Friday, June 20, 2014

June 16, 2014-Mlada Boleslav

 Ahoj Everyone!

     I, myself, am completely shocked at how fast this week went! It's crazy how the days seem long but the weeks fly by.
Well, to answer a few questions:
1.  How has your week gone?  Are you doing well in Czech?
A. The week was great! We were busy, getting a feel for the area and setting companionship and district goals. Of course the Czech language is sometimes kind of hard to understand but luckily Sister Steglich is awesome and speaks and understands a lot so she translates occasionally. The languages are very similar so it's not that difficult. There's a few fun stories from this week (see below)...
2.  Are you being the missionary you were in Slovakia? 
A. Of course!! I'm a Czech/Slovak missionary after all. I don't change just cause I'm border jumping.
3. Are you contacting?
A. Yup! And my contacting is getting better and I'm more confident. Sometimes there are language barriers (see #1) but it's going well. 
 4. How is the three-some and the work?  
Sisters Steglich, Smith & Johnson
A. I love my three-some!! We work great together. We're stilling trying to find our rhythm (like while teaching) but it will come.
5. How are your companions? Do you get along?
A. I love them both. We have very similar personalities (ie sorta crazy, driven, stubborn, love to laugh). We have a lot of work to do right now...there's lots of less actives here. We've had a lot of open communication and personally I think this is going to be one of my best transfers.
6.  Do you have any lingering feelings of…? 
A. I miss hearing Slovak sometimes and I miss Slovak missionaries (I've only served in one zone my entire mission-Slovensko Zone!) But the cool thing is that I know I'm hear for something specific. I'm not completely sure what yet, though I have a few guesses. As for how I'm feeling, occasionally overwhelmed  but mostly I'm happy.  I'm trying to understand what exactly Heavenly Father  wants me to accomplish here.
7. Do you have investigators?
A. Yep, a few. We're teaching two really cool Jewish young single adults and a couple of Poles (those lessons are always fun...a mix of Polish, Czech, Slovak, and English!) I'll give you more details next week.
Story Time!!!
So there's three of us in our apartment and only two beds so Sister Steglich was sleeping on the couch for a few days while we looked for a mattress store. We finally called a member and he gave us directions. Eventually we made our way over there (partly we were busy with missionary work and partly we were a little lost). so we decided to get a mattress but the one family who lives in Mlada Boleslav was out of town (at the temple) but we decided to get the mattress anyway. We carried it home (it's like 7 blocks, took us a while). I'll send pics...
So we get to church and I'm asked to play the piano.  Luckily, I got to pick the songs so that was fine. BUT I was playing from an English hymn book and the Czech hymn book is a little different. For instance, the last song, God Be With You Till We Meet Again only has 3 verses in English (and in Slovak, might I add) but it has 4 in Czech! So after playing 3 verses I stop but the congregation keeps singing! It was startling to say the least... it all worked out in the end though.
THE BRANCH IS HUGE AND THEY ALL SPEAK CZECH!!!! seriously though, there's a primary and everything! They are all really sweet but I have no idea how I'm going to keep everyone straight! Because I don't always understand Czech right away (I'm just a little slow on the uptake) some of the members just started speaking to me in English (apparently a lot of the translators live here). It was nice but sort of embarrassing.
Well, I'm having a blast and hope you are too! I love you!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014 - You'll never guess. Not in a million years

I  bet you're all dying to know where I ended up.  And quite frankly any guesses you had are wrong.  (I mean that in a loving way). So you know how Prezident is really...creative with transfers? Well he was really creative once again or maybe better said, Heavenly Father was really creative with transfers. I'm now serving in a three-some!! Crazy, right? And it gets better!!!  I'm in Mlada Boleslav!! Which happens to be in the Czech Republic!!  I'm with Sister Steglich (from my MTC group) and Sister Smith (she's 4 transfers younger than us in the mission). Mlada Boleslav is about 40 minutes from Praha by bus. My mind is blown right now.  I'm excited but it was really hard leaving Slovakia. Prezident told me it's only for a transfer so he wants me to continue studying and speaking Slovak.  Czech is sorta hard to understand. 
(Editor's note: There is much prayer that goes into missionary transfers.  In an email to her family, Sister Johnson said President McConkie prayed and prayed - he doesn't know why she has been called to Czech Republic but that this is where she is to be for this transfer.)
Well anyways that's's what the rest of my week was like: 
Sister Baird and I were working really hard to the point of skipping meals and exhaustion and then the miracles come. We met people who have real interest by contacting the extra minute. We've had amazing lessons and see our investigators progressing. And we've seen how closely Heavenly Father handles His work. I really have a testimony of the little things we do daily which help the work progress. I just wish and hope everyone can catch that vision. If only people could really understand what God wants for them and everyone really and then ACTED!! That's the key to happiness  and full life. Well I'll keep you posted.  This coming transfer will be interesting. A completely new change. 

