Monday, August 27, 2012

The office life

So I'm here in Natick in the Mission office. This is where i will spend at least 2 days a week doing reporting and what not. But anyway let me tell you a bit about whats new.

I now live in Brighton MA which is right outside of Boston proper, very close to Cambridge (where harvard and MIT is). I am indeed in the city, in the middle of all the busy and crazy and hustle and bustle and i love it. We do have our own area to work in when we aren't out traveling around the mission or doing different assignments for President Packard. We attend the Cambridge 2nd ward and it is mostly young families. We are always around a lot of missionaries because of being in the city. We live with the Boston Zone Leaders and they are super tight. Elder M is my companion as I told you and its a lot of fun reminiscing with him about high school basketball days and what not. Its fun when people ask us where we are from and we get to say that we are both from St. George Utah, and yes we knew each other. That doesn't happen very often.

Another cool thing (one of many) is that we spend so much time with President Packard. I love that man. And he really takes our assignment seriously. He chose us to be his assistants and he definitely uses us as such and he tells us everything that is going on in the mission and often asks us for advice even tho he probably knows way better than us what he should do ha. Along those lines its weird to know about everything that is going on in the mission and all the upcoming plans that president has for the mission and really get to see first hand who he is. Its really a privilege and I'm humbled greatly at this assignment. There is much to do, a lot of people to get to know and help, and fun to be had.

If you can't tell, I'm psyched for this transfer. Life is good. There is so much more that I want to tell you about these last few days but if i did, I wouldnt get lunch and have a decent P day. So I love you all! Thanks for everything :)

Elder Brady Johnson

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Big news from transfer week

As you have probably figured, this week is transfers. And after 5 transfers here in the wonderful land of Providence, I am sad to say that i will be leaving. But it is not to a place i was expecting. But i will get to that later....(oooo i bet the suspense is killing you :) )

This last week and a half was insane! One of my goals that i set for the week was to just survive. And we did, barely. We had exchanges with the newport elders, zone conference (had to drive an hour in a crazy rainstorm to get there)-tangent- while there we found out that Clayton Christensen is now the 1st counselor in the mission presidency. i don't know if you all back home know that when a mission president comes out, they choose to counselors from people that live in the mission to help him out. So we will be seeing alot more of C.C.

We also had a few district meetings to go visit and then on friday we met up with Elder B and Elder W who are serving in Connecticut and drove together up to Lowell, MA in preparation for WATER FESTIVAL! Yes its already here and gone again! We ate dinner at some members house that we knew from the last time we were there and then slept over at the elders place. Saturday we were with all 9 Cambodian Elders along the Merrimack River and we set up our booth and Book Of Mormon display and got to work contacting everyone ;) It was a lot of fun and the weather was nice and so were the people. I didn't talk to nearly as many people as i did last year but i feel like I had way better and longer conversations about the gospel with them. I spoke alot of khmae and bought some cool things (but not much because there weren't as many booths this year). There were Thousands of Asians tho and I loved it. Plus i got to see some old friends from Lynn and Lowell and even got to see M one of my recent converts! She is now almost 16 and such a different person. She is super outgoing and there is this glow about her countenance and she is happy. The gospel really does change lives! It was so fun being with Elder G again and elder A and the other khmae missionaries. One of the newbies is Elder C and he actually helped coach at Bountiful High with Marty in Lacrosse! Crazy small world huh? It seems as tho that day is already like a dream to me.

Oh ya and in the middle of the day i receive a phone call from President Packard (so keep in mind that day was the day for the transfer texts to come out and so if president calls, you know something is special is happening to you like becoming a zone leader or a trainer.) So my first thought is that, oh i will finally get to be a trainer, seeing as i have gone my whole mission without being one. But then he said, "Elder Johnson, the Lord has called you to be the next..... Assistant to the President." i was completely shocked. I of course said yes that i would fulfill that assignment and then ended the call. So i will be replacing my very dear friend Elder P as he is going home and i will be serving with Elder M who also happens to be from St. George, and we will be serving in the Cambridge, MA area! You wanna know whats super crazy? Elder M and I have been on opposing teams in basketball since rec league bball all the way to Varsity B-ball in high school (he went to Snow Canyon). And now we are joining forces as the Assistants to the President. Its gonna be such a blast! We are already such good friends and im stoked to get to spend alot of time and work closely with President Packard. The hard part was that i couldn't tell anyone until they saw it on the "T-texts" that night.

Now the past few days I have been saying my goodbyes. I love this area and this ward so much. It is like home to me. I know i say that as i leave all my areas but this place has been the very best by far. The people and the experiences here have changed my life in a way I can't even begin to describe. I love it. I love being a missionary. Saying goodbye however, is not fun. I felt alot of love as i stopped by different members and recent converts and investigators houses. As a missionary you always hope that you will be able to help change peoples lives and help them be better and sometimes you even think you are doing so, but its such a humbling thing and special thing when those people tell you what you have done for them. Its at those times that you really feel like you have fulfilled your purpose as a missionary.

It was especially hard to say goodbye to A, C and V-my 3 Liberian little brothers. Im gonna miss those kids so much. They have so much potential. Its gonna take alot of support but in roughly 10 years, i could see all 3 of them out serving missions. I will never be able to forget them. Our good ward member friend D was hard to say bye to too. i can't wait for you guys to meet him.

