When we first started our mission application process, we didn't realize how many different kinds of senior missionary opportunities there are, and how different these assignments can be from what the young missionaries do. We had never even heard of "self-reliance missionaries" which is our primary calling. We go throughout both the Lyon and the Paris missions training stake and ward self-reliance committees and leaders, conducting ward firesides, forming and helping to sustain self-reliance groups, facilitating group meetings, and generally supporting the growing self-reliance initiative here in French speaking Europe.
Other senior mission calls include things like Office missionaries, Single Young Adults, Mission Medical, Temples, Member and Leader Support (MLS is the most common senior assignment), Family History, Historical Sites, and a host of other specific assignments that can be seen on the weekly online bulletin. (Google: "Senior Missionary Bulletin" on LDS.org. That was a little advertisement for you potential senior missionaries as you are desperately needed!) And because senior missionaries are in such high demand, we have come to realize that in addition to our main calling as self-reliance missionaries, we are actually doing parts of two other assignments as well.
Before we arrived here in Lyon, there was another couple who worked with the local J.A.S. (Jeunes Adults Seules - Young Single Adults), but unfortunately when this couple finished their mission, there was no one to replace them. So every Monday evening that we are not on the road with a self-reliance assignement, we prepare a meal and have family home evening with them. We also get to be substitute teachers for their Institute classes from time to time, and have other activities with them as well. Of course, we always try to incorporate the self-reliance lessons with what we do with the young adults. So in a sense, we are also the Single Young Adult missionaries here in Lyon.
In addition, when we arrived here and were assigned to the Écully Ward, we found out that our bishop really uses the missionaries in his ward. We have callings in the ward, attend all of the ward council meetings, and are responsible for the senior single adults in the ward. Twice per month we have a Wednesday family home evening lesson with the seniors and it always turns into a party before the night is over. We love to talk and sing and eat together. And once again, we always try to bring the self-reliance principles into our lessons with them. We also often get invited to go teach with the young missionaries. And we get to have P-day activities with the young missionaries as well. So in another sense, we are also serving an MLS mission.
We are really loving all of our assignments here in France, and are so blessed to have so many different kinds of interesting and challenging opportunities. We feel like we are getting three missions for the price of one!
Our senior FHE group in Écully. Our group is growing in more ways than one!
Our Lyon Stake relief society service project made 2,500 hygiene kits for refugees.
Last Monday the missionaries in Lyon had a p-day activity touring many of the traboules (hidden passageways) in the Croix Rousse area of Lyon. The Croix Rousse was famous for the silk industry, and the traboules allowed the workers to move between streets and through buildings.
President and Sister Brown came on the p-day tour with our group. It was
his birthday, so we bought him a beret. He looks pretty good in it!
Sarah is an expert on the traboules and she led our tour. We were so shocked
when we first went to church at the beginning of our mission and found out that
Écully is Sarah's home ward. She was Sœur Geddes' teaching assistant at
Looking up a spiral staircase in one of the traboules.