Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NBA BLESSINGS

Oh my I cannot believe we are already halfway through this transfer & it's already pday again. Time goes by soooo fast. 
SEPT 15TH After emailing we did grocery shopping and bought so much food. We bought a bag of pasta the size of my dog & three boxes of cereal cuz it was on sale. Biking home was crazy cuz my bike is broken. The handle bar is not straight so every time the handle bar is facing forward the bike tire is turned 45 degrees to the right. Plus, we got so much food & it was raining so we just looked silly riding home. After that, we went to Cranfield to teach someone from China named Sipu. He requested a Book of Mormon because he loves the NBA & Utah Jazz is his favorite team. We put him on date for baptism & he is so excited to continue learning. 
SEPT 16TH We visited lots of people today, so it was a pretty crazy day. When we got home and had finished planning a private number called us & it was a gay man who wanted to know more about our church. So we explained to him about it & then he wanted to know if he could join the church if he and his partner were still together. Then he wanted to know if there was a "smoking garden" that he could use so he could smoke at church. Hahahah it was such a crazy call. At the end he said, "idk if this is the church for us... But we will come to church on Sunday & if anyone picks on us, we are leaving!" 
SEPT 17TH This was such a good day because we finally got new bikes!!!! They are normal people sized so we don't look like clowns anymore! AHHHH we were so excited. Now I never want to stop riding my bike cuz it's so nice. After getting our bikes, we went to do some finding at the embankment & ran into some really strange people. Then we went to go find Roger (the old man that sang to us) & a policewoman yelled at me for biking in the footpath. Then we saw Roger on the side of the road in his wheelchair so we wheeled him home. 
SEPT 18TH We had weekly planning today and after that we went to some appointments but all of them were cancelled, then we went to St Neots to visit with the Miller family. They are the family with the two kids on date for baptism. Their family friend was in the room when we taught about the restoration of the gospel and he asked what would happen if you died & didn't have any beliefs but you were a good person. So we explained to him about the spirit world & how everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel. He started crying because he knew his uncle, who had died recently, would be okay. It was so powerful & he wants to be taught, but is only 14 so we have to get permission from his parents. 
Kristin, our nine year old investigator
SEPT 19TH We started our day by going to the library to meet an investigator named Mariusz. We didn't think he would actually come because he hadn't answered any of his calls from us, but he did come! He is from Poland and speaks zero English, so it was very difficult to teach him, but he is excited to learn more and we set up a return appointment with him. Then we went to go see a less active named Mary who had left the church 20 years ago, but was led back to the church & wants to learn more. She is so sweet & reminds me of my mom. Then we had a lesson with Sipu & his wife, Carina. We put her on date for baptism as well. She is so sweet & they are the most adorable couple I have ever seen. Then we all watched Meet the Mormons with the ward. While we were cleaning up after, Bro Donaldson & the bishop's kids were all trying to see how high they could get by climbing on top of each other (see picture).
SEPT 20TH All of the investigators we were expecting at church didn't come, so it was really sad. It was a good day at church regardless. After church, Sister Top felt ill so we came home & had to take the day pretty easy. 

Sister Sydney Johannes

Saturday, September 19, 2015

MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN

This was a good week, but I can't remember what happened on which day so this is gonna be a little jumbled together. 
Jamming to The Lion King
This pday we had a district pday & ate at that expensive Chinese buffet I talked about a few weeks ago. Then we played basketball & oh my. I'm rubbish at basketball. After that, we jammed to Broadway Lion King music with the Huntingdon Missionaries. Then Sister Top & I talked to people in town & met this nice man named Roger. He's 67 years old & when we were talking to him in a cafe he started singing Christmas hymns to us. Most adorable old man ever. 
Roger!
We also visited a part-member family & put both of their children on date for baptism in October. One of them, Ethan, is 11 & autistic. He is the smartest kid I have ever met & hilarious. The other one, Kristin, is 9 & adorable. She always comes to sit as close as she can to me & cuddles up next to me & I die cuz there is so much cuteness. 
We had a stake family activity in Northampton this weekend & all of the missionaries got to run the activities. Sister Top & I were in charge of the limbo station. The lowest limbo was done by someone who was 5"11 and he did 53 cm! It was insane. After the stake activity, we went to the Chinese food place I told you all about at the beginning of my mission (it's called Chopstix). We ate with the Elders then went home & Sister Top & I both fell asleep on the bus. Then we all went to Lesley's for dinner & service.
We rode to the chapel like this because it was raining and we just curled our hair.
At church, we were expecting 4 investigators to come & none of them did. BUT A POLISH MAN I HAD GIVEN A PASS-A-LONG CARD TO A FEW WEEKS AGO CAME!!! He speaks no English but decided to come anyways. It was such a miracle because pass-a-long cards work .00001% of the time. We set up an appointment with him for the coming week & he is interested in taking all of the lessons!
District photo (Koehler, me, Katrnakova, Top, Swann, Parkin, Mtombeni, Fisher)
This week, one of our church leaders asked us to rate how strong each of the missionaries' testimonies were on a scale of 1-10 & all of us said they were 9s or 10s. After that, we discussed how we built our testimonies to become so firm & it was the primary answers (praying, going to church, reading the scriptures) that we all answered. No matter how strong a testimony is, it is still really fragile. Like a fire without wood, a testimony will burn out if we fail to provide it with constant fuel. We need to keep coming to church, praying, reading from the scriptures, & living the gospel if we want the fire of our testimony to grow. 


