Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stake and Fries

This week we did a fair bit of travelling all told.  We actually did three road trips, all mission related, of course.

On Monday we went to Home Teach Kate, a member of our Branch who lives in Belgium.  Of course we went through the backroads to get there and of course we saw some nice country - nice little villages, lots of forests but no sangliers.  We were really hoping to see some this trip because the lady we were visiting sees them regularly on her way to church.  We had a great lunch with her, shared the monthly lesson and helped her stack wood.  She lives in a beautiful home in a little Belgian village called Mazée which is just over the Belgian border.  We had a great day and love Kate.  She is a great member of our Branch.

On Tuesday we made our weekly trek to St. Quentin for our District Meeting.  We have a new District Leader, Elder Roth.  Elder Karl got transferred.  We will miss him but Elder Roth did a great job.  We had a great meal - Crepes, home made bread and apple pie.  On the way home we stopped at a second hand store to look for things for our new missionaries' apartment.  We also went shopping at Auchan, a Walmartish store in France.

On Thursday I went over to the church to help work on the garden.  We cleaned it all up and made it look good for our Branch Conference coming up on March 1.  We had our Home Teachers over for supper - Laurent and Isabelle Biver and their daughter Clara.  We had an enjoyable evening.  Laurent and Isabelle are the ones who teach folk dance.  We had to miss this again this week because Lynn is still not 100%.

Friday was a highlight for us.  In the morning we went to the train station to pick up two missionaries who came up to do some contacting with us and for us.  Elder Mattson and Elder Jouffray are Zone Leaders and they wanted to support us here in Charleville-Mézières.  We took them out for lunch and gave them a home cooked supper which they don't get all that often.  They stayed overnight with us and went back on Saturday morning.  They were out pounding the streets of Charleville despite rainy weather.  Ed went out with them in the afternoon and really enjoyed it.  It was a great experience.  We admire their dedication to share the gospel with as many people as they are able.  As a result we have 5 new contacts which is great for our little Branch.  That is exciting news. We don't usually do contacting like the young Elders and Sisters do.   It takes a lot of courage to randomly share your beliefs with others on the street as all those who have served missions can testify.  It is however very satisfying to share our belief in the Saviour and see the hope in others' eyes as they allow you to say a prayer with them and let them know of His love for them. 
Our Zone Leaders Elders Jouffray and Mattson
The following video is about a journalist in Belgium who decided to say yes to everything and he ends up going around with the missionaries for the day.  It's really great to watch.  Here's the link:

After we took the Elders to the train station we headed to our Stake Conference in Lille, about a 2.5 hour trip.  We went through Belgium.  On the way we stopped at Rocroi, a fortified village.  There is a wall built around the whole village in the shape of a star. It was built in the 16th century.  It is a place we have earmarked to go back to in the summer.  

We also stopped at a "Friterie".  This is a snack bar that specialises in French Fries.  They are all over Belgium.  We had fries and two breaded snacks that were great.

Conference was great.  We had speakers from our little Branch, from the Stake and the President of our mission and his wife, the Babins.  We stayed at a hotel overnight and headed home on Sunday.

We also had a chance to talk to all of our kids and grandkids this week.  That really is a highlight for us.  Dustin has entered an essay contest where you can win a Westfalia Camper van, old style but in pristine shape.  He outlined our family's 4 generations of volkswagen mania in  his essay. It sounded great and we, of course, hope he wins.
"Clementine", the coveted prize!
As you can see we had a great week.  We got lots done, had fun and included our family.  It doesn't get any better than that.  Bye for now.

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Paris Times Two

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We had a great day at church today.  We had a new investigator come.  She was very interested and excited in all that we did.  She had to drive in from Sedan, about 20 minutes away.  We believe that she was guided to our little congregation.  She is a little disillusioned with her own church.  She looked up churches in the phone book and asked about ours because it had "Jesus Christ" in its name.  She was inspired to come and told us she really felt the spirit and she is looking forward to coming again.  For us, as missionaries, this was great news.

