Monday, September 16, 2013

Au revoir 20 and Versailles

This week was a week of Lasts... my last week being 20 and also my last week in Versailles.

But I will start at the beginning!

So on Tuesday we had our last District Meeting. I have known this whole transfer that it would be my last in Versailles but I chose to live in ignorance the past 6 weeks and not admit to leaving. But I admitted it kind of on Tuesday. Also Elder Webber goes home this week and so it was for sure his last and same with Elder Anderson. Elder Hall knew that he would be leaving his position as AP and training so it was the last time for a lot of us. So in honor of that Elder Webber made the Webber Special..; AKA the food that took 10 years off my life! It was 10 hamburger patties, 10 sausages, a few kilos of butter and cheese and like 20 potatoes all fried together and death. The elders were saying how it was a real American breakfast and me and Soeur Stahly were trying not to die. 
The Webber special

THEN round 3 of the Flan Suck! And guess what!!! I did it! Well almost. I was able to inhale it but then I looked up and just started laughing and I lost it. The SAME thing happened to Soeur Stahly only she COMPLETELY lost it and sprayed it across the room and it was gross and on the walls and chairs....

The Flan Suck!

IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! I AM 21!!!!!!!!!! On Thursday I said hello to my 21st year!! It was great!! We woke up and did our normal morning and I wanted to try to make pancakes with chocolate chips but by chocolate chips not being in France it was just chopped up chocolate but it worked kind of! Then we taught a lesson and then went to the Greniers for my Birthday! It was great!! It was my first birthday away from my family and that is why I wanted to spend it with my favorite people here aka the Grenier Family! We had lunch and just spent time all together! I love them! We then taught Margarite with Raphael and it was great! She will be getting baptized on the 29th and is soo cool! As missionaries we are SOMETIMES late and she totally called us out on it! She is like 65 and from Madagascar and the coolest!! Then we rushed to another RDV and then home for a nice homemade meal by Soeur Stahly and homemade MADELINES for my birthday! She made it soo special. Throughout the whole day there were post-it notes EVERYWHERE! Like not just in the apartment but on buses we were in and in other buildings and somehow she is soooo sneaky and put them EVERYWHERE! And she somehow was able to blow up balloons and make decorations. I am still not sure how she did it because we are together 24/7! It was a goooood Birthday!

The post-its!

Birthday Pancakes

Emily with Elissare Grenier

Emily with the birthday sign Raphael made her

Raphael singing

Then Friday the 13th happened... Not quite as good to me! We were both sick and we think we got food poisoning. It was ROUGH!! I knew I was going to end the day throwing up but I tried to stick it out! We were supposed to go to the church to do weekly cleaning and we got there and no one was there besides a man that works for the church and he said that because of Elder Oaks and all the really important people coming that they had professionals come so we couldn’t clean. BUT then he told us that if we waited an hour that Elder Oaks was coming to the chapel and we could meet him one on one but as missionaries we don’t just have an hour to waste so my wise companion said we needed to get home and on with our day and at first I was pretty bummed because I could have totally become BFF with an APOSTLE but then I remembered I was sick and the second we got in the apartment I started throwing up A LOT and was glad I did that at home and not with Elder Oaks. Thanks Friday the 13th!

BUT to make up for the cursed day on Saturday my Birthday Package from my family came!!!! WOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!! It was sooo great and made my Birthday celebration continue!!! I LOVED it! I have a cute new pale pink watch and new clothes and American goods!! I am blessed! ALSO we went to the market on Saturday to find a less active who works there and my comp got me a new watch too! So I think the gift theme for this birthday was WATCHES and boy, am I happy because I love watches and now I can rotate more! And the shoes I got during soldes... BROKE! I walk tooo hard! So I got a pair at the market for 5 euros!! SOLD!!!

With the Elder Oaks conference on Sunday with so many missionaries needing a place to stay around Paris we were able to host 4 other sisters at our apartment! We had Soeur Melville and Lefrandt from roeun and then Soeur Miller and Wade from Tours! 6 girls = SLUMBER PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got to bed laaaaate but it was so fun!

On Sunday we made crepes for the other sisters and then the two of us met up with the Greniers to go to the conference! Elder Oaks is soooo cool! He was just in the crowd shaking everyones hand and being awesome! So of course I gave him my hand and was soo happy! BUT THEN a bit later I ran into him in the crowd again on accident but this time he said, ''Hello Sister Johns.!!!!'' SOOOOOO cool! An APOSTLE of God! Now France only has stakes and it will have a temple soon! The work is starting on the Temple! He gave a great talk and is really an inspired man called of God!!
So last night I started thinking that okay in the morning I am going to find out that I am staying in Versailles and not having to leave... But then I was on the phone with Frere Grenier and he told me that the APs told him that I am leaving and so he told me that tonight would be my last FHE with their family and I may have had my FIRST cry as a missionary!!!!