Well thats about it. Tonight i will be leaving Providence for the last time (well i might be back cuz we do alot of traveling as the AP's. but...) Its really sad having to leave this all behind but i was reading in the Conference Ensign of this year and David Baxter said the following, "As you move forward in patience and in faith, Providence will move with you." Isn't that cool, and timely? The memories will always move with me.

So things are going to get pretty busy as an assistant and so i can't promise that i will write big emails any more but thats ok cuz the next 4 months are going to fly by.(i will finish my mission in cambridge im almost 100% positive.) Thanks for everything, your love, letters, prayers, and support. I love you!

Elder Brady Johnson

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'll be home for Christmas!

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.

Holy Tuna in a can Batman!  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. Jand 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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wow what a crazy two weeks. I feel like time couldn't go any faster. Time is just flying by way too fast. Well at least faster than i want it to. I feel like I am always playing catch up. We have been really busy with investigators but most of the craziness is coming from meetings, service, and spending time with the missionaries in our zone. in a nutshell here is my last 2 weeks in no particular order.

We went to a muslim mosque and it was super cool and the people were friendly and the speaker said some good stuff about living your religion but there was something lacking, besides the AC haha, but no, it was alot of fun. Its always good to learn about different religions and i feel like i learned something from the sermon... or whatever you call it. You can always find good things in other religions.

The BYU Idaho dance team came here and stayed with members of our ward and then performed in Providence and alot of us missionaries got to go watch. It was pretty fun, I didn't know anyone in the dance team.

A, our 10 yr old recent convert, was such a great example to me and everyone yesterday at  church. He came, dressed very nicely as always (cuff links included) and he was fasting and he brought money to pay tithing so i helped him fill out a slip, and then he said he wanted to bear his testimony so i helped him prepare and he was the 2nd one to go up and he did great! our Bishop had the biggest smile on his face as A walked up to the stand and i was so proud!

The other day for lunch we were in our apartment and we had tons of food but I got the prompting to go get a big mac at the Mcdonalds across the street. I was like, No way! Im not wasting money today.but then i felt it again- at this point i didn't think it was a prompting, just a crave. So we went anyway. What helped was that we had a coupon for buy one get one free. So we go and while we are in line ordering, this dominican lady calls us over. (thankfully i was on exchanges with elder Jones from mexico) We talked to her and she said that she was a member of our church and had joined down in the DR (domincan Repulic) and that her daughter is super active. She had moved here and never learned where the church was and so she has been looking for the past bit and then we showed up in McDonalds! So we were able to give her the spanish sisters number and get her info and things are set for her to go back to church! Cool, Huh? Moral of the story, its not always a bad thing when you get prompted to eat a big Mac :)

I gave a talk last week on missionary service (of course- what else are we missionaries good for with talks?) and it went really well. It was for the YSA branch and so there were only like 15 people there but what can you do... Anyway i spoke about how "We only live once, but if we live right, once is enough"(a quote i heard from a CES talk or something) We have only got one shot at this thing we call life. What are we gonna do with it. We gotta prepare ourselves for whats to come and then we've gotta get everyone else prepared too! Also in my talk was a point about how "We don't realize what we have." If You stop and think about what we have because of the things that we know in the gospel and you really understand those things, then you will know how important it is for us to share those things! And it doesn't have to be all about getting people into our church and baptized. First start with helping your friends and family and associates be their best selves that they can be. Find out their needs and be the ones to meet them. Some people are ready for church and the book of Mormon but some people aren't and just need a friend that will push them to be their best. That is missionary  work, bringing people closer to Christ in ways that they are ready for. I hope that makes sense.

Went to the Beach for a ward party and it was super cold and cloudy...but fun none the less. One of our recent converts of about 1 year, W, who is this 50 yr old guy from Alabama who thinks he is still 20, challenged me to a 400yd race in front of the whole ward and so i raced him... backwards, haha. He is alot of talk and is hilarious.

I went on an exchange with an elder Lemon from bountiful, Utah who used to sing in choir with my cousin cody :) He is way cool and it will be fun to visit him when i'm up there with all the family members who live up there now. And yes i know elder Bushnell who is coming into my mission this month, we actually were in seminary together during my senior year.

Ok im out of time and my mind is blank... But lastly, we went to a funeral of someone in the ward who died this last week in a car wreck. It was all very sudden and it got me thinking once again how short this life is. We don't have time to be mad at others or to hold grudges or to hate. We have to take advantage of what we have. I love you all! Have a wonderful week and always Choose The Right!

Elder Brady Johnson
PS J is doing really well! she came to church again this week and is making lots of friends. She will be baptized on the 19th of August.  J and S are back and they will hopefully get baptized on the 26th of this month. Things are going really well here. I love this place and these people.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sorry, no time today

Well, the computers are all filled up and its super busy today for some reason, so i have no time to write. I apologize and will write a ton next week!

Just one thing: J, our new investigator, has read thru mosiah already in the Bof M! and she had her daughter come to a lesson with us and She testified how the Book of Mormon helps her mentally, physically, and spiritually and how she knows it is a true book.

I, like J, know the Book of mormon is true. There is real power in that book. Take advantage of what we have and READ IT! I promise that life will be better and that you will be happier. Love ya! bye!

Elder Brady Johnson