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












Monday, April 3, 2017

Ola!

This week was fantastic. I hope you all had an amazing General Conference experience as I did. I loved hearing all the inspired talks of guidance, love, hope, faith and all Godly things centralized of course on our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I felt the spirit so strongly and am excited to review the notes I took and truly apply what I learned from the teaching and from the Spirit. We truly need to now apply what we learned this Conference weekend. We need to push on in faith, relying on Jesus Christ, trying to become more like Him through listening to the Holy Ghost and daily prayer and scripture study, especially study of the Book of Mormon as our prophet so inspiredly talked about. The Book of Mormon truly does have power and if the prophet of the Lord only has a few short minutes to talk, what he says is truly important. Let us all (myself included) study the Book of Mormon everyday starting with today. If we promise to read today, and we keep our promise today, we can keep our promise two days, like the Primary president talked about. What matters most is to start today and to examine what we need to do better. Make goals and plans to achieve this and then rely on the Lord to help us through. I truly did love conference and can’t wait to study and ponder on the talks over and over again.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. We are working with Emerson’s family a lot. I thought I would explain a little bit about each of them. The main people we are working with are Emerson who is 18 years old and his nephew Everton who is 14 years old. They both like the church and have been a few times on Sunday. Everton is also studying in Seminary every morning. Their friend Jose is 16 years old and wants to be baptized and go to church but his dad won’t let him. He has a strong testimony though and will continue to build it until he is allowed to frequent church and be baptized. Emerson has five sisters who all like when we teach them, but I think the most interested is Eliana. She always loves our messages and wants us to come over to teach. She has a boyfriend who also really likes us. He has a lot of questions and doubts but is truly interested in learning more. They have one little girl who is one year old and they are more like husband and wife, just not legally, which is a huge problem here in Brazil. Emerson’s other sisters are interested in the church and love our lessons, but feel like they haven’t yet received an answer if this truly is the church of Jesus Christ. We will keep working with all of them as they truly are a special family.

We are teaching another family now also. They were at a Family Night we had with someone and now we are beginning to teach them. They are married and have two little boys. The dad’s name is De and the mom’s name is Joelma. The two kids are Mateus, who is eight and Gabrielle, who is two. They are a sweet family. The two little kids are cute and have a special spirit about them. We left a Book of Mormon with them and they have all started reading. Their only problem is that they work a lot, but they should be able to go to church and hopefully will fill the spirit in their lives and see that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.

We keep looking for more and more people to teach and help. I love seeing the light of the gospel illuminate the lives of many who choose to accept and seek for the truth. Conference gave me yet another testimony that this is truly the Lord’s church and that he has called prophets and apostles who speak for him. Let us continue to review the words which have been spoken and I know that we will all be blessed. I love you all!

Elder Johnson


Trying my hand at drawing!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ola!

This week passed by extremely fast. I don’t have a whole lot to write as not a whole lot happened. I spent most of the week resting as I have had a few health problems. It is nothing too serious and I am beginning to feel better. I went to the doctor and he gave me some medicine that seems to be helping. I do not like sitting on the bench. I would much rather be playing in the game. I am hoping this week will be better and that I can be out there working more.

We still were able to visit and teach some people. Emerson, Everton and their family are all doing well. They still don’t feel quite ready for baptism, but they are progressing and hopefully will receive the desire to be baptized. The lessons with them are really great and spiritual. We are always so welcome in their house and we will keep working with them.

I did have a lot of time this week and study the scriptures. That part was really nice this week. I love the scriptures and always want more time to read. It is crazy because before the mission one hour of scripture study seemed like a lot but the one hour we have here on the mission seems like so little. I just want more time to study. It’s amazing how much we can learn through study and prayer. Even just a few minutes can strengthen us and give us answers to all our questions. Take a few minutes or a few hours a day, study, and ponder the scriptures. You will feel a true difference in your life.

