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."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

19 January 2015: My sermon.

Well, the shenanigans continues here in Registro. This week we went all over the place. We had lunches in other cities, went to Santos and came back on the same day, and sweat a lot. And to top it all off, the Sisters were transferred yesterday so we now have 4 missionaries here instead of 6. I think the lunch calendar will be filled in a bit more now :) Only the Sisters were transferred in the mission yesterday but the transfer for the Elders will be next week. I really hope I stay. I want to continue with Elder Ettmuller but I feel like I will be transferred. We will have to see what happens.

So, we went to Santos because the great and powerful Ettmuller has to get glasses! And the only place to do an eye exam here is in Santos. So we got the 6am bus, got there at noon and after the 20 minute visit (yeah, frustrating), we headed back. The return trip was a whole lot faster because we bought direct line tickets so the 6 hour trip was reduced to 4. 

I would like to share an experience that I had yesterday in Sacrament Meeting. I was asked, from the pulpit, to give a talk. Thankfully I already had one prepared and I think it was the best talk I have ever given. It was about the differece between being converted and having a testimony. I never really knew that there was a difference until I heard a talk by David A. Bednar on the subject. He said something that really shook me. "A testimony is not sufficient to make it back to the Celestial Kingdom. When confronted by the powers of the devil, a testimony ALWAYS FALLS." Pretty powerful huh? So, I used Pedro as an example. When he said "Thou art the Christ" that was a testimony and the results of that testimony are shown as he denies that he knows who Christ is. The difference is in conversion! For example Alma 23:6:

And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth [testimony], through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God workingmiracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching [testimony], AND were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away

As you can see, because Ammon was converted, he was able to help the Lamanites to become converted. We cannot take people to where we are not. If we are not converted, we cannot expect to convert others. The same principle applies to everything else. You cannot teach others to be a good dancer if you can't dance. 

The fruits of Peter's conversion are found in the 2nd Chapter of Acts when his first converts are described (Acts 2:37-47). They were a converted people. 

So, my question for you is: Are you converted or do you just have a testimony?
And if you aren't converted the answer to "How can I become converted?" is in Mosiah 3:19. I spent 3 days studying that one verse. There is more in that short verse than meets the eye!

Well, I better close this epistle. Thank you for all that you all have done and for sending a birthday package! You guys are the best!

Austin - Alma 5:32

Lexi - Sounds like your shenanigans never stops! Do you think that you will get a puppy this time??? I am rooting for you! thank you for the email and dont forget that you are the best!

Cam - Alma 5:32

Elder Zac Johnson

12 January 2015: It is getting hot!


Well, what a week we have had! It has been crazy hot, like we have bought four 20 gallon jugs of water just this week alone. But, we have been so blessed! We had one day where everyone seemed to say yes. We taught 6 lessons, all with new investigators, and we left 4 with baptismal commitments. It was a day of miracles! 

But some sad news that I got was that President Rosseto asked to be released. That is just some thing you do not do. The Lord calls you, the Lord releases you. The difficulties we experience in our callings are what prepare us to see the Lord while still on this earth. So, do not ask to be released okay??

Together, Elder Ettmuller and I have been reading "Calling upon the Powers of Heaven" by Grant Von Harrison. It is a pretty amazing book and because of the things I learned, I had the most spiritual experience I have ever had while giving a blessing. Faith is a powerful thing. 

I dont know if I can adequately describe how much I have learned with Elder Ettmuller already. But we are a pretty good team. The Sisters refer to us as Holmes and Watson. I am totally Holmes. 

We go running every morning and then Ettmuller usually does some sort of jiu jitsu nonsense that always ends up with me on the floor. I will win one day. He was about to have his first professional MMA fight but one week before he got his call. So, he knows what he is doing haha He wants to teach me some stuff and he showed me like 10 different ways to kill someone the other day. I sleep with one eye open, one foot out the door, and the fan on MAX.

Anyways, I hope you all have a fantastic week and that you are all dong family scripture study!

Love you all!

Elder Zac Johnson

Thursday, January 8, 2015

06 January 2015: A day late....

But better late than  never!  Yesterday we had a meeting in Santos so we were in the meeting then traveling literally all day long. So, forgive me and this will probably happen again.

