Wednesday, March 27, 2013
We left California around 6:00 am on Monday and flew all the way to Atlanta. When we got there we had dinner with Elder Rutledge's companion's dad. We ate ribs and drank root beer and it was a marvelous last American meal for two years.
I learned that it is impossible to sleep on an airplane and extremely uncomfortable. I believe they should use them as a method of torture at Guantanamo Bay. We got to São Paulo and we met up the the LDS Travel Services and they sent us on our way to Maceió. When we got there we were met by President and Sister Gonzaga along with all of the office Elders. They were all very excited to see us and we drove to the mission home and I met my new companion Elder Godoy. He really likes Coca-Cola and has a really great English vocabulary filled with words like, "Baptize! Triple Kill! and HeadShots!"
My first area is in Aracaju in the neighborhood of Siquera Campos and it's pretty neat. We eat lunch with members and they always have this Brazilian pasta called Maccarão, which is like Brazilian spaghetti.
Oh, and it's hot here. It's really really hot. So, I was having a hard time at the beginning of this week. When I got here I was all cool about it and then the next few days were really hard. I felt like this wasn't my real mission and that I still belonged in Carlsbad. I also had a hard time sleeping. I feel better now and I think it was just the first few days that had me all stressed. I still don't know enough Portuguese to really do much so whenever we have meetings with the ward mission leader they just give me snacks and have me sit in the corner. I can do the door approach pretty well until they start speaking and then I'm lost. They also talk funny up here. They don't palatalize their words and they add a lot of "sh" sounds everywhere and it's kind of weird. Even the Brazilian missionaries think it's weird and they like to inform me that, "This isn't Brazil, this is the nordeste (north east)."
Anyway, that's all for this week and I'll be sure to email you next week!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Hey, just wanted to quickly let you know I am finally here in Maceio Brazil! Man, that was a long day of flying. Anyway, it's awesome here and everyone is super nice. I'll email you later.
You can reach Elder Johnson through email: tjohnson@myLDSmail.net
or mail a letter or package to him in Maceio Brazil:
Elder Tanner Derek Johnson
Brazil Maceio Mission
Av. Dom Antonio Brandao, 333 Sala 402
Ed. Work Center, Farol
57-51-190 Maceio - AL
Friday, March 15, 2013
The word has been given and now everyone can email missionaries! (not just family members) Elder Johnson can now get your email every "P Day" instead of waiting weeks to get a letter.
Elder Johnson would LOVE to hear from you and can be reached for the next two years at:
However, you can still mail him letters and packages to his address. His address will change frequently over the next 24 months, but we will keep it up to date on the blog when changes occur.
Isn't technology great!
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
March 12, 2013
Hey! How's it going? Here are the answers to some of your questions - mosquito net, yes please send me one. The four missionaries in my district who will be eventually going to Maceio are here with me, along with four other missionaries waiting to go to Argentina. I see Elder Rutledge about once or twice a week. We are in the same zone and I think he is serving in the Carlsbad 3rd Ward (right next to Lego Land!) I'm glad everything is going well back home. Now it's story time...
So my ward is literally nothing but hills. It seems like we are constantly biking, walking, running, sobbing up a hill. On the bright side, I now have the calves of a Greek god. On Sunday we were riding our bikes out to Camp Pendleton to have dinner with a family. It's about a 40 minute bike ride from where we live and it's mostly flat once we hit the coast so it was a pretty great ride out there. BUT, on the way back my tire popped five minutes out of Camp Pendleton. So we had to walk about an hour to a member's house and stash our bikes there while we met with another family. There was much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but I'm over it.
Each morning we have roughly two hours of companionship study because I'm training right now. We fashioned together a dummy made out of a milk jug, a hanger, and a broomstick and call him Israel. He's pretty nice and we teach him every morning. The other missionaries find it weird whenever they come over. I also got to go on exchanges with the district leader and his companion the other day. It was really cool going into another zone and I learned a lot about the different styles of teaching other missionaries have.
On to the weird/interesting things that have happened this past week.
So there's this one family we teach and the mom is divorced and remarried. Her ex husband, the girl's dad, lives in North Carolina. Oh, and she's also excommunicated. We go over to her house to teach her two daughters. Her daughters are really receptive and they're progressing really well. Everything goes well during our lessons until the mom cuts in. She gets mad at us and tells us we are making her daughter uncomfortable and tells us how much she despises it when Mormons make people uncomfortable. She then proceeded to ask for a priesthood blessing and asked for the visiting teachers to come by. ????? The next time we went to her home to teach the daughters she proceeded to yell at her kids telling them how she loves the dogs more than her own kids. It was awkward to say the least and the "questionable" photos on the wall don't help. As a missionary you never know what kind of home you will be walking into.
