Sunday, May 15, 2011

dimanche

this was my sunday.

emily and I went to the métro this morning nice and early to catch a ride up to the church. just so you know, emily and I do pretty much everything together. we run together, we work together, we walk to the métro together (as you now know), we attend weekly church activities together, we share cookies together, we go to old french bookstores together, we watch victorian era movies via youtube and cry together, we scramble away from leechy men on the street together, we buy milk together, etc. someone at church today (who didn't know who we were) asked if we were sister missionaries, and even when I told him that we weren't but that we were interns here he kept referring to Emily as my "comp" (short for missionary companion - fyi).
 early this week to give a talk in church today (the bishop said that he wants to "take advantage" of my stay in lille) and my topic was on perseverance. I was able to use the scripture in John 6: 66 -68 where peter responds to Jesus Christ’s inquiry (after having seen many of his followers one by one choose no longer to follow Him) of whether he (peter) would not also leave his side. peter replies in saying that there is no other way to follow that promises eternal life. no matter how difficult it may be sometimes to follow Christ in our lives, there is no other road that this world can offer that will give us lasting happiness. king benjamin said it well in Mosiah 3:17.

a couple from north carolina (the daily’s) came to the church here today since the husband has a job interview here in lille in the next few days. they speak very little french, so for the third week in a row my translation services were in need – I love live translation, although sometimes I find myself adding in personal commentary, which is probably not a characteristic of an accomplished translator. bof. the couple invited emily and I to join them for dinner wednesday night after work, and we are thrilled because they were so kind with us and they said that this time, with our help, they will actually know what they are ordering (as compared to their recounting of a strange meal they had last night). they had this southern glow about them, and I felt as though the wife would just sweep me up into a motherly hug.
I'm saying all of this in an effort to express that I’m not sure what I am doing to deserve to be surrounded by such sincerely kind, welcoming and warm people, but I am so thankful. this experience in lille has provided me with such positive reflections and a wealth of insight into french lifestyles.

after church, the doit family invited us over for lunch. we sat at their table for nearly 3 hours eating (the highlight was the big round of muenster cheese), discussing all sorts of subjects and telling stories. this is something particular to french people: they are not quick to clear the table after a meal and join together in another room. the conversation, even over empty dinner plates and dirtied serving trays, lasts and lingers. bishop doit shared many of his humorous mission stories, and we all laughed and enjoyed them even though his children seemed to know each one by heart. their family dynamic was wonderful to witness. they are each so kind and affectionate to one another, and although they joke and laugh, there is never a touch of meanness in their expressions or demeanor.

when we came home, emily and I decided to stroll about in the huge park nearby that actually used to be a part of the city’s fortifications in the middle ages. the ancient brick walls still exist among the lush green of the park. It made for a perfect, long sunday walk.
later tonight, we decided that a good movie was in order and we watched BBC’s North and South on YouTube. this is, by far, one of my favorite cinematic productions.
(who can resist the brooding mr. thorton?)

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