Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sentiers et Sangliers

Sunday, May 31

Happy Mother's Day.  Today is Mother's Day in France.  We gave out roses in church today.  But since you can't eat roses or, at least you shouldn't, we also gave out chocolates.  We also had a talk about mothers that was just great.

But let's rewind the week back to Monday.  Something really exciting happened on Monday.  It was a momentous day.  We saw a sanglier for the first time.  In fact, we saw 26 sangliers, including one baby one.  Well, you might say that we cheated.  It was the Elders p-day and they asked us to take them to the Animal Park where we saw the elusive sangliers for the first time but they were amazing nonetheless.  We still haven't seen one in the wild.  We also saw other animals - deer, sheep and birds.

Beautiful Pheasant

We continue to have amazing opportunities while sharing the gospel with others.  We participated in several lessons this week.  Our friends are very receptive and love learning about the Saviour.   They are reading and searching to find the truth.  We were able to help one of our friends who was experiencing anxiety over writing an exam for her drivers license.  Ed gave her a blessing and we drove her to and from her test.  Happily she learned two days later that she passed the exam. 

We finished our Home Teaching for May this week.  We shared a message about families.  Ed had a doctor's appointment with one of our less active members because he had to get some lab tests done. At the same time we shared a HT message with him.  It went very well.

On Friday we had a zone conference.  This was in Villeneuve d'Ascq.  We had training on lesson planning.  We had a great pizza lunch.  Ed shared his conversion story with some of the sisters.  they were touched by the story. We had an interview with our Mission President.  He was pleased with what we are doing and thanked us for everything.  He and his wife are wonderful and we really appreciate them.

A good part of our week was spent getting ready for a Helping Hands Forum that happened in Villeneuve d'Ascq on Saturday.  We were displaying the clean-up project our Branch did as a service project.  We were lucky enough to be able to abscond with a trifold board from one of our missionary apartments.  We put all of our pictures on it, added captions on some of them and added some recyclables - a pop can, a Coke bottle and an old tire tube.  We included a write up on the Arboretum where we cleaned up and six garbage bags filled with balloons to represent the six bags of garbage we had collected.  The project was very well received as were Lynn's cookies.
There were lots of great projects there - a blood drive, other clean up projects a farm support project and a collection project for health products to be distributed to university students.  it was all great.  We headed home when it was over, stopping for supper at a yummy "Friterie" in Belgium and getting home by about 8:00.

Church was great, as usual.  We had 15 people out today, including a new investigator from Rwanda, as well as three continuing investigators.  Ed had a branch Presidency meeting and Lynn did a lesson with the new ami.  It was a great day.

It was also a great week.  We got a lot done and felt the spirit over and over in the teaching and learning we did.

That's all we have for now.
Au revoir de la France

Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oh The Places You'll Go

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What a busy week we've had again.  Monday was Lynn's birthday.  We had a nice day together.  We taught a wonderful woman who sang Happy Birthday to Lynn in accented English.  It was so sweet.  Lynn got an exercise bike last week in Belgium and for her birthday she got a new seat cover to make it more comfortable. 

We spent most of the week on the road starting on Tuesday.  We went to our district meeting on Tuesday as usual.  That takes two hours of driving each way.  When we were done instead of heading straight home we headed to another amazing lady's house for a lesson on the "Word of Wisdom"  We finished about 4:30.  What a great lesson.  Both of the ladies we are helping teach have accepted the invitation to be baptised.  They are very prepared and we feel the spirit with her every time we go with the Elders to teach them.

After the lesson we headed straight to Nancy for 3 days of apartment inspections.  It took us twice as long to get to Nancy because of super heavy traffic between Luxembourg and Metz.  We finally got in about 9:30 p.m.  We were very tired.

Ed had some great runs on this trip.  He ran Wednesday through old Nancy around buildings from the 15th century.  On Thursday he ran along a canal in Mulhouse, Alsace and on Friday he ran around and through a gorgeous park called the "Orangerie" in Strasbourg.  What a pleasure it was for him to see some different scenery during his runs.  Every time we are out we feel so blessed to be in such a beautiful country.

