Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 26, 2014 - Zilina

Ahoj!! This past week was wonderful! We accomplished a lot for our area and the mission. And had so many miracles! Here's a break down of my week:

Mon: Well actually nothing really happened on Monday.

Tue: So about a week ago, our district was heading to Trencin to practice for our concert. The train was late by 40ish minutes so we went out to contact real quick. Sister Baird and I got shot down a bunch of times and then we contacted M. She is a very classy doctor who is happily married. She invited us to come speak to her during her lunch break. We went and had a slightly bizarre lesson with her (we were sitting on the examination table...). She researched our church but was very open with us so we were able to clear up some misconceptions. We only had 25 minutes but she has more questions so we'll be returning!

Wed: On this day we had an excellent 2nd lesson with J. She's a very stylish lady and so friendly! Last week we had a lesson with her in a coffee shop. She's very sincere and so sweet. She just loves Sister Baird and I and is super enthusiastic about...well, everything! We gave her a Book of Mormon and committed her to read every night.

Fri: Well in the morning we had an impromtu lesson with J. She told us she been reading the  Book of Mormon every night and really enjoyed it. We also had an awesome lesson with the B. 

Sat: Conference in Brno!! It was really amazing but also sort of sad because Elder Barber (my 1st DL, former ZL and current AP), Elder Burton (current AP), Elder Boysen (former AP and current ZL) and Sister Graham (former STL) all gave their farewells! It's sad to see amazing missionaries finish their mission and also sort of scary because it means my turn is coming!! The best part of the conference though was that we handed out the cd!! YAY!!! It turned out really well and I'm really excited to start using it as a finding tool and reactivation tool.

Sun: I gave a talk. It's always really scary and I think I repeat myself but I did it. I used an awesome talk by Elder Hales from April 2012 conference. We also had a miracle meeting with a beautiful couple. They're really friendly and very accepting of religion. They are technically Catholic but disagree with many of the Catholic church's teachings.

We haven't been able to get a hold of M. for a week now. We're hoping everything is fine and she just has to think about things but it's scary that she may have dropped us. She's so close but sometimes big changes are hard.
Speaking of changes, transfers are in two weeks! I can't believe time is moving so fast! Well, a few things that will be happening this week...concerts and a party at the American Embassy in Bratislava! (It's for the service project we did there last month).

ALSO, this week we saw Sister Pysnakova!!! She was visiting and of course came to Zilina. It's really cool that it's been about a year since she first got us! and Sister Baird and I were together for it.  (editor's note: Sister Johnson arrived in Slovakia on May 28, 2013 - she was in a threesome with Sister Baird and their trainer, Sister Pysnakova.) 
That's it for now. I love you all and hope you have a beautiful week!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson<3

May 19, 2014 - Zilina

Ahoj!! So this week was pretty grand. Monday we went shopping with A (the youngest Se girl-she's 11). She had a recipe for friendship bread and gave us a starter. She was sooo excited about it and it was really fun to go shopping with her-she has a big personality and is such a sweet girl!

We're prepping for a koncert again...this time about the Family! It's next week and I'm really excited for it. We have some beautiful songs picked including the one from Mother's Day. (Editor's note: We skyped with Sister Johnson on Mother's Day and she and her companion graced us with a beautiful song).

We had cool miracles this week! First off while contacting before meeting up with the district for lunch, we contacted one last person (isn't that how the stories always go?) and he is sooo prepared!! His name is B and he's been searching for direction in his life. He told us he's been so confused by all the different churches and he wants to follow God and do what is right but he's not sure what that actually means. We had an amazing first lesson with him and told him about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and about recognizing the Holy Ghost. The only problem is that he's very busy and getting ready to move to Germany for work! But he wanted to know how to contact missionaries in Germany so that's a good sign! B was really impressed by Sister Baird and I. He kept saying that he didn't believe such pure, good people existed in todays world and we give him hope and faith in a better tomorrow! And that is such a testimony of what the gift of the Holy Ghost does and living worthy lives.

Another miracle we saw this week was the number of people at church! Two of our investigators came, neither of which we were expecting! We'd had a quite serious and direct lesson with one of them  about effort and true desires to know if our message about Joseph Smith and one true church was truly of God. It must have finally made sense because he came to church and really enjoyed it. Another one, who investigates on and off, came as well even though he was sick. I think it's because he realizes he feels better and less stressed during his week when he comes and he can cope with the ups and downs of life better.

We had some amazing lessons with another person this week. She really understands church now and also what baptism really means.
This coming week will be's conference time yet again! Also Sister Baird and I have big plans for the last 3 weeks of the transfer.
Well to sum it up, this week was great. We had a bunch of miracles, the little ones happen everyday! I love serving here and it's awesome to be a missionary. So until next week, I love you all and wish you a beautiful week!

S Laskou, 
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

Due to computer problems in Slovakia, we didn't receive Sister Johnson's letter.  A member, Bajo, took the missionaries on a vylet to Strecno- enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 5, 2014


    This was a pretty great week. Super busy, a few disappointments but lots of good things.

