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."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Elder Holland's Visit


So lets start with the cool coincidence... You guys ran the Spartan Race on Saturday and my 300th day on the mission was Sunday... How cool is that?? Your shenanigans with the spartan race was almost as cool as my week. Almost. 

I SHOOK HANDS WITH ELDER HOLLAND. And that man is hilarious. He knows that he has a meanacing way about him and he used that to make a ton of jokes. He said "When I get angry I turn into.... A CRAZY MAN." Then he grabbed a sister and shook her while saying "DO YOU KNOW WHAT CRAZY MEANS??" The poor sister was brazilian and had no idea what he was saying hahaha

But it was one of the best 2 hours of my life. He talked about how we are Gods investigator so we need to think about how God is trying to get us to keep our commitments and how his invitations are the challenges we have on our misisons. He did say something that was very interesting. He said that the church, apostles, the prophet, and the Lord are only expecting one convert. You. Holland explained that they want you to baptize as many people as you can but that if you go home completely converted to the Lord, your mission was a success. That answered one of the questions I had. But the experience was perfect. We werent chastized like the whole mission thought we would be but those who had reason to feel guilty, felt the guilt necessary to change. Hopefully, that is.

Anyways I had an awesome experience with fasting this week. Saturday we started a fast for our 3 investigators that will be baptized next weekend. That day we had a record 6 lessons and we were feeling great that night. But Sunday morning when we went to pick up one of them, she was still sleeping and didnt even wake up to answer the door. So she is a no-go for next week. But at church the YW helped a ton with Ellen. She is the daughter of a recently reactivated member who wasnt sure about baptism. We asked them all to bear their testimony about baptism when it was just the girls together. Apparently everyone cried and she got her answer. She will be baptized on Sunday by the YM president Diego! WOOT! Miracle Number 2 was with Igor. He has been coming to Seminary for the past 3 months and is loving it. We were able to teach him with his friend who is a member. On Sunday we were able to talk to his mom who is evangelical and she said that she would support him if he chose to get baptized. She loved the whole "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. So we just need him to get an answer and we will have 2 baptisms next week! The blessings of fasting are real. We asked for 3 miracles, we got 2 and they were greater than we imagined. 

Tomorrow my area will get another companionship and so it will be back to 6 people in my house... yay. But we are set up for another great week!

Austin - Congrats on being a spartan! That batman shirt was dope too. I hope you had a fantastic time. And you better thank mom for letting you guys miss church! Cullen told me that JT was going to go to college first before the mission. That is a good move. We got a lot of new guys here that should have stayed home a little longer. Love ya bro!

Cam - email

Lexi - I would have sent you an email but the email you sent me didnt work so just send me an email next week with your email okay? Congrats on running the race! But I cant believe you cried :P Mrs Freeland huh? I hope you like her! Sounds like you will have a great year!

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, August 18, 2014

This week in Good Hope


How are all you guys doing? I am doing well and am still alive so yeah!

So Monday afternoon I got my new companion, Elder Mendes. He is only 4 months away from going home but he isnt exactly the most obedient of missionaries. It is incredible to see how much "justifying" can ruin a mission. It is super sad really. He is a super good guy but he is just not focused.

As far as the work goes, we got two more investigators but they didnt come to church. In fact, Sunday was our Ward Conference and I was asked last second to sing the 6th verse of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief...alone. So I did. And it was okay. I survived. There were 145 people there and it is just sad that it takes a big event like a conference to get people to come to church. 

I am almost 100% certain that I will be transferred here next transfer so I am trying to do my best every single day. We have a lot of potencial baptisms with the youth of this area but I dont like baptizing the youth because they almost never stay strong in the church. But, we will work with what the Lord will give us.

I know that God lives and that the power of prayer is real. The ability to choose is truly a gift, even though it sometimes frustrates me :) Obedience brings blessings. But it is when obedience becomes a DESIRE that the real blessings come. 

Thank you for the prayers, the love, and for the emails!

Austin - Congrats on getting a job but you gave in to temptation with the new game... If it is something that wont distract you, go for it. But always make choices with the future in mind. Like my companion for example. I have told him 3 times now to stop playing League of Legends here at the LAN house. It is sad. But with Addison, you will learn the great lesson of patience and understand more about free agency. Alma 42:27.

Cam - Email

Lexi - You are not allowed to say that a missionary is HOT. Repent. :P Seeing that one dog has changed your mind about which one you want? Have you thought about earning money to buy the dog yourself? You would get one faster that way ;P Love ya sis!

