Monday, July 29, 2013

King George and Happy Times!

KATE MIDDLETON had her baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOO happy for her, William, their family and the WORLD!!! England will be in solid hands the next couple of generations! I personally think that George Alexander Louis is perfect and I love the name George! My great-grandpa was named George and I love him so I know the world will love King George too! I am still waiting for the whole worldly side of me to leave and it has for the most part but I don’t know when my love for Kate will diminish… hopefully never! It really was a highlight of my week just like it was for most news channels and stuff!

Onto legit missionary business so I can remind you all and myself that I am a missionary and not just Emily anymore. So last week I sent home some pictures of my sad shoes. I WALK A LOT!!! I always heard of stories of Elders in South America walking holes into their shoes but I NEVER thought that would be me… It is me. I feel like an official missionary now but then I remind myself that I just bought cheap shoes last minute before my mission which is probably the cause for them only lasting 4 months! So having a growing hole in the shoes that I wore everyday was kind of getting old and gross when I think about all the places I walk and how many people pee on the streets and cigarettes. So I decided to give shopping another try. I figured if I just had to find one thing and a pretty specific thing then I would be able to do it… Challenge ACCEPTED! So for PDay we went to Paris and the Mall at La Defense. BIGGEST MALL EVER!!!!! Any normal girls DREAM but since I am not normal I just got really overwhelmed and bored pretty quickly. We pretty much only went into shoe stores and luckily being a missionary it narrows done my shoe options a bit so we were able to be pretty effective. Before my mission (probably after too) I would never shop or buy anything but if I HAD to get something then I would think about it for a good month or two and then go back to the store a good 7 times and really just thinking if I needed it and it was a big long process that frustrated my mom and sisters. I no longer have such a luxury of taking my time so I was on the hunt. After only a few hours and a few creepy men in the mall I FOUND MY NEW SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They were part of Soldes so I got them for cheaper SCORE! And they seem pretty solid. I told myself that I wouldn’t wear them EVERYDAY so they would last longer but it has been a week now and I think I have worn them 5 times! I am just really breaking them in and getting the bloody scab on the back of my heel to get used to the shoe. I love them. They seem pretty sturdy and should last me until I can finally wear boots again in the winter! I am quite proud of myself for buying something in such a timely matter and now I can be like oh yeah these shoes... I bought them in Paris!

The new shoes!

I can cook. I will just say it again because this is a huge deal…. I CAN COOK! My future family will not starve!!!! My companion has adequately trained me and I will survive on my own now!!! You can all give her a big thanks after my mission when I wow you at family functions and friend dinners! I am so impressed of the things that I have learned. Yes I have learned a lot spiritually BUT the whole cooking and shopping thing were skills that I was in much need of learning! I think my mom and sister Jessica will be the most impressed because really it is night and day with me! Before my mission I could only make mac and cheese from a box and boil an egg. But now I can come up with meals on my own and feed 8 elders! Our meals always consist of lots of tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs and just really good stuff! I enjoy cooking too! Life is good in the food department!

Emily cooking hot dogs!

Vaccance is the WORST!! My parents were always really good about taking us on vacation and showing us the world but it seems like people here take it to a whole new level. They leave their homes for several weeks and months at a time! I am all for getting out of touristy Paris and Versailles but people are gone for a long time! It has made the work a bit difficult. Entire neighborhoods are empty. Apartment buildings are closed down and so porting is hard. Our teaching pool has become smaller because everyone we were teaching has left until September so we resort to porting but they are all gone and the few people that are still here are leaving in a few days!  So I am realllllly looking forward to September when people come back! You would think that this would make me sad or discouraged and it can be but at the same time me  and my companion have never been better! We laugh harder than we have ever laughed, talk to each other more than ever and have really just become GREAT FRIENDS! The Lord really does bless us in ways that we don’t expect and I am very thankful for being blessed with a friend as a companion right now!

People's houses while they are on vaccance

I love the ward here! LOVE it!! We are 99.9% sure that my companion is leaving on August 7 at transfers because she has been here since she started her mission in March and it is just time. So we have wanted to say good bye to some of our favorite people. Last night we went and saw the Grenier family which is my FAVORITE family!!!! I love them! Frere Grenier is our DMP and so we see him a lot and we just think he is the coolest! He does the translating of conference and stuff into French for ALL French speaking places and so now when I listen to conference talks in French for language study I know that it is his voice! Sœur Grenier is the member who owns the spa that we went to and she is also a GREAT cook and so eating with them last night was a treat! They are such a cute couple and really just love each other. They have a son on a mission in the Alpine Germany Mission. Then a son who is my age named Raphael who I just got to know last night and is really cool. Then they have a daughter Elisare who reminds me so much of my sisters! We love spending time with them and they speak English really well so it makes it nice for me! Even though my French is improving slowly I am still not myself in French yet so I REALLY love being around the Greniers where I can joke and be sarcastic IN ENGLISH and be myself! But then I realized that there is a lot about me that I need to change and that’s may be why I got called to learn a language so then I wouldn’t be able to be myself so easily and be embarrassing. Anyway it was a great end to the week and I and my comp came home just so happy and loving life!

