Monday, May 31, 2010

Shingles are finally leaving.

I have been let out of the bell tower. After doing everything I knew of and that had been suggested (medicine, apple cider vinegar, Eucalyptus oil and most importantly a blessing) I am finally much, much better. The doctors all told me I would be very sick for at least 3 weeks, but thankfully I have been blessed and am almost well now. I do have some healing to do still, but I look and feel sooooooo much better
Saturday Dh baptized Anne. We met Anne (25 yrs old) soon after we came to France. She was a very troubled girl at that time. She had many problems and challenges. After a long time, the missionaries stopped teaching her and she was no longer around. Since then she has had therapy and medical attention and has recovered her health both physical and emotional. A while ago she came back to church. Anne has made tremendous changes in her life and within herself. She has become more self confident, less shy, and has given up her bad habits. We began teaching her. She had a lot of opposition from her family and friends and also from another church whose members kept texting her and telling her she should not be going to church with us. She told us that she has studied many other religions and never felt comfortable with any of them. When she came to our church, she felt a peace and comfort. Anne was also taught by Soeurs Pobst and Kurran while we were away on our trip. After studying with us and with the Soeurs, reading, praying, and living the principles of the gospel, she made the decision to be baptized. When she told her Mom that she was going to be baptized, the Mom was furious. She told Anne all kinds of untrue things. Anne calmly told her that she had studied and prayed and that she knew the things she read were true and that she would be getting baptized. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to act like that. Because she is such a quiet, shy girl, she wanted a very low key baptism and that is just what she got. Never-the-less her baptism was very, very nice. The spirit was quite strong and all who attended the service felt it and felt so good about it.
We had a nice little luncheon afterwards.

Soeur Kurran, Elders Dungan, Dohrman, and one of our new Elders, Anderson along with Soeur Pobst.

Ben Fahour and his wife Esther along with some of their children.

The Bishop of Lille ward, Jim Rueter and his wife Katee are with another new Elder in our ward. Elder Navarro is from the Netherlands and in fact his Dad was the Bishop who sent Jim Rueter on his mission when Jim was a young man of 19. The two knew each other when our new elder was just a little boy and are now they are both in the same ward again. What a small world.

Elder Neidhard is flexing his muscles. I think he wants Anne to see how strong he is.

After we finished cleaning up, we saw that Anne had written this poem.
It says:
Extreme joy is henceforth in my soul
The immersion itself was somewhat stressful
The devil wanted so much for me to be absent
But desire was stronger, Sesame, that first door was reached (walked through)!
Only the gift of the spirit is now lacking
Any my heart will be at peace now and through eternity!
Of course it rhymes in French and it is quite nice.

Across the street from our apt the field is in bloom. I love California Poppies and Texas Bluebonnets, but these weeds are not bad to look at either. They are much nicer than the dirt that is usually there. In the middle of all the yellow is one tiny red flower which is also in bloom.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Transfer day May 2010

Tuesday was transfer day once again. Elders Dalton and Porter were transferred. Elder Dalton will be going to Paris and Elder Porter will be going to Brussels. It's always a bittersweet day. The missionaries love our district so they're always sad to leave. We are so sad to see them go too. However, they're also sooooo excited to continue the work of the Lord wherever they are sent. On to new places and new adventures for them.
We teach a lot of Africans and people from other countries here in France. Lots of our missionaries like to buy clothes from other countries. These two elders bought these pants which they say are soooooooo comfortable. They are having lots of fun wearing them.

We always have district mtg and then a luncheon together. Today we had burrito fest. Then we have a few hours where we write in each other's memory books, play games etc. We had a hand a foot tournament for the first time. Elder Porter just loves that game. Of course we always have district pictures.

Elder Dalton wanted to have a separate picture with us as they all did. I don't think I've ever had so many pictures taken of me both by the missionaries and by the JA's. I really don't like it at all, but oh well, that's how it is. I love them and I can do that for them.
I am still sick and in fact went to the doctor's again today because I am actually worse yet. My other eye is now affected, more of my face is swollen and my headache is the worse than ever. I was awake most of the night with it. The Dr. said that I have a very aggressive virus and prescribed some much stronger pain meds. I keep hoping to get better soon. I think tomorrow will be the day of getting better. I have found all of the medical personnel here very nice and very helpful and competent. Also, I have always been seen immediately and treated very kindly. They even understand my poor French although I do have to repeat things sometimes. I am actually very impressed with them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still Sick

