Elder Zachary D. Johnson's Mission

Elder Zachary D. Johnson's Mission
Elder Zac Johnson has been called to serve in the Brazil Santos Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and wants you to share in his adventure! "Take the leap with me."

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cat-flavored Ice Cream?!

Zac's 19th Birthday

After all these 90 degree days, a little rain is awesome!

Elder Johnson, Elder Oliviera and Zone Leaders

Elder Johnson and Elder Oliviera

I have to pay how much to pick up my package?!

Dearest family:

No, I have not forgotten about you. No, I did not forget to write you all. Yes, I am still living. No, I have not been jumped yet. Yes, I feel fine. No, I did not plan on starting this letter like this.
Well, now that i have answered all of Mom's questions, lets get started ;)

This week has been quite the week. The highlight of it was finding a 17 year-old investigator named Bruno. So we went out with the bishop's son who is leaving on his mission on April 10. He wanted to visit Bruno, his friend. We got started with the first lesson (the Restoration) and Elder Thurgood recited the first vision. After waiting for 10 seconds, Thurgood asks Bruno how he feels. Bruno literally shakes, has goosebumps, and then asks "Could you say that story again? I have never felt so happy in all my life. Please?"

Yeah, I died. Right there. After the lesson, he committed to pray and come to church and asked if we could come back the next day. When we came back, he had two other friends there! Needless to say, it was an awesome experience. But unfortunately, he didnt come to church so he wont be able to be baptized before Vitor (Bishops son) leaves :(

That really was one of the most spiritual lessons ever. Everything that day seemed to be going right before that. It was a great day. 

So, this week I have been studying the section in Pregar Meu Evangelho about developing christ-like attributes. Yes, I have a lot of work to do and many ways to improve. Humility (taking the high road), Faith, and patience are among my biggest challenges right now. Studying does nothing however, without application.

A funny thing happened this week too! During a lesson, there was a gunshot literally 3 houses down. Later that day, at night, we were walking past a house in a different part of town. As we pass this house, they set off fireworks. Because of the gunshot earlier, my first thought was "I cant believe my mission ends like this." Thurgood started to run then stopped because I wasnt running. I was just waiting to feel something painful. But then we realized that it was fireworks, and speed walked to the bus stop. Sometimes, I feel like James Bond here. 

So, that is really it for this week. Rodgers and Rocha had a baptism and we are getting close to having 3 soooooo we are working hard here.

For General Conference, we will be watching it at the chapel. The whole ward will be there! Yes, it will be in portuguese. But we might be able to watch it in English in the Clerks office. Maybe. But I am torn whether I even want to watch it in English or not. I am kind of leaning towards the no.... But we will see!

Great news! Your package arrived! Bad News! I have to pay R$157 to pick it up because of size/contents. SO new plan. Only small packages and not very often. Ta bom? I will have to withdraw from my debit card because I dont have that much money to spare with the regular allowance we get. But thank you for sending something :D


Andrew called me last p-day and the whole call was in portuguese. Talk about weird. It was like I was calling home but I was talking portuguese... Crazy!Well fam, I have officially been out for 5 months and one day. Crazy huh? It really feels like time flies!

Have a good week everybody!

Elder Johnson

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Study of Alma

Wellllllllllllllll this week has been kind of dull here. We are focusing more on "the rescue" and it is paying off. We had a ward conference this sunday and we doubled the attendance of the ward... Yeah, I'd say that our work paid off too. But we have had difficulty meeting with our investigators this week so the work has slowed down.
Other than that, I am having an absolute blast here. I am loving the area, the ward, and my companion. He needs a reminder to chill and laugh every now and then but I have laughed so much more this transfer than last transfer. It has been a nice change. Also, Sister Cabral has told us to complete studies of Alma 5, 41-42, and then 43-63. It is quite a lot of reading, but I am doing a study of Alma 41 and 42 right now and I am learning so much. President Cabral told us that if we truly understand the lessons in these two chapters, all difficulties in our life will seem small. Sure, these chapters help us gain an eternal perspective, but the lessons are still the same. The hardest part about these studies are that they have to be written in portuguese.
Speaking of Portuguese, I am understanding more and speaking more fluidly. Speaking English is actually hard. I speak a mix of English and Portuguese when I try to speak English. So, as hard as the Portuguese is, I am more comfortable speaking Portuguese than I am speaking English... Coming home will be strange for sure :D

I love Elder Thurgood. We work, we laugh, we joke, we teach. It is like Elder Netane all over again. We talk a lot of Portuguese and are both learning a lot.
I don't wear my glasses a ton here. I dont have a ton of headaches for some reason. Usually if I get a headache, I wear them but when it goes away, i take them off. Elder Lopes nailed me in the face with that football you guys sent last transfer and they got bent just a little. But it is all good!
We had a meeting with pres and sis Cabral this week and Sis Cabral talked to me for 20 mins about Andrew. I am actually super excited to see him!
Mothers Day is so close! I think it is next transfer. But I am already on week 21 of the mission and i only have 83 left... That is actually scary to me! I feel like I should have more time than that! IT is just motivation to work harder. But dont expect very good English during that call... Writing is so much easier than speaking it.

We might have a baptism this week (fingers crossed) and another two next week. We are working our hardest and are coming home exhausted. I love the mission. I love the work. I love the challenge. I love the person I am now.

Elder Wiscombe (American) got a football and a basketball sent to him so all the Americans in our zone played some American sports this morning... so refreshing. Elder Thurgood and I rocked our America socks too :D

I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It is the Lord's work...not mine.


What a week! It has been kinda hard to because we are "sem cellular" right now. Apparently, the bill for last month was ridiculously high because some companionships were calling other states in Brazil and some calls were made to argentina and portugal... They know which companionships did it but they took all the cell phones. Needless to say, getting in touch with our lunches, getting baptismal interviews set up, and confirming appointments has been very difficult. But, all is well and the Lord always provides! 

