Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Friends and Family

Sunday, April 25, 2015

Missionaries measure their life while on their mission much as we do our own lives.  Let me explain.  They are "born" in whatever town they first serve in.  Their "parents" are the missionaries who train them.  if they have more than one trainer the second one is their "step parent".  Their brothers and sisters are the missionaries with whom they serve.  They "die" in  whatever city they last serve in.  

Therfore, within this context we have a missionary who is dying this week.  Elder Jordan Brown will be completing his mission on Wednesday.  He and his companion, Elder Christiansen, were the first younger missionaries to be in Charleville-Mézières for over 8 years.  He was a great missionary.  He worked hard.  Lived what he taught and was very obedient.  We will miss him.  After church we are celebrating his "life".  

At our last district meeting on Tuesday we took a dying picture and "family" pictures.  What a great group of missionaries.  There is a lot of love in our group, just like a family.
The day after our district meeting we headed to Brussels to pick up Lynn's mother, Ann, from the airport.  We visited Kate on the way since she lives in Belgium and gave her the Home Teaching message for April.  As always we enjoyed visiting her.

Back on the road we stopped briefly at the above statue.  Just like Elder Brown met his last challenge in Charleville.  Napoleon Bonaparte met his in Waterloo, just south of Brussels.  This monument was erected in commemoration of his defeat by the Duke of Wellington.  We did not visit the site but we did stop for a picture.

When we got to Brussels we stayed with our friend, Elder Glen Steenblik.  His wife was in the States for their son's graduation from a PhD program.  She returned the following day and we had time to meet with her.  Elder Steenblik had to teach an institute class that evening.  As Ed had never been to an institute class before we were happy to attend.  We were also happy to help out with the food.  Elder and Sister Steenblik  always provide a meal for the students.  Because his wife was away we had a simple fair - sandwiches, veggies, fruit, muffins and chips.  It was a great night and we really enjoyed the class.
Of course, since we were in Brussels we did take a couple of hours to see some of the sights while Glen was finishing his lesson preparations.  We walked to a park where there was an archway commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of independence from the Netherlands.  
We also took the time to visit this car museum which was right beside the independence arch.  There were cars of all kinds in it.  We saw cars and motorcycles from the very earliest days of motor transportation to today's cars.  It was awesome.
So cool!  The stage is the large door to the trailer and it all closes up in the end and Voila!  A travelling Band!
The next morning we went with Glen to the Brussels airport and picked up Lynn's mom and Jayne.  Coincidentally, they both landed within about 30 minutes of each other.  What a busy airport.  Ann had a great flight, enjoying every minute of it.  She said they fed her constantly and she couldn't get over how big the plane was.  We headed back to the Steenbliks where they shared a light lunch with us.  

We  headed back home and got back into the groove of missionary life.  We had the missionaries over for supper.  We went over their week - some successes and some not so successful things.  That's the life of a missionary.  This week our District Leader focused on how to measure Success.  He did a great job.  

Ed made some appointments for Home Teaching visits.  
Mom and Ed with Paulette Dampt.  We helped a little with their garden at their home in La Chesne.
We had set up a visit with Frère et Soeur Dampt.  We did our Home Teaching and were able to help in the garden for a short time.  We were also able to give Soeur Dampt a blessing to help with her health.  We had a quick lunch of quiche, sausage and veggies and headed back to Charleville for an appointment with an investigator. 

Lynn and I joined the missionaries for a missionary lesson.  As usual it was a great experience.  The lady we were teaching loves the church and the Book of Mormon.  She came to church today and Lynn picked her up. She seemed to really enjoy it. 

