Sunday, October 25, 2015

Natalie Got Baptized!


Hello world,

Somehow I'm very short on time today, but we had a great week.  We are getting back to normal around here.  We have our car back and we are almost completely healthy.  We both have sore throats in the morning and coughs at night.  You know how that goes.  But we have very good companionship unity in our coughs.  We also seem to cough at the exact same time. :)

But this week was transfers, and guess what?  I didn't get transferred and I'm so, so happy about that.  My dearest missionary friend, Sister Pulotu from Tonga did get transferred all the way to Gisborne, but at least I still have Sister Urgel.  She is great and her English keeps improving.  I am finally doing the second half of the 12 week training which is very exciting!  Instead doing it for the third time, suddenly I am doing it for the first and I'm loving it.  There is always more wonderful stuff to learn about the gospel.  It was a crazy week because we live so close to the mission office so they always ask us to do extra, random stuff.  We had a sister who was going home stay with us for two days.  Her name was Sister Kinouchi (pronounced Key noach).  But she was from Wales and she was very proper and polite sounding and I really liked her.  We also went on exchanges with the Morrinsville sisters who I just adore!  I got to get out of Hamilton and see a little bit more of New Zealand which was exciting.  Morrinsville is a little town half an hour away, but they also cover Te Aroha which is 25 more minutes away.  So we got to see a lot of gorgeous, amazing country!  I had to keep pinching myself to see if this was real.  It was green and perfect looking.  The temperature has been just perfect lately and I love it. 

Our week ended perfectly with another baptism.  It was such a great baptism!  Our sweet Chinese investigator Natalie got baptized and it was so lovely.  She has the sweetest spirit.  She always waves to us with both hands and smiles so big and often when we were teaching her, she would say, "Wow!"  She is pretty good in English but we had to teach very simply.  She stayed as an exchange student last year with a wonderful family in Dinsdale (another part of Hamilton) and their whole extended family came to the baptism.  It was wonderful.

Ripeka also had her huge operation this week and she is now out of the hospital and doing wonderful.  We go over and talk and read the Ensign to her every day because she just has to lie there all the time and gets bored.  She is in pain, but not much worse than she was in before the operation, so hopefully she will be totally healed from it and be good as new.  I just love her and Auntie Kei so, so much!

I'm so thankful for the gospel and my unique opportunity to serve all the time!  The church is just so very true.  It's the thing that matters most.  If we trust the Lord we can always know that things will work out.  

Also, I've started Ponderizing!  I love it. :)  Last week I did John 14:27 and now I'm on to 2 Timothy 1:7.  I love it.

Heaps of love,

Sister Clarissa Johnson

P.S.  Did I tell you that everyone calls me "Sister J" these days.  It's a fun time!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?

NO! (In answer to the subject)

Hello!  

Unfortunately, the youth of Zion, Sister Johnson, faltered pretty badly this week.  On Tuesday I was miserable.  I had to hold my head perfectly upright and still and it was still throbbing.  My throat hurt, I was coughing violently, and my ears hurt.  I knew that the over the counter stuff from the clinic wasn't enough and that I needed an antibiotic.  So I finally went to a good doctor and he said, "You have a sinus infection.  You need an antibiotic."  I had never been happier!

Well, it didn't get better all week!  I was MISERABLE all the way through Friday and it was awful because we have all these great investigators and couldn't go teach them.  I just wanted to get better for the baptism on Saturday so much!  On top of being sick, we were carless.  They had to take our car to fix the scrapes we made on Monday.  So that was rough because we live at the very far edge of our big area.  Thursday afternoon we called about a million members and none of them could give us a ride to the chapel to make the baptism program and go to MCM.  In an ambitious moment, I decided that even though I was sick, we would walk to the 9 kilometers to the church.  Well, it was not the best choice and I had to keep telling Sister Urgel to slow down.  It took us an hour and a half.  So I felt pretty proud of myself that in spite of everything we were there with a filled out progress record and a baptism program. 

We pressed forward!  And even though everything seemed to go wrong, I organized the baptism with Bishop and it all worked out.  And guess what?  The baptism was wonderful . . . and I was healthy.  It was such a beautiful, sacred experience for me and everyone there.  I just could feel God's amazing love for Auntie Kei.  Ripeka is getting operated on right now and she was really, really doing poorly, but she managed to be there and so did Leanna and the girls.  Elder Swan from the Visitor Center spoke and did such a great job.  Then Sister Urgel and I sang "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" because Auntie Kei had requested it.  It was so nice.  

Afterward, we were all spoiled by Auntie Kei's boil-up.  Oh, she is good!

