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."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

LDS Chapel in Itanhaem, Brazil

07 September 2015


What a week! The work is going great. We have met some very special people and it is such a blessing but people JUST NEED TO GET MARRIED. Cohabitation is literally one of the work's biggest obstacles. In sunday school we read about how Joseph Smith warned about how breaking the Law of Chastity would be the largest temptation for Zion. I think it is for the whole world.

We have named this week our WEEK OF MEN. We are only going to focus on the men and finding men and teaching men. You know, this was a tactic for a long time here in brazil. Some people ask us if our church only lets in men... The more you know. 

One of the things I really admire about Brazilians is their faith. They are very faith-filled people, but they are easily blinded by the little garage-churches. It is ridiculous. I think that the grand majority of the Terrestrial Kingdom will be Brazilian. However, many just dont know where to find the truth so the whole 2nd chance in the Spirit World will be a huge blessing for them. 

We had a meeting with the São Paulo Temple President, President Puerta. He was a very cool guy and shared some mission stories. He actually talked about the Book of Mormon more than the Temple, which was a little disappointing to a certain extent, but it was what we needed to hear. But he did cite an interesting quote from Russell M Nelson: The Lord only teaches questioning minds. And how true that is! Where would we be if Joseph didnt have a questioning mind?? He also talked about how we have help from the other side of the veil. I feel like everyone who works in the temple says that. I mean it is true and all but I guess we were expecting other things from him. Dont get me wrong, it was still what we needed to hear. Just be grateful Elder Johnson.

But this week will be great. I am excited to start our week of men. We need more priesthood here. 

I love you and I hope you have a fantastic week! 

Until soon!

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

31 August 2015


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!! You have a letter coming but the post office is having problems here in São Paulo so I hope it gets/got there in time. 

Holy cow I just barely saw the email that had my itinerary attached. Needless to say, I am excited but really dreading that day. I mean, I have waited my whole life to serve a mission and now it is almost over. I'll never be a missionary like this again. I'll have the rest of my life to remember it. It is hard. I hope that makes sense. I will try to put some of the pictures of the chapel on Dropbox. It will be super cool when you guys see them. The other night we saw fireworks that were fired from the next city over, Caraguatatuba, from the chapel. IT was super cool. 

Anyways this week we have had a lot of people to teach. We have 3 baptisms marked up for this Sunday. But we will see how they go. On friday we have a mission conference with the São Paulo temple president and I am really excited for that. Maybe the package will be there :D 

We had a great lesson with a lady called priscila. She is a little stubborn and has a lot of incorrect beliefs about basic doctrines thanks to these evangelical churches. There is a war here between the catholics and protestant churches and the 7th day adventists are quiet participants as well. So, amid this war of beliefs, we have had to combat various false and misinterpreted teachings. But she is trying to keep herself chaste (4 kids, 3 dads, and a current boyfriend who is in hiding from the drug traffickers) and we are helping her with that. 

There is another family that just needs to get married. Their son, 10 year old Caique reminds me a ton of Cameron and I am pretty sure I am his hero. I met him for the first time last week and he asked if I could stay forever with him. He is a great kid and will probably be baptized before his parents (because they need to get married). They have a haunted shed behind their house and want us to go there with the Branch President and expulse whatever is in there... That will be an interesting experience, right? 

We have another lady who just needs to stop drinking coffee. We will go there today to challenge her to stop once and for all. She was sick at Sacrament Meeting yesterday and asked for a blessing and was feeling great after the meeting. 

I had a couple chances to bear a pure testimony like Alma did in Alma 5. I felt the Spirit so strong and i could just feel my testimony burning in me. It was a great experience. I just want to give my all so I can feel like I fufilled the mission that my Heavenly Father has given me. I am down to the final minutes and they need to be the best. 

How was your birthday?? You didnt say anything! I hope it was fantastic!

These 30 day will fly by! I love ya!

Elder Johnson

24 August 2015: How to cause your parents to freak out......

Attached is the flight information and itinerary for Elder Zachary Johnson. If you have any questions or concerns, I am happy to help.

Please confirm you received this information.

Thanks so much,

Elder Sharp
Executive Secretary
Brazil Santos Mission


24 August 2015: SKYFALL


What a week. I would have thought that it would have dragged by without a real PDay but it went really well. I am pretty far away from the office now but it sounds like President will be coming here weekly to check on this zone so I am sure that he will bring it (or at least I hope so). 

