Monday, April 29, 2013

Pictures: week 4

the yummy cupcakes that sister hunsaker got and shared!

She started collecting everyone's watches and wants to try to sell them. Does she look cool or what?

Her districts last day with Brother Larimer. Such a sad day.

The famous map picture with Sister Junk going to Louisville and Emily going to Paris.

She finally learned to tie a tie... Finally!

Great Grandpa Critchlow's building at BYU!

Emily and William J. Critchlow hall

Emily with her companion the day they got to get out of the MTC to go to the Health Clinic

A picture the elder's gave them with a poem on the other side

Emily and her companion at the temple 

The temple this morning. She loves going there!


Today is Monday... and I am emailing. Since the MTC will be getting an extra like 2,000 missionaries in the coming months ALL of the schedules for missionaries here have changed. My PDay is now Monday instead of Tuesday and the daily schedules are WHACK! But it isn't too bad and Monday PDay is proving to be the best. There was like NO ONE in the laundry room and we didn't have to wait at the Temple and yeah so far so good! Our teachers said it will make us appreciate our schedule in Paris more because it is more laid back there!
So the MTC is jam-packed. SOOO many people here but I always see everyone I know. One of the coolest things is seeing people that I lived in Germany with ten years ago!!! The Bitburg Crew is all at the MTC right now. Ethan Kennedy is teaching Polish, Traci Brown is teaching Norwegian and Nathan Peterson is going to Argentina and I am going to Paris. Such a small world but I love seeing so many familiar faces. Now that my friend Jasmine is gone it is nice to still have those pre-mish people around!

I survived like two years at college NEVER doing my laundry in a public place. The thought of doing that scared me and so I had an amazing Mom who allowed me to use her laundry room during college. Learning how to use these machines is harder than most people think. Last week I may have accidentally put the laundry detergent in the liquid bleach part instead of sprinkling it on the clothes.. OOPS! I think my clothes got cleaned and I hope the washer is not broken. This week I did it perfectly so that is what matters!

Which of you watched that video I told you about last week? "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father." If you did, thank you! If you didn't, watch it now. Life changing I swear. If you did watch it and now you trust my Mormon messages recommendations, I suggest you watch, "Mountains to Climb." It is so good. It is amazing how just watching a 2-3 minute video can make your day and how quickly you feel the Spirit by watching them. If you are having a rough day or just want your day to get even better, watch anything on MormonChannel on youtube or on and it will improve your day!

Last week I told you about how I put pepper in my chocolate milk and how confused I was about why I would do that to myself... Turns out that I DIDN'T DO IT!!!! I don't want to say that missionaries lie because if I said that then no one would let us into their homes but MISSIONARIES PULL PRANKS!!!! Elder Cardon put pepper in my drink last week and then let me believe for a few days that I would actually do that to myself. So rude. I don't have much access to prank books so if any of you know a prank I can do back to him, please let me know. I need to get even!!

Yesterday was a great Sunday here at the MTC! For Relief Society we had the newly called General Young Women President  Sister Oscarson come and speak to us. She's had this calling for less than a month and yesterday was her first official assignment. She was wonderful and I know Elaine S Dalton has some pretty big shoes to fill but Sister Oscarson will be so great. A cool thing about her is that at age 25, pregnant with her fourth kid, she was called to be the Mission Presidents Wife of the Sweden Mission. Her husband was only 29. It is crazy to imagine having that role at such a young age. Then last night at Devotional we had the managing director of the missionary department Brother Allen speak to us. He was hilarious. At General Conference it is hard to see these amazing men as being so funny and so it is nice to see that side of them here at the MTC! One funny thing he did was have a missionary come up and participate. He asked this Elder what he had to give up in order to come on a mission and the Elder said, "my girlfriend," and Brother Allen said, "on behalf of all return missionaries, thank you for the donation." It was so funny and total mission humor but that is almost all my humor is these days! It was a great Sunday though!

For those that know me know that I DO NOT sing! But I have a companion who is an amazing singer and pianist. So yesterday you will not believe what I did... I was in the MTC choir! The choir director is like this legit professional singer and he kept saying these words and terms that I had no idea what they meant. Straight over my head they went. It ended up going well and the choir is 550 and will sound so great tomorrow night at Devotional. I am just surprised still that I will be in a choir and choosing to sing. I just really hope that I don't mess up the tune too much and ruin the choir!

