Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving week

All I Gotta say is WOW! I feel so loved!  Im so glad everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  Not gonna lie, I was a bit trunkie, but who isn't during the holidays?  I love hearing about everything happening in your lives. I just love all of you guys so much and I am very grateful to be a part of such a wonderful family!  Im also glad I was allowed out of the storage room for the holidays, haha I love that card board cut-out of me.  Send pictures please!  Im getting ready to send lots of pictures this week or next so get ready! Just to answer your question mom, we have somewhat of a mission gathering for christmas and it is just a Zone Temple trip.  Ours is dec. 9th so im way excited.  I Love the temple and wish we could go more.

Okie dokie here goes my week. We had a awesome lesson with the S's and watched Elder Scott's talk on celestial marriage and the spirit was very powerful and they loved it.  So then i asked them right there if they would get married and they said yes!  (Ya go figure, im not only committing people to be baptized but to get married haha)  They might get married in December and then get baptized the same day if possible!  Its so awesome. I hope its before the transfer so i can be there for sure.  Still not sure I'll get transferred but it a big possiblility.  But ya that is my good news minute of the week ha. 

So kinda a tangent but I've realized that being a missionary is just amazing.  Think about it.  19-21 year old boys are teaching people about salvation and teaching how to read and understand scriptures, we counsel people with their addictions or other problems, we give marriage counseling, people tell us EVERYTHING and trust us to know what to do in every situation, and they take our advice no matter what. and this is just to name a few things.  And i think to myself, WOAH im just a kid, how and why is this happening.  There is only one explanation- This Church is True. We have a True Prophet.  We are Truely called by God to this work.  If it wasn't true, There is no way any of this could work.  It just amazes me.  Im convinced that the mission prepares you for everything and anything that will happen later in life.  I love being a missionary!
So Thanksgiving was nice.  We woke up and did studies and then had an hour long photo shoot on our deck upstairs with the other elders.  It was so much fun and we got some legit pics.  Why did we do this, one might ask? well, you see, we are creating a little christmas surprise :) You'll see!  Then we had Thanksgiving dinner at about 2pm at the church with a few of the members who got together and it was really really good and i ate a whole bunch.  Lots of dessert too.  Im turning into dad where i have to eat dessert immediately after each meal.  Its a wonderful lifestyle :)
We also visited families like the L family and they invited us to eat with them while we were there but unfortunately, no more room in our bellies.  That night we went to the D's  and met all of their extended family and had a good time talking to them about the church and what we do and we may or may not have eaten more desserts... plus they gave us tons of their left overs and A made the greatest stuffing in the whole world.  Im gonna have to get the recipe cuz it was delicious.  Too bad they aren't interested in being baptized, but we still are grateful for the friendship we have created and I'm totally going to keep in contact with them.  They are just good people. oh and to end the night we got together as a zone and played basketball and volleyball at the church and that was alot of fun. 
Ya nothing much else happened this week.  We have continued our work with the members and it has been really good.  The time is soon at hand when the member referrals will start flowing.  And it will be a glorious day when it happens. We are so close. We taught this couple about the word of wisdom and even tho they did not commit to living it they feel like its true and good.  As soon as they come to church and gain a testimony everything else will just fall in place. 
Saturday morning we went and played bball with a couple of the dental students and it was a ton of fun.  Dad you'd be so proud of my basketball skills haha. Im gonna come back and just school you :)  and Ryan. 
That about does it for me on my end.  I just want to share with you something I learned this week in my personal study that has to do with the member missionary lessons.  I was reading in 2Nephi 2:16 i think and it talks about how we are all created to act, but we cannot act unless we are enticed one way or the other.  And so like in the first member missionary lessons we learn that we succeed when we INVITE! You gotta give people a chance to choose. How can they make a choice unless they know there is a choice? Does that make sense?  Our duty is to invite-give people a choice.  that is the only thing in our power.  That is why we succeed when we invite, because the rest of what happens all has to do with the other person.  So this holiday season, please INVITE.  Love others enough to give them a chance to accept the most precious gift that can be given at christmas.  Ya there are a million excuses why we don;t do missionary work as members but just do it! I promise you won't regret it :) I love you all! Be good, remember who you are and all that jazz :)

     Elder Brady Johnson

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm so Grateful!

