Monday, December 30, 2013


Salut ma famille et mes amis! 

So much has happened this week! And I forgot to make a notecard of all of the things... So I hope I dont forget anything. But I will try hard to remember. 

Christmas in France has been awesome! The membres of the Church really know how to take care of the missionaries. On Christmas Eve we made cookies to take to members. After we ran out of cookies we headed to our dinner appointment (Which started at around six). This was at the Bonamys' House. They are such a cool member family. I need to get a picture with them. Anyway, we ate a huge meal.. with had like five or six courses. We had permission to stay out until 11PM... so we ate for five hours and went home. THe Bonamys ending up giving us a huge bag of chocolates and a tie. They are too nice. 

Christmas day we had appointments ALL day! So we had a breakfast appointment with Elder and Sister Clark. They invited all of the Lyon missionaries to there appartment. I was starving in the morning but the sisters told me to not eat much because the member that we had a lunch appointment with told her "My goal is to kill you". Let me tell you, she almost succeeded. She made SO SO SO Much food. We had ten courses of food. Holy cow. It was all so good. The struggle was to know how much you could eat in each course. Because you don't know how many courses are left and it is all good! bahaha. I made the mistake of assuming there was only one dessert course. My mistake. HA. 

I had the opportunity to skype as well! Which was so nice! I'm glad I got to see yall! You all look great. After I hung up, I was just overwhelmed with how much I love my family and how wonderful it is to have the support that I do. 

I thought I would add this photos of Elder Johnson skyping with his Great Grandpa.  Times have sure changed since his Grandfather's kids went on a mission.  They were just happy to get a hand written letter once a week. 

After Skype we had a DINNER appointment. This is when I almost died. After this meal I had to sit a certain way or else I literally couldn't breathe. I weighed myself afterwards and I had gained 2 kilos. haha

This week I almost bisou'ed a member. You know where you do the kiss on both cheeks. But it was TOTALLY her fault. Bahaha. I laughed SO HARD. It was nice to have some spice in my life...I mean she is like 60 but beggers can't be choosers. It was her fault because she had just done it to the sisters and reached for my shoulder to do it so I was like.. Okay.. I guess this is okay? bahaha. Luckily she realized what she was doing. Otherwise I would have lost the companionship of the Spirit for at least the whole week. ;)

Alright! So we don't have any new Amis but the ones we are teaching are progressing wonderfully! Two of them have come to church twice! Which means they can baptized this transfer if they come this next week! They have been prepared by God to hear the gospel. It is amazing. ve
Antoine is white and about 50. He loves church and has accepted the invitation to be baptized on January 16th as long as he receives an answer from the Spirit that it is true. 

Ma francais est ca va. My comprehension abilities have grown drastically just since being here. Speaking is slower but I am really starting to get the hang of it . The trick is to be confident that you understand what everyone is speaking to you. Reply like you know what they asked and if it was the wrong answer they will look at you funny and ask again. haha. 

Apparently my accent is pretty darn good! People tell me that they can barely hear my accent and that I speak well for only being here for three weeks. They usually guess that I am from the North of France near Germany. Je ne sais pas pourquoi. 

I haven't said anything really stupid! Which is good! A member told me last Christmas eve dinner they had an Italian elder with them and that he meant to say something about how good the meal was by taking an Itailian phrase and translating it into French but he ending up saying "ITCHY BUTT!" bahaha Oh gosh. 

I meant to share a cool scripture I read this week but I forgot my dumb notecard and what I felt about it so I will have to share it next week! 

The gospel is such a blessing. I was thinking the other day "What would I be doing right now if I decided to not go on a mission?" Without the gospel, I'm not sure where I would be, but I know that I would not be as happy, as healthy, or as blessed as I am now. 

That is it for this week! I'm sorry I didn't write as much as I could have! I love you all! Have a Happy NEW YEAR! Make some goals and achieve them! Goal setting is SO important. Don't write down crazy things. Just do little things to GET you to the big things. 

