Tuesday, May 23, 2017

18 Months of Miracles!

Bonjour family and friends!

Wow, what an amazing week to finish off and an amazing 18 months. There really aren't words that can fully explain exactly how amazing this week was, but I will try my best to do it justice. Here are a couple of my favorite miracles that happened.. 

saying goodbye to Luxembourg!

This week we went and dropped off a thank you note at a members home. The transportation took a little longer than we originally expected so by the time we got there, gave her the note and chatted with her for a minute, we only had about 10 minutes before we had to head back to Luxembourg city!  I have limited time left on my mission, so we decided we would try to make the most of every minute and so we decided we would go knock on a couple doors. Before we left their home, We said a prayer with our member family and prayed that we would be able to find someone. The third door we knocked on was our miracle family! A young mom answered the door and we immediately started testifying about the plan of salvation. She was touched and said she would love if we came back next week. At the end of our conversation, she told us that she has had a lot of people in her family pass away and it has been really hard on her. The spirit was sooo strong and we were super excited to find such a cute Luxembourgish family!! We immediately ran back to our members home and told her what happened. It instantly brought tears to her eyes and we all knew that Heavenly Father had answered our prayers. I didn't realize then, but that ended up being the last door I knocked on as a full time missionary. Since coming to Luxembourg, it has been a goal to find an actual Luxembourgish family that we could teach. We even made a goal to knock on a 1,000 doors this transfer, with the hope that we would find one. Heavenly Father answered my prayer. It came the last week, of the last month of my mission- and of course, it was the last door. I now understand what Elder Uchtdorf meant when he said, "God “rewards those who earnestly seek him,” but that reward is not usually behind the first door. So we need to keep knocking. Don't give up." 18 Months of knocking on doors was worth it to find that family. Answers always come, just in God's time and God's way. 

last district photo!

We also went to Nancy, France on Sunday to watch the broadcast of the Paris, France temple dedication. We were able to watch all three sessions and it was an incredible experience! President Eyring was the member of the first presidency who came to dedicate the temple. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my last Sunday in the mission field. Elder Anderson also came and he gave his talks in french. It was really fun to hear him speak in a different language! I am impressed he still remembers how to speak french from 50 years ago. I noticed there was a common theme throughout all the talks that were given during the three different sessions. This theme seemed to go along the lines of having an eternal perspective. Which makes sense because the temple is what gives us a bigger vision of life. It reminds us that the choices we make in this life do matter and therefore we must not be casual in keeping convenants. They also spoke about how temples are lights and beacons of hope in a darkening world. The french people have been waiting a long time for a temple, but I feel like the timing of the construction of the temple was divinely inspired because now more than ever, they need hope and spiritual light. We might not understand everything in his life, but temples give us hope that their are better things to come. "9 ​But as it is written, ​​​Eye​ hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath ​​​prepared​ for them that love him." The temple has become a beacon of light here and is drawing people from all over the world to it, members and nonmembers! What an amazing blessing. 

This week just kept getting better, On Monday we went to Paris and had a Conference with all the missionaries and Elder Anderson (Member of the Quorum of the 12 apostles). We were all able to shake his hand and afterwards be taught by him. As he testified of Christ, the spirit filled the room and it was obvious that he is truly a special witness of Him. 

Tomorrow, I will be leaving Luxembourg and will be finishing off my mission by going to do a session in the Paris temple. 

I am so grateful for the many miracles that I have experienced throughout my whole mission. It has really been 18 months of Miracles. I have see the "hand of the Lord" in my life everyday. I know that Heavenly Father is actively involved in our daily lives. I know that he knows each of us personally and wants what's best for us, that's why he gave us the restored gospel. I had a testimony of these things before I left, but my mission has truly converted me. Church is true. 

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, May 15, 2017

God is great!

Bonjour family and friends!!

The beginning of the week we spent in Nancy, France for interviews and Zone Conference. I really have been so blessed to have had such a great mission president. We talked a lot about the importance of learning to enjoy every moment. He talked about how a lot of missionaries think about things that happened before their missions and what will happen after their missions, but are never really IN their missions. It's a good reminder that no matter what stage of life we are at, we need to learn to "enjoy the journey."

Dinner at the Luxembourgish fair!

This week while we were contacting, we met a cool lady from Italy. She actually heard one of the 12 apostles speak in Europe about 20 years ago and was really touched by some of the things he said. She said she can still remember the way she felt afterwards. Since then, she said she hasn't met any missionaries or any members of the church. We talked with her for a little bit and introduced her to the Book of Mormon. We told her we had one in Italian for her and she really got excited. We are going to drop it off this week!

I love Luxembourg!

We also had another lesson with our ami James. He is always the highlight of the week for us! We decided to show him the Restoration video this time. As we started the video he turned to us and he said, "Oh I have already seen this video, I was watching it last night!" That was definitely not the comment I was expecting! We downloaded the gospel library app on his phone and apparently in his free time he watches the different videos and reads from the different Manuel. He received the gospel principles Manuel in church on Sunday, and by Tuesday he had already read the first 13 chapters. We can hardly keep up with him and his desire to learn! It's amazing. He is definitely teaching us a lot more than we are teaching him. We talked to him a little bit about how God answers prayers. He was telling us a story of one time when he received an answer to his prayer. At the end, he got tears in his eyes and said, "Sisters, God is great!" Even though he lives a difficult life and technically has every reason to complain, he always chooses to be grateful. He knows exactly where the blessings in his life come from. What a great example.

On Saturday we were able to go to the temple open house as a ward! We took a double decker bus to Paris. There were about 70 people who came! The spirit was super strong and everyone really enjoyed it. There were a lot of members who were able to bring their spouses who aren't members. We also were able to bring our amie Françoise and she really loved it. This Paris temple has really made a huge difference already in the missionary work here!

Reunited with my old companion and cute members from our ward!

Another highlight of the week was that I got to Skype my wonderful family. After about 18 months, I would say that I am getting pretty excited to see them!

This morning I finished reading the Book of Mormon in French. I made it a goal to read it at least once by the end of my mission. Learning a language is not easy but it's an amazing experience because you quickly learn to rely on the spirit and Heavenly Father. It has definitely been a very humbling experience. Reading the Book of Mormon in a different language has really helped strengthen my testimony of its truthfulness. Even though I didn't always understand every single word that was written, I could still feel the spirit testifying to me that they were the words of God. I could literally feel that something was different and special about the Book, even without 100% understanding. I particular remember reading in 3 Nephi about when Christ came to the Americas. While I was reading, I remember being overwhelmed by the spirit and it testifying to me that He really did come and visit the people there.