Wow what a football game! Thanks Dad for the play by play of the game.  I felt like I was right there. Im glad you guys are saving the game on TV for me to watch.  Im excited to see my little brother toughing it out in a snowstorm.  Brock you are the man.  Now write me a letter :) Good luck with basketball!

I think it is so weird when i think about where i was last thanksgiving, in Tennessee.  Man that was probably one of the most random and crazy and fun thanksgivings I've had and will ever have.  Tell Dan and Shelly to thank those Flake's in Tennessee once again for me :)

Thats awesome about the women's So. Virginia U soccer doing well this year again.  I've written a few people from SVU and they have written back but no one from the guys soccer team.  I definitely miss those guys.

This week was interesting, especially with the weather.  So i always thought St George's weather was quite bi polar but Massachusetts is so much worse.  We have been having weather in the 70's and then down to  the 30's and then 40's with ice cold wind and then back up to 65 with no breeze.  Im so confused haha.  So yes i am staying pretty warm on some days but then i get blindsided by the cold everyonce in a while. Oh ya and it gets dark here at like 4pm. No Bueno (not good).  That makes it really hard to meet with people are tract cuz even tho its way early evening people get mad at you and say that you are coming way too late.  its annoying.

Anyways this week went real slow but it was good.  Last week after i emailed you we went down to charlestown, just north of Boston to the Bunker Hill Monument and to see the U.S.S Constitution Ship.  It was alot of fun and Charlestown is so pretty especially in the fall.  I took lots of pictures and videos that i will probably send in a few weeks as a christmas present :)  Then we also went down to Boston to Mike's Pastries (apparently its super famous here but i've never heard of it before ha) and walked around a bit. 

This week has been mostly focusing on members.  We don't have any investigators really so we are investing alot of our time to the members in the hope that after we teach the member missionary lessons we will start to get some awesome referrals.  Each time i teach the lessons on member missionary work, my testimony is just renewed on how awesome and inspired they really are.  I wish i could sit down with all of you and teach these lessons.  We are really close to getting referrals from members but that isn't even the best part. I find my joy when i see that the members are constantly thinking about missionary work and at least noticing the opportunities that they have to share the gospel. The actual sharing will come in time.  But its just been a really cool experience working with the members here.  I've really grown to love alot of members here and i have a bad feeling that i will be transferred right before christmas and that would be a big bummer.  But that is 3 weeks away so we'll see. 

As for Thanksgiving, we are going to the church with a few of the members and just having a huge feast.  It should be a good time.  No football what so ever is allowed in our mission so no turkey bowl :(  Good luck in the family soccer game.  Don't let the Thompsons win!

We had leadership training up in Billerica, MA with Pres and Sis Evans and it was awesome.  I love President and Sister Evans so much!  And I love being able to spend time with them and learn from them and be edified.  They are great people and from Bountiful Utah if you didn't know.  So it will be very easy to visit them after the mission.

B is doing wonderfully and same with his girl friend.  We met with them  and watched the Restoration video and then the next time watched the movie Finding Faith in Christ and both lessons went really well.  B really loves Joseph Smith and his story and says he feels like he can relate to him.  He also does very well with reading the book of Mormon.  B prayed for us in one of the lessons and it was a wonderful prayer and afterwards, he just sat there and it looked like he was in deep thought and then he said, "Wow, I'm really...proud of myself. I feel really good about that prayer..." BAM Holy Ghost got him!  It was so cool seeing him recognize the spirit.  These people are so dear to me.  Elder A and I have grown really close to them and they have become really attached to us.  We are planning to have a lesson with them at a members home this week so we'll see how that turns out.  If they would just come to church as a family, they would be solid and their road to baptism would really speed up.

I went on a tour/exchange with an Elder this week up in his area. It was such a good tour and i felt like i really fulfilled my duty as a district leader on this tour.  We had a really good time and learned alot from each other.  My favorite part about being a leader in the mission is getting to interact with so many more missionaries and get to know them and help them.  I just love people, and especially love helping them in any way possible. 

