Monday, December 30, 2013

Long Time, No See.

Hi Mommy….

That is indeed a joke, for I saw you guys just the other day.  It was great to chat with you all back home.  It really didn't feel all that weird, it felt like I was just there the other day and we were all just chat'n it up back home!  But alas, t'was not so.  It still was awesome to see you all though!

This week, for those of you who didn't know, was indeed Christmas.  President gave us permission to stay out a little bit later for a dinner if someone invited us over on Christmas for dinner on Christmas Eve.  So we got an invite and had a glorious feast! It was filled with us giving a Christmas message, turkey, and all manner of deliciousness!  

Christmas Day was pretty great too.  We woke up and opened up presents, Elder Torres really liked the presents you sent and I really enjoyed the Calendar and Temple Book.  I think it's very cool that anyone nowadays can just go and make themselves a fancy little book just willy nilly and not have to go and make a billion copies, you can just make a book!

I did enjoy all the presents rather nicely, they made me happy, and I'm excited to start marking my calendar!  We Skyped on Christmas, saw ya'll, and had a very merry discussion.  

We then left to go work and we managed to teach a lesson that night, which I was doubting we'd be able to do, because of all of the partying.

So, some other interesting things this week was I got to do my first interview as district leader!  That was pretty cool.  I got to ask all the questions and see if these two girls were ready for baptism.  The interview went over well and these girls I interviewed, indeed passed, and were baptized this week by one of the companionships in my district.

I also got to teach the gospel principles class for Sunday school last week.  Can you guess what the topic was on? It was indeed:


Yep, they saved the best topic for the last day of the year.  I was a bit nervous to present this principle, that is very profound and deep to a group of investigators/recent converts.  It went over well though.  We had a very thought provoking discussion on eternal progression and the sorts and it didn't make anyone’s' heads explode out of overload of Mormon extremeness.  I was pretty afraid that I'd be teaching a topic that make some people leave the church, but they all thought it made sense though, so I survived.  

So this week was lots of work, we had lots of days of trying to find new investigators and alas they did not want to be found.  The first few days of the week were difficult and we were getting almost nowhere.  It then came to pass that the weekend we just exploded.  We were able to get ourselves some new investigators and it was sick!!!  Determination and the help of the spirit really pay off.

Well, that's it.  It sure was fun to see you all on Wednesday, but I must continue and bake in the Brazilian Sun.  Thanks for everything and you're the best!  Until next week!

-Elder Johnson

P.S. Thanks again for the presents, the temple book was my favorite for sure. I love you all and have a happy new year!  

P.P.S.  Fun fact, only about 18 hours of this year 2013 was I a normal person and not a missionary.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Natal!

Maceió Brazil Mission

Another week has come and gone down here in the freezing land of Northeast Brazil.  It was a rather interesting week if I do say so myself.  On Tuesday we had our Christmas Conference at the Farol Stake Center and it was legit!  It's the only time of year we have the whole mission together in one place so I got to meet everybody!  Old companions, mission friends, and my group from the MTC were finally reunited.  It was an all day conference filled with talks from President and Sister Gonzaga, lunch, a talent show, and all sorts of festival frivolity.  Some of the Elders got up and did a news presentation of inside jokes and it was hilarious.

Good old fashioned me and Elder Rutledge photo.

Our MTC group finally reunited.

Filho, Papai, e Avô.  (Son, Father, and Grandfather)

On the way back we had a pretty interesting guy talk to us on the bus.  Here it is pretty normal for people to get on the bus for free and start selling things or ask for money.  This time we had a guy get on to sell us cookies. I'm pretty sure he just stole these cookies because his little speal went a little like this, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen.  I'd like to wish you all a great trip and a Merry Christmas.  I am here today to sell you these cookies (holds up box of cookies and looks at it rather confused) Yeah....I'm not sure if these are cookies covered in chocolate or a bar of chocolate with cookies sprinkled on top....but it's from the company Amor, so it's got to be good right?"  Needless to say I did not buy his cookies.

