Monday, February 3, 2014

Another busy week, with plenty of good stuff happening. Among other things, I´ve made chocolate chip cookies three times this week, and I finally perfected the process! Turns out ovens in Brazil are rather hard to work with...but! That´s beside the point. I´ll start out by answering some of my family´s questions about the ward and the language.

The Morada da Serra ward is great. No ward is perfect, and let´s just say that there are plenty of less-actives to work with. But, there are great families in the ward that support the missionaries, and so many people are willing and eager to help and get involved. In fact, this week we had 2 nights where we were able to go on splits with ward members! Going teaching with members is great because you can get twice as much done! At the same time, it´s rather nerve-wracking for me because it means I´m on my own as far as the language goes.

But, speaking of the language, I feel like I´m learning pretty fast. To be honest, my companion insists that I´ve been blessed with the gift of tongues, and I definitely believe that I have the Lord´s help in learning and speaking. As of now, I can teach (very simply) just about all of the principles of Preach my Gospel, and I can converse a little bit with Brazilians. However, anytime they speak more than one phrase at a time I get lost, so I still have a lot to learn.

As for the events of this week, we've had our fair share of triumphs and disappointments which is to be expected. The big bummer of the week was finding out that the marriage process of our two most promising investigators, N e M, is going to be delayed for another 30 days. This means that their baptism will have to wait another whole month. My companion was really devastated by this discovery. He´s been working with and teaching this couple for 3 months now, and we both had such high hopes for their baptism this month. 

To top the day off, we ended up getting stuck at a less-active families house for over two hours, trapped by the risk of "offending" the family by leaving early. I was frustrated by the events of the day, and felt like I hadn´t lived up to my potential as a missionary. My prayer that night turned into more of a vent session than a prayer. I just kept expressing my frustrations and concerns. After a while, I realized that I wasn't gaining anything by continuing my complaints. So, instead I took a minute to just listen. In that moment, I was able to feel and hear what I needed to. It is hard to describe, but I was both chastised and comforted.

And so, I have one more experience to add to the list that proves, to me, that God is real. He hears the prayers of his children. I have felt the love and power of God in my life, and I´d like to think that I can help others to find or feel that too. 

I am loving the work. Despite hardships I am happy. I look forward to each day, and am eager to continue living and loving the mission life!!
 Elder Johnson 

These are some pictures Justus sent.  The top HUGE spider he found at his house.  I don't want to ask if it was inside or outside.  The ones in the trees are over 3-4 inches in diameter.  The tree was covered with 7-8 more spiders.  The geckos (lizards) are friendly visitors that seem to be everywhere!

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