Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Monday, August 25


Saturday, Geoffrey was baptized by Elder Kam, who is the District Leader here in Mons. Geoffrey speaks French, so they entire baptismal service was conducted in French. Toon gave a terrific talk on the Holy Ghost. Many of the English-speaking members were in attendance, so we had headsets and the services were translated into English also.Geoffrey is a 15-year-old young man who was sitting in while his parents were taking the missionary lessons. Every time the Elders invited his parents to come to church on Sunday they had an excuse - they were too busy, had other things to do, etc. Geoffrey said that these were just excuses, so he decided to come to church by himself. He continued being taught by the Elders (Elder Kam from Rexburg, Idaho, and Elder Scott from Tacoma, Washington)and eventually decided to become baptized. Although his parents have not yet decided to join the church, they are very supportive of their son. They were at the baptism, along with his little sister.
Elder Davis (from Oakley, Utah), who is one of the Zone Leaders, and Geoffrey's mother's boyfriend.After the baptismal services, everyone went into the kitchen/cultural hall to have goodies. Geoffrey's mother is the woman in black with blond hair.Sister Egbert, Elder Scott, Geoffrey, Elder Warnke, and Sister Hill all enjoying the refreshments.
We have been told that to eat nutritiously, you need to eat as many colors as possible. The fruit added some good color, but the blue Snickerdoodles were a great addition. By the way, chocolate is a color, right?
We have a very small branch, but there are a great deal of children. It was so cute as they all sat on the floor to enjoy their food.
There were so many children, it took two pictures to get them all.
There was a good turnout of branch members to support Geoffrey in his decision to be baptized. It was cute that all of the "young women" were in attendance. Before Geoffrey, there was only one "young man" in the branch. We are sure that these young ladies are especially pleased with this baptism.
The Princess LeRoy. She and JoAnn had a delightful conversation. Even though they did not understand the words, they understand the friendship and good times together. They used a lot of sign language and "sounds" to get their meaning across. She is truly a delightful daughter of our Heavenly Father and is so accepting and loving to all. She gave Geoffrey's parents a nice hug and kissed Geoffrey's mother on the forehead. It was so sweet.
Elder Warnke and Elder Peterson enjoying the punch while visiting with the members.
Brother Marshall and Elder Gonzalez (from Los Angeles, California), the other Zone Leader, posing for a tie picture. We are collecting pictures of the interesting ties we see.
Elder Peterson (from Clinton, Utah) posing with his Italian tie that he got from Sister Egbert for his birthday. Elder Warnke has a similar one in blue. We will add his picture later.

Following are pictures of some of the ward members who were at the baptism.
Gwen LeRoy (sister to Princess LeRoy), Sister Kilgore (wife of a counselor in the Branch Presidency) and their cute, cute baby.
Delightful sister who is a stalwart in the Branch (she is the Relief Society Secretary).
Basilica, another stalwart of the Branch. She gets up at 5:00 am every Sunday in order to take the train, several buses and then walks a far ways to get to Church. She is always there - never misses.
After the baptism, several of the men enjoyed a quick basketball game in the parking lot. Some things are the same wherever in the world you are (even if they did use a soccer ball).

Sunday, August 17


When the mission learned that we were coming to Mons, they began looking for an apartment for us. Unfortunately, since we were only going to be here for eight months, it was impossible to rent an apartment for such a short time. There is a wonderful sister in the ward who was remodeling the upstairs of her home into an apartment that they thought of for us. It is, however, up three flights of stairs (the last ones being very steep and narrow), and it was thought that it might not be suitable for us oldsters. They then decided to move the Elders into the upstairs apartment, so we could take their studio apartment. Since then they also moved another companionship of Elders into that apartment with them. The apartment they have is beautiful, newly remodeled and perfect for four missionaries. We have this flight of stairs to climb before actually entering the building. There is an elevator after that which takes us to the top floor. That's our window on the left on the top floor.

We feel very fortunate to have the apartment that we do and will enjoy calling it home for the next few months. Following is a virtual tour of our apartment in Mons.
You enter the apartment by the front door, which is to the right of the photo. These are two closets and a cabinet with shelves.
We each have one of the closets. They are fairly small so we store our clothes that we are not currently using (winter things presently) in our suitcases.
Opposite the closets is the kitchen. It is in good condition and has a great deal of cupboard space, unlike our apartment in Bordeaux where we had to provide our own cupboards. Most of the kitchens we looked at in France had a sink and that was all - no cupboards, no appliances, nothing. So this is wonderful to have all this storage space.
The sink stops are unusual here. You put the tall metal tube into the drain and it stops the water from leaking out. If you overflow the sink, it runs out the middle of the tube so there is never a flood. The metal sticking out of the suds is the same as the one on the side of the sink.
Turn around from the sink and there are more cabinets, a microwave, toaster, refrigerator, and a nice fairly large counter. JoAnn is having a fun time trying to cook with such a small fridge. She is so used to cooking large meals and enjoying (?) them for the next couple of days. However, now we have to fix only what we can eat at one meal as there is very, very little food storage space.
This is the divider between the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. As you can see, we have a place of distinction for the umbrella as it rains nearly every day in Mons.
This is the pass-through counter into the rest of the apartment. Note we store some of the suitcases (the rest of our closet) and the vacuum cleaner under the counter. It has two small stools and can be used as a table for company.
This is the view from the other side of the pass-through counter. There are large windows that let in a lot of light. There is also a small balcony overlooking the street. This is the view.
On the other side from the "dining room" is our bed. This didn't come out too clearly. We will try to take another one with the blinds closed to see if it comes out brighter.
Our"King-size" bed! Actually, it is two twin-sized beds pushed together. We have king-sized sheets that keep the mattress together and make it feel like a really big bed. We also have two sets of mattresses on each side so that it is not so low and hard to get out of. It's amazing what a little ingenuity can do.
The bedside table with pictures that were given to us by the Toulouse Mission.

