Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Thursday, November 22


For Thanksgiving we were invited to the Mission Home in Paris to have Thanksgiving dinner with the President and Sister Ponds and the other senior missionaries in the Paris Mission. It is quite a long complicated way from where we were staying, so we followed the Brubakers and the Murrays, as they had a GPS and had been there before.

Along the way, we stopped at a roadside Legumerie (produce stand). They had the most wonderful produce there. All of France has great produce, but this was wonderful.

Sister Murray, Sister Brubaker and JoAnn enjoying the unusual meats and cheeses. We are not sure what was so funny here, but there was a great deal of laughter on this trip.

Elder Brubaker perusing the various fruit juices that looked a lot like booze, but were not - or so we thought. We bought a great looking fruit drink for the Crucys and when we got it home, it said there was a small amount of alcohol in it. That will teach us to carefully read labels.

Elder Murray checking out a large celery root. It is funny here because celery is very hard to find, but celery root is very common. We couldn't figure what they did with the celery.

Oh, there it is! Elder Brubaker found a large stalk of celery and considered it a great find. It was one of the few things that he bought. Notice the artistic arrangement of peppers and eggplant.

All the produce here was huge. This cabbage was the biggest we had ever seen.

It is also very attractively displayed. This colorful arrangement is very typical here.

This display is of varieties of mushrooms and some yellow bell peppers.

Sister Murray found a friend. We were not sure whether the cat or Sister Murray enjoyed the encounter more. This also is very typical. Most produce stands we went to had a large friendly cat.

The mission home in the outskirts of Paris. It was a very lovely home, but in a busy neighborhood with stone walls all around. Very difficult to park here.

All together there were 18 senior missionaries, and we fit very nicely around the table. Sister Ponds says that it will extend even further. We think she said they had 3 more extenders.

Everyone brought a dish. It was amazing how each couple was able to find something very American for Thanksgiving, even though these things are not easy to find here in France. Their families also sent things. We had everything that we would have expected at an American Thanksgiving. It was delicious.

The men in the living room. Unfortunately, as it took so long to finally do this post, that we have forgotten the names of most of the missionaries. The tallest man in the back row is President Pond, the mission president. Elder Brubaker is the middle brother in the front row and Arnold and Elder Murray are in the back on the right. There is also an Elder Skidmore and Elder Barrett.

The sisters in the kitchen. The third from the left in the back row is Sister Pond. The sisters on either side of her are single sisters who are serving together. They both lost their husbands about a year or two ago. They are doing a great job and are so enthusiastic and uplifting. Sister Murray, JoAnn and Sister Brubaker are on the right end. Sister Skidmore and Sister Barrett are two of the sisters. Sister Jaegerson is one of the single sisters.

It was such a wonderful day. We so enjoyed visiting with other senior missionaries. This is something that we really miss in Bordeaux. We are the only Family History missionaries, but we all still had so much in common - some of the same challenges and blessings.

Tuesday, November 20


We came to Paris on October 23. The drive to Paris was long but interesting. We were curious about these black silhouettes that were all along the roadways into Paris. We later learned that they were put up where someone had died. We know this is an odd start to this blog, but we didn't take any other pictures on our way to Paris. What were we thinking?

We are staying with a member family - Thierry and Karin Crucy. They have 4 sons - one [Thibault] is married with one child and is a Bishop, one is going to college [can't remember his name], one is on a mission in Provo, Utah, [Chester) and the other (18 years old) is staying at home [Amaury].

Brother Crucy works for the church and is over all the translation for the church in Europe. He oversees translation of manuals, etc. as well as all conference talks, broadcasts, etc. They have a "box" that receives the broadcast, they immediately translate it and it goes back to Salt Lake where it is then sent to all the churches in Europe who are listening to conference - this takes only a few seconds from Salt Lake to Europe to Salt Lake to Europe. Amazing!

