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, April 21, 2014

You're being transferred....not!

Elder Johnson and Elder Bushman
Elder Thurgood and I started our journey to Santos with my 3 bags and Thurgood's 4. Just us. We had to take 2 buses and a ferry boat to arrive at the transfer site. We had said goodbye to some families the night before so I was feeling prepared to leave. Well, as the Assistants started announcing the new companionships, Enseada 2 came up on the slide show and there was my face. So, my new companion is Elder Bushman and I am the Senior Companion and I am still in Enseada. Same ward, same everything. So, we had to go back to Guarujá with my 3 bags and Elder Bushman's 5 bags. So although I was told I was going to be transferred, I stayed. I was not too happy about that. Needless to say, church was a bit awkward when everyone saw me there.

But yeah, Elder Bushman is pretty cool. Everyone here calls him the brother from Stuart Little. (ha,ha). He is from St. Louis, Missouri and was reassigned 1 transfer to the Baton Rouge mission, was in Grandpa's stake and met Grandpa. WHY DOES GOD KEEP PUTTING ME WITH ELDERS THAT KNOW MY FAMILY?!?! But yeah, it is a little nervewracking, being senior compaionion already. I have only been here for 2 full transfers and Bushman has only been here for one so we really have to rely on the Lord to communicate but I already feel like I am receiving a ton of help. 

The day after transfers we had our Easter mission conference and President Cabral went in to the deep doctrine about the Atonement and all that did was increase my gratitude and really realize how much Christ did and does for me. I wish I had the time to type it all up but you will have to wait til I get home!  The bitter herbs were gross, but the lamb was really good.  The guy who made that and the  lunch is in my ward and he is a chef.  That man can cook.
Passover Meal:  Lamb, Bitter Herbs and Unleaven Bread

In other news, this transfer will only be 4 weeks long because of the world cup. President doesnt was to have elders using public transportation or be in the airports during the world cup. Brazil will be crazy. I cannot wait. 

I hope your easter was fantastic! Yesterday we didnt have a meal with a member scheduled but when we got to church, one of the sisters told us that she could feed us. We were teaching her grandson two transfers ago but he lost interest and wouldnt come to church. But during the dinner, the sister told us that Kauan told her that he wants to be married in the temple. So, we will start talking to him again this week! We sure have been blessed so far!

Elder Johnson and Elder Richards: Reunited in Brazil
Elder Johnson in the choir
                                                                                       Austin - Congratulations on the baptism bro! I still remember baptizing Alex and Lexi. Those were two of the coolest moments of my life! It is so awesome that you were so involved in her conversion process. She truly sounds like an angel! The lady I baptized here, Antonia, she is an angel. She read a verse in the bible before she was baptized that says "and this will be a house of the lord." We hold sunday meetings in her house for the people in Perequê. How cool is that? She is giving everything to the church and us (literally, she always sends cakes home with the other elders). Congrats! But you may wanna work harder at the gym... I didnt see a difference in arm size in the pictures ;)

Cam - oh I am sure your arms are massive :P The comp is pretty cool and he isnt afraid to talk which really helps. But you better rock those SOLs. I talked to a lady the other day who was really sad about how no one tries in school here and you can tell. They dont have jobs and get involved in bad things. In other news, Chocolate eggs (giant ones) are what people do for easter so we have a ton of chocolate in the house and it is enough to make me puke...

Lexi - Your birthday is so soon! I hope you have a great one and keep being awesome. I am glad to know you took 10 mins to write me. You are too kind :D Your bracelets are a big hit here! A ton of the kids in my ward wore them to church yesterday! 

I loved the pictures and looks like it (Easter) was a great day! 

Thank you for sending them!

Have a good week everybody!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Transfer #1

Well, we were supposed to get transfer calls last night and it didnt happen. Then they told us that we would get them this morning, and didnt happen. So, we still have no idea what will happen. Actually, that is not true. Elder Thurgood will be transferred. He was told in that special meeting that he went to that he will be a ZL this next transfer. So, he will leave because Elder Rocha, the ZL here, will stay because on Sunday we started a group (smaller than a branch) in Perequê! Also, Monica and Alex have a marriage date for May 10! Our work is finally paying off, even if it will all show next transfer. All in all, my fate is still unknown. I will get a new comp for sure but whether I stay or go somewhere else is yet to be known!  This transfer is over... wow it has passed by fast. Elder Thurgood has been a great comp! 

Not a whole lot happened this week as far as the work goes. We had a couple people ask us for visits, then werent home when we arrived at the agreed time. Joys of the work for sure! The language is coming along much better now. The bishop and WML are finally comfortable with my understanding capacity. I think in this language. It is so weird. I've been having a ton of dreams lately, all in portuguese. Now THAT is an indescribable thing.