We also had a baptism this week!  It was glorious.  We baptized the daughter of the woman we baptized the other week and it was a great experience.  It's absolutely amazing to see what kind of changes this gospel can truly bring to people.  It was so cool to see the difference the gospel made.  The baptism itself was really cool. Right as I started saying the baptismal prayer it got supper quiet, like really really quiet.  For those of you who do not know much about Maceió (which I'm assuming is a rather large number of you) it's never quiet, but during the baptism it was absolutely silent and there was this incredible feeling of peace there in that room.

Soooooo that's about it for this week.  I think I'll be calling Wednesday around 2:00 my time, which I'm thinking will be about 10:00 where you guys are.  Until then, I'll be putting on my snow coat and fighting of the chill winds and freezing rain.  Until Wednesday!

-Elder Johnson

Jardim Do Horto District

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh, By The Way...

So transfers rolled around and I was not transferred this time around and neither was my companion.  Because none of us were being transferred we had no need to go to the transfer meeting.  The Zone Leaders said they'd call me to let me know what would happen at the meeting later that day.  We continued on with our normal daily routine:  we taught the gospel, ate lunch, talked with some crazy people, you know, normal things.  When night came we started to plan when I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize, I responded and the following conversation ensued:

ME:    Hello this is Elder Johnson.
SISTER:    Hey Elder Johnson this is Sister _________
ME:    (why is she calling me?) Hey Sister _________ do you need anything?
SISTER:    Yeah, I just want to know where this week’s district meeting will be held.
ME:    District Meeting?
SISTER:    Yeah you're our new District Leader right?
ME:    (heart stops) ....  I'm your District Leader?
SISTER:    Yeah, you're a District Leader didn't the Zone Leaders call you?
ME:    No...
SISTER:    Oh... well..... Congratulations!!!

I then received a call from the Zone Leaders telling me that I was District Leader, with a district of six sisters.  Needless to say that was a very stressful moment for me.  He then gave me all of my instructions over the phone and and wished me luck and told me I had a meeting to do on Thursday (it was like 10 at night on Tuesday when I got the call.)  The next day was filled with much preparation and stress.  The meeting, I feel, went over pretty well.  I talked about finding investigators and how it mixes in with faith and I feel like I did pretty good for one day of preparation.  Anyways, that was a fun/traumatic experience.  It's all good though, I'm learning a lot.

So on another note, I saw the worst clown in the world the other day.  We were talking with a member in front of her house the other day, which is located on a hill.  We heard lots of chanting and out of nowhere popped this really terrible clown.  He had dirty hair, with crude white makeup on his face and was wearing clown pants.  He had this unicycle and he was accompanied by a band of excited chanting children.  He would yell something and they'd respond "tem sim, senhor!"  He then hopped on his unicycle and went barreling down the dirt hill, with the flock of children chasing after him into the sunset.

So two people who are really cool, one is our recent convert.  She was having issues with coffee before her baptism, but after her baptism she told us that she just doesn't have any desire to drink coffee anymore.  The other is our investigator, with whom we are trying to get him married.  We went and got all of the papers and information for marriage and we were explaining it all to him.  We were trying to tell him where he could pay less for marriage, when he told us that it didn't matter, that he knew it was right for him to get married and he had a desire to follow the gospel!

One person who isn't so cool was an investigator we lost this week.  We showed up at her house and the following conversation ensued:

Her:    I have some exciting news for you!
Me:    Really?
Her:    Yes, I did what you said.
Me:    Uh huh.
Her:    I prayed.
Me:    Yes.
Her:    I received and answer.
Me:    YES!
Her:    That I need to stay in my current religion...
Me:    (slight dry sobbing)

Yeah, she said she had a vision and that she was supposed to stay in her religion.

Oh well..

