Monday, July 27, 2015

#BEDFORDFOREVER!

This was kind of a hard week for us overall. We didn't see nearly as much success as we had last week & we started our week off with our investigator emailing us telling us she doesn't want to meet with us anymore. But no worries, cuz Sister Yucra & I are strong & we overcame every crazy thing that was thrown at us this week. 



July 13th We had a really weird pday because we didn't really do anything we had planned for. Sister Yucra has a wisdom tooth coming in so we had to run around all day to try to find a dentist that wouldn't make her wait two weeks for an appointment.


July 14th Today we had a meeting with our zone here in Bedford so that President Stevens could interview each of us. Halfway through the meeting we had a gap training. A gap is when you teach a principle in two minutes or less & you have to have an inspired question, a memorised scripture, a commitment, & a testimony included with the actual doctrine. So they are sort of challenging, but so so so helpful. At every meeting we have -- zone, district, mission, etc -- a companionship gets chosen to do a gap in front of everyone. And we were chosen to do one for the district meeting four days earlier & for the interview meeting. We had to teach Pray Often & it was the first time we had ever tried to do that in a gap.... But it actually went really well! The spirit was really strong & everyone said they couldn't believe I was such a new missionary. 

After interviews we went to our flat  to eat lunch & call some more dentists because we still hadn't found one that would see sister Yucra this week. Then we headed back to the chapel to lock it after all the missionaries. After that, we went tracting. One of the houses had a dog that tried to jump over the fence & eat us & in their window were these creepy masks (I'll send a picture of them). They scared me soooo bad when I saw them cuz I thought they were children watching us almost getting eaten by their dog. 

July 15th Today we had four appointments with four of our new investigators & every single one of them canceled. So we had a lot of time for finding today & a lot of it was spent tracting. One of the doors we knocked on was answered by this younger guy & he was acting strange then said "I gotta go" & slammed the door in our faces. When we walked by the window you could see him & a girl eating dinner at s table covered in candles. I died laughing cuz we interrupted their date & sister Yucra didn't even think it was funny hahahahahaha 

After that, one guy stuck his head out of a car window and yelled "hello beautiful!" & another creepy guy winked at me & did the call me sign. & all of this happened while we were riding our bicycles... In skirts & helmets. I just don't get it at all hahahahahah 

July 16th Today another one of our appointments cancelled. After finding that out, we decided to do some less active finding. We went to an area called elms farm & after walking around in circles for over an hour trying to find one rode, & asking everyone & their brother where this road might be, we finally found it. The less active let us in she started yelling at sister Yucra & sister Yucra was ready to run out of the hiuse, but I forced her to stay. I told the lady about a similar experience with the church that my family had had & she started to calm down. Then, after talking for a bit about why she left the church, we had to leave. She ended up giving me a hug & told me we could come visit a few times a month. This was soooo shocking cuz the first thing she said to sister Yucra was that she would never come back to our church. 

July 17th Lol today all of our appointments canceled again, so we did some street contacting pretty much all day. Then, after a really long day, we made homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to give to our people for the coming day. Sister Yucra had never had one so I forced her to eat a million of them.

July 18th This morning we went to do service at the home of one of our investigators & the elders came with us. We did work in their back garden (yard). After that, we took a bus to St Neots (about a 45 minute drive) & visited a really nice less active named Elaine. She is 95 years old but seriously looks like she is in her late 70s. When she told me she was that old i didn't even believe her. She was so lovely though! She has such a strong testimony so the reason she can't get to church is because she is in a wheelchair. We gave her some of our cookies & in return she gave us a thing of applejuice & cake to take with us. Wow I just love her.

After that we went to visit the investigator of ours who had recently tried to drop us. But we aren't letting her lolololol. So we brought cookies to her flat but she wasn't home. So I broke into the flat building by pretty much picking the lock (don't tell the police plz) & shoved the cookies through her mail slot. Sister Yucra was about to have a heart attack cuz she thought I was going to get in trouble. But I didn't. We survived. Then we left sad cuz we couldn't see our investigator but our day was flipped around really fast cuz we ran into her on the street! She told us about why she wanted to drop us & we solved that concern & she told us we were an answer to her prayers. 

Then I ended up forgetting my bag with my favourite cardigan & my rain jacket on the bus. So my day got flipped around again. 
July 19th At church, a million Americans showed up because they were on a family history tour. It was so exciting. They all sat behind me & it was like I was in my home ward again cuz everyone sounded normal when they sang! It's crazy because there are SO many people from SO many countries in England , but I NEVER meet Americans. 

