Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Goats Sleeping Behind My Eyes... (& Ethan's Baptism Video)

So another week has come and pass down here in good 'ol ala Soledade!!!  This week was rather a disappointment though.  We tried to do some things different this week and it seemed like we were really busy the whole week, but nothing just ended up working out for us.  This next week should be pretty sick though, we've got a baptism lined up and we're working on ways to work with the members so everything should go over well this week.

Keyword: should.

Really though nothing too interesting happened this week, it was your normal, every day, week in Brazil.  People called us names, threatened us, oh and my personal favorite, told me that I had "Goats sleeping behind my eyes," you may ask me, Élder Johnson, what does it mean to have "Goats sleeping behind your eyes?"  Well, your guess is as good as mine. 

Well yeah, that's really about it, I don't have anything interesting to tell you all.  Sorry this week was such a disappointment, next week will have some better stuff for sure, so until next week!

-Élder Johnson

 ** Hi, this is Elder Johnson's mother.  A couple of weeks ago Elder Johnson's younger brother Ethan was baptized into the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I asked our missionary son if he would write a special talk for Ethan that we could read at his baptism so he could be part of this special day.  Instead of writing a talk he received permission to make a video of his talk and then sent it to us to play during the baptism program.  (This is soooo Tanner.  Why write a talk when you can make a video.)  Elder Johnson wanted to keep this a surprise from me and I didn't know about it until I saw his video being played at Ethan's baptism.  There were lots of good tears and smiles and it made the day even more special.  It was nice to have our missionary son, who is in Brazil finding those searching for the gospel, to play a part in his brother's baptism who has become a member of the church Elder Johnson is serving.  We wanted to share Elder Johnson's special message and let him know how proud we are of him.  Love my son.  (P.S. you might have to turn up your volume to hear it better.) **

Elder Johnson's video playing at his brother Ethan's baptism.

Our family on Ethan's baptism day.  We even brought "Flat Tanner" so he could be part of the occasion.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Another week has come and gone here in the beautiful land of Sergipe.  So I guess I'll start off with what we did for Pday today.  Today we went to....

The Zoo!

Yeah, THE ZOO!!!!!!  A few weeks ago we asked a member what were some cool things to do down here in Aracaju and he said there was this zoo here that was pretty cool.  We were a little taken a back because we didn't even know that they had zoos down here in the north east, and guess what the best part is.... it’s free!!!!  There is one catch to the zoo though, it's open every day of the week except one, can you guess which day it isn't open?


Missionaries have always tried to go to the zoo, but alas it is always closed for maintenance on Mondays, BUT, today is Tiradentes, a holiday for the Brazilian patriot Tiradentes, who helped lead a rebellion against the Portuguese in the state of Minas Gerais and was hanged to death, but because of what he did Brazil eventually gained its independence (one of the members of our ward is a history teacher.)  So what does that all mean to me?  That the zoo is open for only one Monday a year and it just so happens to be on Tiradentes (thank you Tiradentes) so we took our opportunity and went.  The zoo was pretty cool.  It ain’t no Hogle Zoo, but it'll do. 

 They did have some pretty interesting looking animals that you just don't have in the states.  They also had this pretty neat chairlift that you could ride over the top of the mountain but it was 14 Reais, so we decided not to. 

So we had the baptism for our good friend João this week.  He's been going to church for about six years and nobody knew he wasn’t baptized.  Well he was baptized on Saturday, so now everything is all good.  He wanted me to baptize him, which I was honored to do and now he's like our best friend.

We also got a golden referral this past week.  This lady has a son on a mission and at first didn't like anything about the church.  Now she said she just felt like she should start reading the Book of Mormon and now will be getting baptized this Saturday.  She said it was probably because of her son's prayers.  Needless to say he's very happy, she's very happy, and we're very happy.  #hapyness4dayz   The only people who probably aren't too happy are the missionary Elders we got the referral from.  They were teaching her, but then she moved into our ward, which is about two houses out of their area.  That's pretty rough man.

