Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 - Bratislava

Ahoj, ahoj!!
   This week was great! We watched General Conference and I loved it so much!! I'm excited to reread the talks again. I'm so grateful to live in this day and age. We have living prophets who have just given us a message straight from God. It's so amazing! It was a great spiritual boost and I love the direction I recieved from Conference. Revelation is a grand thing. That was the highlight of my week.

     So this is my last missionary letter and as many of you know this is a bittersweet moment. I've been thinking a lot about my mission this week, the times that were easy and the times that were hard, the adventures I've had, what I've seen change in myself, in other missionaries and in our investigators. I can't help but think that everything was perfect. Not perfect in the sense that it was without hardships or trials but perfect in the way that I feel my mission is complete, whole. Today was transfer day and it was interesting to say goodbye to missionaries I've served with and think that they'll still be here in Bratislava, Zilina, Kosice and many more cities while I head to America this week. It seems unreal that I won't transfer, that really my mission is at the end. I don't particularly like endings but I do love beginnings so as Prezident McConkie tells us, I open my arms wide and embrace this experience. It truly has been the best time of my life. I believe that's because I now understand a little more of the eternal picture. My testimony hasn't really changed but it has deepened. Quite simply, I know that Heavenly Father loves us. We are His sons and daughters. We have great worth and amazing potential. Heavenly Father listens to our every little need and request and He wants to give us every good thing in life. I know Christ is my Savior and though I still do not fully understand His atonement for me, everyday I'm learning more and more how to apply His sacrifice. I am in awe of the everyday beauty and simplicity of life. I love the stability and structure I have in my life because of my foundation of faith. Even though my next week will be totally different, without the structure of a missionary schedule, I'm excited to move into the next part of my life as a stronger, more faith filled disciple of Christ. One thing that continues to amazing me is that Heavenly Father always arranges everything just right. So short and simply-trust in the Lord. 

     I love you all and will probably see most of you this coming week!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

October 6, 2014 - Bratislava


This past week we had some adventures...We had Family Home Evening at the Cottles apartment with some of the YSA and an investigator. It is sooo great to have the Cottles here to support the branch and the YSA already love them! :)

The Koncert was excellent!! We had a more random collection of songs (mostly the ones we sounded really, really good on) so we tied them together using the Articles of Faith and testimonies from members and missionaries.  Lots of folks attended and really enjoyed it! :D It was an excellent last concert for me and I so enjoyed hearing the testimonies of the members.

We also had some cool service opportunities this week as well. The Zone Leaders and us went to a member's garden. We weeded and pruned and destroyed some wood with a hammer (I liked that part a lot. :D). We also helped a lady move her business once again but it was really fun to help again.

We're still meeting with V but since he's more interested in the church history we decided to give him an Our Heritage book and we'll meet once a week to discuss what he read. He's made good progression but he's not really keeping any commitments other than reading.
We met with this really cool girl named D this past week. She's super duper nice and we had a great lesson. She is pretty busy though...we first contacted her in the beginning of the transfer and just now met with her. It's her last year of university. She really wanted a Book of Mormon which we gladly gave and we hope to meet with her here in the next week.

Sorry this is short-ish but I'll see you in a little while! :) Have a great week and remember: Stay happy!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson<3

Friday, October 10, 2014

September 29, 2014 - Bratislava

Ahoj Everyone!

     This was probably the craziest week I've every had on my mission...
     so first off Kosice Konference was amazing! I loved returning to my birthplace, the city of miracles. Actually the conference was the anniversary of the end of the signature project   and because Kosice played a large role in it, Prezident held conference there. And I was so happy to be back! I got to see the van D, and the Millers again and Le too! :D It felt like home. I just love Kosice soooo much and I'm glad I saw it again before I go home soon. We had an uplifting conference as usual followed by EIGHT departing testimonies. Yep, eight of us are's a huge chunk of our zone. Of course it's my sisters and I (Sestry Baird, Kane, a Krauel) and two elders (Elders Utley and Frederickson) and the Wrightsons are leaving as well. They were wonderful and it was strange to be giving mine! Afterward we had some time to walk around Kosice and I do think that it's the prettiest city in the world! I have so many good memories of that place and I'm so lucky to have served there for 6 months. Our train back to Bratislava took a really long time though...and of course the trains were running late! But I didn't really mind...I love long train rides.

