Friday, May 29, 2015

WE MADE IT!

I finally made it to the England MTC (Missionary Training Center)! It's been a crazy couple of days. Wednesday morning my family & I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the airport for my flight. My friend, Jordan, came with us to the airport as well. Saying goodbye to my family was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Lots & lots of tears were shed, but a nice airport lady gave all of us tissues so that made it a little bit better. 

After going through security, I got to see my family through a window but we couldn't hear each other when we talked so they were typing out messages on their phones so I could read them while I was writing notes to them in a notebook. I had to leave my phone at home.  

On my flight from St. George to Denver, CO I was alone, but when I got to the airport two other missionaries joined me. (Elder Amermon & Sister McLean--I have no idea how to spell their names though hahaha). Our flight from Denver to New Jersey was delayed by an hour & a half so we had a couple hours to get to know each other. When we finally boarded the plane we were all a little bit nervous that we were going to miss our next flight so when we got there we all pretty much ran off the plane. Turns out, we didn't need to though because our flight to Manchester, England had been delayed from 7:20 p.m. to 10:20 p.m.

When we got to our gate we met up with all of the other missionaries who would be coming from North America to the England MTC in Preston, England. There were four Elders & four Sisters in total. Two of the Elders, Elder Jensen & Elder Whithers, I kind of met before, but the rest of them I didn't know.  It was exciting to talk with all of them. All of us except one Sister is going to the England London North Mission, & she is going to the London South Mission.   

A member of our church was sitting with us as well & actually ended up buying us a pizza & let us send a picture of the 'crew' to our families. #blessed 

After eating the pizza we found out that our flight had been delayed even more & we weren't going to be leaving until 11:20 p.m. Then they just kept pushing it back in 10-15 minute increments until 12:50 a.m. At that point, they told us that the pilot was unable to fly to Manchester because he was over his allotted hours & it would be illegal. 

They ended up cancelling the flight. A lot of people were very unhappy. One couple was going to miss their wedding because of it. It was definitely emotional for everyone, but it gave us missionaries a chance to meet & talk to some people about our missions. A few of us even handed out some pass along cards!! 

After waiting in line until 3:00 a.m. we finally resolved the issue with our flight. We ended up booking two hotel rooms 45 minutes from the airport & rescheduled our flights to leave the following day at 7:10 p.m. Yikes! We got on a shuttle that took us to the hotel & all of us then passed out. The majority of us had only gotten 3 or 4 hours of sleep so we were exhausted. Elder Jensen had taken some sleeping pills before we knew our flight was cancelled so he was totally out the whole ride. Lucky him, I guess. 

We got to the hotel at 4:30 a.m. & finally got to our rooms. The Sisters stayed in one room & the Elders in another. We got to sleep at around 5:30 a.m. and woke up at 10:30 a.m. so we could get some food before leaving for the airport at 1:30 p.m. We ended up hanging out in the lobby for a couple of hours & the restaurant at the hotel made us three pizzas because they weren't serving breakfast anymore. 

Finally, we left for the airport, got through security, and got to our terminal with three hours to spare. Our flight actually left on time so we finally boarded our plane to the United Kingdom. We got to London & went through customs with about 45 minutes to spare before boarding our next flight to Manchester. When we got to Manchester, we got to the baggage claim & found out that seven of our checked bags were still in London, but luckily all of mine made it. 

We met up with a man from the MTC & he took our bags for us, then we took a shuttle to the MTC. The Mission Training Center is so beautiful.  The Preston Temple is on the same grounds with the MTC so the spirit was so strong when we arrived. 

When we got to the MTC, a couple of the Sisters greeted us & we also met our Mission President & his wife. They then took us down to eat some lunch. We had some sandwiches;  some crisps (chips as they say in the good ol' USA) & some malties (whoppers pretty much). 

After that, we walked around the the grounds of the MTC with President Preston &  finally got our name tags. It was crazy putting it on for the first time. The reality that I am  representing The Lord as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints became so real in that instant. Now we have some free time to email & unpack before dinner. At dinner we get to meet all of the other Missionaries here which will be exciting!

