Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Turkish food and illegal markets...

I LOVE VERSAILLES!! I want to be here forever and with my comp forever but I know that I will leave sometime and that there are other great villes! I will probably be leaving on September 18 but who knows! I may get lucky and stay here until October 30! The suspense is killing me!

This was a great week! As most people know, I lived in Turkey and have been lucky enough to go back with the US Embassy. Anyway, I LOVE TURKEY! I love the food and the people and just everything! Every place that my family ever visited the first thing we ate was Turkish food and we eat Turkish food in Utah and we just love Turkish food. There are a lot of Middle Eastern places in France and lots of Kebabs but I have been wanting one from a Turkish place since my first day in Versailles... Well it happened!!! I went in and in my bad French I asked if they were from Turkey because if they are from Tunis or someplace then it doesn’t count... THEY WERE FROM ADANA!!! That is like right where I lived and I told the guy and he couldn’t believe it! He either wasn’t impressed ENOUGH or just a good business man but we didn’t get the food for free but the food was good! I was just soo happy to be eating food made by Turkish people! YUM!!

I have mentioned that my Birthday is coming up a few times and I am sure you are all glad to know that I am as obnoxious about it as a missionary across the world as I would be if I were at home! Since I don’t know really how Birthdays are on a mission or how many of you really care too much I am glad to say that ELDER OAKS will be my Birthday present so you don’t have to stress over sending me packages but if you want you can and they will be gladly accepted! So I haven’t asked the APs if he is really coming ON my birthday because they will just tease me about it because I made it clear the past few months that I want him ON my birthday but rumor around the mission is that he is coming to speak to us missionaries on September 12 which is my birthday! He will then speak to members to create the Paris South Stake on the 15th so it will be a fun week!

My comp and I have been working really hard on finding new amis and to help them really progress! With faith, obedience and hard work IT HAPPENS!! We have a solid teaching pool and members are now returning from Vacance so things are going great! It will just be THAT much harder when I leave! I love the people here and really want to keep seeing how this gospel blesses and changes their lives! It is the best to be a part of!

Today we decided to go to Paris for our PDay and we met up with two other sisters who are serving in Torcy! They are so awesome! Soeur Huntsman from Bountiful and Soeur Pulupuna from Tonga/Cali! We met them at Sacre Coeur and it was so fun! On our way out we walked through this street and were so excited because there were a ton of street venders but we didn’t have time to really stop but we kept walking through and we all of a sudden see all of the vendors hurry and just pack up and start running off... It was STRANGE! But turns out the police were coming and they were all ready to pack and go ASAP! So in about 2.5 seconds the street that was full of vendors and cool bags and watches and people quickly turned into an empty ally, with four sister missionaries and cardboard boxes that were the tables... Police here really know how to stop shopping sprees! It was crazy and cool at the same time!

I love being a missionary and really am learning so much! My testimony and love for this gospel continues to grow each day and so is my love for these people and the work! I have seen the blessing of the gospel in my own life SO much the past 4 months and want the same for everyone here!

I am happy and healthy and STILL A RUNNER!! WOO HOO!!!

Thank you ALL for your love, support and prayers!!

Soeur Emily Johns

Monday, August 19, 2013

Running...and Crying!

I am a runner!!!!!!!  I know you all won’t believe me so I will say it again…I AM A RUNNER!!!!

It is the craziest thing ever and I still don’t know how it is happening and how I am still alive but it is true! So as missionaries we wake up at 6:30 EVERY morning and we have until 7 to exercise. In the MTC we got an hour like every day and LOTS of options like sand volleyball, stationary bike and just like a real gym. As a real missionary now we don’t quite have that option. So the past three months for the exercise time we have done LOTS of stretching and sit ups and just little things that we can do in the apartment. We were under the impression that by the time we are done with our morning prayers and stuff that it wouldn’t be worth it to go outside and actually do something…THAT HAS CHANGED! Sœur Stahly aka the best companion EVER has opened my eyes! So we started running! I have always wanted to be a runner but have never done it and always just end up all sweaty and red and breathing funny. But not any longer! The first morning I thought that I would just willingly go with her to be a good companion but had totally thought that I could NOT run and that I didn’t know how to breathe and run at the same time. I was wrong. I DID IT! And the coolest thing is that I AM DOING IT! It is a true Christmas Miracle! I am probably more proud of myself for running than I am for learning how to cook and to kind of speak French. It is like my childhood dream is coming true!!

