Monday, December 30, 2013

happy 2014.

First things first.

KENDL. bearded with a surf board. no you dinnnnt. you are an inspiration to us all. 
BROOKE. babe. you're married. maybe my first thought when I woke up Saturday morning was, "It's not too late". I'm just so glad Kenz caught that bouquet for me.
The happenings of this week. 
-I ate foie gras. TWICE. aka. you force feed a duck until it's liver explodes and then you eat it's liver. yummmm. but really, if you know me you know I can pound through anything, but that was hard to choke down. I also ate caviar, oysters, sea snails, shrimp with the eye balls, quail, and cooked prunes, and more. These french people are just too fancy for their own good. I could really have just gone for a good ole' Taco Bueno tamale.
-I was able to sleep in on christmas morning! best present ever. I woke up at 6:45 and literally forced myself to turn over and go back to sleep. I made it until about 8. It was glorious. We get to do the same on New Years. No complaints.
-Seeing you was THE BEST. Naturally I thought of about 10301930 things I wanted to tell you after we hung up. but it's chill. Mothers Day is in 4 months. not counting. but I am. I am so greatly blessed that I was placed in our family. Y'all are my everything.
-JIMMY is still going strong for the 11th! We had a lesson on the word of wisdom this week, and in his words, "coffee makes me too nervous, tea is nasty, smokers smell bad, and every time I've been drunk I've regretted it." that solves that. He even told the bishop to announce his baptism in church. He is super prepared. :)
-From Thursday to Sunday we ported, contacted, and the likes with the general response of "on a pas le temp, nous sommes EN FAMILLE" translation: no. But it's okay, cause I had a beautiful Christmas anyways and I really felt the love of our ward, our amis, my wonderful comp, and heavenly father. 

Sorry this is so short, with no pictures AGAIN...this internet café is ghetto. Just know that I love you. I'm doing so well and that GOD loves us all. Let's make 2014 the best year of our lives. Deal?
okayyyyy byeeeeeeeeeeee.
Kales. (Soeur Johns)
Also, I saw the Louvre today. That was rad. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Il est né le divin enfant! Chantons tous son avènement!

Get ready to laugh. I had a TOTAL kales moment yesterday...
but first an update on this incredible week of CHRISTMAS MIRACLES,
Our boy Jimmy is progressing splendidly. He is really changing and it is amazing to witness. We taught him this week about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and specifically invited him to be baptized on the 11th, and he said YES! His only concern, "wait, you said I have to wear white socks...but what if I only have beige?" Take one guess at what we got him for Christmas...haha. At church on Sunday we had a lesson about Exaltation, and afterwards I saw him staring at the pictures of the temple. I told him that it was even more beautiful on the inside, and he just smiled. Then in sacrament meeting they announced a baptisms temple trip for the young adults in February, and he leaned over to us with his agenda open and said, "when did they say that was?", ahhhh yeahhhhhh.
We also met this week with an ami named Rose. She is from the Philippines, and has met with the missionaries on and off since the summer time.  She is just a little BALL of joy. I really love her! And she came to church on Sunday for the first time ever, and CRIED because she "felt it so strong in here." She wants to bring her friends to the church next week!
Viola, the BIG happenings from the amis côté, but now... story time: the best chain of events yet to happen on my mission.
After dinner yesterday night we set out to do some Christmas Porting with the formula that Président gave us last week at zone conference which consists of asking if we can sing a Christmas hymn and pray with the people who we meet. As soon as we got on the tram we started talking with this adorable family with a mom, dad and two kids. The mom asked us if we were like the bonne soeurs (nuns) and I said no, and jokingly told her that I was excited to get married one day. We ended up talking a little more about why we are here and what we do as missionaires, but then they had to get off, and it didn't really go anywhere. Welllll then we got off and started walking down the road and this man walked up to us and said, "you know I am really curious about what you said in there..." I started asking him about his beliefs (muslim, already knew before I asked), and told him that he could meet with the elders if he wanted to know more. "But wait, I thought you said on the tram that you were here to get married..." HAHA. Once I explained to him that no, we were here to talk about Jesus he ran away, but he gave us a good little laugh and set the tone for the crazy night we were about to have. We continued on our way after that and started porting. The first house we knocked on was the cutest little family with a mom, dad, and two kids. They had just celebrated Christmas, and were more than willing to let us in their house, and film us while we sang for them in front of their picture perfect Christmas tree. They were so cute, and I'm excited to pass by them again soon. After them we continued porting and getting rejected by the ONLY country in the world that would turn down Christmas carolers. Then we came to a big house and rang the fence doorbell, which would allow us to get into their front yard and knock on their door. We rang it and were immediately let in, solid. Then we knocked on the front door and no one answered. Which would have been fine except that we were now locked in their front yard. We stood there for a decent 5 minutes in confusion before I said, "well I'm not sitting in here all night". So I hiked up my skirt and starting climbing their big green fence. Just as I had one leg hiked up ready to jump over THE ENTIRE EXTENDED FAMILY came outside. I hopped back down and tried to pull down my skirt as fast as I could and start explaining myself in French. Thankfully they were all a little drunk and found it hilarious. They still didn't let us sing for them, but they did let us out, and for that I was very grateful. A night like this had to end with a super spectacular miracle right? right. As we were heading back to our apartment...if I can call it that... I sent our statistics to the district leader, and then realized that it was 8:57, so I asked Soeur Francis if we could do one more house, she was obviously down. We walked a little bit up our street and knocked on the door of a beautiful Portuguese family  who let us right in to sing for them. After we sang we talked a little bit about why we are here, and then asked if we could pray with them, they said yes, so I asked if they had any specific needs. They asked if we could pray for their brother who was sick, and we prayed. The mother was really touched and told us that she would love for us to come back after Christmas. Viola, a last minute miracle, and a beautiful family who is willing to see us again! I LOVE CHRISTMAS ON THE MISSION!!! It is blessed.
Well y'all I really love ya. I have LOVED reading all of the letters everyday from those who contributed to my cute Christmas advent. You really are TOO good to me. Family, I CANNOT wait to see your faces in 2 DAYS!! Speaking of which...we are getting to the family Tournoux's house at 4:00, Paris time. I want to let Soeur Francis go first for sure, so that should put us around 5:30. So be around a phone slash computer at 10:30ish Texas time, okay?!?!?! Also, pray that we can skype. They have a tablet, that has skype, but they say that sometimes it doesn't work great. But prayer works....so it shouldn't be a problem.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!   
Love, kales.      

