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, October 31, 2011

Elder Johnson's October 31, 2011 E-Mail

Here are the answers to your questions:
1.   Who do you think will transfer out next week?

Elder Hartman and either me or Elder Record. I get the sense that it will be Elder Record. I feel like they will make Elder Bowes District Leader, and they will send me a missionary who can take over the area when I leave the transfer after.
2.    Do they have Halloween in the Yukon?

Yes. We carved pumpkins the other day. Check Elder Record's blog for pics.
3.    Have you had any snow?

Yeah, it snows most days. Started snowing on 9 October 2011.
4.    Did you get your package and how did you like the contents

Oh, yes, I did. Loved it all. Thank you so much. Also the Whitehorse Warriors got all their stuff. They loved it.
5.    Where you proud of your sister and Chandler for the package they sent?

Very much so. It was hilarious. Elder Hartman and Bowes are in the process of preparing a rebuttal. They totally loved it, though. Thank Brittany and Chandler.


Elder Johnson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Elder Johnson's October 17, 2011 E-mail

Elder Johnson said it would be a short e-mail - and it was. So instead I have attached this fun video so you can see what missionaries do to let off steam and have fun. This was taken a few months back when he was in Wasilla. This is what Elder Lawson said about this activity:
"Thursday we started out the day with yet another genius and enlightening district meeting from our fearless leader elder Johnson... So we talked about resolving questions and breaking down barriers with people when teaching and the lesson was way good. I like that he actually tries to have fun when he teaches the subjects... the zone leaders came to it and it turned out good. Right before we drove to it he called and told us to only park on one side of the building so we didn't ruin our "surprise". So after the lesson for district meeting about "Breaking Down Barriers/ Spiritual Fighting" He took us outside and he had a giant blow up jousting thing set up.... it was sweet! so we fought eachother for like 45 min... It was sweet! So much fun!"

Thanks for the quote, Elder Lawson!

More Pictures of Wasilla:

Elder Johnson and Elder Tonga

Our Eskimo man

Elders Tui, Johnson, Tonga and Lawson


Monday, October 10, 2011

Elder Johnson's October 10, 2011 E-Mail

Hi Mom,
1. Did you get the gedcom Grandpa Miller sent? 
Yes, and I e-mailed them back the next Monday, telling them that I did. But since they didn't get the e-mail, I said something like:
(See the e-mail I forwarded to you.)

2. What is date is transfer day and will Elder Hartman leave early because of his visa?
6 November 2011--There will be plenty of time for the package to get here.

3.  We are off work on Monday because of Columbus day.  (yea!) Do you have a holiday on Monday?
It's Canada's Thanksgiving holiday this weekend. They've basically--and they're quite open admitting this--copied our Thanksgiving holiday. The reason why they have theirs earlier than ours is due to their earlier harvest season.
They do not do it like us in that they don't have one specific day for the holiday. It's just Thanksgiving weekend, and they'll have Thanksgiving dinner on either Saturday, Sunday or Monday. I don't know whether theirs a day-off work or not. Maybe it is, not sure. Doesn't make much of a difference for us.
Sounds funny that you're having missionaries over so much. I'm sure you guys are pretty cool members. Every missionary has a favorite member family. How does it work with missionaries there--do they cover stakes or wards? And if you wouldn't mind, would you ask them what their Standards of Excellence are for their Top 5 Key Indicators? Just curious to see how they compare with our mission.
Okay, I promised a synopsis of my mission thus far. I wish you had some questions that might fuel my comments, so I know what your interested in knowing, but since I have nothing to work from, I will answer these questions, which I think you might find interesting to know:
1. What have I learned on my mission thus far?
2. What do I hope to learn this next year?
3. How do I feel I have changed?
4. What will I do differently in my life when I return from this experience?
What Have I Learned on My Mission thus Far?
The mission experience is difficult to describe or summarize. The best answer I have for potential missionaries wondering what their mission experience will be like is: There's no way to describe it to you to give you a full sense of what it's like. You won't know until you get out there. Just go with a good attitude, and it'll be the greatest learning experience of your life.
Likewise, I can't sum-up everything I've learned. I don't know all that I've learned. After this experience, I'll probably keep finding out things that I've learned for the rest of my life. I think for most of what's gained on the mission, one finds out in the moment that they use it. It's only then that they relate that ability or habit or sentiment back to the mission.
But, for the personal growth I am currently aware of, I have learned the following (I'm going to list out things, and I'll give explanations if I feel they're needed):
I have learned how to develop and break habits.
I have learned how to set goals and plan to accomplish them.
I have discovered the principle of tolerance.
I have learned more of the diversity of the world.
I have learned how to listen to people.
I have developed a greater capacity for patience.
I have developed a model for resolving people's concerns, helping them work through their difference in belief
or opinion and aligning it more closely to mine.
I have learned how to engage people in quality conversations.
I have learned how to approach people I don't know.
I have increased my desire to be obedient.
I have learned more about my innate personality.
I have learned more attributes that good fathers have.
I have learned how to have good, wholesome, appropriate fun.
I have developed a greater understanding of what a good leader does.
I have a greater sense of what King Benjamin was talking about in Mosiah 2:20-25.
I have developed the ability to find and focus on what's important.

