Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Blessings

Do you all remember when I first got to Toul I had NO idea how I was going to make it through the last four months of my mission??? Well now I don’t know how I would have made it through if I was anywhere but here! I am convinced that I have been blessed waaay waaay waaay too much here! And it is mostly all in this transfer and it isn’t even half over yet!! 

On Monday our amis cancelled our FHE but it wasn’t a problem because we just got to have a fun dinner with our favorite family Benoits and explore their village for old amis and less actives!!

Tuesday we were off to Nancy where I did an exchange with Soeur Lefrandt! She is in my group that came in with me and we were able to go to San Francisco together but haven’t really known each other too well! We have both served with Soeur Melville AND Soeur Horn so we have lots of similar stories with them! Also we realized how our moms are the EXACT same person. A beautiful blonde single strong woman and we are lucky to have moms like that! We are determined to set up mommy daughter dates with them when we get home! I realized how pretty Nancy is and it made me miss my pretty villes like Rennes and Versailles but missed public transportation but then remembering the little perks of having a car and a tiny ville. I had to search hard for them but found them! We had a lot of fun together! Stayed up waaay to late laughing and talking and then ate waaaay too much ice cream! 

Then Back to Toul the next day where we went straight to Mouna and Moons and got them all prepped and excited for their baptism! Moon REEEEALLY wants to live with the prophet and be his friend and it is sooo cute! Mouna was just reminding us how many days left she had until her baptism and their excitement was so fun for us!!

Sorry this email is getting to be boring! I am in a huge hurry and I don’t know whether the photos or the words are more important! On Thursday we did a porting session in the HEAT and boy was it hot! I have been doing this mission thing for a while now and porting in the heat is nothing new! But I had an experience on Thursday that I have never had before! We knocked on a door and met TOUN... the first person in my WHOLE mission to ask us if we were hot or thirsty and wanted some water! OF COURSE we said yes and we drank some nice fresh water while have a great funny conversation with her! Our little angel on this day! It made porting in a town called Franchville all the better! We will definitely go see her again on a hot day! That night we had a FHE with the young Benoit family! We had some extra time and tried to contact their neighbors but even the donkeys weren’t interested! But we did have a FUN FUN FUN night and got bracelets in return! The whole family was there and we just laughed and I told more lame jokes!! 

Mouna and Moon were set with their baptism on Friday and passed their interview with flying colors! We were overly stressed with getting everything set for the baptism but then we were able to come home and do S’mores!! It doesn’t quite work with French stuff and without any form of fire but we tried! I will definitely be doing that when I get home! 

On Saturday we taught a bunch of Slauco’s friends and family and it went great! I was asked to speak in church so we used that to try to get EVERYONE we knew to come to church and the baptism of course but then we found out that I wouldn’t be speaking and so I was like crap these people are coming and I won’t be speaking so then I was just going to like bare my testimony and I was good with that! Nothing to prepare but had a bunch of friends coming. A few that can’t understand French so that takes some of the pressure off! 

Also me and Soeur Nielson both received packages on Friday! She got a birthday one and I got one from my sister in Spain!! A new planner, book mark and more!! A good day! So if anyone wants to know how to make a missionary happy... send us anything!! 

SUNDAY!! We get to church and find out that actually I will be speaking... FOR 12 minutes!! So let’s just say during that first talk I was brain storming of what the crap I would say! The last time I gave a talk in French I had Soeur Hill write it with me and we spent HOURS on it and it was soo short and simple. This time it had to be long and I had no time. So I went up there and just talked. Good thing I was raised NOT to read a talk because I had nothing to read. I spoke on personal revelation and prayer and it went great!! I took up the full time and I don’t think anyone fell asleep! And it made all 7 Romanians happy to see me speak!! 

After was the baptism and it was beautiful! Mouna has a bad back so we had to have two men help her in the font but it was greeeat!! They were both just glowing! Slauco has been teaching with us and he is a pro already! Sunday was just a magical day!! We also received EVERYTHING in Romanian so we went and taught Slauco’s people last night and they UNDERSTOOD!!