Next to the bed at the other end of the room we have our computer desks and a cute little window that looks out onto this:
This is the view to the left. The blue is where a man is doing a major remodeling job in his spare time. We hear electric saws and hammering most evenings and weekends.

Notice the horseshoes hanging on the building. These seems to be common in some of the older buildings here in Mons. Arnold says that they are hanging the wrong direction, allowing all the good luck to run out.
This building is right by where we park our car and is some type of government building. It usually has a Belgium, European Union and possibly a "state" flag flying during the day.

Our dresser and a bookcase are across from the computer desks. The door to the left goes into the bathroom.
When we first moved in the toilet was broken in a variety of ways. If you leaned to the side, the toilet tilted. It was not bolted to the floor! The porcelain on the back was cracked and broken. The flusher, which is located in the back was broken so you had to put your finger way down in a little hole to push a tiny plunger - your finger would come out with a dent from the plunger. We took no time in getting a plumber out and having a new toilet installed. So, consequently, we are proud of this shot of the new one. It's now a "throne" not a "rocking chair."
Across from the toilet is the washer and dryer (stacked). The dryer is brand new (the Elders used a drying rack) and the washer works well but has a screeching sound once in awhile that sounds like we are torturing a dog in our bathroom. The water from the washer runs out a hose into the bathroom sink. There is no vent for the dryer. Here their dryer s have a water collection system. After the dryer is finished, you just empty a tray that collects the water while the clothes are drying. It works pretty well, although the bathroom is very humid afterwards.
The tub is next to the toilet and across from the washer/dryer. They do not have regular showers here. They have this hand-held device. The curtain rod, which is rounded on the end as it goes around the side of the tub, was broken when we got here, but Arnold fixed it and will be putting in a device so that we can mount the shower head on the wall. He has done this for two other apartments we have lived in since being on our mission. It is difficult to try to stand in the tub, lather and rinse while holding the soap, wash cloth and shower head. If you put the shower head down it sprays all over the bathroom and if you turn it off, you can't turn it back on with soapy hands. The towel rack is at the end of the tub with the towels hanging into the tub area, so we need to remove the towels while we shower to keep from getting them prematurely wet.
The sink is at the far end of the bathroom, between the shower and the washer/dryer. It has a small shelf under the mirror which holds the things we use most often. We each have a basket of other things we use that we store on top of the dryer.
Mons is a more expensive city in which to live, so by staying in this small apartment we are able to afford the move - which is where we need to be. The Lord provides what we really need to make possible His plan for us. All in all, it is a very comfortable apartment. We have learned to work around any small inconveniences and are very happy here.

Saturday, August 16


Ever since we first heard about Senior Outings from our friends who are serving a mission in Mongolia, we have been a little jealous that we were not able to enjoy such a day. There are very few senior couples in the Toulouse France Mission, and we only got to really interact with one other couple, who were in our zone, while we were there. So when President Woodland told us about this day out with the other 9 couples in the Belgium/Netherlands mission we were finally free of our covetous feelings.

We all met at the Mission Home in Brussels for a wonderful lunch prepared by Sister Woodland. The Mission Home is beautiful and the food was delicious.
We enjoyed getting to know some of the other couples. Several other couples were new to the mission, one had only been out a week and a half. All the couples were very interesting, and we know that we could be really good friends with every one of them. We joked that it was fun to be with the "grown ups" for a day. We all love the younger missionaries, but there is something very bonding about being with someone your own age with the same kinds of challenges.
The couple in the foreground have only been married 8 years. They both lost their spouses. Now they are serving a mission together. She is amazing. We were all going up the escalator at the train station and she came jogging up the stairs next to us. She says they live on the 7th floor and she always takes the stairs. We were so impressed. Just going the one small flight of stairs getting into our apartment about does us in.