What Do I Hope to Learn (or Learn More of) this Next Year?
I hope to learn how to pray more fervently.
I hope to learn how to identify the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
I hope to develop a greater love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
I hope to learn how to ask good questions.
I hope to enhance my spiritual sensitivity.
I hope to learn more about appropriate humor.
I hope to become more unashamed of the Gospel.
I hope to learn more about attributes that good leaders have.
I hope to learn how to communicate my spiritual feelings better.
I hope to learn more about the kind of person I want to marry.
I hope to enhance my desire (or lessen my reluctance) for marriage.
I hope to enhance my capacity to create analogies for spiritual or abstract ideas.
I hope to learn how to become an engaging teacher.

How Do I Feel I Have Changed?
Well, this is kind of a redundant question. (See question one to get a sense.)
But, in an attempt to answer briefly, I have developed greater self control in all aspects of life. This has increased my consistency and productivity. Because of this increased self control I feel like I utilize my time more effectively.
I have developed the ability to find and focus on what's important—in all aspects of life. This will probably make me a more focused individual and maybe more productive in less time, more efficient.
I don't know. This is pretty difficult. I'm really going to have to consider this more. This is taking a while.
What Will I Do (or What Do I Want to Do) Differently in My Life when I Return from this Experience?
This self-introspection thing is quite draining. I don't really know right now. I'll have to think about it.
How about we do this. Look at what I've written—at least for the first two questions—and if you are interested in getting an explanation about something I've written, ask me questions in accordance with that topic. Specific questions will garner a more specific answer.
For instance, a good series of questions for a specific topic you want to learn more about will be presented like this:
I have learned how to develop and break habits.
What habit are you most happy you've developed? Broken?
Have you been able to develop the habit of studying your scriptures each day? If so, how will you go about maintaining this habit when you get home? What might you suggest to someone struggling with that habit?
Describe a habit you are currently working on developing. What steps are you taking to see that it becomes a habit?

Or something like this:

I have discovered the principle of tolerance.
I don't quite know what you mean by this. Will you give me an example where you applied the principle of tolerance in real life? Or maybe you might give me an example of a situation where you have seen this principle working, seen evidence of it.
I've always considered patience and tolerance to be nearly synonymous. How do you distinguish between the two? Do you think they're linked in any manner, or do they function independently of one another?