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

welcome to the capital...

I just debated for like 10 minutes whether or not I should delete this first part, but whatever....

So sometimes I like to compare my mission to the Hunger Games....Obviously we're not out killing people (more like exactly the opposite), but it feels a little like a fake life sometimes, especially on transfer days. I feel like I have served out in the outer districts for my entire mission, far far away from the capital. I've become this really wild creature of a missionary with my own ideas, especially towards 'what it means to be a good missionary'. As long as I am serving and talking to everyone around me, following the rules exactly, and helping people get in the water, I'm HAPPY. As a clam. I could not care less about training, or sister training leaders, or whether or not President is my best bud, that kind of stuff. Well, then I got transfered to 'the capital', and BOY do I feel like a fish out of water! We had our zone conference this week in Versailles, which was AMAZING, incredible, and so spiritually uplifting, but then we got to sit down as missionaries and I was just so disappointed honestly. I feel like I have served with some of the most humble people throughout my mission, and have really felt as though we are all on the same team finding teaching and baptizing in the greatest mission in the world. Yesterday was NUTS. Seriously, the topics of the conversations were literally ALL about who has done this or this or that, or who has seen the most baptisms, who teaches the most lessons out of the zone, who will be the next APs or STLs. I felt like everyone was trying to out do the other, and acting like a bunch of children. Really it felt like I was in another mission. and JUST after we had heard one of the most beautiful Christmas messages ever. I miss BELGIUM. I am here to have MY mission, that I have been looking forward to forevs, and focus on CHRIST, and bring people the gospel. Nothing else matters to me.
And to add to this image, the train station in Liege is this really huge modernistic white building with tube elevators in the middle that shoot you up onto the platform...'Let the games begin'.

Sorry let me step down from my soapbox and tell you about how I absolutely adore Soeur Francis and St.Ouen. Soeur Francis is 19 years old, and let me just say WE THANK THEE OH GOD FOR A PROPHET. This is my first time to serve with a companion who was affected by the age change, and she really has something special about her. She has so much faith, and just really is such a great example to me of diligent perseverance. Ah, I couldn't think of a better way to spend Christmas.

