Monday, June 22, 2015

Another quick week, but with some big lessons learned. It is so interesting that when you are studying and praying to apply certain principles, God gives you experiences that help you really understand. As they say, "don't pray for patience if you don't want to have experiences that try your patience". 

This week I was actually studying humility and charity instead of patience, but the same rule applies. 

I remember at the start of my mission, I couldn't have cared less about numbers or statistics, recognition or awards. But, at some point that kind of stuff started to really matter to me. Pride started to enter my heart. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in the work, setting goals, making plans, and trying so hard to do everything right. I for one started to forget about the importance of the people with whom I am working. 
Without going into specifics, I had my wake-up moment this week. I realized that I was more worried about what I wanted than what others needed. I hope that now I can be more careful about my priorities.

But now for the news and events! We started off the week with a division with the assistants (can't believe that I didn't get a picture), and the other companionship in the District had a baptism!! The Branch is starting to get things done, but they still need a lot of help. 

Finally, this week marks the end of President Reber's Mission. He was and is an incredible example to me and all the missionaries here. He did so much to help both the Church's growth and the missionary's individual growth as President of the Brazil Cuiabá Mission. As a "cherry on top" he was able to help Alta Floresta become an official Branch of the Church. Thank you President & Sister Reber!!!

Até a próxima!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Unlike last week, this week was remarkably eventful. I'm really happy with the things that we've been able to do, and the families that we've been able to help. 

First off, last P-day the entire district went to the marriage of Gonçalo and Dayne. It was great, with a live Bolivian band and the works. It was great to see the family progressing. The decision to finally get married to be baptised was a tough one, but now they are willing to be baptised this week! The best part though, is that they already have goals to go to the temple to be sealed as a family!!!

Turns out the whole week was a little bit more "trunky" as usual because our District was asked to sing a special musical number at the branch's Valentine's activity for couples. During the week we were also asked to record snippets of different husbands talking about how they show there love to their spouse. For us, in Corumbá,
 it's all just part of the work. As missionaries we end up organizing and running just about everything.

 Of course, the best part of the week was the baptism of Zach! We finished teaching him everything, and he was so willing to learn and study! He is already reading the Book of Mormon regularly, and more than anything, he wants to be a missionary someday. We worked hard to get his family excited, and we still have a lot of work to do to get the whole family involved, but we saw great strides of progress with his parents, who are now returning to activity in the church!!

I feel so incredibly blessed to be part of this work, and to help people make these decisions to recieve earthly and eternal blessings. I really do feel a part of the joy that our Heavenly Father must feel in "the soul that repenteth"!

Elder Johnson

Here are some pictures that Elder Alves sent me. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yet another great week full of work. I find it slightly frustrating that the best times pass so quickly. Elder Smittenaar and I are working hard to baptize, retain, and reactivate with the help of the members here in Corumbá. This week we had sucess in working with part-member families. We were thrilled to see some of these families finially come together to church. There's still a lot to do, but good things are happening! The gospel is meant to bless the entire familiy, not just a "part"!
Due to lack of noteworthy/crazy stories, I'd like to share a little bit of our companionship study this week. We've been studying together a talk called "the fourth missionary", and it's been interesting to learn about how I can make my mission more meaningful.
In this talk, and in the scriptures we learn about the importance of change, or in other words the importance of becoming. One of the main doctrines of this principle is that we have the capacity to change our character, or nature. The plan of Salvation is a plan of progress and change. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ we have access to a molding power that can help us make these changes.
There have been lots of experiences so far on my mission that have helped me change my habits, and change my actions, but the true change I want to happen needs to take place in my mind and in my heart.
If anyone has ideas or thoughts that could help me on this quest, please share!
I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, June 1, 2015

This week I think I've endured the most extreme temperature changes of my mission. Monday and Tuesday here in Corumbá were blazing hot, but it started to cool off on Wednesday. On Thursday, Elder Alves and I headed out to Campo Grande for a training, and there it was Super COLD (for Brazil). It was definetaly the coldest I've been in over a year. The worst part is, is that I know that it probably wasn't even that cold. I'm worried about the possibility of me freezing to death in the states...

One of the most striking experiences this week was teaching about the importance of marriage to a couple that's been together for 35 years but isn't legally married. It was remarkably frustrating to open up the scriptures and explain various passages that talk about the importance of marriage, just to have the hard-headed husband reject everything. Really! What is it that people have against going to sign a couple of papers. I tried to explain that it is a way we show our love and faith, both to your spouse and to God. The wife was loving it all, and wants badly to be married. It's remarkable to me how Satan is destroying the worth and importance of family in so many ways.
I know that the restored gospel is truly God's path to happiness and an eternal family. Of all the things I've learned so far on my mission, one of the most striking lessons has been the importance of the family unit. 

lastly, here are some pictures from this week's adventures!
Elder Johnson

1&2. selfies with ex-companions
3. birthday party of a less-active's grandson (the little kid is the grandson of Irmão Nelson, who we are reactivating)

4. hitching a ride!!!