President Camille N. Johnson speaks at the Provo Missionary Training Center

PROVO, Utah — During the decade of 2009 through 2019, each member of the family of Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson has engaged in full-time missionary service for the Church of Jesus. -Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

Son Austin Johnson began his mission in Samoa in 2009.

His son Connor Johnson left for Ecuador in 2013.

President Johnson and her husband, Elder Doug Johnson, presided over the Arequipa Peru Mission beginning in 2016. Their third son, Tanner Johnson, began his mission in Italy the same year.

While thousands of miles apart, the memorable decade of family missionary service has enriched their lives, strengthened their faith, and brought them closer to the Savior Jesus Christ, President Johnson told a wide audience Tuesday. missionary audience during a devotional at the Church’s Provo Missionary Training Center: Aug. 30.

“Your mission will expand your circle of love, it will change the people in your home, it will change your friends in the mission, and most importantly, it will change you,” she said.

A missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds sheet music as he sings a hymn during a religious meeting with Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on Tuesday, August 30. 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

Drawing on her missionary experience and the gospel throughout her life, President Johnson taught missionaries five topics:

  1. The process of revelation that goes through counsel in counsels and counsel with the Lord.
  2. Recognize the different ways the Spirit communicates with us.
  3. Embrace the temporal and physical changes of missionary life and the offering of a “great change” of heart to the Lord.
  4. The joy of daily repentance.
  5. Do spiritual work with faith to seek miracles.

“Perhaps you think I have touched on unrelated matters. But there is something, someone that ties it all together,” she said. “It is our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose name you bear on your chest. I testify that he lives and loves you.

Revelation, advice and counsel with the Lord

President Johnson testified of the process of receiving and acknowledging revelation that occurs when women and men consult together.

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Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints listen as Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson speaks at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

“I have certainly seen and felt it this year in my assignments in Primary and now in Relief Society,” she said.

Missionaries can participate in the same revelation process when they participate in districts, zones, missionary leadership councils, ward councils, and with ward mission leaders, not to mention fellowships.

“There are revelations scattered among you, and as you counsel one another, with common purpose, I can promise you that you will be blessed by the Spirit to guide, direct, and inspire you in your counsel and in your missionary service,” she said. .

Missionaries should also consult with the Lord through “said and unsaid” prayers.

“Consult your Heavenly Father, early and often,” President Johnson said. “You need his help and that of the Savior, and they want to help you.

‘Recognize how the Spirit speaks to you’

When missionaries counsel in counsel and with the Lord, it is important to recognize how the Holy Spirit communicates with you.

The Spirit can prompt us to do something that is difficult or outside of our comfort zone; it can inspire us to do something good, just, kind or generous; it provides feelings of comfort, peace, joy and hope; it can enlighten minds; it can protect from evil and deception; and that can guide our words, she says.

President Johnson warned of “analysis paralysis” — when people wonder if an idea is a spiritual inspiration or a personal idea and don’t respond. She also urged missionaries to find their own space in the day to receive personal revelation. The revelation flows to her as she takes daily walks without listening to books or podcasts.

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Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson, right, shakes hands with a missionary at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

“Your missionary experience will be a remarkable time for you – a time when you can cultivate your ability to recognize and understand the Spirit,” she said. “I invite you to ask in your prayers for the Spirit to manifest in a way you can recognize and understand.”

‘Change is good’

When the roots of a potted plant have become “root bound”, forming a tangled mess with no more room to grow, a gardener cuts and loosens the roots before moving it to a larger pot with fresh soil. Add water and the plant begins to thrive again.

Missionary life is full of constant changes, from new cultures and languages ​​to transfers and new companions. A new missionary can sometimes feel like a plant that has been “uprooted, removed from a comfortable home,” with “loose roots” and placed “in a new pot with new soil.” President Johnson advised missionaries not to resist change but to embrace it. Ask, “What can I learn from this new experience? »

“Maybe there’s a little discomfort in all this change,” President Johnson said. “But, sisters and elders, I want you to know that change is good. … Change is like loosening the roots because the Lord does not want us to be rooted.

President Johnson testified that “change inspired by the Lord is always good” and “change is evidence of our Heavenly Father’s concern for you—individually.”

“I hope you will recognize the changes you have already experienced, and the changes that will come in the mission field, as evidence of God’s love and concern for you,” she said. said. “He will sanctify you, prepare you to enter into his presence and return to him, if you let him prevail in your life.”

Beyond the physical and temporal changes of the missionary life, there is the most important change – “the total commitment of a missionary’s heart, strength, mind and strength to Jesus Christ “. She invited the missionaries to examine the history of Ammon in the Book of Mormon for additional insight.

“Ammon used all of his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy to love and serve. It is missionary service of heart, strength, mind, and strength,” President Johnson said. “The sooner you decide to make this change, the happier you will be as a missionary.”

Missionaries listen to Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson at Provo MTC

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints listen as Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson speaks at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, Tuesday, August 30, 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

‘Happy Repentance’

Another “change” that President Johnson spoke of was the need for daily repentance. She taught the principle using her son Connor’s experience when he ran the Deseret News Marathon in July.

Towards the end of the race, Connor accidentally went off the rails and missed two pit stops on a scorching July day. Fortunately, he was able to use his phone to contact a family member who helped him correct his trajectory back on the marathon course and brought him water, which allowed him to complete the race.

President Johnson has compared staying the course in a marathon to daily repentance and staying on the covenant path. She referenced President Russell M. Nelson’s talk on the same topic in April 2022 general conference.

“What is the quick correction we can make if we stray from our course, if we stray from the covenant path? It is joyful repentance,” she said. “Do not delay in repenting. Get back on track quickly. »

Spiritual work and miracles

President Johnson’s final point also came from President Nelson – maintaining a positive spiritual momentum by seeking and expecting miracles.

“I hope you will do the spiritual work – being both obedient and diligent in seeking miracles,” she said. “Pray for the kind of faith that works miracles.”

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A missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes notes during the religious meeting of Relief Society general president Camille N. Johnson at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday. August 30, 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

President Johnson told of a sister missionary in their mission who had a knee problem and needed to return home. Before returning home, the Johnsons went with her to visit a woman she taught and who was baptized. The woman was dying of cancer. They served the women and President Johnson’s husband gave her a blessing.

While visiting the woman’s family, President Johnson’s husband challenged one of the woman’s sons to be baptized. To their surprise, he accepted.

The missionary sister returned home, received medical treatment, and later returned to complete her mission. The faithful mother died but her son was baptized. The woman’s husband also resumed his activities in the Church. The whole experience was dotted with miracles.

“Obedience, diligence and faith in Jesus Christ produce miracles,” she said. “And a lot of times it’s not the miracles we expect.”

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