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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Quiet Books - 6 Month Service Project - Nearly Finished!
Service Project
Sister Clark took on a service project six months ago without any idea of how much time and effort would be required.  Now, after six months of constant long-hours everyday work, she is nearly finished.  We delivered the first three of the books to Sister Dampt yesterday and she was extremely excited and pleased.  The rest of the seven Quiet Books should be finished this week.  Now, to help Sister Dapremont finish her two.  Wheeeww!
Tic, Tak, Toe Page - Learning to Think Ahead - Quiet Books
We are providing lots of pictures so the effort and time required might be appreciated.  The books turned out wonderfully and are very detailed and colorful.  Children can spend hours enjoying themselves while learning skills and developing abilities.  All while being quiet!!!  At least that is the hope.
Pick Apples Page - Learning to Snap - Quiet Books
Learning to snap, button, zip and velcro are included - something on nearly every page.  Some children may be introduced to sea, forest or barnyard animals for the first time. The hope is that the books be fun and educational at the same time.
Fishing Page - Learning Coordination and Patients - Quiet Books
While especially for children, we are hopeful that these Quiet Books encourage parents to spend time with their children as they help them learn about the world and develop skills.
Fishing Page - Happy to get Caught - Quiet Books
And then......these books are intended to be fun.  We are hopeful that children will find them interesting enough that they want to spend quiet and not-so quiet time with them.
Barn Page - Finger Puppets - Quiet Books
 We hope that parents are helped in their efforts to have quiet children at Church and in other appropriate places.  Adults might find themselves using these books as entertainment.
Farm Animals - Finger Puppets - Quiet Books
 The farm animals are cute and begged to be played with - each is a finger puppet.
Princess Double-Page - Memory Development and Fun - Quiet Books
 A total of fourteen different princesses are included.  Each with her unique dress and hair.  Of course children are free to create their own princess by mixing dresses and hair.
Princesses - Dress and Groom - Quiet Books
Princes Page - Another of 14 - Quiet Books
 Only three of the nine Quiet Books being made are for boys.   The boys books have a few unique pages including; the double Road and Signs pages, the Firehouse double-page and a couple of others involving trucks.
Road and Signs Double-Page - Imagination Development - Quiet Books
 The Road and Signs pages come with two vehicles which are currently parked in the garages.  The signs can be un-snapped and placed in different locations.
Roadway Page - Having Fun - Quiet Books

Firehouse Double-Page - Respect for Service Providers - Quiet Book
 The Firehouse page is one of our favorites.  We especially like the fire hats and the fire-dog.  Perhaps boys will be inspired as they play - our service providers deserve respect and perhaps this will help.
Firehouse - Dress and Grooming - Quiet Books
Firehouse - Only in Boys Book - Quiet Books
Firehouse Page - Fire dog - Quiet Books

Washing Laundry Page - Matching Exercise - Quiet Books
The Washing Laundry Page provides an opportunity to learn matching.  We hope it is colorful and interesting enough to encourage play and learning.
Washing Laundry Page - Quiet Books
Camping Page - Learn to Zip & Finger Puppets - Quiet Books
Hopefully the Camping Page will encourage boys and girls to want to discover the wonders of nature for themselves while teaching zipping and play with finger puppets.
Camping Page - Forest Animal Finger Puppets - Quiet Books
 All children need to learn to put on their shoes.  The Shoes Page will hopefully help with that.  One shoe is velcro closed, one button and one tied.  Learning to tie a shoe is often a challenge - now the chance to start early.
Shoes Page - Learn to Tie, Button and Velcro - Quiet Books

Cupcakes Double-Page - Learn to Create - Quiet Books
Creativity is the focus of the Cupcakes Page.  Children have a chance to put cupcakes in the oven, cook and decorate.  Complete with recipe book and utensils.  Girls and boys alike may be inspired to enjoy cooking as the grow older.
Cupcakes - Create - Quiet Books
Coq of the Week

This weeks coq has a hair-do reminiscent of punkish youth and a nearly closed-loop tail.  He is different and interesting as he perches above the Eglise Saint-Lambert in Le Mont, Belgium.   We found him while chasing down a referral.  Funny how the coqs are easier to find than those who might be interested in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our goal is to become as reliable and faithful as the coq.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Lambert - Le Mont, Belgium
Stained Glass Nativity

Mosiah 3:8-9
     "And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. And lo, He cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name...."

