Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Owwwwwww


This isn't really my thigh. I wish it was though.
Last night about 5:00am I woke up with an excruciating pain in my inner thigh. I jumped out of bed and started massaging it, but it was just getting worse and worse with waves of spasm. After about 5 minutes I had to wake up Dh and he came and helped me massage it for about 10-15 minutes more. Finally it abated, but I still have some after effects even now at 4:00 in the afternoon. I called my son Alec and asked for his advice. He was so kind and helpful. After the call I had a banana and a lot of water and after a long time tried to go back to sleep with a heating bag.
My gosh that was one of the worse pains I've had and I've had plenty to compare. I have a really high pain tolerance too. I sure hope I don't have a repeat episode.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Bakers and the home teachers

This young man served his mission with us. He was one of our first missionaries. Elder Baker left 9 months ago after serving a worthy mission. He went home and married the girl who was waiting for him, the girl he baptized a few years before his mission. Lehi and Sarah were married in the Preston temple. They live by Manchester England. She is finishing "uni" in June and will begin her student teaching. He will be completing his first year of "uni". I made lunch for us and we had so much fun talking and reminiscing about his mission. It was hard to call him Lehi after calling him Elder Baker for so long. It's amazing and wonderful to see and feel the love that develops between missionaries. I think we will always remember all of the great missionaries that we work with.
I made pirog and salad for lunch with chocolate cookies for dessert. The pirog was Elder Baker's request. He loves this typical Russian food.



Today our "home teachers" came over again. Elder Bertrand and Elder Dalton came and I fixed a nice lunch for them. We chatted and laughed and had a great time. Elder Bertrand was also one of our first missionaries, along with Elder Baker and a few others. He left our area and went to Arras and then after a few transfers he was back with us. He will be finishing up and going home in 2 1/2 weeks. We have so enjoyed our time with Elder Bertrand. We love him a lot. He is an awesome guy. He plans to go home and go to school become a doctor. I know his patients will just love him as do the people in this area. The time passes so quickly. It seems like we just got to know him so well and now he's leaving.



Elder Dalton is his companion. We love Elder Dalton too. He is a fun, spiritually inclined Elder who loves to serve the Lord.
It has been a real bonus for us to be able to work closely with the young missionaries. They are so close to the Lord, such good, hard workers, spiritually in tune and also a lot of fun. We have some fun times with them.
I served pirog again and then real American hamburgers with all the works including chili for those who wanted it. We had banana muffins and waffle cookies for dessert.
After lunch the Elders left a very nice message for us which came from D & C 1:37,38
"Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
What a great and marvelous thing it is to have a living prophet on earth today to guide and direct the people and to show them what they need to do in order to have life eternal.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Each Tuesday we have district mtg with the young missionaries in our district. We always begin with a hymn and a prayer. Then we all stand and repeat from memory our purpose: "To invite other to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." Since we are now in the Paris Mission we also have to memorize it in French: "Inviter les gens a aller au Christ en les aidant a recevoir l'Evangile retabli par la foi en Jesus-Christ et en son expiation, par le repentir, par le bapteme, par la reception du don du Saint Esprit et par la perseverance jusqu'a la fin."
Then we all recite Doctrine and Covenants 4: "Now behold a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men,
Therefore O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
Therefore, if ye have desires to serve god ye are called to the work;
For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul'
And faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge temperance patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence,
Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen."
We will also be memorizing this in French. And finally, we will now be reciting the Paris Mission Motto which is 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
After that we have a lesson and then an activity. Elder Shaunig is our new district leader. This young man has given some awesome lessons already. They are thoughtful, well planned out, and well presented. I never cease to be amazed at the abilities and talents of these great missionaries. All of them are the "cream of the crop". I believe that with the raising of the bar, we are getting only the most wonderful young people who want to serve the Lord and who are so, so capable of doing it.



