Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Back to the Future

Sunday, October 25, 2015

As most of the world knows we reached a momentous date this week.  Wednesday, October 21, 2015 was the date that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and "Doc" Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) journeyed to on Back to the Future II.  This was quite a momentous occasion in France.  In a community not from from Charleville-Mézières they had a DeLorean car on display of the same vintage as the one in the movie.   They also showed all three movies free of charge and back to back.  Just so you know we did not participate in those festivities as much as it sounds like a lot of fun.

What does this have to do with missionary work you might ask.  At our district meeting this week we set some goals related to qualities we would like to nurture as a district.  We talked about the qualities that are evident in the story of the Good Samaritan.  As a district we are going to focus on Empathy, Courage and good vibes.  

Our district is one of many districts  in the Paris zone.  This transfer each district is choosing qualities that reflect their district and each district has been asked to make a video that emphasises those qualities.  You are probably wondering what happened to the "Back to the Future" theme that we started out with.  Wait for it!!!  Our district decided to do their video around that theme.  Ed plays the part of "Doc" Brown and Lynn plays the part of Marty McFly's mom.  Thirty years into the future Biff is baptised and ends up being a Good Samaritan when a pedestrian is run over by the DeLorean when it re-enters into the future.  We had fun making the video and we learned about the importance of our district's chosen qualities.
But the week was more than just fun and games.  We have continued with our missionary efforts in France.  We did 3 different kinds of teaching this week.  Every Tuesday we teach a lesson on the gospel in French.  This is a class open to our French speaking and non French speaking members.  It is a great opportunity for our English speaking members to learn more about the Gospel in French and to learn a little French while doing so.  It seems to be well received and is fun, too.

We also have continued to teach missionary lessons with the young missionaries or on our own.  We are now teaching lessons to people who have already been baptised but who still need to learn more about the Church.  These are fun lessons.  They are very rewarding for us and for the members and Friends of the Church.

We also taught two Home Teaching lessons this week.  In our church we go into members'  homes once a month and teach a spiritual message.  This gives us a chance to get to know the members better and to share a lesson.  We also are able to provide service to those who need it.  This week we visited a member in Belgium who is travelling to Thessaloniki in Greece.  She will be walking in the footsteps of Paul, the apostle, and is quite excited about it.  She will be taking classes in the Greek language  and hopes to be providing service to the huge flood of migrants who are travelling through Greece near Thessaloniki seeking a better life.  What an awesome experience.  Ed was able to give her a blessing for her to feel good, to be kept safe and to make the best of this marvellous opportunity.  

We also had another great visit with another family.  They live in a small village about 40 minutes southwest of Charleville.  As always when we visit this couple we go as the teachers but often leave as the students.  They are such strong members and are great examples.  We learn so much from their example and from our discussions with them.  

I guess we do some teaching as we interact with our younger missionaries, as well.  This, too, is a symbiotic relationship.  We learn from them and they learn from us.  This week we went to St. Quentin to inspect the two missionary apartments there.  Hopefully, we are teaching our younger colleagues how to manage a household and how to clean.  Some need these lessons more than others but all the younger missionaries we work with are amazing individuals.  They always enjoy our visits.  We love them and feel of their love, too.
The rest of our week was filled up with meetings and family issues.  This week we also travelled to a little village on the Belgian border named Gespunsart.  It is only 20 minutes from our house.  It is the home town of one of the members of our Branch.  We actually went there looking for him as he told us that he was going to be there this week.  In France it is a tradition to clean up family graves and graveyards during "Toussaint" or "All Saints Day" which coincides with Halloween.  Our friend had planned to do just that this week in his hometown in memory of his parents.  We thought we might be able to meet him there but were unable to connect.  We did find graves, though, with his family name on them.
The three pictures above are of Gespunsart

Today at church we had 18 people.  We always mention the attendance because it is important for our little Branch.  
This is Gift and Beauty, two of our regulars.  They are great.  Isn't Gift's hat fantastic!
When you consider that there were some Sundays when we only had 3 or 4 people at church we celebrate the growth we have experienced.  We had two great talks from two recent converts.  They were truly inspired.  Talk about growth.  They are proof of the growth of the Gospel here in France and we are excited to be part of that and to be able to support them.

