Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Hola Mi Familia! 

I'm at my half way point in the MTC and this might come as a shock...but I don't want to leave. I need a lot more time here. Turns out that becoming the missionary I want to be isn't going to happen over night! We have a progressing investigator that we are working with and our first few lessons went well...but we couldn't get the guy to smile or really connect. I was getting so discouraged. I was studying so hard to figure out what to do differently and we finally just gave up and walked into our 3rd lesson just relying on the spirit. We started talking about our families and making jokes and Melvin (the investigator) totally opened up. We had a great lesson and the spirit was so strong. I don't know how God does it...but he does. After in our "lesson review" with the teacher he told us we were doing well and that he knows I have given up a lot, and God knows, and that he will help me. It sounds simple but it was a breakthrough for me. 

Okay this week was great...food was lame...I miss running and biking mucho...me and my comp got called as Sister Training Leaders for the zone....we are teaching lots of lessons....my district is crazy...blah blah blah. I want to update everyone on the stuff going on here but what I really want to talk about is what is happening THIS WEEKEND. Probably the most important thing happening in the entire world this week. General Conference!

We have been practicing like crazy to be ready in time for the Saturday afternoon session. For those of you who don't know, tune in at 2:00 to General Conference THIS SATURDAY (it should be on a local channel) to hear some great messages. 

We are singing some inspired songs, and I just want to take a second to share my feelings about them.

We will open with "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". I am so excited to testify of the restoration in this song. I can't tell you how strong the spirit is even in practices. If the first vision is being spoken of, the spirit will come and testify of it. Members, if you want to skip this part it's fine...but I really feel like telling a little overview of how the church was restored for those of you who haven't heard. 

Christ's established His church on the earth way back in the times of the Bible, and we learn about it in the Bible. In His church he called apostles with the authority of God (the priesthood) to represent Christ and direct His church. After Christ atoned for our sins and was crucified the apostles were eventually killed as well. With their death, that direct power from God- the priesthood- was lost. As time went on the church broke apart as doctrine and truth were distorted and changed. Without the priesthood, nobody had the authority to direct the true church right? A lot of time passed (like a couple thousand years) and in that time many many churches began. People wanted to be close to God and to know his truth. In the reformation great people like Martin Luther made the Bible available to people and paved the way for religious freedom. It was all in God's plan to prepare the world for His gospel to be restored to the earth again.

In 1820, in New York, a 14 year old boy named Joseph Smith (if you haven't heard this story I bet you have heard the name) wanted to know which church to join. There were many churches in his area, and his family was very religious, but he wanted to know which was the one that God saw as the right one. He was reading in James 1:5 where it reads "if any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God." He went into the woods near his house where he could be alone, and knelt down to pray out loud. He had one question: Which church is true. In his own words he described what happened next:

 "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, who's brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-- "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

God the Father and His son Jesus Christ came to the earth and told Joseph that none of the churches were right. Through Joseph Smith God restored the fullness of the gospel. He restored Christ's true church with all the doctrine and truthfulness with God's own power. 

It might sound crazy to some that God the Father and Jesus Christ came to earth and restored their true church through Joseph Smith. But I know without a doubt that it happened because the spirit has testified of it to me. I asked God in prayer just like Joseph Smith asked for wisdom, and the spirit whispered to me, through a good feeling in my heart, that it is true. We all can do the same. Ask sincerely, and the spirit will answer you.

Thanks for putting up with that. I know that some people who read my letters don't know how this all came about and I really felt like sharing it. I want people to know what we are testifying of and why it is so so so important. As we have practiced I have realized that the gospel is either the true gospel of Christ on the earth today, or it's not. There is no in between. We either have the fullness of God's priesthood and prophet's who speak His will...or we don't The Book of Mormon is either the true word of God, or it is the false words of man. The work we do in temples is either of God, or it's not. There is no in between...and it is up to us to find out. If any of you have a real desire to know if this church is true, if God really restored the Church of Jesus Christ today, then you can find out for yourself. Ask in prayer with a pure heart- willing to listen to whatever the spirit wants to teach- and you will know. I know it is true, and I know that the other thousand missionaries who will be singing with me know it is true, and that all the men on the stand know it's true. I am so excited to hear from the apostles of God! I believe that they are called of God to lead this church. I can't imagine those men being part of some conspiracy or being confused...I know they KNOW God and His Son. 

