Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Young and The Restless

Sunday, March 29, 2015

In April our Mission is organising a conference for Senior Couple missionaries.  Ed is in charge of organising a visit to a château and lunch.  This does not sound like much but our conference will be held in Tours which is in the Loire valley.  This is château heaven.  There are hundreds of châteaux to choose from.  

After some research and because it is only half an hour from where our meetings will be held, the visit will take place at the Château de Chenonceau.  
This is a huge palace built in the 15 hundreds that housed royalty.  It houses a number of historic artefacts, beautiful gardens and a wax museum.  We will be visiting it on April 15 and will be having lunch in the castle at a cafeteria type restaurant that is located there.  It will be amazing.  We are looking forward to going to the conference, discussing things that are pertinent to us and being together with our fellow missionary couples.

Back in Charleville-Mézières, it has been great having our new missionaries here with us.  However, everyone has taken to calling them the "Young Missionaries".  You can fill in the blanks as to what that makes us.  Ed reminded us all that it's better to call them the "Younger Missionaries".  After all, you are only as old as you feel!  They have been a great addition to our team.  We've had them over for lots; for dinner twice, checking and writing their e-mails, and for haircuts.  They even took us out for a kebab (French fast food) to show their appreciation.

They are doing great work.  They already have given lessons and have others scheduled in for a handful of investigators.  We know that they will make a difference in our Branch and look forward to the changes that will happen.  They have lots of energy and pep and go full boar.  Oh no! It's sounding like they are younger and we are older.  We'll just keep that to ourselves.

On Thursday we had the pleasure of driving to St. Quentin with them to our District Meeting.  They were amazed at the scenery and the number of little villages we went through.  We had a great lesson and a great meal.  We took the main dish of beef on a bun and our new District Leader, Elder Bigalow made us waffles and all the fixings for dessert.   
Going clockwise, Elder Wilson, Elder Bigalow, Zone leaders; Elder Beck, Elder Player, Elder Brown, Soeur Lusty, Soeur Brazil, Elder Jones and Elder Christiansen.
 With an emphasis on unity all ten of the missionaries in our district wore something with stripes on it.  We stopped and did some shopping on the way home at Auchan which is the closest thing we have to a Walmart in France.  Usually it means we can find some good deals on food.

As always we've had a full week.  Ed went home teaching to a member who is in our Branch.  It was the first time that he met him and he really enjoyed his company.  He is very enthusiastic about the Gospel but finds it difficult to attend church with his busy schedule.  He is a doctor and his practise is really busy, including in the evenings 6 days a week.   He also works at the hospital sometimes on Sundays.  We will obviously be visiting him again along with those other missionaries who make us look old.

Ed also had the opportunity to go to a lesson with our new Elders this week.  We were teaching someone who is really interested in our church.  We had a great meeting with him.  He had lots of good questions and is looking forward to coming to the church when he can.

Lynn is working on a talk that she is going to give on May 17.  She likes lots of lead-in time because of the language issues.  However, she is making great strides with the language.  She has a French lesson every week after church with Kate, our member from Belgium.  Lynn is a student of the language, always asking why and trying to figure out the various nuances of French.

We travelled to Troyes this week to do an apartment inspection.  It is just east of Paris.  On the way we randomly saw this lovely arch on the side of the road.
A cool arch on the way to Troyes
Also on our way we passed a site of a huge WW 1 Battleground and two cemeteries where there are 30,000 French and 14,000 German Soldiers buried.  Great feelings of gratitude for the sacrifice given by others for our freedom enveloped both of us.  Very somber feeling indeed.  Interestingly, before we knew any of this, Lynn had been pondering the possibility of there having been a battle there, imagining soldiers on the hillside scrambling for cover etc.  Just after the cemetery and town of Souain, France we passed an extremely large, current Military Base and Operations.  A bit gut-wrenching the whole experience.