This week, I have yet again realized that I have so much to be grateful for. James is right, "God is great!" Have a wonderful week!

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, May 8, 2017

Beyond Blessed!!

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week was another week full of humbling experiences. One of the best parts of serving is a mission, is the people we get to meet. Especially here is Europe, they come from all different backgrounds and cultures. They are a lot of people that are from Africa and have had many trials and struggles in their life that I could never imagine going through. This week I was once again reminded of how blessings I have in my life and many tender mercies Heavenly Father has blessed me with. 

Castle in Clervaux!!

We started off the week by seeing Ines. She is someone I talked with on the train a couple weeks ago. Before I even got the chance to ask for her number, she had already written it down and handed it to us! We called her a set up a rendezvous for this week. We started off by asking her some questions to get to know her. It ended up leading into a discussion about her childhood. She grew up in a small village in Cape Verde, during at time that there had been in a drought for 20 years. She said it made it really difficult to have food and they were often very thirsty. She said it was a 3 hour walk to the closet water source. She told us that there were nights she really felt like she was going to die. Eventually her dad left to Portugal and brought her along so that their family could have a better life. She always maintained a positive attitude, despite her difficult circumstances. She said people always asked her, Why are you happy all the time? Her response was simply, "I know good things will come." As she was telling us this story, I was overwhelmed by her example and faith. We left her home knowing that Heavenly Father put us in her path so that she could teach US something. I definitely learned a lot about humility and gratitude.

We had another lesson with our favorite ami James! He is progressing so well. He came to church again and he even fasted with us for fast Sunday. We had a really powerful and humbling lesson with him this week. As we were teaching him he opened up a little more about his life and the reason he is in Europe. He often says, "My situation is difficult", but we never quite understood what that meant because he is usually very reserved. This week he told us that a couple years ago he was on a boat on the way to Italy and it ended up sinking and hundreds of people died. He was eventually rescued by the Italian government and given a visa. He has been rejected by his family because he has converted to Christianity. Despite all his challenges, he continues to have strong faith and has a huge desire to "give his life to Christ." He is an incredible example. He hasn't let the hard things in his life weaken his faith.

knocking in doors in a cute village!

To end the week, we had an incredible lesson with our amie Melanie. We taught her the plan of salvation and as we were teaching she said, "This all sounds like stuff that is familiar to me but I have never heard it before." We were able to set a baptismal date with her for June 25.

I also read an amazing talk on faith this week. (April 2004, "But if not.." Dennis E. Simmons) It talks about the importance of having faith that God will help us and deliver us from difficult situations.. but even more importantly, having faith when God doesn't take us out of difficult situations. That is often a lot harder to do. All these investigators are great examples of demonstrating faith, even though they were not immediately delivered from their trails. "Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him." I remember a quote that I read in seminary a couple years ago that has always stuck with me. "Faith is not what you demonstrate to get what you want. It is what you demonstrate no matter what you get..no matter how long, no matter how hard."  

I am so grateful for the chance I have to meet so many amazing people. Church is true! 

Love, Soeur Johnson

Monday, May 1, 2017

Work Hard, Play Hard!

Bonjour Family and Friends!

Wow wow wow... the Miracles never cease!! This week was full of them.

We knocked on doors literally all day on Thursday. We started off in the morning by going to a cute neighborhood that we discovered last week. There weren't tons of people home and the ones that were, weren't very interested. We decided to continue because we had already made the effort to take to the bus to this neighborhood! We walked up a long driveway to a big home. We knocked on the door and a Luxembourgish man answered. We began explaining that we were here to share the joy and the peace that we have found in our lives through Jesus Christ. He looked at us and then pointed to the BMW in his driveway and the big houses in his neighborhood.. he then said, "As you can see, we don't have many problems here." In other words, we don't need God because we are financially stable. That got me all fired up and I immediately started to testify of how we all need God etc. He wasn't too happy with that answer so he proceeded to close the door. At first, I was super angry with this man, but then my anger left and I actually just felt sad for him because he honestly believes that he can only find happiness in money. That is really sad because the things that bring us the most joy in life, are things that can't be bought.

Exploring our beautiful country!!

Later on in the same day.. We had about 20 Minutes left before we had to go home for dinner, so we decided to knock on some doors. We had 3 houses in a row where the people were super mean. They slammed the door right on our faces after saying some choice words to us in English. We decided to knock one more door so that we didn't end the night on a negative experience. We knocked on the next door but nobody answered. As we were about to walk away, a car drove into the driveway and a business man got out of the car. We introduced ourselves and asked him if he believed in God. He smiled at us and then said "Look at everything around us." As I turned to look at the things around us, I noticed the BMW in his driveway and thought to myself, "Oh no.. not this answer again." He then continued, "Every time I look around me, I become more sure that there is a God. The trees, the air, the earth, my body, my family, etc. Prove that there is a God who is there and looking out for us. I am going through a divorce right now and I know that I can always turn to God to find peace for my soul." I was so shocked that he had just said those things that all I could mutter out when he was finished was, "Thank you." He is someone that has chosen to be humble and grateful and it shows in his countenance. He literally seemed so happy, even though he is going through a hard time in life. It's because he chooses to recognize the hand of God in his life. It doesn't happen very often that we meet people like him. As he was talking, it reminded me of the scripture found in Alma 30:44..."All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." We proceeded to testify that God can truly brings peace to our souls and gives us direction for our lives through the Book of a Mormon. He invited us back the next week to teach him more about the Book of Mormon and our beliefs!

At the beginning of the week we were on our way to drop off a Book of Mormon, at a home of a family we meet a couple weeks ago. As we passed the proceeding town, I felt the need to get off the bus and knock on doors on a particular road. I debated what to do for a couple minutes because we didn't often come out to this side of town and we had promised to drop off the Book of Mormon to this family. I decided that we could drop of the Book of Mormon and afterwards come back and knock on doors. By the time we had finished dropping off the Book of Mormon, we didn't have any time left in the night and we had to return home. I really felt strongly that we should go knock doors on this particular street and so I felt bad for ignoring a prompting. For the next couple days, this street kept coming to my mind. On Friday night, we decided to cancel our plans so that we could go out and knock on doors on this street. We had just started knocking when we saw that a couple houses down a couple came out of their house and got in their car. But instead of leaving, they sat there and stared at us as we went house to house. We continued to walk down the street and they pulled out of their driveway. When they got closer to us, they rolled down their window and asked what we were doing. We told them that we were missionaries for of church. They got big smiles of their faces and said, "We need to leave right now, but we would love to have you come back another night!" That totally caught me by surprised because I really thought they were going to yell at us for knocking on doors in their neighborhood! It had literally only been 5 minutes since we had started so we continued along the same street. The last house we talked with a Luxembourgish lady that happens to know one of the long time members of our ward! We introduced the Book of Mormon and we are going go back again next week. After talking with her, I knew that's why we needed to come to that street. I am grateful to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to help lead and guide us!!

