Sunday, January 14, 2018


President Thomas S Monson

"Never fail to follow a prompting"

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Another Year Off and Running

Super Moon

It was a nice way to start our new year......the "Super Moon" just outside our bedroom window!  We were grateful to start our New Year with peace and calm.  We pray that each of you are able to find that peace and calm throughout the year ahead.  Hectic and frantic times are easier to endure when we know moments of tranquillity lie just ahead.  May we each make the effort to find peace in our world which is hurtling forward at super speed.  One of our greatest blessings, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; is the peace, reassurance, comfort and calm the Gospel it teaches brings to our lives.   We feel very blessed to have the Gospel in our lives and to have the opportunity to be here in France to share it with others.

Super Moon - New Year's Day 2018 - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Bonne Année!
Super Moon - New Year's Day 2018 - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Not All is Calm

We don't live in a perfect world and it is true not all is calm.  Even here in our small town of Charleville-Mezieres we find a bit of excitement these days.  It seems, with all the rain we have been receiving, the waters of the Meuse River are rising.   We are beginning to see flooding in and around Charleville-Mezieres.  Below is a picture of our normally serene park Mont Olympe.   Not too bad yet, but we live in an area where it can rain every night and many days for weeks at a time.   As we travel into the countryside we are finding roads closed, fields flooded and homes threatened.

Park Mont Olympe - Charleville-Mezieres, France
 Coq of the Week

Come what may, the coq is ever present.   Though faithful and diligent, there is little he can do but watch over what is transpiring.   We doubt that he appreciates all the rain we have been receiving any more than we do.  No matter how high the water rises, the coq will be there.  So with us, may we stand faithful and diligent no matter how high the water rises, how strong the winds blow or how fierce the storms become.  May our foundations be built upon the Rock of Jesus Christ.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Notre Dame - Wagnon, France

Friday, December 29, 2017



HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!!

The shepherds and wise men of the Christmas story hold the keys to a Happy and Prosperous New Year!  Thus we again share an updated presentation of our stained glass nativities.   Yes, you have seen them but take another look and read.

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Christophe - Charleroi, Belgium
Matthew 1:18-25

     "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to pour her away privily."
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thous son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,"
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:"
"And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Didier - Asfeld, France
Luke 2: 1-7
     "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."
"(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)"
"And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city,"
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)"
"To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days where accomplished that she should be delivered."
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Nativity - Eglise de Noivion-Porcein - Noivion-Porcein, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Martin - Saint Die des Vosges, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Grimonie - La Capelle, France


Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Etienne - Toul, France
Luke 2:8-20
     "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
"And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,"
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known not us."
"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
"And when they had see it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child."
"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds."
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
"Ant the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."


Nativity - Eglise Saint-Pierre - Bastogne, Belgium

Nativity - Eglise Notre Dame - Chauny, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Nicolas - Signy l'Abbaye, France

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Medard - Grandpre, France
Matthew 2: 1-2, 7-11
     "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the  king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"
"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
"Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligent what time the star appeared."
"And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."
"When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Etienne - Toul, France

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Antoine - Les Bas Buttes, France
Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais - Soissons, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Matthieu - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
May we all be as wise as the shepherds and come unto our Savior Jesus Christ with haste that we may return glorifying and praising God!  May we be as humble as the wise men that we may open our treasures and offer our gifts to our Lord Jesus Christ!  May we find peace on earth, throughout the year ahead, through our goodwill towards others!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 !!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017!

Santa - Always on a Ladder - Ardennes - France
Christmas in the Ardennes

We thought to share just a few of the sights of Christmas here in the Ardennes region of France.
Santa is always climbing a ladder and always headed for a window.  Just the way Santa does here.

Santa - Headed for a Window - Ardennes - France
For some reason Santa's bag of toys is usually gold.  Not sure why.......just the way it is here.

Church Nativity - Ardennes - France
Each of the Catholic churches has its own creche or nativity.  They usually have no baby Jesus until late on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Market - Place Ducale  - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Each city, town and village seems to have its Christmas market from early December until the first of the New Year.  The one in Charleville-Mezieres is not that grand and focuses on food items for the most part.  It is still a festive event that is well attended.  We noticed even the smallest of villages will have a one day Christmas market - usually on Saturday or Sunday.

Our Mail Lady - Christmas Spirit - Charleville-Mezieres, France

Our mail lady loves the holidays and will dress for each of the major ones.  We caught here this year in the in the dim light of morning dressed in here Santa outfit.  She had the bells and lights to go along with all the rest.