 I hope you all are doing well! I'd love to hear from you! I love you guys so so so much & miss you already! (also sorry if this makes no sense, i'm struggling with the keyboard lol)



At the St. George, Utah Airport with Krista (sister), Jordan (close friend), me, Mom, and Dad


Selfie with (from front to back) Sister Fitts, Sister Burtis, me, & Sister McLean



The "crew/squad/gang" waiting in line after our flight was cancelled




Boarding passes to the UK

FINALLY!  Flying into Manchester , England
Love, Sister Johannes

Sunday, May 17, 2015

MISSION FAREWELL

Oh my. Today I gave my mission farewell.

Jorrin, Jordyn, me, & Kenna
Friends from BYU who drove 4 hours to come to my farewell. Wow I love them.

It's so insane that I'm going on a mission. I don't know if anyone else is like this, but even though I had decided to go on a mission, received my call, bought all the stuff, & wrote out my farewell... none of it seemed real. Like a part of me was still saying, "there's no way you are actually going on a mission." I'm really weird so maybe I'm the only person like this hahaha but it seriously doesn't seem like I could be leaving in 10 days.

My bishop gave me the date for my mission farewell the week after I got my call, so I had ninety days to write my talk. Ninety days.  You would think with that much time to prepare that my talk would be on the same level as a general authorities. But it was far from that. 

About a month ago I finally decided on a topic & started writing it. I wrote the first three sentences, took a break, got onto twitter, tweeted about how my talk was going to be 10/10, then, feeling confident in the three sentences I had written, shut my computer. I didn't attempt to finish my farewell until about four days ago. So I definitely procrastinated. 

I chose to give my talk on Christ's Atonement & the power of forgiveness. It was one of the most important topics that I was taught growing up in the church, so I decided that maybe others needed to be reminded of the amazing gift we have been given. So I'll summarize my talk & post it if any of you are curious (which I'm sure you are because you all love me, amirght?)

Our savior has atoned for every single one of our sins, so that we may return to our Father in Heaven. That is the ultimate act of love. He bled from every pore of his body, suffering for us. Christ was not forced to suffer for our sins, it was his decision & he did it for each of us — individually. 

He has felt everything we have felt. He has felt the inner struggle you feel whenever you are tempted to stray from a path of righteousness. He has felt ever scraped knee or broken bone. He has felt the pain of rejection. He is the one person that truly understands everything we are going through.

He is the one person who will, if we live righteously & repent when we have strayed, stand on behalf of each & everyone of us at the time of our final judgement, pleading with our Father to let us return to Him.

Along with being forgiven for our own sins, we need to remember that we must forgive others. We should treat one another with Christlike love & have no harsh feelings towards those who may have hurt us. The Lord expects all of us to forgive. In D&C 64:10, it states that that Lord “will forgive whom he will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” 

Sometimes it may seem like an impossible task to forgive someone who has deeply hurt you. But with the Lord’s help we are able to find the strength needed to forgive even the worst wrongdoings. All we need to do is ask the Lord for guidance. 

President Howard W. Hunter once said, “It has always struck me as being sad that those among us who would not think of reprimanding our neighbor, much less a total stranger, for mistakes that have been made or weaknesses that might be evident, will nevertheless be cruel & unforgiving to themselves. When the scriptures say to judge righteously, that means with fairness & compassion & charity. That’s how we must judge ourselves. We need to be patient & forgiving of ourselves, just as we must be patient & forgiving of others.”

Another important part of repentance is forgiving ourselves when we have sinned. A lot of us carry the weight of our sins around with us even after we have been forgiven by our Father in Heaven because we have not forgiven ourselves. That is not okay.

Self-forgiveness is one of the most important steps in the repentance process, but one of the most skipped. We need to forgive ourselves. The Lord is willing to forgive us, we are willing to forgive others, so why not be willing to forgive ourselves? 

I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, & because of this knowledge, I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on Earth today. The gospel is the one thing that never fails to bring me peace & joy in even my hardest trials. I cannot wait to share this gift with everyone who will hear it.