     This week we were really busy (partially because we did lots of calls the week before and partially because we lost a day for training). We met a few new folks and met with a few old ones. We met a gentleman named J who is not Slovak but has lived here for the past 11 years.  We also met a really cool Irish man. He teaches English here. He also is atheist and doesn't want to change. He's really funny and has an amazing personality but is very logical and can't see or rather accept that God and Jesus could exist and that miracles are possible. We also met with Ma this week. It was a pretty good lesson, a little long though. He really is searching for truth and happiness but I think he's lost hope a little that he's ever going to find out what's true. It's a little frustrating...we have all the answers to his questions and he has little to no time to meet with us! But we'll have another lesson this week and hopefully it will clear a few things up for him.

      Sister Wilson and I hosted book club this week. It was fun! We read in Mosiah where the people of Alma are pursecuted but God lightens their burdens.

      Saturday was the most eventful day...right after book klub, I got a very interesting phone call from Sister Baird. She was informing me that J, a man we taught together in Zilina was getting baptized!! So Sister Wilson and I rearranged our plans for Saturday and headed to Trencin to go to a baptism! It was really cool to see how much he'd changed in the last 4 months and that he was now ready for baptism. I remember how tough some of our lessons were and how far off out of reach baptism seemed. And now he's a member of the church! I'm really glad that I could have been there.

     We had a miracle at church this week as well. First off, we had three members from America who were visiting and then a man who contacted Sister Wilson and asked about church showed up! We have a lesson with that man in a few hours so I'll let you know how it goes!

Well I think that's everything for this week...I hope y'all have a great and beautiful day. I love you!!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 22, 2014 - Bratislava

Getting an apartment ready for the Cottles.
Editor's note: we received many photos (with comments) this week - which might explain the very short letter.
Hello, hello!

    This week was fun because we got a senior couple here in Bratislava!! The Cottles arrived on Wednesday. They're really sweet and excited to be here. They are going to be so good for the branch and the area.  Senior couples are the best because they always give love and support! 
I'm making calls while waiting for a bus - can't beat the view!
Something boring but rewarding we did this week was calls. We have so many numbers and potentials so I just started calling through the numbers and we set up a bunch of appointments for the next coming week. 
I only got through A, B and C but we've a long train ride tomorrow so hopefully we'll set up more. :)

We had district conference on Sunday. It was really awesome because we set up a feed to Brno so we were able to stay in Bratislava. Another cool thing happened at this conference...the entire thing was in Czech or Slovak!! Of course we have many native leaders and Prezident McConkie speaks Czech because he served his mission here, but Sister McConkie spoke as well in Czech. She did such a good job! It was amazing and I'm very impressed, Czech is hard!

So sorry that this is short this week so here's a picture of the cake Sister Wilson and I made for Conference in Kosice! 

I hope you enjoy the pics I sent and I love you!!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 15, 2014 - Bratislava

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 8, 2014 - Bratislava

Ahoj Everyone!!
 Well this week was fun and a little crazy. We started our week out with big plans for a district vylet to a castle which we had to cancel due to all the rain. :( So instead we played Bang! Yeah!)
 The next day was district meeting which was excellent as usual! Elder Christensen is an awesome district leader. He gives very spiritually uplifting district meetings. We talked about motivation and how to be of assistance to the branch....As a mission, we're working towards a stake. It's really cool to see that the work is hastening here and that the church is making progress.

