Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another one baptized

Well like the title says, we have been baptizing people left and right! M just got baptized yesterday and everything went smoothly.  No casualties this time :) Elder W performed the baptism in the once again dirty water.... We like to have people follow the exact example of Jesus Christ by being baptized in, what looks like the Jordan River haha you know how we do.  We had lots of support from the ward which is awesome and M told me that she will always remember this day! Its just fantastic being a missionary!

We had zone meeting this week and it went well but not as good as we wanted to.  All i gotta tell you is that me learning how to do a standing backflip has been so useful. I've used that talent in alot of situations that i never thought i would haha. Ok I guess I'll at least tell you that our zone meeting topic was on working smart and working hard -not just working hard.

Cool story of the week: I got to go on exchanges down to New London, Connecticut with Elder M and it is a spanish area :)  We got there at about 3pm on Friday (its an hour away) and went to like 4 appointments all in spanish and I didn't really say much except introduce myself, explain that i am learning spanish but can't speak it well, and then said goodbye and what not.  I understood alot of what was said but I just really can't talk in spanish because I haven't really had a chance to study the grammer and whatnot.  But then for the last appointment, we went with the English area elders to one of their less actives who happens to be cambodian! Her name is S and she came to the U.S during the Khmer Rouge just like so many others. She joined the church in Washington DC because they had cambodian elders and then she moved here a few years ago and stopped going to church because she doesn't understand or speak english well.  Needless to say she was over joyed when I said Cumriabsua to her and then we talked in khmae for about an hour straight and it was awesome! She absolutely loves me just because i speak her native language.  She agreed to meeting with the missionaries weekly to learn english better and then when it gets warmer -like summertime- she will hopefully go to church.  She was excited by the idea and the elders were excited as well.  I wish she lived closer to us and could come to our ward up in Providence.  She has an amazing story of her escape from Cambodia just like all the others.  There are so many stories that never get told but they would make some amazing movies. 

We spent sunday night with our favorite person D because it was the anniversary of his wife's death. Its been 13 years.  We went over and had dinner and jello for dessert -he made that just for me ha and then we gave him a present which was a picture in a frame of us all at the temple last week with a little note telling him that we love him.  He really liked that.  D is so awesome! I really can't wait for you all to meet him. He plans on coming out to Utah after I get home :)

Well its time to go... I love you all! Thanks for everything! You guys are the best!

ps tell Sims and Ler that i still love them! Sorry to hear about the tough basketball loss at state.  Brock good luck with soccer!

     Elder Brady Johnson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flooding the Church

Well I just was about to send a HUGE email and then my computer crashed.  So now I only have about 10 mins.  Ugh..... sorry. I guess just know that this week was really awesome!  Its still super busy and its wearing us out a bit so hopefully with transfers in a few weeks we will get another set of Elders down here to help out. We need more missionaries coming out on missions!  The field is white and ready to harvest, we need more people to come out and help us with all of this!  Please do all that you can to encourage and prepare those of missionary age or approaching missionary age to come out and join the ranks of the Lord's army!

We got to go to the temple (Boston Temple-its the only one in our mission) on monday of this week and it was so amazing!  Even though it was Presidents Day it was open for all the missionaries and both the Cambridge and Providence Stakes!  So pretty much for me it was a huge reunion! Im pretty sure thats how its going to be during the millennium- all of us going to the temple and seeing all of our friends and family and all having a great time! It took alot of stress and work but we also got C and D to come along with S (our recent cambodian convert).  We rode up with some members and then Elder W and I went and did sealings (we were proxies for kids getting sealed to their parents) with none other than Bro C! it was so fun seeing him again. Yup he is still hilarious haha!!!  Then we went down and did confirmations for S and we were able to do it in Cambodian! That was cool. But what was cooler was that there just happened to be a member of the Cambridge ward down doing baptisms who served his mission in cambodia who was able to baptize her!  It was awesome. S LOVED the temple.  She also got to meet all of the khmae speaking elders cuz we were all there and bro and sis S were also there. It was just a huge party! So much fun!  I love the temple!  I really hope that those of you who live close to the temple are taking advantage of it and going often.  It is such a blessing to have the temple.  It is the closest thing to heaven on this Earth.  It truly is the house of the Lord.

Yesterday I was able to go on exchanges with Elder E-one of the Assistants to the President and i got to go to their area which is Cambridge!  I've always wanted to serve in the Cambridge area and now i have.. at least for one day. It is so much fun street contacting up there. I love when people ask me why I'm here/why I’m taking time out of my life to do this, because it gives me a chance to bear my testimony.  I’m out here because I have been called by a prophet of God.  I am out here to invite all people to come unto Christ.  Jesus Christ Lives and He loves us.  I know that the only way to have true happiness is through following Him.  My family has been so blessed and I have been so blessed that I can't be content with keeping it to myself.  I'm here to share with others the knowledge and happiness that I have.  I know that the message I bear is true because of the happiness Ii feel and continue to feel as I share what i know.  Isn't it great?! I love being a missionary, if you didn't know :)