I CRIED; yes I know it is silly and that changing villes is part of being a missionary but it was ROUGH! But I guess now I can say I am not completely emotionless!
SO this morning on emails like just barely I found out where I am going....

CHOLET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The tiny town that just became a ward that Soeur Stahly just left! I am going to serve with Soeur Horn who goes home in December and GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!!!! I have to learn how to drive a stick shift car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cholet has a car and Soeur Horn can’t drive in France so looks like I will learn. So on Wednesday I will leave Versailles and move to Cholet. GOOGLE it!

Here is my new address...
Soeur Emily Johns
 94 Rue de Lorraine
49300 Cholet


I am going to spend today packing and getting souvenirs from Versailles and with the Greniers and then tomorrow teaching EVERYONE I love for the last time! SO sad! I have learned sooo much in Versailles and this is harder than leaving home!

I love you all and thank you all for the Birthday emails and love and support!!

The next time you hear from me I will be in Cholet!!


Soeur Emily Johns

Emily and Marthe

Legit district photo

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Please title this: LOSING IT!

I lost it. And by it I mean my companion.....

So in our area of Versailles we actually cover a HUGE area and lots of cities. So there are lots of cities that I have never been to which means that there are more cities that Soeur Stahly has never been to. We don’t sit together on buses or trains so that we can talk to more people but I am always paying attention to where we are so we can get off at the right place and then I motion to Soeur Stahly that it is our turn and we get off. Well we decided that since I am probably leaving Versailles next week that she would need to start knowing when to get off and stuff. It hasn’t gone too well but this past week we went to Montigny. This is where our recent convert Isabelle lives but I have never taken Soeur Stahly there. So we get on the bus to get to her place and my comp sits RIGHT behind me so that she would know exactly when to get off because she would see me push the button and get off..... OR SO WE THOUGHT!!
I get off at the stop and turn to tell her that it will just be a couple minutes of walking but then I notice that it isn’t Soeur Stahly walking behind me... THEN I look at the bus that is pulling away and she is on it... The problem is that she doesn’t realize that I am not on the bus because she was talking or reading or something. The other problem is that we share a phone and I had the phone...

SO my companion was on a bus in a city she had never been to heading to another city that she had never been to without a phone, companion or even realizing that she is alone. Lots of little problems equal a big problem. It took me about 2 minutes to realize myself that I wasn’t with my companion and I had no idea how I was going to get her back. Then I just started laughing because my mom taught me that it is better to laugh than to cry! After laughing for a bit by myself I started to panic a bit because I found out that the bus was headed to a city that we aren’t allowed to be in... Bigger problem. I then called some elders in our district and told them and they were on their way to meet me so we could figure out how to get my companion back. So I waited and waited and didn’t know what to really do with myself because it has been a few months since I have been alone. FINALLY I get a call from a phone number of a young boy who soeur stahly begged to use the phone and we were able to figure out a way to meet up! I HAD MY COMPANION BACK!!!! SOO happy!! I have no idea what I am going to do after my mission when I am going to have to walk around by myself and not have another person with me helping me all the time....
Waiting for the bus

Having a district with 6 elders in it is fun... It is just like being in a fraternity sometimes. Each week after district meeting we have a meal together and each companionship is in charge of a part. Being poor missionaries is one thing but then being a poor 21 year old guy as a missionary is another. We have had chips dipped in chili once as a meal and then the Webber special of having all sorts of left over pasta noodles mixed together in some ketchupy sauce... GOURMET cooking in France! But the best is the activity. There is this thing called flaun here and it is like this Jell-O pudding thing that is weird but all the elders like to put it on a plate and pretty much inhale it. It is quite interesting but we did it for round 2 this week... I still can’t do it. Once I figure out how to attach videos you will all have some fun watching it! I hear that we are doing round 3 this week. The APs are the best at it and can really inhale a big thing of flubber in one breath. Skills of a missionary!

You all know who Robert Pattinson is right??? he is Edward on Twilight and Cedric Digorey in Harry Potter.. I forgot who he was. There are Dior Ads ALL over Paris and Versailles with this man on it and I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out who he is and have had no idea. SOO finally I swallowed up my own embarrassment and I just asked my companion who that man was and turns out... A tan version of RPatz!! I will one day know who famous people are other than Kate Middleton and church leaders. Speaking of church leaders... Elder Oaks is coming this week!! WOO HOO!!! Still sooo excited to hear from him on Sunday! And speaking of Kate Middleton... HOW IS SHE??? No one has been adequately updating me but pas grave! I have actually liked not knowing too much about what is going on in the world which is weird because my major at BYU is all about the world but I like having one thing to focus on and being able to devote EVERYTHING to it and that is the gospel and the people here! So eventually I will be like Kate Middleton who?? Well not really but I will be less of the world!