To top things off we had a conference for all of northeast Brazil yesterday.  It was given by Elder Ulysses Soares, of the presidency of the seventy, and Elder M. Russell Ballard, even spoke.  They talked a lot about missionary work, going to the temple, and paying your tithing.  It was really cool; it was broadcast by satellite and even the presidency of the area spoke.  We had a conference for our stake the night before, they're working on splitting the stake so they held a missionary work conference on Saturday, they had all the missionaries in the stake come and they gave a training to all the members.  It was really cool, and everyone left all excited to do missionary work.

Well that's it for today, a pretty interesting week if I do say so myself.  Hope all is well in the snow.  Love you all and have an amazing week!

Elder Johnson

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh No...

This is the Christmas Tree of Salvation.  I made it out of the kit you sent me.
 I've since made the tree to teach gospel truths.

Well it's been another week down here.  Everyone is gearing up for Christmas, putting up trees, hanging lights on houses, just loads of festive frivolity!  They have told me a little bit about the Skype call.  We can make it anytime between December 23-26 so you can choose which day.  Also mom, I don't know if you've realized it but I still have a little bit more than a year to go (you can make it!!!!!) so I think it's a bit early for President to say something about my release date.  My guess though is that I should be back before Christmas 2014.

Weird people Elder Johnson spoke with this week:

There was one guy who called me a werewolf.  Apparently there was a story that the missionaries are also werewolves and they transform at night so that's why they have to be back home by 9:00 pm.

We also spoke with this guy at a member’s house.  I asked him his name and he responded:  " Hmmmmm.... My name......  I don't think I'm at liberty to tell you my name right now."  The member then proceeded to invite him to church, but he didn't have any of it.  He started to say really weird things like:  "When you have a religion, you have to know that it is true, and you do that by analyzing it, by the way that it is." Just lots of nonsense, I thought it was hilarious.

We also had a baptism!  WOOOO!!  First baptism as senior companion and therefore a great confidence builder!  It was a pretty great experience. Our investigator was really happy and we had a ton of the members from the ward there.  My son was able to baptize her, it was an amazing day, the spirit was really strong, people were happy, and Elder Johnson has more confidence now!

Well that's it for now.  Our district leader called and told me I'm up for round two here in Jardim do Horto, which really wasn't that big of a surprise.  We've got some other investigators that are progressing; we just need to get them married first.  Hope all is going well living in the land of the ice and snow.  Until next Monday!

-Elder Johnson

P.S. I wasn't fat.

P.P.S. I really wasn't.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I'm Not Crying

I wasn't fat before my mission.  I've decided that I'm never ever going to show a picture of myself “before” my mission to the Brazilians ever again.  Every time I do, to an investigator, member, or missionary, we always have the following conversation:

THEM:    Wow you were fat before your mission.
ME:    I wasn't fat.
THEM:    Yeah you were.  You were enormous.
ME:    You're being ridiculous.  I may have had a bit more weight than I do right now, but I wasn't fat.
THEM:    You were a little fat.
ME:    'silent sobbing…'

Brazilians 1      Elder Johnson's self-esteem 0
BEFORE my mission.
NOW during my mission.

We did have Zone Conference this week and it was glorious.  I kept hearing the same thing over and over again about not regretting your mission.  This has kind of been my little theme during my time here, not letting anything make me regret my mission five or ten years down the road.  We got some changes with the rules that we can only use “shoulder bags” now and there was lots of good training.  I also got to see Elder Rutledge, which is always a grand time.
Me & Elder Rutledge
We had three new missionaries arrive from the states today that were waiting for Visas.  Two of them served in the good old Salt Lake City South Mission.  Apparently Bluffdale is booming.  One even served in our Copperview Stake for a week, so that was really fun to talk with him.

That really is about all that I have to say about this week.  It's been a pretty average week filled with contacting, teaching, and talking with crazies.  I really wish I had more to write, but I just don't this week.  I love you all and have fun with the winter weather.  You know for sure I will be digging out my snow coat and sled this next Monday.