Well, it has been a busy and exciting week.
Au revoir de la France.

Lyndi-Lou and Eddie, too.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Family Ties

Sunday, October 18, 2015

We'll start off by saying that today is Lynn's dad's birthday.  He would have been 87 years old today.  He passed away 9 years ago at the age of 76.  We miss him. 
Last Saturday night, October 10th his older brother Fred passed away.  He was 93 years old.  It is so hard to say good-bye.  We will lovingly remember Uncle Fred as a gentle caring man.  It's interesting because Amy and Lynn were just talking about Uncle Fred the day before we heard of his passing and Amy said that he reminded her of Mr. Rogers.  The way he looked with his sweaters and his gentle mannerisms.  We wish his family lots of love as they forge ahead in the next days and months.    

We continued to enjoy the visit with Amy & Tyler. We had rearranged our schedule in advance so we were able to spend some nice time with them.  We visited the town showing them all the hot spots.  These included some of the former villages that have been incorporated into Charleville-Mézières, the lavoir (old time wash house), the square, the river walk and park and the shopping area.
A Yummy meal of a mixed bag:  Louisianna Chicken with Baguette and Cheese.  Along with Pâte Ardennoise.
On Monday we went to Bouillon Castle where we toured and watched the Falcon show.  It was quite funny because the falconer chose Amy to be part of the show.  He put a leather glove on her hand and a metal sieve on her head.  A big bird landed on her hand and another one on her head.  It was amusing and interesting at the same time.  Amy did look a little worried but enjoyed the experience in the end.  Afterward we had lunch at a frîterie.  It wasn't good for us but it sure tasted good.  When we got home we did some shopping.
On Tuesday we got up early and headed to Pierrefonds to visit the château there.  This was the castle where the TV show Merlin was filmed.  Merlin is one of Amy's favourite shows.  She loved the visit to the château and so did we.
Amy with "Woinic" The biggest Sanglier in the World!
On Wednesday morning it was time for us to say goodbye to good old Elder Rivas.  He had been here for 12 weeks and had done an incredible job.  We picked him up at 7:00 a.m and took him to the train station.  We gave hugs and off he went.  Fortunately for us we will continue to see Elder Rivas as he is going to Luxembourg and we do apartment checks there.

Speaking of apartment checks we had to go to Metz and Luxembourg to do just that.  Of course, Amy and Tyler were coming with us.  On the way we stopped in Verdun and looked at some WWI sites.
We got to Metz in time for lunch.  We visited the apartment while Tyler and Amy shopped.  In Metz the apartment was moving from a two-missionary apartment to four.  The Elders are to be commended.  With very little warning they had done a good job of keeping things clean and manageable.  

We met up again with Amy and Tyler after the apartment check.  We really enjoyed the historic part of Metz where Ed's family would go shopping when he was a young boy.  We visited the places where Ed  lived, played and attended school as a young boy, including the Roman aqueduct.  It was really enjoyable to be with them.
In Luxembourg on Thursday we walked around the old part of town which was quite fascinating.  We visited the Catacombs.  Incredible.
Friday morning Amy and Tyler left to go back home.  We hung around the airport for a while.  This is always kind of awkward.  You don't really want to leave because you want to spend as much time together as possible before they head home.  They on the other hand need to board and you just kind of hang around waiting for one or the other to make a move.  After waiting the prescribed amount of time we said our goodbyes.  This is always hard to do.  We loved spending time with Amy and Tyler.   We had a great time together and were so happy we could share a bit of our part of the world with them.
Right away we headed to the Elders' apartment for an apartment check.  We were  very happy to see Elder Rivas and his companion.  The apartment was great.  There were really no issues.  By 11:00 a.m. we were on the road again.

