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, May 30, 2011

No E-mail today - Memorial Day

We probably did not get an e-mail because it is a holiday and the computers are on a community college campus and the library was probably closed.  Thats what I'm thinking, anyway.  So, if we are lucky they will take time tomorrow, but knowing Brad, we probably won't hear from him until next week. Waiting to hear from him is difficult, but we will try to be patient.

Monday, May 23, 2011

No E-Mail Today

So this afternoon I got a call from Jake Babcock who called to tell me that Elder Johnson didn't get transfered AND IS STAYING IN WASILLA!!!  I know Brad is happy about that. He has some baptisms lined up and Elder Collins still needs a trainer.  So another 6 weeks of the good life in Wasilla.  Thanks Jake for keeping us posted! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Elder Johnson's May 16, 2011 e-mail - Questions and Answers

If you have time, tell us about your trip to Anchorage to get training, what President and Sister Dance are doing with the missionaries to say goodbye and what you have heard about your new mission president. 
The week's worth of training was long. We focused strictly on the fundamentals, so it's been stuff that's been drilled into our heads. But it was good to do, brought me back to focusing on the basics, which are so important.
We drove down--me, Elder Uluave (a DL), the ZLs, and another DL--in the morning to make it in time for meetings to begin at 8AM. Training went to about 11 or 12, then lunch which was provided by the ward sponsoring the training, then more training until about 4PM, then the 45 minute drive back to the area and the rest of the night.
How do you feel about having a new mission president? 
It will be interesting to see how the mission changes. I can't imagine it getting any stricter. President Dance is a relatively strict mission president. It will be sad to see President and Sister Dance leave, but President and Sister Clark were interviewed and called by general authorities--I'm sure they'll be cool, too.
When you get home we will take a trip up to Washington State to visit Grandma Maile and Pop and we will visit President and Sister Dance as well.  How is that? 
Sure, that'd be cool.
Not much going on on my end. We have a baptism this weekend--Elizabeth Coleman's. Don't know who will perform the ordinance yet, but it should be good.
Thank you so much for everything. Pictures are coming soon.
Elder Johnson

Monday, May 9, 2011

Elder Johnson's May 9, 2011 E-Mail

Hi Mom,
For your number one most important issue: Elder Collins and I have decided that we'd spend our P-Day taking pictures of things, so soon you will get a jump drive loaded with pictures.
Thank you for sending my e-mail to Isaiah, JA, Marcus and Sean. If any of the other "guys" (leaving that term to your discretion) ask about me, and greatly desire to contact me, they may do so on this e-mail, and I will get back to them as I am able, but don't give it to any girls that you run into, unless they are girls from IBIS or the SIM Fund, which you won't run into any.
It was great getting a chance to talk to you yesterday. I'm pleased to hear how excited Lauren is over all of the exciting things going on in her life. Tell her I loved hearing her story about her friend. I love Lauren and Brittany, and the wonderful example they are to me. I wish I could be as spiritual and pure and good as them. And I'm trying to make up for my prior meanness to them by helping others. I'm also practicing patience and tolerance out here, so that I'm not such a terror when I get back home. And you might let them know that.
Elder Johnson

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Telephone Call!!!!

We enjoyed hearing from Elder Johnson today at about 2:20 Arizona Time (1:20 Alaska Time).  He was supposed to call us right at 2:00 so we left church 1 hour early to get ready.  We did a test with all the phones to make sure they were all charged up and the four of us were ready for our phone call.  He finally called and said that they just got home from putting translation equipment away for some investigators who were going to come to church.  So we forgave him for calling late. 

We had a great conversation with him about how he is getting along, how he and his companion are doing, how they are teaching, what their area is like, what the members are like (by the way, they are awesome), and just all kinds of good information.  Lauren and Brittany had a few questions for him about how to answer certain tough questions that their friends have and he had great advice to give them.  He also mentioned that he is going to Anchorage this week for training.  He wants us to be good missionaries and read Preach My Gospel!!!

He had his companion, Elder Collins, talk to us for a few minutes.  Elder Collins was very cheerful and easy going and had some nice things to say about his companion.  Brad got back on the phone after Elder Collins and said, "Isn't he awesome?"  I reminded him that he will want a picture of Elder Collins some day, so take more pictures!

One interesting thing is that every ward in the area has a set of missionaries assigned to it, so they work very closely with all of the members.  He also said that they try to have members present at their lessons so that the investigators will grow to love the people of the church and not just the missionaries. So, sometimes he will just go down the ward list and call people and ask them to go with the missionaries on a discussion.  So the members are very involved.  I know you returned missionaries out there probably already know that, but it was interesting and new information to me!

