Monday, February 23, 2015

The transfer news is in!! I'm going to Cuiabá!! Back to my "birthplace"! I'll be companions with Elder Zárate, an Argentino, and one of my very best friends here in the mission. I've known him ever since I was in Rondonopolis, and I really love the guy. I am so exited to work até o Pó and learn even more!!

As for this last week in Campo Grande, it has been pretty crazy. I started the week with a two-day division with Elder A. Santos in a nearby area, and we got a lot of great work done. He's got less than 6 months on the mission, and so it was a great opportunity to train him a little bit more, and enjoy of the energy and enthusiasm of a "greenie". I love the spirit and determination of these new missionaries who really just want to go out and get work done. It's weird being on the other side of the one-year mark with the responsability to train and be and example for them. 
After this division, I had...yet another division!!! This time I went to work with an old friend, Elder Garcia, in his area. I was with him during his first two transfers in Alta Floresta, and since then, he's changed and leared a lot. The division was Super spritual, and we had some great lessons where we were able to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost. That night, as we chatted about the division, We shared personal testimonies of Christ and his Atonement with each other, and it was a truly sacred moment for me. 

The rest of the week was basically a mess. I'd like to get into details, exept not really. Let me just say that I spent another couple of days with Elder A. Santos working in both of our areas. On Saturday, there was a big old farewell for 4 different missionaries in the Zone who are all going home tomorrow. Among them was a great friend, Elder Bonaro, a missionary who has done so much for the mission, it is hard to believe that soon he'll be at home. Rest in peace Elder Bonaro, and may you soon have your very own Granola!!

Lastly, this week I learned a lot about the importance of communication. In a companionship or as a leader, it is so important to really "open your mouth" and talk to others around you. When you can sit down, talk about things, and plan the days ahead, you can prevent a lot of misunderstanding. I feel like communication is a new goal for me. I really want to have an open and honest relationship with all of my companions, and so from here on out, I'm going to do what? Communicate!!

And, that's just about all I can think of for now

Fica firme tudo mudo!!

Elder Justus Johnson

1. division with Elder A Santos

Other pictures from a couple of weeks ago.  Helping the Bishop cut a tree down.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Well, for the first time this week everyone, I spent every day in my own area!! YAY! It was great to be able to organize all the visits that we needed and find some new families with great potential. But, even with all the great stuff that happened this week, I learned something. I'm not perfect!

What a revelation! Of course, I always knew it, but this week it really struck me, that no matter how hard I try, I mess up so easily. For example, we were helping the Bishop cut some trees in the front yard, and I was up in the tree cutting some of the bigger branches, when the branch I was cutting gave way and fell...directly on the electricity wiring. Don't worry, the Bishop and his neighboors were only out of power for a couple of hours. Turns out even when we're trying to do a good thing, it's easy to mess up. 

Anyway, other than this rather unfortunate event, this week was really great. We were able to work with everyone that we needed to, and we found some great new investigators. For the first time this week, I decided to try out a church tour as an activity, and it was great!! We had two investigators that went, M and F. F is hilarious, because he's obsessed with soccer. He literally doesn't talk about anything else. In addition to them, we were able to get a part of that one big family to church!

Other than all that, this week is the last week of the transfer, so next week, I'll have some transfer updates, and maybe a new area, who knows??

Monday, February 9, 2015

Well everyone, that's another week down. And it was a fun one. As tiring as it is to travel, I really love these opportunities to work in all types of places with different missionaries. This week we went to Maracaju and Dourados. 

In Maracaju, I was able to work with Elder V. Alves, and meet with the branch President. Just to explain a little bit more about how things are in the mission, outside of the big cities, there are a number of smaller towns that have little branches or groups of church members. Because these cities are far away from...basically everything, it is harder to care for and help out these small branches. With these geographical situations, and due to the "newness" of the church in these areas, they often become breeding-grounds for apostacy.  A lot of our work as missionaries here is to accompany the progress and leadership of these branches. When the missionaries are slackers, the branch suffers. A LOT. It is frustrating at times working so hard just to keep things from falling apart but, it's worth it.

Even in my own area, where there is a solid Stake, and a decently organized Ward, I am gaining a new appreciation for what it means to have "Opposition in all things". Recently, I've been feeling like I've been fighting an uphill battle. Doing everything possible to help people really make changes in their lives. With so many things, I feel like we are working with damage control, striving to make awful situations less awful. In every aspect of this work, I am recognizing more and more that ther is a powerful influence that is set against the work of God.  

I can only hope that through our faith and efforts we can overcome the obstacles and opposition, and even our own carnal nature to "bring to pass much rightousness".

Elder Johnson

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hey everyone! This week was great! First off, I was able to spend the entire week with one of the best missionaries ever, my Argentino friend, Elder Zárate. We had a week long division together, and it was just awesome. We got back to Campo Grande and back to work on Wednesday, and went scrambling to follow up with all of our investigators and recent converts. The good news is that B is just as excited as ever, and came to church with us this Sunday, and the bad news would be that just about everyone else dropped off the face of the earth. 

But, this week, we're counting our victories in different ways. This week we had remarkable success in working with and improving our relationship with the members of the ward. On Friday we were able to teach with members one visit right after the other. On top of that, we had a great Ward Counsil Meeting where we were able to discuss the entire time about investigators, Recent-Converts and Less-Actives. We feel like the ward is really rallying to help us out. We even have members assigned to pass by our progressing investigators while my companion and I are out of town.
Among other things, we were able to help Bispo out this week by cutting down a tree in his front yard. What makes the story exeptional is that here in Brazil they apparently don't believe in axes, so we hacked down the tree with nothing but a machete!!!! The bishops wife got some great footage, that I'll try to get send to eveyone in these following weeks. 

Finially, the neatest moment of the week was a direct result of working with members. We've been visiting a less-active lady named P, who recently had a baby. This Sunday we were finally able to help her come to church to have her baby girl recieve a name and a blessing. To my surprise, the mother chose me to do the ordinance. I was honored to hold the newborn in my arms and feel a powerful spirit. I was able to almost see the incredible potential of that little child, and I will treasure that moment until I can one day do the same thing for my own.

I know that we are childen of a loving Heavenly Father, and part of his eternal family. As such, each one of us has so much capacity for good!!! I want badly to understand my own capacities, and I'm gratefulfor this opportunity on a mission to discover them even more.
Ate mais gente!!!
Elder Justus Johnson