Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 41


Crazy, crazy week!!

My first full week of missionary service and work here in California has been absolutely insane. It has been a week full of lots of pain, lots of very hard work, a temple trip, one lesson, 2 new investigators, and not enough sleep.

First of all, Thank you all for all the encouraging emails. I opened up my email and saw that many encouraging emails had been sent, and I was so happy and grateful.

 Once again things are not going here as I thought they would go here on the mission. I am trying to make desicions that could change the rest of my mission. I was given a bike to use until I am able to get one of my own, and to kind of test my feet out to see if I could work. I peddled the way that the Doctor said to and have been doing everything the very best I can. I stayed within my bounds and didn't feel very much pain the first few days of biking. It felt so good to be able to move again!! I have been stuck at snail pace the past few months. The bad part is that Saturday and Sunday I was forced off the bike from the pain and could hardly walk.

 I am not sure as to why I am going through this at this point of my life. I will say this, I may be in pain to the point that I can't sleep at times and can hardly move at others. But the Lord put this into my path for a reason, and my trust and faith in him is strong, and I am doing my very best to be happy and enjoy every step of the way. 

The Coolest part of the week I feel was this Wednesday when we were able to go to the Oakland temple(outside the mission) with some one by the name of Luri who was baptized 3 weeks ago!! She had done some family history and had a few family names prepared for the temple, including that of her younger brother who had passed away a few years earlier. 

I was very excited this last Sunday. I kept Tucson Az in my thoughts all day because of the temple dedication!!! I am soooooooo excited to think that my wonderful city now has a Temple or the Lord!!! Sorry it is so short this week. Here are a few pictures from the week.








Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Week 40

Howdy All!!! This is Elder Johnson!!!!! I am no longer in Missao Brasil Londrina, but am now in Missao Modesto California!!!

Life has beeeeeeen Craaaazzzzzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyyyy!!! On Monday I left beautiful Brasil and spent a total of 21hrs 5 min flying, had 11hrs of layovers, traveled almost 8,000 miles, met with angels that helped me through the Sao Paulo and JFK Airports, saw the world trade center and the city I have always heard about but never seen off in the distance, enjoyed the wonderful feeling that comes with takeoff and landing, had some good missionary experiences, and didn't sleep a wink.

 Upon arriving here in California I found that my new mission President had not been informed of my foot problems, and on the 1 hr long car ride from Oakland to Modesto I got to tell him myself. I had been informed in Brasil that I was being sent to a Car mission and was very excited to get to work. As I expressed how excited I was to get to work President Palmer(more than a little surprised at what I had just told him) said that the Modesto mission was and is not a Car mission and that no one had informed them of my feet.(Oh Great!) He said that, yes the Mission had been a car mission but that he didn't want the missionaries driving cars and was in the process of sending all the cars home. He said that the missionaries biked or walked. 

Well, both President Palmer and I had our share of being shocked and surprised that day. I have been going through quite the culture shock the past week. I didn't expect that I would forget so much in 9 1/2 months. For one thing, I am used to sirens from emergency vehicles sounding like someone inhaling and exhaling on a harmonica. So that is something I have had to get used to. 

There are many many other things that I have had to get used to, such as the streets being so nice and orderly. There is never anybody out on the street trying to sell things, and the homeless people are dressed better than the some of the poorest people in Brasil!!! I was not used to the fact that we have to pull over to let them by if a Police or emergency vehicle has their lights flashing since in Brasil they drive with their lights flashing whether it is an emergency or not.  

 At the moment we don't have any investigators. We have done a ton of work, and have knocked several hundred doors. We were able to get 2 lessons set up for later this week. We have been visiting a ton of less active people and perspective Elders. When knocking doors on Saturday we went to 4 houses in a row that had signs on the doors telling missionaries not to knock there!!!

 I am really not used to members not helping out when it comes to member missionary work. The members have like 0 desire to help us out. It has been very frustrating. I was asked to stand up in church and ask the members to help us out with member missionary work.  I stood up and told them all how important Member missionary work is and how missionaries can't do this work alone and how without their help missionary work is very very difficult. I then invited them to think of some people in their lives that could use the gospel and to let us have their information. They were all nodding their heads like they understood, but when we went around to ask for referrals not a single person could come up with a friend that could use the gospel. I noticed that when asked they became a little uncomfortable. I thought back to what it was like before the mission. I know for a fact that before the mission I would have been very scared to talk to people about the gospel or invite them to church. 