Our purpose for this road trip was to inspect the missionary apartments in the area and to do any repairs if necessary.  On Thursday we started off in Toul. 
Soeurs Asay and Curtis
Then we went to Epinal, then Belfort and then Mulhouse.  We were impressed with all the younger missionaries.  They are great people and are working hard to spread the Gospel.  The Elders in Epinal even made chocolate chip cookies for us and we took them out for lunch.
Elder Livingston (Utah) and Elder Perry (from Tahiti)
Elders Taruoura (on the right from Tahiti) and Rafanomezana (on the left.  He's from the south of France - his family is originally from Madagascar) 
We stayed the night in Mulhouse at a nice little hotel downtown in what we call Centre Ville.  We had a typical Alsatian meal since we were in the Alsace region of France.  Lynn ordered a great dish and Ed's was passable.  It had liver in it which he does not find passable.  For once, he was glad that he and Lynn were sharing their meals because she had a great meal - pork and vegetables.
Soeur Clark and Nolasco (fellow Canadian)
Elder Beach (Kentucky) and Elder Fonua (Tahiti)
On Thursday we visited Colmar, St. Dié and Strasbourg.  Ed had to fix two taps in the Colmar apartment which was not as easy as it sounds.  It took him a couple of hours for a variety of reasons.  This put us behind schedule but we were on the road again as soon as possible.  
Elder Utahia (from Tahiti) is taking all the wide ties and making then narrow.  He is doing an awesome job.  They look fantastic.
Elder Boyden and Utahia ready to go do some service for some members in Colmar.
Elder Long and Elder Duncan.  They've been helping a member with some service in St Dié.
Elder Larson (Kentucky) and Elder Shaver (from Vancouver).  Yummy crêpes.
Elder Johnson (Logan, Utah) and Elder Ricks (Rancho Cucamonga).  They are the Strasbourg Zone leaders.  These are the two we went teaching with in Strasbourg.  It was a wonderful experience. 
What a beautiful part of France.  Lots of hills and forests and history.  We saw castles on hilltops but we didn't have time to visit them.  The Elders in Strasbourg made crêpes for us.  They were great (the crêpes and the Elders)

We stayed at a lovely hotel on a park.  Even though we were on an inspection trip we still found a teaching opportunity.  We went with a team of Elders to an appointment to teach a Japanese fellow who is working at the Japanese embassy in Strasbourg.  Strasbourg is the centre of the European Parliament so many countries have embassies there.  We were able to share some of the experiences that we had leading up to and after our own baptisms.  It was a great experience.

On the way to the appointment, which we walked to, we were amazed to see stork nests complete with storks in them on the tops of all the trees.  They are huge, as are their nests.  On the way back to the hotel we walked through the beautiful park where there were more storks and a little zoo.  What a nice way to end a busy day.  Tomorrow we would head home.

There is a little chick in the nest too.
Before going home, however, we decided to visit Strasbourg a little.  We took a one hour boat cruise around the river and canals.  We also visited a very old part of Strasbourg called Petite France or Little France.  We also did some shopping at a little marché where Lynn bought a skirt, a top and a hat.  We also bought lunch here.
A free book exchange.  What a marvellous idea!
Strasbourg has so many beautiful canals and bridges throughout it.  Amazing.
As Lynn and I travel we like to listen to audio books.  On the way back to Charleville we finished the book we had been listening to.  It was about WWII in Italy.  It was a great storycalled "The Rules in Rome" written by an LDS author.

We had to stop in Luxembourg to deliver some things that the missionaries there needed.
Elder Jenness and Elder Chritstenson
We found out that we will have to close the empty apartment in Nancy this summer.  That will eliminate our free lodging that we have taken advantage of when we are in Nancy.

We are fortunate to be able to work with the many younger missionaries.  They inspire us and continue to be an example to us of love, devotion and hard work.  They are striving to follow the example of the Saviour and we can learn a great deal from them.

The trip home was much faster.  We got home at about 8:30 on Friday.  We unloaded our overloaded car and went to bed.

On Saturday we had DMP meeting with our Elders where we compare notes and plan the missionary work for our branch.  Ed washed and vacuumed the car.  We had a lesson with the Elders.  It went very well.  We taught again about baptism and shared our personal experiences with this wonderful lady.  She is firm on her commitment to be baptised on June 21.  We are pretty excited for her.

What a miracle Charleville is.  There are great things happening here.  We had 19 people at church today.  We have had great attendance.  People love coming to our meetings and are usually touched by the spirit of the Lord when they do.  Today we had our visiting High Councilman with us. We also had a productive Branch Council meeting.  We had a meal afterwards and this is always a great activity for Branch unity. The Lord knows what the future holds for our Branch and we pray that we will be instruments in His hands as we share his word with the people here.

