Elder Brad Johnson is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the ALASKA ANCHORAGE MISSION. This blog will include many of the e-mails Elder Johnson sends to his family each week. It will extend from October 6, 2010 to October, 2012.
Elder Johnson arrived at approximately 8:30 on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport where awaiting his arrival were family and friends. Mom, Dad, Lauren and Brittany, Chandler Laney, Bethany (Auxier) and Annie (Auxier) and their cute little children ... were all waiting. We clapped and cheered for him! Mom got the first hug! The guy that took a picture of all of us said he remembered when he had his homecoming!
Brad loves the people that he got to get to know on his mission. After we got him home and settled, we sat down and saw just one set of his pictures. He told us about ALL of those folks that he loves so much. He misses you. Thank you all in Alaska for loving him back!
Not many e-mails left ... they are getting few and far between ...
Most recent from E. Johnson
Thanks for the e-mail. Yes, you were correct. No e-mail on Monday.
Tuesday we had zone conference. Tuesday night there was a wind storm
like nobody's business that shut down the city for two days. Of course
no internet access during that time. And today we had a little time to
come out and e-mail. I have a commandment to e-mail my mother and then
President Beesley, so I'm going to do that.
I'm sorry my e-mails are not that cool. I have tons of faith-building
stories, etc. But e-mails don't do them justice. I'm always in a hurry
on these computers. I'll tell you all the good stories when I get
That last e-mail was my weekly to President Beelsey. I've got very little time on the computer now, and my e-mails will be very short unfortunately for the rest of my mission because I need to report to President Beesley on the status of my trainee, not my son or my greenie.
1. What is your companion’s name and where is he from?
Elder Bret Wingard. Tebetts, Missouri.
2. How do you feel about not being an AP?
I was the one who mentioned that I needed to move out. And I feel good. Training a new missionary is the best way to end a mission because it's the hardest assignment to have. Being an assistant is easy.
3. What was cool about being an AP?
It was cool. But it was easy. You have a really good companion to teach with. You go and rock lessons, and then on the times throughout the day that are slower are usually filled with trainings and meetings with President Beesley.
4. Do you miss Elder Flynn?
Yes. He was a very fun companion to have.
5. Anything else you want to share? I know you are busy, but give us a quick shout out. And tell your greenie HI from your Mom.
We are teaching a family from south Sudan. His name is Mayak, pronounced My-yack. He's really neat, and hopefully he will be getting baptized soon.
We've officially completed transfers this past week. Planning for the transfer begins typically near the end of week five of our six-week transfers. For two to three hours each day, Elder Flynn and I meet with President Beesley and plan out the transfers. This decision process goes for three to four days. It's like putting a giant puzzle together. Matching missionaries with other missionaries, deciding whether they'll get along, whether they'll work hard, etc. The Wednesday of the sixth week is the day we seek confirmation for all transfer decisions. We seek that confirmation and direction in the Temple with President and Sister Beesley.
This transfer process was an interesting one. For the first four days of the planning, it was expected that I would bring in a new assistant, and we would work in the Airport Heights area--this would most likely be the companion who I finished my mission with. However, Tuesday night I had a difficult time getting to sleep running over thoughts on transfers--something didn't feel right; I wasn't comfortable with what I was doing. Before I was able to fall asleep, I came to the conclusion that what was bothering was I should be training a new missionary for my last two transfers.
In the morning, we met with President and Sister Beesley before the Temple. I felt as if I should voice the impression I had so that President Beesley could decide what the Lord wanted. After the Temple session, we had our final transfer meeting, and President Beesley felt comfortable about me training. It was interesting to see, as well, how everything seemed to fall into place with the rest of the companionships after I was put as a trainer.
So at the last hour, essentially, it was determined that I would be training--for the fourth time--a new missionary in the Airport Heights ward. And that is how I'll finish my mission. I can't imagine a better situation.
As for my companion, we have an idea of who it will be, but we like to wait until we meet them face-to-face to make the final decision. We will be picking the new missionaries up from the airport at 11:30 AM and will be with them the rest of the day.
As for my golf clubs, yes, I would like to send them home. I found out that I can send them home through Fed-Ex for around $120. They actually have a box specifically for golf clubs. These are very nice clubs. They would probably be $600-$800 dollars buying them new.
I look forward to see some of the things that Brittany and Chandler have come up with. I know someone else who is as well.
I love you very much. We've a busy day.
Oh, and I should mention, because I will be training, I will not have as much time to e-mail for the remainder of my mission. I will try to still write good e-mails, but do not be shocked if they are concise and brief. We just don't have enough time allotted to us to write a good e-mail.
