Tuesday, October 22, 2013


What happens when you get 8 super fun sister missionaries all together in Rennes for a sleepover???? FUN FUN FUN!

So yesterday was Stake conference and it was amazing! It was in Rennes which is in Britagne and a LONG ways away so we had to leave on Saturday by taking three trains and stopping in random cities until we got to Rennes where we had our major slumber party! We all just stayed up talking and laughing and being fun together! I had to remind myself that I was a missionary and not just Emily but then I remembered that I am EMILY AS A MISSIONARY and so I can still be my crazy self just more tamed but not too much because really I can’t lose myself! But I CAN lose myself in the work. GET IT?

Anyway so after we got a little bit of sleep we headed to the conference. Elder Patrick Kearon came to speak at it. He spoke at my stake conference in Paris and so I am hoping that every stake conference I have on my mission, he comes to! Because he may be my favorite general authority ever! We are pretty much bff now and talked for a good amount of time! He is super English and funny and personable and just knows what to say to really touch every heart of a full arena! Oh and parents... he asked me to write you today with his words so I will quote, '' I am VERY proud of your daughter. Me and President Poznanski (he was there too) are very happy with her.'' I promise I am not making that up! That is how cool he is! LOVE HIM!

We had FHE with ThiThanh and the Busseaus last week and it was soo fun! They are so fun and were great to teach with and I hope that Thi Thanh had a great time! I love her and it is so cool to see how much the members love her and really everyone that meets her! FAVORITE ami in Cholet! She even made me a little sign to help me with my driving because she knows how hard it has been for me! She picked us up for the FHE and had it there and explained everything and now I can be a better driver! THANK YOU on behalf of all of France! And she also made a little note on her hand! These little things that she does for us are really the best and I just love her!

FHE with the Busseaus

Sœur Horn and I had our first pastry together! We haven’t even been Inside of a patisserie together but finally we just did it! I wasn’t as impressed with my choice because I still get raisins and chocolate chips mixed up EVEN IN FRANCE! So getting a nice chocolate chip pastry turned out to be a raisin one... OOPS!

We had the double FHE on Friday and last night with our Cambodian friends! SOO FUN! Cambodian is soooo cool to listen to and I think of Lacey Robertson all time! Also Cambodian food is pretty tasty too! Our Friday FHE went so well that they asked us to come back on Sunday night too! I love FHE and getting to spend time with amis and members and just have a fun time together! FHE is something that I have really realized is soooo important and needed! Just one of the MILLION things that I have learned since I have been on my mission!

FHE with the Han Clang

THE BIBLE........ EVERY DAY! SO I have decided that I am going to REALLY study the bible this transfer! I started at the New Testament with Matthew and let me just say... I LOVE IT! I thought it would be pretty complicated and hard for me to read but after studying Jesus the Christ my last transfer it is much easier for me and I really feel like I can understand the stories and get to know Christ even better! I LOVE personal study and hope that everyone can find the time to really study the scriptures in their days!

Everyone, I LOVE being a missionary! I say it alllll the time but it is SO true! I am sooo happy all the time even though I am SOOOO tired all the time but it is the best! I love being able to talk to people about the gospel and try to help them have even more happiness in their lives!

Thank you all sooo much for your love and support! I have the BEST family and FRIENDS ever!!

I love you all!!


Sœur Emily Johns

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


I am debating on whether the miracle of the week was me learning how to drive a stick shift for real or finding a new investigator.....

I can drive. I am not going to be a Nascar driver (sorry Dad) anytime soon but I definitely won’t be killing anyone and winding up in Jail so that is good! Each week we email President and last week I just flat out told him that every time I am in the car or even think about driving that I am in the RED ZONE which is a bad stress zone in the mission. I also may have mentioned it to the elders in our zone... Because on Thursday the zone leaders Elder Price and Elder Broadbent came to Cholet!!

I get too excited sometimes and get out of order. The beginning of the week was reeeeeallly slow and hard and we had no idea how we were going to get any lessons and find anyone to share the gospel with. Then we had exchanges from Wednesday to Thursday which would totally throw off the little plans that we did have. So I went to Nantes with Soeur Hurrell who is from Perth Australia and who finishes her mission at the end of the month. Nantes is cooooool! It is an actual city with trams and people out and so we did lots of contacting and it reminded me that people actually do like to walk around in the city center but they don’t necessarily like to be stopped by two girls. The TJs were out too so we had to be even more careful for people not to think we were them! We had a lot of fun together and she just reminded me so much of my favorite Australians and she gave me lots of cute clothes because she is leaving and now I am going to be a better dressed sister missionary... I hope!