All of our investigators are progressing really well and I am still loving Luxembourg. I am so grateful to be a part of this work. La vie est belle!

Sœur Johnson

Monday, April 24, 2017

I love to see the Temple 💙

Bonjour Family & Friends!

This week we had the amazing opportunity to go through the Paris Temple! We went through it with a couple other groups of missionaries. As soon as we walked on the grounds, the spirit was there. You can literally feel that you were in a special place. The inside is absolutely gorgeous and it has a beautiful stair case. The architect has gone through and put little stickers on all the places that need to be fixed before the dedication. If there is even the slightest chip in the paint, he wants it redone. It is amazing how much they have paid attention to every little detail. It was a good reminder that the temple is really the Lord's house. There has already been hundreds of non-members who have visited the temple open house. I really believe that this temple will make a big difference in the missionary work in France. While looking at the statue of Christ, my testimony was once again confirmed that this is truly His church. I am so grateful to be part of this work, especially at this time! We will be going to visit the temple again with our ward and some of our investigators in the next couple weeks.

There were issues with our train coming back from Paris and so we were 1 hour behind schedule. Then the connecting train to Luxembourg got delayed an additional 40 minutes. Let's just say that at this point we weren't too happy because we really just wanted to get back to Luxembourg! Anyway, we ended up eventually getting on a train but we were 2 hours behind schedule. But what I should have realized, is that Heavenly Father always makes things work out for our good. The train conductor came around and checked our tickets. He then said, "Okay I just need to ask you a question.. I see so many people like you with the little plaque. What is it? Are you here with a school or something?" We then explained that we were missionaries for our church and we told him our purpose here was to invite people to come closer to Christ by learning about the restored gospel. He got really interested and started asking us more questions about our religion. We ended up talking to him for 40 minutes because it was late enough at night that there weren't very many passengers on the train. It gave him the opportunity to ask questions and for us to share our personal testimonies. We ended up getting his number and the missionaries is Metz, France are going to start teaching him. What a total blessing it ended up being that all our trains were late, because it allowed us to be on the train that Heavenly Father needed us to be on to share the restored gospel with someone that was interested!

This was a very humbling experience for me. It reminded me that I need to have more faith that Heavenly Father is truly in the details of our lives and that he can see the bigger vision. When things don't work out in our lives, we need to asks the questions.. Why? What does Heavenly Father want me to learn from this experience? What better thing does he want me to be doing? I love this quote on faith by Elder Uchtdorf.."Faith means that we trust not only in God's wisdom but that we also trust in his love.  It means trusting that God loves us perfectly, that everything He does--every blessing He gives and every blessing He, for a time, withholds--is for our eternal happiness. With this kind of faith, though we might not understand why things happen or why certain prayers go unanswered, we can know that in the end everything will make sense. "All things will work together for good to the, that love God." All will be made right. All will be well."

We also had an amazing lesson with our ami James. I have never met anyone with such a pure desire to follow Christ. He grew up in a family that was Muslim but he has converted to Christianity. He wants to "give his life for Christ" and do everything he can to follow his gospel. He told us, "Sisters, i have been praying for a long time to have God lead me to his true church..And I know God answered my prayers because He sent me you." He is from Ghana and so he has seen lots of different churches and many false prophets. He doesn't know who to trust anymore and so decided to stop going to church altogether because he felt they were all teaching false doctrine. He usually spends his Sunday doing his own church service by reading and studying the Bible at home. We taught him in a cafe and we read 3 Nephi 17 out loud with him. As his was reading about Christ visiting the people in the Americas, the spirit filled the room and the spirit testified to me of the love God has for this young man who is truly searching for the truth.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. The church is true!!

Love, Soeur Johnson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter in Lux

Bonjour family and friends!!

It has been a crazy week, but it has been full of lots of an adventures and experiences I will remember for a long time! Luxembourg is amazing. I feel so blessed to serve here.

We had an another amazing lesson with our ami, Andrea. This time we finished talking about the last half of the plan of salvation. She sat down and told us she had been waiting all week for our lesson because she really wants to know where her parents (who have passed away.) We opened to the Book of Mormon and read in Alma 40:11, ​"Now, concerning the ​​​state​ of the soul between ​​​death​ and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are ​​​taken​ ​​​home​ to that God who gave them life." We focused on the importance of understanding that Jesus Christ is the one who makes it possible to overcome death. It went well with the fact that it was the week of Easter! Sometimes the Plan of Salvation can be a hard thing to really understand, because certain parts our beyond our mortal comprehension. It reminded me of the importance of coming back to the basics. If we want to gain a testimony of the Plan of Salvation, we must first strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. As we do so, our testimony of the Plan of Salvation will increase and we can have a sure knowledge that we will see our family and loved ones again.

Easter Sunday with our family favorite!
On Wednesday, we went to Paris to pick up our new companion! Her name is Sister Durant and she is from American Fork. Sister Brown is leaving Luxembourg but not until Thursday, which means we are in a trio for  about 1 week! After we picked her up, we came back to Luxembourg and had a lesson with our ami James. We talked about the importance of prayer and how God answers our prayer. He was quick to remind us of the importance of first thanking Heavenly Father for the things we have, before we ask for more! He is really humble man and understands that everything he has is because of a loving Father in Heaven. He has not had an easy life and so his "attitude of gratitude" really impresses me. I want to be better at being more grateful!

exploring Luxembourg!

For Easter Sunday, we drove down to Metz, France because we had 3 Kids in our Ward getting baptized. It was a great way to spend the afternoon on Easter because the spirit was so strong. Both of the men baptizing their kids are converts. They shared their testimonies afterwards and they were both really touching. We drove home with one of them and he told us his conversion story. He said he met with the missionaries twice a week for 1 1/2 years before he was baptized. It was a good reminder that people can and do really change. It also reminded me that there are people truly prepared for the gospel. I am grateful that I was able to have a spirit filled Easter Sunday. My testimony was strengthened and my gratitude for my Savior has increased!

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, April 10, 2017

The 3rd doors the Charm

Bonjour family and friends!

We met some really cool people this week and had some great learning experiences. Here are just a few highlights!

