Monday, August 29, 2016

Getting Settled In.

(M) We are now getting settled in nicely.  Our apartment is just a block from the mission office and only about 10 minutes from the Institute building where we will do alot of our work when we are not travelling.  This week Friday we have a meeting with a self-reliance group in Annemasse, France, right on the border of Geneva, Switzerland.  Then on Saturday we have another rendez-vous scheduled with all the bishops in our (Lyon) Stake.  I guess the best way to learn is to just dive in...and hope you don't hit a rock!

We went to our new home ward, the Écully Ward, here in Lyon.  The ward members couldn't have been any more welcoming.  And even though the language difference will be a challenge for a while, I'm confident it will come.  I understood most of what was said in Sacrament Meeting and even participated a little in Priesthood Meeting.  Quelle bénédiction! 

Sœur Geddes is a real trooper!  She just pushes on doing what needs to be done and never complains.  I could learn a few things from her besides the language.  I knew I was going to get a great missionary companion! 




Friday, August 26, 2016

Salutations Nos Amis!

(C)  So hoping all is going well for you.  Our entry into France was as romantic and glamorous as you can imagine.  First of all, our flight to Paris was late due to bad weather, so we missed our connecting flight to Lyon.  We had to catch an out- of- the- way flight to Toulouse and another later flight to Lyon.  Thus, we didn’t arrive until night, and the guy who was picking us up had to wait at the airport for us for five hours.  Needless to say, our baggage was not there.  We went for a walk since we had been sitting on airplanes for 24 hours when it began to rain.  We both got soaked and didn’t have any other clothes to change into until the next evening. At first we had no hot water.  We tried to use the stove top but couldn’t because it is an “induction” stove and can only use magnetic pans.  (who knew?) We tried to use the dish washer and couldn’t get the water to come on so we turned some valves (the wrong ones) and flooded the apartment.  We didn’t know where the water valve was, so I had to run down to try and find the manager.  It was the wrong apartment, and I scared some little lady half to death talking about “inondations” floods, but finally found the manager who came running up to show was where the main water valve was.  Fortunately, it was the cold water or Elder Geddes would have been severely burned instead of just severely drowned!  We called the mission office and got some more towels.  So now the apartment has been “baptized.”
But alas!  Lest you think we are not happy, I have to express that we couldn’t be more grateful! The flights over were miraculous for me.  Very peaceful just as President Hunt promised me when he set us apart.  Thank you for your prayers!  The apartment was beautifully furnished by the office missionaries and our Self-Reliance manager complete with beautiful fresh flowers and French macaroons and enough food for 3 days! Momo, our manager took us to dinner at an amazing steak/frites place that we will not soon forget!  We were warmly greeted and welcomed at the Confluence ward and felt like returning family.  We got our hot water working, the stove and oven working (I even made chocolate chip cookies for the office missionaries) the dish washer and washing machine working, a new mattress so Elder Geddes’ back won’t hurt, the carpet never got wet, and la vie est belle! We are very spoiled too because we are some of the very few that have a little air conditioning unit in the living room (its 97 degrees outside with very high humidity) and a recliner chair that is sheer heaven.
We met with the Stake President of the Lyon stake who is a kind, powerful man as well as President and Sister Brown who are so amazing and radiate goodness.  We know this is the Lord’s work and feel so blessed to be able to participate in it.  
May the Lord keep you and bless you!

Our brilliant office Elders

Elder & Sister Mahaffey with us in the Mission Office

    A few more pics from the Marché

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Settled In.

(M) We are finally getting a little more familiar with our neighborhood.  We found an incredible market place called "Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse".  Bocuse is a famous Micheline Star Chef from here in Lyon and this marché is named in his honor.  Judging from the market he must be a great chef!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sœur Geddes at the Confluence Ward, Lyon

Our Lunch

Finally in France

*note:  From this point onward the writers of entries will be identified by either
M=Elder Geddes or C=Sœur Geddes.

(M) We have really jumped into a completely new life.  The past two weeks have been nothing like anything we have previously know, and it is both challenging and exciting!  But to be honest, I kind of like to stir things up.

Our week in the MTC was an intensive dive into the "Preach My Gospel" program that all missionaries study.  I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the "roll playing" I had heard about before leaving home.  Volunteers from the Provo area come to the MTC and do 45 minute practice sessions or "roll plays" with the new missionaries.  Anyone who knows me knows that this just isn't my thing!  But I was really amazed at how real these meeting were and this old skeptic has to admit that I really ended up enjoying the MTC, including these meetings.  It was especially fun to have meals with the young missionaries and take the opportunity to just talk with them as they prepare to go all over the world.

