Sunday, January 15, 2017

First Snow in the Ardennes

This past week we had our first real snowfall of the year in the Ardennes.  While not much accumulated on the ground in Charleville, we had very heavy snowfall for brief periods of time this past Friday and Saturday.  The first real snow we have seen in France for many years - we had forgotten how it was in Northern France in the 60s after the two years in Lyon where we never got snow.

The weather was such that the Branch Conference we had scheduled for this past week-end in Charleville-Mezieres was cancelled by the Stake.  The cancellation rather amazed us as we are rather certain that one would not have done so in the United States.  We live in a different culture and mentality here in France.  After all was said and done, the weather was not so disagreeable this past week-end.  Nevertheless our conference was not held and we had to scramble to put our Sunday meetings back together.  We survived!
Rocroi, France - Fortified Médiéval City
A Missionary Referral

A missionary referral took us to the medival village of Rocroi, France this past Saturday.  We had noticed the road signs for Rocroi on several of our member visits but had never ventured there, though we wanted to.   So Wednesday the young Elders received a referral from a man who said he was interested in receiving a Book of Mormon and we were off to deliver the book on Saturday afternoon.  

While Rocroi is just 20 or some miles from Charleville and only a few hundred feet higher in elevation, we discovered much more snow than we had in Charleville.  Elder Burgoyne, from California, thought it was a Winter Wonderland - a few snowballs were thrown.

Rocroi is a rather small village that continues to be surrounded by fortifications.  It is denoted as an etoile (missing the accent marks)/starred village due to the star shape of it's fortifications.  It remains completely surrounded by the protective wall, has a definite center with a large plaza from which all the streets radiate out to the walls.  Due to it's smallness, everything inside the walls are very pronounced and distinct.  I had never seen such a village before.  Interesting enough to return in time of good weather.

The main purpose of the two snow scenes is simply to show you our first snowfall of the year.

Villers-Cernay, France - War Monument - Snowfall near Charleville-Mezieres
 Coq of the Week

Another interesting coq found atop the ancient Chapelle de Saulces-Monclin France.  Sauces-Monclin has another larger church with a not so interesting coq.  Two churches in such a small village was a surprise.

We might call this one "big mouth".  Upon first seeing him, we thought he had a regular size head and mouth with a spur on his chest but the more we think on it, the more we think he has a big mouth.  Such a big mouth made us contemplate the purposes a coq might serve.  We decided that calling the villagers to meetings is one of their purposes.  They are there to beckon all to mass ...... even before the bells begin their ringing.  The coq is there wether the bells ring or not.  Coqs are rather diligent fellows - few fail to fulfill their callings.  What a wonder!  Snow doesn't bother coqs in the least!
Coq Girouette - Chapelle - Saulces-Monclin, France
 Our Mission President

We spent some time in the presence of our Mission President and wife while at the Christmas Zone Conferences the week of Christmas.  We discovered that the sister of President Babin is the wife of the Presiding Bishop of the Church - Bishop Causse (accent on e).  The Babins will be released the end of June 2017 after three years of faithful service.  Not an easy job being a mission president!
Sister and President Babin - France Paris Mission

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