 On Wednesday, Sister Wilson was a little sick...not much just a little head cold and a cough. We didn't have a very hard day (we had service at someone's shop...we're helping them move). Then that evening the sister training leaders arrived. They were in Prague for a meeting and came to stay the night and then the next day, we had exchanges.

Thursday (early in the morning) Sister Krauel and Sister Wilson went to Trencin while Sister Barid and I stayed in Bratislava. It was really fun to be with Sister Baird again. We had an awesome day-found a bunch of people, found some service opportunities, taught a few lessons. It was really funny too because the Zone Leaders were also on exchange so we had one of the elders from Trencin in Bratislava as well-Elder Asay. He's been out about a year. He's a really nice elder and so sincere. He gives the best complements because he always means them and he's so happy all the time! Elder Asay is just a really great example for everyone! Sister Baird and I had a great time serving together one last time...we had a few interesting experiences like running into a girl we met together in Zilina or finding lots of service opportunities (something which Prezident told us to focus on).

On Friday we switched back and we went on with our missionary work. We had a singing display on plan but forgot to bring the form with us and didn't want to risk getting a fine so instead we just contacted. I met this really nice lady named An during it. I just smiled at her right as she was leaving a shop and she stopped because she thought we knew each other. She was so sweet and gave me like 3 hugs during our conversation and kept patting my arm. She told me she loves people and especially friendly people. She didn't want to meet with us but said she'd love to come to our concert in October.
 Saturday was long...we had weekly planning which sometimes makes me restless because we're inside for a longer amount of time then usual. We also had sports day and I slightly injured myself (I bruised my knee pretty badly and it's really tender right now). It was actually right before sports day while we were waiting for everyone to arrive and a few of us were playing volleyball with the soccer ball. I completely forgot that we were on grass and sort of dropped to my knees in order to save the ball. Well turns out a grassy field is a lot harder than a sand pit. :)  Sunday was the same as it normally and contacting.

 Thank you for all your notes! I love hearing your news!
I love you all so much!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 1, 2014-Bratislava

Monday, August 25, 2014


Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014-Bratislava


Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 11, 2014-Bratislava!!!!

   So I'm super stoked to be back in Slovakia and a little sad to leave the Czech Republic.  Well this week went fast and I honestly don't remember most of it! But I'll do my best to give you the highlights. 

Monday: Our biking adventure, which you already know about...I'll send pics soon but I forgot my camera today! :( 

 Tuesday: Our last district meeting! It was in Jicin and was really good. I love my Czech district! We tabled together and then I made Halusky for everyone and afterward we had district meeting which was one of the best of the transfer. We talked about the goals we made at the beginning of the transfer and how well we did. We also talked about baptism and setting expectations. 

Wednesday-Friday: I don't actually remember..... I honestly have no clue nor do I have my planner on me to check...we met with N (our new investigator) and we worked hard-it's the last week and we wanted the area in good shape for the coming transfer. 

Saturday: We got our transfer calls! Both of my comps are training (Smith in MB and Steglich in Brno). We also visited a lot of less actives so we were busy.
Sunday: The missionaries who were leaving were asked to bear their testimonies.  After church we got pics with people and ate lunch with the elders and then Sister Steglich got on a bus to Brno (she's blinding in and training there) and Sister Smith and I went home to MB, visited a few people and I packed.  

 Today: Well, I traveled to Bratislava. It was an adventure and a half. We had to take a bus to Praha and then find the bus station (took us forever and we were dragging my heavy luggage) then the bus I was going to take was full so we had to find another. The bus I actually took was really nice and roomy though so it was fine. But that bus was delayed so I arrived late (1.5 hrs later than I had originally planned). But I'm here in Bratislava safe and sound. I'm with Sister Wilson this transfer and in my district are the ZLs (Elders Ringger and Garlick), and Elder Christensen (who's my district leader) and Sharp. It's my old district minus Sister Baird!! They closed an area here and moved a set of elders to Trencin to fill the hole left by the sisters.

