Thursday, March 19, 2009

Missionary Week

This past week we came home after working all day and checked our mail. Imagine our surprise and excitement when we found this fun package. We opened it and discovered lots of fun things. The package came from the young women in our ward in Tx. As you can see, it was full of goodies. There was a pair of booties for me which I really needed. In fact, I was about to ask Tx Mommy to send me some. There were socks for DH, pencils, note paper with a design that I just love, book marks, gum and mints(so that we can have good breath:). Finally, there were sweet, thoughtful notes that made our day. What a thoughtful group of girls. Thanks Texas young women. You are the best. I always heard that missionaries are excited to get their mail, and now I now it's true. It is very exciting.
Our week is very busy. We go to and are in charge of FHE on Mondays and on Thursdays we are in charge of English and French classes. Also on Thursdays we have institute and meetings. Tuesdays we have District Meeting. All of these days also include teaching families, going out with the other missionaries on teaching assignments, going to other meetings, working on setting up the center and other activites. I cook for many of these activities. This last week-end DH was asked to speak at conference, so that took a lot of planning on his part. His talk was on frequent and important prayer. The 3 main principles he spoke on were: 1. You must pray with the intention of acting on it. 2. There will be a test of faith attached to the prayer which will need to be met. 3. The will of God will be done and not ours. He did a great job as usual. He is an awesome speaker! A few days this week we went with the Dutch speaking elders to Kotrijk, not in our district, to teach some French speaking families. Kotrijk is a Dutch speaking city about a 30 min drive north of us. It was interesting that at one of the ladies homes, she offered us 10 euro for teaching her. It took quite a bit of convincing on our part to let her know that we do not teach for money. She (being a Catholic) finally said, "Ok then, I will have a mass said for you." We are teaching a young couple who is expecting a baby, a family who has stopped coming to church, and another young couple also expecting a baby where the Mom is from Brazil. This coming Saturday we have 5 baptisms coming up. There is a mother and son, a young woman from Africa who has an adorable little 3 year old girl, an old man, and 2 young men. One of these young men is Tony who was introduced to the gospel by his friend who got baptized in Jan. The other young man in Mikel from England. Mikel has a sad story. His mother died in childbirth and his dad didn't want him so he was passed around from one foster home to another. He grew up and studied and began working as a therapist. Unfortunately he was scammed by some people who professed to be his friends. In fact, he put up a lot of money for them to buy a house together and then the "friends" took off, leaving him with the bills. He ended up losing the house and all of his money. Other sad events also occured and now he is living in France trying to start up a new life. The Brazilian couple is getting baptized in April. An interesting thing happened to me when we were teaching at one home. DH was teaching in French and I was able to translate into english what he was saying to the elder with us who us. Amazing. I am still struggling with french. It is so difficult. They have lots of rules and it seems like just as many exceptions to each rule. I am understanding quite a bit, but it is so hard to say anything. I don't know if I will ever become fluent. I'm trying and studing each day and hoping for the best.

The pictures of the light are for my bloggy friend Yvonne. There are lots of double lights like this all over France. I'm not sure of the double function, but there they are.

I thought these dates were interesting because they come in the box still attached to their litte branches.

These are the ymmy Russian Tea Cakes that I made for FHE this week. The youth ate 2 plates full in no time at all.

In the center of Mouscron across the way from Mayrie(picture in previous post) is this lovely old church. It' s very dark inside, hence the dark photos. If you stand at the back of the church, you can see 6 statues on each side of the 12 apostles and a statue of Christ in the front.

Inside the church is a plaque dedicated to one of the priest who was killed by the Germans during WWII because he refused to collaborate with them. A battalion of Irish soldiers passing through Mouscron heard the story and put up the rather large plaque in his honor.

All throughout the church are beautiful stained glass windows and lovely woodwork

Which one is the real statue?

The JA (young adults) have been asking if they could come to our house for an evening. Of course we said yes and friday evening they came. I fretted and worried about what to fix for them. I ended up making potatoe salad, top ramen salad, and open faced sandwiches. Some of them were made with a lunch meat that they call chicken bread. I don't know if there is actually bread in the meat or not, but it is tasty. The other sandwiches were salmon spread. For dessert we made russian apple pie, crepes, and belgian chocolates. The kids loved all the food and some even asked for plates to take home. That made me so happy. We had a great time. I know they enjoyed it a lot judging also by
the fact that they stayed until midnight. When they first came in I put a tag on their back with a person's name on it from the scriptures. They had to guess who they were. One of the young men put a tag on DH and me. They always want to include us in the games which I think is so thoughtful and nice of them. After eating, we played mother elephant only here they have an added dimension where you have to clap in a rhythm and say the animal name on a certain beat. That was lots of fun. A bit later the young men started doing kung fu and karate moves. I knew then tha they were very comfortable here. I'm so glad they had a great time.

Eduard is leaving us in a few weeks. This handsome, smart, fun guy served his mission in Colorado. He just graduated and is moving to Paris. We will miss him.

Manu and Jean Parfait with their Kung Fu.

Here is a picture of some of us.

