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 23, 2015

23 March 2015


Our meetings with Elder Aidukaitis were awesome. Yes, he burned us quite a bit but he gave us a lot of things to think about and to apply. My area is pretty difficult because no one is in the streets so we are going to be knocking a ton of doors! I was pretty grateful for the little chastisment that he gave us. It was a reminder to focus and to work. It has been hard working alone. My companion doesnt like to do contacts so I am the only one who does them. And doing that alone is tough! But I am getting better at it and so is he.

Putting the "Tongue of Angels" in to practice has been the focus of my goals. If I can improve the way that I talk with people, elder or not, the Spirit will be able to be with me and people will feel that. 

I had a super cool experience this week with a kid that I would like to share. There is a family that the parents are recently divorced and it is pretty ugly. They have a 11 year old daughter who is super smarty. She likes to talk back and thinks that she is too cool for school. Well, her Great-Grandma came to watch them one day and this girl was so rude that the grandmother cried. When we got there it was rough. But we sat down and talked with the Grandma for a bit then she left the room to cry. I called the girl over and she sat down by me. There was a moment when Sister Cabral was talking to us about how we should raise our kids. She said that we should use the scriptures and the words of the prophets to correct our kids. So I told her that she should ask forgiveness from her Grandma. She refused. So I opened in D+C and read the verse that says that we should forgive all men. Her countenance changed. She asked if she really had to do it. I said that it was a commandment from God. She didnt wanna go alone so I walked into the kitchen with her and when she got to her grandma's side, she started to cry and as she hugged her Grandma, she asked forgiveness. The Grandma started to cry too and asked forgiveness as well. Truly, we must be like little children to get into heaven. I saw humility and love there. It was a special moment. 

But we have to work harder to find new people to teach. We have some investigators that are super close but just like always, Satan tries to stop them. It really is all down to the agency of the people!

April 28th is your board?? the 30th is Lexi's birthday and my 18 month mark. That will be one great week for ya!

Thanks for being the best! I love ya tons!

ELder Johnson

16 March 2015


Actually I havent seen andrew yet. I will see him on wednesday then again on friday. We are having meetings with Elder Aidukaitis (The "one must not roam through garbage" April 2014 conference guy) and I am super excited for that. 

So before leaving Registro I went to this orthodontist who obviously didnt know what she was doing. She glued it on but put glue over the retainer instead of under it. Later as I was eating on the bus, I bit and off came the glue... Luckily she didnt charge anything! A lot of people say that I should be able to just get it removed... Is that an option or should I get it reglued here in the big city? 

Sister Cabral is the best. She gave us our study for this month and I would like to share it with you. Maybe you guys can do a FHE about this: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/04/the-tongue-of-angels?lang=eng 

I have been trying to apply this in my day to day work and it is awesome. I am using less slang and speaking more appropriately (speed, pronunciation, and tone). This has brought me more maturity and more respect from others. We taught a man who is 60 and said that I speak as if I was 50 because of the words that I use and how I use them to convey the message. I dont have to talk like an old man but a disciplined tongue brings respect and reverence and makes it easier for the Spirit to testify of the truth. It was a great testimony builder for me. The effects of this were felt before I studied this talk but it has helped me to "man up" like President asked me to. I am very grateful that he said that to me. 

I dont feel bad for this guy who has to sit for 10 hours without a cell phone. I sat at home all day yesterday with just scriptures, church manuals and phase 10. I havent played phase 10 since I played it with you years ago and I won. You would have been proud ;) But who wouldnt win when your mom is known as Mrs. Milton Bradley ;) 

My new companion is Elder de Lima. He is 10 months in to his misison and is looking to change. He has to change some attitudes but I am trying to show him why he needs to change and that it is possible. He is awesome and we will have a great time together. There are 2 more americans in my house. One has 5 months and the other is from Andrews group but got here 6 months ago. They both speak a ton of english and need to practice their portuguese a lot. I am being pretty strict with them because they really need the practice. But it will all work out!

I love ya mom! Have a great week and check behind the couch for Sadie-bombs.

Elder Johnson

09 March 2015

Just a quick note today. To start off with the question that everyone is (not) asking, yes, I was tranferred. I am not super happy about it. I really liked it here and being with Elder Ettmuller was the best. Now, I will be going back to the city of São Vicente, but is a different zone. And there I will be the only zone leader... It will be interesting having to prform the responsibilites of a ZL alone but it will all work out. I am really grateful for the 6 months that I spent here and for the countless lessons that I learned. It really was a blessing bu i am really excited for the new opportunities. I will be going to a ward and I wont have any ward leadership responsibilites. Also, Andrew returned to his old zone and that zone is part of my new stake. Now, we will be seeing eachother on a weekly basis, which will be interesting. 

