Monday, March 28, 2011

Here I Am!

Well I'm here!!!!!!! Its hard to believe but its true.
Let me start with Tuesday night though in the MTC.  For the devotional I had the opportunity to pray in the devotional and the speaker was Elder Claudio Costa of the 70 so that was pretty sweet getting to meet him.  His talk was hilarious and same with his wife's.  Anywho, we went back to our room, packed, and went to sleep waking up at 3am.  Went to the travel office and Elder G and I rode up to SLC and chilled at the airport, called the fam of course, and talked to a missionary that was just on his way home.  I ran into some friends of Mom's in high school (Doug and Karen Williams) so that was super random but way cool too and i actually sat right behind them and got to talk to them alot.  So mom, I know all your secrets from high school/college ;)  We barely made our next flight because our plane had been delayed.  Lucily, the next plane was delayed as well.  President Evans was there to pick us up and we got right in the car and drove to teh city of Lynn straight away and found that Elder G would be staying there.  After dropping him off i had a 40 min drive with Pres. Evans all to myself.  He is an awesome man and i already love him.  He says that he can just feel like something big is about to happen with the Cambodians and it got me way excited.  So we got to my new home, for who knows how long, in Lowell Massachusetts.  I have two companions, Elder W who has been in the field for 6 months and Elder A who has been in the field for 2 months or so.  Elder W is from Cali and Elder A is from Cambodia!  Pretty sweet.  E. W said that the amount of cambodian homes they get into has tripled because of having a native so that is sweet plus we learn how to speak Khmae from him and he learns english from us.  His english is alot better than my khmae haha.  They are both way cool and funny and we have had no problems.
That first night right when i got there we went to the church and went on splits with members so i wasn't even with my companions for the first 2 hours! I went with two members to a very inactive members house and gave him a surprise visit.  He let us in and we talked for a long time and shared a spiritual message and things went really good.  the spirit was definitely there. Then i got to go home and kinda settle... oh ya and eat for the first time since 6 that morning.
The rest of the weekend we just did missionary stuff and i will explain to you what that is.  Most days go like this: Personal study 8am. Companionship Study- 9am.  Language study at 10am.  Then we usually go out, try to meet with some potential investigators (aka drive around alot and get to the houses that people usually aren't home)  Yes we have a car-Elder W drives and the streets are so confusing and just crazy ha.  But im starting to get the hang of it, plus we have a gps.  We have lunch then go out looking for more people that they have met once or twice before.  Not much luck. 
(sorry this email is going to be random and very out of order because im just writing things that come to my mind)  My mission is not only to the cambodians i found out, because there are just not that many members or investigators.  So we teach every body that is not spanish or portuguese.  So that includes English, Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, (broken english mostly haha) and many other random languages.  Its pretty sweet.  I think i'm gonna try to pick up Thai while i'm out here, maybe.  First i need to get Khmae.  Anywho i didn't see my first cambodian til thursday night when we met with S who is about 50 or so.  We taught him the first lesson... i only bore my testimony but it caught him off guard that i could speak Khmae ha.  It went good. We teach/meet with alot of inactive members in the two wards that we are over.  We are over the Lowell family ward and the Heritage Park Singles ward.  So we get a variety of people to meet with.  We eat dinner alot of the time at members houses and that is really awesome (so you people back home, invite the missionaries over for dinner and feed them alot! it is really appreciated)  I ate at a Cambodian member's house and it was not too bad.  Plus Elder A likes to cook for us at home so i'm pretty used to the style of food/flavor already.  I still would rather have steak and potatoes or something but oh well :)  When we talk to Cambodians i don't really understand what they are saying most of the time.  I usually can get the main idea but thats about it.  I can understand E. W and E. A alot easier tho so thats good.  And i can say what i want to say pretty good.  But i realized i have so far to go.  Im ready to work hard and get it down tho.  