St. Ouen is ghetto, and the apartment that we live in is a joke, BUT the work here is incredible. We have already seen miracles like crazy. The first day that I arrived we went and taught Jimmy. He is the fiancé of Sarah who is a member. She wants so badly to get married in the temple, but Jimmy was never interested in the church. Recently he has had some experiences that have softened his heart and led him to start meeting with us. Wow, this guy is LEGIT. Seriously, he asks the best questions, and is really starting to recognize the hand of the Lord in His life. We committed him to be baptized on the 11th, and he agreed to work towards it, but wants to make sure he has a testimony for himself before he gets baptized. Exactly what I like to hear.
Next day we taught Catherine, aka. the most prepared woman on the face of the planet. She is a Mom with a beautiful family. She met the missionaries one time in the summer, but then went on vacation. We called her up out of the area book to see if she would meet with us, and she agreed. One thing led to another and we ended up having the most powerful restoration lesson I've yet to have on my mission and we asked her if she would be baptized once she knew that the Book of Mormon was true. She said YES. We saw her this morning and taught the beginning of the plan of salvation. I just really don't have words to describe how well this lady is taking all of this. It really resonates within her and explains so many of the questions she has had.
Other than that we have been doing a lot of Christmas contacting!! It really is so fun to testify of Christ at this time of the year. And it's pretty LEGIT when you look out in the distance and see the Eiffel tower or the Arch de Triomphe and realize where you are.

I hope that y'all can all really have the BEST Christmas ever this year. I really know that Christ was born, that he was heaven's perfect lamb, and that his sacrifice will forever bless our eternities. Every single person on this earth was affected that day. He truly conquered death for us all. I have a firm faith that because of him we will be brought again before our Father, and that as Christ stands between us in his mercy, we will be accepted to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father forever in joy without end. 
I love you all so much. I really can't wait to see you again. 

LOVE, Soeur Johns
P.S. Yes, we do have a place to go for Christmas to Skype (well hopefully). I was a little worried when I first got here because we had nothing, BUT the ward members are so so so nice and invited us over for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I'll give y'all more details next week when I know more, k?

leaving Soeur Hilton from the train. The end of an era. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

from the ghetto of belgium to the ghetto of paris

I'M GOING TO PARIS FOR CHRISTMAS!

the transfer email just came through and...i'm leaving Liège and going to st.ouen to serve with soeur francis! so stoked. i've heard that st.ouen is the ghettoest ville in our mission, so that means 2 things: humble people and muslims. yayyyy. 

but it happens to be right in paris, which means that paris p-days are about to HAPPEN. i'm looking forward to that just a little bit.   

i am really sad to leave Liège. these people are just the GREATEST EVER. really. ah, i really wish i had the words to describe to you how much these people mean to me, or how much fun i've had, or how hard i've laughed, or how many crazy things i've seen, or how much spiritual progression i've watched, buttttttttttt I don't, so sorry. 

seriously though, nadine and her golden family are still golden. gigh is still the coolest and most inspiring ami ever, joycely had her interview yesterday to receive her patriarchal blessing, and literally all of our less actives bore their testimonies at church. the spirit is doing some good work on these people. I feel so lucky and extremely blessed to have been here to witness it. i know that Liège is at it's tipping point, and the soeur that is coming here is one lucky duck. 

not only is she getting the best amis but also the best companion EVER. seriously, soeur hilton is just an all around super star. i just adore her guts out, and have learned so much from her. 

y'all missions are the best. the absolute best. i have 0 regrets about deciding to serve, or the mission that i have had. just 100 percent at peace.  

bisous, 
soeur johns  

I think Mormonism is the perfect religion.

can I just tell you...

this was one of the BEST thanksgivings of my life. 

there were so many moments this week where I was filled with so much JOY that i wanted to (did) just scream and jump up and down and do a happy dance. I had so many beautiful confirmations this last week that THIS is exactly where I am supposed to be right now, at this time, and with these people. Our amis are QUALITY. And there is no way they would be progressing this fast without the hand of the Lord himself. 

so y'all know GIGH...well, she had a GREAT time at the young adults weekend in Charleroi and made some solid friends. One of which invited her to be baptized. Gigh told her all of her worries about baptism and not being perfect and sinning again and the whole bit, but this girl just looked at her and said 'I know you are going to do it'. When Gigh was telling us this story, she was just like 'yeah I didn't tell her, but I know I am going to do it too'. AHH. SHE IS SHE IS. We taught her the word of wisdom this week, and she is already living it!! 

and whats more, she didn't show up to institute on Friday for whatever reason and we were pretty bummed, but then one of the members texted us around 9:30 and said that GIGH was there!! She knew that she had missed the lesson, but she just wanted to pop in to see her friends! 

love her. 

also, I'm sure you are dying for an update on our culturally mormon FAMILY. ok, like maybe your not dying for an update because you probably have 1 million and a half sister missionary emails to read, and i'm sure it's hard to keep all of us straight let alone our investigators, but just humor me for a moment. so Peter and Nadine. We were lucky enough to see them again this week. THIS IS MY GOLDEN PRAYED FOR FAMILY. I know it clear as day. Nadine is a PEACH. Honestly, I just feel like I'm sitting down with one of my young women leaders every time we are there. At this moment she is in the process of reading the Book of Mormon, she is doing missionary work on her extended family (and her husband), and she and her husband made a new years resolution to stop drinking, period!! Out of the mouth of Peter, the 'atheist' himself, 'I think Mormonism is the perfect religion'.  

love them. 

