Monday, February 15, 2016


Welp folks, this is it. The last silly weekly email from Sister Johanson the ancient.

What do you say to sum up an entire mission? The best I can do is leave you with my testimony (what a missionary I am..). I am so grateful for my mission. I have truly loved being here. I am so grateful for the incredible people that I got to meet, the relationships I got to build, and the miracles I was allowed to see. 
I know that this is Heavenly Father's work. He lives. He lives and He loves us. In fact, He loves us so much that He sent us our Savior. I love my Savior. He's the reason that I've been out here as long as I have, doing what I've been doing every day. How blessed I am for my knowledge of Him!
The spirit of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is powerful. I believe in modern prophets, and I believe that this is the church of the Lord. We are on the right path, my friends. :) God does speak to His children today, there are miracles to be seen, The Book of Mormon is true, and families can be together forever. And this is all possible because of Jesus Christ. :) 
I know that my Redeemer lives.

I can't thank you enough for the endless love and support that you have constantly and consistently shown to me throughout this adventure. Your prayers worked! I made it, and I loved it. I can't wait to come home and hug your faces off! Love is so much better close up than from far away. :) I hope you have a blessed week, and uh, see ya soon!

Love from the Netherlands,

Sister Johanson

Monday, February 8, 2016


Welcome to the second to last weekly email of Sister Johanson the very old!

Don't worry, I didn't skip a couple of weeks, plans have just changed a little, but God's plan hasn't. He knew what was up all along. :)

My lovely greenie Sister Maughan came to us this week. She has been slowly recovering from pneumonia, so physically she's got it rough, but emotionally she is incredible. She's a fun girl to be around, with lots of missionary fire and I'm grateful to have her here. We practice teaching lessons in Dutch to the chairs in the living room and constantly talk about missionary work, when she's not briefing me on how to be a normal person back in America. :) I'm really grateful for this last opportunity to help a fellow missionary and help set her up to have a successful mission, although I feel like she's doing more for me than I am for her.

It's been a rougher week here in Deventer, but there are still missionary experiences aplenty. Every time we go outside, there's someone cool to talk to. :) God is certainly mindful of us. I was able to feel His love a lot this week as I communed with Him to see what His plan is for me. I'm so grateful that He has let me be on a mission and see so many miracles and meet so many wonderful people. I am so grateful for the faithful and steadfast support group that He's given me and I won't be able to thank all of you enough for what you have done for me, and continue to do for me. I hope that in this last week and a half of wearing a nametag that I can give my all and still cram in a couple of conversion moments every day. ;) Name tags come off, but missionary work never ends.

I love you all a lot, I appreciate you more than you know, and I continue to pray for you.

Sister Johanson the 1st

Alma 29:9

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Deventer Rehab Center

Welcome to the 6th to last weekly email of Sister Johanson the old

I am still here in Deventer with the wonderful, wonderful Hills. They are some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met and I sure do love them. Guess what. They're going to send me a companion! The poor dear is a greenie who just came in and got pneumonia on the way over, so they're bringing her to our little Deventer rehab center and I'm going to sit inside and train her. Sounds like fun times to me. :) I really have been able to see blessings and reasons for being here with the senior couple in this city. I've made several new friends, including missionaries, recent converts, and investigators, and I am still able to have missionary opportunities.
The other day, Sister Hill and I walked across the street to get hair cuts. We started talking to this darling 17 year old girl who is planning a graduation trip to America. I began telling her cool places to go in America and asking her all kinds of questions, and she asked if we could exchange numbers and talk more. Awkwardly, I am the girl without phone or home, so we did the email thing. She will probably get baptized someday, don't you think? ;) I love new friends.

I truly am doing a lot better. I thank you all sooo much for your prayers in my behalf. God really listens to those. I've received a lot of love from a lot of people, and I know that means that God loves me. Thanks for being a part of His plan and giving me the help I need. :)

Since I'll be here a while longer, here is my address:
 Nieuwstraat 124    7411 LP    Deventer   Netherlands

Remember kids, God made you special, and He loves you very much. (thanks Veggie Tales)
Love to you all from the Neverlands,
Sister Jo

Alice, our cute Chinese friend, made yummy Chinese food for us.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Expect the Unexpected

Hey Beloved Souls of My Heart :)

So, this last week has been..yes. But I'll share a miracle with you.

One of our investigators believes that we, missionaries, were sent from God to help him. However, he's been having a hard time giving up his other religion. He said that if Jesus made the decision for him, then he would follow Him. Well, oh so uncoincidentally, a week later, he had a dream that Jesus came to him and told him to follow Him! Call it weird, but you can also call it a miracle. :)

For the rest..Tilburg has been taken over, and Sister Manning is now serving in Zoetermeer. My body has been dealing with a negative reaction to medication, so I am just chilling with my new companions the Hills until my body recovers. :) They are wonderful, and I am so grateful for them. Sister Hill reminds me of Grandma Johanson, with her cute little voice and happy laugh and always worrying about me being cold and needing more blankies. Elder Hill gave me a blessing, and we know that everything is going to be okay. Thanks so much for your love and prayers- they really do work.

