Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Memories and Moments

Monday, July 27, 2015

This week's title refers to a good chunk of our week.  We had a few moments this week and thanks to the visit this weekend of Ed's brother Darrell we relived some memories, as well.  This week also marked the missionary "death" of Elder Dayley and we have some fond memories of his service here in Charleville.

Let's start the week with Elder Dayley.  We had he and Elder Rivas over for dinner last Sunday night and prepared his favorite meal, jambalaya.  Sister King generously gave us a package of jambalaya mix which Lynn prepared after church on Sunday.  We had a very enjoyable meal.  On Monday we did our usual preparatory things that come with the young Elder's P-day, shopping, e-mails, lunch.  
Tuesday was Elder Dayley's last full day in Charleville.  He worked hard all day long which was great.  We had the pleasure of accompanying him and Elder Rivas to 6 teaching appointments.  Everyone was sad to see him go and wished him all the best.  We love these teaching appointment.  It gives us a chance to bear our testimonies about the gospel and to share what we know about the church.  At the same time we get to support the young Elders, the new members and those interested in the gospel.  These lessons are very edifying for us (please note they are never Lynnifying) and hopefully for those who are being taught.

We drove Elder Dayley to the gare at 7:00 on Wednesday morning and said our goodbyes.  We gave him an Astérix book as a gift.  He was very grateful.

Right after dropping off Elder Dayley we headed to Nancy.  We had a big job to finish.  We needed to take the rest of the things out of the Nancy couple's apartment.  Elder and Sister Redd were meeting us there to help us.  We must say a huge thank you to Soeur Civet of the Nancy Ward Relief Society.  With Elder Karl's help she was able to distribute some of the things from the apartment to ward members in Nancy who needed them.  This made our work that much more easy.

Ed and Elder Redd took a couple of chairs to the Elders in St. Dié which is about an hour from Nancy.  On the way they stopped at a military cemetery in Lunéville and visited a château nearby.  Both were great.  At the cemetery they were able to talk to a resident who ran the little museum there.  He was a font of knowledge about both wars in that area.  

On Thursday morning we loaded the bed into a member's car and packed up the rest of the things in our car and the Redds' car.  We were finished with the apartment.  It was completely empty.  We only have to go back for the final inspection.  We have to acknowledge Elder and Sister Redd for their help.  They came to Nancy twice to help with emptying the apartment.  We love them and value their friendship and their help.
These guys were in the square in Luxembourg.  Can you figure it out? 
On the way home we stopped in Luxembourg with the Redd's.  While walking around we were stopped by an LDS man, Sam Gilstrap.  His company had set up an office in Luxembourg and he had been living there for close to two years.  He will be moving to London with his family this week.  He took the time out of his lunch hour to give us a tour of downtown Luxembourg.  He showed us around and then insisted on buying us lunch.  His son was about to leave on a mission to Tahiti and he felt that there would be missionary couples in his mission that would support him and this was his way of paying it forward.  What a great example.
The oldest part of Luxembourg is the lower town.  It is full of both scenic and historic buildings. 
Here we are in Luxembourg with the Redd's and our newfound friend Sam Gilstrap.
When we got back to Charleville-Mézières from Nancy we met our new missionary, Elder Adams.  We had him and Elder Rivas over for supper.  They will make a great missionary team.  Elder Rivas is great and so is Elder Adams.  When  he got here on Wednesday he hit the ground running.  He is very enthusiastic and is a hard worker.  We love him already and he is making a big hit with the members and friends of the church already.  He bore his testimony and introduced himself on Sunday.  We love having him here.
Something is always happening in our square.  This week they put a beach in our square.  They had brought in sand and pools and lots of summer things to do.  At the top of the fountain was a sand castle.  They had huge water balls, rides for kids, sprinklers, beach volleyball, badminton, beach chairs, music and booths.  It is very impressive and the people of Charleville seem to enjoy it, especially the kids.
On Friday morning my brother Darrell arrived in Charleville.  He is teaching a NYU course in Paris this summer and came up to spend the weekend with us.  We had a great time.  
We took him to some of our favourite places including the Chapelle St. Roger and le Château de Sedan where we saw a jousting competition, complete with a dragon.  We took the goofy picture below and were royally entertained.
On Saturday we headed to Metz where we lived as young boys.  We inspected the Elders' apartment that is there and we took the Elders out for lunch.   We visited a castle where we played as kids and took this photo in a pose from a picture that was taken when we were little.   
We also visited our former school, two apartments where we lived and we talked to our former landlady.  This picture of Porte Saarlouis is an archway that we passed through on the way to school.  As kids we got in trouble for dropping mud balls from on top of it onto unsuspecting passers by.
Church was great on Sunday once again.  We had 29 people in attendance.  What a difference this is from those weeks where we had only 3 or 4 people.  We had great messages.  Elder Adams introduced himself and bore his testimony.  Our High Councillor gave a great talk on the Family.  We had a Branch meal afterwards and everyone had a great time.  We had a visiting family from the Netherlands who were camping in the area and we had two brothers who were holidaying here while they retraced the wartime exploits of their grandfather.  People were very impressed by our Branch and everyone was amazed at the special spirit that we always feel at our meetings.