He said he wants new shirts at his year mark, which is "only three or four months away."  What!?  Well it is actually 5 months away.  What!?  Wow, once you hit that 6 month mark it seems like it starts going fast!  (but we aren't counting, right?)

Also, he wants Bishop Auxier to know that he really appreciates the letters from him.  A few other people have written and he hasn't had a chance to respond, so he wants you all to know that he really appreciates all of the letters.  He is keeping super busy and wishes he had more time to respond to everyone that writes.  Thank you from us, too.  His spirits are high and he is very happy.  We know that there are lots of prayers out there making their way to him, and we appreciate it!

It was a fun phone call.  Lots of joy, love and laughter!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Elder Johnson's May 2, 2011 E-mail - A request and a response

Hi Mom,

Thanks for the e-mail and the package. We gave the handouts and the candy on Tuesday--while we were tracting. Went to houses and said Happy belated-Easter, here's a gift.

For Easter, we ate at the Harman's for lunch and the Babcock's for dinner. One of the Harman's sons married a Babcock daughter, so we saw Jordan and Ashley Harman for both dinners. The Harmans house is sitting on about 70 acres of land.  The Babcock family is great. Sister Babcock is really cool. She kind of reminds me of you.  Brother Babcock is a pilot (In Sarah Palin's Alaska, he was the pilot flying her around.) He's very well known for his tour flights, very nice guy. Sister Babcock owns and runs a big dance studio that is very popular. She was the YW President, but her calling just changed to Ward Missionary, so we work closely with her.

I don't know any plans for Mother's Day. I don't even know when it is. But if I don't get to talk to you until then, I can have Jake text you and let you know.

I hope you enjoy talking to Jake. You can enjoy talking to him when you get the chance and not feel bad. I am not breaking any rules by letting him talk on the phone to you; if I was, I wouldn't let him call. I'm always in another room doing missionary stuff, completely beset from the conversation.

We had the best week since I've been here. Danielle Davis and her two children, Troy and Sierra, are on date for baptism on June 4. And Elizabeth Coleman is on date for May 21. We're really excited about their progress.

Will you please go up to my room: on my desk, on the shelf to the right is a sunglasses holder, inside is a voice recorder. This is a very expensive device and needs to stay in its protective case, maybe even wrapped in more TP for protection. Will you please send me the voice recorder? When we do role plays, I want to start recording me and my companion, so we can playback what we say, hear how we sound, and improve our teaching.

Also, I understand that Lauren is spending a lot of time in my room, and I don't doubt that Ella is also in my room often, probably even sleeping in my bed for extended periods of time. I have no control over this, but I would ask that you make very sure that they respect the things in my room. Don't let them damage my books, don't let them pile their own stuff in my room and shift around the order that I have to the place. If people use books, they are not to leave my room. I can imagine someone walking in and thinking: He won't be back for two years, I'll just borrow this and return it when I'm done. One thing I've learned: when books are borrowed, books are lost. People don't return books: the books collect dust, get buried and are gone forever. I greatly cherish my collection, always have, and I cherish it even more now--I have a greater appreciation for the Gospel and for learning in general. I will use every book in there and taking one away is like a lost sheep to me, like cutting off an arm. Please do not get lax on your oversight of my room.

Elder Johnson
Mother's Response to Elder Johnson's Request:

No worries about your room.  In fact, Brittany has slept in your bed for the past two days since hers is filled with clothes.  However, no one touches your books (Sugar sleeps in front of them on a basket of your clothes - she is the sentry and lets no one get near that bookshelf - really, you can't reach that bookshelf because of her basket and a basket in front of her that has your football pillow in it.)  Secondly, your other shelf can't be as well protected, but no one that I know has ever borrowed, looked at, used or thought about using any of the books on that shelf.

Having said that, your father goes into your bedroom to work on his lessons.  The only person who might ever think about using one of your books is him, so I will make sure that he sees your letter and feels your concerns for your collection.  Have no fear, my dear son, you have not lost, nor need you fear the loss, of any of your precious babies.

Ella has slept in your bed, as well as Uncle Sean, Uncle Russell,  Derrek, Brittany and Chandler (at the same time) and Lauren and Ella (at the same time).  If Jake comes down and needs somewhere to stay, he will be sleeping in your bed as well.  It is currently the guest bed (but not the guest bedroom) as it is, and always will be, your room.

I'm glad you wrote your letter, however, because your concern for your personal items and book collection make me even more vigilent and I will protect your stuff with my life, which probably won't be necessary, but I would.  (You might want to make that an official request, otherwise, I will just protect it to the best of my ability).

I love you.  You are awesome.  Keep up the good work.

Your mom forever,
p.s. no one uses your blankie.  It is protected and untouched