Last week-end we went to the Stake Conference in Lille. Saturday evening the meeting was at the church in Villenueve d'Ascq. There was a session going on in the chapel for the priesthood leadership and so some of us had to wait. While many of us were waiting to go into the chapel, three ladies came into the church. I saw them look over at me, whisper to each other and then walk straight towards me. They introduced themselves as Sister Oaks, Elder Oaks wife, Sister Soeub, Stake presidents wife, and Sister Vanequer, Area institute directors wife. Imagine, they wanted to talk to DH and me. Sister Oaks said that she had heard a lot about us and
wanted to talk to us. She was very gracious and very nice. She is also very, very pretty. We had a really nice conversation. I finally had to excuse myself so that I could get a good seat in the chapel. They, of course, didn't have to worry about seating.:)
The meeting was excellent. Elder Goertz, one of the 70 spoke first. He is from Germany. His main message was to depend on the Holy Ghost to teach you and to reveal the truth to you and not to have to depend on prophets and apostles to teach you what is right or wrong. He did not mean by this that you should not listen to them, but that you should know these things for yourself. Sister Oaks spoke and told us how she was Elder Oaks 2nd wife. After his first wife died, he married her. She was already 55 years old at the time. She talked of how she knows of the loneliness and difficulties of being single, but how she also learned to rely on the Lord and to feel His love and help by actually getting involved in the lives of others and helping them. Elder Oaks spoke about his calling as an apostle of the Lord. He said that his responsibility was to be a special witness of God. The name of Jesus Christ is His authority and His power to do the work. In other words, in His name is His power and His authority to do all of His works. Another interesting thing he said was that it is not what you are teaching that is the most important, but what the hearer gets through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will tailor the message to the needs of the hearer, if the hearer is prayerful and worthy of it.
Sunday morning we drove to the Grand Palais in Lille for the main conference. Once again I spoke with Sister Oaks and also very briefly with Elder Oaks. There were many things said, but one I remember is that he said that the first thing lost in the great apostacy was the nature of the Godhead and the first thing restored during the 1st vision was the nature of God, that God is 3 distinct beings, God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The conference was very wonderful and we came out of there uplifted and full of desire to serve the Lord always.
This week the Phairs, the missionary couple whom we know well and came over with from the U.S. who are now working in Brussels had a very bad experience. They were stopped at a stop light when suddenly 3 young men appeared. One of them was right in front of their car, blocking them. They waved for him to move, but he yelled and 2 others rushed to the car on the passenger side. They broke the window with some sharp object and wrenched the purse out of her hands. They said it all happened in just a matter of seconds. Both of the Phairs were covered with glass, but luckily they only got surface cuts. The really bad thing is that all of their documents that you have to have on you all the time were stolen; passports, carte de sejours, credit cards, license, money, everything. What a horrible thing. I really feel so bad for them. They are so blessed that they were not hurt. It could have been so much worse, but they are pretty badly shaken up. Elder Phair jokingly said that he wants to get his wife a 38 now, but when he mentioned that to the police they said, "Oh non, non that is against the law."
For about a month my right thumb has been hurting, so much so that when I would pick up my blanket or sheet to adjust it during the night, the pain would wake me up. Then last week my thumb started snapping and clicking. I was talking to my BFF and she said it's probably trigger finger. Well, I think she's right. I'm going to call her Dr. Daisy from now on. I did go to the dr. and he said it probably is that or it could be arthritis or both. Now I've had x-rays and am waiting for results. My thumb is immobilized and I am hoping it will get better without surgery. I do not want another surgery. I do not like being the surgery queen. We will see what happens.
Today we tried to send a fax again. It is almost impossible. Finally we did succeed, but only because this nice, young bank manager remembered us and did it for us as a favor. We also tried to debit our card and get euros. That is not so easy. No bank wants to exchange money or to let you use the card because we do not have accounts, but it is very difficult and not advisable to get an account because of tax issues both in the US and here. Also, if we were to get an account here, the fees would be astronomical, so the misson advises us not to. Most atm machines also will not work because you don't have an account with them. We finally found a bank whose machine would accept our card(Fortus Bank), but then we had problems again because the last command is to push enter. However none of the keys say enter in any language and their keyboards are different from ours. When we were about ready to give up, this wonderful old lady came to our rescue. She walked us through every step but then she also didn't know the last key. She marched right into the bank manager and had him come out to the machine and show us how to do it. Oh how grateful we were to her. It's so wonderful to have kind, helpful people around. Now we will know how and where to get money next time. Every business transaction is such a pain until one learns the system.
Well, all in all we had a wonderful week except for a few minor glitches. I guess that is to be expected. I was able to get in touch with a filmaker who takes great movies such as The Work and the Glory, Emma, The Best Two Years and many others, translates the dialog and then has it sent to be translated into French. He is willing to let us use these movies to show to the JA (young adults). We are going to start out with a week-end film festival at the end of March to introduce it and then I think we will have a movie night once a month. I am thinking that the JA will like it. I love movie nights. We also have a music festival scheduled for June. Many of the youth are excited for that. I will keep you posted.