Also this week was "A Semana Santa" which included "Sexta-feira do paixão", "A Pascóa",  "Domingo de Ramos", "Sabado de Aleiluia", and "Quinta-Feira da Ceia", or just to put it a lot simpler, Easter.  Since Brazil is mainly a Catholic nation, there are quite a bit of Catholic Easter traditions.  Traditions like little parades the Catholic Church puts on throughout the week and nobody can eat meat, only fish.  Apparently that's kind of an unforgivable thing to do.  We asked for meat at this restaurant the other day and the waitress just kind of gave us this unbelieving kind of look.  The holiday basically starts on Thursday and that's when all other businesses shut down and everyone gets out of school.  Which means just a lot of loud music in the road, drinking, and partying, like usual.

I did take the time this week to study a lot about the Atonement.  I reread the Atonement chapters in the book “Jesus the Christ”, and I took a lot of time to ponder the Atonement.  It's amazing to really think about what Jesus went through.  I think we really get an appreciation for the Atonement when we really feel it working in our lives, to feel that the Atonement has actually made me a better person.  And that "Starting Today" we can rewrite who we are, become a better person, and not have to continue being what we once were.  We all have an eternal potential and "Because of Him" we can become something much greater than what me think we are right now.  That even though this life will be filled with imperfection, pain, disappointment, that people may fail us, human and mortal weakness may prevail every now and then, and we of course will fall short from time to time, but because Jesus conquered death and took upon every pain and dreadful thing anyone has ever done, we can become something more.  We can one day be forever with those we love.  We can one day become something absolutely amazing because of what Jesus did for us.  I highly doubt that there's a more beautiful idea out there than the true meaning of Atonement.  I'm thankful for what Jesus did for me and I've seen this gift work miracles in other people and in myself.  He's done so much for me and for that I will be forever thankful.

Well that's it for this week.  Easter was great down here and all is well.  Hope you all have a great week!!

-Élder Johnson e Johnson's

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Good To Be In Brazil.

Puppy.  What more do you want?

Well we got the transfer call and it looks like I'm staying in Soledade with Elder Coon for another transfer.  I'm excited, this last transfer was pretty legit and it ended very well if I do say so myself.

So on Saturday we had the baptism for our investigator Clécia and it was awesome!!  Before her baptism she managed to read the entire Book of Mormon all the way through and is currently in Alma.  She also got to read the whole Gospel Principles manual.  Before her baptism she got up and bore her testimony on repentance and it was just amazing.  The next day she came to church all happy and I had the privilege to confirm her.  She had a lot of her family come to the baptism and they had a bunch of questions afterwards so we'll see how it goes with them.  All in all everyone was just super happy and it was a great success.

To celebrate our day of extreme happiness, we added even more happiness to the equation by buying Açaí.  Açaí is probably one of the greatest things known to mankind.  It's this fruit they take from the Amazon and they freeze to ridiculously cold temperatures.  They then add a bunch of stuff like nuts, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, and granola, which makes it probably one of the tastiest things in the whole wide world.  You can't help but just smile while you eat it.  You take a bite and just smile from ear to ear.  The stuff gets you amped too, with its natural energy and what not, you just feel like you're on top of the world and that you can do just about anything.
Açai is the purple stuff.

Lasagna is also super good down here; Brazilian lasagna is way better than American lasagna.  In the states when you get lasagna, you think, "Oh that's cool, I like lasagna."  Here, when you get lasagna, you think "YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!"  You get all excited, it occupies your thoughts, and gets you all excited until you eat it.

So some funny things this week:

I became a plumber this week.  Our drain got backed up a bit so we had to find a way to unclog it.  We used The Most Sophisticated Brazilian Missionary Plumbing Tool we had with us, a wire coat hanger, and I went to work.  It was a pretty easy fix.  For some reason what appeared to be the stick to a tootsie pop got stuck in our shower drain, which makes no sense because tootsie pops don't exist down here.  All in all I saved the day and I'm so great and a hero and what not now.