I want to tell you about our big story/miracle this week.  We met with an older Cambodian man named M. They have been teaching him for awhile but he has not been to church and has some challenges.  We gave him a blessing to help him with.  We asked him to pray to ask Heavenly father himself for help but he doesn't think he is good at praying.  We invited him to go to church but he said he was busy but would come next week.  So we left thinking it went alright but could've gone better.  That is when the Lord blessed us with a miracle.  Sunday we were in the library getting set up and ready for translating when we see M walk in with his 30yr old son and his 4yr old granddaughter!!!!!!!! it was sweet!  We were so excited and Elder W said that it is the first time he has had a Cambodian investigator come to church since he's been here, which is close to 6months!  Miracle!  He only stayed for sacrament but hey, its a start.  
So let me tell you a bit about church cuz it is pretty cool.  the Lowell ward has some members that speak only spanish, portuguese, or Khmae and so we have to translate.  There is one spanish speaking elder that translates spanish, his companion that knows both spanish and portuguese so he translate portuguese, and then us 3 that take turns during sacrament.  We sit in the library and get the feed from the pulpit and then talk into a little head set  and then the members have headsets on in the chapel and are listening to us translate.  each language has a different station.  It is so COOL! You just got to see it ha.  I didn't much translating but i did the opening prayer and one of the testimonies (cuz it was fast sunday).  Its cool cuz if you don't know exactly what to say you can kinda make up your own stuff because they don't know what is going on ha... but don't worry we try to translate directly as best as we can.  So in our ward there are not many Cambodian members.  We have 3 solid awesome older Khmae ladies that are just hilarious that come every week, and then a few other ladies that come off and on.  So ya, no men.  But here's the thing, there is supposed to be 400 or more Khmae members, its just that they are all inactive.  Something happened a few years ago that made every one stop going to church so our main job is trying to get them to come back plus bring new ones.  Oh one of the active Khmae women, Y., was baptized by Paul Gooch cool huh? plus all the other Khmae members i've talked to know him too so i have a little connection already.  I think that will help us out a ton.  I'm so excited to get the referals from the Goochs and get working on those people. I've gotta tell you, i don't understand what the khmae people say most of the time but i already love them so much.  They are just so awesome!
Anyways this email is really long and i can't remember what else to say so.... oh so just a little about Elder A, He is so much like Palm![an exchange student from Thailand Brady new last year.]  And no im not saying that cuz they are both asian.  They act the same in a ton of ways- like telling random stories that make no sense at all but are just hilarious. I love it!  I love listening to all the broken english around here, it just makes me laugh and think that i probably sound the same way to the khmae people haha.  Oh one more thing- we contacted this black guy, M., who stands on the side walk in front of his house, almost all day, every day.  It is awesome.  When we talked to him, he shook each of our hands 7 times in 10 mins haha.  I love people!
So ya this is just a little bit of my life.  Sorry about the confusingness and randomness.  I love you all so much and i miss the warmth of STG so much cuz its cold here with a very bitter wind :( But this town is growing on me.  Keep being the wonderful people you all are.  Don't be afraid to share the gospel or help the missionaries out.  There are some amazing people out here that have only been members for a short time but they are the best examples to me and doing all they can to share the gospel.  Be Safe and good luck with all the things going on this week.
Love, Elder Brady Johnson
Here is my new address:
126 Walker St.
Lowell, MA 01854