As we celebrate Christmas, may we celebrate Christ's coming to earth that each of us might have salvation.  Christ was born a babe having the objective of providing each of us the opportunity of salvation.  It is thanks to Him that we can overcome the weaknesses of the flesh - death and sin - that we might live again in the presence of our Heavenly Father.  What a great and wondrous gift He gave!  The Earthly birth of our Lord and Savior is truly something to celebrate.  May we do so this Christmas Season and throughout the year.
Stained Glass Nativity - Eglise Notre-Dame des Recollets - Verviers, Belgium
Catholic churches can be a place to find inspiration during the Christmas Season.  We find inspiration in the stained glass nativities we find there - though probably only twenty or twenty five percent of the churches have such windows.  Nearly all the catholic churches display a nativity of some kind this time of year; there is inspiration to be found in visiting them also.  The nativities are void of the babe until Christmas day - a tradition we miss in the United States we think.  Our nativities seem to always include the babe regardless of when we display them.  Yet, Christ was born on Christmas day as was not to be found in the manger until that day.  A nice tradition we find here in France.

The fullness of spiritual truth is found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; however, other religions have some of the truth.  We should embrace inspiration from whatever source it may come - you too may find the nativities of the Catholic church inspiring.  We are grateful for the beautiful nativities we find in the churches here in France - they help us feel the true Spirit of Christmas.   May each of us have the Spirit of Christ during this wonderful time of year.
Stained Glass Nativity - Eglise Notre-Dame des Recollets - Verviers, Belgium

Sunday, November 26, 2017

American Cemetery - WWII - Luxembourg
Green Fields of France

In an email this week Raeburn Kennard mentioned the war history found in this part of France and gave us a link to the song "The Green Fields of France" by Liam Clancy.  In listening to the lyrics of the Clancy ballade our thoughts turned to the war cemeteries we have visited in the past year and a half.  The Clancy tune stuck in our minds  a bit and caused us to contemplate the lives that were cut short and what they could have been.  The blood of tens of thousands of young men, many American, has been shed in this part of France.

The timing for such meditation was good for the Thanksgiving holiday as it caused us to relate many of our blessings to the struggles for freedom that have blessed our lives.  We should all be grateful that there were so many willing to fight and die for the cause of freedom.  Many died that we might live in freedom from tyranny!  We are grateful for the reverent reminders of sacrifice for freedom that we find here in northern France.

The photos included here are among our thoughts as to what the "Green Fields of France" are.  The great and striking sense of reverence we felt at each of these cemeteries generated feelings of humility and gratitude within us.
French Cemetery - WWI - Verdon, France
We were also grateful to see the wonderful job the United States Government does in making our foreign Military Cemeteries so beautiful and inspiring.  We can be proud.  God bless America!
Meuse Argonne American Cemetery - WWI - Romange-sous-Montfaucon, France
Stained Glass Nativity

We are grateful for the Christmas Season and the reminder it provides of the Savior and His birth.   We find that the nativity scene nudges us towards a more spiritual and meaningful Christmas.  We are striving to do better at feeling the Spirit of Christ and the nativity helps us with that.  We hope it will help you also.

Without the birth of Christ, we would lack His teaching, example and atoning sacrifice.  What a wonderful blessing the Savior is for each of us.  He provides us hope, peace and love.  We are thankful for the restored gospel as found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as it offers us knowledge and understanding of Christ's mission and our potential.
Stained Glass Nativity - Cathedral Notre-Dame - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
In the Book of Mormon we read in 2 Nephi 19:6;
    "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son in given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Gather, The Prince of Peace."  And so He is.

The stained glass nativity of the Cathedral Notre-Dame in Luxembourg City, as is usual in this part of the world, depicts the Christmas story in two parts.  The shepherds hastened to find the Savior of the world and the wise men traveled from afar to worship him.  The shepherds were wise and the wise men were humble.  May we be wise and humble enough to seek the Savior and come unto Him.
Stained Glass Nativity - Cathedral Notre-Dame - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Coq of the Week

This weeks coq may come across a bit flat, but, as with his brothers and cousins, he remains faithful and diligent.  We are confident the citizens of Ecordal, France are grateful for all he does atop the Church Saint-Remi.  This guy's style is a bit robust.......thank goodness........seems he has taken a ball or two.     Nonetheless, he remains unruffled in his determination to fulfill his purpose.   May we each understand and strive to fulfill our purpose in life.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Remi - Ecordal, France

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pierre LaMaire - High Councilor - Lille, France Stake
Stake Visitor

The Stake recently changed our High Council representative and we had not had Stake visitors for several months; until today.   Brother Pierre LaMaire came from Lille today and introduced himself to our Branch which he now represents on behalf of the Lille Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.   He was already known to several of our long-term Branch members and they welcomed him warmly.  We were pleased to have him speak in our Sacrament Meeting as he reminded us of the importance of listening to and acting upon the talks we receive from our General Authorities in General Conference.

