Thursday, January 7, 2010

Keeping Busy

Well the New Year is upon us and we are busier than ever. Many countries celebrate Epiphany. This is a holiday that celebrates the journey to Bethlehem which they believe took 12 days. The holiday is in honor of the Christ child. People buy the Galette de Rois (King's cake) and eat it and remember Christ. Hidden in the cake is a little trinket. The one who gets the prize gets to wear the crown and be the King. The trinket used to be a bean. Then it was a porcelain baby and now it is often a plastic baby to symbolize Christ.

I had Litchi's for the first time in their raw form. I have had them canned before and litchi powder and sauce, but never raw. They are delicious. The emporer of China used to have them brought in by camel back for his favorite concubine to eat whenever she wanted the. Their skins are rough, but easy to peel. I'll bet that concubine never had to peel her own. HA!

We are teaching several families. This is Pauline. She is 6 years old and we like each other. Last week we were there and she cried when I had to leave because she wanted to play with me. This week when we arrived she was already sad because her Dad told her she had to be so quiet and not bother me. Well it is not a bother and she was soon happy and smiling. We play little quiet things, so that those of us who speak French well (that would be everyone except me) get to discuss deep subjects. Samuel and Clauthilde are very nice and expecting their second baby girl. Samuel belongs to the church and we are teaching Clothilde.
We are teaching a young woman named Emmanuelle. She has had many problems and divorced her husband last year. She actually was in Switzerland with her boyfriend last year. She has 3 little boys. She tried to commit suicide in November, but because the pills made her throw up, she was not successful. (Luckily) I didn't know what to expect upon meeting her, but I find that she is very, very nice. She is smart and pretty too. We are there teaching her on assignment from the Bishop. We are seeing a lot of progress.

Next we are teaching a young couple who just had a little baby this week. Emeline is a member, but her boyfriend Kevin is not. We have been visiting them and now Kevin is wanting to take the lessons.

We ae working with a young man named Jerome. Jerome is a businessman and he is so interesting in the gospel. He has committed to be baptized.
We are also still working with Jean Luc and Gisela. Jean Luc was baptized this past year and now we are teaching him about geneology and helping them prepare for the temple.
Larissa and Dino continue to progress really well. They will be baptized as soon as he can get his legality straightened out. He is legal here and has a carte de sejour, but he needs to have further paperwork, which is aparently very difficult to get. He has a lawyer and we are hoping things will work out well for them.

Since the first of the year we have been visiting missionaries apartments. One of our responsibilites is to inspect the missionary apartments. We have to visit 12 apartments in all and we have only 1 left. We do this to see what needs to be done or fixed to make sure the apts are in good condition. We check to see that the missionaries have everything they need such as pillows, blankets, things to cook with, etc. We also have a list of things that we check for such as cleanliness, tidiness, and order as well as preparedness. This takes time because everyone lives a long distance away. We visited 2 apartments in St. Quentin. They were both very, very clean. The Elders apt. was immaculate and the Sisters was very nice also, although they are in a threesome this transfer and one of the three is not as neat as the other two so that makes it a bit more difficult. It takes about 2 hours for us to drive there.
Last we we visited an apartment and had to tell the Elders that they need to clean up a bit. These Elders were so nice and even made lunch for us. They just need to do a bit of work and their apt will be fine.
St. Quentin has this lovely cathedral which is located in Sir Winston Churchill Square. Each town and village here in France and Belgium has many pretty churches. Unfortunately they are almost all empty most of the time. Here not too far away from us is a church that used to have 4 full time priests. Now they have 1 priest who visits several churches(more than 4). The Catholic people here arequite satisfied with their lives and many of them do not and do not want to think about the future or life after this one.

All in all we have been impressed with how nicely the missionaries are keeping their apartments. That is a good thing because I think how we keep our surrounings is a reflection of how we are on the inside.

As we drive, we pass many barren fields. These are the same fields that were so green and pretty before. They will soon be green and pretty again very soon. We find France and Belgium to be very beautiful and to have very beautiful countrysides.

This is the tower of the city hall in Calais. It is very beautiful. We spent many hours here the other day doing our legality again and also visiting an apartment. Calais is about 1hr40mins from us.

The monument is one of many in the city. Most of the cities and villages have lots of monuments honoring those who died in the wars and also honoring famous people.

This is a harbor in Dunerque. It is very, very pretty here. It is on the coast and is a very important port. During the war it sheltered many German submarines. Dunkerque was very heavily bombed by the Alied Forces during WWII because it was occupied by the German forces. It has been largely rebuild although it has kept the traditional style.
The Elders apt. that we visited here was just beautiful and immaculately kept. It has this pretty view of the harbor from their window. Dunkerque is almost 2 hours away from us.
Today is institute again after a 2 week vacation, so I have been busy cooking. Today I made pioneer woman's fancy macaroni and cheese, green salad and I bought Galette de Rois. All of this is for about 30 people. Our numbers are growing and we are so happy about that.


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

You certainly have had a lot going on- and super yummy looking food to eat! Those things you ate with the touch peels- look like minatures of a fruit thing that my son had on his mission in Brazil- wonder if they are similar?

Glad you had such wonderful holidays- I had a lot to catch up on in your blog-

Yvonne said...

I think you're absolutely right about the concubine ; )

I hope you have great success with your investigators, but I have to say the young woman who attempted suicide really touched me. So many people are so hopeless.

I was reading a great book by Brad Wilcox and one thing he said really touched me--the invitation to "Come Unto Me" is to come as you are.

When we were on a cruise and went to Calais a number of years ago, we did see missionaries there--it is always so exciting to see them anywhere. I have a picture of a monument in Calais--I'll have to get it out and look at it.