Well, today I am even worse than the past few days. I'm going to take up residence in Notre Dame. Now that I've actually been there I think I might like it, although living in the rafters is not ideal. I guess I will have to learn how to ring the bells in the bell tower. Ha! The real Quasimodo and I are twins. If I'm not a bit better by tomorrow I have to go back to the doctors. My mood is not so good anymore. I'm ready to feel better and to look better. My dear friends have been so nice and encouraging to me as well as helpful with good advice. Thanks friends.
I have been mostly resting at home, but today I needed to fix all the food for institute. Two of my wonderful missionaries will do all the last minute stuff and serve. I made pulled pork in a crock pot, so all they will have to do is actually pull the pork and make the sandwiches at the last minute. They will also make the salad. I just bought pudding cups for dessert because I sure don't feel up to doing much of anything.
We also had to go to a mtg. One of our JA's is going to be baptised on Sat by Dh and she had to have her interview and plan the program. I came in sunglasses and we scheduled the interview at the same time that we could drop off the food.
My wonderful Natacha is heading up the committee for clean up after eating. She will also be the main helper to the missionaries. She is such a great girl, always willing to do anything. I'm lucky to have her for a friend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I am much worse today. I look like Quasimodo, but I feel like Esmeralda. The handsome blond guy must be Dh. ha ha.
I woke up this early this morning with my eye swollen almost completely shut. 1/2 of my forehead is broken out even more and very swollen too besides both being very red. I have lots of "buttons" as they call them in France in 1/2 of my hair. I am a mess. I am housebound. I have taken a couple of naps and Dh and I have played a game of hand of foot which I so happily won. I am sad that Dh has to look at a monster all day long.:(
I must be better by tomorrow because I have to cook for institute and we have a very important meeting with Anne and Ben to set up her baptism for Saturday. I hope I don't have to go wearing a disguise of some sort.
At least I'm still in a good mood. Right?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back to business

Well our trip is over and the next day we were back in the full swing of things. After unpacking, grocery shopping, putting things away, and cleaning a bit, we had lessons to teach right away.
Friday evening we had movie night with the JA's. We watched On The Lord's Errand which is excellent. After the movie we ate pancakes with all the yummy toppings. This activity was sponsored by the missionaries and they did all of the cooking.
These first few pictures are from a previous Sunday when we went to Arras for JA Sacrament Mtg. Here the youth are practising to sing for Stake Conf. After the meetings we ate lunch together and then listened to a CES broadcast by Bishop Burton.

These 2 missionaries are from the Arras Ward. The one on the right is Elder Maxwell, the grandson of Neil Maxwell. We had several unusual problems during this afternoon activity. One of the girls had some sort of a seizure or attack of some sort. She fainted and then was having spasms and seizure like behavior. She was taken away by ambulance. A short time later another girl fainted and was sick so we had to take care of her and finally a 3rd girl became very ill. We were running a little clinic in the chapel. Luckily all 3 girls are doing well now. Elder Maxwell and his companion were very helpful with all 3 incidents. These 2 young men acted in a very mature and discreet manner in treating all 3 girls.

Saturday afternoon Dh baptized Corenthin Xavier Fabrice who is from Guadeloupe. This young man is sooooooo nice. He listened to the Sister missionaries who taught him and accepted every single concept. He immediately began attending church. When he was told about the Word of Wisdom, he stopped drinking coffee right away. When taught the law of chastity, he began living that principle right away. He was wearing earring and when Elder Arhets explained to him how the Prophet suggested that this was not a good practice, he instantly took his earrings out. Xavier really admires Dh and really wanted him to be the one to baptise him. Of course Dh was so happy to do it. Sisters Kurran and Pobst taught him all of the lessons. Xavier will be a great addition to the JA's. They already love him too.

After the baptism we had a light luncheon which the missionaries and many of the JA's attended. It was a lot of fun. The missionaries became a little crazy, but it was a lot of good, clean fun.

Here they are practising their karate poses.

Elder Neidhart really wanted a picture with us. He is a great elder and he is the sweetest guy. In his life before the mission he was (still is) a member of the Special Forces in the Swiss Army.

Here are some of our fun JA girls. The girl with the aqua scarf is brand new from the USA. She is interning here at one of the universities. Hannah is so nice and we already know she will be so much fun to have around.

They always want to take crazy pictures as well as nice ones.

