Monday, July 27, 2015

Hmmm, donc, voila quoi, tu vois?

Bonjour a tous! Another week has gone by! We did some pretty cool stuff this week. Still looking for amis... They have all been hiding recently.

The branch had its first activity since I've been here. It was organized by the young women and everyone was invited so we decided to head on up with the Rodez Elders. 

We had planned on staying over at their house the night before because the activity started at 10 and Rodez is a long drive but as we started driving up, our car's power steering went out. Luckily we had only been driving for a few minutes outside of Albi when it happened. So… we need to get that fixed this week. 

Anyway, we ended up taking a train to Rodez and then riding with Frere Pascalin (1st counselor) to the lake with the Rodez Elders. We get in the car and he says... “Elders, I'm really sorry but I'm super tired and if I don't listen to music I'm going to fall asleep”...(my eye lol) and so we listened to Reggae music all the way to the lake. He had Adele but remixed into Reggae. l will admit that I didn't not enjoy it.:) 

The activity was super fun! We just ate on the beach and played games. It was a little rowdy though because there was a sand volleyball tournament going on at the same time. It kind of had the feeling of Ragnar but with lots of alcohol but they all had costumes and team names and stuff. haha 

One of the games we played was Loups-Garous "Werewolf". It is kind of like Mafia but a little bit more complicated. We played several rounds and I got killed like every time. All of the young women would accuse me of being the werewolf and the village would vote to kill me. haha 

One of the bad things about the activity was that everyone got super sunburned. Luckily I'm already kind of brown and just got a little pink on my nose and cheeks. Elder Steadman's feet got destroyed. haha 


We were able to see Brigitte two times this week! I wish we would have been able to visit her more but then our car broke. I don't understand why all of these little things happen all at once. It is so stinking annoying. It's so hard to not get frustrated and shake your fists in the air but I'm just kind of rolling with the punches at this point. I just laugh and pretend to not get mad and then a magic thing happens where I don't get mad. 

But anyway…Brigitte! She is doing pretty well! We talked to her about fasting this week (because she doesn't see how it could help her) and so we know that it would build her faith if she did it. We really want to do a branch fast with her to help her stop smoking. After our lesson, she said she would pray to know as to when she wants to do it. 

Her daughters have really calmed down and things are getting more stable. Prayer works! :) 

Eda called us on Monday and told us that she was taking a plane to L'ile Maurice (island near Madagascar) that was leaving in an hour. Apparently her sister had to have an emergency operation and so Eda was like, “I’m leaving. I don't know when I will get back”. Luckily though she was able to call us with her phone from where she was. She should be getting back at the end of this month. The operation went well and her brother (who was less active) is going to go back to church now! I talked with him on the phone and he said sometimes bad things need to happen in our lives to help us realize how important God actually is. I was happy to talk to him and be able to encourage him to go back to church :) 

As for the search of the amis... It is still a work in progress. We prayed a lot this week to have inspiration to know as to where we should go to do porting and contacting and it seems to be working. We found a few really nice potentials there. The problem is that they are all women and we don't have anyone to teach with us. Frere Millet is super sick and won't be able to help us until late September... D: It is really unfortunate. Luckily we have a new family moving in this week :) 

Well! Because I'm not second counselor anymore they made me District Leader! I'm excited to work with everyone in the district. The district got rearranged to where we now we have Albi, Capitole Sisters, Capitole Chinese, Zone Leaders, and Rodez. This district is a lot bigger than my last one where I was district leader. It's going to be a blast. 

Hmmm…I was thinking about our car breaking and I think it is maybe so we can walk around everywhere and talk to more people. :) Blessing in disguise? 

I got my flight plans for my travels back to Arkansas... I was looking at them and it doesn't even seem real to me. President Brown told me that there are still people out there waiting to be found by me... I’ve got to find them! :) 

Voila! C'est tout pour cette semaine! 
Je vous aime :) 

Elder Johnson

Monday, July 20, 2015

ALBI #4 et Spider Cochon

Hello family and friends! This week was good! I don't have a ton to write about this week (and not a lot of time because we just got back from Toulouse.. we helped the zone leaders out with gare duty because all of the metros aren't working at the moment)... anyway! 

I'm staying in Albi for a fourth! Which is pretty darn crazy to me just because I have never stayed anywhere for more than four and a half months and now I'm doing at least six here. I'm excited to stay. 

To be honest, I kind of wanted to be transferred but then after we got the call it just felt right. And then I thought of Brigitte, Eda, the Family Leroy, and all of the other branch members. They all told me that they had prayed that I stay and I'm glad that I did. I think my desire to get transferred was selfish but I'm over it :) 

There is a very large possibility that I will die here. 5 transfers anywhere is pretty long and it doesn't happen very often but I would kind of be a little upset to just go die somewhere the last six weeks of my mission. 

Elder Steadman and I are staying together, which is also nice because now I don't have to worry about getting a new driver.... #tendermercy. Speaking of transfers, Elder LaPointe just got transferred to Toulouse! The Marseille team! haha 

Still searching for amis. We decided this week that we haven't really been finding as much as we could because we could be planning a lot better. So… we really planned some miracles for this week. It is going to be stinking hot and there is going to be lots of opposition but I know we will find some people! 