Another thing I am extremely excited for this week is General Conference! This will be my first General Conference in the field as I spent the last one in the MTC. I love Conference. In my house it is one of the biggest holidays of the year. As we are filled with the sweet words of the prophet, we are also filled with sweet candy in my family. More than just the candy and food of Conference, there is truly nothing more satisfying than hearing the words of God through his chosen servants. They are inspired and have the authority to literally speak for God to the whole earth. They are more than just good speakers or leaders of a church. They are literal representation of Jesus Christ speaking not just to his church, but to the world, leading and guiding us through the tribulations of our days while also lifting and inspiring us to have more hope and faith in a world so full of doubt and unbelief.

Conference is a time to literally raise ourselves up and be edified and filled with the most precious truths the gospel of Jesus Christ has to offer. We must do all we can to prepare ourselves for this opportunity we have. We must pitch our tents as in the time of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon. When King Benjamin gave their version of General Conference everyone pitched their tents with the opening towards the prophet. In my family we literally would make tents and stay in them to watch Conference, but more than literal tents that we sometime build, we need to make sure that our spiritual and mental tents are ready. Our minds need to be ready to hear and understand the words and our hearts need to be opened to feel the promptings of the Spirit as he will testify of the truthfulness of all that is spoken and will place in our hearts and minds all that we must do. This week in preparation, read the scriptures, pray to our Heavenly Father and think about questions that you have. Write the questions down and I promise that if you’ve pitched your tents and are open and ready the words of God, you will receive answers through their words and through the Holy Ghost.

I hope you all have an amazing week. I love you all!

Tchau
Elder Johnson.







Monday, March 20, 2017

Ola

This week flew by so fast. I will start off by talking about Emerson and his family. Emerson and Everton were not baptized this week. We still had to teach them a few things and they didn’t quite feel prepared yet. Hopefully this week they will be able to be baptized. Everton is the most prepared. He is 15 years old and has been waking up early to go to Seminary everyday. He really likes the church and learning more. His friend Jose wants to go to Seminary and go to church but his dad still won’t let him. Jose talks about being baptized though and is just waiting for permission from his dad or until he turns 18 in two years. One really cool experience with their family this week was when we had a lesson with them and President Thomas. It was a little weird at first because it has never happened before to me. It was super spiritual though. The lesson went really well and everyone enjoyed it. President Thomas even called me a few days later to see how the family was doing.

Our other main investigator is Robbie. He is the Indian man who we teach in English. He is doing well. He always wants us to come over and teach him and he is reading the Book of Mormon. Teaching in English is weird. One day about half way through the lesson I switched to Portuguese without realizing it. My companion had to remind me to speak English. Haha. I am also teaching him how to cook food on a small budget because he is still looking for work and doesn’t have much. I showed him the college student’s best friend, Ramen. Haha. I explained to him how to cook Ramen but also to include vegetables and some meat for it to be a little healthy. I will teach him how to cook a few more things this week.

We are still looking for more people to teach. It is always a task to complete as missionaries, but with faith and hard work I know we will find those who are being prepared by the Lord. One thing I really like about this ward is that we have a lot of Family Home Evenings. Members invite us, recent converts, investigator and friends over and we have a message, some games, and food. It is a great way to bring everyone together.

Sunday this week was crazy for me. About 15 or 20 minutes before the meeting started I was asked to give a 10 minute talk. I told them I would although I had nothing prepared. As I started preparing a talk, someone else came up to me to ask me to play the piano. I said I would try. I went over to try to play through the songs once, but before I could even see what all the songs were, the meeting was starting. I had only played through the first song once and I still didn’t have anything prepared for the talk. I did feel the spirit calm me and although my piano playing was nowhere near perfect I was able to play through some songs I have never played through. Because the name is in Portuguese, I didn’t even know what hymn I was playing until I started. I also gave the first talk. It was my first talk in Portuguese and I am so grateful for the spirit and the gift of tongues. It wasn’t perfect and the talk was a little scattered, but I think I said some good things and even started going over time a little bit without realizing it. Haha. It truly is a gift to have the Holy Ghost with us. He can comfort us, guide us, and help us in any situation. We need to live worthy for this gift from God, but when we are worthy He freely gives us all his gifts. We still have to prepare ourselves and practice our talents, and we may not always be perfect, but the Holy Ghost will amplify our efforts and bring happiness, joy and peace into our lives. I love you all!

