Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hyacinth

About a month ago we got some bulbs and have been carefully taking care of them. They grew so nicely. First they got little green shoots which then grew and grew. Then the shoots got really big and we saw some tiny buds begin to show. They grew and grew and then they began opening a few at a time. Finally, they all bloomed and we were thrilled to see beautiful Hyacinths in full bloom with the most heavenly smell that permeated the entire apt. Well, a couple of days ago one of the flowers bent over. We propped it up, but by morning of the next day the second one bent over and tonight the last one has also bent over. We are not sure why this is happening. We do know that the plant will turn to face the light, but we have been carefully rotating the little pot. If you look closely at the picture to the left, you will see a lot of new buds coming up. Each bulb has a set of new buds. Are the old flowers moving out of the way for their little babies to come up? Who has the answer?





Magatia's Apt. (Historical Monument.)

Here are the pictures I promised to show last post. The mosaic is the floor. It is just beautiful. Next is paneling all around the room.



To the left is a part of the wall. The whole room is the beautiful blue with designs. The archway is over the door to go into the bedroom.





The last picture is of the ceiling.
We had our 2nd FHE here and it went quite well. We had 2 new people, a young man who is a member and a young woman who has only been here for 3 months from the Ivory Coast. DH gave a really good lesson on language. He told us how we need to be careful how we speak, that speech has to contain two characteristics. One of them is to have grace and the other is to have salt. Grace is an element of power which contains the element of divine help and so speech which has grace will be uplifting, strengthening, and will have the effect of refining. Salt is a preservative and as a component of speech it will have the effect of preserving the person in a state of spiritual safety and purity and will help in maintaining a state where the spirit of God can reside. Wholesome speech will have these two characteristics and those coveted results. The salt and grace elements are found in Col 4:6.
After a short discussion we had treats. I brought lemon bars, which they first said, "Oh, we will eat American cake." I told them that this was not cake but lemon bars. After they tried them, the whole group without exception loved them. "Suuuuper, Suuuuper!" they said. The hostess even asked to keep the few left over pieces. I brought my dish home without even a crumb. I was so glad they like it.
Saturday we are having a (get to know each other dinner, games, and movie) evening. I was asked to provide the dinner. Now I'm stressing. I hope that I will fix something that they will like. It is a real big worry for me.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday School

Gospel Essentials is a wonderful class taught by the fellow at the back in the brown suit. His name is Ben Faour Hussein. Yes, he is an Arab and he was a Musslim. He found the church a few years ago and after several miracles, he was able to join. One time while he was in the war, the truck he was riding in was shot at and overturned. Some rocks were displaced and a huge boulder somehow landed in the back of the truck as it was rolling. This boulder turned out to save their lives because it stopped the truck from going into a ravine by pinning it down to the ground. Ben said that he had a very calm feeling the whole time the truck was rolling and knew they would be safe. He says that he has a very strong testimony that Jesus is the Christ and our Savior and not just a prophet or learned man. Of course, he has been disowned by his family as a result of his actions. He has now been married in the temple to a lovely woman and has 3 darling children.
Sylvie, on the left and the 2 boys, Gael and Stephane, with Ben in the back were just baptized Saturday. Actually Stephane was baptized 2weeks before and then his Mom and brother followed his example. It is amazing to see the faith of these people who find the Lord and then follow what he would have them do. Gael cracks me up in class. He sits down and then arranges his books, folders, pamphlets, and pencils just so on the table in front of him. Then he arranges his suit and finally he folds his hands and is ready for the lesson. He is always very attentive and he always wants me to sit right by him.



Here is a picture of me. I accidentally erased it from the previous post at Manu's house. It was a pouring rain day and everyone was dripping wet with bad hair, but our spirits were not dampened.
Tomorrow DH gets to give the lesson.

Family Home Evening

We have begun our work with the Young Adults or otherwise known as JA(juenes adultes). This was the first FHE that we had together. It was at the house of Manu(Emmanuel) and his Mom, Francoise. Manu speaks perfect English which is great for me. He served a mission in Paris. The house is a nat'l monument, so they cannot make any inside changes. Tomorrow I will try to take some more pictures of the house details.


DH is standing by the table and in the back you can see the little kitchen. The sink, stove, and fridge are all tiny.



Here's the whole gang. The tall fellow is Eduard. He served in Colorado and also speaks perfect English. The girl in back is Noemi. In front are Natasha, Irene and Charlotte.
After a great lesson from 2 talks, we had refreshments, which we all brought. We hope to increase our attendance and once we have more people, we will move our meeting place to the church.
It was interesting to visit with these JA. They are lots of fun. The girls spent quite a bit of time talking about Twilight because they had just gone to the movies the day before to see them. Yes, they are crazy about Edward, although some of them did not like the movie Edward. They said that he was not "their Edward" . Eduard joked around and said they were talking about him and how nice that he was so "perfect." He really is quite the gentleman. He will be graduating in March from the University with a Bachelors degree in business.






