Sunday, May 28, 2017

Paris Temple - Street View - Le Chesnay, France

Temple de Paris

You are tiring of the Paris Temple; perhaps too much of a good thing?  Still, we were in Versailles again this past week and had to get a couple of photos of the completed Temple without tons of distractions in the scene.  Above is the street view of this beautiful House of the Lord and below is the Christus statue in the gardens.  This is a unique Temple without an angle Moroni but with the Savior himself in its place.  The gardens of the Temple were also dedicated and perhaps the Christus provides a glimpse of what we might experience at the Second Coming.  For us, a Temple in France is just another sign of the approaching return of the Savior.
The Christus - Paris Temple - Le Chesney, France
Stained Glass - Paris Temple - Le Chesnay, FRance
The stained glass windows of the Paris Temple are gorgeous and rather frenchesque - don't you find?  The interesting thing about stained glass - and we have hundreds of photos - the photos are never as beautiful as the real thing.  

The Lord created a beautiful world for His children to dwell and the Paris Temple stained glass reminds us of this fact.  We are confident the Savior appreciates Temple stained glass.

As evidenced in these two photos, all the Paris Temple stained glass are floral. Very beautiful and inspiring!
Stained Glass - Paris Temple - Le Chesnay, France
Mother's Day in France

Today, the 28th of May is Mother's Day here in France.  We took the photo the other day on our way home from a Missionary Conference in Versailles with Elder Anderson of the Twelve.   We did not notice anything unusual about it when we took the photo but Sister Clark said she found it a bit unique.  So after taking a second look, we suppose it is a bit different from most nativity scenes one sees.  None-the-less; Mary the mother of Jesus had a great responsibility and she filled it well.  Guided by His mother, the Savior grew and matured as do we all.

We like the Nativity and feel it makes a statement about motherhood.  Without an earthly mother, the Savior was not.  God's plan is that each of us come to earth through our good mothers.  Without our mothers we would not be.  We are grateful for our mothers and all that they have done for us.  It is our mothers who nurture, teach, guide and protect us.  It is our mothers that we have to thank for the more gentle and kind characteristics we might develop in ourselves.  It is often the faith of our mothers upon which we base our own.  We are grateful for all good things that have come to our lives, thanks to our mothers.  Happy Mothers Day!!

The Nativity - Cathedrale Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais - Soissons, France
Storks Progressing

We passed by our storks earlier this week to see how the are doing.  As you see in this photo, they are progressing very well.  The babies now have the coloring of their parents with the black becoming prominent on their wings.  

We want to continue to follow their progress and hope to visit them when the young begin to fly.  We have no idea how quickly they progress and thus fear we may miss that event.  One thing for sure, they progress and grow more quickly than do we.  

A stork born is a bit like someone joining the Church - once you are there, you had better be prepared to get going.  When you think about it, new members of the Church have to grow quickly and become self-reliant if they are to be successful.  The early days are important, and like the baby storks, they need some looking after and help - especially in the early stages.  We see that here in our Branch and hope to do all we can to help the new members mature to the point that they are converted.  We encourage you to do what you can to help the "baby storks" around you become successful.
Stork Nest - Haudrecy, France
Coq of the Week

We continue to find interesting coqs wherever we go.  This past week on entering the Versailles area, on our way to Mission Conference, we saw a coq along the route.  We stopped and took this guy's photo in Chatou, France atop the Eglise Notre Dame.

A little fancier and perhaps more beautiful than some, this coq performs the same duties as all his peers.  He is constant and faithful and ready for what is to come.  If all the ten virgins had been as is he, prepared and ready, none would have missed the coming of the bridegroom.  While we are each different, we are valued equally by Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ.   They desire that each of us prepare ourselves for the Second Coming of the Lord.   May we be as constant, diligent and faithful in that effort as the coq is in his.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Notre Dame - Chatou, France

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"House of the Lord" - Paris Temple - Dedicated May 21, 2017
Paris Temple Dedication

Today, 21 May 2017, was the dedication of the Paris Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.   It took place in three sessions (9AM, Noon & 3PM) with the dedicatory prayer offered by President Henry Eyring.   Elder Anderson of the Twelve was also one of the speakers.  