After last weeks VERY PERSONAL email I am a bit worried about how many people will read this weeks. BUT my awesome sister Michelle (the sister that runs this blog) told me that this blog has been viewed from 8 different countries!!!! I feel pretty cool about that but also a bit of pressure not to disappoint. I will continue to do my best. I just have one request... people from Indonesia, Russia and the UK PLEASE tell me who you are. Or if you are from one of the other countries and I don't PERSONALLY know you, send me an email or dearelder. The information should be on the left of this blog. I would love to know who you are! Also a big thank you to my wonderful family and friends who read my weekly emails and for supporting me.

I debated on whether or not to include this part of my week but after realizing that I already shared SO much from last week, this little story didn't seem too bad and I won't see any of you for 17 months and by then you will probably forget this happened because I am trying my best to forget too! So enjoy getting to know me even more!
My poop failed.
I thought it was solid (not meant to be gross) but I didn't pass. Belguim doesn't want me. 
On Tuesday I was in my residence and on the intercom it asked for Sister Johns and I was like "yo!" and they were like "you have a doctor appointment tomorrow" and I was like "why???" and they were like "you can come down in person to get more info." 
So of course I went down but after I had a mini panic attack. Unscheduled and unexpected appointments are the WORST! A million different diagnosis came through my head. I asked everyone how many types of cancer can be discovered through poop. Not many. So I went down and the nurse, Ellen who is the sweetest, asked me in a serious way if I drink pond water. WHAT??? Who drinks pond water so of course I said no silly. Then she asked if I go boating or play in dirty water. I said yes I have been boating but I don't intentionally drink it. Turns out I have parasites!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! After thinking about it I became even sicker. 
I had to go back to the DR on Wednesday and meet with him. He asked the same weird questions and then we came to the conclusion that I have spent my life drinking the BEST water from the natural spring at my Grandparents property and may have taken some bad falls in gross lakes and drank loads of parasite water. The worst part is that he said I will get to France EVENTUALLY! I was not having that so I said drug me asap and get me to France. My sweet little Ellen had already passed me off on my Belgium visa just hoping that the drugs will work but the doctor won't actually let Belgium accept me until my little parasites are gone. I took 4 giant pills that left my mouth tasting like metal for a few days. I ate LOTS of mints to get rid of it because missionaries don't chew gum. (lame rule but exact obedience brings miracles!) 
Then on Thursday my companion and I got to escape the MTC together to go to the BYU health center to pay the copay. Freedom never felt so good. I also got to see the building at BYU that is named after my Great Grandpa who was a general authority, William James Critchlow. google him. He is cool! 
I will have to poop again this week and hopefully legitimately pass the test so I can honestly get into Belgium. I am hoping that third time pooping in a bag is the charm!
Thank you for not judging me! But also... get tested! I had to write my family that same day to tell them to be tested but personally I don't think having a parasite is that big of a deal. Yeah I have felt sick a few too often times but they make you consistent! Thanks for staying my friend. 

I LOVE being a missionary. It is seriously the BEST thing that I could be doing right now and I love every minute. I cannot believe that two weeks from THIS MOMENT I will be on my way to Paris. SO CRAZY! I will get my flight plans at the end of this week and will just have to really make my last week my best. I am in no way trunky or anything from the MTC but I am just so excited to represent Jesus Christ and share the happiness that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints brings me with the people of France, Belgium and Luxembourg!
For people that haven't yet served a mission but are thinking about it or even planning on it, all I can say is DO IT!!! There are definitely hard times and I know it will get much harder when I am actually in Europe but the amazing times really outweigh the hard and it is so worth it. I feel like I have already grown so much and improved myself as a person!

I love you all. Please continue to email, write and DearElder me. I really appreciate all of the love and support from so many people. I have been here for a month already!! I will see you in 17 months!!