 A few questions and answers:
Q. What language do you teach L in? 
A. Slovak and Czech. I speak Slovak while the others speak Czech. He understands Czech just fine (as most Slovaks do) but the sisters didn't always understand Slovak. 
Q. Will you have the opportunity to go back for his baptism? 
A. Quite possibly. Prezident allows us to return to former areas for baptisms but we just move our pday to that day so we don't lose work time.
Q. How many lessons did you teach this past week?  
A. Lots! We made standards (21 lessons) so we were pretty busy but still had time to contact and whatnot.

I just love missionary work! The lifestyle's crazy and the opportunities are amazing! I'm so blessed to serve with and around the missionaries I do. We have such great examples here-awesome missionaries and members. I hope you all have a enthusiastic week! Go and live up to your potential! Be a missionary! To quote Sister Smith: "Rise up!! Rise up!!"  I love you all and hope your week is grand!

S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August 4, 2014 - Mlada Boleslav

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

July 28, 2014 - Mlada Boleslav

Ahoj everyone!!
First off, this week was less eventful than last week but a few really cool things happened!!
-Conference!! And more importantly, a special conference--it was the anniversary of the dedication of Ceskoslovensko for missionary work!

It was held in the some place and on the same date the original dedication took place-Karlstejn, July 24th. It was really cool! The entire Czech missionary force was there.

 We hiked up a hill (it was beautiful) and had a short training. It ended with a beautiful prayer by Elder Bushnell, one of the APs. Prezident told us during the training that sometimes we just need to hike a hill and say a prayer, so that's what we did. It was also a little sad because the sisters from the group above me gave their departing testimonies. (I missed Sister Jones' and Belibi Minya :( and I'm up next transfer!!). But all in all it was amazing and such a great training!
 -Another highpoint of the week: We had an investigator come to church!! It was great and he really liked it! And, he has a baptismal date for the last Saturday in August!
-Today we went to Liberec for pday and it was so much fun! We were going to take a lift to the top of a mountain and then hike down (for time reasons and because it's a hard steep climb) but the lift didn't run until 1! So we ended up hiking the mountain. :(  I'm glad to say I finished it but it's not something I want to repeat anytime soon... We're all  going to be so sore tomorrow!

-Well, a lot of our less active members dropped us (not really but it kinda feels like it). Some of them are really busy, some are out of town for the holidays, and a few are a little ashamed to meet with us because we're more direct than past missionaries. We still drop by and visit our members but having actual set visiting/teaching appointments didn't happen this week. :(
-Last week you asked me about my studies so let's continue on that theme...this week I studied a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Restoration and key figures in the Restoration. I really admire many of the early saints. They had so much faith and drive to always do what is right. I also noticed though that those who had lasting  conversions built their faith through the simple things like reading the Book of Mormon or praying or obeying the commandments of God. In contrast, those who had the testimonies of others as their foundation or built it upon temporal knowledge, and not personal, spiritual knowledge fell away (for example, look up a man named Ezra Booth-he joined the church because he saw the Prophet Joseph perform a miracle. he had a good start but didn't seek a more solid foundation though his study, application and most importantly, the Spirit). And we can follow the same pattern. Though our own study of the doctrines (and application!), we can gain a sure lasting  testimony of Christ as our Savior and Exemplar. Alma 37:35-"Remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in they youth to keep the commandments of God". And quite frankly we can all learn more thus, "seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118). So study well this week, learn lots and then apply!!
Sunflowers are fun flowers!! just like home ;)

I think that's all for today...I hope you enjoy your long, two week email and I love you all so much!! Have a great summer day where ever you are!

S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Saturday, August 2, 2014

July 21, 2014 - the lost email....

Ahoj everyone!!
    So first off an apology-I'm sorry you didn't receive a letter last week. (Seriously I sent it before all those pics-I've got my priorities straight.) So here's that letter from last week...

