Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The End of an Era

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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.
This is the end of an era and we have loved it.

Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Passing of the Torch

Sunday, August 7, 2016

We got word this week that we will be going home on August 15.  That means that next Sunday will be our last Sunday with our Charleville-Mézières Branch.  We have had bouts of joy and tears of sadness.  Of course we are very excited about seeing our children and grandchildren.  We are very much looking forward to that.  At the same time we are very much going to miss our Charleville Branch family.  We have grown to love each and every one of them and have had a great relationship with all of them.

Let's back up a bit, though.  On Monday we went to Luxembourg to spend the day with the Luxembourg missionary couple, the Slaughters.  We wanted to say goodbye to them.  We had a wonderful day together.  It would be the last time we see them.  We had lunch and saw the sights.  
On Tuesday we went to Biver's house for Home Teaching.  We had a lovely meal and shared a message with them.  We played a great game that turned out to be fast and furious.  It involved passing a corks around the table and singing a little song.  The longer it went the faster it went and soon corks were flying around the room.
It has been a week of great change.  This week was transfer week.  We had learned that our Elder Asato was being transferred.  We drove him to the gare Wednesday morning to catch the train.  In the afternoon Ed had meetings at the Church and Lynn sewed all afternoon at our place with Beauty and Gift.  They had a lot of things that needed taken in.  Actually Gift is a very talented seamstress.  They had a great afternoon together.  On Wednesday evening we met our new missionary  Elder Silva.  He joined us for French Gospel class and for the Wednesday night activity.  We played balloon bingo and some other games and we had a spiritual thought from the missionaries.  We had baguettes and peanut butter for a meal. 
Speaking of change, on Wednesday Florine Biver got engaged to her boyfriend, Phillip.  They are so happy about it.  She has been glowing all week.  They have some legal issues to iron out as she is from France and he is from the U.S. but love will conquer all and it will all work out.  What great news!

We got the big news on Thursday, August 4.  We had learned from Our Mission President, President Babin, that a new couple was coming in on August 3.  In fact they came in on August 2 but did not get their assignment until August 4.  Our replacements, the Clarks, came to Charleville on the afternoon of August 5.

We have spent a great deal of time with them since their arrival.  We have about ten days to share what we know about the Branch with them - to pass the torch so to speak.  We didn't just work since then, though.  We did take the time to show them some of the sights.  We walked around town and visited the church.  We also went over a great deal of information that they will need.

On Saturday we got a visit from Neil Smith who had travelled to France on a super standby ticket.  As luck would have it there was a medieval fair at Bouillon castle.  We all went out there and had a great time.  It was a huge fair.  There was falconry, sword fighting, juggling, fire juggling and booths selling everything.  All of this in a medieval castle and all over the town.  We had a blast.
Struggling with Jet Lag

Just love all the costumes
When we got back home it was back to work, though.  We had membership lists to go over and scheduling to do and sharing some of the blessings and needs of the Branch.  The Clarks will do great which really helps us feel better about leaving.  We have truly been blessed once again.

Today at church the Clarks got to meet the members and find out more about them.  They dug right in and got quite involved in all that we did.  The members welcomed them warmly and made them feel wanted and needed.  
Lynn's Sunday School classes today.  It went great with lots of great discussion.  Elder Silva and Sœur Clark's first.
After church we showed Neil and the Clarks where we had our baptisms and on the way back Neil took some pictures.  A few are of the tour du Roy and the ramparts.  We drive past it all the time as it's right here in Charleville but we've never taken pictures of it. 
Our Charleville-Mézières beautiful Hotel de Ville.
On our hotel de ville in Méières - The Sanglier
Spider on the gates of the lavoir here.
Neil leaned over the balcony and this is a view of our street
We don't have our itinerary yet but it is in the works.  We have been assured that it will happen.  And this brings us back full circle to the feelings of joy and tears of sadness.  We have lots to do to get ready.  Oh, oh better quit writing and get ready for the next great adventure.       

Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too

Sunday, July 31, 2016

4 T's

Sunday, July 31, 2016

This is the last day of July.  Tomorrow is August, the month we are to go home.  We will try to keep our nose to the grindstone for the little bit of time we have left.

The first T we would like to address this week is trials.  As we wrote last week in our blog, one of our members was beaten up by 3 men because of the colour of his skin.  Ed helped him by being there for him and by taking him to the hospital.  As this week began this particular trial was not over.  Stephen and Ed went to the police station to file a complaint.  In order to do this they had to return to the hospital to get a certificate from a doctor of the nature of the injuries.  All was done and the complaint was filed.  We hope to put this unfortunate event behind us and move forward.

Testimony - the second T focussed around an activity we had Wednesday night.  We had a Cultural Activity that focused on the international nature of our church.  We had presentations from 7 different countries from members of our Branch and from the missionaries.  The countries represented were Canada, USA, France, Nigeria, Netherlands, Zimbabwe and French Polynesia. They displayed things from their countries and provided snacks to eat.  They testified of the gospel.  There were also a slide show, songs and dancing.  It was a truly marvellous evening that was a testimony of the worldwide nature of the church.  Ed shared some facts and growth of the Church around the world.  
Our District Picture and our 15th transfer
Beauty using my sweater as a great headpiece.
African donuts, Polynesian banana cakes, Zimbabwean Sadza, Canadian Maple Syrup caramel popcorn, Dutch cookies, American hotdogs, and French cheese and bread were our treats.
Our third T should be no surprise - travel.  As is often the case we did some travelling this week.  We headed off to Strasbourg on Thursday to help the missionaries there organise their new apartment.  Two weeks before Elder and Soeur Van Diver headed there to help them move and clean a bit.  They recommended some things they needed and sent the list to us.  We went there this week to purchase those items and to help set up the apartment a little better.

As a result of these purchases and a little elbow grease we set up some shelves in the kitchen for kitchen materials.  We got rid of some garbage and took a packed car of excess stuff with us to be taken to the dump.  We set up chairs, shelves, trolleys and beds.  We moved some things around and got rid of unnecessary things.  This was a two day project but the results were rewarding.  The apartment looks great and the missionaries are happy as a result.  
The view from our hotel
Lucky dog!
Eating spatzle overlooking the canal from a little outside café.  Heaven right there!
On the way home we were fortunate enough to go by a dump and we were able to get rid of all the garbage we had en route instead of  waiting until we got back to Charleville.  How lucky was that! 

The last T has to do with transfers.  This weekend missionary transfers were announced.  This affects us in two ways.  We are losing a missionary and gaining a new one.  Elder Asato is being transferred to Auxerre and we are getting a "bleu", a new recruit straight out of the Missionary Training Centre.  We will miss Elder Asato and we thank him for his service and for all he has done for us and the Branch.  He is a great guy and you should hear him speak French already.  We wish him well. 

Today was Elder Asato's birthday and Elder Hein's was on the 15th while we were away.  Clara made a birthday cake for a celebration after church today and we had them over for dinner tonight.

He asked for Poutine.  This is the closest we could come up with.  Served with a salad and the dessert below.  It tasted pretty great

And of course the French desserts!!
Today one of our good friends Karine presented us with a beautiful handmade blanket that she made. We were so surprised and felt so grateful that she did this for us.  We will treasure it as we treasure her friendship.
What a treasure.  Each square is made with a different pattern.  What a generous and thoughtful gift.
Beaty decided it made a good wrap.  It is so soft and warm.
And there we have another week under our belts.  Thank you for reading our blog.

Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too