Sorry about my LAME email last week. We had no time and so oh well. Now I know the rules and have time managed better. There is not an actual time limit on email but we should be responsible and not spend as much time as we were before! So now I know and can be obedient! I will go back to putting my energy into my weekly emails so forgive me for last week!

On Tuesday we had district meeting in Paris and our zone had some training together! I love my zone! We have the Chinese elders in it because the Chinese speaking elders spend their whole time in Paris so it is nice to have consistency with that! On our way to Paris that morning we were able to meet this really cool couple from Amsterdam! They didn’t speak any French and didn’t know the metros and Paris well. My comp has never served around Paris and so she didn’t know Paris well but I know Paris well enough but I don’t know French well but she does so together we were able to help them! I have been crying… Not because of the running though. Because of my companion. We just laugh SOO much that I literally have to be given a tissue to wipe away my tears. After we parted ways with the couple from the Netherlands we started talking about geography. My comp is REALLY smart like BYU Stats TA and everything but just like me, she can sometimes forget little things. She momentarily must have forgotten but she asked exactly which countries are with the Netherlands. Having Holland and the Netherlands be the same place can be confusing and then also getting the Netherlands, Finland and Norway mixed up can be troubling too! It was so funny and then we were trying to clarify them all and in the confusion she asked which country speaks ‘’no Asian’’ she meant Norwegian but it didn’t come out right and so now we always say that we speak no Asian and die ! Maybe you just had to be there! We have been having so much fun together and I am totally able to be myself and it is the best! It makes everything better because as hard as we work it is still soo fun because we just laugh and enjoy it together! Companions make a huge difference but I have learned that so does my attitude and perspective!

Tomorrow is my little sister Jennifer’s 19th Birthday!! She is the one who will be becoming a missionary in Madrid in three months so a big shout out to her! I have always liked her birthday because then it means MINE IS NEXT!!! It is less than a month away! I am pretty excited about it! My awesome companion somehow knew how much I was missing real American Peanut Butter and she brought a jar with her from her last area that had Americans in it! So it is like a little early birthday party in my mouth when I get to eat that! There are just little things that France doesn’t have that America has and vice versa but Peanut Butter is up there with Oreos but France tries their best but oh well!

The work is still progressing! Now that I have Sœur Stahly from KANSAS with me and vacance is ending it is picking back up! I LOVE being a missionary and being able to speak with people and to share with them this happiness and love that I feel! I have really been learning lately how to love people that I just met and it is great! I am happier than I ever thought possible and LOVE every minute of my life!

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support!


Sœur Emily Johns

Emily with the other Soeur Johns!

Emily at their crepe party!

Monday, August 12, 2013


Hi!! I am in a big rush! But I promise I am going to make this as good as I can for as little time that I have. There will most likely be lots of typos and I don’t think I can blame it on the keyboard anymore so please bare with me!

So on Tuesday me and Soeur Melville decided we wanted to make a film. So we did. Everyone please be ready to watch A Day in the Life of a Missionary by Soeurs Melville and Johns. It should be in a theatre near you in 2014! We filmed pretty much our whole day together on Tuesday to the point where we had to recharge her camera battery and then just keep filming somehow. I don’t know if it will be as funny and cool to other viewers but watching it back I just about peed my pants. It was fun to be able to capture what a day in the life is for us and to remember our crazy times. Hopefully we didn’t look toooooo touristy with a camera always out but oh well.

