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.|
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|
|Cabane à Livre "Reading Cabin". The bottom shelf is for Children's Books.|
That's all for now.
Au revoir de la France.
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.