Monday, March 10, 2014

Bonjour ma famille!

Hey everyone! I hope everything is well across the big pond! Things here in France are going quite nicely. I think the weeks with the big coat and scarf are over! Spring is really trying to come through. It is super nice after having the first few months of my mission cold and rainy. 

Anyway! I'm sure all you wanted to hear about is the weather so I don't even know what the point is of continuing to write... Okay!

Everyone is asking about my new companion! I tried to tell you some things the last time I wrote but I had only known him for about three hours so it was a little hard to share information. But! A week has gone by so I have a bit more to say! 

My new companion is named Elder Du Pre. He is 6'8'' and from Orem, Utah! He has been on his mission for close to six months and was serving in Bayonne which is on the border of Spain and France on the Atlantic side. That was the ville that he was "born in" as in into the mission. He was super sad to leave but happy to be serving in Lyon. 

He is super funny! It is SO different having an American colleague.  I didn't really realize how great of a cultural difference there was between me and Elder Schneider! It wasn't a bad thing but it is interesting to see how used to someone you can become in three months. Anyway, Elder Du Pre and I are going to get along very well. 

So apparently in France this week and last week are like Spring Break so Gwenael is still out of town but we text him close to everyday. We called him and he said that he started the Book of Mormon from the beginning and reads every night! He is so awesome. He writes down everything that he learned from the chapter. He is definitely not typical. Hashtag ELECT. 

Rachelle and Annick are also doing super well! They came to church again this Sunday and talked to the bishop afterwards. Annick is super funny. I like that I am starting to understand the language enough to realize people actually have personalities. They aren't just these robots that speak French! WHO KNEW? Anyway, after they talked to the bishop we asked them how it went and Rachelle got super quiet and said, "It was good." and we said "ANDDDD?" and she said, "This Wednesday I tell you the day I want to be baptized!"  

We can only see Rachelle and Annickk about once a week but they said that they want to learn English so I think we will be able to start seeing them more than once. We agreed to get fed African food in exchange for English lessons ;)

Pretty sure Elder Johnson is getting the "I'm ignoring you" not interested. 

So the first day in Lyon with Elder Du Pre was just a little weird. I feel like all of the weird people were out and about that day... For example:

We walked onto the metro and sat down and about two minutes later I see this woman on the other side of the metro pull out a newspaper with handwriting all over it. She is glaring at us holding this newspaper with all of this Arabic-French handwriting on it and she starts repeating "WHERE DO THEY LIVE?!" Over and over and over. When she got tired of waiting to receive revelation from the devil she switched to "BLASPHÈME" and said that over and over and over and then I think she ended on "IT'S THE CULT!" I started laughing really hard. It was so bizarre. I almost felt honored that she felt threatened enough by two nineteen year old boys in suits to try and curse us. 

I looked around at other people on the metro to see if anyone else was noticing what was going on and there was just ONE other person besides Elder Du Pre. It was the girl I was sitting next to (she was laughing pretty hard herself). I asked her what she thought about what was being said and she replied "Elle est très malade" (She is very sick).  

You may think that the purpose of me telling you this story may be because I thought you would think it was funny--but in reality it is just to give everyone a "heads up" for when I turn into a frog or something worse. 

As a missionary it is completely normal to have people staring at you. It is just something that happens. People see to young kids dressed nice and they immediately become intrigued. At first I was super uncomfortable with it but then I got over it. WELL, I need to get over it again because oddly enough, when you have a 6'8'' companion the number of stares you get increases drastically. 

I think that because I'm starting to get better at the language I am making a lot more mistakes. Or at least that is what I tell myself. Anyway! We were talking with Rachelle (last week she wasn't able to come to church because she was sick) so I tried to tell her "We missed you last week!" but the verb "to miss" is tricky and I said as a declarative sentence "You missed us last week!" It was super funny because in the lesson I thought that they replied weird to what I had said. Because they were like "Uhhhh, yeah I guess so!" Bahaha. It's a good thing they are so nice and the spirit is there to help them understand because this work would be impossible without it. 

This week I have been studying the Book of Mormon pretty hardcore. Right now I am just in second Nephi. I have a genuine love for the Book of Mormon. I always feel uplifted after reading it... well, unless you are in the war chapters where you are praying that the Nephites will repent. But that is besides the point.

Right now Jacob is testifying of the Atonement and Judgment. Chapter nine is a super powerful chapter. It speaks about how merciful God is for giving his Only Begotten to save us. He gave up His Son knowing that the world would reject him, spit upon him, and eventually Crucify Him. Jacob reflects on this by saying;

 10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our bescape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.  2 Nephi 9:10

How great the goodness of our God, to save us from that "awful monster". We are saved from physical and spiritual death. 

Another verse I really liked in the chapter was verse 49, which says:

 49 Behold, my soul abhorreth sin, and my heart delighteth in righteousness; and I will praise the holy name of my God. 2 Nephi 9:49

Righteousness isn't being perfect. It is having a pure love for truth and detesting the very thought of sin--knowing that it if we are to sin, it will isolate us from God.

Anyway! That is it for this week! I am happy to being serving in Lyon again with a new companion! This transfer is going to be great! I member gave a talk this Sunday and said something that really stuck with me. She said "Soyez heureux et ressentez l'amour de votre Dieu."

I love you all! Remember: ''Be happy and feel the love of your God.''
Avec Amour,

Elder Johnson

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