On Wednesday it rained... A LOT! So I guess my prayers to not have it be so deathly hot worked and so it rained! I wasn’t as appreciative as I thought I would be because we had to drag suitcases to and from Paris all day and it was not fun in the rain! But on Wednesday a HUGE portion of the mission met in Paris for transfers and to bring back new companions. It was SOOOOOOO fun being able to see and meet so many missionaries. I really have the best people in my mission and I love being able to call these people my friends! I brought back Soeur Brittany Stahly with me and we went straight to work. She didn’t even want to unpack!

I wish that there were more crazy and adventurous stories to share but really we have just been busy! It is crazy. We spent every day the past few days just talking to everyone, going to visit old amis and just getting solid people to teach. Having such an experienced companion is probably the greatest thing that has happened to me! I now know the rules and how to be a real missionary and am seeing that if you are exactly obedient and really actually working then you will see miracles because we are seeing miracles.

This whole past month and a half have been hard because of vacance but the past week with being exactly obedient I am seeing the miracles and the blessings. Our entire week next week is packed full of lessons and people to teach! It is incredible! I have NEVER worked so hard or talked to as many people and I am really more tired than I have ever been and my feet are sorer but I am like ten times happier! I was really happy my first two transfers here and I really loved being a missionary but now it is at this whole new level that I didn’t know was possible and now I don’t even know why I was happy before because this is amazing! I have the BEST companion and I have been able to be 100% myself and just loving every moment of every day!
Emily with her new companion Soeur Stahly

The language is coming and I really know that it will continue to come but I still sometimes struggle on the phone. So there is this old ami named Eva and I called her yesterday and we were speaking in French and I asked if we could see her this week and she said she is going to be at the hospital and I asked if she was okay and she said yes so I asked if we could see her this week but obviously I didn’t understand everything she was saying and sometimes I get too into actually seeing the person that I forget to try to speak with the person and she got frustrated and so in English she said, '' I don’t think you understand. I am going to the hospital this week to deliver my baby!!'' turns out she is pregnant and doing well but won’t be seeing us this week.... I will learn how to listen better!

The reason that this is so rushed and boring is because we had interviews with President and also because I found out that we actually have a limited amount of time to email and so the long time I was doing before is not good and so I am rushed. Every other transfer president meets with each missionary to see how they are doing. Our zone is being interviewed by him tomorrow in Paris at our zone conference but since my district all lives around the mission home we got lucky enough to see him today on our pday for interviews and see him tomorrow when he interviews our zone. So I wasn’t able to show Paris and Versailles off to my new comp but good thing we have another pday next week! I was interviewed by both President and his wife. I not only have the best mission but I also have the BEST mission president and his wife EVER!! They obviously are a huge factor to why our mission is the best but I just love them and knowing that they are always there and love and care about me soo much! It just makes everything better!

I LOVE being a missionary and am learning more and more each day how to be a better missionary and a better person. I love the people here and the chance that I have to add to their happiness with the message that I have. The gospel of Jesus Christ really is incredible and I know that the church of Jesus Christ was restored by Joseph Smith and that we have a living prophet called by God today! It is amazing and brings me so much joy knowing the things that I know and I am so happy to share it with everyone that I see!
I love you all! Thank you all soo much for your love and support!

Soeur Emily Johns

P.S. My REAL Birthday is in exactly 1 month!!!!

Emily with the pancakes that she made!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pictures from week 13 Versailles!


You are Cordially Invited

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I joke. I joke. It isn’t REALLY my birthday but when you need a good reason to celebrate, a birthday is always available! I don’t think I ever told you all this but me and my companion Sœur Melville have the SAME Birthday! Cool right? September 12 is a good day for both of us. I am a year older but I don’t know if I am a year wiser. We knew that with transfers this week that we wouldn’t be together for our birthdays and so we celebrated early! I will explain the party in a bit….

