Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Wednesday, September 10


One of our assignments as Senior Missionaries in this mission is to inspect some of the missionary apartments. We send each apartment a check list of things that should be clean, etc. and then make an appointment to come see them. Many young men have not learned how to clean and are at a loss as to how to fix anything that is broken. We inspect the apartments to see if there are any problems that we can help them remedy. The missionaries have very, very busy schedules and have very limited budgets, with nothing left for buying cleaning supplies and repair items. Consequently they have a "make do" attitude about anything that needs fixing.

We went to Valenciennes, a town across the French border about 30 minutes from Mons, to check an apartment there. We have to insert here our immense gratitude for the person or people who invented the GPS (global positioning system). Toon at the Archives lent us his GPS, and we were able to find the missionary apartment with absolutely no problem. Finding places in Belgium and France are EXTREMELY DIFFICULT as the street names are often not marked, there is little or no room for error, as you cannot go around blocks and there is never a place to pull over to recheck a map, etc. With the GPS, we just set our destination, and a voice tells us exactly where and when to turn until we reach our destination. If you happen to take a wrong turn, it will immediately reprogram itself and give you directions from where you are to where you want to be. Now if we could just figure out how to get it to find a parking place for us. It even tells you when you are over the speed limit and when you are close to a gas station. (One that we used would "Moo" at gas stations. We couldn't figure out the connection, but it made us smile every time.) There is also a screen so you can visually see where you are and when to turn, etc., but JoAnn liked to just listen to the voice - it is less distracting.

Anyway, back to the cleaning. The Elders in Valenciennes (Elder Riley from Salt Lake City and Elder Ballard from Snowflake, Arizona) had made a valiant effort to clean their apartment, but there were so many things that they just were "living" with. The toilet seat was completely disconnected from the toilet. They had to turn the water on to flush the toilet and then turn it off after. They had a chair that was so badly broken and then tied together that it was a hazard to try to sit on it. They had a bad mold problem which they had tried to clean but were unsuccessful. Elder Ballard had even taken a picture of the before so we would know how hard they had tried. The carpet looked like it had not been shampooed in years, if ever. There were several other smaller things that needed to be fixed also.

We made a list of everything that needed to be fixed and sent it to the mission home. There is a senior missionary there whose job it is to see that these things are taken care of, but the missionaries either don't know about him or are hesitant to ask for the help they need. We brought them some really terrific mold cleaner that we found in Mons that should eliminate the mold problems immediately. We also brought them some carpet shampoo and showed them how to use them both.

It was so cute when we were leaving, JoAnn happened to turn around as we were about to get on the elevator and noticed Elder Ballard as the door was closing. He was holding the mold cleaner high about his head and saying, "Wa Hoo! We have mold cleaner!!!" Any mothers who wonder if their teenage boys will ever care about having things clean should be encouraged by the way these missionaries really mature in this area and can find such joy in being able to have a clean environment to live in.

After we left the apartment, we went sight seeing in Valenciennes. It is a fairly large town and the "Grand Place" was a fun place. This very tall monolith is some kind of a war memorial. It has writing on it but we didn't climb to the top to read everything that was on it. We couldn't find out what they called it as it was only recently erected and not on any of the Internet sites about Valenciennes.
The square also had these fun fountains that kept changing the pattern of their eruptions. It was fun to watch. Bet the kids love to play in it in the summer.
This fast food stand (cart) was fun also. They sold sandwiches, frites, all kinds of candy and pastries.

What we thought would be a chore turned out to be a very pleasant day. JoAnn said that one of her most fond memories of our mission will be seeing Elder Ballard excitedly saying, "Wa hoo! We have mold cleaner!!!" It was so endearing and really touched the Mom in her. It seems like this happens so often on our mission. Whenever we sort of dread an assignment and go ahead anyway, it always turns out to be a good thing. Heavenly Father really does bless us when we are obedient.


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