As missionaries we walk a lot. We also like to come up with ways to entertain ourselves. One of my favorite games is name that tune... It happens to be my companion’s LEAST favorite game now because I can’t do any tunes. I have not exactly been blessed with the gift of music or any musical talent but I don’t let that stop me! So I play and I think I know the tune or the song I want to do but then I forget and end up just making up my own and she doesn’t understand. Personally I think that is what makes me even more talented because I am able to improvise and write my own music... TALENT right???

People sometimes forget that we have lessons planned with them and sometimes that is the biggest miracle of the week. By sometimes I mean NOW! So we had two RDVs fixed that we were going to and so we went to the first but they weren’t there and it was tooooo early to show up to the next so we decided to pass by some people. On our way we ended up just saying hello to this lady named Mart and she was just SOOO excited that we said hello and so we chatted with her for a few minutes and gave her a Book of Mormon and quickly explained that it is the word of God and she was SOOOOO excited and touched and happy that we were giving it to her! She wanted us to come to her house and talk more but we had to get to our second RDV so we fixed something with her for the next day. Well our second RDV cancelled and so we went to her house but she wasn’t there. Then the next day she wasn’t there. pretty bummed because she was so cool and just looking at her you become happier. So it was sad that we didn’t know if we would ever see her again. Yesterday after church another RDV fell through and so we just decided to pass by her place and we ended up having the complete first lesson and it was so great. WE had nothing planned and only thought we would say hello and get her number but wrong. Thanks to the Spirit we were able to teach and she was able to understand and it was beautiful! It was one of our BEST lessons together and it was just incredible! It really strengthened my testimony that as long as you are united with the Spirit that it is the Spirit that teaches!

Yesterday was a big day! It was Sunday and the day that Audrey would be baptized. She is in her 20s and the Elders have been teaching her. But we are her friends and we just love her! We hang out with her at church and sit with her and we were sooo excited for her to be baptized! It would be a grrreat day and she just really is so special! We had to teach YWs though and so we stayed up late and woke up early to prepare our lesson but it was good. MUCH BETTER than my first Sunday here when I had to teach and people laughed at me! It still made me think of my sisters and being in young womens! The baptism was beautiful and a lot of people stayed!
Emily, her companion, and Audrey

A few weeks ago the APs gave me two HUGE zucchini and so for the 3rd time this past week I made zucchini cake! First for district meeting then for the baptism and it was a huge hit yesterday so I made it again this morning for the Grenier Family tonight but only with cream cheese frosting this time! So if anyone wants some zucchini cake/bread... I am the girl!
My birthday is this week!!! The countdown aka my annoyingness is almost over and I am actually kind of excited to have it come and go so I can move on from thinking about it. I am just really happy to be 21 on Thursday and to spend it with some of my favorite people here and doing my favorite thing ever... BEING a missionary!! Thank you to everyone who has already emailed, wrote, or sent me something for it! I love you all!

This time next week I will know for 100% if I am staying or leaving Versailles... So eeeeekk!! I have loved the past 4 months here and would love to spend the next 13 but understand that there are other villes for me! We will see!!

I love being a missionary and hope that you are all able to have cool missionary experiences too! Thank you for your prayers and love and support! I do feel them and I know all the missionaries in the world do too!


Soeur Emily Johns

Elder Burgess with the shirt they gave him

Pigs in the blanket French style

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Turns out that creating a stake in France is kind of a big deal and a LOT goes into it... SO Elder Oaks has decided to put his time and attention where it is more needed and will not be having a special conference with us missionaries but the people in France will be blessed by him giving more of his time and attention to them! I will still see him on the 15th so kind of Happy Birthday to me! BUT I guess now this just gives you all more of a chance to make my birthday special because Elder Oaks can’t do it himself.... Kidding... Kind of! Really I am excited for my birthday! It is next Thursday!!! WOO HOO!!!

So last Monday night we spent the evening with my FAVORITE FAMILY EVER!! AKA the Grenier Family!! I really love them and spending time with them! It was fun! Frere Grenier is our DMP and so we see him a lot and Soeur Grenier is just the nicest person and we enjoy teaching with her. There are soo many great families in this ward and I now feel like I am part of the ward... WHICH is why I will probably be leaving Versailles in 2 weeks. I still tell President and the APs like 4 times a week that I don’t want to leave but I don’t know how persuasive I can be when these things are decided by inspiration and revelation.... I just won’t think about it. That will make it work out in my favor right? I not only LOVE the members and Versailles but I really just feel like there is so much for me to learn here with the people we are teaching, my companion and so much more! Exciting life a missionary! At least I know that I have until the 18th for sure here!