Thank you for the e-mail update. You know, you've been so diligent all these weeks--for the last year and a half. I don't know if you've ever missed a week of writing me. That's pretty good. Do you think you can last for the next four-and-a-half months?
Shouldn't Lauren and Brittany always be snotty teenage girls who stay up all night and where pajamas all day? What's with this growing-up stuff? That ain't right.
Tell Brittany that I'd like to see her talk. Ask her to send it to me, please.
Tell Dad it's an endurance race and not to push it too hard.
Last week, some Elders were driving from Girdwood back to Anchorage after church on Sunday--only about 25 miles from where I am. They stopped on the highway with about 15 other people to check out the giant 8- to 9-foot grizzly bear that was hanging out just off of the road. According to these missionaries, they were able to get within 30 feet of the bear--and they have a picture to prove it. I'll have to send it when I get a chance.
The bear was remarkably comfortable with everyone around him. However, when a photographer got a little too close, the bear stood up and was beating his paws together, so everyone backed away. The missionaries were able to get a picture of this, while the bear's paws were clasped together. It's funny because it looks like he's in the posture of prayer. It's a really cute picture. Apparently, after this whole event, a newspaper article was published, discussing how stupid the people were who stopped and took pictures. The reporter recommended that no one do this.
Of course, we know why everyone was protected--the missionaries were around.
I love you. Thank you for your love and support. Oh, we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Duncan of the Seventy and Elder Call, an area seventy this past week in stake conference. I had the opportunity to meet them and mix it up a little bit.
Proof that E.Johnson's and E.Flynn's parents got together in Arizona!
Seriously, how often does the family of one current companion get together with the family of the other current companion? That has got to be a rare occurrence, right? So, on April 17th, Kim and Andy Flynn, from Missouri, visited the Johnsons in Arizona! We got together at our house, went out to dinner (Mexican - Andy Flynn's favorite), hung out, shared stories and pictures for the rest of the night and became good friends! A Momentous Occasion!
Did you get your box today? (p.s. I will try to make your birthday box better - not so much candy, etc. ...)
I don't know yet. The mail hasn't come in. I'm sure if I didn't, it will be here soon.
Where did you eat for Easter Sunday?
At the Doyle's house. It was our first dinner with ward members for a week. We have two missionaries in the area, and we make sure they get most of the dinners. But the Doyle's invited both of us, which was a pleasant surprise Sunday morning at church.
Did you eat anything traditional that Alaskan’s like to have at Easter?
No, they don't do anything special beyond what most of us do for Easter.
I heard you guys had another four inches of snow and that a roof in a church auditorium caved in. Was that one of our ward building cultural halls?
Yes, we've experienced the most snowfall in Anchorage that has ever been recorded. There's a lot of snow.
Yes, interesting that you heard about the church auditorium caving in. To answer your question, no, it was not one of our meeting houses.
However, interesting story about that: Sister Tupua, a Sister in our ward was picking up her car from the shop. The guy who owns the shop, who was handing back her keys and running the bill, who also is an assistant pastor at this church, got a call 30 minutes after the roof collapsed and was told about the event. He hung up the phone and told Sister Tupua about the unfortunate occurrence.
Sister Tupua walked back to her car and, feeling unsettled about the event, called me to see if there was anything that we could arrange as missionaries to assist. I called our Bishop and made sure I was following protocol, and then after receiving the go-ahead, I called the guy who was an assistant to the pastor 45 minutes after the building collapsed and offered up services from the 26 missionaries in our zone and from other members in our ward to help clean up wreckage.
He thanked us and said that we couldn't do anything on the property yet because they were waiting for the insurance company to inspect the damage. But when they needed help, they'd call us.
Since that time they haven't called us, but how's that for first-response?
How has it been driving around in the snow and (I suppose) Ice?
Roads aren't too bad. Most of us missionaries cruise around in 2011 Colorados with 4 wheel drive. However, mission-wide, we had 15 accidents last month. Some very bad accidents. Thankfully, no missionaries have been hurt at all.
How are you and E. Flynn getting along? Is it easy to live with him?
Yes, he's a great missionary and friend.
Tell me one thing that was awesome, fun, funny or cool that happened this week.
We had another wedding/baptism! I've worked with this couple since I first got into the area. The girlfriend was immediately excited for baptism, but she knew she either had to move out of her boyfriend's house or get married. They decided to get married. The husband, who has quite an amazing background, is still working on some things, but he's excited to get baptized soon.