Monday 12 August 2013

More Catch-Up

In June the Branch did a service project for a senior widow near Rouyn-Noranda.

Monica Roy making assignments.
Fifteen people showed up to help even though it was a two hour drive for most.

 We spent a Saturday clearing brush from her property.
Richard & Normand Roy on the hill making sure we have lots of branches to clear.
Oh, my goodness! Now what?

Elder Rhodes is showing the young Elders how splitting a log is really done.

Actually, they had already spent a lot of time splitting logs that day and were very good at it.

Ooh, I should have ducked!

We had one casualty.
 Sis.Roy. was tossing a load of brush on the pile and a branch whipped around and caught her on the cheek.
Good thing President Conway had brought ice!

We ended up with three large piles which will be burned at a later date.                                                

                                            We wore ourselves out but had a great time!                                                
Some of the work crew.
After the work, we enjoyed the Roy's hospitality for a barbecue. 
Normand Roy and Herve Ochs in the back porch.
Giselle, Nicole and Monica in Monica's Kitchen.
My Macaroni Salad Waiting For The Burgers.

What would an activity be without food!?

Elder Smith, Elder Rhodes, Pres. Conway, Yvette and Nicole.

Some of the crew waiting for the burgers!

Service projects and working hard together are always great opportunities for bonding. We had such a good time we hated to call it quits. Eventually however, about two hours later than originally planned, we headed back to Val d'Or.

We took the short cut home, which took only 3 hrs. instead of 2! We missed a turn and ended up driving through a provincial park on a narrow, winding gravel road. It was beautiful! Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of the park as we didn't realize we would never take that route again until we were out of it. Later we made another wrong turn and ended up going west instead of east! We were so tired we were giddy and laughed at everything, including being lost. I have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable day!

On the second Sunday of the month we travel to Rouyn-Noranda to hold our meetings at a senior's center. This was Elder Smith's last Sunday in Abitibi. He used our camera to get pictures, as he had left his in 
Val d'Or, so he's in all of them.

Last Sunday with Elder Smith

Elder Smith had served here for six months and is dearly loved by the members, including us. We still miss him.

What a Handsome Bunch!

This was the Branch presidency before Elder Smith got transferred. From left to right is Brother Brule, the first counselor, President Conway, , Elder Smith,the second counselor and  Elder Rhodes, the assistant ward clerk. The ward clerk had left before we thought to take this picture.

This is Martin, the ward clerk and our pianist. He plays the music on his keyboard at home, records it, and then plays it back for us on Sundays. He is an amazing man!

The following are the sisters I work closely with. They are all great women and it’s a privilege to work with them.

Sister Giselle Lacroix is our Relief Society President. She’s the one who travels 1 ½ hrs. by bus to get to church if she doesn't have a ride. She did that for the better part of 18 years. She also teaches the Gospel Principles class if the investigators are French, which at this time is the case.

You can see that Sis. Monica Roy was still healing two weeks after her altercation with the branch. She is from Alberta and is a great strength to the branch. She is the first counselor in the Relief Society Presidency.

Nicole Lacert is one of the most energetic and capable people I have ever met. She does anything from cooking and sewing to building a house and shingling a roof. She’s amazing! She is the second counselor in the Relief Society Presidency.

Caroline Simard is the first counselor in the Primary presidency and very dedicated. She and Sis. Roy live in Rouyn-Noranda and coordinate their efforts to drive members to church and activities. Sometimes Mia likes to be objectionable, but she and Emma are both sweet girls.

Of course, we had a goodbye dinner for Elder Smith Sunday evening. He got hold of the camera again and took these shots.

Elder Rhodes found a creative way to get a group photo while Elder Smith helped me prepare dinner.

Their final sojourn together as Elder Smith and Elder Messinger head for Ottawa
 to exchange this Elder Smith for another Elder Smith!

Elder Rhodes, Elder Smith & Elder Messinger

Thursday 1 August 2013

Finally Catching Up

These are old pictures, but they are a record of what we've been doing in the past couple of months. If I don’t get them posted I’ll never get caught up and move on. So I hope you’ll plough through them and get a sense of what our life has been like.