With the Grenier family

I say this every single week but it is true and the truth can never be repeated too much… I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! I feel like I am learning and being blessed waaaay more than I ever thought possible. I know that it probably is hard to notice and maybe I am just tooting my own horn but I really have changed for the better. I feel like each day I become a better person and a better version of myself. I still have LOTS and LOTS to learn but I am so happy for the things that I have learned already. My four month mark is Sunday and I can’t believe that I have been gone for four months. I just know that the next 14 months will continue to be so amazing and I can’t imagine how much more I will learn and grow! I am so happy and feel so loved and good all the time!

Thank you all for your love. It really means so much and the support is great! Please continue to pray for all the missionaries in the world and for you yourselves to have missionary experiences!


Sœur Emily Johns

Where Emily saw the naked man a week earlier!

Monday, July 22, 2013

African Food and Miracles!

HELLO!!!  This has been such a great week! Being a missionary is by far the best thing to be in the whole world right now and I am so lucky to be here and be learning the things that I am!

Last Monday my comp and I went to Sacre Cœur. It was really pretty and cool! It is still an actual church and people pray and mass happens and stuff. So we were sitting in the non-praying section in the building because people already think we are nuns but if we sit WITH the nuns then that may look bad. So we were just chillin escaping from the heat and then all of a sudden 5 men in white robes like the pope and priest in the Catholic Church go in the front and conduct this little thing. I don’t know too much about the Catholic Church but it was really interesting! We didn’t know the line of being respectful and then being weird having our tags and being missionaries. So we just sat there and listened but we didn’t pray with them or stand up too much and things. It was a cool thing!

 Each Tuesday we have district meeting. Let me rephrase that, each Tuesday we are SUPPOSED to have district meeting but having the two most popular elders in our district aka the APs it can be hard to have it at a set time when they are always all over the mission. Anyway so we actually did have it on a Tuesday. My district now consists of 6 elders and 2 sisters and sometimes it can be a boy party and weird. Thank goodness my mom taught me how to be one of the guys at times. So when sharing poop stories while eating lunch started, I knew exactly how to contribute to the conversation. Well I TRIED but then got too embarrassed with the whole Happy Meal Box in Paris thing but I guess I hinted at it enough (I like to tease) so then the elders raced down to the computers in the church and found my blog and story … I won the poop contest though so that is good right ? Elders are fun and they come up with interesting activities. There is a weird pudding like thing here called flaun. I think that is how it is spelt. Not sure. Anyway the elders put it on a plate and you have to suck it up in one try. Pretty much you just inhale a big blob of flubber and everyone cheers. I tried… and FAILED! But good thing I have pleeeenty of time to practice and beat the elders!

So on Thursday ALL of our rendezvous got cancelled. We did not know what we were going to do with our entire day but we knew we had to do something. We were able to talk to a lot of people and teach a lot of people casually and were feeling good. We still needed to fill about an hour and we couldn’t just go home. We were walking around trying to find a woman but were getting kind of discouraged. We see this lady with a HUGE shopping stroller thing. We said hello and asked if she needed help. She is in her 60s and thought we could be of service. FOR ONCE when we ask, someone actually said yes! So she let us carry it up to the 6th floor of her building for her! She even invited us in and gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her part of the first lesson! It is a miracle because we had been praying to find someone solid and just someone who we could see and then we found her! She had been praying for someone to come help her because she had no idea how she was going to carry her cart all the way up! God does answer our prayers and it is amazing! Her name is Marie-Claude! We saw her again on Saturday and she just loves us and is sooooo awesome! We invited her to church and she was coming but then yesterday with the Tour de France the buses were down and so she walked but she walked an hour in the wrong direction and missed church but she will totally be there next week! We saw her yesterday after church and she even fed us! I love her so much already and she is the sweetest!