Sister Crucy is from Germany. She and her husband met at BYU and she has lived in France ever since they were married. She also translated for the church before they were married. She would sit in the basement of the tabernacle in those days and listen with a headset and then translate into a microphone. She said that in those days, she would often translate for the prophet. She said no one seemed to mind that those in France were hearing the prophet's words from a woman's voice.
Arnold had to get a picture of Amaury in this "pink" shirt. We have been amused at how popular the color pink is with men in France. There are pink shirts everywhere - and even pink shoes, jackets, scarves, etc. This shirt says "Keep Laughing. This is your girlfriend's shirt." It really "tickled us pink" to see it after all we had said about the color pink on men in France.

They live in a lovely house about 25 kilometers from Paris - it is out in the country.
They fixed up a lovely room for us in the basement. It was in their family room. It is a large room and we had two "click clacks" to use as couches in the day and to sleep on at night. There was a large desk and chairs on which to work. The problem came the first night. A click clack opens out flat and there is a "seam" down the middle where the two pieces hinge together. Consequently, when we slept, we avoided the middle of the bed as it was uncomfortable. Then when we slept on the outside edges, the whole couch tipped over, spilling us onto the floor. We spent a great deal of the first night laughing as we tipped out periodically. Sister Crucy was so wonderful. She could see that the stairs were going to be a problem for Arnold, so she moved us upstairs into a small bedroom that she usually used when her grandson came to visit. It was small but very comfortable. We had two beds and a small desk and chairs. All that we could possibly need. The closet was in the hallway and there was a bookcase for our things in the room, and the bathroom was just across the hall. It was very convenient and we were so happy to be there.

There were four of us sharing the shower - not at the same time. The hot water heater was a small one, so we would get wet, turn the shower off, soap up, turn the shower back on and rinse off. It worked pretty well and everyone had enough hot water.
We commented on these two pictures on their wall. Arnold said they reminded him of the Sacred Grove. It turns out that they were painted by the niece of the composer, Claude DeBussy.

She had been a famous ballerina and then had some physical problem that prevented her from dancing anymore, so she began to paint. She later joined the church and these pictures are of the Sacred Grove.

This piece of art was done by one of the Crucy children. It is the temple made out of Legos.

There house was very charming. This is the kitchen. They have a large built in table and benches on the right side of the kitchen. It was very cozy.

Everything is very green and beautiful here. Ivy often covers the walls of the houses.
The trees are changing colors right now and it is really lovely. A funny coincidence - the people we stayed with in Bordeaux have a daughter that goes to BYU and her boyfriend is the son of the family we are staying with in Paris. He is on a mission in Provo. They went together before either of them went to America.  Neither family were aware that they were putting up the same missionary couple.

Also staying at the Crucy's home is Wes, a young man who is teaching French to a group of BYU students in a study abroad program. He went on his mission to West Africa and has been teaching French at BYU while working on his degree. Not a bad job - he gets to come to Europe, teach a group of about 22 girls, spend his free time going on trips all over Europe, and gets paid for it. He is one of the nicest young men we have met. We keep trying to think of girls we know that we could fix him up with.

We are working at the Protestant Archives in downtown Paris. As traffic is a nightmare in Paris and there is no place to park, we have been taking the train and then the metro and then walking 3 blocks to the Archives. It is quite an experience taking the trains. They are fairly efficient, but usually overcrowded. Luckily our white hair often has gotten us seats when it was crowded. The French people can be very polite and considerate of us oldsters. The only bad thing about the trains, is that they are now having a transportation strike and we are not able to get into Paris.

During the strike, we have been working at the Church offices here in Torcy, which is close to where we are staying. There is plenty for us to do, but we are not able to finish the project at the Protestant Archives until the strike is over. It has been on for 3 days and then the weekend. We hope that it will be over by next week. As soon as we finish our work at the Protestant Archives, we will be able to go back to Bordeaux - the building is all repaired now and ready for us to go back to work there.

