Monday, August 21, 2017

Olá!

This week flew by, but it was a fantastic week. It has been raining nonstop and cold, but we had another baptism! It was a miracle and it went super well! We were teaching Luan who has been to church a few times and was going to be baptized this week, but we went to his house when we were doing splits and so I was with the district leader and as we were there we asked him if he wanted to do the interview and be baptized this past week and he said yes. He passed the interview and we planned the baptism. It went super well. There was a ward lunch after the baptism so there were a lot of people at the baptism. I gave a short talk which seemed to go well. The water heater in the church was broken so he was baptized in extremely cold water, but he still was so excited and the baptism was a great experience.

We also had a multi-zone conference this week. We learned a lot of things. We focused on improving our teaching. It was kind of a long day, but I really enjoyed it. The training from the leaders was excellent, especially from President Thomas. He is an incredibly great guy.

A couple crazy stories this week. We were walking on the street and we saw a guy laying on the street in pain. A lot of times there are drunks who are like that, but this guy was different. We stopped and tried to see what was wrong. He was in front of a church and so some of the people who worked in the church came out to help us. We called the ambulance (which is free here, by the way) and tried to help calm him down and help him not feel as much pain. The ambulance took him away, and I don't know how he is doing, but I hope he is well. It was also a great experience to talk to some people from another church. We made friendships with them and they are now more open and friendly to us. What we do truly shows an example of who we are. People sometimes don't understand our religion or church. We can show them the truth not only through what we say, but what we do.

One more story. We went into a favela that was extremely poor. It was incredibly humbling. Just seeing this community of people who don't have anything. They just build houses with what they can. Within these communities they have small grocery stores, a barber, and sometimes even a restaraunt. There are so many kids just running around almost wearing nothing because they literally just use what they find. It makes me so sad so see them is such a condition, but I see that there are so many people that are still happy in their circumstance. They are not bitter towards God or anyone else. They just enjoy what they have and are grateful for any blessing. For people who have much more, sometimes we all murmur or complain about what we don't have, or even what we do have that is maybe not the latest and gratest. We can all be grateful in any circumstance. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have here to serve and help people see the light and love of God for them. The hope, joy, and peace that we recieve from God are some of the most amazing blessings that we all can have, regardless of any circumstance. Thank you all for your love and prayers!

Tchau!

Elder Johnson



Monday, August 14, 2017

Olá!

This week went by so fast, but it was a great week! We have been working with a lot of people and they are all doing great. I cooked a lot this week also. I made an American breakfast of some pancakes and eggs. My parents sent me some powdered buttermilk that is magic. The pancakes turned out great. We also made a lot of cookies. People here don't know how to make cookies which is weird, but I have a recipe and I made them in our house one night. After, the seminary teacher in the ward asked me if I could teach the seminary class how to make cookies. So one night I taught them how and then made a bunch of cookies for them. They turned out great. I forgot to take a picture, but I will make some this week and send a picture. The youth in the ward are awesome. I have made a lot of friends here. We sometimes go to seminary with our investigators. They are studying the New Testament which is what I studied when I started so it is super weird as I look back and it has been around 5 years.

This week we worked with the ward as they are preparing to visit every member in the ward. They have a list of around 300 families (only about 100 are active) I helped them do an Excel sheet of everyone, organized by neighborhood. It turned out great and now it is a lot easier for us to find everyone and visit them also. This Sunday we will have a lunch with the ward and everyone will go out to visit.

Yesterday (Sunday) was Father's day here. It is a little later in the year here, but I would just like to thank my Father for everything he does for me. He has always been a mentor and a friend. When I was home, I was working in the office with him and it was so much fun for me, not just working which I love to do, but looking over and being able to be with my dad. He is one of the greatest men I have ever met. He has taught me so much and I am so grateful for him. Thank you dad.

I am excited for another week in the mission field. It is not always easy, but I love it. It goes by so fast and I am grateful that I have this opportunity to serve and to help others. Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support. I love you all!

Tchau!

Elder Johnson




Monday, August 7, 2017

Olá!

This week went extremely well! I am feeling a lot better physically and we had a baptism! The investigator was being taught by the sisters for a while who were here before and when we got transferred here we just finished it up and helped her be completely prepared for baptism. She is 16 years old. She has been going to seminary and church every week. She basically was prepared already, but it was fun to help her for that last step and get everything prepared. The baptism was awesome. There were a lot of people and support from the entire ward. Her mom is not a member, but she went to the baptism and seemed to really enjoy it. We will start teaching her mom also.

We have been teaching a lot of younger people. It has been great because we bring them to seminary which they have in the church just about every day. It helps us have a great lesson with a bunch of members, also we enjoy participating in seminary also. haha. There were 6 investigators in seminary at one time. This ward is great with the young men and women. They help with missionary work so much. It is awesome to see such an amazing group of young men and women always going to seminary, presenting the church to their friends, and being so close, but also welcoming.