Elder Kagi and I
So, this zone is incredible. We had a meeting on Thursday with President Cabral about the "why" of this transfer. Basically we are the São Sebastião district and President has a 6 month plan for this place to become a stake. He gives a name to ever transfer and has called this one SKYFALL (the james bond movie). He is pretty serious about it. He said that the Lord told him that now is the time and called all of the best missionaries up to this zone. I know that I have had some problems knowing if President trusted me or not but now I have no doubts that not only does he trust me but the Lord does as well. So we have the incredible task of bringing 60 more people to church in this branch and 10 men who will be active Melchizadek priesthood holders and full tithe payers. Not easy but possible. He also said that we will all stay here for 6 months but I obviously will not be one of them.

But this area is really awesome. We have had some great experiences in finding new people and teaching a lot. The only difficulty is that the church is really far away but will soon be moving to the City Center which will help a ton. But we have a lot of work to do and walking around with Elder Kagi is hilarious and fun. We work really well together and it is so nice to be with a hard worker. It is heaven :D

This place is so beautiful as well. There are beautiful beaches and even when it is hot, there is a constant strong wind so you cool down quick. I love it. Our chapel is a mansion that is on the beach. I took some pictures and will try to put them up today or next week. 

Thank you for sending another package! I miss you so much and time is passing way to quickly! Have a great week! I love you!

Elder Johnson

18 August 2015: A big and bold decision

Mom and Dad,

First off, please do not get mad at me nor freak out because I didnt get an email off yesterday. Basically, my companion and I had a super awesome week (We baptized on Sunday) but it all came to a very quick end. We were both transfered so now I am in São Sebastião (if you thought itanhaem was beautiful, wait till you see this place) and I was on the bus from 7am til 6pm. But now I am with Elder Kagi, the only missionary from England in this mission. He is super cool and funny and we are excited to work together and have this big challenge. 

Elder Findling, Marilene, and I.
Last week President asked us to call him if we were willing to go to a "hard" area in the mission known as the "holes" or pits of the mission. Well, Elder Findling and I called him telling him that we were willing to go. President told us that 70 other missionaries had already called and so he would have a big group to choose from. He had 11 areas that he was going to change. I feel humbled to know that I was chosen and I am super grateful for this opportunity to really work my hardest in my final weeks.

Basically Elder Findling and I found a woman who had a ton of family problems. She also smoked and drank coffee. In one week she stopped smoking and drinking coffee, read nearly half of the Book of Mormon, and changed completely as a person. She was baptized on Sunday, 12 days after we made the first contact with her. Miracles are real. The gospel can really change people. The Book of Mormon is really our greatest tool for conversion. I love it so much. I am so grateful for Marilene's experience for it taught me so much! Well, I only had a half hour of computer time today but I hope you are doing great adn I will send pictures and tell more stories next week.  

I would like that package to get here soon so that I can get you all some souveniers that I found. So, I am anxious :D 

Love you all :D

Elder Johnson

10 August 2015


Elder Findling (6'6") and a giant BofM
Well, time just passes by so quickly. I really can't believe it. Only one more fast Sunday! I can honestly say that time does not slow down, even when you pray that it does.

My new area is great. There are a lot of good people and a lot of people who are just really ignorant. We got our first real taste of "persecution" the other day. It was a lot of people making fun of us on the street. It is very funny how some of the people who really profess to be Christians really dont act like it when some one stops them and asks if they would like to hear a message about Jesus. Even if you dont want to or are satisfied with your religion, there is an educated way to express that.

But we have been trying to find a lot of new people. And that has been easy for us because my companion and I get a lot really well. But he is a little bit tired of this area and really wants to get transfered. ​I dont really blame him but at least he is still working :D

Like I told Dad, we had quite the theme with nearly all of our new investigators.

They all had family problems. One couple was seriously considering separating and what a humbling experience being able to teach them about the Book of Mormon as our Manual for Happiness and the importance of prayer in their relationship. At the end of the lesson, we knelt in prayer and I asked what the wife would like to thank God for, she quickly said her kids, her job, and very quickly said her husband. Then I asked what she would like to ask God for, she buried her face in her hands and cried. She spent a good while in tearful silence and then offered a very humble prayer. She swallowed a lot of pride in that moment. I hope that she keeps it down.

Another was a lesson with 4 women, all mothers and daughters and a whole lot of problems. At the end of it all there was a lot of fingerpointing and pointing out eachother's flaws. Well, on Sunday only the mom went and the classes were about parents and charity. She cried the entire time. Hopefully, she will be baptized this sunday.

What are the Mormons doing on the side of 200+ year old Catholic Church?
And these stories repeated the whole week. The family is so important and it is truly under attack. I am so grateful for the family that I have. It is the foundation that I have and the one that the world so desperately needs. But it is also the one that the world is losing. And for that, we must defend it.

Also, one of our investigators "came out" to us. He had questions about the church's stance on homosexuals and when we explained it to him he was content with our answer. It was sad but he said that he is willing to change his life around. We'll see if that is true.