Well, Happy New Years! It is crazy to think that this is the year that I come home, which really freaks me out, but these will be my best 10 months. I say that because I am super excited and happy to be working with Elder Ettmuller. He is the best missionary in the mission. It is true. He is  really  prideful, he knows that more than anyone, but he is really the best at missionary work. I cannot say that I am soooo I will be learning a lot this transfer. Exact obedience and work are what he eats and breathes every   day and this past week has been awesome. He has never worked in a branch nor in a place where the members dont work, so he is super motivated to change that. It is quite impressive. 

This week we focused on the Young Men and we did an awesome activity with them. We had a water balloon war. It has been crazy hot this week but Saturday was cloudy and enjoyable. We didnt have the turnout that we wanted but they left super excited and motivated. There were a ton of YM at church the next day, which was really rewarding to see. 

Brazilian Pizza Party!
The  pressure is on to baptize this transfer. We are super excited and  ready to work! I will have a longer email next week. We only have an hour today!


I love you all!

Elder Zac Johnson

The studying never stops....

Elder Johnson and Elder Ettmuller

Last Christmas in Brazil

The Christmas Feast

The Christmas Feast

Look at all the packages from home!

Yes!  The presents from home have arrived!


22 December 2014


How was the cruise? Did you guys catch as much sun as I did this week? I doubt it :P I hope you all have a great time in Florida and drive safely home on Christmas day.

What a crazy week! Transfers still haven't happened. So I am still here in Registro with Elder Machado and Elder Mela (His comp is with another elder because this other elder's companion finished his mission). Working in a trio is way different and harder than you would think. But it means that there is conversation as we walk between appointments. So, there are pluses and minuses.

One day as we walked we met some torch-juggling hippies from Argentina. That was quite the experience. Elder Mela is from Panama and the hippies' broken portuguese was easy enough to understand so they started to speak spanish. Their spanish was easier for me to understand than their portuguese. Although they didnt want to hear anything about Jesus they were really nice guys. I doubt I will meet others like them in my life. 

We spent Saturday in Cajati teaching Andreia and Marília. They are so prepared. They are nearly done with 1 Nephi and Andreia uses the footnotes to compare with the Bible. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Word of Wisdom. They accepted everything very well and they have no problems with the Word of Wisdom! There might not be a many a Starbucks here in Brazil, but everyone drinks coffee. They dont! It is a miracle and really the Spirit was so strong!

Look what we found on the street!
Yesterday I had the chance to speak in Sacrament Meeting. My assigned topic was, of course, missionary work, but I changed it at the last second. It just didnt feel right to talk about just that subject on the Sunday before Christmas. So, I opened with the shepards in Luke 2 then told the story of the 3 Trees. I figured that since I wont be home to take part in the family tradition, I would tell in Sacrament Meeting. Well, there wasnt a dry eye in the room, everyone was crying, and I felt the Spirit so strong. It really was the best Sacrament Meeting I have taken part in in a long time.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and I cannot wait to skype with you all this week! Write me back soon so that we can confirm a day and time!

Love you all,
Elder Zac Johnson

15 December 2014


Well, I hope you are all having a blast on the cruise! I hope you guys have the best time ever and take a ton of pictures! (not of the fat family members please :)

Thank goodness the transfer has ended... kind of. We still haven't heard any news about the transfer so it will either happen tomorrow or worst-case scenario is that it will happen next week. So, as of right now, I am still with Elder Machado. It is a...blessing :)

Yesterday was our District Conference and it was the saddest day of my life actually. President Rosseto was released as District President, which is what we expected. But he was also release as branch president. The guy they called to be the new District President is a slacker and they didnt even call a new Branch Presidency. The Sisters cried, some of the members cried, President Rosseto cried, and I had watery eyes. (the tears didnt fall, so it doesnt count as crying. 

