Monday, November 30, 2009


I am a grandma again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sooooooooooooooooooo excited.

Anna had an emergency c-section one day before her scheduled c-section because her water broke. Joneaux was born on Nov 30, 2009 at 1:41 a.m. He is 7lbs 4ozs. He is 18 1/2" long. Isn't he beautiful?

Anna had a complication. The placenta was stuck to the uterus. She is doing fine now, but they are monitoring the amount of blood coming from the uterus. Keep her in your prayers please.

Additional info: Anna is doing well. I am so thankful and grateful. Thanks to everyone who was praying for her. I sure appreciate it.
Anna and Amadeo named him Joneaux Porter. The first name after Grandpa (the affectionate form that the family used for him) and middle name is Amadeo's Mom's maiden name.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Neither in France nor in Belgium do they celebrate Thanksgiving, so our actual day was spent doing missionary work, cooking for institute and going to inst, serving the kids and working until about 11:30.
However, we got to celebrate on friday. President Brubaker gave us permission to invite all of our district plus the 2 great elders who we work with in Kortrijk over for Thanksgiving celebration. We had a great time.
Elder Harper came over early and worked on setting up some forms for me on my flash drive, so that I can do my reporting easier.

Elder Larsen came over too and while Elder Harper worked on the computer, Elder Larsen cooked and also helped me a lot. Of course today, yesterday and the day before, had to be the days we had construction men here working on replacing all of the windows in our apt to double pane windows. When the arrived on Wed. I made them promise that they would be finished by noon on friday because we would be having company. They promised and actually kept their word although I was wondering at times. They did ask me several times (joking) if they could stay for the party because they loved the smells of things cooking. There were so many of them or I may have invited them to stay. Besides that they had to continue with the other apts. They made and left a huge mess. Elders helped us clean up and put furniture and things back in order. Elder Larsen made pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, and cornbread. They also brought over Vla, which we forgot to eat we had so much food.

We ate "cheese things", turkey, southern style yams, potatoe casserole, strawberry jello salad, and jello with fruit. Elders brought mashed potatoes, veggie platter, corn, and deviled eggs. Sisters brought a huge salad.

Elders Cabrera and Carpenter made the eggs here because they didn't know how to do it.

Elders Thompson, Hansen, Hoskyns and Paoli.

Elder Larsen helping me and Soeur Fritsch making salad.

Elder Cabrera wielding a knife and teasing with Elder Larsen about who will be writing to our daughter Anna and meeting her after the mission. Elder C said him of course because he is Hispanic, but Elder L said he was going home in 2 weeks so he had the advantage. They were laughing and joking. In fact all of the Elders and Sisters had a great time laughing and playing around and teasing.

Elder Paoli, Hoskyns and Sister Gappmaeir.

Elder Hansen.

DH and Elder Thompson.

We had so much food that we had to use the computer table too.

I think I used every dish that I have in the apt. Our table was laden with delicious things to eat. It was kind of funny that Soeur Fritsch would not even take one bite of jello. The Elders tried to convince her, but she would not budge. The people here do not know jello and are very suspicious of it. The Hickenbothams told me that the African people are even more suspicious of it. In their branch she would make it and noone would touch it. Finally one day one of the young men was brave enough to approach the table and try the tiniest bite. He loved it. He told the others that it was so good and from then on their jello was always eaten up.

We played several fun games. We had the name on your back and guess who you are game. I used scripture names and tried to find less known ones. It took a while but everyone guessed who they were. We played a couple of rounds of two truths and a lie. We shared one of our favorite Christmas memories. Some of the Elders needed to test out their wrestling skills. We laughed and we talked. Before leaving we told some of the things each of us is thankful for.

Elder Larsen had fun squirting whipped topping into other's mouths and of course lots into his own.

Elder Harper, the one in the back, demonstrated some clogging for us. He clogged for many years and was a winner in lots of competitions. It was so much fun to watch him.

DH and Elder Larsen played their harmonicas separately and together. It was great to hear them. It was so funny to see all the missionaries pull out their cameras and point them first at one and then the other to record their music.

When we went to bed that night, I found a box of chocolates and a sweet note from Elders Thompson and Hansen. What a thoughtful gesture!
We had a really nice day and I was so glad that the missionaries all enjoyed themselves to much. It's the lest we could do for them to thank them for all of their selfless service. Besides, we love all of them. They are awesome and we enjoy working with them.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Young Women, Senior Thanksgiving, Missionary Work

These first 3 pictures actually go with the missionary activity at the bottom, but I had to copy them later and couldn't figure out how to put them on the bottom. This is Manu who is now our ward mission leader. This was him a few years ago when he was in Paris on his mission. The photos show how we did our chalk proselyting.

The young women from the stake had a really nice values night. They first met in the chapel for the spiritual part, nice talks and presentation and then they had a really fun play in the cultural hall. They took the different young women's values and acted out a little skit for each one. They began with the 2 girls on the left talking. They are reminising about how everything came about, how the friend learned about the gospel, about all of the different pricniples, and how she decided to become baptized. The first little scene is of them going shopping. One of the girls, the member, is choosing a modest dress, but the other one likes a little skimpy outfit. The first girl tells her how much nicer it is to be modest. She also teaches her about chastity.

The young women recruited some boys to help them with the skits. Here are two boys discussing what kind of girls they like.