We dont eat a lot of fish here actually. It is a lot of chicken. A ton of chicken.

Well, I hope that you have a good week! I love ya tons!

Elder Johnson

03 August 2015


To be honest I have been trying not to count but everyone asks how much time I have on the mission and then they always comment on how little time I have left. But I am super happy to be here. We have been working hard and are busy finding new people. It is hard not having investigators already like in Santos but we are really looking for them. Coming here was a little disappointing because of the lack of investigators and they hadnt taught 4 lessons the day before so we were behind in our pacing to reach our goals. But we had a day where I was just not in the mood to accept failure so we went out and taught 8 lessons in one afternoon. That was a good day :D

But the beach is gorgeous. One of these days when we get a bunch of lessons in, we will go down there and take some pictures for you guys. It is a beautiful beach town. Yes, that means challenges but what fun would life be without challenges?

Dont be embarrassed. It is way better than saying that you will, and then flake out at the last second. That is super annoying. But at least you have the chance and the opportunity to feed the missionaries. That is just more blessings for  you!

I cannot wait to see all the changes that have happened to the house! I am sure it will be way different than when I left. 

Sister Cabral has been helping me out with what to do about the mold. This morning we tackled that and it is a lot better. I wont get sick! but we saw that my companions suits were all moldy. I am in panic mode about that haha I dont wanna bring all that home haha 

I love Sister Cabral. She is the best. She always seems to know what to say. I really want you to meet her one day. She said the other day: He who can't live the laws of the mission doesnt even need to dream of exaltation. Powerful, right? She reminds me a lot of you and she speaks english soooooo feel free to talk to her :D

Have a great week mom! Only one more fast sunday! (two if you fast before conference haha shhhhhhhh)


Elder Johnson

27 July 2015: Two Good Guys

Elder Stokes, Elder Johnson and Elder Timmons

27 July 2015: A quick stay in Santos


I am so glad to hear that you are all doing well. I can only imagine how fun the house is with all the changes and visits from family. That must be so exciting. the child trade is also creative :P 

The Hills
So, in Santos i was able to see some of my info, and the date is for certain going to be Sep 30th. They are going to send you info within the next couple weeks so get ready! 

I have been transfered! Yep, three weeks in and I am already out! I am not super happy about leaving (well, I am already in my new area) because we had 4 investigators that are just perfect and progressing really well. I am counting on Elder Stokes and Elder Timmons to finish the job! So, now I am in the Belas Artes Ward in Itanhaém. It is a small city to the south and my area is huge and literally nothing but beach. I haven't really been anywhere yet but the map is just beach. President called me on Friday morning telling me that I was to leave on Sunday afternoon. He said that he was very grateful for all that I had done in Santos (which wasn't a lot) but that he needed me to ressurrect this area. The members are a little discouraged but my new companion and I can change that. 

Elder Findling is from Harrisburg PA and is 6'6". He is so tall. Skinny and blonde, we will make quite the companionship. He has been here for 3 transfers already and only has 8 months here in the mission so he is anxious to leave the area. However, whether he stays or goes is not that important to my surviving here. 

I loved my Santos experience. It was an amazing 3 weeks. I learned a lot. Not only by being with 2 great missionaries, but also because of the people. I love these people. I was very sad to leave and the members were as well. My heart breaks every time I have to leave a place. Though I am sad that I didnt stay to see more people get baptized, I am looking to do the same here in Itanhaém. So why am I not super excited about living in a house for the first time in my mission? It is full of mold. Moldy walls and moldy furniture. I will be doing some major mold removal this week. #missionarylyfe

Well, I am certain that Cameron was spoiled at W&M. They always do a great job the first time that EFY goes to a new place. 

I love ya mom! Have a great week! You are the best!

Elder Johnson 


Elder Stokes and Elder Timmons


Old school "selfie".

13 July 2015

Naiara is the shorter one and Elder Timmons is one of my companions.

06 July 2015: Photo Time!

Elder De Lima and I

Elder Cerro and I

06 July 2015 "A Trio!"


Time sure is passing quickly! I dont know how but it is flying by! 

I was transfered to Santos! The area is called Jabaquara and I will be in a trio with the Assistants. I think it is a temporary thing. I will probably train someone who is going to get here late. But I am excited for the opportunity.

Though, this week I had a great experience on Sunday. We were asked by the CTR class to talk about getting letters/drawings from home. So, Elder Lucas and I went to talk to them. After some stories and laughs, each child agreed to write a letter or draw something for a missionary this month. Well, during Testimony meeting I had about a dozen of these kids give Elder Lucas and I drawings. That really touched me. The outpouring of love that these kids showed was incredible. I really felt the Savior's love for me and what the Lord means when He says that we need to become as little children. I felt like I needed to talk about that and how I have felt that during my mission. So, I went up there a man and as I spoke I turned in to a crybaby. Afterwards one of the members who I really respect came up to me and said that he has only admired a select few missionaries but that I was one of them and that I had achieved a love for the people that few missionaries have. He said that my heart was green, yellow and blue. 

