Monday, April 27, 2015


Hello family and friends! I have a lot of thing to tell you! I'll start with the conference in Lyon :)

So! Friday of last week we got on a bus in Toulouse and headed towards Lyon with ALL of the other missionaries in the Toulouse and Montpellier Zones. It was about a six-hour ride. It went by really fast though because we just all talked about funny stories and read scriptures and talks from the Area Seventy that was coming.

We got into Lyon around 7PM and went to the Ecully chapel, and literally the entire mission was there. All 240ish missionaries. It was insane seeing so many missionaries. There were so many that I had never even seen before mostly because I have stayed on the south west side of the mission. But anyway, the office had bought all of the missionaries pizzas. They bought a crazy amount of pizza. There was a mountain of boxes afterwards the size of a car.

The actual conference took place on Saturday. And I was pleasantly surprised at how spiritual it was. I went in with the idea that I was going to just hear about all of the rules and the "nuts and bolts" of having iPads. But it was very uplifting! Elder Nielson (he spoke in this last general conference about his sister) came and showed us the view from "40,000 feet." as he said.

The church is introducing technology with iPads to missionaries for a number of reasons. They see that the work is going to explode because most people know that going from door to door and talking to people on the street is becoming less and less effective. Already one cool point.

The church also wants missionaries to develop good social media habits for when they are home and the way the iPads are formatted, we still have a ton of freedom so we will have to learn how to use them correctly and effectively.

The conference was also super, super cool because I got to see all of my old companions! (All of them that aren't home). It was like a giant family reunion. Every time a bus pulled up to the church it was like Christmas. It was also super weird because the sisters from my group are going home this week and I'm here in Lyon with them all. It is a really weird feeling to see them going home. Frankly, it is hard for me to believe!

When President shook my hand for the conference he said "Good morning Stabby..." And then when he said goodbye, he told me I needed to keep my iPad in my back right pocket... just to be safe. Lol. I just imagine him lying in bed at night thinking about what he could say and then just laughing. He is too funny. I really love him. He only has 8 weeks left on his mission and it makes me super sad to think I'm not going to finish with him. I never imagined my mission president being someone who has influenced me so much.

As for visiting members I got to visit the Famille Bonnamy! It was sick to see them again. I really like them. They had us over for some juice and a tarte citron. We talked for about an hour and a half and just caught up. They asked me how much time I had left and they were shocked that I only had six months. Time passes fast!

Bonnamy family
Cool tender mercy... We are waiting in the metro station for the next car when I'm looking around and I see this woman that looks super familiar. I keep looking and I realize it is Annick! HA! I run up to her and she is like, “ WHAT?! IT IS YOU! JOHNSON!” hahaha It was so awesome. She was really happy to see me, as I was happy to see her. She is doing better but she hasn't been going to church. Rachelle is still going to church though, which is awesome. After seeing her, I felt overwhelmed with how much God loves us and gives us little experiences like that. What are the chances of visiting a city of two and half million people for a couple of days and I am going to come across someone that I know? God is so awesome :)

In the end we didn't even get iPads yet! The mission has received the cases but not the iPads. President has named the conference we had,”The iPad Case Conference.” lol. I imagine in the next month we will have them. It will be weird but after being at that conference, I see how much it can advance the work. I'm very excited.

So... I'm actually still in Lyon right now.... because I'm training AGAIN! I guess I messed up so terribly they decided to give me a second chance. I'm excited and nervous to train again. I'm sure it will be a great learning experience. I'll be here in Lyon until Wednesday if all goes as planned. I am pretty sad to see Elder Ottesen leave Albi, he has been a great companion. But we will see each other at BYU. Anyway!

Saying goodbye to Elder Ottesen

That is about it for this week. I love you all so much. Every time I think about you all, I just work harder. Thank you for your support and above all, your prayers (especially because the bleu will be the one driving the car).

Je vous aime tous!

Elder Johnson

Monday, April 20, 2015

iPads? Mile Time Trial?

Hello! Family and friends! This week was crazy! We had lots of things to do this week! 

This last week we had two exchanges! We had one with the Zone Leaders in Toulouse. Frankly, Toulouse is beautiful. Almost all of the buildings are red brick and les Toulousains are super nice. It is a little more upbeat than Bordeaux but still classic French. I loved it. 

Something cool about my exchange with Elder Kirkpatrick was that we didn't have anything really solid as a plan. We didn't have any fixed rendezvous, so we pretty much contacted the entire time. A cool miracle, we contacted this girl and she was from IDAHO and not a Mormon! She was super nice and although she was super rushed she wanted to meet with us again to talk about the church and all that cool stuff. She has family that is Mormon. I mean she is from Idaho so she must know a little bit about the church. Anyway, that was probably the best part of the entire exchange. 

