Monday, December 12, 2016

Holy Tuna in a can Batman!

ALOHA! Ya i don't really know why i said that but too late now i guess... oh by the way this is totally random but i haven't seen a Polynesian/ tongan/ samoan/ islander since i've been out here on my mission except for 2 sister missionaries.  I wonder why none of them come out this way. I miss them.

anyway.... Holy smokers this week went fast. I know i say that every week but its true ok.  I don't remember if i told you but M and H, the young couple we were working with for the past few months, well they are getting married in January! And then  in a year they will get sealed in the temple! Hurray! Its finally gonna happen. Too bad its after i leave :( But they are legit and we have built a great repore with them and we go over each week and read the book of mormon together. Speaking of the book of mormon, Elder M and I started listening to it on cd's this week and in one day, i kid you not, we finished the whole first book of Nephi! Ya it was a long driving day but its cool cuz i feel like we are really maximizing our time.

D is set for baptism this week but its hard to meet with him lately so it might be pushed back one more week. J and S are back and we are teaching them and they are working towards baptism really soon. They are good kids.

Wanna hear a random story? of course you do.  So the other day we get a referral from HQ(SLC) saying that we need to go visit this man asap to give him a blessing. We go that very day and a lady lets us in and she is from Laos (very close to Cambodia) she lets us in and takes us to a man who is literally on his death bed-dying from Cancer. We find out that one of their daughters live in Las Vegas and is a member and she was the one to request us to visit.  However no one there spoke very good english so we were struggling. Then another woman came in and still, we couldn't communicate and then i just said in cambodian, "does anyone speak Cambodian?" and one of them did. So i would speak in cambodian then the woman would say it in laotian and thats how it went. Pretty cool. I actually got to use my Khmae like 4 different times this week. Thats probably a new record since being in Providence.

Oh Monday i received the greatest text in my life! It was from the Revere Elders saying that R, one of my converts from there, was going through the temple on Wednesday to get her endowments! That totally made my day!  I was kinda ticked that i didn't know sooner but oh well.  Wednesday rolls around and one of our members was planning to come out with us from 6-9 to teach people but we asked him to instead drive us the hour distance and come to the temple with us.  He was all for it.  He said that he had the prompting to go to the temple this week but didn't think he could cuz his only free night was going to be taken up by teaching with us but now it all works!  MIRACLE!  We go to the temple and almost miss the session cuz we are late... we are late alot ha.  And we didn't tell R that we were coming and so we walk into the chapel and see her sitting up front with 2 of my favorite members from Revere. They looked dumbfounded that i was there haha they later told me they thought I had just happened to go to the temple tonight without knowing about what was going on.  Needless to say the session was wonderful and then we had a good time catching up a bit in the temple. I can't believe its already been 8 months since i saw them last.  R was so happy in the temple.  It was amazing to get to be there.  We took some cool pics outside the temple and then departed.  It was an unforgettable experience. I can't wait to go back and visit again. R says that her daughters have been praying that Me and Elder G get transferred back to Revere. Awwwe :)

Also yesterday, we had a special stake conference and Sister Elaine S. Dalton, the young Women's general president, and Elder Matthew Eyring, our Area 70 (and also Pres. Eyring's son) came and spoke!  It was fantastic. And we got to meet them briefly and talk to them.  Sis Dalton is the nicest lady on the earth, im pretty sure. My favorite thing i learned was 1, to smile. and 2, "the Lord cannot steer a parked car."

Well I could go on and on about this week but what i have thus written doth suffice.  But, Wowzers this week was just flippin awesome wasn't it? Oh and you want to know what else? I received a phone call from my very good friend, who also happens to be the AP, Elder P and you know what he told me?   "You'll Be Home for Christmas" Yup you got it. Mission office is sending the new missionaries sooner so Pres wants to send us home sooner. So I will now be coming home on December 18th :) See ya. Love ya bye! 

     Elder Brady Johnson

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Welcome Home Elder Johnson

Still friends after all these years
Momma's happy

Meeting the nephews

Brady was glowing so much, we needed sunglasses
The Johnson girls are ready for their bro to be home

Are you my brothers?

Monday, December 10, 2012

My last epistle as a missionary

This is my last letter because next week will be kinda crazy. So here it goes.

