Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Wednesday, February 25


We had a stake conference in Lille, France, where Elder Dallin Oaks spoke. We arrived earlier and got seats right up front. We were standing up looking to see if we recognized anyone at the conference. JoAnn noticed a couple that seemed very familiar and she told Arnold that the couple was familiar and we should go over and say hello. Arnold then said, "That's Elder and Sister Oaks." No wonder they looked familiar.

We were told that Elder Oaks did not like to shake hands. However, he came in, took off his hat and coat and came down in the congregation and proceeded to talk with and shake hands will all that wanted to. He was so generous and gracious. JoAnn spoke to him in English and he seemed pleased to be able to speak with someone in English.
This photo showed that there were many young children in attendance at the conference. They were very well behaved and it made us so happy to have them there. It is a tribute to the fact that the church is growing in France in family units.This cropped picture shows Elder Oaks speaking with some members at the conference.
Sister Oaks spoke at the conference and she spoke in French. She did a very nice job. She did a presentation with some of the Primary children, using what she called "testimony gloves." It was very well done. Elder Oaks told the congregation that his wife does this little presentation every where they go to speak and that she has done it in over 20 languages. We were very impressed with this wonderful woman. She told us that she was 55 when she was married. To think of all the time that she had probably thought she would never get married and then she ended up marrying an Apostle of the Lord.
Elder Oaks also gave a wonderful talk. He spoke so simply and powerfully. He said some things that we had not thought about before. He gave new meaning and understanding to D&C 46:13-14.

"D&C 46:13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

"14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful."
It was so powerful to know that those of us who know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he was crucified for the sins of the world must open our mouths or those that would believe on our words would have nothing to believe on if we kept quiet. It gave us such perspective on our responsibilities to speak up.
Just a scene after conference of the members outside of the conference area.

Saturday, February 21


Last Sunday the Branch had a "Surprise" farewell Linger Longer for us after church. We were pleasantly surprised, although we had an idea something was up when a member told us to bring our camera to church and then we saw some members bringing food in the back door to church. As the guests of honor we were allowed to go through the food line first (after posing for a picture with our Branch President). The honor of going first usually goes to the kids, so our going first made us feel honored and young. The children's tables -- Natasha Nylen and her mother Raquel, and Charlie Leroy.Zoe and Lysandre Leroy (niece and uncle). Zoe seems to be saying, "Hey, I want some of those cookies too!"Raquel and Natasha Nylen - when asked to pose for a picture, Natasha promptly put her face into the chocolate cake - funny girl.The chocolate frosting is inviting. They love chocolate in Belgium. Most of the desserts had at least some chocolate in them.This is a kind of mousse only Belgian style. It is very thick, almost a cross between traditional mousse and fudge. It is wonderful, but you can only eat a very little at a time it is so rich.
The teenagers all sat together and were fed first. We wanted a picture with the whole cultural hall filled, but the teenagers ate so fast they were gone by the time the adults got their food and were seated.
Then the adults took over.
Bishop Lebaron, Sasha Morgun, James McLaren -
all enjoying the meal and each other's company.
Emrick making the rounds. He is so adorable that everyone has really taken to him. His mother is investigating the church and has been coming to church regularly for several months. She just had her baptism interview. We are so sad that we will miss her baptism but know that she will make a great addition to the Branch. Toon toasting us with the one shrimp that he allowed himself to eat - honest Elly that was all he ate. Eleanor Morgun had her baby two weeks ago. This was Katya Morgun's debut at church. The youngest member of the Branch helping say farewell to the oldest members of the Branch.


We had an Enrichment night combined with the Young Women. It was a lot of fun. We had two main activities. The first was jewelry making.
The Young Women were most interested in the jewelry making - along with Branch President Lebaron. He was as into the project as were the young women.Julia Mendenhall showing off her beautiful creation.A young investigator who came with the Mendenhalls showing her creation.
Christine Mendenhall with necklace that Leisel made for her.These are the two necklaces that Leisel Mendenhall made for herself. We teased her that they looked like a pair of fancy earrings.Nicole Lebaron taught a class in quilting. The Relief Society sisters seemed very interested in this class. All enjoyed the night but interest seemed to be divided between the young women and the older sisters. An investigator, Sister Nyland, Sister Vander Stockt and Sister Mendenall showing rapt attention to the ins and outs of quilting as presented by Sister Lebaron.
Julie DeLigne and her new daughter Juliette - Enrichment truly is a fun activity for "women" of all ages.