Recently when I have been talking to people, I've noticed how nice they actually are. People talk all the time about how rude French people are and how they don't like Americans or whatever but it isn't true! They are actually really nice. You just have to know how to break through their superficial social barriers. A lot of the things they do to indicate that they aren't interested is pretty rude to an American but to a French person that is how you say no. 

France has become more and more of another place in the world to me than a foreign country. I'm still struck with how beautiful things are and it is true, there are some pretty weird things here but whenever I walk down the street I don't think "Wow, I'm in France right now, it is so crazy... wow France." I used to, but now I just feel comfortable here. haha

Anyway! We had another exchange with the district leader, Elder Gossel and Elder Keller. I went with Elder Keller. He is cool. He is just in his fourth transfer. He is in the same group as Elder Brill. Our exchange was pretty "relaxed". We took and hour and a half bus ride to a members house, did service, ate pizza and left. And that was our exchange! haha

This week we had district meeting here in Albi. I like not being district leader! hahaha It is nice to be the one who is listening, not the once teaching. When we were talking about our stuff I thought a lot about the last six months that I have on my mission and how important it is going to be for me to set good goals so I stay focused and work as hard as a I can to the very end. So, I've fixed some pretty stellar goals. Elder Ottesen challenged me to try to gain ten pounds before the end. I told him it would be easy. I could just eat nutella before going to bed every night. hahaha.

The work is going really well. We found some really cool potential(s) this week. We kind of got destroyed at the end of the week. No one could meet with us so we just had to port and contact all day. At the beginning I had a really bad attitude about it. I didn't want to walk around all day, it is hard! But as I forced myself to think about how the least I could do was sacrifice my will to the Lord for four hours it got a lot better. 

We saw a lot of miracles! We were able to teach one lesson at a door and we got several numbers of cool people. At the end of the day we ended up with 23 conversations! WOO! The average is usually around 7. I was pretty happy. We worked really hard.

Sunday I had to conduct and preside. And I blessed the sacrament. It was one of the rougher weeks as far as that goes but it is getting easier. Anyway! 

That is about it for the week! I love you all! Sorry about no pictures.. I forgot my card reader in the apartment...


Elder Ottesen and I have been running all transfer and this morning we decided to run a mile time trial on a 200 meter concrete track.  Well, let's just say I wanted to die. hahaha I ran a 5.37 and he ran a 5.07. It was so hard. I remember thinking the entire time, “This sucks, I hate running. Why do I run?” Then when I got done I was really happy. The end. hahah

Also, the mission is having a MISSION WIDE conference in Lyon this Friday so we can get iPads! YAY! hahaha. Just kidding, I don't really want one. I've done without for this far on my mission and it has been okay. But yeah.

Donc, voila quoi, vous savez... bien. C'est tout. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


Hello Family and friends! 

This letter is going to be pretty pathetic... We had a really good week but I am trying to think about what I did and literally nothing comes to my head. But, I will think of things! 

Okay... I noticed some really weird things about France today:

*Whenever you drive into a car wash, you get out of your car and watch your car get      washed by the machine! It is so lame... they miss the best part of getting your car            washed. 

*The man on the crosswalk light here is green... not white like in the US of A. 

*Hedgehogs roam the hills and mountains freely. They are considered wild animals here. 

*Hugging people is a more intimate greeting than giving each other kisses on the cheeks. 

Yeah... that is pretty much all for weird things I thought of at the moment. 

As for the work this week, it was really good. We were able to teach most of our amis and they are all doing really well. Mithel, our Chinese amie, prayed for the first time and it was super sweet. At first she was a little hesitant but then she was like okay, I'll do it. 

She starts praying and she is just super genuine. She said in her prayer "... I have doubts but please help me build my faith." I thought that was one of the highlights of the week. 

Something else really good! Actually, this was a huge miracle. We have about three hours until it was time to go back inside and we don't have anything planned besides finding. Which isn't the most fun, but it is good work. Elder Ottesen is says, “We should drive out to an outer ville.” We start driving out of Albi and JUST before we take the last round point, we see Axel walking on the side of the road and I'm like, “WE HAVE TO PULL OVER AND TALK TO HIM!” And we pull over, say a prayer and jump out of the car and go over and talk to him. 

Basically he told us that he had a super hard week because he went to his family's house and they just really bashed the church and all of its teachings and principles. He kind of freaked out and told his family that he wouldn’t meet with us anymore. He told us as soon as he sent the text message he knew that it wasn't the right thing to do. He was very sorry and then we had a lesson with him and set up another one! It was a huge miracle. I'm glad that we listened to the spirit and gave him some space until an opportunity naturally presented itself. 

