We finally have been hooked up to internet but it took a week and a bit to do so.
After a very spiritual experience at the MTC we flew out of Salt Lake on the morning of November 4. We changed planes in Houston and flew out at about 4:00 p.m. local time. We landed in Paris the following morning at 8:35 November 5, Spencer's birthday. It was kind of cool that we started the French part of our mission on our son's birthday.
We were met at the airport by two missionaries and brought to the Mission Home in Le Vesinet on the outskirts of Paris. Unfortunately, Lynn had lost a piece of her luggage that did not come off the plane. We met the office staff and had supper with the Mission President and his wife. They are truly great people and we felt very welcome.
|Elder et Soeur Bousseau, Président et Soeur Babin, Elder et Soeur Wilson, Elder et Soeur Wall|
So the next morning Lynn and I headed there on the train and we spent the afternoon there. What a great facility this was. It was manned by a Senior Missionary couple like ourselves. There were lots of opportunities for visitors to learn more about the Church through tours, videos, discussions, pamphlets and information posted on the walls. This was also an institute centre for LDS university students. We enjoyed the afternoon there and got to meet many missionaries who were there for a meeting.
When we returned to our hotel we found out that we were going to go to a town in northern France named Charleville-Mézières. We felt that the Lord had his hand in this assignment as this is where our son, Dustin, had served for 6 months while he was on his mission. We truly felt blessed to go there. That night we got Lynn's luggage. We also go a phone and a car. We were ready to head out for to our first real missionary posting.
After a three and a half hour drive we arrived in Charleville-Mézières on Friday afternoon of Nov. 7. We were amazed at the town. It was very old and our apartment was in the oldest part of town. The buildings around us were hundreds of years old. There were cobble stone streets just around the corner from our building and a large cobble stone square surrounded by little shops. In a six block radius around our apartment building there must be 25 bakeries. We absolutely love our neighbourhood.
|The view from the end of our balcony|
Our apartment was on the 4th floor of a building. It has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, a ding room, a living room, a large balcony and two bathrooms sort of. One bathroom has a toilet and a sink and one has a shower and a sink. However, that is where the furnishing stopped. The only piece of furniture set up in the apartment was a bed. There was also a dresser and an armoire which we had to put together. Fortunately another missionary couple came to help us get set up. They are from New Brunswick and we became good friends by the end of the weekend. We bought the rest of the furniture and things that we needed and started putting them together with their help.
On Sunday we were privileged to attend church in the local branch. We could not believe the reception that we received. The members were not expecting us and were elated to see us. The Charleville-Mézières branch is extremely small. There were only 8 members there besides us. Imagine their surprise when they discovered 2 sets of missionaries when they arrived at church. We were an answer to their prayers. They did not know at that time that our friends' the Gionets were not staying. They had not had missionaries here for 8 years and were overwhelmed that they had received some. We were greeted with tears of happiness. Everyone was elated. I would be remiss if I didn't mention what a special little brach of the church our new congregation is. There was a sweet spirit of the Lord present during our entire meetings. That very first day the branch president asked us both to speak and introduce ourselves. Lynn did an amazing job with her limited French and is making huge strides each day.
Our first week here has been very busy. We spent a good part of the week buying and putting together furniture and appliances. But we have also had a chance to visit some less active members, one non member and give a blessing to a less active member who was hospitalized. We were very well received by all whom we visited and we hope that this will be a first step to growing the branch.
On Saturday our branch held a dinner meeting with a focus on genealogy. There were lots of displays by the members and both members and non members were invited. Seventeen people showed up. This was great exposure for the church and the branch. We had a typically French meal with course after course starting with soup, salad, pot au feu (stew), sausage and sauerkraut, beets, tons of desserts, breads and cheese. We also had some "Mormon Champagne" and finished up with herbal tea. A meeting that I thought would take two hours took six but we all had a great time and we learned a lot about the members, their families and genealogy. Of course, there was so much food left over that we were able to have another meal after church today.
Our little branch received some sad news today. Our Branch President who has a long history in the branch will be moving this coming Friday. He and his wife will be moving close to Grenoble to be with their pregnant daughter whose husband is in Africa with the French military. We are trying to grow the branch and so this was a big hit but as we understand it, it might be a temporary move for about six months.
We are extremely blessed and we look forward to getting more involved in our missionary efforts. We are hoping to get more involved in the mission as whole. We have been asked to inspect young missionary apartments throughout the mission and hope to start that this week. We are also hoping to be involved in meetings with missionaries in our district to help in whatever way we can. We are also looking forward to providing service in Charleville-Mézières in a meaningful way.
|Some wonderful members of our Branch|
Lyndi-lou and Eddie too