Our next destination was Liège, Belgium.  We were on our way to visit the Redd's.  They had a huge project they had undertaken that we had said we could help them with.  Their chapel was celebrating its 50th anniversary and the Redd's had been asked to spearhead the activity.  We helped put up pictures on display.  We set up chairs and projectors.  We arranged tables and viewing areas.  We cleaned a little.  We moved food from the car to the chapel.  Saturday morning Ed and Elder Redd went and picked up 24 pies and 100 buns from an amazing bakery in Flemish Belgium.  On the way back they went through the Netherlands briefly.  The whole expedition took about one hour.  
We helped at the chapel until about one o'clock.  We then had to head home because Lynn had a Relief Society meeting at 4:30.  She has been recently called to the Relief Society presidency and they were having their first meeting.  By the time we stopped for lunch and gas we got home at about 3:30.  On the way we listened to an audio book by L. Tom Perry called "Living With Enthusiasm". It was very good.  He is such a positive example for us to follow.

While Lynn was at her meeting, Ed made soup for supper and for the Branch meal after church.  Talk about stretching himself!  We had 20 people at church, including a couple visiting from Utah.  The husband had been a missionary in Charleville-Mézierères in1989 and was back for a visit.  

We also had the chance to meet our new missionary here.  Elder Daines.  He is from Rexburg, Idaho.  We are happy to have him serving here with us.
We had our Branch Council meeting and our High Counsellor from the Stake.  We met our new missionary.  He had a chance to introduce himself and to share his testimony.  It was a great meeting and everyone enjoyed it.  We had a great Branch meal, too, including a pie that we had bought for the occasion from the little pastry shop in Flemish Belgium.

Our son Dustin and Lindsey his wife had new pictures taken.  We love it and wanted to share it with our friends and family too.
What a lovely week we had with our Canada family members and our Branch family members.  We love them all.  That's all we have this week.

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


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mossey's in France

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Today is our daughter Lise-Anne's birthday.  We wish her the very best of birthday's.  We hope she has a memorable and wonderful day.
We have had a very busy week this week.  Starting on Monday, we did our usual things with the Elders for their P-Day.  Ed also had a meeting in the afternoon and we had to pack to go into Paris.  This was a week that we were waiting for.  Our daughter, Amy, and her husband, Tyler, were arriving on Wednesday for a 9 day holiday in France.  

We headed into Paris on Tuesday morning bright and early.  We had a district meeting at St. Merri followed by a zone activity.  We got to Paris shortly after 9:00 a.m. and headed to the church at St. Merri.  We had our district meeting starting at 10:30 until 11:45.  This was Elder Rivas' last meeting with us as a District Leader.  He did a great job.   

We then took the metro to a soccer complex where we had a soccer game with a spiritual twist.  The 20 missionaries were divided into 4 teams.  We played games of three seven minute periods.  In between periods the missionaries had to recite memorised scriptures and had to answer gospel questions based on the New Testament, The Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel.  They also had to do a physical challenge.  These were three areas that our zone leaders had set as goals for us during this transfer.  The answers to these challenges were worth ten points each and each goal was worth five points.  It was an awesome activity and we incorporated gospel principles into it.
We then headed over to the church once again for a meal together.  Each team of missionaries had to bring something for baguette subs, a drink or a dessert.  We had a great lunch and visited.  It was a great time to get to know each other a little better, to say goodbye to those who are leaving and to share some thoughts with each other.

We spent the night with our friends, the Maynards, a missionary couple housed in the institute building and responsible for the Young Adults of Paris and for the Visitors Centre.  Elder and Sister Maynard are heading home at the end of the month.  This is a hard time for a missionary.  There are lots of mixed emotions.  We had a lovely meal with them and the Graff's a couple that oversees self reliance.  We had a lovely meal and a lovely visit.  

On Wednesday we met Tyler and Amy at the airport at 8:45.  Their plane got in just at the right time.  It was great to see them.  They had a good trip.

We spent a few days in Paris and saw all of the tourist sights - the Louvre, Versailles, Musée d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur and the Arc de Triomphe.  On Saturday we walked 16 kms alone around Versailles.  We stayed near the Gare de l'Est which was very handy to the metro and to our train back to Charleville.  We enjoyed the sights and we enjoyed the food.  But on Saturday we headed back to Charleville.
Man we tired Amy & Tyler right out!
When we got home we headed straight to the church.  The Elders were holding a supper for the amis and new members.  We took advantage of the opportunity to have a free meal.  They were serving mitraillettes, a Belgian sandwich with lots of meat and very delicious.  Afterward Amy and Lynn went to a folk dancing activity.  They really enjoyed it.