After church, we went to a member's house for lunch & then to another member's for dinner with the elders. For dinner I had to make French toast for everyone so Sister Yucra & I were in the kitchen alone for a long time. We were dying laughing. Everything we both were doing was so funny. Lesley, the member, came in to see what we was taking us so long & realized it was because sister Yucra & I were both dying laughing at everything & had to rebuke us (not really because she is so nice). 

July 20th Hahahaahhah today was really bizarre to start off with. We had an appointment with a man named Steve at 11. So we were prepared to teach Steve, an English man with two kids who are 12 & 15. We were walking to the park when a man came up to us & he knew who we were. So we were like 'oh that's gotta be Steve.' So we taught the lesson to him. It. Was. The. Most. Confusing. Lesson. Steve was talking about how he parties with his friends & how he wanted to date me (obviously said no). Then he was talking about how he hates children & how having children will ruin your life. I was sitting there like "what?!?!?! You have two kids?! How?!" Obviously not out loud tho. Then he said he was 21 years old, so I was like "what?!?!?! How are your children so old?!" So I was sooo confused the whole entire time. And at the end sister Yucra asked me to pray & I was convinced this man couldn't be Steve but I didn't know his real name so in the prayer when I said his name I said it super low so no one could hear. Ya so turns out this man was not Steve, but another one of our investigators we had never met & because their phone numbers were both so similar, we thought we were teaching Steve. Lol struggles. 

After that, we went to Shortstown for a dinner appointment, but we went super early so we could have a long time to tract. We didn't end up finding anyone, but after dinner we got two new investigators by calling some potential investigators of ours. Then we had moves calls! Sister Yucra & I are staying together for another transfer! Our district leader is leaving to be a zone leader in a different zone! And every companionship in our zone but mine & one other have people leaving. There will be soooo many new people next transfer & it's so exciting! Plus we have two brand new missionaries coming to our zone so I'll no longer be the baby! 

July 21st Today is pday! We had a district breakfast here in Bedford to say goodbye to everyone leaving. Later we are going to a members house with the elders so elder Wright can say goodbye. That's pretty much all we have planned.

I love you all. Please send me emails everyday so I can have lots to read. 

Sister Sydney Johannes







Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I LOVE AMERICA!

This week was 10/10. We met or exceeded almost all of our weekly goals & found 8 new investigators. It was the best week we've had together. Ahhh we are so blessed. I love being a missionary so so so much. 

July 6th Two missionaries from another district in our zone (Sister Fillmore & Sister Niguera) came to spend pday with us in Bedford. It's usually just us & the elders, & as much as we love elder Wright & elder toa, it was nice to be with some other sister missionaries for the day. We didn't really do a whole lot, but just getting to know each other a little more was enough to make it a good pday. We also got two new investigators, so we started off our week super strong which helped to motivate us throughout the rest of the week. 

July 7th We got to go over to one of the recent convert's home for dinner & wow she makes the best food ever. She is from Ghana so all of her food is really spicy, but it is SO good. Sister Yucra doesn't like spicy food so she is always dying a little when we eat there. Her & the three year old son both have to eat a different food with less chile. 

July 8th  It was such a good day. We worked soooo hard & really gave it our all. We ended up getting four new investigators today! We never get that many so I wanted to cry tears of joy after each one. We also went to visit a less active & when I called she told me to "bring something nice," so I made cookies & we brought that over. Then when we got there & called for her to let us into the building she told us to "get lost!" So I quickly told her I brought her something nice & she said, "okay fine. Make it quick." Needless to say, she was a very bitter lady. But she loved us (I think) because we sang to her her favourite hymn & she gave me a hug when I left. #success. After we left her home a man came to talk to us & was asking us about religion & when I was in the middle of bearing my testimony to him we interrupted & said, "can I insult you?" So I said no. Then he said, "Americans have the most annoying & nasally accents I have ever heard." Now I gotta start working on my English accent big time so people won't make fun of me for being American. Ugh I love America tho. 

July 9th Today we had a pretty normal day & just visited some less actives & investigators. We also found two new investigators. 

July 10th Today we had weekly planning in the morning & sometimes instead of it being the usual two hours it was Four. Hours. Long. It was so long halfway through I thought I was gonna die. But I survived & we have a really solid week planned. So all is good. After that we had to go to the bike shop because my bike tire had a hole in it. Then while we waited for that we met up with a new investigator in town. She is SO nice. She is from Jamaica & has a twelve year old daughter & they both are excited about coming to church next week. 