Chao
Elder Johnson

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ola

This week was awesome. A lot happened but I will start with last p-day. After we used the internet cafe for email, it started pouring rain. Literally like buckets pouring down. I forgot my umbrella so I took the opportunity to literally sing and dance in the rain. It was so much fun just to enjoy the feeling of the rain. I was completely soaked, but feel so good. It reminded me of the Primary song that says “I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.” Like the rain cleans and purifies the earth, the Lord cleans and purifies our soul.

In relation to our investigators, Emerson and Everton will be baptized this Sunday if everything works out! They have strong testimonies, are always going to church, and are excited to be baptized. We are working with the family also, but they aren’t as certain about the church yet, but I think with a little time they will take the steps to come to church and be baptized. It is an amazing, unified family. The lessons with them are so spiritual and fun. They always welcome us in and I can already see a different light and feeling in their home as they are accepting the gospel more and more.

Our other main investigator is Robbie. He is an Indian man who doesn’t speak a lot of Portuguese, so we are teaching him in English! It is a lot of fun but very weird to switch to English. It has been almost as hard as teaching in Portuguese when I first arrived. One crazy thing that happened with Robbie this week is that we had an appointment with him, but he wasn’t in his house. As we walked back to our house, we stopped to talk to a member on the street. As we were talking, Robbie came up behind us. He had been our running and had lost his house key. We helped him explain to his landlord, and she gave us a huge bag of keys (probably about 60) She said to try them and maybe one of them is for his house. We went to Robbie’s home and he pulled out the bag of keys. He chose one and the very first key he tried worked and opened the door. It was a little crazy. I truly know that the Lord was looking out for him. After, we had a great lesson with him talking about the word of wisdom and setting goals for him to follow. He also went to the Stake Conference we had this week, so I translated most of Stake Conference into English. It was a little bit of a challenge but was fun. He hopefully will be baptized in one of the following weeks.

A couple of days this week were great learning experiences for me. Firstly, I had a division with the zone leader, which was great and I learned a lot. Then we had a multi-zone conference and had some great training from our mission president, his wife, the zone leaders and others. It was in the chapel in Cotia so it was also fun to return to my first area. The last day that was great was Stake Conference. It was focused on missionary work. He gave training to the leaders about inviting friends to Family Night, church, etc and all of the talks on Sunday were great. It reminded me that every member is a missionary. Missionary work is not effective without members. Through simple things (such as sharing a video or testimony on social media) every member can make a difference. One interesting thing that President Thomas, the mission president, showed was a talk from Elder Bednar showing that we shouldn’t just pray for people to magically show up for church but that we should go out and do the work. We are all instruments of the Lord. Lets all do are part to spread the gospel and it’s message of hope and love to all the world. I love you all.

Chao
Elder Johnson

Soaked


Monday, March 6, 2017

Olá!

This week was great! We have been working really hard here and it has been a lot of fun. The greatest thing that happened with week was with Emerson's family. It is a huge family and we were finally able to teach all of them together. It was such an amazing lesson. We sang some hymns in English and Portuguese and we talked about Moroni 10:3-5. We challenged them all to pray and also to be baptized! They all accepted! Some are more excited than others, but we hope to prepare all of them and hopefully they can all be baptized together!

We also taught some other people this week who went to church with was great. It is always hard at the end of the week waiting to see who shows up and who doesn't. It is amazing when you see someone walk in who you would never have expected.