Well this week was grand!! Though it's been just like a Kansas summer--hot and humid!! I've gotten sunburned a few times (and yes mom, I've been wearing sunscreen!!)  But in other news here's a few things that happened this week:
-District meeting was in MB (Mlada Boleslav) this past week! We tried tabling and it went okay...we didn't have a very populated area but still got a few numbers. -Awesome meeting/lunch with the Len's. They are so nice to us and try to help us out (which is hard seeing as they live in Jicin and have a small family). But at least now they have a better understanding of the situation in MB (they both serve in leadership positions in the branch). They are going to try to organize a branch activity in MB so members here may come and investigators to.
-Something not so fun happened this week...we got stuck in Bakov for a couple of hours!! We went to visit a less active member and missed our bus so we walked to the next town over and got all confused and missed that bus too! Finally we found a train to take home but it still took forever! 

-And today we had an awesome pday! Everyone came to us and we went to the Skoda muzeum  and then played sand volleyball in the park! It was amazing fun and I have great pics!

Now about our work this past week:
One point of frustration for us is that we get numbers, lots of numbers, but no one seems to want to meet with us. Most say they're too busy during the holiday so try in September. It's frustrating because they're such cool people and we want to teach!!  
We're trying to help a couple of investigators learn to develop faith in Christ so we watched
Finding Faith in Christ and this week we are going to talk about His role as our Savior.
We are meeting with another investigator tomorrow and will be teaching the Plan of Salvation.  And, another one who has been out of town for surgery was able to watch the Restoration film and enjoyed it.

Q: What have you been studying?  A: I'm reading General Conference October 2012 right now and I really love it! I'm also reading in the Book of Mormon (of course). I'm in the end of Helaman right now. It's interesting to see how things always repeat and in every group, there's always a few righteous who are willing to listen to the prophet and change. I also read occasionally in the Old Testament, which I love a lot. :D  I really admire the faith of those in the scriptures and how things are always black and white but not always easy. I think of potential when I read...the potential of those in the scriptures, the potential we have as we apply the teachings. Really we can do so much if only we rise up and fulfill our potential as sons and daughters of God.

I love you all and invite you, as missionaries often do, to live to your potential this week!! Share the Gospel and be a force for good in the world!

S laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Sunday, July 27, 2014

July 21, 2014 - pictures...

Sadly, we didn't receive a letter this week so we decided to share some pictures. When Sister Johnson first arrived in the mission field, she had written a letter home saying how the Czech missionaries received a tour of Prague while the Slovak missionaries were put on a bus to continue their journey to their destination.  Seeing how she was transferred to Czech she and her companions asked permission to do the Prague tour during her preparation day.  Enjoy the pics.

I'm really here!

Companions...Sister Johnson, Sister Steglich, and Sister Smith

So supposedly it's good luck to rub this dog and make a wish...i hope it comes true!! ;)

July 14, 2014-Mlada Boleslav


So this past week was great! We had all sorts of adventures and lots of fun!
So on preparation day we went to Jicin and hung out. We played in the park for a while and then hiked to a little chapel on a hill. It was crazy hot and humid and we were all dying.

Tuesday was hectic...we had district meeting in Liberec but the bus connections were awful. So we took a bus to Jicin and then the elders drove us to Liberec. It was great that they could take us but 4 hours of traveling is never fun. But I absolutely love Liberec!! It's so pretty and has a wonderful namestie for contacting. We did a singing display on a corner and it was the perfect spot! We had 3 people out and 4 singing and we were able to cover a large area with such a large district.

Wednesday was a little less busy. We had an appointment with a less active. It was good but I think he doesn't quite have his priorities straight...he wants to learn about church history and pioneers but he won't even come to church or read regularly in the Book of Mormon.

