Monday, January 18, 2010

Zone Conf 1/10 and JA Sacrament in Arras

I wrote before about the Galette des Rois and how the little surprise inside was now made of plastic. Well, apparently some are still ceramic. Here are 2 of the little prizes. One of them is a shepherd and the other is a cow or ram. (I guess I need to learn my animals better) Ha!
At our JA's luncheon yesterday they served the galettes again and I did not win the prize. However, a few of the girls presented me with a crown anyway and said that I was the queen. They laughed and took pictures and I had to wear the crown for a long time. We do have fun together.

Every 6 weeks we have a zone conference and then the following week we have transfers. It has been very interesting to see the new mission president and his wife adjust to missionary life. They have been here 6 months now and the progress that we have seen in them is amazing. It must be such a hard calling to be in charge of a huge mission and over 160 missionaries. It must also be so difficult to come up with an inspiring and uplifting conference and yet they have done it. At their first conference, we could feel their nervousness and trepidation but in just 6 short months they are confident and truelly inspiring. It is amazing what the spirit and the help of the Lord can do in the lives of people. We are blessed to have this great man and his wife leading our missionaries in our mission here in this part of Europe.
Following are some of the highlights of Pres. Brubakers talk:
With the trial of faith comes a witness of the truth.
Set your goals just high enough that you can achieve them. Have them high enough that you can stretch a little. In this way you can have learned optimism. If your goals are too high they can become overwhelming and depressing.
Goals are our friends. They make life interesting and fun. When you reach a goal, celebrate.
Temper your missionary steel so that you'll act with courage and boldness and not be discouraged or diverted in your efforts to build up the kingdom of God.
Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.
People need to feel their connection to God.

I love this quote from Merrill Bateman 1-6-01
Obedience is the price.
Faith is the power.
Love is the motive.
The spirit is the key.
Christ is the reason.

After the morning session, we all had our typical transfer lunch; baguette sandwiches, chips, pudding and drinks. The missionaries like to fool around and joke and take funny pictures. Above are Soeur Carson and Soeur Kurran eatng their baguettes.

Next we have Soeur Gappmaier, Soeur Thompson (new Utah), and Soeur Nielsen(new Utah).

Elder Receveur(brand new from New York) and Elder Bertrand.

Elder Christenson(new assistant to pres from the dutch side, Elder Kadelka and Elder Shaunig.

Elders Howard, Clawson, Spicer, and Dargance.

More elders including Elder Paoli.

Elders Scott, Harper, Cabrerra, and Ben Faour who came to help out with the afternoon activities.

Soeur Brubaker, Elder Simonson, Soeur Kohler.

Elder Dungan, Pres Brubaker, Elder Carpenter and Armand Deboever who was also helping out in the afternoon.

Soeur Fritsch is leaving on Wednesday. She has fulfilled a great mission. Next to her is Elder Scott.

Ben, Soeur Fritsch and Soeur Nielsen during a role play.

Here is a picture of the whole zone.

Elder Harper and Soeur Fritsch sang a lovely duet. They sounded really good.

Elder Shaunig is from Austria. He is the greatest pianist. I found out just recently that he studied for 2 years in one of the top, if not the top, conservatories in Austria( Karntner Landeskonservatorium). It is wonderful to hear him play. When he plays hymns, he adds all kind of frills and flourishes. He is just awesome. He has learned to speak English perfectly too as well as French and his native tongue, of course.

I took this picture becacause this shows how the elders great each other after they have not seen each other for a while. I just love this brotherly love that they have one for another.

Sunday we went to Arras with the young adults. There we have Relief Society and Priesthood and then Sacrament with all of the young adults from the stake. After have lunch we get to listen to the CES fireside. This month we got to hear Elder Neil Anderson. It was soooooo wonderful.

This girl is Angelique. She was an inactive member who has a 2 year old little son. Dh and I found her name on a list of young adults. We did not know her and had never seen her, so we asked the missionaries to go and visit her. The first set of elders went several times, but her Mom said that A wasn't interested in seeing the elders. I felt prompted to have another set of elders go. They did and Angelique talked with them and they were able to bring her back into the fold. She began coming to institute and to all of the activites including church. We and the young adults tried really hard to make her feel welcome and she did. We have been so happy to have her among us again and she is so happy to be back too. Yesterday was her birthday, so we had lots of candles on one of the galettes for her and we sang to her. You can see that she looks quite happy. YAH!

Following are pictures of some of the JA's

The slim fellow in the back is a new convert of 3 months from Congo. After leaving Congo he lived in Morocco for a while. He lived among the Muslims and studied the Muslim faith. He had many interesting things to say about that. One of the things was that the Muslims believe in something called Ablation? or Oblation? Anyway, it's a rule that tells them that is they have committed a sin, all they need to do is wash their eyes and ears and say some certain prayers and they can forgive themselves of any wrong doing. If only it were that easy.He also said that one of the things he did not like was the fact that they taught certain principles and then lived opposite to what they taught including eating things that they shouldn't, but giving them other names so that it would seem alright . Well, he then moved to France and eventually found the church. He is very happy to find Jesus Christ and to be serving him. The girl next to him is Narina from Madagascar. She is completing her degree here. Next to her is Elena who recently completed her mission in England. She is attending the University and then it's Tootsie from the U.S. Tootsie served a mission in Tahiti and is studying and working here in France.

Benjamin and Aurelie are both students.

Marie is a student and Aurore is a music teacher.

Celine and Virginie are both students. Celine is studying art and Virginie is studying Chemistry and Physics. They are BFF.

Natacha is completing her degree this year. She is studying English and wants to teach in the U.S. Aurelie just got back from a 5 month exchange student visit to Mexico. She is studying international affairs and is also studying dance. Next to them is Giovanni. He too is a student. Giovanni is a great musician as well.

Virginie is next to Alexandre. Alexandre has already graduated and is working. He has been studying the gospel and will be baptised on the 30th of this month. He is a great guy and we are so happy to have him join our JA's.

This little group listened to the broadcast in English. There are many in our group who speak English. Almost all of them understand quite a bit of English as they study it at school. The tall fellow is Thierry. He recently returned from a mission in . The fellow in the navy suit is Spencer. He is a Mexican fellow who served his mission in Boston and is now studying international law here in France.

This is a picture of most of the group. Not everyone was present today and not everyone who was there was in the picture. Some of them were wandering around and some had already gone home.
We had a wonderful Sunday.

Jean Claude Vanquer is our Director of Seminaries and Institutes. He is a great teacher. The youth love him and respond well to him. He is very knowledgeable and has a really good sense of humor.


Connie said...

So many people from all different places! What a great group! They are blessed to serve with you and your good husband.
Love the pictures!

Yvonne said...

I got tears in my eyes as I saw the picture of the Elders hugging each other. I too love to see this brotherly love they have for each other.

As we have had the opportunity to get to know a few Mission Presidents here (along with their wives) and I hear them talk about the work, I can't imagine the hours involved. But they are great men and women.

Great job on your work with Angelique. So wonderful to rescue those who have been lost.

You are doing such an amazing job.