As it turns out, we had actually met Brother LaMaire fifty years ago when he was four years old and living in the Lille, France Branch of the Church.  His father was the Branch President in Lille when we arrived there in July of 1967.  We are sorry to say that we do not recall the LaMaire family by name as is the case with most of the families who were in Lille at that tine.  We do have specific memories of several events during our six months in Lille but have lost the names of most families.  Being a new missionary and not speaking French at that time, we are not surprised to have little recall of member names.  Still it was a pleasure for us to visit with Brother LaMaire and discuss members and events of years ago.

It was Branch President LaMaire who contacted my parents and convinced them to take a young member girl by the name of Monique Aurelan.  Monique lived with my family in Wyoming for about a year and hopefully they were of help to her and her mother who lived under very trying circumstances.  We knew little of this event until well after our mission was over.

Nativity - Cathedral St Michael & St Gudula - Brussels, Belgium
Stained Glass Nativity

The specifics of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ are made known early on in the Book of Mormon.  In 1 Nephi 11:13-21 Nephi learns the following regarding the birth of Christ;

     "And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white." ... "A Virgin , most beautiful and fair above all other virgins." ...   
     "Behold the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God..." .... "And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms." ... "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!"

We are confident that the wise men/kings who visited the young Christ Child in Bethlehem also declared BEHOLD THE SON OF THE ETERNAL FATHER! as they offered their gifts.  May we each recognize and accept Jesus Christ as the Son of the Eternal Father and offer our gift of obedience to Him.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-Martin - Guignicourt-sur Vence, France
Coq of the Week

Another interesting coq from Guignicour-sur-Vence, France.  Hopefully we have not already presented this one - we know we have duplicated several in the past - surely an error resulting from a lack of diligence and attention to what we are doing.  This would never be the case with one of our coqs. While certainly unique in his tail, he has seen plenty of hard times......perhaps even taken a bullet or two.  May we be found standing firm as we face our trials in life.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sister Clark & Sister Claire Bourt - Paris, France Temple
Monthly Branche Temple Trip

Once the Paris Temple had been dedicated, our Branch Council decided that they would like to have a monthly excursion to the Paris Temple.  For several months now the Branch has been successfully going to the Temple each month.  Some of our members are able to go for three to four days each time but for us that has seemed a bit much.  Instead we go just for one day and that works very well for one of our members, Sister Claire Bourt, who also finds it difficult to go for more than a day at a time.  The three of us generally go together in our car.

We start out about 5:30 AM in hopes of arriving in time for the first session which begins at 10:00 AM.  So far we have not been able to make the first session due to various reasons.  This past Tuesday we spent five and half hours going.  While the traffic around Paris is generally horrible, this week we ran into manifestations on the auto routes.  It seems that a group of vendors who traditionally have Christmas booths or stalls on the Champs Elysees in Paris were upset with the city's decision to discontinue this practice.   Thus, they parked many large semi trucks across the main auto routes around Paris.  We we lucky enough to experience their dissatisfaction by passing considerable time getting through the mess created.  On the bright side.....we traveled back home in a mere three hours.

Still, we enjoyed our few hours at the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which is located in the Paris suburb of Le Chesnay.  We found pleasure in doing Initiatory work and an Endowment session.  What a wonderful place and what a privilege to do work for our own family members in this beautiful House of the Lord!  We are grateful to be able to visit the temple each month and receive the blessings of peace, hope and security it brings.   One does not need to spend days at the Temple to feel the Spirit of the Lord - - - just being there a short time does the trick.

Coq Girouette - Eglise Notre-Dame de l'Assomption - Porcheresse, Belgium
 Coq of the Week

This week's coq was found during a trip into the Ardennes Forest and Mountains running down a referral that had requested a Book of Mormon in English.   The referral was not found but we were able to leave two Books of Mormon in the very quaint village of Our, Belgium.  We hope that they will be read and lead someone to want to know more.

Anyway, our coq was located atop the steeple of the Church Notre Dame de l'Assomption in Porcheresse, Belgium.  He is a golden coq which otherwise displays the same characteristics as all his brothers and cousins.  Each one of them reminds us of our need to remain every vigilante and faithful.

