Monday, February 23, 2015

Curb call? And a Baptism!

Getting caught in the rain... and hail.

Alors! This week was really good! It was super stressful and I was kind of freaking out for a little bit of it but then it all turned out. Jean Luc's baptism was part of the cause because the branch wasn't sure if there was going to be a very big turn out and there were some other things that weren't really missionary related that we had to do this week that just complicated things. But, in any case!  It was a great week.

Well! We had a super fun exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Miner (who was in Périgueux when I was in Bergerac came on exchange with me). It was awesome because we were able to pass a bunch of less-actives and old amis that Elder Miner knew from when he served here. We saw some cool miracles. 

One in particular is when we decided that we should pass Danny. Danny is a less active. I've tried passing him a few times but he is never there and the missionaries from before had warned us saying that his wife is super mean and wants nothing to do with the church. 

When we passed, he was there! He let us in and was happy to receive us. He is going through a super tough time right now. He looked really sad. His wife has been in a coma for three months now and he has been having some serious health problems as well. For the entire rendezvous, we probably said three or four sentences and he just told us all of his problems and trials. At the end of the rendezvous he wanted to pray and he thanked Heavenly Father for sending us over when He did, because he needed it. 

I was touched when I listened to his prayer because the only thing I did was sit there and listen. I didn't preach or tell him anything. I just listened. In that moment, I realized how powerful our calls as missionaries actually are. We represent Jesus Christ. We bring just a sample, maybe a .0001 percent of the peace that Christ brings. And being a conduit of that is a source of immense joy. 

We also had Zone Conference! Which was super awesome. I love seeing all of the other missionaries! It is always a highlight of the transfer. Also seeing president and sister Roney is always a nice thing. They love us so much. They love us like their children and we love them. 

Elder Miner and me

One of the highlights from Zone Conference was watching "Meet the Mormons!" President was like, you've been working hard so we are going to watch meet the Mormons! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was a very feel good movie. I was surprised at how touching a lot of it was. Oh, especially the candy bomber! That got me. 

Elder DuPre, Elder Palmer, and me
Watching the movie made me think a lot about my family because the last family/person that the movie features is a family sending off a missionary and the events leading up to it. It was kind of like reliving the last few weeks before becoming a missionary and then the day you get dropped off. It seems like it was yesterday I was getting dropped off at the MTC. I remember looking forward towards all of the time that I had left for my mission and just thinking, I'm never going to finish! 2 years is so long! But looking back at the time that I have served has passed in a heartbeat! 

Elder Taylor and me

Anywayyyy...You should watch "Meet the Mormons" if you haven't. I give it a good rating. 

The highlight of the week was the baptism of Jean Luc! It was a really good service and a lot of people were actually able to come. I was stressing out because everyone was like, “Nooo, we can't come, sorry” and we had to organized little refreshments afterwards and no one was going to come. So I was freaking out. And then last second everyone could come! It was a miracle. I thought we were going to need to move the baptism to next week because of how few people could come but turns out that quite a few were actually able to. I'm kind of wandering, going on and on babbling but I'm just super happy people were able to come because it really was a huge stress. 

Jean Luc's baptism
 Jean Luc was so happy. He was taking all of these pictures and saying "I can't wait to show all of my friends and my mom!" then he was like "I can't wait to be a missionary!" WOO! He has to become a little less “gansta” to be a missionary but I see it happening! 

I was able to confirm him a member on Sunday. It was pretty awesome. :) The branch really likes Jean Luc and suddenly the branch leaders have been a little bit more disposed to listen to what we have to say or needs that we have probably because we had a baptism. But hey! Whatever you have to do!

So, I probably had the worst thing I've ever had said to me this week, in French and English. HA! It was kind of funny but really disgusting too. Anyway... we are walking down the street and this car pulls by, never coming to an actual stop, just rolling slowly. ANDDDD, basically what happened is that we got a curb-call. Two guys asked us for certain services that any decent human being would not agree to and certainly no missionary would agree to. It was an experience to say the least. After I said no and starting walking off, in pure shock, Elder Acheson is like, “What did they say! What did they say?!” I'm just like "You don't want to know, you don't want to know!" Haha...  It was quite shocking. 

On a lighter note, I taught Elder Acheson how to play Chubby Bunny with the marshmallows you sent to me. :) That was hilarious. 

ANYWAY! That was our week! It was good! Working hard. Enjoying life. Nothing could be better. 