Last PDAY we were going to go to cemeteries in Paris and see famous dead people and stuff but it didn’t quite work out and so we decided to go to the National Museum of something. I am not sure what it was called and we never made it inside the actual building (I am a cheap missionary) but it was cool! It was all about zoology and plants and stuff. I hate science but I like pretty flowers so I had more fun than I thought. Also having a professional photographer as a companion helps because she tends to capture the pretty things for me! There were tons of cool flowers and nature stuff and it still amazes me that such places can exist in Paris and Versailles! After we spent some time there we were hungry and finally I bought a pastry. It has been 3 months since I got to France and I still have not spent any money on a pastry. Mom, be proud! Don’t get me wrong, I eat French pastries and love them but I never pay for them. Nice elders buy me things or members offer yummy treats but I don’t go into a pâtissier and buy it but that all changed…. I GOT A PASTRY! I still can’t rationalize spending 3 euros on a tiny thing instead of spending 1 and getting a big baguette but I decided to be human and just do it! I do not regret it at all and now I LOVE Drops! I need to figure out how to bake French pastries but they look really hard and obviously no place in America that I know of has been able to conquer it so maybe I will leave it to the French!

Missionary work is weird…. The days that we have actual RDV (rendezvous aka lesson) set with people and we think we are going to be SOOO busy all day are the days that no one actually shows up to the RDV and we end up having a really long and hard day trying to figure out what to do. THEN the days that we start with having NO ONE to teach and NO WHERE to go are the busiest. Every time. It is strange. A day this week we had NOTHING planned. So of course we go through our phone book and call like every single person possible and then walk all over the place and just really try to get at least one lesson BUT then we end up getting like 4. It really is a miracle and shows that if we work hard and do what we know is right then we will be blessed. Those days that we have nothing planned we always think will be the hardest and most depressing but then we just have faith and say lots of prayers and we really are able to see the blessings come! The work really is progressing in France! Right now especially with Vaccance it can be hard to see that but just this past weekend all of the elders in our district had a baptism! The Lord really is preparing people and we just have to be open and willing to find them!

We REALLY like people that feed us. We love everyone but we LIKE people that feed us in a different way. It just happens. Well we want to be liked by the people here and we know that we get more excited to see someone when we know that they will have food for us so we decided to turn the table around and have opposite day. We bake a lot. Like cookies and banana bread and all sorts of stuff. This week we decided that we would make a batch of AMERICAN cookies and then pass by people’s house that we have seen in the past and want to see again. Well the first time we tried it we ended up just eating them ourselves and so that didn’t work. ROUND 2 we tried and didn’t eat them ourselves so that is a step in the right direction. But then everyone we wanted to stop by and deliver cookies to wasn’t home. A bit discouraging and we promised we wouldn’t eat other people’s cookies so we just were walking around. I had bloody heels and had band aids on them but then they were falling off so I just took them off and placed them in my bag and continued to walk around. We see this family and we just started talking to them and it was great. At the end my companion offered them some cookies so I reach into my bag for the container to give them cookies. I let the little girl grab one and I see MY BANDAID inside the container with the cookies…. Not wanting to give missionaries a bad name I slyly reach in and grab it before the girl can grab anything. I saved the cookies and was able to practice being sly! French people really love American cookies so it was nice to be able to do that. We will try again in the future and I definitely would be more open to meeting with the missionaries if they brought baked goods so let’s hope that the French people feel the same way. 

It was going to be a birthday weekend and we had plans to stretch out the whole celebrating to last 3 days just like I try to do back home but just like at home it failed. I guess I don’t need multiple days to celebrate my birth anywhere in the world. On Saturday we just stopped by a really cool market in Versailles and saw sooo many cool things. I swear that at each little thing I saw a million things that I wanted to buy my sisters but then I realized I had like no money so it is the thought that counts. We REALLY wanted to buy a little gift for each other so that we could open something at our birthday party that would be held on Sunday. We ended up finding really cool rings from Africa and decided that would be our gift for each other. SUCCESS!!