Battle of Souain
We got our first traffic ticket this week in Troyes as well.  There was virtually nowhere to park which is typical in France.  We pulled up on the sidewalk which everyone does in France.  Imagine our surprise when we came down and a French gendarme was writing a ticket.  Ed pleaded with her but once she had started writing out the ticket she was obliged to continue, so she said.  Anyway, we paid the fine and went home 35.00€ poorer.  But we did see Église de St. Madeleine, a cathedral from the 12th century that had the most intricate designs we have ever seen.  We also went to an outlet mall and amazingly we didn't buy anything other than supper.

We had the pleasure of going to Biver's house for supper yesterday with the younger missionaries.  We have come into a good thing.  They get invited to dinner but they need a ride so we get invited.  I'm sure it's for the pleasure of our company too.  We had a great evening - a super meal and a spiritual message.  It was the first time the Biver's had had younger missionaries in their home for about 9 years.

At church today we had our Fast and Testimony meeting because of General Conference.  We were richly fed by the testimonies of our members.  Many testimonies referred to missionary work and to the prospect of building up our membership in Charleville-Mézières.  It is an exciting time in our Branch.

After being fed spiritually we are ready for the upcoming week.  Bye for now.

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


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beauty and the Beast

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Before anyone gets the wrong idea from the title, this isn't a post about Lynn and Ed.  Well, technically, it is a post about Lynn and Ed but that is not how we got the name for the title.  After all Ed is not that beautiful and Lynn is not that Beastly.  The title also does not refer to our two new young missionaries that arrived this week. They are lovely young men.

The title refers to a castle we came across while doing our missionary work for this week.  We were going to Belgium to Home Teach a faithful member of our ward.  On the way there we decided to try to locate two members who were on our ward list but whom we have never met.  One lived in Fumay in Northern France and the other lived in Givet, right on the Belgian border.  As it turns out on the way from Fumay to Givet we passed an old castle that was somewhat in disrepair but looked so cool.  It reminded us of the castle from Beauty and the Beast.

On the way back from Givet we decided to stop and explore.  The castle was in a little Medieval Village called Hierges.  It was typically French, with cobble stone streets, a little square, a restaurant and a castle.  The castle was built on a hill overlooking the town.  The towers and walls were crumbling somewhat but it looked awesome.  We walked up to it and explored a bit.  We were somewhat surprised by the fact that there seemed to be someone living in a house/tower that was on the grounds.  When we finally got to our friend's house she told us that there is still the Baron de Hierges that lives there.  Wow!  Such history.  It was built in 1545 on a sight that used to have a castle built in the early 11th century.
Lynn felt like she was right in the middle of a setting for a wonderful novel!
That was Monday.  On Tuesday we put the finishing touches to our new missionaries' apartment.  Elders Christiansen and Brown finally got here on Wednesday. We picked them up at the gare (train station).  They are perfect, very enthusiastic, with lots of great ideas.  They hit the ground running, contacting people right away.  We took them to their apartment which they loved, had supper, showed them around town and went over our Branch list to give them an idea of who was who.  They will be a great resource for our Branch.
Elder Brown above and Elder Christiansen below helping us prepare Sunday dinner.
On Thursday we went to Le Chesne for Home Teaching.
Home Teaching Message this month.  Agony in The Garden by Frans Swartz
 We brought the missionaries with us to meet the Dampt family.  They live about 45 minutes away.  We had a great visit and a great lunch.   We had a great trip through the forests of the Ardennes on little country roads.  Our new elders who had spent time in Paris love being away from the big city for a while.  

After supper we went to Bivers for Home teaching and ended the night off at folk dancing in the Echelle castle.  So it's been a bit of a castle-y week for us.  We do love folk dancing.  We have met some great people, many of them farmers from small villages and towns around us.

This week is birthday week in Ed's family.  His Mom's birthday is March 17 and his Dad's birthday is March 20.  Ed's brother, Darrell and our daughter Amy have birthdays on March 19.  Back in Lethbridge they all had dinner together and then went to a play in Raymond.  Darrell was here visiting from New York which was great since we weren't able to be there.  Actually, we took advantage of Darrell being there by giving us some help on the home front with some things we had to get done for taxes, etc.