Soeur Emily Johns!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pictures Week 3

Emily with the other sisters and the"poop bags"

Emily with her poop


Emily and her companion studying hard

Emily and her companion

Trying to sleep in class

Emily with her girls (Darel, Jacqueline, Emily, and Kelli)

The girls during Emily's temple walk

Emily and cousin Jacqueline 

The girls in their huddle

Emily with her companion during their temple walk

Emily and her companion in their residence

Emily's residence. Hers is the bed with the purple sheets

Emily and her friend Jasmine Junk in the MTC together.

I pooped in a bag...AGAIN!

WARNING!!!! After reading this email you may know more about me than you ever wanted to! Enjoy :)
I pooped in a paper bag this week. The sad part is that it wasn't my first time...
I am about to tell you all something that I NEVER tell anyone. Whenever anyone asks for my most embarrassing moment I make one up JUST so I don't have to tell them my real embarrassing story which I am about to do. About 10 years ago my family was in Paris for our first time. We had a our minivan filled with us 5 daughters and my mom driving in downtown Paris at rush hour. We were heading to Euro Disney and were stuck in traffic forever! Like parked cars stuck. I REALLLLLLLLY needed to go to the bathroom. I am normally pretty okay at holding these things in but there was no way I could hold it in for hours. We wouldn't be able to get out of traffic and I had no options... Until my genius of a mother suggested that I use the Happy Meal Box from McDonald's  Yes, what you are thinking is right. I POOPED in a Happy Meal Box. In downtown Paris. At rush hour. As I was pooping in the box I looked out the window and totally made eye contact (with disgust) with the car next to us. I felt much better after doing it but having a hot van, full of girls and poop is not fun. Rolling down the windows and trying to ignore what had just happened was not the best way to experience Paris. I am still very sorry to my sisters, mom and french people for having to deal with that. I am sharing this story with you because A: I won't see any of you for about 17 months and B: it goes right into my next story about what I had to do this week...
Thank Belgium for this next one. So the great country of Belgium which is part of my mission requires you to do a poop test to get your visa. When I found this out I was about to ask for a reassignment because it would bring back very traumatizing memories. I had to poo in a cup/bag, take a little spoon and scoop up a portion, MASH IT UP and put it in a solution. The whole time I was doing this I was freaking out. SOOOO gross and just ew. I was also terrified that my poop wouldn't be good and I would have to do it again. I didn't though! So 10 years ago I had to poop in a paper box to get out of Paris and now I had to poop in another non-toilet to get there. Perks of being Emily! I am still SOOOO happy to be going where I am going but I better serve in Belgium to make doing that worth it!
I have 1 favor to ask all of you. PLEEEEASE go on YouTube and search "Earthly Father, Eternal Father." It will be on mormonchannel but it is amazing. I watch it everyday and sneak into the computer lab just so I can watch it. I am so glad that I have my Heavenly Father!!
Cool thing about french. We call our investigators of the church, amis des église! That translates to friends of the church. How awesome! I definitely think everyone is a friend of the church and french is great for calling them that!
Jasmine Junk came here on Wednesday. After spending my lunch and language time outside searching for her, I finally saw her at dinner and see her everyday! I LOVE seeing her and having that piece of home here at the MTC. Louisville is soo lucky to be getting such a gem. Another cool french thing. So my french is really coming along and this little thing happening proves to me that I am improving. This week my comp and I were preparing our lesson. She asked me, what is "redempteur" in English  I replied with " I think it is redemptur" or something. That might not make sense so I will clarify. I didn't reply with RedEEMer but with the same french word just pronounced differently. I forgot English!!! WOO HOO!!!!!
My district and I still laugh and laugh. ALL THE TIME. 6 pac abs here I come. Not 6 actually because that is gross but abs here I come! Yesterday at dinner there was chicken. I asked for someone to pass the pepper and put a bit on my meat. Yummy. I drink chocolate milk here A LOT and so I went to take a delicious sip of it only it wasn't delicious. There were like seeds in it and I was so confused. Since when did milk have seeds??? I looked into my cup and there was a lot of black pepper in it. I am still sooo confused. I don't know if I accidentally put pepper in my milk or if someone in my district was playing a trick on me. They all swear it wasn't them and they are missionaries so they can't lie but WHY would I put pepper in my milk????? So gross.
So each Sunday we take a walk to the temple as I mentioned last week. It may have been a hint to people but I couldn't actually write the word hint without feeling bad. BUT they got the hint!!! I saw my girls Jacqueline, Kelli and Darel!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE them and seeing them was so unreal. I really have the best friends and am so blessed! Seeing my "old life" as a missionary was crazy but oh well! Hopefully they instagram/fb that and you all saw it but if not, I have proof!
I have less than three weeks left!!!! On May 13th I will be at the airport and on my way to Paris! CAN'T WAIT!!! But I still have sooo much to learn and I need to remind myself the more I learn here the less I will have to learn there! I still can't wait though! All of the teachers here at the MTC go to BYU and if you graduate, you lose your job. So I am losing Brother Larimer/Pierre/Jean-Michele this week. I haven't cried once since getting here but that all might change. I just love him. Not like a creepy romantic way but he has taught me so much and is just an amazing person. We try to get him to teach us cool things in french but it doesn't work. Like we ask him to teach us how to say. "Like a Boss." He refused. BUUUUUT I got him to teach us how to say, "Cool story bro" and it is..... Bonne Histoire Fré!!! How cool. If I ever say it in France I might get deported from embarrassing their language but oh well. I think I am cool and that is what matters right?
This week I memorized the first vision in french!!! I don't know it in english but I will learn. It is awesome. I am going to memorize James 1:5 and other stuff to. The gift of tongues is real. But it isn't the only part in learning a language. I pray every day for the gift but I work everday to receive the gift. I know that if we each do our part then the Lord will do His and with both of us doing our parts, we will see those miracles and blessings in our lives.
I officially can't get homesick because I don't have a home! My family home in South Ogden is sold!!!! So looks like I will be suprised when I get back! Hopefully the move and goodbyes to our longest-lived house went well!
Quick shout out to my newly engaged friends! Congratulations Scott Collins and Chrissy and Alyssa Pitt and Dallin!!!! SOO HAPPY!!! But please, no one else get married, have babies or anything else while I am gone. :)

