Monday, May 26, 2014

Lauren's May 26, 2014 E-Mail - I'M IN MORAGA!

 Moraga, California

Thanks for the update! 

So to answer your questions:

1.  What is your new apartment like?
First of all, elders have been living there for the past almost year, so when we got there the apartment was DISGUSTING. I seriously don't think they cleaned that bathroom the entire time they were there! I spent a good hour just cleaning the toilet haha. But man did we clean that apartment good! Now it's looking really nice and cozy and smells much better! We also rearranged a lot of stuff. It is in an apartment complex where college students live that attend a small college in Moraga. I will take pics and send to you next week :)

2. Have you met any of the ward members yet?
Yes! We had dinner last week with a family from the ward who have like 10 kids all in their twenties haha. They are a super cool family! We also had dinner with another family who has kids all in their twenties and they were awesome as well. :) We tried to meet with more members but weren't able to last week, but on Sunday we greeted everyone that came to church and met a lot of people so we felt much better after that! The ward is super nice and welcoming so we are really excited! The church building is also really pretty!!!

3. Have you eaten at anyone's house yet?
Yes, see 2 :)

4. What was moving out of your first missionary apartment like? easy or difficult?
Easy! Sister Henderson and I are really clean and neat and don't have a lot of junk so it was easy getting everything packed up and clean. :)

5. Can you make some pictures of stuff and people?
Yes! :-)

So Moraga is beautiful!!! There are tons of beautiful, rolling golden hills and trees. It is basically like a magical fairyland place, at least that's how Sister Henderson and I describe it. The neighborhoods are so pristine and picture-perfect and there are a lot of big houses. It feels very different than Berkeley but we like it a lot! :) We met our investigator in the ward who is getting baptized soon (we've actually met him before in the visitor's center) and he is a super awesome, funny fellow! He has a wife and 2 kids. We are excited we get to teach him and help him be ready for his baptism!

It was neat because when we got to Moraga we got a referral for a recent convert who just moved here from Sacramento. We went to his address and it was an apartment complex (of course) but there was no appt. # for him (of course!) So we decided to pick a random set of doors to knock on to see if he lived in any of them. We tried some, wasn't him, and then decided to try one last one. The last one we tried was him! Haha. I love those simple miracles Heavenly Father gives us. :)

The Visitor's Center lately has been fun! A lot of fun interesting people have come in, especially a lot of Chinese (which is super fun because Sister Henderson and I give them tours, even though I don't speak Chinese, so I just get to listen to Sister Henderson be awesome and speak Chinese while I stand there and smile haha. I want to learn some Chinese though! Chinese people are so great and loving!). We are so lucky to be at the Visitor's Center! Sometimes I get anxious because I want to be back in our area doing work, but then there are always so many miracles that happen and awesome people that we meet at the Visitor's Center. So we are very blessed!!!

Anyways that's pretty much it for this week! Love you all! Have an awesome week and be safe and pray and read your scrips and go to church! :-)

Sister Johnson

Lauren's May 19, 2014 E-Mail - GETTING TRANSFERED!

Transfered to Moraga, California

 Map of the Moraga, California area, with a star centered on the location of Dan Dahlen's office.


Wow, every one is almost out of the house now! Brad will be back before you know it though. 12 weeks is 2 transfers! :) 

Speaking of, Sister Henderson won't be in Berkeley anymore :((( We will be both be transferring to Moraga! It is bittersweet for us because we are sad to be leaving cute little Berkeley and our awesome YSA ward, but also excited for a new adventure! Although I've been told Moraga is a difficult area for baptisms (we won't let the rumors get to us), it is very affluent community and we will be replacing elders. I hear the leadership in the ward is very strong and that the Bishop is awesome and super nice! Also, it is a huge ward and on average there's about 300 members at church on Sunday! And actually the elders we are replacing have a baptism set with an investigator in June, so that will be exciting! We are mostly sad to be leaving our recent convert M****, and also our new investigator named B***** who is AMAZING and soooo sweet! We are also sad about leaving our neighbors down the street who we've helped a couple times move stuff out of their house. They were so awesome and wanted really badly to feed us dinner but we never got the chance and now it's too late :( That's okay though :) We've met so many awesome people and Berkeley and won't forget our experiences there! Also, Sister Kim my first companion is going back to Berkeley (she is a Sister trainer now :))