Brigitte-I love Brigitte so stinking much. She is really making progress. I'm excited for her and her desire to move forward. I'm proud of her. I can't wait for her to be baptized. I know it is going to happen. It is just a matter of time. 

Famille Leroy-We were able to see them this week! It was a really intense rendezvous. We shared some excerpts from the "THE FAMILY" but we ended up talking about coming back to church (because she isn't a member anymore). I'm not really going to go into detail of what was said but I will say that it was a very powerful lesson. The spirit was there. I really think we made a big step with them. 

On a side note: we were eating dinner and their son (Ethan, who is like 2 and a halfish) is refusing to eat and crying and all of this stuff... and then he starts coughing and coughing and then, as I am taking a bite of a tarte, he throws up all over the table. Poor little guy. Needless to say, I was done eating. hahaha. If I had been sitting any closer to him, I would have thrown up as well. I really did not feel good afterwards. I was just praying to not throw up everywhere. And I didn't! 

We went and visited the Bernardi family this week (our Branch president) and they live in this SUPER French village where everyone leaves their doors unlocked and are farmers. The kids were showed us around. First we went and looked at some puppies. Then we walked to the garden and saw chickens and peacocks.... and then they showed us some pigs and sheep... there were so many. 

Ambre (the less active that we work with regularly, taught us the "Spider Pig" song in French) we took the opportunity to take a video and show her... and she laughed SO hard.. it isn't even that funny but she was very sparked after having watched it. 


C'est tout pour cette semaine! Je vous aime tous! Même ceux qui sont moches ;) 

A la semaine prochaine! 

Elder Johnson

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Browns and Sunflower Power

Bonjour à tous!

This week was good! It flewwwww by. Holy cow. We did quite a lot of random things this week. 

We started out this week by going to Toulouse to go bowling with the rest of the Toulouse Zone. It was so stinking fun. I think of all of the zones I have served in, this is probably my favorite one. It is one of the smaller zones geographically so we can hang out more than usual. We know how to have a good time :) 

I can't believe how much I love and hate bowling. I think it is because I pretend like I don't care but actually I care a ton and I'm super competitive. The trick is just to be super silly when you throw the ball down the lane because then when you are really bad it is okay... and when you do well it is amazing. 

The first game we all bowl(ed) around the same score of about 100ish except Elder Sorensen, who killed us all. He doesn't even put his fingers in the holes an he just hucks the thing down there and kills the pins. 

The second round we all got better. I think I ended up getting around 140ish... but, I mean, we are missionaries. We don't keep score and aren't competitive because as the white handbook says "don't allow the game to become competitive, as competitive games lead to injury." hahaha

It was a great way to start out the week. I love being a missionary. Being around other missionaries is the best thing ever. 

Thursday we finally got to meet our new mission president and his wife! They are so nice. I kind of wished they were mean so then I had a reason not to like them because the Roneys are so great but I found myself loving them too... haha. They have SO much energy. I was really surprised. They are so full of excitement and readiness to go out and baptize people. 

I think they will bring a lot of good changes to the mission. I'm not going to lie and say it isn't weird the Roneys aren't here anymore but I think the Browns are exactly what we need right now to push the work forward. Soeur Brown is hilarious. She loves to laugh and joke. President Brown is more reserved and serious, so they balance each other out well. 

In my interview with President he asked me how much time I had left on my mission and I told him. He paused for a second and then said, "Have you ever ran the 800m?" And I say "Yeah..." And then he asked me how you are supposed to run the 800. I told him, the first lap you go out as hard as you can to get a good lead and then the second lap you swing you arms and pray until you make it across the finish.

He paused, and then said, "That's what you've got to do right now." I really appreciated my interview with him. I am so happy to be a missionary and to be serving. When I had older companions earlier in my mission they would talk about how tired they were all the time and I would judge them super hard for not working hard or for "being lazy" and now I feel really bad because I understand what they were talking about. You just get tired. It is a physical and mental fatigue! 

But! I'm swinging my arms and I'm praying! haha. The final stretch is the most important part of the race. 

We are still searching for amis. Last night I sent a mass text to all of our potential amis in the phone asking them if they were interested in an English class and a ton of people responded! We shall see if anything turns out. Pray that we find some elect people :)

Brigitte is moving forward. She is making some significant steps towards quitting smoking. Her and Eda have become friends and it is really funny. They are so different and they would have never had met if it weren't for the church. It is interesting to see how people come in contact with each other because of the gospel.  

This week we invited Brigitte to pick a date to stop smoking. We are going to follow up tomorrow. It is difficult because everyone in her house smokes :/ but I know she can do it. We are probably going to have a branch fast for her.

Eda fed us this week, as usual. She LOVES to feed us and she makes food for like 30 people and then expects us to eat all of it. She is doing well. She is working on going to the temple in the near future. She wants have the ordinances done for her husband so bad. It is in the near future. 

