Monday, September 21, 2009

Home, Bal de Famille, Arras

We arrived home very late on thursday the 17th. Our sweet neighbors picked us up, but they had mistakenly parked at the wrong gare, so we had a long walk to their car. This walk followed a very long train ride. We left Biarritz and went to Bordeaux. We were to have a 15 minute layover before we boarded the next train to continue on to Lille. However, our train came to a complete stop after a short while and we heard it annonced that we were stopping on the tracks for security reasons. Then we saw about 10 policemen and women rush through our car and into others. Whatever happened, we had no clue. We did know that the train stopped for 20 mins and now we would be late for our transfer to the other train. The train did make up lots time, but when we arrived we had only 4 mins to get to the next train. This was hard because we did not know where to go. The board with the schedule was in the sun and we could not read a thing. We hurried and went under the tracks to the other side and then Dh began to run when he saw a train not too far off. "Hurry", he said to me. I tried, but lugging a suitcase and carrying several bags made it hard. Besides (unlike so many friends and relatives) I could not run. Luckily the train did wait about 9 mins extra and so we were able to make it on. The rest of the ride was great.

We came home to this welcoming sign and this beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for us on our table. We do have the nicest neighbors.

The next day was spent unpacking, cleaning, and grocery shopping.
Saturday evening we had a JA activity. Of course, I had to cook. Also, before going to the activity, Bal de Famille, we had to go to Amiens to say good-by to the Hickenbothams who have finished their mission. They also gave us some of their supplies that they will not be taking with them; spices, laundry stuff, some canned goods, pkg goods, and little throw rugs.
The ball was western themed and turned out great. We had good attendance and everyone enjoyed themselves.
Lots of western style dancing.

The couple in front are the teachers of the dancing.

Even expectant mommies and their children danced on the side lines.

Notice whose flag is flying.

There was cattle roping.:)
Everyone enjoyed themselves.

Sunday morning the young adults met at the church and we all carpooled to Arras where we met with other young adults for church together.
We had 2 wonderful classes with the JA's doing everything.
Natacha led the music.

The lesson was well taught.

Most everyone participated.

The young men had their own class. After classes we all went to a wonderful sacrment meeting.
After the meeting we were fed a yummy lunch out in the garden.

The leaders got to eat too.

The young man holding his brand new wife on his lap is Charles Membre. He gave a great talk. He spoke of 2 friends in the pre-existence. They were so happy there and enjoyed each others company, but they wanted more. They wanted to be like their Father in Heaven. So, He provided a way for them to get bodies and to come to this earth. The 2 friends were so excited. As they looked, they saw that the 1st friend was coming to a great home where he would have the gospel in his life. The 2nd was not so lucky. He was going to a home that was troubled and he would have a difficult life. He would not have the gospel. The 2nd boy pleaded with the 1st to remember to teach him about Jesus when they came to earth. He made him promise to not forget. And so, when Charles reached the age of 19, he became a missionary. He went to England for his mission. There he taught many people an he also taught some whom he felt especially close to. Could one of these young men have been his friend from long ago? Charles thinks that the possibility is there. He spoke about how when he first left on his mission, he could only think about the girl he left at home and write to her every single night. He was told by his trainer that this was not the way a missionary should behave and after a lot of effort, he began to follow all of the mission rules very carefully. He wrote to the girl and told her he could only write once a week. She answered that that was alright and that she would be waiting for him. He bore a great testimony of his love for the Savior and for the gospel. He baptized many and when he came home, he married that girl.
The fellow in a white sweater is Spencer. He is a returned missionary from Mexico. He served his mission in Mass. and is now in France attending the university. He is talking to Tootsie, a returned missionary from Ca who served in Tahiti. She is doing an internship in France.
Manu and AnneLouise are getting married next week-end.
Here is our group. We are growing. We started out with about 4 or 5 last Dec. and look at us now. After the lunch everyone hung out for a while and we ended our day by listening to Sister Dalton give a talk on the CES broadcast. Her talk was awesome. She began by telling the youth that they are in a critical time of their life and that they must form eternal habits. She told them that they must lead the world in a return to virtue. She told them that they must have purity of heart to reach the final destination.
Some of her words:
Now is the time to awake and rise from the dust..
Be faithful in Christ = Return to Christ
Center of virtuous life is chastity
Return to virtue = return to moral purity
You must remain worthy to enter temple.
You have been prepared, called, chosen..
Your faith must be centered on Christ
Each one is called and prepared before the foundation of the world.
"He that is not with me is against me, " the Lord
Return to virtue could save our nation
You are preparing for the return of the Savior. You must abhor sin.
Before you can change the world, you must change yourself.
You can change because of the Savior's atonement.
Repent(if you need to) Healing is possible.
Be careful in choice of friends
Seek companionship of virtuous friends, not virtual friends.
I especially liked her comments of telling us to be not just spectators or critics of life, but to step out of our comfort zone and to press forward. We must remember who we are and press forward with a perfect brightness of hope. We must be the type of person that we want to have for our friend or our eternal companion. We must smile, read the Book of Mormon, remain pure and virtuous, and prepare for the run of our life.


Connie said...

I think of you often, wondering how you're doing on your mission. Scary thing with your train ride.
I often wonder, when I see police officers, if I should feel safe or be worried!
It looks like you're doing well and enjoying serving!
Take care.

Yvonne said...

What a fabulous post--I LOVE IT.

I love when you talk about the young adults--you are doing such great work with them.

I didn't get to hear Sister Dalton's talk because we had a Trek Fireside that night--thanks for the re-cap. I'll have to download it.

nikko said...

Natalie -- How wonderful that you were able to visit his family while you are there! What a blessing!

I love reading about all of your experiences. It is wonderful to hear about how the church is growing there. :o)