RANDOM THINGS:
-We were stopping people in the park & one of them was saying his "halo is a bit rusty right now" because he hadn't been to a church in a while. I thought that was such a good way to describe it & now I wanna say it all the time.


-Ethan, our investigator's son, pointed to a picture of Cruiella De Vil & with a completely straight face said, "you in the morning."  Sister Top & I both died laughing. 
-Elder Parkin is convinced that I was a hipster before my mission who would be married right now if I were still at BYU & used to be Twitter & Instagram famous hahahahahaa 
-The Elders think I look Amish when I ride a bicycle. 
-I'm still working on my English accent & still failing terribly at it. 
-One man we stopped had a humongous German Shepard dog & it tried eating us. No joke. It was the scariest thing of my life.
-The weather here is still bipolar & I have absolutely no idea how to dress each day because it changes from -1000 degrees to 10000 degrees in the span of like 5 minutes. 
-I miss Chick-Fil A & snow cones. 



Sister Sydney Johannes

Thursday, September 10, 2015

TRANSFERS

I can't believe I'm already a week into the new transfer. 
(Sisters: Yucra Laura, me, Swann, Katrnakova, Elders: Toa, Jensen, Koehler, Alvey)
SEPT 1ST We had the missionaries from Huntington come visit us so we could be a district one more time before everyone left. We went to eat lunch & walked around town centre for a bit. Then we took pictures by the river & watched two geese attack each other & one almost drowned. Then they left & the Bedford Missionaries all went to go visit Lesley. She gave everyone gifts (except me cuz I stayed) & we all shared a message with her. 
SEPT 2ND Transfer day!!! We met the Elders super early in the train station & traveled to St Pancras to meet our new companions. After picking up Sister Top, we headed back to Bedford. The one thing I absolutely hate about transfers is the traveling part. Do you realize how hard it is to wheel three huge, heavy suitcases from train to train?! After that, we visited a less active & spoke to as many people as we could on the way home. We actually ran into a less active who hadn't been to church in 20 years & that nobody had ever met. 

SEPT 3RD We had weekly planning today, then we just found for the day. We also got to go to the Bishop's house for dinner! It was so fun & I absolutely love his family. He was trying to give me a calling as a ward pianist even though I'm rubbish at playing the piano. So now I have to practice piano a lot more. 

SEPT 4TH We had to wake up so early so we could meet the Elders at the bus station to catch a bus to Northampton for zone training meeting. Somehow we managed to get there even though I had no idea where I was going. Sister Yucra was there!!! At the meeting, Elder Evans & Elder Toledo (zone leaders) called on me for everything. Then we ate brownies & had a "man challenge." We all had to see who could do push-ups the longest & I didn't win (surprise, surprise hahaha). 
SEPT 5TH Today we had a lesson with an investigator (the one that was on date but dropped us right after) & we were supposed to get lunch, but we couldn't go in his home because of mission rules. So we had a lesson in the park & he was acting super creepy. After the lesson, Sister Top & I were talking & we both said that the movie 'The Lovely Bones' came into our mind when we were meeting with him hahahahahah so creepy. It was the Holy Ghost's way of telling us to get away from him. Later that night, he sent a creepy message to me on Facebook, so I deleted him. We also went to dinner at Heiry & Santi's home. I love them.