Irene feeding Eduard. Irene is leaving us too. I am so sad to see her go. I have become good friends with this dear girl. Irene served a misson in France. She is BYU graduate and she has been an assistant here to a french professor at the U on a internship program. Irene is a lot of fun. She is very bright, very nice and multi-talented. She translates almost simultaneously and has translated many lessons for me. She is always willing to translate for visitors. Irene will be living in Paris for a while as she works as a Nanny while she is deciding what to do with her life. It will be a great loss for our young people to have her gone.

After Kung Fu and Karate, some of the kids were doing gymnastics. Irene surprised us all by doing a back bend and then a flip right here in our living room.

Jean Parfait is from Africa. He is a thoughtful, quiet, smart young man.

Manu is the pres of our institute. He served a mission in Paris and is a fluent English speaker He is with darling Anne Louise. They are both art students at the university. There is a secret surprise in this couples future. I will write about it later.:)

Natacha is a very smart, very nice, loving girl. She also speaks English fluently. Natacha is studying business and the U. She is very helpful and always doing good for others. I just love this awesome girl. We get along so well.

We have been so lucky to be working with these awesome young people. They are all friendly and so nice. They are intelligent and hard working. They love the Lord and they are a great asset to those who know them and also to their community.

A week ago we were invited to have lunch/dinner with the Voyez family. The missionaries do not get invited very often to have dinner here like they do in the U.S. We have been invited to 3 homes since we've been here.

Jean Jacques is the chef extraordinaire. He cooked the meal, as he does all meals because his wife, Bernadette, is unable to. He wanted to cook a typical french meal for us and he sure did.
We started out with strawberry/orange drinks served in small glasses with the rims dipped in sugar crystals. Yummy and beautiful presentation. Then we had open faced sandwiches, pate on some and sliced mushrooms with butter under them on others. There were also olives and radishes. Next came a delicious soup with Pearls Japon in the boullion. They were clear little tiny balls about the size of a pin head. I'm not sure, but they may have been a type of tapioca. Then he served marrow bones. One had to take the marrow out, put some salt and pepper on it and put it on a piece of bread to eat it. DH opted not to eat this delicacy, but I actually liked it. After that came the main course, 5 different kinds of meat including ox tail, pork pieces with rind, beef, chicken and steak. I could only eat 2 meats because it's just too much food. This was served with several cooked vegetables and of course french bread with everything. Then came the cheese platter, several different cheeses with bread. As if we weren't stuffed enough, there was dessert too. He had individual bowls of fruit compote and sparkling cider. I could only eat a few bites of the fruit and DH finished it for me. The food was delicious, but there was soooooo much. Even if one had just a little of each course, it is still a lot. It took us about 4 hours to eat this meal and that is a typical length of time.

Here we are with Bernadette.

Even though my hair is a mess, I thought I would include this picture.

This is a lovely couple, They were so hospitable and we got along famously. We laughed and chatted and had a great time. Bernadette has MS and is in a wheel chair. However, around the house she can walk with a walker. We found out that we have lots of things in common. I think if we lived here, we would be good friends. We had a great afternoon together.


nikko said...

Sounds like a wonderful week. It is always so uplifting to hear about your experiences. I love that you include so many pictures! It makes me want to visit France again. :o)

All the meals sound terrific. I love that the French spend so many hours on one meal. I'm always disgruntled when I spend so much time cooking and the kids gobble it down in 15 minutes and ask to be excused. LOL. :o)

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

This post reminded me of an interview we heard last week. A lady has published a cook book- called something like "World Wide Ward Cookbook" and she said something about food going with everything- either we meet to eat or meet to talk about eating :) your food you made looks delish! Glad you had a good week.

The Wendler Family said...

What wonderful people you are able to meet and serve with! How fabulous! That meal sounded amazing, what a great time to get to visit with such a nice couple. I remember staying with some natives in So France and the meals were super extravigant. I was too scared to eat the cheese... Do you like the strong cheeses?
I think your hair looked great in the picture, so its a good thing you included it. :)

txmommy said...

what a fun post, lots of good pictures and stories! I love to hear it!

Yvonne said...

I just love reading about your experiences. So glad you received a package from your Ward--that is so fun.

Love the sign--too funny.

You must be having so much fun with the young adults and it is obvious they just love you both. You are doing such great work.

Your meal with the Voyez family reminds me of a meal we had with friends in France (he was serving as Miss Pres at the time) and we went to a Chateu and had dinner. I didn't think the food was ever going to stop coming ; )

AngeeBee said...

Hello from Mexico! We found your blog through the Shuldberg's blog!

It is wonderful to hear how well you are both doing and that you are enjoying your missionary experiences! When my cute husband and I grow up we want to serve full time again... just like you!

We send our love! You can see what our group is up to at

Anna said...

I love to read about your adventures and see all of the pictures :)

Nancy Face said...

I enjoyed this so very much! Your pictures and descriptions were so fun! :)

I have a good life said...

Wow. What a fun package! :) What a great influence you are having on so many! I am so glad that you have this missionary opportunity! :)

marcia@joyismygoal said...

You guys are so special I love seeing your pictures and reading of your experiences