My Last Email from the Brazil Natal Mission – February 17, 2013
Sister Kim Johnson

I left for my mission to do one thing: invite others to come unto Christ.  However, I had no idea that I would be the one to become so much closer to Christ.  I would like to share some of the most precious things I learned:

Service. After all of the trials, beating, and crucifixion, Jesus Christ did not stop serving when he left this life.  He kept working.  He went into the Spirit World and organized the missionary force.  At home, I had always thought that after a hard day's work I deserved a rest and time to myself.  However, I learned that in the mission, this time doesn't really exist.  When I felt I had done enough, I learned to leave my comfort zone and serve.  "O filho do homen não veio para ser servido, mas para servir." (The son of man didn't come to be served, but to serve.)

Scripture study. When I first got to the mission field, I didn't understand what anyone was saying.  And no one understood me.  I lived in a house with only my Brazilian trainer who didn't speak a word of English.  I felt very alone and very far from those I could communicate with.  So, I turned to the scriptures.  Nephi, Ammon, and Joseph Smith became my best friends.  Their stories emboldened me and gave me the courage to work hard and move forward with faith in the mission field.  I am so grateful for the people who sacrificed so much for the Church of Jesus Christ and wrote down their records for others to learn from.  I developed a true love for the scriptures.  

Prayer. Later as a senior companion and Sister Training Leader, we had lots of new people arriving and the missionaries with more experience than me left.  I became one of the "older" missionaries in the mission and the one people turned to for advice.  The only problem was that I encountered many situations where I didn't know how to act.  Luckily, I knew that my Heavenly Father had all of the answers.  He truly knows that heart of everyone we see and work with.  I turned to Him for help during my moments of decision.  I testify that He hears and answers our prayers.  Our prayers can be eloquent or scrambled thoughts sent to Him.  He loves us.  He wants to communicate with us.

The Commandments. I became converted to the commandments.  I always knew the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity were important, and I would be blessed for keeping them.  Nevertheless, I didn't realize HOW important.  Drunk fathers beating on their wives, mothers separated from children, knife marks embedded in walls, and many tears were all witnesses to me that God's commandments are non-negotiable.  Man cannot make moral what God has declared immoral.

I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives.  I know that he lived and died for us. I know that this is His true church.  I testify that His church was restored by a living prophet, and that we have a prophet who leads and guides us today.  For these things, I am eternally grateful.  The lessons I've learned on a mission are irreplaceable.  I thank you so much for all the love and support you've given me these 18 months! 

Sister Johnson

After our Christmas Lunch.

Tarantulas attracted to my plaqueta!
Sousa - Valley of the Dinosaurs

FREE English classes taught by North Americans!

We brought a whole new family to church today.  They are so sweet and they had a good day.  We taught the class on Eternal Families and what we can do in this life to have more harmony in the home.

This week as I started talking to an old woman in the street, she responded, "So what you're saying is...this is how you speak Portuguese in the country from where you're from." :)

 Lunch is usually rice, beans, spaghetti noodles, kus kus and chicken.  We only have cold water for showers, but I welcome it because it is 90 - over 100 degrees everyday!

We walked into a home where they had the BYU television station on!  That was the first home I've seen here with that station.  They were showing a volleyball game, and I realized that if I were back at school, there's a good chance I'd be at that game.  At that moment, I realized how much more valuable my time is being spent here.  I'm saving souls!  There's time to go to games, but for right now, I'm so happy using my time doing the most important thing on earth!

Yesterday we walked into a home where a teenage daughter was having a little argument with her mom, and it was escalating.  We whipped out our hymn books and sang, "Love at Home."  A good spirit entered the room and it changed the whole mood.  I love being a missionary and I love trying o do what Christ would do at each moment.  I love being his hands for these people here. 
I was so sad leaving Mossoro!  Bishop and Carol took me to the bus station.  They mean so  much to me and I really want to visit them in the future.  I'm now in Sousa!  It's back in the state of Paraiba.  Love my companion Sister Olla.  She was born in El Salvador but grew up in Texas so she's fluent in English, Spanish, and now Portuguese.  It is about 100 degrees here, and it's a branch.  So I've been in two wards and two branches.
 Spiritual thought for the week: The Liahona worked according to the faith, diligence, and the attention/need which they gave to it (1Nephi 16:28) so if we are faithful to our scriptures, prayer, service, acting like Christ throughout the day, we will get even more direction and guidance in our lives.  No matter who you are or where you're at there seems to be happy as well as challenging things.  Might as well be happy with goods and the challenges in life!
Love you! -Sister Johnson
Our view from my new place in Sousa!