So this past Tuesday Elder Richard G Scott spoke at the devotional. He truly is a man of God. He spoke about prayer and it was incredible. He also really spoke about how much he loves sister missionaries and missionaries learning a language so he REALLY loves me! i have never really paid tooooo much attention to him during conference but having him be the only speaker really opened my eyes to what a great speaker he is. LOVED it!
MELISSA is 16!!! My baby sister is 16 and 2 days. So crazy. I thought she was still 7. Watch out boys and drivers because Melissa Johns is coming!!!!!
Last Sunday we watched the restoration in french. i didn't understand that much of what they were saying but i really understood the language of the spirit. It really helped my testimony grow that the Spirit is the one that teaches and gets to peoples hearts. It was so great hearing so much french and then feeling the Spirit!!!
For anyone that needs a marriage prep class.... I suggest serving a mission. I LOVE my companion. BUT being with the same person 24/7 is hard work. Communication is key. I really feel like serving a mission will help me be a better wife and mother because I am learning patience, communication and love for everyone. It really is so great. 

I love you all! PLEASE continue to write/email/dearelder me! It really makes my day.
Soeur Emily Johns

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pictures: Week 2 MTC

Calling Home from the Airport!

Emily and Soeur Hunsake outside the consulate

Lunch at Boudins

Ice cream at Gherdelis
Emily in front of the ocean.

In front of Golden Gate Bridge

Lombard Street

Emily and Soeur Elliot

Missionaires with our pizza. SOO happy!!!

1D represented on our light bulb

Emily and her comp. on temple day

Elder Chris Springmeyer and Elder Logan Miller

Emily and her companion

The district was jealous of the package I got!
 Emily still wants us all to write her. I finally did so it is time for all of you to, too!

If I was a celebrity...

