Monday, June 22, 2015

BANANAS AND BIKES




June 15th Today was pday & our district planned to meet up in Bedford & have a picnic. This was the first time I met our whole district so it was exciting! We played a bunch of games outside & in the chapel. 

June 16th Today was the weirdest day. So many strange things happened. We started our day by driving to Cranfield to teach an investigator. We ended up having to teach him in a park & the whole time I was looking into the sun hahahah. But it was a good lesson. My face ended up getting sunburnt though. I didn't even know it would be sunny enough in England to get a sunburn hahah, but it happened! Then we had lunch at a recent converts house & the food was 10/10. After that we had a lot of time to find new investigator around town, so we headed into town. On our way there we saw a fight between a woman & a man, which was kinda scsry. Then we were walking behind these two guys who were smoking & one of them turned back to look at us & then through his cigarette to the side & whispered something to his friend. Then he walked faster away from us & the friend stopped & stared at us as we walked past. Then that friend ran up with the other one & I stopped Sister Yucra cause I was creeped out. So we waited 5 minutes then continued walking & we ended up passing those guys again because they had waited for us. But luckily we were right next to a police station so nothing happened. 

June 17th Today we decided to go to Sandy to teach some less actives & some investigators. When we got there we had a lunch appointment with a less active & we showed her the video Mountains to Climb. The video is about continually having faith, even in the times when we feel like it's impossible to. It's very powerful, so please watch it if you have a chance (you can find it on lds.org). After lunch, we decided to do some tracting (knocking on doors). It was really sad. Everyone slammed the doors in our faces & it was kinda hard to keep smiling & continue to tract. But then my companion & I started talking about how blessed we are to have the gospel in our lives, & how important it is for us to share that gift we've been given. Obviously we can't control everyone & make them listen to our message, but we can reach out to as many people as we can, & then ones that are ready will listen. 

After tracting, we ate a banana on a bench while we waited for an appointment to start. Then we met with a family & we talked to them about coming into Christ. It was hard to teach them though, because they all had their iPads out & every time we started to feel the spirit they would start talking about their cats. But we love the family, so we will continue teaching them! 

June 18th Today we had district meeting for the first time & we rode our bikes there but my bike had two flat tires. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to go home so I had to ride my bike all the way to the church. I honestly thought I was going to die. I got to the church & fell on the ground & almost started to cry tears of joy. At district meeting Sister Yucra & I had to perform a talent, but I lack talent so it was difficult to come up with something. So we decided to show everyone how funny we are & telll jokes. Everyone was laughing. Hahahahahahahahahahaahah no but real the jokes were soooooo good. At the end of district meeting I was asked to bear my testimony (lol it happens so much) it went well. I'm slowly but surely getting better at speaking in front of people. 

June 19th Today we had an exchange with our Sister Training Leaders & I got to go to London with Sistee Grant while sister Yucra stayed in Bedford with Sister Vanzeel. Sister Grant is from Finland & is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I learned so much spending the day with her. 

June 20th Today Sister Grant & I traveled back to Bedford so we could switch our companions back. When I got back to Bedford it started raining & sister Yucra & I had to ride our bikes home in the rain. And I coughed while I was riding my bike & ran into a pole lol. It was so scary! And so embarrassing hahahahahah. After that we taught a less active & the spirit was soooooo strong when we were talking about the Book of Mormon. The woman we were teaching almost started crying. It was such a neat experience & it definitely helped to build my testimony. 

June 21st Ohhhhh today was such a good day! We started off our morning by going to church & our investigator came to church!!!! We've been trying for the past three weeks so it was so exciting when she showed up this morning! After church we had lunch with a less active member & then went to town centre to try & find new investigators. It went really well! Sister yurcra & I were both speaking to as many people as we could we got 3 new investigators! After that, we went to a less actives house for dinner. At the end of our lesson, the elders came over & they taught a lesson to her as well. Then the elders gave me a blessing because I've been sick since I got to Bedford. 

This week has been so amazing. I love love love being a missionary. I have learned so much & my testimony has been strengthened more than I thought was possible. 

I know without a doubt that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church established on Earth today. I know that Jesus Christ suffered & died for each of us because he loves us & wants us to return to live with our Father in Heaven. I know that only through Jesus Christ & his mercy can we be saved. I know that He lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Joseph smith was a prophet called of God & I know that Thomas S. Monson, our prophet today, continue to receive revelation from God to lead & guide us in these last days. 

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! 


