Sunday, March 30, 2014
Thanks for the email! I love hearing about everything going on at home!
Yeah it was awesome to see the Ballard's!! I actually saw them walk outside probably like 20 minutes before they came in, but I wasn't sure if it was them or not. I thought, "that looked like Brother and Sister Ballard...it probably wasn't them though!" Hehe so it was awesome! That's so funny! We were just standing at the front desk/greeting people that came in. Thanks for sending the pictures! It was so good to see faces from home! They are so awesome! :)
The length of your emails are totally good! I enjoy reading about everything going on down there! It seems like everyone is having such a great time without me! Wahh. Jk. But never hesitate on writing lengthy emails because I love reading them! And actually we don't have a time-limit for emailing on P-Day's which is awesome!! Haha, it's because we email in the Family History Center which is downstairs from the Visitor's Center and there is no one here so they let us email as long as we want. :)
To answer your questions:
Yes, Sister Kim drives.
The streets aren't too confusing, I just haven't learned them all yet. But I've learned some.
Yes it is hilly! It's really cool too. The institute building, which is where we go to church for the YSA ward in Berkeley is on a hill. The other day Sister Kim and I went for a run up and down the hill for our morning exercise. It was tough!
Sister Kim has been in Berkeley for 6 months now so she knows where everything is and doesn't need me to navigate usually, but we use a GPS for places/houses we've never been. So I just sit back and relax haha. It's nice being driven everywhere!
So, here's some of the things going on over here:
This past week has been full of blessings and has been overall a great week!!! We have an investigator who accepted baptism for April 13!! He is originally from Nigeria but grew up in the states. He is very nice and sweet and awesome - very serious and doesn't smile a lot, but we have noticed him smiling and opening up more to people which is awesome! The other sisters who serve with us in our ward were teaching him, but one of the sisters had surgery and has been full-time in the VC for the past 3 weeks and so her companion got put in a trio with another set of sisters in our district, so they gave one of the their investigators to us (his name is ***) Anywho, so we are super excited about that because they've been teaching him for a while and have asked him about baptism quite a few times, and he finally accepted when we talked to him about baptism!!!! Yay!!
Another blessing is that we got a new investigator named ***** - HE'S AWESOME AND SO READY FOR THE GOSPEL!!!! And it was a miracle, we found him contacting on the street the second or third week I was here. He is such a nice, kind, genuine mature guy!!!! He just has such a great spirit and when we met him he asked the PERFECT golden questions like, "Yeah I've actually always wondered what our purpose for life is, and where we were before this life and where we're going after..." And he told us he has a lot of Christian friends who are great people!! So on Thursday of last week we met him and a had a lesson with him and taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation and it was awesome!!!! We had two members of our ward with us, *****and ***** (gonna get married) who are great and helped out so much!!! He was so impressed by everything we said and that everything we were saying was so empowering and the spirit was so strong!!! He is so ready and interested and it's a miracle! He goes to Berkeley and used to run track. Ahhh I'm just so excited for him! During the lesson I was so just so excited and had to contain myself! Hehe. Anywho, that's a blessing we got this week!
Another blessing that happened was on Friday (I think) we were at the institute after contacting helping some women carry stuff for an event and two girls walked in and one of them told us her friend is interested in talking to us!! So we were like, "Sure!!!!!" The one who talked to us first got baptized recently and told her friend about it and everything and now her friend is interested in learning more!!! So we're going to meet with her this week!! Such a miracle right?? Any investigator literally walked into our missionary lives!! So awesome! They are both super sweet too!
Another blessing is that we have a potential investigator named **** who is Korean but grew up in Japan as a child and moved to the states when she was about 11. She is in her 60s now and works in Berkeley as some sort of psychologist for women or something. She is so awesome and sweet and amazing!!! We talked to her on the phone and she said she went to an LDS sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago, but didn't have the greatest experience because the ward she went to is just kind of chaotic and there were a lot of loud children and she didn't have the greatest time, but we're going to take her to our ward where she will hopefully like it much better! She obviously isn't in the singles ward age but she will be able to attend the meetings and such. What sparked her interest in the church is that she's going to be moving to Salt Lake in a few months I believe and says since half the population is Mormon, she was really curious about Mormonism. She is a referral from the Visitor's Center because she went and visited it one time and filled out a referral card. Anyways, she's great and I'm really hoping she enjoys meeting with us! We met her on Saturday - there was a huge event at the ISC right next to the Temple, it was Cambodian New Year and we invited her to it! It was awesome! Our Cambodian branch hosted it and there were hundreds of people! It was super loud though so we went outside and ate dinner (which was also really good), and *** came too and a recent convert named **** (who is awesome and super funny) was also there! So it was a great time!