This past week we used the members a lot more than we ever have before! So many people want to do missionary work and are great to teach with and so giving them that opportunity not only helps us but it helps the people we teach! I love it! One person who is SUPER cool is Vivian... I taught her once with S Melville but it didn’t go very well but just a few weeks ago she showed up at church and we saw her this past week with F. Grenier and she REALLY wants to be baptized. This was after one lesson. We were telling her that she will need to pray and read to know and do some things to know that this is Jesus Christ’s church but she was like ''yeah okay but I already know'' it is awesome to see how prepared the Lord has really made some people and then the miracle of matching these prepared people with missionaries! The gospel rocks!!

Elder Burgess from New Zealand and Elder Hall the half French AP and I have all been in Versailles together since my first day. We are like the 3 amigos... UNTIL today! Elder Burgess finished his mission this morning and is gone BUT we gave him the ugly mission shirt that has been in our apartment for like 35 years!! Elder Hall will finish his mission training and then I will probably be leaving so changes are going to happen! I just feel REALLY lucky to have been able to start my mission with soooo many great missionaries!
Yesterday the office elders had a couple get baptized. It was also fast Sunday..... BUT we tried making cookies for after the baptism KNOWING that we wouldn’t be able to eat them but they turned out good I am told. The couple is from Congo and their kids brought African food AKA YUMMMMM!!! So they sent home some food with us! It was a PACKED sacrament meeting and that is the best kind of sacrament meeting! With lots of amis and then lots of great testimonies being shared!! Church is great!

Emily with the "Shirt"

This past weekend we did exchanges with the sisters in Paris! I went to Paris with Soeur Roney and Soeur Stahly stayed in Versailles with Soeur Hoover! I LOVE Paris!! It is different from Versailles but soo cool! It is illegal to go porting there so we spent the whole time on the street just talking with people! Soeur Roney is GREAT and her dad is the mission president in the Lyon mission and her cousin taught me in the MTC so it was cool to be with her! On Friday night we just really wanted to be able to teach someone and we prayed a lot to just find someone who would be open to talk with us. At around 9 when we were heading home we talked with this girl on a bench and she was saying how she was atheist and not interested but somehow (The SPIRIT) she became open and we ended up talking with her for 30 minutes and praying and it was really cool! It is the little experiences like that that make being a missionary worth it! When you can just see the person changing a little bit just by inviting the Spirit!! It was a really fun exchange AND I didn’t get left in the metro alone with a creepy man this time!! SUCCESS!!

OOOH last night was cool! So we have been going through our less active list and through past contacts trying to find some people. We just randomly called a less active on the list and were able to fix a RDV for an hour later! So we hopped onto the RER and went to her place... She forgot about the RDV and wasn’t there. Pretty bumming but it was too early to go home and we were already up around Paris. So we pulled out some info and found an address of a past contact from a few years ago that lived around her. We decided to go try them. So we went to their building and went to the door that was theirs and no one answered and so we just knocked on the door next to it and asked if they knew the person. Turns out the person moved back to Spain and so we asked the lady if she was interested. SHE WAS NOT!! Like not at all. But somehow I got the courage to say more than just okay have a nice night and so I just started speaking and my comp and I were in sync and ended up talking with her for 45 minutes, exchanged information and will be seeing her this week!! The night that I had thought was a total failure turned into a really cool night that made my testimony stronger about doing your best and seeing miracles! Since we ended up talking with her for a lot longer than planned we missed our train back to Versailles and didn’t get to the gare until 10 and all the buses had stopped for the night and so we had to walk home and so we were REALLY late getting home and in bed. But SOOO worth it!!
I love being a missionary!! I have really been able to see little miracles that just make the hard and frustrating times not even memorable. It makes not being fluent in the language and knowing the gospel perfectly OKAY because I know that if I try and if I have the Spirit and the Love then things will move in the right direction! It is the best!!

I hope that you are all doing great and would love to hear from YOU!!
Thank you for the support and the love that you have given me! I appreciate the prayers for all the missionaries!!


Soeur Emily Johns

Emily with Sister Melville with Alain THE MOST legit recent convert
EVER!! He is now ward missionary and the coolest!!

Twinning Elders Sughroue and Webber

District Photos

Emily with sister Stahly and her first macaron!