One of the greatest musical groups of my generation, N'Sync (always will be second to Backstreet Boys) once had an album and song called Celebrity. The music video was amaze and glee doing their song a few weeks ago was just splendid. Anyway after my trip to San Francisco on Friday I definitely felt like a celebrity but also a homeless person at the same time so I had a bit of an identity crisis.
I will explain.
So on Friday my companion and I for the day (Soeur Hunsaker) woke up at 4:00 a.m. GRRRREAT (tony the tiger voice) way to start the day. There were 7 sisters and 3 elders going to San Fran that day to go the to French Consulate. We got to the airport at around 6 a.m. and it was my first public appearance as a missionary. Even though we were in Utah people still stared at us and I didn't mind at all. As we were walking to our gate this guy asked me for a Book of Mormon. And guess what I did???? I didn't give him one. Why????? I DIDN'T HAVE ONE! Worst missionary of the year but oh well. An elder in our group had one and so he saved me. I will make up for my lack of having one in the future.
At the airport I was able to call some of my family. I didn't really have too much to say because the life of a missionary in the MTC is pretty consistent. But it was SOOOO nice just to hear their voices and I may have had to blink away tears. Hopefully you were impressed with my french because it isn't impressive here yet.
After the phone call this guy came up to us. In my pre-mish life I would have NEVER talked to him because he was all decked out in Ute gear but being a representative of Christ really changes you and I just appreciated him wearing my favorite color read and ignored the letters and symbols. This guy was so energetic. Like me times ten. He just kept talking and talking and I don't even know why. He served his mission in Perth, Australia! SHOUT out to my favorite Aussies Sam and Scott Collins! He and this missionary mom both helped us out and took pictures of us to send to our moms. Hopefully I didn't look too tired!
Once in San Fran our driver Edgar took us to the French Consulate. It was like 20 minutes total but hearing natives speak was intimidating. I understand my american teachers speaking french just fine but I know that understanding REAL French will come.
We had the next few hours to explore the city and boy did we explore. Not really but I am going to try to sound cool. We went to the Pier and people REALLY stared at us and I just smiled and occasionally threw out some french to look impressive. It was so so so great to really be looked at differently. I credit having Jésus-Christ on my badge. We ate lunch at Boudins and it really hit me that I have been eating like teenage boys for over a week. Real food is so great and I will cherish it all the time. As we were walking from lunch to Ghirdeli Square this OLD couple straight from India stopped a few of us sisters (four of us walked fast the other 6 were SLOOOOW) and asked if they could take a picture of us. We obliged. I still don't know why people from other countries like to take pictures with us whities. Ice cream at Ghirdelis made our day. I highly suggest they open one in Utah if they haven't already. You know Mormons and their ice cream!
Now here is the part where I REALLY became a celebrity so be ready. We went down to this area by the Golden Gate Bridge to take some pictures. I had Soeur Hunsaker take a photo of me and as I was smiling I looked behind here to find an Asian guy with a cigarette in one hand and a paparazzi style camera in the other just snapping away pictures of me. I am not THAT vain and so of course at first I thought he was taking pictures of the bridge and I was in his way so I moved and he moved too. I kind of awkwardly giggled and went to my comp and he then took pictures of us both. CREEP ALERT. I didn't let it phase me at that point so I started to pose to let him know that I knew he was taking my picture and to kind of slyly tell him to stop. He didn't stop. It was crazy. I am not imagining this. He really followed us everywhere for a good 15 minutes getting a photo of us at every angle 20 times. So if any of you find pictures of my online or something, let me know so I can copy-right those images. Kidding! But really having a guy with a long lens camera taking photos of you everywhere is a good way to make you feel A. Like a celebrity or B. more confident knowing someone is taking your picture.
Off to the airport we went! We drove by Lombard Street but couldn't stop so ignore my crappy picture but it was still cool. We got on this plane and this Mormon couple sits right across from me and my comp. Guess what the man did.... He took each of our pictures to send it to his grandson hahahaha definitely a picture day so good thing I had cute clothes on (thanks Melissa for the scarf and Michelle for the shirt!)
Now here is where the day got bad. We arrive in SLC around 7:30 and call to see where the MTC van is..... THEY FORGOT ABOUT US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not kidding. I know that I am known for adding extra details to make my stories better but this is so legit. And I am a missionary so I can't lie. They were like "oops! We have missionaries going there at 10 so wait." We had only had lunch ALL day and a cup of soda on the plane. We were dying. We kept trying to figure out ways to get food or rides but exact obedience is key so I refrained from calling my sisters in SLC to bring me food or bring me to the MTC. 10 missionaries stranded in the airport for 3 hours. The MTC finally offered to give us $10 each for dinner so we hurried and ordered pizza. Me and Soeur Elliot went out to wait for the guy....
