Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wow, this week has been long but great!!! First and foremost, we didn't have to do any crazy travelling!!! It was nice to dedicate an entire week of work here in Rondonopolis. We did everything we could to take advantage of it, and we stocked up on a ton of new investigators that didn't go to we'll see what happens with them this week.
But, the best thing about this week is just the feeling about being completealy dedicated. It's hard to stay exited about going out in the blazing hot sun to teach a whole bunch of people who really just don't get it. BUT, I feel like we did a pretty good job this week. What made the difference was a new neighboorhood that we're working in. It helped a lot to get a the feeling of working in a new "fresh" area.
Other than our work in this new bairro, we're amping up our less-active work here in the downtown area. With all the active members at the temple, we were able to get some good visits in with some of the families that are not coming to church so often. We're trying to buy their trust and love with homemade American cookies, and it seems to be working so far! Now I don't even need a reci
pe, just give me the right stuff and I can whip up some chocolate chip cookies in 15 minutes or less!!!
As for the spiritual side of experiences, we're had the opportunity to find and teach some very special people this week. First off, the neighboor of a lessactive family is now receiving the lessons, and she came to church this Sunday. Also, we met some very elect families in this new bairro that were definetally prepared to receive the message of the Resoration. For that very reason I love doing contacts and finding new people so much. Call me crazy, but knocking doors really is one of my favorite parts of missionary work. Sure it's not very effective, but every once and a while you have a sweet, spirit filled lesson that makes all the difference for you and the family you find.
I really love the mission. It's not always a bundle of fun, but it so meaningful. I know that I'm not perfect, but I can at least feel that what I'm doing is important, and on more then a worldly scale. I know that this work really matters, to me, to everyone else, and most importantly to God.
Ate mais!

Elder Justus Johnson

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hey everyone! The transfer results are in! Once again, there is a remarkable lack of changes in our house. We're ALL STAYING! So, Elder S and I are looking at a third transfer together, a transfer that's sure to be even better than our first two together! We've got a lot of room to improve, and we're both exited to do everything possible to really help our branch here in Rondonopolis.
But, this week leading up to the transfer calls yesterday petered out rather than end with a bang. We got some visits in Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, but our day on Thursday was inturrupted by a trip to Cuiaba, and another rather unexpected event...our wall fell down.
We had just gotten out of the house and were on our way to an investigator's house when we got a call from the other Elders. They let us know that we should probably head back to resolve a slight problem. That problem being that the entire right side of the wall surrounding our house had completely collapsed. Turns out the people constructing the chapel next door were digging a little bit too much under the foundations of our right side wall, and the entire thing collapsed. Interestingly enough the mission doesn't have any instructions on what to do when your wall falls down, but we were able to make some calls and resolve the situation fairly quickly. But now, if you walk out back, the entire back patio is opened up to the construction site next door. YAY for adventures!
Right after the wall falling down fiasco, we got a bus to Cuiabá for a leadership conference. There were a bunch of missionaries there, and it was great seeing some old friends again. But what was even better was that the trainings were awesome. President and the Assistants but together literally an entire day of trainings and discursos! I learned a lot, and hopefully now we can apply some of the things we learned. My favorite parts was the new focus that President Reber established on our Area Books, and the discussion he lead on how we need to be courageous leaders (see 'which way do we face' do conferencia geral). Good stuff!
We got back on Saturday, and went to another wedding! This time a wedding of one of the leaders in the branch. Afterwards we headed over to Ramo 2 to participate and help out in the baptism of a great new family that the sister missionaries found and taught. On Sunday, the branch had the once a year caravana to the temple, and so there was only a sacarament meeting. All the members of the branch are going to be at the temple this week, and so that means I'll be practicing my Cooking!!!
lastly, with the new transfer and whatnot. I've been studying a little bit about repentance. In reading Alma chapter 24 I learned from the example of the Ammonites. A people that TRULY repented. I feel like they set a pretty good example for us all. They literally buried their temptations in the ground, and we're more willing to die then to commit the same sins again. That example is one I hope to follow in this next transfer and in my life. I've got swords to bury!!!
Ate mais,

