Sunday, November 5, 2017

Faithful Members

We introduced Soeur Kate Schuiling a few months ago but we wanted to take the opportunity to give an update on an important event in her life.  She has her boat!  For most of the time we have known Sister Schuiling she has been working towards the goal of living on a boat of her very own.  She sold her home ten months ago and searched for the right boat and opportunity for several months.  She found her dream home is disrepair in the Pays Bas/Netherlands and entered into a contract to have it rebuilt to suit her needs and desires.  While there were several delays along the way, the work progressed.

Now she is living the dream!  Below is a picture of Sister Schuiling on her boat which is harbored in the Namur, Belgium area in a town named Jambes.  She is very proud of her home and says she has everything she needs - though we note that she keeps a garage nearby with many of her things stored in it.   While she is happy, we sense she is still adjusting to the life style.  She pointed out that she keeps a pair of mens shoes on the deck just where one would board the boat - she explained that she wants any uninvited person to get the impression that a man is on board.  I suppose it will take a little time for her to feel totally secure living on her boat.  I suggest that she put a mans bicycle next to the woman bike that is parked next to the shoes.  She named the boat Adventure.

It is a little disconcerting to be homeless but, we do not suppose to buy a boat to live on when we return home in a few months. 
Sister Kate Shuiling - Adventure - Jambes, Belgium
Sister Schuiling invited us to come see her new home and to be present for its consecration.  That was a privilege for us but we were also rewarded for our effort in another way.

As a young missionary, we had heard of a legend.  Fifty years ago every Franco-Belge missionary knew of Brother Marcel Kahn, a Jewish convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who helped produce a more accurate and current translation of the Book of Mormon into French.  While most of us knew of Brother Kahn not that many of us had ever met him.  Well, it turns out that Sister Schuiling has known Brother Kahn for a few years and she had invited him to consecrate her boat as her home.  Brother Marcel Kahn is pictured below with his second wife.
Marcel Kahn and Wife - Jambes, Belgium
It was a pleasure to meet Brother Kahn after all these years.  We are not sure what we expected but Brother Kahn was rather reserved and conservative.  Of course he is now eighty-one years old and has a much different life.  His wife is a very nice person and intelligent - both she and Brother Kahn speak English rather well.

We had the misfortune of mis-speaking at one point; thinking that Mrs. Kahn was a member of the Church.  She made it clear that she was not and that she had no intention of every becoming one.  She explained that she enjoyed the advantages of pursuing intellectual and philosophical thoughts without inhibition.  Inferring that being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would not allow her to do so.  However; the thing she said that gave us the greatest cause for reflection was that she found herself more tolerant than members of the Church.  Tolerance of others is a good thing certainly.......something we should also be as members of the Lord's Church.

Then in Sacrament Meeting this morning, we again had cause to think of tolerance and how we were doing in that regard.  Sister Karine Dapremont was emotional and crying during a good part of our meeting.  After, we approached her asking if we could be of help.  She said she did not think so and explained her problem.  It seems she was rejected by a woman in her village with whom she had hoped to become friends.  The rejection was seemingly based on intolerance of Sister Dapremont's religious beliefs.  Karine explained how much it hurt to be rejected and left out of activities with this person and others in her village.  It seems this is not the first experience Karine has had with rejection because of her religion.  This helps us understand our need to be more tolerant and accepting of others.  We wondered if in Utah, non-members might be feeling those same sentiments as Sister Dapremont.  We are more determined to make a real effort to be tolerant to all.
Marcel Kahn, Mrs Kahn, Soeur Schuiling, Sister Clark
Coq of the Week

Another week, another coq.  Hope you are not tired and bored with coqs - we continue to find them interesting and inspiring.  This guy is found in Regniowez, France above the Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite.   Some might say he does not know whether he is coming or going - his tail does look a little like a second head and mouth.  We assure you that he does know the direction in which he is headed. A good reminder that we too must keep firmly in mind where we are headed.  Knowing where we are headed enables us to make a good effort to get there.  May we arrive at our Eternal Destiny as we keep our eye on our objective.  Perhaps we will find a few coqs there when we arrive.
Coq Girouette - Eglise de la Sainte-Trinte - Regniowez, France

The Spirit of Christ

Too soon or not......Christmas is coming!!  We pray that we all profoundly feel the Spirit of Christ during this upcoming Christmas Season.
Nativity - Stained Glass - Cathedral Notre Dame - Laon, France
We will post the Christmas Nativities we have found in various churches here in France/Belgium during the next few weeks.  The nativity scene is always inspiring and uplifting for us and we hope they might be for you also.  We are extremely grateful for the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his birth is a wonderful reminder of his life, teachings and sacrifice.  We are ever grateful for Him and feel blessed to be serving Him as full-time missionaries.

The Nativity presented here, in two parts, was found in the Cathedral in Laon, France.  Laon is a medieval city/village located between Charleville-Mezieres and Lille, France - about an hour Northeast of Paris.  The cathedral is renowned and interesting - many other important cathedrals in France were modeled after it - including Reims and Paris.

Above we have the baby Jesus in the stable with Mary and Joseph but no shepherds - the donkey and cow ever present.  It was a humble birth.  Below is Jesus grown a bit and welcoming the three wisemen.  The scriptures teach that Christ was no longer a newborn when the wisemen arrived.  There exist a translated document (name of the book slips my mind) of an ancient record dating back to Adam that explains the story of the wisemen.  That record explains that Christ taught the wisemen when they visited him.  I like the nativity depicted below as it seems that the Christ Child might be doing just that.

We hope that, during the next several weeks, our Nativities will add to your Christmas Spirit.
Nativity - Stained Glass - Cathedral Notre Dame - Laon, France

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember ever hearing that Jesus taught the Wise Men. Thanks for sharing. We have the little nativity set you gave us sitting in a place of honor on our shelf in the front hallway of our home.

    Also, thanks for sharing your encounter with Marcel Kahn! I too remember his name from my first mission 50 years ago. He was just a kid when he did that re-translation of the Book of Mormon! I had no idea.