Saturday, August 31, 2013

patience is a virtue

Today I decided that Heavenly Father uses the US postal service as a way to teach us patience. My mission assignment was made on Thursday, so now I just sit and wait... right next to the mail box until the mailman comes. How cool is it that one of the prophets of The Lord looked at my picture on a screen and said "Hello Sister Johnson, you're going to ____"?!?! It's definitely a pretty amazing feeling. I'm so excited to know where I'm going to spend a year and a half of my life serving The Lord!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

an outline for my day

College is hard. Juggling college, work, homework, sleep, eating, church, gospel study, family time, visiting teaching and preparing for a mission is even harder.  That's not even including hang out time with friends, although I've gotten used to the idea of living at my desk with books in my hands. I'll admit, I'm a busy body through and through, but it can get a little draining sometimes. So... I decided to make some goals (No, don't worry, it's not the New Year) to help me balance life, while keeping my priorities straight. I guess you could also say this is an experiment as well...?
This is going in chronological order ishh
Goal 1) Write everything down (so far so good)
2) After my alarm goes off, step straight from my bed into a kneeling prayer.
3) Before leaving for school in the morning, read my scriptures for as much time as possible-minimum 10 minutes
Both of these goals aren't hard for me to keep at other times of the day, but I think I should start my day with my focus on the right place, and that is with the Lord.
4) Listen to conference talks on my way to school via the Mormon Channel App, or the occasional MoTab and cheesy EFY music. (I am a die hard advocate for EFY music. Listen to it instead of the normal mainstream radio and your life will be changed for the better, I promise)
5) Share the gospel and my testimony with those around me at school.
6) Don't look down or at my phone when I walk through campus. Look people in the eye and smile, take in the beauty of the chaos around me and learn from what I see.
7) Talk to people
8) Say a prayer to myself before every class
9) Be positive at work
10) Don't get road rage
11) Make time for my family even if it appears there isn't time
12) If there wasn't enough time in my morning scripture study for Preach My Gospel reading, then fit that in with whatever other gospel study I need for a total of 30 minutes including the morning study.
13) Go to the temple once a week
14) Read my patriarchal blessing every day with the scripture study
15) Prayer before sleep

Wow that's 15 goals. Well maybe it's more like guidelines for my day because those are things that I already do. I just want to do them better and at the right time.

I know that as we shift our focus to what is most important, our crazy chaotic lives will be easier to balance and organize. Not to mention our testimonies will increase as we keep Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the center of our thoughts and actions. The spirit will be with us, and we will be guided by it! Wish me luck, I'm hoping you all hold me accountable to what I've written.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One of those days

Today was just one of those days. I was in the middle of a pity party when I looked up and read a quote on the bulletin board above my bed that reminded me of something I did not realiz I was forgetting:

"God has not forgotten you, nor will he ever forget you. You are His Daughter and He loves you more than you will ever know. He will not give you something that is beyond your strength. Sometimes we have to partake of the bitter to know and appreciate the delicious taste of the sweet and savory... Always remember, you are being refined to shine," 

What a tender mercy that answer was to my pleas for comfort! Heavenly Father doesn't leave us alone in our trials. We only need pray and peace will be sent our way.

"Heavenly Father has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up and he always keeps his word". 

Friday, August 23, 2013

an outing with the Elders

Yesterday I was privileged to go out to visit three families with the Elder missionaries! Knocking on doors and bearing testimony to complete strangers made the mission fire inside me practically explode. Teaching people about Christ and his gospel is what I want to do!! But let me tell you, you have to be ready to teach and ready to listen to the spirit to be a missionary. I have read through and taught the first lesson twenty thousand times in mission prep, but it still freaked me out when the missionaries looked at me and nodded that it was my turn to do the talking and bearing testimony. We have to do all we can do, then Heavenly Father will make up the rest with the guidance of the spirit--but, as my mish prep teacher always says, "the spirit can't draw water from an empty well!"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

finding strength

It's kind of an emotional week of ups and downs. One of my best friends is moving to Utah, another just left for his mission, my mission papers are getting turned in, I'm starting school in a completely new environment.. I feel like the list goes on and on. I am indeed a lover of change, but when a lot of it happens in less than a week it can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately for me, I don't have to go at it alone! John 14:18 says "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you". This scripture has crept into my top favorites since a little over a year ago when I relied on it for strength when a best friend of mine was sick. Since that experience, my testimony of the Savior and his atonement has grown exponentially. Not only is the atonement used for it's cleansing power, but also for grace! Grace is the enabling power, the comforting power, strengthening power. Truly all things are possible through Christ which strengthens us (Philippians 4:12).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Feels like I'm flying.

It's probably the most unexplainably amazing feeling ever walking out of the stake president's office having completed the worthiness interview and having all paperwork done and submitted! I'm grateful that I'm the cookie-cutter follow-the-rules type, (although I'm not perfect) I've followed the commandments and kept myself spiritually, physically, emotionally and morally worthy to serve a mission. It's the best feeling and gave me an idea of what it would feel like to stand in front of the Savior confidently.
By no means am I sharing this to brag about myself. I'm sharing it because it's proof that if we try our best to do what we're taught, what the prophet commands us, what our parents counsel us, then it pays off. Man it pays off big time, and the blessings are endless, the happiness is endless. Reaching the goal I've had for my whole life--to enter the temple-- is just around the corner. Conversion is a continuing process though, we always have to be studying, praying, serving, and getting to know our Savior better every day. True conversion and discipleship is beautifully mapped out in this scripture by Mormon "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life" (3 Nephi 5:13). We can take our conversion one step further: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32).
Ultimately, I want to live my life as the Savior would have me live it! I hope to draw closer to him, especially as I'm preparing for a mission.
Andddddd hopefully I can follow his example of patience as I'm waiting for my call to come....

it's late, my brain is fried.