So I just want to tell you a little bit about B****! We met with her the first time last week and got to know her, and she's amazing. We met her the first time a couple of weeks ago at church (her friend brought her) and she came up to us after church and said she was really interested in learning more because the lesson in class that day was something she had been thinking a lot about recently (it was on our gifts and talents). We met with her last week for the first time to get to know her and she told us that lately she's been feeling like there is something more she needs to be doing in life, like she has a higher potential and great purpose that she needs to reach (she has a Lutheran background by the way). She also says she wants to serve others more and help people more. We were ecstatic because that is everything the Gospel will provide for her!!!! She also came into the Visitor's Center last Thursday and it was an amazing experience for all of us!! We showed her our God's Plan for His Family presentation and talked a lot about family's. She told us that recently she had an experience that made her very interested in doing family history work, and it's something she's felt urged to research more!! When she told us that we were like WHAT?!?! That is one what our church is all about!!! We told her we have a Family History Center downstairs and that it's one of the biggest in the nation and we took her down there! She was so excited and it was just amazing!!! While we were giving her a tour of the Visitor's Center we were all tearing up and I could just feel the love Heavenly Father has for her and I know He has sent her to us at this time. He has been preparing her for the Gospel! Unfortunately we won't be able to continue teaching her since we are transferring, but we are so excited for her to keep learning about the Gospel. She is one of the sweetest, Christ-like people I've met, even though I haven't known her for very long. I am just beyond excited for her.

Also, yesterday Sister Henderson and I had a really neat experience in the Visitor's Center. A woman came in who said she just went to one of the church meetings across the street for the first time (across the VC is a huge chapel where a lot of wards meet) and was interested in learning more. She said she had talked to missionaries on chat and that's how she found out about the church. She says she feels very lonely at the church she currently goes to. As we started talking to her more, she became very emotional and told us how burdened she feels from being so lonely and feeling like she is going to hell for her sins. As we were talking to her, trying to comfort her, she started weeping. I put my arm around her and told her she isn't going to hell and that Heavenly Father loves her more than she can imagine, and that Christ knows exactly how she's feeling. We shared some scriptures with her from the Book of Mormon in Alma 7 about Christ's Atonement and the verse in Matthew that says "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It was a very touching, spiritual moment. She is going to be meeting with missionaries and we are excited to hear about how it goes with her. :) It is just amazing how Heavenly Father is so aware of all of His children. I told her I know that Heavenly Father lead her there that day. I am so grateful for that experience because I was so full of love for her. Heavenly Father truly does love all of His children so much.

Overall, we had a great last week in Berkeley. We are excited to move to Moraga and help whoever Heavenly Father has prepared for us there! We get to see so many miracles happen all the time. I wish I could tell you all the ways that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and make miracles happen during the week but there are too many to write! Heavenly Father blows my mind every day. He is hastening His work! I love you all and thank you for all your support and love!

Sister Johnson 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


MOTHER'S DAY 2014!!!!


We're all in the shot together.  
Alex and Britt in the corner, Steve, Donna, Brad and Chandler and Lauren all talking! The screen would change depending on who was talking ... wow... technology!


 the first baptism!

It was so good to see ya'lls faces yesterday!!! Everyone looks smashing as always! And yes it did work out good! Yesterday was an amazing day!! We had dinner at the Lavender's house (Senior Couple at the VC) with Sister Oa and Sister Lindsay (who serve in the Berkeley University Ward with us). It was so fun and we were dying of laughter (to give you an idea of how fun it was). I just love all of them. So I'll tell you about yesterday and past week real quick (since we didn't really talk about it yesterday!)

