Sunday, March 19, 2017

Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Quentin - Gomont, France
Coq of the Week

Since we missed posting last week, we have thought to give you a double dose and more of our coq pirouettes or rooster weathervanes.   When we can we try to take our photos on the sunny side of our coqs, but that is sometime impossible and sometimes we have no sunny side.  Such is the case of the coq we found atop the church Saint Quentin in Gomont, France - a small village in the Ardennes.  Never the less, we appreciate this coq's beak and tail - a little different than many we find.  He certainly seems cheerful and eager to crow, though he is not enjoying great weather.  Everything well defined with nice tail feathers included.

Our coq from Herpy sur l'Arlesienne - another small village in the Ardennes of France - is a nice contrast with his more angular features.  He too has a defined beak and tongue but not such a fine tail and certainly not as cheerful as the one above.

The third coq, found on the Church Saint Ferreol in the small village of Saint Ferguex, France, is a proud one.  Nice comb, pretty tail feathers and defined breast qualify him for the work.  Proud but vigilant!

While different in many ways, these coqs are united in purpose.   So we find our young missionaries and senior couples who serve in the Paris France Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - each unique in appearance, talents, abilities and challenges but united in purpose.   That purpose being that of "Inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the Restored Gospel by faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, by repentance, by baptism, by the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost and by persevering to the end".   May we each remain, as the coqs, vigilant to our purpose!

Coq Girouette - Eglise Sainte Claire - Herpy sur l'Arl├ęsienne, France

Interesting to Us this Week

Yesterday, we left home at 9:30AM for Stake Conference sessions in Lille, France.  After picking up members on the way, we arrived in Lille at 1:30PM and returned to our apartment in Charleville- Mezieres after 1:00AM this morning.  A rather long but rewarding day.

While waiting for one session to begin an elderly, very neat and well dressed brother came at sat next to us on our bench.  He asked if we had baptized Sister Nicol Janda at Arras, France in 1969.  After we acknowledged that we had, he began to praise Sister Janda.  He described her as very faithful and very energetic in the gospel and added that she and her husband Pierre were the foundation upon which the Church in Arras was built.    Of course, we were very touched because of the significance the Jandas are in our lives.  However, that is not the remarkable part of our encounter with this brother.

After this brother had left, we asked Brother Biver (Charleville-Mezieres Branch) who this brother was.  Brother Biver said that is Brother Nivard our Stake Patriarch.   As we thought what Brother Nivard had said and knowing he knew the Jandas, we had the urge to continue a conversation with him.   Thus we approached him with curiosity and asked him how he had come to know the Church.  Now for the remarkable part of our experience with Brother Nivard.

When he was 19 years old and a student in Arras, France, one day he found a book on the buffet in his parents home.  He picked up the book and as he held it in his hands looking at it, he had the distinct impression that he had seen the book before.  Though today he would say that certainly was not the case.  However; with the feeling of familiarity with the book (Book of Mormon), he opened it and read the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He immediately knew that Joseph's experience was the truth.  He was baptized fifteen days later becoming only the third active member of the Arras Branch in August of 1969.  Brother and Sister Janda being the other two.  

We asked if he remembered the missionaries who taught him the Gospel.  He recalled both, one with more certainly than the other.  The name he remembers best is that of Elder Roger Merrill.  Elder Merrill was not our companion at the time the Jandas were found but was as we finished teaching Sister Janda.  

I realized what a wonderful experience Elder Rodger Merrill must have had in Arras.  Teaching the Jandas and then Brother Nivard. Our personal experience in Arras was more wonderful than can be described and that was only a portion of what Elder Merrill had.  How marvelous and miraculous the experiences of Elder Merrill - knowing and helping three stalwarts of the Church in France come unto the Savior!!!  What great blessings the Lord pours out upon us as we are found in His service!!!!

Brother Nivard indicated that he has not had contact with Elder Merrill since 1969.  To our knowledge, Elder Merrill and Elder Clark came out together and returned home near the same time in December of 1969. We now have a great desire to find Elder Merrill and share with him what we know about his work in Arras. We are confident that he would be over joyed to know that the Jandas were faithful leaders and now Temple Missionaries and that Brother Nivard was the first Stake President in the Lille/Arras area and that he is now a Stake Patriarch.  So far we have been unable to find Roger Merrill via internet.  Not the A. Rodger Merrill who served a Texas Mission and is prevalent on the internet.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Ferreol - Saint Ferguex, France
We are grateful for the little but impactful blessings we constantly receive as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  They testify of the inspiration of our callings to serve in the Paris France Mission at this time.   May we all appreciate the little things in life.

1 comment:

  1. Wasn't Elder Merrill the dad of the boy my roommate married? I'm still in touch with her sister on Facebook, so I'm sure that we could get you in touch somehow.