Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Lyndi-lou and Eddie too...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Castles and Conferences

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Today at church we had 22 people.  It was a special day.  We had a visit from the Stake Clerk, Yannick Rousseaux.  He was doing a financial audit which went very well.  We also celebrated Immaculate's upcoming baptism in our Branch.  How did we do that you might ask - with a meal, of course.  We are in France after all, the home of fine cuisine.  As usual, the meal was spectacular.  We had everything from quiche to spicy rice to baked pears to casserole to chips and much much more.  
One of our contributions "Baked Pears with cinnamon and Maple Syrup"
another one of our contributions "Penne Provençal"
The rest of the week was hectic.  Ed took the young Elders to Bouillon on Monday to visit the castle there.  When they got there they found out it was closed and so they had to head back to Sedan to see that castle.  This was too bad because Elder Gagnon had never been to Belgium and neither Elder Daines nor Elder Gagnon had tried Belgium frîtes.  Only in Europe can you see two castles in a half hour radius of your home, one being the largest castle in medieval Europe.  We had a great visit. 
Elder Gagnon at Bouillon
Elder Gagnon at Sedan
Elder Daines at Bouillon
Elder Daines at Sedan
On Wednesday we had two activities going at the same time.  Lynn had a clothing exchange planned by our Branch's Relief Society.  They have been bringing clothes for quite some time in preparation for this.  Lunch was involved.  At the same time we had a district missionary activity.  We hosted the Zone Leaders and the Reims Elders.  We had a district meeting and tacos for lunch.  We then headed out contacting and finding.  While the young missionaries pounded the pavement Ed manned a table outside the chapel and handed out church materials.  He handed out 3 Books of Mormon.  He also handed out another one on Tuesday to a gentleman from Armenia who was quite interested.  Four Books of Mormon in one week - a record for us.  
On Saturday we had the first part of our Stake conference.  The second part will be on March 13 when we will be visited by 3 general authorities - Elder Christofferson, Elder Kearon and Elder Boutoille.  Now there is a heavy duty schedule.  Anyway we both had to talk at Stake conference on Ed's conversion and prayer.  This involved a 12 hour day between driving to and from Villeneuve d'Ascq and attending two different meetings.  Our talks went well and seemed to be well received.  

The rest of our week was spent doing things that we regularly do to support the members.  helping with missionary lessons, teaching our classes, translating, counselling, preparing our talks, etc.  We also had workers come to do some work on our balcony on Thursday.  The moisture was trapped there causing mold in the apartment below.  They had to dry it out with some special machines.  Very interesting process.  It looked like they were using some kind of dry ice.  Mist was hovering all around the whole procedure.  Lynn also gave Stephen a haircut during the balcony reparations.  We had a great week.  Goodbye February.
Polly's picture for us.
This is something you rarely see here in France.  A Chevrolet. Why not?  It has a French ring to it. Thanks Louis.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

B & B (Busy and Blessed)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

We thought it might be interesting to share with you what a typical week looks like for us as missionaries.  (Interspersed with pictures that Isabelle took and shared with us.)  As usual, our week ended up being quite busy.  Tuesday and Wednesday we both taught our classes as usual.  The preparation for these is extensive but we learn  so much while preparing and attending.  We're pretty sure we are the ones being fortified.  We just hope our students enjoy it as much as we do.  We actually get the lesson twice because we attend each others class.  This unique opportunity is quite strengthening.  It also helps with Lynn's french.  Our flurry of preparation dies down on Thursday and is replaced by another flurry of activities stretching through Sunday.  

We are not complaining about being busy.  It is great.  We love it.  We want to be useful in our Branch and in our calling.  And so we always try to be willing to serve and to help out whenever we can.  We also lead a self reliance group called "My Job Search".  This involves a 2 hour meeting each week (Sunday or Wednesday) along with the necessary preparation.  Ed always has some Branch business to take care of in his role as Branch President.  This week, for example, he had to be at the church for a fire inspection.  There is also an upcoming baptism to plan and perform.  We always take the missionaries shopping.  We always teach with the Elders.  This week we did this 7 times.  Often Ed helps with members' needs.  This sometimes involves translating for members who don't speak French.  Ed meets every week with the Branch clerk for an hour and a half meeting.  We have a Branch Mission Leader meeting every week for 2 hours with the younger Elders.  Most weeks we have a District meeting for 2 hours.  This week Lynn had a Relief Society presidency meeting. 
Every morning we have Scripture study together and as a couple.  We plan together and set goals.  We also have regular reports to do.  These include a monthly car report and two financial reports.  

