Monday, September 29, 2014
What a week! I got here in Registro on Wednesday night at midnight... it was a long bus ride (one that I have to take again today!). But deciding where to start is going to be hard...
Basically, my area is 10 cities. Yes, 10. And yes, we have investigators in 4 of them. So, we have to be super careful about when we plan things and we have to use almost all of our money on bus fares. We have a branch here that is pretty weak but there are some awesome people in it. The branch president looks like Bro. Potter and his wife looks like Sis Bealer. But they are hilarious and freaking awesome so it is all good. This city was built by the Japanese and there are a ton of steep hills... Walking all day is very tiring. I will lose some weight here!
This zone is known as the "punishment zone". Basically, you break the rules and get exiled here. Leading these elders and sisters will be hard, as they know why they are here and do not respect you. But I am really excited for the challenges and the necessity that I have here to grow and improve.
|View out our window|
My Companion, Elder Henrique Machado, is pretty cool. Honestly, a little "different" and kind of lacks in the social skills department, but that does not stop him from doing contacts and trying (TRYING) to make jokes in the lessons. He has already hit his year mark and really knows his Bible. I feel like we will be a good team though we will need some time to work out some kinks. We have a huge house and it is just us in it so I can't complain. Though, my comp managed to break the fridge, so we are limited in the food department. Just keep swimming!
We had a mission conference about Keeping the Sabbath Day holy... and I discovered that I didnt do a good job keeping that commandment at home. Many of my Sunday activities will change when I get back home. Learn what I learned by watching this: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-07-053-upon-my-holy-day?lang=eng
Austin: Thanks for all the deets! Sounds like you are making the most of your time! Keep up the good work! I think I had Mrs. Smith as my english teacher... Sophmore year. If it is her, I hope she doesnt hate you because of me haha Those were some great Spirit week ideas! I hope you took some pictures! And all those bands would come to VA when I am in Brazil.... Oh well, I will see them when I get back! Love ya brooooo
Cam - email
Lexi - congrats on your quiz score! Are you still doing Irish Dance?? My new companion is pretty cool! He is short and kinda weird but he is chill. I hope you feel better and stop throwing up!
Love you all,
Elder Zac Johnson
Monday, September 22, 2014
Well this was an awesome week. It really was one of the best week of the mission. Elen was baptized on Sunday! It was such a special day. We had over half the ward there and it was the most spiritual baptism that many of them had ever attended. She was baptized by Diego, who is the best member the church has and she was confirmed by the second counselor of the Stake Presidency, President Arauju (from Enseada). I literally cannot describe (in English or Portuguese haha) what I felt during that sacred experience.
There are few moments in life where you feel like you are touching heaven. Some I have already experienced and some will come later in life. But I dont think I have ever been so happy nor felt so much love. She is only 12 but her mom came back to church and was in tears the whole time. She calls us her "sons" and could barely get out the "thank you" after it was all done. I couldn't have asked for a better baptism for them. And really it was their day. There really was a party in heaven on Sunday.
Beyond the baptism, there really wasnt much that happened. I went on a division with Elder Richards again and I went on another division 2 days later to help another Elder with "lazy" investigators. The problem turned out to be a lack of effort on the teaching side. That was sad to see.
Saturday night we went to a stake activity with all the ward choirs and it was awesome. I was able to see a ton of members from Enseada again and it was nice to hear how much they were sad that I left so quick.
Also, I did the baptismal interview for one of Andrew's investigators that I met when I was in Enseada. He works at a store in Enseada that I went to a lot and I had a couple conversations with him about the church. Well, he lives in Andrew's area and the missionaries found his sister while tracting. He listened in on a lesson and that was all he needed! He was baptized on Saturday and has already asked to go on splits with the Elders. He is 18 and wants to serve a mission. He truly is one of God's elect!
Whatever happens this week (If I am transferred or not) I will be super happy. We have some more people with baptismal dates for the coming weeks and hopefully the ward is more excited and willing to help us out!
On to the next,
Austin - Did you get one of those hipster haircuts?? I saw the ice bucket video and I thought u had that kind of haircut. Cool! I hope you have an awesome first week of school. What are you taking?? Send da deets.
Cam - email.
Lexi - Dont be a bum! send your email so that I can send you one too! Have a good week at school!
Love you all,
Elder Zac Johnson
Hey there family!
What a week! We have been focusing on doing an activity for the ward... This ward hasnt had an activity in 3 years! No wonder everyone complains about not having activities. but more on that later.
Igor is an investigator that we have who has a baptismal date for Saturday but we will change it to Sunday after church... Those baptisms always have a ton of people! But we taught him yesterday after church and we had the help of one of the youth who is about to send in his call and another who is less-active and is returning to activity! What a powerful lesson! The less-active had tears in his eyes as he testified of Joseph Smith. What an unforgettable spirit! We have increased the attendance at church every week this transfer and people are really liking us! It is awesome! A missionary will return home to this ward tonight and the ward is so antsy to see him. Hopefully this will spark a missionary spirit in the ward!
