Monday, June 30, 2014

Bonjour Y'all!

This week was a great week. Lots of stuff going down. It always makes me happy to have a busy week. Anyway...

This week we had SO many meals with members. More than ever! haha. I've been trying really hard to treat the members here like guests at the ranch. Not so much catering to them but trying to be charming and I think it is working. :) Before, all I could really do was smile at them but now I can joke and talk with them like a normal person so it is awesome! Yay for French. Anyway!

On Monday we ate with a member that is about to move to Lyon. Which is kind of cool because I talk to her a lot about it and all of the members and how great it is. All of the food was good. Normal. hahaha  Then, later in the evening we ate with another member. She fed us artichokes. I love artichoke but I wasn't expecting it like this. In France they boil it whole, and then you rip the little petals off, bite the end of them, and then throw them in a bucket. Once you are down with all of the petals you get to the best part (The heart)! haha. Elder Sanchez didn't like it and the member thought it was pretty darn funny. 

Later this week we had a BBQ with the Famille Bontront. We asked them if we could do a little soiree with them, maybe with like three or four less actives and amis. Then, the day before they told us they were expecting 25 people! Hahaha. They invited their family and other families in the ward in addition to the amis that we had invited. It was so much fun. This past Sunday I asked Soeur Bontront what she liked to eat so we could make it for her to say thank you and she said, “Potatoes and butter”...  So, I'm not really sure if I'm going to make that for her or not. I said, "Is there anything we can do to thank you... service, food, etc" She then said, "I know! You could come over to our house again with amis and we could feed you!" 

Bahaha. I was just like NOOO! I want to thank you, not make more work for you! She is super awesome. 

The wonderful branch of Bergerac gave us a total of 5 meals this week! Haha. Not usually like this in Bergerac!

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Brive with Elder Hunt. I always like exchanges because you get to see how other equips work. You get ideas, etc. Anyway! On exchange we got to do service on this HUGE garden terrain. We planted onions for two hours. It was pretty intense. The member was super nice and fed us food afterwards too. I forgot my magnetic plaque so I borrowed Elder Kiser's and all of the members were like "WHAT?! Another missionary named Elder Kiser?!" Nope... just me. Another Johnson. hahaha (I am the only Elder Johnson in the mission at the moment!...wonder how long that will last)

On the exchange we contacted quite a bit in Centre Ville. It was hot that day so a lot of people were eating ice cream. Something that made me kind of happy was seeing all of the puddles of dropped ice cream on the ground. Every time I saw one I would make a scenario in my head of the person dropping it and how they reacted. Ha ha... I know, I'm sick. 

The day after the exchange we had District meeting. It was good. We talked a lot about Elder Andersen and the importance of remembering how we felt, what we learned, and applying it all. Heavenly Father is going to be a lot more willing to give us spiritual knowledge if we are willing to apply it. 

Our amis are doing really well. This week with Zoraya we taught the commandments and started working on her baptismal program! She should be baptized the 12th of July. Hopefully I don't get transferred out! I would be sad. 

Antonio is also doing well! He loves coming to church and the members. Sometimes it is hard for him though because we have come to the realization that he really doesn't understand French. He probably understands about 15ish percent. Keep him in your prayers.  He is happier than ever though :) Which is great

Beatrice is also doing great! Still waiting for something’s to arrange themselves and she will be baptized soon after! 

Soooo, I just read the mission newsletter and we get transfer calls tomorrow instead of Friday. Sneak peak! hahaha. That is crazy. I guess president will be busy doing something on Friday. Or that is what I assume. 

Oh, and we have another apostle coming to the mission! Elder Ballard is coming to Geneva! Except, this time only the missionaries in Switzerland will get to attend the conference. Still pretty cool though.

I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I'm not really sure why but as I have been pondering it, I started to think of people that have forgiven me and how fortunate I am to have been forgiven, which made me then think of the people that I should ask forgiveness of. 

It is an interesting thing to think about. It makes your reflect on the actions you make everyday and how they are going to affect other people. And then we have the greatest Forgiver of all, Jesus Christ. What an example we have. 

D&C 64:10- I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. 

I love you all and I hope that you have a fantastic week! 

Avec Amour,

Elder Johnson

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


All righty! I say it every week but I promise after this week I won't say it anymore but HOLY COW time passes so fast! I can't believe it. It is already almost July! 

