Liana Johnson

SAYING GOODBYE — Liana Johnson says goodbye to a Panajachel family dressed in their traditional wear called Corte.

SATUS — “Something I’ve always wanted to do was preach the gospel to everyone who doesn’t know much about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, so I wanted to take this opportunity to serve them and to show them the love that they can receive,” Liana Johnson stated after she returned home from her 18-month calling for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints calling from Guatemala.

The 21-year old, Brigham Young University student was dedicated in serving the people there and feeling their love as she made it her motivation to keep moving forward when things became tough.

“… after a while things got easier. Yes, there are some challenges and bumps in the road but what I learned was to keep going. And, if you make mistakes, well, you can learn from them and just continue on,” Johnson acknowledged.

She was appointed to serve in Guatemala and traveling over there meant she had to learn a new language. The Satus resident only knew a few words of Spanish prior to her leaving for Central America “… it was really hard at first but as the days went on, I just opened my mouth and continued getting to know the people there and to feel the love they have for others as well.”

On June 6, 2018, Johnson left for the Missionary Training Center, a six-week requirement for people learning a new language and how to utilize those speaking skills to effectively teach the gospel.

Following her crash course of instruction, she departed for Panajachel, a town of around 15,000 people in the Guatemalan Highlands, west of Guatemala City and located on the north shore of Lake Atitlan.

“From there, I just fell into the culture. The people there were in their traditional wear and it was really amazing for the first time,” Johnson colorfully recalled when describing her admiration for the language and culture after being immersed within the surrounding after five months.

She began to fall in love with everyone there. “… Guatemala will always have a special place in my heart.”

The people there told Johnson that they felt peace, tranquility and happiness with each visit during her missionary work. “When we don’t visit them for a while, they just know this empty space and that’s what they told me,” she described.

The college sophomore, majoring in international studies, explained how she was there with the people teaching in the spirit of Holy Ghost and not just by words. Her purpose was to find out their needs and what they need in order to grow closer to the Heavenly Father.

“Our message is basically centered in happiness. So, they can have this happiness forever,” Johnson communicated.

Reflecting on her service and the joy it brought her in helping others, Johnson proudly affirmed, “Guatemala was perfect. I had this opportunity to serve the people there and to learn more about their culture. They taught me a lot. And, to keep an open mind.”.

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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