I love this country. 
Elder Lucas and I mugging for the camera

I will certainly keep Grandma in my prayers. She is the best. Well, for a package... I think I will need some time to think about what I need. Nothing comes to mind right now. Next week I will let you know. Thanks mom :D
Yeah, we made that!

I love you tons. Thank you for being a great example for me. I will be sure to help you out a ton when I get back. I think that is something that I dont wanna be when I come back is a burden and someone that causes more work for you. That wont be me! I think that is why I will be a little anxious to get out west. 

Love ya mom! Have a great week!

Elder Johnson

29 June 2015


Thank you for your study. It is funny that you mention those things as those exact words are marked and bolded in my Book of Mormon as well. I always found those words interesting. I have been listening to a podcast on the Joseph Smith Papers and I have learned incredible things about that man and the Book of Mormon. Every word really was chosen with a purpose. Looking at individual words and the functions that they perform in the text can teach many things that if you read it quickly, you will miss. 

My recent battle has been against the pride of my companion. He has been lecturing the members here about their problems. For example, counseling a mom about her grown up kids by telling her that she doesnt actually know her kids as well as he does. Yesterday we had a lesson with 9 investigators at once and he told some of the biggest apostasies that I have ever heard in that lesson. He said that God asked satan to be the savior because he was the most intelligent and the most beautiful of all the spirit kids of God. And that when Satan wanted the glory, God THEN asked Jesus to do it. Afterwards I asked him where he had found that, to which he responded that it was "revelation" that he had received while studying Genesis. Oh boy. 

So after using the scriptures to prove him wrong, he accepted that what I said was right but that he still believes in his personal revelation. He was baptized only 2 years ago, so I shouldn't be so hard on him but when the member looks at you like "what the heck is he saying" during the lesson and the faces of the investigators are looking at you like "i dont think that is right", I couldn't hold back. *facepalm*

Well we had a good week and found quite a few new families. We had one guy who rejected us at first but a week later we were talking with his brother and he joined the conversation and saw that we were real people too and invited us to his house the next day. Cool guy but seems like someone who will give us excuses. 

I have my fingers crossed for transfers. I would like to get someone from my group or some other elders. I dont want a problem companion. I wanna baptize at the end of my mission and not deal with problem missionaries. 

I reached the goal for contacts. That itself was an adventure. I found myself short by a lot on saturday and so I did 57 contacts Saturday afternoon to reach my goal. That was super tiring. But I did it am I am glad.  

About a month ago Sister Cabral said that we only have one excuse that we can give ("I didnt do it because I didnt want to"). Well, this week she revealed the 2nd half of it and that makes the heart sink. 

"I didnt do it because I didnt want to do what the Lord asked me to do"

Burns doesnt it?

Well after she said that I decided that if it is numbers that President wants and that is coming from the Lord, then it is numbers that he will get. I reached the goal that they are forcing us to reach so I am happy. I found out that because of my lack of reaching these goals I made it on to President's BlackList. He calls us the "Fallen Angels". It is nice to be compared to a Son of Perdition but, hey no one is perfect right? Hopefully I am off the list now. 

Dont get annoyed or upset by that, just laugh it off like I did. 

We learn, we change, and we continue forward. 

Thanks for the letter. Happy Meeting and an even happier Birthday you old fart you. 

Love ya tons,

Elder Johnson

15 June 2015


Believe it or not, that box was actually from you guys. Thank you so much. No one in my house had tried pop rocks before. It was pretty hilarious. There has been a lot of shenanigans with the poppers too. Thank you so much for the goodies and the love!

Well, my companion is at the doctor's office right now. I refused to go with him. He isnt in any pain at all (in fact, he hasnt felt any pain since his first hospital visit) and I am kind of tired of hearing about how he is going home in who knows how many days. So, I sent Elder Lucas' companion in my place. 

This week started off super well. On monday we had an awesome lesson with a new family. The mom is your age and has 2 kids (15 and 9) but recently her husband cheated on her and lefther after 20 years of marriage. As a result, she has searched for spiritual help from many places and has even got herself a 21 year old boyfriend #cougar. But we had a lesson that really touched me nd really touched her as well. As we started the 1st lesson (restoration) we opened the pamphlet and there is a picture of a family. She started to cry and said that was her family not so long ago. We taught the lesson with a focus on eternal families and that was different for me. That was when I realized that what we teach isnt about authority, the book of Mormon, or even Joseph Smith. Those are important effects of what it is really all about. It is about Christ and the love that he has for each one of us. He gave us this opportunity to have eternal families and be eternal ourselves. What a blessing! What love! I have seen a lot of people shrug their shoulders at this doctrine. It is saddening. Something that you know is so important and vital, treated as if you were just another JDub trying to hand out pamphlets that create fear and confusion. It is a unique perspective that I have to see in other people what is important to them and it often isnt what God thinks is important. But i was very grateful for the chance to see that it isnt about what we often think about. Rather it is all about Christ and what he has done for us. 