It was a grrrrreat week!

I am sooo blessed and sooo happy! Thank you all for your love and support!!


Soeur Emily Johns

Monday, July 21, 2014


Hola!! Me and Soeur Nielson have really been blessed with the gift of tongues on our missions but not necessarily with French... These Spanish friends of Slauco just don’t understand that when I say... “iglesia... Bueno?'' that I am not really trying to have a conversation with them. They then go off and speak super super fast and I just smile which may convince them that I understand! So to all my Spanish speaking people out there, JENNIFER, be prepared to speak Spanish with me when I get home. It is actually cool because I can read Spanish and understand a pretty good amount just through knowing French and then also I do pray for the gift of tongues every day but I have specified and said French so maybe I should try that! 

This week was the ''most successful” of my mission and boy am I TIRED! It is so weird because I get 8 hours of sleep every night here but am DYING of tiredness where as in college I would get like 4 and had loads of energy. It just doesn’t make sense! We went from RDV to RDV and only took the full meal time break one day this week and that was last night for dinner. I didn’t fully fall asleep in any RDVs but let’s just say that watching Finding Faith in Christ in the dark was not a good idea. Me and Soeur Nielson both dozed off a bit but then realized how embarrassing it would be when our ami had to wake us up and so we just forced our eyes open. So we will be sticking to just talking in RDVs which forces us to stay awake. We continue to see miracles every day and that is the best part! 

On Tuesday we moved Mouna and Moon into their new home. They will be living next to the Backs aka my grandparents here! I am soo happy that they are their neighbors so that we have more of an excuses to see the Backs! And we sure did profit from that! A bunch of the branch members gave them things for their home. Like a washer, TV, oven, microwave and lots of furniture and food! It has been sooo incredible to see how generous and selfless people are. They take the whole ''giving a shirt off your back'' to the literal extent and serve until they die! I have really been blessed to serve around such extraordinary people! Now that they live only 30 minutes away and not 2 hours we were able to see them several times this week and they are fully ready to be baptized this coming Sunday! It is still such a blessing to work with them even though it was been really frustrating and tiring with all of the temporal problems but spiritually they are set! 

Our boyfriend Lee let us down this week and wanted us to go on a street that didn’t exist! Luckily his Australian accent is there to guide us when we are off the road! I don’t know if the mission car is the best car to use off roading but we had to! It was made better by the fact that we were able to just drive through beautiful wine country in the east of France! I am still amazed at what a beautiful life I live! 

Wednesday we were back in Strasbourg! Taking 5 trains in less than 10 hours is actually something that I am going to miss! There is a relaxation about being on a train touring across France; EXCEPT when it is reeeeally hot and you are in a harry potter cabin with a strange man with you! But we were able to entertain ourselves by taking photos! 

Both Soeur Nielson and I are SUPER close with our grandparents at home and since the Back’s have become that for us here... lots of meals are to follow! Mouna and Moon joined us for one lovely lunch this week and I almost cried from laughing so hard! Actually I did cry. They are vegetarian and ULTIMATE animal lovers. Like we caught Mouna catching flies out of the pool to save them. Well the Back’s are meat lovers and so that meal was interesting. Mouna spent a lot of time just trying to convince us how bad meat is and all of that. Then she went back and took our scraps of meat to go feed it to the stray cats which I don’t really understand because why can cats eat meat but we can’t? Just little things like this is what makes her sooo quirky! 

On Saturday it was my companion’s birthday. The BIG 20!!! So I took her to get crepes at the ONLY creperie in all of Toul and it was pretty good! I was mostly impressed that we could order all on our own! It was my first time going to a restaurant without a member or an ami that is French so pressure was on! We had fun and took waaay too many pictures with our mustache fingers! The creperie sang to her and it was sooo funny! Then that night we went to the Mazarek’s who surprised us both with a birthday cake for her! I hope that she had a good birthday. It is HARD to surprise your companion that you are with 24/7!!   

