Monday, September 26, 2016

Instruments in his hands

Bonjour family & friends!

We had such a cool rendezvous with a new Ami that we found the week before. Her name is Nadjet and she is originally from Algeria. She was born into a Muslim family and was very practicing. After awhile she starting having questions and doubts that she realized couldn't be answered by her religion. Right now, she is "searching" for the answers to her questions. There are so many thoughts and questions she has that correspond with the gospel! We had a great lesson with her and introduce her to the Book of Mormon. She downloaded gospel library right there on the spot and said she is going to start reading the Book of Mormon. She isn't quite sure what she believes right now so she isn't even sure if there is a God. We asked her this week to pray to know if there is a God. She said she would do it! She already has shown a lot of faith by agreeing to pray even though she isn't sure if there is someone listening. We have another rendezvous this week and we will follow up!

We had a feeling that we should stop by a house of a new Ami. We had stopped by 2-3 times before and she had never been there. This time she happened to be home and let us in! We started to talking with her and she told us, "I'm usually never home at this time but today I felt that I needed to stay home a little longer." She said that this week had been especially hard for her and that it was a blessing that we stopped by and were able to share a little message. I'm glad we were able to do something to brighten her day!

This week we were teaching Flavie (the 11 year old who is preparing for baptism) and her grandma happened to be there. She isn't a member but decided to sit in on our lesson. After the lesson, she started asking questions about the Book of Mormon. She told us she wants to reads the Book of Mormon so she can know for herself. We told her we were more than happy to bring her one and then invited her to come to the family home evening that we were having with the them that week. Afterwards, we walked to the train station with Nene (Flavie's mom) and she was totally surprised by what just happened. She said that her mom has always been totally against the church and has wanted nothing to do it. At family home evening we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and commit her to read it! We are hoping we will be able to start teaching her as well. It's amazing how Heavenly Father is able to soften people's hearts and prepare them over the years to hear the gospel.

On Saturday, we went to a baptism the elders had for their Ami David! His conversion is actually a really cool story. When one of the elders that is here now was in his last area, he challenged a family to give away a Book of Mormon. They accepted and little while later they gave a Book of Mormon to their friend David that was living in Brussels. He started to reading and going to church on his own. This all happened during the time that there were no missionaries here in Brussels. A couple months later when missionaries were put back into Brussels, this same missionary who challenged the family to give away a Book of Mormon was transferred here and was able to start teaching David! He read the Book of Mormon 6 times before his baptism! There was no doubt that he is truly converted. This is a good example of how we can be instruments in the Lords hand if we listen to the spirit and its promptings. The longer and longer I am on my mission, the more and more I realize that the Lord is actively involved in the work of bringing souls unto him. "And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work." (Alma 26:3) What a blessing it is to be one of those "instruments" in this marvelous work! Which each have the opportunity to play a part in someone's conversion if we choose to let ourselves be "instruments" in his hands.

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, September 19, 2016

Deuxième chance!

Bonjour family & friends !

This week we had a rendezvous with one of old Amis that we haven't see for awhile because it was hard to get in contact with her. She has been really busy because her family owns a restaurant so she is working there a lot. She told us that we could stop by her restaurant if we wanted to see her! We decided to stop by and lucky we were able to talk with her for a minute. She had some other friends who were there and we sat done at the table next to them. Our ami came and sat with us and we started talking. After a minute her friends started in with our conversation and began to ask us questions. Come to find out, we had actually contacted one of them on the street awhile ago. I actually didn't even remember her at all because apparently she told us she was in a hurry so we didn't even have a conversation with her. This time we were able to talk with her and give her a brief explanation of the restoration and afterwards introduce the Book of Mormon. We were able to clear up a lot of misconceptions about our beliefs.  It so cool that God gives people second chances to hear the gospel! Then at the end of the conversation we were saying a prayer and someone walked in the door. When we were finished we looked up and he was walking right towards us with a smile on his face. He said,"hey! I am a member of church. I was baptized a couple years ago!" We were able to talk with him for a minute and invited him to come to church because he hasn't been active for awhile. It was such a productive 30 minutes! It was no doubt Heavenly Father giving us some tender mercies.

my fav place in Bruxelles.. Grand Place!