Me with the cool guitar

Me with Soeur Jarah Lee Hurrel from Perth, Australia

Me with the Book of Mormon for all of my Brazil
and Portugal serving friends

So after the exchange we came straight back to Cholet where the elders had been touring around waiting for us and now they realize that is really only takes 5 minutes to see all of Cholet. So they made me get in the car and learn to drive. Only Elders Price and Broadbent are probably the two best guys in the whole world and they really were so patient and actually taught me to drive! I wasn’t overly thrilled that they had to be sent to teach me because I am still pretty prideful but then I realize how much I really needed it for my own sanity and it worked! It has only been a few days but I don’t stall anymore and I can change gears without giving Soeur Horn whiplash and scaring all the other drivers! It really is a miracle and now I can enjoy driving again! We can even play music and drive at the same time! So thanks President!

With the driving crew round 2

Cholet is dead. It is a small town and missionaries have been around here for a long time so EVERY house has been ported in the last few months. And by every house I literally mean EVERY house and there aren’t people out on the streets to contact because no one lives in Cholet. sooooo to fix our little problem of not finding new people to teach and to help us find the family/the people who are ready for the gospel  we decided we neeeeeeeeeded to get out of Cholet. And since we have a car and I can actually drive now we chose to go to Chemillé which is a little town between Cholet and Angers and where lots of members and families live. We made ourselves a scavenger hunt and goals and everything to make our afternoon in Chemillé the best afternoon ever! Well turns out that Chemillé on the Saturday rainy afternoon isnt the most hoppin time for Chemillé and we didn’t find even a patissier or most of the things on our list of things to find. BUT we did find a cool church and the cutest book store that has Petit Nicolas!!!!

Saturday Night was our ward activity which was a soirée culturelle!! We learned about Tahiti, Guadalupe, Madagascar and Cambodia because that is where some members are from! It was so fun and I really just LOVE this ward sooo much! Our ami Thi Thanh came and she is such a part of the ward already and it is great! There was a trivia game for the world and I love the world and I am pretty competitive and so I was pumped but then I quickly was reminded that I know nothing about French History or about the world when the questions are in French but we still won!!! WOO HOOO!!!

My companion and I taught the whole ward yesterday at church. I mean the whole ward except the primary. We taught our whole finding a family for Christ before Christmas and got them pumped and it was in FRENCH! I was sooo nervous because I am still not anywhere close to fluent and I make mistakes and get nervous and red and talk really fast to get it over with but IT WENT WELL!!! It was almost like a zone conference and they all got pumped and it was great!! AND they all want to be more involved in missionary work which is the best part. Sacrament meeting with testimonies turned into just sharing their missionary experiences of the week which was really special and showed everyone what simple ways there are to share the gospel! It was amazing!

We still hadn’t found new people to teach and we were pretty bummed; BUT yesterday we visited Moran who is a solid member from Cambodia married to a French man here. Her husband is not interested in the church at all but is nice to us. We really wanted to get him involved in our lesson but he was really into watching nascar but we just really wanted him to hear how the gospel blesses families so I just yelled over the TV and straight up asked him and talked and then asked if we can come have FHE with him and he said YES! So maybe I am not very sensitive or polite with the whole respecting people when watching nascar but oh well! We will have a soirée with him this week!!! MIRACLE!

I still just loooooove being a missionary. it really is the greatest thing. I am tired and cold but happier than ever and really can see the miracles and blessings so clearly and it is amazing! BEST 6 months of my life have just happened and I can’t wait to continue! I never want to not be a missionary!

I love you all and thank you all soo much for the love and the support!!


Sœur Emily Johns

This is a photo I found and it reminds me SOOO much of me and Michelle

Me and the sparkling water... I am Frenchnow

Our American dinner with homemade root beer and hamburgers

Getting gas in France

A church in Chemille

Planner that Soeur Horn made me!

Me and Soeur Horn waiting at Soeur Samson's 

Me with the dessert from Soeur Samson


This is something that me and Sœur Melville came up with and I lost it. 

How to look French (men)
1. Carry a baguette properly. Under the elbow, between your side and your elbow. You then tuck your hand into your pocket. It takes a lot of skill and practice to balance a baguette like that, but the French men have mastered carrying a baguette with no hands.

2. Wear pointy shoes. The pointier the better. I think French men use their shoes as weapons.

3. Wear tight pants – really, really tight pants. None of these baggy comfortable pants that are found in America - you should barely be able to sit down. They should also cut off above the ankle, so make sure you have classy socks!