Friday, February 20


Just to show the importance of the accuracy of our work, one of our co-workers sent this to us.
A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn'tbeen opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing. "We missed the R! We missed the R! We missed the R!" His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?" With A choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word was...

Thursday, February 12


Zone Conferences are usually held in one of the chapels in Brussels. When we drove up to the church parking lot for a Zone Conference we were met by greetings from this large white goose housed in the yard behind the chapel. The goose would honk at us and Arnold would honk back, then the goose would honk even louder. We were not sure if he was greeting us or warning us to stay away. President and Sister Woodland gave such outstanding presentations. We were spiritually fed and inspired to do more and to work harder. President Woodland explained the atonement in ways that we had not thought of before. It was truly an inspirational day. Some of the Elders taking with President Woodland after the presentation. It is so much fun to discuss the ideas presented afterwards in a more casual setting. Elder and Sister Wortham are the Office Couple. They are an outstanding pair. This is Elder Wortham's 9th mission. They have gone on a mission several times, spent some time at home with their families and then returned to replace the couple that had replaced them. Same job, same apartment, same ward, same everything that they were familiar with and experienced at.

We used Toon's GPS to find out way in Brussels but still made a wrong turn just after we left the chapel. We turned down the wrong street and this loomed up before us. The Atomium is a monument built for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it is 102-metres (335 ft) tall, with nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes which connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre enclose escalators connecting the spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. Each sphere is 18 metres in diameter. The vertical vertex contains a lift which was considered very fast and advanced at the time of building (the speed is 5 m/s). One of the original ideas for Expo '58 was to build an upside-down version of the Eiffel tower; however, Waterkeyn felt that an atomic structure would be more symbolic of the era. The monument was originally planned to remain standing only six months. However, it soon became a symbol not only of the World's Fair, but of modern architecture and Brussels.
The Elders we were giving a ride home to yelled, "Stop! We have to get pictures." This is Elder Valenza giving his best Superman pose.We caught Elder Curtis as he was returning to the car after his photo op.

Saturday, February 7


Last Sunday brought again an awareness of how wonderful the scriptures are in our lives. During our Sunday School class, Brother Leroy told us about his father's love of the scriptures. His father could not read but he loved the Book of Mormon. He would carry it with him everywhere that he would go. When he got to church on Sundays, he would rush over to the missionaries and have them read to him from the Book of Mormon. When something impressed him he would ask the Elders to show him where it was written and then underline it.

One day when he was at the doctor's office, he noticed a woman reading her Bible. He quickly sat next to her and started discussing the scriptures and telling her about his Book of Mormon, which he, of course, had with him. As Brother Leroy got to this part of the story, Anita spoke up and said that she was that woman and because of Brother Leroy's father's love of the Book of Mormon she became interested in the church and was baptized. She is a faithful member of the Mons Branch and a wonderful lady.

Because of his desire to read more from the Book of Mormon whenever he wanted, Brother Leroy's father learned to read. He was a faithful member of the church all his life and raised his children to love the Lord and the scriptures.

After Sunday School we had Testimony Meeting. A young man stood up and told how he had been inactive in the church for awhile. Recently his whole family had started coming to church regularly. He is about 18 years old. He said how since he has started to read his scriptures, pray and come to church that his life has been so much better. He said that he likes the way that he feels when he does these things. It is so refreshing to hear a teenager admitting that doing the right things actually makes him happy. He is now preparing to go on a mission.

After that a 16-year-old got up and told how she had not been reading her scriptures regularly for awhile. She made the decision to make scripture reading a daily thing. She, too, told how she was happier and that things seemed to go so much better for her when she consistently read from the Lord's words.

We have had a set time each day (as most missionaries do) to devote to studying the scriptures. We have always enjoyed reading the scriptures, but having this concentrated time while on our mission to search them more thoroughly has been such a blessing. We have come to understand so much more of what we read (especially some of those harder to understand sections of the Old Testament) and have felt so much closer to our Savior. This is just one more of the blessings that we are enjoying on this mission that we didn't anticipate.

We feel the Spirit prompting us about other matters of concern while reading the scriptures. So much so that when confronted with problems or worries, they seem to melt away as answers come to us, even answers to issues that were not necessarily contained directly in the passages we are reading about. We suppose that it is just the Lord's way of blessing us with His spirit as we follow His will.