On Monday we drove up to Brussels to do my legality. For some reason Dh didn't have to renew his. We think it's because he was born in France and France is part of the EU. However, we both have to renew in France which we have been trying to do for months and are still waiting after 4 trips to Calais. Anyway, we took 3 of the missionaries from our area and met up with quite a few, maybe 40 or so, others. It went very smoothly and we had a pleasant trip there and back. We ate a typical Belgian lunch; a wrap, fries and a drink. It was delicious. My wrap had beef and lots of veggies in it. Dh got turkey with veggies. Mine was better. Ha



The sister in the pink is Basque so it was especially fun to talk with her. Next to her is Soeur Nielsen from our district. We all sat together at lunch.
The 3 sisters below are from Brussels. It was so interesting because the sister in the middle said, "Oh, you're Sister A I have heard so much about you." Then she proceeded to tell me that she had been companions with one of the sisters who had served in our district. Soeur Shannon gave her my banana bread recipe and this sister has made it quite a few times to give to new investigators. She said that it has opened the door to teaching quite a few people and each time she has given them the banana bread, they listen to what they have to say and several of them have already been baptised. Wow. I'm so glad that I had a tiny little part in helping them. I guess I'm famous now. Just joking. Ha Ha.






Here is Elder Spicer with Dh. We love him a lot and miss him now that he is serving elsewhere. It was so much fun to see so many elders and sisters whom we know so well.





Our JA's had an activity last week. It was all planned out by Natacha, pictured below, and Claudine. They did a great job. Natacha is an awesome young adult. She is smart, hard-working, diligent, and oh so nice. She's pretty too. She and I are good friends. I really enjoy talking to her and spending time together. Claudine is sooooo nice, smart, and pretty too. Both girls worked really hard. The activity consisted of a game where the JA's had to participate in Lehi's dream. They had to find their way through several obstacles and they had to hold on to the "iron rod" which was just a piece of rope for the activity. Those that made it through all the obstacles got the magic word which was prayer. This let them into the chapel where Dh and I were dressed all in white to symbolize the temple. Those that strayed were all eventually given the magic word so that we all met in the chapel. There we heard a couple of spiritual talks and we ended up with those who felt inclined to, bore their testimonies. One of the young men a returned missionary told how his Father had died while he was serving his mission. This was very hard for Gregory and when he returned home, he began going to church less and less. Finally his Bishop called him in for an interview. He asked him if he was honoring Christ's atonement. Greg replied that yes he believed that he was. Bishop told him that no he was not. If he was not accepting of his Dad's death and if he was not following Christ, then he was not believing in the atonement nor honoring it. This made Greg stop and think and realize what he had done. He repented and is now one of the leaders in his ward. he bore such a strong testimony of how he now knew that Jesus really is the Christ and the Redeemer of all mankind. Other powerful testimonies were given. Dh recounted an interesting event that happened in his life. Once in the middle of the night he got a phone call from the hospital asking him to come and give a woman whom we did not know a blessing. He said that he would be happy to do that and would try to find another priesthood holder to go with him. Then he asked the nurse the condition of the patient. Come to find out, this was a woman who was so ill that she only had 2 or 3 days left to live. She was from another area when she became ill and she had requested the blessing before she died. Dh called Bro. Clark who lived right behind us. As the 2 of them drove to the hospital he was wondering what kind of a blessing he could give to a dying woman. He said that he prayed a lot and asked for the Lord to give him the right words to say to this woman. When they got to the hospital, they began the blessing. As he was pronouncing it, he found himself telling this woman that she would get well and that she would be going home because her work on this earth was not done. After the blessing, on the way home, he asked Bro. Clark, "Did you hear what I said? Those words were given to me." 3 days later, Dh called the hospital to check on the woman. The same nurse who had called earlier answered the phone and when he asked about the patient, she told him that she had been released and went home the day before. She had "somehow" fully recovered. What a miracle. Before this woman went home, she called the young missionaries and asked them to bring her many copies of the Book of Mormon. She then gave them to all the patients that were on her floor after telling them of the wonderful thing that had happened to her.






After our wonderful meeting, we all shared a good buffet.














Alexandre, Virginie, Manu, and Greg helping in the kitchen.





Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gare Paris Nord

We had our first zone conf with the Paris Mission last week and it was kind of hectic. Our zone leaders had a lot of trouble with their blue card (credit card). It would not work and so it took them a long time, over an hour, to finally buy train tickets for those of us who were taking the TGV train to Paris from Lille.
We first drove to the church and then walked to the Metro where we met 2 of the elders. Then we changed stops and went to the Gare in Lille. We first went to Gare Flandres and waited and waited. No one was there except 2 more elders who had joined us. We finally called and were told that we had to go to the Gare Europe. So we rushed over there walking a little less than a mile.
Well, the young missionaries are so speedy walking. I just couldn't walk nearly that fast. I was feeling really bad that I couldn't keep up, but they were soooooo nice to me. After getting the that station we waited and waited some more. Then we were told that we had to go back to Gare Flandres. Okay we rushed back again, but this time I took the metro from one station to the other. We had an hour ride on the train and then we had to take the city train and from there we walked to the church where the mtg was being held. That was a lot of speed walking for me. Plus in the Gare you have to go up and down stairs cause the escalators weren't working. I think the Gares in Paris are not user friendly. There are lots of walkways and stairs and very few directions posted anywhere. There are not many there who can help either. A first or second or even third time visitor would have to take some time to find out just where to go. I was glad we were with missionaries who knew just where we needed to go. The train ride itself was just great. Those TGV's go about 250kms an hour and are nice and smooth and very, very quiet. We were so late for zone conf. and thus we were not able to see any sights in Paris. We were just a few blocks away from Notre Dame and could see a little part of it, but sadly we could not visit. Next time we hope to get there a lot earlier so that we can visit a few places.
The conference itself was great. Pres and Sis Staheli are just wonderful. Our theme was personal standards of excellence, something we can all work on, I think.



To the left is Elder Maxwell from S.L.C. He is the grandson of Neil Maxwell. We really enjoyed spending some time talking to him. He is such a nice young elder. Next to him are Elder
Jurrus from Ohio, Sister Pobst from Arizona, and Sister Kohler from Midway, Utah. The middle 2 are new to our district. Sister Kohler is always soooo nice to me. When we were walking home after the conference, she was walking slowly with me and even gave me her arm. She is an awesome missionary always on the ball and ready to do what is right.




The tall missionary is Elder Neidhart from Switzerland. He is 1/2 Swiss and 1/2 Polish. He fluently speaks English, French, German, Swiss German, Polish and Italian. He understands Russian and Spanish and speaks some Greek and Latin. Amazing! To the left of him is Soeur Nielsen.





Elder Dalton on the left is from Maine. Next to him is Elder Porter and peeking is Soeur Carson.
I can never get over how awesome these young missionaries are. They are all so smart and diligent, kind and friendly. They all have a great love for the Lord and it shows in all of their actions. I love spending time with them. They are always so uplifting and they also like to have good, clean fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ward Activity and Calais Ward Conf.

For all of you Red Bull drinkers, France has it's own Red Bull car. HA!


A picture of the yummy Lepyoshki that I made for the missionaries. They loved them. I will make them for you when I see you.:)

The missionaries put on a ward activity. It was crepe and game night. Everyone brought crepes and toppings and we supplied the drinks.
There were tables set up with a team name for each table.





Two of our new missionaries, Elder Jurrus from Ohio and Sister Pobst from Arizona.










The DeBouvers. He used to be Bishop and also Captain of the Police Dept in Mouscron. They are a very lovely hard working couple.













As the games were played the teams gathered points.
One of the games was the strength game. Who could hold up the bag with 4 full bottles of water in them without letting the string tighten on the wrist.







Jacques was the winner. He is a new daddy and counselor in the Bishopric. He returned from his mission to New Caledonia not that many years ago.




















Another game was to pick up from 1 to 3 matches per turn out of 20 lined up on the table. The one left with a match loses.


























Drawing several objects without looking at what you are doing.









































































Cute sisters and brother.




















Pantomiming someone with your own team guessing who it is.
















The crepe table.