Sorry this letter is short. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say next week! 

Lots of Love,
Sestra Whitney Sarah Johnson<3

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 2, 2014 - Zilina

This past week was a little stressful because of all the traveling and bizarre happenings but it was really fun and we saw some awesome miracles! We were worried our area might slip a little with all the craziness but we maintained it pretty well!
So first off, we had our koncerts in Trencin and Zilina. They went really well--just a few minor mishaps. Like when one of the elders almost sat on a member... But mostly it was just beautiful and we had a great turn out in both places.  We read  The Family: A Proclamation to the World with songs in between the paragraphs.

This was the program:
Welcome and paragraph 1 followed by Families Can Be Together Forever (Everyone singing with E. Brousseau on guitar)
Paragraphs 2 and 3 followed by I am a Child of God (everyone with S. Kane on piano), Nearer My God to Thee (sisters singing with me on piano and E. Brousseau on guitar), and There is a Green Hill Far Away (guitar solo by E. Brousseau)
Paragraphs 4 and 5 followed by I Often Go Walking (my district singing and me on guitar) and What a Wonderful World (Everyone with E. Brousseau on uke)
Paragraph 6  followed by Love is Spoken Here (everyone with S. Krauel on piano) and For the Beauty of the Earth (everyone with E. Brousseau on guitar)
Paragraph 7 followed by O My Father (Duet by S. Barid and E. Brousseau with S. Kane on piano)
Paragraphs 8 and 9 followed by Abide with Me (Elders. a capella. beautiful. arranged by yours truly ;). it was a powerful closing number).
The concert was so fun and we did an excellent job. 
Then on Wednesday, we went to Bratislava to attend the party for the service project. It was a crazy adventure. First it was a hassle trying to actually get to the place plus I was breaking in brand new heels (just so you all know hiking up cobblestone hills in heels is not fun). But eventually we arrived. It was a beautiful building and actually looked like a mini white house. Everything there was really expensive (the carpets, grand piano in the front room, plates with the United States seal). Plus there was imported American candy and food.  When we arrived Kate, the ambassador's wife was so happy to see us and asked that we would do what we did before-mingle and get to know people and bring everyone together. She really is impressed with us missionaries...we're bilingual charming young people ;). Shortly after Kate and the ambassador spoke along with someone from the hospital. It was really cool because she had us missionaries raise our hands and when she thanked "the Mormon missionaries for their hard work and support", you could hear "Mormoni?" all around the room. The church still struggles with getting positively recognized so this project was very helpful! And hopefully this will generate more service projects.
We had some miracles at church this week...we had three of our investigators come! Two of them had committed but were super shaky and one was a complete suprise! 
As for our investigators...
M: Still no change. Sadly the Elders see her all the time in town but we have been unable to get ahold of her. We don't really know what to make of it because she was progressing so well. 
Our doctor friend: She is sooo cool! She really wanted a Book of Mormon. She was willing to pay for one, we told her it was free. ;)  Found out she has kids, so this just keeps getting better and better. We have a meeting set up this week and she has great questions so I'm looking forward to seeing her progression.
As for our other investigators, they're doing well but we're having a hard time progressing people to baptism. 
This coming Sunday is Branch Conference which means Prezident McConkie will be coming for church.

And somehow it's already June. Sister Baird and I got an email today for "missionaries departing on October 16th." It was quite wretched. It feels like time is speeding up.  Transfers are next week and there's a high chance I'll be leaving here...I've been in Zilina for 6 months now! But we'll all find out next week so until then, I love you all and wish you a beautiful day!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3