On Friday I had my first legit African meal! Chantel is a recent convert from Congo and a grrreat cook! We went over there on Friday and had SOOOO MUCH FOOD! We have been kind of not eating because it is too hot to cook but we went to her house and she made ALL this food for us and we thought we would be soo excited and could eat anything but I got sick. It was too much and too good! I was in pain and didn’t know how I was going to walk home but it was fun!

France is HOT! Like burning! I don’t know how it has been in Utah or anywhere else because I don’t watch the news but I know it is hot here! It makes porting and street contacting not the funnest but definitely more worth it when we find someone solid! I guess people think that with the heat they really don’t need clothes… false! Take for example walking to church yesterday. We were walking and there was a man on his balcony straight ahead and I look ahead when I walk… NEVER LOOKING AHEAD AGAIN! He was naked! I wasn’t sure if he was FULLY naked but I knew he was shirtless and I could really see his man boobs. Pretty scarring. So I tell my comp not to look up and we try walking ahead. I was dumb and made awkward eye contact and found that he was FULLY NAKED. He stayed there just wanting us to see him and it was soo gross! UGH! Put clothes on people! Yesterday the Tour de France came to Versailles! We were pretty pumped to go and see it because it seemed like a big deal and it is the 100th! So we planned everything and knew which busses would be working and not for us to get there. Well it didn’t work out quite that well. The bus we planned never came so we spent a while just in the hot sun and then decided to try the train but then after like running to get there we missed it so we saw a bus coming and ran to it and missed it too. I was ready to just give up because we had already missed the big deal part but my comp knew that we could find someone and that it would be worth our time and effort. I was just out of energy and wanting to not be in the heat because the sun really does hate me and turns me red! So we FINALLY get to the château and yup we missed it BUT we did get to see the things that we were supposed to see. So we took pictures of the biking trail and the signs and all that good stuff! Minus the bikers but oh well! Next year maybe? 

I am doing well! I am still the happiest I have ever been even though I am the hottest and feel the grossest and sweatiest but I think people will take the shininess as like the Light of Christ and really recognize us as missionaries !! So bring on the sweat! But really I LOVE being a missionary. I know I say it all the time but it is so true! I love you all. Thank you so much for you love and support and prayers. The people here and missionaries all over the world really need your prayers and support so keep it coming!


Sœur Emily Johns

Her shoes from walking soooo much

Her companion kept taking pictures of her

Doing the flower blow/wish thing

At the chocolate store

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meeting Celebrities

I love old people. Maybe more than I should but I just love them. The older the better and if they are not all the way there in the mind then it is the best! I think that is why I golfed because I could just talk with old men all day but anyway I love old people. But being a missionary it can sometimes be hard with older people but I try talking with them anyway. Missionaries have been living at my complex FOR YEARS!!! Everyone that lives in our complex has seen missionaries and knows exactly who we are but we still say hello to everyone that we see. I get on tangents but you should know that already. Anyway so last week we were walking out of our complex and this REALLY old man was walking his little dog reeeealy slowly because he is like 90. So we said ‘’Bonjour’’ and he replies with this... in English. ‘’Hello.  Good day!’’ and he stops and we were like oh you speak English only we said that in French. I do that all the time. Someone will say something in English and I just keep going in French until I realize that they are speaking English. So turns out this man is from Ireland but grew up in the US and everywhere else in the world. We spent a good 45 minutes talking to him and after we were both just like WE MET THE COOLEST MAN EVER!! His name is Sean O’Neil and he was in the army for two years and his bunkmate person was some elder in our church but we don’t know if that means he was just like a missionary at some point or if he was like one of the general authorities. Sean had the greatest stories ever but when we would ask him a question like a name or time he wouldn’t remember. So he has been in like 100 movies with Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable and cool people and was in a Hitchcock film but when we looked him up on IMDB he isn’t listed so we are thinking that he was just an extra but he had really awesome stories and just kept sharing them with us! At the time we were thinking that we were becoming friends with a Hollywood Legend and so of course we got a picture with him. Ignore his arm being around me and not being the awkward missionary and opposite sex photo but he is an old man so it doesn’t count right?  It was a very well spent 45 minutes but I really have no idea if this man just has an AMAZING imagination, really did these things or what is going on ! He was a cool cat and hopefully we run into him again around the complex!