As usual unplanned things pop up on a regular basis.  This week the Elders' washing machine broke down and we had to go buy a new one.  Ed had to be there when it was delivered.  
These are from our trip to England last week.  All these gorgeous flowers out already!  London temple in the center.

Lynn has been working on a Relief Society clothing exchange that will be happening this coming week.  

We are also going to have a special missionary activity in Charleville this week that involves our whole district that we only found out about late yesterday.   
We enjoyed our  French folk dancing class Thursday night.  We feel so luck to be able to go to that.  Except we wish it was earlier.  It doesn't start until 8:30 and goes until 10:00.  We are exhausted at the start but soon find our second wind.  I suppose we are becoming culturally  diverse.  We were suppose to have attended a Folk Dancing event two weeks ago in a sweet little village near here but Lynn was sick and we couldn't go.  We were disappointed and decided we'll have to still go check out the village, Launois sur Vence.  They have a little market and it's got quite a good reputation for being authentic.  We'll share pictures when we do.

Our chat's with family this week have been good.  Of course they are having the same challenges and successes that we saw in our day.  Man, we are grateful for FaceTime to help us be a part of our kids and grandkids lives.  We pray for them daily.  
Sweet little headband Lise-Anne designed.  Polly was pretty excited telling us all about it!

This week we had a special activity that we thoroughly enjoyed.  We contacted a new missionary couple assigned to Liege this week.  We phoned them on Wednesday and decided to get together.  As a result, Brother and Sister Slaughter, from Sandy Utah, came down on Saturday and spent the day with us.  We had a wonderful time together.  Lynn made a great lunch.  We visited the church, showed them around the city, went shopping and then we headed to Sedan for a visit to our local castle.  When we got back to Charleville we all went out for supper for kebabs.  We had a great time.  We were really happy to get to know the Slaughters.  We really hit it off together.  We had a wonderful day with them.
Us and Elder and Sœur Slaughters (Dave and Connie)
Being busy is great.  We feel very well used in our callings as missionaries and Branch leaders.  We feel we are a support to our members.  Time just races by and that is a good thing, too.

And, of course, we have taken it upon ourselves to write this blog which is done for this week.

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jolly Olde England

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.  

This week was a very rewarding one.  Since our last post we have gone to London and back.  We tried to visit the queen but she wouldn't even come out to play.  We did however see two helicopters land and take off from Buckingham Palace while we were walking there.
Buckingham Palace
As you have no doubt guessed we visited the temple this week in England.  We left on Monday at 7:30 a.m. with another couple from our Branch.  We took the ferry from Calais.  It took us about 3 and a half hours to get to Calais.
Just before you get to the ferry dock there is a large refugee camp.  Apparently there are about 4,000 refugees in Calais trying desperately to get to England.  Their camp is made up of shacks and tents made of blue tarps, plastic and some wood.  It is all very makeshift.  Around the camp, blocking the way to the ferry is a double fence about 15 feet high covered with razor wire.  This is an intentional barrier to keep migrants from  accessing any transportation to the UK.  These are desperate people who would stop at nothing to get to England.  The town is full of soldiers and police monitoring the situation. The townspeople feel like they are being held hostage in what used to be a friendly little town.  It is not safe to go anywhere one wants to.  Business have dropped by about 80% and sales of those remaining have also dropped by about the same percentage. It's sad all the way around and looks somewhat like a war zone.

We got to the ferry dock early which allowed us to take an earlier ferry.  Good thing for us.  As it turned out the sea was quite agitated.  The boat was late leaving and when we got across the Channel we were not able to dock as all the piers were full.  So we waited.  It took 2 tug boats to stabilise the ferry while we docked. Boats were waiting out the storm but eventually a berth opened up.  A trip that was supposed to take 90 minutes took twice that.  However, we did make it.