After that, we picked up my bike & went to a member's house for dinner & to do work in her garden (yard) with the elders. Doing service is my favourite thing because we can wear pants. There was a little neighbourhood girl over at their house when we were working & she asked how old I was & when I told her I was nineteen she said, "no you're not. You look like you're thirteen." Lolololol 😑 

July 11th So we decided that we would sing something for our investigator's baptism (by we I actually mean sister yucra because singing scares me), & we went to the chapel to practice it for about an hour today. It actually didn't go that bad so fingers crossed that it can go well in two weeks when we have to sing it in front of the whole ward. Also, we had found two new investigators in the area book & were so excited, then when we were looking up their address we realized that they were actually members & the old missionaries hadn't put a note that they were baptised. So we went from "YAY" to "wait what" really quickly. 

July 12th today I'm church I sat next to our nine year old investigator & she had drawn a picture of her & her little sister & brother. At the top of the page she wrote "I love my brother & my sister." She has two sisters though, so when i asked why she hadent drawn her other sister she said "I don't love her because she beats me up." I pretty much died laughing because she had said it in such a serious way & I want expecting it at all. 

Also, today I told sister Yucra that she was only allowed to speak to me in Spanish so that I could learn a language on my mission. It was perfect though because later in the day we ran into a woman who speaks only Spanish & we have a return appointment with her to teach her in Spanish. It'll probably be a lot of me nodding my head & saying "sí" after everything my companion says. We also found two super solid investigators who ended up living out of our boundaries so we had to give them to different missionaries. 

Have you read the talk by Elder Maxwell called "Willing to Submit?" If not you need to read it right now. It is SO powerful. It talks about submitting fully to the Lord & His purpose for each of us. It made me realise how truly blessed I am to have the gospel & a firm relationship with my Heavenly Father. He talks about how we need to evaluate ourselves & really see if we are following the Lord half-heartedly or not. He promised that as we submit ourselves to our Heavenly Father's will, we WILL find everlasting happiness & a greater source of knowledge & guidance. We need to focus all time, talents, & interests on the Lord, & act on every prompting we receive. "The more hesitation, the less inspiration." We are in the Lord's hands. He knows each of us personally, and if we follow him & use our agency to work as his disciple, great things will be brought to pass. 

Random things:
-the amount of people who ask if we are Jehovah's Witness is so high. It happens at least once a day. 
-one day I was drinking a capri sun & I blew the little pouch up with air & set it down. Then as soon as I had started to say something to sister Yucra it blew up in my face & got in my eyes. We both died laughing for like 30 minutes. 
-we bought ice cream cones expecting them to be normal size & when we opened them they were like a fourth the size. I was opening the package like, "how on earth did they fit twelve ice cream cones in this little box?" Well now I know. Because they were the tiniest ice cream cones I've ever seen hahaha



Love, Sister Johannes

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

STAY HOLY

This email is going to be a little (probably more than a little) bit crazy because I can't remember what happened on which day. Everything just becomes mushed together in my brain & I end up confusing everything. Life is so hard sometimes.

We have an investigator on date for baptism! She has a baptismal date for the 25th of this month!!! She is so great. She is so prepared for the gospel. We taught her on Saturday about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the word of wisdom, and the sabbath day. She asked amazing questions & the spirit was so strong. She has no issues with the word of wisdom, and when we taught her the law of chastity on Sunday she had no issues with that as well! I love her ❤️❤️

On Tuesday, we had to travel to Northampton by bus for a zone meeting. The missionaries who taught us focused on chapter 13 in Matthew -- the parable of the sower. The parable teaches us that we can plant seeds, or the word of God, everywhere we go, but they will only grow if the condition of the heart lets it. If our investigators are unwilling to open their hearts to the word of God, they will not grow in faith nor understanding, like the seeds planted on the wayside. We, as missionaries, need to search for & find those people who have been prepared to receive the gospel with an open heart, the seeds planted in the good soil. As our investigators open their hearts to our message, the Lord will convert them. My mission president, President Jordan, once said, "The Holy Ghost is tilling the hearts of our investigators." The Holy Ghost is constantly tilling, or softening, the hearts of the people we teach so they can be more receptive to the message we share. I have gained a very strong testimony that the Lord is in the details of our lives. He is preparing people for every missionary in every country to teach. Sister Yucra Laura & I have found & taught people who have been so prepared by the Lord that we leave their house in total awe that a lesson could have gone that well. THE LORD IS PREPARING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, our job as missionaries is to find them. 

