Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Am Not A Happy Camper

Well actually, now that I'm thinking about it, the title should be called "I WASN’T A Happy Camper FOR 4 DAYS OF THE WEEK" but alas, it seems a bit long for a title.  We will get to the reasons why this camper wasn't too thrilled this week in a bit.

So this week I got my Visa renewed YEEEAAAHHHH!!!!!!!  Yep, finally got that out of the way.  When did my Visa expire you ask?  It expired in March.  Why wasn't it renewed?  Because my Visa sat in an office in Brasília for about 7 months.  So that means that I've been here illegally in the country for 7 months and that they finally decided to renew my Visa when I have less than 2 months left here.  #Beauracracy 

Mother, you probably wont like this next part too much, but I'm going to write it anyways.  You've been warned.

So it was really great that I renewed my Visa on Tuesday because Wednesday night my companion and I were afflicted with a plague.  When I woke up the next day moral plummeted as I started to feel really sick.  Fever, body aches, and abdominal pain.  We held down the fort until we needed to get to the Sister's area to do a baptismal interview.  We did the interview and came back and we got back and I died.  I just layed down in bed and tried to sleep, but alas sleep was fleeting and the pain was intense.  I didn't sleep the whole night and I couldn't keep down anything I drank or ate.  The next morning I went to one of the hospitals and they told me I had a good old fashioned case of food poisoning.  They hooked my up to the IV and hydrated me right up!  Gave me a prescription and I was on my way.

Well all was well for a while until I started feeling worse so later that night I went to a different hospital and they were able to hook me up with some sweet meds.  From then on I got better, slowly, but now I'm all good.  It sure wasn't the most pleasant experience in the world.  This camper wasn't the cheeriest fellow in this outdoor extravaganza, but it's all over now.  It allowed for some good time to think and reflect and ponder the deep questions of life.  So I was able to learn some things through my sickness.

Well that's it for now.  Nothing really happened because I was inside the whole week basically because it was rather difficult for me to move.  Whatever.  I'm over it now.  Let's be optimistic!


-Élder Johnson

Monday, October 20, 2014



Yeah today is a pretty normal day I guess.  Nothing too noteworthy happened today or this week (except it is his 21st Birthday today!!!)  Nothing really to pay attention to or remember...

And Dad, to respond you to your comment about my age and the ability to buy booze.  Since I got here I could have bought whatever liquor I want!  I've seen little 11 year old kids buy beer at corner stores, so nothing too new or exciting for me.  (No, I don't buy or consume alcoholic beverages).

So lets get down to business.

I think it's really this week that I've realized how much I've changed over the past two years.  I found that I can't remember the lyrics to songs I used to know.  One thing that really really surprised me was that the other Elders in my house asked me for exercise advice.  No I did not make a grammatical error and yes, what I wrote was intentional and a fact.  The other Elders in my house asked me for exercise advice.  Mom, what has happened to your son?  I was pretty shocked too.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME!!!!!!!!!  I blame Elder Rutledge.

I was also asked to explain baseball this week, since nobody here has ever played or even knows how to play for a matter of fact.  I was really shocked to find out that I know quite a bit about the rules of baseball.  Since when have I ever been someone to explain sports.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME!!!!!!!!

Here is the conversation I had with some guy the other day:

SOME GUY:   Hey! What church are you guys from?
US:    The Church of Jesus Christ.
SOME GUY:    Yeah, yeah, yeah I know.  Seriously what church are you from?
US:    The Church of Jesus Christ.  Like we said.
SOME GUY:   Gah!  I know!!!  We are all part of the church of Jesus Christ, but what's your denomination.
US:    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
SOME GUY:    AAHHH!!!!!  I give up!!!!  If you wont answer my question you guys can just go away!!!!  -storms away bitterly-

Some people....

So I got to go on a division to the Pajuçara Ward.  Why is that so significant you ask?  Two Reasons:

1.  Beach area, super nice and cool.

2.  The missionary’s house is one of two houses on the mission that has air conditioning.  For The first time in a year and nine months I slept in an air condition roomed.  #MiraclesHappen

I also learned a lot on the division too.  I learned how to be a better leader and be hard on people every now and then.

So we started teaching a new family this week.  The family we teach belongs to some church founded in Korea.  Apparently their doctrine is a lot like ours, except their prophet is Korean.  They were super cool.  I hope they progress.

So our recent convert that we baptized last month has decided that he wants to serve a mission!  Yeah missions!!!!!  He goes to the weekly mission prep classes at the stake center so that made me super happy to see.

I guess that's pretty much it for now.  I think I'll be celebrating my birthday next p-day because today didn't work out because we had to do some other stuff today.  Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday.  Anyways, love you all.  Até Mais!!!

-Elder Johnson

I got to play the guitar for the first time in a long time with this investigator.

Hypocrisy Level: over 9000  (Deus é fiel = God is Faithful)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Burning People

Hey errybody!!!