Elder Johnson

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



It was a pretty interesting week.  We are now working with about three couples that need to get married, which is something I have yet to do on the mission so this should be pretty fun.  We've got a few of them to already commit to marriage, but crossing that bridge was a bit rough.  I had to transform from Elder Johnson, missionary of the Lord, to Elder Johnson, missionary of the Lord and relationship advisor.  I've had to calm some feelings between some couples and get them to fully trust each other.  Because of my lack of relationship skills (I'm so lonely) this has proven to be a rather interesting experience.  It's been filled with lots of talks like this: "I know your relationship has been rocky in the past, but with marriage it can bring many blessings to your life...  Civilly marrying is a way we show trust in one another... Forgiveness and Repentance are essential in any relationship...  A family centered on Christ is a family that will be together for time and all eternity...  João, tell her you love her."  It's been rather fun, and we've been having to get lots of legal information to get people married.  It's going to take a while to get some of these people married because of complex legal situations that I really don't understand, but it's been lots of fun.

The enemy is at work here.  We had like 8 people committed to go to church and none of them went.  This isn't an unusual thing, but their excuses were extraordinary this time.  They're usually, "Oh I went to my cousins house...  I have to prepare lunch...” or some other lame excuse.  Yesterday, however, we got many great ones, such as:  “I have two weddings in one day…  Family members with cancer who are visiting for the last time… Ridiculous work schedules… and hospitalized children” (she even had the wounds to prove it.)  Alas, righteousness will prevail!

I touched one the monkeys the other day. Highlight of my life.

We had divisions with the zone leaders the other day and it went rather swell.  He showed me a lot about working with members and all that funness.  It really helped a lot and I'm filled with many ideas.  

That really is about it for this week.  Nothing too exciting has happened, but we're working pretty well.  No Dad they don't have Brazilian Thanksgiving down here, we're already singing Christmas songs in sacrament meeting.

Well I'm going to go preach the good word, until next week.

Élder Johnson

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rather Odd Miracles

The view from our window.

We had some miracles this week, even if they were rather odd. 

The first one happened a few days ago. My companion and I were teaching a lesson outside on the sidewalk when some guy with two cigarettes in his mouth came up to my companion and yelled  "YOU ARE ON MISSIONS!!!  BUY GUARANÁ" and then gave two Real notes to my companion. We tried to tell him that we couldn't accept his money but he yelled "NO!  YOU ARE SERVING MISSIONS!!!!  BUY GUARANÁ AND BREAD!!!!!" he then slapped another two Real note in my hand, gave the lowest bow I've ever seen, and preceded on his merry way.  Our investigator took it as a sign of love from God so I really can't complain.  We then bought Guaraná (a Brazilian soda) and bread out of fear of that man.

My companion asked one of our investigators if he knew of anyone that would like to hear the gospel. He said yes. He told us he knows this man believes in God, but is hardened, doesn't want to go to church, and overall hardcore.  We went over to the house he referred us to and this very nice lady let us in (who turned out to be a less active member.) She led us to her husband (our referral) and he turned out to be a very nice man.  I was thinking we'd walk in on a man with a beer in each hand, smoking, huge, and covered with tattoos that'd say things like "Eu Odeio os Mórmons" (I Hate Mormons), but he turned out to be really nice, felt the spirit, and invited himself to church.  At the end of the lesson he asked us if we could "make continual visits to his house and teach him the gospel." .... fine.... I guess we will......

I've reached an "I'm very tired phase of my mission" which hopefully means something good.

So cool experience.  We had some recent converts bring us to a house of a less active member to try and bring him back into activity.  Usually when you work with less active members it's because they got offended or stopped reading the Book of Mormon and fell away.  These types of lessons are usually pretty chill and we try to rebuild their faith.

That's not who this guy was.