It's always at the time of night when I should be sleeping that I get motivation to write in my journal or blog.. Things that aren't as appealing when you have a million and twelve other things to do during the day seem to become top priority at 1:30am.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm so privileged to belong to such an awesome family and have such a blessed life. Why am I fortunate enough to have been born into the covenant and raised a member of this church? I have parents that work hard to provide for the family, they love me, and most importantly they love each other. They have testimonies of the gospel and have taught me how to find my own! I know where I came from, where I belong, and where I'm going. I don't ever doubt the truthfulness of the gospel. I have so much to be grateful to my Heavenly Father for! the list goes on and on.
I'm so incredibly happy all the time, and I want other people to be happy too! Am I a repetitive person by saying that again? Mmmmm probably.
goodnight. or good morning I guess? either way, I'm sacking out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Search Ponder and Pray

Hey guess what! I got 50 page views on my first blog post. 2 were from different countries, and although I feel completely creeped out by that, I'm also feeling like one kool kat!
---> T-Minus 6 days until I turn in my mission papers <---
Here's a little random thought that's been going through my mind... My number one advice to everyone when preparing for a mission, or maybe just preparing for life in general, is to study. I'm not talking about the opening your scriptures right before you fall asleep and reading 2 verses type of thing (yes I'm guilty of that). I mean setting aside time in your day, everyday, for the Lord. How hard can it be? He has given us everything, so can't we sit down and show a little dedication?
     Here's the average 3 step program.... 1) Starting with prayer, then 2) searching scriptures and 3) pondering. I hope the primary song "Search Ponder and Pray" just popped into your head.
     I'd like to propose a fourth step. That is to carefully write down what we learn, our thoughts, our impressions in a journal. On the front of the seminary journals they give us every year is a quote that I will attempt to recall from my mind. It's by an apostle I believe and goes something like: "knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need." How cool is that? It's practically a promise that if we take the time to write down the knowledge Heavenly Father blesses us with, we will be able to refer back to it when we need it most. Something I've always said (and probably told many people a thousand times) is that your pen is an antennae to the spirit. Writing things down shows Heavenly Father that you care about what his spirit is revealing to you, which in turn blesses you with more knowledge to write and more and more and more and more. Get the picture?
     Something I like to involve in my daily study is "Preach My Gospel." It's a must have for all missionaries and all members. But I'm 98% sure you already knew that. If we want to be successful tools in the Lord's hands as missionaries (full time or member missionaries), we have to utilize the tools he has already given us. Yes, you could argue that the MTC (Missionary Training Center) is where you can learn what you need to teach as a missionary. But, how much time could you save if you already knew? You could get straight to work instead of having to waste time. Think of how many more people would be blessed by that! Just a thought. hopefully a little motivation.
The First Presidency wrote in the front of PMG "We challenge you to rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His glorious work. Every missionary has an important role in helping "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children."
I'm definitely not perfect. But I know that through Christ all things are possible (Philippians 4:13)!

Monday, August 12, 2013

This is just the beginning.

So I guess I just started a blog... Which wasn't as easy to make as it looks. What a blessing technology is, why not take advantage and use it as a tool to share what we believe?
Here's a little bit about me.. My name is Tori, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, "Mormons". I just graduated high school (go jackrabbits!). Apparently I'm starting college next week....? Who know summer could go by so fast? I'm attending ASU with a beautiful scholarship, studying business law. Oh! and I guess I could let the secret (not so secret) out that I'm turning in my mission papers on the 20th of this month. WOW so extremely excited. But hey, I guess that's kinda the norm now with Mormon girls? Preparing for a mission has blessed my life incredibly. I really would suggest it for everyone. And when I say everyone I MEAN EVERYONE. Even if you don't think you'll go on one. When the mission age changed (girls could go out at 19 instead of 21) I said heck to the no way am I going on a mission. But as I prayed and studied my scriptures, I felt like I should prepare as if I was going on a mission and began to really dedicate myself to my personal gospel study. My testimony increased and look at me now! Some time went by and I guess I changed my mind, because by this time next month I'll have my call. It just goes to show that no matter what direction we think we want to go, Heavenly Father always has something five-thousand times better for us in mind. He knows us better than we know ourselves! I know without a doubt that going on a mission is what I am supposed to do. I know that Heavenly Father has prepared me throughout my whole life to go. I know that Christ died for us and lives again! I know that through him, happiness can be found.  I see so much pain and suffering in the world, people searching and not finding the truth that they need. I want them to know what I know, especially that they can feel peace, love, comfort, and happiness through Jesus Christ! The gospel of Jesus Christ continuously blesses my life and it's because of that that I want to share it with others. That is why I am going on a mission, to be the hands of the Lord here on the earth, to join the ranks and help teach the world the Plan of Salvation, and to testify of this gospel.
So enjoy my blogging! Or not!