Before Darrell left we had an opportunity to visit the Arthur Rimbaud museum, to see some sangliers at the Animal Park and to visit an old Lavoir where women used to do laundry in the open air over a pond.  Darrell left this morning (Monday) just after lunch.  We love him and loved sharing our weekend with him. 

It's been another great week in Charleville-Mézières.  We love being here and we love doing the work of our Heavenly Father.  We feel so blessed.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Wrong Side of the Road, the Right Side of the Lord

Sunday, July 19, 2015

We had an incredible week this week.  A couple of weeks ago we asked our Mission President if we could go to the temple.  He asked the area authority for approval.  He said yes.  This week we went to the London temple which is actually situated about an hour south of London.

Once we had permission to go we still had a few wrinkles to iron out.  The temple has on site housing for its patrons.  It costs 13£
per person per night.  Ed phoned the temple and of course there were no rooms left but they did refer us to a local hotel.  When we phoned there we found the price to be exorbitant.  We then contacted the temple trip coordinator for our stake.  She confirmed that there were no rooms.  However, 10 minutes after we called her she called back and said that a couple had cancelled and there was indeed a couple's room available which we took.

Our next challenge was the ferry.  Of course, we wanted to take the ferry at the same time that the other members of our Branch were taking.  We tried to book this online.  This gave us no end of grief for 2 reasons.  First of all the site was not very friendly.  Secondly there was a little matter of a security code attached to our master card that seemed difficult to manage.  After 5 attempts we were booted off the site.  Anyways, Ed finally phoned the ferry and they reserved a spot for us and confirmed our booking by e-mail.

We were now ready to go.  We left at 7:30 on Monday morning.  It was awesome. Our little Branch had 11 people going to the temple.  We travelled in 3 cars and met at the ferry about 3 and a half hours away.  The trip went quite well.  We travelled with Michel and Paulette Dampt.  We had a very enjoyable time driving with them.  They both have a long history with the church in France and we learned a lot from them.  Michel is blind and yet he knew the routes better than the GPS.  He had been to the temple many, many times.

When we arrived at the ferry we had lunch which we had all prepared.  Loading went well and the trip was great.  Lynn and I walked around, looked at the shop and exchanged money to pounds.  This proved to be fairly expensive.  The ferry ride was about one and a half hours. 
The White cliffs of Dover!  It's actually chalk
When we left the ferry panic hit.  We were driving on the wrong side of the road.  We think Bob Dylan should have written a song about that.  We just had to follow the rest of the traffic, and there was lots of it, until we got used to it.  But we did get used to it and it was actually fun after a while.  

After another hour and a half we arrived at the temple.  It is situated south of London in the beautiful green countryside.  It is a beautiful temple in a beautiful setting.  There were gardens and trails all around.  The housing was great.  Our room had a fridge and a microwave with two double beds.  We even had wifi because we were next to a room that had it.  Downstairs they have a very large kitchen and dining room for the patrons use.  So, we ate together every night.
Thanks Isabelle Biver for this and the following 13 pictures
This wonderful photo by Isabelle reminds us of the book "Are you my mother?" by Dr. Seuss

Soon after our arrival we took a trip into East Grinstead, a little Village nearby, to stock up on food.  This was fun driving on the wrong side.  We stopped and got some fish and chips on the way back.  You can't go to England and not have fish and chips.  That's our excuse and we're sticking with it.  They were delicious.

This trip was especially significant for Lynn as her Grandma Baker was born in Islington, which is part of London.  She also believes that she has relatives in Crawley, a little town 9 kms away from where we were staying. 

It was wonderful to be able to attend the Temple for 3 days.  We were very much uplifted by this great experience.  We were edified by all that we did.  Each day our Branch members met in Dampts' room for a spiritual thought that was given by a different person each day.  We came closer as a Branch and were able to get to know many more people in our stake.  We were able to preform all ordinances in French which was absolutely beautiful.  Highlight - the sealing of Lynn's Grandma to her parents and her Great-Grandfather to his parents.  It was truly a lovely experience being in the land of their birth and doing this sacred work.

One of the Sisters who was there from our stake was the contact person for the Liahona which is the French edition of our church magazine.  She wanted to do an article on our Branch because of the growth we have experienced and because of our increased presence in the stake at meetings and activities.  She interviewed Ed and took a picture of all our Branch members in front of the temple.

We did get to do a little visiting.  We did not go into London because of the driving challenges that the UK offers.  But Ed did go running every morning and we did do a tiny bit of shopping and some visiting of the nearby villages.  What a lovely part of the world and what great people we met.

Cool story...we were in the Visitors Center and we ran into Ben Wright, from Cardston who is serving in the London South Mission.  Of course we had to take a picture for his Mom and Grandma Wright!
We had the best seats in the house at the front of the boat.
Port of Calais - re-entering France
We had a marvellous experience at the temple and our week culminated with some emotional experiences at church today.  We are saying goodbye to Elder Dayley, one of our young missionaries who is returning home to Utah this week.  He spoke in church and gave a great testimonial of why he has spent the last two years of his life serving the Lord in France.  His talk was followed by a talk from our Stake President who was visiting our Branch with his family.  Both talks were quite emotional and we all felt the spirit.
Our Branch picture but 7 people had already left before we took the picture.
Afterwards we had a Branch meal.  Our Branch loves to eat and so do we.  Laurent Biver blessed us with his bagpipes and we had a great time together.  What a nice end to a great week.

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