Monday, April 27, 2015

What a week! One of the most frustrating things during the mission is when you sit down and set up the perfect day in your planner, with all the visits and lessons that you need to do, just to have everything fall through during the day. You're left scrambling to get the essential things done, and sometimes you end up reorganizing everything. But as we say here in Brazil "faz parte". It's good to know that the Lord recognizes our efforts!
There's not many out of the ordindinary experiences to tell this week, but we had a great moment yesterday that I'd like to share. We've been working hard to build trust with the church members here in Corumbá, and we feel like things are beginning to kick in gear.
Example- two weeks ago we met this girl on the street and invited her to church. She went, and we proceeded to teach her. In the first visit she accepted baptism and everything. Next step...involve the members. This Sunday was her 18th birthday, and we spent the week giving a heads up to all the youth leaders. Yesterday we called on a few members to bring cake to her house and give her a birthday suprise. The members answered the call!!! We ended up with not one, not two but three different birthday cakes, and thanks to a couple of great famies we now know that this super special girl will be well taken care of after her baptism this coming Saturday.
I love seeing families participate in missionary work like that. It's gratifying to know that you don't need a nametag to help in the work of the Lord.
That's really all I got to say about this week!
Até mais!

Elder Johnson  (pictures are of the fiesta for the girl who was recently baptized and up top a real Alligator!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hey everybody!!! What a great week. We had a chunk taken out of it thanks to a Zone Conference in Campo Grande, but it was well worth the 7 hour bus ride. This Zone Conference was the last Conference of President Reber in the Brasil Cuiabá Mission. As such, both he and Sister Reber gave their "last testimonies" along with a powerful training given in the format of the "last interview". He bore a powerful testimony on the true meaning, purpose, and potential of the family as an eternal unit.  he invited all of the elders to "earn a queen" by dedication to the work of the Lord.
Returning to Campo Grande was more problematic than it should have been.  The bus broke down at 3:00 in the morning in the middle of the Pantanal (largest wetlands in the world).  Needless to say we were just about eaten alive by mosquitos.  But I was able to get a peek at an incredible region, with some amazing wildlife.
We got right back to work as soon as we got back to Corumba.  Just about immediately we ran into some roadblocks.  Turns out there were some comments made to our Spanish-speaking investigators last Sunday and a number of people were deeply offended.  We spent the weekend cleaning up this mess along with a number of other problems and finally, against all odds, we had a successful baptismal service for V.  We hope we can use this momentum to bring her entire family back to church, along with a number of other less actives that we are working with.
The miracles continue. I continue to be amazed at how the Lord guides his work even with incredible opposition!
That's all for now!  Until next time!
Elder Johnson

Zone Conference in Campo Grande!!!

1. companion & true friend, Elder Stephens
2. my "brother" Elder Phipps
3 & 4, District CORUBMÀ

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hey everyone!! This week has been great! It started out a little bit shakey, with my new companion getting here at 1:30 Wednesday morning, but he's getting the hang of things here in Corumbá very quickly. He's from Pirnambucu (nordeste), and he's very exited to be working in what is now his second area! 

As for our work here in Corumbá, we're seeing progress with a number of different families, the only problem being that two of these families are Bolivian and as such speak very little Portuguese. If we speak slowly enough they can understand pretty well (and we can basically understand the Spanish) but that's not nearly as much fun as learning a new language, so now we're both learning and practicing a little bit of Espanol. What fun!

Othen than the norm, this week we've been really trying to work with and strengthen some of the priesthood holders (men) in the branch. As missionaries we get to see good examples and bad examples. We see fathers and husbands that strive to strengthen and help their families by living and following the principles of the gospel, and on the other hand we see other men who seem to be dragging the family down. This week I was really struck by the essential role of "father" or even "husband". As "guys" we have really got to get it together. The blessings of faithful fatherhood are aparent, and the results of slacking are tragic. 

The mission is teaching me sooooo much about what kind of man I want to be. I hope I can carry these lessons with me to one day bless and sustain my own family! Christ truly was "the man". He set a perfect example for each one of us. It's definitely a high standard, but it's one we all have to strive for.

Ate Mais pessoal!!!

Elder Johnson
1. Me and my new companion, Elder Alves
2. Elder Viana e Ellis washing dishes
3. A catholic Deacon/Marine Coronel

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hey everyone! Transfer uptates comin in!! Elder Viana and I are splitting up to divide and conquer the city of Corumbá. I'll be with Elder Lucas, a Brazilian, and Elder Viana will be with Elder Ellis, an American. Our week was focused on getting people to Conference, and we were blessed with success! We were able to help one family come back to church, and we marked the baptismal date of their 9-year-old daughter. Now we just have to help the father get prepared so that he can be the one to perform the baptism!

This week we taught a guy who said something along the lines of "how can you believe in a modern prophet? I asked around and no one even knows who Thomas Monson is. How can he be a prophet if he is not recognized at large by the world?" I explained to him that getting the word out is our (as missionaries) part of the deal, the decision to listen and obey is an individual choice. 

How grateful I am for a modern prophet, and for up-to-date instruction direct from God. That particular moment taught me a little bit about the importance of our "restoration" message. He was (in part) right! How many people have heard the wonderful news that there is a living prophet on the earth TODAY and not only that but there's twelve living Apostles!?!? Not a whole lot is the answer. 

I was touched and inspired by this last session of General Conference. I left with the desire to be and do better. After all, that is, in essence, what God wants us to do. Continually improve, fix our mistakes, and trust completely in Christ to do all that. 

As for Christ, how about Easter for a chance to remember him and apply his sacrifice in our lives. I know that Christ lives and as a living Savior exists to bless our lives today. I love my Savior, and want so badly to make his sacrifice "worth it" in my own life. 

That's the week!
Happy Easter to everyone,

Elder Johnson