Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Sunday, June 22

Last Sunday in Bordeaux

Today was our last Sunday in Bordeaux before being transferred to Belgium this week.
Arnold told me to be prepared that they might ask us to speak at the last Sunday meeting in the Eysines Ward. I didn't think they would do that without asking us ahead of time, so I didn't think anything more of it. After the sacrament they had Amelia Defranchi come up to bear her testimony (she is leaving this week to spend a year going to high school in Utah). They then announced several speakers and a rest hymn. I settled in to enjoy the meeting. Then after the rest hymn I heard our names. I didn't really understand what was said but I knew we were on our way to the stand to speak. Another time when I am reminded that I need to listen to my husband - he is usually right.

It actually went very well. I spoke a couple of words in French and then Arnold translated the rest of my remarks for me. It was much easier to come up with things from my heart that way. I concluded in French that I didn't want to say Au revoir (goodbye) but abientot (see you soon). There was a nice response from the congregation as I heard many "Abientots" back. Then Arnold gave a very nice testimony in French.

We so much wanted to take pictures of the members while we had the chance, but we forgot our camera. I skipped out of Sunday School to quickly go home to get it.

After Relief Society we were just going to get pictures of the members who had not left yet, when we noticed some of the men putting chairs up in a line near the stage.

Then the whole ward poured into the cultural hall and posed for a grand ward picture. We were thrilled. We didn't have to track anyone down, they were just all there. We thought how lucky we were that they were doing this on the last Sunday that we were there. We, of course, gave the photographer our little camera and had him shoot one for us.

Then they proceeded to take pictures of each individual family. Another "Wow, aren't we lucky they picked today to do this." We later found out that they had planned a surprise going away party for us on Friday and were taking the pictures to make a book for us. Unfortunately, someone didn't get the word that we were leaving on Wednesday, so the party will have to be cancelled. They told us they would email us the pictures. We will post them as soon as we get them.

What a wonderful group of Saints these people are. They are so good and kind. They love each other and really seem to enjoy each other so much. They love the gospel and live the kind of lives that Heavenly Father wants them to. We have been so blessed to have been able to associate with this great ward.

After this we were going to take the Elders to our house to see if they wanted any of the food we still had that we couldn't take with us. But the Trans' car had broken down, so we had to take them home first and then come back to pick up the Elders. This all took an extra long time because there was a championship Rugby match being played here in Bordeaux between Toulouse and Paris and the streets were jammed with fans - mostly from Toulouse (about 2 hours south of Bordeaux).
  The Toulouse team's colors are red and black - very rugby! The Paris team's colors are pink and aqua - very rugby NOT!

FOOD FOR THE POOR (missionaries)
By the time we finally got the Elders to our apartment it was after 3:00 p.m. and they hadn't eaten since breakfast. Luckily we had the last of a huge lasagna that I had made 3 days ago that we had been eating every night so we wouldn't have to cook while working and getting things ready to move. We had no chairs left so the poor Elders sat on the floor for lunch. Their ties are turned around behind their backs to keep them clean.

We then proceeded to empty out our pantry and fridge of all the food we had not eaten and put them in bags for the Elders to take home. It was like Christmas for them. They were so excited to get all that free food. They were so cute. They took everything we had, whether they knew what it was or what to do with it. They took exotic spices, 4 kinds of vinegar, 4 boxes of sugar, capers, canned duck, etc., etc. etc. They even took our little Christmas tree and ornaments - even though they would not be in their apartment at Christmas time, but they wanted the new Elders to enjoy it.

These two Elders are Elder Mak from Hong Kong and Elder LaPray from West Jordan, Utah. They are both very good missionaries, and we are sure their parents are very proud of what wonderful young men they are.

That evening we went to Brother and Sister Tran's for dinner. Bordeaux is very deceptive looking. We found their home down a very, very narrow street with cars parked on the sidewalks on each side of the street. The buildings were old and tall and grey. We went in a small door and climbed some rather steep stairs to enter their apartment - a marvelously decorated, elegant apartment with a wonderful terrace with a view of gardens and trees behind their building. Brother Tran is the Ward Mission Leader and teaches the Investigator class. He is an excellent teacher - always involving everyone and using wonderful objective type lessons. His wife is the Gospel Doctrine teacher. We usually go to the Investigator class, so we have only been to her class one time. She too is an excellent teacher - a very classy lady also. She is very animated and fun. They are both very dedicated and reach out to help everyone they can. They arranged for the missionaries to entertain at a nursing home for Christmas. Sister Tran was so at home with the patients that you could tell that she had been there many, many times and truly loved them.

Their son Kevin is going to marry the granddaughter of a man that Arnold baptized 45 years ago when he was on his first mission. We don't know her first name but her last name is Mathieu and her mother's maiden name was Judas.  Her mother was a little girl when Arnold served in Nancy in 1962 and baptized her father... now the grandfather of Soeur Mathieu, Kevin's fiancee. Kevin served his mission in Tahiti. He was an orphaned Korean child that the Trans adopted when he was just a little boy. They have a picture on their wall of the family in front of the Swiss temple the day they were sealed to each other. Brother Tran was once a stake president in Paris and one of his counselors was Remy Judas, one of the sons of the Judas family of Nancy. It would seem appropriate to say here that it really is a small world, but as Sister Merrell (our Mission President's wife) says, "It's not a small world, it's a big church."  They are going to be married in August, and we are so sad to miss it. In France, a couple has to be married by the Mayor first, then they will be married by the Bishop at a ceremony at the church. Then they will be able to go to the nearest temple in Spain to be sealed for eternity. They are a very cute couple.

We caught this sweet sister as we were leaving the parking lot. She is the Relief Society President in the Talence Ward (they meet in the same building as our ward). She has been so sweet to us, bringing us candy from England, always making us laugh and seeing that we feel so loved. I made pecan pies for our Christmas Zone Conference. She was there helping with the luncheon. She ate four pieces of pie and wanted the recipe so badly. We told her they don't have the right ingredients (corn syrup) here in France. She was so disappointed. When Laura and Susan came to visit us they brought us two bottles of corn syrup and some American pie pans. We translated the recipe and gave her all the ingredients and a pie pan. I think we really made her day.
As we say goodbye to the church members in Bordeaux, we will be eternally grateful for this opportunity to know such wonderful people.


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