Oh gosh I just love that message. That's why I'm out here...because once people understand that Christ want's them to have his gospel they can come unto Him and have happiness. He wants us to have peace, joy, eternal life, to be with our families forever....and so much more. If any time in conference this weekend you feel that good feeling of the Holy Ghost in your heart, act on it. That is the spirit letting you know for yourself that this is the restored gospel and that God wants you to have all of the blessings of it.

The second song we sing is "Baptism". I love that we get to sing about this because through baptism we commit to follow Christ and strive to be close to Him. It goes right along with the missionary purpose: We invite others to Christ through faith, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Good stuff. Plus, when we are baptized we are that much closer to eternal life with our families! How cool is that?

Then we will sing "I'll Go Where You Want me To Go". This one really get's me because giving my will to God is something I'm working on...every single missionary who will be singing is working on this. We all left families and loved ones, hobbies, opportunities, personal time...seriously it feels like a lot some times. In our district we have a 29 year old sister who left her life as a 4th grade teacher because she felt she should come. She, like me, went back and forth for the first few weeks to know if she should really be here. Trust me the MTC isn't always a pleasant place...you want to make sure you heard the Lord right if you are going to endure 6 weeks of this;). We have an elder who left his girlfriend when she was already really struggling. He gets some tough e-mails from her and wants to go home to help her so bad...but he is trusting God and knows he is here to help others learn of God's plan for them...and that if he does that the Lord will take care of his girl. There are so many other amazing people out here who have left A LOT. It's so inspiring. The words say "I'll go where you want me to go... I'll say what you want be to say...I'll be what you want me to be..." That's hard stuff. It sounds simple... I guess it is simple... but the humans in us think we know better when really all we have to do is trust the Lord and He will lead us on the right path.

"Hope of Israel" is the last one. When I was a little kid, my Sunday School teachers would teach about the last days. I got ideas in my head about going off to battle to fight the forces of Satan and standing next to Jesus fighting with Him. I've always kept that image in my head...kind of silly...but maybe more real than I thought. The other night after we practiced the song our director said something like "Do you know who the Hope of Israel is in this song? Do you know what the battle is?" I looked around....we are all God's army (the Hope of Israel), and we are here in training so that we can go fight for Him. I know it sounds dramatic...but when you hear the song you will get it. I know we aren't in this crazy place for no reason because the spirit is here working closer to all of us than ever before. We are getting ready to go to the battle front and work hard! Pretty sure Satan hates all of us for that reason...and that's why it hasn't (and won't) be easy. He hates us, and the prophets, and the apostles, and every person who has a testimony...or even wants a testimony. Don't let him discourage you. Don't let the protesters at conference deter you from the message. We know it is of God because where God's work is going forward, Satan will be there fighting it. I'm willing to put money on who I think will win....hehe. I have a testimony that this is the work of the Lord and that this is the generation that will not end in apostasy!

Dang I used to hate it when missionaries did this in their e-mails....just tell me about the food and your companion and make me laugh. Geeze..... That's all I ever wanted out of a mission update. But I'm a missionary on a mission...so sorry but not sorry. I really have nothing else to say right now other than that I'm feeling SO much love and SO many prayers. I love you all and I can't wait to see you this weekend through the TV screen!!!


Hermana Johnson xoxo

P.S. I'm going to be wearing a turquoise blue shirt...up in the top area cause i'm one of the tallest. Watch all the sessions....but just don't turn off the choir for the Saturday afternoon ;)

"That crazy little guy in the back is elder Mongkeya...he reminds me of braden smith...so we obviously get along"

"All headed to New mexico...obviously need a little more time in the MTC cause we can't shake our loyalty to the gangs."

"Mi Companera Favorita"

 "ANGELA BELETTI from the SECOND GRADE! She was the STL for our zone and now we are taking over for her...big shoes to fill"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Year" 3 of the MTC

HOLA FAMILIA! So great to have made it to my second P-day....it was an uphill climb for sure. Just a few great things that happened this week....with a SWEET announcement at the end of the e-mail...so stay tuned. 