Stained Glass Nativity of Christ's Birth

The humble shepherds visit to the baby Jesus is depicted in our nativity for this week.  A little more modern and expressionist than many of the nativity scenes we have found, yet still conveys the importance of the Savior's birth.  We are grateful for such reminders as we try to feel the true Spirit of the Christmas Season.  What a great and wonderful blessing that our Savior Jesus Christ was willing to take upon himself a temporal body so as to fulfill the will of His Father and provide each of us the opportunity to live again in their presence.  We pray you fell the Spirit of Christ during this season and throughout the year.
Stained Glass Nativity - Eglise Saint-Remy - Charbogne, France

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Faithful Members

We introduced Soeur Kate Schuiling a few months ago but we wanted to take the opportunity to give an update on an important event in her life.  She has her boat!  For most of the time we have known Sister Schuiling she has been working towards the goal of living on a boat of her very own.  She sold her home ten months ago and searched for the right boat and opportunity for several months.  She found her dream home is disrepair in the Pays Bas/Netherlands and entered into a contract to have it rebuilt to suit her needs and desires.  While there were several delays along the way, the work progressed.

Now she is living the dream!  Below is a picture of Sister Schuiling on her boat which is harbored in the Namur, Belgium area in a town named Jambes.  She is very proud of her home and says she has everything she needs - though we note that she keeps a garage nearby with many of her things stored in it.   While she is happy, we sense she is still adjusting to the life style.  She pointed out that she keeps a pair of mens shoes on the deck just where one would board the boat - she explained that she wants any uninvited person to get the impression that a man is on board.  I suppose it will take a little time for her to feel totally secure living on her boat.  I suggest that she put a mans bicycle next to the woman bike that is parked next to the shoes.  She named the boat Adventure.

It is a little disconcerting to be homeless but, we do not suppose to buy a boat to live on when we return home in a few months. 
Sister Kate Shuiling - Adventure - Jambes, Belgium
Sister Schuiling invited us to come see her new home and to be present for its consecration.  That was a privilege for us but we were also rewarded for our effort in another way.

As a young missionary, we had heard of a legend.  Fifty years ago every Franco-Belge missionary knew of Brother Marcel Kahn, a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who helped produce a more accurate and current translation of the Book of Mormon into French.  While most of us knew of Brother Kahn not that many of us had ever met him.  Well, it turns out that Sister Schuiling has known Brother Kahn for a few years and she had invited him to consecrate her boat as her home.  Brother Marcel Kahn is pictured below with his second wife.
Marcel Kahn and Wife - Jambes, Belgium
It was a pleasure to meet Brother Kahn after all these years.  We are not sure what we expected but Brother Kahn was rather reserved and conservative.  Of course he is now eighty-one years old and has a much different life.  His wife is a very nice person and intelligent - both she and Brother Kahn speak English rather well.

We had the misfortune of mis-speaking at one point; thinking that Mrs. Kahn was a member of the Church.  She made it clear that she was not and that she had no intention of every becoming one.  She explained that she enjoyed the advantages of pursuing intellectual and philosophical thoughts without inhibition.  Inferring that being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would not allow her to do so.  However; the thing she said that gave us the greatest cause for reflection was that she found herself more tolerant than members of the Church.  Tolerance of others is a good thing certainly.......something we should also be as members of the Lord's Church.

Then in Sacrament Meeting this morning, we again had cause to think of tolerance and how we were doing in that regard.  Sister Karine Dapremont was emotional and crying during a good part of our meeting.  After, we approached her asking if we could be of help.  She said she did not think so and explained her problem.  It seems she was rejected by a woman in her village with whom she had hoped to become friends.  The rejection was seemingly based on intolerance of Sister Dapremont's religious beliefs.  Karine explained how much it hurt to be rejected and left out of activities with this person and others in her village.  It seems this is not the first experience Karine has had with rejection because of her religion.  This helps us understand our need to be more tolerant and accepting of others.  We wondered if in Utah, non-members might be feeling those same sentiments as Sister Dapremont.  We are more determined to make a real effort to be tolerant to all.
Marcel Kahn, Mrs Kahn, Soeur Schuiling, Sister Clark
Coq of the Week

Another week, another coq.  Hope you are not tired and bored with coqs - we continue to find them interesting and inspiring.  This guy is found in Regniowez, France above the Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite.   Some might say he does not know whether he is coming or going - his tail does look a little like a second head and mouth.  We assure you that he does know the direction in which he is headed. A good reminder that we too must keep firmly in mind where we are headed.  Knowing where we are headed enables us to make a good effort to get there.  May we arrive at our Eternal Destiny as we keep our eye on our objective.  Perhaps we will find a few coqs there when we arrive.
Coq Girouette - Eglise de la Sainte-Trinte - Regniowez, France

The Spirit of Christ

Too soon or not......Christmas is coming!!  We pray that we all profoundly feel the Spirit of Christ during this upcoming Christmas Season.
Nativity - Stained Glass - Cathedral Notre Dame - Laon, France
We will post the Christmas Nativities we have found in various churches here in France/Belgium during the next few weeks.  The nativity scene is always inspiring and uplifting for us and we hope they might be for you also.  We are extremely grateful for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his birth is a wonderful reminder of his life, teachings and sacrifice.  We are ever grateful for Him and feel blessed to be serving Him as full-time missionaries.