We attended the second of the three sessions in the Reims, France Chapel.   We were surprised to have less than ten in attendance - including four missionaries.  We had planned to attend the third session in the Versailles Chapel as we were to take one of our Branch families, Michel and Paulette Dampt, who had been invited to attend the third session live at the Temple.  Last minute adjustments to plans enabled us to take Rene and Claire Bourt to Reims with us - they would have otherwise not be able to attend the dedication.  There were blessings in the changes.

Brother Lapore, Lyon Stake President, offered the closing prayer at the session we attended.  He was very emotional as he offered gratitude to the Lord for the blessing of the Temple.  It was a nice surprise to see and hear him - he was our Stake President as we were returning home from our mission in Lyon.

What a wonderful blessing it is to have a Temple in Paris.  As of today the Temple is the House of the Lord in France!
Stained Glass - Paris Temple - Celestial Room
Of course, one can't take pictures of the interior of a Temple.  So we borrowed a couple from the French Church site and share them with you here.  While pictures are worth a thousand words, these pictures do not even begin to display the beauty of the Stained Glass found in the Paris Temple.  It is gorgeous and we love the two skylights most of all.  You will have to see them and the rest of the Temple for yourselves to appreciate the beauty found there.
Paris Temple - Baptistry

Stained Glass - Paris Temple - Sealing Room

Friends of the Church

A couple of more pictures of those who attended the Paris Temple Open House with us on 29 April 2017.   We had a total of eleven non-members attend with our Branch.

Below is a picture of Brother Lionel Gilquin with his cousin Dennis (non-member).
Lionel Gilquin & cousin Dennis (non-member) - Paris Temple Open House - April 29, 2017
Below is a picture of Adeleine Bouillon (Dampt), who came from Chambery to be with her parents at the Temple Open House, with her cousin (non-member).  The Dampts had found little to share regarding the Church that seemed to interest their relatives; however, several of them were excited to visit the Temple during the Open House.  After their visits, they expressed the positive feelings they had experienced while in the Temple and are now much more inclined to seek to understand the LDS faith of the Damps.

Adelein Bouillon & Cousin (non-member) - Paris Temple Open House - April 29, 2017
Faithful Members (X)

A couple of months ago Florine Biver, one of our faithful Branch members, left for the United States to marry a man she briefly knew while serving her mission in Louisiana.  They were married the 17 of May, 2017 in the Oakland, California Temple.  Philip and Florine Patten will return to Louisiana to live.  We miss Florine but know she will accomplish great things where she is.  We wish them the best of everything.
Philip Patten & Florine Biver - Oakland, Ca Temple Marriage - May 17, 2017
Coq of the Week

We just had to share this very unusual coq - no big tail feathers.  Looks like he used what he had around his neck as a scarf.  Perhaps he is a true frenchman?!  Never too warm for a scarf in France.  He sits atop the Church Saint Remi in Charbogne, France.  True and constant like the coq; that is our goal.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Remi - Charbogne, France

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Festival Des Confreries - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
 Festival des Confreries

One thing we have generally appreciated about the City of Charleville-Mezieres is that they tend to be very active in producing events of interest for their citizens.  We suppose that in a city this size - not too big & not too small - that such activities are important for keeping the city center vibrant and the citizens involved and compensated.