The staff at the office in Torcy - Elder Brubaker, Brother Crucy, Jean Pierre Masella, Brother __________, and Rebecca (the secretary here).

Jean-Pierre Masella is our “boss” in the work we do with microfilming. He is over all of this kind of work in France (maybe all of Europe). He is a wonderfully generous and likable man. He has gone out of his way to make sure that we know what we need to know and that we have everything that we need. He lives in Torcy, just a few minutes from the office. His wife, Jacqueline, had us over to dinner or lunch several times while we were there. She is an excellent cook. She is the Relief Society President in the Torcy Ward, and, even though she does not speak any English and JoAnn didn’t speak much French, she managed to make us feel welcome and comfortable. They have a son who is married that lives close by and another son (Bruce), who is handicapped, that lives with them. He is a sweet young man and you can feel great love between them. We have been blessed to have had Jean-Pierre to oversee our work here in Paris.

There was also another sister, Josie, who works at the office doing translations that was not there the day we took this picture. She had us over to her house for dinner one Sunday. She had her grown children and grandchildren for dinner too. It was so nice to have dinner with a family with kids. They all live close by so they can get together every Sunday for dinner. They had an interesting dish that is called Pomme Dauphin, which is a mixture of mashed potatoes and cream puff dough, then fried. It was really delicious, although at first it sounded too strange to be true.

After dinner we drove with Josie and her husband to Paris. They took us around to all the sights by night. Paris is truly a beautiful city by night. This was around the end of November and they had just started putting up their Christmas lights and it was amazing. There are stores downtown that go all out. At night every so often the Eiffel Tower would sparkle. They drove us right under the Eiffel Tower. We had seen it from a distance, but had not come up close. It is very impressive and then when it sparkled, WOW! We were so grateful that they took us on this little ride. We had only been able to see Paris from a limited vantage before and they knew all the best places to take us so that we could get to see the most in the least amount of time. It was wonderful.

When we first got here, we thought it odd that everyone wears scarves wrapped several times around their necks. But, it is so cold here that we each finally bought one, and now Grandma has a "woobbie" that she wears everywhere, even in the house and at work.

There are several things that we cannot get here, but it would cost too much to mail. This list is just for informational purposes since you have all asked, not a hint to send anything to us. The things we have found that are impossible to get here are: chunky peanut butter, brown sugar, flaked coconut (they only have powdered coconut - no good), corn syrup, chocolate chips, graham crackers, corn bread mix, cake mixes, chili beans, and Omega 3 Fish Oil tablets (the doctor recommended them). Almost everything is sold here, although many American-type things are very expensive.

We have had some very interesting meals here. Everything is good, but different. They eat differently. At the Crucys we had some wonderful soups. JoAnn has learned to cook some really good soups from the Crucys - both Brother and Sister Crucy make terrific soups. When we get home, we want to have a nice French meal for everyone and show you the interesting way that they serve and eat their food.

There are several other missionary couples here in Paris.

Sister Crucy, Sister Murray, JoAnn, Wes, Elder Murray and Brother Crucy
The Murrays are the couple that we met in San Francisco when we got our visas. They are over the institute at the University of Paris. She is a former Miss Hawaii, taking runner up in the Miss America pageant.  She won the talent part of the pageant, singing an operatic number from Madame Butterfly. She has made videos with the Hula as a workout method. She also is famous in Hawaii for her Hawaiian quilts and even has cards sold with her quilts featured on them. Her husband was a winning shot putter, discus thrower and famous football player in Hawaii. They are a very interesting and fun couple.

Another couple is the Brubakers. They are here for "Special Projects" - Public Relations work.
 They are quite a bit younger than we are. She is quite talented with flower arranging and made a "cake" out of flowers for a wedding of one of the girls in the ward. It was beautiful.
It even had the couple's initials in flowers on the top of the cake. They have been here just a few months, but she already has given her first talk in church – JoAnn feels bad that she can only order a drink at McDonald's. Come to find out, she has a Masters in French.  Ours is a different type of a mission. We don't get much interaction with anyone, so JoAnn doesn’t have a lot of need to speak French. Arnold is very proficient in French and he takes care of everything we need in French.

