As we have said before, one of the very best things about our mission is the connections and friendships we are able to make with very dear people. Last Sunday we went to church in St. Etienne, the home ward to our friends, Les Jo's-Jos, Joseph and Joelle Galleti. He is the stake high councilman over self reliance. He and his wife live in a two-hundred year farm house out in the country near their city. They have worked hard to up-date the inside of the house, and it is magnificent. The outside probably looks very much like it did 200 years ago with surrounding gardens and fruit trees. Brother and Sister Galleti have been a great support to us in our Self-Reliance work. They come to firesides to help out any way they can and hold video conferences with us, the Stake President, and the ward Self-Reliance specialists in each ward. We discovered that Joelle attended school at BYU-Hawaii at the same time that we were there. Our pictures are in her year book. Small world in the church.
The distance between wards and the circumference of the stake are astounding. These devoted members think nothing of spending 1/2 hour to 1 1/2 hours to get to church and back. They will often have a pot-luck lunch (which they call sale or sucre--salty or sweet) right after the church block and before our self-reliance devotional. We just love these good saints!
It's also been a joyful experience to get to know so many wonderful senior missionaries. Elder and Sister Klematz have been serving as MLS missionaries to the Saint Etienne ward . They were with us at the Galetti's home since it was their last Sunday in that ward. They too had to drive all the way from Lyon, about 45 minutes to get to church. They have just been reassigned to Bezier in Southern France where they will once again work "their magic" helping and loving the members.