 Hey people Let me tell you all something. I know how you all feel about talking to your friends about church or the gospel. It is hard! Is is scary! But you all have to get out there and do it!! Us missionaries in your ward, in your stake, we can't do it without you!!!! 

This week Please invite someone to church with you, and then do your best to get them to go to church!!  I promise you that if you do that not only will it become easier for you to ask again, but you will receive blessings for doing your part. Every Member a Missionary Has been preached by each of aour 16 Latter Day Prophets!!! It is every member's responsibility to do their very best to strengthen the church by being a missionary!!!

Love you all!!! And Please bring someone to church this week!!!!

    ELDER JOHNSON
           California Modesto Mission
      
4300 Dale Rd Modesto CA 95356
                        United States

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Week 38

HOWDY ALL!!!

I have had a really really really crazy week, and an even crazier 24hrs!!!

So this past week I have been doing a lot of preparing for The big move to the Modesto CA Mission. I have been practice teaching to the secretaries here at the office, I have been attending physical therapy, staying off my feet, seeing new doctors and.............. I found out that I have Plantar Fasciitis! WOW! Yup. Google it. Anyway this here Plantar Fasciitis comes about from over walking and over walking on injuries that are trying to heal. =/ EEEK! 

Lets change gears here for a min. Pres. Pereira bought us secretaries(and me the one Staff member) Pizza the other night for getting a ton of work finished. The pizza was great!!! Only my body didn´t agree and I spent most of the night kneeling next to my uncle John throwing up!! That was fun!

Now, you are all probably wondering what the Crazy 24hrs part at the beginning of this weeks update means. Well, in my mission there is a city called "Foz do Iguaçu" which is home to a nat. park and one of the 7 wonders of the world! The falls of Foz do Iguaçu!!!!! In my time here in Brasil, I had not had a chance to go see this awesome place. Last night at 10:40 We received a phone call from my mission pres. who was in Foz(as we all call the city) for a Zone Conference. He said "Elder Johnson, Before you leave the mission I want you to see the Falls! You have a bus that is leaving Londrina for Foz in 20 min! Pack a few things for the week and be on that bus for Foz in 20 min!!" WOW!! ONLY 20 MIN TO PACK, GET A TAXI TO THE BUS STATION, BUY A TICKET, AND GET ON THE LAST BUS OF THE DAY HEADED TO FOZ DO IGUAÇU!!! 

Everyone was so excited for me!! None of the elders in the office had ever been to Foz and when I found that I did not have enough money to get to Foz, the 3 of them helped me pay! What true brothers!

Anyway, after a 7hr non stop bus ride, I arrived in Foz! My good old friend Elder Mortensen was there with his comp and they took me to the waterfalls!!!! They were Wonderful! Sadly I do not have enough time to continue writing and I have to now go. But google them, look at the few photos I have of them, a
nd I will finish my story this next weekend when I arrive home in Londrina!! 
Love you all!!

--Elder Johnson =) 
PS-- I stood in one place and looked into 3 countries!! Brasil, Argentina, and Paraguay!!




Week 39

7/29/17

Howdy all!! 

This is Elder Johnson in Londrina Brasil!! Sadly this is the last weekly update from Brasil. =( On Monday morning I will be leaving Brasil for California. I have been reassigned to the Modesto California Mission where I will finish my service for the Lord.

 I am very sad to be leaving Missão Brasil Londrina. I love it here, and have just started to really understand and speak. I am very grateful that I will be able to continue my mission and not have to return early for my feet. 

This last week in Brasil has been a very full week, a very good week. I have traveled to the very southern part of my mission to a National Park. I was able to stand in the center of a river with waterfalls all around me and look into 3 countries- Brasil, Argentina, and Paraguay! I saw a bunch of old friends from the CTM, and was able to participate in one last Baptismo before leaving Brasil!!!! 

My biggest adventure this week happened in a place called "Foz do Iguaçu". I can´t tell you guys how much I enjoyed the Cataratas do Iguaçu. That translates to Waterfalls of the Iguana, and the city's name "Foz do Iguaçu" Translates to "Mouth of the Iguana". Well, I didn´t see any iguanas but I did see monkeys. The Cataratas(waterfalls)were beautiful. 