One awesome story from this week. Awhile ago I was in a close-by area and my companion was the district leader. He did an interview here in the area I am in now. I was with him and met the investigator. He passed the interview, but then after backed out of the baptism because of some doubts about not being prepared. When I got here I wanted to see him again, but never saw him. We started going to a list of people who have been taught in the past and when we went to one house, it was his. He recognized me also and we talked to him and his sister. They are awesome and the lesson was great. We went with them to seminary another day and they really enjoyed that also. We will keep working with them.

This week was great and I can't wait to keep working. The Lord truly does strengthen us. I have felt Him giving me strength and energy every day to work. This truly is the work of the Lord and I am grateful He has given me this opportunity to serve and help others. Thank you for your love and prayers!

Elder Johnson


Baptism first week back!

First pizza upon return.



Monday, July 31, 2017

Olá!

I got back to Brazil in one piece! I might be a little shorter as the plane had little to no space and it might have crushed me down an inch or two. I am happy to be back on the mission! It has been a lot of fun out here! I am actually with my same companion but in a new area. It is an area called Novo Osasco. It is a great area with great members. We even had a party with them this week. It was kind of crazy. I helped hang up a bunch of little flags. The party had some games for the kids. The youth did a dance. There were also those little popper things that you throw on the ground, but here they just throw them on the ground inside the church. I guess it is just normal.

Another crazy thing that happened this week is we went to a restaurant this week just to get a quick bite to eat at night. We ordered our food, ate, and then got the bill. It was for about 90 reis. Which is quite a bit for just a dinner here. Turns out that we ordered a plate of bacon fries that cost 30 reis and then also our food was just a little more expensive. It was fine until we went to pay and we found out that we didn't have any money. So we had to wait there until the other missionaries could bring us our wallets so that we could pay. It took them a while though so we just had to sit there in the restaurant. It was not our finest moment.

We are working with quite a few people here! A lot of youth. There is a young woman who will be baptized this Sunday! She is super excited and going to all the activities. There is another young man that will also be baptized in a couple weeks! So we have arrived and already had the blessing of people who are ready to hear the gospel which makes me extremely happy. The days are still a little long and hard. Mission life is not easy. It involves a lot more walking in the sun all day, but I am getting back into the swing of things and am really enjoying being back and know that this truly is the work of the Lord. Thank you all for your love and prayers!!

Elder Johnson


Legroom...or the lack thereof.

View from apartment

Ward party. I hung lots of flags.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Olá!

Well, I have some news. I am needing to come home because of some health problems I have been having. I will see the doctor and get it all sorted out and should be able to return after 6 weeks. It has been a little crazy, but I know that the Lord has a plan for all of us. I trust in Him and know that everything will work out. I will be coming back this next week, but I still have a week to serve which is great!

This week went very well. We are getting Claudia ready for baptism. She is super excited and this Saturday will be her baptism. I am super happy for her and she is truly special. She keeps growing and learning more and more and likes the church more and more. The gospel truly changes people and helps them grow.  Her family is also going to church more and more. We will keep working with them this week. Her family has been our main focus.

I will be able to write more when I return, but I would just like to say for now that I truly know that this is the Lord's work. I have found so much joy and happiness on the mission and have grown so much. With every trial God shapes us to the people we need to be. I know that every step of the way that I have a Savior who knows how I feel and will help me and guide me. I will continue the work as much as I can when I am home and continue growing to be able to finish my mission. I love you all. Thank you for all your love and support!

Elder Johnson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Ola!

These couple of weeks have just flown by. It has been a great two weeks though. We are working with quite a few people, especially with a goal of baptism on June 10th. As a mission we want 70 baptisms that day (one for every companionship). The person we are excited to baptize is Claudia. She told us the other day that she definitely wants to be baptized on June 10th. She works at night, but still without sleeping she is going to church every week with her daughter Ana, her cousin Samantha, and her sister Clarisse. Clarisse is already baptized but Ana and Samantha are starting to feel the desire to be baptized as well. We took them all to a family night at Cristiane’s house. Cristiane is a recent convert who has been helping us a lot. One week we had a family night and watched 17 Miracles and another week we watched Ephraim’s Rescue. It was extremely fun. I think that family nights are extremely powerful to strengthen families as well as help others feel included and feel like they have friends not only on Sunday in the church, but during the week as well.

Last week we also had the opportunity of going to the temple! It was an amazing day. It is just nice to be in the temple at peace when your life is generally pretty crazy and full of things to do. Cristiane also went with us. She wasn’t able to enter yet, but she loved seeing the temple and sitting inside in the waiting room. The temple is truly the house of the Lord. We should always have a current temple recommend and we should always use it as well. Temple blessings are eternal and I am so grateful especially for the promise of an eternal family. Two years is hard enough to be away from those I love. I am glad we can be together forever.

