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

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