Last weekend we had Saturday training, Sunday church meetings, a big luncheon and a self-reliance devotional with the two little branches of Épinal and Saint-Dié. Momo Djemai, our self-reliance director and Michele Droit, the Nancy Stake self-reliance specialist were both there with us. Having these two dedicated people there contributed so much to the weekend. Momo brings incredible energy and enthusiasm wherever he goes. One thing that made this weekend especially effective was that during the Saturday training meeting with the local missionaries and branch council members, we made of list of individuals that were especially in need of the things provided by the self-reliance initiative (jobs, better employment, more education, money-management skills, etc.). We then all went out to extend personal invitations for them to attend the Sunday devotional. There were a good number of people at the devotional, especially for such small branches of the church.
Épinal and Saint-Dié are in the Vosges mountains in the beautiful Alsace region of France. There has been a long history of border dispute between France and Germany concerning this area between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine river. Consequently, in the architecture, the food, and even the language there is an interesting blend of cultural influences.
On Monday we made our way back to Lyon via Riquewihr, Colmar, and Ronchamp. Riquewihr is a tiny medieval village surrounded by ramparts. Colmar, in addition to the stunning architecture and "Petite Venise" (little Venice) area of canals has the Museum Unterlinden. The museum, in a former monastery, has the Isenheim Altarpiece, one of the most important works in medieval painting. And in contrast, Ronchamp has a renowned 20th century church by Le Corbusier.
When you drive through the Alsace you can understand why this region was historically fought over.
Momo training branch leaders on Saturday.
Momo with the two branch presidents during the Sunday devotional.
A quiet Saturday evening dinner with Momo in a nice little French restaurant.
A beautiful drive through the Vosges. Kind of reminded us of Idaho...except for the cobblestones!
One of the rampart gates into the village of Riquewihr.
In the spring the storks build their nests in Riquewihr. Smart storks!
The former monastery, now museum Unterlinden (under the linden trees) in Colmar.
Part of the Isenheim Altar in the Musée Unterlinden. March is a wonderful
time of year to be here. The spring weather is very nice, and look at the
crowds of people that are(n't) here!
The triumphant resurrection from the Isenheim altar.
The trials of Saint Anthony from the Isenheim altar. I've had days like that!
Lunch in Colmar.
A German "lunch": Pork knuckle smothered in Munster cheese. What's the difference between Chinese food and German food? With Chinese you are hungry again in 3 or 4 hours. With German you are hungry again in 3 or 4 days!
The Le Corbusier church in Ronchamp.
Le Corbusier church interior.