Friday, December 27, 2019

December 23rd, 2019

Hello merry friends!

I know, I know, I didn't write last week. But, I'll give a short run down of what happened. Not a lot actually did happen. A majority of it consisted of Sister Jack packing to go home. That crazy girl had a lot of stuff! But I miss her and love her so much. Don't know what I'm going to do without her. Some fun things we did is that we did a hot chocolate stand with some other missionaries up in Springdale. It was fun! We got to talk to some people and light the world in some small ways. It was cool. We ended up having way too much hot chocolate left over (you will find this is a common theme). So, Sister Jack and I took some of it to take to the church, because we had a parade and our ward had set one up to be in it. There was a whole prep that happened before hand, so we brought it to them to snack on. Later that night, we were in the parade! I had so much fun doing it! Sister Jack and I held the banner in front of it and we walked by waving and yelling Merry Christmas to everyone. I could feel my smile getting bigger and bigger.

The last days with Sister Jack were packed full! We had to get so much done and see so many people. It was craziness. On Wednesday, I had to drive her up to Bentonville for her farewell dinner. I cried. A lot. I stayed the night with my STL, as she had to say bye to her companion as well. Next day was transfers, and it was crazy weirdness. Sister Nelson didn't want to wait around all day, so we ended up doing a bunch of service that day. It was cool as I got to try some new stuff up in Springdale.

Then, I got Sister Fisher!! She is super nice and things are going pretty well so far. After I picked her up, we had to bolt, because we had a dinner that night and we couldn't be late to it. So, we kicked off the craziness right then and there. We shared a message on Christ and how we can focus on Him more during the season and not get overwhelmed with the extra things.

The rest of the time with Sister Fisher has been crazy Christmas stuff. There were so many things that I wanted to still do and we only had so much time, so we have been cramming it in. Saturday and Sunday, we spent the night time going house to house with Christmas lights. We would then knock on the door and give them a thank you card for putting up their Christmas lights to light the world! We got to talk to some nice people and had an amazing experience with this one couple who let us in and we got to talk to them a bit and get to know them.

Sunday was just hectic! We had the special sacrament service for Christmas and then afterwards we had a linger longer with snacks and hot chocolate. It was a good opportunity for Sister Fisher to get to know a lot of the members. Afterwards, we were helping clean up and, as it goes, they had too much hot chocolate left over. So what do we do? Set up an impromptu hot chocolate stand downtown! I still can't believe how well it turned out. Somehow, we were able to pull everything together at the last minute. Unfortunately, we didn't give out that much, but we did touch a few souls and got to meet some cool people. Especially this one guy who is now one of my favorite human beings. He ended up driving by us 3 times that day! First time, he yelled Merry Christmas to us as he passed (we had been smiling and waving to cars for the entire time we were there). 2nd time, he decided to stop by and see what we were doing. He was so enthusiastic and loved to talk to us and he just made me so happy! As we talked to him about what we were doing and who we were, he said that he was going to come to our church next week! Miracles happen!

One thing I really learned this week is more of a thought then a life altering change in my life. But "small and simple things" right? I got this book from another sister (don't know why she gave it to me) but it is an illustrated comic version of the bible. It's not super accurate and there are differences as far as what I believe compared to it, but there are still eternal truths in it and it's interesting to read. As I read it, there have been moments when prophets or characters (for lack of a better word) are struggling and they are beaten down by their trials. But as they are thinking of things, they decide that they won't give up faith. What the author decides to put for them to say most often is "if I can't trust God, then who can I trust." At first, this wasn't too significant to me, but as I was reflecting on some things, something really struck with me. Sometimes it can be easy to ask the question "why do bad things happen to good people" which can sometimes be interpreted as "why did God let this happen?" But the statement of "if I can't trust God, then who can I trust," sort of answered this question for me. All of us are imperfect and we can try so hard, but we aren't able to accomplish everything. We aren't able to reach all the people we need to and we aren't able to fix all the problems. But God can. He is over everyone and He is capable of reaching each and every one of and will do all He can to help us. He will make things right, even if it looks differently than we might think it should.

Thank you for all of your prayers and love. I pray for all of you as well!

Monday, December 9, 2019

December 9th, 2019: Fear Not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy

Good morning, all of y'all!