President and Sister Cabral were there as well and we heard some sad news. We are not allowed to listen to any Christmas music. I think we are the only representatives of Christ that cant even listen to music celebrating his birth. I am still a little angry about that. Then she told us that she hated the redition of "If the Savior stood beside me" that we did. I actually made an arrangement of the song and she said that another Elder should have played the piano. Thanks Sister. 

Also, President Cabral had a talk with me that really hurt. I feel like I am doing all that I can here and after the things he has said, I feel like even after all I have done, I have wasted the last 13 months of my mission. So, I guess I can't really say I am 100%. I am about 90. So dont worry :D

Andreia and her daughter missed the bus and so they werent there. They also called us to say that they would probably be traveling all during January. But a miracle will happen and they will stay here and not travel so that they can be baptized :)

It is pretty disappointing that there havent been any Christmas lights put up here. Only on the main street there are a little bit... Without lights and Christmas music, it really doesnt feel like Christmas here. But that is good because that means no homesickiness. 

Dont worry, be happy :D

Elder Zac Johnson

08 December 2014: An awesome experience.


Are you enjoying the cold??? It is soooooo hot here. But, hills, sun, sweat, and lack of member-provided meals builds character Calvin&Hobbes style :D

Well, I have some mixed news for all of you! The Sisters have really been struggling here. Actually, all the missionaries are struggling here, in my area at least. Because of a lack of faithful members, we have to do every thing. We give the classes, seminary, the leadership trainings, the family home evenings, clean the chapel, do the Home Teaching, and even count the tithing. So, when do we have time to find people to baptize? Great question! We dont have enough time in the day to spend an adequate time finding the Lord's elect here. But we are trying our best and the Lord will bless us for all this work. 

On Saturday I was priviledged (I cant remember how to spell that word) to baptize the Sister's investigator. Raíssa has had a really hard life. She was abandoned by her mom (lives on the same street--3 houses away) and lives with her best friend who was also abandoned by her parents (lives with her grandma). The friend, Vitória was baptized a year ago. Raíssa was at that baptism and wanted to get baptized then too but no one ever invited her. When the Sisters found that out, they invited and got her soaked :D It was such an honor to perform the ordinance!

Just before the baptism, I had one of the best moments of my mission. I got a phone call from Andrew, but that wasnt all that great. But he was with Júlio! I dont know how or why, but he passed the phone to Júlio and we talked for about 10 mins. Júlio, trying to talk and stop crying at the same time, thanked me for "changing his life." He said "Thank you Elder Johnson for finding me and changing my life. I know you didnt baptize me but I will never forget you nor what you did." What a blessing! What pure joy. The Lord is way too good sometimes. 

It took me a while to stop crying too.

Andreia didnt come to church. She called us this morning to tell us why. She and her daughter woke up early to catch the bus but didnt know what they should wear. They thought about calling us to find out the dress code, but it was still early and thought we would still be sleeping. "You boys work so hard, we thought you would need the rest!" 

When she said that I banged my head on the desk. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. IT IS IN THE FREAKING PAMPHLET!!!! Those were my first thoughts, but then she asked if she could take the day off work on Wednesday and come to the Family Home Evening. She is perfect! :D We hope to have the baptism on the 20th.

To help you get excited for christmas here are the two songs that we have playing nearly nonstop at home :D

Enjoy :D

Austin - Yes, you may want a social life but all of your friends will be working too. I think it would be good to work all day during the summer. You will learn a routine, you will be out of the heat, and you will hear Mark swearing all day. I think that would be hilarious! So when you complain about your hours I hope that Justin says "Shut up you fruitcake." :) 371 followers? That is more than the friends I have on Facebook... Let alone number of friends in real life.... lol Take the opportunity of less joking in Church to really develop your testimony. Study the scriptures. It should really take you around an hour to adequately study a chapter of the BoM. 2 Nephi 9 is what I studied this morning :D

Cam - email

Lexi - You were the first one to write me this week so you WIN! :D And yeah, it really isnt that important where the brothers sleep right? ;) I hope you had a great time at the Grand Illumination! A couple weeks ago, there was a Japanese festival down by the river (not in a van btw)  and they launched a ton of fireworks from boats in the river! Cool huh??

Love you all a ton! Have a great vacation!

Elder Zac Johnson