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Here I Go!

Well it is here.  I am leaving the MTC tomorrow at 4 am and will be in Boston in no time and teaching the wonderful people of Cambodia in my favorite language!  I honestly just love the Cambodian language! it is awesome.  I can't wait til i know it so much better but as for right now i feel like i will actually be able to communicate with the people and be able to teach them.  I think i might be able to joke with them too.... I hope.  I had my last interview with my teacher bro O. and he said some really comforting things.  He told me that his goal as a teacher is to get the new missionaries ready enough to when the time comes for us to go, we don't need the teachers anymore.  He told me that he knows that i don't need them anymore.  He said he is not at all worried about me and knows that i will work hard and be successful.  That made me feel so comforted and gave me a little confidence boost i was needing.  but don't worry i will not let it go to my head.  I will continue to work hard to master the language and help all those that i come in contact with.  I am so excited to go!  I love this work.  It is the best thing i could've asked for.  I love being able to have devoted the last 3 months to only studying the gospel and preparing myself for the rest of my mission.  I don''t even know where to begin to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all that He has given me. 
This week we had to say goodbye to one of our progressing investigators-Sokhaa (Bro Stevens) and it was the saddest thing.  I really had grown so attached to this investigator and loved and cared about him so much. He's not even a "real" investigator and i felt that way! I think i felt what it was like, just a little bit, to have charity.  It was an awesome and spiritual experience.  I am so ready to keep loving and learning and growing.
Sorry this is so short but i forgot to bring my notebook with all my spiritual insights and plus i will be talking to you tomorrow :) I am pretty sure that i will be calling in the morning and i am gonna try to call Blake and Nikki too so you be ready also :)
I love you all so much!  I have the best family in the world and i have no idea where i would be without them.   Thanks for all that you have done for me Mom, Dad, Blake, Karli, Ryan, Nikki, Brock, and Stacy!  I love you all very much and can't wait to talk to you tomorrow.   

     Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So Close

How are you all doing?! Pretty good i assume from the updates.  Ok so Wednesday this week was easily the best day i've had in the mtc.  It started out with the Ambassador of Cambodia and his wife coming to our class.  He came in and immediately started speaking Cambodian and it felt normal.  We talked for like ten minutes about where we were all from and where we are going and what not and then Elder Banks of the 70 says, "so what have you been saying?"  It was so wierd that they couldn't understand but we could!  It was awesome! i didn't even realize really that we had been speaking and understanding each other the whole time in a different language!  It was just sweet, ok.  He stayed for awhile and told us about himself.  He would not belive us when we told him that we had only been speaking/learning Khmae for 10 weeks.  He was amazed and thought for sure we were all lying to him because he said we were all so good.  That was so nice and comforting to hear.  He said that usually it is very hard for northern americans to have the right accent but he said we were doing it really well.  We got some pics and i am sending it home this week to you :) All i know is that i love Khmae people!!!!! they are so awesome and soooo nice.  I can't wait to go out and serve them.
Speaking of serving them, I got my travel Plans on Wednesday as well! I leave March 23 and 4am and my flight out of SLC is at 7am and then i have a lay over in Chicago from 11:30 to 12:30pm so i will call you some time between 5:30 and 7am or 11:30 to 12"30.... sorrry that is the best i can do because i don't know exactly when i will call.  Tell me what would work best for you:)  I should be in boston by 4pm!  Im so stoked and just ready to go! 
Lastly on Wednesday our district finally got to host the new incoming missionaries.  I was sitting around hoping to see Layton Checketts {Brady's college roommate} or maybe even get to host him when i see this huge 15 passenger van coming up and i saw Layton's mom!  So i followed them to where they got out and i got to be his host!  It was so cool.  It was fun seeing his parents again (i met them in Virginia) and of course see Elder Checketts.  That was a sweet reunion.  So i was able to show him around and he is even in my gym time so we see each other every day.  I'm loving it!  It brought back some great memories of SVU and we reminisced a bit while i was hosting him. 
So ya Wednesday was just awesome and a lot of fun.  I think the best part of all the things i did was just get out of our regular routine.  It was very refreshing. Hmmm... I don't know what else to say because i will just be able to talk to you in a week.  I'm way excited to hear from you.
I was reading King Benjamin's speech this week in personal study and i just love that man!  I learned so much from him.  One thing that i really liked was in Mosiah 4:16-26 where it talks about those of us who are more fortunate must help others.  for as it says, "For behold, are we not all beggars?"  We all depend on God and His Help constantly.  He has given us everything we have.  So should we not help others who depend on us?!  We are so blessed.  It only seems right to give to and help all those around us.  It think it is so cool that our ward is doing all that stuff for that family.  I love our ward!  LV2 for life. 
Something very big we have been working on as a district is not having pride.  When you study pride/humility you realize just how prideful you are.  That is what has happened to me and I have realized that I really need to work on that.  And i have been and it has already been such a blessing to me.
Lastly i just want to leave an awesome quote that i found from something and i don't know if i have already shared this with you but here it is:    "Be the kind of person that people who don't know Him, but know you, want to know Him because they know you."  Our example is everything.  just remember that.
I love you all and wish you a wonderful and safe week. Good luck Dhills soccer!
     Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Big News! March 8, 2011