So yesterday was M****'s baptism and it was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! M**** was sooo happy and her best friend came who we are starting to teach now also!!! Our ward is seriously the best - they are so welcoming and loving and funny!! The talks were amazing and everyone in that ward is just WONDERFUL. That's just all I can say. We had a couple mishaps haha, but it made the experience all the more fun. First we were rushing around because there was another baptism right before ours but they left the doors open to the font, so weren't able to go in to get her suit or else everyone in the congregation would be able to see us (if that makes sense; hard to explain). So we had to wait a little, but then we finally were able to go in to get her suit (and we were serving at the VC right before this so that's why we didn't go in earlier). Then, when we did go in to get her suit, we had a hard time trying to find one for her that was her size! We eventually did find one but it was a really old weird-looking one with a collar and a belt, but she tried it on anyway and ended up liking it and wanted to wear it! Haha, which was good, because right before the baptism started Sister Henderson found where all the extra women's suits were. Haha it was great. We also forgot to tell M**** to bring a towel haha. When she got out of the font Sister Henderson was like "You brought a towel right?" So she dried off with some extra baptismal suits hahaha. 

It was just such a spiritual, happy experience. Everyone that was involved has been such a blessing and a miracle to us these past months with M****! I just wish you all could know the amazingness of the people in the Berkeley University Ward. I'm just so grateful to everyone. And I will have to send you all a copy of her baptismal program that we made. :) Oh and Sister Henderson and I sang! We sang "I Stand All Amazed" (P.S. Sister Henderson has a amazing voice (she sings like Snow White) :)) It made M**** cry! Mission accomplished. :-) We were going to get someone from the ward to do a musical number, but no one got back to us in time, but we were glad to sing because M**** loves it when we sing haha. She always asks us to sing for her! She's so funny. It was just so great, and Sister Kim and Sister Cooper were there and helped out a lot too! 

Last week we met with M*****'s best friend (who came to the baptism) who is as awesome as M****! We are 99.9% sure she'll be getting baptized soon as well, but unfortunately she's moving back home for the summer so we won't get to finish teaching her (we will get in contact with missionaries over where she lives). We are going to meet with her again this week though and teach her more! Oh and also, last week I forgot to tell you in my email last week about an awesome family we met who lives on our street! It is a grandmother, mom and her daughter (who is 24). Actually I think I did tell you about them. Anyways, on Wednesday we went and helped them move stuff out of one of the rooms in their house because the daughter is going to move into that room. It is a really old house (like 115 years old or something). They are the sweetest people and it was so much fun helping them! The mom actually reminds me of you mom (hehe) she has a little bit of a Southern accent and is bubbly and talkative and animated like you. And has that good ol' Southern hospitality (she's actually never lived in the South though haha). The grandma lives in the house right behind theirs, and her house is FULL OF PIGS!!! She collects pigs. Everything is pigs. Everything. Pigs. Everywhere I look. I told her I used to collect piggy banks and that pigs were mine and my best friend's favorite animal growing up (Lauren H. :)) so she gave me one of her piggy banks! AND her last name is Hamm! Haha. So funny. They are Catholic and say they aren't going to convert (we'll see about that ;-)) but love missionaries. We are going back over there this week to help more and they are going to feed us dinner! Yay! Haha. They are awesome.

Oh yeah! We went to the Temple last week. It was just great. I just really really love the Temple. Like really.

Anywho, those are some of the highlights of last week. We are continuing to be so blessed here. This past week Sister Henderson and I kept saying to each other, "Is M**** really getting baptized? Is this really happening?" And it did! The funny and crazy thing is, we feel like we haven't even done anything. M**** is just amazing and Heavenly Father has been preparing her for this time in her life. What I've realized even more lately is that this is this is truly Heavenly Father's work. I am literally just a tool that he uses. I am a hammer and he is the one hammering and using me to create miracles and masterpieces. I just have the privilege of being a part of it somehow. Which is amazing. I see miracles here every day! Prayer works. Having faith works. Heavenly Father is so aware of us! It's amazing. It's all true!! And It is crazy that this week is that last week of this transfer. It has been an amazing transfer and the joy that I get from being a missionary grows everyday. We meet so many amazing people each day. I just love meeting people and learning about their lives and backgrounds. That's basically what my job is - to get to know people, love them, teach them the Gospel, be their cheerleader and support, pray for them, have faith and then see how amazing Heavenly Father is at making miracles happen. And being a representative of Jesus Christ. No big deal. (Just kidding, huge deal and huge blessing.) Being a missionary is just honestly the coolest thing ever. Soo, yeah. :) 