I cant believe that the sibs are so old. It is crazy how much happens in two years. You really realize it when you are looking at everything from a distance. The ward is so different now. I dont know what I will do without the Bowmans in the ward. that change just might be too much for me. 

I dont really have a preference about the debit card. You can do what you think is best. i am not in any rush to get it.

Thank you for the prayers and the love! You are the best and never forget that. I love you tons. Dont forget that either :)

Love ya,,
Elder Johnson

08 June 2015


Yes, Elder Mahonri has kidney and they are too big too pass. He will be going to the Urologist next monday so emails might be delayed a bit. We had a meeting with President Cabral this week and President told him that he might have to go home to do the surgery. Well, that has created this annoying bug in Elder Mahonri's mind. He is telling everyone (missionaries, members, investigators) that he is going home next week. It is super annoying and for this, he has slowed down a lot as far as working goes. But it will all work out. We even have some members and investigators telling him that his heart is in the wrong place. He says that he doesnt want to go home, but he talks about it so much, that it is obviously the desire of his heart. And alma teaches that God gives us according to our desires. So, I guess we will see what happens.

So, Elder Richards got transferred from Registro and his companion has already been there for 2 transfers. So, because it looks like I will be transferred and Elder Richards will stay, we might be comps. We can ask, but it is often denied because these things are done by revelation and you can't mess with revelation!

Austin has an iPhone now, and i cant really believe that i will get one... there has got to be a catch of some kind! But wow, thank you. I guess i cant really show any real gratitude through an email, but I will when I get back. 

Oh my word, I totally forgot that Cam will be a high schooler and that Lexi will move up to mddle school. I wouldnt worry too much. It will be a good change for the both of them. I can understand the worry about Middle school but Lexi has a good head on her. She'll be fine! I think Cameron is ready for a change as well. The Kirtland YC was my favorite!!! That was when I was set apart in the temple and blessed the sacrament there too! That was an unforgettable experience! I hope they go and have a great time like I did!

Congrats on getting your first temp job! It sure didnt take you long! I am sure you'll be working a ton there. You are the best!

So, our miracle this week was that we found 3 families! 3 isnt a lot but it is when you take in consideration that they are all married legally! That in Brazil is so rare. We have a tone of opportunity with them. I am pretty excited. One has a mom that is already baptized and sent her kid to us in the street to ask us if we are mormon missionaries. For some reason, people confuse us for JDubs all the time.

I am really excited and just really want people to come to church on Sundays. That would be great. It is the hardest part of our area, but difficulties are there to be conquered!

Well, I think that is it for our week. Hopefully I will have more good news for you next monday. I just got a call from the office that a package got there for me... Is it from you guys? I dont believe that it only took a week to get here but if it did then we will call it a miracle!

Have a fantastic week and have a great time working!

Love you tons,

Elder Johnson

01 June 2015


My new companion has KIDNEY STONES. Yep, he even has one that is 1cm wide! Needless to say, he is pretty nervous but confident that this too will come to pass. We have messed so much with him.

But in the few days that we were able to work, we got more done than I had done in entire weeks recently. I dont need to say anything to motivate Elder Mahonri. If I knock (read:clap) at a door, Elder Moriancumr goes to the next one and while the person comes to the door, Elder Mahonri comes back, and we talk to the person at my door. It is effective and we talk to more people in less time. So, we will see how long the health challenges put a damper on the work in the damp winter weather.

Okay, I'll stop with the brother of Jared jokes. 

But seriously, Elder Cerro is really cool. He is 26 so he talks to me sometimes as if I dont know anything or as if I was kid. But besides that, he is pretty chill. He doesnt joke a whole lot but he says some things that I think are funny. 

I was really sad to hear about the passing of Elder Perry. I was able to see him in the MTC. I remember being struck by not only his hight but by what I felt when he walked in to the auditorium. When I first saw him, I just knew that he was who he was: an Apostle of the Lord. I felt it the instant that I saw him and I knew that I wanted that to happen when people saw me. That is something that I have to develop still but it is a goal of mine. Apostle with lower case a. haha

The mission is receiving more americans as the relations between the US and BR are getting better. But the number is low and that worries President Cabral because the 1st group of missionaries that came to santos are going home in 6 weeks and that will take out 20 elders. THe mission will shrink quite a bit again. 

