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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Elder Johnson's Letter to the Primary Children - January 31, 2011

Dear Sister Green and the Del Rio 1st Primary Children,
Thank you so much for you letters of love and encouragement. It was very nice of you to think of me; it brought a little warmth to my heart--eventhough it was negative 10 outside.
Given your letters of encouragement, it is clear that you want me to: not be homesick, keep working hard, know that I am thought of, and baptize some people. I have taken this advice and council to heart, and hopefully, I will, as the Lord wills it, have some success that I can write home about.
I love you all for your wonderful examples, and I pray that I can be the kind of missionary such a wonderful home-ward could be proud of.
With Love,
Elder Bradley Johnson
P.S. I saw a moose the other day. Awesome.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Elder Johnson's e-mail, Monday December 24, 2011

Hi Mom,

Thanks for the update and the package. I did get all of those letters from the kids. Sorry, I don't know who to send a Thank You letter to. Please send me an address of the person I should thank, and I'll write one.

My companion Elder Bird is a good Elder. I see why they sent him to me; they knew I'd keep him in line and working hard. He's hilarious and probably the weirdest dude I've met but way nice and willing to work hard when motivated. We're really teaching a ton right now. We will have a baptism soon.

We had our quarterly interview with President Dance. I met with President, and we talked about my goals and such. I finally got to show him the template I made on Excel, which tracks all of the teaching that we do and the frequency with which we teach. He asked me to send him a copy of that and a split calendar I made up and Active-Member Critique Sheet I made. He said he thinks this will greatly benefit the missionaries and provide them a better way to keep track of their visits throughout the transfer.

I've got to hurry. Here's a copy of my letter to President Dance. It is attached to this e-mail.

Oh, by the way, call Isaiah and Marcus and tell them to write me back. Thank you for all that
you do. I love you.

Elder Johnson

The missionaries in Alaska send a weekly letter to the Mission President to update him on the people that they are teaching.  Here are a few excerpts from that letter:

Dear President Dance,

Progressing Investigators:

This Sunday we saw Elizabeth Coleman and David Huycke at church, both of whom we met with during the week.

Elizabeth is progressing beautifully: she’s reading her scriptures, going to church and making friends in her Primary class; we can also tell that she has been praying each night, because her prayers have improved dramatically: before she was timid, short of words, but now she offers to pray and prays at length.

David is progressing, albeit at a geologic pace. He’s reading his scriptures, studying in-depth—tracking the Book of Mormon authorship and geography as he goes. He still smokes. He says he quite likes smoking but knows he should give it up.

We knew that Danielle Davis would not be at church because she was in Anchorage on a work trip; we expect her there this next Sunday; we also hope to extend an invitation to be baptized on February 12.

The members are very pleased with our RCLA work. Home teachers and visiting teachers call us and ask us how to best approach certain less-active families on their teaching routes. We’ve just a few families in the ward who we have not yet met, and we expect to have a chance to meet them this week.

Elder Bird and I have done as much role playing as possible in our companionship study sessions. We want to teach with fluidity and unity. We also taught seven active-member lessons (26 total lessons) to improve our teaching skills.


Elder Bradley Johnson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Elder Johnson's E-Mail - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hi Dad.  (Sorry Mom. We ran out of time. I'll write you a long one next week),

I wake up every morning at 6 AM, sometimes before the alarm even rings. And when I'm up, I'm up and ready to go. I think I'll be like you after my mission; I won't be able to sleep past 8 AM.

We got transfer calls yesterday (Monday). Today is our P-day, and today we will have our transfer. My new companion's name is Elder Bird. He will be the Senior companion.

This past week was our most successful week in Colony--an ideal week to send off Elder Luke; he truly worked all the way up to his departure, never slowed down once. We had the opportunity to teach 22 total lessons, not including active member lessons.