Slauco..... Our little boy is growing up sooo fast! Yesterday he passed the sacrament and how what I proud mom I was! I had to remember not to laugh when he got confused and had to go up to ask the branch president where to go with his tray of bread! He is doing great and still providing us with lots of eastern Europeans to keep life entertaining! He is probably one of the best story tellers and stays 100% serious telling about how he could have died when he sat in a chair that wasn’t there. I have had him tell it 3 times now and literally have tears rolling down my cheek as he tells it but it doesn’t phase him. Don’t worry... I secretly got it on camera! 

We are being blessed and seeing many incredible things! I love being a missionary and know that this is where I am needed to be right now! Thank you ALL for your love and support! 

I love and miss you all!


Soeur Emily Johns

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BOLD Miracles

I am waaaay waaaay too blessed and I have NO idea why! I just want to spit everything out but me and my OCD... that can’t happen. So we will start from the beginning! 

On Monday me and Soeur Pettingill were overbooked with our FHEs which is not something that I will ever complain about because I LOVE FHE!! We went to the family Paoli first and our ami Emmanual was there and is totally comfortable to just hang out with the family without us and that is what I call an INTERGRATION family! We only had about 20 minutes because our next FHE was the priority. So we did the quickest but probably most solid retab lesson together and it went perfect! We invited Emmanual to be baptized and he said yes and he explained that he feels like a light inside of his heart! TOO cute! Next step... DATE! 

Then we had the famille Benoit! This is a family that I have been dying to have an FHE with since I got here! Mik has three ADORABLE kids and a wife that is inactive! We met him and his kids at his parents’ house and had a fun lesson. The kids are like 6 8 and 11 and haven’t been baptized but really want to be and are sooooo cute! We had a lot of fun just laughing and telling jokes! It was good because it was our last time doing an FHE together with me and Soeur Pettingill! 

RDVs galore!! On Tuesday we went from rdv to rdv which is also something that I don’t complain about because I LOVE being busy! We said lots of goodbyes for Soeur Pettingill and made the rounds with TiarĂ© and Slauco! They are both just wonderful! Slauco was feeling goood about his baptism and is still sooo cute with his love for the gospel! We made the ''long'' drive out to the Famille Brice and taught the parents! They are sooooooooooo wonderful and had all of our favorite pastries out for us! We really talked about baptism and how they can know for themselves but also to have trust in God. Once the father is ready then the whole family will be. They want to be baptized together and it was awesome because the wife was like the third companion and testifying with us! We set the goal to be ready as a family in the end of August and I think they will be for sure! 

It was a really good transfer with Soeur Pettingill! Lots of laughter and good times and I am still sooo happy that she was able to help me not be miserable in Toul! To top off a SOLID transfer we recieved a phone call that the sisters in Lyon had an ami that moved up to our area. All we knew was that her name is Mouna and is incredible! She was practicing Muslim and her family is still very active. She read the BoM in 12 days and wants to be baptized but her family is not okay with that and so she was kicked out and that is why she moved up here so quickly. So we ended our time together with this little miracle referral! 

Bright and early on Wednesday morning and we made ANOTHER trip to Paris but this time I wouldn’t be coming back with Soeur Pettingill. In Paris there is a metro stop Chatelet right by St. Meri and ALL of the missionaries pretty much meet there on transfer day to find their new comp. So I spent a solid 6 hours there but I didn’t mind at all because I was just able to hang out with all of my best friends INCLUDING the Chinese speaking elders. I don’t know why but my love for Asians just grows and grows. And turns out that one of them has a best friend... WHO TRAINED MY SISTER!! Holy small world! He is really good friends with the girl that trained my sister in Spain! After all of that I got my new comp Soeur Nielson and we were on our way back to Toul! 

