Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Sunday, June 29


We went to church this morning in our new branch. Toon came by and we followed him to where we picked up a woman and her six children. They are only here for a few weeks visiting her sister whose husband is in the army. We took half of them in our car and Toon took the other half in his. The Mons Branch meets in a very nice rather large chapel in a lovely area just outside of Mons.
It is an unusual branch in that half of the members speak French and half speak English. The way they get around this is they have headsets that you pick up as you go into the chapel. They have someone (the Branch President’s wife or maybe one of the missionaries) translate. So when the speakers are speaking in English the headsets hear French and vice verse. The good thing about this is we knew right away who spoke English and who spoke French by when they put their headsets on. They gave the sacrament prayers in both languages each time, one right after the other. Only the prayers were not translated. We also picked up a hymn book in our language of choice. It is interesting to hear the hymns sung in two languages at the same time.

They have two Primaries - a French Primary and an English Primary. The rest of the meetings are translated.

Arnold was asked to introduce us and tell about our background and our mission, so the members could become acquainted with us.

Since it is such a small branch, people double up on what they do each Sunday. The counselor conducting the meeting led the singing. The other counselor gave the Sunday School lesson and the combined Relief Society/Priesthood lesson and even translated for himself in the last meeting. He would give a part in English and then repeat it in French. It was a little confusing that way, especially with the comments from the class. But the spirit was strong and the people were very nice. We are sure we are going to really enjoy it here.

We then came home and took a nap – we were exhausted with all the traveling. Since it was Sunday, we didn’t feel like we could do much unpacking. The Elders left the apartment clean by their standards, but they are, after all, just teenage boys with a full day’s work each day and little time for things like that. They left it “missionary” clean, but we still have to make it “Mom” clean. Anyway, we need to go to the store tomorrow to get some cleaning supplies so that we can do a little cleaning before we put things away.

Toon and Elly Renard invited us over for dinner. Toon came by and picked us up as we still are at a loss as to how to find anything. They live in the archive building in a very lovely apartment. It is large, new and has a nice garden/patio area.
 Toon is pronounced "tone" and is short for Antonius. He is the microfilm operator at the archives during the day (working for the Church) and in the evenings and on weekends he is a security person (working for the Archives). The apartment comes with the job. Elly also works part time for the Archives. She is from the Netherlands and speaks Flemish and English. He is from Belgium and speaks French, English, Flemish, and German. He is 39 years old and served a Mission in Belgium. He is also the Branch Financial Clerk. They are a really great couple. They made sure our apartment had everything we needed – new mattresses on the bed, new sheets, pillows, etc., and that we had enough to eat. They brought a crate full of groceries for us to get us by until we can get to the store. What a lifesaver!

They have three very funny dogs. One is huge and a little bit scary looking (his name is Ozzie).
Toon said he once did his job as guard dog well when there was an intruder at the Archives. When Elly inquired what the intruder was doing, he pushed Elly back into the apartment. Ozzie then took a chunk out of the intruder's back side and sent him running away.
Toon with the three dogs
Then there is a middle-sized dog named Charlie, who is a real comedian, and a small black dog named Billy. It is funny because the littlest dog is the top dog, head of the pack. He doesn't seem to realize that he is the little guy. He calls all the shots and the others fall in line. Toon said that he even will grab the big dog’s neck and throw him to the ground.

They were all barking and very excited because we were strangers. They had to muzzle the large dog at first but after awhile the dogs all decided we were okay and then they proceeded to lounge all over us for most of the time we were there.
Elly with dogs after haircuts (theirs, not hers)
We now are taking some down time and will begin work at the Archives in the morning.


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