    On Wednesday, the ZLs, Elders Boysen and Ferrell, came. We had a boss awesome singing display and it was really fun to see that Elder Ferrell sang with gusto. I remember in Kosice it was a little hard to get him excited about singing displays. It was great to have extra voices but I do have to say our district is sooo musically inclined right now! The four of us all sing different parts and we blend so well!

    Our investigators are doing okay. One investigator is struggling a bit with church attendance. We asked her to pray about it and she offered a beautiful prayer at the end of our lesson asking to know what to do concerning Sunday conflicts. We called her Sunday morning and she said she wasn't coming. Sister Baird asked her about her prayer and she said she didn't get an answer. Sis B told her that when we're seeking guidance we should pray about it and also study the scriptures and commandments. We'll talk with her this week about receiving and recognizing answers from the Spirit. She's been following everything else with minimal struggle (like reading, praying, obeying the word of wisdom). 
       Sister Baird and I worked on directness this week. We had a few investigators, one in particular, who has the "all we need is love and faith" attitude. It's really hard to counter sometimes because, yes, we do need love and faith in Jesus Christ but we also have to follow the right path, the path Heavenly Father created. Sister Baird and I read the part in the Joseph Smith pamphlet right after the first vision, where Joseph is told to join none of the churches and we had the realization that God doesn't apologize nor sugar coat His words and right now we are representing Jesus Christ! We need to be bold and direct, but of course loving and tactful in the way we say things. I really think that's key to missionary work. There is only one true church and only one way to salvation and that is why we do missionary work.

     I love you all and I'm looking forward to skyping (on Mother's Day)!!
S Laksou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April 28, 2014 - Zilina


    This week was probably the most bizarre of my whole mission! It started out pretty much the same (except that we didn't have our pday on Monday). We worked hard as usual-contacting, tracting, teaching. On Thursday, though, things changed quite a bit. We had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders (Sestry Kane and Krauel)! On Thursday, I went to Trencin with Sister Krauel and Sister Baird stayed in Zilina with Sister Kane. Sister Krauel and I had a good time together again. It was one of the first times I felt exchanges really helped me learn and grow in some little way. Sister Krauel and I had a weird day. Our lessons fell through but we ran into the Nyes (a senior couple...they go home in about 2 weeks) on the Namestie with the Elders and the Nyes bought us all ice cream. Then we helped the branch prezident's wife make pinatas for the celebration of the dedication of Slovakia for missionary work (the party's on May 10). 

The next day Sister Baird and Sister Kane arrived and we switched back. Sister Baird and I headed straight for Bratislava where we had a service project planned. When Sister Baird was serving in Bratislava, she met the US ambassador's wife, Kate. Kate organized a service project in a children's hospital (painting murals on the walls) and so we (along with the Bratislava district) helped paint. It was really fun and kinda weird to be away from Zilina. The project lasted 2 days. We also went on splits with Sister Jones and Sister Wilson briefly. And best of all we had a huge singing display!! There were 10 missionaries and 2 members there! It was amazing and we stuck out so much! 

The next morning we had district conference in Brno so we got up early and caught a bus. It was great and of course in Czech. Luckily my Slovak is much better than last conference so the Czech was understandable. It also helped that I was sitting near the ZLs (Elders Boysen and Ferrell)...Elder Boysen is originally a Czech elder and sometimes he'd translate if we were too lost. After District Conference we had Zone conference!! It was really great to see everyone and it was cool to see how much we've all grown! The STLs (Sister Training Leaders), who are from my MTC group gave their first ever training and it was awesome!

 The training ran long as usual, which meant we ran for a train, but didn't make it so we caught a later train. We caught a train from Brno to Bratislava and we only had a five minute layover! Our train was running a few minutes late so we were a little stressed. If we got stuck in Bratislava, it would mean an uncomfortable night in the Sister's tiny apartment with all the Slovak sisters. as soon as the train stopped we ran for the next one. We must have been an interesting sight-10 missionaries with all sorts of luggage running through the crowds.  We caught our train just in time-it was about to pull away right as we got there. we still arrived home late but at least we got here!

Something I forgot to tell you about last time:
So while contacting, especially contacting older people, I'm often asked if I'm Polish! I think it's because they recognized I'm not from Slovakia or the Czech Republic due to my accent and broken Slovak. Plus apparently I look Polish or Russian (or so I've been told quite a lot this past month). When I tell them I'm from America, they are always so surprised and then ask if I have ancestry from the area. It's been a great conversation starter!

That's all I have time for today but I love you all soo much! To close, this week Elder Boysen shared a quote with Sister Baird, who shared it with me so I'm sharing it with you! ;)
"To profess to be a saint, and not to enjoy the spirit of it, tries every fiber of the heart and is one of the most painful experiences that a man can suffer" --Brigham Young
This quote is awesome. It's wonderful to be a member of the true and living church, to take part in the Lord's work among the people of the Czech and Slovak Republics and this week I challenge each of you to ENJOY LIVING THE GOSPEL! Truly, it blesses lives. Go the extra mile and be lead by the Spirit. My mission prezident always says to us, "You are spiritual people!" and I know that you are spiritual people too!

S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3