Monday, August 25, 2014

Hey everyone! Let me tell you all, Brazil is a special place. I can't think of anywhere else where so many people are willing to invite missionaries in to hear the message of the restored gospel. At the same time, it's frustrating that the vast majority of these people let the importance of our message go completely over their heads. For example. We found nineteen new investigators this week, out of those nineteen, we will only continue teaching one person. How does that happen? It goes a lot like this...
We clap in front of a house. Someone comes out and asks us who we are. We tell them that we are missionaries and that we have an important message. They excitedly let us in, give us water, tell us all about their faith and how much they read the Bible. We proceed to teach the most important message we have, the message of truth and love that is the Restoration of the Gospel. After testifying as sincerely and as powerfully as we can about a living prophet and Christ's true church on the earth, we usually get a response like, "Well that's nice, but I really like my church" or "I didn't really understand anything you taught, but I like to hear people talk about Jesus." 
And that would be why we have to drop so many of these new investigators. It is frustrating, but I've learned that it is necessary to save time, but I always remember my days in the US and remember how hard it was just to get a lesson and I can't help but marvel at the prepared hearts of the people here in Brazil.
Anyway, to get away from my griping, let me cover some of the things that happened this week. We started of the week with a division with the Assistants, Elders Phipps and J Batista. They helped us out with a good training and a lot of work. Later in the week, I had another division with the Elders of Rondonopolis Third Branch. I love divisions! It's so sweet to learn from other missionaries and get to know knew areas and techniques. Other than those events, we walked a LOT this week, and I can testify firsthand of the inhumate temperatures that we are having here. It is SO HOT, and it's been literally months since it's rained. And everyone says that the hottest part of the year is yet to come. Boy am I excited for that...
But, despite the heat and hard work, I'm loving it as always. The mission is flying on by and I've got to take advantage of it while I'm here!
Ate mais!
Elder Johnson

Monday, August 18, 2014

This week was remarkably normal. Just going about our business as usual. We had a couple of sweet events though, as well as one of those classic mission days when nothing goes right, but starting from the start.
The other two elders in our district had a baptismento this week, which means that they married and baptised a couple on the same day. Hurray for marriage. For some reason getting lawfully married is a big step for many people investigating the church, but it's always great to see a family taking that step. We went to both the marriage ceremony and the baptism to support the family, and it was a simple, yet sweet experience. The four of us even sang a special hymn at the baptismal service, and everyone really enjoyed it.

 In fact we have a couple of our own that needs to get married soon. This week we started teaching Denis and his girlfriend. A long-lost member of the church who has finially decided to return, and bring his girlfriend with him. She is learning a lot, and is one of the best investigators I've had on the mission so far. On Saturday when we taught the Book of Mormon, she remarked, "I don't think a lot of people know about this, it's all new for me" and I couldn't help laughing as I responded "Yes, that's what we're doing here, we're trying to let people know about all this."

 Other than those events, we just had a lot of normal work to do. Yesterday the assistants got here to do a division with us, and so I'm really excited to work with them. The branch here is also getting excited and more involved with missionary work. Church attendance is going up, and lots of less-actives are coming back.

There was one day this week that was crazy. We decided to take a bus up to an area far away to teach some people that we had made contact with. We got there, and absolutaly could not find their house. So, we decided to try and find our way to a nearby members house to get some directions, and we ended up getting completely lost. Finally a member was able to meet up with us and show us around. Eventually things worked out, and we were able to teach a couple of families, but is was amazing how much aimless wandering is possible in one day.
One of the things I learned this week is about learning. It is so easy to get in the mindset of "well I got this whole missionary thing down now" but it is never true. There is always more to learn. It is amazing how the Lord puts us in situations that are different, or even difficult, and he lets us learn from them, and become a better person. The mission has a million and one examples of those situations, and I definitely had one this week. I am immensly grateful for all that I have learned, and have yet to learn.
Até mais,

Elder Johnson

1. the elders is my district
2. Marriage!
3. random field
4. getting lost at the end of the world

Pictures of a monkey and a turtle that we saw on a quick run this morning!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Well, this was a pretty solid week, and I've been learning and growing a lot! We've finally got some pesquisadores with some good potential and some baptismal dates coming up, and I'm getting the hang of our new area here in Rondonopolis.
We started out the week with a Zone P-day. We got together and had a churrasco (barbeque) with futebol! Two of Brazilian's favorite things! It was a bunch of fun, but the meat was cooking suuuuper slowly, so I took over on the grill. We poured in a bunch more charcoal, and I got that meat cookin'. Needless to say, I have now claimed the much envied title of churrasceiro (which means 'guy that does barbeque'). The entire Zone was impressed by my Gringo prowess!!! Thank you gormet foods :) 
The next day was our Zone meeting where we learned about the importance of study and teaching de acordo with the needs of our investigators. Our Zone is pretty great, and there's a TON of awesome missionaries who have been examples for me throughout my own mission.
The rest of the week was just gettin' to it. We've got a LOAD of new investigators, and now we're working with a couple of less-active families as well. Among other things we painted the kitchen of a member family, did a divisao com our District Leader, Elder Weeks, and walked até the end of the earth trying to find addresses that don't exist.
This week, I've also noticed a need for me to increase and develop a greater love for those around me. And of course, what better place to start than with the people you live with. For some reason it always gets a little bit complicated to demonstrate love with the people you're with every day, whether that be siblings, parents, companions, or anyone. But here in the mission you have an incredible opportunity to practice ALL the time! From here on out, I'm going to try and take more advantage of that.
Até Mais!

ELder Johnson

Hey everybody, I've got just about 0 minutes to write you all so let me be quick.
I've got a new companion, Elder Stephens from Utah with 1 year on the mission. He's way cooler than I could ever hope to be, and we're totally gonna kill it together!
I spent over 30 on the bus with transfers and whatnot this week, and so that was pretty fun.
I got sick on the way to Rondonopolis, so I've spent the week with a runny nose, sore throught, and a cough.
My new area is HUGE!!!!! It's so big I don't even know what to do with it, and at the end of this month they're planning on opening up another group. I'm part of Rondonopolis 1st Branch, and both the leader da obra and Presidente do Ramo are super awesome and excited to work with us missionaries.
That's it for today folks!
Ate mais!

Elder Johnson