So anyways, that's some of the stuff that happened this week...I'm sure there's a lot more but that's the main stuff! Heavenly Father is really blessing us. The people in Berkeley are so interesting! Our ward is pretty liberal hahaha, but everyone is super nice and SUPER smart...oh my goodness. But it's a great ward. Everyone is so different and unique.
Well I guess I will wrap up this email!! Thanks for everything and love you all!!!!!!!!! Have fun!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Sister Johnson with John and Sharon Ballard!!??!! What a coincidence~!!!!
Sister Johnson and Sister Kim in the Oakland California Temple Visitor's Center!!!
EXCERPT FROM MARCH 17, 2014 E-MAIL FROM LAUREN:
To answer your questions:
1) My health is great. I feel very good each day. Very energized and I don't get too tired, not yet at least. All I drink is water but I could probably drink more water throughout the day. But yeah health wise I feel great :)
2) Living with a comp has been good, Sister Kim is awesome and a hard working missionary and she pushes me which I am grateful for! We work well together and are doing well at teaching together and I am (hopefully) getting better at teaching. Sister Kim tells me that I am doing a really good job and says it doesn't seem like I'm a new missionary (not to brag, that's just what she says :)) so that is great to hear, when she first told me that I was really surprised. But I just keep trying to learn all I can everyday and I hope I'm getting better and better each day.
3) Yeah I have been able to laugh, although the mission so far isn't like the MTC. At the MTC I was totally comfortable and my comps and district had a blast together, and I think partly why is because we were all in the same boat. Coming out here I've been a lot more quiet because everyone is already BFF and knows each other super well, and it's kind of like coming to a new school where you're the loser...jk but everyone is super nice and fun. The elders are really cool and funny too. :) It is especially fun being in the VC because it is fun to work with and be around the other sisters :) Sister Kim and I have been helping a Sister who got surgery on her knee a couple weeks ago (she is a solo sister in the VC full time until she can start walking on her own again because she's on crutches); her name is Sister Oa from Samoa. She's so funny!! (Sorry my descriptions for everything is so lame, I'm trying to be detailed but also hurry!!)
4) The most fun things so far....hmm well I do like just talking with people on the street and getting to know people in the ward. Contacting is actually pretty fun; it's kind of like a game because you try and get people to talk with you/engage them so you can talk to them. We go contacting on Berkeley Campus so we talk to a bunch of college kids and we've met some really cool people! So when you contact, basically you just have to talk to everyone and anyone. I always find something about them that I can ask them about or comment on, like if I like something they're wearing I will give them a compliment and ask them wear they got whatever it is (ex:"Ohh I love your shoes!!! Where did you get them?!"), or it's really easy if they are eating something like ice-cream or a smoothie because you can ask them where they got it/if it's good. Anyways, it probably sounds lame but it is fun to do! Last week we were by a Japanese restaurant looking at the menu from outside and a guy walked by and I asked him if he's ever eaten there and he started telling us about all the places he likes to eat in the area we were in, hahaha it was funny.
The Berkeley YSA ward is a great ward - everyone is really close because they are the only YSA Mormons in this area really. They all are super smart, but all very humble and fun to talk with/listen to haha. On Friday they had a "Pi Party" for pi day, and that was fun :) There were lots of yummy pies! The institute building/church building for our ward is really cool - it's in a really old house, so it's kinda creepy and smells weird, but it's awesome hehe :)
Well I am going to try and write some more emails!!! Thanks again for everything, I wish I could write more!!! I really do appreciate your emails!!! I love you all so much and thanks for all your love and support! I hope you and dad and Brad are having fun together! :) It sounds like you are having fun watching movies, can't to watch movies with you when I come home! :-)