I was feeling sick this week. I just had a cold or something. It seemed to be going around. As sick as I was feeling I am so happy for the power that I felt also. I was able to still work every day and meet with all the people we needed to. Though I was tired and wanted to just go to bed some days I had help from my companion and definitely from angels who held me up and pushed me forward. There are always people out there for us to find. Who are looking for the truth and to have more happiness and joy in their lives. That is what this gospel is about. The true happiness, peace, and joy that comes from the knowledge that we have a Savior who suffered and died and that he knows us perfectly and is always here to help and guide us. It is amazing knowledge to have. I love you all!

Tchau!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Olá!

This week was great! We have been working a lot here. I am liking my new area. There are not as many hills as Cotia, but we still do walk a lot. We have quite a few members to work with here which is nice. We have also been working on finding new people! It is hard to look for people every day, but I know that there are people out there waiting for us.

Our main investigators are a huge family. It is extremely complicated to try to explain who everyone is, but there are three main young men that are awesome! Two of them are actually with the young men's group on a sort of camping trip but in a hotel. We have been teaching them a few times a week and every time there are more and more people who are interested. It is awesome and we are hoping to baptize all of them. haha

We also taught a few lessons in English this week! We met a guy from India who is learning Portuguese but speaks English well, so we are teaching him. It was extremely hard to switch the lessons to English. It is fun, though, and my companion is learning English so it is good practice for him!

Our time was a little limited today because we went to the Temple, so I will write up more this week, but the Temple was an amazing experience. I love the peace and eternal joy that is found inside the Temple. We should always have the Temple as our focus. Try to go every week if you can. I know you will feel the Spirit so strongly. I miss working in the Temple and the opportunity to go at any time. Here we can go once every three months, and I miss it a lot in the time we can't go. I am grateful I have the opportunity to work with people here on earth also every day :) This truly is the work of the Lord. I love you all!

Elder Johnson

My new companion, Elder Do Carmo.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Olá!

This was my first week in the Raposo Travares Ward. It was really great! It is different than Cotia, but I am enjoying it. We still walk quite a bit and there are still quite a few mountains, but it is easier to go to the Chapel because we don't have to take the bus. It makes it a lot easier for members and investigators to go to church also. It feels like a really strong community here.

My new companion is great. He is Brazilian and he is a very loving guy. He knows quite a bit of English which is nice. He practices English and I practice Portuguese! He is a great missionary also. He truly knows how to connect with people and put a smile on anyone's face. I am learning a lot from him which is great!

This week we went straight to work. It was a lot of fun to just get into it and it helped with the transition. We found some great new people and are working with some people that he found before also. The best people are a couple of youth that we are teaching. The other missionaries here had a baptism one night and we invited a couple of young guys on the street to go and watch it. We didn't really think they would show up, but that night they were at the baptism! They really enjoyed it and went to Church on Sunday also!!!!! We will work with them more this week and hopefully, they will be baptized soon!

As I start learning this area more I will have a lot more stories to tell and a lot more people to talk about. I just love that I have been so welcomed here. The light of the gospel is the same light in the entire world. The Church is true. 100%. It changes people and makes them better. I love the light of Christ. It is in each and every one of us. We can all share our light through our testimonies and love for one another. I love you all and thank you all for everything you have done!

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 13, 2017

Olá!

This last week went really well. We just kept working on finding new people and we found some great new people who have amazing potential. One great thing that happened is that we decided to knock doors on one street. In all reality, you usually clap outside the house, but at the very first house we went to there was a person who was extremely interested in the Church! It was an amazing lesson and I feel like we were truly guided to her. We also were stopped in the street by a man who said he was a member but has been less active for many years. We passed by his house another day and had an amazing lesson. He has had some difficulties in his life and really wants to change and find peace and happiness. I felt the Spirit so strongly talking about The Book of Mormon and the love that Christ has for him. His wife is not a member so we are also teaching her which is great for both of them!