Our second week of training was on the 26th floor of the Church Office Building where we and five other senior couples were trained specifically on our Self Reliance callings.  The other couples were going to places like Fiji, Australia, Brazil, Guyana and of course France.  It was very revealing to learn that the Self Reliance Initiative, unlike so many other Church programs, was first started outside of North America about three years ago and is only now starting in the US and Canada.  In fact, when we first received the call or told others what our calling is we got lots of rather confused looks.  All of you back home will soon be hearing about Self Reliance in your home wards and stakes so get ready.

Finally the time to fly to our mission arrived.  We were so happy to see that we were booked on Delta #88 that goes directly from SLC to Paris and then just a simple one-hour connection to Lyon.  What could be easier?  Well having to wear a tie did complicate it a bit.  Ties and airplanes just do not belong together!  As it turned out the tie was the least of our problems.  Our flight to Paris took off late and then had to follow a more northern route due to weather conditions and we arrived in Paris about the same time that our connection departed.  There was another flight to Lyon later that day but from the Orly airport on the south of Paris and we were at DeGaulle on the north.  So rather than try to shuttle between airports with a massive amount of carry-on luggage including a guitar, we opted for a flight from DeGaulle to Toulouse and then an EasyJet flight (easy in name only) from Toulouse to Lyon.  So rather than arriving in Lyon at 1:00 pm we got there after dark...with no luggage!  Fortunately we were able to make contact with the mission home to let them know that we were delayed.  And by the next evening our luggage arrived.

Today we went to the Lyon Confluence Ward.  People could not have been more welcoming.  When we were set apart as missionaries before leaving home I was so grateful that the blessing I received through President Hunt  included a gift of language.  When we entered the ward we were offered headsets for English translation and Chris of course didn't need it and I decided to go without.  I probably got more out of this Sacrament Meeting that I typically do because I had to stay focused and work at listening.  But I understood virtually everything. 

After Sacrament Meeting we spent the next two hours with Momo Djmai, our self-reliance manager and President Léporé, president of the Lyon Stake where we discussed their vision of Self Reliance and what some of our duties might be.  This wasn't as easy to understand, but it wasn't just because of the language.  There is so much flexibility and so many different kinds of needs out there that we will have to discover the specifics as we go.  As they told us in the Church Office training, we are building an airplane and flying it at the same time!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Life in the MTC

Coming to the MTC has been a great experience!  We have been well fed physically (too well fed!) and spiritually well fed!  It has been so fun to meet so many senior missionaries as well as young missionaries.  We have run into former students, fellow Rexburg folks, and met a lot of new friends. The teachers are well trained and amazing.  The speakers are extremely motivating, and I am impressed with the knowledge and testimony of my companion.  Tomorrow we will leave this sacred place of tremendous faith, enthusiasm and excitement.  We have focused on "Preach My Gospel" this week, and although we will not be serving a proselyting mission, the skills and principles we have learned will be very valuable.  Now we will start our training for the Self-Reliance Intiative.  We will be headed to the Church Office Building for this, and so we will be spending the rest of our time in Salt Lake City until we leave for France, Thursday, August 18.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day One of Our Mission.

We entered the MTC this morning and were so impressed with the friendliness, kindness and wonderful spirit.  It is amazing how well organized and orderly things are here, especially with over 2500 missionaries in residence.  Immediately upon entering we were greeted and given the name tags that we will be wearing for the next 18 months.  That was a thrilling moment.   Reporting today with us were approximately 25 other senior couples and 3 single sisters.  It was an extremely diverse groups with couples going to places like Jamaica, Australia, Hawaii, California, Fiji, Guatemala, Japan, Congo, Bulgaria, Spain, New Hampshire, New Guinea, Vanuatu, Dominican Republic, Bosnia, Croatia, Brazil, France (us) and even Boise Idaho!  We got to know each other, had several classes, ate meals (very good - we'll have to be careful), and are now getting settled in for our first night.  Bottom line: we know we are in the right place for us right now and doing what we should be doing.

The obligatory MTC photo.

Took an evening walk to the apartment
where Chris lived when we first met
46 years ago!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Getting close...

After lots of packing, studying, preparing and arranging, we are finally about ready to go.  We leave our home tomorrow morning for a weekend visit with our three sons in Utah and will report at 10am Monday morning at the MTC in Provo.  The plan is for us to spend the first five days at the MTC studying "Preach My Gospel".  The following Monday through Wednesday we will be trained on the Self Reliance program at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City and then we fly to Lyon on Thursday, August 18.  We are really getting excited.