Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Camelot and the Big Pig

Saturday, January 31, 2015 

We have had some good results and not so good results this week.

I found out yesterday that some proposals for our Branch were accepted by the Stake Presidency.  We wanted to change our meeting times to accommodate those travelling and also allow for a  1/2 hour meeting from 9:00-9:30 for Branch Council, music appreciation, missionary work, and VT co-ordination.  We also wanted to add some Sunday School lessons to our schedule as they have not been part of our schedule to date.  We got the nod on both of these. 

However, we had a lady lined up to start coming back to church this week but she has changed her mind.  But at least we have made a connection with her and she may yet show up.  We also have been told that our small chapel might become even smaller if our numbers don't increase.  We have the ground floor of an apartment building building.  The proposal is to cut our church space in two and turn the other half back into an apartment or move us to a smaller location that might be available to us only on Sunday.  We are hoping that some additional missionaries will help out.  After contacting our Mission President he is working on this.  Please help our Branch by praying for us.   

On Monday we saw the biggest sanglier in the world that we are calling Woinic.  That is because he is a huge statue of a wild boar that is at the entrance to the village/town of Woinic just as you come into the Ardennes Department of northern France where Charleville-Mézières is located.  Needless to say we had to stop and take a picture.  It is just as well because we were anticipating seeing a real sanglier when we were supposed to go Home Teaching to a member's home in Belgium this week.  However, we had to cancel because it was snowing too much and she lives in an area where the road is not ploughed regularly.  She sees sangliers quite regularly when taking the one hour trip to church.  I think when we re-schedule this will be our best bet for a real sanglier sighting.
This is what happens when you have 2 goofballs trying to take a selfie with a giant pig in the background.

I bet you are wondering about the title I have posted this week.  Well I have explained the "big pig" part but not the "Camelot" part.  On Tuesday we went to our regular District Meeting;
Transfers are coming up this week so here we are for the last time together.  Next week we'll have 3 different missionaries. We just really love these guys.  What a great bunch of missionaries.  Nice sweater Elder Karl!  In case you're wondering the numbers signify the number of transfers you've been in the mission.  There are approximately 16 transfers in the life of a missionary serving for two years.  
....afterward we journeyed to Compiegne for an apartment inspection with two young elders.  They had pre-arranged with us to take them to Pierrefonds to visit a castle.  They were able to do this because they switched their prep day.  When we got to Pierrefonds we were truly amazed.  Before us stood the most beautiful castle we have yet seen nestled in a quaint little French village. 
How would you like to wake up to this every morning?  Nice eh? I am especially happy with the way this turned out.  We turned on exactly the right street for it.
The castle looked strangely familiar and we soon found out why.  This is the castle where the TV show "Merlin" is filmed.  We were able to take pictures of places in the castle which were also featured on the show.  What a cool feeling it was to walk the same halls as Merlin and the future King Arthur did in the show.  There was a mausoleum in the lower part where many French Kings and Nobles are entombed. Napoleon bought the Castle in 1810 for 3,000 francs.  It was in ruins.  Napoleon III commissioned the Castle to be re-done to it's original form in 1850.
Us with Elders Tidwell and Roth
The Drawbridge
Looking down through the grates that could have been used to pour hot oil onto unsuspecting attackers at the front drawbridge.
A map of the second floor of the castle (1er etage) The first floor is called the "rez des chausée"
A shot of Merlin & King Arthur from a scene in the show.  THE END! (of the pictures on this post!)
On Wednesday we went Home Teaching to the Bivers where we once again, enjoyed  a very typical French meal - soup, tarte aux oignons, vegetable medley, bread, cheese and dessert.  We brought the soup and dessert. We had a great visit and a great meal.

Our folk dance night was also great.  We are meeting some good friends there and they ask us questions about our church which is cool.  As an added bonus we are learning French folk dances accompanied by live music.  This week there were four musicians.  They play the flute, accordion and bag pipes.  I am even learning to not step on Lynn's toes as much.

We continue to keep very busy with our missionary work, particularly with Branch business.  We are attempting to make contact with members who have not shown up for a while.  We are met with moderate success in this area but any progress is great.

We are so fortunate to have modern technology.  It allows us to keep in touch with our family via FaceTime or Skype.  As a result, we have included our kids and grandkids in our mission through the internet and by telephone.  We love hearing from them and being able to share what we are doing with them.