So let me start at the beginning of this whole thing. The other day when I first told you all about them I only touched on the facts briefly because I didn´t have much time. So Sunday night when I was in bed dozing off(I having gone to bed already),  at about 10:40 Elder Benvanuto, Elder Machado, and Elder De Azevedo suddenly burst into the room and turn on the light saying that they had just got off the phone with Presidente Pereira(who was currently in Foz do Iguaçu for a Zona meeting) and that he had said that in 20 min a bus was leaving for Foz do Iguaçu and that he wanted me to be on it because he wanted me to see the Cataratas before I left Brasil! Well 20 min later I was on that there mentioned bus! I didn´t ride alone. The Ap´s who were on their way to the same meeting were with me for the 7 hr ish(or so they say) bus ride.

 The next morning 7 hrs and 43 min later( I timed it) we arrived in the city of Foz do Iguaçu. Once arriving in Foz the AP´s told me that even though my feet were hurt I would have to walk for over an hr(over many hills and such) or buy a taxi. I had no idea how much money I had left but decided on the taxi knowing that my feet wouldn´t make it even if I tried my very hardest. I prayed as the taxi driver passed my card. The good news is that God does answer prayers, and my card had enough money for the taxi ride!

 Once arriving at the house of the missionaries that we were to stay with the AP´s called up pres. to ask what to do with me. Pres. told them to call around and find some other missionaries that were willing to go to the waterfalls with me. In the end things turned out great!!! Elder Mortensen, my best friend and brother, was the chosen Elder that was to take me to the Waterfalls!! Oh things couldn´t have turned out better! Elder Mortensen trained my best friend and brother, Elder Zambrano. Elder Zambrano and I were trained in the same house and Elder Mortensen decided for some reason to take on the name of my Stepmother(reason unkown). Anyway, He took me to the Cataratas and it was a blast!

 We took a bus over to Parque Nacional Do Iguaçu(Iguacu National Park). once inside I found that since I was American I had to pay a fee of R$64,00 when Elder Mortensen's comp. who is Brasilian only had to pay R$20,00!!!! Once again with a prayer in my heart my card worked!!! I was supposed to be out of money a long time ago but things just kept on working out for me! It was worth it, 100%! 

The first thing that we did was to get onto these buses that you have to ride in. I am not sure but I don´t think that you can drive your car in the park. Anyway we rode on this awesome doubledecker park bus to the beginning of the 1,6 km path bridge thing to see the Cataratas!!! Aw Yeah!!!! So these Cataratas are part of the new 7(natural) wonders of the world, and I tell you I was a´wondering the whole time!!! They are so beautiful!!!! The entire 1,6 Km (1mile) walk I was in awe!!! 

As I walked and snapped shots of the Cataratas(I only took about 300 photos) I thought about how blessed I was to come to this earth and about how wonderful it was that God decided to create the beautiful waterfalls and all the mountains, and all the lakes and rivers. Whenever I am in nature I feel this way. I think that the feelings were extra strong at the Cataratas because it has been so long since I have been able to enjoy outdoors. It was so great! It was pure awesomeness!!! At the end of the walk there was a gift shop where I got some stuff so I would always remember this awesome experience.

That night I got to spend the night at the house of Elder Mortensen, and the next day after the Zona meeting(actually the next night) at 8pm I got onto a bus headed towards my favorite city, Londrina. The AP´s were also on the bus, they were headed for Maringá for another Zona meeting. About 20min outside of Foz do Iguaçu the bus got pulled over by the Military Police. DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!🚨🚔🚨🛐 The Police came onto the bus and started to roughly check everyone's bags asking them where they were from. The 3 of us were sitting in the very back of the bus and when the police got to us one of the AP´s after being asked replied that the 2 of them were from Brasil and that I was American. The Police looked at me for only a second before continuing their search. 