Friday Ed had a Branch presidency meeting and the new missionaries got to meet Brother Biver.  They are being very well received here.  After all, there have not been missionaries here for 8 or 9 years.  Needless to say our members are overjoyed to have the support.

Saturday was a regular Saturday.  we did our studies in the morning.  Ed washed the car.  We went shopping.  We met with the missionaries to go over some things before church the next day.  

We had a great day at church today.  We had a Branch Council meeting, a great lesson and some great talks.  The missionaries met the rest of the members.  We had them over for lunch afterwards.  Then Ed finished the Branch history report for 2014 to send to the stake.  

There you have it.  Another great week in France.  Bye for now.

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


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Room With a View

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Picture this - a nice little freshly painted one bedroom apartment in a building that is 180 years old along the banks of a meandering French river in a town that is 800 years old.  To top this all off you look out your bedroom window onto an enclosed courtyard.  There you have it!  This describes the new missionary apartment that will be inhabited by young missionaries this Wednesday.  I say young missionaries not because we are not young but because they are considerably younger than us.  

I would think anyone would want to live in such a place.  However, when you think of the schedule of young missionaries you realize the sacrifice they are making.  They are up by 6:00, pray, exercise, study, plan, hit the pavement, contact, teach, serve, eat, meet and support the members.  It is kind of nice that they have a great little apartment.  We hope that it will make their load a little better and that they will enjoy coming home to the place described in the previous paragraph.

In any case, we have spent a good deal of this week putting the finishing touches on the apartment.  We had the stove delivered and Ed wired it.  We put on a new toilet seat.  We put up the shower curtains and rods.  We did a fair bit of cleaning.  Our Branch members have been great.  They provided a bunch of food and other supplies to stock the apartment. We gave a guided tour of the apartment after church today.  The sisters decided to move some things around and it looks great.
Laundry hanging to dry outside of a the same apartment complex as the Missionaries.  So quaint!
To put things in perspective you need to look at the history of our little Branch.  There were about 35 active members here at one time.  As jobs dried up members moved until there are now only 7 active members other than us but what strength and faith there is in this little Branch.  There is a big load on the members here, though, because those 7 members have to do everything.  There have not been missionaries in Charleville-Mézières for 8 years.  You can imagine how excited they all are to have these new missionaries.  They are overjoyed.  They will be here on Wednesday.  Our two missionaries are cracker jacks.  They both have great track records. 

Of course, we did other things this week besides setting up apartments.  We had our last District Meeting with all of our district before transfers.  After this transfer we will be the longest serving missionaries in the St. Quentin district.  We lose a team from Compiegne but gain a team from Charleville.  It will seem a little different.  We will now be part of the Lille Zone instead of Paris Nord.  Good in one way because we haven't been able to check out Lille much.  Also it's our Stake so that is a good thing.  We're a little sad at not being able to travel into Paris as much as in the past.  It's a good thing we've made great use of our previous visits there.
The lovely weather this week brought out these beautiful Swans in St. Quentin.  The watching dog wants them to go over for a visit with him.
The warm weather this week didn't only bring out the swans in St. Quentin but the first outdoor market of the year appeared in our square on Friday.  It will be there every third Friday of the month until October.  We had a great time visiting the stalls and tasting the goodies.  They had all sorts of things for sale; quails and quail eggs, chickens (with their heads still on), huge Ardennes meatballs.  All the restaurants have tables and chairs set up outdoors.  And, they were all full.  It wasn't warm enough for us to do that but we enjoyed seeing everyone else do it.