Emily with Sean O'Neil 

We rely on public transportation A LOT here. By a lot I mean that if there isn’t a bus, train or RER then we won’t be seeing anyone. I have been working on becoming a patient person because it is a virtue and I need to obtain patience eventually if I am ever going to be a mom or just a normal person. So being so reliant on trains has taught me some patience. I now understand that I cannot be on time or early to EVERYTHING because I really do not have much control. I think French people have known this for a long time because cancelled trains are not as big of a deal to them. Anyway so this week we were waiting at our gare to get to a rendezvous. The train and like all the following trains got cancelled according to the lady on the speakers but on the screen it didn’t say cancelled so there was a small group of people all looking at the little TV screen and so we decided to go check out the screen too. When we walked up they all noticed that we were some religious people and so they asked us to pray and ask God to make the trains not cancelled but we just kind of laughed and we’re all laughing together but they seemed to really think that we had some power over the trains. BUT then all of a sudden the train arrives! They all just look at us and we looked at each other and they started to thank us and just praise us and act like we were these miracle workers! It was crazy. They were sooo happy for us and it made us feel good but we really didn’t do anything besides awkwardly laugh! Maybe the next time a set of missionaries goes up to them they will remember us and give them some of their time and interest!

I am in the best ward in the world! Our DMP which is the ward mission leader is so awesome! The ward missionaries are also really cool! Each Tuesday night we have DMP meeting with the ward missionaries and all 8 full time missionaries in the ward. This past Tuesday we and a set of Elders and one of the ward missionaries were waiting to start. The ward missionary is Frere Ya who is from the Ivory Coast and is like 5’ 4” and just this cute little man. We were talking about how there are Chinese speaking missionaries and he tells us that he speaks Chinese and so we asked him to prove it and he just starts speaking the fake Chinese that everyone tries to do and sound Chinese. But he was doing it in such a legit way and it seemed like he was telling this really dramatic story in Chinese. We were all dying and it was just the greatest but strangest thing ever! SOOOO funny. So then our DMP comes in and he is like 6’ 5” tall and thin and French. So we ask Frere Ya to show Frere Grenier how to speak Chinese thinking we will all just laugh and so Frere Ya does his little imitation and then all of a sudden Frere Grenier talks back to him in the fake Chinese and these two middle-aged men have an entire conversation in fake Chinese. It was the funniest thing ever and I am like on the floor laughing the whole time during the meeting just remembering the weirdness of what just happened! The ward is great!!!

Part of being a missionary is service. We always are trying to find ways to help people and make their lives easier. No one seems to ever want to accept our offer but it seems that the only time that they do is when they need help cooking. This week we stopped by Lisa’s who is an investigator that we had the whole Sacha thing with last week. We showed up and do like a SUPER short lesson and then as we are leaving we ask if there is anything that we can do for her and she brings us to her kitchen and hands us these weird vegetable things that I have never seen before. Turns out that it was an artichoke. We cut artichokes for her and it was so strange because I do not know any cooking or food terms in French really and so I am just trying to follow her and figure out what she wanted me to do with this weird vegetable. It turned out okay but once we were finished she tells us that it is for a big meal she is making… FOR SACHA AND HIS FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!   Sacha as in the German we met last week that should be in like Spain by now! As we were walking out her apartment in comes Sacha and his mom and a friend! It was soooooo confusing and I still don’t know what is up with that! He still looked super cool and his mom was pretty similar in style to him but I don’t know why he is in Versailles and why his family is and why he was at Lisa’s again. So many questions and so sketchy! The most random things happen on missions and each day is such an adventure!

I am legal!!!!!!!!!!!!! On Friday we went to Paris and I became legal! There were 40 missionaries that arrived in France with me back in May and it was now the time to fully become legal. About 30 out of the 40 were in my legality group so all of us and our trainers met in Paris! It was one of the funnest days I have had! I LOVED being with all of my friends from the MTC! It was sooo fun and we just spent the day together and did some training things in the morning with the APs. After lunch we left our trainers and went to the legality office. With such a big group it took quite a long time but I was able to just hang out with my friends so it wasn’t bad at all! Legality in France is an interesting situation. So there is the health part which is similar to the physicals that we do in America. I get into this room and the lady just hands me a cup and puts me in a stall. NO GLOVES, NO LID, and no little box to put my cup of pee in! So I did my best and then had to awkwardly walk out of the stall and through the waiting room with a cup full of pee trying not to spill it and give it to the lady who just sets it on the counter with all the other cups of pee. I hope that whatever she does she knows whose pee belongs to whom! Then the whole height and weight thing. Then the eyes…. So this WHOLE thing is in French but I don’t know medical terms in French. I only know the GOSPEL! So I have to do my best to explain that I have contacts and that I am blind. I guess I didn’t do enough explaining because after I covered each of my eyes with my hand and read the numbers and letters off the board thing the nurse tells me that I have bad eyes. She kept telling me this. I have contacts and I have been using contacts since I was 6 so it has been quite a long time. I thought I was doing pretty well trying to say letters and numbers in French with the pressure of being able to see! She continued to tell me that my left eye is worse than my right and I was like Yeah I know my left eye is useless and my right isn’t great but it tries! I don’t know if France lets blind foreigners into their country but I am still here so I guess I passed enough!
Some of Emily's MTC district