Turns out he practically was born in the church, attended until he was 20, and stopped going to church just because he wanted too.  He's a lawyer (rich) and now is part of an Espírita Church.  I still don't know what Espírita is completely; nobody seems to be able to tell me.  The only thing I really understand is that they're Christians, but believe in reincarnation, that Jesus did not atone for our sins, and that we have to atone for our own sins.  We talked for about two hours hitting lots of deep doctrine points and everybody bearing powerful testimony, it was nuts.  I've never really had a deep doctrinal discussion in Portuguese before, but I did that day.  We proved our point and the recent converts bore really powerful testimony.  He didn't accept to come back to church, but he did accept to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  We were also able to plant some seeds in some of the neighbors while we were there and one of them actually seemed rather interested.  It was a very interesting experience. I truly felt that I wasn't "confounded before men" and I felt completely confident the entire time, which I thought was a very interesting experience.

That's about it for this week, really nothing else really happened.  We're trying to find some ex investigators around here and the members are really supportive.  I'll just keep chugging along down here.  Until next time!

Elder Johnson

P.S.  Abraços  (Hugs)

P.P.S.  Love you lots.  Tchau a abraços beijos sucesso batismos!*  (Goodbye, hugs, kisses, success baptisms!)

A rich part of our area.

A small Grota.  We do have a bigger one, but I'm too afraid to take a picture of it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm Very Catholic

´Twas a very slow week.  We made lots of contacts and tried to visit lots of people, but had little to no success with that.  We'd mark appointments with people and of course when we got there, they wouldn't be home.  Nobody wanted to really listen to us also this week so that's cool too.  I have a feeling this next week will be better though, we had a very extreme Ward Counsel meeting the other day.  I didn't know that Ward Counsel meetings could get extreme, but yet again the mission has proven to be filled with all manner of surprises.  We got there at the meeting and everyone started shooting out ideas of how to get the less active members to come back to church.  They all started throwing down names of people they wanted us to visit and dates when we could leave with some of the members to talk with less actives.  The room was filled with about 10 people all throwing down names and addresses at the same and it was complete chaos... I loved it.

So some of the wonders that encompasses the magical world of Elder Johnson this week:

We went to a lunch appointment with a family that indeed has monkeys for pets.  There are quite a few monkeys in my area because we're close to some kind of forest reserve that they decided to build in the middle of the city, which is inhabited with these tiny-creepy-koala-looking monkeys. We first spied them sitting on the roof of the house next door to us and we saw them again at lunch the other day.  I naturally was overjoyed and took a lot of pictures of them, which I probably won’t be able to send today because I hate this computer and it wont read my card.

We also talked to lady who told us she was very Catholic.  We invited her to learn more about Jesus Christ and she said in her own words:  "Guys, you've got to understand that I'm very Catholic, like very very Catholic.  I'm not a little a little bit Catholic, I'm seriously Catholic."  

I also met a dog named "Meg Ryan" the other day, which I found to be rather funny.

The Grota here makes no sense either.  We went inside because we had a reference for a family there and it made absolutely no sense.  Grota's should be poor right? Then how come these people can afford satellite and HD TV's when some of these people don't even have a bathroom?  There were churches and stores down there with a putrid smelling stream that everyone uses for a sewer.

To answer some of your questions Jardim Do Horto is the ward that takes part of the neighborhoods Canaã and Gruta de Lourdes. I'm liking my new area, the members here a really cool and work well with us.  We don't have McDonalds or fast food in my area, but we do have a Hiper Bompreço and an Extra, which is really cool.  Training is pretty cool too, it's a little bit of work but it's fun, you learn a lot.

So I guess I'll end this on a more spiritual note.  I was reading the word the other day when I came across this scripture D&C 103:36 which says "All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith."  It just kind felt different.  I've read the D&C a few times and I never ran across that scripture before. It's like a formula to overcoming trials and being successful.  You can bring about your "victory" through diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.  I shared this scripture at our lunch appointment and the member and her mom jumped at the scripture and said it felt like they heard it for the first time. Her mom even asked for me to write it down for her so that was pretty cool. 

So that's it for now, I'm going to cry repentance atop a soapbox in the middle of the road. Tchau!

