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