Monday, February 17, 2014

Bonjour mes amis et ma famille!

This week has been pretty darn crazy! A lot of stuff has happened! 

This week was our "Winter Olympics" of missionary work! Every other day the Zone Leaders would send us challenges and certain things that you had to do to gain points. Like "one contact is one point, a rendezvous fixed is ten points...etc" Anyway, Elder Schneider and I are extremely competitive, probably to the point to where it is unhealthy, but who cares? We wanted to win! 

So because our teaching pool wasn't very deep we decided we were going to contact SUPER hard so we could expand our teaching pool and win at the same time. We didn't use any public transportation all day. We just walked everywhere so we could talk to more people! We also only took a lunch break of thirty minutes instead of the usual hour. 

Needless to say we ended up contacting close to 375 people and set close to six or seven rendezvous. And we may or may not have won. ;) 

Contacting is really weird because you kind of have to warm up to the point where you don't care if people are mean. At first you are always (or at least for me) full of fear, but as time goes on and you let go of your fear you become a contacting machine. The trick for me is to make it fun/funny. I almost always try to make the person smile. Sometimes I do this by speaking with a SUPER heavy American accent and other times I ask if we can trade shoes or glasses or something. Hahaha Anyway! It was a super day. Our heads hit our pillows happy knowing we accomplished something great. 

I was thinking I should enlighten you on the "typical day" of a France Lyon Missionary. So, here it goes!

6.30-6.35 Wake up, say your prayers
6.35-7.05 Exercise (We go outside and run/do push ups/etc)
7.05-8.00 Eat, shower, get dressed for the day
8.00-9.00 Pray and start personal study (Scriptures, Church magazines, Preach my Gospel)
9.00-10.00 Pray and start companionship study (Prep for the day's lessons and role-play) I'm always the missionary because I need the practice more.. It is much easier to be the ami 
10.00-11.00 Because I'm a new missionary we do this program called "12 weeks" which is aimed to help me become a better missionary and adjust to missionary life. After this transfer I wont do this anymore. 
11.00-12.00 Pray and do language study. I usually take 15 minutes for the Book of Mormon in French, 15 minutes for church magazines in French and 30 minutes out of a work book. Elder Schneider is always there to help me with the pronunciations and stuff like this. 
12.00-1.00 Lunch
1.00-5.00 This is time outside--- contacting, teaching lessons, doing service, etc. 
5.00-6.00 Dinner
6.00-9.00 More lessons, contacting, service, getting lost in the metro...etc
9.00-9.30 Planning for the next day! 
9.30-10.30 Get ready for bed, eat food, write in your journal, read scriptures, relax 
10.30-Pray and go to bed

As a "bleu" we have an hour and a half extra in the apartment for studying but this next transfer I won't be considered a bleu anymore! WOOHOO! haha

Alright! Right now we are teaching a lot more than last week, which is super. Basically what has happened is that we have had a complete turn over of amis. 

We are still teaching the man who believes the church is true. It’s just that he can't come to church because of work. We are also teaching his wife, who is very pregnant and can't come to church because she is sick/pregnant. They are progressing very well but they just can't make it to church. We would love to baptize them but it is super important that we know that they are able to be committed. We don't want someone to become MORE accountable to only fall into inactivity. 

We have also found a SUPER, SUPER, SUPER cool guy about our age. He is here in Lyon studying to be an actor and is SO GOLDEN. I really think he could be baptized within three weeks. After sharing the Joseph Smith story, he said "I want to have an experience like that, were my prayers are answered." We also taught him with another young adult so hopefully he will start getting integrated into their activities. 

The language is really turning a corner this transfer. I try as hard as I can to speak French with my companion. It is a little frustrating sometimes because I still don't understand everything... especially if the person is black. Sometimes I will be speaking and I know the word but I just can't find it. I can see my hand flipping through index cards looking for it. Haha.

When I read I pretty much have everything down as long as it is in the scriptures. Advertisements and other things are difficult because they use jargon. I will consider myself fluent when I understand French jokes. Like in church when someone is speaking and then suddenly everyone laughs, I'm just sitting there like, "Okay, that was super funny... " too bad I didn't understand.

Guess what I saw on the metro?! A man with a Razorback hat! Yes, WOO PIG SOOIE! So, I only saw him after my companion had starting talking to him and I realized what it was and I pretty much ran over there and talked with him. He was actually French but his aunt lives in Arkansas! hahaha Super small world. 

Alright! So, I have a fun story for you. Do you remember my first lesson that I taught in France? If you don't, no big deal. My first lesson was with a woman who asked if her dog could be baptized and we said no and then she told us "But, he believes!"  So after that lesson the other equip of missionaries continued to teach her but eventually dropped her because she wasn't making progress and wasn't trying to stop smoking or drinking. 

Well, 2 weeks ago, I failed to mention that I saw this woman again. I passed her in the street and I saw her dog and I thought "I've seen that dog before" So I stopped and tried to get a better look at her to see if it was her (She wasn't wearing her normal clothes, she actually looked normal). I then realized it was her but I didn't know if she would remember me so I just said "Bonjour" and walked by. Immediately after she passed me I hear someone screaming super loud profanities in Franglish (French and English for those of you who are a bit slow) I realize that she is screaming at me! So I just continue to walk briskly as my companion has sprinted away from the situation. 

Anyway, after that we didn't see her for a while UNTIL this last week. We had just come from the mission office and were carrying supplies with us (two boxes of Book of Mormons and one box of pamphlets.. which aren't light. As we are almost to the metro we turn a corner and there she is. With her dog on a leash, a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Elder Schneider literally screams aloud and we turn around and run as fast as we possibly can with these huge boxes in hand. I was laughing SO hard because the situation was SO ridiculous. After running for about five minutes we stop and just look at each other and continue to laugh. Oh the life of a missionary. 

Something else funny, every time I contact a Jehovah Witness I GET CONTACTED and I get handed a Watch Tower and other pamphlets. I can't speak quickly enough to tell them no thank you... Just tell Jaime Chalmers that I am taken care of. 

I can't believe this transfer is almost over. Only two more weeks and I might be in a different ville. I really hope I stay here. I have come to love Lyon so much. The members of the church are fantastic, the city is full of people, and there are a ton of missionaries here. 

I think that is it for this week! I love you all very much and hope that everything is going well. The gospel is so true, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to make lasting change for the better!

Je vous aime!
Avec amour beaucoup,

Elder Johnson

1 comment:

  1. Last night I met a sister who finished her mission in Lyon this past November. She has dark hair. Does Cameron know her??? haha. Love the blog posts! His sense of humor will take the edge off any of the hard parts.