The talks were from Marvin J Ashton, Feb'93 The Importance Of Setting Goals.
Set your goals. Without goals you can't measure your progress. But don't become frustrated if the victories don't come quickly or easily. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving. If you are striving for excellence-if you are trying your best day by day with the wisest use of your time and energy to reach realistic goals, you are a success and you can feel proud of your accomplishments.
James E. Faust May'95 Look to the Divinity Within Us.
One of the nation's leading pollsters, Richard Worthlin has identified through polls an expression of the basic need of people in the United States. These needs are self esteem, peace of mind, and personal contentment. I believe these are the needs of God's children everywhere. How can these needs be satisfied? I suggest that behind each of these is the requirement to establish one's own personal identity as the offspring of God. All these needs, regardless of ethnic background, culture, or country, can be met if we look to the divinity that is within us.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holland (a little)

Last Saturday we had to go to Holland with the Phairs to attend an Outreach Area mtg being held by the CES Germany area rep, the Dutch rep, and the Area Authority Bro. Kleijweg. There were several couples there in attendance to learn what our responsibilities would be. We were given directions to go to Gouda by our Mission Pres. but when we got there, the bldg. was empty. We waited for a little bit and then I made a phone call to Bro. Moat. He said "Oh I will be there in 10 min and Bro. Kleijweg will be there in 15. " Well, we waited and waited in -10c weather and wondered what was going on. After about 40 mins we got a phone call. "Where are you?" Turns out we had the wrong directions. We then had to go back and drive about another 30 mins to finally get to the mtg. late. We didn't miss much except for the luncheon and they quickly brought us up to speed. We already had a lot of information. The new information for us was the financial aspect. That is a huge job in itself. Now I remember why I never wanted to be an accountant.:) I do have the biggest respect for them. I just hope DH and I will be able to fill out all the reports and do all of this financial stuff just right. The meeting lasted all day and was quite tiring. Mostly we were tired because I had been sick with a bad cough, sore throat etc for most of the previous week and DH had gotten sick just the day before. He is still coughing a lot and I am still not up to par. Anyway with both of us feeling rotten, it was tiring. I tried to take some pictures, but was not too successful at it. I was in the back seat and we really didn't have time to stop or look at anything because of our time limits. I was impressed with how modern Holland looked. It is full of huge skyscrapers and very modern looking building. It's interesting to see all of this high tech stuff right next to old, old structures. We hope to get a better look when we go back in the spring.

A huge bridge on the way out of Rotterdam.






Roads and bldgs. in Rotterdam.





Misc

More pictures in Rotterdam, Holland. This waterway was not frozen, but the canals were all frozen and there were kids skating on them just like we read about when we were studying in school and just like you see in movies like Hans Christian Andersen and Hans Brinker. It was so fun to see the kids having a ball.














Misc.

Flags along the waterway in Rotterdam Holland.
Some bldgs in Rotterdam.



Two pictures of the open air market in Mouscron. The market is open every Tues. morning come rain or shine. This particular day was very rainy so you can see the awnings over the food counters. The one with the blue awning is meat and fish, the yellow is fruits and veggies. We like to get up early and come here to shop before we go to our district mtg in Lille. We like the fresh fruit and veggies. We also like to buy a little chicken that is already roasted. It is so delicious. They sell 2 for 3,50 euro.(a great price). The workers call out to try to entice you to buy at their booth. They always call me Madame or Cherie. They call DH Monsieur. It's fun when one of them will speak a little English to us. They always think it's so hot in California all year long. You can buy some of the fruit and veggies at a good price, but meat and fish is very expensive. Food here, in general, is very expensive, at least twice what you would pay in the U.S. Meat is even more than that. Also, everything is sold by the kilo even if it is already packaged. We have to be very careful with our shopping.






The semi's attach to some of the food counters, which just fold up and move on to the next town or village. These were just a couple of the ones parked in the parking lot.



Misc.

Look at this fancy door to a home right next to the mission office in Brussels. I thought it was so pretty. Next is the front of a bldg. where they have church in Gouda, Holland.


The all glass bldg. is the Church Mission Office in Brussels, Belgium. The office is on the top floor. The garage is in the basement and is soooo narrow. You have to be a really good driver to park in that garage. Two cars cannot drive at the same time and pass each other. One car has to back up and wait.

I thought it would be fun to post my shopping from last week. This was food for the week minus the meat and fish, but we still have a lot of it left.









Friday, January 9, 2009

Natalia Zaneth

This is my new, little grand daughter. Isn't she just beautiful? She looks a lot like her Mommy. I am so excited. My arms are aching to hold her, but I will have to wait a long time for that. It was a pretty tense day waiting for her to be born and not being right there. I am so thankful that all went well in the end and I pray that she will grow up to be a strong latter-day saint, an upright citizen, that she will live the laws of God and of the land, be a frequent temple goer, and that some day she will be a wife and a Mommy to her own sweet children.


I already love this sweet, baby and am blessed to be her Grandma.






