is YOUR missionary work going? One of the things I worry about as a missionary is whether or not the people we teach will feel like they belong when the go to church. I don't know how it is back home, but no matter where you are in the world, it is very important to be ministering to people and loving those people you come in contact with, member or not. Invite people to come and see, come and help, and come and stay. Make people feel loved and like they have friends who they can rely. Be an example of what you believe. Feel free to share what is in your heart. I hope you will take this into your hearts and find ways that you can love and serve those around you. Remember, every member a missionary.

I know this is the church of Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and that He lives. All things are possible because of Him. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Him and that no matter what is going on in your life, you can find guidance, love, comfort and direction.

I love you all so much!
Sister Johanson