Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Class Act

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This was a special week in Charleville-Mézières.  After all this week was the International Marionnette Festival which is held every two years.  Everyone only had one thing on their minds - puppets.  They were headed to free puppet shows.  They were headed to paid shows.  They were headed to the downtown streets to see sidewalk puppet shows.  They were headed by the thousands to the main square to see demonstrations with puppets or to buy puppets.  And to feed all these people there were food stands from all over, from Africa to Romania.   

Cute!  Couldn't resist this.  Someone hung it on one of the doors.
The sweet friendly dinosaurs were charging around the square (on the feet of those inside) with full sound effects,    Totally incredible.  
Thousands and thousands of people were in town to see puppets.  And, we were among them.  We certainly increased our visibility in town.  We had a great opportunity to talk to people from all over the world.  We talked to people from Scotland, England, Senegal, South Africa, Quebec and from all over France.    

We have never seen such talent as we have seen here this week.  There were puppets of every description in town.  We saw puppets playing instruments, painting pictures, singing, doing magic, miming, dancing, fighting and having fun  as only puppets can do.

They have about 12 of these "rooms" with creatures  who live in each one forming a large circle in the square.  Unique and awesome.
However, we did not just take in the puppet shows all week.  We did head into Paris for a zone conference where we were spiritually fed by the Assistants to the President, by the Soeur Babin, by the zone leaders, the Sister Training leaders and by President Babin.  We covered a variety of topics including repentance, focus, looking like missionaries and teaching.  We were spiritually fed and loved it.

Lynn and Soeur Weckesser from Medicine Hat
While we were in  Paris we also went in to get our paperwork done for our second year in France.  This was quite a process when we tried to do this in Charleville but in Paris it went very slickly.  We also submitted papers to exchange our Drivers License for a French one.  This went well but the wait time was horrendous.  The new license will not be ready for 6 - 9 months.  

We were also able to get some winter tires for our car while we were at the Mission Home.  We had a wonderful visit with President Babin and his wife.  We got some great tires in new condition, complete with rims.  All we have to do is put them on.  This will be a big help for all of our apartment checks.  In Luxembourg and Belgium it is the law to have winter tires during the winter months.

We also continued with our teaching schedule.  We did teach with the Elders this week a number of times.  Things are going well with our teaching pool and with the progression of our Friends of the Church.  We do enjoy this part of our assignment.
"Headspace" The guy who came with this was from Holland.  When you looked inside there was an electrical scene inside with a moving doll etc. 
These old crows were dancing.  Funny thing is it was just one person with a puppet attached.  Swirling around they went to music down the street with ease and grace.  So cool.
This type of puppet was so incredible.  Just fascinating.
We called the title of our post this week "A Class Act" not only because the Marionnette Festival was indeed a class act but also because school kids were involved.  Can you imagine teaching in Charleville this week?  What a cultural opportunity for students.  And teachers took advantage of this gift.  Everywhere we saw teachers being followed by a class of kids from kindergarten to secondary.  They were loving it and learning as they participated.  I can only imagine the school work that preceded and that will follow this week - making puppets, reading fairy tales, writing and drawing about what they saw.  What a great opportunity.

The story to music these two told through their technique was spell bounding.  They even had the old guy roller skating gracefully and the little boy playing with the old mans walker.  Quite a moving story they told.  So awesome.
This guy is actually sitting on a chair inside the backpack and manipulating his puppet while playing his instrument masterfully.
These puppeteers are absolute Masters.  This little puppy moved as excitedly as a new real puppy.  And the kids thought he was real.  He had them mesmerised.
This was incredible.  This puppeteer had her puppet painting portraits of children as they posed patiently.
As always, we have been blessed being here.  This week was no exception as we took in the culture of our temporary home and as we met with members and potential members.  We love it.  That's all for now.

But....before we go we are going to add some extra pictures our friend Isabelle Biver took of the Festival des Marionettes as well.  

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Worries and Wonders

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We have had a busy Sunday so far.  We had 24 people at church, including a family of 4 from Lille who are the family of the son of one of our members.  We had a confirmation at church today.  We also changed our Relief Society presidency.  Lynn  will be serving as the First Councillor.  One of our new converts gave her first talk today.  She did an amazing job.