Love you all,

Elder Johnson

Monday, August 11, 2014

Goodbye, Elder Lucas :(


I have to start this email with the sad news that Elder Lucas was transferred. I was really hoping that we would stay together  but it just wasnt meant to be. I will be receiving my new companion today but I will talk more about him later. It was an absolute pleasure to have Elder Lucas as my companion. I thought that the transfer would start a little rough and that it would be difficult, but it was the opposite. Training was something I looked at with a lot of fear because the responsibility is insane. But to my pleasant surprise, it was one my favorite transfers here in Brazil. He was transferred to an area in São Vicente so he will be just fine there. 

Basically my zone will be receiving a ton of problem missionaries. My companion will be one of them. If he screws up again, he will be sent home. So, the difficulties will be a bit more difficult but this will be a transfer of faith. Like Dad always says, pray for the miracle and expect the blessing. I will continue as District Leader and both Elder Richards and Elder Ettmüller stayed, so I will continue working with them for 6 weeks. The other district leader has a slight problem with Autism, no leadership experience, and will be training so I will be helping him with his problems as well. Life is full of tests and I am grateful for that. 

In this card I would like to share a couple of the things that I know for sure. I know that God lives. I know that Christ lives. I have felt the presence of celestial comforters. The Atonement of Christ is real. It goes way beyond just meeting the demands of justice and the providing a way for mercy to work. Miracles are not always grand things. Like Nephi, sometimes just being able to obtain food is a great miracle (1Nephi16:29-31). This is an inspired work and revelation is real. The gift of the holy ghost is more that just a constant companionship but it is the means that our Heavenly Father can communicate with us at all times and in all places. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It can answer and question and provide any comfort that may be needed. Gratitude is an enabling ability that we all need to develop. The power of prayer is one of the least understood principles of the gospel. Families are forever and the blessings of the temple do not have a price. 

Austin - Two jobs?! That's what I am talking about! Gotta pay for the mission somehow! Keep being persistant with Addison! There is a difference between persistance and being annoying though :) Safest driver? Wow everyone else must suck at driving :P Congrats on not passing out! I didnt pass out when I did it but it is hilarious when it happens to other people! Peace!

Cam - email

Lexi - How was Utah?? Did you take lots of pics?? I hope you had a great time and that you give mom lots of kisses for taking ya there! Her birthday is here soon so do something special for her! Love ya!

I love you all very much and hope that you all have an awesome week!

Much love,

Elder Johnson  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Elder Holland is Coming!

04 August 2014


Wow it really sounds like you guys have had quite the week. I am sure the whole stay at home and play video games was super draining on Austin and Cameron... Anywayyy ;)

This week we have had bi-polar weather. It was in the 40s on Monday and tuesday but then shot up to break 100 on friday... YAY! Basically, the only place in Brazil that even gets winter weather is the south and here in the state of São Paulo, it is just hot year round. Coming home to cold weather will kick my butt! So, I have picked up some sun and it is pretty stinkin hot here in the tropical paradise called Brasil.

We have one investigator called Sebastião who is super close to getting baptized. He has a lot of relationship problems and we have been teaching him exclusively about forgiveness. All that we have been teaching him was put to the test this week and the way he responded is an answer to him. So, we will be talking to him tomorrow about the 9th for his baptism. He has been an investigator for 3 months, is living all the commandments, but he wants this grudge taken away from his heart. It is difficult, but he is progressing. 

FE means Faith
The mission is really coming down on us to baptize this month before the 19th... Because that is the day that ELDER HOLLAND WILL BE COMING TO TALK TO US. It has already been confirmed that it is him but we cant tell the members who it is. It is super exciting, he will have a meeting with just us missionaries and we will be able to shake his hand WHADDUP. However, this also means that we have to be super obedient and do all that we can until he comes so that he teaches us a profound doctrine and doesnt talk about how much we suck as missionaries. Needless to say, the whole mission leadership is convinced that we will be burned by him so they are being very overbearing about everything.   Elder Lucas and I celebrated our monthly anniversaries this week. I hit 9 months and he hit 1 month in the field. We made chocolate cake then put brigadeiro on top... we made 2 cakes actually... shhhhhhh.  I eat when I am upset okay? ;)

Austin - A phone interview? I hope everything goes well and you get the job! Though, you'll never want to go there with friends haha you will spend all your time there! I still havent been sunburned but I do have a pretty attractive collar tan line #missionaryswag. Is Jared a cool guy? I didnt get to know him before I left. 

Cam - email

Lexi - I miss ya sis! Thank you for all the pics! You look super happy there! Did you read part of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese? When I get back, I'll just speak to you in Portuguese... It will be hard to speak English! The braces look awesome too! Just stop growing up please :) Say hi to everyone for me!