  The bus ride home was a lot slower. We were on a bus that stopped at every bus terminal between Foz do Iguaçu and Londrina! The bus was supposed to take 11hrs to get back to Londrina!!! I timed the bus ride and it turned out to be, 10hrs 43min 59sec and 07milsec! OH NO!!! THE DRIVER DROVE 17min 1sec and 93milsec TOO FAST😵!!!!! Even if he was early it was a very long bus ride. But, I was able to sleep very well! I had brought my pillow on the short trip just for the bus. It was a very good idea. I bent the chair I was in and the one next to me down all the way to make a bed for myself. I not sure how the strange position I was in was comfortable, but it was and I slept for a good chunk of the night. 

Well tonight we had a Baptismo!!! It was AWESOME!!! This investigator was what we call a "Golden investigator" She followed every commitment, prayed and received answers. She was very excited to be baptized tonight and is very excited to be confirmed tomorrow!!! I am sorry that I don´t have any pictures. We are all having a little trouble with our pictures because the one adaptor that we use decided to break today!

I love you all!!! If something goes wrong during my 21hrs 5min(7,857miles) flight, I will see you all in the next life!!! LOL, I am funny!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Week 37


This week has been more then a little long and more than a little crazy! First things first------------------I HAD MY 20TH BIRTH DAY!!!!! HOLY COW AM I OLD!!!!!!!!! The world was supposed to end the night before my 20th Birthday!!! Sadly it didn´t, and I am now 20 years of age. This morning as I was trimming the hair around my ears I found a big long silver hair growing in a nice little curl behind my right ear!!! Not only that, but I think I am also starting to go bald!!!! I am losing hair at such a rapid rate all of a sudden that I think I will probably be 100% bald before my head has time to become silver!!!! At the rate that my hair is falling out(huge clumps at a time), I will probably out bald my balding Dad, in fact I think I might out bald my 2 balding Grandfathers!!!!!!😵👴 (j/k,j/k just feeling old)
My Birthday just happened to be on Tuesday, and District meeting just so happens to be on Tuesday. Oh and not only that but since our zone is a little on the smaller side, the whole zone meets in the same building at the same time. =) After the meetings my whole awesome zone sang the Happy birthday song in Portuguese a few times, and then we ate some awesome cookies made by an American sister and then ate some pretty good cake by a Brazilian elder. Later that night Elder Pena (the new slacker missionary) Bought a pizza and the 3 of us played a board game called "WAR"(also known as "Risk" in the states). In the end it was an awesome 20th birthday. 

The next day was a long stressful, but at the same time a very exciting day! We received a phone call from my awesome mission President saying that Elder Ostlund was being transferred off to a new area up in the northern part of the mission, and I was off to spend my last 2 weeks in Brasil in the office as part of the mission STAFF! In about 2 hrs. Elder Ostlund and I packed all our belongings and got a taxi to the mission office in Cento Londrina! Pena picked up his new comp. and headed back to Ala vivi(my area, or the place that was my area). Ostlund and I then headed over to the secretary's home(the nicest home in the mission next the the house of the presedente) and after spending the night Ostlund headed over to his new area. 

Now y'all are probably wondering what I do now that I am part of the STAFF. If you guessed sit at a computer in the office all day, you guessed right. My New comp. is Elder Machado the Fin. Secratary, and being his comp. here in the office means that I help him with all the back up work. I have had a lot of fun this week and have been learning a lot. Most of what I have done is going through the mission data and printing off light bills, and water bills, and all that happy jazz. One of the secretaries told me that he was sorry that I had to do all the boring work that no one wanted. I told him that I didn´t think that it was boring and that I was loving it. I mean come on, any work that I can do here that helps the mission out beats sitting at home. 

Since I can't walk(doctors orders) I get to use the Missions wheelchair. It has been really nice. It makes it so I can go to lunch at a members house or go teach a lesson!
 I taught most of the first lesson yesterday to a sister who is more than ready to be baptized and was asking to be baptized by the end of the lesson. So when I teach I like to be the one that teaches the first vision. Alot of missionaries around feel like the first vision might scare the investigator away from baptism and they either read through or talk about that part really fast or don´t even teach the part of the lesson that talks about the first vision. when it comes to the part of the lesson where we teach about the first vision I like to read the experience of Joseph Smith from the pamphlet.