I love you all! Que Dieu vous bénisse!
Avec amour,
Elder Johnson 

At a members home who is from Texas for dinner.
American food = Hamburgers.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Awesome Week

Hello family and friends! This week was awesome! We have had an terrific week! And it was all because we worked super hard and trusted God.

Being crazy on the train with Elder Acheson
Church building where our branch meets 

Our amis are doing great! First off, Jean Luc is so awesome. He has really turned around and he is so ready to be baptized this Saturday! :) I'm excited. He is excited. We are all excited! He reads his scriptures and prays everyday. He also said every time he reads the Book of Mormon, he feels God's love for him. It is always wonderful to teach him. He has such genuine questions and concerns. We taught him about missionary work this last week and he asked if he could be a missionary, and we said, yeah. And he said "Oh good! That is something I want to do!" 

The Cathedral in Perigueux

So I have good news and I have bad news with Yin. Yin is doing so good! He feels good when he comes to church, he reads and prays and I think he sees himself being a member in the future. With that said, Yin is moving to Bordeaux because he finally found an internship. When he told me it was bittersweet. Bitter obviously because he is moving to Bordeaux and I won't be a part of his learning experience anymore but so sweet because he has been praying to find a job for such a long time! It really isn't even that bitter, just because I know he will be able to continue to draw closer to Christ. I'm just feeling kind of selfish and want to be a part of it with him. 

Saying goodbye to Yin

Other than that, we don't have any amis at the moment. We have been searching super hard. Talking to everyone! Even the really old, French ladies that just look at us like we are aliens before continuing on their way. 

Finally getting rid of the old broken fridge. 

This week has been FULL of miracles. It really has been. We have received a lot of numbers from people. More numbers this week than my last transfer combined! Yeah, pretty awesome. One of the miracles that we had was when I was on exchange with the other Elder Johnson from Bergerac. We set the goal to get 12 conversations during our exchange (usually you can get around 5 or 6 a day), so we were going to go crazy. We told ourselves that we wouldn't go back into the apartment until we had all of our conversations. At the beginning of the day, we had a great start but as the day went on, it started raining and got dark. We visited a member really quick so that we could pray with them so that we could get our goal. After we prayed with them, we had about 30 minutes until we had to go into the apartment, it was still raining, and there was literally no one in the streets. We literally RAN around looking for people to talk to. The first person we talked to was literally a drug dealer... and we ran away because they were scary and I thought about Marseille when we started to approach him. #thankyouHOLYGHOST 

People seemed to just be so mean, but we didn't get discourage and just kept running around looking for people. Eventually we got two conversations and we needed one more conversation with ten minutes to go! We said a prayer and then ran around the dark, wet streets of Perigueux until finally we found someone and he was super nice and talked to us! WE DID IT. We were so happy. As soon as we got into the apartment we knelt down in prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for our success. 

Elder Johnson and Elder Johnson out on exchanges

One of the miracles that we had on the exchange was when we contacted this woman who looked a little Arabic but we contacted her anyway. When we started talking to her she all of a sudden, in English, says "I LIKE!" Pointing to our plaques. She is from the Philippines and she has been in France for a few years now. She went to the church in Paris but lost contact when she came here. SO COOL!

Passing (Contacting)

So! Funny story! We contacted this man and he said then all of the sudden he started speaking in English. As we are talking to him, I asked him how he spoke English so well and he then said that he had lived in England for 50 years and that is how he spoke so well. Anyway! He then tells us that he was the butler for Prince Philip! LOL. I'm not sure how true it was but he seemed to know quite a bit about it... maybe it was real! He didn't live in Buckingham because you have to be British to be the butler there but he was the butler somewhere else. 

He also said " I can guess your birthday!" And I was like, okay, this guy is crazy but then he says, I just need to shake your hand... he shakes my hand and then says "You were born in August, weren't you?!" And I said, ”Yes!” Then he said, "I think you were born August 5th" I said, “Nope but close!” Then he said the 2nd of August. So close. He then asked me what my birthday was... and I told him the third. I was still super impressed! lol 

Anyway! It was great! I laughed so hard afterwards. 

The soeurs (sister missionaries) in our zone.
That was our week! It is starting to get a little bit warmer! 
Je vous aime!
Que Dieu vous bénisse!
Elder Johnson  

The cathedral in Bergerac

Monday, February 9, 2015

Snow, A week in Lyon and a Baby!