Je vous aime~
Avec Amour,
Elder Johnson

Monday, December 23, 2013


Flight to France

Alright! Wow, it;s almost been two weeks in France for me! The first week went by so slowly... this week FLEW BY!

So... I never really know where to begin... 
Anyway! Here it goes

We had the most awesome Zone Conference ever! Not that I have any to compare it to but whatever! :-) We started with the actual conference and talked about how significant the birth of the Savior actually is.. There isn't a birth in the history of the world, that had a more profound effect on all of mankind. We also set some goals for the next year. We are really going to focus on finding families!

After the meetings we had awesome food. Honestly, my appetite has increased at least ten fold... I eat SO MUCH. And I'm always hungry. Always. Anyway, I talked to President during the meal... He is such a cool man.

So, for two days it rained straight... And I didnt see the sun the whole time. Honestly, the first day was probably the most miserable I have had on my mission thus far. When you contact people in the rain they don't appreciate it even less than usual. We had so many appointments fall through the same day... So I was just miserable... But then we had a miracle!

We were looking for the apartment for some inactive member... We were knocking on all of these doors asking if anyone knew where they lived... We ended up giving up but there was one last door and we decided that we should knock on it anyway. This African woman answered the door and we asked if she wanted to know about Jesus and she was super excited and said yes! hahah It was such a blessing to have success after so many failures that day.

These photos below were taken in the center of the city.

We did service at TOYS R US! Hahaha.. Honestly it was probably the most stressful thing I have evert done in my entire life. We had to wrap presents for people... and they expect you to do it fast, pretty, and speak French with them all at once! How demanding... hahaha. It was fun though... Im pretty darn fast now. If you have any presents you need wrapped, just call me ":)

Church in France is awesome! The members are SO, SO cool. I love it when they correct me on my French.. It makes me feel like I am getting better. Really, not being able to speak french and going to the church makes you the most endeared person in a thounsand mile radius. The French members love the American missionaries... hahaha

I also had to give the opening prayer for sacrament meeting. I was just sitting there after the song and my companion was like "Arent you going to go say the prayer"? And I laughed and said no... He was like... They are waiting for you! Bahaha.. Just goes to show how much I understand.

So! We have a grand total of four amis! With lots of contacting and faith, we have really had a great start. It is funny because in France you kind of racial profile for contacting.. Because you aren't allowed to teach Muslims (It is dangerous for you and for them( and you RUN towards the African people because they are humble and ready for the gospel! lol Okay.. so we dont do that... but we really arent supposed to teach the Muslim

Our lessons are going well. All of our amis are progressing. My favorite one.. (Is that allowed) is from Africa.. He is so ready for the gospel. When we gave him the book of Mormon his face TOTALLY lit up. It is going to be something I will never forget. He is so grateful. 

I'm really developing a love for the people we (I say we but i usually just pray and testify). They are almost like your children... You teach them and love them and hope the best for them.

So, I really just have to froce myself to speak to people... as difficult as it is... I just have to. I've totally gotten over my fear of rejection though. It is just a fact of missionary life. When they say they arent interested and look like they are about to spit on you, you just smile and wish them a good day. 

Contacting really is so much fun though.. as terrifying as it is. The French people actual love to talk.. especially if it is about food or family. Pretty interesting.

I actually haven't run into anymore catholic priests but I did run into a crazy Tunsian man in the Train Station. hahaha. He was SO crazy. My frist sign should have been when he walked up to me and starting speaking in English...
He was like "WOAH, there are so many pretty american boys here..." bahaha. I love how you dress and take care of your teeth... the French, they no do this. He ended up singing a song for me and asking for money. I told him that the church gives me money to use only for living. But I gave him a kitkat and he was very grateful. He then proceeded to ask if he could marry my sister... If I had known him a little bit longer I would have said yes. Towards the end of our conversation a woman walked by and he literally SCREAMS at the top of his lungs "HEY SEXXYYYYYYY LADDYYYYY with some bad words in there... Bahaha. That is when I walked away.