Emily and her companion with Marie Poznanski

Now for the most exciting part of legality… The chest x-ray! Thank goodness that my comp had given me a full overview of what would be taking place. I am put into another stall and just told to take everything on top off. Then just wait in the stall until the doctor comes and gets you. So I was completely topless just hanging out in the stall and then the doctor, who luckily was a woman, came and got me and I did a chest x-ray! I am a pretty private person but I am not shy but I thought the whole being a topless missionary in a foreign country would be weird but it totally wasn’t. It wasn’t the most normal thing that I have ever done but it wasn’t bad and it was professional and I survived! Then I went back to the stall and went to another one to wait for them to listen to my heart and breathing. This was done in just a bra which is also different than I am used to in America. It wasn’t bad either. The doctor asked if I smoked as a general question before any of the test and I was like no and she was like none of you smoke AND then the missionary came out! I am able to totally talk about the word of wisdom and how we believe that our bodies are a gift from God and should be kept healthy and it was awesome! I am now legally in France and now they can never get rid of me!!!

My birthday is coming up… less than 2 months! It is the 12th of September and boy, am I excited!!! I have heard all sorts of things about birthdays and holidays as a missionary. I have heard that it is lonely and sad and not special at all and then I have heard that it is like the greatest birthday ever! So let’s hope that after my birthday I will be able to say it was a GREAT Birthday! Yesterday was Bastille Day and sorry to say that it was much more boring than the 4th of July. Maybe it was because it was on a Sunday and so church is more important and the fact that no one wanted to see us because it was the Holiday but I do feel much more French after celebrating it. We did get some legit mac and cheese from a member though. By legit I mean that it was Kraft Mac and Cheese in a box! We are excited to eat it someday! The Tour de France is coming to Versailles!! It is the 100th and is a big deal! We aren’t sure what we can or can’t do but we hope to see it this week! Versailles to Paris is the last leg and will happen on Sunday! I also haven’t seen any magazines about my girl Kate Middleton and so I hope that as my loyal friends, you will inform me ASAP with all of the details. Yes obviously I am still not completely out of the world and a legit missionary but it is good to stay true to who you are right???!!!

I love being a missionary! I cannot say it enough! Every single day I am so happy and know that I am doing the Lords work. I have never had so much happiness, love, peace, comfort and joy in my life! I want to stay this way for the rest of my life and I want this amazing feeling for everyone!  The work is coming along in France! The gospel of Jesus Christ really is the greatest thing and has brought me so much joy and love in my life and I love being able to share it with the people here. The language is coming along too! I really do love this language, country and people and am sooo excited for the next 15 months that I have to devote to it!

I love you all! Please continue to write and email me and let me know what is happening in your lives! You know what I am doing but I want to know what you are doing too!!


Sœur Emily Johns

Monday, July 8, 2013

I kissed a boy...

I have to start with the biggest shout out and congratulations to my younger sister JENNIFER!!! She has been called to the Spain, Madrid Mission and leaves for the Madrid MTC November 27!!!  Spain is sooo lucky to be getting her! I don’t know what Europe is going to do with having 2 Johns Sisters here at once! So Congratulations to her!!!

Most people know how I feel about kissing boys. I am a STRONG advocate of waiting until you are 16 and then even after that not to just hand out kisses. I won’t get into too much personal detail with that but moving on. As missionaries we are not here to pursue romance or to have relationships with people in a romantic way. I completely agree. In France they do the bise (kiss) which is the whole kissing each other’s cheek thing. As missionary girls can bise (kiss) girls but we ALWAYS shake men’s hand. Well that changed this week thanks to a man named Fred. Fred like Fred the Flintstone. I may be scarred for life but oh well.  I will get to his story in a minute but I like to keep things in order so we will start at the beginning!