We were contacting and nobody was really interested. It started getting a little frustrating that nobody would even talk with us for more than 10 seconds! But we all know the "miracle comes after the trial of your faith", and our faith was sure being tried, so we knew our miracle was coming soon! We walked around the corner and met a lady named Cathrine! She is actually a professor at a Christian school and she teaches the religion classes. She told us that she actually didn't know much about our church, but she once had a student give a presentation on our beliefs. We were quickly able to clear up some misconceptions that she had heard. We talked with her for a solid 20 minutes and we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon. She asked where she could get one because it really intrigued her. We handed her our copy and testified of its truthfulness!

Exploring castles on PDay!

When people have heard false doctrine, or have questions about our beliefs, I immediately turn to the Book of Mormon because that is how I have received my own testimony of this church and our beliefs. The Book of Mormon has brought me a lot of confidence as a missionary because I know that it is true and that it truly is the "keystone of our religion." Elder Holland gave a General Conference talk a couple years ago on the Book of Mormon and he said, "For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history--perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died.. None of these.. answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”

The biggest miracle of the week.. We had a couple hours left in the night, so we decided to go knock on doors. We chose a little town named "Capellen" because we had heard of a man who was less active that lived in that city. The only problem was, we didn't have his address. We tried calling around to some people to get it but we couldn't get in touch with anyone with the address.  In fact, his address was lost and therefore nobody in the Ward actually knew where he lived. I had seen it briefly a couple months prior so I tried to remember his address from what I had seen. To be honest, I couldn't remember at all what the address was, but I turned to Sœur Brown and told her that I thought his house number was possibly 98. She looked at a map of the town and found three streets that had houses that even went up to that high in house numbers. We decided to just pick a street and check to see if that was his house, and if not, just continue knocking on doors. We both felt impressed to go the same street. The interesting part is that this street only went up to house number 95, so logically it didn't make any sense to try this street. We went anyways and sure enough, there was no house number 98. We decided that even though we couldn't find his house, we would knock on some houses on that street anyways. Usually we knock on houses that are right next to each other, but this time we both just randomly started walking back the way we came and skipped a bunch of houses! We got all the way down until the house number 60, before we started knocking on any doors. We knocked on two doors and then a complete miracle happened... The third door we knocked on, ended up being the house of the member that we were looking for!

There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of houses in that neighborhood that we could have knocked on. I know that it wasn't just coincidence that we knocked on his door. We went into his neighborhood not having an address but knowing that the Lord would provide a way. We felt a little like Nephi when he said, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." We were thinking that he would provide a way in more of the sense of us getting in touch with a member to give us the address, but that didn't workout so He provided another way. I learned a lot of different lessons from this experience. 1st lesson-"with God nothing is impossible.” 2nd lesson- Go forward in faith 3rd lesson- We are simply "instruments in Gods hands."

I am so grateful that 17 months into my mission, Heavenly Father continues to provide learning experiences for me everyday. The miracles never cease! L'église est vrai.

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, April 3, 2017

The big 21!!

Bonjour family and friends!!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. We spent the morning in France for a meeting with some other missionaries and then we came back to Luxembourg for some lessons.The sun was shining and we had some awesome lessons with our amis, so I would say it was a good birthday!!

This week we got to see our sweet amie Melanie! She is so amazing. She told us, "I know that this is going to sound crazy and you probably won't believe me.. but ever since I started reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with you, I feel this inner peace that I have never had before." She also has the sweetest testimony of Joseph Smith. She said, "The story of Joseph Smith really touches me because if God talked to and cared about a 14 year old boy, I know he cares about me." Hearing her bear her testimony was definitely the best birthday present I could have asked for!

21st Birthday!!

We also saw Andrea who is our amie from Hungary. We had another incredible lesson with her! We taught her the first half of the plan of salvation. We really focused on understanding where we come from and how that helps us overcome difficult times. Knowing that we lived with God before we came here and that it was our choice to come here to earth, can help give us more of eternal perspective when we are experiencing trials. President Lorenzo Snow said,"Trials and tribulations have been the experience of the Latter-day Saints. God so designed that it should be. I daresay that in the [premortal] spirit world, when it was proposed to us to come into this probation, and pass through the experience that we are now receiving, it was not altogether pleasant and agreeable; the prospects were not so delightful in all respects as might have been desired. Yet there is no doubt that we saw and understood clearly there that, in order to accomplish our exaltation and glory, this was a necessary experience; and however disagreeable it might have appeared to us, we were willing to conform to the will of God, and consequently we are here." We knew that earth life would be hard, but we also knew it would be worth it, and therefore we still chose to come here. I am grateful for this knowledge of what we call the "pre-existence" to help give me more of an eternal perspective!

We met with our amie Françoise and her two daughters this week as well. We told her we would do a "movie night" with her family. We made crêpes together and watched the "Restoration" (that's about how exciting a movie night gets for a missionary)! Her little girls went to church a couple weeks ago and they learned about Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon but they didn't hear the first part of the story. It was good to help them put it all together. The oldest girl had asked her mom on the way home, "How do we know which church is true?" We told her that Jospeh Smith had the same question and he was able to find out because he asked God for himself. We invited her to do the same! It's amazing to me that an 11 year old is already asking questions like that. It shows that Heavenly Father is preparing people of all ages and of all cultures to accept the restored gospel.

We didn't get the chance to watch all the sessions from general conference, but the ones we did watch were great! I am super grateful to have modern day prophets and apostles to lead and guide us in this crazy world, church is true! I hope everyone has a great week.

Love, Sœur Johnson 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunshine & More Miracles

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week we were contacting and we met a really cool lady from Russia. At first she wasn't very interested, but we kept talking to her and she became a little more opened. We talked with her a lot about why we are here on earth and where we are going. At the end we said a prayer with her and afterwards she looked up at us and said, "That was beautiful. I could feel some type of energy or something in the words you said." We explained to her that it was what we call "the spirit", which is a gift that God has given to us for multiple reasons; but one reason is to help us know that He is there and He hears our prayers. We invited her to try praying that night on her own and we were able to testify that we know from our own experiences that God will be listening to her prayer.  I love this following quote on prayer..."Pray to the Lord with the expectation of answers. … The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries--we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord..” Heavenly Father does answer our prayers, we just need to make sure we are doing our part in order to receive the answers.  

After 6 months as companions.. I guess I have no choice but to love this girl!