Zone meeting
On Friday, we got to go to St Albans again to meet our new mission president, President Stevens. We started off the meeting by singing a hymn & I was asked to conduct the song. Okay guys. I've known how to lead music for my whole entire life, but for some reason I could NOT lead the song they had chosen to save my life. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was struggling soooo bad. And there were 60+ missionaries all watching me fail so so so terribly. I lost where we were on the page so I pretty much just stood in front of everyone and waved my arm back in forth. There were 10 or so missionaries who were leading the music in the crowd to try to help me out, but they were all doing different things so instead of following any of them, I just stood there. Sooooo that was embarrassing, & for the rest of the meeting the missionaries sitting next to me kept making jokes about it. But I redeemed myself during the closing hymn. I didn't mess up too many times (insert the emoji with the girl with her hand by her face like 'I know, I'm perfect').  I was so proud of myself I wanted to bow after the song ended, but I'm pretty sure President Stevens wouldn't think it was funny & I was trying to make a good first impression. 

On Saturday, all of the Bedford missionaries got together to do banner finding in town centre. Banner finding means that we set up a sign that has Jesus & the Book of Mormon & people smiling & deep questions about life on it. Then we just stop everyone & try to find new people to teach. I have really bad luck with banner finding though. Every time we do it, something weird happens to me, & Saturday was no different. I sat next to this man on a bench & was telling him about the gospel & what not. I ended up setting up a time for us to come visit with him & got his phone number & address. Then things got weird. He started asking who all was coming & if I could come alone. I explained to him that I would bring two friends with me to teach him & he got annoyed & asked again & again & again if I could come alone. At this point, I was really freaked out so I stood up & told him it was good talking to him & shook his hand. Then he wouldn't let go of my hand & he said something really quiet so I leaned down to listen. THEN HE TRIED TO KISS ME. I jerked back but he was still holding my hand & wouldn't let go. He then kept saying, "just give me one kiss, please just one kiss" & wouldn't let go of me. So obviously I said no & yanked my hand away from him. But my district leader & companion were talking to people so I couldn't tell them what happened & I pretty much just stood by the banner in total unbelief of what just happened. AND THE MAN WOULDNT LEAVE THE BENCH, he just sat there staring at me. When I finally told sister Yucra Laura she told me I was never allowed to leave her side. And my district leader was super mad & wanted to go punch the guy, but he had left 2 minutes before I told him so he couldnt (darn). 

Random things:
- I was riding my bike, wearing my lovely helmet, & a boy said I was beautiful (insert the emoji I mentioned earlier). 
-Every time, without fail, I go on a bus or train I end up falling asleep. 
-I'm 99.9999% I will be 1000lbs heavier in 18 months. I eat SO much food. 
-Riding a bike in a skirt is still hard. 
-The other day we had a dinner appointment & they all they fed us was chips (french fries) & ice cream. (that's why I'm gonna be 10000lbs heavier) 
-I rode by bike into a bridge & almost fell into the river. 
-A man asked why I would come all the way from America just to talk about my church, & I told him it was because I knew what I was sharing was true & that I knew the gospel of Jesus Christ would bless the lives of those who would listen. He was baptised. 
-Just kidding, he told me what I was preaching was false & that I was wasting 18 months sharing it & the rest of my life living it. I meet people like him a lot more than I meet those willing to listen, but it's kind of crazy because i don't even get discouraged anymore. I know that what I'm sharing is the most valuable thing in my life. When people tell me no, I picture them saying no to £100000 & then I laugh cuz who would say no to that?! So I just move onto the next person with a smile, & with faith that I will find those people who's hearts have been prepared. 

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY WITH ALL MY LIL HEART.

I MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH. 

Do I look like a missionary yet?

 Sister Sydney Johannes

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I LIKE YOUR PANTS!




