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Sister Johnson - 7/17/2023

I’m back!

Honestly, I really struggle with writing these emails because I have no clue how to sum up the emotions of missionary work into words, let alone an email. But I will try.

This week our spirits were high, but the work was kinda slow. We had so many lessons lined up, and almost every single one fell through. That was super tough, but the inactive work here in our branch is incredible. At this rate we will be a ward again in no time. We are working a ton with the YSA in each of the family wards, and helping them feel comfortable and wanted in our branch. We have several members that never come that are starting to come here and there! It is such a privilege to work with our new branch president, President King, because he is so open and excited to try new things. We had THREE YSA move their records to our branch this week, which basically means that they can help out more and the other members will know how to reach and fellowship them! Currently we are getting fed pretty often (as missionaries, the members that we work with sign up to feed us dinner regularly as a way to contribute and help the work), this is a miracle because in a young single adult congregation, we do not get fed very often. However peer pressure works. The best part, though, is that the members that aren't currently coming to church are the majority of the ones that are signing up to feed us, and they are starting to trickle into church! Miracles upon miracles! These members are starting to get more involved and are even receiving assignments in our branch.

Rakesh is doing really well too! He is dying to be baptized, but it is a little hard with the culture of his family back in India. He initially was waiting for them to get their VISAs, so that they can be at his baptism, but that could take up to 15 years. More recently he has shifted his focus to how he is going to tell his parents that he is going to be baptized without them. We spent our lesson with him this week role playing (practicing... we do this a lot as missionaries) how he would tell his mom. It was awesome! We also came up with the idea to send missionaries to his parent's house in India. That way they could start learning more about what he is trying to do. We are currently in the process of getting the address for the missionaries over there. Before and after Rakesh's lesson this week was crazy though. Sister Landeen and I were out in the blazing heat, and we were exhausted. Sister Yellow Hawk-Backes was with some other missionaries for the day. We came home for dinner and we were so tried we just napped the whole meal. I had to lay on a towel because I was sweating so much. We got up to go to Rakesh's lesson and I was feeling terrible, but of course I would not cancel the lesson. On the way to the church building, told Sister Landeen to pull over. Right as she did, I jumped out of the car and puked... a ton... for the first time in awhile... I hate puking. But I got back in the car, and Sister Landeen said that the light was back in my eyes. We just started dying laughing. I was feeling a lot better for the time being, so we went and had a great lesson with Rakesh. By the end, I was feeling terrible again. We drove home but had 2 or 3 meetings we had to join before we could go to bed. I suffered through the meetings, which didn't end until 10:15pm, then I puked two more times and went to bed. The next morning I woke up feeling great! Moral of the story... don't get heat exhaustion:)

I know I have said a lot, but I swear I am almost there.

This week I have pondered a lot on my missionary service thus far. Incase you couldn't tell, I love being a missionary. I am so honored to be here and I just want to do it right. Since the beginning of my mission I have tried to be accountable to God for what I did that day. I recognize my many, many shortcomings, but promised God everyday that I gave it my all. One of my recent favorite scriptures is Alma 36:24 "Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Alma, one of the greatest missionaries known to scripture, was able to say that he labored without ceasing! I want to be able to say that. The last 6 months have look a lot different than I have expected. They haven't been filled with baptisms, tons of new friends to teach, or even temple trips (sadly), but it has been exactly what I needed. I have been able to labor and serve this branch with all my heart and I have learned to love the young adults here in Charlotte. While it looks different, I have still been able to bring souls to repentance, and help them be filled with joy. I have learned more from these members and missionaries than I could ever describe. I know that this gospel changes lives. It has changed mine and it has changed the lives of the people around me. Jesus Christ lives, and I invite you to come to know him personally. Nothing brings you to closer to Christ than laboring unceasingly in HIS work. Oh boy am I honored to be apart of it!

This week my mama's email made me happy!

Love ya'll!

Sister Johnson

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