After the temple we went to the mall close by to eat and we walked around for a while, playing in the toy stores and in the bookstore. It was a great day. The rest of the week was pretty normal. We did have a multi zone conference where we got some training about working with the members and ward leadership. It was really good and we are trying hard to implement what we learned. Working with the members is the best and most effective way to truly do missionary work. Like it has been said many times, “every member a missionary”. We all have opportunities to share the gospel. Some people live in areas where you can visit neighbors with the missionaries and some people (like me) live in areas where the missionary work is a little different than just knocking doors because almost everyone is a member. Everyone can be a missionary though. When you strengthen and visit with those who are less active or struggling, you’re a missionary. When you greet a new member, visiting member, or an investigator, you’re a missionary. When you share your testimony or a video in a message on social media, you’re a missionary. There are so many opportunities that we have, especially in this digital age, to be missionaries.

I would invite all of you to share a message or a video of the church that you like on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever social media you use. Include your testimony which could be as brief as just saying you love this message, know that it is true and that God lives. It is in our simple and sincere testimonies that the Holy Ghost can touch people. We don’t have to have fear to share what we believe. The opportunity to share this gospel is one that I am so grateful for. I hope that we all can be missionaries. The work is truly of the Lord and He will bless and strengthen each one of us. Thank you for your love and support!

Tchau!
Elder Johnson

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ola!

These past couple of weeks have passed so fast I honestly was so busy that last week that I didn’t really have time to write up a letter. It has been a crazy couple of weeks so I will try to write up a few things now.

We have been teaching Joco a lot. He is the guy that owns a couple of stores. He is super interested and loves seeing everything about the church. We show him the temples, family history work, videos, and music and he loves it all. We usually teach him in his store so we also sometimes help out in the store. It is fun. I even ran the cash register one time. We have also started talking to his employees there, so it has opened up a lot of opportunities to teach.

One fun thing about two weeks ago. On Star Wars Day (May the 4th) we bought a pizza. One of the traditions on the mission is that with any special days (birthdays, exciting experiences, or anything really) we buy a pizza. One tradition of this area is that we also draw something on the pizza box about our day and put it on the wall. We have about 1000 of pizza on our wall. Star Wars Day was especially fun as we drew some awesome Star War designs. It was an awesome day.

The other family we are teaching is Clarisse’s family. Clarisse is the less active member we found. She is now going to church every week and is bringing her whole family to church now. We started teaching Clarisse’s sister (Claudia) and she is extremely interested. We had a chance to help her feel more peace also as one of her friends passed away. We taught about the plan of salvation and went to the funeral with her. After she said she felt at peace. It is amazing that the knowledge we have of our eternal potential and destiny.

One other fun day these past couple of weeks was the p-day we had. We went to the center of Sao Paulo. We left our apartment and took a bus until the metro station. From there we took two above ground trains and then descended into the depths of the earth to take an underground subway until the paulista, which is basically the center and largest road in Sao Paulo. The area is a lot like New York. There are a lot of huge buildings. There is a really cool art museum. A lot of cars and a lot of people. All the trains and subways were packed. We walked a little while on the paulista until we entered a little park which is like Sao Paulo’s version of Central Park in New York. It is a lot more closed though. Central Park has open fields and a zoo and is pretty large. This park has a lot more trees, just paths to walk around, a few playgrounds and a whole lot of spiders. So it is more like if the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter was in the center of New York. After we walked through the park we went to a street where we heard that there are a lot of cars. We heard correctly. This road had so many car dealerships. From Ferrari to Lamborghini to Audi to BMW to Jaguar and so much more. One even had a bunch of American imported cars including the new Mustang, Corvette, and Camaro. It was awesome. We then went to eat lunch and we found one of the best places to eat. Taco Bell! Taco Bell is extremely new here and me and another American elder were super excited to try it. It was basically the same, which means it was extremely good. Their nachos were the only disappointing thing as it was just tortilla chips sprinkled with Dorito dust. But overall it was great. As we were leaving we saw a band playing on the street. I told them I played the drums and they said I could play with them. It was a lot of fun. I just played one song with them, but they seemed to like it and it was a super cool experience to have. After we made the reverse journey back home. It was an extremely fun and memorable p-day.

This past week we just kept working hard. We are working with a lot of people and as a mission we have a goal of baptizing 70 people on the 10th of June. We are praying and working hard for that day and I think it will be an extremely special day.

This week I also had the opportunity to speak with my family which was so much fun. It was so good to see them all and hear their voices. I am so grateful for all of them, and I love them all so much. This Mother’s Day I was especially grateful for my magnificent mother. She is such an example of strength and faith to me. She has taught me so well and I am where I am because of her. On the mission you begin to realize all the things your mom did for you that you didn’t even notice. I love you Mom. Thank you for everything you have ever done for me and everything you still do for me. Happy Mother’s Day to all other mothers as well. You all are amazing. I hope you all had an amazing day also.

I love you all. Thank you for your love and support. Tchau!

Elder Johnson