Tuesday, November 18, 2014



Lauren's new place is just 2 minutes from the Oakland Temple and the Visitor's Center!
Her area is Berkeley Campus in the Single's Ward but she lives in Oakland.
Howdy doodlers!

Well it's been a fun and crazy week, full of miracles! And yes! The temple is super super busy during the holidays. The weekend after Thanksgiving is going to be really busy because that's when we turn on all the Christmas lights and have a performance to celebrate. Then starting December 5th we have two to three different performances going on each night. There will be performances in the Visitor's Center, in the auditorium and other parts of the temple grounds. So thousands of people come through each day and we are stationed in different parts of the VC and outside to welcome and talk to people. I'm told it's exhausting but really fun!! So I'm definitely excited :-D

I'm totally jelly that you got to watch the temple dedication! What a treat. :) We also had a really special treat this past weekend because Elder Bednar came for the 50th Anniversary of the Oakland Temple! He spoke on Sunday night for the celebration, which we couldn't go to unfortunately, but that's quite okay, because we got to see him for almost 6 hours on Saturday!! We and the San Jose mission got to have a special conference with him, then later that evening he spoke at the YSA fireside and Sister Orantes and I also got to go to that since we are serving in a YSA ward. :) It was an incredible day!!! To put it simply, Elder Bednar is a wild man. He's so funny! I haven't ever seen him like that before. It was really cool to see him let his hair down and at both the missionary meeting and the fireside we were able to ask him a lot of questions. It was pretty amazing and by the end of the day my head was spinning from the awesomeness of it all. The theme of both meetings, for us and the young single adults, was about being an agent and not an object. Objects are acted upon, but agents act. He also told some amazing stories. Someone at the YSA fireside asked him a question (can't remember what it was) but it had to do something with what he does as an apostle. So he told us what apostles "really" do. He said "most people think apostles go all around the world and just speak and go to meetings. Yes, that's what we do when we go places, but those aren't the reasons why we go. We go because there is someone in every place that needs us. We go to find the "one." " I loved that, and there was a lot more he said about it but that's the gist of it. I think overall what I took from seeing him speak all day was an even stronger conviction and testimony that he is truly and apostle of the Lord. Without a doubt he is!! So, GREAT day. :)

Also! We had neat miracles. Last week we had two exchanges and they both went awesome! Miracles really do happen on exchanges. On Tuesday Sister Zhao from the VC came with me to Berkeley and both our lessons went awesome, especially with with our investigator from Brazil! For the second exchange I went with Sister Smith to her area (Spanish speaking) and although I wasn't able to really teach with her, in the lesson we had with an investigator I could feel the spirit so strong as she taught. It was crazy awesome. Also, we got a new investigator last week! He's a freshman at UC Berkeley (a friend of someone from the ward). He is Korean and super sweet. Has zero religious background but had friends back in Korea who were members so he's familiar with the church. Additionally, last night, we extended a baptismal date to our investigator from Brazil and she accepted!!! She's amazing!!! I was a little nervous all day about it but the lesson went awesome and the spirit was just right. So, that was another huge miracle.

Well I'm out of time, but I love you all and thanks for your prayers. So much happens that I can't write it all, but just know that you're prayers work because throughout the day the Lord creates miracles and helps me to do things that in the past I would have thought to be impossible for me. So thank you. I love you all!!!

Sister Johnson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014



 Nutty Lauren doing deep cleaning

Hello Mother!

This is going to be a quick email! My new companion Sister Orantes is awesome!!! We've served at the VC together so I already know her really well. :) We have so much fun together; probably too much fun. She is from Houston Texas, 22, really fun and outgoing, sporty but also really girly, loves Disney princesses and pandas. She reminds me of Ella actually. Hehe. She is half Mexican, half, El Salvadorian, so she speaks Spanish. Being back in Berkeley is strange but fun!! It's good to see all the faces I first met when I came out on my mission. :) I don't know the address of our apartment but it's right next to the temple and we live with two other sisters, Sister Wang from Tawaiin (a different one than my last companion) and Sister Vaiangina (from Tonga). So it's been super fun because I've never lived with other sistas before! Our apartment is huge also. It's basically like a little house.