We also had a lesson with a lady in our ward who is a return missionary but hasn't been "active" in the church for a long time. We decided that we would just share a scripture with her. We decided to share one our our favorites! Alma 5:26 "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" We were a little worried that this scripture would be a little too direct for her, but it actually ended up being just what she needed! She started opening up to us about how she remembers that she used to feel the joy the comes from the gospel but now she says she feels like she, "goes to church empty, and comes home empty as well." We talked her about how we can't expect church to be the only thing that refills us spiritually for the week. There are things that we need to do daily to feel of this joy and that will help us be better spiritually prepared for church. I think everyone can remember a time in their lives when they have just gone through the motions of going to church and didn't feel like they were getting much of it. Like always, the Lord expects us to do our part and spiritually prepare ourselves to have a spiritual experience at church. If all we do for our spirituality is go to church on Sunday, that will never be enough. If we truly want to feel of the joy that comes from being converted, we must make a conscious effort everyday. We invited her to start by something simple. We asked her to start saying family prayers every night and promised her that as she does the "little things" she would start feeling that same joy that she used to feel. 

Luxembourg Sunsets

This week we had a lesson get cancelled, so we decided to go knock on some doors instead. We only had knocked on a couple doors when we had a lady invite us in! We sat down, drank herbal tea, ate chocolate and bore testimony of the Restoration of the gospel. It was absolutely amazing! I love when something doesn't work out, Heavenly Father always has something better in store. When she invited us in she told us she was only "interested" in discussing. We were able to "discuss" for about one hour and clear up some misunderstandings she had about our church. She listened really intently and asked good questions. At the end, she was still not necessarily "interested" in learning more, but she said something to us that was really interesting. She said, "When I invited you in, I didn't invite you in to learn more about Christ. I invited you in to learn more about you, but I think you have a little bit of Christ in you, and because of that, maybe I have learned a little more about Him." 

Wow, I feel so blessed to be a missionary!! Church is true. Have a great week!! 

Love, Sœur Johnson 

Monday, March 20, 2017

"Count your many blessings"

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week was full of amazing learning experiences and life lessons. Here are just a couple from this week!

On Monday we had a rendezvous with a new family we are teaching that are from Syria. We met them in the park a couple weeks ago and they agreed to meet with us again. They are a Christian family and they are some of the most faith filled people I have ever met. They have two kids and both parents have master degrees in biochemical engineering. They had to leave their country because it was getting too dangerous for their kids. They told us some of their personal experiences and it was shocking to hear firsthand about some of the experiences they have lived through. The mom told us about how she didn't have anything for her kids to eat and so she went out grocery shopping. She stopped to buy milk and right after she left, bombs were dropped on the milk shop. She still hadn't gotten food for her family, so she stayed out and went to a different store to buy the rest of the things. Another time, she was sitting on her patio with her two kids and enjoying the sunny day. She said she felt a distinct impression that she should go inside. She took her kids inside and a couple minutes later, bombs exploded in her backyard and on her porch. We literally just sat there and had no idea what to say. She just kept saying how grateful she is and how she knows that God has protected her family. The day after our lesson she actually had an operation on her ear because it has been damaged from all the loud explosions she has been around. Her family was sooo amazing! We walked out of her house realizing that we are so so blessed and feeling bad for anytime that we have ever complained about things being hard! This family definitely taught me some life lessons that I will never forget. It was quite the start to our week!

Zone Conference

This week we also went to Nancy for interviews with our Mission President and Zone Conference. We didn't want to make the trip back to Luxembourg, so we stayed in a cute little town named Toul with one of my old companions! It was so fun to do missionary work together again. They introduced us to a couple members and there was one in particular that really touched me. Her name is Sandy. When she was 15 she had a tumor on the front of her brain and when they took it out, she lost her sight and went blind. Then they found a tumor on the back of her brain and had to take it out. Afterwards, she lost feeling in her legs and was put in a wheelchair. I can't even imagine how hard that must have been. The most amazing part is that she has the sweetest testimony. She said, "I know that God will not ever give me a trial too hard for me to handle." The spirit filled the room and once again, I felt very humbled. She reminded me of something I know to be true, but have often times forgotten. He knows us perfectly and personally, so therefore He knows our capabilities and strength. He will not let us suffer through more than is for our benefit.

Morning adventures on the roof in toul!

Both of these experiences reminded me when Nephi said,"I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions." (1 Nephi 18:16) They both have every reason to complain and be bitter but they chose to trust in the Lord and focus on the blessings they do have. What incredible examples! If they can do it, we can do it. It is true that life can be really hard and we don't often have control of the things that happen to us. However, we can always choose how we react. We can be bitter and angry, or just like Sandy said, we can trust that "God would never give us a trial too hard for us too handle." That doesn't mean the trial won't still be hard, but it gives us hope and courage that we have the strength to get through it. The experiences I have had throughout my mission and in particular Luxembourg, have really humbled me and helped me to be much more grateful. Everything that I am and I have is because of a loving Heavenly Father. I truly feel "eternally indebted" to Him. Giving him 18 months of my life is nothing in compared to what He has given me. I am really "counting my many blessings" this week!

Let us all choose to be a little more grateful this week! Church is true.

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, March 13, 2017

Warm weather & Happy Missionaries

Bonjour family and friends!!

We had a busy busy week. Which is always a great thing as a missionary because that means things are going well!! The sun has finally come out and I couldn't be happier. I don't have a lot of time to write today, so instead I wanted to just share a poem. I had a friend send it to me when she was on her mission.

district meeting in Metz, France!

 I have been thinking a lot about refining ourselves and becoming the person that Heavenly Father wants us to be. My mission has helped me realize that we always have things we can work on and change about ourselves. We should always be trying to progress and become better people. We need to learn to purify of lives and take out the things that are preventing us from really reaching our full potential. This poem made me think about what I need to change..

"If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two - 
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you'd do. 
Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room to such an honored Guest, 
And all the food you'd serve to Him would be the very best,
And you would keep assuring Him you're glad to have him there - 
That serving Him in your own home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door 
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly Visitor? 
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in? 
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they'd been? 
Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn't heard? 
And wish you hadn't uttered that last, loud, hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out? 
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about? 
And I wonder - if the Savior spent a day or two with you, 
Would you go right on doing the things you always do? 
Would you go right on saying the things you always say? 
Would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would your family conversation keep up it's usual pace? 
And would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace? 
Would you sing the songs you always sing, and read the books you read, 
And let Him know the things on which your mind and spirit feed? 
Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you'd planned to go? 
Or would you, maybe, change your plans for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet your very closest friends? 
Or would you hope they'd stay away until His visit ends? 
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on? 
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone? 
It might be interesting to know the things that you would do 
If Jesus Christ in person came to spend some time with you."

taking a picture with Germany! 4 countries in 24 hours... not too shabby! (We didn't actually go to Germany, but taking a picture is basically the same thing right?!)