Marionnette Santa - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Of course one has to have a Marionette Santa in Charleville, the world center of marionnettes.  As so we found in the local book store window.

Pere Noel - Christmas Market - Charleville-Mezieres, France
In France and other parts of Europe, Pere Noel does not always dress in red.  Here is proof.

Saint Nicolas and his Donkey - Charleville-Mez
Stained Glass Nativities

We hope you enjoy the stained glass nativities we have found in the past few months here in France.   They come in all styles, which if fun to see.  Each one is unique.

No, we don't just travel around looking for stained glass nativities .  These were mostly taken while we were headed to do apartment inspections, to Stake Conference, to District Meetings, etc.   We did get a couple during P-Day activities.

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Christophe - Charleroi, Belgium
Matthew 1:18-25

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to pour her away privily."
"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thous son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,"
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:"
"And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Didier - Asfeld, France
Luke 2: 1-7
     "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed."
"(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)"
"And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city,"
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)"
"To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days where accomplished that she should be delivered."
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."     
Nativity - Eglise de Noivion-Porcein - Noivion-Porcein, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Martin - Saint Die des Vosges, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Grimonie - La Capelle, France


Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Etienne - Toul, France
Luke 2:8-20
     "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night."
"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
"And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,"
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known not us."
"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
"And when they had see it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child."
"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds."
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
"Ant the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."



Nativity - Eglise Saint-Pierre - Bastogne, Belgium

Nativity - Eglise Notre Dame - Chauny, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Nicolas - Signy l'Abbaye, France

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Medard - Grandpre, France
Matthew 2: 1-2, 7-11
     "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the  king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,"
"Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."
"Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligent what time the star appeared."
"And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."
"When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."
Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Etienne - Toul, France

Nativity - Eglise Saint-Antoine - Les Bas Buttes, France
Nativity - Cathedral Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais - Soissons, France
Nativity - Eglise Saint-Matthieu - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
We share so many of our nativities now, because we will not be keeping a Mission Blog next Christmas.  We will be home, hopefully enjoying Christmas with family and friends.  We do miss that.

Merry Christmas!  We hope our stained glass nativities help you feel the Spirit of the Season - the Spirit of Christ our Lord and Savior.

May we all be as wise as the shepherds and come unto the Savior Jesus Christ with haste that we may return glorifying and praising God!  May we be as humble as the wise men that we may open our treasures and offer our gifts to our Saviour Jesus Christ!  May we find peace on earth through our goodwill towards others throughout the year ahead!

Coq of the Week

Our coq this week is one of the brightest we have seen.  He stood strongly out in the Winter sky as the sun shone upon him.  From a distance he appeared much like what one might imagine the star that lead the wise men to the baby Jesus was.  We believe his massive tail did the trick.  Every faithful and diligent!
Coq Girouette - Eglise Notre Dame - Auberton, France

Monday, December 18, 2017

Nativity - Traditional French

During the Christmas Season nativity scenes are found in nearly every Catholic Church in France.  The big problem is getting into the churches to enjoy them.  It is usually only major churches in larger cities that open their churches on a regular basis.  It is difficult to visit the interiors of small village churches.  This year we discovered a way to visit a few of the small village churches around us. 

One day on our way to visit the Dampt family we noticed a small billboard in a very small village announcing "Chemin des Creches" that pricked our interest.  When we arrived at the Dampts we explained what we saw but they were unaware of such a thing.  We expected that, by the name, there would be several places to see creches/nativities.  A couple of days later I mentioned the "Chemin des Creches" to the Biver family and they knew nothing about it either.  However, the following Wednesday, Brother Biver gave me a small brochure his wife had found regarding the "Chemin des Creches".   As it happens there were a total of twenty-two village churches participating in the "Chemin des Cresches".  Approximately ten of them were within a half hour of our apartment so we decided we would try to visit a few.  Problem was that their open house schedules were very restricted to a couple of Saturdays and Sundays.

This past weekend we went to visit six of the villages churches participating in the "Chemin des Creches" event.  As its happened our first church was by far the best.  It probably had a hundred or so creches from around the world.  A little different than we had expected - we had anticipated one super nice creche in each of the churches.  The other churches had a few creches but nothing like the first.  We particularly enjoyed some of the creches from the Champagne-Ardennes area.  Many were made of straw.  We were able to appreciate creches from around the world which caused us to think of our hundred plus creches at home and how we might host a Ward Christmas event at our Ward once we are back home.
Church Nativity - Eglise Saint-Martin - Guignicourt-sur-Vence, France
The creche/nativity pictured above was not one of the display creches but rather the church nativity.  As per French tradition this creche is void of the baby Jesus.  He will arrive on Christmas eve to complete the Birth of Christ scene.