We have been blessed with a strong investigator pool. We meet weekly with Elizabeth Coleman. She has come to church about five weeks in a row; she reads and prays daily; she knows the Book of Mormon is true and has accepted an invitation for baptism and confirmation for receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Speaking with her mother, Sister Coleman, Elizabeth's baptism will take place in the month of May; we have been unable to arrange a specific date because Sister Coleman does not know which week of May she will return from the Slope. We will continue to meet with Elizabeth regularly and stress church attendance.

Danielle Davis went to church this past week. She enjoyed herself. She will be in Anchorage this next week for work, but we have planned to meet with her the beginning of next week to find our more of her church experience. We have had two wonderful lessons with her: the last one, this past week, covered the first half of lesson two. She continues to read and pray; she says she believes that God would call modern-day prophets because he has done so in the past--this point of doctrine she brought up in our review of the first lesson. She has accepted a conditional baptism invitation; we hope to get her on date in our next meeting.

I have focused my studies this past week on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, reading all the scriptures listed in the Topical Guide and a number of conference talks on the subject. I know that as I strengthen my testimony and understanding of the Atonement, I will be a more effective teacher; I desire to teach the Atonement with power and conviction. The Atonement is the Gospel.; it is the most important event that has occurred in the entire history of created things; its significance is made clear in the works of Joseph Smith: "All things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."


Your Son

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Elder Johnson's e-mail for Monday, January 10, 2011

Hi, this is Brad's mom.  The pictures he talks about in this blog are on
This is Elder Matt Squires' blog, who is the Assistant to the President who helped pick Brad up at the airport.  The pictures (scroll down the blog a bit) show transfer day (which is the picture Brad is in), a picture of President and Sister Dance and some other AAM pictures!  Here is Brad's e-mail ...

Hi Mom,
That is definitely me in the picture, and that is Elder Wallace's head covering my face. I have been taking pictures, and you will get some. Here's the problem, though. The computers here are very, very slow. And the pixels on my camera are many, making for a large file. The process of converting them to a smaller file takes about 10 minutes per picture. So, in effort to be highly efficient, I have purchased a jump drive; I have been downloading pictures onto the drive, and I will send you the jump drive in the mail with like 100 pictures for you to move to your computer and then send me the jump drive back. This is a risk-free way of doing things: if the drive gets stolen, I still have all the pictures saved on my camera. You will get a jump drive sent to you in a few weeks. I'm going sledding today at Hatcher Pass, so I'll be sure to take more.

I'm not sad that Elder Luke is leaving. I'm very happy for him. He's served an honorable mission. He's got so many new family members to meet (Both his parents remarried). He deserves to go home and meet them all. I will miss him, though. He's been a tremendous companion. I am looking forward to see who my next companion will be. I do know Elder Squires and Elder Gledhill, and I know it won't be either of them. But they're great missionaries, and I wouldn't mind serving with them.

I have not been to the Anchorage Temple and don't anticipate going for a while. Only Anchorage missionaries are allowed to go, and only once every quarter. We're here for missionary work, not Temple work--Temple work is reserved for you, so get going more often! And get Dad out there, too. I know it's been closed, though--heard that somewhere but forgot.

For your Restoration question: I would like you to read pages 31 through 45 in Preach My Gospel. Will you do that for me? By next week, okay? But to answer your question, which was a similar question I had the other day. Why did there have to be the Great Apostasy? Answer: There didn't. There shouldn't have been. But there was. Why? Because we all have our free agency on earth. That was the design before we ever got here--we were to choose our way.

Throughout time, God has called prophets in each dispensation. And throughout time, as recorded in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price and D&C, we read of people rejecting prophets, sometimes on a large scale, which times we call apostasies. The Great Apostasy occurred because people rejected the Apostles. Read D&C 136:36-38; Amos 8:11-12; 2 Thes. 2:1-3.
But we know that God loves all His children. And when the time was right, he called another prophet on the earth-- Joseph Smith, the Prophet to restore the Kingdom of God on earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Savior.