We had "Family Home Evening" with the family we are helping to become active. It was the first time they have ever done a FHE so the mom was really nervous about it. We made them a "FHE" chart with a slot for everyone's name and the list of the things they are in charge of doing each week (ex. Prayer, lesson, activity treat etc.) The mom gave the lesson this time and we contributed by making "American cookies" aka (chocolate chip cookies.) There kids are ages 11, 8, and 5. Overall, it went really well!! Of course, by the end of FHE the kids were all complaining that the lesson was going too long and kept asking when it would be finished. (They probably were just excited to eat our cookies) We assured here that unfortunately, that's how we acted quite often during FHE too and to not get discouraged. It reminded me about when I was in Lille and Elder Christofferson came for stake conference. One of the things he talked about was the importance of family home evening. He talked about how the important part of family home evening is consistency. It would be much easier for parents to just not have family home evenings every time kids started to complain. It's true that looking back I don't necessarily remember one FHE in particular but I remember that we would try to have them every week.. And if my parents willingly endured through the times when we complained and continued to have FHE the week after, it must be important!

Japanese tower!

On Sunday, we had a "missionary themed" sacrament meeting. A couple of the missionaries gave talks about the importance of sharing the gospel and then all 10 of us did a musical number. Quite of few members have said that they have noticed a different feeling in the ward now that they have missionaries back. We are working hard to have a ward committed to missionary work! I have learned so many different things so far on my mission, but if anything I think my mission is preparing me to be a better member missionary after my mission. One of the missionaries shared a talk from Elder Bednar that explains that members should be the full time "finders" and missionaries are the full time "teachers." My favorite talk about member missionary work is from Henry B. Eyring. He says, "Why should I speak to anyone about the gospel who seems content? What danger is there to them or to me if I do or say nothing? Well, the danger may be hard to see, but it is real, both for them and for us. For instance, at some moment in the world to come, everyone you will ever meet will know what you know now. They will know that the only way to live forever in association with our families and in the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, was to choose to enter into the gate by baptism at the hands of those with authority from God. They will know that the only way families can be together forever is to accept and keep sacred covenants offered in the temples of God on this earth. And they will know that you knew. And they will remember whether you offered them what someone had offered you." The greatest thing we can do for the people we love is to share the gospel with them! Church is true. All is well. Have a great week!

Love, Soeur Johnson

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Daily Bread"

Bonjour family and friends!

We had transfers this past week and I found out that I will be staying in Brussels for another transfer. I couldn't be happier!!

Officially done with transfer 6!

This week we met a really cool lady from Columbia. At the beginning of the contact she was really reserved and her responses were really short. We decided to ask if we could say a prayer with her. We asked if there was anything she needed us to pray for.. She is actually going through a divorce and so we said a prayer to help her get through this difficult time. After the prayer she was SO much more opened and we were able to have more of a conversation. Her house in Columbia is actually right down the street from a LDS church so she has talked with missionaries before. At the end of the conversation she asked us, "How do I get in contact with you again?" It's always a good sign when they ask to see us again before we even propose the idea. The sad part is that she lives in the Netherlands so she isn't even in our area. We are going to give her contact information to the missionaries there! I love how much prayer brings the spirit and makes people so much more opened to hear the gospel.