After we did our emails last week we tried some Soldes shopping… FAIL! We went to the Carrefour which is kind of like a target. We have one in our complex which is only grocery shopping but there are carrefours with clothes, plants, etc. just like a target. So we were in a big shopping area and we went in to get my comp a USB drive and we decided to check out the shoes and clothes which were on soldes too. I found so many things I really liked and for SO cheap. I was really excited to go try them on and have my own fashion show and to add these great finds to my closet…. THEN we found out that carrefour does not have dressing rooms. I am already anal about shopping and typically it takes me a few months to buy one thing and so I was being brave and willing to do this but being slightly taller than average and a missionary I HAD to try them on to make sure everything would be long enough and missionary appropriate. Not having a dressing room totally ruined my shopping experience and I am still thinking about those great finds a week later so I may just go back. But we went to real clothing stores too that had changing rooms but everything was too short and I was quickly reminded of how boring shopping is and how much I hate it so the whole shopping for pday thing failed BUT I did get a little notebook called Taj Mahal ! You can never go wrong with books!

On Tuesday we did exchanges with the Paris sisters. This time I stayed in Versailles and my comp went to Paris. I was so nervous because I would have to be the one knowing where to go, who to speak with, and all this grown up missionary stuff that I didn’t know if I could do. Exchanges went REALLLLLY good! I loved getting to know Sœur Rossie Pymm from Idaho! She ends her mission in three weeks and so she had lots of great experience and wisdom and I learned a lot ! I was really proud of myself to be the one to take the lead and make decisions. I almost felt like a real missionary! We even had our weekly DMP meeting with the ward missionaries and other missionaries and I had to speak the WHOLE time and explain each our amis (friends) and everything! Big steps in my mission life! On Wednesday we had week 2 district meeting with our zone in Paris so we met up there and switched back comps and had district meeting! It was a fun couple of days! Wednesday was also my 3 month mark! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! These past three months have really been the best of my life and I am sooo excited to continue the next 15 months and learning so much!

On Thursday it was July 4th! We spent the Holiday eating left over apple tarts we got from the ward. That is about as American I can get here! It was a day of miracles though! We have been working REALLY hard on finding new amis (friends) and people to teach. It has been a struggle. We talk to every woman we see, port entire neighborhoods and just really try. We haven’t seen quite the results we were hoping for but we knew that if we kept trying then we will be blessed and see miracles. On my first week here we ported a building and met Benedice and prayed with her. She hasn’t answered any of our calls and we haven’t been able to see her once. Well on Thursday we decided we would go back to her building. The only problem is that we didn’t know her code or last name to be able to contact her at her building. But once again her building was unlocked when we went back and we were able to get to her door. We taught her the first lesson of the Restoration of the Gospel. It went really well and we ended up seeing her three times last week! She is awesome and I just love her! Also on that same day we taught Luce. During my first few weeks here we fasted on a Saturday and spent the whole day porting and contacting people and hadn’t seen the follow-up of that yet either. We had ported Luces house and she gave us her number and we had called her and went back to her house a lot of times without any success. Finally on Thursday we had our first lesson with her and saw her that day and on Friday! She is incredible! She left for vaccance in the south of France for a month yesterday but wants us to call her all the time and keep her up with her reading! So when she gets back we will be teaching her even more! The coolest part is that her husband was given a Book of Mormon casually a few years ago and has read it! She found it on their bookshelf after we gave her a couple from us. He isn’t as open but it just goes to show that by you sharing the gospel with people, other people besides that one person can become closer to Heavenly Father by your efforts! It was soooo great and we just had so much to be thankful for!

On that SAME Thursday, we had a lesson with Lisa. She has been investigating the church for years but has never really been progressing. So we get to her house later on Thursday night and she lives with her boyfriend Fred who is like 15 years younger than her and her son who is 13. There was a man there that we didn’t know. Turns out that his name is Sacha and from Germany. He knew where Bitburg was so I liked him from the beginning. He is SOOO rad. He is walking around the world to help raise money for kids in Africa with bad sight. I have attached a photo so you can see how cool he is! Lisa is from Spain so in that lesson we spoke, Spanish, French, English and German! Mostly French and English but still it was a well-rounded language lesson! We watched the Retab video together and were able to have a cool conversation. We met them early on Friday morning before Sacha was off to walk around the world and gave him some books in German! He is really cool. My sister Jessica would just love him and I can totally see her just going on a journey around the world to help people too! So it was like being with my super cool sister only it was man, German, with blonde long dreds! So with the kissing thing. The whole time during the lesson Fred was chopping vegetables and making food and had gross hands. So at the end we were going around shaking hands and I went to shake his hand and he totally went in and bised (kissed) me! I didn’t have enough time to stop it or react or do anything so I now have the distinct feel of Fred’s scruffy cheek on my cheek! My comp witnessed the whole thing and I felt soo guilty but she was able to have the time after seeing it happen to me to explain that we don’t bise (kiss) men.  Definitely NOT the high light of my mission but I guess it happens at some point to most missionaries here so I figure I got it out of the way and not I can live the rest of my mission without having to experience it ! 