I wish you all the most blessed of weeks! 

Much love,
Sister Jo

My branch mission leader's cute family
All my ex-comps became comps for a weekend, like an ex-Johanson clan

My new comps

Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Has Sprung

Howdy Pals

Good times, good times. It froze over here, so I have turned into a popsidressa. My favorite. But there are always miracles to share.

There have been a couple moments where, by just being me, God helps people, usually on public transportation. I had another experience this week where I was sharing some life thoughts with Sister Manning on a train and this guy next to us seemed to be listening. We were talking about enjoying your own life, and being happy with who you are. The guy kept nodding and then said, "ya, that's true." We then had a cool, chill conversation with him about life and how to be happy. What a blessing for all of us. :)

Another cool moment was getting to do one last, last-minute musical number with Elder Hunter at zone training. It was a great training, and he really brought the Spirit with "Oh Divine Redeemer" and we tried to convey our testimonies through the words and music. I love those opportunities.

It's been a bit of a weird week with some hiccups, but God is with us and all is well. I pray for the same for you all.

Much love,

Sister Jo #1

Thanks for the shirts Mom :) 
Elder Hunter and us

Monday, January 11, 2016

Tilburg Time


I'm getting to the point where I am very out of exciting greetings. 

Let's begin by stating the fact that Sister Manning and I are having a blast over here in Tilburg. :) With hard work and lots of laughs, we feel like the good ol MTC dream team. God is blessing us with lots of little miracles.

  We had a stop-smoking party for one of our pals on Saturday, and he is going to try to not smoke for a whole week! We put lots of inspiring little posters all over his apartment and the zone leaders gave him an air freshener. We are so proud of him. 
   We also had a make-it-or-break-it lesson with a man who has been investigating for 7 years. He will either be baptized February 13, or uh, ya.
  Our branch council inspired us yesterday by telling us how they are going to get the members more involved in missionary work. We are just livin the dream over here!

Cool Spirit moment: We got the random idea to go to this area we never go to, and the train was leaving in 5 minutes. We went, and only had half an hour to do whatever God needed us to before heading to an appointment. We started knocking some doors, got let in on the 3rd door, and found ourselves a fun new investigator. Isn't it crazy how God uses random thoughts to get us to accomplish cool things? 

My favorite funny moment: Sister Manning did a complete rendition of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat on our bike ride home the other night. You all missed out. What a "gem" she is. (she always says that word :) )

Sending you many happy thoughts and blessings,

Sister Jo

Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome to the Future

Happy 2016, folks!

This week was full of all kinds of exciting things. We will start with New Years.
It was awesome! Man, it is so cool in the Netherlands. We had to be inside at 4, but our mission president was inspired to have us make life goals, so we were busy all afternoon. We made goals for 3, 10, and 25 years into our life, and it was cool to look that far ahead and think about what you really want in life. My goals ended up being centered around family, education, and health. That's Dressa. :) But the fireworks here are awesome!!  A lot of stuff is legal here, so it is a lot cooler than America. We had a great view as well. I'll try to send the video. :)

We have an investigator with a baptismal date! She is quickly grasping the principles of the gospel and asked us what she needed to do be baptized, if she needed to make an appointment or something. Haha we were pretty happy about that.

I also got asked out on a train! He wanted to get coffee in Antwerpen. Dang it. I love Antwerpen, just skip the date and the coffee. :)

We have a fair amount of investigators/less actives who are "on the brink," and are getting ready to make some big changes in their lives. They just need to get up the courage to do it, so we are working on that a lot right now.

You want to know a crazy story? So January 1, we were walking to the church for a lesson and we saw something in the distance on the ground, like a bike. A jogger stopped and stood over the bike, and we saw something move. A young Polish guy, a little more than slightly drunk from his new year celebrations, had fallen from his bike and was laying on the ground. A couple people stopped, but realizing he was okay, just drunk, they continued on. (this is nothing against Dutch people- they are usually incredibly serviceable by nature!) Sister Manning and I went up to him, helped the Dutch people speak English to him, then we found ourselves grabbing his bike and walking him back to the station. He said we were like nice elves, and we told him that we were from Jesus. :) Who knows if he will remember anything from that morning, but we left him with a pamphlet and a card, and it was cool to be able to have a moment like that as a missionary. There is always hope for people. :) 

Anyway, all kinds of exciting times over here in the Neverlands. I hope you are all enjoying the fabulous new 2016 and are excited for the blessings that this year will bring. You are the best.

Sista Jo

All my old comps on exchange day! So funny.

New Years and s'mores dip :) 

Fireworks! not super good pics, but hey, there they are.