Members of the church down here know a thing or two about English that they've learned from missionaries or companions on the mission.  Everyone knows words like:  Crazy and Freaking.  The other day I heard someone say, "Holy Cow" and I just about died of laughter.  I've never heard that one down here before.

So I heard a new rumor about the Mormon missionaries down here, which is "The Mormons are here to suck peoples blood."  That was a new one.  I'm adding that to my list of crazy things people say about us, which includes:
  • The Mormons are here to eat in people's houses.
  • The Mormons are werewolves.
  • The Mormons kidnap virgins and keep them as prisoners in our churches.
  • The Mormons are a cult.
  • The Mormons don't worship Jesus.  People tell me that while they look at my name tag that says "A igreja de JESUS CRISTO dos santos dos últimos dias."
  • And my personal favorite:  The Mormons are here to kidnap people, bring them to America, and sell their organs on the black market.
  • And now the new edition:  The Mormons are here to suck people’s blood.

Yeah, us Mormons are pretty crazy.  There was also some guy who wanted to Bible bash with us while I was on a division and resorted to just telling us a bunch of other crazy stuff.  In the end he said God told him to date his cousin so we just left him there.

Well, overall this was a pretty sick week.  We should be having another baptism this week, which was actually a surprise. This lady in our ward came up to us and asked us if we could baptize her fiancée who was been going to church for over five years.  Nobody knew that he wasn't baptized yet, so we should be getting a free baptism this week!  Pretty great huh?

Well I'm glad you're all great back home.  Sounds like Ethan's baptism was a hit.  I heard the speaker you guys had did a really great job or somethin’.  (FYI: Tanner made a surprise video that his family played at his brother’s Ethan’s baptism and it was great!).  Congratulations Ethan and congratulations Ryan for performing the baptism.  Anyways have a great week everyone and I'll talk to you all next week.

It's good to be in Brazil.

-Élder Johnson e Johnson's


Churrasco & Tereré
Almoço  (lunch)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Oh Conference

Someone who excitedly painted JESUS! on their sidewalk.

Oh conference, aren't you just the best.

This marks my third general conference on the mission.  It was pretty cool, I was a little sad that they didn't announce any new temples, but I guess it makes sense that they want to finish making all the temples that they already have announced first.  Conference is a lot of time spent at the church; we were there for about 6 hours on Saturday.  Down here we always watch conference in Portuguese so we can stay with our investigators.  I liked the talk by Elder Henry B. Eyring, especially the part where he welcomed anyone who was invited by the missionaries, our investigator looked over at us and said "Hey!  He's talking to me!"

Our investigator is just the best, we should be having her baptism this Saturday, which is exciting.  She went to all 5 sessions of conference, even the women's meeting.  She's already read the Book of Mormon all the way through once and is on her second read; mind you we've only been teaching her for about 3 weeks.  She has however, been one of the most challenging investigators in the sense that I may not have all the answers to her questions.  Like the other day she read this scripture:  Genesis 6:4

 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare to them, the same became mighty men which were of old men of renown.

She had the following questions:

1.  What does the phrase "sons of God" mean ( e.g. angels or people) and what's the difference between them and "the daughters of man?"

2.  Where do giants fit into this scripture and what was their relationship with the sons of god and the daughters of man?

For those of you who don't know, there is no section in Preach My Gospel that gives a thorough explanation as to what this scripture means, so I was la bit caught off guard but I came up with a sufficient answer.  Anyone who can give the correct answer gets 10 Reais.

So we're hoping everything goes well for this Saturday.

It was also cool to hear that our mission President Gonzaga was called to be an Area Seventy!!  Way to go President!  

Really that's about it for this week, we'll be preparing our investigator for her baptism and we should end the transfer on a high note.  That's it for this week.  Until next week!!!!

Elder Johnson

Mungunzá, which is corn, coconut milk, with sugar on top, it's really really good.

Some little girl asked us to draw her a picture, so this is what we drew.