This week we had a "mission tour" with a general authority. I cant remember his name (he was brazilian) but I was so worried that I wouldn't understand a thing. BUT I DID. I understood everything. But that is my problem. I can understand a lot but my speaking is not too hot. The weather is...but not my speaking. I stutter. and I hate it. 

But anyways, we got kicked out of Perequê by Elder Rocha (the ZL) so we had to give all 5 of our investigators to him and Elder Rodgers. They gave us their huge number of 2 investigators in other parts of our area. Rocha wants to say that he created a branch in Perequê so he moved us out and put himself in... I was not happy about that. But all is well, because we have some awesome prospects in the area closer to the house. Some people could be baptized as soon as next week!
The mission is going great. I love it. Yes it is hard, and sometimes VERY wet, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I am in Mosiah in the Portuguese Book of Mormon and halfway through Jesus, the Christ, so I am content with life right now. 

I am not jealous of the cold weather but the fan in the LAN house is broken soooooo I am in a sauna right now :)

Have a great week everybody!

Elder Johnson
Provo MTC District Members in Santos
Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Schmeil

Monday, March 10, 2014

Welcome Elder Thurgood!


Wow, what a week! I got a new companion and guess what: He is american! Elder Chase Thurgood is from Fort Collins, Colorado and he is a stud. He has only been out one more transfer than me, but he went to the Brazil MTC so his speaking is a lot better than mine. It is actually inspiring to have an American companion because when you feel like you can't learn this freaking language, you see him and know that you can! We don't speak a lot of English together because we both have to practice! But it is so funny because Elder Rocha is training an American from VA!! So now, there are 3 Americans and only one Brazilian :D But Rocha is now taking studying English seriously and he is making incredible progress already! All missionaries are blessed with the gift of tongues. In fact, there is a promise for ALL that if you read the Book of Mormon in a different language, you will pick up that language super fast. That is the gift of tongues! It is working for Rocha and it is working for me.

But other than that it is just work work work. It is a little scary to "lead" an area. Technically, Thurgood is the senior comp but I am the one who knows the area soooo at first there was quite a bit of wandering around in the favelas... SO FUN. We get asked if we are the police a ton by the kids and that is so funny! 

Having 3 Americans here has actually rejuvinated the ward. They are all focusing on creating a branch in Perequê. So we are working even more there and also working on reactivations. We are promised by our Area Authority that for every reactivation, we will get one baptism. Missionary work is 2 sided but only has one word: Baptivisms. We need to baptivate here (baptize and reactivate)! I am so excited for this coming transfer!

By the way: Elder Thurgood's parents went to Sky View the same time as dad did and they even went to USU. Elder Thurgood is going to play football there after the mish. How cool is that?! So, do you guys know any Thurgoods? (Dad here:  Actually, I do know some Thurgoods.....Ronnie and Carnan Thurgood....and yes, they are the parents of Elder Thurgood.  Small world, isn't it)

I was really sad to say bye to Elder Lopes. He is a boss...

...obedience blesses everyone. It is something that is so simple. It breaks my heart when we have investigators that don't make the effort to get to church. It is so easy! One less-active is too ashamed to come because he smokes and he doesn't feel worthy enough to come back. We told him that is why he needs to come! Church strengthens us! It was the most spiritual lesson I have ever had. Thurgood said the same thing. He didn't come yesterday. It makes me want to cry. I know now what it really means to love the people you serve. 

Austin: GET DAT PAPAH MONAY!!! Now, Don't blow it all on the ladies ;) That acoustic song is so awesome! I really love it too. Keep up the good work! Your success has been because of your awesome choices so don't quit now!

Cam - Nice to know that every thing is going great with you! You don't really have a lot to say huh? :P

Lexi - Good luck with the puppy sis :D I am super excited to get your bracelets! I know that the kids here with love them! Stay beautiful!

Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Where's Waldo?

 Mission Conference Photos

My First Baptism!


It sure sounds like you guys are having a hectic time there in VA... Snow, dad giving birth, Imagine Dragons, doing amazing on tests... The blessings (except not the kidney stone haha) are raining down from heaven! 

Well this week in Brazil is Carnaval which basically means ´´when the sun goes down, the clothes come off´´. It is basically a giant beach party and everyone from Sao Paulo comes here because of the beaches... So, we have a 6pm curfew. SIX PM. We have had to do this since friday and will have to do it until this thursday. Needless to say, the work has been very slow and to use the words of my companion: This place is Babylon.

Speaking of my companion.... He is getting transferred tomorrow! So is Elder Lopes so it is just Elder Rocha and I holding down the fort here. I will find out who my new companion is tomorrow but everyone thinks I am going to train, which I do NOT feel prepared to do. My language skills have increased dramatically this week. Though my vocab is still limited, I can form sentences and when I speak english with some of the other Americans, it is HARD. I say portuguese words instead of english words... I AM SO EXCITED TO NOT BE ABLE TO SPEAK ENGLISH!! All is well on the language front. I have got heavyweight patience now... HA estou brincando!

But here is the surprise:

FRIDAY WAS MY FIRST BAPTISM! The funny thing is, she wasn´t our investigator. She was Lopes and Rocha´s investigator but she chose me to baptize her! I taught Antõnia 2 times on exchanges with Lopes and I hardly could speak! I was so stunned when she said that she wanted me to baptize her... I am still shocked honestly... I will send a picture later! But how cool is that?! My first baptism was on Day 123, which I think is pretty cool too.

Anyways, I hope all is well and you guys are enjoying the cold weather because I am dreading coming home to cold weather!

Have a good one!

Elder Johnson