As for Joseph Smith: Read 3 Nephi 14:15-18. The Book of Mormon is literally a fruit of Joseph Smith. Now, you tell me--it's for you to decide--is the Book of Mormon good fruit or bad fruit? If it's good fruit, if you decide from the witness you receive through prayer from the power of the Holy Ghost that it's good fruit, then you've received your answer about Joseph Smith. That's what we teach people. Any problems or issues they have about Joseph Smith, the early Church, the Pre-existence, the Godhead, the Atonement--any of the doctrine that we preach--any problem they have comes down to their testimony and faith on the Book of Mormon. That's why it is the keystone of our religion. It's either true, or it's not. 

Thank you so much for sending me the package. I haven't received it yet, but I'm sure I'll get it shortly.
I love you. Thank you for everything you do.

Elder Johnson

Monday, January 3, 2011

Elder Johnson's First Letter of the New Year! Jan.3, 2011

Hi Mom,
Thanks for the update.
That's right: 40 in Wasilla, 40 in Phoenix. I'm experiencing much the same weather you are I guess. But I've been warned explicitly: Winter's not over--the beginning of Winter starts now and goes till May. It's not uncommon for weather to change abruptly like it has: it literally went from -10 to 45 in one night. They say to expect negative temperatures again. But, for the time being, it's been nice. I only need my suit jacket to stay perfectly warm.
This past week, with the close of holidays, made for a tough time doing missionary work. But we were able to stay busy and teach lessons and find two new investigators. We have a pool of 30 potential investigators to go through this next two weeks before Elder Luke leaves. It will be interesting to see who my next companion is. Elder Luke thinks that I will either train a new missionary or become senior companion; I was also told by one of our Zone Leaders that he was going to recommend me as a trainer. This is not very common. Very rarely do missionaries only two transfers become trainers or senior companions. I'm not expecting anything and will strive to be humble and accept whatever the Lord calls me to do. It would, however, be nice to be able to run the show. I feel like I'm ready, but if President Dance keeps me at Junior companion, I will continue to work hard and focus on my purpose.
I enjoyed talking to everyone on Christmas. I'm sorry it was so short. I feel like they make that 45 minute rule as to not allow for home-sickness to set in. 45 minutes is just enough time to express our love for each other and hear how things are--enough time to strengthen our resolve to continue to work hard for the Lord. I miss you all. But I am so happy to be out here. I feel so blessed with this opportunity; I'm growing in knowledge and character--my testimony is strengthening greatly.
Last week, we found two Sky Lanterns in our closet, left from past missionaries. These are like mini hot-air ballons. You light a small strip of cardboard at the bottom and the heat sends these paper balloons up, up, up. So for New Year's Eve, we took these balloons to Brother and Sister Castleman, an old corky couple who love the missionaries. Reluctantly, complaining the whole way, they helped us light the cardboard--Brother Castleman thought we were going to burn the neighborhood down. And once the hot-air collected in the balloon, we released them and watched the white and purple balloons mosey up into the sky, slithering side-to-side in a somber dance of grace and freedom. And just when they were about to hit the treeline in the Castleman's yard, a gust of wind pushed them up, up, and we watched their slow, peaceful ascent to the clouds. Then Brother Castleman goes: Is two all you brought? Let's light su'more!
Elder Johnson

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Phone Call - Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. (12:00 AK time)

Elder Johnson called us at 2:00 just like planned.  All four of us were on the phone with him.  We were in all different parts of the house so the phones wouldn't echo.  He sounded great!  He was having Christmas with the Farnsworth family.  They have family here in Arizona.  In fact, Sister Farnsworth's father, Brother Wittle, works in the Arizona Temple!  Small world!  Elder Luke will be leaving in 3 weeks.  He enjoyed Moose Spagetti recently and people in Alaska eat Bear meat!!!

The Farnsworths gave Brad and Elder Luke some lovely gifts (gift cards) and they are going back later for dinner.  Thank you to the Farnsworth Family from the Johnson Family!!!

Published by Donna Johnson