Several of the couples have been on more than one mission before this one. The Worthams, who are working the mission office, are on their ninth mission. We took a large group picture out in the Woodlands' beautiful backyard, but our camera died We are hoping to get a copy from one of the other couples. We will add it later. The couples were: President and Sister Woodland from Logan, Utah; Elder and Sister Wortham from St George, Utah; Elder and Sister Funk from Hyrum, Utah; Elder and Sister Higginbotham from American Fork, Utah; Elder and Sister Crowther from Provo, Utah; Elder and Sister Spek from Salt Lake City, Utah; Elder and Sister Christmas from Oceanside, California; Elder and Sister Servoss from Bountiful, Utah; and Elder and Sister Kirkman from Mt Pleasant, Utah. Several of the couples said that they were homeless since coming on their missions - evidently they had sold their homes to be able to come on their missions. We are sure that Heavenly Father will bless all of these dedicated couples for their willingness to give up everything to do the Lord's work.

After the photo shoot, we caravaned down to the Mission Office, walked to the tram station, took the metro and then a train to the Grand Place in downtown Brussels.

Once every two years for three days only they turn the Grand Place into a "Flower Carpet." They make a huge carpet entirely from begonias. It was breath taking. Our camera still was not working, so we have included this picture off the Internet.
The buildings around the square at the Grand Place were very interesting. Nearly everyone had some historical event that took place there. One that we didn't get a picture of was the place where Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto.
This is a picture of where Victor Hugo while in exile wrote Les Miserables. This square must have some powerful muses. There was also some mention about something to do with Vincent Van Gough, but we didn't get the full story.
One of the world famous statues is this little boy called Manneken Pis (Flemish for little man pee), also known in French as the Petit Julien, and is a Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.
On many occasions the statue is dressed in a costume. His wardrobe now consists of several hundred different costumes. The costumes are changed according to a schedule managed by the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis, in ceremonies that are often accompanied by brass band music.

There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung it in a tree, to encourage them. From there, he urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.

Another legend goes like this: In the 14th century; Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held their ground for quite some time. The attackers had thought of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Juliaanske from Brussels happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city.

Another story (told often to tourists) tells of a wealthy merchant who, during a visit to the city with his family, had his beloved young son go missing. The merchant hastily started searching with others all corners of the city, until one member of the search party found the boy happily urinating in a small garden. The merchant, as a gift of gratitude to the locals who helped out during the search, had the fountain built.
There were statutes everywhere. This is one of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Bella Bartok, the composer. Sorry about cutting you short, Bella.
There were also some fabulous shops. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we didn't have much time to shop. Belgium is famous for its laces. This shop was wonderful. They love the missionaries there and will give us a 10 percent discount. There are evidently two types of Belgium lace - Brussels which is top stitched and Bruges which is bobbin work. We definitely will have to come back when we have more time to look.
Belgium is also famous for its tapestries. This is one of the "Tree of Life" that we took through the window. Sorry about the bright light - or is that actually symbolic?

We ended the day by enjoying a Belgium waffle (not like we are used to). These are made with special sugar so when they cook the sugar glazes on the outside. They are wonderful just plain, but President Woodland gave JoAnn one with chocolate and whipped cream. She was happy to have a plain one, but oh! the chocolate and whipped cream were wonderful. Thanks President!

All in all it was a wonderful break from our work. May 15th is a holiday in Belgium, so we had the day off from the Archives and couldn't have had a better diversion. We are now refreshed and ready to get back to work on Monday.

Thursday, August 14


We went to church one Sunday and everyone said, "We saw your picture in the Liahona." We had to say that we had not. We tried to download it off the Internet but, while the Liahona main articles are on the Internet, the local articles are not. Apparently, this is true for the Liahonas in French that are circulated outside of France and Belgium.
One of the Elders had the magazine so we borrowed his. We scanned the article, but it came out quite small. The pictures showed, however.
Arnold translated the article as follows:

After twenty seven years of waiting, the Church is authorized to digitize the records of the protestant parishes
By Jean-Pierre Massela

Since 1980, the church hoped to microfilm the protestant archives of the Société de l’Histoire du Protectantisme Française (SHPF) or Historical Society of French Protestantism. After twenty- seven years of contact and of attempting to come to an agreement, a contract was finally signed this past November 26th between the SHPF and the Church, not to microfilm but – thanks to technological evolution – to digitize the protestant parish records of this library situated in the heart of Paris.

Digitization will permit for the first time the indexing on line of the documents and the sharing on the Internet site Due to the heavy dispersion of protestant sources due to persecution, these documents are very precious for genealogical research.

It was nevertheless necessary to prepare, sort, evaluate and organize the documents having a genealogical value. This was the work that Brother and Sister Miller, originally from Las Vegas, accomplished. They thus, during several weeks, handled thousands of documents of all sorts, from imposing bound volumes, to huge color genealogical family trees, to small notes written on loose pieces of paper but rich in genealogical information.

Brother and Sister Miller, Missionaries for FamilySearch, are specialists in the preparation of documents for microfilming or digitization. They are based in Bordeaux where they prepare civil documents of the XIXth century which are then microfilmed by Brother Jackie Lemoine also of the Church.

Jean-Pierre Massela, member of the Torcy Ward, Paris East Stake, is head of FamilySearch services for Western Europe, in charge of microfilming and digitization operations.

Photo Captions:
Brother Arnold Miller in the Library of the SHPF
Sister JoAnn Miller preparing the list of documents to be digitized