Well family and friends, it's finally here. I can't believe my mission has come to an end. What an adventure it has been. An adventure filled with learning, growing, spiritual experiences, testimony, hard days, wonderful days, complete exhaustion, stress, lots of traffic, disappointment, peace, comfort and the love of God. Friends have been made. Best friends. Many cherished memories have been shared. Discouragement and doubt were washed away by truth, joy, and light. Not to mention lots of laughter. I have been a part of something way bigger than just me. I have been a part of a brotherhood, part of the Lord's army, and part of the greatest and most glorious work this world has ever known. I have been a part of the work of Salvation.

I have seen many amazing things whilst on my mission. I have seen lives change, people change -myself included. I have seen how the Holy Ghost really works and how to use this special gift we hold. I've seen how vitally important it is to follow and act on promptings. I've seen wonderful things, weird things, funny things, sad things and unfortunate things. I've seen the great impact the gospel can have on the individual and the family when applied properly. And on the contrary, I have seen the great impact on families and individuals who reject the gospel and the darkness and sadness that is part of their lives. I've seen the light that comes into people's lives as they embrace the gospel. I've seen people come and go but the gospel and truth remain constant where ever I am. I've seen prayers answered. In short, I've been a witness of many miracles throughout my time here in the Massachusetts Boston Mission. I will not forget these moments and memories. I can't. They have made me who I am today.

I still have a long way to go and lots of work to do but I have become many things on my mission. I have become independent but dependent on the Lord. I am more charitable and more aware and thoughtful of others. Instead of thinking about what I want to give others, I have learned to rather think about, find out, and give people what they need. I am more patient and understanding than I was before. I have become a missionary and a missionary I will be throughout my entire life. I have become one that will not ever compromise my values or standards. I have become one that will stand for his beliefs even if that means standing alone. I have become, and am continually working at it, someone the Lord can trust. I have become someone that acts on all promptings, regardless at how awkward it may be. Now I'm not perfect but I have become more humble, much to my parents pleasure I'm sure. But more important than all of that, I have become a disciple of Jesus Christ and I will never go back.

I have always had a testimony of this gospel but my mission has definitely strengthened and solidified that testimony. I know and solemnly testify that God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. He knows us and loves us incredibly so. He has a plan for each one of us and what a wondrous plan it is- SALVATION and HAPPINESS for all of us if we will but do His will. Can there be anything better? I submit to you that there is nothing better! We are so blessed to have the knowledge that we have! We have something that a lot of people don't have, and that's hope. We have the hope in good things to come. We have the hope that we can change because of the infinite power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We don't have to keep making the same mistakes every day. We can change and be better. As a representative of Jesus Christ I testify that He truly is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, and He lives. What an incredible blessing it has been to share this testimony daily with everyone I come in contact with. I love this. I'm gonna miss this.

I don't quite know what is in store for me as I get ready to move into the next chapter of my life but I go forth with faith and excitement. Each ending brings new beginnings. So bring it on :)

Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So, so busy

I just  had the best P-day of my entire mission today! We made a sweet music video that we will be showing at our Christmas party on Dec. 11th! It was with our whole zone all over Boston. I can't wait to edit it and show you the outcome! Obviously no time to write :s I'm sorry once again. But know this, my life couldn't be better, cept i kinda wanna stay on a mission after all.... but too late for that so im coming home anyway. I will probably crash when i get home of exhaustion cuz im giving EVERYTHING i have for these last 3 weeks. It is go go go every day and im loving it. Couldn't ask for a better way to be ending my mission.

Turkey day was good- ate at the Temple President's house. W and Jr got confirmed and all is well there. There is so much to do and we've done so much, i just don't even know what to talk about. But I'm eternally grateful to all of you and love you! Be safe. K bye!
"Heel clicking in an orchard whilst picking apples  - yup, its legit"

Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's a great day to be alive and Thankful!

