(M) We are starting to learn our new responsibilities as missionaries. We actually have two different assignments, our primary one being the Self-reliance initiative and the secondary one to help the local leaders with the Institute & family history programs. When we go into a ward to conduct a self-reliance "coin de feu" (fireside) it takes about five hours in all. We set up media equipment and tables & chairs for small discussion groups, attend a preliminary ward council meeting to go over the assignments and then have a two-hour very interactive fireside. So far we have met with two wards for firesides (Saliève Ward near Geneva and the Versailles Ward near Paris) and have many more scheduled.
This week Frère Simonet, the Institute director, had a conflict so he asked us to take his place teaching an evening 90 minute Institute class. It was kind of a last minute thing and a little scary at first since the whole thing was in French. But Sœur Geddes is a pro! The lesson went so well and the 18 students were really fun.
Our fireside in Versailles required us to drive a day early since it takes about 5 hours each way. So on the day before, we left Lyon early and stopped in Vézelay and Auxerre for visits and lunch. The romanesque church in Vézelay contains the reliques of Mary Magedeline. It was an very important medieval pilgrimage stop on the route to Saint Jacques de Compostelle on the coast of Spain. The later gothic church in Auxerre is dedicated to Saint Étienne (Steven). It is really nice visiting these places in September. The weather is great and the tourist crowds are gone! While in Versailles we also had a chance to go by the L.D.S. temple that is nearing completion. Everyone here is so excited to have a temple in France. What a beautiful and significant addition this will be for the saints in France.
Coin de feu in the Versailles ward
Ward Barbecue in Versailles - a literal "coin de feu"!
Our Institute class
"La Madeline" church in Vézelay
The Paris Temple
Paris Temple window