Monday, August 19, 2013

They Hate Their Own Blood

Me crying repentance to Northern Alagoas.

So, mom I don't know how I'm possibly going to answer all of your questions, but I'll give it a try.
  • I live with my companion, Elder Arajuo, and also with Elder Calderon from Chile and Elder Jepsen from San Jose California.  Elder Calderon lived here before, but the three of us are new to the area.  They call it "opening the area" even though there are some members here, but not really.  The branch has always had only one pair of missionaries, never two, so we're opening it in that way, but it's nothing really too exciting.
  • Again, we use a LAN House to use the Internet.  Pdays here are pretty chill, but one of these weeks we're going to hike up so some waterfalls so that will be pretty cool.
  • I am running in the mornings and my rock hard calves are feeling it for sure.  Well, I don't know if you would call it "running" really.  It's more like the other Elders running and me trailing very far behind them out of breath gasping for air.
Viçosa.  By the way, that hill is like a wall.  I do sprints up and
down it about 20 times every morning for a light workout.

  • That clumpy grass stuff was moss on the roof right next to our house, which I thought would be a pretty cool picture.

  • My area is really cool because it's really beautiful and really quiet, except for when they have the Feira (the Fair which I'll talk about in a bit.)  It's a pretty chill place and it's a bit cooler here too.  There are plenty of hills, which is bad and good.  Bad for the huge amount of perspiration it produces and really good for my golden legs.
  • We don't run out of power or water here so that's pretty cool and overall I love it here. 
  • And yes mom, I am eating enough, don't fret.

So with the Feira it's pretty crazy here.  Usually every area or neighborhood has its own Feira, but they go all out here.  There's lots of noise every Saturday morning as everyone is buying all sorts of goods from fruits, vegetables, pig hearts, pirated DVD's, cooking utensils, and stolen missionary cell phones.  I even saw a guy sleeping on top of one of the tables the other day too.  There's a guy named Israel whose nickname is "A Cobra," or in English "The Snake." Apparently he's been called The Snake forever by everyone in town and he hates it.  So at the Feira he drives around in a car with speakers attached to the top begging people to stop calling him The Snake.  He says things like, "You can call me Israel, Iz, or even Uncle Iz, just please stop calling me The Snake!!!!  I thought it was pretty funny.
Not a great picture of the Feira, but it's huge here and it goes back
 for about a kilometer (yes, I can relate to the metric system now.)
Where the Feira takes place the day after.

We were on the radio the other day.  We are starting to teach English classes at the church to gain more investigators and one of our member's father is the local DJ so he had us on his show.  We talked about the church, how we don't worship Joseph Smith, and about our new classes.  I felt pretty cool, that's for sure.
Me delivering a sermon to the people of Northern Alagoas.

Radio Starz

So quick abomination of the week:  there was this one girl we encountered who is 14 and pregnant and was living with her "husband."  Pretty abominable, huh?  It definitely took me back a bit.

To end this letter I want to talk about something that made me mad the other day.  We were talking to this one lady and we needed to get her married in order for her to be baptized.  When she told us she had no desire to get married the conversation went a little bit like this:

US:  "So will you get married legally to your husband?"

HER:  "Oh no, I definitely don't want to do that."

US:  "Why not?"

HER:  "I just don't want to."  (She then said something about her dad being married and getting drunk.)

US:  "Well how long have you lived with your boyfriend?"

HER:  "17 years."

US:  "Then what's the problem with getting married???"

HER:  "I just don't want to.  I don't want the commitment."

US:  "Commitment?  You have like four kids!!  Don't you want your family to be more united and to live with them forever?"

HER:  (incoherent grumbling)

US:  "It's a commandment of God.  You can't be saved if you aren't living the commandments."

HER:  (more grumbling)

US:  "If you had to choose between being saved, plus living with your family for eternity or not marrying your husband what would you choose?"

HER: ..... "I don't know."

I don't know.  I don't know?  That made me really mad for some reason.  It just doesn't compute with me why anyone wouldn't want this?  I guess it just shows us what it's like in the times we're living.  I bet it makes our Father in Heaven really sad to see this.  I can't help but think about in the book of Moses where Enoch beholds the wickedness of his day right before the flood and he sees God crying.

Moses 7:29, 32, 33, 37

29  And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

32  The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

33  And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;

37  But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

I mean this lady wouldn't do it for the salvation of herself and the eternal life of her family.  It really makes me think of people being "without affection and they hate their own blood."  I'm so thankful for this gospel in my life and for the happiness and protection it has brought me.  I'm grateful to know that I have an eternal family and that you, mom and dad, made that possible.  I'm thankful for the Savior's atonement and for everything He has done to save someone like me and also for a Father in Heaven who loves each one of us so very much.  I'll leave you with my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

- Elder Johnson

10 Reais to whomever can figure out what's wrong with my bible.  #Apostasia

I have successfully made, or will make, juice out of all of these fruits!!! I'm addicted to juice making.

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