Its P-day and only 10 days left of the transfer. Not okay! I'm not ready for this! It's crazy how fast these six weeks have gone. I just need everything to slow down. At least this next week and a half.

Anyway, here's the rundown of this last week!

So, Monday night we had a dinner with a member, the Tompkins. They were putting up their Christmas decorations, so they let us help/join them. We had a blast! We had Christmas music playing, made cookies, and put their Christmas tree up. Actually, Sister Jack helped a lot more than I did with that part than I did. But I have good reasons! They have a little boy who was just so excited for Christmas and to help, but he kept getting into things, so I took it upon myself to entertain him while things were being set up. Mainly, it consisted of a light roller being placed on someone's head and taking a picture, but right before you snap the picture, it falls off of your head. We also got crazy wiping crumbs of our hands and faces. It was a fun night and their little boy is just the cutest!

We got to meet with a new investigator this week! Their names are Clay and Annette Wright. They were actually found by the YSA elders, who helped with their deck. So, Clay and Annette are friends with some members in the other ward and they knew they needed help with their deck, so they recruited the elders. They became good friends and the Wrights were really impressed that they would just come out to help, so they decided to really investigate. They are so awesome! We started by talking about the Restoration, but then Clay started asking a bunch of different questions (some were deep doctrine). We ended up talking about more of the Plan of Salvation, mainly about the Spirit World, the Kingdoms of Glory, and the Premortal Life. They seemed super receptive and open to everything and had pretty similar beliefs. Annette might have been confused by a lot by the big stuff, so the important doctrine parts, probably be best to be simple and direct so she doesn't get lost. Annette talked about how she really likes the friendliness of the church and serving each other and living our religion. She wants to see this all the way through and learn. They are actually ex-Jehovah witnesses. They seem to really like having us over and want to feed us and have a jam session at one point.

We also met with Angela Johnson, who is a member that Bishop referred to us. She was baptized awhile ago and she and her family had gone inactive. She wants to get her family back in the church, but most of them aren't ready to meet with missionaries, so she just wants help getting back into the groove of things. It's kind of a weird situation with their living arrangements. Her husband (who isn't a member) is a trucker and they kind of move around a lot. Right now, they are living with their kids, but that may change. But she is planning on getting a job, so they might be around for at least a year.

Friday was an interesting day. We got challenged as a stake of missionaries to a bingo, with bunch of different challenges on it. Sister Jack and I are both very competitive, so we were determined to get a bingo that day. We were so close! One of them was to hand out 100 pass along cards. So, we attempted to do that. We contacted quite a few people, but did not reach our goal. We only got 15 out. But it was a cool thought! Saturday we had the ward party, which was fun. I got to meet more of the ward members and get to know them better. It was fun!

Sunday, we had a farewell and it was pretty cool. He had been inactive a year ago, but the missionaries had reached out and now he is going! We went his open house and talked to them. Later, we had dinner and watched the devotional with a member. It was a good day.

This week, I had a lot of experiences with listening to the spirit and not being afraid of acting upon things. Most of the time, there is a fear of doing things and wondering if we should even ask a question or say something, but this week I learned a lot about how if it's a good thing, we shouldn't question to do it. This transfer I have focused on knowledge and really learning about things a delving deep into it and I can see that being played into my everyday life. I love this gospel and I love my Heavenly Father and I'm so grateful that I'm out here serving Him. I'm just so happy to have this wonderful feeling and experience in my life!

I love you!

Sister Savannah Johanson

212 S Mock St. Apt. C1
Prairie Grove, AR 72753

Re: December 2nd, 2019: Holiday Fun

Hi Everyone!

This has been a good week! I loved it so much!

On Tuesday, we were able to go on exchanges with the Sister training leaders, and I was so lucky and blessed to have Sister Nelson, who was my trainer. It was a good time to be with her. We did some pretty fun things.

We started the day off by going and dropping stuff off for a float they were making for a parade. It was a super last minute idea and there was little structure to it, but it was still fun. We went and helped make the float, and in all honesty, there wasn't much to it. All it really was was a trailer with straw and Christmas lights. I'm sure it will be a lot cooler later because they are doing a live nativity on it.

