My name is Briana Summer Johnson, but everyone calls me Summer. I absolutely suck at writing, so if you’re looking for an eloquently written blog post, you should move on to the next one.
I am a Mormon. I didn’t grow up in the church. I was born to awesome parents who are not members of the church, nor do they have any intention of being members. I am 20 years old, and I have been a member of the church for just over a year. Oh yeah, and I’m going on a mission. I turned in my papers in February and just got my call back. I have 35 days left before I am being dropped off at the Provo MTC. I’m going to the California Anaheim Mission and I’m leaving on April 13, 2016. I don’t really know why I’m creating this blog. We’ll say I’m following the spirit. I got this idea of “Sincerely, Sister Johnson” and I loved it and wanted a blog…so here we are! I figure that if you’ve stuck around in reading this far, I’ll tell you a little about myself.
I was born in Denver, Colorado in August of 1995. I don’t remember too much of Colorado because we moved when I was a little bitty baby. My dad works in the hospitality business and we move around a lot. After we left there, we moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands until I was about 3 years old. Then we went from place to place in South Carolina and Virginia until I was 15 years old. Growing up, we had horses and I got my first horse when I was 7 years old. Her name was Fancy and I absolutely love(d) her. We sold her when I outgrew her to an amazing family but to this day, anytime I think about her, I tear up. After we left Virginia, we moved to Montana to a ranch resort. I had never been west before and I LOVED Montana…for a while. When we decided to leave Montana, and move to Utah, all of my friends made fun of me because of the Mormons in Utah. They told me not to become some polygamist’s third wife and being that I knew nothing about Mormons, I was all nervous to meet them. I tried to avoid the Mormons at all costs, but it didn’t work too well. After I had lived in Utah for about a year and gotten past most of the crazy rumors about Mormons, I met Caleb. Caleb is my current boyfriend, who is out on his own mission right now in the Texas Houston South Mission. He’s the cutest redhead in Houston, just in case you see him. 😉 When I met Caleb, instantly, we clicked. It felt right. I had a weekend off (for once) and he was going up to a family reunion and invited me to come with him. I agreed and when we went up to the reunion, there was like 200 people there and I’m not even exaggerating. My whole entire family and extended family and in laws and their extended family is not even that big. I was overwhelmed. But I noticed that they all had this love for each other that I felt I was missing. I didn’t know what religion Caleb was, but I knew that his family had a peace and a joy that could only be coming from a religion and I was dying to know more.
I asked him on the drive home what religion he was and he shyly told me he was Mormon. I apologized for being blunt but said that I had no idea of what the Mormons believed and was curious if he could explain it to me a bit. He explained some of it and it started to make more sense. It was a fairly quick drive home, and my brain was overloaded with information, but the chemistry between Caleb and I was undeniable. We started “officially” dating later that week and he continually invited me to church with him every Sunday. I was usually working, but sometimes I came up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go that week. I kept remembering what my friends from Montana were telling me. I did some research on my own and found out that in fact, Mormons were not polygamists and that Sister Wives was not a reality. (A reality show that isn’t the reality?!?! What in the world?!?!) Then we went to another family reunion about a month later. At the family reunion, everyone was talking about Caleb going on a mission. I had no clue what that even meant, but everyone asked me how I would feel if he did. I said that I didn’t know enough about missions to give them an answer.
Eventually, after about 4 months of us dating and Caleb asking every weekend if I wanted to go to church with him, I finally gave in and went to church. And the feeling of peace and joy that I had that day…It’s indescribable. I don’t have the words to describe even a smidgen of what I was feeling. But I was hooked from then on. I went to church every Sunday after that (and have been to church every Sunday since). Eventually, Caleb asked me to take the missionary lessons. I reluctantly agreed (I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just teach me) and since that very first church meeting, it has been full speed ahead ever since. At the first meeting with the missionaries, we set a baptism date, that I upheld. I completely filled out every pamphlet with all of the additional study tips and questions in the back. The missionaries were impressed. I couldn’t get enough of the scriptures.
After I was baptized, Caleb received his mission call. Texas Houston South Mission, english speaking, leaving 38 days from the time he opened his call. That’s insane, I thought. There’s no way he can get everything done in time. How could he leave everything that he knows behind to serve the Lord for 2 years? I never in a million years thought I would be in the position I am right now. Caleb left on the day he was supposed to, and I threw myself into the gospel, and even though my best friend was gone and I could barely talk to him via letters, I was incredibly happy. The gospel is incredible.
Caleb ended up having issues and came home just two short weeks later. I was excited to see him, but confused. We fought a lot when he came home. He was home for about 10 months, when he turned in all of his stuff to head back out. At first, they said he would be leaving within the next two weeks and I panicked. HOW CAN HE LEAVE THAT FAST?? But I trusted in the Lord and figured that everything would work out the way that it was supposed to. Very soon after that, his grandmother approached me and told me that I should think about going on a mission. I thought, no way, that’s impossible, I could never serve a mission. Not only should I think about it, but if I decided to go, they would help me pay for it. I prayed about it and got a very clear answer that I will tell you about later. But a couple of months later, and here I am, getting ready to go off and preach the gospel for 18 months! I am so nervous but INCREDIBLY excited!!.