Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gift - Nigerian Refugee - Investigator - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Friends of the Church

Gift is an early 20s amie de l'Eglise who has been learning of the Restored Gospel for many months.  She often attends week-day activities and occasionally Sunday meetings.  It has been difficult helping her understand the need to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She was baptized years ago into another Christian church and wants to believe that it does not matter which church she attends as long as it is Christian.  The young Elders are currently working hard to help her understand the need for Priesthood authority.  She is now praying to understand what she should do.

Gift is a Nigerian Refugee who has obtained legal status here in France.  She finds life so much better here than in Nigeria.  Unfortunately it is the worldly things that she has found of greatest interest.  In actuality, life is not easy here, but still is so much better than what she knew in Africa.

Dennis is a new friend of the Church.  His first attendance at Church meetings was today at Ward Conference.  He is a friend of Stephen Lawrence (a member) and of Isaac Peter (another investigator).  Stephen has introduced most of our Nigerian members and friends to the Church and Peter is taking lessons and making progress in his understanding of the Restored Gospel.  Dennis speaks better French and English than most of our Nigerians.  We hope to get to know Dennis better in the days ahead.

It is always a pleasure to welcome new investigators to the Church and today we were blessed with a total of four investigators at our Branch Conference.
Dennis - Nigerian Refugee - Investigator - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Branch Conference - 2017

This weekend was our first Branch Conference since arriving here in Charleville-Mezieres.  A member of the Lille Stake Presidency, Jean-Olivier Smatti and our High Council Representative, Christian Carpentier arrived Saturday afternoon for our Saturday activities.  Not a great picture, but President Smatti (1st Counselor) is in the picture below standing at the far left.  Yesterday afternoon we went out to visit less-active and newly baptized members.  It was very productive as Brother Rene Bourt, who is rather ill, was able to receive a Priesthood blessing.  Sister Immaculate (Rwandan) who is struggling with many life issues was also visited.  We believe that each received a ray of hope as their spirits were raised and the light of the Gospel shined upon them.

Saturday evening we spent a very inspirational hour together as we focused on the Paris Temple and the blessing it is in our lives.   The French have waited over 150 years to have a Temple upon French soil.  The construction of the Temple began in 2010 and is now about ready for visitors.  We had a slide presentation of the construction process and talked of the blessings a Temple in France is.  The Church in France will now be complete when the Temple opens in May of this year.  The Lord will have a house here in France where he can dwell and the French no longer have to go outside their own country to perform the Saving Ordinances of the Gospel.  A beautiful building and a wonderful and welcomed blessing!!
Meal - Branch Conference - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Sunday we continued our focus on Temple worship and were encouraged to prepare all our members to go to the Open House but more importantly to prepare to perform work for themselves and their relatives in the Paris Temple.  We have a number of members who could have their first opportunities to make Temple Covenants in the months ahead.   We look forward to attending the Temple in Paris with our faithful members.

We had twenty seven in attendance at Sacrament Meeting - including Stake visitors (5), investigators (4) and missionaries (4).  This was a large meeting for us.  We shared a nice meal after as we always do when we have Stake visitors of any kind.  After all.....they travel over three hours to visit us.

Meal - Branch Conference - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Spring in Charleville-Mezieres

We have remarked on many occasions that the city of Charleville-Mezieres does many nice things for their citizens.  Place Ducale, which is located just three blocks from our apartment, is the center of all these activities.  Spring at Place Ducal has brought another pleasant surprise - a beautiful Spring garden.  The city has build a number of large flower beds in the center of Place Ducale and planted them with beautiful Daffodils, Hyacinths, Pansies and Tulips.  When we walk through the place in the morning we enjoy the beautiful yellows and purples and scents of the Hyacinths.  It is a beautiful spot just now.  The photos below give you only an idea of what we enjoy each morning.
Spring - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Of course; Spring has not been limited to Place Ducale as there are shrubs, trees and flowers in the early stages of bloom throughout the city.  The French are also wonderful vegetable gardeners and there is much preparation underway in many yards.  We enjoy looking at the well organized and cared for vegetable gardens when they are in full production.  The soil is rather good, moisture is plentiful and the climate agreeable for gardening.

This time of year leaves us longing for home and the opportunity to spend pleasant hours in the yard gardening and looking at beautiful blooms.  For now we will enjoy what we have here.
Spring - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Coq of the Week

Two coqs to share this week.  The first a golden one found atop the Eglise de Notre Dame in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.  This coq is a little calmer than most and has a very pronounced eye.  He was gleaming in the bright sun of a nice Spring day as we visited the city of Luxembourg, located about an hour from Charleville-Mezieres.  The young Elders received permission to spend their P-Day there and asked us to join them.  I don't believe their needing transportation to get there had anything to do with asking us to join them, but one never knows.

We have two young Elders who are trying to enjoy churches, stained windows and coqs as much as we do. We have to think that, thought they are trying hard, they have not yet reached that level of interest.
Coq Girouette - Eglise de Notre Dame, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
The second coq (below) was found in Bouvellemont, France above the Church Saint Vincent de Paul.  We appreciate the unique flare he has - nice tail!  While we do find some coqs that are very similar to others, this one was rather unique and I would suppose a little rambunctious about life.  

We very much enjoy finding the unique and different.  Just at the moment we think we have approached the end of uniqueness, we enter a village to discover that they are still out there. 

Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Vincent de Paul - Bouvellemont, France

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