Many people have been asking me if it was hard to be away from home for Thanksgiving. And to be one hundred percent honest, not at all. Of course, I ALWAYS miss y'all. But I am taken care of SO WELL here, and I have the best companion, and Thanksgiving was perfect and so much FUN. We got together as a zone in Namur and had a very impressive missionary prepared FEAST, and then we played games. It was so weird, after we ate we were like, 'now we are just supposed to hang out?! What does that even feel like?' We played mafia. hahah. 

after that we went over to the Sheurck family home and had a 2ND feast, that made our missionary prepared efforts look like the minor leagues. It was delicious and missing nothing except black beans and rice. The spirit is SO strong in their home. I want my future home to feel like that. yup; It was the perfect day. 

To make this week even BETTER, I was able to go to Brussels for stake conference and hear from Elder Texiera. He spoke many plain and precious things that cannot be recorded at this time. He is precious, and so inspired. 

Also, we were able to have a sleepover with the Brussels Soeurs aka. Soeur Holmes from my MTC district. Reunion of a lifetime. I love that little thing. 

Well, I love y'all! I am so THANKFUL to have each and every one of you in my life. 

Bisous, 
Soeur Johns 

Monday, November 25, 2013

This thanksgiving it is just TOO easy to find things to be grateful for.

I'm just feeling REALLY blessed of late. This was another week for the books. Thanksgiving is coming up and the Christmas paper chain is getting alarmingly short and Liège is busy setting up it's annual "Village de Noël" in Centre Ville, complete with an adorable Christmas themed Ferris Wheel. It is such a bummer that I will probably be out of this dream land come Christmas time. 

GIGH IS BACK! She fell off the face of the planet for a few weeks there, but we succeeded in seeing her this last Tuesday night. We found out that her life has been really difficult lately. We made some delicious pumpkin scones with her and just talked about life. We invited her to go to the JA (Young Adult) super weekend in Charleroi and she said yes! It was so great, we obiviously couldn't go, but she went with Sariah Scheurch (our recently returned mini missionary) and texted us updates every couple hours. She had an absolute blast and Sariah said she really felt the spirit:) We are going to go see her tommorrow and hear all about it!

Okay...so there is the American lady named Soeur Fonicello...she was in Liège 2 but just barely moved back to the U.S. (Texas to be exact).  She kept telling us about this family she wanted us to go see, Peter and Nadine, but we weren't having much luck getting a rdv with them. We had no idea if these people were even believeing, or wanted to see missionaries. Basically we had pretty low expectations for this family. But then a few weeks ago they showed up after church for Soeur Fonicello's going away party and Nadine started talking to us and invited us over! Well, last Wednesday was our appointment. We had no idea what to expect, except that she was feeding us dinner. Soeur Fonicello had been her cleaning lady, and Nadine had met us once while we were helping Soeur Fonicello move...so we thought maybe Nadine was expecting us to help her clean house? Really we had no idea. We were prepared for anything...at least we thought we were. We couldn't have been more surprized by what actually happened....

We stumbled upon a family that is culturally Mormon.  Nadine led us inside, sat us down with her children and basically said, "Teach them!"  She pulled out worksheets she had written based on the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet for her children to do with us, told us about how every monday night they have family home evening, and when the kids went off to karate she led us back into her "scrapbooking" room, which was filled with Greg Olsen paintings, mormon ads and ensign magazines... She is reading the book of Mormon and has the Relief Society book "Daughters in My Kingdom."  From the way she was talking it is obvious she wants her children to go on missions, literally we could say nothing wrong.  I have never ever felt as good on my mission as I had felt that night!  God really is preparing people.  And members are so powerful.  This is all thanks to Soeur Fonicello!  Nadine even had a "Mormon Mom's" cookbook.  I can't wait to go back and see them again:)  It was really weird, the night before all of this, at Gigh's house, the TV was on for a few minutes and Nadine was on it!  She was in some sort of news story.  It was just really cool because I never watch tv and the one time it was on our soon-to-be investigator was on the screen...so cool!

