"How did we get to be in this place at this time?" It seems that we keep asking ourselves this same question. We first got to spend over three weeks serving as guides for the Paris Temple open house. And then last Saturday evening was the cultural celebration for the temple and yesterday we participated in the Paris Temple dedication.
The "Spectacle Culturel" was titled "Que Votre Lumière Luise Ainsi Devant les Hommes" - Let your light so shine before men. Youth, nearly 1,000 of them, from each of the thirteen French-speaking stakes in the Europe area sang and danced significant events of enlightenment from their French history. One stake opened with a performance based on a poem by Bernard of Clairvaux, a 10th century Cistercian monk. Others followed with themes from the medieval pilgrimages, the Reformation, Victor Hugo and other great French thinkers and writers, John Taylors' dedication of the land in 1850 during the Napoleonic III era, and celebrations of early French converts who are the Mormon pioneers of France. The culminating presentation and purpose of the celebration was the completion of the first temple here in France.
Then yesterday, a beautiful spring morning, the temple was dedicated. Regular Sunday meetings were not conducted anywhere in France. Rather, each of the chapels became temporary extensions of the Paris temple, where those with dedication recommends were able to participate in the sacred ceremony. President Henry B. Eyring pronounced a beautiful dedicatory prayer. Many blessings were pronounced upon the temple, on this country, the people of France, and upon the missionaries who have and are now serving here. What great blessing we have been promised.
Over the past 30 years as we would bring students to Europe each spring, we came only as visitors. We loved being here, we appreciated the art, the culture, the language, the food. . .but we were really just students: one notch up from tourists. We were here to take everything in but we really didn't give much back. But being here as missionaries is very different. As we try to give something back, we find ourselves developing a sense of "fierté" (good pride) about this place and these people. We were very proud our Lyon Stake youth, and we cheered with our Écully Ward members in our chapel as we watched them perform in our cultural celebration. And like the French saints who have waited so long, we are so excited about our new temple.
Our Écully chapel burst into celebration when it was the Lyon Stake's turn to perform.
Some of our cute kids performing at the cultural celebration.
Getting ready for the temple dedication.
The corner stone ready to be set. A time capsule was placed inside that included the names of those
who participated in the open house!
President Eyring and Bishop Caussé during the placement of the corner stone.