This week we have transfers. I will be leaving my area here in Cotia. It is a little weird to be leaving it behind. I have been here my entire mission. It feels like another home. You meet so many people who become like family. They help you through every day and every week. The area is just so familiar and comfortable. I like knowing where I am and how to get everywhere. It will be hard to start over again, but I know I will make more friends and will be able to help the lives of many more. The decisions that are made in regards to transfers are definitely inspired. I have faith that there are people that are waiting for me and I hope that new missionaries will help this area that I leave behind and will continue the work of the Lord. This is truly the Lord's work. As missionaries, we are just His hands here, but His Spirit is truly what inspires and changes lives. Sorry for the short email. I will have a lot more to say after this week of changes, but I love you all. Thank you for all the support and prayers!

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 6, 2017

Olá!

This week went by super fast. We were preparing all week to try to make sure that Sabrina's baptism happened. Everything worked out and she was baptized on Saturday night and confirmed on Sunday. It was such a cool experience. I was able to baptize and confirm her. It is such a great feeling to be able to help with all steps of the process. The Spirit definitely does the heavy lifting in regards to conversion, but I am glad that I could help with finding her, teaching her, inviting her to be baptized, and then eventually baptizing her. To see how much someone changes and grows in such a short amount of time is an absolute miracle. It was an honor to help her and her family and I hope that she will continue to grow in her faith and be a light to all those around her. Baptism is just a step, but it is a big one in regards to the blessings that she and her family will receive.

To prepare for the baptism we had divisions so that the District Leader could do the interview. We also made sure she understood all the lessons and didn't have any questions. We invited people from the ward to the baptism and got some short talks set up. The day of the baptism we cleaned out the baptism font and had to wait a while to fill it up. The water wasn't the warmest, but still, beats getting baptized in a river. Haha. There were not a whole lot of people at the baptism, but it was still super nice. We sang some hymns and the bishop gave a great talk. We then had the baptism which she wanted in English, so my first baptism in Brasil was in English! Haha. It was a little different, but she really wanted to be baptized in English, so it was her choice. My companion translated for her family so they understood, so it was kind of in English and Portuguese. After, a member brought cake and it was like a small little party. The next day I was able to confirm her. It was one of the first blessings I have given in Portuguese also. It was a little hard, but I felt the Spirit and feel like I said things that made sense. We also introduced her to a lot of the people in the ward, so she has a lot of friends and people that helped her here. It truly was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

There was not a whole lot more that happened this week. We are just working every day. It is hot some days and raining other days, but the work always moves forward. We did get our new daily schedule. I haven't taken a long look at it yet, but I the biggest change is that we will be getting up at 7, not 6:30 and will return to our house by 10. I like the new schedule. I will look at it more to know exactly what I should be doing, but it looks good!

I know that this truly is the work of the Lord. So many miracles happened for one person to be baptized, and as I look back on the entire story it is crazy how much the Lord directs our paths. He truly cares about every one of us. He puts us in the direction of His lost sheep and we just need to follow the Spirit to do our part to bring them back into the fold. The worth of souls is truly great in the sight of God. One person is so important to Him. We search for the one that is ready and willing to accept Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that the Lord put Sabrina in our path and that he prepared her to truly accept Jesus Christ and take an amazing step in her life. Thank you all for the prayers and love.

Amo vocês!

Elder Johnson


Monday, January 30, 2017

Olá!

Today marks 5 months that I have been here in Brasil. Honestly, it feels like I have lived here all my life, but it also feels like I just got here yesterday. Time is a strange feeling on the mission. This week was good. Not a whole lot happened. The biggest thing was that there are a few changes in our daily schedule and in how we report numbers.

We had a meeting in São Paulo which was a recording from Salt Lake with Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Elder Anderson, and a few others. They gave us some great guidance and also explained the changes that will happen. The daily plan is now made by the President of the Mission. It is more based on the area that you are in. The change for us won't happen for a little bit of time, but I am excited to see what our president decides. Maybe a little bit more sleep. Haha. There are also some changes in regard to numbers. We don't have a huge list of the number of lessons we taught or other things now. It is more focused on the number of baptisms, investigators with a date for baptism, investigators going to church, and new investigators. It gives more freedom for the missionaries to decide how to teach and what to do to help the people. I think that the change will help missionaries now and in the future after the mission as we have to be dependent and make decisions after also. I think it will also help everyone we teach. I feel strongly that it truly is an inspired change.