Church is true. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!

Love, Soeur Johnson

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Gospel blesses families!!

Bonjour family and friends!! 

It has been another great week here in Luxembourg. This week we had a really good lesson with Melanie (the lady we met at the grocery store.) We taught her the restoration and she actually knew everything we were going to talk about because she had already looked it up on the internet.. yikes. We answered some of her questions and cleared up some misconceptions. At the end, we invited her to be baptized and she said yes! We are excited to keep helping her progress and grow her testimony of the restored gospel. She was a total miracle!
We had a lesson with one of our investigators but when we showed up, she wasn't there. So Instead, we decided to go knock on some doors in the neighborhood right next to hers. The second door we knocked on was golden! We started talking with the lady who lived there and come to find out, she has actually read the Book of Mormon, twice!! She was a professor of religion and has a friend in the states who is member. She was actually at home that day because she happened to be sick. We talked with her for a minute and talked about the Book of Mormon. There are a lot of things she doesn't understand. She invited us to come back next week and talk with her more! When we left her house I thought, "how does someone read the Book of Mormon TWICE and feel nothing?!" Then I remembered the promise the prophet Moroni gives us at the end of the Book of Mormon. "I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."  We are promised to know for ourselves if the Book of Mormon is really the word of God if we ask with a sincere heart; in other words, honestly wanting to know. We also need to have real intent; in other words, we are willing to act upon and accept the answer we receive. Even though this lady has read the Book of Mormon twice, in two different languages, she will not necessarily receive her own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon because she hasn't read it with the actual desire to know if it is true. I think she has read it out of more curiosity and wanting to gain more knowledge. I really do know that Moroni's promise is true, anybody who reads the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart and real intent will receive a confirmation that is truly is the word of God. I have seen this promise fulfilled in my life and in many lives of the people around me.

This week we had a lesson with a new amie named Andrea! She was actually found by my old companion in Brussels a couple weeks ago but she lives here in Luxembourg. They gave us her number and we were able to set up a rendezvous. Since we don't have a building, we have to use the homes of our members to teach our amis because it's still too cold to have a lesson outside. It's usually not that big of a deal because we know the person before. In this case, we had never met her! My companion and I didn't really think about how we were inviting a complete stranger into a members home until just a couple minutes before... So then of course we both start freaking out thinking that we might be inviting a crazy person into their home! I sometimes wonder how funny it probably is for Heavenly Father to watch us freak out and stress out for no reason. A couple minutes later, this really classy lady in a business suit, with a box of chocolates comes walking up! It was Andrea. She is originally from Hungary but she is working in Luxembourg as a banker. She was such an awesome lady. We went up and had an amazing rendezvous with our members and her. Apparently, her dad died in the past year and it has been really hard. Our member actually had both of her parents pass away before she was 21 and so she was able to bear a really strong testimony. We were planning on talking about the restoration but we never got past the second principle of "gospel blesses families" because we literally talked about it for 45 minutes. It was interesting because that is something that we usually spend just a couple minutes on. At the end of the lesson, she said, "Wow I really needed that." I have never had a lesson quite like that but it was a good reminder of the importance to teach people not just lessons. She left with a renewed motivation to improve the relationships she has with her family members! That's not at all what we originally were planning on teaching, but Heavenly Father knew her needs a lot better than we did!

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, February 27, 2017

God of Miracles!

Bonjour family and friends!!

Wow this week was full of miracles. It all started off Monday night when the person that we had a lesson with didn't show up. We decided to go out contacting instead but there wasn't very many people out. We had fifteen minutes before our train came and we really wanted to find someone. We decided to say a prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help lead us to someone that would listen. We continued walking and I had this really little feeling that we should walk back the way we came. I questioned it for a minute because there wasn't anybody walking around where we were before. We decided to follow the impression anyways and we ended up seeing someone on the other side of the street. We both started crossing the street at the same time but we didn't want to not talk with her and so we contacted her in the middle of street! She was a little confused at first but after she realized who we were she kept listening. She was Portuguese and so she didn't speak very much french. We gave her a brochure we had in Portuguese and then tried to explain the best we could why we were there. She let us say a prayer with her and afterwards she looked up and said, in her broken french, "I really needed that!" She was so cute.

Luxembourg American Cemetery!!
The week gets better.. A couple weeks ago we received an email from the church referral saying that there was someone who had requested to be visited by the missionaries in our area. We got in contact with the person and set up a rendezvous. His name is Elson and he is originally from Brazil. He has a Masters degree in finance and has been in Luxembourg for 3 years working for a Brazilian bank. We talked with him a little bit about his religious background. He said that he feels like there has to be more to life than working, eating and sleeping. In other words, he is trying to find purpose to life. He said he researched our church and really liked that we try to teach really similar teachings to Jesus Christ. While we were teaching him he was just soaking everything in! He was really trying to listen and understand. He came to church on Sunday and we couldn't have been more happy. He reminds of a scripture found in Doctrine and Covenants,"And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;."  He is someone that is truly "searching." He is by far the most prepared person I have ever met on my mission. I truly believe he is one of the elect that has been prepared to hear the restored gospel!

God bless America

The week got even better... On Pday, we were at the grocery store and we were at the checkout. We were talking with the checkout lady and right before we left she asked us if we had a card because she would love to come to church. We weren't even talking to her about the fact that we were missionaries but she asked anyways! We were definitely pleasantly surprised. A couple days later she ACTUALLY ended up calling us (doesn't happen very often) and told us that she would really like to come to church and would like us to teach her if that was possible for us. We set up a rendezvous for the next day and had an incredible lesson with her! She is originally from Cameroon but has lived in Germany for the last 20 years and has been searching for a church ever since. She says she can feel something is missing in her life because hasn't made Christ a priority. We ended up finding out that she has family members who are members in Paris! She has two kids that are 15 & 11 and she wants us to teach them as well. She was so excited to learn and we are looking forward to seeing her again this week!

The best part is, those are only just some of the miracles that we saw this past week! There were many more but if I make my email any longer, I don't think anybody is going to want to read it :) So I will save the rest for next week! This week we also had transfers. To our surprise, Soeur Brown and I are staying together for another transfer! By the end of these 6 weeks, Soeur Brown and I will have spent 6 months as companions. That is 1/3 of our missions! Obviously, we must have a lot to learn from each other.

This week was full of so many miracles. Like Moroni says, "my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay;"(Moroni 7:29) "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." (2 Nephi 27) Miracles happen! I am grateful I have the opportunity to witness all of them here in Luxembourg. I am excited for the many more to come. L'église est vrai. Have a wonderful week! 