Also as part of the exchange we drove up to Lowell, MA so i could do a baptismal interview for a Cambodian sister that the elders have been teaching.  the Elders have been teaching her pretty much since I left Lowell last year and so all 5 other Khmae elders have taught her so Im the only one eligible to do the interview.  Her name is M and has only been in the U.S for 6 years.  So she knows hardly any english and so it was all in Khmae!  I was pretty nervous but it turned out great!  I've never spoken so fluently and understood so well on my mission than i did in that interview.  It was really cool. She passed and will be baptized in the coming weeks.  I really felt the Lord in telling me that she is ready and that she should be baptized.  I can't really explain how I knew it, just that I did.  Once again I love serving a mission.  Oh and the Elders serving there at the time are Elders G and B so it was fun to visit with them.  Its so weird cuz almost exactly a year ago, I was just starting my mission in that area.  Alot has changed since then ha.

So because of time constraints I must go.  But because of all the unrest in the audience I will elaborate on the flooding of the church 2 weeks ago.  But I'm using Elder W's version because 1) my computer crashed and ruined my first one and 2) because Elder W is a fantastic writer!  Enjoy:

The font takes 4 hours to fill if only the hot water is running (this is how long it took when we filled it for Sophan).  We don't use the cold water (which would speed up the process) because the cold water pipes are atrocious.  If the cold water is on, it runs clear for a bit but after a few minutes it starts dumping appetizingly dark brown water, justifiably comparable to the silt in the Nile delta.  But don't get me wrong, the hot water, too, is hardly approved by Mr. Clean; it's probably along the lines of the Jordan River's cleanliness, so it's rather fitting for baptisms (definitely preferable to the cold water).  Anyway, we started the hot water at 8:30 AM, anticipating the font to be filled at 12:30, just a half hour before Church would end.  But, at around 10:20 AM, Brother E  made a fateful trip to the bathroom, adjacent to the baptismal font. He informed us, with a panicked walk to the front of the chapel and a whisper to the bishopric, that something had gone terribly wrong.

Upon arrival at the floodgates, we made two observations.  First, the water was cold.  Second, the water looked nothing like water.  Both cold AND hot water was coming out, telling us that someone had probably seen how slow the font was filling up, and had chosen to intervene (granted, most likely with good intentions).  Rather than focusing on finding out who we should blame, however, we had a problem to fix--someone had to face the health risks and bitter cold associated with entering the water, pulling the plug, and turning off the water.  A few of the members at the flood site fruitlessly tried to avoid the inevitable by using a broomstick to pull the plug and manipulate the water knobs.  Bro. M, however, has served in the U.S. army in Kuwait and Iraq, and wasn't afraid of getting a little dirty.  He quickly volunteered.  Without removing or changing any of his Sunday best, he jumped right in and did what needed to be done.  He's the man.

To this day, the true culprit (the one who turned on the cold water) remains unidentified, but we Elders  made for pretty good scapegoats. Okay, I'm making this all sound a little worse than it actually was. It flooded the mens' bathroom pretty good, but wasn't too bad in the halls.  The members were quick to forgive, too.  And, at the end of the day, we were able to drain the font, dry the carpets, refill the font, and C's baptism was awesome.  It was very well-attended---perhaps because of the unplanned, inadvertent publicity stunt we had pulled.

Love you all! Thanks for everything!  I got your valentines cards and also Nikki's package!   Thanks to Mrs. Blake's elementary school class for the Valentines! (ps that is sooooo weird to call Nikki Mrs Blake! haha).  K bye  Elder Johnson

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Week

Well Happy Valentines Day Everybody! 

This week was another busy one.  I don't think we will ever have a non busy week for this transfer. But Im down with that. It is so much fun here in Rhode Island.  We have lots of members who come out with us and quite a few investigators so what more can you ask for?  Plus the weather has been Deece.(decent.)  We had zone conference this week and Elder W and i had to come up with a 20 min training that we could do 3 times -once for each zone that was in attendance.  So We wanted to do something that would be "outside of the box" and creative and exciting and really make a point. So we did.  Our assigned topic was "Our Purpose" with a focus on baptismal invitations (inviting people to be baptized).  So the way Elder W does trainings or talks or whatever, he thinks of something awesome to do and then builds off of it and makes it all connect.  So the first thing that comes to his head is that he wants to break something with our 35lb dumbell.  And from there we created our training. 

So we get to zone conference and I really don't remember much of what went on cuz i was thinking about our training.... No im just kidding, the stake president of the Boston Stake came and talked to us about how we can better work with members.  Anyways to our training.  We have it set up so Elder W and I are sitting across from each other with a small glass vase in between us on the ground.  We do a roleplay of wrapping up a lesson and give committments but we don't extend a baptismal commitment.  Then we stop and talk about it with the zone and they tell us what we could improve on and some mentioned inviting them to be baptized.  So we did the exact same thing but invited them to be baptized and right when we said "will you be baptized" Elder W dropped the 35lb dumbell on the poor defenseless vase and it shattered. BOOM! Ya that caught everyone's attention hahaha.(and yes we did it 3 separate times :)  We then talked about how we should be excited to invite people to baptism and everything we teach should be leading up to baptism aka the climax.  It is our focal point and even if we don't invite people to be baptized in the lessons, we should be focusing on baptism.  (just so you know we are told by the apostles and prophet and mission president to invite people to be baptized on the first lesson we have with investigators- Ya crazy huh?  And so alot of missionaries are scared to do it every time, including me sometimes but its what we got to do. But of course we follow the spirit and if it doesn't feel right then of course we don't do it.)  It went really well and President and Sister Evans LOVED it!  hahaha They told us it will be one not easily forgotten haha. Cool huh?