 Anyway, let me tell you all about the lesson when we got to that part yesterday. We got to teach the first lesson to Irama(that means sister), to Irama Uiara Cici.  Say it like this --- > ( Oo-ee-aw-daw  kee-kee). She is an older lady that has been attending our church for the past 4 weeks, and she loves it. The cool thing about her is that she has been "searching for a church of love", and she said that the first time she walked into the doors of our church she felt as if her heart was swelling and could feel an immense amount of love. The best part is that by the end of her first Sunday of church she knew that this was the right church! She said that she had felt great love from the members, and that more than anything wanted to have a part of that love that they all shared.

 So after church we met up with the between 80-90 year old that first invited her to church and had given her a book of mormon, and Uiara Cici and went and taught her the first lesson. She had a lot of really good questions and was very good about answering questions and the lesson had a few really good discussions.

 It was really cool when my comp said that I was going to read the experience of Joseph Smith. Everyone turned their attention to me and the room got very quiet. It seemed as if the busy street next to the church ran out of traffic for a few min. As I read the words of Joseph Smith in Portuguese the spirit became very strong. The moment that I read the last words the spirit was so strong that I had a hard time speaking without crying. There were a few moments of silence where no one could speak, and the spirit testified with great power. It was so cool! It was really powerful!! After the lesson, Irama Uiara Cici said that she knew that this was the true church and desired bap! We are going to teach her more this coming Wednesday!

 This fine morning we had a Zone P-day event!!!! It was really fun. As I said earlier I get to use this awesome wheelchair for my feet. Several of the missionaries pushed me around as we played basketball(I made a few hoops from the chair), I was the ref as the Zone played volley ball(there were a few heated moments where the 2 teams were each pretty sure they were supposed to receive the point, and in the end everyone was happy because I had made the final decision) =) we then played brazilian Uno, and another really fun brazilian game that is a little too complicated to explain by email. 

The Zone P-day was supposed to be from 8 am to 5pm, but when presidente Pereira pulled into the parking lot at noon, all the missionaries that are scared of pres for one reason or another(usually because they are slackers) they all left for "lunch". In the end it was the secretaries, myself, Sister Hubbered and her comp. Kind of sad eh? That is why you follow your presedentes rules and become his friend and not break the rules and become scared to stand in his presence. It is sickening to me. Tomorrow we have Zone Confrance! That is exciting and I am very excited.

Well love you all and thanks as always for the prayers!!

American Missionaries sang the Star Spangled Banner on 4th of July
                                           











Friday, July 14, 2017

Week 36 Reassignment!

HOWDY ALLL!!

I have awesome news!!! 

I was informed this last Tuesday (the great 4TH of JULY) that I will not have to go home over my foot problem but have been reassigned to the Modesto CA Mission!!! 

OH YEAH!!!!!! I CAN`T BELIEVE IT!!!! LISTEN HERE ALL YOU PEOPLE WITH IN SIGHT OF MY TYPING!!!!!  MIRACLES ARE REAL!!!!!!!!!!! I thought, along with many others that I was going to return home early. But now I am not and to plus one everything, my feet have started to improve in ways and speed that testify of God´s power! I am sooo grateful for the power of prayer and fasting.

Sorry it is so short. Love you all!!!!!!





Week 35

HOWDY, HOWDY ALL!!!!

This is Elder Johnson, I am doing great! My feet are not much better but after a good fast Sunday yesterday, I feel more comfort about what could happen in the next few weeks concerning my feet. 

This week was kind of crazy. Let's see.............. Made Cinnamon Rolls and had the zone leaders over to eat the m with us. Had an awesome time catching up with my CTM comp. Elder Fattellah who is my new ZL!  Elder Perez (my new comp) Made Tacos and guacamole!!! IT WAS AWESOME! I got very Trunky afterwards thinking of Tucson and Mexican food!

 On Wednesday I made another medical visit for my beautiful feet. The doctor is kind of confused at why I am still in so much pain, and so later today I will be going in to get an MRI! Hopefully that will help us figure things out. 

Our comp Elder F. Perez(you say it like Eh-fee Pe-dee-s) was transferred to a new area to finish the training of a new missionary. The Sr comp. to the new missionary has come to be our new 3rd wheel. His name is Elder Pena. He is known throughout the mission as a massive Fubeca(Slacker) who does not care about rules and most people don´t know why or how he is still serving. We will work with him and get him back on track.

Love you and thank you all for your prayers and fasting, I can feel the strength coming during my struggles.