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










Monday, May 1, 2017

Ola!

First off, this week we had transfers, but I will be staying here in this area with my same companion. It will be good as we are working with some great people and I also really like the ward here.

This week I had to get two ingrown toenails removed. Both of my big toes were having problems so I went to a member who is a foot doctor and she cut the nail out. It was a little painful as she really had to cut in and dig out some pieces of toenail in my feet, but after I have been feeling a lot better. The days after I got them cut, I really wasn’t able to do much. She wrapped up my toes and I had to keep the wrap on for three days and I couldn’t let it get wet. To take showers I put grocery bags on my feet. The days were also very rainy, so I wasn’t able to walk a lot as it was pouring and water could enter my shoes and ruin the bandages. We still were able to visit some people and after the bandages were removed everything went back to normal.

One cool experience this week happened on Sunday. We were walking down the street and saw a girl and guy carrying some large pieces of wood. We offered to help and we carried these planks of wood a few streets to their house. The girl is about 23 and the guy also. They are dating and were carrying the wood to help her fix her house. She was extremely talkative, opening up about her humble circumstance, family, life, and even dreams she has. She lives with about 12 other people and many dogs in a small house. She doesn’t have a job yet and her boyfriend doesn’t make that much, but still helps her a lot. When we got to her house we talked to her more and she showed what she wanted to use the wood for. She was going to fix the door into the house and build a little area for the dogs as well. We offered our help and will go back next week to help them with the building. We were also able to teach a little bit which they received well. It just shows how the Lord directs our paths and how through simple service we can make new friends, help them and their families, and share our testimonies.

Another thing we have been doing a lot is family history. We had been helping someone with family history as he was planning to give a presentation at a ward family night activity. I showed some of my family tree and some of the cool memories and records that are stored on Family Search. One of the coolest things I found was an autobiography my grandpa wrote. I had read parts of it before, but not the whole thing. He let me print it out so now I have a copy that I have read and re-read. I love seeing all the similarities between me and him and learning new things about him that I never knew. I never had the opportunity to meet him here on this earth, but I know one day I will see him and that for now, through family history, I can feel him close and get to know him a little better. The tools we have nowadays are amazing. I wish I had more time to research and learn more about my ancestors, as well as finding names to take to the temple which is an incredibly important part of family history. One thing that the member said at the family history activity I really liked. He was saying that even if we don’t have a huge amount of records of the past, we can make our family history now. We should all write journals, take pictures, and save stories so that in the future our descendants can see who we are and what we did. Family history is amazing. Malachi’s promise of the turning the hearts of the children to their fathers is truly coming to pass. President Eyring had a fantastic talk this last Conference about family history which I really enjoyed. All of us can do family history. There is an amazing spirit as we research and find out more about loved ones in the past, and even a greater spirit as we take their names to the temple to truly give them a chance at eternal life with their families.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Tchao!
Elder Johnson

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ola!

This week flew by so fast. I feel like last p-day was yesterday. Time flies when you have things to do. Sometimes on the mission it feels like you have nothing to do. No appointments, no investigators, no one on the streets. The time passes very slowly when you have not as many things planned. This week was not like that. We had too many things to do and not enough time. We were able to find a lot of new people to teach this week. We just would knock on doors that we felt like we should, or if there was someone outside their house we would start talking with them and then ask if we could leave a message with them. Just about everyone invited us in and we were able to teach a lot.

I will talk about a few of our new investigators. The first one is Daphne. She is 29 years old and lives with her parents who we teach as well. She is extremely interested in the church. She goes to institute, reads the scriptures, and her and her mom went to church this past Sunday. She has been to church a few times and is ready for baptism. The only complicated thing is that she might be moving a little far away. She is deciding if she wants to take a job or not. She does 3D design and art which she is extremely good at. She will decide and then we will figure out the last details about when the baptism will be.

Our other main investigator is Joco. He will be a bishop one day. Haha. He is the owner of a couple local businesses and is extremely interested in the church. He actually went to church when he was very young, but never was baptized and lost contact with the church. He approached us wanting to learn more and we have been teaching him a lot. He has a wife who is pregnant and we hope to teach her as well. He is super busy and almost never in his house which makes it a little complicated, but I feel like this week will be a great week with him.

We are working with a lot of other people, but those two seem like currently they have the most potential and drive to learn more. It is really cool when you teach someone who is truly interested, asking questions, reading the scriptures, going to church, etc. The field is white and ready to harvest. I am grateful for the opportunity to help find the lost sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Thank you all for your love and support.

Tchao!

Elder Johnson


Monday, April 17, 2017

Ola!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. It was an amazing time to be sharing the hope-filled message about Jesus Christ, especially focusing on the atonement and the resurrection. We had a great week full of miracles and a lot of walking.

Firstly, I will focus on the miracles. On Tuesday we were walking to an appointment with someone but had a little bit of time so we went down a street to knock on some doors. As we were walking we both felt impressed to knock on one door. (In reality, you actually clap your hands and yell the name of the person.) We clapped our hands and an elderly woman came to the door. She said we could enter and talk with her. We talked with her for a little while. She has a huge family, around 30 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. We taught her about the restoration which she received well and then invited us to talk to some more family members. One of her granddaughters has some struggles in life as her husband left and she feels alone. She had talked with missionaries in the past and was even baptised but hasn’t been active and we haven’t even seen her name or address anywhere. It was amazing that we could find her and help her. She went to church with us and seems to be improving every day. We are also working with her family (specifically her sister) and inviting them all to church together.

