Bonjour tout le monde!!!! I am alive!!!! I am also on a French keyboard and haven’t mastered it at all so this is going to take me a while and hopefully my wonderful sister Michelle fixes the typos!
I don’t even know where to start. beginning??? okay!
So last Monday the 40 of us headed to Paris left the mtc!!! Soo crazy that I will never be back there as a missionary. It was a splendid 6 WEEKS! SO WE GET ON THIS BIG TOUR BUS THING AND I JUST NOTICED THIS IS CAPS... okay so we throw like 120 pieces of luggage into a truck and head to the frontrunner in Provo. We take that to slc where we get to the trax then airport. Thank goodness security took like no time and I was hauling it to a pay phone. My comps family sent her a cell so we only needed to find one payphone for me to call home. Then... this flight worker lady who is my comps neighbor gives me her iPhone to use no standing at a payphone for hours for me!!! So I called both my parents and all my sisters! sooooo incredible to talk to them. As we were on the phone the same lady comes up to us and gives my comp a first class ticket and I was like ooh awesome for her and then she gives me one!!!!! yahoooooo!!!! Such a blessed life. So the direct flight from slc to Paris which was going to be the worst flight of my life turned into the best! The other missionaries were not happy with us but oh well. We were reeeeeally taken care of. amaaaaazing food and oh just so nice. The people around us were all Mormon so I didn’t really get to practice teaching but I got practice soon enough; on the plane we were next to the owner/founder of xango and he is super cool. He served in Paris too!!!
So we land and getting all 40 missionaries luggage and through customs took a while but then we found the assistants and met the most amazing mission presidents ever!! I really am so blessed.
In the past they give the new missionaries a book of Mormon and take them to Notre dame to contact people... instead this time we had to do it on the metro.... IN FRENCH!!! I did it though!
Then we had orientation and stuff so that was cool. With sooo many missionaries we couldn’t stay in the mission home so we were put in a hotel near it and that was nice. Wednesday the sisters were all interviewed and then we were off to find out where we would be serving and with whom! All the new missionaries were on one side and the trainers were on the other. Btw the church in Paris is at St. Merri which is the second most expensive church property and it is beautiful!
I am in Versailles!!!! With Maggie Melville!! We met a few months ago when the Paris group had crepes so it is cool to be with her! She has only been here for 10 weeks and is training! Her French is beautiful and she is so patient with me and just amazing!!
We left Paris and got to Versailles and on the train we talked with a girl around our age. She is studying art and she does art for books and we thought it was like children books like animation and so we asked to see it... NOT FOR CHILDREN!!! It was naked women hahaha and we just kept flipping trying to find the children section but it never came. Great first contacting experience! Then off to lessons we went! I love Versailles! It is so pretty and the people are so nice. The following days were filled with lessons and contacting and just being a missionary!
For people that say Europe is dead and especially France.... wrong!!! People are ready and are looking for the gospel! We are busy and I love it!
So my comp and her old comp worked hard so that my first Sunday there would be a baptism!!! So that is what happened yesterday!
Isabelle is French and in her 40's and just the greatest. I was able to meet with her a few times but she was soo ready long before I got here but it was a great way to start the mission! Yesterday she was baptized and it was beautiful!!!!
The ward here is amazing!!! The mission president is in our ward so it is fun seeing his family on Sunday! Also the APs and office elders are in our ward so the 6 OF US MAKE UP OUR DISTRICT; CRAP CAPS AGAIN! I am definitely surrounded by amazing people! The ward is really diverse. Look on Mormon channel and watch the languages of love video... they are in this ward. Most people in the ward speak a few languages and there are even Americans!
Yesterday we taught the young women and it reminded me of my two younger sisters! It was a good lesson. Then there is a Sunday school class just for investigators and recent converts and that was great!! Sacrament meeting.... I was asked to bare my testimony.... I am humbled to say the least! I kept it short and sweet so hopefully people knew what I was trying to say!