4. Carry a purse. The cool kind is a side bag about the size of a Book of Mormon.

5. Play a random sport or do a unique form of exercise. There is a man in our complex that goes out jumping for exercise. He just jumps around our little shopping area. Great work out. Another man does yoga/stretching every morning on the back of the train on the way to work. Roller blading is very popular here. Some people just wear roller blades instead of shoes - why not? You get around so much faster!

7. If you are interested in a woman, shout WOMAN at her and hope that she looks back and starts a conversation. 

How to look French (women)

1. Don’t do your hair. Simply let it be crazy, or put it messily into a bun on the top of your head. But do not brush or do anything with your hair. The less you do the cuter it is! It sounds like I'm being sarcastic, but these French girls do pull it off and look so classy!

2. Always carry purses/bags/etc. on your elbow. 

3. Don't eat in public.  The only time to eat is between 8 pm and 11 pm, and then it should be a long dinner with several course and plates. Whenever you do eat, it should last a few hours.

4. Strap your baby to your chest. Now your hands are fully available!

5. Be extremely skinny. Now, I'm not sure how they do that exactly... definitely not something I've mastered yet. But these French women have legs the size of my arms!

How to look French (youngins)

1. Hang out at the local LDS meetinghouse. 

2. When you see missionaries STARE at their nametags. Don’t break eye contact with that name tag! Make sure to loudly tell everyone on the bus about the crazy sight you have seen as well!

3. Ride scooters everywhere and rollerblade! Since you can't drive in France until you are 18, you have to find creative ways to get around!

4. Wear everything with YMCMB on it! Hats, purses, pants, shirts EVERYTHING!


From this point on, EVERYTHING that I do as a missionary and in France will be my one last time doing it! So like today is my last {and first) October 7. But it is just crazy how fast time goes by! I hope that you are all enjoying your lives as much as I am! I spent my 6 month mark as a missionary at a zone conference! It was incredible! I really have the BEST mission president and wife EVER! Our mission has a new goal for every companionship to find a family before Christmas as a gift for Christ but really finding a family will be a gift FROM Christ so I am excited!!

I really like Cholet! It isn’t as ugly as I thought. The sunsets are really nice and then we even found a little hidden place; everything else though is pretty ugly but I will just focus on the pretty and try to convince myself that this is a beautiful place. While the city is ugly the people ARE SOOOO GREAT! Especially the members! I love the members! But we are teaching a few solid people! Thi-thanh whom Sœur Stahly found has a baptismal date now and is the cooooolest lady in all of Cholet! She LOVES us and that makes it even easier to LOVE her! She took us to McDonalds and totally just whipped out her Book of Mormon which had been marked with question marks all throughout it with all of her questions! So cool! She also took us to Angers this weekend so that we could all watch conference there together...AND SHE STAYED! She loved it and that isn’t a surprise because really who doesn’t love conference!

Cholet CAN be pretty

Speaking of Conference..... LOVE LOVE LOVE! I love them all! Elder Utchdorf was amazing and I really want everyone in the whole world to see it! And then Elder Holland’s was great but then there was the Prophet... WHAT AN INSPIRED MAN! LOVE! But want to know what is cool... Elder Ballard totally was talking about when he came to France this last summer and I was one of those missionaries that he met! COOOOOOOL! Also what an inspired thing that just this last week our mission made the goal to find a family before Christmas and he extended the invite for everyone to find someone before Christmas too! Christmas is going to be grrrrreat!

Us in the missionary room for conference

Each Wednesday night since my first night in Cholet we have been visiting Sœur Samson who is a less active! She wants to learn English so we teach using English and it has really strengthened my testimony that if the Spirit is there than it really doesn’t matter what language you are speaking! She is awesome and I love her! I don’t even know the last time that she came to Church and the missionaries never really visited her before but as our relationship has grown and she has been reminded of her testimony... she came to the relief society activity on Friday!!!

Speaking of the relief society activity on Friday... We made gifts for the primary kids! Ties for the boys and a little hat for the girls. This included sewing... on a machine... which I can’t do. Then to add French sewing terminology to it... MERRY CHRISTMAS kids! STRUGGLE!

My first companion Sœur Melville is a really good artist and for my birthday she sent me her rendition of Kate Middleton... she knows me soo well! How pretty is it and like the perfect gift! My Birthday really just keeps on coming!