Look at that darling little mouth and all that hair. I know she is sooo soft and smells sooo good. There is something so awesome about newborn babies. I think it's because they just came from Heavenly Father and are so pure and innocent.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

IT'S A GIRL

HURRAY! Natalia is here. It is 12:30a.m. Belgium time and I just found out that Emily had her little baby. She was born c-section at 2:26pm California time. She weighs 6pounds15ounces and is 19inches long. That's all I know. I am so grateful that everything went well and that both Mommy and baby are doing well. I wish I was there, but am so grateful that Anna and Sarah and Sybil were there for her. Andres went into the delivery room with her. Tx Mommy just called me and said that the Dr. said that she was only up to a 3 not a 4 in all those hours and never progressed further. I am really so happy that everything went well. My baby just had a baby. What an amazing thing. I will get to see her in an hour over skype. Thanks Anna.
I am excited to be a grandma again. Now I have 12 grandchildren and one great grandbaby on the way. I am a blessed woman.

Emily's in labor

Well, Emily has been in labor since last night. I got a call at 6:30a.m. from my friend's husband that her water had broken and she was admitted to the hospital. Here it is 9:45 in the evening and she has only progressed to a 4. I know first babies take a long time, but the baby is stressed whenever there is a contraction and now they are just waiting for the Dr. to see if she needs to have a c-section. I am quite worried of course. I wish if she has to have a c-section that they would just do it and have the baby. Emily also has to stay on her left side because if she goes on her back or on her right side, the baby goes into stress. They don't know if the baby is pressing on the cord or something like that. If you happen to read my blog, please have a prayer for Emily that she and the baby will be fine. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's soooooo cold and other things.

This is what we woke up to on Jan. 2, 2009. It had snowed overnight. It snowed again on the 4th and again today. The temps are about -6C although tonight it will be much colder. The picture to the L is out our back window. I love the way the trees look all covered in snow. Next is the construction site across the street.


Our street sure looks cold. The cars are all iced over every morning. We have to scrape the windows to even see where we are going. I know all of you Utah family and friends are used to it, but it's all new to us. We are not used to such cold weather.

We had an awesome zone conference last Thursday. Zone conf. is when all the missionaries from a zone meet together with the Mission Pres and have a day of instruction, of encouragement, of spiritual strengthening, and of doctrinal education. After a lunch of these yummy sandwitches(below), chips fruits and dessert, we spent the afternoon listening to our President Woodland as he instructed us about the atonement. He reminded us how sacred partaking of the sacrament is. Those who bless and pass the sacrament in effect pass the power of the atonement to the congregation, as the purpose of the sacrament is to renew our covenants which make the atonement effective in our lives. He described how olive oil is produced. Gethsemane means the oil press. Under intense pressure from the vat, the olives release the oil which is red in color as it comes out, symbolically pointing to the red blood of Christ whose capillaries and skin had to be broken for the blood to fall on the ground. At the last day when we stand in front of Him for judgement, He will ask us what did you do with my agony to help the people around you? Therefore the necessity for us to give our heart, might, mind, and strength to bring souls to Him.






This is how my lettuce came from the open market, only it is about 1/10th the size it was to start out with. It was so funny to see the roots still in their soil. I watered the lettuce when it started getting a little wilty and it just perked right up. This is how fresh it was after 2 whole weeks. I love it.


We have some very nice neighbors to whom we gave a missionary discussion. The husband said he really wasn't too interested because he doesn't think that God has done anything for him and he doesn't like that there are so many wars, unrest etc. His wife was a bit more receptive. We hope that eventually he will realize that God has and does things for him each day, such as lending him breath from day to day, that he may live and move and do according to his will and supporting him from moment to moment, etc. Anyway David and Stephanie and their daughter Manon are good people and we enjoy talking to them. We went back on New Year's Day and brought them some grape juice and a box of chocolates. We had a nice visit with them.
Several days later, on Sunday we were sitting in our apt., in the afternoon, after church, and I was a little sad being away from everyone. I said to DH, "...wouldn't it be nice if someone invited us over sometimes." Not 10 minutes later there was a knock on the door and it was Manon inviting us over to have some Galette au Roi (The King's Cake) with them. When we said when? she said, "Maintenant" (Now). Well we were so happy to go. We had a nice visit with them. We went and ate the special cake, which they serve for the day of the Magi (they said they didn't really know what it was, but I looked it up and it's a celebration of when the Magi brought gifts to the Christ child.) Inside the cake is a huge horse bean and the person who gets it is the royalty for the day. On top of the cake is a gold, paper crown. David got the bean, wore the crown for a minute or so and quickly passed it to his daughter. We hope that eventually this fine family will be receptive to our message.
Our calling is going to be a bit of a challenge. First of all the name is going to be Center for Young Adults. We are now working on getting official approval to open up the center in Lille. We are working with a couple who are monitoring and participating in the EU (European Union) and they are working directly under the leadership of the presidency of the european area. We are also working on getting funding, furnishings, computers, games, equipment, planning activites, getting staffing and so forth. We are projecting that it will take about 6 months for the full implementation of the program. In fact, we are going to Holland this saturday to get training. Even though this will be a challenge, it will happen and will be successful because it is the will of the Lord and what the Lord wants will be. He will compensate for our deficiencies as long as we do all we are able to do.