After we got off the ferry the drive was great on the wrong side of the road.  We had the same room at the temple as we did last time.  It was great.  We headed to the nearest village to buy supplies.  This was only 5 minutes from the temple.

Each morning Ed got up and went for a run.  He ran along the little highways in West Sussex and took advantage of the lovely scenery and the peaceful country setting.  It was dark at first but lightened up as he ran.  He did have to use a head lamp for the first half hour each morning.

On Tuesday our temple work began.  We began each day with a spiritual thought with the members of our Branch that got us going on the right foot each day.  Every day we did endowment sessions, confirmations and/or baptisms.  We loved doing this.  We could feel the spirit all week long.  We also took advantage of the Visitors' Centre on the temple grounds.  We were able to watch a film on Joseph Smith there and to attend a fireside with members of our Stake and a member of the Temple Presidency.  There is a lot to be said to having a week long temple trip.  You bond with your Branch and Stake members.  You have a prolonged spiritual experience and you are able to take advantage of the longer stay at the temple to reflect and be uplifted.  

On Tuesday afternoon we headed to London right after one of our sessions.  We took a train from a little village close to the temple and after a 50 minute trip we arrived at Victoria Station.  We tried to visit Lynn's grandmother's house but could not find it.  We did, however, walk the streets of the neighbourhood in which she had lived many years ago.  We then headed off to see some sights.  We saw the Tower bridge,  Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament and Big Ben.  We didn't visit these places.  We just saw them.  This is all we could fit in during a short afternoon visit to London.
Tower Bridge
Cute little taxi's and double decker buses were everywhere.  This is on Piccadilly 
This is the Canadian Embassy at Trafalgar Square
Prime Ministers residence. 
Cool phone booths were everywhere.
Big Ben and Parliament Buildings.

We got back from London at about 7:00 p.m, just in time for Laurent and I to go and pick up his son, Émeric, from the train station at Gatwick.  Laurent and I had trouble connecting with Émeric but eventually found him and got him back to our temporary home at the temple housing complex.  Émeric works in Oxford a relatively short train ride away.  Émeric stayed with us for a day and took part in temple sessions along with us.  Laurent and I took him back again on Wednesday.

After two temple sessions on Thursday we went in to East Grinstead, a town about 5 minutes from the temple.  We did some food shopping and looked at some "charity shops" or second hand stores.  I bought a book about a teacher in a small English village and Lynn bought two tops.  One of the charity shops was run by Barnardo's children society.  This is the same society that supported Ed's grandfather when he went to Canada from England when he was 14. 

On Friday we headed home at 9:30.  We got to the ferry and found out we could take an earlier boat than our 2:45 scheduled boat.  However, we would have to pay £54.00 to do so.  We decided to do just that.  It would mean getting home 3 hours earlier.  Imagine our surprise when we met members of the other car from our Branch on the ferry and they told us they only had to pay £11.00 extra.  Rats!!!
But, we did get home at 7:30 p.m. instead of 10:30.  I guess we have to count our blessings.
Saying good-bye to the White Cliff's of Dover
On Saturday we were right back to our regular routines.  We had a Branch Missionary meeting in the morning.  We had the Elders over for lunch.  Ed washed the car.  He also took his suit to the dry cleaner.

We have to write about the saga of Ed's pants.   Shortly after Christmas we bought Ed a new pair of pants to go with his suit because he had torn a pair while waiting for a metro in Paris.  After about a month this new pair tore along the seam of the rear end.  Please note that neither of these torn pants had anything to do with an over abundance of girth on Ed's part.  His rear end is actually of average size.  The tear in the first pair was the result of catching it on some metal and the second tear was due to a fault in the pants.  Anyway, Ed took the second pair back and they agreed to exchange it.  However, they had to send a way for a pair of the same pants as they were out of stock.  This would take a week.  As it turns out they did not come in the following week, nor the week after.  The following week the lady who was in charge of ordering them was on holidays for two weeks.  When she came back she discovered that there had been a problem with her e-mail and, in fact, the new pants had not been ordered.  She ordered them promptly and Ed told her that he would pick them up when he got back from London.  On Saturday he went to get his new pants and they were in.  When we bought the initial pants we paid to have them hemmed.  So they agreed to hem these ones, as well.  So Ed could not pick them up until this was done.  However, the lady who does the hemming just started her holidays on Saturday and would not be back until Monday, February 22.  She could have them done by Thursday, February 26.  There is not much we could do about this situation.  Oh well, as we say in France "C'est la vie!"