Hello everyone. This email, may be a bit shorter than others just because I'm typing on a French keyboard and it is probably the worst invention to man. You have to shift to use the period and the “q” is where the “a” should be. I'm really close to just screaming at the top of my lungs and karate chopping the computer in half.

Aside from this stupid computer, this week has been pretty darn good! Super, super, 
super cold but really good.

It snowed going to Lyon, like a lot! We had to stay in Toulouse for a night and we all slept horribly because their windows were huge and they let a ton of light in and the apartment next to us was having a crazy loud party. When we all woke up, Elder Berry said... "Ah, it is snowing, I'm going back to bed." and I thought he was just quoting a movie or something but then I look outside like five minutes later and it actually was snowing.  And all of the French people starting melting and freaking out because they don't usually get snow. I thought it was rather nice... but they don't really like it. Probably because they just aren't used to it. 

 Luckily it melted pretty quickly otherwise missionary work would have been hard. I’m glad their isn't snow in our missions everyday like some places. It was a pleasant surprise. It also snowed a little bit in Lyon but just flurries. It was really, really cold. I thought I was going to die at how cold it was. The temp wasn't even that could but the wind was wicked. 

First off, I spent the entire week in Lyon! It was both good and bad. Good because I love Lyon and les Lyonnais but bad because we weren't able to teach our amis all week AND because we had to eat out like everyday and that gets really expensive. Normally when you go to get a bleu, you leave Lyon on Thursday. But I can't complain: Lyon is so awesome and with all of that extra time I was able to go see Rachelle! She is doing so well! She is currently preparing to go to the temple! March 23 will mark her being a member for one year. 

Visit with Rachelle

I wasn’t able to see Annick which was sad. She had to work. Rachelle told me she isn't doing so well. She hasn't come to church in a long time and she is sick from stress because her son that is in Africa has been in danger a lot recently. So, please keep them in your prayers. It makes me really sad to hear that she isn't doing so well. It must be so hard to have a child on another continent. I just hope that she realizes she needs to trust God and go to church too. Whenever trials come, that is the most important time to go to church and to put God first. 

We got into Lyon Tuesday with all of the other trainers. We were taken out to dinner to this super good Pizza place by the zone leaders. It was so much fun to be there with all of the other trainers. It was kind of like a mini vacation.... lol. Except, as fun as the mini vacation was, I was so ready to go back to Périgueux and start doing work! It makes you crazy not being able to do missionary work in your sector. 

Elder Johnson with Elder Acheson his "baby" or "bleus"

Wednesday rolled around and that is when we got our bleus (the baby that I referenced in the subject line) aka new missionary in the field, a greeny. I have never been so nervous on my mission until that moment! All of the trainers are sitting on one side of the chapel and all of the bleus on the other!  It was really an awesome experience! I literally was about to fly out of my chair whenever a bleu went up to read their assignment. President makes them like a mini mission call for them to read to open in front of everyone and then everyone freaks out when they read it, lol. 

Trainers with their their bleus

There are actually two sisters (literal sisters) that are serving to together! One of the sister's is training the other one... Whenever she read her call like everyone in the chapel starting crying, especially president Roney. It was an interesting thing to witness. I was just thinking the whole time how cool of a story that will be for their families in the future. Pretty sick. 

The two sisters.  The younger one has been in the mission field for some time.
The older just arrived.  The younger sister will now be her trainer.  What are the odds ?

Thursday we did a LOT of contacting... the bleus did their legality that day. Apparently their flight coming here got cancelled so they missed their normal legality appointment and that is why we stayed in Lyon for so long. Friday was kind of the same thing. We had some stuff to do, we sang in the gare with all of the missionaries. That was so fun. So many people stopped and listened. I was surprised. We sang "Families Can Be Together  Forever" and totally sang about temple marriages to a bunch of random French people. I loved it. 

SO! My "son" as the mission calls it (my bleu) His named Elder Acheson. He is from Provo, Utah. He is super cool. I love him already. He French is impressive and all of the members seem to really like him. We are going to have a great transfer together, I just know it. It is weird being a trainer. It is kind of stressful but I like it. I think back to when I started my mission and how hard and weird and interesting and exciting it was. 

Elder Acheson

That is it for this week! I love you all: 

Elder Johnson


So, we walk into church this Sunday and there is a missionary in there that I don't recognize! I have no idea who this guy is, so I go up and start speaking to him in French and he has a weird English accent. Turns out that he had just got home from his mission in Provo. He was having a super hard time speaking French. It was really funny. Apparently he came to Périgueux to meet with the stake president to get released... Voila