Well! I have a new "assignment" because as a missionary, you don't hold callings. I'm now the ward clerk because they all think I know how to work MLS (church record keeping system) really well when in actuality I guess a lot of the time until I figure it out. 

Transfer calls are this Friday and now since I'm not the 2nd counselor anymore I have felt like I'm going to leave to go die somewhere else (To die is when your mission is over). There are 24ish missionaries who are dying this transfer and only 12 coming in so there are going to be a lot of people moving around. 

I'm pretty nervous for this transfer call because this is going to decide where I'm going to die in the mission (logically speaking). If I stay here, I will more than likely do my last two transfers here but if I leave then I will die wherever they send me. Goodness... I just want to know right now! 


Je vous aime! Merci pour votre soutien! 
Elder Cameron Johnson

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Really Important Jumping pictures and Birthday Dinner

Bonjour Family and friends! 
Another week gone by! Oh la vache! It is crazy how fast it goes. Apparently every week is approximately 1 percent of an Elder's mission. Sometimes I feel like I just have boring things to tell you... haha. It is like groundhogs day every time I get on the computer to email. 

So! On Wednesday I had an exchange with Elder Einerson. I went back to Montauban (and the people were much nicer this time... I think maybe it was just something in the air last time). Starting the exchange was really interesting. So, there aren't any trains that go directly from Albi to Montauban so you have to take a bus. In France they have these things like train stations but for buses and there is only one in Albi, but generally they aren't the same company as SNCF (the trains). We go to the bus gare and are waiting for the Montauban elders to get in so we can make the change when about five minutes before they get there, I have a feeling they are going to come into the train gare and not the bus gare. 

We call them really quick and sure enough they are coming into the train gare, which is about a 15ish minute walk across town. Just so you know France has been having an usual heat wave where it is like 100 to a 100+ each day. We get off the phone and Elder Steadman and I ran as fast as we could to the train gare. We literally ran all of the five minutes we had to spare and run into the gare parking lot as the train pulls in. 

And that is when I starting sweating, and I promise you I didn't stop sweating until we ending the exchange. Even after I showered. As soon as I got out of the shower... SWEAT. Haha. It was very pleasant. Moral of the story is... don't run in missionary clothes in 100 degree weather.. 

The exchange was really good though. Elder Einerson is a good district leader. He was my district leadr when we were in Marseille. I really like how hard he works. We talked to so many people on our exchange! It was really good. We found some people that were interested. I don't understand why but every time you are on exchange somewhere there are miracles out of the wahzoo. 


This week was Elder Steadman's birthday! It was also Elder Duckworth's birthday so the zone leaders invited us to Toulouse to do a little exchange and then go eat dinner at a fancy restaurant.

I think I ate the best food I have ever eaten. It was SO good. Holy cow. It was expensive but it was so worth it. We ate at Capitole Square you should look it up. It is gorgeous. 

I got an appetizer, entree and desert. For the appetizer I got capriccio which is super thinly sliced raw beef with tomatoes, capers, pine nuts and parmesan cheese on the top and some olive oil. It was so stinking good. I could have eaten like a billion more plates of it. For the main dish I was served lamb with roasted potatoes and a fancy sauce. I don't know what was in it.. haha Then for desert I had like this custard thing. It was like the perfect amount of food and the service was exceptional. Suddenly I realized why French people eat out like everyday. hahaha 

It was fun to go eat with the zone leaders and the chinese équipe. I'm happy they invited us :)

So! Still searching diligently and slightly impatiently for new amis. It is really frustrating because we are doing everything that we are suppose to and it just isn't working. I know I just need to keep pressing on but it is hard... especially with the heat. Ohlala. 

Brigitte- She is doing so good! She is starting to make some good progress despite her daughters now. He daughters have calmed down a lot recently because Brigitte called this special service thing that teaches children to be good. It is working :) haha

She is demotivated to stop smoking. Literally it is the only thing that is keeping her from getting baptized at this point. I say "the only thing" like it is no big deal but it is really hard. I'm thankful I grew up in an environment where I wasn't surrounded by that. But with that said, she is doing well.

She drove Eda to church this week because Eda's car is blocked in her driveway due to renovations going on (long story). But Eda got up yesterday and bore a really good testimony on baptism and its importance and how she is going to do everything she can to help Brigitte. It was pretty cool :) 

We also had a quick photo shoot with some hay bales after a lesson we had with Brigitte.  

Just a little spiritual thought of the week! I was reading in Helaman 5:30 and it says: And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—“

It made me reflect on the power of the holy ghost in conversion. I love the description it gives in the scriptures. It wasn't a loud voice but is pierces to the soul and it shook the walls of the prison. Although it isn't a loud voice, its power is unimaginable. 

It made me think of Marissa's conversion story and how whenever she had the missionaries over at our house she felt a strong residing peace and when she went other places, the spirit left her. That difference was essential in her conversion. I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost and for the testimony he bears of truth.

That is it for the week! 

I love you all!
Que Dieu Vous Bénisse 

Elder Cameron Johnson