Okay, what else happened this week. Oh yes, we had "A VERY BELGE THANKSGIVING."  So there is this less-active, Christianne.  She's...well...a little exhuberant... and for months she has been inviting us to have Thanksgiving with her.  It was kind of the last thing we wanted to do.  We wanted to have thanksgiving with the Schuerch's because they are half-American.  Well, last week Christianne asked if we were coming over for Thanksgiving this Thursday, the 21st, we told her that that's not Thanksgiving!  It's a week later on the 28th.  She said she'd already invited a bunch of people. Anyways, It was perfect this way!  So this last Thursday I had my first Belge Thanksgiving.  It was hilarious!  Nobody had any idea what it was actually supposed to be like, or what Thanksgiving was even about.  Soeur Hilton told the Pilgrim story at least a few times, it was kind of difficult in French, haha.  Christianne tried so hard.  She made EVERYTHING out of pumpkin though!  We had pumpkin soup, pumpkin chunks to go with the turkey? and a pumpkin pie that had onions in it instead of sugar.  Seriously I will never forget that night... I can't wait for our American Thanksgiving this week!  There is no such thing as canned pumpkin out here so we bought five giant slices of pumpkin, cut them up, cooked them in the oven and then puréed them. We are taking desperate measures to get pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving!

Well that's it for this week! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with gratitude, family, and delicious (sugary) pumpkin pie!

LOVE YOU ALL, 
Soeur Johns. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

mini-missionnaire

Wow. 

another week gone by. that one went crazy fast. 

okay, so i'm writing this from a sketchy saudi-arabiaesque internet cafe right now and the space bar hardly works, so excuse me if this is kindof short. 

highlights, 

monday and tuesday of this week we had exchanges, so i was in bruxelles again with the lovely soeur bracken. we had a blast together and saw so many miracles. 

then this weekend we had a mini-missionnaire!! her name is sariah scheurch and she is a member from liège who is preparing for her mission, so she received permission to stay with us for the whole weekend and be a missionary!! it was so incredible! seriously, she taught ME so much, and it was just a joy to have her. i cried when she had to leave us. 

...and but its okay because we went and taught her how to ice skate today in preparation for the young adults activity coming up next week. it was so much fun. come to find out soeur hilton can do crazy jumps and spins. it was nuts. hidden talent. 

also, we found a tex-mex restaurant and it was glorious. 

okay besides the point. 

otherwise, this week was a lot of finding, which actually resulted in not a lot of finding. 

that family is just waiting for us, i know it. i really feel like this coming week is going to be miracle packed. 

stay tuned, k? 

love you all more than words can describe,
soeur johns 

 us with our mini missionnaire

 soeur scheurch 

 moi et ma girlllll

 look at all those mormons on that bus 

p-day christmas festivities

me and the comp

 sariah and soeur hilton 

WAIT DOES THAT REALLY SAY TEX MEX?!!!!!!!!!!! tell me you're hungry. 

that is the first burrito i have tasted in months. so good. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

expect the unexpected.

CHEZ MOI, quoi de nuef?

Let's just talk about how CRUEL those cruise pictures were as I'm freezing my butt off over here in Belgium. (see photos below, extreme measures have been taken to stay warm) 

But seriously, it looked like y'all had the time of your lives. Round 2 Summer 2015? if you insist.

Alright so this week our ami's were using their wonderful gift of free agency to not answer our calls, frudge our rdvs, and not roll out of bed on sunday morning for church. 

BUT...we had a really fun week anyways. full of adventures.

In my life, it's my charm or my curse to always find myself in the most random situations, places, and circumstances. Like how I live in the Belgium ghetto right now...let's just talk about how I would have never even dreamed of this...ever.  

Here are just a couple that I found myself in this week...

-Last week I made the mistake of getting on the subject of pizza buffets, big judd's hamburgers, and mcdonald's chicken nuggets with the Motulet and Kapypula families. After which they decided to invite us to their semi-annual mardi-foo (some pizza hut deal) family home evening. Well, we showed up and they were like "OK, Soeur Johns show us what you're made of." Hahaha. Can I ever turn a challenge like that down, uhh never. The worst part was that we had already had a HUGE mangez-vous that morning for lunch, but I still...don't know why I'm admitting this...managed to eat about 19 pieces of pizza.     

Needless to say...I've been practically fasting every day since. 