Anyway! This week was good and crazy! I don't have a ton to share this week! 

On Monday we had an awesome exchange in Bordeaux! I went with Elder Taylor and Elder Sanchez went with Elder Beyers. I was happy to get to go with Elder Taylor just because we did a mini-exchange in Lyon before to teach seminary. We had an awesome time. 

We taught a lesson or two and it was already time for us to head out to our train. Unfortunately, the Zone Leaders live super far away from the Gare so we were stressing that we were going to miss our train. It was so close. We road the bus as far as we could but then the traffic got super congested and we bailed out of the bus and ran for the Gare. We probably ran close to a mile. hahaha. Poor Elder Taylor was fasting too. He was about to kill over. We made our train though with a few minutes to spare! :) 

Zoraya is doing awesome. This week we have a big BBQ planned at a member’s house and they told us to invite all of our amis to it. Zoraya is practically a member. Everyone loves her so much. She just needs to get baptized. But her date is coming around the corner. July 12th! Just three weeks. 

Juan Antonio is also doing really well. He seems happier now. It is pretty cool to see the different that the gospel can make in someone's life. That is one of my favorite aspects of the mission--is to see people change. 

Beatrice is also doing well! We have taught her all of the lessons and we are just waiting on few things and then as soon as they have been arranged she will be baptized :) 

This week we had a Branch activity were they made 72 hour kits and they opened them all up and reviewed them. with that they improve and saw what needed to be added or subtracted. Afterwards there was a picnic. 

Right now I am studying charity and the importance of it. I find that too often we complicate the gospel. We stress too much about the details and everything that we "have to do" but really there are just a few basic things that we must do to be happy and to live the gospel.

One of these things is to have charity. Charity is the highest form of love, meaning that if you have charity for others you love them as yourself. It means being humble, forgiving, and willing to help others.  One of the scriptures that I came across that I really liked was in 1 Corthinians 13:4--

 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Out of all of these principles, the greatest is charity...

This principle is further inforced with Moroni 7:46

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

We must have charity! Because if we don’t, we are nothing! 

Anyway! That is it for this week! I love you and pray for you lots!

Elder Johnson

PS-The next transfer date is the 6th of July... two weeks from now! It's creeping up! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

An Apostle, Baptisms, and Train Strikes

Wow! I have so much to tell you all! I feel like I haven't emailed in forever but really it is just because so much has happened this week. This past week seems like it was SO long but again, that's just because there was a lot of stuff that went down!

Okay, honestly, this has probably been the best week of my entire mission thus far. A little bit about the Nice Odysses.  So, the bus ride was really, really, really long. But it was good because that gave me the opportunity to study a lot. I was planning on reading the entire Book of Mormon but the zone leaders gave us a packet with the biographies of Elder and Sister Andersen and all of the talks he has ever given as a general authority. So I decided that it would be better to study that. 

Anyway! The bus ride down was interesting in the fact that we had been invited to not bring any games, talk loudly, or do anything that would disrupt the spirit. It was very interesting to see, mainly because I know the bus ride could have been VERY different from what it was. 

So we get into Nice around 6 and go directly to our hotel rooms. The Zone Leaders delivered pizza and gave us our breakfasts to keep until tomorrow. The other three hours we had before bedtime we used to write in our journals, talk a little bit louder than we had on the bus, and just relax and read scriptures. 

The next morning we got to the conference center around 7.30ish so that we could practice all of the hymns we were going to sing and study more. We had been told to not talk to old companions or missionaries that we hadn't seen in a long time. That was hard---but it was really good because we were able to preserve the spirit that was about.  After practicing the hymns the AP's came in and told us that Elder Anderson would be in shortly. They weren't joking because he literally walked in 5 seconds later. 

We all stood, took a picture, and then started with the actual conference.

Let me tell you, this conference has probably been the most spiritual experience on my mission thus far. It was absolutely incredible. I wish I could share everything that I experienced and felt but it is simply impossible. I have neither the time nor the ability to convey what I felt. 

In short, I learned things that are going to help me throughout my mission and more importantly, my life. Something Elder Andersen shared that I really just hit me was the importance of faith in our lives. He told us "what a privilege" it was to serve as a missionary in France because here you must learn how to act in faith. In France, I am learning to battle the evils of discouragement and learn to have unwavering discipleship. 

The things that I learn here as a missionary, will carry throughout my life.