Ed was able to do some more service when Laurent called.  He could not get to meeting because his car had broken down.  Ed drove out to the hospital where Laurent works to help him.  Unfortunately, he had left his lights on.  They drove to his father's place, retrieved some jumper cables and Laurent was back on the road after a long day in the operating road.
Keith and Louise Woodrow with us at Place Ducale
On Saturday we were blessed by a visit from our good friends Keith and Louise Woodrow from Lethbridge.  Keith had been invited to play at an international blues festival in Norway.  He and Louise took the opportunity to visit their daughter Karen and family in the Netherlands.  Karen is teaching at a NATO school there.  We are only 2 hours from there and so they came down to spend the day with us.  We went around town and stopped at a little café-terrasse for a drink.  They stayed overnight with us.  We had a wonderful visit with Keith and Louise.  

Today we all went to church.  We had a great time and had a snack afterward to say goodbye to Elder Brown.  We will truly miss him.
Ann was engulfed in French during church but enjoyed the experience.  We are taking the train to Paris for a Zone Conference at 4:00 p.m.

Au revoir for this week!

Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cousins and Castles

Sunday, April 19, 2015

This week was an exceptional week.  We had a Couple Missionary Conference.  All the Senior missionaries met in Tours, which is southwest of Paris, for a two day conference.  The night before the conference we stayed in a cute little Bed and Breakfast (Lit en Loire) on the banks of the Loire River with Elder (Dave) and Soeur (Patti) Redd.  We met up with Elder (Richard) and Soeur (Trisha) Fitt, and Elder (Glen) and Soeur (Jane) Steenblik for dinner at the restaurant Courtepaille (Short Straw). Ed had a great time running along the banks of the Loire.  It was so beautiful. 
The view from our window

Our conference was great. Tuesday morning we began with Elder Fitt presenting a compilation of information about new couple missionary orientation and what we'd all like to see.  Together we were able to decide on having a mentor couple for new arrivals, as well as another couple helping them to settle into their apartment and surroundings.  Also, we'll all be available to field any questions or concerns via the internet before their arrival if desired.  Elder Steenblik then led a discussion around apartment concerns and inspections at length.  He included a very helpful sheet of information for us, including "Lessons Learned", "Ah Ha! Discoveries", "Amazed At", Helpful Hints and Suggestions" all aimed at helping the Missionaries take a more serious sense of Stewardship of their apartments and "How do we go about painting, repairing etc".  President Babin presented as well on security practises, emergency evacuation and the fact that he receives a daily worldwide security summary from the Church.  Each apartment inspection is to include a review on emergency rendezvous procedures.  Where would you meet in an emergency etc.  It's helpful because the younger missionaries are transferred and regularly find themselves in new circumstances. That evening we ate at a very nice French restaurant, "Le Laurenty" with the other couples.  The presentation, ambiance, company and food was amazing.  Laurent takes care of the service and takes the time to tell the story of all the plates served.  We chose between the first two for our entrée, between the 3rd and 4th for our main dish and the last two for our dessert. 
Waiting outside the restaurant
Elder Wilson with President Babin
All 24 of us.

"Carpaccio de saumon mariné a l'aneth et lieu fumé aux agrumes, Tuile de parmesan" (a fancy, French way to say smoked salmon) 
"Vol au vent périgourdin Copeaux de foie gras frais de canard" (chicken a la king with duck liver) 
"Emincé de filet mignon de porc braisé, En brochette de citronnelle" (Really Yummy Pork)  

"Dos de cabillaud rôti sur peau, Crème curry-coco" (Curry coconut Cod)
"Chaud froid de fruits rouges", Glace vanille.
"Poire rôtie aux cinq baies caramélisée, Glace nougat" (Pear with a five fruit caramelised sauce with nougat ice-cream)
It was such a fun dining experience.

We began on Wednesday morning at the Church with a testimony meeting that was wonderful.  Testimonies were born in French and English but no matter what the language or your understanding of it you could feel the spirit as we had the opportunity to share our faith and love for the Saviour.

