This past weekend we had two days with the Nancy ward in the beautiful Lorraine region of north-eastern France. The Lorraine is in the Vosges mountains and around the Moselle river. Michèlle, the Nancy Stake self-reliance specialist, is very dedicated and organized, and she had everything well prepared for our weekend. As a result, this was one of the best self-reliance devotionals we have experienced so far since coming on our mission.
One event from our Saturday meeting was especially moving. After our training meeting, we divided the leaders into four groups to go make personal invitations to the Sunday devotional to 11 less active and inactive families. Sister Geddes and I went with the bishop to try to find three of them who lived in the same general area, but who had been difficult to locate. We put the coordinates in our GPS, but when we arrived at that address, we were in a park that was surrounded by a forest of apartment buildings. We tried to telephone them but there was no response. We weren't sure exactly where to go from there as we had no additional information on where they lived. As the three of us were standing at the corner of one of the apartment buildings wondering what to do next, suddenly one of the people we were looking for came walking by on his way home from work! He invited us in to visit with him and his wife. They were very touched and grateful that someone would take the time to come and visit them. And as a bonus, he also knew the exact location of the other two apartments we had been searching for. In the end, we were able to visit and invite all three of the families. We know that this was not just a happy coincidence!
Then, what made this experience even more meaningful was that on Sunday morning at 9:15, all three of the families we invited were sitting in the chapel for the beginning of Sacrament Meeting. And this was the first morning after the time change from daylight savings, so it was actually one hour earlier than normal. In addition to coming to all of the Sunday meetings, all of them stayed for the ward luncheon and for the self-reliance devotional that afternoon. And several of them even chose to join self-reliance groups.
The Saturday and Sunday self-reliance program in the Nancy ward was a great example to us of how Heavenly Father helps and blesses us when we are trying our best to do the things we should do.
A nice group in the Nancy ward.
Stanislaus square in Nancy
The Trinity and the four Evangelists on the pediment of the Nancy Cathedral.
On our way back to Lyon from Nancy, we passed through Burgundy. The tombs of the powerful Dukes of Bourgogne are here in Dijon. These Dukes rivaled the kings of France in power, and surpassed the kings with their ornate tombs.
The Dijon Cathedral has more gargoyles than we have ever seen in one place!
This region of France has many "maison à colombages" or structures with
an exposed skeleton of wooden beams.
The sculptor François Rude was from Dijon. This is a cast of his sculpture
"La Marseillaise" that was done for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. On the
enormous Arc, the heroic scale of this sculpture doesn't really hit you. But
when placed in this context, it is almost overwhelming.
Six old-testament prophets on the "Well of Moses" by Claus Sluter in Dijon.
This is another tomb monument for one of the Burgundian Dukes and it
predates Michelangelo's "Moses" by a century.
A lamenting angel between the prophets Daniel and Isaiah.
No caption needed!