On saturday we had such a good day. We left home super early and taught 5 lessons by lunchtime! But the sunday rain lowered the faith of our investigators and half the members so that was disappointing. 

Sounds like Sadie is requiring a lo of attention but it is obvious that you are all happier. I dont know if you all feel that way but you all seem happier. 

The weather here is cooling down at night. I dont know how it will be in São Vicente but the first day of "fall" is on the 20th. It is getting better! But the missionary tan is pretty ugly. 

I will be going to the dentist in an hour (before I leave here for good) so I will let you know how it went next week! I love ya! 

Have a great week! 

Elder Johnson

02 March 2015

Not every day you find a perfectly good couch in the middle of an abandoned property!

23 February 2015

God has heard your prayers! A member gave a ton of awesome shoes to some of the elders in my zone and they are going to bring me a pair tomorrow! So now I will have a pair that is perfect and made for walking and one for the meetings that is more dressy. Thanks for the prayers :D 

We have been able to find a couple new people this week. In fact we started teaching this 20 yr old girl named Allana who first talked to the missionaries 19 February 2014 and we talked to her for the first time on 19 February 2015! How cool is that? She wasnt baptized the first time because she felt rushed and that he missionaries were trying to "buy her". She has a little boy and yes, has some chastity problems but she wants to change her life around and being baptized is a dream of hers. After reading the record we had at home about her from a year ago and talking to her, she is definitely ready and willing to change. She is just hesitant that we will be equally pushy with her. But I think that we showed her that we are normal guys and that we understand how important baptism is. 

I know that it may be difficult being here so long without having any real success. Preach my Gospel says that we have to leave each area stronger than when we got there and I really think that I have done that. The members here are way stronger than they were 5 months ago and I have learned valuable lessons about pride, family, service, and love. I am really happy here and I have mixed feelings about the coming transfer (8/03).

I love ya tons! 

Elder Johnson

09 February 2015: Another One Bites The Dust


I thought a little Queen reference would be cool to shake things up a little bit. But now I am having second thoughts. Sorry.

So this week was a great challenge for us. Actually, it was a friendly tap on the face to teach us that we have to practice wise time management. I thought we did pretty well in that department until I looked at my planner and the numbers each day... Ouch. Though we had some great spiritual experiences with the members. There is this crazy holiday here called Carnaval and basically everyone gets together and breaks a ton of commandments. But the Church takes advantage of this and sends the youth away into the jungle to have a youth conference tipe of activity. In order to go, however, all youth (members or not) have to be interviewed by the Bishop/Branch President. We spent an entire day doing these interviews but they were such powerful spiritual experiences. It was very valuable being able to practice and develop the spiritual gift of discernment. The funny thing is that this had been a focus of our studies before we were called. The Lord sure inspired us to study about this particularly under-appreciatied spiritual gift. It is the most valuable but few people see it as such. Joseph Smith said that the gift of tongues is the most sought after spiritual gift but the least of all of them!

We have finished the week knowing that we need to better manage our time but also rely on the Lord a little bit more. Our time to find new people and to teach has been cut durastically and so we need the Lord to put more people in our path earlier in the day! He will do this for sure, we just have to open our mouth!

Yesterday we had Seminary graduation (only 6 youth) and President Cabral's 2nd counselor was there. He is such a great man. He had only nice things to say about us and told us very interesting things about the role that this extra calling that we have now will have, not only in our missions but also later in life. It was a humbling conversation and his presence left us more "refreshed". Our Sunday was not a relaxing day but spending some time with him had an uplifting and energizing effect that was not only physical but very spiritual. Sometimes we confuse spiritual tiredness with physical tiredness. Being spiritually tired is a good thing but you have to be rejuvinated with frequency. It makes me think of Nephi when he was tied up by his brothers. He prays and the "bands were loosed." I do not believe that the bands simply fell off but I do believe that Nephi loosed them as he twisted and tried to free himself. Why? He prayed for STRENGTH and because of the enabling power of the atonement, he was able to perform an act that was beyond his humanly abilities. He did not pray for the bands to disappear or for his brothers to be punished. He prayed for the strength to be able to change his own circumstances. We always hear and know more about the redeeming power of the atonement but we do not understand nor study as much as we should about the enabling power. Learning this lesson will not only help us accomplish our missionary and branch responsibilities but also in our tasks in our post-mission life. 