So we stayed the night in Angers with the sisters there and I LOVE angers! It is an actual city with people outside and they live right in the center of Centreville! I thought this was a really cool thing at first until it was 530 am and the party upstairs was still going. I didn’t even know that WIIIIIINDOW TO THE WALL could be translated into French but they made it happen. I missed my quiet Cholet for those 8 hours of sleep that I didn’t get but Angers is sure cool!


We have a crockpot in Cholet... This means that all of those crockpot recipes from Pinterest would sure be useful here... So you should all send some cool crockpot recipes because I want to cook! We did pulled pork sandwiches on the buns from the American section from the store! Jack pot!

I am happy! And I LOOOOVE being a missionary!

Thank you again for all of the love and support!!!


Sœur Emily Johns

With Soeur Samson

Monday, October 14, 2013

6 months in!

I feel like each week that I am actually still alive to send this email home is an accomplishment. I swear that before my mission I was a pro driver; never getting pulled over or anything. I was a confident person behind the wheel…funny how things change on a mission. There were a few days this week that I didn’t stall a single time. So progression is happening!! Once I master not stalling I am going to work on mastering changing gears without freaking everyone out! Also this whole driving a stick in a country that I don’t know has taught me that I am horrible under pressure. EVERY time there are a bunch of people or cars watching me drive, I mess up! Like today at the grocery store there were a group of young guys around our car and of course I stall and then the car shakes and they all laugh and I just have to accept that yes I do not know how to drive!  But EVERY day that I don’t stall and that we are still alive, I count as a successful day!

I met my new district this week! It was nice to see another person with a name tag on and remember that there are other missionaries out there! There are four companionships in the district and the other three are all serving in Angers. There is the District leader/mandarin companionship, the zone leaders and then a set of sisters! I am excited for this transfer and it will be fun!

EVERYTHING is cheaper in Cholet! SO my love of money and saving it will be fully heightened here! Perk of Cholet! A not so perky perk of Cholet is the middle schoolers.... Back in the day when I was in middle school/junior high I was pretty socially okay. I hope. Anyway I still see crazy things or strange people and I can look at it and acknowledge that it is weird but not stare... WHOLE DIFFERENT story here! EVERY time we are on the bus at around 4 all of the middle school kids get on the bus too and just stare. Yes I know that I have a name tag on that says Jesus and that is a bit unusual but they look at me like I am an alien. I try to dress cute and not look Amish or too strange but I don’t know if it is working. I am determined to figure out the best way to call them out for staring at me and my name tag. I am debating between just asking them what they are looking at or asking if they have seen it before and use it as a good contact approach but I am guessing they would just look away awkwardly and it would be weird. I will figure it out!

GENERAL CONFERENCE is this week.... My second as a missionary... Do you know what that means????? I have less than a year left as a missionary. I can’t believe it either. 6 months have gone by as of this week and it is crazy!! I don’t know how time goes by for those of you that are at home but it is going by sooo quick for me! I just can’t believe that I will have less than a year left! I can’t wait to see what the next year brings and all of the things I will learn!

Notice the Will and Kate and George stamp.... A girl in my mission got a letter with it and let me keep it! Best delayed birthday/early Christmas gift EVER!! I was soo happy and hope that you are all staying up to date on Kate because I am not.....

In English I speak fast. I am sure that all of you remember how I can just get going and going and not slow down.... THAT HAS HAPPENED IN FRENCH!  Ever since I have been in Cholet everyone keeps telling me to sloooow downnn! And I just don’t understand! People here speak a lot slower but come on! I will try my best to be easier to understand and follow!

I like Cholet a lot except for driving and middle schoolers! But I LOVE being a missionary and love the people that we are teaching! It is cool to be where Sœur Stahly just was and be able to know the same people and teach the people that she found! I love it! I have seen so many miracles and blessings already and promise that I am changing and being spiritual!

I love you all!

Thank you soo much for all of the love and support! Enjoy hearing from the Prophet and leaders of the Church this weekend!!


Sœur Emily Johns

What I look at before I go to bed every night!

Friday, October 11, 2013


The past week I have been asking myself the big question of WHY????? Like why do I have to learn how to drive stick? Why do I have to drive in PARIS?? Why am I leaving Versailles??? WHY WHY WHY??? BUT at the same time I have been getting ALL of these answers and it pretty much comes down to... HUMILITY!! Why has been a big thing for me in the past and I guess I just haven’t quite mastered it yet or ever so I will keep learning... and patience. I always need more of that!

