Tuesday, September 8, 2015
What a week! The work is going great. We have met some very special people and it is such a blessing but people JUST NEED TO GET MARRIED. Cohabitation is literally one of the work's biggest obstacles. In sunday school we read about how Joseph Smith warned about how breaking the Law of Chastity would be the largest temptation for Zion. I think it is for the whole world.
We have named this week our WEEK OF MEN. We are only going to focus on the men and finding men and teaching men. You know, this was a tactic for a long time here in brazil. Some people ask us if our church only lets in men... The more you know.
One of the things I really admire about Brazilians is their faith. They are very faith-filled people, but they are easily blinded by the little garage-churches. It is ridiculous. I think that the grand majority of the Terrestrial Kingdom will be Brazilian. However, many just dont know where to find the truth so the whole 2nd chance in the Spirit World will be a huge blessing for them.
We had a meeting with the São Paulo Temple President, President Puerta. He was a very cool guy and shared some mission stories. He actually talked about the Book of Mormon more than the Temple, which was a little disappointing to a certain extent, but it was what we needed to hear. But he did cite an interesting quote from Russell M Nelson: The Lord only teaches questioning minds. And how true that is! Where would we be if Joseph didnt have a questioning mind?? He also talked about how we have help from the other side of the veil. I feel like everyone who works in the temple says that. I mean it is true and all but I guess we were expecting other things from him. Dont get me wrong, it was still what we needed to hear.
Just be grateful Elder Johnson.
But this week will be great. I am excited to start our week of men. We need more priesthood here.
I love you and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! You have a letter coming but the post office is having problems here in São Paulo so I hope it gets/got there in time.
Holy cow I just barely saw the email that had my itinerary attached. Needless to say, I am excited but really dreading that day. I mean, I have waited my whole life to serve a mission and now it is almost over. I'll never be a missionary like this again. I'll have the rest of my life to remember it. It is hard. I hope that makes sense. I will try to put some of the pictures of the chapel on Dropbox. It will be super cool when you guys see them. The other night we saw fireworks that were fired from the next city over, Caraguatatuba, from the chapel. IT was super cool.
Anyways this week we have had a lot of people to teach. We have 3 baptisms marked up for this Sunday. But we will see how they go. On friday we have a mission conference with the São Paulo temple president and I am really excited for that. Maybe the package will be there :D
We had a great lesson with a lady called priscila. She is a little stubborn and has a lot of incorrect beliefs about basic doctrines thanks to these evangelical churches. There is a war here between the catholics and protestant churches and the 7th day adventists are quiet participants as well. So, amid this war of beliefs, we have had to combat various false and misinterpreted teachings. But she is trying to keep herself chaste (4 kids, 3 dads, and a current boyfriend who is in hiding from the drug traffickers) and we are helping her with that.
There is another family that just needs to get married. Their son, 10 year old Caique reminds me a ton of Cameron and I am pretty sure I am his hero. I met him for the first time last week and he asked if I could stay forever with him. He is a great kid and will probably be baptized before his parents (because they need to get married). They have a haunted shed behind their house and want us to go there with the Branch President and expulse whatever is in there... That will be an interesting experience, right?
We have another lady who just needs to stop drinking coffee. We will go there today to challenge her to stop once and for all. She was sick at Sacrament Meeting yesterday and asked for a blessing and was feeling great after the meeting.
I had a couple chances to bear a pure testimony like Alma did in Alma 5. I felt the Spirit so strong and i could just feel my testimony burning in me. It was a great experience. I just want to give my all so I can feel like I fufilled the mission that my Heavenly Father has given me. I am down to the final minutes and they need to be the best.
How was your birthday?? You didnt say anything! I hope it was fantastic!
These 30 day will fly by! I love ya!
Attached is the flight information and itinerary for Elder Zachary Johnson. If you have any questions or concerns, I am happy to help.
Please confirm you received this information.
Thanks so much,
Brazil Santos Mission
What a week. I would have thought that it would have dragged by without a real PDay but it went really well. I am pretty far away from the office now but it sounds like President will be coming here weekly to check on this zone so I am sure that he will bring it (or at least I hope so).
|Elder Kagi and I|
So, this zone is incredible. We had a meeting on Thursday with President Cabral about the "why" of this transfer. Basically we are the São Sebastião district and President has a 6 month plan for this place to become a stake. He gives a name to ever transfer and has called this one SKYFALL (the james bond movie). He is pretty serious about it. He said that the Lord told him that now is the time and called all of the best missionaries up to this zone. I know that I have had some problems knowing if President trusted me or not but now I have no doubts that not only does he trust me but the Lord does as well. So we have the incredible task of bringing 60 more people to church in this branch and 10 men who will be active Melchizadek priesthood holders and full tithe payers. Not easy but possible. He also said that we will all stay here for 6 months but I obviously will not be one of them.