Then this Sunday was the long awaited musical number.  The Hamilton East and Claudeland missionaries sang together in both wards (at 9 and 1 o'clock).  I don't know if I've mentioned it in my emails before but we have been working on it for weeks.  I played the piano and sang. It was a hard song for me to play, but I got it perfect by the end and it sounded good.  It was really fun and so many amazing ward members told me how much they liked it.  I just love Hamilton East!  

And now, tribute to my AMAZING companion!  Because she learning English, she can't do a lot of the phone calling/organizing/talking to people although she is practicing and getting better.  But she is still just the best.  She took care of me this whole week and made me hot water lemon tea for my throat.  She did all the dishes and is just great.  We always make each other laugh.  We are so different but we are just the dream team.  I love her so very much! I'm glad she was the companion I had when I got sick.  She is so good.

But I've learned a couple things this week.  I've learned that Satan is powerful but God is way more powerful.  I learned to accept service: lemon tea, lots of rides, people checking up to see if I was ok, help with the baptism.  I learned patience . . . again.  It's a good lesson for me.  And I relearned that God loves us all so, so, so much . . . even when we make mistakes and scrape cars and get sick.  There is always another chance and He is always there for us.  I'm so grateful that God trusted me to be one of the missionaries to teach Auntie Kei, such a super, special one of his daughters.  I will never forget this crazy week.  

I'm just so glad to be healthy.  We are getting our car back today at four.  And we are going to go hard in that missionary work.

I love you all!

Kia Kaha,

Sister Clarissa Johnson   


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sickness, Spiritual Enlightenment, Scratches, and Soaked (in a baptismal font)


This picture is of Elder Tui'namoala who was Star Ita's companion. Star is from Spring Creek and was in Pirates of Penzance with Clarissa!

Kia Ora,


Warning!  This email may or may not be very coherent! 

 I've had a really weird, crazy week.  It's been full of really good things and bad things.  There is opposition in all things!  I'll tell the bad things first. 

I have been sick all week and I'm just getting sicker.  I've had an awful headache every day for over a week.  And in the last three days I've gotten an AWFUL sore throat and my ears hurt and I'm coughing like crazy.  Of course it was also the busiest weekend ever.  We had about a million really important appointments and we got to watch conference!  Well I didn't want to miss out on any of that.  So I dragged myself out of bed and carried on.  I've been a little out of it, but I'm surviving.  All the other missionaries take such good care of me, especially Sister Urgel.  I still have to lead all the calling, organizing, planning, etc. because of her English, but she's been cooking for me and cleaning our flat and stuff.  She's really the best ever! 

Finally I told Sister Rudd how sick I was because I was up for two hours in the night because of my sore throat.  She told me to go the clinic, which I did.  They told me that I just have a virus.  He told me about some over the counter stuff I should get so I went to the pharmacy there and got all the smallest, cheapest choices of the four things he said to get.  Well it ended up being $51.  (New Zealand is expensive!!!!)  But I told Sister Rudd that'd I gotten in and she said that I could have the mission office reimburse it.  So I went to the mission office.  There's this really tricky little gate and it's right in the center of town and a really tight fit.  Well I was miserable and sick and turned into the only parking spot left.  I was on a really bad slant so I backed up and tried again.  Well I scraped our car really, really bad on the little gate.  I don't know if I told you I scraped our old car too and had to fill out an accident report.  Well, I just felt awful and went into Elder Marsden and just started to cry.  I felt like such a goose.  I'd just been being so responsible and trying to take care of myself and it felt like the last straw.  He was pretty hard on me, but not as hard as he would have been if I hadn't cried.  

So that experience successfully humbled me!  

But I still LOVED Conference!  Oh my goodness.  Even though I was sick, I just drank up every word.  Beforehand I wrote down seven specific questions from my life.  All seven were answered!  I took way too many notes and can't wait to keep rereading them and then read the talks in the Ensign.  We are just so blessed to have prophets and apostles that lead us today with so much love and authority from God.  I just can't express how great Conference was!  I LOVED Elder Holland's talk about mothers.  It made me cry.  I've decided that it's much more fun to be sick when you're a little kid.  You get completely taken care of, mostly by your mother.  When you're grown up you still have to do things even though you're sick.  It's the worst. :)  But really, I just love my mom so, so much!  You are amazing and I'd be completely good for nothing if it wasn't for you.  

Also, AUNTIE KEI is getting baptized on Saturday!  Jayde is not . . .yet.  She is just super stressed with her law school and is waiting for exams to be over.  But I'm so, so excited.