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, February 20, 2017

A Valentine's Miracle

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week started off by going to Paris to do exchanges with our sister training leaders! They are both amazing missionaries and good friends. In the past, when I have gone to Paris, we have had meetings and I have never actually been able to really hit the streets of Paris and go contacting. This time we were able to go out and share our testimonies with the people of Paris! There are so many people everywhere and everyone is super busy. It is quite different than Luxembourg! We spent Valentine's Day, in the "City of love", trying to spread the Savior's love. It will definitely be a Valentine's Day that I will always remember. I went out contacting with Sœur Marshall and we had such a cool miracle together. 

Enjoying the view of Paris!!

We started off by praying to know where to go. We both felt that we should go down the same road and so we went! We walked down the road for a little bit but everyone that we talked with wasn't interested. Then we looked ahead of us and didn't even see anyone on the road. We were like, "We just walked down the only road in Paris without people!" We decided to keep going though because we both felt that was the street we needed to go down. A couple minutes later we walked by a restaurant and saw a super cute, young french girl just standing there, obviously waiting for her Valentine's date! We decided to start talking with her and she ended up being so receptive! Soeur Marshall started testifying about the restoration and this girl listened really intently. She actually seemed genuinely interested and she asked us a lot of great questions. Her date ended up coming when we were still talking with her but he stood behind us and waited patiently until we finished talking and had said a prayer together. The spirit is always so strong when talking about the restoration. There is no doubt that she was who we needed to find that night! Hopefully, they will be able to see her again. Finding that one person, always makes it easy to forget about all the people that said no before. It also was a good reminder that if we receive spiritual promptings or answers, we should make sure to have patience and trust that it is what Heavenly Father wants us to do. If we would have turned around, we would have never had this awesome miracle! President Monson has a great quote about acting on promptings, "In the performance of our responsibilities, I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.” We were definitely guided to speak with her that night!

Celebrating 15 months as missionaries

We had another amazing experience. We were in Metz, France for district meeting and we were heading back to Luxembourg. We were waiting for our train and the person standing next to us turn toward us and said, "Are you mormons?" We started talking with her and we learned that she actually lives in Lille, France (my first area) and she has a cousin that is member in California. She told us the conversion story of her cousin. She said the missionaries came to her house to teach her dad but her cousin was there and ended up listening too. Her dad stop taking lessons from the missionaries but her cousin continued and was eventually baptized. We talked a little bit more and asked why they were all the way in Metz, France if they lived in Lille. We found out that they were actually in Metz for a funeral because one of their family members died. They were at the train station because they were getting on the train to go to the funeral service. She then started to ask us questions about what we believe about death and if there is an after life. We pulled out the Book of Mormon and read Alma 40:11 to explain what happens after death. When they saw the Book of Mormon they said, "Hey we have one of those at our house!" We were able to testify that families are forever and that they would see their loved one again. We were in the middle of a crazy train station but the spirit was so strong. Tears flowed to her eyes as we testified and there is no doubt that she felt the spirit as well. We got so caught up in talking that we didn't even notice that the train was actually 20 Minutes late! If the train wouldn't have been late, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to teach them a little bit about the plan of salvation. What a tender mercy! I love those moments where it is so obvious that the Lord's hand is in our work.

Every week I find more and more reasons to be grateful. Heavenly Father has been really good to me! Church is true. Have a great week! 

Love, Sœur Johnson

Monday, February 13, 2017

There are People Prepared!!

Bonjour family and friends!!

I had another wonderful week here in Luxembourg! Here are just a couple highlights..

We saw our ami Francisca this week. She was the one we had the really cool lesson with about feeling the spirit. She works so much and so it's hard to find time to have a lesson with her. She works from 8:00am to 1:00pm and then comes home to make lunch and dinner for her kids. Afterwards, she goes back to work at 4:00pm-10:00pm! We really wanted to see her and so we asked if we could have a lesson. She was super busy but she let us come anyway. She only had 20 Minutes  She told us that it always important to make time for a God. If you don't have time, it is not a priority. If Heavenly Father is a priority, you will always find time for Him. There might be other things that don't get accomplished such as cleaning the house, watching a tv show, spending as much time with friends etc.

Vianden, Luxembourg

We had such a cool experience this week!  We had a lesson that got cancelled and so we decided that we would go knock on doors in the same area instead. We realized that we had a member who actually lived in the same neighborhood as well. We have been really wanting to get members more involved in a missionary work and so we thought this would be a great opportunity! We decided that we would start at their house and ask them if they knew anybody in their neighborhood that would be receptive to the gospel and afterwards go knock on doors. So we did just that! We stopped by their house and told them we were going to go knock on doors in their neighborhood but we needed their help! The 13 year old got wide eyed and said, "You want to find someone in THIS neighborhood?!" He wasn't very convinced that people in his neighborhood would be receptive but we told him to have some faith..haha. We asked them if they would say a prayer with us so that we could find someone that would be ready to hear the gospel. We knelt with Sister Mputu and her 6 kids in their living room. Sister Mputu prayed that we would be able to be lead to the people that have been prepared to hear the gospel and that we would say something that would touch them. As she was praying the spirit filled the room. It made me think of a quote I read a couple weeks ago by Boyd K. Packer, "There are few things more powerful than the faithful prayers of a righteous mother." After her prayer we had so much motivation to go out and talk to anyone and everyone! We could literally feel in our hearts that there was somebody ready. She didn't know any people that she felt were ready for the gospel but she did have a particular neighborhood that came to her mind and she suggested we go there.

On our way to knock on doors.. Just casually strolling by this castle that someone actually lives in #luxembourgprobs

We went to the neighborhood she suggested and started knocking on doors! There were a lot of cute young families that lived in this neighborhood. We talked to a couple families who didn't have time because they had to pick their kids up from school but they suggested we come back again another time. The real miracle came when we knocked on one of the last doors in the neighborhood! This cute young mother came to the door and we introduced ourselves. We started talking with her and then she started asking a lot of questions. That is always a good sign because that shows they are genuinely interested! We got into a conversation about the plan of salvation and how we know families can live together forever. She started crying and began to tell us about her son who had to get a brain operation when he was 5 months old. She said that during this time she just held tight to her beliefs in God and just had to trust in him. She told us about how it made her priorities change in life and that now her family always comes first. The spirit was so strong and we knew without a doubt that this was the lady that Heavenly Father had prepared for us. Our conversation got cut short because she had to take her kids back to school but she told us to come back next week! We told our member and her family about our experiences and they were so excited. They said, "We kept praying for you, even after you left!" This week I'm especially grateful for the direction of the spirit and the chance I have to see Heavenly Father work miracles through those who are worthy of his direction. L'église est vrai! Have a wonderful week.