Sister Sydney Johannes

Thursday, June 18, 2015

FIRST WEEK


June 10th Today was a really long day because one of my companions & I decided to wake up at 4:00 am (45 minutes earlier than we had to) so that we could email our families before we left the MTC for London. Lol it seemed like a really good idea at the time, but we were both exhausted for the rest of the day. We left the MTC at 6am & traveled to the mission office in London. When we got to London all of the missionaries moved to the front of the bus because the view was better & we were all dying of excitement. After we got to the mission office, we ate lunch, met with the president & the other leaders, received our iPads, learned about our mission &........ FOUND OUT WHO OUR COMPANION IS!! Mine is Sister Yucra Laura from Peru/Spain. She has only been in the mission field for 11 weeks, so she's a little bit nervous to be training me. She is so great though! I love her already. Oh! And I'm serving in Bedford for the next three months!!

After finding all of that good stuff out, it was time to travel to our areas. We don't have a car for our area so we had to take the tube & then the train.... IT WAS THE HARDEST THING I THINK I'VE EVER HAD TO DO. Sister Yucra Laura & I are both tiny, I had three suitcases, & this pretty much made it impossible. At one point we were riding up an escalator & my big suitcases weren't completely on the step so it started to fall on me. The suitcase weighed so much that I fell back with it & in that moment I thought I was going to fall backwards, hit my head on the edge of the sharp stair, roll down the escalator, & die. But luckily, a man was behind me & caught me before I tumbled to my death. Oh and then we missed our train to Bedford so we had to wait thirty more minutes. 

When we finally got to Bedford, we had to walk 25ish minutes with three suitcases down bumpy roads & under this really creepy bridge next to the river. But we survived! And it was a fun adventure to go on! 

June 11th Today I taught a lesson for the first time to a real person! She is ten years old though, so I wasn't too worried hahahah. We also just ran a bunch of errands today & ate dinner at the flat. There was like no food at our flat though, so we ate a bunch of frozen french fries & chicken nuggets. I'm already well on my way to that #mission30 (30 pounds... I'm probs gonna have to be rolled off the plane after my mission).

June 12th Yayayayayya today was such an exciting day!! We go to go to London to meet Elder Jeffrey R. Holland!!!!! He spoke to the England London & the England London South missions because those were the missions he served in. The talk he gave was so good that we were all speechless at the end. He talked a lot about missionary work & how it will bless our lives. He said a mission will "affect who you marry, where you live, how you raise your children, & your profession." He also talked about the struggles of a mission, and how if we "don't embrace every part of our mission, we will not have a good experience." There will be struggles on my mission. I'm only 3 weeks in & it's already been on of the hardest things I've ever done. BUT IT IS THE LORD'S WORK and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. 

After listening to elder holland, all of the missionaries from Bedford (my companionship & one set of elders) went to a Chinese food place called Chopstix. It was seriously the best Chinese food I've ever had.... & I hate Chinese food. Then we took the train back to Bedford & tried to find some new investigators for a couple hours. We got some numbers for 5 people! So hopefully we get to set appointments up with them to teach! 

June 13th Today we taught a couple of gospel lessons with one of the members in our ward named Marcia. She is from Zimbabwe & studying law in England! She is the sweetest & it was so fun to have her along for our lessons. On our way to one of the puddles I was walking near the road & a bus drove through a puddle right next to me. So I was puddle-wet on top of rain-wet. It was not fun hahahah. Oh that's another thing!! The weather here is so bipolar. My first day in Bedford was hot, then rainy, then super humid, then rainy again. The weather changes every 5 minutes too. So that makes getting dressed every morning really hard lol. 

While we were out finding people to teach, we stopped a man & I asked him if he had ever heard of our church. He said no, so I said, "what about Mormons?". Then he looked at me so weird & said "I don't believe in Mormons!" & ran away. Hahahahahhaha sister Yucra Laura & I were dying laughing. He said Mormons like we were unicorns or something & that it was impossible that we could exist. Hahahahahahahah good times. 

June 14th Today I got to go to the Bedford ward for the first time! Everyone is so sweet & I absolutely love everyone I met. The first speaker didn't show up to church so the first counselor asked me to introduce myself & give a short talk over the pulpit. I wanted to cry a lil bit. But it went well! 

My address for the next 3 months is: 
Sister Sydney Jean Johannes 
99 wheel Wright house
Pal grave road
Bedford, England
MK42 96Q
United Kingdon
This is me, my trainer, her trainer, then that girls trainer & then
the other ones trainer. So it's my mom, grandma, great grandma, great
great grandma. Everyone has these names for people. And when someone
leaves the mission they say that they died. I was really confused when
they were saying all of that to me hahahah




I love you all!!! Thank you for all the emails! I miss you! 