WE have water!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On Friday our kitchen started working again after the elders came for like the 5th time! We now can do our dishes and laundry! It was at the point where I would have to wash some clothes in the tub or ask a member! Desperation! We are now sooo much more appreciative of running water in the kitchen and for the washer! I LOVE having clean clothes and dishes!!

For people that have lived with me, mainly my immediate family, know that I can be a bit anal with things being in the right place and organized. Some may even call it OCD. Well there was an intervention this week. My comp is not a messy person or hard to live with at all but everyone is a bit less organized and anal than I am it seems. The elders were over to fix our stuff and one of them put something on the shelf but I had to go and put it on the shelf the right way and they all just kind of looked at me and my comp just simply said, OCD! I have acknowledged the issue. I still don’t think it is an issue because who doesn’t want a well-organized living space and to know where everything is at every moment? According to my family it is not as pleasant as I think it is!

I really LOVE being a missionary! It is the best thing in the world. Every day I am so happy and having so much fun! I learn a lot! I LOVE the Book of Mormon! I am reading it again as a missionary and I am almost done and can’t wait to just start it again and to learn even more and to continue to feel the Spirit! The happiness and peace I have felt the last 3 months is something I want to feel forever and I want everyone to feel. I know that the gospel brings that feeling to me and all of the great things the gospel has to offer will always help me in my life! I love you all! Thank you so much for the love and support!


Sœur Emily Johns

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Day at the Spa!

So how was that cliff hanger from last week?! The French spa…. So I say French spa but it really is just like a regular spa but super nice! A lady in our ward who we LOVE owns a spa in Versailles and invited us over. It was GORGEOUS! SOOO calming and just a peaceful place! I could sleep there and never have a bad dream! We weren’t quite sure if we were just there to look but then she gave us treatments!! I am not suuuper girly or into the pampering thing but after this visit I think I have changed. I got this amazing manicure and I am not sure what she put on my nails but I still have perfect nails and it has been a week! I think it may have been super glue but they’re perfect! Still washing dishes in the bathroom and being a missionary WITH pretty hands. Who would have thought!? She also did my makeup. I am not a makeup expert and just know that I need something on my eyes to make my eyelashes not blonde but she really wanted me to stand out. As missionaries we should try to look our best but not draw too much attention but it was the spa and PDay so who cares right? I have blue eyes in case any of you didn’t know so I guess sometimes blue eye shadow is what will accent my eyes???? It was a bit too much for missionary but definitely fun and I loved every minute! Mom you will definitely be treated to the spa more when I get home!

SOLDES! So every July and January France goes on Sale! Literally! ALL the shops and stores and everything is on sale. It’s like a month long thing and the first week everything is like 30 percent off and the amount off gets bigger and bigger until the end when there aren’t as many things left but it is cheap! So that is how we are going to be spending our next few PDays! We will be getting even more tired of wearing the same clothes all the time soon so why not enjoy the perks of France and shopping! I have always HATED shopping with a passion and don’t know how I will do without having my mom and sisters forcing me to do it but I will be more open this time! I hope to get more skirts and stuff! We will see!
I figure I will get a good amount right now and then again in the winter and a final one next summer before I come home! I feel so girly doing spa days and shopping sprees on Pdays! Missions change people!
So when my cousin David was on his mission in Germany he may have pimped me out to a lot of elders and I wrote lots of elders and some I am now good friends with. Well this week I got a letter from an Elder serving in Ohio that I do not know. This one elder who is serving in S. Melville’s homeward saw her picture and wrote her and her last comp made him fill out a writing application so when I got here I wrote him the acceptance letter of his application to write my comp. Turns out I wrote a pretty good application because the companion of the guy who is writing S Melville wrote me this past weekend. A bit strange but oh well! He has NO idea anything about me or what I look like and so we had some fun and on Saturday night we found these old ugly clothes that have been left in our apartment, did bad makeup and hair and took photos to send this elder who wrote me! So enjoy the photos! We will see if the elder writes me back with the photos I sent...