Oh, contacting.. the people you meet :) 

Anyway... .I think that is it for this week. Thank you so much for all of the support that I have back home. It is funny to see that things are still happening back home. 

I love my mission and the people of France. The gospel is SO true! What a wonderful time of year it is. The king of the world was born! The hearts of the people are softened this time of year. 

I've come to realize everyone wants to believe in something. Everyone is searching. Everyone wants to be loved and everyone wants to be happy.

Joyeux Noel et Bon Fete! 
Avec amour,
Elder Johnson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Last letter from the U.S.

So Cameron sent us our last letter from the U.S.  and that was the letter, those words. lol  Silly kid. It was a manila envelope with things he wants to keep, scrapbook kind of things, but not take with him to France.  Its kind of funny that is arrived after he had all ready had left.

The last letter…oh my!  lol

His schedule he had in the MTC from week 2 - 5. No wonder he was tired all the time. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hello From France!

Dearest Family and Friends!

I have so much to say and so little time (and patience for this absolutely dumb french keyboard) Il est tres mal! Anyway....! 

Travel was lots of fun! It was also a huge struggle at the beginning. Once we got to the airport though it was better. SO! First off, we woke up at around 3AM to finish packing and be ready to leave for the airport on time. I thought we were going to ride the bus to the airport but we had to take the FrontRunner... so I didn't wear my jacket because I thought we were going to be inside for most of the time. When we get to the train station there is a good foot of snow on the ground, my bags are huge and I am freezing cold. After feeling like a Pioneer for about 30 minutes the train finally came. We later had to switch to tracks. I got on tracks and my companion got left. LOL. It was funny. Anywayyy! We flew to Minneapolis then to Amsterdam and then to Lyon. BTW, Amsterdam is the place of the devil... You have to look at your shoes the whole time... even in the airport! haha

Once we arrived in Lyon we met President and Sister Roney. They are SO nice. I love them. We then hopped in a tiny car and road to the mission office in Lyon... had an orientation, interview with the President (which I will talk about more later) and picked up legalitity stuff. 

That night we ate pizza that was SUPER good and had dessert crepes at the Mission home... which is nothing less than spectacular. Let me tell ya, it was a struggle to stay awake for anything after dinner. 

President Roney is nothing what I expected. He is actually a human being. He is very, very clever and has a great sense of humor. When I went in for my interview, before we started, he shinned my shoes. Which had a profound effect on me! I was quite humbled. In the interview he asked me if I had any questions and I asked him what I need to focus on the most the first few months and he said the language. "It is your greatest handicap at this point" "You don't have a personality until you know the language." Haha. It's true. I'm a little robot that can say hello and ask how people are doing... but I can't joke or anything like that. haha. 

He also asked what kind of companion I wanted for my first transfer... which I wasn't really prepared to answer. 

My companion is Elder Schneider! He is from France! Which I am SO SO SO happy about. His English is fantastic as well, so I have the best of both worlds. During language study he reads in English and I read in French and we correct each other with words and such. He is super nice. He has been serving for about 14 months. I think we are going to get along very well. My only complaint about him is that he walks SO fast. I'm a fast walker... but he walks like Jason times 3. I practically jog to keep up. Something else about my companion, he has gained 13kilos on his mission... He weighed about 60 kilos when he started (as much as I weigh). You have to realize 13kilos is around 30 lbs... hahaha. There is hope for me!

Ou Je suis SERVIR 
My first area is in.... drum roll please, LYON! WOOT WOOT! I wanted to serve in Lyon first. One because I wouldn't have to travel for another 9-12 hours. And two because Lyon is a stronghold for the church in France. As Beautiful as Lyon is... there are two things I see EVERY single day. Those two things are people smoking and dog poop. Everywhere. haha. 

There are three wards here. And the members are SO strong. To be a member in Europe, you have to be super diligent and strong. I admire them. They are so ready to help me with my French as well. I'm happy for the help.