We started a self-reliance group here this week with our first meeting being today, Sunday.  This particular group is for finding a job.  There were 6 participants so far.  It is an incredible program.  The meetings are two hours long and held once a week.  Yup, we are keeping busy.
Our little enclosed garden outside of our church window was re-done while we were away.
Well it was a week to remember.
Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

On the Road Again

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Our title this week is "On the Road Again", not because we travelled a lot but because we got our car back on Monday after having it in the garage for a week.  It is running great, however.  

This was a busy week.  We had our regular lessons that all went well.  Our Branch is starting a "Self Reliance" group.  Our group is about finding a job.  We have 4 people in the group.  We spent some time preparing for this.

We also did some Home Teaching this week.  We shared a message and had lunch with some good friends, the Dampt's.  They will be driving to the temple with us tomorrow.

Ed had the opportunity to teach 3 times with the missionaries.  We taught our usual classes, as well.  we are just starting a new Institute course called "Foundations of the Restoration".  It is going to be great and judging from the first lesson the students are going to love it.  

Tuesday was a special day in France.  It was a holiday called Chandeleur.  It is a day when people make crêpes.   It is 40 days after Christ's birth and the supposed day (according to the Catholics) that his parents presented Him at the Temple.  The crêpe represents the sun (As in The Son of God).  So here this day is celebrated by making and eating crêpes.  As you are cooking you flip the crêpe with one hand and hold a coin with the other.  This is supposed to bring you good luck.  Anyways, we served crêpes to our students between French Gospel class and Institute class.  We filled them with peanut butter, bananas, apple sauce, nutella and sugar with lemon.                                                                                                                                                                            
The Gallette is made with Buckwheat Flour (Sarraisin) and is usually served as a savoury crêpe.

In our French Gospel class this week Ed decided to get the students speaking more.  He took advantage of the French speakers  (Elders and Lynn) to work with the students by reading with them and asking questions on what was read.  It went very well.  

On Wednesday Lynn went to the doctor's because of a rash on her head as well as severe acid reflux.  We went to a doctor who is a less active member of our Branch.  He gave her a prescription for some meds which she's taking.  He thinks it's an allergic reaction.  Things seem to be going better now.  

On Thursday Ed spent most of the day in Reims.  He went there to do some work on the Elders' apartment.  He changed a light switch, secured another one to the wall, secured 4 plugs, changed light bulbs, covered some wires, replaced a light socket and repaired another, installed a new toilet seat and replaced a faulty lock on the main door.  It took him all day.  We did, however, have time to go to dance class that evening.  

We had quite bit of contact with our family this week which was great.  We talked to all 4 of our kids and half of the grand kids.  We also talked to Ed's Dad, Ed's brother and Lynn's mom.  Nicole is quite sick and we are fasting for her as a family.  We know that this is going to help.  We got a great picture of Peter and Wilson's Kub Kars.  The big race is this week.  

Yesterday was our daughter-in-law, Lindsey's birthday.  We want to wish her all the best and trust that she had a great day.
Also, congratulations to The McDermid's on the arrival of Hazel, new daughter to Jaime and Tova and Sister to Wilson and Sully.  She is such a blessing to their family.  

We have set a date for Immaculate's baptism.  It will be on February 23 and will be in Reims.  we are quite excited about this and so is she. 

The rest of our week was spent getting ready to go to the London Temple.  We head out tomorrow.  There are 10 people from our Branch going.  We are catching the ferry at 1:35.  Needless to say, we are quite looking forward to this.

That's all we have for this week.  Stay tuned next week for all the news of our temple trip.

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