Well, I think that is it for this week. We havent been able to help a lot of people this week but this week will be better. 

Thank you for sending yet another package. I am so grateful for that. Thank you. It means more than you know. 

I love you tons Mom. Have a great week.

Hug Dad for me. 

Elder Johnson

25 May 2015


Well, the house looks great. I am sure the house will look very different when I get back. I can't really say that my week was any better than yours, though yesterday was pretty good. I went on an exchange with the other american and we got more done in one afternoon than I got done the whole week with Elder de Lima. It just goes to show that when both members of the companionship want to work, you can get a lot done. 

Talking about companions, we had a 5 week transfer. Elder de Lima was transfered and I will be getting my first hispanic companion, Elder Serro. He was trained by de Lima and has quite the bad reputation in the mission. So, we will see how this transfer goes. I will do my best, but I feel like this will be another Elder Mendes situation. 

We have a family that we are teaching that has a ton of problems. People locked up, people that have left home, and lots of alcohol. In fact, we challenged the mom to not drink for one day between our visits. She accepted but said that she would finish her half-empty can. Well, she had left it in the fridge (not the freezer) and after the 30 mins we were there, she went to go finish it. But, the beer was frozen solid. It was only in the freezer for a half hour. She called it voodoo, I call it one of the small and simple ways that God does his work. 

Congrats on passing your boards! I just knew you would! Are there a lot of opportunities in Williamsburg? I dont know how many dentists there are but I am sure you will find something really fast! 

The mission really is the best 2 years for your life. You can really set your course just based on what you do here. If you go on vacation for 2 years, you will most likely be a slacker your whole life. If you really work hard, you will do the same! I think that is the greatest result of a mission. You learn how to work and how to do everything really. 

I will take the money off of the debit card just to have that in case anything happens until the package gets here. That way, i wont have to use the debit card unless there is an emergency. My face has a nice scar on it and it isnt really clearing up. I bet it will happen with more time, but it doesnt help my lack of being photogenic. oh well. 

Thank you for sending the package! you are the best. Thank you for all you do and have done for me. Words cannot describe my gratitude. 

Love ya tons,

Elder Johnson

18 May 2015


Well, first thing is first, CONGRATS ON GRADUATING!!!! Look at the opportunity you got already! I didnt know that Ryan worked in CHarlottesville. That is a crazy long ways away. But, I know that you will have a ton of opportunities to work in the burg. Now that you will have your license will you guys look for a new place to live if an opportunity (for you and for Dad) comes?

Seems like with all the family at home that you guys are having way too much fun! I can only imaging the shenanigans that is and has happened. I mean, it isnt every day that spear-throwing is a male-bonding activity (insert caveman grunts here). 

This week was alright here. It wasnt the best week we have had. My comp got Dengue which is a mosquito virus that destroys you for about 4 days and you have to go to the hospital. So, needless to say our numbers weren't super great and the Zone Leaders called and were freaking out on us and of course illness is no excuse, but it is nearly impossible to plan for. But he is doing a lot better now (i would say conveniently because his dengue wasnt bad at all... He just used it as an excuse). 

Sunday was super cool because Elder Lucas and his companion baptized! It was really cool to see him having success despite his overly-stressed and clueless companion. They were also robbed this week -- the 4th time in Elder Lucas's mission! I told him that we are not allowed to do divisions together anymore!

Well you asked for ideas for a package... I dont know if Banana republic will have another sale here soon but that wildblue noir cologne is amazing. It is so freaking expensive though haha my companion paid R$100 for cologne... A majority of brazilians do that. isnt that crazy?

Anyways, have a fantastic week and find yourself a good job :D

I love ya Mom!

Elder Johnson

11 May 2015


It is hard to believe that was last time that I will skype with you guys as a missionary! Time sure has flown. I really felt like the time between Christmas and Mother's day passed by in the blink of an eye! Surely these next 5 months will fly! I hope you had a great Mother's day and that you 

Did you take any pictures of the Paynes at the temple? If so, I would love to see them! As missionaries, we could not participate in vicarious sealings and I dont want to until I do my own sealing. I would like to have that experience for myself first, but always go back and do sealings to remember the promises that are made. 

I am sure your graduation will be one giant party! I hope Tuesday is a great day for you. You have worked so hard and have really done your best. You dont need to be cautiously optimistic becasue you have done very well in every phase of your schooling experience and this last test was no different! Enjoy the graduation, enjoy the company, and celebrate! You deserve it! We can celebrate again when I get back! 

Have an amazing week! I love you Mom!