During this thanksgiving season I am indeed grateful for my family and friends.  Don't forget to go around the table and tell what you are grateful for and make sure and have a prayer this week and only give thanks.  Doing so really makes you realize all the good that you have.  Even when opposition is on all sides and there are many hardships and trials and stresses in our lives, there is always something to be grateful for.  In every situation you may find yourself in, seek out the good from it.  Like a good friend told me, Every day might not be good, but there is definitely good in every day :)  Find that good.  Love it.  I love you all and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!  I'M THANKFUL FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     Elder Brady Johnson

Monday, November 14, 2011

I just have to say way to go BROCK!!!!!!!! That is so sick that you are owning it in football!  Take STATE!!!!!  You are a stud. I expect an interception and a touch down from you in that game! Good luck
So i must apologize for being really brief on the details of the actual missionary work lately but sadly its because there just hasn't been alot to talk about. Our promising investigators in Nahant dropped us this week so that was a bummer.  So really all we have is B. But What about B? haha you know the movie? funny movie.  Anyways he has been really progressing.  We have been meeting with just him lately cuz J just really isn't interested or home ever.  But we have had some awesome lessons and B is reading the Book of Mormon and really liking it!  Its exciting.  He came to the church on saturday with a member and we gave him a tour and had a very spiritual lesson.  He told us that just stepping in this building was a huge step for him. We will continue to work with him and help him along. 
Other than that nothing too interesting.  We have alot of new finding activities planned for this week to shake things up.  We are passing out flyers for a church tour we will be having on saturday- just like an open house so hopefully people will come. We are also gonna tract in cities we haven't tracted in before.  We are desparate right now so we are trying everything.  I feel good about this week tho.  Actually i feel good about every week ha.  I feel like i have become quite optimistic since becoming a missionary.  That something i am really happy to have learned how to do.  It all goes back to attitude. Attitude changes everything.
Besides that we had zone conference and it was really good.  The theme of the conference was Working Smarter.  The thing about our mission is that the missionaries on average work really hard.  But there is a difference between working hard and working smart.  So president is trying to help us fuse the two together and work smart and hard.  We focused on just using the tools that we have right in front of us like Preach my Gospel-actually following what it says, our Area Books-keeping them organized and using them, and working with the members.  Elder A and I were reccomended as a companionship that plans really well using PMG and the Area Book and so thats what we gave a training on.  We pretty much just demonstrated a section of the weekly planning session and then talked about it.  It went really well and everyone thanked us for the ideas and said they really liked it.  So that was cool. 
Oh just to let you know, our nerf battle last week in our new house was totally epic.  But nerf guns are a HUGE distraction at night or during our studies.  You just never know when you are going to get popped in the head by a nerf bullet haha. 
Well i think that is it.  Oh wait, we finally got our Ensigns of the October Conference and I am so stoked!  I know you all have it too, if you don't, get it.  We are so lucky to have the modern day scriptures right in front of us!  The thing i like to do with each talk is read it and then choose one thing i am going to implement into my life because of the talk. Sometimes it isn't what is said in the talk but something i realized i should do from the spirit.  We have these things right in front of us! I exhort you to just use them!  Feast upon the words of christ-the scriptures and conference talks.  I promise it will bring the spirit more abundantly into your lives.  I love you all. Be safe and good luck! 
     Elder Brady Johnson

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm 20 years old!