But this week I have spent a lot of time thinking and studying about Joseph Smith. I do not have adequate words to describe my feelings and my experiences I have had. In short, I have come to know him. Not know of him, but really know him. I know that he was and is a Prophet of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I may lack faith of a lot of things but I know that book is true. My experiences cannot be put into words. But I have ended my day, almost every night with feelings of joy and a peace I have never felt. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Other than that, nothing super awesome has happened. There was a soccer championship game last night. Santos lost in penalty kicks but every time a team missed a kick, the whole city seemed to shake, every one was screaming so loud. When the winner was decided, guns where fired, fireworks went off, and empty beer bottles where smashed in the streets. That being said, I cannot wait for the world cup. It will be nuts :D

We had lunch on friday at the American's house in my ward (I also got sick that day but I'm all better now!). He is filthy rich (ex-pro golfer and current senior golf champion of Brazil). He lives in the part of guarujá called Península (google earth it). Gorgeous views and huge house. It was so cool. His name is Ronald Gunn, just in case you wanna look him up.

Austin - Who is such a big boy now? AWWWWWWW ;) Just dont break my truck :) That talk by elder oaks was the motto for my mission in AZ. Sis Cabral has banned us missionaries from buying guaraná haha We only drink it at members houses but it is an every day thing. Water is heavenly though.

Cam - Yea fubeca, tudo bem? :P I hope you had an awesome break and that you did some cool stuff! We were at a members house yesterday and their 3 year old son is obsessed with Ben10 (all boys here are) but he was watching a video that had Skillet in the background and he was singing along to "Monster" and "Hero". I wish I had my camera. It was sooooooo funny.

Lexi - Did you know that my 6 month anniversary of the mission is on your birthday? How cool is that! Next year, that means when you have your birthday, only 6 more months before I come home! Holy cow! or HOLY DOG ;) We'll see what happens on your birthday! It will be super fun!

I hope you all had an awesome break and enjoy school/work ;)

Love you all, 

Elder Johnson

PS.  We just got the call that I am getting transferred!  Elder Thurgood will be transferred too, so the President is "white-washing" the area.  Kinda crazy but I really felt like this was going to happen. New area here I come!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Delayed Photos from Tucson

How I found out I got my Visa...oops! 
The best companion.  One of my best friends in the world. My older brother.  This is our last night together.  I miss Netane like crazy 
The Conover's.  The best family in Tucson.  I miss them so much!

General Conference Thoughts


Let me start off by saying that this was the best session of Conference I have ever watched. Yes, it was all in Portuguese except the hymns so we still got to hear and sing some English (they don't change the words on the screen at all). But the best part, was I didn't understand a whole lot. I really didn't. "So, Zac, why was it the best conference ever?" Oh, thank you for asking. You know how Apostles always say to never take notes on what was said, like quotes and stuff? They always say to take notes on your impressions. That was this Conference to me. All I did was make note of the thoughts in my head and I received answers to every single one of my questions. All of them. We were able to download the talks in English last night (all but the sunday afternoon ones) and after listening to them, my notes are very different than what was actually said. But there is a value that my notes have that I have never experienced before. What I wrote down was pure personal revelation between my Heavenly Father and me. And they are all in Portuguese. I love this language. It is the hardest thing I have ever done but I love it. 

That being said, Elder Holland's talk was super good. The 1st Presidency during the Priesthood session was like a power line-up in baseball. They all were awesome, Elder Oaks included ("we should stop focusing on our RIGHTS and focus on our RESPONSIBILITIES"... KO!). Elder Christofferson's talk was one of my favorites too. The cool part was I have seen in person a lot of the speakers from conference at the MTC: W. Craig Zwick, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Marcos A. Aidukaitis (with the funny accent), and Jon U. Teh. Also, the young guy that directed the saturday afternoon session Ryan Aggett also directs the MTC choir so I sang for him!

This conference was a great experience! Easily the best one by far!
So I think Elder Thurgood will be transferred this transfer and I will stay. On Monday night this week, President Cabral called us and asked for Elder Thurgood to be at the Leadership meeting the following day. So he went to that and basically this means he will be a LZ somewhere. Our mission is full of young missionaries so a lot of young missionaries will have to step up and be in leadership positions. It is crazy down here! 

Portuguese poetry is actually super cool. One of my favorites is: 
Elder Thurgood and I.

"Perda sobre perda erguemos nossas vitórias" (Loss upon loss we raise our victories). It is clever because peDRa is rock and perda is loss. Maybe I am the only one that thinks this is coo,l but it is, so yeah. 
In honor of President Uchtdorf talking about "selfies".

Thank you guys so much for the package! It was worth the $77 to me, in fact, much more. 

Ausin: Bro that dance was so awesome! I died when they threw the snow stuff. That was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time! But that is so cool that Dr. Worley wants you to do it in front of everyone! That will be so hype! That twitter name is pretty legit too. DO NOT SPOIL THE ENDING OF HIMYM. JUST NO. Love ya broskie!

Cam: You better get started on that book! I would also challenge you to read the Book of Mormon all the way through. I did that for the first time when I was 14 an I wish I had done it sooner and more times than just one before my mission. Remember Elder Eyring's talk. He talked a great deal of the value of the BoM to him as a child. Do the same and maybe one day you will be an Apostle ;) Love ya!

Lexi: Thank you so much for making all of those bracelets! I can't believe how complicated some of them are! You have really gotten good at making them. Keep being awesome, throw popcorn out the window, and stop being a punk and not writing me :) Love ya! 

Have a great spring break!

Elder Johnson