-I was also able to participate this week in House Hunter's International: Liège. In the next transfer they are planning on putting another companionship of Soeur's into Liège, which means we need a larger apartment. We got to go around on Tuesday with the senior couple touring apartments with an agent. We found two winners. And guess what? They have dish washers. I got excited about it, but then I realized that I would probably be transferred out about a week after the move.  

-We got to go up to Bruxelles for Soeur Hilton's Belgium legality. As we were walking out of the Metro station we saw a swarm of missionaries coming towards us and I didn't recognize any of them. Then all of the sudden I was TACKLED by FRAN one of my friends/ relief society president from BYU freshman year. She is serving in the Dutch speaking mission and they had legality on the same day. One of those small world, are we really in Belgium right now experiences. So great to see a familiar face on the other side of the world. After legality, and as tradition goes we were able to go see Grande Place, Manikin Pis, and eat a delicious Goffre smothered in speculoos. Soeur Hilton cried when she saw Grande Place. That place is stunning. Never ever gets old.  

-We were blessed to have a family home evening with Sariah Schurch and her best friend, who she just began sharing the gospel with, Oceane. This girl is precious and absolutely golden. We started the lesson by having her read the Young Women's Theme, and literally everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. Including her. The Spirit was SO strong. She agreed to come to church and meet with us next week, as Sariah will be serving a mini-mission with us for a couple of days. 

-We found ourselves in the middle of a PARADE in the cutest little town called Visé. They have a festival of lanterns every year to celebrate the fact that they held off the Germans in both world wars. We were invited by our crazy less-active, and seeing that we had a couple of ami's and in-actives to pass by in Visé we decided it would be a great use of our time ;) But seriously, it was incredible and one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. 

And on the train home, who did we meet? Sandra. An awesome African hipster hand model who decided it would be pretty rad to meet with the missionaries. 

YEAH, this week was nuts. really fun. and we found a lot of potential.  

I really just have a testimony of not taking yourself too seriously, and LAUGHING. It is so important to let yourself laugh. and to enjoy life. That's my 2 cents for this week. 

I love y'all so much. You, especially you Grammy Johns, are always, every night in my prayers. I am so blessed to have you wonderful people in my life. I wouldn't trade y'all for anything else. 9 months. Don't blink. 

LOVE YOU infiniment, 
Soeur Johns     
Pounded all of it

Sweat pants under my skirt. I LIVE IN THE TUNDRA

Kelly, our lovely Iranian friend "Soeur Johns, you're from Texas, come build the fire."



Grande Place

manakin pis. round 3

goffres are better than they sound

People over here literally think we put ketchup on everything

Christianne and Soeur Hilton

seriously so fun

lantern festival

encore

Zuster FRAN! Small world.

Bruxelles has the most BEAUTIFUL Christmas shops.

And chocolate shops. I live in a fairytale.

Gorgeous
Chocolate

Wanted to stick a straw in that


Saturday, November 09, 2013

A belgian halloween.

This week was just so FUN and full of TENDER MERCIES.

The Lord is just so good to his missionaries over here in Liège.

All three of the companionships here are seeing miracles.
The ZL's baptized Romeo last night who has been taking the discussions for 8 years, Elder Andersen and Elder Brown have an ami from Morocco who converted from Muslim to Christianity, then had a dream about the Book of Mormon before he ever even knew about the church and is now wanting to get baptized, and we are still teaching Gigh. 

My favorite Gigh quotes from this week, 
"Please help me to convert" (During the closing prayer at the FHE we had with the Scherch family on Monday night) 
"Sorry, I'm already a Mormon" (To the Jehovah's Witnesses that showed up on her doorstep)
"Don't worry, I'm never missing it again" (To the institute couple when they asked where she had been) 

This girl has just found her place in the church. It is amazing to see. We talked to her about baptism this week and she doesn't feel ready to commit yet, because she doesn't feel that her job is in line with the commandments of God. She really understands and believes in modesty and feels as though she would be lying to God if she went and got baptized and then continued to show off her body to the world. Talk about a PICKLE. She loves the church and considers it her church already, but is really scared of the concept of baptism because she feels as though she is not ready to commit her life fully to God and covenant to always choose the right. We explained repentance and the Sacrament, but she does have a point that repentance includes change and if she is not planning on changing than that kindof ruins the point. We are just going to keep loving her and teaching her and praying for her. I know something will strike a chord. :) 

MIRACLE OF THE WEEK: 
On Tuesday morning I was laying in my bed because someone set the alarm to 6:15, haha, and I was just thinking about where we needed to be that day. I felt a really strong and clear impression that we needed to go porting on Joycely's street that night. Later on in the day I told that to Soeur Hilton and she had been thinking the same thing!! So of course that night we went and did just that. 