In Charleville we had a wonderful day at church.  We had a great talk on the temple.  Elder Rivas bore his testimony and we had an opportunity to say goodbye and to wish him all the best.  We are losing a great missionary.  Fortunately for us we will see Elder Rivas when do our apartment checks when we go to Luxembourg.

We love having Amy and Tyler here.  It has been great.  They are here for a few more days and we will enjoy them.

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

Lyndi-Lou and Eddie, too.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The 2 Conferences

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First of all, Happy 16th Birthday to our oldest grandchild, Jarom!  How wonderful.
This week was bookended by two conferences.  We started off our week with the Couple Missionary's Conference in Caen, Normandy and we finished our week with the General Conference of the Church.  Both of these experiences were spiritual and uplifting for us as members of the Church and as missionaries.  

On Monday before we left for our Couple's Conference we had an opportunity to provide some service to a Friend who is interested in our church.  She and her son have recently moved and they are  gathering things together to furnish their new apartment.  She does not have a car but needed some help to get some things.  That's where Ed and the young Elders came in.  They drove her to look at some things from a house in Charleville that was being vacated.  She purchased some bookshelves and a mirror there.  We then took her to get a fridge which was about 30 minutes from town way out in the country.  Needless to say we got lost and it took us over an hour to find the place but our objective was accomplished and we did get the fridge back to her apartment.

On Tuesday we headed to Caen through Paris.  It seems like whenever you go anywhere heading south you end up going through Paris even though Caen is near the west coast of France.  On the way to Caen we listened to two books titled "Living With Enthusiasm" by L. Tom Perry and "Gadiantons and the Silver Sword" by Chris Heimerdinger.  We find this to be a great way to travel.  It makes a long trip go faster and more enjoyable.  In addition, travel becomes a learning experience and is much more enjoyable.

We got into Caen in the late afternoon.  We went straight to the church where we met the Bishop.  What a great man.  He showed us around and made us feel welcome.  He gave us the key to the church and told us everything we needed to know.  As we have mentioned in previous posts we were assigned to spearhead this conference.  We set up a room for the entertainment which was scheduled for Wednesday evening.  The conference started the next day.  

The conference got underway at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  We started with a hymn and a prayer as we always do.  We had 11 couple missionaries present.  Every couple had a role in this conference.  They were each assigned a task or a responsibility.  We covered a number of topics including management tasks related to missionary apartments, finances and paperwork.  But we also covered spiritual topics.  Our Mission President talked to us about how I-pads have changed missionary work and how valued we Couple Missionaries are.  We had a presentation on making Music more accessible to members so they can learn to play and direct music in their wards and branches.

After the formal sessions we had a chance to sit back and kick up our heels with the entertainment.  We had planned a game fashioned along the lines of "Minute to Win It" that we called "Wishin' On My Mission" or "Une Vision de ma Mission" in French.  The couples had to do a series of fun and funny tasks related to missionary responsibilities, including vacating apartments, cooking, balancing budgets, travel, etc.  They had one minute to complete each task.  Of course, we had made them as hard as possible but they had fun.  After the game Ed entertained us in his alter ego of Jean Dubois singing French Canadian folksongs accompanied by his bonhomme giggeur Alphonse.  We had a lot of fun doing this, too, and everyone got involved.

We ended the day with a typical French meal in a typical French restaurant.  Ed had a beef skewer with potatoes.  Lynn had a filet mignon.  We had three courses complete with appetiser, main dish, side dish and dessert.  This, of course came with lots of pieces of baguette.
On Thursday we had a wonderful presentation on the Paris Temple which is under construction.  There is a missionary couple assigned to oversee the building of and keep a historical record of this undertaking.  They gave a slideshow presentation of the project to date.  They had lots of information about the progress, the positive reactions of neighbours and politicians.  They led us through the progress through pictures from the beginning of the undertaking to today.  They talked about the difference this is going to make in the lives of French members and non-members.  They testified of the spirit that is already felt around the site by both members and non members, including construction workers.  What an uplifting session this was.
Our session about the temple led nicely into a testimony meeting.  We heard from most of the missionaries in attendance.  They testified how their missions have fortified them and blessed their families.  We could see the Lord's hand in their and our work here in France.  This was really a spiritual experience.  We expressed our love for what we are doing in France and for each other.  We really love our fellow missionaries for their support and for their friendship.  Our conference really brought this out.