Place Ducale, just two blocks from our apartment is the center of all such activities and events.  One such event, Festival des Confreries, is in process this weekend.  Yesterday we went to take a peak at what was going on as we had no idea what a Festival des Confreries might be.  We had a nice surprise upon arriving at the place and we took a few pictures, some of which we share with you here.
 La Confrerie de la Moutarde de Dijon - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
It seems a Confrerie (la/une) is what we would call a Guild in english.  Each guild seems to have its own costume or dress which we found rather interesting.  Many of the representatives of the confreries also sported medals which seemed to represent some sort of achievement or quality of product.  This festival in Charleville-Mezieres is focused on food products and provides the citizens an opportunity to enjoy a meal or snack of regional products and some not so local (but mostly regional).  There was much sampling and eating going on.  We suppose that promoting and selling products is the objective of the Confreries who participate.   Whatever; we dare say that both citizen and vendor were rewarded.
La Confrérie de la Galette à suc' - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France

La Confrérie de la Jurade Princière de Chimay - Place Ducale - Charleville-Mezieres, France
Confreries represented at this festival ranged from Sanglier/Wild Boar products to candy nuggets.  There seemed to be more than a fair share of beer and wine confreries - of course, this is France and the water aint all that great!  One representative of a confrerie nearly forced Sister Clark to try a sample he offered.  She said it was good and only after she ate it did we learn that the man offering samples belonged to La Confrerie du Lapin a la Biere.  Guess Sister Clark got her first taste of beer!
La Confrerie de la Gaufrette Maconnaise - Place Ducal - Charleville-Merzieres, France
Cigogne/Stork Chicks

Several weeks ago we posted some stork/cigogne on the nest pictures, indicating that they were one of the signs of Spring we were seeing in the Ardennes.  This week, on our way home from our District Meeting in Reims, we decided to check in on them.  Sure enough, there are chicks in the nest now.   The picture below show three.  We discovered that the male and female cigogne share many of the responsibilities of mothering their chicks; including siting on the eggs and feeding.  Why do some animals do this and the supposedly more intelligent humans tend to leave most of the dirty work to the mother?  We have greater respect for the male now.   We sense that these are true French cigogne - they seem to like frog.
Cigogne/Stork in the Nest - Haudrecy, France
Coq of the Week

Take note: this one is from Suzanne, France.   

The most unusual thing about this coq is that we also found his older brother.   Perhaps coqs do get to eventually retire after many long years of service - their retirement age is much greater than ours for sure.  We suppose not many actually retire but simply move from the steeple to the grave.  Nonetheless, our coq of the week certainly has a retired brother.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Barthelemy - Suzanne, France 
Should a coq be fortunate enough to retire, it seem he is put upon a pedestal - well deserved we would say.  Below is the retired older brother of our coq of the week.  He sits in the Mairie widow in Suzanne, France where he can keep an eye on his younger brother just across the street.

Feeling that a retired coq deserved more than a window seat, we offered to take him on a trip to the United States.  Yep, we inquired as to whether he could be had for the right price.   The old gentleman who cares for the church and the Mairie felt the coq has more to accomplish in Suzanne - he will stay put.  While we would like to acquire such a coq, we might want to reconsider what is best for these coqs.  

We did get a tour of the church though - not always easy to do in these small villages - we appreciate the old gentleman for his kindness.   By the way, it is he and his wife who have taken on the repairs needed in the church, including the statues that have been broken over the years.
Retired Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Barthelemy - Suzanne, France
Branch Members

Our recent trip to the Paris Temple Open House was very encouraging.  We had nearly a dozen non-members as well as two less-active members make the trip.  We are praying that the Paris Temple will further bless the people of France - members and not - embrace the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and receive the blessings provided through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

One of the less-active members joining us at the Open House was Sister Lisette Horun.  Sister Horun has been a member since 1997 when she and her husband were baptized.  Brother Horun was invalid for many years and Lisette took total care of him without ever complaining.   Brother Horun passed away on December 19, 2016.  Sister Horun continues to be very emotional and is trying to regain her footing in life.  Brother Horun tended to have the stronger testimony and devotion to the Church.