Not only did we find an awesome family who said we could come back, but we also found Christianna!! She is from Camarron and speaks English and we went and taught her two days later and she wants to get baptized! Ah. Miracles. 

Halloween is not really celebrated here. We just had a normal day. Soeur Hilton and I dressed up as each other. It was hilarious and I couldn't help but crack a smile while we were porting and I introduced myself as her. I thought it was so funny to be porting on Halloween. No one offered us candy, but we did find a cool family who said we could come back anytime. :)  

Friday was the best. We got to go up to Brussels in the morning and meet with the Senior Couple because we are moving apartments. They took us out to get hot chocolate and it was just so fun to chat about life with them. Guess who they are best friends with?
Mitt and Anne Romney. They are in the same ward in Belmont together. How cool is that? Then at night the Young Adults had a Halloween party and we went because Gigh was supposed to come. It was dress up, so naturally I couldn't help myself. We dressed up as the sister missionaries of the past. It was so fun. It is always so great to be around the JA.  

Sunday was GREAT as well. Our crazy less active brought her cousin to church and tried to set me up with him......no thank you. But at least the elders have a new ami. :) Then we had a going away party for one of the members who is moving to TEXAS next week and her friends, a BEAUTIFUL family with two parents and 4 children, showed up and invited US to come over!! They just fit in so well and I really think they loved the church! 

Man, I just love this. Every week gets better. 

Love, Soeur Johns 

 We made a paper chain to count down until Christmas. We are a little excited about the holidays over here. May or may not have already started listening to the music. Judge pas. 

Look there's weave hanging off of the bus stop. I live in da ghetto. 

Soeur Hilton dressed up as me for Halloween. That's our apartment in the background. 

Look how green it is here. 

Pre-Soeurs. Happy Halloween. 

Self-explanatory?


 my precious comp

 weelllll helllooooo. 

Looking classy. 

Sariah. Love her. 

The JA 

 Identity Switch. 

 Day 2. Featuring Soeur Hilton as Soeur Johns.



He was really loving it. 

Day 1. Taking down the paper chain. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

je n'ai pas tous mes frites dans le même sachet


TO BEGIN...
I'm staying another in Liège with Soeur Hilton!!!!! 

I am so happy. I did NOT want to leave Liège in the slightest. 

There is just way too much good going on right now. 

And I really wanted to have Thanksgiving with my favorite American family that lives here. 

So beyond happy. 

This week has once again been one of the greats. 

Soeur De Walle came back to church after 32 years!! She is just the cutest little thing in the whole world. & She is so determined to never fall away again. The members were so warm and welcoming and I was just so beyond thrilled to see her light up again. Seeing less-actives re-discover their testimonies has got to be one of the most rewarding things to witness. She also brought her 5 year old great-granddaughter whose mom is atheist. I loved teaching her about Jesus and how to pray and can't wait to have my own kiddos one day. ONE DAY. Breathe Dad, I still got 9 months en mission. :) 

Gigh is really too good to be true. I dare to say, THE most golden investigator the world has ever known. We taught her the plan of salvation this week and she loved it. 

Just some things that came out of her mouth...
"Wait this was a CHOICE to come here to earth, that makes so much more sense." 
"I know up in Heaven I was like 'Hey God, give me as many trials as you want, bring it on'"
"That makes me so happy to know that we don't just stay Spirits forever after we die. We don't just float off into nowhere in peace, that sounds boring" 
"Can I have some more of those pamphlets to give to my friends?"
"I think I'd like to serve a mission one day"

Then she came to institute. Which was DEEP MORMON DOCTRINE 101 this week.  We talked about Christopher Columbus and the BOM. Where it could have been located. Patriarchal blessings. Temple endowment. Baptisms for the dead. Exaltation. You name it.  I was practically not breathing the whole lesson, but in the end it worked out. Gigh being the angel that she is, had about 56646546 questions, but 0 doubts. I am taking NOTES on this girl's faith. It's impressive. 

Oh and on top of all this. She came in 2nd on BELGIUM'S NEXT TOP MODEL this weekend!! She showed us the pictures yesterday at church and was like, "oh yeah, he works for Dior, he is the newest face of Louis Vuitton, he designs for Gucci, she walks for Prada..." And SHE came in 2nd out of 800. She is walking in a show in New York next month. We're going to find her a chapel to visit over there, no worries. She will be the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by then. 