My pday is Monday but France has a lot of holidays where things just shut down so we moved our pday to tomorrow except for email. So tomorrow we will grocery shop and go to Versailles gardens!
I am eating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know how I survived college without cooking! I am blessed that my comp takes such good care of me! I help her but she is the expert and everything is yummy. And soo fresh and just great! I like to wash dishes to make up for my bad skills!
The apartment is so wonderful! It is in a really nice complex and pretty spacious! I feel so French being here but then I talk and that feeling leaves!
So for those that know about when I was set apart and how emphasized being humble was... it is happening!!! I am soooooo American! In the mtc I was where I should be I thought and kept being told it will come and I have faith and trust in the LORD! But I suck! I can understand a good amount but not always... for example the other day we were walking and this older man stopped us because he knew we were missionaries. I had no idea what he was saying so I just stood there smiling! He just looks at me and says something so I nod thinking it was a safe response... my companion then told him she doesn't think I understand but I kept smiling. After we left she told me that he was telling us how his wife just died and I was smiling so he asked if I thought it was funny and I nodded!!!!! I was so embarrassed and felt bad. So now I am just going to copy my comps facial expressions until I know what is going on.
Being a missionary is so amazing. If I thought being a missionary in the mtc was great, this is sooo much better. Real people just make things better, more pressure but better!
I have a huge favor to ask you all... PLEASE pray for me! I pray all the time to learn this language and to communicate but I need all the help I can get. If you could just keep that in your prayers and hearts that would be great! Patience has never been a quality of mine and so this is a hard thing to be forced to learn. People keep saying that the language will come and that I will be fine and understand/speak soon enough but I am so useless right now! I contribute more and more in each lesson but it isn't smooth and we practice what I will say. Practicing is good except for a lesson we had with Latitia....
So the missionaries contacted her on the street before I got here and invited her to church and left her a book of Mormon... she showed up to church before the first lesson. So on Thursday we taught her the first lesson. It went really well. She is just so excited about the gospel and it was great to see. We had practice me inviting her to be baptized. So in the lesson it was going solid and so I asked her to be baptized... she flat out said no. and I was like shoot! I just screwed up and totally read that wrong and felt horrible. Then my comp talks and I kind of tuned out but after the lesson my comp was saying how great it went and I was like no she said no! Turns out that I asked if she has been baptized not will she be baptized. My comp saved it and Latitia really wants to be baptized so that is good!!!
People here are so awesome! For people that say the French are rude, you’re wrong! People are so sweet. We say hello to everyone we see and everyone says hello back and just are happy that someone said hello. It really is the small things that can make peoples day! we said hello while walking past a lady on the train and that was normal but when we got off we heard her say sorry (in English) so we talked to her; turns out she is Scottish and is moving back there this Friday but she was telling us that she could just tell we were different when we said hello. The missionaries in Scotland have a good friend coming their way!
I love it here so much! I know I will love it even more when I can speak but this morning the office elders who are also the district leaders gave me a blessing that I will be able to learn the language and be the missionary the Lord and I want to be! I feel better but just want to be able to teach and share with people this joy I have! I loooove talking as you all know so to not be able to speak is pretty frustrating but even more humbling!
On Wednesday we have zone conference in Paris. Our zone is just Paris and Versailles and Cergy and I think only me and my comp and the sisters in Paris are the sisters in the zone. So after conference on Wednesday I am doing exchanges. Paris has been closed to sisters for a while but just this past week it got opened and so that is where the sister training leaders are and.... I am doing exchanges in Paris with one of the sisters there until Thursday afternoon. I am a bit nervous to be in Paris and not speaking very well but it will be cool to be in Paris as a missionary!
You can all write me!!! 7 promenade venezia 78000 Versailles!!!! you can put money on your dearelder account and write like an email and it will be sent to be in the mail or you can email me and I will check it each Monday OR you can do regular mail! I should be in Versailles past my birthday so packages can also be sent here for the next few months!
I love you all! I miss you but this is so worth it!
Love soeur Emily Johns!!!!