So on Monday we decided that after living in Versailles for 4 months that it would be a good time for me to go to the Chateau. Well I did! It is pretty big and fancy and yeah. Not exactly what I will remember the most about Versailles but oh well. Then I came back and had to force myself to pack and that was not fun BUT then I got to go to the Greniers for the last time! SAD!!! They are toooo cool! They even did MORE for my birthday... like for real turning 21 lasted a LONG time to celebrate! So I got some French cake and candles and Soeur Grenier even gave me this beautiful necklace from Italy! I will miss them sooo much!
On Tuesday we had lots of RDV and I was able to teach some of my favorite people for the last time. Isabelle was the first person I saw get baptized in France and I love her! Margarite is set to be baptized this coming Sunday and then Simone and her kids are a MIRACLE!! Miracle enough that president included her story in his weekly letter to the missionaries. I am reallllllllly sad to be missing so many cool things that will be happening in Versailles and not to be able to see all of them get baptized and continue but I guess that is part of being a missionary!

So my emotions were already all over the place from trying to accept leaving Versailles but then I found out that I would have to learn how to drive that night too...SO add stress and frustration to my pool of crazy feelings. The office elders came and got us and took us to the church parking lot where I had to drive. WORST few hours of my life! I HATE driving. I guess HATE is a really strong word but I REEEEEALLY do not like driving stick and I still do not understand why anyone prefers to do it! INSANE! Plus they made me learn in Versailles and around Paris and just too stressful for me. I can’t even imagine how stressful it was for the people in the car especially because they all know how to drive stick and so being stuck with me learning would not be fun. WHY is there such a thing as stick????? WAAAY too many things to have to think about at once to drive and shouldn’t we be focused on just driving safely and not having to change gears and giving our feet so many options of things to push? I will never understand. So Tuesday was a rough day for me...

THEN Wednesday Soeur Stahly made me leave the apartment and head to Paris to meet up with the other missionaries. It is always fun to see other missionaries and to talk with them. I had met Soeur Horn around but after meeting up with her we were off! We had to take like a Harry Potter train to Angers and then another to Cholet. Cholet is the most south sister ville in the mission and literally the COMPLETE opposite of Versailles. Right off the train the car was there... waiting for me to drive it home. It was quite an experience. We are both alive and I think the population of Cholet is still the same so that is good right? We got to their apartment which I guess is mine now so I will saw OUR apartment and I was able to unpack a bit. The apartment is quite large and pretty nice. Missionaries haven’t been living in it for the past 40 years so it isn’t toooo cozy or missionary but it is good!! That night we were able to teach a less active here and do some porting!

Emily with Soeur Stahly

Emily with Soeur Horn

Cholet... I have been trying to figure out how to explain it and I think the best way is just to say it is like going from NYC to Delta Utah. The people, work and everything are sooo different here. It is a HUGE change. The actual town itself is larger than I had thought but it is pretty small and I see ALL of Cholet out of our balcony. It is crazy going from Versailles where there are 8 missionaries, senior couples and the President to being in Cholet where we are the only missionaries. Since we are the only missionaries.... WE GET MEN! Yes I am going to have to learn how to talk to men and teach them here. We don’t contact them but we do teach just with a member but still so weird. When we port I have to get used to having a conversation with a man and not just passing them to the elders. LOTS to get used to! Oh and we were porting one day and the welcome mat in front of the door said... ''gulé gulé" and so when they answered I just blurted out "YOURE TURKISH" and they were a bit creeped and ended up being Muslim but I was just really excited to meet people from Turkey! These little things make me happy! I am still sick and when I first got to Cholet I was a bit under the weather and I may have fallen in the shower and got a HUGE bruise to have as a souvenir here.... HELLO long sleeves!!

In Cholet it just became a ward. It has been a branch and so being a ward is an exciting thing! They meet in a rented space in an office building so it reminds me a bit of going to church in Turkey but rumor has it that if they can get 80 people at church they will build them a chapel of their own! The thing is that pretty much the WHOLE ward is a family. Well 2 families to be specific. They are all the kids of two families and related to each other someway and they bring a literal meaning to ward family! But they are SUCH a great ward. At church yesterday they made me feel SO welcome and maybe that is because they had me say the prayer 4 times and bare my testimony twice but I definitely feel part of the ward already! They are all so strong and so great and loving and I am excited!

My French is already improving here and I am feeling like a legit missionary now! I am soo happy and really am thankful to be here and to grow even more and learn a lot! Since I am no longer spending my Pdays in Paris I can now devote more time to writing letters... So beware!

Thank you all so much for your love and support! I love being a missionary and really am SOO happy and love everything about everything!


Soeur Emily Johns

Emily in front of her apartment in Versailles