The temple continues to be busy and we have members who come from many countries as well as from throughout France. On March 10, members of the Rennes Stake came, and we added two additional sessions that day. The baptistry was so full we had young people sitting in the halls waiting to be baptized. Former Paris Temple missionary couple Rick and Zella McGurk returned from Utah to attend a sealing here and that evening all the senior missionaries went out to dinner together. It was so nice to see them again.
On Sunday, March 11, we had the Paris stake conference at the Palais de Congres, a building next to the Palais de Versailles. They meet all together once a year as a stake rather than having it broadcast to the other buildings.
On March 18 during sacrament meeting, they announced that the Versailles Ward would be split. This was a historic announcement and change for the members who had been together for many years. The ward filled the chapel, cultural hall and was up on the stage. With all of the temple and visitor center missionaries, the young Elder and Sister missionaries, and the many new converts, the ward was huge.
The change was made and a new Le Chesnay Ward was formed on March 25. We are now in that ward and our bishop is Aaron Sherinian, with Thierry Ledru as first counselor, and Pierrick Triplet as second counselor. After our meetings that day, we had a large potluck luncheon to socialize and to be together one last time.
On Friday, March 30, our daughter Lisa and her husband, Jesse, came to visit. We were so happy to see them and to show them the sites in Paris as well as the temple.
We had a fun time going to the Louvre, Opera House, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Rodin (the thinker statue) and Les Invalides, all in one day. We also saw a group protesting by the Rodin museum. There is a train strike here in France for three months and there have been protests and lots of problems because of it.
On the next day, we went to see the Versailles Palace where there were 10 long lines of people snaking up and down the grounds in front of the palace. We were in line for nearly two hours. But we enjoyed the palace and its very ornate furnishings. As a side note, many tourists who then come to the temple after seeing the palace tell us they think the temple is more beautiful and peaceful. We also saw the Musée d’Orsay with its beautiful paintings and sculptures.
On our third day in Paris, we went to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, and Sacre Coeur Cathedral. I think we wore them out, but hopefully they enjoyed it as they left to go to London on Tuesday. We are so grateful that our family has been able to visit us and we can show them where we live and serve. We love our wonderful family and appreciate their support and love.
We are now getting into the time when our temple is very busy. We have patrons who speak varying languages and it always seems to work out with a temple worker who can speak a certain language. One day we had a Russian sister who came to have her husband’s grandparents’ and great grandparents’ work done. Her son was baptized for the men, but she was afraid to be baptized. Our matron, Sister Giraud-Carrier, offered to be baptized while Elder Piepgrass, who knew Russian because of his work, baptized her. This type of thing happens all the time. It is such a privilege to witness these things and help members who come from varying countries.
On April 8, the new Le Chesnay Ward met for the first time. There is a good feeling and excitement as this new ward begins. After a 90-minute testimony meeting, we had our first ward social with lots of yummy refreshments. Those who were sustained were then set apart.
Spring is finally here and we are enjoying the flowers and pink blossoms, and their smells, on the temple grounds.
What a powerful General Conference. We love and support President Nelson as our prophet and leader. We also are grateful for the other General Authorities and their messages.