Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Monday, June 30


Monday we went to the archives and met the employees. The archives are closed to the public on Monday, so it is usually a quiet day. It is the day they have parties, birthdays, people leaving, people joining the staff, etc. The archives in Mons is a beautiful new building.
 It is nothing like any of the archives we have been in thus far. We have a large office to work in with nice chairs, tables, lots of light and windows. It appears that it will be warm in the winter. Everything is on one floor – no stairs or scary elevators. The bathrooms are immaculate– the one in Bordeaux was a boy/girl bathroom and was so disgusting that JoAnn refused to use it. Consequently, she got a urinary tract infection because she didn’t drink any water so that she wouldn't have to use the restrooms in the daytime and could hold on until evening.

This archives has a nice lunch room with a refrigerator and microwave. The people all seem very nice. It is funny because Toon and Elly said that they were afraid of us. Nothing more frightening than two old white-haired Americans. We think they are afraid that we will be walking around with a Bible in our hands and trying to convert them at every opportunity.

John (don’t know his last name yet), who is over the Family History preservation missionaries in that part of the country, came down to meet us. We all went out to eat at a really nice Greek restaurant in the mall (which is walking distance from the archives). Afterward we had Australian ice cream that was delicious. I asked them if it was a lot different from Belgium ice cream and they said it was just the same.

John told us that he goes to India sometimes and once he met a very poor man there who was trying to provide for his extended family on 50 Euros a year. John asked him what he saw in his future and he said just the same. John got to thinking about how discouraging this must have been to not be able to feed his family and that nothing would ever change. So John bought a camel for this young man. The young man turned the camel into a good business for him and his family and eventually was able to buy more camels. His family are now able to go to school, and his brother has also been able to buy a camel to help his family. The young man told John that when John had first asked him about his future, he saw a vision of receiving a camel from John, but didn't say anything at the time. It is amazing what a giving man John is and how such a small act changed the life of this young man and his whole family.

We went home early from the archives so that we could meet with the Elders who used to live in our apartment and have them show us where to shop, bank, etc.
Our apartment is the one on the top. The building has an elevator which is very nice, but as you can see we have to climb some steep stairs to get into the building first.

Elder Warncke is from Switzerland and Elder Peterson is from Clinton, Utah. They seem like terrific missionaries. Elder Warncke has a problem with his knees and joints of his fingers and will be going to Brussels this week to a specialist to see what they can do for him.

After that we had dinner and then the Ward Mission Leader came over – Brother Pyet. He is a black man from Belgium. He has a wife and two children. Again, he seems very nice.

Tuesday at the Archives we learned our job and met with the top archivist. At first he didn’t seem so sure about us, but after he showed us what he wanted and listened to our input and then checked on our work later in the day, he was very impressed. We found several critical errors in what they had done and he was very grateful.

The work is very similar to that in Bordeaux only working with newer documents that are in much better condition.

After work we went with Toon to see the Branch President in the hospital. He is President Kronen. He almost died about two weeks ago from a botched gall bladder surgery. He is a very upbeat man. After all that he went through – including one surgery with no anesthesia while doctors and orderlies held him down – he was in such great spirits when we saw him – giving thanks that the Savior had helped him through the pain. He said it was just like a hand touched him where the pain was and it lessened to such an extent that he finally could sleep. His wife came in while we were there. She also said how she had felt such peace throughout everything, even though it seemed for sure that her husband was not going to make it. She even had to make arrangements with their children concerning wills, burials, etc. Throughout she was calm and peaceful – she said it was not like her at all but that it was a blessing from the Lord. She felt that whatever happened was in the Lord’s hand. She had had a wonderful life with her husband and they had been sealed in the temple so she knew they would be together for eternities.
The Kronens are from Canada and were due to move back to Canada on the 14th. That will have to be delayed now. The Branch is so small, we wonder how they will manage without them. Sister Kronen is in the French Primary presidency and translates for most of the meetings. They are an outstanding couple.

Elder Petersen, Elder Warncke, President and Sister Kronen, the Millers
Wednesday Toon gave us the day off and we ventured out to find our way around Mons. We were able to find everything we needed. We found a gas station, car wash, Lidl (small inexpensive market), a Home Depot kind of place for things to repair the apartment, a Quick drive in (similar to McDonald’s though not nearly as good – so you can imagine how much we loved it), a place called Lunch Garden (a cafeteria style restaurant), another little larger market, the mall (which has a large grocery store similar to a Super Wal-Mart), and we only got lost once on our way home.

There is a small local grocery store about 2 blocks from our apartment and a kebab restaurant. There are also mostly apartments, offices, a few small businesses, a bank, a laundromat, a gym and a mattress store.
This is our street. 
We live in the apartment building on the right with the red brick.
Thursday and Friday were about the same at the archives. The work is more strenuous than we are used to. After having spent nearly six months working in our apartment sitting at a computer for 12 hours a day, it is a shock to our aged bodies to do the lifting, reaching from a very high shelf and totting documents. Coupled with the extra work of cleaning the apartment and adjusting to everything new, we are feeling old. However, we know that this will just make us stronger and soon we will be able to handle everything with ease. JoAnn is supposed to find a physical therapist here for her shoulder, but she thinks that this work will do the same thing as her shoulder seems to be loosening up somewhat already. Another added blessing.

The Fourth of July was Friday and we almost forgot about it completely. We were playing some church hymns at work when the Star Spangled Banner came on when the archivist was there and he mentioned it. They have a large military base here (S.H.A.P.E.) where they do a big celebration with fireworks, but we didn’t have access to the base so we just enjoyed (?) a hamburger and fries at Quick to celebrate.

Saturday is our Preparation Day (P-Day) – a day off from work when we can do our shopping, cleaning, errands, etc. It was a good day. We spent a little time touring the area and found some wonderful countryside. We even found a McDonald’s with an Internet connection. We have access to the Internet at the archives but it is on Toon’s computer so we can’t take too much time using it.

Sunday we drove a sister and her baby to church. Eleanor Morgun is from Hawaii and married to Vladimir, a Russian man whom she met at BYU Hawaii.

They have a 14-month-old little boy, Sasha. Vladimir had to go to Georgia (Russia) to serve in the Russian army for a month, so Eleanor needed a ride to church while he is gone. It was good that we could take her, because he was just leaving as we picked her up and she was crying. Being with people helped ease the sad feelings she was having.

They asked JoAnn to lead the music in Sacrament meeting. It is nice to be able to contribute in this new branch. We are sure there are going to be many, many opportunities here as the branch is so small and the needs are great. Relief Society is so small that they meet in a small classroom – no piano, no extras that you usually see in a Relief Society room. The Relief Society President is French and gave the lesson today. The teacher for the Priesthood was not there today so we combined with them for the lesson. We all moved to the chapel for that lesson.

There was a new couple that moved into the ward today. They have been married for a couple of years and are expecting a baby. He just graduated from college and found a job here. She teaches English and Dutch. She helped with the translation today in Sunday School. They came at the right time. The Branch President’s wife has been doing the translation for Sacrament meeting and will be leaving. Now we have a replacement for her. Perfect timing – such a blessing.


Post a Comment

<< Home