I found that I love service at food pantries. It's just always good work, always things to do, and always good people to talk to. We helped organize their shelves and keep supplies stocked up for the assembly line for care/commodities boxes. We met a cute family there that was volunteering for the holidays. Sister Nelson and I got to work with the dad and the 2 teenagers, a girl and a boy. They were so nice!

Anyway, later, we went and visited some people and I was able to get to know a lot of pretty cool people. We went and saw a Marshallese family and we read the Book of Mormon picture book with the two little kids, Milo and Moana. Later, their older brother AJ joined us. Next, we had dinner with a cool member family and they were really nice. Probably my most favorite part was when we went to see Sister Smith, who was just the best. She is a black lady and just loves to talk about Jesus and His mighty miracles and loves to sing her prayers. It was just so cute! We barely said anything while we were there, but it was still just great. We tried finding this other person's house but it was just too dark to see their house number, so we went and met a less active member and got to know her better.

Wednesday was interviews, so that was good. We had a workshop with our mission President talking about the new handbook. In all honesty, not much has changed, but I definitely like the way it is phrased. It's more focused on principles rather than prescriptions. Afterwards, we did a "friendsgiving" with our district. What it was is that we prepared a Thanksgiving meal for people who may not have somewhere to go for the holidays. All of us invited people we were teaching and ward members we know to come. It was a whole thing with preparing it, though. The bishop from another ward was bringing most of the stuff already prepared, but there was a miscommunication about timing and stuff, so most of the food didn't turn up until last minute. We were trying to scrounge what we could during that time and just set up because we didn't know what else to do. There actually wasn't that many people there, but it was still good. We got to talk to them and help them have a good holiday. There was A LOT of food left over. We ended up having to take an entire Turkey home. Literally. Bone and everything. It's still sitting in our fridge.

Thursday was good. It was a fun Thanksgiving. We got invited over to our stake president's house and they had all of their family over. It was a fun time getting to talk to people and eat food. Later, we went and heart attacked some people we are teaching and some members. We were trying to be sneaky about it, so it was a whole adventure. Each house had a new challenge for us. It was so much fun!

Friday happened. And then it was Saturday! Sister Jack actually got to go up to the temple with one of her old companions and someone she had taught from one of her areas. So, I got to spend the day with her companion's companion up in Bentonville. It was so fun! They had a Light the World both up there with a chalkboard, free hot chocolate, the new Christ Child video, etc. I loved it! We got to talk to some cool people. We also practiced a missionary choir to perform that night and that was so fun. I got to see lots of old friends and companions. It was a blast! I loved it!

Sunday, we went to a multi-denomination meeting. A bunch of churches from around the area came together at the Presbyterian church and just talked about how we can be unified, even though we are all different. The important part is that we all believe in Christ. It really was cool! We got to talk some people and it was a good experience. It was kind of funny because our bishop was called on to pass the plate!😂 He was caught a little off guard.

This week, I learned a lot about what truth is and how sometimes there is no right or wrong. Sometimes, things are just done differently and it's just all about where we stand with our Heavenly Father rather than technical, minute details. In the end, it's not about anyone else. Just Him and you.

Anyway, I love you all! I hope things are going well!

Sister Savannah Johanson

212 S Mock St. Apt. C1
Prairie Grove, AR 72753

Sunday, December 8, 2019

November 25th, 2019: Light the World

Hey Everyone!

This week has been so fun! I really liked this week and all the things we were able to do. Sister Jack and I are trying our best to go out and find some people. We don't get much immediate results when we are going tracting, but we know that we will be blessed for our efforts. We have some people who we may be potentially teaching and we are so excited! We have gotten a few referrals and hopefully I will be able to tell you more about them next week. There was also a lot of planning stuff happening this week. For the upcoming Christmas season, we are trying to come up with some new and creative ways to spread the gospel and Light the World and we have gotten a couple of ideas on what to do. I will tell you about them another time when the wheels are being put into motion with them.