The Nativity presented here, in two parts, was found in the Cathedral in Laon, France.  Laon is a medieval city/village located between Charleville-Mezieres and Lille, France - about an hour Northeast of Paris.  The cathedral is renowned and interesting - many other important cathedrals in France were modeled after it - including Reims and Paris.

Above we have the baby Jesus in the stable with Mary and Joseph but no shepherds - the donkey and cow ever present.  It was a humble birth.  Below is Jesus grown a bit and welcoming the three wisemen.  The scriptures teach that Christ was no longer a newborn when the wisemen arrived.  There exist a translated document (name of the book slips my mind) of an ancient record dating back to Adam that explains the story of the wisemen.  That record explains that Christ taught the wisemen when they visited him.  I like the nativity depicted below as it seems that the Christ Child might be doing just that.

We hope that, during the next several weeks, our Nativities will add to your Christmas Spirit.
Nativity - Stained Glass - Cathedral Notre Dame - Laon, France

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Branch Halloween Tradition

One year ago we decided to include a promenade in the forest as part of our Fall Halloween Party.  It has now become a branch tradition.  Granted, we have yet to have a large group or even the majority of our active members join us in this tradition, but it really has been a nice outing both of the years we have done it.  You have to remember that half of our active members are not capable of climbing hills and making their way through the trees of the forest. 

This year just five of us made the was a none member and the husband of our very faithful Sister Karine Dapremont.  Raphael Dapremont had broken his wrist earlier this week at work but was more than happy to be our guide.  We needed a guide as we were looking for mushrooms to pick and eat later.  Raphael was quite fast to warn us away from the harmful ones and good  to encourage us as we found those that are edible.  We did find a few good ones, but what an adventure discovering the great variety of vegetation growing in the Ardennes forest.
Raphael Dapremont, Laurent Biver, Isabelle Biver (back) and Karine Dapremont
Below is an example of what we enjoyed discovering while walking in the woods.  Many varieties of mushrooms and fungi growing in what is a very green and moist forest floor.  I suppose the forests floors here are a bit like those one would find in the Pacific Northwest of the United States; however, here we have mostly oak trees where in the Pacific Northwest there tends to be more pines.  It is interesting to note that many of the good mushrooms we found growing in the areas of pines and not so much the oaks.  It was a very enjoyable outing, though the temperatures were cool.
???Mushroom or Fungi - Ardennes Forest near Neufmanil, France
After completing our promenade, we returned to our meeting hall to enjoy food and fun.  We had a concours de soupe which was very welcomed after our visit to the forest.  Sister Clark's cream of mushroom soup took first place.  We can never figure out whether the members really like American dishes or whether they just like to be kind to us.  We shared a nice meal and had games afterwards.
Charleville-Mezieres Branche Fall Halloween Party
While we had just eighteen total in attendance, we were very pleased that seven of them were friends of the Church.  Robert Biver, father of our member Lauren Biver came as did the husband and two children of member Karine Dapremont.   Beauty Imhangby, our only remaining Nigerian member, brought four friends (including a baby) to the party.  Our social activities, such as the Fall Halloween Party, usually enable us to enjoy the company of one or more of our less-active members - so it was with this event.   Small but rewarding!
Charleville-Mezieres Branche Fall Halloween Party
 Happy Halloween!!!

Below is my addition to Halloween.   One foggy morning last week we found this nice spider on her web and could not pass up the photo opportunity.  It is not often that we have found just the right amount of moisture on the web so that it shows up well in a photo.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!
Spider and Web - Charleville-Mezieres, France
 Coq of the Week

This week we have a nice coq we found atop the Church Saint-George in Day, France.  He is not one of your fancier coqs but rather simple and plain.  In todays world we find simple and plain rather unusual.  In that sense, he really is unique and we like him because he is.  

While not the most prosperous coq on the walk, he does the same job as his fancier and more prosperous cousins.  His lack of the fancy and wealth causes him no concern and he is focuses only on doing the job he was put there to do.  Oh, that we could learn to do the same - remain steadfast, constant, reliable and faithful by avoiding the distractions of the world.  May each of us find our way back home to our Eternal Father as we faithfully avoid the distractions of this world.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by his restored church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - that we find the hope to do so.

Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint-George - Day, France