Alright peeps so here's the deal. I'll be seeing you all shortly so my emails will be a bit shortly :) Mostly because i don't even remember what happens every  day any more. but here are the wonderful things (plus i will attach pics and each pic is worth 1000 words):

Transfers were this week so from tuesday to friday we are pretty much out of our area/home and in the mission home with either the new arrivals or the departures or at transfer meeting. Each time we make take the departing missionaries to the airport its harder and harder mostly because it is saying goodbye to friends that i've served most of my mission with. I had the privilege of taking my trainer(we one of them cuz i was trained in a trio) to the airport for him to go home. Elder A is finally leaving America. What a sad day. One pic is me and him saying goodbye. Yup we are holding a stuffed animal. That is elder A for ya :)
As he is walking away, I say out loud and on video, because i recorded it, He is never going to make it to Cambodia. Well it turns out that while trying to get on his flight from NY to vancuver Canada or maybe whilst in Canada he didn't have the right documents to proceed so they sent him back to NY or kept him there... we are a little unsure on details. Well all of a sudden no one knows where this missionary is at but he is not on his right airplane to Cambodia. Sister Packard calls me and asks what i think happened or where he might be and i said Greenland (inside joke for all that know this kid) and that didn't help the situation. But luckily Sunday morning all of a sudden Elder A shows up in Cambodia safe and sound. No one knows how. I personally think he snuck on thru the landing gear and rode the whole way in the luggage rack. But the world will never know.

Next thing is I'm Thankful for all of you!

Lastly, we had two more baptisms this week..... I said we had 2 more baptisms! Ya they came out of no where, kinda. It was the 2 D kids. We went over on Monday to teach a regular lesson after taking a whole week off from visiting them and only the mom was home. So we talked to her and had a really good lesson and tried to resolve her concerns about her children being baptized. She was not really having it and we felt kinda defeated. Then she just asked for the records so she could sign them. Wait What? good thing i had just put them in my backpack just in case. I handed it to her and she said that she just wants to get it done. Huh? we even tried to dissuade her by saying she doesn't have to do anything unless she really wants to and she feels that it is right, and she said that it was fine and that we should do it sunday and expect her to be there too. Then we left. We were confused when we left and looked at each other and said, "Did that just happen?" So we decided to wait til our next appointment on friday to make sure it was legit.

So friday we come back and yup she's serious. So with just saturday to prepare we got the whole program together but with some serious doubts that they would all show up on sunday. Well as you can see in the picture, They all showed up and the baptism went fabulously! The ward and tons of missionaries have been working to get these 2 kids baptized for at least 3 years. So it was a very big deal to them and tons came to support. I couldn't help but feel pretty good about myself having accomplished this feat. But then I had a really humbling experience during the closing hymn. I was pondering about this whole experience and how it all happened so fast and how did it even happen when it hit me. This is the Lord's work. Not mine. Its not about me or the things I can do because regardless what I try to do to help people convert and come unto Christ, ultimately it is God that changes people's hearts. It is He that can work through me if I am worthy, but otherwise i am nothing.

There are many examples of this throughout my mission but I will just emphasize this one. Elder R and I came in wanting to be the missionaries to finally baptize these kids. We wanted to finally get this family together and coming to church and progressing towards Christ. We went over 3 or 4 times a weeks and taught many lessons. It was not easy, if you only knew the family. But we didn't give up. So after all we could do, we came close, it was the night before their original baptism date that the mom changed her mind and said no. We were so close and yet forever away and we were crushed. I felt so defeated. That's where the lesson comes in when Heavenly Father looks at us and says, "You know you can't do this without me. I'm in control and can do anything. So I'm going to give this one to you just because I love you and because the time is now right but watch and see how I am in control and that I will do things in my own due time." Ok so maybe He didn't say it like that but you get the point. And the point is, we have to depend and rely on the Lord. There is NO WAY that we could've got their mother to change her mind on our own. It was the spirit of God and we are all on His time. I hope you get what I'm saying, cuz it makes more sense in my head then it does when i try to explain it.

Thats it. Love ya! Have a fabulous Thanksgiving! (ps we have multiple places that we can go to eat so we are all set!)
Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Many Thanks

Body armour from Hurricane Sandy
This week should've been thanksgiving because I'm am just so grateful! First off, thanks to all those who sent things for my birthday. I really have the greatest Family in the whole wide world and i want you to know that i am so grateful to you all. LoVe YoU!

Its been the craziest week of my life (i know i say that alot but i really mean it this time!). It was the week of discussing transfers with President and getting everything set up for that and all preparing for the weekend mission Conference and Service day down in New Haven CT. I honestly can't tell you what happened during the week but i know we were swamped from 6am to 10pm every day and didn't even have a chance to visit the DJL family or T this week. The H's (an office senior couple) took all 4 of us assistants to the Cheesecake Factory for my birthday and what a treat that was. They are the funniest people. I love them cuz they remind me of my fabulous grandparents. The office couples depend on us greatly because they are a bit slow when it comes to computers and technology (unlike Gramma Butler) so they love us and treat us like heroes every time we come into the office and help them with their latest problem and then when we succeed they do these funny little dances all hooting and hollering hahaha its priceless. I love older people!