SEPT 6TH Today was all of the other missionaries' first time in the Bedford Ward & I had to introduce everyone to them. After church, we had to fix our phone & transfer all of our numbers from the old phone to a new one, which took forever. Then we went finding & met some really nice people & one of them was even a former investigator who has going to be baptized but changed her mind at the last minute. We will hopefully start teaching her again! 
SEPT 7TH We had a mission conference at the Hyde Park Chapel, so I got to see everyone from the MTC & the other missionaries I've served with! We were taught by Clayton Christensen from the Boston, Massachusetts area & his wife. The meeting was 6 hours long, so when we finally got home we had to rush to Lesley's house with the Elders to do service. 
This is from when Elder Holland came to speak to us: "This is not the Church of the Happy Families. This is not the Church of the Tabernacle Choir. This is not the Church of Steve Young. This is not anything, but the Church of Jesus Christ the Savior of the world, and we need to talk more about Him. We need to think more about Him. We need to love Him, a lot more. We need to emulate Him always and that will require some stress and some pain and a little anguish and some tears. Don't resist that. Don't say 'Oh me, oh my. What's happening to me?' What's happening to you is a mission! What's happening to you is a conversion. What's happening to you is a little redeeming Atonement in your own life. Where you start to understand who the Savior is and what price He paid. If you don't pay a little of that then somehow all these are going to be ships in the night that pass and your not going to get it. Embrace the anguish of salvation! Live with the highs and the lows and the justice and the injustice. The rejection as well as the affection."

Missions aren't easy, but serving a mission was the greatest decision I have ever made and I am so grateful for the time that I have to be serving in England. I am grateful for the miracles & blessings I see each day. I'm even more grateful for the difficulties & trials I have faced. They have taught me the love that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has for each of us. I know he lives & loves each of us.

Love Sister Johannes

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

GRADUATION

What?! I'm done training & I've been on my mission for over three months! Time goes by sooooo fast. This week was transfers & Sister Yucra is leaving me! I'm staying in Bedford & getting a new companion from Norway, Sister Top. Both of the Elders are leaving because Elder Alvey will be a zone leader & Elder Toa will be a district leader! But that means the Elders are getting whitewashed & the new ones won't know what's going on in Bedford & one of them is a brand new missionary. So I'll have to lead the pack here for a little bit hahahaha crying cuz I'm scared. 
AUGUST 24TH Today it rained all day, & I still don't have rain boots, a rain jacket, or a working umbrella. After grocery shopping, we met the Elders at this really cool cafe. I wish I would have taken pictures. It was so rad inside. We ended up staying in there for nearly 2.5 hours so we could avoid being in the rain. After that, we roamed around town centre & then went back to our flats to make cookies & brownies. 

AUGUST 25TH  We visited a former investigator & committed her to baptism. Then we had a dinner appointment with the Nendick's! They are this lovely older couple in our ward who have lived in the Bedford ward since they were baptized 30 years ago. We ate steak, potatoes, & peas & halfway through the dinner I dropped a pea on the floor. For the rest of the night & at church on Sunday the Nendick's made fun of me for that. But I love them so it's okay. 
AUGUST 26TH Today we had a lunch appointment with Bel & Kismet, recent converts! I love them. Bel's son, Ashreal, is 4 & always wants to pray, but when he prays he just tells stories & closes "in Jesus name, amen." He's adorable. 

AUGUST 27TH This morning me had district meeting & Sister Yucra had to give a training (hallelujah I didn't have to). After that, we had district lunch. We bought kinder eggs & whatever was inside them was the prediction of where each of us would be going. I got a dog... Idk how that links to me saying in Bedford, but hey! I'll take it hahaha
AUGUST 28TH Today we didn't do much. We had our last weekly planning together & it was hecka long. Then we found all day.

AUGUST 29TH Today we had a picnic with the ward & then we put Bruce on date for baptism!! It's such a miracle! He is the investigator who was researching on antimormon websites, but we talked about faith & he accepted that sometimes we don't know everything, but God does. So he's been praying (miracle) & reading the Book of Mormon (miracle) & hasn't read any anti stuff in a week (miracle) & came to church this Sunday (miracle). There were so many times when our zone leaders & district leaders told us to drop him, but what I've learned since the beginning of my mission is to NEVER GIVE UP ON ANYONE. The gospel is for everyone. 
"The seeds you are planting will grow, some just grow faster than others! Remember, the ones that take longer to grow have deeper roots, and will live longer so think of that as a testimony, the deeper the root of the testimony the stronger it will be and it will endure trials to become strong and steadfast. There is a tree that only grows above tree line. You can find them close to BV. It grows all twisted and only needs little water but lives for centuries. Someone once tried to plant the seeds at a lower elevation, but the trees didn’t live very long. They only live long where they have to endure wind, dryness, and harsh weather because they adapt to become strong against the elements. When it is too easy for them to grow, they don't adapt to become strong and they die. They need the “trials" to strengthen them so they become strong and live a long time. Our testimony's are similar. We need to endure to become strong. And some people need time to grow. Be patient, I know you are touching lives you may not even realize yet, but someday they will thank you." -Kimalee Armstrong (thank you! I love you!)


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Sister Sydney Johannes