The other day we were going out to teach a lesson and we brought a member with us. At the last minute our investigator canceled on us so we got a ride in our member's Trans Am to our next appointment. It was really fast, loud, and we were filled with much joy. Our next appointment was with a man who was from out of the country. Everything started off real well, but then things got weird. His language kept getting more and more violent and then he started becoming more and more profane. Eventually it got to the point where the spirit just told us to leave and we got out of there real fast. It was the weirdest thing and the stuff he was telling us was crazy.
Just last night we were out trying to find some people to teach and we met this guy who spoke Spanish who seemed really receptive and we gave his information to the Spanish sisters. By the way, my Portuguese has come in very handy. I can understand the Spanish speakers quite well. They can usually understand me pretty well, but I have to explain to them first why I'm speaking Portuguese in the middle of Southern California. Literally a few minutes after we talked to him we came across this guy who turned out to be an anti! We answered his questions, but he would then twist our words for his own nefarious purposes. He just started letting into us about how we believe in a different Jesus, how we're all confused, and how God will essentially forsake people who wouldn't have the opportunity to hear the gospel. He just ranted for over a half hour and then I just shared my testimony with him. I told him everything I knew and my reasons for being out here. I told him of the sacrifices I had/have to make to be out here to serve my mission and that if I didn't know the gospel to be true I wouldn't waste my time out here. After that he really couldn't say anything. He just muttered something about a different Jesus and went on his way. The weird thing is I can't exactly describe what he looks like and I don't remember the sound of his voice. He was also standing in the dark the entire time and we were standing under the streetlight (like the only one in all of Oceanside) so there was some interesting coincidental symbolism there. Like I said, it was a very weird/interesting week.
Anyways, sorry I didn't send pictures this week. I'll be sure to send some next week of the ocean I can never touch. Oh, and real quickly, sorry if there is anyone who I haven't responded to. I don't think the MTC forwards mail so if you don't hear back from me, desculpe. I hope everything is going well and let me know if there is anything I can do to help you! Oh, and tell Ethan happy birthday from me if you haven't already.
Eu amo voces - muito,
P.S. I just learned that all missionaries can now communicate with friends and everyone through email! If you would post my email address on Facebook or whatever this "social media" thing is that'd be great.
Everyone can now reach Elder Johnson at tjohnson@myLDSmail.net.
So much faster than snail mail!
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
March 5, 2013
Hey Everyone! Hope everything is going well.
So, this week is going to be kind of short because I'm just going to write about things that pop into my head.
I arrived in San Diego the other day and we were picked up by President Cook. He's really nice, super smart, and from what I've heard has really turned the Carlsbad Mission around and made it one of the highest baptizing missions in the US. We went over to the mission home and got to have a little orientation there. He told me that they will literally give me two days notice once I get my VISA (we can say it now that we're out in the field) and then I'll be on my merry little way; so there's a chance my next email might be from Maceio! My companion is Elder Graham, he's from West Jordan, and was really into Parkour and robotics before he left.
My first area is the Oceanside 4th Ward. We are located a little north of Carlsbad and we are right next to Camp Pendleton. We get to go to Camp Pendleton and teach the families who live on base and that's always cool to go out there. It's very hilly here so by the time I get to Brazil my cardio is going to be amazing. Also, there are three things I have learned about Southern California
1. There are very few sidewalks.
2. They don't believe in lamp posts. By the time it's about 7:00 pm the whole place is pitch black because there are only lamp posts on the main streets.
3. People go to bed at like 8:00 so the last hour of proselyting is a bit difficult because there is no one walking around and no one answers their doors.
Had a weird, out of time, experience. I've only been on my mission for about two months and we were driving past a movie theater and they had "Die Hard 5" playing there. I was legitimately shocked. I had no idea that movie was coming out so soon and then I wondered where I've been for the last two months. Time really does fly out here.
The weather here is lovely and the people are pretty nice. So yeah...that's about all I can think to write about right now. I'll just leave you with a conversation we had with this guy on the road. We were late for an appointment so we weren't trying to contact him, but he told us about his day anyway.
Guy In The Road: Hey!
Us: Uh, hey? How's it going?
Guy In The Road: How's it going? Oh it's going great! I just got off work with a bunch of knuckleheads who don't know how to mix concrete to save their lives!!!
Us: Well, that's unfortunate...
Guy In the Road: PFFFFTTTT yeah!!! So, I'm exhausted and I'm going to go inside and have a beer with my dog!
Us: Okay. (We try to get into the car.)
Guy In The Road: Hey, what church are you from?
Us: We're Mormons.
Guy In The Road: Oh, you're Mormons? Well, I'm Christian. You know the King James Bible? Yeah, I make sure to read it every night before I go to bed! It's the only thing that helps me get through the day and gives me direction in my life! Now I respect your religion and I know you Mormons are good people! But, I'm currently happy with my relationship with God so I don't think I'll be needing anything from you today!
Us:....okay? (We never offered him anything.)
Guy In The Road: .......
Us: ..... Uh, bye.....
Elder Johnson <3
P.S. Happy Birthday Ethan!
P.P.S. My new address is:
Elder Tanner Johnson
451 West Bobier Drive
Vista, CA 92083