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!