|Storks - Ready to Fly - Haudrecy, France|
For one reason or another we had not been able to visit our stork nest this past P-day and had begun to fear that our young storks may have already taken flight. Finally, on Saturday morning early, we made our delayed visit.
As you can see from the photo above, it is getting more difficult each day to distinguish between the adults and the baby storks. There are however differences; a) the young storks continue to have a darker (black) beak while the adult has an orange beak and b) there is considerably more pronounced feathering on the neck/chest of the adults.
It really is amazing to us how quickly the stork babies mature......the are huge in just a few weeks. It is also interesting to observe the storks over an extended period (an hour or so). It is extremely obvious that some of the young are more aggressive and adventuresome than others. The young are also very adept at mimicking the adults. The more adventuresome and aggressive seem to do so the most profoundly.
For example, one always has notice that the adult stork is going to fly from the nest soon. It changes from simply standing looking bored to actively preening. The preening continues for a good time but once the preening stops, you can be certain that flight is near, and just before taking off there is a glance or two over the edge of the nest. The young do the same preening following the standing and walking around the nest period.
Saturday the young closely followed it's parent (not sure if male or female)......walking, standing and preening........and then.......yes, almost flight. Below is a photo of the most aggressive and active of the young storks practicing flight. He/she never left the nest but did some exciting hovering above the nest. They leap up, flap and hover. The adult flew to a man-made platform just several feet below the nest and waited. The young stork immediately began his flight practice but never actually left the nest. We fully expect that at least one of the young flew during this past weekend. We are interested to see what we find when we return this coming week.
|Storks - Practicing - Haudrecy, France|
During the months we have been here, many of the friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Charleville-Mezieres have been Nigerian refugees/immigrants in France. The Nigerians are either Muslin or very Christian. Many have extremely strong beliefs in Jesus Christ and they want to live his teachings.
Juilette, pictured below is one of our Nigerian friends. She was brought to Church by Beauty Imhangby who has been a member for eighteen months or so. Juliette is a young mother of a baby boy. Sorry the photo we took does not do her justice. She has a very pleasing personality and enjoyed letting us take care of her baby.
We always have hopes that our friends will be able to accept the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ but, even when they are Christian, it is often very difficult. Since they are such devoted Christians, it is often a struggle to help them understand the need for authority. Perhaps a little like born again Christians who feel accepting Jesus Christ is the essential. From their viewpoint Christianity is the same regardless of where it is found. Communications is also a barrier in teaching for while they consider themselves to speak English they really do not. Neither French nor English is a strong language for them - they seem to get by with pigeon english.
|Juilette - Amie of Beauty - Charleville-Mezieres, France|
Perhaps we are too occupied with storks to find new coqs.......though we love them. Below is a photo of one we took some time ago and we hope that it has not been shared before. This one was found atop the Church Saint Hubert in Viller-la-Loue, Belgium. He has a lot going on on his chest and has a rather nice tail - we would have loved to have gotten him on a sunny day when the detail would have shown better in a photo.
We find many qualities in the coq, perhaps the reason he is one of the older symbols of France. We aspire to follow his example in our devotion and faithfulness to our Savior Jesus Christ. Steadfast and constant should we ever find ourselves in the Gospel.
|Coq Girouette - Eglise Saint Hubert - Viller-la-Loue, Belgium|