Monday, June 12, 2017

Packing Our Bags

June 10, 2017

Our three years in Pennsylvania are quickly coming to an end.  At the end of this month, President and Sister Bednar will replace us, and we will leave the mission home in Pittsburgh to return to our home in Providence, Utah.  The Bednars are wonderful and will lead the PPM to higher heights.

We have mixed emotions as we think about this change in our lives. These three years have been challenging and trying at times.  They have also been richly rewarding and fulfilling.  They have changed our hearts and how we see the world. We will be eternally grateful for the blessing of spending virtually every hour of every day together serving as full time representatives of Jesus Christ.  Working with 650+remarkable missionaries has blessed our lives immeasurably.

We are very excited to see our children, grandchildren and large extended families again.  We are also looking forward to the freedom of post mission life. We will miss this beautiful state, the members and especially the missionaries.  There will be a void in our hearts, as we leave this blessed place.  

Many have asked when our mission report/welcome home will take place. Here are the details:


Date: July 9, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM

Location: Providence 5th Ward Chapel -- 355 S Canyon Rd, Providence, UT 84332

 

After the Sacrament meeting we will go to a nearby park where we will get a chance to visit with missionaries, their parents and friends.  Details:


Location: Von Baer Park -- 330 E Center Street, Providence, UT 84332 

Time: 2:45 PM – 6:00 PM 

 

As mentioned above, our return home will give us an opportunity to spend time with our large families.  We expect our schedule will be quite full.  We also look forward to seeing PPM returned missionaries.  If you would like to visit us in Providence, please contact us in advance so we can arrange a time that will work with our schedules.  The easiest way to do that is with FB Messenger. 

 

We are thrilled at the thought of seeing many of you on July 9. We will also hold a missionary reunion in October. Details on that will be forthcoming. 

 

God bless,

 

President & Sister Johnson

 



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Joyfully Entering In At The Gate


Through the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, you were born again into a new life. The Savior said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (​John 3:5​). Just as an infant enters a new existence at birth, you began a new life when you entered into the baptismal covenant. You can grow in spirituality and become more like the Savior by keeping your baptismal covenant, partaking of the sacrament to renew your covenant, and repenting of your sins. The Apostle Paul taught that when we have been baptized, we “should walk in newness of life” (​Romans 6:4​).

​​​​Now that you are baptized and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, you must continue in righteousness, for these ordinances mark only the beginning of your journey back to dwell with your Heavenly Father. The prophet Nephi taught:

​​​​“After ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with ​​unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

​​​​“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (​2 Nephi 31:19–20​).


 
Elders Hansen, Payne, Beka who was baptized in April with Sisters Pena and McDonald




Dave Crawford's story (Sister Carr and Sister Fenton)

20 years in the Making: Dave


Nearly 20 years ago two Mormon missionaries were out driving around Corry, Pennsylvania when they felt prompted to stop by a specific house. A man named Dave answered the door and invited the elders in. He listened to their message. Dave continued to meet with the missionaries and work towards baptism. As the date of Dave's baptism drew closer, he just didn't feel like it was the right timing. Fast forward to 2017, 20 years later and several other religions later, 70-year-old Dave found himself being drawn to Mormonism again. He plopped onto Mormon.org<http://Mormon.org> and requested a free bible be delivered to his home, knowing full well that two Mormon missionaries and a copy of the Book of Mormon would come along with it.


And sooooooo, that's how we found ourselves sitting in the home of the spunkiest 70 year old we've ever met. Dave met with us regularly and rapidly progressed towards baptism.


BUT that's not even it! After falling out of contact for years, Dave FINALLY found the missionary that taught him 20 years ago on Facebook. Dave sent his old missionary a  message that basically said something along the lines of this: "Hello! You look like one of the missionaries that taught me years ago. I just wanted to let you know that I'm planning on being baptized May 10. Before I tell you anymore...is this you???"


