Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Tuesday, September 30


When we went to visit Gwenaelle LeRoy (she is a 20-something young woman from our branch that we home teach) in the hospital today, we parked by this cool statue.

When we looked at the plaque in front of the statue, the named seemed to ring a bell. When we got home, we checked our genealogy and found that we are related to Baudouin IX, which is the name on the plaque. He is Arnold's 33 great grandfather and JoAnn's 2nd cousin 29 times removed. In the process we also noticed many of our ancestors who were either born or died in Mons, Belgium, right where we are serving. We will have to do a little sleuthing to see if there are any cemeteries that old here or other information on these relatives. Heavenly Father continues to help us with our family history even when we are working full time and have no time to do any research. If we hadn't been doing what we were supposed to do by visiting Gwen in the hospital, we would never have found this information.

For Family Home Evening we were invited to the McLarens' home. James McLaren is a lawyer at S.H.A.P.E. (the military base here). Kathleen McLaren is the niece of Dallin Oaks of the Twelve. They have been in Europe for many years, serving in London two times, in Italy and now in Mons. They have a lovely home, which is very big by Belgian standards. Sister McLaren thought it was because of the military and their catering to Americans with larger families. They even have a huge pool and tennis court in their large backyard.

This is a family portrait that hangs on their wall. They have 7 children - 2 of which are in the states (the oldest girl is at BYU). They have 5 of their children with them in Mons. They are a delightful family and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening with them.
Unfortunately, these pictures did not come out too well, but it gives some idea of their family and home.

It was fun being around the children. This one reminded us a lot of Jared. He will be 12 this week and will be ordained a Deacon next week.
Brother Styles from the Branch was also there. He is a chemistry teacher at the base. His wife and 2-year-old daughter are in the states until December. The McLarens are making sure he is invited over often so that he gets some good home cooking.
There were two harps, a piano and several music stands set up when we arrived. This is the 3rd oldest daughter and she plays beautifully. All of the family play an instrument. Brother McLaren (who is Scottish) is learning the play the bagpipes.
He has the most wonderful sense of humor. He is very dead pan in his delivery and sometimes it is hard to know if he is serious or not, but most of the time there is no question and he is downright hilarious. He told us of when he was a little boy he was raised Catholic and was an Altar Boy. One of his tasks was to collect pennies for "Afican Babies." He would walk up and down the aisles in church with a round ball shaped container for people to put money in for this special purpose. He told us that one day he really wanted a toy Aston Martin car that was a model of the one "007" drove in Goldfinger. He wanted it so badly that he stole the African Babies pennies to buy the car. In describing it he said it even had machine guns that came out of the front and a bullet proof shield that came up on the back and an ejector seat that shot an oriental guy through the roof... He said "It was AHHHHWESOME!" When one of his kids asked him where it is today he said, "I don't know... Heavenly Father took it away from me for stealing the African Babies pennies."

Arnold gave the lesson on family history and told of his ancestor who came from Scotland, as the children are all half Scottish (although the second oldest, Stirling, says that he is half American). In the process, we happened to notice that this Scottish ancestor married a woman, Catherine Clark, who was born in Waterloo, Belgium. This is the site of the famous "Battle of Waterloo" where Napoleon was defeated. We got to looking further and discovered that she was born 4 days after the battle, on June 22, 1815. A notation on our records says that her father was in the English army, so evidently the wife was with them going to battle and had her baby shortly thereafter. We are going to do some more investigation when we get home to see if we can find out how and why this was.


Blogger Karen said...

Such fun stuff you are finding! I continue to enjoy hearing about your mission.

8:50 PM  

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