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

Questions and Answers, November 8, 2010

Elder Luke
Hi Dad,

 It's good to hear from you. I've pasted a copy of your e-mail in this one,
 and I'll answer under each question, and then we'll see where it goes from

 When was the last time missionaries were there?

 A: The last missionaries were there: a day before we were. This area has
 been open for a long time actually. But when I say white-washing, I mean
 that me and Elder Luke are both brand new to the area; this is typically not
 the case. Most often, a new missionary will be teamed up with a missionary
who's already been in the area before; but me and Elder Luke were brand new
 and know the same amount about the area: nothing at all.

How big is the ward?

 A: The ward is quite large--upwards around 400. The ward is fresh from a
 split. The members are wonderful and very kind. They love missionaries and
 take good care of us.

 What type of dwelling do you live in?

 A: Elder Luke and I live in an apartment. It's an older apartment, but some
 of the other missionaries in other areas close by have brand new apartments.
 Ours, however, is a bit old but still nice. It's been through a lot of
 missionaries--for at least 8 to 10 years. There was a bunch of stuff when we
 got in the apartment, left from past missionaries: a weight bench with
 weights, other workout stuff, beds, couch, table, furniture, sheets,
 blankets, jackets, board games and a bunch of crap we didn't need. The
 missionaries who lived there just before us left a mess, so me and Elder
 Luke went through and sweeped the place clean, deep cleaned the whole place
 last P-Day, and we got more cleaning still today--took down all the
 motorcross and x-games posters, put up Jesus pics and other church pictures.
 We're settling in nicely.

 What was your impressions of the mission president, his assistants and

 A: President Dance and his wife are awesome. They are amazing folks, and I'm
 sad they're leaving in June, wish I could do my whole mission with them.
 Made me feel loved the second we saw them. As we were coming through the
 airport, Sister Dance saw us and began running towards us, so excited. Mind
 you, we were still behind the security line, so when she passed it security
 guards asked her to please step back. But when we crossed into the greeting
 area, she shook our hands ferociously and President Dance gave me a huge
 that lasted like a minute. Haha, normally it would've felt kind of awkward,
 but I think I was ready for a hug, so it was all good. They treated us like
 royalty at the mission home and made us feel very loved.

Is being out in the field what you thought it might be?

 A: Not at all. It's awesome, and I'm so happy to have this experience. I had
 no idea. This is definitely the best opportunity I've been given--best
 choice I've made. I feel honored to be able to be out here, particularly in

 How has your knowledge of the gospel/testimony increased so far?

 A: Really it's just become more clear--makes more sense. I have a greater
 understanding of obedience and why we need to be obedient--how obedience
 will help us in the eternities and our progression to Godhood. I've also
 gotten a greater understanding of how to be attentive to the Spirit, how to
 listen to it, follow it, etc. We've been guided the past two weeks, finding
 people we wouldn't have found were it not for our obedience to the
 promptings of the Spirit.

 What are you reading and studying?

A:  B of M, Preach My Gospel, Jesus the Christ, Preach My Gospel and Preach My

What advise would you have for a young man considering a mission?

 A: If you are worthy, go. It's no longer strongly encouraged, no longer
 preferred for young men to go--it's a commandment. You go. There is no
 better preparation you can receive in life, no better experience, and there
 is no excuse. There is no better way to understand the truthfulness of the
 gospel and increase your testimony. Slighting your mission is slighting God.
 Don't wait, go.

What have you learned from your companion about being an effective

 A: Being able to get to know folks--the small talk that I was never good at,
 he's good at, and I'm getting better at. Listening to the promptings of the
 Spirit. Maintaining strict obedience to the mission rules--strict obedience.
 Be laid back and enjoy your mission. We have fun.

Have you done any tracting yet?

A: Absolutely. I enjoy tracting; I'm good at it because I'm bold and quick
 with people, quick to agree with their concerns and unwind them until they
 are willing to listen more. We've had a lot of success this past week: we
 found 10 new potential investigators. The work is moving along fast, and we
 are bringing people unto Christ.

What type of car do you drive?

 A: Brand spanking new Chevy Malibu. The Church owns the largest fleet of
 cars in the world, second only to the U.S. Government.

How did you travel to Wasilla?

 A: Was intoduced to Elder Luke, and we drove our car an hour from Anchorage
 to Wasilla. We drive a lot each week.

What is the most spiritual experience you have enjoyed so far?

  A: Have had a lot. By the way, I can get up now in Church or in front of a
class and speak with no problem, no fear, without any verbal fillers--I'm
getting really good at public speaking--and quite confident as you can tell;
but it's only because I have the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me as to
what to say. The other day I was giving a spiritual thought to the first
counselor's family, the Cheney's, reading from 2 Nephi 4 or 6, talking about
trials and how we can overcome them. I was totally feeling it, being guided
by the Spirit, had no idea what I was going to say; I was just saying it.
And it was a powerful moment in their house. When I was done, the
Grandfather was in tears and gave me a hug and thanked me.

Also, me and Elder Luke were totally guided by the Spirit two days ago. We
were headed to a family's house, who we planned to see, and then Elder Luke
stopped the car and said, "Wait, I have a feeling we need to go down this

 We went down the road, and he told me to see if any members lived on this
street. I took out our Area Book, found a name we didn't know, told him how
to get to her house. We find the house, looked totally deserted, were almost
about to not knock on the door, but we did. An older woman opens the door,
we ask her if she was who was on the ward list. She says she is, but she did
not want to talk to anyone from our Church.

Of course, that means she wants to talk, so we kindly and carefully pry, and
eventually, she's in tears telling us why her heart's so hard, that she
served a mission, believes in the Gospel, reads the B of M daily but that
she has a hard-heart because of some past mis-treatment from leaders, and
needs our help. We set up a meeting for next week, and leave her with a
powerful spiritual thought.

Do you need any gear?  Do you still like the cold weather?  How long
are the days (daylight)?

A: A member gave me brand new boots that can get me through -100 degrees,
so don't buy me boots. I do, however, need some money in my account, because
eventually I will need to by long-johns or some warm under-garments. I love
the cold weather; it's not cold enough yet, actually. Days are getting
shorter and shorter everyday.

I'll leave it at that. I'll try to respond to mom's e-mail now. Tell Lauren
and Brittany to write me. They can write me letters or send me e-mails.
Haven't heard from Lauren. ...

Elder Johnson

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