Sister Horun has a great desire to be with her husband again and realizes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only christian church that teaches that she has that possibility.   She seemed to be touched by her visit to the Paris Temple and the information provided during the tour.  We are hopeful that she will find the way to return to activity in the Church and qualify for the blessing of Eternal Life in a family unit.  At this point, we are grateful that she would accept our invitation to visit the Temple with the Branch.
Soeur Lisette Horun - Charleville-Mezieres Branche - France
Friends of the Church

Brother Lauren Biver decide at the last minute to invite his father Robert to join us on our trip to the Paris Temple Open House.  We had met Lauren's father once or twice and he seemed extremely nice. Thus, we renewed our encouragement that Lauren invite him once we knew we had a couple of extra seats on the bus.  Lauren was hesitant as he had tried to discuss the Church with his father on several occasions without much success.  Hesitation turned to surprise and delight when his father said he would like to join us.

Lauren was even more pleased to experience his father's positive responses during the Open House tour of the Temple.   On the way home, Lauren and Robert discussed mostly the Temple and the Church - a great blessing for Laurent regardless of where it all ends up.   Another blessing realized because of a Temple in France.  We pray for and expect many more.  We invite you to add your prayers to ours, asking that great blessings flow from a Temple in France.
Robert Biver - Friend of the Church - Charleville-Mezieres, France

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Temple de Paris - Le Chesnay/Versailles, France
Paris Temple Open House

We find it difficult to take our minds off the Paris Temple for too long these days.  We are truly overjoyed with the imminent dedication and opening of this beautiful building.  We are grateful to be here in France to share the joy and enthusiasm of our wonderful members.  Be there no doubt, the French members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints understand the great blessing the Lord is offering them with this Temple.

We felt the Lord's spirit very strongly when we visited the Temple on the 29th of April.  We can only imagine the Spirit we will feel when we return to do work of ancestors who have passed on.

As the picture below indicates; the Paris Temple is "The House of the Lord".  There is no other building as important as this in all of France.
Le Temple de Paris - Le Chesnay/Versailles, France
 Friends from Lyon, France

While at the Paris Temple Open House last Saturday (29th April) we found great joy in meeting with some of our friends from the Lyon Stake.  Each encounter was an unexpected pleasure and blessing.  In all we greeted a good half dozen or so acquaintances from Lyon.

Below is Sister Clark with Sister Martine Meyer of the Porte des Alps Ward where we attended for the two years we were in Lyon.  We found she has changed a bit in the nearly two years we have been away, but her spirit and enthusiasm is still very evident.  It is her faith and perseverance, as well as that of other members, that blessed us while in Lyon and that continues to bless us all the more here in the Paris Mission.  It is the faith of our Branch members that strengthens our faith and testimonies each day.
Martine Meyer & Soeur Clark - Temple de Paris Open House 
Another happy reunion with a Porte des Alps member (former), Capucine Crocq.  We had a special relationship with the Crocq family as we tried to help them through some very difficult times in their lives.   We were blessed to have had the opportunity to serve Brother and Sister Crocq and there three boys - Raphael, Nathan and Loris.  Loris sat on our laps through many a Sacrament Meeting.

Unfortunately, the marriage did not last.......fortunately, Sister Capucine has remarried and seems to be much happier.  We apologize that we did not capture the new husband's name.  Sister Capucine now lives in the Toulouse area and is an active member of the Toulouse Capitale Ward.   Stephan Janda is the Bishop there.......of course, the son of the famed Sister and Brother Janda of the Arras Ward of our very first mission.
Capucine Crocq (Bonniot) & New Husband - Lyon Member -  Temple de Paris Open House
Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Jacques - Namur, Belgium
 Coqs of the Week

Here they are........without fanfare and with little enthusiasm today on our part.  We hope we have not shared either of these two in the past.   We seek to become as faithful, reliable and consistent as they.
Coq Girouette - Eglise Notre Dame d'Harscamp - Namur, Belgium