Oh hey!
How is the best family in the world?  Good i hope.  Thanks for the updates on soccer, i really enjoy them! way more than basketball.  Congrats brock for making the team, but we all knew that would happen.  When i read about the soccer games i feel like it is not real because how could my team be playing and im not out there playing with them.  Its kinda sad and makes me miss soccer.  When i get to boston I am definitely playing soccer on Prep days so mom get ready to send my blue cleats and maybe a ball to boston in a few weeks :)  I am so stoked to go!  I feel like im as ready as i will ever be.  I just need to go get myself talkin to a bunch of natives. 
Yes, I do see Wes Musso all the time and I saw Ryan Thompson the other day as well.  Wes works here and Ryan volunteers.
(I-Lisa- asked Brady about KSL TV doing an hour long special on the MTC which they will show between conference sessions and this is his reply.) I'm sorry to say but i will not be in any of the filmings that will be showed during conference.  For some reason I never even saw a camera.  I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Just my luck.  But Sis. Sparks and Sis. Bayles, the sisters in my zone going to Cambodia are in it and are interviewed so when you see them you can count that as seeing me :)  Speaking of Conference, I am so excited for it.  I am so ready to learn from the Leaders of this wonderful church and find out what the Lord wants me to do.  Going along with this i was reading in Mosiah 2:9 for personal study and it tells us that we need to take advantage of hearing from the Lord's servants and to "open our ears, open our hearts, and open our minds".  So prepare yourselves now for conference and make sure you open your ears, heart and mind!
K so the big news.  Tomorrow we have the Ambassador of Cambodia to the United States coming to the MTC and to our classroom! This is the guy who says whether missionaries are allowed to go to Cambodia or not.  For the time being, missionaries are allowed in and there are no problems.  He is coming to see what we are all about.  Talk about nervous.  This is such a cool chance! Im so excited.  We hope that he has a wonderful experience and keeps letting missionaries go to his country.  The person in charge of this visit came in and told us what we needed to do and what not and said that there has never been any ambassador from Cambodia come to the MTC so this is HUGE!  Like i said.  Big news.  I'll let you know how it goes :)

Back to personal study for a bit.  I was reading Mosiah 3:13 and I realized that the people before Christ came had to have faith that Christ WOULD come and perform the Atonement and all the other things.  People after Christ came, like us have to have faith that He DID come.  And of course for the people who were there when He did come had to have faith that He IS Christ.  It was just a cool realization that throughout all time there has been a need for faith but different types of it.
We had the Provo Temple President come to the MTC and give a talk and it was super good.  He is a cool man with lots of amazing stories.  He said, "It is absolutely essential to become better every day."  I always thought ya it is nice to try to be better today than the last but he said that it is ESSENTIAL.  Do we think of it that way?  We HAVE to strive to be better tomorrow than we are today, and be better today than we were yesterday.  He also shared a quote from Elder Maxwell talking about How to Measure your life's work: 1 is it true? 2. is it important? 3. Is it Urgent?  I know that what i am doing right now fits all 3 of these.  Because this work is true.  It is about salvation and yes that is important.  the second coming is close at hand so yes it is urgent that we try to tell as many people about this gospel as we can.
Lastly, We taught a progressing investigator (Seihaa) aka my teacher.  He was having struggles with prayer and so we sat down and explained it very clearly(yes in cambodian :) and promised him that if he prayed with a sincere heart to know if this church was the thing that he was looking for in his life, that he would feel the spirit.  We had him pray right then and there and I know he felt the spirit and i felt the spirit.  it was awesome
Love you bye!

