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