But the problem in this ward is "Sunday Members." They come to church, TALK about doing visits, improving, being more loving, etc. But then they go home and before they know it, Sunday comes again and it is the same thing. My companion and I were lectured on how we dont work as hard in the Lord's vineyard as the members of the church... (Insert super humble and inspiring discourse on how they are right and that missionaries are prideful to say that they live the law of consecration...) "Living your religion" is the hardest part about about the church in Brazil. So when we live our religion we are being true disciples of Christ. We are being real members of his church (see this talk here)
I love this quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”
With these two examples, one being one of the most doctine-filled quotes of all time, my challenge for you guys is to live this principle. Can we say that this description of Christ's disciples applies to us? "What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do."
I sure hope so.
I know that the sacrifice is worth it. The reward makes the sacrifice that we need to make appear insufficient. It is all worth it. Nothing that this world or Satan can offer is worth giving up on the gospel because "it's hard."
Like Elder Holland says: "Salvation is not a cheap experience. The Gospel isnt easy because salvation is not easy."
Austin - I cannot believe that football has started. I had a feeling that it would be an ugly season for the Cowboys... I loved APUSH but I took world geography and colored maps all day, so I cant say anything bad about your classes haha. Everyone deserves an "easy" year every now and then. Just dont let the easiness turn into an excuse to not do your best! I am doing good! Just working working working haha! Love ya bro
Cam - email
Lexi - SEND ME AN EMAIL GIRL. I hope school is going well for you!
Love you all!
Elder Zac Johnson
|The scripture chase begins...|
|Guess who lost?|
|The face of defeat.|
|15 months ago, these two competed at seminary. Who will win now?|
|Elder Richards' face says it all.|
|Here it comes.....!|
|Should have paid more attention in seminary!|
|How sweet it is!|
|Another great memory in Brazil!|
|Elder Johnson and Igor|
Well, I will share some awesome news first. Igor was baptized on Saturday, then yesterday was confirmed and ordained a teacher! It was so awesome! He asked me to baptize him at the last moment and I was very honored to do so. Not only that, his mom came to church on sunday to watch the confirmation and has asked us to visit her husband. She isnt a member and her husband doesnt like religion but she thinks we are up to the challenge. We were also asked to visit the less active family members of active members. Needless to say we gained a ton of member trust this transfer and all the members are just loving us!
But Elder Mendes and I were transfered. Yep, even after all we have done and after the begging of our Bishop and other members, President has transfered us both. I am being sent to the furthest south part of our mission: Registro. I will also be a Zone Leader, so Elder Richards was right about that part haha. He will stay here as a Zone Leader. Elder Mendes will go to Ilha Bela and he is super happy about that.
|The newest member of the LDS church|
I am really excited for the opportunity I have now to help more missionaries with my oh-so-vast amount of experience. I am humbled by the call and I will do my best. Things will be hard there. It is a district (smaller than a stake) and only has branches with a small amount of members. I am up for the challenge and God will help me through the challenges. He always has and always will!
Austin - Lookin sharp on Murica Monday. I hope you have a good week! Bro, your birthday is here soon! Go do something crazy! But not too crazy! Get excited for General Conference! I am so stoked for it! Have a good week!
Lexi - Long time no talk sis! How are you doing? How is sachool and Irish dance? I hope you are having a super fun time!
Love you all,
How are you all doing? I hope you guys are all doing great!
I hope you guys are having cooler weather... Here things are heating up. Literally. There was one day where we hit 95 degrees and I almost died. It really was a tough day. Until the sun set and then we managed to get 8 lessons in, BOOYAHH.
Well our baptism was moved to next saturday. Seeing how his family is not exactly interested in hearing from us, we thought it best to let them pick the date that would work best for them. So, this Saturday at 6:30 Igor will take a bath :)
As far as the work goes, Igor is progressing a lot, we discovered that one of our investigators is a schizophrenic so that put an end to teaching him, and Sebastião is still undecisive (I hope that is the right word). So, we have some finding to do this week, I just hope the weather cooperates.
Also, I was selected for the Christmas choir and that has been quite the adventure. Though, I think that means that if I am transferred I will stay close because they really didnt have anyone there that was from far away.
Transfers is next week and I have no idea what will happen. Mendes thinks that we will stay one more together. We'll see. I dont really want to get transferred but at the same time I do. I am living in indecision! But it isnt really my decision anyway haha.
Austin - Repentance is real. Use it. How is school going? Is Junior year proving to be the most difficult year? It was for me! Just remember that these are the grades that you will send to colleges! Spooky!
Cam - email
Lexi - I saw the video of you shooting a pistol!! How was it? Did you shoot well? I hope you had fun with the Franklins! Keep being awesome!
I love you all,
Elder Zac Johnson