Soeur Nielson is almost 20 and from Kaysville, Utah! She is in her 4th transfer and sooooooo fun! She is probably the fastest unpacker in the world which made it nice for me because I get bored easily! We called our referral Mouna and fixed a time to see her on Friday and get everything worked out for the next few days and crashed! 

The Elders pulling Emily's hair just like in Third Grade
Our branch president loves us and asked us to go to lunch with him and I seriously don’t know how people can spend sooo much money on a meal. Also I still don’t know why I have gone on soo many lunch dates with middle aged men the past couple of weeks but maybe it is to prepare me for the dating scene after the mission but hopefully with younger guys and not being in the awkward third wheel status? We then went to see Evelyne and wanted to watch Finding Faith in Christ but she HAS A BOYFRIEND!! I don’t know how this is possible or how this happened but he was there and wow. Right when the door opened the smell of alcohol and cigarettes followed. I just wasn’t in the BEST mood to be in a smoke infested apartment and that smell gives me a headache so I just straight up asked him to open the window and to stop smoking. It is soo weird because in France on every box of cigarettes it tells you that it will kill you yet people do it. He was COMPLETELY hammered but that made for a pretty interesting conversation about the big bang theory. It was just bizarre because I told Soeur Nielson that this lady has NO ONE and that we are her only connection with the outside world and she just stays in her apartment all day and then we go and she is like a giddy teenager with him which could be cute if the situation was different. 

Then we were off to the tiny village to meet our ami that we found the week before the one named Christianne that worked for Chanel... Only she forgot or something so she wasn’t there but we were able to chat with the Pagots and have a little lesson with them before back to Toul. We decided to wonder around Toul and see what we could find... we found Slauco’s mom!! They are back or didn’t leave or something but they are all still there! So we went to Slauco’s and taught his uncle Johnny... right now he is smoking 20 cigarettes a day BUT he let me take his pack after I left him with a couple and he kissed me on the cheek..... Scarred all over again from men doing that! It turns out that you just have to ask people why they smoke something that says they will die and then they are more willing to give you their pack! MAGIC! 

FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY... no weekly planning got done OR transfer planning. We were stuck in Toul because of the Tour de France and our gps/boyfriend Lee couldn’t figure out how to get us to our destination without going through Toul so after about 45 minutes we were able to escape and we were on our way to Chaumont to meet Mouna and her son Moon. Chaumont is about 2 hours away from Toul and so we got a lot of good music in and talking but no sleeping because I have to stay up. We get there and Chaumont is COOL!! There neeeeds to be missionaries there! It is bigger than Toul I think and there is a lot more going on. We find Mouna standing on the street with her Book of Mormon and ready to meet us! Her son is 30 and a little mentally handicapped. They have NOTHING! No running water, electricity or anything there because it was such a fast move and really are in third world conditions! We had an incredible lesson with them and really got to know them and they are SUCH a miracle! They just love the gospel soo much and want to be baptized more than have water! Our challenge was to figure out a way for them to get to Toul on Sundays so that they can come to church. We started praying HARD from that moment on!

While out forever away from Toul we saw an old ami named Steven and his family! They are also soooo cool and we had a great first lesson with them! They just live sooo far away and there isn’t really a bus or train to get to Toul. But we will find a way for us to be able to see them again while staying inside of our kilometer limit! 

Saturday was filled with more and more miracles! We first went to Evelyne who was soooo drunk and hadn’t taken any of her life or death medicine! It was sooo sad to see her like that and she has completely given up on anything to help her live but we will hopefully see her again in better conditions. 

We were in the process of checking trains and buses to find a way to get Mouna and Moon to church when they call saying that they are just going to hop on different trains and get to Toul somehow... well they did! They arrived in Toul after three different trains and getting caught by the security people! A member met us and helped soo much! Our prayers were answered SOOO much faster than we expected! Our new problem was what to do with her now that she was in Toul. Our branch is the BEST ever and found them a hotel until Tuesday when things will be open to talk with the social about getting help. MIRACLE! Also that is when Moon told us that he wants to be baptized with his mom! AMAZING!! 

