So much has happened during this beautiful time of year. We have enjoyed the spring flowers and beautiful blossoms around Paris, Le Chesnay and on the temple grounds.
Local members Myrza Gourrat and Tori Tahiata invited us, Elder and Sister Young, and the Deladerrieres to a Sunday morning brunch. It was a delicious Tahitian meal of fruits, fish and fried bread as well as some French dishes. Myrza is a very sweet Tahitian sister who is in charge of the temple office staff and Tori works in the temple laundry.
We went to see the Pantheon in Paris on one of our P-days. The Pantheon’s foundation dates to 496 A.D. as a memorial to Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. After the French Revolution it became a memorial and tomb for national heroes. Voltaire, Alexander Dumas (The Three Musketeers author), Victor Hugo, Madame and Pierre Curie, and other famous French people are buried in the crypt. On the walls are paintings of famous heroes as well as a tomb to an unknown soldier.
The school breaks are again taking place for a few weeks. This means the temple is busy with all ordinance work and especially baptisms for the youth. A common occurrence is for the full-time missionaries to bring a new convert to do baptisms for the dead. One man who came had been a member for five months and was a priest. He was able to baptize many of the youth one day. He was so happy doing this he came every day that week. He told us that his wife was in another country and had been taught by the missionaries. She had decided to join the Church. He asked her if it was a good church who believed in Jesus Christ. He had always believed in Christ. She was baptized and so he checked out the LDS Church where he was and was immediately convinced it was Christ’s Church. He has a very strong testimony and is thrilled to hold the priesthood. When he baptized you could feel his conviction to the gospel.
On May 4, my sister Patricia and her husband Byron Christensen were able to visit us and attend the temple. We did a two-day bus tour, as well as toured Sacre Coeur and the Palais de Versailles. It was very nice to see them and to show them the temple and the main sites of Paris. It was their first trip to Europe.
During the week of May 8, the temple was very busy, and we had to add additional sessions. A large group of women came from Toulouse, France, and the temple was full of patrons for all the ordinances.
Elder Jon and Sister Leslie Young who came with all of the senior missionaries last year have now served for a year and are returning home. We are sad to see them leave. They have been good friends. Isabelle Destribois, who is a secretary in the temple office, had a surprise barbecue at her home in Hanche (an hour from the temple) for the Youngs. The Destribois live in an old French country home that is over 100 years old. The temple presidency, senior missionaries and some of the temple workers were there. The men played boules, a French game throwing small heavy balls at a smaller target ball, while others visited.
Time is going by very quickly for our mission. We started on May 16, 2017, in Salt Lake and arrived in Paris on May 19. It is hard to describe all of the wonderful things we have experienced here. The temple has changed missionary work in France and the lives of the members. We notice nonmembers who come and sit on a bench on the grounds and they feel something special here. What a privilege it is to serve as missionaries in the House of the Lord.