While we were on the bus this week we past by a bus stop and I had a feeling that I should just write down the name of one of the stops we passed so that we could come back later. The next day we were going out contacting and were thinking about where we should go. I remembered that I had written down the name of that bus stop. We decided that we would try it out! We got off the bus and started walking. Before we could even start contacting to anyone, this girl came up and started talking to us! She was actually an exchange student in Pocatello, Idaho and went to church every Sunday with the family she was staying with. She said she goes back and visits every summer and she was actually just there. In fact, she was at church for the farewell for Elder & Sister Christensen (the senior couple who just came to Brussels) Then she told us that she is planning to come to church here in Brussels in two weeks! We talked to Christensens and they said that they have been having difficulties getting her contact information. We were able to exchange numbers so it worked out perfectly. It was definitely not just a "coincidence" that we just happened to go to that bus stop at that time!

Always finding cool things here in Bruxelles!!

On Wednesday, we got together all the missionaries in our ward and decided to visit less active members. We made a bunch of cookies and printed out a picture of all of us with a funny quote on it. We made a list of the members we wanted to see and we started visiting them. When they were there, we shared a video called "Daily Bread." It talks about how we need to feed our bodies everyday physically. However, sometimes we forget that we also need to feed our bodies "spiritually" everyday too. Just like we need to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also need to pray, read our scriptures, and mediate. Everyday we should be doing the things that allow us to "come unto Christ." (John 6:35) "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."  As we "come unto Christ" we will be spiritually filled and have the energy, and faith to face what the future hold for us. We often think the solution to our problems come in the form of physical substance. However, most of the time there is a spiritual remedy because most of us are actually spiritually malnourished. As we "feed ourselves spiritually" everyday we will notice a difference in the way we feel. We will be spiritually nourished and ready take on whatever comes our way. It's the little things that we do everyday that will make a big difference! Have a great week.

Love, Soeur Johnson

Monday, September 5, 2016

Divine Assistance

Bonjour family and friends!!

This last Sunday all the 8 missionaries in our ward had dinner with the cutest Brazilian couple. They like to have us over every month. We always look forward to it because it's always the best meal we have that month! They are both just genuinely good people who enjoy doing what they can to serve others. At the end of the night we shared a spiritual message as always. The wife only speaks Portuguese and so it's not very easy to communicate with her. Most of the time I don't think she even knows what any of us are saying. At the end of the message she was crying. She bore her testimony to us (her husband translated) about how much she was touched by the feeling/spirit that is in her home when the missionaries are over. It was really cute because honestly I don't think she understood anything that any of us said but she could feel the spirit because the spirit has no language barrier. It was a good reminder that indeed "who we are" is more important than "what we ever say." That night really made me reflect about the importance of always being worthy to have the spirit with us. At baptism, we are all promised that the spirit will always be with us as long as we are worthy of it. Each week we get to renew those baptismal covenants as we worthily partake of the sacrament. What a blessing that is to us and those around us that we have the 3rd member of the Godhead as our constant companion if we are worthy.

Brussels Transfer photos!!

We also had a lesson with the family who we are trying reactivate! They have 3 girls and they are all so adorable. We started teaching them the lessons for baptism. While we are setting the dates for the baptism, we asked the girls when they would like to be baptized. The cute 8 year was all like, "Umm right now!" They still have a lot to learn so they are going to be baptized toward the end of October. They really have such sweet spirits that it makes it so fun to teach them! We talked with the mom a little bit and she was telling us that during the time she was inactive she went to different churches but none of them felt right. She said there was always something missing. She said that even though she regrets going inactive, it was reconfirmed to her where she could find the fullness of the gospel. We talked about change and how it is so cool that Heavenly Father gives us the opportunity to choose to change for the better. If we don't like where we are, we can choose to change our situation for the better. I read this quote this week that I thought was good.. “We must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. … We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with Their divine assistance. Certainly not everything we struggle with is a result of our actions. Often it is the result of the actions of others or just the mortal events of life. But anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2006, 70–71; or Ensign, May 2006, 70). Once we do all we can, he will help us with the rest!

Park contacting

I'm grateful for the chance that a mission has given me to really change and become better. We all make mistakes but I know that when we choose to change for the better we will not be alone in doing soon. We will always have divine assistance! All is well. Church is true. Have a great week.

Love, Sœur Johnson