Well, that's all we have for this week.

Au revoir de la France.

Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Old and theYoung

Sunday, January 25

What a week we have had.  We accomplished a great deal.  We went from old to young.  We started the week with a funeral for a lady who passed away just shy of her hundredth birthday.  It was the first funeral that I officiated at as the Branch President.  We had a nice service which included a biography, a poem, a musical number, a spiritual thought and prayers.  We had treats afterward.  It was nice; a former member came and a member we don't see often enough.  Claire was very pleased with the way her mother's life was celebrated.
Agnes Guillaume - 1915-2015 - She was baptised at 83 years old
On the missionary front we finished going through the ward list for the first go around.  We phoned all the numbers that we had and we made a spreadsheet showing what we found out.  We did have some positive results.  A lady asked us to pick her up for church next week and a man asked if we could get back to him at a later date.  We will continue to follow up with our Branch members to see if there is any other information that they have that could help us.

At our district meeting this week we had two additional members as the Zone Leaders joined us.  We had a great lesson about our heroes.  Lynn made Fettucini Alfredo for lunch and the other missionaries accompanied it by bringing salad, potatoes, (Elder Smith from Idaho of course brought those), drinks and cookies for dessert.  After our meeting we inspected missionary apartments in St. Quentin.  The Elders' apartment was two storeys but there was a basement that was like a cave.  They had fixed it up as a cool little place to hang out.  They called it "The Cave".
Apparently it is pretty cool with the candles lit and the lights off.  Great place for a Spook Alley!
Elder Smith and Elder Karl in the Cave. (It's kind of like a bunker)

On Thursday we had a Presidency meeting and we did some planning for our Branch.  Of course on Thursday evening we went to our Folk dancing group.  We had a lot of fun, as always.  One of the members had a birthday so she brought goodies for us afterwards.  Another member told us about a fortified village nearby that we are going to have to go see.
Laurent Biver on the flute.  Although this is an old photo from Isabelle Biver, we always have live music for our Folk Dance Class.  Most of these guys have played for us.  So fun!
Friday we were back at the château to attend a puppet show that was put on.  The place was packed and the show was amazing.  There were lots of kids there, of course.  They loved the show as did we.  The show was a combination of colourful lights, puppets and geometry.  In Charleville-Mézières there is an International Marionnette Festival every two year.  This happens to be the year they are going to hold it and the play we saw will be part of the Festival.

Thanks to Isabelle Biver for these 4 photo's of the Production "Petit Poincarré) Eun-Yong (Korea) and Yuraté (Lithuania). It was just wonderful.
Saturday was kind of a catch up day.  We did some shopping and finished up our spreadsheet and did some preparation for church.  I also made some phone calls for church.

Our apartment comes with a garage that has an electric garage door opener but it does not have a remote for it.  I have been looking for one and finally found the right one on a sight that is the French equivalent to kijiji.  It is in Reims and so we plan to go there for missionary business and at the same time pick up my opener.

We wished we had a garage door opener this week.  It snowed on Saturday.  It was the first real snowfall that we have had this year.  We probably had two whole inches - shades of Canada.  Anyway our car was covered with snow and I broke the broom clearing it off.  Fortunately I found another broomstick in the basement of our building.
Cute little "Masonge Bleue" (Blue titmouse)  in the snow.  (Thanks again to Isabelle - it was in their backyard)
We continue to feel the spirit as we fulfill our missionary duties.  We are blessed in all that we do.  We are so fortunate to be here and to work with such loyal and faithful members.  We look forward to what lays ahead and for the good that we can do here in Charleville-Mézières.

Well that's all for this week.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Roman" Around France

Sunday, January 18

We saw a lot of France this week.  We started off on Monday going to Paris.  Lynn had to get some legal stuff done for her visa.  I have to do the same in February.  We stayed overnight and came back on Tuesday.  We saw some amazing things.