I love you all and thank you for all your love and everything!!!! Talk to you next week!

Sister Johnson 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Thumbs up on her Easter Package!

The contents of her Easter Package

The view from the Institute balcony



I am so excited to talk to ya'll this Sunday!! It's so good to hear about everything that's going on! This email is going to be kind of short because I don't have a lot of time today!

This past week was full of miracles!!! We talked to so many amazing people and had awesome conversations with them! I'll tell you briefly about some of the people we talked to:

Last Monday we talked to a women in the parking lot of the grocery store. She was awesome! She loves the Bible and we gave her a Bible and Book of Mormon and she was reading to us some of her favorite verses out of the Bible. She was super funny and great to talk to. We told her about church, and was really interested and surprised that there was a church building in her area. We got her info and are keeping touch with her over our emails in the Visitor's Center. :) Also on Monday, we met an awesome family who came into the Visitor's Center. Their teenage daughter had been there before and brought her mom and friend that day because she wanted them to see it. We showed them our presentation called God' Plan for His Family, and they were so touched by it! At the end, we taught them about the temple and the mom basically asked when she could get baptized haha. They actually live in Berkeley but we referred them to the elders in our district because they would be in the Berkeley Family ward. It was just a blessing and a miracle and we were so excited for them!!

On Wednesday we were contacting in our neighborhood before we went to serve in the Visitor's Center. We only had about 30 minutes, and the first 25 weren't so great because no one wanted to talk to us. Just as we were walking back to our car though, we saw a women digging through garbage bags outside of her house (she lives a few houses down from us). We asked if she needed help and at first she looked really confused but then realized we were missionaries and was super excited to talk to us! Her and her daughter that live there are Catholic, but say they love feeding missionaries and would love to have us over. They were especially excited that we were sister missionaries because they had only met elders before. The daughter came outside too so we were talking to both of them, and they were just the sweetest people! We offered to do service, and so tomorrow we are going during the day to help them out. :) It is just funny how the Lord always puts someone in your path who He wants you to talk to.

Another person we talked to last week was a man in the Visitor's Center. He had met with sister missionaries in the past but felt like some of his questions weren't answered clearly, so we did our best to answer his questions and ended up talking for over an hour. Long story short, he is extremely well-versed in the Bible and very religious, but it was awesome talking to him and he was very interested in what we had to say. He was really interested in what we think about grace, mercy, repentance etc. and are keeping in touch with him. He was interested in buying a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants, so we told him where he could buy a triple combination, and then told him if he wants to know if this church is true or not, he needs to read the Book of Mormon and ask Heavenly Father!

Lastly, our investigator M**** is getting baptized this Sunday!! We are so excited for her! We went to an event she put together at her school yesterday and we did tye-dying (spelling?). She's so fun and has such a sweet spirit. Our ward has been awesome too because they have helped so much with coming to our lessons with her and giving her rides and everything else!! Oh and at church on Sunday, a guy from another YSA ward brought his non-member friend from Berkeley - we had a lesson in Gospel principles about talents, and afterwards she came up to us saying that that lesson was exactly what she needed to hear and wants to meet with us. What a blessing!! We are hoping to meet with her this week. :)

Anywho, a lot more happened but that's all I have time to write. What we learned last week is that Heavenly Father always blesses us for our efforts and obedience. That's why obedience is so important!! Miracles happen when you have faith!!

Love you all and talk to you on Mother's Day!!

Sister Johnson