Much love,
Elder Johnson

Elder Lucas and I with our cake!


28 July 2014


Brazil: 4th Place in World Cup.
What a week! The week started with the weather close to the 90s and no one wanted to be home all week! Then a couple days ago, the rain came and now it is freezing cold. I AM IN BRAZIL FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

Unfortunately, Satan was working hard this week too. We didnt meet with Julio at all this week, so no baptism... again. In fact, all of the baptisms that were marked for this weekend fell. It was super strange. So, the Zone leaders asked us to do a fast. Two times this week actually. On the second fasting day, nothing went according to plan. At all. 

To add to our freezing cold and rain filled day, we were robbed on the street yayyyyyyy. The guy only wanted our watches, thankfully, so we have less things to lug around if we get transferred :D It wasnt something that was scary, in fact, I knew it was going to happen earlier in the day. I havent worn my watch in 4 months and that day I had a prompting to wear my watch. I thought it was strange but wore it. If I hadnt been wearing my watch, he probably would have asked for a wallet or our cell phone. God was watching out for us!

Despite the lack of success this week (and the burning I will get tonight from the ZLs) I know that God is still watching over me and I am learning how to be patient. Patience is some thing I am going to need later in life apparently!

Until next week,

Elder Johnson

I saw this massive pig in the street the other day. Like this pig was bigger than Austin at an all you can eat pizza place.

You like what on your pizza?!!!

21 July 2014


Interesting food!
Well, this week has been one of the highest mountains and deepest rivers (Imagine Dragons... anyone?). On Tuesday, the ZLs called a meeting with me and the other DL. They burned us about our numbers and the numbers of our district, and informed us about the new "standards of excellence" of the mission. On that day, I was told some pretty hurtful things by on of my ZLs, nearly attacked him, and were given extremely difficult goals to accomplish. Needless to say, Tuesday night was spent in quiet anger and frustration. 

Wednesday, the other LD and I had to burn our districts. I could not do so because I new that most of them were doing their best. So, Elder Ettmuller took over the meeting, burned everyone, then finished the meeting. Blessings! That morning I had read Alma 51 and really felt like that was the answer for me. As we started the work for the day, the first door we knocked was opened by Luis Fernando. His nephew, Julio, came back from work half way through the lesson and participated. To make a long story short, Julio cried during the lesson and accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 26th! We taught him the plan of salvation the following day. I asked if he wanted to know if this plan was real and that families could be something eternal. He responded "I dont WANT to know. I ALREADY know that it is true. I will see you at church on Sunday."

He was at the church at 7:45am. The meetings start at 9:20. He told us that he just couldnt wait to come. A member's daughter was confirmed at the start of sacrament meeting and Julio cried. He cried during every talk (including mine) and cried during every class. He is one of the Lord's elect and if he has no word of wisdom problems, he will be baptized this saturday. Oh, how the Lord blesses!

The work in our area is growing, slowly but surely. Bispo said that my talk was the best talk he has ever heard. He loves Elder Lucas and I. Really the whole ward does. There is an excitement here that has not been here before. Great things are about to happen!
Elder Lucas likes mayonnaise and mustard on rice and pizza!
So that has really been my week! I hope that you all have had a fantastic week and that this coming week is even better!


Elder Johnson

World Cup Defeat

14 July 2014

Hello everyone! 

Wow you guys sure had a great week vacationing and passing stones. Only good things ;D

So this week started off a little rough. With Brazil taking a beating 7-1 to Germany, you could feel it in the air. It was a bitter sweet experience for sure! Our neighbors were screaming bloody murder next door when Germany was up 4-0 in the first 20 mins. But at least Argentina didnt win. There wasnt too much craziness in the streets actually. Everyone was just super embarrassed because of the result. Strange really.

We have been working a ton on the rescue here in this area. We havent been teaching a lot of investigators but we visited a ton of less actives and the Lord blessed us with the highest attendance in Sacrament meeting in the past 4 months! The ZLs werent happy about our lack of lessons but I am happy because our attendance was so high. 

On Sunday we had our first official meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. He is 24, wears tight pants to church, a RM (who went on his mission ENGAGED), and is one of the best WMLs in the mission. He is so awesome and really helped me with some things that I was struggling with. I have a lot on my plate but I am doing my best and am really enjoying myself.

Elder Lucas is hilarious and is really starting to talk more. You wouldnt think that talking would be a problem, but he wants to be told what to say a little too much. But he is learning quickly and we really dont have a dull moment in the street.

These are photo's of Luciano's baptism.  We found him the last week I was in Sao Vincente.  He was baptized by his best friend!

Love yall!

Elder Johnson