This week we were focussing on finding new people still. We are working in new areas that are a little further away, but we found some great new people that seem to be excited to hear the message. It kind of makes for long days when you are just trying to find new people to teach or talking to people on the street, but I am starting to like it more. As I can speak a little better, I like meeting new people on the street. Some want to pass by really quickly, but others stop and talk and I have met some really cool people. The biggest problem now with the street is the sun. It has been incredibly hot every day. I have been so tired of standing out in the sun.

We worked with Sabrina a lot this week to get her ready for her baptism which will be this Saturday. She is super excited and it will be a great day for her. Raulino's family is good, but the mom has still been having problems with health. We are trying to help them as much as we can. I truly believe that although we have trials, if we have faith and push through we can learn and grow from them. I have already seen them grow so much and I don't know exactly what will happen, I know that the Lord is watching out for them.

I have felt this way a lot lately. I don't really know exactly what will happen on my mission or after, but I just have faith that everything will work out. The world sometimes looks dark and broken, but I see the light of Christ here. There truly are people here who don't have material possessions, but who have love and charity and happiness. There are definitely things in the world that are difficult, but there is also so much good. When we look to the good, we will see it, because Christ will give us light, life, and love. He will give us the warmth of the knowledge that he knows us and that he cares for us. Every person can be filled with the Spirit and receive every blessing that our Heavenly Father has in store for us. That is the promise of the Gospel and that is the hope that each and every one of us can have. I love you all. Thank you so much for everything!

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 23, 2017

Olá!

A lot happened this week. I will get right into it talking about my birthday last week. After I had email time I and my companion bought ice cream and soda and we made some root beer floats, but with Guaraná which is a different soda that they have here. We also played some chess and had a nice relaxing day. After, we went out to work. We had a little bit of time until our investigator so we walked around to contact people on the street. We passed by the restaurant where our investigator Sabrina works. Her boss was out front which gave us a great opportunity to talk to him. We offered our help as he was loading stuff into his car and as we were talking to him a drunk guy came up to us wanting to talk about the word of God. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about why were are here as missionaries and what we believe. We were able to talk about all of this in front of Sabrina's boss. The drunk guy also said that he loves our work and that we are great young men who are trying to help others. After, the boss seemed to change a little bit. The next couple of days he was a lot more friendly with us and also with Sabrina. He also is allowing her to have one Sunday off every month, so she is going to be able to be baptized! We are working with her on finding a new job to be able to go every week, but it truly is a miracle that he changed slightly and is allowing her to have a little bit of time. With faith, I know that we will find a new job for her, or maybe he will be softened even more and allow her to go to church every week.

After we talked with the drunk guy and Sabrina's boss we went to Sabrina's house where her family surprised me with a birthday cake! It was a fun night and a great birthday. The next couple of days were pretty normal. We had divisions which were good. It was the first division I had where I stayed in my área. The next day we had interviews with the mission president. They were great. I love talking to him. He is a great man who truly is called of God. I am glad that I have such a great mission president. That night we went to our apartment and discovered that we didn't have our keys. We called who we had visited, but no one had the keys and it was super late so we had to hurry over to the apartment of other missionaries to spend the night. We had15 minutes until we needed to be in their house. It is almost impossible to get there in 15 minutes, but there is a member who lives close by and we stopped by and luckily he was there and drove us to the other house, or else we would have been running to catch a bus at night to get there in time. I am very grateful for members here. haha. We spent the night with the other missionaries and in the morning called someone to open our apartment and make new keys. Definitely a crazy night, but it all ended well.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. We are still working on finding new people a lot, but the work is speeding up. I have been thinking a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It truly is a miracle how we can change ourselves and become more like Christ. He knows exactly what we are going through, and while things are not always easy, they are always possible with His help. He can heal any wound and change any heart. He didn't come to cure the healthy and I am not here to teach the wise. We look for the humble, the sick, and the wounded. They are the ones who will truly change and feel the true power of Christ in their lives. We all have things we can change and I know that we can when we accept and choose to follow our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for Him in my life.