June 23rd We are getting a new mission president next week, so today we went to St Albans for a farewell meeting for President & Sister Jordan. The Northampton zone & the St Albans zone got to spend the day together so it was fun seeing friends from the MTC & meeting new people. It was really sad saying goodbye to the Jordan's though :( even though I have only known them for three weeks, it was heartbreaking hugging & saying goodbye to them. It was like saying goodbye to my parents again, & I don't think any of us were prepared for that. 
Brother and Sister Jordan and me

June 24th Today was such a weird day. The whole day I was laughing because the most bizarre things were happening to us. We were supposed to meet with an investigator in town centre at 2 & when he finally showed up he sat down at the bench with us for a couple minutes, then all of a sudden he stood up & said "are you going to be here for a while? I need to buy something for my friend I'll be back." Then he just walked away! It was so weird how it happened. So sister Yucra & I just looked at each other like 'what the heck' & started laughing. Then we waited for him to come back, which he never ended up doing.

me and my companion!!!!!! sister yucra laura is the coolest Peruvian ever.
After that, we decided to try & find some new investigators. We stopped a Korean girl & started talking to her. It turned out that she was from a Pentecostal church & was trying to get people to join her church. Then she started waving all of her other Korean friends over & one boy just started handing us flyers & cards & asked us to join his church. Before we could say no he handed us some bracelets for his church as well. Then sister Yucra handed him one of our pass along cards & him & his Korean friends laughed & walked away. 

After that a man came up to us asking for £4 but I didn't have any money with me so I told him that & he kept begging us for money. Then he pointed to his drink & said "this isn't alcoholic! It's  healthy. It's healthy I swear. I love Jesus. He is my saviour. I want more people to believe in him. Can I have money for a bus ticket please? I love Jesus. I swear this drink isn't alcoholic!" So he wouldn't stop talking & he wouldn't leave so sister Yucra gave him £1. He happily walked away after that. Lol so many weird things. 

After that we took a bus to a members house for dinner & I fell sleep on the bus cuz #alwaystired. For dinner we ate salmon & I hate seafood, but I ate the whole thing cuz I knew my parents would be proud of me if I did.

June 25th Today we took a train to London for a three week training meeting. After our meeting, we had dinner at our bishop's house. But I had gotten a package from my mom & didn't have time to run home before dinner so I was lugging this big box onto trains & buses hahahaha & when i got to bishop's house he was confused why I was bringing him a box. We actually ended up opening the box at his house & it felt like it was my birthday or Christmas.

June 26th Today I learned that a £9 raincoat from Primark will not keep you dry in England rain. We had to deliver a Book of Mormon to woman in Bromham & as soon as we got off the bus it started pouring rain. Sister Yucra Laura & I both grabbed out our raincoats & were so confident that we would stay dry. But no. Not at all. & to make things worse, we were both wearing white shirts hahahahahahahahahahaahah hallelujah that we wore undershirts though. After dropping the Book of Mormon off we walked to our bishop's house for a ward activity for a family that was moving out of our ward.

June 27th Ohhhhhhh today was such a good day. We went to town centre with the elders & did some banner finding. It took us seriously like 30 minutes to get our banner up. Everyone was just watching all of us missionaries struggle. After finally getting it up, we talked to everyone. We all ended up finding new people to teach! We received a lot of referrals for people to teach as well! After that, we had lunch with a recent convert & then went to the church to email our investigator back. At the church, out zone leader called & forced all of us to sing over the phone so he could choose someone to do a musical number at our next meeting. Lol I had zero desire to sing & he STILL made me sing for him. After that we did some tracting & met with a less active member. I always love meeting with her because I learn sooooo much. The spirit is always so strong when we discuss the gospel. I just love it ❤️

June 28th We had stake conference in Northampton this morning & one of our investigators with a baptismal date came! She loved it & is excited to attend church next week. After the meeting we taught the plan of salvation to her & the spirit was so strong. She loves learning about the gospel, she loves reading the Book of Mormon, and she loves meeting with us. Oh my I love her so much. You can definitely see how the Lord has prepared her to meet with us & I'm so excited to see her progress! 

Ahhhhhhh I love being a missionary with all my lil heart. I love sharing the things I treasure most with those people who will listen. I love the church. I love all of you. Wow so much love. 

Random things: 
-People's moods change based on the weather. So we LOVE sunny days. 
-English grocery stores are the most confusing places ever. 
-I still don't really understand the money here. 
-They have this great stuff called squash & it's like a fruit concentrate you mix with water & I'm totally obsessed with it. I'm gonna force people in England to mail it to me when I go back to America. 
-Lol don't compliment people on their pants cuz they'll laugh at you for being American (pants=underwear) 

I love you all. I miss you all. 


these are like way old, from the mtc! but these are all the girls going to London/London south with the president of the mtc and his wife


Sister Sydney Johannes