We had a cultural and historical component to our conference, as well.  On Thursday afternoon we visited the Normandy D-Day landing beaches.  We had a sandwich lunch at Juno Beach where the Canadians landed and where so many of our countrymen sacrificed their lives to liberate France in WWII.  We visited the museum there, watched videos, walked on the same beach and took pictures.  We were overwhelmed by the significance of the events that occurred here in June, 1944 and of the sacrifice of lives that took place.  It was very emotional and pulled at our heart strings.
We then headed to Omaha Beach where the Americans landed.  This was a much more difficult beach to land on as the enemy was situated uphill from the landing site and had a bird's eye view of all those who came ashore.  The Americans had to fight their way uphill.  We visited the American cemetery where thousands of soldiers were buried.  What an awe inspiring and spiritual place that was, too.  We visited the Visitor's Centre and saw pictorial records of the landing through videos and pictures with eye witness accounts of the battle.  We are all fortunate for the efforts of the young men who gave up their lives for our freedom and we are blessed for it.
We then stopped at Pointe du Hoc.  This was a site where enemy guns were on top of 200 foot cliffs overlooking the ocean.  To take these out was a formidable task but a group of American Rangers did just that with great losses.  They scaled the cliffs and were able to neutralise the gun emplacements but many died in the operation.

From here we headed to Mont Saint Michel.  This trip was an optional one for our conference.  Nonetheless five couples did head down there.  We had some problems with our GPS and got lost before finally finding our hotel at around 10:00 p.m.

The next day was amazing as can be see by the pictures.  What an amazing site Mont Saint Michel is.  It was built as a Monks abbey starting in the 9th century and built in stages.  It was built on faith in the Lord but was sometimes done with forced labour.  We had a hard time believing that it could have been built on top of a rock in the ocean with the limited technology that existed but we walked the streets and visited the abbey.  This was an unforgettable experience.  The streets were only about 6 to 8 feet wide.  We walked straight up to the top of the mount where the abbey is situated.  We toured through the abbey looking at all the different rooms where the monks lived and worked.  Today there is, once again, a religious presence in the abbey of Mont Saint Michel but we did not see any of them.

On the way down we visited shops and had lunch at a nice little restaurant.  After lunch our group of 5 couples split up and went our separate ways.  We headed home.  Our conference was a great success.  We were well fed physically, spiritually and culturally.

As we said at the beginning of the post our week ended with General Conference and our spiritual banquet was greatly enhanced as a result.  In Charleville conference schedule is a little different because of the 8 hour difference in time from Salt Lake to here.  We set up two computers at the chapel to watch the sessions in  both French and English.  We watched the Saturday morning session at 6:00 p.m. local time.  On Sunday we watched the priesthood and the woman's broadcast at 11:00 a.m.  We had a pot luck lunch together at 1:00.  We watched the Saturday afternoon session on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and we watched the Sunday morning session on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.  We are all on our own to watch the Sunday afternoon session whenever we choose.  Thank goodness for the internet.

Of course we were well fed spiritually, once again.  All the talks were inspiring and uplifting.  We always love hearing our prophet, Thomas S. Monson teach us and counsel us.  This conference was especially meaningful for all members of the church as three new apostles were called to replace those who had passed away recently - Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Richard G. Scott.  We heartily endorse and sustain the new apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson and Dale G. Renlund.  We know they were chosen by God through revelation and will carry on the good work of their predecessors.
Just had to throw this cute costume Lise-Anne made for Polly
 We have had a great week again and are moving forward with our spiritual batteries fully charge.  Goodbye for now.

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