Love, Soeur Johnson 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cool Castles & Member Miracles

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week we spent a couple days in Nancy, France for interviews with President Babin and Zone Conference. The church has released a new missionary daily schedule and so we talked a lot about that. We talked about the importance of agency and how we are being trusted to decide how to best use our time. It is true that God has created us to "act and not to be acted upon" and our whole life is a test of how we will use our agency!

Zone Conference!

We had a lesson with one of members that hasn't come to church for a long time but has recently began to have the desire to go to the temple again. She works on Sunday so sometimes it is difficult to come, but she has started paying her tithing again since the last time we talked with her! This time we talked about the importance of putting God first. We talked about priorities and how we miss out on lots of blessings when we put the things of the world before the things of God. When we have an eternal perspective we realize that worldly things are only temporary but the things of God are eternal. "20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (3 Nephi) Our priorities in life reflect the desires of our hearts. Our actions reflect what we think is most important. This is a concept that we all need to be reminded of every once in awhile. Then, after some self reflection, decide where our "heart is" and what we need to change to make sure it is in the right place.

Visiting Castles in Luxembourg!

Yesterday, we went out with the young adults to visit other members in the ward. We visited this one member in our ward who has a really cool conversion story. He was telling us that he was raised in a catholic family and he had a lot of questions about life that he couldn't find the answers too. He said that in particular he was looking for purpose in life. He couldn't believe that we were on earth just to work, eat, sleep etc., and then do all the same things the next day. He knew that there had to be more purpose then just that!  One day, he was at a really low point and so he decided to pray for the first time in a very long time. He said that after he prayed he felt pretty good and so continued on with his day. In that same week, two missionaries knocked on his door. They taught him about Jospeh Smith and the restoration and he said he could physically feel that it was true. While he was telling us this story, the spirit was so strong! He began thinking about baptism and he said that he had more opposition n his life than ever before. His wife told him that if he got baptized that she would divorce him. He didn't know what to do because he loved his wife but he also had a testimony of the church and wanted to be part of it. He told us that he feels that Heavenly Father was testing him to see how much he truly loved Him and if he was willing to follow his commandments. He went ahead with his desire to be baptized and before his baptism his wife had a change of heart and was okay with it. His wife has been taking the missionary lessons ever since... it has been 20 years!

This member has such a strong testimony! I think I learned way more from him, than he learned from me. We talked about having an eternal perspective and how that often requires having patience and faith in Heavenly Father's timing. We got to share one of my favorite scriptures, "For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven..Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation...For after much tribulation come the blessings." (D&C 58) I am grateful to know that God has a plan for each of us and even though we might not understand everything that happens in our lives, He does. He just asks us to be patient and trust in Him and all will be well. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Love, Soeur Johnson 

Monday, January 30, 2017

More than Weekend Warriors!

Bonjour family & friends!

This has been a crazy week! It seems like every week we seem to get busier and busier and the weeks keep going faster and faster. This week has been a time of a lot of reflection and learning. Soeur Brown and I have both decided we want to stretch ourselves and take advantage of all the opportunities that Heavenly Father is giving us to grow.. and believe me, He is giving us plenty :)

Outside the palace of the Duke and Duchess with my cute companion!

This week we had such a cool lesson with one of our new amis. We met this really cool lady a couple weeks ago. She was standing on her porch while we were walking by and so we starting talking with. We only got to talk to her for a few minutes before she had to go, but she told us that what we had to say interested her so that we should come back. We went to her house again later and started talking with her. She said that she has had quite of few people come knock on her door talking about religion but has never let any of them in. She said that she told us we could come back because she felt something different this time! We brought one of our members that is leaving to go on a mission in a couple months. While she was testifying about the Book of Mormon she started crying and then our ami got tears in her eyes too. Then she asked, why do sometimes when I pray I get weird feelings like I am feeling now and even start crying?! We were more than willing to give her answer. We explained the "Divinity" (the difference between Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost) and told her that what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost testifying of truth. The spirit was so strong during our rendezvous! When we were teaching it felt like we weren't even teaching her new things, we were just reminding her of things she already learned in the pre-existence. We are going to see her next week and explain more of the Book of Mormon! The miracles never cease.

The palace of the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg

We had a really great lesson with one of our members this week. We were getting to know her and so she was telling us a little bit of her life story. Her and her twin sister met the missionaries when they were in their 20's. They chose to be baptized even though they were really persecuted by their family members for doing so. She comes from a very catholic family and so they were not very happy that they were leaving what had become a family tradition. She continues to face a lot of opposition because even 20 years later, her family is against her decision to remain in the church. We asked her what has kept her strong throughout the years. She told us it has been by doing the "little things" everyday that has helped strengthen her testimony and has helped her face daily opposition. She said that by reading the scriptures everyday, praying and by going to church every week, she has become truly converted. It truly is the little things that make a big difference!! 

This week, we had a member call us and ask if we would be willing to spend the day visiting members who live far away and don't often get visited. As we spent the day traveling between three different countries, I was thinking about how incredible it is that this member not only comes to church on Sunday but truly understands what we learn at church and applies it during her weekly life. She took an entire day out of her week to visit people that she knew hadn't been visited for a long time. Not because she was necessarily friends with them or even their visiting teacher. She did it because she knows that is what the Savior would do. It reminded me of the quote, "Therefore, true Christian soldiers are more than weekend warriors." Not every one has the time to spend a whole day visiting people in the ward or to go out with missionaries or to visit a friend who might need a boost (members or not). But no matter how busy our days are, we all have time to make a quick phone call, or send a quick text.  Like I said, it's all about the little things! 

I don't know if i will ever get over how cool Luxembourg is!!

We should make the people around us feel of Christs love because of how we treat them. Coming to church doesn't make a difference if we don't apply the things we have learned. When people walk into the church building they should feel like they are in the church of Christ. We should not be kind just on Sundays. We should not ask people how they are doing just on Sundays. Our commitment to following the Savior is not just for Sundays, it's for everyday of the week and for everyday of our lives. "It is not enough for us to know what is right and to believe it is good. We must be willing to stand up and be counted. We must be willing to act in accordance with what we believe under all circumstances. It is of little value for us to believe one way if we behave contrary to that belief in our private actions or in our public performance." The real test of our loyalty to the Savior is how we live and serve people in our day to day lives. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!! 

Love, Sœur Johnson