We were able to contact some of our less active members this week and have set up a meeting for next week with one of them.  We also had a visit from the Redds, senior missionaries from Liege.  They had to get their car looked at here.  We had a great visit for the day with them.  We also were contacted by two different couples, the Woodrows and the Wildes, friends of ours who will be in Europe and want to see us.  As senior missionaries we are lucky to have some flexibility in our schedule to be able to do that. 
Sedan's fortified Castle
Elders Redd and Wilson
Love the way this turned out looking through the old fortress wall window at a Church.
For some time now we have been visiting an older couple.  He is 96 and his wife is in her late 80's.  Sadly they were both hospitalized this week.  He has bronchitis and she has an infection.  This, of course, is really hard on people that age.  We have gone to see them twice now in the hospital and pray for them and their family.  We have really gotten close to them. 

We are blessed every day in our missionary callings.  We love what we are doing and feel that it is making a difference in our own lives.  We hope we are making a difference to those here as well.  We are thankful for all that we have been given.  We are very grateful for our family and for their support.  March is a month full of birthdays and we have been phoning and sending packages home.  Happy Birthday to Mom Wilson (Colleen) on the 17th, Amy and Darrell on the 19th, and Dad Wilson (Don) on the 20th.  We'll help you celebrate by eating a brownie made with some of those black beans Lynn made last week.
So yummy!
Anyways, that is all we have for this week.

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

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tech and Talks

Sunday, March 8

We accomplished a fair bit this week but much of it centered around the needs of the new missionaries' apartment here and around the needs of the Branch.
Cool picture of the spiral staircase going up to the Elders' Apartment.  Makes you dizzy just looking at it.  50 stairs to climb up to there apartment.  Marble stairs at the bottom.
This week was quite a techie week.  We got a new administrative computer for our Branch.  At our last district meeting in St. Quentin the facilities manager gave us a new computer with instructions on how to change it over.  Of course, instructions or not Ed was up to his eyeballs in not knowing how to do it.  Ed is not really a tech-savy dude.  Thanks to a phone call for assistance from Salt Lake and after talking to 3 different people he finally got the new computer up and running.

Our Branch has just started publishing a weekly bulletin to keep everyone up to speed with what is going on.  We bought a new multifunction printer to allow us to print this off.  So Ed also had to set that up which he actually was able to do with no assistance other than the paper directions that came with it.  He felt like phoning Salt Lake back and telling them how well he did.
Ed hard at work successfully installing the printer in our Genealogy Centre. Isabelle is trying to get the internet working but to no avail.
We also need a new computer in our Genealogy Centre.  The old one bit the dust.  Ed took the old computer to the stake tech guy to see if he could fix it but it is shot apparently.  So, anyway, we went computer shopping with Isabelle, one of our members and very knowledgeable with technology.  We found a great computer and are waiting for approval from the stake to buy it.

The missionary apartment is coming along fine.  We continued buying stuff for it this week.  We went to look at a second hand stove on Monday.  It was in a cool little neighbourhood of Charleville called Montcy St. Pierre.  It used to be a separate village but got swallowed up by Charleville but still has a lot of a village charm. 
A Monastery right by the river.  It was beautiful!
The stove was great and was a good price which included delivery and installation.  However the mission office would rather that we buy a new one because of warranty issues.  On Friday Ed went and got one to be delivered next week.  We did some cleaning and rearranging and Ed put together a bookshelf.  He also took all the cardboard, styrofoam and plastic to the dump. He has always liked a good trip to the dump.  Lynn stayed home cooked up a pot of black beans.  They tasted delicious.

Saturday was absolutely beautiful and everyone was out walking.  Our little square was packed with people enjoying the sunshine.  The outdoor cafés were full with onlookers.  Spring is definitely in the air.
Our tiny garden outside of our chapel. Isn't this just the best view.  We really love our little chapel.
Both of us had to give talks at church this week.  Lynn talked on Repentance.  She worked hard all week and did a great job.  Ed spoke on wearing the true Armour of God.  He wove a little Asterix into his talk to spruce it up a bit.  Both talks were well received.  The best part is that they are done.
Cool chapel outside of a cemetary here in Charleville-Mézières

We have had a busy week but that's just how it is on a mission.  Bye for now.

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