Sister Sydney Johannes 

Friday, June 12, 2015

GOODBYE MTC--HELLO LONDON!


this week went by so fast. i can't believe i'm leaving the mtc on wednesday. they have this saying in the mtc here & it goes: "the days feel like weeks & the weeks feel like days." that. is. so. true. during the day my companions & i will be counting down the hours until we finally get to go to bed & it always goes by sooooo slow. then i look back at my week & it doesn't seem possible that it could have gone by so fast.

I'm so excited to finally get to london, but i'm terrified to leave the mtc. i have come to love it so much & i'm so sad to leave!

june 3rd after emailing last wednesday, we went up to our room & relaxed & we all just ate a bunch of chocoalte in our beds. then we had dinner, & after dinner we had a devotional.

june 4th today was sooooo good. in both of the lessons we taught to our invesigators today we accomplished a lot! we were all teaching in unity & the spirit was felt so strong.

june 5th today felt very very long, but it was one of the most chill days we have had since coming to the mtc. we had interviews with president preston after breakfast & personal study. in mine, he told me how impressed he is with how far i've come since my first day at the mtc. i've seriously grown so much. my testimony has been strengthened & my confidence in my abilities as a missionary has increased from ground zero to a lot higher than that (still doubt myself sometimes so it's not quite so good hahahah). Also, brother wilford brought us outside to do a teaching exercise & two geese started walking towards us, then brother wilford kept walking towards them & the geese started hissing & running towards us. we all ran back inside & brother wilford followed & just laughed the whole time. honestly tho, one the the scariest moments of my life. after classes we had the opportunity to watch elder perry's funeral broadcast to the mtc. the words that elder perry has shared with us throughout his time serving are so powerful. he taught that we need not be afraid of the gospel of Jesus Christ, because that is our pathway to salvation. elder perry, as thomas s. monson said, 'served his country, church, family, fellowman, & god until his very last day.'

june 6th today was interesting. after breakfast we had personal study in our district rooms & my district leader said he needed to talk to me. automatically i was terrified i was in trouble. then he handed me a note that said one of the elders 'thinks you have beautiful eyes. and he is going to your mission.' so it was definitely not bad news hahahahah i just didn't know what to do so i just laughed. then later in the day one of the other elders asked for my email & i told him no, because we are going to the same mission. then i felt bad so i added 'but you can add me on facebook!' like what the heck sydney... missionaries don't even use facebook, plus it's just weird to say in general hahahahah. so everyone laughed & it was a lil awkward but that's okay.

june 7th today was fast & testimony day so for 24 hours we had to fast without food or water. my stomach was growling all day, but the spirit in church was felt so strongly so it was okay :) almost all of the missionaries in the mtc got up to bear their testimonies, including myself (i know, so shocking seeing as i'm always trying to avoid public speaking at all costs). i'm glad i did tho, everyone's testimonies have strengthened my own so it's nice to think that maybe mine did the same. after church we had a fun activity where each district got a bible or book of mormon story & we had to make a modern day skit of it. ours was so funny. like no joke, ours was the best (i'm only a lil biased lol).

june 8th today was super busy! we learned everything we needed to know before we went to our missions that we hadn't already learned -- so finding, using members, making goals, planning, and so on. then he had our last lesson with brother wilford & we all wanted to cry cuz sad we are leaving the mtc.

random things:

sister loynes, one of my teachers, has the st george temple as her computer background & every time i see it i smile (& miss home a little bit)

i ate fish & chips for the first time & i still hate fish. so so so much.
stranded at the airport before the MTC
... and after the MTC
Ready to go!




Love, Sister Sydney Johannes


Thursday, June 4, 2015

MY FIRST "P" DAY! ("PREPARATION" DAY)

Today was my first P day, & it was definitely needed. This week has been crazy. There are only 25 missionaries total at the MTC (Missionary Training Center), and 18 of them are going to either London North or London South. In the MTC itself, we split up into three districts for 12 days (until next Wednesday). 

On Friday we found out who our companions are going to be while we are in the MTC (you must always buddy with a companion for safety sake, 24/7)! I was lucky enough to get two: Sister Fitts & Sister McLean! We also found out we are in the Jacob District. Our district leader is Elder Hernandez & the other elders in our district are Elder Mutariswa & Elder Laney.  

May 30th  Today was our first day of classes. We woke up, got ready, & headed down to breakfast. After that we studied for a bit & then went to the First Day Welcome, where President Preston talked to us about the MTC a little bit. From that point on we were in classes & workshops for the rest of the day. In the First Day Welcome we learned that we all needed to prepare a talk on obedience because he wasn't going to tell us who was speaking in church on Sunday until sacrament meeting actually started. hahahahahah 

For lunch we had pizza. It's funny cuz all of us that were stuck in the airport (there were eight of us) told the President that the one thing we didn't want to eat was pizza because we had already eaten it for almost every meal. 