Elders Porter, Dalton, Perez, Dohrman, Neidhart, and Dungan enjoying some of their last days as a district. Transfers are tomorrow.

Xavier got in on the action.

This young man is Guillaume. He was taught by Elders Dungan and Neidhart and was baptised last Saturday.

Elder Porter jumped out the window just fooling around and then the others locked him out. I remember my sons jumping out of the windows at church during primary. I guess it takes a long time to really grow up.

Esther and Fanny are good friends and wonderful young women. Both of them are sooo nice and very talented too.

Here are Noemi, Claudine, and Natacha. Can you see how crazy they are acting? In reality these 3 girls are great leaders and all of them are very bright and very nice. They can always be counted on to do the right thing and to be helpful.

Grant is an intern who just moved here from Utah. He will studying at the university for several months. He actually served his mission in Paris 3 years ago and has been going to BYU and working at the MTC. He will be a great asset and has already made himself a part of the group.

Then girls wanted to take a picture with me, but they kept being soooo silly. They made a plan that at a certain moment they would all stoop down and look at me. I have a funny look, but decided to post it anyway.

After the luncheon we cleaned up and got ready for JA Forum. This was a great activity where the JA's got to listen to Frere Horeau speak to them on marriage. He gave a great talk and after that we had a nice dinner together. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures.
Sunday was our day to go to Calais where Dh gave a wonderful talk on living in the light. He always gives such great talks.

Monday night we had FHE. Noemi gave a really good lesson. I am always amazed at how well these young people do. They are so nervous, but they end up doing a fabulous job. She used scriptures, got the other JA's involved and participating and just did great.
After that we play Do You Like Your Neighbor. It got a little bit wild, but everyone enjoyed themselves so much.

Sunday I woke up with my eye a bit red and yesterday it was worse. Today I woke up with my eyelid soooo swollen and my eye red. I addition, I have a rash on one side of my forehead and into the hairline. I look pretty bad (monster like). We waited until we thought our neighbors would be awake and Dh got the name of a Dr. here. We called and called and finally got a recording that the office was closed. There was another number there. We called and that Dr. is on a long week-end. There was another number given out. Finally we found a Dr. and made the trip there. That Dr. said that I needed to go immediately to an eye Dr, that it was urgent. He made a call to the hospital and off we went. There we saw the eye Dr. who sent us to a specialist. It turns out that I have a virus, a variety of varicella(sp?). I'm pretty sure that it's the same virus as chicken pox in kids and I think it might be shingles. They were afraid that my eye was being affected, but fortunately my eye is find. I also have conjunctivitis of the eye. Anyway, they gave me 4 different prescriptions and sent me off. Each of the Drs and all of the people that we saw were so nice to us. Also seeing all those Dr's and driving around only took about 3 1/2 hours. I was actually impressed especially when I consider all the many hours I have spent in the ER with various people. I hope that I will be looking better and feeling better soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our trip with Anna and Amadeo

We are back from the most wonderful trip. We had such a great time with Anna and Amadeo and of course baby Joneaux. Our trip was so much fun from the first moment to the last. Anna took soooooo many photos, probably 1000 or so and I just took these few. I will be posting some of hers later, but here is a tiny sample of our last days together.
We began our trip by picking them up at Lille and then coming to our apt. We enjoyed meeting baby Joneaux who had a few very mixed up days suffering from jet lag. He wanted to be awake at night and asleep in the daytime. Who could blame him. Jet lag coming to Europe is very difficult. Oh my goodness, Joneaux is the sweetest, nicest baby ever. He is so pleasant and happy all the time. He is very responsive and he even learned how to laugh and chuckle out loud. I am crazy about him. He is just adorable. We spent the first few days visiting Belgium. We went to Gent, Brugges, and Brussels. We visited Grand Place, saw Mannekin Pis, rode in a canal boat, toured Gravenstein Castle, saw the Castle of Gerald the Devil, ate gauffres, frites, and Belgian chocolates. We laughed, walked and walked and walked and just enjoyed each other's company.
Then we took the train to Southern France where we spent several fun filled days with family there. They were all charmed by baby and loved Anna and Ama. They couldn't stop from repeating how cute and nice Joneaux was. I bought him a fun little beret with Pays Basque written on it and that earned him the nickname of Joneaux Le Basque. He is soo cute in it. The family told us we were not allowed to buy him an Italian beret, but if we all went to Mexico, we could buy him a Mexican sombrero because he does have some Mexican blood in him. Ha. We walked all over Anglet, Biarritz, St. Palais, Beyrie, and Orsanco. We saw the little homes where Dh used to live, run around, and go to school. We walked through a cow pasture and found Martinia and the old double Oak tree. We went to St Jean De Luz and San Sebastian. Then we drove to Mimizan and visited the little house and big house where Dh lived and we found his old teacher, now 93 years old. Dh enjoyed visiting with her for about an hour. We ate lots and lots of good food and we ate really late. We could not believe how late everyone eats here. Some of our meals didn't begin til 10 or 11 at night. Once we got home about 11:45 and instead of going to bed we all ate a full many course meal. We loved being with Dh's sister and brother and niece and nephew and family. It was just great.

