Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Well, this week has been one of ups and downs. One day we're blown away by the miracles that we see, and the next day all our appointments fall through and we end up getting very little done. But, at the end of it all, I'm just grateful for all the success that we are seeing, and the miracles that are happening with ridiculous regularity. Just to illustrate this "roller coaster" really quickly, yesterday we had 7 appointments of which only 2 came through, but this morning we had one of the most powerful lessons of my mission! Every time I start getting discouraged, the Lord demonstrates that he is indeed in control.
(Pictures top): Some bits of Jungle 

The biggest, most mind-boggling miracle occurred on Wednesday. And boy does it make a good story...

First of all, let me describe Alta Floresta a little bit. There are 2 parts to the city. Cidade Central (where we live and work most of the week) and Cidade Alta. It takes more than an hour just to get to Cidade Alta walking, and so, we choose one day of the week to make the trip and spend the day working there. That day this week was Wednesday.

Wednesday, it was raining...well, raining more than usual. As we left the house my Companion turned to me and asked, "O que voce asha, quer a trabalhar en Cidade Alta oje?" (What do you want to do, do you want to  work in Cidiade Alta?) I laughed and said "en verdade, eu nao quero, mas, eu sinto que nos devemos" (Truthfully, I don't want to but I feel like we should.) And so, we did. The hike up there was fairly miserable, and things didn't get much better when we arrived. We contacted a bunch of really disinterested people, and got preached to for an hour by this old lady who was determined to help us find salvation... By 6:00, we were pretty discouraged. My companion said, "talvez, oje nao 'ta o melhor dia para trabalhar aqui." (Maybe today was not the best day to work here).  Five minutes later as we walked down the road, there was a member family.  Standing at the end of the street. Waiting for us.

 Weather of Alta Floresta, on the SAME DAY!!!
 (above and below)

Right:  the backyard of the members we're living with (yes they're rich)

 As if that wasn't remarkable enough, Elder Nascimento KNEW the family. Turns out the family recently moved from an area my companion served in previously. What makes this miracle all the more stunning, is that this particular area is no longer a part of our mission. Elder Nascimento was one of the last missionaries to serve there, and in fact, he is the ONLY missionary left in the mission that served in that particular area. I did the math, literally a 3 in 10 million chance of this particuar circumstance. 

(Left) Elder Nascimento demonstrating his mad skills.

And just because he could, God guided us to yet ANOTHER member family the very next day. All five of these people came to our little church service on Sunday. 

It is so comforting to know and be reminded that despite difficulties, despite those days when you walk 3 hours straight without anyone accepting your message, despite no being able to speak fluently, despite all of my weaknesses and faults, I can rely on someone far better than myself. 

I am consistently humbled by all that I see and learn here on the mission. It really is impossible to express my gratitude for everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, both in my life, and in the lives of others. 
I LOVE this work. It is just plain incredible. 

Fica Firme,
Elder Johnson

We were able to go with an investigator to a futebol game, and were able to watch capuera! (last pictures)

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