We have been helping another family return to church also. The father has had a lot of challenges in life. He opened up and shared a lot of parts of his life. It is very humbling and shocking some of the stories I have heard here. Not just with him, but with many people. The stories of their lives are very different and make you think about how blessed you are and how Jesus Christ truly changes people and brings peace and happiness into everyone’s life.

This week we had interviews with President Thomas. They went well. It is a lot of fun to just talk with him. We talked about everything from the gospel to golf. It is just nice to have a leader that truly cares about you and that you can talk to openly and have a good time with. We also had a conference of a couple zones in the mission. It was great. It was focused on how we can find people to teach. Some of the parts I liked most were when Sister Thomas talked about finding joy in the work which is extremely important. We shouldn’t just endure to the end, whether it be to the end of a trial or end of the mission or even the end of our mortal life here. We should enjoy all moments of our lives not endure. It can be hard at times, but if we put our trust in God, act on our faith, and truly try to be happy, the hardest, as well as the easiest times in life, can be full of joy. We also talked about how we should try to make friends, not just contacts. We always talk to people on the street, but at times we become robots saying the same things over and over again. We are trying to focus more on actually interacting with people. Becoming friends with them is much more effective than just trying to get a phone number and address. And if a person is not interested, we at least have made a new friend and showed the church and missionary work in a good light, not as just people looking to convert without thought of who the other person is. I am still trying to get better at not being so robotic. It happens especially as you feel uncomfortable speaking a different language sometimes. Starting right after the conference I started trying more and it was great. One of the bus rides home I sat next to a guy and for a few minutes, I didn’t say anything. I was trying to get myself to say something. To start is always the hardest part. After a few minutes of psyching myself up, I started a conversation with him. We just talked about simple things like where he works, where he was going, family, etc. He enjoyed talking and we just were able to have a conversation and get to know each other. It is easy and natural to talk about how you are a missionary so the message of Jesus Christ just comes up naturally in the conversation. He was interested in learning more. I got his address, gave him a pass-along card, and gave him our phone number. Don’t know exactly if he will continue talking to other missionaries as he lives in a different area than where I am, but it was just nice to make a friend and share my testimony. I am gonna keep working on truly engaging with people and making a lot of friends.

As for the walking this week, we have been walking a lot. I have a little pedometer that says we walked 13.1 miles on Saturday. It gets tiring, but I truly feel strength and support to always keep going.

That is about it for this week. It was a fantastic week that strengthened my testimony and helped me become a better missionary and a better man. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have and I know that this is truly the work of the Lord. Thank you all for your support.

Amo voces

Tchau!

Elder Johnson

A Mighty Pancake


Monday, April 10, 2017

Ola!


This week was very interesting and exciting. The first part of the week was pretty normal. We were able to find some great new investigators. One man we met on the road and he told us to go to his house the next day. When we went he was so grateful and invited us in. We had a great lesson with him. Some other investigators we found when we went with Everton and Jose (two of our investigators who are 15 years old) to some of their friend’s houses. They helped us teach and it was really great. Everton still doesn’t feel quite ready for baptism, but we are working with him. Jose is really wanting to go to church and be baptized, but his dad still won’t let him. Jose is still following everything we teach him and studying the scriptures. He won’t even date a girl because she isn’t 16 years old, so that just shows how dedicated he is to what we have taught.  


This week was going normally until we received a call on Friday morning. President Thomas called because there was an emergency transfer happening and I was going to be transferred to another area. I still don’t exactly know why some elders needed to be moved around, but I told him I would go. Now I am in an area called Campo Limpo. I came here on Saturday night. It was a fast transition and was a little crazy to get packed up and leave. I was able to say goodbye to a lot of people which was nice. I also got to teach Emerson’s family one last time. I hope that they can continue growing in their faith and receive all the blessings God has for them.


I know that this is the work of the Lord. We are just His hands here on the earth to help others as He would. Of course being transferred so quickly is hard. When you grow to love the Ward and the people, it is always hard and sad to leave. I have faith in the Lord that He guides this work. The Mission President receives revelation to guide the missionaries and we should follow willingly and with faith like Nephi always did in the Book of Mormon. I liked Elder Bednar’s talk during the Priesthood Session this last General Conference. He talked about the difference of being called and designated. On our mission call we are called to serve and then designated to an area. The distinction may seem very small but there is a difference that makes a big deal when changes happen (as they do happen.)

Sometimes we think that it isn’t right because we were called to serve in a certain place, but in all reality, we are just designated there to fulfil our true calling which is to serve. No matter where we are designated our calling remains the same. We can always serve with all our heart, might, mind and strength. In all callings in our life, we should have faith in the Lord and know that He has a plan for us. We should receive any change with gratitude and respond as the hymn states, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord.” When we always live with thankfulness and willingness in our hearts, we will have more faith and be happier. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve. Wherever it may be, I will try to help people all that I can. I love this work and I love you all!


Tchau!

Elder Johnson