Well, I better end this epistle! I hope you all have a great week!


Elder Johnson

02 February 2015


I think I am the most tired that I have been in a long time. Yesterday was the official 1st day as co-Branch President with my companion and it just about wiped us out. Basically, the interim BP was waiting to do everything until someone else was called. Now we have the great blessing of 2 months worth of callings, interviews, and other administrative things to catch up on. When it was annouced in Sacrament Meeting, there was an audible gasp and some of the members obviously didnt like it. It is because they dont like to actually work. They really wouldn't like this phrase from Brigham Young: 

"Practical religion is what we all need, to prepare us to enjoy that which we have in our anticipations—that which we hold in our faith. Merely the theory of any religion does people but little good. This is the great failing of Bible Christians, as they are called. They have the theory of the religion of which the Bible testifies, but the practical part they spurn from them. This is why the Latter-day Saints have become so obnoxious to the Christian world. They believe in the practical part of the religion of which the Scriptures are a history. You may take the plan and details of former Christianity; But, unless it is reduced to practice, it will not benefit the people." 

Unfortunately, people seem to forget that the LDS faith is a religion of PRACTICE and that just having a membership number and a temple sealing do not garuntee exaltation.

But we were also able to have a mission conference in Santos, which was great. President said 3 things which I thought were pretty profound:

1. That thing (commandment, addiction, bad habit, custom, sin, tradition, etc) that is the most difficult for you to do in life is what will put you on a higher level, or in other words, will take you from the Telestial Kingdom and put you in the Celestial Kingdom

2. That thing (commandment, addiction, bad habit, custom, sin, tradition, etc) that is most difficult for you to live or do in life - this thing, when lived, will be the true gift deposited on the altar of the Savior

3. Be humble and grateful for your weaknesses, work on them for they will take you back to Heavenly Father's presence.

Aren't those awesome??? I hope they inspire you as much as they inspired me! Also, at the conference, we were able to watch Meet the Mormons in portuguese. The Church will release it here in South America so we have to be prepared to talk about it with the people! It was so good! David Archuleta even sang Glorious in portuguese... It didnt sound very good haha but it was great. 

We have found some awesome people to teach that live close to some of the strongest members so we are really happy. We are relying on the Lord to help us out a little more due to our increased responsibilities. 

Well, I think that is it. I really hope you guys have a great week today and that school doesn't overwhelm you all!

Much love,
Elder Zac Johnson

26 January 2015


Well, I guess I better start with the  big news.  

Elder Ettmuller and I are staying together for at least one more transfer! That means I will be in this area for at least 6 months...  Wow. But the biggest news of all is that Elder Ettmuller and I have been called to be the Branch Presidents here. Yep, that is right, I am a freaking branch president. So, on top of all the missionary work we get to do, we also  have the responsibilities of a branch   president. All interviews and callings will be done by us. Isn't that crazy?  It hasnt been announced  yet to the members but the District president already knows and I bet he isnt too happy about this. It was really a humbling experience and I am excited to serve even more here. 

The field is white all ready to harvest...
So, this week President Cabral came down to interview us. I had a marvelous  experience with him. I asked for forgiveness. I feel like I have not reached my potential as a missionary because of my inner-rebellion and lack of loyalty to him. Not him as a person, but it is more of a "respect the priesthood" thing.  I will receive more blessings as a result of a trusting obedience instead of a reluctant obedience. The Lord has called him and there is so much for me to learn. I may have had disagreements with him in the past, but he is not perfect and I cant expect him to be. As a result, I  am the one who was needing to ask forgiveness and I felt so much better afterwards. I felt like he  trusts me more now and he even told me that over the past 6 weeks I have "ripened" as a missionary, as well as a man, and that I have a lot of potential. It was an edifying experience.

 My  Birthday was pretty normal. Though, it was announced in Sacrament Meeting that it was my  birthday (i wasnt expecting that one) but the best was with a recently reactivated member named Cristina. She gave me a tie and thanked me for all that I have done for her. Her change and  progress has been amazing and it was a humbling moment for me. Hearing the gratitude of someone who has returned to the fold is a celestial experience on the mission. The elders made me pancakes and even bought  frosted flakes ( they cost like  8 american dollars here).  Staying with Elder Ettmuller made it even better though. 

Thank you for all the  birthday wishes! I had a great one and I'll be back in the states for the next one! :D

 cam -  email
Lexi - What a cute dog! Congrats for the responsibility and my fingers are crossed for your birthday #DOGforLexi2015 :D

Love you all!
Elder Johnson