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