Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year Everyone. I wish all of you a joyeous, wonderful, happy, and healthy new year.

Yesterday we had a busy day of teaching and then we were invited to the home of Pierre and Kaye Janda who live in Hendecourt-Les-Cagnicourt about 1/2 drive from Arras and about an hours drive from us. They had invited us to also spend the night and we were prepared to do so, if the weather was bad. Fortunately the weather was nice; very cold, but no rain or snow.
The Janda's are a very nice newly-wed couple. Pierre is a physical therapist. He was the very first Bishop of the Arras ward and he later served in the stake presidency. Now he is a High Councilor in the Lille Stake along with Dh. He became a widower about 3 years ago. Kaye is American. She worked as a Director of media, personnel, and ? at a university in Illinois until March of '09. Kaye got onto LDS singles because she said she took her philosophy from the book of Ruth in the Bible which says that you must glean the fields and so she decided to search for a husband in any way she could. She became a lifetime member. Pierre had only been on the site for a couple of weeks. Anyway, Kaye's daughter had served a mission in the Lille stake quite a few years ago and when Kaye saw that Pierre lived in Lille, she became interested in finding out if her knew her daughter. He replied to send her the daughter's picture and that he most likely did know her because they(he and his family) knew all of the missionaries well. Turns out they did know each other. And so began the long distance correspondence which led to a visit to America by Pierre and then a visit to France by Kaye. They ended up falling in love and getting married early 2009.
They have a lovely home which is furnished with a perfect combination of traditional antique furniture, objects d'art from around the world and modern furniture and things as well. It was so warm and inviting and really beautiful. I wanted a tour of the entire home. Maybe next time. Their home is right next to a Catholic church and was once the parsonnage of the Catholic priest.

They served a delicious meal starting out with appetizers and a yummy apple/peach sparkling juice.
The first entree was saumon au gelee. It was sooooo good. Of course, I really love smoked salmon.

The next course was perfectly grilled steak with a roquefort sauce, pureed pumpkin and green beans, and fried potatoes.

After that was the cheese course. I especially enjoyed the Coeur d'Arras, (Heart of Arras).
It was followed by a salad of several different greens

We ended with the best apricot tart and fruit.
We then went back into the sitting room and had great conversation and laughter amid the nibbling of different kinds of chocolates and a sparkly cider.
What a great way to celebrate New Year's Eve; good food, good company, and each other.

Today, New Year's Day, we were invited to our neighbor's home for lunch.
Again we enjoyed each other's company and a delicous meal.
We began with chips, nuts, and cheese cubes with drinks. Most had apple juice, but I just wanted water after all the stuff we had yesterday.

The main course was different kind of meats that each person cooked himself on the center grill accompanied by french fried potatoe cubes. This was followed by green salad and a strawberry fluff tart with rasberry sauce.
We had such a nice time visiting with Stephanie and David and their daughter Manon.

Now we are getting ready to go out teaching again. What a wonderful way to start the New Year.
I can't believe it's 2010 and yet here it is. We arrived in Belgium in 2008 and it's already 2010.
I forgot to tell an interesting story about Pierre. He was born in a concentration camp in Chekoslovakia. His father was a french prisoner of war there and his mom was a nurse. She was a widow and she fell in love with this prisoner. When Pierre was born, his mother was immediately put in prison for having a baby. She was in prison for over 3 months when the russians came and liberated Chekoslovakia in 1944.
Pierre grew up in France and married Nicole. They eventually had 2 sons and a daughter who died when she was 20. When his son was about 2 years old, he fell off a table and hit his head. The parents took him to the hospital and were told that he needed to be kept there for observation and testing. The following day the little boy developed a big fever that would not go down. After a few day the doctors told them that they did not know what was wrong with him or how to help him, that they would need to do more testing. Both of the parents were very distraught. Pierre, being a Catholic, went to the nearest Catholic church to pray. He pleaded with God to please save his son and that if he did, Pierre would do something for God in return. He didn't know what to do, but he would do something. A few days later the little boy regained his health and that same week 2 Mormon missionaries came to the door of his house. Nicole let them in and was so interested in their message. That evening she told Pierre of their visit and said that she had set a meeting for the next day. They began the lessons and soon Nicole was baptized. Pierre followed her into the waters of baptism two months later. It is interesting to note that after he had made the decision to be baptized he went to talk to his friend, a patient of his, who was a Catholic priest. When he told him about the church and about his decision, this priest said. "That is very interesting. I think what you are telling me is true. You should be baptized into that church." Pierre was baptized. A short while later, the Lille Stake was organized and the church in Arras was built. Pierre was the first Bishop of that ward.


I have a good life said...

What a fun love story! :)

Happy New Year to you, too! Thanks for all the millions of thoughts and prayers that have been sent our way!

Yvonne said...

You are meeting the most interesting people with such fascinating stories. I enjoy them all.

It's hard for me to believe you've been gone since 2008. Happy New Year.

Connie said...

I love hearing missionary stories! Looks like you're having some great food and fun! Couple that with serving the Lord and having his Spirit and you've got some great things going!

Jay said...

I love reading the amazing stories of the faithful saints in your part of the vineyard. They just uplift me!