-Elder Johnson

Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm A Father

The other day at transfer meeting I was called to serve in Ala Jardim Do Horto inMaceió.  After about 10 months on my mission I finally get to serve in the city I was called to.  It's a pretty interesting area, it has some tall 10 story buildings, a pretty nice neighborhood, along with another neighborhood that has houses nicer then probably most of the houses where we live.  It also has some neighborhoods that I'm used to and Grota!  For those of you who don't know what a Grota is it’s a kind of Favela, for those of you who don't know what a Favela is it’s a slum that is built on top of hills.  Grotas are different from Favelas because you descend into the Grota instead of climb to the top.  It's pretty different; they've got houses built on top of other houses all willy-nilly with staircases climbing to the top as roads.  They have Catholic shrines of Mother Mary inside and some of the houses are even made out of scraps of wood and tin metal.  It's a pretty daunting looking place.  There's a road that passes next to our Grota and there's always stuff going on inside, you can here barking dogs, commotion of people, and a blend of all the music they're blasting at the top of the Grota, it's all sorts of chaos and madness.
Jardim do Horto Maceio Alagoas Brazil
So naturally I had to go inside.

It's pretty cool inside the Grota, it's definitely not what I'm used to but it's pretty cool.

Oh and I'm training.

Yeah when I got to the transfer meeting they announced that Kyle and I would be training.  Training, since I got here, has been one of my biggest fears.  Training takes quite a bit of responsibility and this would mean I would be whitewashing into my area. So yeah when I was called to train (and I could feel it coming too) I definitely didn't know how to respond.

I would like to liken receiving the call to train unto receiving the news of having a terminal illness.  People come up to you and say things like, "Hey man it's going to be alright." "I know you can do it!" "You're good enough." "I bet it won't hurt too bad."  Other people congratulate you and as with congratulating someone who just received word that they'd be dying from a terminal illness, it made absolutely no sense to me.  "Hey congratulations Bro!" "Way to go on your imminent doom buddy." "Man I wish I was in your place."

Yeah, no sense whatsoever.

So all of us trainers chilled at the church until the secretaries came to get us.  We got to the Presidents house and we saw all of the new missionaries.  I was called to train Elder Torres!  Who is a Gaúcho (cowboy) from Rio Grande Do Sul (southern most state in Brazil) and has the accent to prove it "Que Barbaridade Tche!"  He's really cool and I really don't have to do much training he's the most excited missionary I've ever met.  He just goes and makes contacts like there's no tomorrow and just tears it up all day. So my son is pretty cool.

We whitewashed into an area that was previously an area for sisters and so they left the house all clean and instructions on paper with hearts on it.

So yeah it's going pretty well here in Brazil.  They don't really have Halloween down here so I was really sad, but it's cool I'm over it. Well I'm going to be down here trying to train a missionary. Wish me luck!

-Elder Johnson

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Last Week In Viçosa

Our Zone T-shirt.  I'm a bit hard to find.  I have white hair in this photo and standing next to the sweating guy.
 Guess which one is Elder Rutledge?

I got the news last night that I'm getting transferred so that'll be exciting.  Five Reais to anybody who guesses my next area correctly. I'm going to miss Viçosa because I sure learned a whole lot here and grew a ton.

So I was asked if I already have had children by some lady this week.  I told her that I was 20 and that I'm not allowed to have children until after my mission.  She then asked me why I wanted to be an old dad. Yep....

Oh the abomination of the week goes out to the 14 year old girl we talked to who has a boyfriend who is 23.  We asked her if she found it to be the least bit strange and she answered no.

There's also a church really close to our house that likes to sing a lot of our hymns.  I understand hymns like "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Nearer My God To Thee", but they were singing "Come, Come Ye Saints" yesterday and I have no idea as to how it pertains to their religion.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they were to sing "If You Could Hie To Kolob" in their next meeting.

I was called out of nowhere during this week’s sacrament meeting to give the first talk after the opening hymn which was loads of fun. I said a quick prayer and gave a little talk on the Sacrament, which I felt went over pretty well! So that's my tender mercy of the week!