(Side Note:  While still on their mission in France, they were called to be President and wife in the Belgium/Netherlands mission.  They started there shortly after we went home.)

Another couple just finished 3 years on a mission and then the Church said that they couldn't go longer than that on a mission, so they hired him to work for the Church here in Paris. He is over finding property for church facilities here in France (or Europe). This includes looking for a site for a French temple. He has gone home to get his visa taken care of and is bringing his wife back with him. She sang in the Tabernacle Choir, so we are anxious to meet her and have Arnold compare notes. His name is David Anderson, and he has worked on many Disney movies.

Everyone here is very talented. Most of the people we worked with, speak at least 2 or 3 languages. They have all been very nice to us and made us feel very welcome. We will miss this when we go back to Bordeaux. We do have more interaction there with the younger missionaries and we are looking forward to seeing them again soon.
Although it doesn't look like it, this is our church. The government doesn't want a church to look like a church, so the ward here bought this building. They meet in the top half and there are stores in the bottom half. The stores, including a video store, had to sign a contract that they would not sell or advertise anything offensive. So far, they have kept their word.

We are also anxious to see how Jean-Claude is doing with the missionary lessons. He is the man we met while working on the Internet at McDonald's. The Elders have been teaching him while we are gone and he is progressing towards baptism. We are so happy for him. He says that the gospel is changing his life already.

Tuesday, November 13


Studying the Scriptures has never been a better experience for us than it is right now.

Next week’s Relief Society/Priesthood lesson #22 is about President Kimball's experience in receiving that great revelation on the Priesthood in 1978. Also in reading in Acts chapter 10-11 of Peter’s vision of the great sheet filled with all manner of beasts and being commanded by the angel to kill and eat the "unclean" beasts, how this prepared Peter for what was to happen next. The servants of Cornelius knocked on his door to come and teach the gospel to a Gentile who had received a vision of an angel telling him where he could find Peter. Then after he explained all this to the twelve how they accepted.

Acts 10: 13 "And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; 14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? 18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."

One cannot help but compare Peter's experience with that of President Kimball's, the two events experienced by two presidents of the church in different epochs but with somewhat the same import and impact. It is not by coincidence that we just happened upon this reading. As we have noted in our missionary experiences of the last three and one half years, both on our mission in Nevada and now here in France, there ‘s an abundance of the Lords children of African origins accepting the gospel, both in the states, on the African continent, and, yes, especially even here in France.

Arnold was also reading John 16:19-23 a couple of days ago (in French) and read where the Savior in preparing his disciples for his coming atonement, told them that they would soon weep in great sorrow but that their sorrow would be turned to rejoicing. (paraphrased from his translation back into English.) Then he compared that, using the great insight that only the Savior could have had from the male perspective, to a woman in travail of childbirth passing through anguish and sorrow. Then after the child is born, all the pain is forgotten as it turns to her for joy of having brought forth a beautiful child. Arnold asked JoAnn if that is what it is like. Her reply was "Oh yes, with every child it is like that. If it weren't I would never have had the courage to have a second or third or fourth." As Arnold lay on my bed contemplating her answer and the Savior's wonderful insight, the spirit whispered to him that He was telling His disciples this not only for their sake but for His own, knowing what He was shortly to face in Gethsemane and on Golgotha. Then as Arnold was saying his personal prayers this morning, it also came to him that this insight expressed by our Savior was also meant just as much for His Father as for Himself. What a loving parent we have in our Heavenly Father who willingly gave His Only Begotten Son for us that we may return and live with Him.

Every day we get new insight into the mind and will of God and we have never enjoyed studying the scriptures more than now while in this mission.”