First and foremost, Happy Birthday, Dustin! It is our son's 33rd birthday today. We hope he has a great day.
The weather here is interesting. It rains quite a bit here. The sky is often overcast and you don't dare go out without an umbrella. We saw a rainbow yesterday morning but it was actually clear enough last night to see the stars and pick out some constellations. I would not want to be a weather forecaster here in France. We haven't seen any snow yet, though.
We have done a lot of travelling in the last two weeks, usually by car but we want to Paris this week by train. Let's start with last week.
On Monday, December 8 we had to drive out to a little town called Le Chesne to pick something up from a member's house. It was about 45 minutes away. We bought a baguette there and were headed home when we saw a sign that said "Scenic Route" back to Charleville-Mézières," so we decided to take it. It was a small little road through the forest. As we were driving along we saw a sign that said, "Chapelle St. Roger, 0.5 km.". We stopped and followed a trail on foot through the woods to the ruins of an old abbey that was amazing. There was a small little chapel and a quaint little pool. We also saw a beautiful golf course way out in the country which was a pleasant surprise.
|Chapel St. Roger|
We had two sister missionaries stay with us overnight while they were making a train connection. One was from Germany and one was from Argentina. It was nice to have company.
We were excited to receive Christmas goodies from home. Letters, pictures, homemade stockings, decorations.
|Stockings and decorations made for us by Lise-Anne|
I had the opportunity to go to Lille last Saturday with my counsellor in the Branch Presidency. We had a leadership meeting there. We went a different way than when Lynn and I went so we saw some new country and some great little villages but we didn't see any sangliers. When I picked up Laurent at his house I was surprised to find out that he lived in a little village about 30 minutes from us called L'Échelle that actually has a castle. We actually had a chance to visit that castle when we went to L'Échelle yesterday to listen to Laurent and Isabelle and their choir sing in the old stone church in their village. Treats were served afterwards in the Castle. It was a very enjoyable event and everyone was so friendly.
|Cool Old Organ in the Church|
|Library in L'Échelle|
|Manger Scene in the Castle|
This week we went to Paris on the train for 3 days - the TGV at 300 km/hr. That is the way to travel. We had Zone meetings with all the missionaries and we helped prepare a Christmas dinner for them. It was a lot of fun and was very informative, educational and spiritual. We had Elder & Sister Texeira, from the West European Area.
We met with all of the other missionary couples and stayed with some good friends that we met at the MTC. One morning I went for a run along the Seine River, enjoying the serenity and the scenery when I landed in a pothole and twisted my ankle. I had to hobble home and haven't been running since. I hope to be able to get out again this week.
The night before we were to go home we had a chance to walk up and down the "Champs Elysées" leading up to the Arc de Triomphe. It was beautiful. The avenue was all lit up with Christmas lights. There were tons of booths selling everything during a Christmas Market. We bought a kebab for supper. It was a beautiful evening - 15 degrees. Despite the warm weather there was a real feeling of the Christmas Spirit there.
We had a Christmas activity at church today. We had a lunch as a Branch and then we had desserts later on and sang carols. It was really nice. There were 14 people there and we usually only have 7, so that was nice, too.
|Laurent playing the bagpipes|
We have been keeping very busy, which is why we haven't posted anything for 2 weeks. We are continuing to visit less active members. We have decided to visit a senior couple with some health issues just to give them some company. We are sharing a Christmas story with various people we meet. It is a cool story that actually happened in rural France when Neil A. Anderson was the Mission President here. People are happy to take the booklet we share with them. We also sent out 25 Christmas Cards from the Branch to various community members in Charleville-Mézières.
Of course, we continue to love what we are doing. We are blessed to be in France and to be doing what we are doing. Merry Christmas. May you all be blessed with the spirit of Christmas.
Au revoir for now from La France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie too.