I love you all! Thank you for everything!

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 16, 2017

Olá!

Today is an exciting P-Day for me as it is my birthday. It is fun having it on a P-day as I have a little more freedom about what I want to do. In all reality, all I want to do is eat churrasco and sleep, so that is probably exactly what I will do. I am extremely tired after a long week, but I am also excited for a new week. There still haven't been many huge things that have happened, but we have been working hard every day and I have seen small, but significant miracles in my life.

Every day we have been looking for new people to teach which means walking and a lot of it. We have lists of people we have contacted in the past, but those are a little hit and miss. The best thing to do is find someone out front of their house and ask for water. Everyone will give water especially when it is super hot. Then we talk with them for a little while and sometimes leave a message. That way we get some refreshing water and sometimes a new investigator! This week we also have been working with family members of less active members. It is good as they have already heard about the church and we have a member there always. The boyfriend of a less active member received the lessons very well and went to church this week with her!

Sabrina wasn't able to be baptized this week as she is still working, but we are working hard and I know that with faith miracles will happen. She is working with the program at the church to find a job, and is also going around looking at different restaurants to see if anyone needs more help. We will keep working and praying that she will find a new job and will be baptized!!

One crazy thing that happened this week... I was sleeping one night. It was nice and peaceful. I was dreaming of snow and no hills (two things we don't have here). Then in one instant my bed broke underneath me. The wood on the side of the bed broke so I was basically just laying on the ground. I was super tired so I kind of just shifted and went back to bed for the rest of the night. My fix, for now, is that I just put a bunch of Liahona magazines under the bed. Works perfectly. The word of God definitely holds us up.

The biggest miracles are just that I feel super good after a long day. Tired, but excited to keep working. I have a lot of faith that everything will work out. I know that when we show that we are willing to work hard and do our part, that God will do His part and with Him, we can do all things. I feel the strength as we climb hills and I feel the strength as we teach lessons in a different language. The Spirit helps us in all aspects of our life. It is important for us to always live worthily to receive all the gifts and blessing that God has for us. Thank you all for your prayers and support and Birthday wishes. I love you all!

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 9, 2017

Olá!

I got a new companion this week. His name is Elder Orr. He is American also. It has been a lot different with two Americans. Haha. He went to High School in Utah, but before he lived in Colorado and then in Washington. His family moved to Texas after he came to the mission so he is kind of from 4 different states. Haha. He has about 3 months more than me so we can speak decently well with people, but it is a lot different than having a fluent Portuguese speaker. There are different challenges, but it was a good week. It is hard to talk about what happened because I feel like nothing happened. Haha. We have just been looking for new people to teach. We walk almost all day, but a lot of people are not interested or traveling right now. The days have been extremely long.

To explain a little bit about what the days are like here. We get up in the morning at 6:30, exercise, get ready for the day, and then have an hour of personal study, and hour of companion study, and an hour of language study. After we usually contact on the street for an hour until lunch. Sometimes we have lunch with a member, or they give us money and we go to a restaurant nearby. After lunch, we usually use the contacts that we have to find new people to teach. We plan out all of the streets and then go to every house we have. Here, you usually clap and yell their name because most places don't have doors or doorbells. I don't like trying to find new people. It is long and hard. I really enjoy when we find someone, though! They usually invite us in and give us water and then we talk and teach for a while. The time passes a lot faster when we are teaching. It is nice when we have more appointments with people. Usually, at night we have more appointments which is nice that we don't have to walk through new places at night. It makes it a lot safer. We work all the way until 9 and then go back to our apartment, plan, and go to bed. The night usually passes super fast and we are back at it again. Haha.