So this past week has been tiring but a lot of fun! We've been creating the VC schedule for the rest of this transfer and getting ready for the Christmas stuff coming up, which is going to be nuts. Basically during the month of December we are at the VC all day every day so we only have like 3 hours in our area a week. We have multiple performances and events going on every day so the VC is going to be suuuper busy. But it is going to be so much fun!

Oh yeah! We also found a new investigator this past week! She is from Brazil and is dating one of the members in the BerkeleyYSA ward. He's taught her a little already and she's already read a lot of the Book of Mormon. She is so sweet! So we are really excited about her :) We also have another investigator who is awesome and are working with a lot of recent converts and less actives in the ward. So the transfer is off to a great start!

Oh yeah, and Brother G***** got baptized on Saturday! I wasn't able to go, but there were over 60 people there and he was super happy. Hopefully I will get pics from Sister Wang soon so I can send them. I really wish I could have been there! But that's okay. Such is life!

That's it for now, sorry this email is short but we don't have very much time today (we are going to deep clean and rearrange stuff in our apartment today, which I'm super excited about haha). Tonight we are going on exchanges, so it's the first exchange of the transfer!

Thank you for all the updates and everything! Love you all so much!!

Sister Johnson

Wednesday, November 5, 2014




Sorry, this e-mail is going to be a little bit short! Sounds like a fun Halloween!! Last week was fun for us too! We had our Trunk or Treat Tuesday evening. We taped candy to temple-cards and decorated our trunk with a sign that said "Happy Halloween! Invite a friend to the Oakland Temple!" (Super creative huh? ;) Jk) So that was fun! We took pictures of some of the kids and their creative costumes. It was fun to mingle with everyone. :) Wednesday morning we had a Visitor's Center breakfast and the four sisters who are leaving this week gave their departing testimonies (Sister Kim, Sister Leung, Sister Bayot and Sister De Aquino). I'm so sad they are all leaving!! Wahh! It is especially crazy that Sister Kim (my trainer) is already going home! When I came out, she was out as long as I am now. Weird!! 

For Halloween, we did our weekly planning that day, then went to a member's home for dinner and went home by 6 to deep clean. We moved the fridge and cleaned underneath and on the walls and the stove. There was a a lot of grime and grease stains so it was exhilarating to clean! Haha. So that was a fun night! Saturday, Brother G***** had his baptismal interview! He's getting baptized this Saturday!! Everyone is so excited for him! His conversion has taken 5 years. So it's about time!

So transfers are this week, and sadly I will be leaving Moraga. Guess where I'm going? Back to the Berkeley University Ward!! I will be a sister trainer with Sister Orantes. A sister trainer goes on exchanges, gives trainings and works with the other leaders in the mission. I'm excited but also don't feel qualified to be a sister trainer. But, the Lord qualifies those who He calls right? Let's hope so. :) What I'm most excited about though is 1) I get to be with Sister Orantes- whom I love and is awesome!!!! And 2) I get to go on exchanges with all the other VC sisters and learn from all of them. :) I think that's what I'm most excited about, is I'll get to learn a lot from the other sisters. Hopefully that's not selfish haha. Of course I am excited too that I get to help them and support them in whatever way the Lord needs me to. :) So, there's that. I'm really going to need a lot of prayers so please pray for me.

I have learned a lot though since being in Moraga. When I first got here I was told it is a really slow and a difficult area for missionary work. But, I saw the opposite. Although it may not historically produce baptisms like other areas, I saw many miracles- some big and some smaller that have the potential to be big. If we believe that an area is slow, it will be. If we believe and have faith that miracles will happen, and act on that faith by working hard and being obedient, miracles will happen. It's all about faith and nothing happens without it. This past week as I studied faith, the principle that Ether chapter 12 and the good ol' Bible Dictionary teaches about faith stood out a lot, which is that faith produces miracles- miracles do not produce faith. It is only until after we exercise our faith that Heavenly Father is going to show us a miracle or give us a witness. :)

That's pretty much it for today. I didn't have as much time today so sorry it was short! Thanks for your prayers and love! Have a fantastic week!

