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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Elder Johnson's e-mail - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

 Hi Dad,

Thanks for the e-mail and the update on the markets and the Cardinals.

*The most exciting experience of the week:*
We were asked by our Assistant Ward Mission Leader's (The guy who fills in
for Brother Harmon, when Bro. Harmon's gone) asked us to be a part of the
Christmas parade that goes on in Palmer every year. It's one of the biggest
events in the valley each year. Thousands of people, fairs, bazaars,
fireworks, the whole nine. Our stake has been a major part of the parade
with a Nativity scene float. Our job was to walk along side this huge
float and pass out about a thousand invitations to our Nativity Display
event that the stake also puts together each year in the Palmer building
(See two paragraphs down). It was negative 5 degrees, yet there were still
tons of people lined up five deep on each side of the street. I was in my
suit and jacket with five dollar gloves I bought at Lowes and my thin church
socks. But I was running around so much that I wasn't cold at all; I was
more hot than anything. It was a great opportunity to be seen by the public
in our suits and ties--not one person turned down the invitations we were
passing out; this was possibly due to the fact that we were giving them
candy as well.

After the parade, we got a call from the zone leaders, asking me and Elder
Luke to head to the bazaar and help a member out with his Dairy stand. He
owns Matanuska Creamery, a nice little dairy market in Wasilla. He had a
bunch of fresh-made eggnog, different types of cheeses, ice cream (Fact:
Alaska is the #1 consumer of ice cream in the nation) and chocolate. It was
just him, and he was being bombarded with people who wanted to buy
everything, so he freaked out and then called the missionaries. He put us
right to work: scooping ice cream, selling cheese and eggnog, getting
change, providing samples. It was also a great opportunity to be seen by the

Let me tell you about the Nativity Display event. So this was an idea
brought to fruition by one of the bishops a couple years ago. What they do
is they invite all members--as well as the public, mostly members,
though--to bring their nativity displays to the church. Then they decorate
the entire building and make it a giant Christmas event that goes on for a
weekend. They've gotten really good at it--so much so that they have every
single room in the church, which is about the size of our stake center at
home, dressed with a different theme of nativity: foriegn nativity, children
nativity, patriotic nativity, etc., etc., to name a few. It's absolutely
unbelievable how much work they put into it. The entire building is
transformed. Each room is restructured with wooden framing, wallpaper,
shelfing--even down to the smell. There's over 2,000 nativities total,
varying in size and style. In the gym, which is completely refurbished, they
have a huge nativity in the middle, smaller nativities along all walls, and
on the stage, they have live music and plays going on every hour. Free
hotchocolate and candy, scavenger hunts for children. They leave the
sliding, acordian-doors to the chapel open and dim the lights in the chapel
to show where we worship and in the evenings, on both Saturday and Sunday
night, they have the stake chior in the chapel singing Christmas carols. I
got a few pictures, but I hope to get some more from a few members, so I can
send them to you to show you how amazing it was. It was all done by the
members of the stake, and it's so popular they have the local TV new cover

*Finding People to Teach:*
Surprisingly enough, we've had a lot of success tracting and OYMing. We
haven't done much, but when we have, we've seen success--that's how we've
found five current investigators, two of which we have on date for baptism
and confirmation to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Most of our work has
been with less-actives and recent-converts this past transfer. We wanted to
first get to know the ward and gain the trust of the ward by strengthening
their church attendence from less-actives. This next transfer will be more
of a finding transfer, where we will do more tracting and OYMing. Much of
our tracting has occured enroute to our next appointment with a less-active
family or ward member, but now we will start to pick out streets from the
map and hit each house. There's not a lot of great places to OYM; we usually
got to the Target or Walmart parkinglot and reek havoc.

*Sunday School Lessons:*
I don't usually plan specific stories to tell. But as I teach, they come out
in response to a question or comment by someone. I usually turn to the
scripture, though. I've become very familiar with The Book of Mormon and New
Testament, because I've read through both of them front-to-back, along with
the entire Missionary Library. I'm working on Preach My Gospel again right
now, following every scripture reference listed and will soon read through
D&C and Pearl of Great Price, and then the Old Testament. I hope to
have everything read by my seven-and-a-half month mark.

Anyways, I better write mom something brief now. Thanks for updating me on
my money status. Please put more in. I won't be using it much from here-on,
but I might for something small today.


Elder Johnson

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