This week we have been extremely busy.  We went to Paris twice and to Belgium once.  On Tuesday we went to Paris to a Zone Conference.  This is where all the missionaries from our zone get together for teaching and to be interviewed by the Mission President and his wife.  Our interview went great.  We feel very supported by our Mission President.  He was grateful for our service and is pleased with what we are doing in Charleville-Mézières.  He and his wife are hoping to come and visit our Branch in the future.

Of course, we couldn't go to Paris without visiting a site.  Even though this was only a day trip we did go to see the Eiffel Tower.  It is funny that we have been in France for 3 and a half months and in Paris several times bur this was the first time we have visited the Eiffel Tower.  It was, of course awe inspiring and in a beautiful location right beside the Seine.

It is funny in different places you go to how bathrooms are.  In France it is quite common to have to pay to use a bathroom.  Often there is someone collecting money to use the facility.  Sometimes you are covered from your knees to your shoulders but you can see the head and feet of someone of the opposite sex right beside you using the loo.  Anyway, as it turned out there was a "toilette" right beside the Eiffel Tower.  It was quite different.  First of all it was free.  It looked like an oval shaped new age facility.  It was fully automated.  You pressed a button to get in.  There was a bit of a line and it surprised us how slow it was moving.  As we got closer we realised why.  After each person did their thing the whole toilet shut down and it went through a wash cycle before the next person was able to enter.  It was totally different.

On Thursday we journeyed to Namur, Belgium.  What a beautiful city.  We met another Senior Missionary couple there and we had lunch together in lieu of Valentine's day.  It was very nice.  Afterwards we visited a citadel that was there dating from centuries ago.  It was built on a hillside and we had an amazing view from the top.  We also visited the Chateau de Namur from the outside.  It was a palace surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Friday brought us back to Paris where Ed had to get some paperwork and medical testing done for his French visa.  This, too, was a day trip.  We took the TGV train in the morning and returned in the evening.  Before we went to our appointment we  visited "La Sainte Chapelle" (Holy Chapel).  This is a church built right by Notre Dame by Louis XI.  It was built inside his palace but a separate structure.  So, the chapel was surrounded by the palace.  The royal family could walk from the palace to the chapel by a passageway.  The ground floor was a chapel for the servants and the top floor was a chapel for the royal family.  This was amazing.  The stained glass windows were the finest and most intricate we have seen.  Each one told a different story from the bible.

We had lunch at the church's Paris Visitors' Centre with a group of missionaries who were in Paris for the same reason we were.  We took the metro to our appointment.  The other missionaries went back to the Visitors' Centre to meet their companions.  We headed out on our own.
This is looking from beside the Visitors Center in Paris into the Chapel where we meet for Zone Meetings and lots of other meetings.

The Church in the heart of Paris at Saint Merry

Waiting for the Métro
We wanted to visit the Place des Vosges.  This is a square in Paris which was used as a model for the square that was built in Charleville-Mézières.  It was very similar with swanky shops all throughout.  As it turns out, Victor Hugo lived here back in the day.  We were able to visit his apartment free of charge.  It was cool but not that interesting overall.

Unfortunately, Lynn was sick this week so the rest of the week was mostly recuperative in nature.  We did lots of studying and some things around the house.  
Lynn decided to make some homemade lemon, honey, ginger cough drops.  Tasty little things with a bite to them.
Just so you know, McDonalds is NOT created equal here in France.  The have the most beautiful desserts and really nice decor in all of their restaurants.  Probably because they know French people will not settle for anything less than magnificent when it comes to food.

We hope all of our friends and family are doing well and thank you for your support.  Bye for now.