I had my first meal with members last night... It was so good. The french don't eat big dinners so we just ate a ton of bread, pasteries, chocolate, cheese, tomatos, salamie and nutella. haha. 

We had a ward Christmas party, which was kind of a blur because there was so much French. I ended up talking to this older African woman and I wasn't understanding everything but then we started talking about Obama. She started saying how proud she was of a Kenyan to make it to the top of the world,. lol. 

French is a real struggle at the moment. I can speak it! Mostly.. but I can't understand most of it... It is probably about 50/50. But I am learning at an exponetial rate. Being here and immersed in the language has preally helped. Pray that I have the gift of the language AND the comprehension of the language... they are seperate gifts. Heavenly Father and His humor... hahaha I have picked up on a phrase though! 
Je n'ai interest pas! Figure that one out.. .baaha

The first person I contacted was a TOTAL "Best Two Years" Moment... I began to speak and the woman looked super confused. She then said in a Southern Accent "I dont speak french,,, sorry!" and I said ME EITHER! hahaha. It was hilarious. 

There was a woman with a ton of bags and I asked if we could help and she asked why. I then said "BECAUSE WE ARE MISSIONARIES AND WE ARE SUPER NICE lol... She laughed and then said no thank you. 

The first time porting (tracking) The door opened and this man with a huge cross neckless opened the door and demanded to know how we got into the building. He then said LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. hahaha. When the door closed I just laughed. It would be me that would open my first door to a catholic priest. Too funny. 

I said hi to someone and asked how they were and he responded DO I know you? And i said no, not yet! Lol.. It is a pretty common thing for the French to ask... They get freaked out like they have forgotten who you are. 

Despite all of the stereotypes about the French hating Americans, they are quite nice. Once they realize you aren't trying to sell them anything and that you are a Jehovah Witness... It's okay though because occassionally people will ask why we are members of a sect. 

Usually to contact people I just tell them I am from the United States and need to practice my french with someone. They like to help. Especially on the Metro and buses. 

As far as religion goes, there are three groups you encounter the most- Athiest, Catholics, and Muslims. Everyone is pretty open though. I've only thought I was going to get spat on once! And it was a German man! Not even French. haha. 

I've come to love the French people already... They are so awkward! If you smile at them they quickly look away and if you look back up they will be staring at you trying to decide if they know you. 

We haven't taught anyone yet because this area is new... So we have zero amis! But we are working hard to get some! We had an appointment but the amis canceled at the last minute D:

I think that is all I can type on this stupid keyboard!

My address is just the mission business center at the moment. 
I love you all and hope that everything is going well back in the Etas Unis or whever you are reading this from.  

I know the Church is true. And that God has placed me here to serve certain people. I may not be able to speak french, but I can invite the spirit to testify of the things I am trying to say. I love you all!!!! 

Avec Amour,
Elder Johnson

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An unexpected letter...

Cameron's first companion sent us a letter before they left the MTC.  I thought we would share it. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Settling In...

We got this e-mail today.  

Dear Family of Elder Johnson,

Elder Johnson will be serving in Gerland with Elder Schneider.  Their address is 221 ave. Jean-Jaurés, F-69007 Lyon, France

I am attaching a companionship picture below

Sister Clark
Mission Secretary

It's blurry but I'll take it. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Made It!

Dear Family of Elder Johnson,

This is just a quick note and photo to inform you that YOUR MISSIONARY HAS ARRIVED IN LYON FRANCE! We are so excited to have them in this mission. We love them and we view them with the same care and concern as we would our own children.  They looked pretty good even though they were surely very tired. They will be doing some legal work for their visa and some training and interviewing. By their preparation day (Monday) they will be able to tell you their companion’s name and where they live. Thank you so much for sharing your missionary with The Lord and with this mission. In many ways, this is truly the most wonderful mission in the world and they will make it even better.