-Comps are hard...but I'm learning. 
-Molly was the dear elder champion...but again thank you so much for everyone who has written me. Every time I get a letter it makes me so happy!
-Shout out to Braden for surviving the CCM! Best of luck in Florida<3
-I'm learning that I must have had a bit of a confidence issue at home....lol stop laughing katie. I know I worry way too much about what people think. I get called on to sing here several times a day in groups or leading music or solos...whatever it is I can sing 900x better than ever before cause I'm not panicking about what people think. It's so weird. And I go play volleyball all of the time and it turns out that when I'm not petrified of what everyone will think if I mess up, then I can actually play! And I totally keep up with the elders! It's way fun...
-I really love the mountains here, but every time I look outside I think of the glory days when I could run up the canyon and bike in the foothills...and Sundance...oh man sundance<3
-I lost my scriptures...good thing I don't need them ever...oh wait....I'm actually super sad and praying like crazy that they turn up
-MITCHELL GARNER IS IN THE CCM!!! 9th ward homies this is for you: I was walking down the hall and we made eye contact, then took a double take, then the most dramatic non-huggy reunion took place. We were both tearing up it was so funny. That guy is POWERFUL. He will make such a good missionary!

Okay so I figure I'll just tell it like it really is here at the MTC. I'll just be real and hope that someone out there will relate to it.

I'm assuming everyone knows the story of Christ walking on water, and Peter walking on the water toward him. As he walked the winds picked up and he looked away from Christ. He began to fear, and of course, started to sink. He had to call out to Christ to save him...and the Lord said to him "Oh ye of little faith". It's a lesson in faith vs. fear...in not doubting the faith that we already have.

Every day here feels like a life time. I step out in faith, hoping the Lord will provide, but when discoragement comes I remember that I don't have to be here, how great it will be to get home, the life I am excited to have after mission and so on....And of course that gets me thinking of coming home. Really, the hardest part about being a sister is that we don't have to be here...I don't know what each individual belief is, but here in the MTC it is clear that we can leave anytime and it will be okay. We don't have a duty to serve. But, I have a duty to follow the promptings that the Lord has given me. So it was a wild week of questioning my promptings, thinking down every possibility, and doubting my abilities. And being so frustrated that I am the one sinking and I can't keep my eye single to the glory of God.

 On day 9 I woke up feeling good...thinking about how I'm helping my family and how time will fly and I will be back with them in no time...then I realized it was day 9. HAH I'm surprised I didn't pack my bags right then. But as I went through the day I got angry at myself...why can I preach all day that the Lord loves us and we should trust him, but I can't do it myself? Finally, I prayed for help to know if I should be here. I opened my scriptures and read Ether 12:6. It says, "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." 

I felt pretty dumb...I know the Lord just wants me to have faith. Then I had the weirdest prompting: Heavenly Father would soon let me see a family similar to a family I will teach on my mission. Honestly it was weird, but strong. The next day at the temple we sat down on the grass. A white dude was holding preach my gospel, talking super sincerely to a Hispanic woman holding a baby. she had two other kids running around and the woman looked so stressed out...there wasn't even a light in her eyes. The two little kids ran up to us. Lewis and Martha (SO CUTE) They were just chatting it up with us, (from what we could understand they are 4 and 2) and asked us what church we go to! I told them all about primary and they ran up to their madre and asked if they could go to primary. The guy teaching her smiled and the lady started laughing...I had the most overwhelming feeling of love for that family. And I wanted to help them have the gospel so badly. I was also shocked that Heavenly Father blessed me with that experience...I knew it was no doubt from Him. All of the sudden I am so excited about the work! And I feel dumb because I shouldn't have been focusing on myself all week...I should have been thinking about the people who need to be invited to Christ. This really isn't about me, it's about them. The second I started thinking that way all of my worries went away. 

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." -Matthew 6:33

I know that "God will consecrate our afflictions for our Good", and that he will never lead us astray. Sometimes we have to give up a lot to build his kingdom, but it will all be worth it. Just trust Him!

If any of you have questions, doubts, struggles...really anything....read "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence" By elder Holland. Seriously, it could help with marriage, school, jobs...and definitely missions. 

And finally a little bit of my fave Hymn: 

"Savior may I learn to love thee, walk the path that thou hast shown. Pause to help and lift another, finding strength beyond my own. Savior, may I learn to love thee Lord, I would follow thee."

And for my final announcement:

TUNE IN TO GENERAL CONF! YOUR GIRL HERMANA J HAS BEEN SELECTED TO SING IN THE MTC CHOIR!!!!!!!!! HUGE BLESSING I CAN NOT WAIT!!! I haven't been able to freak out yet because 1500 people who applied weren't selected. Super sad, but I'm pumped. They don't know I slaved 4 years away in sonous prepping for something as DOPE AS THIS! Today, the MTC isn't so bad. I will be wearing a blue shirt hehe. I will try to get on camera for you all (last week at a devo I prayed I would be on camera so Braden could get a little smile cause it was broadcast to the CCM and it worked....so maybe it will happen again? lol)  HECK YA!