So yesterday after our evening RDV and getting stuck in Paris because trains decided to not come. It amazes me that some people have soo much patience and then there is me. I couldn’t twiddle my thumbs enough to actually entertain myself but knowing that I would be having a birthday party when I came home definitely got me through 3 hours of waiting! So we got home and finished making our chocolate cake and our cut out numbers. Someone had turned an age with a 2 in it in the past and so we had lots of 2 birthday candles but I needed a 1 and my comp needed a 0 so that is when old cereal boxes come in handy! We even lit the candle and cardboard, and by we, I mean my companion because I can’t light candles and stuff. So we ate cake, ice-cream and exchanged gifts and it was the best! I almost really felt like I was now 21 and I just have to remind myself that I am still 20 until next month! It was fun and if my fake birthday is fun then I can’t even imagine what my real birthday will be like. It will be my first birthday not with any family or friends so it will be different but I have a feeling it will be REALLY special and I am excited for SEPTEMBER 12 to be 21!!!  Since I didn’t have time to invite you all to this birthday party consider this my invitation to you for next month’s celebration!


Transfers are this week! We have pretty much known that my comp would be leaving Versailles because she has been here for 5 months but we had NO IDEA who my new companion would be or where she would be going. It certainly didn’t help by having the APs and President in our ward and around us giving us little hints and then taking them back. We were pretty anxious to check this morning’s email and find out. I am staying in Versailles and my new companion is Sœur Brittany Stahly!! I have heard really great things about her and she is pretty old and experienced on the mission so I can’t wait to be with her! My companion is going to Roeun and we're excited for that! I still can’t believe that I have been in France for 3 full months and on my mission for more than 4! Time is going soo quickly! On Wednesday we will all meet in Paris and return to our villes with new people!

I love the gospel. I love that we have a Prophet of God leading our church. I have been reading conference talks from this past April and have really enjoyed reading the talks from the Priesthood Session because I obviously wasn’t able to attend. Anyway, the Prophet Thomas S Monson gave a GREAT talk. I encourage you all to read it but if you can’t then I will just let you know about my favorite part. He said,  “Preparation for a mission begins early. In addition to spiritual preparation, a wise parent will provide the means whereby a young son might commence his personal missionary fund. He will be encouraged as the years go by to study a foreign language so that, if necessary, his language skills could be utilized. Eventually there comes that glorious day when the bishop and stake president invite the young man in for a visit. Worthiness is ascertained; a missionary recommendation is completed.

During no other time does the entire family so anxiously watch and wait for the mailman and the letter which contains the return address 47 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah. The letter arrives; the suspense is overwhelming; the call is read. Often the assigned field of labor is far away from home. Regardless of the location, however, the response of the prepared and obedient missionary is the same: “I will serve.”
Preparations for departure begin. Young men, I hope you appreciate the sacrifices which your parents so willingly make in order for you to serve. Their labors will sustain you, their faith encourages you, and their prayers uphold you. A mission is a family affair. Though the expanse of continents or oceans may separate, hearts are as one.’’

I LOVE that! I love it because it just reminded me so much of when I received my call as a missionary to serve in France. I can still remember my nerves and excitement and then the feeling I got that confirmed to me that I was called to be a representative of Jesus Christ and to share this message and gospel! I love that it really is a family affair and involves way more than just the missionary!

Thank you all so much for all of your love and support! For those that has been so great at writing and emailing me, THANK YOU! I really am the best and I love hearing from you all. For those that haven’t…. Just look to the left and write me an email or letter using the info on my blog or Facebook!!! Communication with those I love is important and I LOVE YOU ALL!

Being a missionary is the best and I am so grateful for the chance I have to serve and grow!


Sœur Emily Johns