Thank you,
President and Sister Roney
France Lyon Mission

Monday, December 9, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

No e-mail today because it is a travel day for Elder Cameron Johnson BUT we did get a phone call while he was waiting in the airport this morning.  We were able to talk to him for about 29 minutes.  It was great to hear his voice.  We had him speak some French and he sounded like a pro…at least to our ears. lol  By this time tomorrow he will be assigned to his area and have a new companion to show him the ropes.  It's hard to believe that he has been gone for 6 weeks, but at the same time it feels like he has been gone forever.  Thank you for all of the prayer and support that you have all given him and us.

The Johnson Family :)

Here is a letter we received from the mission home:

Dear Missionary Parents,

Bonjour from the France Lyon Mission!  President Roney and I have been happily preparing to receive your son or daughter on Tuesday December 10, 2013.  We have been praying for them as well and for their safe arrival.  We anticipate picking them up at the airport in the morning where we have a full day planned for them!

President Roney and I have felt such a love for your missionaries and feel truly honored and privileged to serve with them in this great work of the Lord.

We will be emailing you photos of your son or daughter when they arrive.  As parents of our own missionaries, we know the comfort that this brings.  Is this the email that you would like the photo sent to?  Please list another one if it is a different email address.

Please know of our love and concern for them and we truly love them as our own and feel very humbled to have them entrusted to our care.

We would love to learn a little more about your son or daughter before they arrive.  Would you be able to send just a very short email with just a few things that would help us know your missionary better?  Likes/dislikes, hobbies, talents, favorite foods, etc or any interesting little story or item about them would be great!  

Thank you so much again!  Please feel free to email me if you ever have any questions or concerns.

Sister Roney
France Lyon Mission

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Excited & Nervous

Alright! So! I leave for France in TWO DAYS! Honestly, I wasn't nervous until about Wednesday.. I was staring at a map of the mission and realized: I'm going to be assigned my first area soon. It just hit me so hard. I am going to France, to preach the gospel to the French people, and I have the vocabulary of about an 11 year old. But then I was also thinking, this is SO awesome. The experiences that I am going to gain in France are going to greatly outweigh the trials. Our teacher said that the French members LOVE missionaries and when you make terrible mistakes speaking, it makes you more endearing to them. I will be VERY "endeared". lol We also had in-field orientation, which made me SO EXCITED TO GO!

It was funny because in one of the break off groups, we had the facilitator tells us a story about how his mom received her mission call and she was SO excited to share the gospel. (I'm not entirely sure where she was going to serve but it was a very secular place.) To her surprise and disappointment everyone was telling her "it will be a great experience for you, but you aren't going to have much success." She was traumatized. Why would anyone say something like that? 

So after we had heard that story, the faciliatator asked us if we had any similar experiences. I raised my hand and he asked me to come share my story.. Once I got up in front of about 50ish people, he handed me balloons as "consultation" for my trials. When I got to the part where someone had told me "you aren't going to have much success" he popped both of my balloons! Hahaha it was quite a surprise. He told us that, despite our "balloons" being popped by others--intentionally or not, we should not become discouraged because WE determine the success of our missions.

So, on Tuesday it snowed SO MUCH. I think it was like 8 inches or something like that. My companion was super excited.. I guess it doesn't snow as much in Wales as it does here. I can't believe how much it has snowed in Arkansas! you probably have more than us! The snow was nice for the first day but now it is just a pain. I am SO paranoid I am going to slip and break my arm right before I leave--then I would get stuck here for another month or so... #NoThanks. It is also SO cold but I kind of like the cold though. I'm mad at the snow though... we were supposed to have M Russell Ballard come and speak to us but because of the snow he couldn't come.. It was quite disappointing. I even joined the choir so I could get a good seat for the devotional.. Oh well ;) We had a great replacement speaker come. 

HOSTING: (hosting is when you welcome in the new missionaries)
It is so funny that you asked about hosting this week in dear elder because this was my first and last time hosting! It was really interesting to see all of the different types of Elders and their families stepping out of the cars. I felt like I was able to observe something that you couldn't see anywhere else. I absolutely loved hosting though. It reminded me of working at the ranch again. I met so many new people! I'm pretty darn good host, if I do say so myself. Working on the ranch really taught me how to speak with people. What a blessing!