As a finale to the conference we visited the Chateau de Chenonceau, one of many chateaux that are in the Loire valley.  It was Ed's job as part of the conference organisation to plan this tour and lunch.   The Chateau de Chenonceau was an especially beautiful castle built in the 16th century.  It was a playground for royalty.  There were beautiful gardens and exhibits.  Interestingly enough the chateau was on the WWII border between free France and German occupied France.  As the chateau actually went right across the river people were able to escape to Free France by going through the chateau.  The Chateau, gardens and surrounding buildings were absolutely beautiful.

Beautiful, fresh cut flowers adorned every room.

A Sanglier!

The conference was quite amazing.  It helped build a team spirit among the Senior Couples and in the mission.  It allowed us to get to know new missionary couples and to get to know other couples better.  It also allowed us to spend time together with people who will soon be going home at the end of their missions.  

As it turns out we will be organising the next Senior Couples' conference in September which we volunteered to do.  We were able to get some ideas for this next conference and things are already starting to percolate for this event.

We got permission to visit La Rochelle after the conference since we were in the neighbourhood.  This is where Lynn's ancestors were from who immigrated to Canada in the 17th century.  La Rochelle was known as a Huguenot(French Protestant) stronghold.  In the early 17th century it was besieged by the forces of Cardinal Richelieu who starved the people into submission.  Of a population of 23,000 only 5,000 remained after the siege was lifted.  
Lynn's Ancestors were born in LaFond - top right of the map
In LaFond
An old wall in LaFond

We spent some time with Elder and Sister Fitt who gave us a tour of sites around La Rochelle including Brouage and some Roman sites in Saintes.  Elder and Sister Fitt were great hosts.  They are from Orem, UT and have become good friends.  They packed a picnic for us and showed us some great sites.  We went out for dinner together one night in La Rochelle.

Brouage was very interesting and historic.  It was the birthplace of Samuel de Champlain.  There was a Rue de Québec and a Place du Nouveau Brunswick.  There was a store that sold Canadian products.  In the church there was a historical display that dealt with a lot of early Canadian history.  

In Saintes there was a very well preserved Roman arena.  We got to walk where gladiators walked and look at the majesty of what used to be Roman Gaul.  We also saw an old Roman arch, as well.  It was a great day.  

Elder Wilson and Elder and Soeur Fitt
Cool little toilet
The Courts of Justice in La Rochelle
The Fitt's had us to dinner at their apartment the last night we were there.  It was wonderful and fun all at the same time.  They even offered us a Christmas Tree and decorations for next year, a food processor (hooray) and an assortment of other things that they had and weren't using. Wow!  It was like Christmas.

While we were in La Rochelle we also wanted to do some genealogy work on Lynn's family.  We looked some things up on the computer and in the end went to the municipal archives.  We actually found the names of several of her relatives in the archives including  Louis Gezerson, who came to Canada in 1659.  We found out where these people lived, were baptised and got married.  We were actually able to go to the neighbourhood where they lived and where they worshipped.  We were able to visit, take pictures and walk where her ancestors walked.  It was uplifting and awe inspiring.  Those are the pictures above of La Fond.

Ed was able to conduct some Branch business through the internet while we were there and that was good.  

At church today there were 16 people there.  We had three visitors from Angers.  It was great to see them.  We also had a less active member for the second week in a row.  There is lots of missionary work happening in Charleville.  The two younger missionaries spoke today about that very topic.  We have everyone calling them the "younger Missionaries" now so that we don't imply that we are the  "Old Missionaries".  We have investigators, reactivations and proposed baptisms.  It is awesome.  You really feel a buzz and the spirit in our Branch as a result.  People are excited that things are moving forward.

Ed had his first Branch Presidency meeting since Ed called a new Counsellor.  It was vey productive and things are moving forward in a positive way.  It is great to have 3 heads together rather than just two.

We love what we do and we do what we love.  We feel that we are making a difference.  We love the buzz that is present in our Charleville branch now and have to give a big part of the credit to our younger missionaries.  They are great!

Bye for now.

Lyndi-lou and Eddie, Too