Our apartment is still pretty broken! On Tuesday we had to spend the day at the new apartment for the Elders coming to Versailles. It is brand new. Sisters usually have the best apartments and elders get what is left over but not in our case. It was so clean and new and made us jealous. But I love our apartment in Versailles when everything is at its best! So before they arrived on Wednesday we did our laundry at their place to test out their machines and because we can’t do anything at our place. It has been interesting to be doing dishes in the bathroom but not as bad as I thought. We try not to cook with as many things anymore because it just builds up and isn’t fun. But today we had the senior couples come over because we really need to do our laundry and get things fixed. So they made a list of everything we need and we will be having an apartment like the Château in no time! We thought our kitchen sink was fixed so we finally were able to wash the towels we used when it broke and left to do our grocery shopping… When we returned home it was quite the sight! Our washing machine runs through our sink and during the cycle the water from the machine goes through the sink and so it flooded. We aren’t quite sure what we are going to do but hopefully we figure it out soon! Being a missionary is so exciting!

Friday night for non-missionaries is a pretty cool night right? We try to make it cool but usually it just the same as any other night. This past Friday is an exception! So we were at a train stop in Paris around 8 to get back to Versailles. I tend to be in my own world and only really pay attention to things when I have to. Our train comes and I hear my companion answering some guys question about where she is from. No big deal. We get asked where we are from all the time but he was a guy so it was a bit different. She answered and we took our seats. End of story… or so we thought! He sits down kiddy corner to her and for the whole train ride it was just like no big deal. She kind of felt a bit iffy-ish but not too concerned and I was still just in my own world playing snake on our phone. So we get to the stop before our stop and he takes out something to read so we realized okay he isn’t going to follow us we just happen to be in the same train. We get to our stop and leave and then he leaves and we were like what? He was getting comfortable.. Not leaving. We start our walk from our gare (station) to our place when we hear someone say ‘’excuse me’’ and turn back and it is him. I momentarily get out of my own world and get a bit nervous and so does my comp. We realized okay he is following us kind of. He asked a few questions about who we were and my companion was answering them in a very missionary way but being nice but not too friendly to a man. So we all head in the direction and I go back to being in my own world and kind of know what is going on but not caring too much. We get to the awkward place where we have to turn to get home and so she was like okay well nice meeting you and he was like oh I actually live a few stops back but I can walk with you also my comp tries to get out of it awkwardly but not rudely so we all head toward our place ISH. I get out the phone and text the elders saying this might be our last text because who really knows what is going to happen and I needed some excitement so getting them involved made it more entertaining for me to watch! He asked her if she could marry someone who isn’t American and someone pretty much just like him and so she went to the best backup plan and said she was engaged. He then asked to take her to coffee but she declined. I would have totally been happy to be third wheeling it to see that happen! So we were all heading right to where we live but we couldn’t get too close to our complex because people shouldn’t know where we live especially men. His name is Hani and he was a sharp man about 27 and really nice. Not creepy at all. So we needed to leave and get home on time but weren’t quite sure how to get out of it. He was definitely interested in my companion but a little of the gospel too. So we couldn’t be too rude because he might be ready. So I tell the elders to call us and act like we need to leave so we did that and were able to leave but before leaving us obviously invited him to church! All weekend I was soooo excited to see how this story would end with Hani being in love with my comp and meeting her at church with flowers but he didn’t come to church so now I am just hoping that we run into him again! It sounds a bit lame telling it but it really was super exciting and the high light!

We now have three companionships of elders and us in our district! It is so fun! There is one new blue in our district and so I am not the youngest and worst at French anymore! He is awesome and will probably pass me up in no time! But I will keep trying to not be the worst and be my best! On Saturday we were able to watch the conference on missionary work that was held a few weeks ago! It was so great and really emphasized the member’s role in missionary work! I hope that members here get to see it and be more on board with us and together we can all help people become closer to Christ! I encourage all of you to watch it and to try to work better with missionaries and help them!

This week has been a good week! We had some solid lessons but now that July is here it will be different. Literally everyone in Paris and surrounding areas including Versailles leave for July and August on Vaccance. We will find people though and the work will continue. The people we have met will just have to pick up after they get back. I love being a missionary and really have learned so much. My French is coming and now that I am in my second transfer I can really see the improvement I have made and hopefully continue to make. I really want to speak this language and to be able to part of this culture and the people. I love the people here and know that when I can understand the people better and they can understand me that the Love will just explode! I love the gospel and the Book of Mormon. My testimony gets stronger each day and sometimes when we are talking to people and testifying I know that they probably aren’t learning too much but I am! Each time I try to share the gospel my love for the gospel increases! Helping others with their testimony and relationship with Christ really helps yours as well!

I love you all!! Please remember me and all the missionaries in the world! Thank you so much for your love and support!


Sœur Emily Johns