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

Sunday, February 8, 2015

French Hodgepodge

Sunday, February 8, 2015

This week we had the opportunity to visit a less active member of our Branch who in my opinion is the quintessential Frenchman.  He is always a pleasure to visit because he is always very welcoming when we come.  He loves to talk and he is always giving us advice. Although he is baptised into our church he is very much a product of his Catholic upbringing.  He has a reverence for the Pope and for the Saviour as can be seen from the crucifixes and pictures in his apartment.  He is very kind and considerate and always has a drink and a snack when we visit.  He is also always giving us advice on where to shop, what to do and what food to eat.  We appreciate his concern and his advice.  He has lent us videos and music and gifted us a CD of accordion music.  His father was an accomplished accordionist.

I want to mention few peculiarities that we have noticed in France.  After Christmas in Canada we have Boxing Week sales.  In France they have about 6 weeks of sales starting in January.  This week is the last week of theses sales.  Things start off at 20% off and continue until they are 70% off by this week.  Not all things go to 70% but lots do.  As a result the stores are packed.  It is very interesting.  

Coming home from church this morning we noticed how quiet it was.  Stores are not open on Sunday here.  Sunday is a day for families and friends.  It is quite nice, actually.  Church bells ring like crazy but clearly people do not attend church here like they used to do.  

French drivers are quite interesting, as well.  They do not drive fast because they are quite strict here about speeding.  They are, however, not very patient and use their horns a lot.  They are very skilful at parking.  Parking is a big problem here.  There are more cars than parking spaces.  When a parking spot opens up French drivers are quite aggressive and they can parallel park into the smallest of spaces.  Sometimes it seems like there is only two inches to spare in the front and the back of a car.  As you walk by and notice this phenomenon all you can do is shake your head and wonder how they got in there.
Our car is this Opel Meriva with suicide doors.  It's a great little car.
Our stake is organising a trip to the temple in February.  We are assigned to attend the London temple.  This is about a seven hour drive from Charleville-Mézières.  Because of the distance the stake will go for a whole week about four times a year.  The temple trip will be from February 23 to 27.  Three members of our Branch are going.  Lynn and I plan to do so at a later date.  The distances and the commitment to attend speaks to the faith and loyalty of our members.  We feel that on a weekly basis.

On Wednesday of this week we got a call from Metz from two American sisters who are the nieces of a lady from Metz who passed away recently.  She was not a member of our church but one of the nieces was.  After contacting the missionaries in Metz they contacted us because we are opening up a new apartment for some young missionaries coming to Charleville-Mézières.  They had a bunch of furniture to give away.  We were able to go to Metz and bring back a car load.  We also stored some additional stuff in Metz.  We were so fortunate.
Solar Panels in Belgium

Drove through 3 countries today an this sign showing the German influence

Elder Libby and Elder Quist lending a helping hand 
At church we have recently changed our schedule to allow us to meet in the morning for a half hour before our regular meetings.  During this time we practice hymns, have a Branch Council meeting, work on missionary work and provide time for our Relief Society to meet as sisters.  We have done this to accommodate people who have to travel far to church.  This allows us to meet on Sunday without having to drive in for additional meetings during the week.  This week was the first time the Relief Society met.  Of course, they brought breakfast along which was a great benefit for Laurent and I who were having a Presidency meeting.  It was so great.  I think I am going to like this new schedule.

Lynn has devised a system whereby we can formalise our contact with our family.  She has prepared a sheet with everyone's name on it - children, grandchildren, parents.  She has a little post it beside each name and when we contact them we move it to the other side of the paper.  The goal is to contact everyone twice each month by phone, e-mail, skype or Facebook.  I think it's a great idea and a great way of including our family in our mission.  We have made motto - "No one left behind.  We are all in this together."
Amy sent us this video of Great Grandpa standing on 2 dozen raw eggs. This is so like him. Even went the extra mile and got perfect shoes for the activity.   Funny.
Just a great view from our bedroom window with a pink sky - a rarity here in the winter.
Well that's all I have for this week.

So, it's aurevoir de la France.
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.