The title of our post this week is "Worries and Wonders".  Let's start with the worries.   You may be aware of Europe having many refugees.  France is no exception.  There are many here without visa's or who's visa's have run out.  Many feel their birth countries are unsafe.  They just want better opportunities for themselves and their families.  And France is one of those sought after countries.  After arriving and attaining refugee status they must go through a process to see if they will be allowed to stay permanently or not.  It is a rigorous process and is infinitely more difficult with the language barrier.  Many are rejected.  When this happens we understand that France charters a plane and literally takes those who have been rejected back to their own country.  It is very difficult to watch people we care deeply about being "sent back".  It pulls at our hearts and we find ourselves "mourning with those who mourn".  We have been providing spiritual support for many such people here.  Especially Ed in his capacity as Branch President.  Besides being approached in person by those individuals he has received calls from their representatives asking him to provide guidance and counsel.  We would ask our friends and family to please remember these people in your prayers.  We are all God's children. He loves us all and wants us all to be happy, safe and have our physical, emotional and spiritual needs met.

Now for the wonders.  Things are really buzzing this week in Charleville.  It is the International Marionnette Festival.  It started on Friday and will go to September 27.  This event happens every second year.  It takes place all over the city in many different venues.  In addition there are booths with vendors selling every kind of puppet imaginable.  Food booths are also set up.  Even extra full fledged restaurants have been temporarily opened up (in church parking lots, grassy areas, empty rented spaces etc) to accommodate it all.  There are literally hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators here for it.  They had already pre-sold over 24,000 tickets for 64,000 performances!!!!  And hundreds of them are FREE!!!  It's a great blessing for us.  We feel like we are caught up in the middle of a huge, wonderful fantasy land.

We went to 2 plays on Friday night.  The first one was a shadow puppet show about Ulysses' voyage home from the Trojan War.  It was an amazing light show and creative production.  

The second show we saw was about 2 old ladies in a nursing home.  They are hilarious.  With audience participation we laughed our way through their dreams and aspirations about love and the ideal man.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After the second show we walk down to the "Place" to watch the opening celebrations.  We saw an incredible show.  High above our heads suspended from a crane there were musicians and acrobats.  They played drums, guitars, saxophones and xylophones.  They wore fluorescent costumes that glowed.  The acrobats twirled and turned to the rhythm of the music.  It was truly incredible and wonderful.
Anything is possible when it comes to Marionettes.  This guy is HUGE!!!!
This puppet was manoeuvred by the man/woman standing behind it.  TALENT! 
All kinds of Marionettes for sale in our Place Ducale.  We've never seen anything quite like it!  INCREDIBLE.
This was incredible.  Musicians moving up and down and acrobats manoeuvring this giant ball help up by a crane in the square.  Truly spectacular.
We have tickets for 4 more performances to tomorrow.  We are taking our Elders to some as it is their Preparation Day.

Yesterday we got home from Nancy at about 8:00 p.m.  We decided to head down to the Place to see what was going on.  There were shows on the streets and vendors everywhere.  We shared a crêpe and watched some great little street shows.  What a great cultural experience this is for us.

Even with all of this going on we did a lot of missionary work, too, this week.  We went with the missionaries on several lessons.  We had our district meeting.  We prepared a side dish for the district meal.  We inspected apartments in Reims, Nancy and Toul.  We bought supplies for our young missionaries.  We visited a friend in the hospital.  We visited with 2 less active members.  We worked on the Couples Conference.  We got translations for documents we need for legal purposes and for our French drivers license.  Ed gave some blessings.  We home taught. Ed took the Elders to Bouillon to visit a castle and to see a falconry show during their P-Day.  Ed met with members about problems and concerns.  We taught our French Gospel class.  Ed gave a lesson on the importance of service for our Wednesday Night Activity.  We study every day.  Ed did some Branch business including interviews, callings, releases and a Branch presidency meeting.  Lynn prepared and taught her primary class.
Buying fire-extinquishser in Ikea in Reims
Soeurs Hudson and Bell 
Soeurs Clements and Farmer in Toul
Elders Smith, McDonald, Parsons and Hogenson in Reims
One thing we saw in Toul and have also seen in Strasbourg is a "Cabane à Livres" or "book nook".  It's a place in town where you can take the books you've already read and take one to read.  It's a free book exchange that is open during the spring, summer, and fall months.  We think it is great and would be great to have in Lethbridge!  A great project for someone who wants to organise just such a project.
Cabane à Livre "Reading Cabin".  The bottom shelf is for Children's Books.
As you can see, we keep very busy on the mission doing the work of the Lord.  We are blessed for it and love it.  After all we are in "La France".  

That's all for now.

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