Finding an improved part of myself

by Sister Dotty Ralphs


Sir Tom Moore was 100 years old and recently passed away, but before he did, he decided to help frontline health workers during the COVID pandemic. He walked 100 steps, using his walking frame. every day for 100 days in his garden. He raised 40 million pounds! He said: “One small soul like me won’t make much of a difference.” He proved himself wrong. His most famous quote is: “Tomorrow is gonna be a good day!”

After my and Elder Ralphs’ evacuation from the UK due to Covid 19, I just did not imagine we would be back in the missionary saddle again. However, now we are back; and this defining event that has changed me. I love to drive through the UK countryside and see the sheep during lambing season. They actually dance and jump! I enjoy the charity shops and the fish and chip shops they call ‘Chippies’.

Our mission president and his wife’s influence on me has helped me find an improved part of myself.  His name is President Johnson. He and his wife are basketball players and met at BYU Idaho. They are tall in stature, but they are taller in wisdom! There is an intimacy of the spirit between the two of them. They listen to promptings and quickly respond. I really liked the activities they would do with the missionaries.

To mention a few: the missionaries had ‘6:31am prayer’, several times each week there were Zoom meetings filled with memorable quotes. But my favourite weekly activity was the ‘Why I Believe’ devotional on fast Sundays.  I had a down-day once, due to some personal pressures. The phone rang, “Sister Ralphs, are you OK?” I replied, “President, were you prompted to ring me?” He was. This is typical, everyday stuff. These two are brilliant servants of the Lord.

The uplift they provide each week is a delight to my soul. I take notes and illustrate them for the missionary’s screen savers. In a conference some time back, he used the phrase, “Everyday, everyday, everyday.” That’s one of his trademarks – he repeats important words three times.

Recently in answer to the question from one of the Elders, “How can I stay actively engaged on the covenant path after I go home?”, he told the Elder that he will not stray if he: reads the Book of Mormon each day, prays sincerely each day, and takes the sacrament worthily each week. To stop reading, praying, and partaking is how testimony is usually lost.

Some of my favourite quotes by President Johnson (which should be posted on social media or on fridges!) are:

  • The sacrament is the only ordinance that is not done by proxy
  • Spend time in God’s presence – pray
  • Expect the seagulls to come at just the right time – it will be enough!
  • The priesthood keys have been turned
  • The Gospel of Jesus Christ elevates us
  • Implore daily effort
  • Lead; lift; love
  • God will prevail in our lives.

Here are a few of Sister Johnson’s quotes:

  • We are in the fourth quarter
  • Come with haste
  • Sit at His table
  • Keep swimming!
  • Catch the gospel wave!
  • God and Christ are in the business of growing us.

They shared with the Mission their four tips for marriage: say I love you, I’m sorry, I forgive you, and you were right.

While most meetings have been ‘virtual’ during the pandemic, the Spirit would not be denied. The witness they bore broke through the airwaves; we had “WIFI” testify each week.

All their insights apply to us. Just a couple more: “Jesus Christ gave all, that we might become all; He has, for us to become” and “I am passionate to be on the Lord’s errand, excited to be on His team.”

This mission will ever enlighten my testimony. My life has been lifted by two athletes, who played on the courts on earth and prepared for the courts on high. I often call out my mission motto, “You can’t lockdown God!”, to the missionaries many of whom have been in lockdown for months.

Our missionaries have been entrusted with a cell phone and social media to contact ‘friends’. An unprecedented trust has been given to them. They are brilliant!

When meetings close, the Johnsons often say: “We love you. We will always love you. If we have to, we will carry you. We will love you forever.”