We saw all of Slauco’s family and taught them despite all of the creepy winks and not being able to really communicate with half of them. We invited them to church and they all said yes... 

MORE MORE MORE miracles on Sunday! Mouna and Moon were at church AND the branch found them a place to live for 6 months free until everything gets worked out and groceries and everything! Mouna gifted us with lingerĂ©... not entirely sure what we are going to do with it but it is a nice gesture right? It really is from the faith of them that these things are possible! The members here are really soooo set on growing the branch and doing anything that they can to help others. ALSO the Spanish people of Slauco AND his two cousins came to church. So out of the 5 of them only 2 speak French but they all loved it! Normally in Toul there are 35 people there every week but last week with 51 and yesterday with 53 it just shows how things can happen!

Me and Soeur Nielson have waaaaay too much fun together and have had soo many funny things happen already! We are being TOO blessed and I don’t know why we are soo lucky to be here right now in Toul! I am soo grateful! 

Thank you all soooooooooo much for all of your love and support! I am a lucky girl! 


Soeur Emily Johns

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Money, Money, Money

On Monday me and Soeur Pettingill spent WAAAAY too much money in a single day. Over 100 euros BUT we got reeeally stocked in our kitchen and we also got new shoes. I must say that I have come a LOOOONG way from the 10 dollars a week that I would spend in college on groceries.

Every single RDV with Slauco we find out something new... I have said this again and again and somehow he still has more to tell us that we would have never known! So here is the sum up of Slauco... he has been married twice and is technically still married but has been separated for like 10 years. But the current wife is OLDER THAN HIS mom... and he always tells me that my eyes are like hers? WEIRD! He has one son but has never met him and didn’t know he existed until a couple of years ago. Oh and his dad was baptized ten years ago in Spain. But other than all the crazy random stuff about Slauco... he is solid! He is such a good guy and just wants to do the right thing all the time!

We had dinner with the Backs on Tuesday! He was the first bishop in France and they pulled out EVERYTHING that has even been published about the Church in France. They are really pioneers of the church in France and are soo full of stories! If I had all the time in the world then I would spend A LOT of time just talking to them! They remind me of my grandparents with just stories and stories to share and sooo much life experience! Oh how I will miss eating BIG dinners and talking for a couple of hours with these people!

On Wednesday we went to PARIS!! We went to meet the Babins. Our new mission president and his wife! We are soo lucky to have another French couple as our president and I feel so blessed because natives really just are the best! They are sooo wonderful! I was pretty worried that they wouldn’t seem like my presidents because I will only do a few months with them but right when they started speaking I was like WOOO HOOOO they are MINE! And I just love them soo much already! They are going to do grrrreat with this mission the next 3 years!

After the conference we stopped by one of my favorite stores called HEMA and once again... too much money spent! I don’t know what has gotten into me during my mission but I am just sooo much less anal with money. I don’t know why I needed to buy so many different roles of tape and stickers and pens but hey I need to have a fully stocked office space right? There weren’t any strikes for the trains and I even got to face forward on it so that was nice! I don’t know what it is but I just love Paris! It is always just incredible to be there! A year ago when I was serving in the Paris area people would ask for directions and I wouldn’t have any idea what they were saying or where anything was and a year later I was able to give directions in the heart of Paris IN FRENCH! These little baby steps are what make me soo happy!

On Thursday we went on a third wheel date?? One of our rich amis Gerard wanted to take us to lunch and so we went to Chinese and it was pretty good! I still prefer the Chinese restaurants in Cholet with ThiThanh but oh well! WAAAAY too much money spent! I mean I am no dating expert but I feel like you can’t spend more money than the person who is paying for it but Gerard FORCED us! We both just wanted something simple and he went back and made everything the double amount and cost! He is just really happy to be rich and to drive his new Mercedes Benz and force American missionaries to eat a lot of Chinese food! Clearly he didn’t get the 3 months to sexy that I am on...