Then we took the train to Paris. Oh my gosh. I love Paris. It is just beautiful. It really is the city of lights. We went to the top of the Eiffel tower and looked at the city at night. It is gorgeous. The tower itself is all lit up at night and on the hour it twinkles. It is so beautiful. These pictures are not good at all, but at least I can see that I was really there.

We went to the top of the Arch de Tiomphe and saw Champs Elysees. We drove past the Moulin Rouge and the Folies.

We got to go to the Palace of Versailles. What a magnificent, gorgeous place. It is huge and very elaborate. As you look at this picture you cannot see how beautiful it is. It is all gold gilded on top. Inside it is full of beautiful sculptures, paintings, murals, materials, and gold, gold, gold everywhere. I loved the palace and all of it's splendor. I particularly liked one of the paintings that showed the wife of King Louis holding her twin baby girls on her extended arm and looking at them with love in her eyes. It was so tender.

The hall of mirrors is exquisite. Beautiful mirrors line the wall and huge, crystal chandeliers line the middle of the room. Everything is so shiny, and sparkly, and gold and beautiful.

This is a sample of one of the doorways going from one room to the next. King Louis did not want any space to be left undecorated.

Here is the King's bed. It was very large and ornate.

This is the Queen's bedroom.

The ceiling of the canopy over the Queen's bed.

The bed. It is even larger than the King's.

Part of the ceiling in the bedroom.

We went to the Louvre twice. It is ginormous. Do you like my word? It is just humongous. I think it would take at least 2 full weeks to even walk through all of the wings and looks at the stuff inside. We only looked at a teeny part of it. We did see some of the more famous art work such as the Mona Lisa. This painting is surprisingly very small.
I loved seeing the pyramid and remember it from the movie Da Vinci Code.

We saw the Venice de Milo.
We saw many other beautiful statues and paintings and pottery etc. etc.

We walked through the Latin Quarter which was very fun. It was like I imagined it to be, but with many more restaurants and shops than were there originally.

We ate there twice. The first time was at a restaurant which was very disappointing. The food was not good at all. The second time we ate at a Kabob place and it was really good.
We saw Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur. We went to Montmartre. We walked across many bridges. We walked so much that my feet hurt and finally I could not walk another step. I dropped into bed each night.
At the Sacre Coeur Quartier we ate the most delicious crepes. We had a sugared one and a ham and cheese one. They were both probably the best crepe I have ever eaten.
Most of the food we ate was really, really good. Each morning we ate pastries and/or baguettes. For lunch we had baguettes with cheese and salami or ham. We tried some of the best ice cream. However at the gardens at Versailles I had the worse crepe in the world. I took one bite and it tasted just like dog food. I had to get rid of it. It was just awful. I think they cooked it in old oil that they had used to cook meat or something. Anyway I just had to mention it so that I would not forget that disgusting little bite of crepe.

While we were walking around we saw quite a few beggars and gypsy's begging for money. One gypsy ran up to Anna who was letting Joneaux suck on an apple and tried to grab that apple right out of her hand. One gypsy was on the steps of Sacre Coeur hobbling around and walking all curved and crippled like. About an hour later I saw her gather up her things and go running off the steps to somewhere else. She was perfectly straight and not crippled at all. It's sad to see these people. I know some of them are legit, but some of them are just taking advantage. I know we should always help, but these impostors make is a bit difficult.
Anyway, we had a fabulous time. It was a trip of a lifetime.

But by far, the best part of the trip was meeting this cute baby. I am in love with little baby Joneaux. I am anxious now to meet 3 more little ones when we go back home. I can't wait to see them and hold them and to tell them how much I love them. We are so blessed to have these little ones in our lives.