The following email is a culmination of Sister Johansen’s last week at the MTC. She left Provo this morning at 3:30am. There was a large group of missionaries travelling together. When they reach Vienna they will separate into groups and each group will continue travelling to their final destinations in Eastern Europe. She will reach the mission home in Tirana, Albania in the afternoon on April 1st after travelling for 36+ hours.
So I got 3 packages today! Sister Ariza was really excited to open her package from you and she keeps just randomly hugging me and saying thank you. I love her so much. She has invited all of us to Chile whenever we want to go. She said to just buy the plane ticket and she will take care of the rest. She lives on the side of Santiago with the temple. (I think it's the east side).
Also, just so you know I have been having a lot of anxiety as the day of leaving the MTC approaches quickly. I'm pretty stressed about a lot of stuff and the adversary is working on us really hard. There were 9 missionaries that had to talk to President Hutchings yesterday about the anxiety they were having. Apparently, all of us are feeling really inadequate and not worthy to serve the Lord in whatever country we are going to. He gave me a blessing last night and it was the coolest experience ever. In it he said that he can visualize my family and extended family on bended knee praying for me, when he said that I could perfectly imagine Lynn and Robyn praying for me in their bedroom. It was really cool because I haven't seen their bedroom in years and I feel like what I was imagining had actually happened or will happen. I'm not sure which one. We are supposed to be all packed tomorrow so we are doing all our laundry tonight and then again on Monday so we can just worry about packing and sending stuff home tomorrow. I am really worried my luggage will be overweight, but I've decided on some stuff that I probably won't mind living without.
Also, here's another cool story that happened at gym today. So I was doing the bikes, which is basically the only thing that I can do with my sprained ankle, and I was reading the family history that you sent to me. I read the part that says something like: "My only regret about Larry is that he didn't serve a mission (he was drafted), but I hope that he will be able to serve a mission with his beautiful wife someday." When I read that in my mind I could perfectly imagine Great grandma and great grandpa Johansen in heaven looking down at me and I could feel how proud they were of me serving a mission. I could feel their love and I thought that even through all the anxiety that I've had, I want to finish my mission for them. I feel so close to them. So anyway, when I started thinking that I just started crying in the middle of gym. Even though I don't really remember them much, I miss them a lot and I hope that I can live to be as great a person as I know they were.
I stayed up late last night packing so that I wouldn't be as stressed about it all day. One bag was 49 pounds and the other was 50 and a half pounds. The elders are way more calm than the sisters...all of us are super stressed about baggage weight and feeling inadequate and other things. We are counting down days until we get to meet our trainers! The elders are so lucky. Clemens suitcases weigh like 40 pounds and then 15 pounds...I wish I could put some stuff in his suitcase, but we don't know if we will have access to our suitcases at the mission home before we are transferred. I have too much weight so I have to put all my books in my bag.
It's really hard to teach in English. It is a lot easier to teach in Albanian. One of our teachers told us today that Sister Kelli who is in Shkoder is going to be training one of us, but we don't know who yet!! One of us is really nervous because they speak the Gheg dialect there and they taught us the Tosk dialect here. So it's really different and I'm nervous it's going to be me!! We had our culture night yesterday so now we know a lot more about Albania than we did before. You can't drink the water anywhere in Albania or Kosovo or anywhere else. Apparently 9 people went home from their missions in Albania when Vellai Carver was there because they got really sick because of food and stuff. I hope I don't have to be sent home sick! I love you guys so much for caring so much about me. Thanks for everything!!
So I just wanted to share something that happened to me today. We had about 20 devotionals today because we are leaving this week, and I was sitting in one when someone quoted the scripture that says that angels are round about you to buoy you up. Well someone said that they feel like their sister is one of those angels and I just knew that Grandma and Grandpa Johansen are not just looking down at me, but they are two of the angels that are carrying me as a try to do the work of the Savior.
This is probably the last time I will write until I'm in Albania. It was really sad to say good bye to our teachers. We have been with them every day for 9 weeks and now we won't see them anymore. It's really sad. Also, we talk to President and Sister Burgess all the time because her son went to Albania on his mission. They are really sweet people. They remember us all the time and sometimes eat meals with us. I wish you could meet them. I have loved all of my priesthood and relief society leaders and I am sad to leave them, but I am on to bigger and better things. I hope that they continue to be blessed by the gospel. I will miss America, but I'm excited to see all that Albania has to offer. I think I am finally ready to leave and go serve for real. I just hope I still feel that way when 3 am rolls around. I just hope that I don't get sick on the flight...and that I can get enough sleep tonight. I have a book of Mormon to give out so I hope I can do that...I love you all to Gallifrey and back and I will see you again when I'm back on American soil...Mireupafshim!!