Today is the end of an era for us.
But let's back up a little bit and look at our week. We had an extremely busy week, as usual. We spent a great deal of it getting to know and working with our replacements the Clarks who assume our responsibilities here. We also cleaned our apartment, visited some Branch members and did some regular missionary activities.
On Monday we went over many things with our successors but we did take some time to go shopping and to take the young Elders shopping, too. We took the Clark's on a little tour of Charleville's downtown area.
On Tuesday we went out to do our Home Teaching and introduce the Clark's to visit the Dampt's. We had a lovely lunch together and took the scenic route home. We stopped at Chapelle St. Roger and took in the peace and quiet of this lovely spot in the middle of the Ardennes forest.
On Wednesday we were back on the Home Teaching beat. We visited Kate in Belgium, had a nice message and a great snack. We drove through the green hills and crossed the Meuse River several times on the way there and back. We stopped at the rock where you can see 7 villages and Elder Clark and I climbed to the top to take a look.
On Wednesday evening the Branch threw a going away party for us. It was amazing, touching and much appreciated. We had a wonderful meal together and visited with everyone. We played some games and there were tears and a lot of love expressed. We were very touched.
On Thursday Elder Clark and Ed took some furniture to a friend who was moving into a new place. They put a table together for her and mounted some shelves to the wall. She was very appreciative. We also did some cleaning and training in our apartment.
Friday was also a special day. We went into Reims with the Clark's and had a district meeting with the Zone Leaders. We brought a chicken salad that Lynn and Sœur Clark made. We also had bread and cheese and a cookie dessert. We did some practice teaching and had some training. We headed home to finish our cleaning and we gave the car a once over. We went out to dinner with the Clark's. We went to a lovely little crêperie where we had our first restaurant meal here. It was great. We also switched accommodations. We left our lovely apartment where we spent nearly two years and we moved to a hotel for our last two nights. Boy that felt strange. It actually was hard to imagine that it was happening. But it wasn't over yet.....
Saturday started off with service. We delivered a couch to a member and we took her old one to the dump. We also worked on our talks for tomorrow. Lynn had a girl's afternoon planned with the Sœur Clark, Isabelle, Florine and Clara Biver. They made pizzas together and watched a movie, "The Princess Bride". One of Lynn's favorites. It was a great time. While the girls were meeting, Elder Clark and Ed went to the church to look over some things and then went to Subway for a sandwich.
The Clark's have been very well received here. They are going to fit in well. They are trying hard to learn as much as they can. They are looking forward to this new challenge and are excited to be in Charleville. Like us, they are serving a two year mission which is great for the Branch. They have a great deal of church background and leadership skills. They will do great and are already establishing bonds and friendships.
We left our dear Branch in Charleville-Mézières at noon today. We headed into Paris after church and joined a group of senior missionaries for a little farewell celebration. It was great to meet the Barnes couple who work in the office. The VanDiver's, Todd's, Monson's and Graff's (who are finished their mission on Tuesday) were also there. We then had dinner at the Mission Home with President and Sœur Babin, our Mission President and his wife. After dinner we enjoyed a walk around this beautiful area. We are sleeping at the mission home and fly home to Lethbridge early tomorrow where we will see our loving family for the first time in many months. We will be released by President MacLennan around 8:00 p.m.
It is with mixed emotions that we write this blog. Of course, we are really looking forward to seeing our family. As we get closer to leaving we get more excited. At the same time we are going to miss the wonderful friends we have made here. We are going to miss the love and support we have felt. We are going to miss our little Branch in the Ardennes and we are going to miss this beautiful country that was our home for the last 21 and a half months. What a great adventure we have had.
|A few of us after Church. Many had already gone. We will miss you all!|
|Ed saw this diorama in his travels today and thought it was a perfect fit as we'll be in that situation Monday morning.|
Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.