Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm Proud To Be An American.

Brazilian Sidewalk

Where at least I know I'm free, dang it!!!

I got into a rather heated discussion this week with some of our investigators.  They had some questions about good ol' Murica and I happily responded.  They in turn decided to change our discussion into a "Let's bash on the USA" discussion.  I in turn defended my land like a true patriot and I did not back down!!!!  You don't realize how big of a patriot you are until you live in another country where people like to make fun of the USA.  YOU CAN'T TAKE THE SKY FROM ME!!!!!!!!

We had zone conference this week, as usual it awesome.  President Gonzaga talked about the change of a new mission president we'll be having soon and how me are part of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  There was lots of trainings, and spiritual things, and was an overall jolly time.  The assistants did a "Book of Mormon responds to the questions of the soul, northeast Brazil version" which was really funny, and actually helped out quite a bit.
Maceio Zone Conference

This week I also had the opportunity to give a surprise talk in sacrament meeting woohoo!!!!!  The secretary told me about 25 minutes before sacrament so I had to prepare with much haste.  I ended up speaking about repentance and the role we as members have to help those who are need of repentance, who maybe have lost there way, and to show those who do not know the path to salvation and eternal happiness.  I felt like I did pretty well.  I'm getting more and more comfortable with speaking in church and I don't even really need to write down that much to help me!

We went to war yesterday.  Elder López and I had to take off our missionary tags and put on our "Johnson and López Professional Marriage Counseling" tags.  We were teaching a couple who were trying to get married.  We brought a copy of "A Família: A Proclamação ao Mundo" to them and we were trying to teach them how to raise a successful family based on Christ.  The lesson went over very well, until the end.

Then the bomb went off.

The two started fighting accusing each other of heinous deeds and all sorts of terrible things.  She started crying and he wasn't being too nice to her so López and I had to swoop in and save the day.  They said they were going to need a marriage counselor, but we told them how to save their relationship.  The problem, their relationship wasn't based on the family, each other, or Christ.  One of them was only thinking about themselves and refused to put the needs of other ahead of his own.  We did damage control with advice such as:

"The relationship has to have humility and forgiveness.  You can't let what the other says hurt you and you need to be able and willing to forgive them."

"Take a piece of paper and write down your goals you want as a couple."

"José take a piece of paper and write down all of the good qualities she has and share it with her.  No, I don't care if she already knows these things, you have to be supportive and express how you really feel to her."

"A relationship with a foundation not centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ will not stand."

"You need to learn to forgive and not let your emotions get the better of you."

"Look what you did José, you made her cry, APOLOGIZE!!!!"

Yeah it was an absolute mess.  We talked with them for a good hour and half and I think we got almost nowhere.  In the end we left with a prayer and no one was happy.

One thing I've learned during my mission is how I want to raise my family.  I definitely don't want to have my family be like the mess we had the other day.  You learn how much of a difference the gospel makes in the lives of families.  There's a big difference between the families in the ward who are faithful and apply the gospel in their lives and a lot of the other families I see throughout the day, where they only care about themselves and children are either accidents or not that big of a priority.  

You kind of see a big polarization here.  On one hand you see a lot of single moms with a lot of kids and no husband because he's probably drunk, abuses her, or just doesn't really care.  You see lots of problems with drugs and what disobedience to the law of chastity brings.  The other day I saw 2 ten-year-old kids sniffing glue on the bus.  Some guy got mad at them, told them to study, and threw their glue out of the bus.  They then got off to go and try and find it.

On the other hand you see families that just radiate the spirit, everyone is happy, the family is most likely to have both a father and a mother, and there is peace.  You kind of see a huge difference down here and it makes me think how I want my future family.  So thanks Mom and Dad for a strong family based on Christ, it really makes a huge difference.

Well, that's it. This week is Carnival, so things should get pretty interesting.  I hope I'll be able to send you all an email next week but I have my doubts, it is in fact Carnival.

Até logo!!!

-Élder Johnson


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