We took the "Fast Train" into Paris.  It only took 1.5 hours.  We then took a metro to St. Michel which is the station right beside Notre Dame Cathedral.  After a great lunch of a "Kebab" (a Middle Eastern sandwich) we walked about a kilometre to our destination. 
Yummy Kebob with Andalouse Sauce
We were heading to "Les Arènes de Lutece".  This is a very little known tourist attraction right in the middle of Paris.  It is a very well preserved Roman arena that is really awe inspiring.  We actually ate a bag lunch there.  It was incredible to be sitting in a place where Roman citizens sat 2000 years ago.  There were bleachers and passageways and arches.  It was a little weird, though thinking about the dastardly things that probably occurred there, too.  The arena is quite hard to find.  It is hidden behind a row of buildings.  The only indication that it is even there is a historical marker beside an archway.  You go through the arch and you are there.  We also took a short walk over to where there are some Roman baths that are still visible.  These are a little less preserved but are just as awe inspiring.
Notre Dame in the Background and the remnants of this church. Information in French follows.
Walking from the church to the arena
The Archway into the Roman Arena uncovered in the late 1800's but built in the 1st century.

The bigwig seats for the show in the Arena
Musée Cluny 
Middle Ages & Roman Baths Museum
These Baths were build in the 2nd century.  Amazing.

For those of you who think that I lack culture I want you to know that we also visited an Art Museum in Paris - Le Musée D'Orsay.  There I was looking around at some of the greatest Impressionist paintings by Gauguin, Renoir, Monet, etc. pretending that I knew something about them.  Lynn was a natural in there.  She fit right in.
Some of my favorites........Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night"
Paul Signac "Entrée du port de la Rochelle".  Since my family hails from LaRochelle I thought I'd include this.
Glare and all!! I love this painting by Henri Geoffroy "Le Jour de la visite à l'hôpital".  It reminds me of when I was just a little girl in the hospital and my dad came to visit me right when visiting hours were over.  I remember how devastated I was to be in there, feeling all alone etc.  This is really beautiful and sad.
José-Julio de Souza-Pinto "Les ramasseurs de pommes de terre". 
Julien Dupré "La Vache blanche"
Claude Monet
Camille Pissarro
Renoir "Madame Renoir et son fis Pierre"
Renoir "Bal du moulin de la Galette"  We have this in our house at home.  Wow the colour is nothing like the real thing!  
Oswald Achenbach "Une fête à Genazzano".  I love this painting.  Because it is hard to see I've taken 3 other closer shots.
Rosa Bonheur 
While we were in Paris we attended a missionary lunch and we made a connection with a young sister missionary who is related to our son-in-law, Tyler.  Her father and Tyler's mother are cousins.  We were able to take her picture and when Lynn posted the picture on a missionary family Facebook page her father commented on it.  A conversation ensued.  When we compared notes we made the connection.  What a small world.
An Artist at work just across from the Pompidou Center and right near our LDS Visitors Center

The Mission Home in Le Vésinet
Back in Charleville we continued to do our missionary efforts of finding lost members.  We spent a great deal of time this week doing this with some success.  We also continue to try to speak to people we meet about the Church.  Part of our mission is supporting our Branch members, too.  With this in mind I attended a meeting this week to do this very thing.  I met with a member from St. Quentin to learn about a program that I can use to help others in a counselling kind of a role.  It was interesting.  I had this meeting after our regular District Meeting with the other missionaries in our district.  This meeting is always held in St. Quentin which is about 2 hours from us but only 117 kilometres away.  This week we took a wrong turn and went through about 15 additional Villages on our short little detour.  It actually took us the same amount of time.  
A January day in France on the way to our District Meeting in St. Quentin
Just a passing beauty
Guise "Old Tower"  We need to check this out one day when we have more time.  We drive past it every week.
On Friday we learned that a member of our Branch passed away and so we have been planning my first funeral as a Branch President.  That will happen tonight.

Today I had a meeting in Lille with all the bishops and branch presidents in our stake.  It takes 2.5 hours to get there, 3 hours of meetings and 2.5 hours to get home again.  I think I will sleep well tonight.

We have the fortune of celebrating our granddaughter's birthday today.  Well, I guess she is celebrating it not us but we did have an opportunity to phone her and sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  We try hard to include our family as part of our mission as much as possible.  They need to feel of our love and we need to feel theirs, too.

Again, we are blessed to be here serving a mission in France.  We love what we are doing and we know we are doing the Lord's work.  We can feel his presence with us daily.  How fortunate this is for us!

Well, that's all I have for this week.

Au revoir from La France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.