Im no longer a teen, or a child for that matter. But i can still act like one :) And to prove it, we all went out and bought nerf guns and are gonna have a huge war later today in our nice new house! Wahhooooo!  Yup my birthday has come and past and now im 20 years old. Where did the time go? huh?  So i will talk a bit more about my birthday when i get to it but let me first tell you what happened this week in some sort of an orderly fashion. 
So back to wednesday which was p day last week. By the time i had last emailed you i had already went to my last day of boot camp, which was insanely hard, and played about an hour of basketball.  after I emailed we went to eat at this awesome mexican restaurant with lots of missionaries and i ate a ton!  Then of course we went and played more basketball at the Cambridge Stake center with lots of missionaries as well.  We played for another 2 and a half more hours there and by the end i was pooped.  But it was so much fun. And lately i've just been ballin it up on the court.  I feel like im in my prime for basketball.  But i learned a few lessons from this exhausting day.  1) Don't play basketball after eating a huge burrito with beans and rice. 2) Don't run faster than you have strength-from the scriptures somewhere, i know it!  So the next day i woke up and was shivering/sweating like a fever type stuff, plus i was achy all over and just did not feel good.  But i got up and showered and then had to go to transfer meeting to take some other elders who don't have a car.  It was cool getting to go cuz i got to see Elders G, D and W plus lots of other missionary friends. But during the meeting, i was just shivering uncontrollably and just really uncomfortable.  Eventually we left and I got home and went straight to bed. An hour later i woke up enough to get a priesthood blessing and then slept again until 6pm.  When i woke up i was actually able to eat and walk around but not much happened. The next morning, which was my birthday, i woke up and was perfectly fine.  It was amazing. I know that the power of the priesthood is very real.  And i am so grateful for it. 
So My birthday was nice. I Loved the package! thanks so much! You guys are the best.  Then i had district meeting and we have a few changes but Im still the district leader.  I love our district so much.  The elders and sisters are so awesome. We have a brand new sisters, fresh from the MTC so im excited to hear about all the new stuff coming from the MTC. Things there are always changing.  Elder B bought me a cake and he gave me a birthday card and wrote a letter all in Khmae and i could read the whole thing, what???? Ya I know its weird. I need to send it home so you can see it and then just imagine me being able to make sense of it haha.  Sis. J also brought a cake to district meeting but she had no idea it was my birthday, she said she just felt inspired to bring it haha.  Right now everyone in the district has someone with a baptismal date! Ya that hasn't happened my whole time here in this district.
Like I told you, we moved this weekend.  The reason we had to move was cuz our land lord kept the money we would pay for rent and didn't pay the mortgage to the bank and so he lost the house and we found out that the bank could come and kick us out at any time so we decided to just get out fast.  And I am so glad we did cuz the new place we found is loads better!  We pretty much have a whole 2 story house to ourselves with 2 bathrooms/ showers and a washer and dryer! YES! We totally scored with this place. Its huge too.  Hence the nerf gun war that will be happening at 0300 hours :) I'll be sure to send you pictures our maybe a video of a tour of our house. So yes we are now in Revere and we are still with the Zone leaders and we still cover the exact same area. We actually live really close to the church now so that is nice.  Hopefully we will save on miles with our new position cuz last month we went over quite a bit....
Saturday involved more moving-just making small trips back and forth just with our cars.  We also watch Joseph Smith Prophet of the Restoration-I love that movie!- with R and her daughters.  They loved it.  A said to me as the movie ended, "That movie made me cry." I think it really helped them gain an understanding of who Joseph was and what the early members of the church had to go through.  ps I love that family so much! I can't say it enough. They are just so awesome. I love all of my recent converts.  They are all doing really well and it is so exciting to see.  I can't wait for you to meet them. 
Things are going really good with the member missionary lessons. We have 3 new families in the ward that we are beginning to teach. Sadly the C's didn't find anyone by their date, and that was really hard for me.  I don't understand why it didn't happen.  They put in so much effort, especially this last week.  But i guess i can't do anything about it.  Just encourage them to keep on going.  They did take us out for lunch on saturday to celebrate my and Brother C's birthday.  They are such good people. 
We met with one of the people we found in Nahant and it was a pretty good lesson but then they had to cancel our next one.  Other than that, no new news.  We got some good stuff coming up this week, so good old fashioned hard missionary work that i am excited for.  We also have zone conference on Thursday and the Assistants called and asked me and elder A to give a training in front of about 70 people (3 zones). So we'll see how that goes haha should be fun.  So yup thats about it for me.
So there was something a departing missionary said in his testimony at transfer meeting that i really liked.  What he said was directed to missionaries but i think it applies to every one of us.  He said, "If you take care of what is important to the Lord, then the Lord will take care of all that is important to you." And that is so true.  I know that what I am doing right now is what is the right thing to be doing and that it is important to the Lord.  And I know i don't have to worry about any of you cuz the Lord is watching over you for me. I know that Jesus Christ is our savior and redeemer.  He is Risen.  Oh what joy this sentence gives, I know that my redeemer lives. Isn't it wonderful?!  We are so blessed to have something to hope for, something to live for. We have the truth.  We gotta share it. "After all that has been said, the greatest of these is sharing the gospel."-J Smith.
I love you all! Good Luck in football Brock! Go Win STATE!!!!!
Love, Elder Johnson