Also for our amis, The Famille Leroy had their baby! The birth went well and we sent them a text telling them how happy we were for them. We didn't even ask to come over just because she just had her baby but she said, “We will invite you over this next week!” I thought it was funny just because they felt bad they couldn't invite us over this week. HA. We understand you just had a baby! 

Anyway! This was a good week! Thanks for all of your love! 

Avec amour,
Elder Johnson

We found a wild hedgehog this week. I tried to pick it up but it didn't let me... D:


This last Sunday officially marked six months until Columbus day and my flight home! Pretty stinking weird. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Joyeuses Pâques!

Hello family and friends! I can't believe that I am already writing you again. Sometimes when I start writing my email of the week I feel like I am reliving last Monday. It is groundhogs day. Anyway!

This week was fantastic! We were able to get a lot of work in despite of going to Montauban for Zone Interviews and Toulouse for general conference. 

All of our amis are doing pretty well. But some poopy stuff is happening with Axel. So, as I said last week, we weren't able to see him last week because he got super sick because he was trying to stop smoking and all of that stuff or whatever. Anyway, we texted him and asked him if he wanted us to come and give him a blessing. He concurred and we went over, had a lesson and went over and fixed another rendezvous with him. 

Our next rendezvous, we teach him the law of chastity. He accepts it and knows how important it is to keep. The lesson went perfectly. We were a little worried at the beginning but turns he didn't have any major problems. He did tell us that there was this girl that liked him but it wasn't going to be an issue. He said "The church and my baptism are more important than that.” Super cool. UNTIL…

The next day we get a really weird text telling us that it is Axel and that he doesn't want to see us anymore or be baptized and that we are trying to control his life. We were both really shocked just because he has been so willing to make commitments and change to conform with the teachings of the church. We think he may have spoken with the girl and she freaked out and then told him that he shouldn't meet with us anymore. I tried calling him yesterday but he didn't answer, so I sent a text just telling him that we just want what it best for him and that we would like to talk at least one more time. 

We are going to give him some time until we try to contact him again. We both felt impressed to give him some distance. Missionary work is such a rollercoaster. I want SO badly for him to accept the gospel. Not because it gives me attention or makes me think, “Wow, I've been working hard.” but because I know that he will be the happiest he can be in keeping the commandments. :( So just pray for him!

Eda, is doing superb as usual. She still talks SO much in our rendezvous but she is so sweet and ready to get baptized. After general conference, she called me and said "ELDER JOHNSON... Just so you know... I LOVED the conference. I watched it from beginning to end and I LOVED IT!" Pretty sick :) She is super funny. She is progressing well. No dogs and vacuums this week. lol

Brigitte and her daughter, Aurelie are doing fantastic as well! Aurelie went to youth conference and she quit smoking cold turkey! Brigitte is on cloud nine and we are hoping this helps her to stop smoking. She is really making leaps and bounds. I'm excited for her. She is getting closer and closer to stopping. It is neat to see her progress so quickly because of her faith. 

We taught a new person this week! Her name is Mithel! She is Chinese and she was found through calling old numbers in the phone. I called her and she said that she wasn't interested but we had a good conversation but then thirty minutes later she texted and said that she wanted to meet with us! HAHA! Miracle. She was cool. We hope to see her again this week. 

We had zone conference this week! We also had interviews with president. I think that may have been the last time I will be interviewed by president Roney. That made me sad. He leaves so soon. He is down to the final three months. Goodness. 

My interview with president was really good. We didn't really talk about normal things... just because of the situation here in Albi with the branch and if they are going to move it or not. It was a long interview! Probably the longest I have ever talked to president. He is such an inspired man.  I love him. I never imagined my mission president and his wife to be people that would influence my life as much as they have. I was talking to sister Roney and she said that she has been really tired lately because she is already getting sad that they are leaving us so soon. 

Anyway! Conference was so awesome. I think that conference is better as a missionary than a normal citizen. I think it is because you listen to the talks for you but also for other people as well. It is true that the greatest joy we can find is in serving others. The less we think about ourselves the happier we can be! 

We went to Toulouse to watch it because it wasn't going to be broadcasted here. We stayed with the zone leaders the entire time. It was weird being in a large church building but it was nice.

I think my favorite talk (out of the ones that I heard because we didn't get to see the afternoon Sunday session) was the one by President Holland. My favorite line from all of his talk was "Today we celebrate the gift of victory..." It is so profound! Easter truly is a day to celebrate. He is risen and He lives.

That is pretty much it for this week! I love you all! 

Elder Johnson