Who's supposed to be blowing out the candles anyway?

Open Lines of Communication

We celebrated our friend, Richard’s, birthday with Elder Smith and Elder Grant. I couldn't resist posting this, as old as it is. Isn't this typical of well-wishers watching the birthday person blow out the candles?

Pouvons-nous faire notre lessive? (Can we do our laundry?)

We've had great fun with the clothes line that runs between our balconies, sending back and forth everything from messages to treats.

Do you recognize the items on the bottom of this next picture?
 We all stacked our cameras on the study table and set the timers. Ours was on the top a little behind the others. 

We had a hilarious time trying to stay in place until all the cameras went off, especially before we realized we had ours on the “burst” setting. Elder Rhodes always managed to move just before the last shot.

Oh, No! Not Again!
This was the first time we had to deal with transfers. And although we don’t actually have companions, except for each other, we have worked so closely with these two Elders that saying goodbye to Elder Grant
was very difficult, to say the least! Both he and Elder Smith have become very dear to us.

Final Goodbye to Elder Grant From Our Balcony

Missionaries are NEVER allowed to back up a vehicle without being directed.

We drove to Ottawa for Stake Conference in May.

President Conway, our Branch President, had a barbecue at his house for all the members who managed to make it to Ottawa. The weather cooperated and it was great! Our Branch is so spread out we don’t get too many opportunities to socialize together. 

All Elders Love Food!

Conference was the same week as transfers, so we met our new missionary, Elder Messinger,  for the first time in Ottawa.

Bro. Brule, Pres. Conway's first counselor, on the right, with Bro. and Sister Thellend.

We thoroughly enjoyed the conference messages and also meeting other members in the Stake. Being so isolated up in Abitibi has given me a new appreciation for what a blessing it is to live in Southern Alberta, where we can so easily enjoy associating with members of the Church.

The drive to and from Ottawa is beautiful in the spring. Just like driving through 
  the mountains in Alberta but without the elevation or the mountains.

 After welcoming Elder Messinger, we immediately put him to work teaching us French. 

That’s the Daily Dose English poster on the door, converted to French as I    mentioned in an earlier post.

And this is some of the English class.

 In the back with Elders Smith and Messinger are two wonderful young Muslim men, Melek and Mor. Nancy, who is wonderfully friendly, and Levi, such a card, are in the front. We actually now have nine students, but they never all seem to be there at the same time. At that time the Elders were mostly teaching and I was subbing, but shortly after these pictures, I took over the teaching and they sub if I’m not available. I really enjoy the people and we always have a great time in the “huddle”.

For Mother’s Day I asked the missionaries to be my surrogate children and invited them and our friend, Frank, for dinner. They agreed to do me the favor. (Wasn't that kind of them?) I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Because the Elders were unavoidably detained on Mother’s Day, due to Branch responsibilities, they arrived late for dinner on Sunday. They had wanted to surprise me with a cake but hadn't had the opportunity to bake one, so they surprised me on Monday instead. It was so sweet of them! I felt loved and appreciated.

We celebrated Elder Messinger’s birthday with a dinner and I got to make him a cake.

Elder Rhodes and Elder Smith decided to keep a safe distance as the birthday boy popped the cork of a non-alcoholic bubbly left over from Mother’s Day. 

Sometimes we get to enjoy the most unexpected sights from our balcony.

Children enjoying a wagon ride. I think they're from the Native Friendship         center.

Numerous cyclists.

This has taken me much longer to compile than I had expected, both because of my inexperience with computers and blogging and because the internet is soooo slow here it takes forever to upload pictures. I tried taking the computer to the church to work from there, but it wouldn't even connect to the internet. Sometimes I can't even get my email to come up. But I'm learning a lot so hopefully it will get better and I'll be able to post more regularly.

I actually have more prepared to share but no time right now to get it onto the blog. So I'll be back!