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We are moving in on friday :S that oughta be fun.  Our new address is
12 Lowell St.
Revere MA 02151
Ok so I know I say this every time but this time a really don't have a lot of time cuz we are going to go to Cambridge and ball it up with alot of the missionaries that are going home.  I hate being around so many missionaries that are in their last transfer or close cuz then I will miss them and it makes me kinda trunkie. anyways...
Transfers came and Elder A and I are staying the same.  I think this will be my last one in Lynn but Im ready for a change of scenery.  I like change :) Well kinda.  Elder T is getting transferred so that is sad but its also a joyous occasion cuz it means i don't have to go to boot camp any more! haha no, actually I really enjoyed boot camp and i am in the best shape of my life right now.  I think i can still beat brock up :) 
Umm.... We have a new service that im way excited for. We finally quit going to the catholic church cuz it really just wasn't a good atmosphere. But now we go to a Rest Home and play hang man for like an hour and a half! Its the best ever! It reminds me of all the times i went with friends to the rest homes in STG and sang. Good times. I love older people. Especially my grandparents but these guys are pretty cool too. 
This weekend was quite cold with about 3 inches of snow in our area. Some areas got like a foot or two and lost power and what not.  This was elder Ban's first time seeing snow and he was freaking out!  I was so glad i was with him to witness it. 
We also had stake conference this week which was simply amazing.  I love the leaders in this stake. They are awesome. Definitely got some General Authority material here.  The whole theme of conference was missionary work.  I loved being able to go to the priesthood leadership, adult session, and both sessions on sundays (they had half the stake go at 10am and the other go at 2pm).  I felt so inspired and re energized.  We also sang Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy Hymn 335 i think.  I love that song. And i never knew it until  i came out on a mission. But it is all about missionary work.  I encourage all of you to pull out your hymn books and read the lyrics.  Christ is the Light house but we are the lights along the shore.  If i could I'd draw you a picture and describe the background and meaning of the song more fully but... no time.
One thing that was said in conference by Clayton Christensen (he is a High Councilor in our stake) was that "Every calling in the church IS a missionary calling" or in other words every calling we have, we can use to do missionary work!  Our stake president and many others told us that we have been commanded to BUILD THE KINGDOM be it by bringing new people in, helping to re activate less actives, having kids, etc.  This great and marvelous work Can NOT progress without the help of members.  Ya all of us missionaries were over joyed at hearing all this stuff at conference.  Lets hope that it all get implemented.
So this transfer has been a very rough one with little success.  We went from a baptism the first week to 2 investigators with 0 potentials and 0 referrals by the last week.  But monday we went to Nahant (Little pennisula full of the richest of the rich people in the north shore) to do some tracting. Elder Ang suggested it and I was a little hesitant cuz i've never been there and was told that missionaries don't go there cuz they are all rich and proud there.  But then i remembered what i learned from the Member Missionary Lessons which says that we cannot Judge who is or isn't ready.  So we went and we had an awesome time-its way pretty out there plus we got 3 solid investigators! 
Alright last thing is that last night we went over to the D's house along with the P family for dinner. Man i love those 2 families! If you have forgotten, they are the ones from the gym.  They made me a birthday dinner (chicken cord en bleu, brocoli with cheese, baked potatoes- just like home :) They take care of us really good. They are our home away from home.  They also got me a present.  A patriots Tom Brady T shirt haha.  Since we are moving to Revere it will be a bit of a stretch to go to the gym so we are gonna go til our month payment is up but then have to stop going :(
Could I ask a favor from you all? Well with the member missionary lessons, we commit the members to set a date by which they will have someone being taught by the missionaries. So the C family set there date about a month ago for it to be on Nov. 4th -both mine and bro C's birthday.  And its almost there and they still don't have anyone. So please pray for them to reach their date! :) Thanks
Well I love you all so very much! Mom it has been torture to get my birthday mail so early but not be allowed to open it haha but it is teaching me patience. 
k bye!