Monday, September 15, 2014

My brother's on the mission! Parabems Hunter. It's good/strange to think that I'm not the only Elder Johnson in the family anymore. Now California will have it's own Elder Johnson to do the work of the Lord. The mission is the best thing in the world, and I'm sure his mission will be just as good for him as he will be for it!     But as for my own mission here in Brazil, it's as hot as ever, and we are ready to brave the sun, sweat, and dissapointments to have some real success here in Rondonopolis. However, especially after this week, I know that success won't come easy. This week was really frustrating, despite an awesome meeting in Cuiaba and some last minute miracles on Sunday.
The week started off just the way we like it. With lots of work and lessons, including some great participation with the members. Our main investigator, A (fiance de D) is consistantly getting more and more excited for her marriage and baptism. Also, this week I had the remarkable opportunity to teach a 16 year old kid named J! Turns out that (my last name) is actually used as a first name here in Brazil. Not only is it neat to teach someone with your own name, he's an incredible investigator. He went to church with some relatives as a young child, but moved away before he turned 8. Recently however, he got his hands on a Livro de Mormon, and has been reading it too! He's already in 2 Nefi! I really look foreward to helping him progress, and hopefully one day be baptised!       After a solid start, our week was inturrupted by a trip to Cuiaba, where I celebrated my 20th birthday! And by celebrated, I mean that I stayed up all night without sleeping due to the inhumanely high temperatures in the assistant's house. Turns out their AC was broken and they didn't have enough fans for everyone, so I basically layed in bed sweating my life away all night long. :D Hurray for memories. But, despite the complete lack of sleep, the meeting in Cuiaba was super insightful. Presidente Reber and the assistantes helped us learn more about some changes to the mission, and some things we need to focus on.
The downside to the Cuiaba visit, is that we lost some crucial weekend time, and we were unable to visit all the people that we wanted to. It didn't help that all the people that we DID decide to visit weren't home! Due to these difficulties, we were very disapointed by a dismal church attendance on Sunday. I was SOOO put out, but after a quick prayer, I went downstairs, and who was there. A less-active member who brought his new girlfriend to church!! I quickly marked a lesson for after church, and that very night, taught her, and marked a baptisimal date for the 27th! I feel like it was definitely an answer to prayer.
It's so silly to me to think that someone so perfect and powerfull as GOD would actually be willing to help someone so imperfect and lame as ME! But, he does. We can recieve these miracles in our lives just by ASKING! How crazy is that?! But as we testify every day to people, I testify to you all as well that God hears and answers prayers. So why not pray?     Just do it, I promise that it works!

Ate mais
Elder Justus Johnson

Monday, September 8, 2014

Well, this week marks one year that I've been on a mission, and eight months that I've been in Brazil (not that I'm counting). What an experience. The things I've done and seen mean so much to me, and I''m SOOO excited to see what another year has in store, but before all that, let me give you all the scoop on this week. We started out the week with a mission tour in Cuiaba. All the missionaries from the north half of the mission got together to hear some instruction from Elder and Sister Campos (Area Seventy Authority). The conference was inspired! I loved all of the trainings and talks that were given. Everyone explained a lot about attitude and dedication. We learned how we could all become more consecrated missionaries. It helped open my eyes to what we can do to allow the Lord work more fully through us.
 Other than the inspired words we heard, it was awesome being able to see and talk with all the other missionaries. I was especially excited to talk with the Elders working in Alta Floresta, and I was overjoyed to hear that ALL of the people that I was able to help teach and baptize are firm in the gospel and going to church every Sunday!  Anyway, we got back to our area determined to finish the transfer strong, and I feel like we did. We found and taught as many people as we could and at the end of it all we were able to get three of them to church! We had a number of great experiences and some awesome lessons. Among other things I learned about the importance of boldly (and lovingly) calling people to repentance. And whats more, it's actually kind of fun!  As for my thoughts and feelings after one year on a mission, I'd like to dwell more on what's in front of me than the things I've done.  I've learned a lot, seem plenty of miracles, and even changed a little bit to date. But, there is room to do so much more! I was thinking about true change of heart a lot this week, and I realized that I've got a lot of heart changing to do. The good news is that I've got a whole year to do it. Sure I've changed some habits, but now it's time to change my character. I'm immensly grateful for the opportunities that I have in front of me to learn and change, and I'm even more grateful for the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, that allows us to make those changes.  I know that God lives and loves us, that our Savior Jesus Christ died and atoned for our sins. I know they have a plan for us, and have prepared a way for everyone to acheive the ultimate end. Eternal Life. I know that a big part of that preparation is the Restoration of the complete gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith. This is the truth, and it's my job to proclaim it.  Em nome de Jesus Cristo, Amem     PS- Nothing changed with this transfer, I'll still be in Rondonopolis with Elder Stephens!!
1. me and my "brother", Elder Carter who went home this week
2. me and Elder Tibbits (from my MTC District)
3, the "filhos de Contor"...all of the trainees of my trainer Elder Contor (may he rest in peace)
4. dinner in Cuiaba!
1. what happens when you stick terere in the freezer...

Terere- basically it's grass water. I don't know exactly what it's made of, but it's when you stick a bunch of herbs in a cup (with or without flavoring) and then pour water (or juice, or soda, or any other liquid you can think of) into the cup and drink the grass flavored drink that results! It's best to drink super ice cold, which is why I stuck it in the freezer, but turns out that doesn't give the best results...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey everyone! I can't believe the tranfer is coming to a close. I never thought a month could pass by so quickly. This week was another one of seemingly fruitless labor. It's frustrating to have a transfer without baptisms here in Brazil, but I honestly feel that it's not for lack of effort! If anything, I've just got to learn more about finding the right people and helping them take the steps necessary to be baptized. But at least we've got the coming transfer set up pretty well with a ton of confidence from the Branch and some investigators with lots of potential.
We tried a new technique this week that we dubbed, 'the day after tomorrow'. The idea is to find a bunch of new investigators in one day, and then two days after go by all of them again to see if they- the book of mormon 2.prayed about the restoration 3. want to go to church. In theory, this process would help us focus on people that really are going to progress, and in practice it means that we just dropped everybody :/ the few cool people that we did find didn't go to church, which makes for a very dissapointing Sunday. BUT. live and learn!
Other than our unsuccessfull elect finding, we had a couple of great events this week. On Friday we had a divisao com the elders in Primavera do Leste (a neighboring city). It was great visiting another city, and we had a solid division with the Elders there. The downside is that the two bus rides there and back were at 6 in the morning which means we were more than a little bit sleep deprived this weekend.
Lastly, this Sunday we had the opportunity to help open up yet another group here in Rondonopolis. There is a group of bairros way far from the church building, and so the church leaders here decided to open up a group there. As always it's awesome to participate in the expansion of the church. It won't be us that will be working there, but we accompanied and helped out the other Elders in our District that will now be assigned to work there!
And, now I'm out of time. Great.
But, I look forward to this transfer week and to news I'll pass on to the next. 

Ate mais!
Elder Johnson