For those of you who don't know, our mission is given a special assignment of doing 10 hours of community, nonmember service each week. This means that we find service throughout our community in our areas and contribute our efforts in helping in different areas. In my past area, we did a lot with the Humane Society and that took up most of our service. Here in Prairie Grove, we have a lot more variety and it is pretty fun. On Tuesdays, we either go to the Senior Center where we mingle with the older people there and we help serve their food. or, depending on the day of the month, we help with a mobile food pantry and help with putting stuff together and giving people their food orders. Both are pretty fun and a great way to mingle with people. On Wednesdays, we go to a farm after district council and help out there with some manual labor. What it is varies each time, depending on what they need us to do. So far, we have dragged a wet tarp of chicken poop out of the chicken coup, moved fertilizer, and planted lettuce. It's always a toss up on what they need and I'm curious to see how things go with the weather turning colder now. Fridays, we play cards at the nursing home, mainly UNO. It's pretty interesting each time we go and can normally get a couple laughs there. And then, Saturdays, we help out at a thrift store by helping with sorting through clothes and hanging things up in the shop. It's always so great to get a chance to do all these different services, as you can see the help it does for the people around and you are able to make some good friends and relationships.

On Friday was when we had the most exciting stuff. So, for Light the World, we wanted to do something as a missionary district, so we were able to team up with a bishop who works at a library. He was able to coordinate something for us missionaries to participate in and we spent basically all day doing it. The original plan was to do a hot chocolate stand, popcorn, and hand out little tea lights with Light the World service prompts on it. However, we ended up changing the tea lights to light wands, as we weren't able to officially put out Light the World. So, for most of the day, we were putting stickers on the light wands, letting people know about something the library is doing this Christmas season. We also helped prep the hot chocolate and popcorn. Then, that night, we went out and were handing stuff to people, offering free hot chocolate, popcorn, and light sticks! It was pretty cool! We were able to hand out a lot of stuff. There was actually a parade so we were able to give a lot of stuff to the people there, mainly the people in the parade! They seemed to really like it! I think the most fun part for me was that we had Christmas music playing, and the entire time I was handing out light sticks, I was dancing my little heart out! It was just a party! We didn't talk to as many people as we would have liked to, but it was still fun. Each little effort helps. I also got to sword fight a couple kids, which was fun too.

There is so much learning that happens on a mission, and sometimes there is more than I want. I'm still sorting through a lot of things and trying to figure out what is everything I have learned. I just want to say that we can always find happiness in the gospel and as we have patience, endurance, hope, and love, we can get through anything. I want so badly to be the best that I can be and sometimes I fall short. Actually, a lot, I fall short. But thankfully, I have the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ which allows me to move forward and repent of my mistakes. What I can be perfect at is living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also am not doing it on my own. It is all with the help of my Heavenly Father.

I love you all! Until next week!

Sister Savannah Johanson

November 18th, 2019: Tis the Season is upon Us

Hello, hello, hello, friends!

I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful time of year with the holidays coming up. Hopefully they didn't sneak up on you. I'm so excited for the stuff coming up, with the beautiful spirit of Christmas being spread for all to hear.

This week has been a lot of planning. We had zone conference this week and they introduced and explained Light the World for this year. It is a great time to be a missionary around this time, as people seem happier and more willing to hear about Jesus than any other time. We are excited for some of the stuff coming up. They really encouraged us to come up with some fun, creative ideas on what to do, so we have been spending some time on doing that this week.

We had a few lessons this week, however most of it wasn't quite lessons as people much prefer to just sit and talk to us about their lives. But we do our best with it and we still love them!

I wish I had more to report on, but hopefully we will have some things coming up that will make for more exciting stuff.

Lately, I've been seriously studying the plan of Salvation, trying to find some answers to some questions I've had recently. I've learned quite a bit about some things I didn't realize and I'm hoping to find out more about it and ponder about what all of it means. I'm hoping that I will learn some things that will help me. This week, I was reading in the gospel topics about a lot of different things, and there was something that stood out to me. "One purpose of earth life is to show what choices we will make." Some trials come to what we choose to do, not always what we become. Some things are tests and part of God's plan. I thought this was so interesting, because I always hear so much about how trials help us learn, but it helped me realize it's also a lot about what we choose to do in those moments as part of our test here on life.

I'm so grateful for the plan of happiness and the hope it gives me in this life. I hope you all can find it to. I love you!

Sister Savannah Johanson