Friends & family:
Twenty three hours ago we talked with Johnson by telephone for about 45 minutes as he waited to board Cathay Pacific Airways flight 881 from LAX to Hong Kong. We loved speaking with him! As confident as he sounded a few days ago about his Mandarin, he was nervous about everything he didn’t learn and almost wished he had more time in the MTC. (Emphasis on “almost”.) However, someone overheard him speaking to Elder Whinham in the airport in Los Angeles and commented how good his Chinese was. They said his accent and tones were great, which made him really happy.
He thinks he gained about 10 pounds in the MTC and is excited to run a 5K with his mission president on Thursday morning. His mission president is a triathlete and, hopefully, can help Johnson shed those extra pounds. He said it was hard saying goodbye to Elder Chung, his companion for almost 12 weeks who left this morning for Taiwan. We were stunned to learn he didn’t sleep on the flight from Salt Lake to LA. Instead, he caught up on his journal. We hope he was able sleep while traveling over the Pacific Ocean.
Johnson’s flight to Hong Kong was about 15 hours. After a 3.5 hour layover in Hong Kong, he had a three hour flight to Singapore. He left LAX at 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday morning and arrived in Singapore on Wednesday afternoon at about 12:30 p.m. Can you imagine flying for almost 20 hours, losing 15 hours as you traveled half-way around the world, and trying to calculate how you traveled 20 hours but got there almost 36 hours later — all while in the fog of jet lag? It’s tough to do the math with a clear head!
We are thankful for his safe arrival. Todd woke up this morning to a CNN message on his iPhone that a passenger plane crashed in northeast China. He didn’t dare wake Dee up until he confirmed it was not a Cathay Pacific flight.
Johnson is probably just passing through immigration and passport controls about now. He was asked to remove his name tag as he passes through and to explain that he is in Singapore to “visit friends” for about 90 days. We are hoping to receive a short phone call advising us of his safe arrival and his e-mail address.
Tomorrow he will meet up with all of the missionaries in Singapore for a mission-wide conference and to receive new instruction on Preach My Gospel (instruction Johnson already received in the MTC). By Friday, he will know his companion and first area. However, we probably won’t know about either until Tuesday morning of next week when he e-mails home on Wednesday. (We’re still trying to wrap our minds around that.)
Johnson sounded very happy about his MTC experience and excited about what lies ahead in Singapore and Malaysia. Thanks for your support and prayers! We’ll keep you posted.