This week I've been kind of struggling to feel good about myself.  I think I'm just prideful and want everyone to think I'm such a great missionary.  I need to remind myself that it's ok if I make mistakes, if I'm not as perfect acting or looking as I might wish I was, or if I am still sick.  I just do the best I can and have faith in the Lord.  It's so true that faith is the opposite of discouragement.  The Lord doesn't want us to be discouraged.  He just wants us to have faith!  

Pretty much, life is a test and we can do it.  My mission seriously is wonderful!  I never want to leave.  I just want this virus to leave. :P  

LOVE,

Sister Johnson

P.S.  I want to leave a commitment with everyone.  (That's what we do as missionaries after all.)  I want you, the person reading this email, whoever you are, to go on lds.org and read a talk from General Conference.  They are all so, so amazing and I don't get the chance to read them until I get the magazine.  Well you can read them right now.  So will you, in the next 24 hours from when you read this, read one talk on lds.org?  

Yes?

Good.  I know you will be blessed and a question you've had in your mind will be answered in that talk.  The church is true! :)



Sunday, October 4, 2015

I Don't Know What to Name This!


Hello everyone,

I spend half my email time thinking of a name for my email and I couldn't think of one today.  Time is short.  This morning we got a disappointing email from President Rudd saying that we are having record low baptisms in our mission.  It made me feel bad.  We have two investigators getting baptized this month though.  One is Jayde!  It is real this time.  I'm so, so excited!  She is so good and has so much faith and has changed so much.  The other is a new investigator from China, Natalie.  She came to church and loved it.  She gave us these little green plant hair clips.  Apparently they are super popular in China.  I wish they were popular here.  We decided that we should wear them tracting so we can tell people that faith is like a seed.  Just kidding but it would be fun. 

Speaking of her feeding us, I have a funny and bad story.  At the end of the first lesson she gave us these little, special Asian mooncakes.  We each took like two bites and then I asked her what was in them.  She said one is cappuccino and the other is wine.  Well, Sister Urgel didn't know those words in English so she was about to take another bite.  Luckily we had our awesome member, Christine Xiao, with us.  She distracted Natalie by complimenting her flat and I elbowed Sister Urgel and told her to stop eating it.  It was against the Word of Wisdom.  She stopped and later she told me that she'd thought I was telling her that she was eating too much and that her gluttony was against the Word of Wisdom.  (She is tiny and eats almost nothing.)  I explained that it had wine in it.  So we had to repent when we got back to her flat.  It will interesting to teach her the word of wisdom.

Anyway, Auntie Kei is doing so great.  I just wish she'd get baptized.  We set her for October 17th, but now Ripeka is going to have a big operation on the 19th so she isn't getting baptized after all.  But we are hoping that after the operation she will be ready to pick a day.  She is so, so, so, so good.   She made me cry twice this week.  Well, really, we all cried.  We are just a foursome of criers!  She told me, "Sister Johnson, we often talk about you.  All good things!  We could write a dictionary on all the good qualities you have."  It's not true though.  I could write a bigger dictionary on the qualities SHE has. 

But we had a really, really fast, busy week.  I feel like between meetings and picking people up and studying, we don't have enough time to do missionary work. But we sure go hard during the time we do have. Lots of uni students are too busy studying for exams to talk to us, but we've talked to a lot anyway.  

I just wish everyone would always accept our message, but they don't.  Many of our investigators know it's true but they don't want to change their lives.  It breaks my heart.  But we do all we can and we know that Lord will make up the difference.

Sister Urgel and I have so much fun together!  I just adore her.  It's been so light in the evenings since daylight savings and I love it.

We've taken five different YSA girls out with us this week.  I LOVE taking them out and seeing them testify and ask questions about missionary service.  Of course we tell them that they should serve!  It's the best thing you'll ever do.  Some of them are returned missionaries and I just love them. 

I bore my testimony in church yesterday and I told them how much I loved our ward.  I have a special skill.  I get too attached to people.  I LOVE everyone in our ward.  I know everyone now and I just love everyone.  It's kind of a problem because someday I'll have to leave.  It's a struggle.  

Last night there was a super good fireside at the Visitor Center.  It was the Stake President from Tarunga.  And guess what, it was Elder Fitzpatrick in my MTC District's dad.  So that was cool.  Also, I got to see Sister Ye, my MTC companion last night.  She's doing wonderfully and I just love her.

I wish I could write more.  The church is so true.  The Book of Mormon is so fun to read.  I learn so much.  Read it every day and you'll be happy!

Heaps of love,

Sister Clarissa Johnson