Monday, December 1, 2014

Pain in the Butt, Turn the Other Cheek... I've heard them all!

A mothers note:  I received a phone call from the mission president the day before Thanksgiving letting me know that Cameron and his companion had been mugged/attacked and he had been stabbed but was fine and in good spirits.  Not a call you want to get when your son is so far away.  With that said, I did have a little break down after the call but realized how God had a hand in protecting him and his companion from it being much worse.  Cameron is on his mission for a reason and it’s not time for it to be over.  Thanks to all of our friends and family who ask about him and pray for him, we appreciate all of your support.  The rest is going to be a breeze after this, right? -  Amy J

Well. I'm not really sure how to begin this email. I will say this week was no less than eventful. I venture as far to say that this week has been the hardest week of my mission... and hopefully the hardest it ever will be. 

My companion and I were assaulted and I ended up getting kicked several times and stabbed once. I'm perfectly fine now. It isn't that serious... I mean, getting stabbed is kind of serious thanks to the fact that I got stabbed in my right butt cheek it wasn't that big of a deal. 

Elder Lapointe and I had planned on passing a less active member that had just moved into the ward from Lyon. We had never visited his house before so we didn't really know where it is but we got directions from him to walk from a certain metro stop. It is about 6:30, rainy and dark already. We step outside of the metro station and I can tell it is kind of a sketchy area but I'm not too worried because we have directions. We turn left going out and realize that we have turned the wrong way, so we turn the other way and go back to the metro station look at a map just to confirm that we are going the right direction. I see a bus stop and know that there are always maps on those so Elder Lapointe and I start looking at them and talking. There are a few people around. There is a girl sitting at the bus stop and a few people milling around underneath the cover of the entrance of the metro. 

Anyway, I'm looking at the map and saying something to Elder Lapointe when I hear someone say "Videz vos poches." which means to empty your pockets. I look to the right of me where Elder Lapointe is standing and I see a guy who is holding Elder Lapointe's wrist and has a knife with his face covered. So, there are two guys with Elder Lapointe, which are starting to take his stuff and my first instinct is to run but I realize that there is a guy behind me AND Elder Lapointe wouldn't be able to get away. 

At this point I haven't understood the reality of the situation. I remember thinking, "We are seriously being robbed at knife point right now." So, I start to take the phone out of my pocket when the guy behind me grabs it out of my hands. After he grabbed it he said "C'est quoi ca?!" Which just means "What is this?!" I guess he was disappointed in our really crappy missionary phone. Anyway, at this point, I’m facing the guy that took our phone and without even thinking I step back, arc my umbrella as far back as I can and whack this guy's face. He ran back a few feet holding his face. I looked at him and he wasn't interested in bothering me for the moment. 

Elder Lapointe and the two other guys weren't aware that I was "free" and that I had hit this guy's head so I turn my attention to the other two guys who are in the process of taking off Elder Lapointe's watch. I yelled at them to stop and then coming from behind wielding my umbrella, whacked one of them as hard as I could. After that he ran away. I wanted to hit the one with the knife but Elder Lapointe was in between him and me so I settled for the one closest to me. 

After I had whacked this second guy (who ran away) the first one I whacked took courage and came at me. As he did, we both fell in the street (it was wet so it was pretty easy to slip). Now that I'm on the ground, the one with the knife and the one that fell with me start kicking me. This part of the story is a huge blur for me because each time I was about to get up I would get pushed down and kicked so I was kind of disoriented. Before I fell I saw the one with the knife come at me and I was really hoping that he wouldn't be able to stab me.

Once they kick me a few times (and apparently stab me, at this point I am not aware.) Elder Lapointe snaps out of his shock and pulls the guy with the knife off of me, who then runs away and before Elder Lapointe can get to the first guy that I hit, he runs away too. 

All this went down in about a minute…if that.

I stand up, I feel like I've just been beat up but I don't feel that it is super serious. I wasn't sure if I had gotten stabbed when I stood up but I thought, well, it isn't THAT serious if I can't feel it right now…even with the adrenaline. Then I hear Elder Lapointe say "Elder! You're bleeding!" And, sure enough, there is a ton of blood seeping out of my pants. It looks pretty serious with the amount of blood that there is but we are both pretty calm. 

As soon as the three guys ran away, all of these nice Muslims come up to us and ask us what is going on and what happened and if they can help us. They let us use one of their phones and we call President Roney. He contacts the other equip of missionaries and senior couple to meet us at the hospital. 