But this area is really awesome. We have had some great experiences in finding new people and teaching a lot. The only difficulty is that the church is really far away but will soon be moving to the City Center which will help a ton. But we have a lot of work to do and walking around with Elder Kagi is hilarious and fun. We work really well together and it is so nice to be with a hard worker. It is heaven :D
This place is so beautiful as well. There are beautiful beaches and even when it is hot, there is a constant strong wind so you cool down quick. I love it. Our chapel is a mansion that is on the beach. I took some pictures and will try to put them up today or next week.
Thank you for sending another package! I miss you so much and time is passing way to quickly! Have a great week! I love you!
Mom and Dad,
First off, please do not get mad at me nor freak out because I didnt get an email off yesterday. Basically, my companion and I had a super awesome week (We baptized on Sunday) but it all came to a very quick end. We were both transfered so now I am in São Sebastião (if you thought itanhaem was beautiful, wait till you see this place) and I was on the bus from 7am til 6pm. But now I am with Elder Kagi, the only missionary from England in this mission. He is super cool and funny and we are excited to work together and have this big challenge.
|Elder Findling, Marilene, and I.|
Basically Elder Findling and I found a woman who had a ton of family problems. She also smoked and drank coffee. In one week she stopped smoking and drinking coffee, read nearly half of the Book of Mormon, and changed completely as a person. She was baptized on Sunday, 12 days after we made the first contact with her. Miracles are real. The gospel can really change people. The Book of Mormon is really our greatest tool for conversion. I love it so much. I am so grateful for Marilene's experience for it taught me so much! Well, I only had a half hour of computer time today but I hope you are doing great adn I will send pictures and tell more stories next week.
I would like that package to get here soon so that I can get you all some souveniers that I found. So, I am anxious :D
Love you all :D
|Elder Findling (6'6") and a giant BofM|
Well, time just passes by so quickly. I really can't believe it. Only one more fast Sunday! I can honestly say that time does not slow down, even when you pray that it does.
My new area is great. There are a lot of good people and a lot of people who are just really ignorant. We got our first real taste of "persecution" the other day. It was a lot of people making fun of us on the street. It is very funny how some of the people who really profess to be Christians really dont act like it when some one stops them and asks if they would like to hear a message about Jesus. Even if you dont want to or are satisfied with your religion, there is an educated way to express that.
But we have been trying to find a lot of new people. And that has been easy for us because my companion and I get a lot really well. But he is a little bit tired of this area and really wants to get transfered. I dont really blame him but at least he is still working :D
Like I told Dad, we had quite the theme with nearly all of our new investigators.
They all had family problems. One couple was seriously considering separating and what a humbling experience being able to teach them about the Book of Mormon as our Manual for Happiness and the importance of prayer in their relationship. At the end of the lesson, we knelt in prayer and I asked what the wife would like to thank God for, she quickly said her kids, her job, and very quickly said her husband. Then I asked what she would like to ask God for, she buried her face in her hands and cried. She spent a good while in tearful silence and then offered a very humble prayer. She swallowed a lot of pride in that moment. I hope that she keeps it down.
Another was a lesson with 4 women, all mothers and daughters and a whole lot of problems. At the end of it all there was a lot of fingerpointing and pointing out eachother's flaws. Well, on Sunday only the mom went and the classes were about parents and charity. She cried the entire time. Hopefully, she will be baptized this sunday.
|What are the Mormons doing on the side of 200+ year old Catholic Church?|
And these stories repeated the whole week. The family is so important and it is truly under attack. I am so grateful for the family that I have. It is the foundation that I have and the one that the world so desperately needs. But it is also the one that the world is losing. And for that, we must defend it.
Also, one of our investigators "came out" to us. He had questions about the church's stance on homosexuals and when we explained it to him he was content with our answer. It was sad but he said that he is willing to change his life around. We'll see if that is true.
We dont eat a lot of fish here actually. It is a lot of chicken. A ton of chicken.
Well, I hope that you have a good week! I love ya tons!