     Elder Brady Johnson

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another Week, March 1 2011

Wow what a fast week!  Sounds like it was quite eventful for all of you back home.  Thats too bad that DHills couldn't pull out the state championship but 3rd place is pretty sweet. We had a speaker on Sunday that told us the score of the BYu-San Diego game.  That was sweet. I forgot to tell you that last week me, Elder Thomas, and Elder Josh Parkinson sung Come Thou Fount with Sister Annie Powell on the piano?  Well we did.  We had to try out and then we got accepted to sing.  We would've got to be in one of the big sunday night devotionals but Elder Parkinson was leaving too soon so we got to sing for the Senior Missionaries orientation.  It went really well and it was a very pretty arrangement of Come Thou Fount. 
I can't believe it is Soccer season again for Brock.  I wish i could play soccer so bad right now, but the field is still closed.  So i will just have to stick with basketball and balling it up on the court :) by the way this week in a game i got hit in the eye pretty hard and got a cut under my eye(small) and it swelled up a bit but never turned into a black eye.  Not gonna lie I was kinda disappointed ha.  OH and for a little while my vision was black and cloudy in that eye but now things are good :) so don't worry haha.  Oh another thing with b-ball, one game my team was down 5-0 and I hit 3 3's(we go by ones and twos) and scored a layup to win 7-5! It was sweet.  Anyways...Congrats Stacy on getting your YW award!  that is way cool!  Thanks for the letter too.  You are funny. 
So i didn't think i knew very many people coming in to the MTC this last week but it turns out i knew a ton!  I saw Elders Blake Benham, Logan Terry, Cody Hayes(all going to Russia), and Tanner Larsen-yes the kid that used to be in our ward!  IT was so weird running into him but it was cool to catch up a bit.
Last tuesday we had the priveledge of hearing from Elder Patrick Kearon and his Wife (of the 70).  He spoke in conference in october.  anyways his talk was so good and he is a very funny man.  I learned so much from him, here are a few quotes:
- Look like you have a happy, joyful message as missionaries and members!
-We need to BE THE MESSAGE
- What you do and how you are is much more important than what you say
and my personal favorite,
-The Lord doesn't test us to give us a grade, but because the process will change us.
I think another reason why i liked him so much was cuz he had a sweet british accent :) and he kept saying "niggle" haha whatever that means
Our speaker on sunday was Stephen B. Allen from the missionary department... I don't remember exactly what he does but he's super important and this was my 2nd time hearing from him.  He is really cool.  He lets the elders take off our suit coats if we want (which everyone wants because it gets hot when you have 2000 missionaries in a room).  He talked to us about the turbulance we will experience on our missions/lives.  Sometimes The Lord gives us the bumps and rough waters to help us pass over worse things.  Basically saying, just trust in God and know that He knows what He is doing and He will help you through anything.  He also talked about something that really impacted me and i had never thought of before.  he said, "Satan sometimes encourages us to do many worthwhile things but makes you miss the essentials.  And then eventually he will lead you to do the bad things." So make sure you are stiving to do the essential things.
It reminds me of a talk E. Greer and I read on sunday as a companionship.  It was the Talk on Things that Matter most by Pres. Uchtdorf last conference.  Sometimes we just have to relax and refocus our lives on the things that matter most. 
I challenge you all to take advantage of the conference talks we have and to read them over again.  You can always learn more.  Also take the time to watch the videos on  they are so powerful.  I really like the one called Lifting Burdens.  Look it up.  Watch it. :)
I love you all and I'm so grateful for you.  I miss you but know that this is where i am supposed to be.

     Elder Brady Johnson