There was a skit on the Word of Wisdom. The girl on the left is a cigarette trying to persuade the kids at a party to smoke. She is telling them how much fun it is to smoke and things like that. These two boys chase her out.

Then they had a skit about keeping the sabbath holy.

Another skit showed 3 girls and their dating habits and how the type of dating that you do can lead you to disaster and a sad, difficult life or to true happiness and eternal marriage. The skits were very fun, but it was so dark that my camera did not take good pictures.:(

The program ended with the young women singing a very beautiful song.

Yesterday we drove up to Brussels, well really to Kraainen, a suburb of Brussels to the mission president's home for a Senior Couples Thanksgiving. We all brought food and there were a lot of delicious things to eat with tons left over. We had such a fun time talking and enjoying each others company. There were 2 other couples who are setting up centers for young adults. One is in Brussels and the other one is in the Netherlands. We had lots of comparing and chatting to do with lots of hints and advice for each other. It was just great. All of the couples from the mission were able to make it and I was so impressed with each one. The have some very interesting life stories and experiences.
The couple in the middle are the Browns. They are working with the church archives right now getting the records in order so that someone else can come in and microfilm them. Elder Brown has had a very interesting career. He was a pilot for the navy and spent lots of time on an aircraft carrier. She followed him with their children from port to port. He also did a lot of work with engineering for the Navy. He was part of a team of about 5 men who were responsible for setting up the satelite and programing the information to the satelite for the GPS system that we all love and use so much. I always say that it takes 3 of us to drive over here: Dh, me and the GPS. We would be lost without it. Sister Brown was a professor at BYU.

The Longavelds are setting up a center in the Netherlands. He was an aerospace engineer and she was a teacher.

The table was set so cute. Sister Brubaker set out several pairs of wooden shoes and had them filled with fall harvest. Each place had a little pear with a leaf name tag on it. The centerpiece was a large pumpkin with flowers in it. It was really pretty and festive.

President and Sister Brubaker with the turkey.

The Langevelds and the Browns again.

The Pankratz to the left are the mission intendents. They open and close lots of missionary apartments, fix lots of things, and also order supplies and things for the missionaries plus lots of other duties. They have 11 children. Elder Pankratz ran a humongous church farm for over 25 years. Next to them are the Specks. He also was an engineer.

At the head of the table are the Solden's. Elder Solden was a radiologist and he worked for the Air Force and with the astronauts. He was part of a team that built some special machine that could x-ray all kinds of things that they used to test for the space program. In fact they had to x-ray the space suits because the inner part was having lots of problems and to get to the bottom of the problem they needed to x-ray the space between the outer suit and it's lining. They also worked with rats and some other animals doing certain testing for outer space. It's all quite complicated. His wife is also a radiologist.

I can't think of the next couples name, but next to them are the Dabl's. All three of these couples are proselyting missionaries in the Netherlands.

Here is Dh with the Phairs. The Phairs have become our good friends. They flew to Belgium with us on the same plane. They had 2 biological children and then, as he says, "adopted a whole slew of them". They are the center couple in Brussels. They are both teachers and he also had a large Real Estate Company.

Here we are. We are the Center couple in France. We love working with the young adults and we love working with the missionaries too. They are all awesome.

After the dinner we all had a chance to tell a little about ourselves and about the things that we are thankful for. It was a very special moment in time to hear everyone.

It is interesting to note that Pres and Elder Phair served missions in France as young men and 4 of the other men served in Netherlands as young missionaries. Sister Brown served in Germany at the same time as all the others served except for Pres who is quite a bit younger.

President designed this shield for the mission. He thought and thought about how to show the unity of the 3 countries that make up our mission and came up with this. The windmills are for Holland, the Fleur de Lys for France, and for Belgium, the center stripe. The black lion is the symbol for West Flanderen and and the Cock is the one for the East. The CTR symbols are in the 3 languages. I think it turned out just great. They are planning to make ties for all of the Elders and scarves for the Sisters with this shield printed on it. Such a fun idea.

Today we had a big activity with the missionaries and some the young adults. It was called chalk proselyting. We had 13 of our JA's participate in the first part and then 2 more came for the evening activity. We started out with a meeting and a little missionary training.

Then we all took the Metro to Fives, to the town square. There some drew the plan of salvation on the ground with chalk. We then talked to those people who showed an interest and wanted to know what it was all about. We handed out brochures, videos, and Books of Mormon to those that wanted them. It was a very successful activity. We have a family with 4 children coming to church tomorrow. We got at least 14 rendez-vous(meetings to talk about the gospel) set up, and we have 2 young people who want to come to our institute class and check it out. We stayed there several hours until it got dark and started to sprinkle. Then we all went back to church where we talked about our afternoon and our successes. Then a few of the young women and I made Croc Monsieur. That is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. If we had made Croc Madame, it would have also had an egg in it. After eating, the JA's watched the last Superman movie and ate candy and dessert. Dh and I went home because we were tired and my back was hurting. We have had a super busy week and tomorrow we have to go to Calais again.

The only thing I feel really bad about is that when we were walking to the Metro from church, the JA's and the missionaries were way, way ahead of me. They were walking so fast, I just could not keep up. Dh was nice enough to stay back and walk with me, but it really made me feel sooooooo bad. I know I can only do as much as I can, but it just makes me feel really lame.

Same thing walking back when we were done. They are so speedy and I am just a slowpoke, I guess. I used to be fast and now I just can't, so I feel bad. I am walking a lot better than I used to, but it's not fast enough.