Working as tour guides in the Paris temple is a dream come true (can you say "blessing come true?") No words can describe our gratitude for this experience or love for this place and the wonderful, faithful people who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make it possible. Everyday we go in to do our little part, we ask each other, "Is this really happening? How on earth (or more appropriately, how in heaven) did we get to do this?"
The temple itself is beyond magnificent. No pictures can even come close to doing it justice. We have posted outside pictures while pictures of the inside are available on-line. But again, it is just not the same as in person. Every detail, every artistic conception is rich in significance to the gospel of Jesus Christ or to the historic and cultural heritage of this great part of the world. The stained-glass windows are as beautiful as anything I have seen here in Europe. They have the colors and feeling of an impressionistic Monet painting. Blues, violets, and greens all blend to make a more than spectacular visual feast. And when the sun comes shining through those windows... Oh la la! ---pronounced Ah la la! I honestly cannot get enough of those windows. There are amazing paintings tastefully placed throughout the temple; many copies of Carl Bloch's work, many that I have seen before in other temples, and several original pieces primarily depicting the life and teachings of our Savior.
The mural room which is shown on-line has scenes from the Normandy cliffs and the Seine River Valley. The glass in this room has gorgeous blue wild flowers called "Les Bleuets" which are a symbol of the memory of those 20,000 plus fallen victims of WWI. Nurses who wanted to lift the morale of those maimed and wounded made fabric bleuets to brighten the surroundings in the hospitals and sold many of them to raise enough money to take care of the needs of those suffering from the carnage of the war. The flower is now known as the "Symbole National du Souvenir" the national symbol of remembrance. Over 138,000 flowers were sold in those days, and today these flowers are sold on November 11 and May 8.
Another prevalent flower that serves as a theme in the hand-painted stained glass, carved carpet, and wall decor is the beautiful lily. This is particularly powerful since the "fleur-de-lis" or lily flower is the symbol of France.
Even more impressive than the artistry is the feeling of calm beauty and reverence that reigns in the temple. Even though it has not yet been dedicated, there is a sweet spirit of love and devotion. The people we are working with are so kind and generous. One little lady who is the wife of Michel, the director of the open house, goes around distributing hot chocolate, nuts, fruit, and pastries to the workers. But we definitely earn the goodies. Saturday we left our gîte at 7:30 in the morning and got back at nearly 10:00 p.m. We took 13 groups of visitors up to the top floor and back. By all rights, we should not even be able to walk today, but we have been so blessed and are back at it.
Nous sommes bien benis! (We are so blessed and grateful)
The temple at night
The darling young missionaries, and yes, the guy in the back is really 7'2"
The darling not-so-young missionaries
Monet-like flowers in the stained glass.
Bleuet flowers in the temple.
Bleuets in bloom.
French national symbol of remembrance
Treats distributed to the missionaries and other workers at the open house.