Sister Johnson

Sunday, November 2, 2014



 During Chinese food buffet
 After Chinese food buffet
 All the mail that Lauren isn't getting from us - except for e-mails (which we are good at)
 Getting everyone in on the selfie
Oakland Temple Sisters on P-day

Hey we're twins!! We also had our primary program on Sunday, and we went to a member's home for dinner and also had pot roast! Yipee!

This past week was good! We had some neat things happen. We were able to visit (finally) a former investigator who we haven't seen in a long time. He is still waiting for permission to be baptized. So it was so good to see him! We shared a simple thought with him on hope. As I've studied hope, I've learned that hope is as important as faith. Hope is not only the wish, or the desire, but having optimism - especially when the immediate future is foggy. Faith is action, and hope is the attitude! We can have faith, but if we aren't hopeful, we're not going to be as happy. Hope also teaches us patience, and that we know that in the end, everything will work out together for our good. It talks about this in Romans 8. It's a great chapter in the scriptures about hope!

We also had a neat experience stopping by another former investigator's home (he investigated back in 2009). He actually moved a few years back, but his grandma still lives there so we decided to stop by and meet her. She was super nice and let us in, and T*** (the former investigator) was there! So we ended up talking for like 45 minutes in their living room. He investigated for a year and loved coming to church. What is sad is he said it was a sacrifice for him to stop going to church because he enjoyed it so much but with the feelings of pressure and doubts, he stopped going. Anyways, we had a great discussion. He asked a lot of questions and even though he said he will never convert, we were grateful we stopped by and got to know him. And he doesn't even live there - he lives about 2 hours away but just happened to be there when we stopped by. We invited him to come to church with us and he said he would consider it. So there is hope! Heavenly Father definitely led us there that night. :) 

We also decided to call another former investigator who we stopped by a few weeks back but wasn't home. He answered and was super nice! We invited him to some upcoming events and asked if we could visit him - and he accepted! It was a bit of a surprise because that doesn't happen a lot haha, especially over the phone (for our area at least). We also were able to get in contact with a member who sent us a referral a few months back. We visited his friend, but at the time he said it wasn't a good time and he wasn't interested. When we talked to the member though the other night, he said that he told him we stopped by and is interested in having us visit again. So that was also a surprise! Some other neat things: M***** came to church yesterday!! He has finally been getting back to us and said he needs to come to church. So he did and he said he really needed it.  We just want to do all we can to help and support him. He's such a great guy!

We are also getting everything ready for Brother G******'s baptism! Everyone in the ward is so excited for him. He is awesome and has become so enthusiastic with such a strong desire to learn. It's amazing to see!!!

There are a lot of fun things happening this week: tomorrow we have our ward Trunk or Treat, Wednesday we have a Visitor's Center breakfast at Elder and Sister Poulsen's home, then Friday is Halloween (which means deep cleaning!) And then Saturday is Brother G's baptism interview and transfer calls! Unbelievable that it's the last week of the transfer!! This next transfer is going to be awesome also because Elder Bednar is coming! Yay! I am so excited for the Holiday season!!!

Also I'd just like to add how awesome all the families are in our ward. Every time we drive home from visiting members or having dinner with them, we are in awe by their kindness and love for us! It is so inspiring to be able to be around so many wonderful people. And the awesome thing is all of these wonderful families are not only here, but everywhere! All over the world! The Gospel is spreading more each day. And, even though things in the world are getting worse, the Gospel is growing stronger. I can feel it and see it, especially being at the Visitor's Center. I love seeing people of all different backgrounds and cultures come in and have an interest in the Gospel. The work is progressing and it's our duty to share it. This is what we're all here for! Invite friends to activities and to church. Share thoughts with them. Miracles will happen as you do!!!

Love you all and have a Happy Halloween week! :-)

Sister Johnson