Or, maybe, consider presenting a question or comment in this way:

I hope to enhance my spiritual sensitivity.
By spiritual sensitivity, do you mean developing your attentiveness to the Spirit? Or do you mean you'd like to enhance your capacity to feel the Spirit.
How has the Spirit communicated with you in the past?
How would you describe the feelings of the Spirit?
I'm the same way when it comes to Sacrament Meeting. I'd really like to enhance my ability to feel the Spirit during the meeting. I'd like to make Sacrament Meeting as spiritual of an experience as it is for me when I listen to General Conference. I don't see why it shouldn't be. While the messages in GC might be better phrased and more beautifully arranged, the principles discussed are the same and the Spirit is the same. I feel like I can do this by yada yada yada.

You will greatly assist me in my self-introspection by asking questions to help me focus on finer points that interest you.
Elder Bradley Johnson

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Elder Johnson has been on his mission for one year as of this past week, specifically, October 6, 2011!!!!  CONGRATS ELDER! 
Here are some pictures from one year ago this week!  ENJOY!!!

Dinner at Denny's
Yes, the Stake President called him "the bearded one" since he hadn't shaved before being set apart.
He came home from his last day of work at 9:00 and his appointment with the Stake President was for ... 9:00.

Well, Lauren looks good...

Last meal at Denny's ... Brittany was there too!
Nice packing job

At the airport

Got his ticket

Marcus was the man!  He was there to the end!

Last picture with the fam.

Getting in line!
Soooo Exciting!!!!
Final look back before boarding!

One year in the mission and still going strong. 

Elder Johnson's October 3, 2011 E-Mail

How did you enjoy General Conference and how was the potluck?

General Conference was awesome. I've got 20 pages of notes in my Missionary Notes 1 study journal, which I won't share with you now for sake of time. You can read it in a year, maybe sooner if I decide to mail it home--I've only got 10 pages left in it, which isn't that remarkable; I'm not much of a writer.

The potluck was wonderful. A communion, a feast of hearty food after being spiritually fed. I like attending GC at the meetinghouse. It takes away the casualness experienced at home, makes it more meaningful.

How did you like the plane ride down to Juneau?  Was the plane super small?

It was probably awe-inspiring. The grandeur and beauty was probably breathtaking. The water was probably remarkably blueish-green. There were probably whales the breached the surface of the sea. The islands were probably green, the perfect form of green, the kind of green that Plato would say, Now, that's green. But, honestly, I was unmoved by it. When you're on your mission, your attention is elsewhere. You're concerned about the Work. Your brain's working internally. So I can't really say to be quite honest. Couldn't give you an accurate description, or really much of a description at all--check Elder Record's blog; maybe he's got something.

The plane, a little single-engine thing, fit about 10 people comfortably, was loud enough that you had to yell at the person sitting beside you to have a conversation. It went up, and then it went down, and we were in Juneau.

I will, however, and this is a promise to you, Mom--Dad, too, if he wants to come--I will have to take you on that plane flight sometime if I ever get a job and some money. We'd probably really like it then.

How crazy was it to stay in the Sister’s apartment during Zone Conference?  (Found that out on Hartman’s blog).  Did you sleep in their beds?  Did they know that you were coming?  Where were the sisters?  Was it weird?  Was everything all girly?

Three nights before the flight to Juneau, Sister ***, a sister who was in the MTC with me, called at 10:50 PM at night, which I thought a little odd;  apparently she had permission from the ZLs to call me. And she threatened me and the rest of my District that if we were to touch anything, go through anything, or even think about going through anything, that she would kill us. I was obviously highly offended at the pre-accusation. We, of course, would've never thought about doing anything like that, but it was a fair warning. So I said, "Okay."

The sisters were gone because they had a doctor's appointment to make in Anchorage.

Yes, we slept in their beds.  It was definitely a girl-version of a missionary apartment. Lots of trinkets and stuff.  We slept like babies.

I'll try to make more time for e-mails next week, and I'll give you a more comprehensive discussion of me as a missionary as a year out. What I've learned, what my goals from here are, etc. So look forward to that on Monday. I'm sorry. I'm not the best e-mailing missionary in the world.


Elder Brad Johnson