We will close with our blessings on everyone who reads our blog.    May the Holy Ghost be with you and your families.

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

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Moral Victories and Earthly Defeats

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Well, our spiritual journey continues.  We are doing lots of teaching with our younger missionaries and feel we are contributing to others.  Our numbers are continuing to be strong.  For the third week in a row our Sacrament Meeting attendance was over 20.  Today we had 6 friends who are quite interested in our church.  Three of these want to be baptised and two have set baptismal dates.

Yesterday was a three ring circus in the chapel.  We had three different investigators there all at once because people were late for their appointments.  One couple got a tour of the chapel and a short lesson.  Immediately after Lynn and Elder Christiansen taught one lesson while Ed and Elder Dayley taught a different one.  Right after this the younger missionaries had another appointment.  They all turned out great and resulted in very spiritual experiences for everyone concerned including us.

We had a great District Meeting this week.  Elder Bigelow is doing a great job as our district leader.  He faithfully phones us every Sunday to encourage us and to see how we are doing.  He gives great lessons and keeps us up to date with announcements.  He taught a great lesson on revelation this week.  After our meeting we left our fellow missionaries there for exchanges and headed on to Belgium.

This week we took Lynn's mother to the airport in Brussels for her flight back home to Lethbridge.  She had a great visit and we very much enjoyed having her here.  She didn't learn a whole lot of French but she loved the people here and the food, too.  Now when we talk on the phone she can imagine a little of what our life here is like.
Yummy French Apple Dessert à la Lynn
While we were in Brussels we had an awesome experience.  With our friends Elder and Sister Steenblik we went to the place where Elder Jeffrey R. Holland dedicated the lands of Belgium and Luxembourg for missionary work.  It was in an incredibly beautiful forest in Tervuren park.  Twelve trails in the forest converged on a spot where a meteor that had broken in three ways.  There we read aloud the dedicatory prayer that Elder Holland had said.  It was a very uplifting experience in an extremely beautiful spot.  We loved our reenactment of this sacred moment.  We were all touched by the experience.
In Brussels we also visited the Grand Place.  What a beautiful and popular place.  The architecture was amazing.  We have never seen such beautiful buildings.  We also saw the famous Manneken pis.
We also went to see the Atomium which Ed had visited as a five year old boy when he lived in France.  This is a huge replica of an atom that was built for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels.  We were able to go from one sphere to another inside the "atom" and see artefacts, pictures and articles from the time period of the World's Fair.
We also visited the "Butte de Lion".  This is a man made hill with a huge statue of a lion on top.  It commemorates the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, just south of Belgium.  We climbed the 226 steps up to the top of the hill and could see for miles around or we should say kilometres around since we are in Europe.  We saw some videos depicting the battle and visited a panorama of the battle, as well.  After this battle Napoleon spent the rest of his life on the island of St. Helena.  It really was fascinating.

We got back to Charleville-Mézières on Thursday.  We met with the younger missionaries on Friday for our weekly reporting and planning meeting with them.  Ed also had a meeting at the church with Laurent.  All went well.

On Saturday we had a great Branch activity.  We took part in a Stake-Wide "Mains Serviables" (Helping Hands) initiative.  As a Branch we decided to clean up some trails in Charleville's Arboretum, a nature preserve to observe plants and trees.  We collected 6 big bags of garbage.  We gathered everything from bottles and cans to car parts and clothing.  We cleaned the trails, as well as the hillside and creek alongside them.  We took lots of pictures and will make a display of our project for the Stake's Helping Hands Exhibition on May 30.  After our clean up was over we had a nice little picnic in the park with everyone who participated.  Ed took all the garbage to the dump.
Today at church we had great attendance as mentioned earlier.  We both gave talks.  Lynn spoke on the Book of Mormon and Ed spoke on Service.  Both talks were very well received.  Lynn did her first talk in French without writing it out completely but with only brief notes.  She was happy with her talk but happy to have it done, too.  Because it is her birthday tomorrow everyone signed a card for her and gave it to her.  There were lots of heart felt expressions of love on it.  We had a very moving musical number by The Biver family and Elder Christiansen and Elder Dayley.
What a blessing it is to be here in France doing missionary work.  We are continually blessed.  We love the people we work and worship with.  They are all a big part of our lives and are great examples of faith, love and service to us.  We are fortunate to have them as our friends.

That's all we have for this week.
Au revoir de la France.

Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.