May 31st Today was Sunday! We woke up, ate breakfast, & then had personal study. I'm 98% sure that every missionary was using their personal study time to write their talks for sacrament. After personal study we went to the main meeting room for church. You could tell that we were all nervous to go in because we were terrified anything we said or did would make President Preston pick us to talk. As soon as everyone had arrived, he announced who was going to give talks, & I wasn't one of them! I'm glad I didn't have to speak because the six missionaries that did had put together such powerful talks that mine would have been terrible in comparison lol. 

After sacrament we met with our districts & we all introduced ourselves & told why we chose to serve a mission. It was interesting listening to everyone & hearing their stories, They definitely strengthened my testimony. After that we had Relief Society (church women's group) & then we got to watch the Joseph Smith Restoration movie. He was the first prophet who organized the church. Seriouslybest movie ever. Watching it as a missionary was so powerful that it made me so anxious to share the gospel. 

June 1st Today was another day of classes. I've loved loved loved learning how to teach. We've been doing role plays like crazy, but they seriously help so much. One of my favorite activities we've done in our district is read The Book Of Mormon together. it sounds really simple, but we read it slowly & talked about what we learned after every verse. Instead of reading it at 100 mph we try to read it at 10 mph. There is so much knowledge packed into scriptures & I've realized that in order to fully understand The Book Of Mormon & feel the spirit, you need to ponder everything you read. but seriously guys, try it! 

We also taught our first investigator today! (one of us poses as an investigator) It didn't go quite as we planned, but the spirit was present in the lesson so I think it was still a successful meeting. In the middle of one of our evening classes, President Preston came and interrupted our class to tell us that RUSSELL M. NELSON WAS AT THE MTC & HE WANTED TO MEET ALL OF US!!! Soooooo crazy! I could not stop smiling the whole way up to the Kimball Room to meet him. I got to shake his hand & introduce myself to him & his wife. It was one of the neatest experiences & I'm never going to forget how incredible it was to shake the hand of an Apostle. After we all met him he shared a quick message with us. He told us that he was proud of us & that he could see the Light of Christ in all of our eyes. 

June 2nd Today was filled with a roller coaster of emotions. I started off the day so excited to teach our second investigator today, to learn more in our classes & to eat more food (cuz the food at the England MTC is top notch). When we were teaching our new investigator today, everything started off good, & we were all feeling confident. but the lesson didn't go as planned (as usual lol).  Even though the spirit was present & we taught Irene (that's our investigator) how to pray & the importance of prayer, we weren't feeling too great afterwards. There was a lot of tension between us three, & the teacher could definitely tell. One of the problems we all have is that we take everything personally, & because one of my companions was not communicating with the rest of us I figured it was my fault. I started to question why I was even serving a mission. I was holding back tears all through class & just wanted to be alone so I could cry. But it got better! We evaluated our lesson & realized that we taught a good lesson! I need to remind myself a lot that I've only been in the MTC a short while and can't expect to be a perfect teacher. I can't expect to ever be a perfect teacher. 

June 3rd Today is p day, & so far we got to do an Endowment Session in the Preston Temple & then we got to go to the store! (An endowment is a gift. An endowment might be a natural gift, say of a physical attribute or a talent. In the temple, it is sacred and is not talked about much outside the temple) It was so nice to be able to leave the MTC grounds. Even though I love it a lot, it kinda starts to feel a bit like I'm a prisoner. hahahah

   Random Stuff
They have this weird sauce at the MTC called mint yogurt sauce. Don't try it. It tastes just like toothpaste. I still can't figure out anything it could be good on. 

Everyone struggles to pronounce my last name, which is actually so weird to me. Elder Withers has decided that it sounds like Mohannah from the movie Johnny Lingo & now calls me Sister Johannah.
  Pretty much every other elder calls me that as well hahahah. (Elders are the young men and Sisters are the young women)

 I've also learned how to get ready really really fast hahaha! 

...and Dad! We had sweet potato fries for lunch one day & I didn't like them at all. I don't understand your obsession with sweet potatoes. 

I love the bread here! I don't know why, but it seems better than American bread. Seriously all I want to eat when I go to meals is rolls lol.


I FOUND YOUR NOTE IN MY BOOK, KRISTA. and I cried a lil in the lesson when I found it, so way to go!

Preston Temple, Preston, England

The sister missionaries currently at the MTC

It is so pretty here

Sister Johannes at the MTC again!

My companions Sister McLean and Sister Fitts


 Love, Sister Sydney Johannes