Dave's old missionary, Sheridan aka Elder Petersen, was shocked and thrilled to hear from the man he had taught 20 years earlier. Sheridan shared his side of the story with us later. He said that he had searched for Dave for the last 20 years on Facebook. But a few weeks earlier he had felt prompted to change his profile picture on Facebook to a picture of him right after he returned home from his mission. That's how Dave was able to find him- because he recognized his picture from 20 years ago! A few weeks later Sheridan was able to fly out to Pennsylvania from Wisconsin to baptize Dave.


Since his baptism Dave has visited the hospital several times. He has a serious heart condition. When we first met him he said, "God is keeping me alive for a reason and I really think this is it!"  God has been preparing Dave to receive the restored gospel for years. He now carries restoration pamphlets around with him everywhere he goes and he'll be attending the temple for the first time next week. In two short months, we have come to absolutely adore this jolly, spunky grandpa man! He's a bundle of humor, sincerity, and kindness.


We are so grateful that we got to be a part of this last chapter of his story. Neal A. Maxwell once said, "Faith in God includes faith in God's timing."

Sister Aubrey Fenton


Elder Daines, Hailey baptized by Elder Montgomery 

Elder Herzog, Dorothy, who was baptized in May 2017 by Elder Nelson, also taught by Elders Condie and Halls

Elder McCally baptized Iris, assisted by Elder Aguinaga 

Elder (and Sister Canaan not pictured), Elder Wang, Elder McCally, Iris, Elder Aguinaga, Elder Bates and Elder Spencer

Elders Cook (shown here) and Kotter taught Aiden and Austin baptized March 2017

Elder Daines, Alex, Elder Afungia and Bill

Alex was baptized by Elder Daines 



Joshua Lytle baptized Terry taught by Elder Goulding and Elder Nelson

David was taught by Elders Rucker and Huff and baptized by Elder Huff

"Will  is officially a member of the church. (; He studies for hours every day, and he's changed a TON, even from when we first started meeting with him a few months ago. The gospel brings him so much peace, and he's soo glad to have "joined the crazies," as he says it! I had the opportunity to
baptize him."  -Elder Richardson assisted by Elders Gardiner and Li

"Lynne has met with missionaries on and off since 1992. It took a while, but she has gotten a strong testimony of the gospel and loves the church! Elder Li baptized her."  - Elder Richardson 

Elder Nelson and Elder Taylor taught and baptized William

Sister Simmons and Sister Jackson taught Grant baptized this month.

Elder Kap and Elder Boyes taught Sharon 






Sisters Albrecht and Robison taught Anjanette baptized this month.

Elders Goulding and Aitken taught Ruby who was baptized by her father.

Sister's Nelson and Beckstrand with Richie!  jOY!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Farewell and Best Wishes! May 2017

Three amazing missionaries have completed their missions and returned home in May.  We are so grateful for their service and to have served together!  Love and best in this important transfer!

Sister Kwasney, Sister Thorson and Elder Ross

Farewell hike on the trails



Some of the things they shared: 

My Mission Was Successful Because...

 "I have come to know Jesus Christ.  I learned that repentance is a joyful thing!  We can change and become better.  I have felt the power of that change in my own heart as I watched others embrace the gospel and have their hearts change.  Seeing myself come unto Christ as I have seen others come unto Him.   I have felt the love of Christ as I have read the Book of Mormon.  He lives!  I wish more people would have been open to it."


 "For awhile it was hard to feel like I was successful as a missionary.  I can testify of Jesus Christ without shame - that is a success for me.  Bearing testimony is a success no matter what the response.  I have come to know the atonement is real and that I can help others come closer to Jesus Christ.  My priorities have changed and I now know that the Sabbath is a sign we show our Heavenly Father."


 "Being able to develop a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  Having to deal with hard things  - my anxiety and doing things out of my comfort zone has enabled me to come to know them.  My studies of the scriptures have become so precious and I have found answers and how to have a closeness with the Lord.  Seeing how my Heavenly Father loves me  - I see glimpses of that love.  The Book of Mormon has shown me how to return to Heavenly Father and live with my family forever and get through the challenges that this life unfolds."  




A happy reunion for the Kwasneys!