My absolute favorite part of the conference was at the very end. Elder Anderson finished speaking, we sang the closing hymn and after the closing prayer, we all just sat in silence for about five minutes. As president Roney said in his weekly letter to the mission, "my heart burned." 

The ride home was pretty funny. At one point, I looked around and I would say about 90 percent of the bus was asleep. Hahaha. Everyone was so exhausted. We took two days to get back because we left on the same day as the conference. Our bus driver took us on more scenic ways which was cool. After staying the night in Montpellier we got back on the road and got into Bordeaux around 2ish. Our train was supposed to be around three but unfortunately, there is a huge train strike going on so only the main, important lines are running. Who would have thought a train to Bergerac wasn't essential? SO! We had to take another bus after riding a total of 20ish hours on a bus the days previous. 

We also had an exchange in Bergerac the next day with our district leader because we needed to do the baptismal interview for Juan Antonio. So we got into Bergerac around 8:00 and went back to the apartment exhausted. 

Well! I feel like I have kind of dropped the ball on telling you how Antonio is but he is great!  He got baptized Saturday! I was super happy for him. The baptism was really cool too because it was in the Dordogne River! Frere Benito baptize him because he could do the ordinance in Portuguese. 

After the actual baptism Juan Antonio came out of the river and he waved his arms around super happily. Elder Sanchez asked how he felt and he said that he felt great. It is always cool to see how happy God makes people. 

OH! And a tender mercy of the Lord, Annick (the sister of Rachelle, who was baptized when I was in Lyon) got baptized this week! It was in the mission newsletter! That made me SUPER happy. I'm glad she finally made the steps necessary to be baptized. I'm going to ask president if I can send her and her sister a letter.

So, in the mission newsletter president told us that Elder Andersen said that we were the "most prepared" missionaries that he has ever met. President Roney is super proud of us :)  

So I also kind of dropped the ball on this too, but right now we are having a mission wide competition called "THE WORLD CUP OF THE FRANCE LYON MISSION" and lessons, baptisms, and other things all count as points for your zone that you are serving in. But, the goal of this game is to have as many baptisms possible on July 5th at 6.00 PM. We are working towards a mission wide baptism! As a gift to Elder Andersen, we gave him a list of all the people who we thought would be baptized before or on that day. We have been working hard, and apparently there are 125 names on the list we gave him so it will be cool to see how our hard work turns out. 

I think that that is it for this week! I love you all so much! Always trust the Lord, even when you can't quite balance it out in your head. 

Que Dieu vous Benisse!

Elder Johnson

Sunday, June 8, 2014


So! I'm just emailing to say that there won't be a huge letter this week! But I will explain a little about the trip and what is going to go on there.

So! Our voyage to Nice starts on Sunday, actually. First, we will go to Bordeaux and spend the night there with other missionaries so we can catch the bus, which leaves the next morning at 8.30 AM. 

Apparently, the bus is supposed to take 13 hours but I looked on the maps on the church website and it should only take 8ish... but who knows. Buses are really slow. It is also a law in France that buses have to stop every 2 hours for fifteen minutes--which will be really nice because otherwise I might die.

On the bus ride there, I plan on trying to read the whole Book of Mormon :) We will see if I can do it-- if not I have the ride back too. 

So We get to Nice around 8.30 PM on Monday and go straight to the hotel and our rooms. 

The next morning we wake up and go to the conference center and wait for Elder Anderson! :) haha I'm pretty darn excited. President has promised us, that if we prepare well enough--and that we follow the rules that he has set in place exactly, this conference will change our lives. 

It will not just be another conference. It will be something that will change our hearts, our missions, and our lives. 

I love you all lots! 

Avec amour,
Elder Johnson

(Because I can't not tell you a crazy person.)

So, Elder Sanchez and I are walking to the chapel when we pass this woman who is sitting on the steps that go up into an apartment building. We see her there often and usually say hi and each time she is like "What?! You guys again?!" Even though it has been several days since the last time we saw her... but anyway! 

We stop and talk to her and ask how she is doing and she says "OH! You're the Jehovah's Witnesses!" And we say, nooooo we are actually completely different and whatever..

Then she says "Oh, well that's good. I made a promise with the devil." “Oh, really? What did you promise him?”. "I can't say but I get to live longer now."

Voila! Crazy person of the week

Love you!