Stained Glass Nativity - Cathedral Notre-Dame - Verdun, France
 Stained Glass Nativity

Here are two more of the stained glass nativities we have found here in France.  The one above, from Verdun, is interesting from the point of view of the gifts being offered - mostly produce, including grapes.  We each have something a little different to offer Christ but when it all boils down our gift is one of love.  May we each offer the Savior our love through obedience to His commandments, faithfulness to our covenants and perseverance to the end.

The one below is a recent find.  We found it a bit Christmasy with its colors of green - they don't show as brightly in the photo as they did in person.  Joseph and Mary alone in the stable, with the animals, contemplating the wondrous event of the birth of Christ.  May we each find some quiet time to meditate and consider the glorious event of the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and His importance in our life.
Stained Glass Nativity - Elise Saint-Martin - Guignicourt-sur-Vence, France
 Coq of the Week

This coq was watching over the creches displayed in the Church Saint-Michel in the village of Boulzicourt, France.  With lights upon him, he seemed to be inviting all to come see the baby Jesus lying in the manger.   If the ox and the donkey watched over the baby Jesus where he lay, why not the coq?  Certainly there were coqs in the stable that night long ago.

Like many others, this coq has obviously taken a beating or two over the years, but..... he has not given up.  Each of us will have our beatings during this earthly life but we must not give up.  May we stand true and faithful unto the end...........like the coq.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Michel - Boulizicourt, France


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Snow - 10 December, 2017 - Charleville-Mezieres, France

Christmas Season

Signs of Christmas

The first snowfall of the Winter!  In actuality we do not receive a tremendous amount of snow here in the Ardennes.  However, today we received as much as we did all last year.  We find it makes a nice enhancement and reminder of the Christmas Season that is upon us.

Most folks here appreciate the snow but not the slick sidewalks and roads that come with it.  On the not-so-positive side; several members of the Charleville-Mezieres Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were not able to make it to church today because of the snow.

We are grateful for the snow and the encouragement it gives us to seek the warmth and comfort that we receive from our Savior Jesus Christ and the Gospel he taught.
Snow - 10 December, 2017 - Charleville-Mezieres, France
On Wednesday the 6th, we were again reminded of the Christmas Season as we encountered Saint Nicolas in the street near our apartment.  We find him and his donkey unusual and very interesting.  He was busy greeting all the children and passing out chocolate candies.  Saint-Nicolas coming on the 6th of December is a cultural difference we have noticed here in France.

Which leads into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints program named "Light the World". While we have a French version of the program; the daily themes vary significantly, at least in order of the day which they appear.  Nonetheless, in the US version, Wednesday the 6th theme was "Judge not, that ye be not judged".  While wondering what to do this day, Sister Clark suggested that I "avoid badmouthing the French for a whole day."  Wise council as I had fallen into the trap of complaining about cars parked on the sidewalks, dog poop everywhere, weird driving habits and on and on.  We gave it a try with rather good success.  As a result we now feel less inclined to complain or "JUDGE" the people we have been called to serve.  We do love the French people!  May we each be a light to the world.
Saint-Nicolas w/ Donkey - 6 December, 2017 - Charleville-Mezieres,  France
Stained Glass Nativity

We really do enjoy sharing our stained glass nativities with you.  We find a wonderful spirit radiated by most of them and they help us greatly with remembering the true meaning of Christmas.  They help us feel the Spirit of Christ and bring us closer to him.  We find them inspiring and a blessing in our lives.  We pray that you might enjoy them also.

We found the nativity below in late June of this year, not sure where we were going or doing but we are glad to have found this nativity.  It is located in the Church of Saint Remy in the village of Thiaucourt, France.

Alma 19:13 
     "For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name."

Stained Glass Nativity - Eglise Saint-Remy - Thiaucourt, France
Coq of the Week

Perhaps, just another bold and proud coq doing what he was called to do.  Nearly every coq has seen bad days and hard times - - - look closely and you will recognize what we say.  So it is for us, we each have our ugly days and challenging times - none are exempt.  During the struggle may we stand fast like the coq -  remaining faithful and true to our purpose here on earth.  We have accepted the call of earth life and now must persevere to the end.  The coq is a wonderful example for us all.... and he does have many sunny bright days.  May our days be bright, especially during this Christmas Season.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Medard, Librecy, France