Other than that this week has been a lot of finding. 

We did get let in while we were porting to teach a Jesuit and his wife. THAT was an adventure. His name was Serge, and he reminded me SO much of another Serge I know. :) It was such a fun lesson and we are going back next week to see them again. It is an absolute miracle whenever someone lets us in their door. 

President also came to our District Meeting this week and told us to "FOLLOW THE PLAN" to find a family before Christmas. I was in a pretty sour mood at first because someone jacked my camera with all my mission photos out of my bag on the metro. But President is so cool and always finds a way to pump me up. I KNOW we can. I know if it is going to happen anywhere it is going to be here in Liège. Souer Hilton and I are ready to DO IT. 

Quote of the week: 
Italian lady on bus, "Yes actually, I have a Mormon friend! He liked his mission so much after the first year that he decided to stay for two!" 

Well I love y'all. & I LOVE hearing from you. 
Mom & Dad have a BLAST this week zip-lining across Puerto Rico...
meanwhile I'll just be converting the whole fashion industry to Mormonism.  

Tant d'amour, 
Soeur Johns  

P.S. We have this CRAZY less-active who we meet with and this week and when she was talking about how crazy she is, she used the expression: "Je n'ai pas tous mes frites dans le même sachet" I laughed forever cause it was just SO BELGE. "I don't have all my fries in the same bag." Hahaha. I love it here. 6 more weeks of this, I'm blessed.  
   

  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hope's are up.



Good news or bad news first? 

Let's start with good. I like that better. 

Gigh is incredible, golden, wonderful, and we will be friends forever I have no DOUBTS. We went over this week and taught her about the Restoration. The spirit was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Everything just made sense to her. We started by talking about prophets, and asked her why she thinks we "don't have them anymore". She responded, "It doesn't make sense! You better be here to tell me that there is still a prophet on the earth." Yes, we are actually!! She came to institute on Friday and got along so so so well with all of the young adults. She was in Brussels on Sunday, so she couldn't come to church, but she is really excited to come next week and learn more about the plan of salvation. Oh, and she is a model. She met the king and queen of Belgium last week at a catwalk. NBD. :) 

This week we were put in touch with Soeur De Walle. She has been less-active for 30 years, but decided recently that she really wants to come back to church and asked her faithful home-teacher, who has visited her the entire time...stud, to send the sister missionaries to help her come back. Her story was SO inspiring. She joined the church after meeting with the missionaries for 4 years and brought her entire family into the church with her... 17 people! She left because of a "bad leader", but has continued more or less living the standards of the church. We brought her a Book of Mormon and committed her to start reading it again, which she was excited to do. She is going to come with us tonight to the FHE for single adults. She really has the desire right now to do whatever it takes to return to activity. She is such a breath of fresh air. No excuses, just simple humility and willingness to change. I love it. 

I also had a GREAT exchange this week. I stayed in Liège with Soeur Matalii and we had SO much fun running around and talking to EVERYONE. Not a ton of takers, but it felt so good to just share the gospel without hesitating. Y'all should try it. :)  


OKay...the not so great news...

Valerie is not baptized. I really don't want to be negative, so I will just have to share this story post-mission. She will be baptized sooner or later, I have no doubts. It will just take some humility on the part of the branch, and her mother. She is still as ready and willing as ever. I know it will happen. It was really heart-breaking though, and I seriously learned a huge lesson through all of this that some things are out of your control.  

Sheri and her 20 family members did not show up at church this week or answer our calls, BUT we will keep trying. I have so much hope for that little family. You could just feel that they have been prepared for the gospel. 

I have always been a really big hater of the phrase, "Don't get your hopes up!". I think it is just about one of the stupidest things we could ever say. Hope is faith in action, and faith produces miracles. I will never stop hoping, and expecting that the people around me will make the right choices. And I am convinced that in doing this I will never stop seeing amazing miracles. I just can't sell people short. There are not enough people in this world who truly believe in others, but I am determined to be one of them! 

I love y'all all so much. I can't believe I hit my 8 month mark yesterday.Time is moving way tooooooo fast.  

Love, Soeur Johns 

La Foire aka. great big fair 20 feet from our apartment. aka. Delicious. 



Soeur Hilton

The whole family. 


 At the fair last week with Valerie and Fam. Redheads. 

SO FLUFFYYYY. 

Puppy kissesssss.  

Isn't he precious? He belongs to Valerie and family.  
 

Gilles baptism! 
Us at Serena's birthday party. :) 


Nicolas!! So precious.