Elder Johnson

04 May 2015 Ocean Baptism

04 May 2015 Natalia


Thank you for your prayers for our baptism. It almost didnt happen! It was a very stressful process getting everything organized because Natália would not change her mind about being baptized in the ocean. So, yes, WE BAPTIZED HER IN THE OCEAN! I will send pictures later but it was an amazing experience. Nearly all the members whined about the baptism happening on the beach. That was the most disappointing part. But, we got the permission and we did it anyway. It was the state soccer championship at 4pm and the baptism was set for 3pm. But all the members whined about it being on the day of the game--even the bishop, but he came and more members came than we thought so all worked out well. 

Just getting the interview done was a challenge! The night of the interview, the streets flooded and so President's conselor got there super late and had to walk in knee-high water to get to her house. It was an adventure but it happened and we are super happy about it :D

With the infection, I fell and cut my knee, and it got infected. Well, when ya pop the zitties, they bleed but they got infected too. They wouldnt scab up. So they grew in size and it turned into leprosy! But he put me on an antibiotic and gave me a topical cream and they are both nearly totally healed so dont worry. He gave me everything for free so I didnt complain. 

Congrats on being done with school! I am sure that was a great feeling! I am sure you passed! You have worked so hard and have juggled many responsibilities! You are the best! Enjoy the break with the family! 

Pass my congrajulations to Walker! That will be such a great experience for him!!! What a missionary family we have :D

I will keep this short because I will talk to you on SUNDAY :D

Have a great week mom! I love you!

Elder Johnson

27 April 2015 "Something is growing on my face!"

Oldest gas station in Brazil.  More expensive than at normal pumps.

Dearest Mother,

This was a week of challenges. Not so many as far as the work goes but more on the personal side. About 2 weeks ago I fell in some sand at a park while exercising in the morning (read: frisbee) and cut my knee. Well, because there are 3 other elders and 1 bathroom, I wasnt able to clean it very fast and it got infected. As a result of some zitties, when popped they didnt heal well so I have had these open sores on my face. I will be going to the mission doctor today and get a antibiotic. So, you may see a charge on the debit card (which expires in June by the way). because of this I have been feeling under the weather and physically drained. Butttttt all will get better after today!

Esfihas!  Mini pizzas that cost $.30 each
The best news I have is that on Friday we will have a baptism! There is a lady in this area who will hit her 1 year anniversary as a investigator on Wednesday. We talked to her last week and I just said "So, what do you think about a baptism on Saturday?" She replied "Okay, I am down for next Saturday." Her husband, a recent convert who received the Mel Priesthood yesterday, looked at her in shock! He couldn't beleive it! When we left the house, her husband was so happy. WE DID IT he exclaimed! 
Thursday Farmer's Market by my house.  Dirt cheap!

But as always, the devil tries to deviate people off the course. We visited her yesterday and she said that we should move the date to the 9th because the 2nd is Fast Saturday and so no one can eat any refreshments. NO, i thought, YOU WILL NOT DO THIS NOW. So, I "sold the popcorn." What is selling the popcorn? Good question. That is being the car salesman that is sooooo good that you walk in wanting a bug and you leave with a ferrari. She likes to quietly be in the spotlight and also likes adventure. So, I told her that she needed to be baptized on Friday the 1st because she will hit her 1 year on the 29th, I will hit my 1 year and 6 months on the 30th, and Elder De Lima will hit his 1 year on the mission on the 1st. "We need to throw a huge party then!" I said. And she was sold. It was incredible to me how the devil tried to use fast sunday as a way to delay someone's baptism! 

You only have one more week of school! Do not stress about these tests. Trust in yourself and being worthy of the Holy Ghost gives you the right to his help to remember the things you studied! I know that you have probably been fasting a lot about this moment but I learned something yesterday in Sacrament Meeting that I would like to share. I learned that fasting is not just for asking for blessings but also for showing our gratitude for the received blessings. I had never noticed that and invite you to do the same (see Alma 45:1). I will certainly put that in to practice as well!

You sure will have a house full of people! Enjoy their company and take lots of pictures! As for the package, I think that I will only need socks. missionary problems. I will probably buy new garments here soon.

Have a fantastic week and best of luck on your exams! You'll ace 'em.

I love ya, mom,

Elder Johnson

20 April 2015


Actually, transfer calls were yesterday. I will stay one more transfer with Elder de Lima, which will be great. We will see many miracles this transfer. Many sisters went home yesterday so President had to make some major changes in the mission. 5 of the 12 zones were closed and nearly all the Zone Leaders were released. So, I am no longer a ZL! I am very grateful for the time I had to serve other missionaries but I cannot lie and say that I am not excited to only have to focus on my own area and my own investigators. It was great while it lasted but I was getting very tired. My time had come and I felt like this would happen.