I will just cut to the chase, Friday after running around all over greater Boston trying to get everything ready to go down to CT, we picked up some sister missionaries in the city and drove down 2.5 hours or so to Madison CT. One of the sisters is from Las Vegas and used to sing with Gladys Knight! She's got such a good voice. When we arrived, the whole mission was together (first time since the consolidation of the two missions) we had hot chocolate and donuts and reunited with many friends and companions we haven't seen for a long time. It was a glorious time and just something special in the room where we were all gathered. Then we moved into the chapel to have our mission conference meeting. Elder R and I conducted the meeting and we started by singing Called to Serve and it was such an incredible sight to behold as we were sitting on the stand looking out across the hundreds of faces of people i have come to love so much and who we have been praying really hard for because of transfers. I almost lost it a few times in tears just because of the pure Christlike love I felt towards all of them. And once again, there was just something different and special about the feeling and spirit that was present in that chapel with our whole mission together. Something i will never forget. 

Each of the Packard kids spoke and they are amazingly mature speakers, and i learn so much from them. Sister Packard also spoke to us but the best talk was definitely by President Packard. This is how he started: "Albert Einstein once said- simple minds talk about people, as in gossip. Mediocre minds talk about things, as in the weather or sports or whatnot. But Great minds talk about ideas. I want to talk about an idea. Its called Zion. Everybody wants it. A few people have tried to create it. only a couple were successful." He focused alot on Joseph Smith and the early saints and their efforts in trying to build Zion. It was that idea of Zion that lead people from place to place being burned out of their houses and driven across the plains. There is power in that idea. He really thinks we can create it here in our mission. I believe him and want to do it. He is such a powerful speaker and when he talks, he has a way of inspiring you to want to join him because of the faith that he has. A life-changing talk. He and his daughter also sang a special musical number. That family is so talented!

That night all of the elders slept in the church there while the sister missionaries went to stay with local members. Saturday we woke up and dressed in our yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts and vests and took off in groups to go serve. It was such a fun day! And such a good change of scenery. We shoveled sand off of people's property-sometimes up to a couple feet! Cleaned out basements, moved furniture, walked along the beach and picked up trash and debris, helped take boards off of windows, Lifted a shed off of a fence ha, and lots of other little things. The people we served LOVED us! They were so grateful. And even the people who we didn't help but who just drove by on the street would take the time to stop and thank us for helping their community. It was amazing. I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. 
There are so many other little stories that happened throughout the day but it suffices me to say that we served and lifted burdens and had loads of fun doing it! plus the weather was great even with the random snow storm earlier in the week. Blake, count me in for next year hurricane clean up cuz i loved it! (as you can tell by the picture i sent). We drove home Saturday night and fell asleep instantly. Easily some of the best days of my mission.

Well, I love you all! I know that this gospel is true. How can it not be. When you stop and think about all the good that comes from this gospel and what we learn and what we strive to be, its so obvious that this is what Christ wants us to be doing. Look for those in need of this great message of purpose and hope. He lives!

Elder Brady 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why hello beautiful people.  Its been awhile hasn't it.  Well i hope this one doesn't bore you :)

From Hurricanes to Bishops not being on board, from organizing flood clean up to Halloween parties, from parents holding their kids back from progressing to sickness almost preventing covenants, and from visiting a district meeting where Elder A is the District leader to having one of the most spiritual baptismal services I've ever attended, this week I've done it all. Its been a wild ride and as I mentioned in another email to some of you, I feel like my mission is going so fast that if I even just blink, i will miss the rest of it.  We looked at what was ahead for this next transfer and every week is stacked with things to do and then this morning we got even more things to do from President in regards to all the new missionaries we will soon be having(Probably after i go home-so i get to do all the work but not get to see the fruits of my labors :(  But such is life.