We take the metro to the hospital (because it is faster than waiting for an ambulance) and we go into the emergency room to see a waiting room full of people, at least 40. Yikes. I go up to the front desk and I can't speak French anymore. The woman doesn't understand a word that I'm saying and the shock hits me like a bucket of cold water as I realize what just happen. So, I start getting upset but luckily Elder Lapointe started talking to her in English and we got things sorted out. 

We sit down and wait for about 10 minutes before I go into the "screening" to see how serious it is (basically to see how long they can make you wait). The doctor looks at it and luckily it is only about an inch and a half long and probably two inches deep. So, they put some gauze on it and then send me out to wait again. The other equip of Elders gets there and we explain what happened. We call president again who tells us that Bishop and the Zone Leaders are coming to the hospital. 

After waiting for about 40ish minutes I finally get to go into the room and they stitch me up... Three stitches. That's it. They prescribe me some pain medicine because I got kicked all over. We tried to call the police but they wouldn't start a case until after we had documents from the hospital.  

After I come out the bishop and the zone Leaders are there. They are happy to see me. We get some paper work done and then bishop starts to drive us home when he says, "Lets go to McDonalds." Lol. So, he buys us all McDonalds and ice-cream and gets me my pain meds from the pharmacy and when we finally get home we all crash because it is about 30 passed midnight. And that is how it went down. 

Honestly, I just look back and realize how lucky I was to have been not seriously injured. I mean, yeah I got stabbed but they stabbed me in my butt cheek. It could have been a lot worse. The doctor said that if he had to choose where to get stabbed, he would get stabbed in the butt. lol. 

The few days after the actually incident, it was super hard to do missionary work. It just throws your whole game off. Literally the first thing I thought of when I stood up after getting kicked and stabbed was:
1. I don't want to tell my family about this.
2.Thank you for protecting me.
3.I'm not mad.

I just decided that right of the bat this experience wouldn't be something that ruined my mission or how I viewed other people. It was a really unfortunate and dangerous situation but it could have been a lot worse and I could have decided to get angry about it but I realized how that wouldn't change anything and the only person that it would affect is me. 

This Sunday was Ward Conference and there were a lot of people from the stake in the chapel, so we ended up sitting on the front. Half way though the program, Bishop and Stake President start talking a little bit. And I realize that they are taking up the time and how there is going to be a lot of time left... so I immediately put my head down but as bishop stands up I know that I'm going to get called up to bear my testimony or something like that. And sure enough, I get called up. 

It was probably the best experience of the entire week. I was able to testify of God's love and His help. As terrible as the situation was, I have already overcome it thanks to the gift of God's love. I prayed SO much. I prayed so that I could forgive the guys that did this and I prayed that it wouldn't affect the work. I was able to testify of forgiveness and the power of the Atonement. Never have I understood more clearly the power of the Atonement of Christ. It isn't just for when we sin---it is for situations where we cannot overcome a trial alone. 

This experience was terrible and I would never wish to live it again. But if I had the choice, I don't know if I would NOT live it. I've grown and I know that the knowledge and thankfulness that I have gained is worth the pain I experienced. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and I came across a scripture that really helped me. 

2 Nephi 4 20-24:

20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
 21 He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
 22 He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
 23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
 24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

I prayed to Heavenly Father and received His help. I know that it would not have been possible for me to get back to work the way I did without His help. And I know with resoluteness that He protected me. Never take for granted the blessings you have. And never doubt that you have a Father in Heaven that cares about you. Because He is there, and He loves you.

I love you all. Thank you for your prayers. Continue to pray for me
Avec amour and reconnaissance,

Elder Johnson


  1. This is Elder Lapointe's morher, Julia. Thank you for sharing this experience in such detail. Elder Lapointe undoubtedly shared in your initial thought as to "not share" with his family, as he too relayed the experience rather lightly and with much humor as to not frighten us to death. He did mention how brave and what a good sport you were through the whole ordeal as well. My love and sympathies to your mother!!! I'm sure mothers of missionaries everywhere join me in thanking our Heavenly Father for keeping a vigilant, watchful eye over our valiant strippling warriors!

    1. Hello Joy, This is Amy Elder Johnson's mother. :) I am so grateful our sons were watched over and protected that day. I feel some good and some great things came out of this crazy and scary experience. I hope your son is doing well in his new are, "up north" in the cold (That is how Elder Johnson described it). Thank you for your kind words. Amy