This week was a lot better for us. After talking with my companion about talking to others we came to a simple compromise that has changed the way we are coming home. We decided that I would knock the doors and he would stop people on the street. We have done that for the past couple days and we both come home very tired... not just me haha What a great change, right?

Austin told me about the ACT. Mine didnt have a lot of physics. It had a ton of chemistry. Fair? I dont know, but at least he knows what he needs to succeed. 

When are your national boards? Do you have to travel to take them?

Having all the family so close will be awesome! Be sure to take lots of pictures. I will do better with sending pictures and taking them. It is hard when things that are new and different for you are so normal for me haha 

Well, as far as suggestions go, I'll have some ideas for you next week! Thank you so much!

This transfer I will go to the orthodontist okay?

I have been studying about grace and trying to apply it better in my life. I am so grateful for all the things that the grace of Christ gives me. He love us. He love you and he loves me. Truly love is the essence of the gospel and everything in the universe. It is such a powerful thing and if we can show it to others, it doesnt matter if they show it back or not. That is what I have learned recently. It is all about love!

I love you mom,

Elder Johnson

13 April 2015


Oh my word, the talk by Elder Ballard was amazing! The "interview" that he gave was very cool. I really felt like I was being interviewed by him! He asked some very important questions no matter what part of life you are at. 

Mothers Day is so close it isnt even funny. Next week is the 4-months-left mark for Andrew... Isnt that weird? He will head home in August. That is just so close! I hate how close my mission is to ending. But all things must end, right? 

One of the things that I would like to do shortly after returning is go to the temple. I feel like I know so much more that will help me learn more and more there. I miss that place. Being so close to the temple in Utah will really be something that I will take advantage of. I am very grateful for the chance that I had to go in Arizona. It will be such a great experience for Penelope and her mom. 

The work is going well. It could always be better though. Our greatest difficulty is baptismal dates. The mission wants us to invite people to be baptized the saturday after their first visit and for a lot of people that is way too soon. We lost a couple investigators this week that have a lot of potential because they feel like they are being rushed in to it. It is hard and really tries my faith. I dont know if I would have been converted in less than 2 weeks. Sometimes I think about if I wasnt born in to the church and if I would have listened to the missionaries or accepted an invitation to go to church. I am grateful for the situation I was born in. My companion is a really nice guy. He wants to change and he talks a lot as if he has already changed or as if he was super experienced but he isnt and when the time comes to put his words to the test he falters. We have had to knock doors a lot this week and when I say "we", I really mean "I". He talks a big game until we have to clap, then he clams up and doesnt say or do anything. It is hard but it is giving me practice and I hope that he sees that if we both worked, we would have twice the success that we are having now. This isnt something I can just say to him, but rather something that he needs to realize for himself. 

So, the shoes I bought I only use for sunday. The donated pair I use because they are made for walking. Thank you for the inserts, they are bomb :D

I have not had the chance to go to an orthodontist to reglue it. I decided that that is what I will do. 

I am super proud of Austin and the choices he is making. He is a stud. 

Congrats on all that you are doing. I know that it isnt easy having to juggle work, school, and home, but you are doing a great job and are being blessed for it!

Have a fantastic week. I love ya tons!

Elder Johnson

06 April 2015


Funny story, Last pday I had to go to Santos for a meeting and during the meeting my package got there! Thank you so much for the things that you sent! I have to tell you as well, the letters that you wrote to Elder Ettmuller made him super happy. He has called me like 5 times sharing parts of them with me and telling me how awesome you all are. Thank you for doing that for him. I dont think you will ever know just how much that helped him. 

Thank you for your card as well! Can you believe that the next big date that comes up is Mother's day?? That will be the LAST TIME that I call home! How crazy!

I watched the whole conference in English actually. It was a commandment this time to watch it in our native languages. The conference was so great! I loved the Sunday morning session and Elder Bednar's talk was especially good. We were not able to watch the Priesthood session so I am downloading all the speeches from that session and the ones that I liked in Portuguese. I love talks in Portugese. But that one talk with the super long music analogy was hard to follow in English... Everyone talked about how it made no sense in Portuguese haha poor guy. 

Easter here is full of traditions like eating only fish on friday to sunday... but the sister on sunday made shrimp too and that was heavenly. Also, giant chocolate eggs filled with candy (that are really expensive) are popular too. A lady in the ward gave us each a homemade one and it was awesome. Thank you for the Cadbury eggs. I havent eaten any yet... But I cant wait!

The ties were awesome as well! The blue-green one was a huge hit at the mission conference. I got offered a lot of R$R$ for it haha but I just wouldnt let it go :D 


That is so awesome that Boonie will be so close! Careful, they just might want to stay at our house again ;) 

Havea  fantastic week mom, thank you for everything!!! 

I love ya,

Elder Johnson