So starting from the top. Monday was an incredible day! As the storm was raging outside, there were 20 of us missionaries chillin in the mission home with the Packard family.  We never lost power, we played games all day, ate, and then at night we did a big family home evening Packard style!  Everyone performed a talent as usual and there were some funny ones. A canadian elder sang the Star Spangled Banner haha.  Elder R and I actually performed, "In Christ Alone" by owl city and N P accompanied us on the piano. We had asked her to learn how to play it just a few days before we knew about the storm because we wanted to perform it at some point and it all worked out to do it that night. It went really well.  We of course had a spiritual thought as well about prayer. And I have come to realize that for me, I think i receive the most revelation in my prayers when i pray specifically about how i can help a certain individual. I've received some pretty specific things to do to help others. Now when i pray for personal matters, the answers are a bit harder to recognize.  I think thats when the scriptures come into play.  Kinda cool. Prayer is a great blessing.

Tuesday we got up and finally went home. The storm was done and only a few missionaries throughout the mission ever lost power.  As we were leaving, Michael(12) comes down stairs and says, "Are you guys coming back?" We said ya michael we come here pretty often remember? and then he said the funniest thing, "no i mean are you going to come back tonight and do the same thing as we did yesterday?" haha it was so sad to tell him no.  There was no real damage to our area so we just went back to normal missionary work.  But in the New Haven CT stake theres lots to do and half of the mission got to go down last saturday to help with some cleanup and this weekend the entire mission is going down to help out all wearing our Helping Hands T-Shirts so Im stoked! (We didn't get to go down cuz we were super busy Saturday....but when are we not?)

Tuesday we also found out that our bishop was not going to let the baptisms happen until he interviewed them and found them worthy and ready to be baptized.  Obviously he doesn't hold those keys so we called him and helped him see that and so he said then that he wants to meet with them in his office before the baptism so he can get to know them. Eventually everything turned out alright and T our investigator who has stopped smoking for over 3 weeks was able to get baptized.

Jumping to the baptism, It was one of the most spiritual services I've attended.  The members just love T and have been a big part of getting her in the ward.  Sis. K (the one from Portugal) gave a talk at it and did wonderfully even tho she's only been speaking english for like 3 months.  Its amazing to see the lord bless those who work hard with the gift of tongues. Sis K and her comp have been switching offf teaching with T over the past few months and I have no doubt that the reason she got baptized is because we got the sisters involved.  We have some really solid sister missionaries in our mission and they add so much to the work.  I had the opportunity and privilege to Confirm T that day as well and that was a cool experience.  She is such a sweet lady who has had a rough life.  She cried multiple times that day just out of joy and excitement.

Oh random side note, some italian reporters tried to interview me about the election but i told them no so instead they asked me about my mission and i was answering their questions and so they started filming me for a few seconds.  But then we had to tell them to leave the church grounds cuz we aren't affiliated with any political party.

So back to the DL kids not getting baptized.... That was probably the saddest and most frustrating days of my life. This week after hearing the mom say multiple times that YES her kids can get baptized, we went over to get her signature.  Well she wouldn't even show her face or talk to us and so we tried to communicate through messages passed to the kids to her and back to us and it went on forever and she just wouldn't budge. She said they can get baptized but that she was not going to sign anything.  J started crying when his mom said no to letting them get baptized and W kept saying over and over again, "I just want to be baptized, please let me do it." ;( It was heartbreaking.  But we will continue to work with them. I haven't given up all hope yet.

We've had some really spiritual moments with members at our dinner appointments lately and its because we actually prepare a lesson to teach them and think about their needs and teach to them.  But we often start out by asking them why it is they keep coming to church each week? What is it that brings you back? why?  And its been amazing the spirit that enters their home as they have the chance to bear their testimony to us but more importantly in front of their spouse or children in their own home.  Theres power in sharing testimony with each other in the home.  So i challenge all of you to do that this week sometime.  Ask each other what it is that keeps you coming back to the church or staying in it? And i promise that you will grow closer together and that you will share a spiritual experience, which are so essential to have in a family.  The reason why i keep coming to church is because it teaches me what it is that our Heavenly Father wants me to do and become.  I am a better person because of belonging to this church. I learn there. I learn that we can change. We can let go of our weaknesses and our mistakes and change and have hope in good things to come.  And that is something that i feel like everyone needs to know about.  Hope is what is missing in this world.  So share your light and bring hope to others this week and always. 

So yeah....This is why I never had the chance to write a real letter last week. We have a lot to do and I have only a little time left. Just Don't hate me, k? :) Love you all! Thanks to Blake Karli and Brody for being the first to send me something for my birthday! and Mom thanks for the package it was PERFECT!!!!!!!

Love, Elder Johnson