Our investigators have been doing well. A little hard to teach them because everyone travels this time of year, but we have some great people that we are teaching. Sabrina is super excited for her baptism. We are planning on the baptism this week if we can find a new job for her. She works on Sundays but really wants to be able to go to Church and be baptized so that is our goal this week. Raulino's family was traveling and then his daughter was sick on Sunday so they weren't able to come, but they are doing super well also. We found a new young married couple who are super excited but were traveling last week. We will teach them more this week. Those are the main people we are working with. There are others that are great also, and we are working on finding more!

This week is my best friend Jasen Snyder's birthday (January 13). I don't know where to begin talking about him. He literally is a brother to me. I could always trust him and count on him for anything. I miss our all night movie marathons and our classic rock car rides. He is only 3 days older than me, but he is such a great example to me of a hard worker and a great missionary. I want to thank him for everything he has done for me. I can't wait to see him again and have many more legendary adventures together.

I love you all. As always, I want to thank you for your love and support!

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 2, 2017

Olá!

This week is transfers here. I will be staying here in Cotia with a new companion. I haven't met him yet. We will be going to São Paulo to switch companions tomorrow. All I know about him is that he is American. So now there will be 2 Americans in Cotia! It will be different. I am super excited, but also a little nervous for the change.

This week went by super fast. We worked and walked a lot. One day we were supposed to go about 2 kilometers away from our house for lunch. The bus didn't stop though and we ended up another 3 kilometers from the other direction. So we ended up walking 3 kilometers to lunch, then another 2 back to our house and then another couple to the other side of our area where we had a lesson set up with someone. This was all in the burning hot sun. Another day we walked quite a bit also, so this week was pretty exhausting. It was crazy one day as we were in a car with a member going to lunch and as he stopped for a pedestrian a motorcycle slammed into the back of us. He was fine, and their car wasn't too damaged, but it was a little bit of a jolt. With how fast and crazy people drive here I am surprised I haven't seen or been in more accidents.

It is hard right now because no one is working, but everyone is partying or traveling. So there are barely any members and trying to find new people to teach is very hard. From Christmas until Festival (the end of February) everyone here parties. It is crazy. There are so many fireworks and motorcycles. We also saw people buying so much beer. I saw one person with four shopping carts full of beer. Haha. On New Year's eve we went home at the normal time, but when midnight hit, it woke us up with all the fireworks. Our house is at the top of a hill and so we looked out over all the fireworks going off. It was pretty cool. A little scary when there were some going off right outside our window, though.

We had Church at 5 on New Year's Day. We combined with another ward, but there was still not that many people there. I led the music during Sacrament Meeting and other Elders helped pass the sacrament. We also brought one investigator (Sabrina) and her sister. The class was a little interesting as there was only about 5 or 6 members, 8 missionaries, and the teacher. It was basically a big lesson for our investigator. She was asked a lot of questions but was able to answer all of them. She has been reading The Book of Mormon a lot and we are getting her ready for her baptism.

We keep working with Raulino's family. They are always so welcoming. With the holiday's it has been hard for them to come to church, but they love the gospel and us. Wesley said that he is going to be marrying his girlfriend and that they bought a house not too far away, but not in our area. It is a little sad we won't be teaching him, but it is awesome that he is starting to change his life more and more. We also met a new young couple. They probably only have 18-20 years, but they are married and have a kid. They were super welcoming and receptive to the message.

Everyone here feels like family. It will definitely be hard to leave. It is hard for my companion right now as he is leaving, so I definitely will try to make the most out of the next 6 weeks I have. It is crazy to think that I am entering my third transfer in the field. I think I have just about 14 left. Time is so much different on the mission. I want to use every opportunity I have to serve. This is the only year in my life that I get to serve every single month. 2016 was 4 months and 2018 will be 8 months, but 2017 will be every single month, week, and day. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to serve. In 4 short months, I have changed so much and I am excited to see how much more I will change and become more like the Savior. It really is all about Him. His Atonement is sufficient for every person. It can soften any heart and change any life.

Amo vocês!

Elder Johnson

An investigator family.

Learning the good stuff in life.

Recent convert family we spend Christmas with.