We have not had the chance to do much cambodian work yet in the area because we have been so wrapped up in the english side of things but this week we have goals to find a new cambodian investigator.  In the mean time, Elder W and I try to speak in cambodian alot but its hard to stay in it when you are driving with members which we do alot.  But there is definite room for improvement haha.  We listen to talks in Khmae a ton and same with in spanish. You see, M W F are spanish days and T TH S are Khmae days and so we try to speak and listen in those languages on those days.  My spanish is coming along... slowly but its good.

Our zone is doing really well. We are leading the mission in baptisms. I think we've had like 5 in the last 3 weeks or so.  I've been able to do just 1 interview for baptism so far here, so that makes 2 total.  But there are alot coming up in the coming weeks to be split between Elder W and I so thats exciting.  Our zone is just really solid.  I still don't know everyone very well but we are working on that with doing exchanges about once a week.  We drive a ton.  I thought i drove alot in Revere but here its like twice the driving.  Our zone is so spread out so its like an hour or so to most of the missionaries in our zone.  But I love driving. Especially freeway driving.

Also, C did get baptized this week! She is the most legit investigator i've ever seen. You got to see it when her and her husband tell us about what they read in the book of mormon.  They also came teaching with us this week and were so awesome to have at the lesson.  Anyways the baptism was awesome!  Her husband  did the baptizing and it was just so special.  They were ecstatic before and after the baptism.  Its so cool seeing people so happy about the changes they are making in their lives. They are going to be such strong members of the church and I believe they will be the means of bringing many people unto Christ and this church.  We also flooded the church.... but thats a long story and not necessarily our fault :).... ya i thought about telling you the story but it will take too long.  But just know that everything ended out ok and It was a memorable experience :)

Well I love you all! Happy Birthday Dad and Grandpa J!  TTFN Ta Ta For Now :)

     Elder Brady Johnson

Monday, February 6, 2012

Life in Rhode Island

Sup Peeps.  Glad to hear the extended family is doing well.  First off i don't appreciate the jokes about sending me your junk mail in response to my complaints about not gettting any mail, haha. Mom way to go on the fundraising idea for the soccer team.  Maybe I should just take business classes from you instead of going to byu and studying there haha.  Dad, stop getting hurt in basketball!  ps are you gonna play in the senior games this year since you are turning 50?

To answer your questions about being a zone leader, our schedule is still pretty much the same cept we go to a meeting once a month with all the ZL's and President, prepare zone meeting once a month, we report with all the district leaders about their numbers/concerns or whatever, and we go on exchanges with all the district leaders, the brand new missionaries, and the Assistants each transfer.  Cool huh?  But mostly we are just normal missionaries and so we are busy teaching and finding and doing all that missionary stuff.

Yes I am safe.  It is kinda ghetto in some areas but we don't often go there right now because we aren't really finding.  We have lots of stuff to be doing to keep up busy for awhile.  We did however almost get mauled by a huge pit bull but luckily he only broke thru the screen door a little bit so he couldn't get to us.  Haha oh the joyous experiences of a mission! :)  For P days there isn't too much to do but we play sports or chill with other missionaries and we are planning on touring around Brown Campus cuz that is in our area.  And we are actually teaching some people that go to Brown.  The guy we are teaching said he had a class with Emma Watson (aka Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter) last sememster! Haha that would be so awesome if we ran into her :)

Ok so anyways now to the goings on in the life of Your favorite Elder Johnson.  Elder W and I go to a fitness gym right next door every morning at 6am and get a really good workout.  Im getting huge! There is no way brock is gonna be able to beat me up when i get home.  Thats like my one goal haha jk.   Elder W goes home in june and i have no idea if i will be with him til then.  I hope so cuz we are really good friends and having the best time serving together!

We are meeting pretty regularly with 3 people with baptismal dates. C is the one getting baptized this week on the 12th! She passed her interview so easily and she is so prepared for baptism. I can't remember if i told you about her but her husband was less active and went on mormon.org and requested the missionaries to come over.  So they went and started working with him and got him back to church and then he introduced them to his wife and boom the rest is history.  We ordained him to be a priest so now he can baptize his wife this weekend!  Its gonna be awesome.

We just ran out of time cuz we forgot to report the numbers of the zone to the AP's so I'll just end with... I love it here! This area is so much fun! Elder W is the greatest and we are teaching lots of people and seeing alot of success.  I love serving a mission!  The Church is the one and only true church on the earth!  Jesus Christ is the at the head of this church and im so grateful for all that He has done for me.  Well love yall!  be safe and be good examples, even among the believers cuz thats what we do :)
     Elder Brady Johnson