So last Pday I got to meet up with my long lost bestcompanionfriendever Elder Rutledge!!!  We got to walk around the center and look for souvenir stuff because I need to buy stuff for people back home.  We walked around a bit and got some Açaí, it was good times.
Elder Rutledge and I  
So this week we had our District Meeting.  When I prepared the training I decided to do it on repentance and being honest with your investigators.  We sat down and practiced calling people out on their sins and the other things they need to do better.  It's not so much as being rude to people, as it is with showing them the truth.  For example, in the practice we did, we taught a woman (one of the missionaries) who needed to get married or leave her boyfriend’s house.  We showed her the truth and told her that it was wrong to break the law of chastity.  Straight up told it to her face.  This super sad feeling filled the room after we finished.  We talked about the power of repentance and how we need to sincerely help people, which at times, means you need to lose the smile and tell them exactly what the problem is.  The meeting was super spiritual.

So this week I got to go on divisions with the Elders in the Beira Mar Ward.  The Beira Mar Ward is really interesting because it's one neighborhood in Maceió and then half of the whole state of Alagoas.  The ward is on the edge of the city and grabs a ton of smaller cities on the coast all the way up to Pernambuco.  When we went on the division we got to go to a small town called Ipioca, which is right on the beach.  There aren't any members in that town but there will be!!!  It's a cute little town and we got a lot done.

I made my companion pay for my bus fare in 10 cent coins.  I know it was kind of a tool move, but it was absolutely hilarious.  The lady's face when my companion dumped R$ 5.00 in coins was absolutely priceless.

So walking home the other night we were just struttin' down the street when this bus nails this taxi and rips the front off of it.  The bus destroyed this taxi right in front of my eyes, IT WAS NUTS!!!!!  Nobody was hurt, but I don't think the taxi man was too thrilled about his damaged car.

To answer you question mom, no I haven't seen any police chases this week.  I have, however, seen the police raid the grota once and search some of the street hooligans for weaponry.  That's pretty neat.

That's it for now.  Hope all is well back home.  Love you all!!!!

Elder Johnson

Monday, October 6, 2014

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

At the beach.

Well this week sure was eventful.

So it seems to be that Tuesdays are going to be problematic around here.  The other day, we were studying when we hear the sound of a helicopter flying around.  Sounds of police helicopters are normal, but this one was hovering over our area for quite some time.  When we went to lunch people started telling us that a bunch of hooligans decided to climb up out of the grota and ransack a few local business.  They broke a ton of things and then they fled back down the grota.  The police followed them and there they did battle.  They battled for a bit and then all was calm.  It sure freaked everyone out though.  Naturally, we avoided that part of our area for that day.

I am now the owner of original art work.  The other pday we were walking along the sidewalk on the beach when I saw this guy who fingerpaints landscapes on pieces of tile.  They were really pretty and I asked him how much it was.  He said that two of the were for 10 reais.  2 FOR 10!!!!!  What a bargain!!!!!  I bought two of them and I plan on returning to buy more.
Original Brazilian artwork.

It's been raining quite a bit the past few days.  It rained so hard it broke my umbrella.  The breaking of my umbrella was a rather traumatic experience because I happened to be under it when it broke and I was getting pelted by large bullets of water falling from the sky.  
It's raining.
Zone Meeting

We went to go teach this guy this week, but it didn't really go over to well.  Why you may ask?  Because he had just finished downing more than a gallon of beer.  A GALLON OF BEER PEOPLE!!!  And the guy wasn't the least bit tipsy.  In fact he was trying to fix an electric grill and was doing a rather good job.  It's just hard to have a spiritual lesson when one has downed so much booze.

Another guy told me this week that he doesn't need to go to church or read the Bible.  He told me he doesn't need to do such spiritual activities because he learns everything spiritual through movies.  He was trying to convince me for quite some time that Spiderman 1 & 2 has a lot of spiritual wisdom.  While they may be great entertainment, and maybe they have pretty good messages, (e.g. with great power comes great responsibility), I don't think they're able to substitute the Holy Scriptures.

So this week was General Conference.  Conference is sick!!!  I felt that the messages were really heavy this conference.  I especially liked the one by Elder Neil L. Anderson about Joseph Smith, very prophetic.  It was also cool to watch Elder Carlos A. Godoy give his talk in Portuguese!  I like the new way they do conference.  We did have some technical difficulties during one session of conference.  The satellite signal fell so while we tried to get conference through the Internet one of the members took his cell phone and put it next to the microphone so everyone could listen while we overcame our technical difficulties.  Also, a wild beast invaded our church (a loose dog).  Everyone tried to shepherd the dog away, but no one was having success.  To be completely honest, the poor thing was pretty frightened.  At last a 5 year old girl was able to lead the dog out.  A 5 year old girl did what 10 missionaries couldn't do.  #Humility
Watching General Conference

Well that's it for now.  I love conference.  Hope you all have a great week, tchau!!!

-Élder Johnson

So this sister in my district offered to make me my last mission planner for the upcoming transfer.
 My companion told her to make it super trunky.  I feel like they did a good job.
Probably the funniest mission planner I've ever used.
The trunkiest mission planner in the world.
The Hotel California is actually located in Maceió Brazil.