Elder Justus Johnson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

All right everyone, I don't have lots of time, so here's 2 quick stories. When we went to teach a lesson last night, we just talked with the kids mom on the porch cuz he was busy. We were talking for about 5 minutes and while we were talking, the neighbor came out and asked us to come over when we were done. to give you an idea what it's like, CA is a mix of Florida (with the palm trees) Texas (heat), Utah (cools down at night, and pretty dry), Virginia (lots of people), and the Azores (the way the houses are built). Anyway, we went over and she and her husband just started talking about their 22 year old son. They pleaded with us to help him out of his addiction to drugs so he could get back on his feet for life. He's had trouble keeping jobs because of drugs and he always cant resist going out with his friends even though he knows they're bad influences on him. He's trying ot get into a rehab program, but according to his parents all he ever does is say he will, but then he starts again. It was incredible. They recognized us not as just some random feel good missionaries, but as representatives of Jesus Christ. We proceeded to talk with R (the son). He said he's always being judged by people. People tell him he's trash. I told him, and the same goes for anyone who reads this, that he is, above all else, a son of God. He has divine potential. We are all sons and daughters of God. We can't allow anyone to convince us otherwise. We then proceeded to read some of Ether 12 with him. We talked about how faith can help him overcome addiction, and specifically faith in Jesus Christ. I told him that part of having faith was acting. I told him that fear is the opposite of faith. That FEAR IS SOMETHING UNWORTHY OF A CHILD OF GOD. We left him with a Book of Mormon with a chapter to read. We encouraged him to start reading his bible again (he used to be really involved with his church), and to begin praying regularly again. We gave him our phone number and we're going to stop by his house again. The second story I have happened earlier that day. We went with the Zone Leaders to a nearby college to talk to students as they walked between classes. I finally found a use for my French skilz. Tell you what, if you talk to someone in French, 8 times out of 10 they'll stop and talk with you. It was awesome. One of the zone leaders came up to me and whispered, 'how did you talk to that girl? She just walked right by me!' I'm tellin' you, it's the French. Then this XC (cross country running) group from high school ran by, so I just started running with them and talking to the kids up front. After about a minute I realized I was kinda far from my comp so I headed back. It was a blast. Love you all a ton!

Elder Hunter Johnson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mawage, that is the weason we are gavewed hewe tewday! WHOOOO my first marriage of the mission! A and D, the couple we've been working with since we've got here finally got married, and the day afterward, baptized!! And boy was it a marriage! They put a LOT into the whole marriage ceremony, and it was definitely the classiest event I've been to here in Brazil. All the Elders in our District were invited, and we went in suits. SO style'n. But, in all seriousness, it was one of the greatest, happiest moments ever! Getting legally married is a bigger step than I ever thought it would be, and it was a step that I was so happy to see this couple make. Putting it all in a nutshell, Saturday night was a night of lots of good food and even better feelings. Who knew that helping other people be happy could make you so happy!?
Other than that event, this week was bewildering, I still don't know how to make sense out of it, but here I go trying to describe it.
The entire week was a rough one for me. We had a hard time getting traction in our work, and for whatever reason me and Elder S lacked out usual energy and excitement. We struggled with effective planning and teaching, and we ended the week with a lot of wasted time. Which, by the way is the WORST.  There's not many feelings worse than feeling like you've missed opportunities and wasted the Lord's time. Needless to say, I was guilt tripping a lot of the week, and trying to apply what I know was necessary to improve. Then, on the weekend we all got our minds blown.
Conference was great yes, but this Sunday will be remembered as one of the most remarkable days yet. We had one baptism set up, and in the baptismal service, another one of our investigators accepted a baptismal interview, and was baptized after the last session of conference, but just wait, that's not all. Just before the last session of GC, our investigator J showed up, and what happened next is a second-hand account (I was with a member going around picking up less-actives). J noticed that the baptismal font was filled, and became curious. One of the members offhandedly jokingly told him that it was for his baptism. J however took it seriously. He asked if there was an empty room. He entered and proceeded to pray for at least ten minutes, he left the room with a clear answer, and the desire to be baptized that very day. We desperately tried to get in touch with his mom to get her permission, but were unsuccessful. However, we've now got yet another rock solid baptism set up for this coming Saturday.
In thinking about these remarkable events, I was trying to figure out what God was trying to teach me. I was sure that these miracles were for me, and then it hit me. Does God love me? Yup.  Does he want to bless me? Sure.  BUT, these particular events had NOTHING to do with me. I wasn't even there in person. I realized that these miracles are for these people who are making covenants with their Heavenly Father. It was one of those moments where you realize you're NOT the center of everything. I felt humbled to be able to watch the manifestations of God's love for these people, he really is a truly perfect father, and he loves EVERYONE!
But, those are my thoughts this week!
Ate mais!

Elder Justus Johnson

 Ok, I was a little bit worried about the cups being missused here but than I saw the beads of sweat on the faces of the Elders and realized it really was the only way they could get a drink of water.  Must have taken quite a few re-fills.

Can still be goofy and have fun.
Interesting note:  Justus' uncle Daniel teaches Seminary in Utah and recognized one of his students was Justus' companion.  Small world.