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!