Last Saturday and Sunday we spent in Calais for their ward conference. On Saturday there was a service project where the members met and thoroughly cleaned the church inside and out. The members of the Stake Presidency, Bishopric and Dh made visits to families that needed to be visited and encouraged in one way or another. I went along with Dh and Pres. Boutouille. That evening after a little snack of a piece of sweet bread and juice or tisanne we went to a fireside.
We were graciously invited to spend the night at the Boutouille's home. The Stake President and his son also stayed there. We had a good dinner which started late, after the fireside, and ended at about 11:50 at night. We ate baked potatoes with a Roquefort sauce and green salad with fried goat cheese. I brought lemon bars for dessert. We all went straight to bed after that because we had to arise very early for Dh and the Stake Pres and Bishop to have their meetings. The theme for conference was SERVICE. We had some great lessons and talks on the subject.

We slept in Virginie's(one of our JA's) room. In her bookcase on the left were many folder in subjects such as physics, chemistry, science etc. Her books for pleasure were books like The Miracle of Forgiveness, Doctrines of Salvation, Faith Precedes the Miracle, etc. She told me that those were the kinds of books she enjoyed the most. Virginie is a beautiful, smart, lovely girl. She is one of my favorite young women. She is dating Alexandre, the new convert of a few months. They have serious plans for the future, but first he is planning on serving a mission. She has given him his own copy of Preach My Gospel, so that he can begin studying. She is considering serving a mission herself before they get married.

Pretty light fixture in her room.


















Here is Pres. Seube and his son Jean.















The kitchen.


















Louise and Virginie.



















The little shop across the street.












The Boutouille's front door.













Pierre Boutouille and Jean Seube. We got to drive these 2 young men to and from church. We had sooo much fun talking to them. I told them some stories and they told us stories and we laughed a lot. They are both awesome young men. Pierre wants to be a dentist and Jean, whose Dad is a dentist, wants to work in the space program. Both of the boys speak English, are very bright and charming young men. We enjoyed spending time with them.









Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jan, Feb, Mar Birthdays

This is our first grandson T. He is the most wonderful young man. T just turned 12 last Sunday and he received the Aaronic Priesthood. Oh how happy and pleased this Grandma is. T is such a great boy. He is smart, athletic, kind, pleasant and an all around good guy. He is fulfilling my every wish. 3 John 4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Yesterday was T's Mommy's birthday. Oh where or where do the years go? How do they pass by so fast. V is an awesome daughter and Mommy. She has brought much joy to my life.








Here is V's cute family. Each one is so sweet and tender. They are very loving. I just love that.



March 5th was A's birthday. I always knew I wanted to adopt, but whoever suspected that it would bring such extreme and unexplainable happiness. A is the sweetest, most wonderful, caring daughter. She writes to me every single day and tells me she loves me. How I love this girl. She brings sunshine into my life.
Next to her is my little Latin spitfire. E had her b-day in Feb. This Peruana has a very kind heart and is so loyal. She is very smart and lively. She keeps everyone on their toes. I am so glad she is part of our family. We all love her a lot.













V's hubby R has his b'day the day after E. He is such a great Dad to my grandchildren. He is the best basketball player and oh my, he has everyone laughing whenever we are together. He has the best sense of humor. I love that he is a strong priesthood holder and a righteous leader in his family and in the church.






Yoho doesn't have his b'day until Nov, but here he is so cute and happy with A that I just had to include his picture. Can't wait for their little bundle to arrive in July.








Here are my cute E and her adorable Tal. Little Talia looks exactly like her Mommy did when she was a baby.
On the 20th of Jan sweet little Lu had her 5th birthday. I don't know how these kids grow so fast. It was only a short while ago that she was my little pal following me wherever I went. She will always have my heart.
Lu shares her birthday with our little Sarika who is already with Heavenly Father.








Yoho is soooooo great with kids. He is like the Pied Piper. They all love him.

















Finally I want to know how Natalie went from newborn to this adorable 1 year old. How oh how time flies by? I can't wait to meet her and to hold her and to nibble on this delicious little baby.
I am the luckiest Mom and Grandma in the world. I have the best kids. I love them so much and my greatest desire is for them to stay close to Heavenly Father and to do His work always. I pray each and every day that they will be obedient to His word and that they will remain faithful all the days of their lives.