Thursday was on of my favorite days. Mainly because we found a Slovak!! Not only that but L is from Kosice!  He was really nice and we set up a meeting with him. He's here for work and will return to Kosice eventually but in the meantime we can teach him!

Friday, we met with J and E. It was a really good lesson trying to help them understand our purpose as missionaries and then invited them to learn more about Christ. They said it was a lot to think about and that they'd be willing so we have a meeting with them on Wednesday.

Saturday was amazing because we went to a baptism!! The elders investigator, A, was baptized and it was wonderful! Sunday was cool because A was confirmed. Both ordinances were performed by recent converts (as in converted within the last year). That's amazing because it forms ties and connections within the branch and not with missionaries.

And today I'm in Prague!! We asked Prezident if we could go for a pday because it's just as close as Jicin and I've never been on Prague walk! So next week I'll tell you all about it and send pics.

 I love you all!!
S laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 7, 2014 - Mlada Boleslav

My week was really long and crazy!! We were everywhere!! 
So I've already told you about our vylet on Monday. Tuesday was interesting because both Sister Steglich and Sister Smith were sick. They both took naps while I cleaned out our Area Book and called people to set up our week. 

Wednesday was awesome because we had district meeting with a guest: Prezident McConkie! He was interviewing the elder's investigator, A (she's getting baptized on Saturday!). He also interviewed everyone else. He interviewed us while the rest were district contacting and during my interview, the district got shut down by the police! They told Elder Davis, our district leader, it was against the law; and even though we had a document stating our rights, we were told to leave.  It was frustrating because what we were doing was legal but we didn't want to cause a problem so instead we did our district finding "creatively"....  

Afterwards, Prezident gave us sisters a ride to MB (Mlada Boleslav)...but his GPS took us a different way so we got kind of lost in the Czech countryside! It was certainly an adventure! Thursday, we were busy and the bus times were not in our favor. We visited a less active member who lives outside of MB and had to run for our bus in order to make another appointment. Also the STLs came for an exchange! I stayed in MB while Sestry Steglich and Smith went to Praha. The next day Sister Hicken and I taught some lessons, had apartment checks, went to lunch with the Munros and went to Prague to switch back!

Some questions and answers:
1. Does the branch meet in Mlada Boleslav or a different city?
A. First off, background story: So there used to be branches in Mlada Boleslav, Jicin, and Nova Paka but they were combined in an attempt to form a ward--the end result was a lot of people went inactive. That's one reason we have so many less actives. The branch is in Jicin currently, which is a 40 min bus ride from MB.
2. Why was the BBQ held in Jicin?
A. It was actually held in a little village out side of Nova Paka, about 20 minutes away from Jicin. It was at the home of a member. And they have this BBQ yearly.
3. How large of an area does the branch cover? 
A. Well a pretty large area. We sisters cover Mlada Boleslav and surrounding villages and the elders cover Jicin and Nova Paka and surrounding villages (they have a bit of a larger area but they also have a car).
4. Have you become more familiar with other members?
A.'s really hard because all the active member families minus one live in Jicin or NP. But we're going to start visiting members on Sundays after church and just take a later bus home.
5. What are the other two cities that your district covers?
A. Our district covers two branches: Liberec and Jicin and three main cities: Liberec, Jicin and Mlada Boleslav
6. How is L progressing? 
A. We had a great meeting with her on Wednesday morning. Originally we had planned to teach the Plan of Salvation but we only had 30 min before we had to catch a bus to Jicin for district meeting. We decided that we would watch the restoration film instead but she arrived late and we didn't have time. Luckily there just happened to be a  Family Proclamation on the table (we used it the day before and I didn't put it up when the lesson was done). My companionship and I all focused in on it at the same time and I just reached for it and said, "Today we wanted to share about God's plan for families." It was inspired because it was just what she needed and was a wonderful lesson!  She has invited other family members so next week we may be meeting in her home with her family.

Well that's all folks! I'll send more pics next week! I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3