That night we were supposed to have an FHE with our ami and a family but the family had to cancel last minute and so we hurried and scrammed to find another family... The Pagots are retired and incredible! They dropped everything they were doing and made it so we had an fhe... only then our ami cancelled but we couldn’t just go to the Pagots empty handed because they had changed everything last minute to accommodate us. Well when we got to their TINY village we told them we would go around the village and invite anyone that we possibly could! I must say that I have never done a door approach like... Hello my name is sister Johns. Would you like to come eat a dessert with us and our friends? We ended up meeting a super cool lady who worked for Chanel!! She had her sleeping grandbaby with her so she took a rain check but we were able to pray with her and exchange info! It is coool because we had all done everything we could and then the Lord blessed us by placing this lady in our way to make it all worth it! Also it was at their house that I found out.. KATE MIDDLETON was in FRANCE and NO ONE told me!! They had a magazine and of course I spotted the little Kate in the bottom square... Thanks for everyone who is NOT feeding my obsession. But now a few members know and we will see what happens :)

I have heard from some very trusted people that there is this magic water to get your makeup off at night and I have never done anything like it. But me and soeur Pettingill spent tooo much time going into every pharmacy in Toul to find the magic water for the right price.. Well we splurged and made the big step and bought it! It is nice to have my makeup fully off at night but we will see what else it does because it is magic! We are proud of our shopping sprees this week! We also went and saw Rudolphe an ami that LOVES America and sang for us.. he is a BIG hippie and wants to live in San Fransico! I love these people!

Germany played France this week in the world cup and I am soooo happy that Germany won because wow they are sooo cute and not short! It was pretty sad in France but it was July 4th and so oh well! I am just a bit confused as to why I watched a soccer game between France and Germany on my countries birthday… I have a lot to make up for next summer! We had dinner with our Amis the Mazeriks this weekend...Louis tried to find me a husband. It was soo awkward! We were sitting at the table when he comes in with this man and forces him to sit next to me and the whole time he was making these comments and UGH! He was a nice guy but NO NO NO NO NO he is 32; named Olivier and I couldn’t handle the way he talked with his hands AND I am a missionary! Louis just forgot that part! But through that little suffering. They came to church!!!

We had 7 amis at church!! Normally there are about 35 people at church but yesterday there were 51 and several people that aren’t amis but aren’t members if that makes sense! The baptism was soooo great! Slauco is incredible and is soo dedicated! A lot of the branch stayed after and it was a nice little celebration! He will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost next week and I am excited for him!

In France there are a MILLION bakeries! Like every single corner if not MORE! Well we have thoroughly visited every single one in Toul and have had our favorite for a while. It is owned and operated by Jouffray and his girlfriend who are both in their 20s. Seriously soooo good and sooo popular and they are cool! We have given them lots of American cookies and are just waiting to see it in the bakery someday. But this week we got the ultimate cool thing! We went in and asked how we could get a tour of the bakery because we only ever get to see the front.. Well we got it right then! It was HOT HOT HOT in the back but sooo cool! I felt like a little girl in a candy shop because these are just things that not everyone gets to do right? A personal tour of the best bakery?? LUCKY girl! They are our friends and little by little they get to learn about why we are here and our message! 

Well everyone another transfer has come and gone. I am now in my 11/12 transfers and I will be staying in Toul but getting Soeur Nielson who is in her 4th! I hope she is ready to drive.... I received the first part of my TRUNKY PAPERS aka emails about me going home officially from the mission! I can’t believe I have less than three months left in France! I am sooo excited to see all the things that I need to learn and to grow! I LOVE being a missionary!!

Thank you all for your love and support!

Soeur Emily Johns