This week was a busy week for us again but it ended in tragedy for France.
We both taught our second Institute class this week - Lynn with the anglo-class and me with the francophones. This week Lynn and I and the Elders decorated a room in our chapel for Institute classes. We put up English and French posters and put up a sign that said "Charleville-Mézières Institute of Religion". It looks pretty cool and was very well received. About three weeks ago we got a phone call from a member of the Stake presidency telling us that we will be able to keep our chapel as is. We had been told that we would lose 40% of our chapel but because our attendance had improved so much this is no longer the case. This is an answer to our collective prayers. Because of that decision we were able to designate a room for our 6 Institute students and any friends that show up.
|Renditions of Elder Adams (left) and Elder Daines (right). Soeur Wilson drew one. Clara the other. Hmmm....... can you guess which one drew which picture?|
Ed got another opportunity to be a teacher again this week when he met with a high school student to help him organise his time and his timetable. He was also able to help him with his English homework. Ed's a good teacher. He's just got no class now that he's retired (Get it?).
Florine's boyfriend, Phillip, went home to Louisiana on Wednesday. He had been staying at our house. He had a great stay here in France and enjoyed it very much. He was able to see a lot and do a lot. He also got up to Belgium for a day in Liège. We loved having him here.
It was great to have Emeric Biver here this week from Oxford, England. He was here to meet Phillip and to spend some time with his family. He came to church last Sunday and came to Institute this week. He has a great foundation in the Gospel and is a welcome addition to any discussion or class.
Laurent Biver and Ed met this week. They are planning a meeting with the mayor of Charleville-Mézières to increase the visibility of the Church and to express a willingness to get involved with service activities with the city. They are planning what kind of information to share and what to tell him about our Congregation of the Church in Charleville.
Yesterday we started a mission wide initiative as a gift to the Saviour. Every missionary is taking part in a 40 day fast. As part of this we have been asked to give sacrifice something on a personal level for the forty days leading up to Christmas as a gift to the Saviour. We have also been asked to pray hourly to be more in tune with the Spirit and in turn have successful missionary experiences. We are happy to do this and think it's a great idea.
We had two other highlights this week. The first one was when Lynn made Ed some new sleeping shorts. Just to put a perspective on this, in 1993 Ed attended an Outdoor Education camp with grade 6 students from Mike Mountain Horse School. All of the students had made a pair of Bert and Ernie shorts. As it turned out they also made a pair for Ed which he loved and which he wore to sleep in for years until they wore out. When they did wear out, Lynn made him a new pair. Our kids thought these shorts were a legend and so as a family it has become a tradition to present a new bride or bridegroom in our family with a pair of these shorts while everyone models theirs. As it turned out Ed's second pair of Bert and Ernie shorts wore out this week. Well, actually, they were past worn out but he still wore them faithfully to bed each night despite the tears, the holes and the stretched waistband. This week the lesson manual for Institute asked you to share something that someone had done for you with the students. You guessed it. Ed brought his old shorts in to share and hung them on the white board. This was probably the breaking point for Lynn and she broke down and made a new pair of "Astérix and Obélix" shorts. They look fabulous. Of course, it helped to have some free time today because we were asked to stay inside yesterday because of the tragedy that happened in Paris on Friday. She also did some sewing for herself, made a skirt, fixed three skirts as well as mended a pair of suit pants for Elder Adams who is serving here in Charleville.
|Lynn gave the missionaries hair cuts this week as well.|
Well, I guess if a week has a high point it also must have a low point. There is no doubt what that was this week. You have all heard of the terrible attacks in Paris this week. Such tragedy. We felt the horror of it and our hearts are mourning with those who have lost their lives and for their families and friends left behind. We continue to pray for those who are injured and are fighting for their lives.
Of course, when these attacks happened the number one concern is for everyones safety. Fortunately there is a system in place to quickly do a check up like this. All missions are divided into zones. Each zone is divided into districts. Zone leaders were contacted and they made a fan out call to the district leaders who called the individual missionaries in their district. We got a call after 11:00 p.m. on Friday to see if we were safe. When our district leader was not able to contact our Elders we went over to rouse them out of bed and to see if they were okay, which they were. In short order all missionaries were accounted for.
Thank heaven for rules and for obedience. All young missionaries are expected to be in their apartments by 9:00 p.m. and they all were. By doing so they were safe when the attacks started. Of course, we recognise the hand of God in keeping us safe and we are so grateful for it.
Because of this unfortunate chain of events we have had all meetings cancelled in Paris for this week. We had a zone activity that was cancelled and so Ed cancelled our train tickets. We also received a message that we should stay inside as much as possible except for appointments that have already been made. As a result, Ed ended up driving our Elders to an appointment.
We are so grateful that all of our missionaries were out of harm's way. We are about two hours from Paris. We are far from the big city lights of Paris and the hazards of being in this wonderful city that is a magnet to the world. Our prayers are with the families of those who have lost loved ones or have been injured. France is a beautiful country with beautiful people. They do not deserve to be treated like this by people who are clearly agents of the adversary and who are full of hatred for all who do not adhere to their beliefs. It was really nice at church today when our dear sister from Belgium brought everyone a long stem flower with a ribbon with the French colours as a sign of support for the French and for the members in our Branch.
In order to wrap up this post we want to reiterate that the work of the Lord is continuing in France and in Charleville. We feel that our Heavenly Father blesses us and that brings us peace of mind. Thank you all for your support and love.
Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-Lou and Eddie, too