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