So we had some baptisms this week!  The first we held at 2:00 in the afternoon for our investigators/recent converts Valeria e Veríssimo!  They're awesome!  We found them while searching for less actives and they accepted everything, could repeat doctrine, volunteered to pray, and even made their own baptismal meeting invites.  We had to baptize Valeria twice because she didn't go all the way down the first time, but the second time she said she felt so good and she just left the font all happy and smiling.

We then held the next baptismal meeting at 9:00 in the afternoon for our investigator Neto.  We planned to baptize him at 7:00, but we had some issues come up so we had to delay a little bit.  He's really cool; he lives in another city but attends church here because it's the closest one to him.  When we first talked with him he'd already read a substantial amount of the Book of Mormon.  When we taught him the Word of Wisdom, we asked him what things he thought God wouldn't want us to drink or smoke and the first thing he said was coffee!  Yeah he's really cool.  It was an amazing baptism and just listening to him talk about how he felt afterwards was absolutely awesome!  The branch out here is growing and it makes me so excited to see where it will go in the future.
The baptism of Neto.  He was baptized by his nephew who just became a Priest that same week.

Well that's it for now, I've got to find out where my next area is and get a new companion.  Tchau! 

Elder Johnson

Bye Companion!

Die Companion!

Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm 20 Now, That's Pretty Weird.

Birthday wishes to Elder Johnson from all around the world from family & friends.
Utah, France, New Hampshire, Hong Kong, Arizona, Peru, California, Massachusetts, Africa, Disneyland, Brazil

Well t'was a pretty good week with the work and all.  We found some new people, lost some old people, got yelled at by apostates, you know, the usual same old same old. Really there isn't much to talk about this week.  We really just had a pretty normal week.  We have some investigators getting ready for baptism this week, so hopefully they will be baptized this Saturday.  One thing that was pretty interesting was that we got to go to Maceió to pick some stuff up at the mission office, and yeah.... that's really it.  Next week is transfers so that'll be cool and I'll be ending my companions life too.


Oh, and it was my birthday too.

So I guess I'm 20 now, that's pretty weird.  I feel like I should be more mature and responsible than I really am, but I guess that'll come more with time.  With all the self-restraint I could muster I didn't open your birthday package until yesterday night so  that was a whole lot of self control right there.  I really enjoyed the package filled with beautiful ties, music, cards, (my companion got a real kick out of the card that Adam and Emily sent,) and all sorts of frivolity.  I especially liked the t-shirts you sent me.  I kind of forget all about my love for geek culture shirts and so that was a good reminder.  I was also very impressed with the photo album of pictures you sent me, very creative.  You managed to get all my family and friends to take those pictures holding happy birthday signs to me so that was really cool, I liked it a lot.  It looks like you all haven't changed too much.  I liked the recorder with everyone wishing me happy birthday.  Riley has a super deep voice now, which was weird.  Overall it was a really good day.  I went to church, taught the Elder's Quorum lesson, and then I got to go help out in the Primary for the next hour because the primary teacher traveled over the weekend.  That was loads of fun with all of the little kids.  I also managed to cry some repentance and get some good old fashioned gospel preachin' in too.  President and Sister Gonzaga even called to wish me a happy birthday. I just want to say thanks for the package and for all of the effort you went through to send it and all the work you put into it.  It was a really great blessing and it made me very happy.  It made me think of how blessed I am and for everything my Father in Heaven has done for me.  He gave me everything, a loving family, millions of other blessings, and I just sat back and thought about how good my life is.  I'm so thankful for the gospel in my life and for the amazing blessing it is.  I'm thankful for my Savior and for his Atonement.  Yesterday was just a day of thanks, and I'm honored to be here serving the people of Viçosa on my birthday.  Thanks again for everything you've done and I hope you all had a good time eating my birthday cake... without me... JK LULZ.  I hope all is well back home.  Make sure to thank the family for the presents and cards.  Love you and have an amazing week!

Elder Johnson

P.S.  Thanks to anyone who had something to do with that package.

P.P.S. Now please stop sending me expensive packages.

P.P.P.S.  Thanks again family.