As we were waiting this like 40 year old guy with a faint alcohol smell to him came up to us. Being missionaries we got super excited and talked to him. Turns out he was a member but not anymore but still wanted to talk to us. We tried teaching him a bit and felt pretty good where out of no where he yelled, "You two are smokin hot!" We just looked at each other and smiled and tried not to throw up. We ignored him and kept trying to get our message across. From there he just kept saying stuff about our looks and how we are going to get in SO much trouble in Paris. The strangest thing is that he kept putting his hand in a fist and biting his knuckles to refrain from saying stuff. He told us how good the wine is there and blah blah. We had no idea what to do. We HAD to eat and wait for our pizza and he wasn't like a threat but he definitely made us feel suuuuper uncomfortable. Finally another sister came out to tell us the pizza guy had come. We were saved!!!!
Turns out a lot of people in the SLC airport feel bad for starving, stranded missionaries and they paid for our pizza. Thank you kind people!
On a mission bedtime is 10:30 NO QUESTION. We got back to the MTC at 11:30 and in bed after midnight. Saturday morning 6 am service did not look appealing and luckily the MTC felt bad so we didn't have to go! Sleeping in until 7:30 never felt so nice!
This is long. I just looked up!
Sunday was the first regular Sunday here and I was not let down. In the MTC for sacrament meeting all the missionaries have to prepare a talk in their language and they will randomly be called up.. This week was on baptism and I had an okay talk in french but didn't get called up. Church was great. For Relief Society ALL the sisters in the MTC meet together and a lady named Sister Edmunds spoke. She was hilarious. Wisest words I have heard in the MTC was from her talk... " DO NOT TOUCH THE ELDERS. EVER. NEVER. but.... Keep Track of the Elders you want to touch after!" HAHAHAHAHA so funny. Then for Sunday Devotional the guy who is over the media for the church spoke. At first I thought was a bore fest but he was sooo great. He was over the I'm a Mormon campaign, the campaign in NYC and everything. It was amazing and really pumped me up to be part of something so great and really world-wide. On Sundays we get to walk up to the Provo Temple between 2-3 pm  and just take pictures. It is the best! Also going to the temple every Tuesday is amazing!!! The Temple really is the House of the Lord!
Yesterday (Monday) we learned how to street contact. I LOVE IT. I know it will be much more different with each person I meet but it was a great first time. We start teaching our contact Piere Wednesday. BTW Jean-Michele became our new teacher Brother Laramer (he served in Quebec and knows David Wilson and Josh Burch from work) and he is also Pierre. Kind of confusing but mostly amazing!
I am still loving it here soooo much! There are definitely times where I miss my family and things but they only last for a few minutes. I am so happy and learn so much each day. My french is improving all the time and that is what is important. I am not fluent or even confident in speaking with natives but hopefully that will happen! I LOVE this gospel and love that I have the opportunity to share it with people and share it with myself too. I am learning just as much as investigators will, if not more.
I love you all. Yesterday I got 5 letters in one day. New record! Keep them coming.
Best cousins husband award goes to Courtland! Thanks for writing!
Best sneaky letter writer goes to Melissa. I didn't even know that you put a letter in my suitcase until your letter this week. You better believe I hopped off the top bunk and ripped open that suitcase!
Best person at making up at not writing: Michelle!
That last "best" can easily become a  competition if you all write!
I really do love you all. I feel your support and love and appreciate it so much!
Soeur Emily Johns

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

First Week in the MTC (pictures)

Here are the pictures that Emily has e-mailed from her first week in the MTC. She was having problems uploading pictures and she didn't leave me notes of what they are of so here is to me assuming! I will write her and ask her if I was right or not and to from now on leave me with captions. I am sure she will love telling me what to do again. ;)

Emily in front of the infamous map at the MTC pointing to her mission. France, Paris. 
Emily's companion, Soeur Denning (Ashelle) doing the same.

Soeur Johns and Soeur Denning

Part of Emily's district in the MTC. (Looks to me like the Elder's and Emily and her companion. 

Emily's district. 
Guessing this is outside of her residence. 
 She is having a lot of fun. She wants a lot of e-mails and us ALL to go to and write her. Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers for her.