That's actually it for this week. There hasn't been anything too spiritual or crazy happen this week. I almost feel like I'm having an out of body experience. I can see me going through my mission for two years and then all of the sudden it will be over. Time flies. 

I know that L'Eglise de Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth, and that it has the fullness of the Gospels of Christ. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon and the clarity it brings to my life. I can literally write down any question, study the book of Mormon, and receive an answer in one way or another. I know that if we strive to do our best, we will fail to be perfect--but through the Atonement of Jesus-Christ we can be made perfect. I can testify to all of you, that Jesus is the Christ and that he died for our sins. I know that God loves us, as we are His literal children. There are going to be days in France, when all I want to do is give up and go home--but I know that on those days I will turn to the Lord for comfort, and he will hear my prayers. 

I love you all! The next time you hear from me, I will have made the jump across the pond! :) 
Avec beaucoup amour!
Elder Johnson

Monday, December 2, 2013


Okay! So I have a lot to say and not a lot of time to write it! 

I'll start with Thanksgiving! 

First off, the food pretty good. Honestly, it just made me sad about not being home because it was close to the real thing but not? Does that make sense? I'm glad I'm here though! Don't get me wrong! We also had a FANTASTIQUE Devotional from... surprise! Elder Russel M. Nelson! He was absolutely brilliant. He talked about how mission set the stage for us to become the absolute best we can be. 

We also did service! Assembly-line style. We ending up making soup bags for the food banks in Utah. The whole MTC ending up making 350,000 meals in a bag! Pretty darn crazy. There were so many. 

We also got to watch Ephraim's Rescue. It was nice to take a short break from the regular MTC schedule.

This last week at the MTC is going to be quite busy.. I'm not sure what it means but we have "In-Field Orientation"... not sure what that entails but it take up the whole day. We also get two P-days this week. So Monday and Saturday. Anyway! We received our travel itineraries and are flying to Amsterdam and then to Lyon. We end up flying fourteen hours of something crazy.. lame. I;m so excited to leave though. For real. I think I'm starting to go a little crazy. I will miss the MTC at some point... probably. 

I found a new favorite scripture! It is Alma 26:12 (insert here) I relate to it so well. I have realized how insignificant I am and how to my own strength I am weak but through the Lord I can accomplish anything (like learn French). The whole chapter of Alma 26 is such a great chapter when it comes to doing missionary work. READ IT and you will be motivated. Ammon was such a beast! 

Alma 26:12 
"Yea, I know that I am nothing ; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things ; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." 

My companion and I also have an english investigator. Which gives me hope as a missionary. I know all of my stuff. I can teach any lesson. And it is SO frustrating in French because you know exactly what you need to say and to express but you can't because of the language barrier. BUT! I know the French will come.. and it is coming nicely. Sometimes I forget we have only been here for five weeks. 

So, I also got into a laughing fit when teaching... Luckily it was with the german sister in my district... I hate being assigned to her because she reminds me SO much of Lea and we start to laugh at the dumbest things. Needless to say, I had to excuse myself. lol. 

I've come to realization how important it is for members to become involved in missionary work. THere are 83,000 missionaries but we can only do so much. Members don't even have to go knocking on doors. They simply have to be Christ-like, serve others, and have compassion! Very easy. Be someone's friend! 

For CODY: 
The stake President of the Lyon Stake is a Rock Climber.. there is a "I'm a Mormon" on him. It was super cool. He plans on doubling the Lyon Stake in 10 years. Apparently he is ahead of his goal so far! Pretty darn cool. 

Anyway! I love you all! I don't have any French bloopers for this week. Hahaha. Which is pretty darn surprising! 

Keep sending letters and dear elders! They are the best! :) 
The church is true and God loves you!
--Elder Johnson