This was my first Christmas not actually at home with my family but guess what??? I felt like I was pretty much at home for Christmas and boy was it great!!
During the Christmas time our mission has a new approach. When we port and contact people we are supposed to ask them if we can sing a Christmas song to invite the Spirit. AKA two American girls Christmas caroling in France! Caroling is nonexistent here but oh well! All Monday night that is what we did. We met a lot of interesting people. People thought we were homeless and needed a place to stay, people offered us money and one lady thought we wanted to CHANGE her not CHANTER for her! Exciting life of a missionary!
Since I am a full-time missionary I work as a missionary ALL THE TIME! It is wonderful though! So on Christmas Eve you bet that we went porting all day! We found the Beverly Hills of Cholet and I was in HEAVEN!! My fav car Range Rover was everywhere and big beautiful houses and it was just fun! It made porting in the rain on Christmas Eve not as bad! People were pretty friendly and we were even able to sing for people! The family we sang for in Bev Hills even gave us a chocolate tree and then the other family gave us more chocolate. I don’t know how everyone always has chocolate available to hand out to missionaries....
On Christmas Eve we had dinner with the Raveneau Family. Their 9 kids, grandparents and more. SO skyping with my dad and sisters was a bit interesting but sooo fun! It was surreal because it was so normal and just like at home but still so far away and not REALLY able to be the same! For some reason in France during the holidays all of the seafood gets brought out. So you bet that me and that live oyster, shrimp with eye balls and fish eggs got along real great! I handled it all pretty well except for the oyster which was the most popular thing for everyone else so I guess I am not quite French yet!
We had ALL DAY on Christmas free and to ourselves. We were even allowed to sleep in but after 9 months of waking up at 6.30 every morning I only made it to a little after 7! But then we opened up Christmas presents, watched Mr. Krueger’s Christmas and had a Suisse for breakfast! Then off to another family with ThiThanh for Christmas lunch... MORE oysters and fish with eyes! Totally French with the fish eggs, duck liver etc. and I didn’t become French overnight but it wasn’t quite as bad because I already tasted my oyster. But I am definitely looking forward to our Middle Eastern Christmas meal at home next year! I was able to Skype my mom and sisters and brother in law on Christmas day. Just BARELY missed skyping with my sister Jennifer in Madrid but it was still soo wonderful! My mom is still laughing harder at her own jokes and everyone is still flawlessly beautiful at 7 in the morning! They even sang for me on Skype! I LOVE my family!
Then we got home and tried to take cute pictures by the tree but failed so we just watched a movie! For Christmas we get to watch one Disney movie and we chose Beauty and the Beast! You bet I shouted for joy when I recognized the three French words used in the movie! It was perfect! I love movies and watching that while in France was magical! BE MY GUEST!
Since it is still Christmas season we are still offering our musical talents to people at the doorstep... We didn’t see a TON of success pre-Christmas but the success after Christmas is entertaining. I love Christmas and will celebrate it all year long but not everyone in Cholet is on the same page! We keep getting reminded that Christmas is over but oh well.
I had to speak in church yesterday... On how we can become more like Christ. I am NOT a shy person AT ALL but having to speak in French in front of all these people about a serious subject... NERVE RACKING! ThiThanh really gave me comfort and my comp helped me write it and it wasn’t a complete fail! I was soo nervous. Also my Portuguese family was there and so that made me feel good too! I will just use the same one for my homecoming talk and everyone will be impressed!
So this week marks my half way point!! CRAZY! I cannot believe that I will be half way done with my mission! I have learned SOOO much and I know that I will continue to learn soo much! I have loved being a missionary and my mission!
Thank you all for your love and support and prayers! Have a great new years and I will see you next year!
Love Soeur Emily Johns