Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mostly business in Paris . . .

Our hotel in Paris was within walking distance from the Church meetinghouse where the self-reliance activities occur.  Each morning we walked to our work and walked back home at night.  This gave us a  completely different perspective of Paris than the normal tourist.  We had been to Paris 15 years ago, so we didn't feel a need to see the tourist spots anyway, plus there really wasn't much down time.  Below is a photo of the Church meeting house which is also shared with other tenants, including some apartments on the top floor.

From this building we were able to hold our bi-weekly video conference with our European managers and get acquainted with the building and spend more time with our manager, Momo.  We then took a trip in the afternoon to visit the site of the Paris temple which is under construction.   The first photo was taken through an opening in the fence in front of the temple.  This temple will not have a spire or an Angel Moroni due to local ordinances.  The next photo is from a side view where you can see the full size of the temple and the work that is occurring on the marble facing of the temple.

As Debbie said during the week, even though we did not see all of the normal tourist sites, we were able to see the most important building in France.  This temple should be ready for dedication by the end of 2016, so we should be able to be back to participate in the temple before the end of our mission.  The temple is on the west side of Paris, near Versaille.  As we drove back from the temple site, we drove along the Seine River and were able to see Paris from a car, which is somewhat complicated due to incredible traffic challenges.  However, the photos below are some that we took from the car, including some wonderful views of the Eiffel Tower.

We finished the evening back at the Church house where young adults were meeting for an activity.  We took the opportunity to visit with several of them to better understand the opportunities for education and work in France. This was most helpful for my understanding.  We finally finished the evening with a nice meal at a French restaurant (imagine that).


On Tuesday we joined with a stake president from Lyon, France by video conference and understood better the self-reliance progress and challenges in his stake and then held meetings with our manager and the full-time missionaries.  We finished by participating in a My Job Search self-reliance group until 8:00 pm.  We finished our night off with some gourmet ice cream in a location near to our hotel.

Finally, on Wednesday we held another video conference with a self-reliance specialist from Nice, France.  She was amazing! We would love to have more like "Dorothy" in all of the stake of the Church.

We then took to the subway to meet a stake presidency counselor for lunch.  He is the counselor responsible for the Stake Self-Reliance Committee.   En route to the meeting, we experienced the tight fits in the subway and this was during the middle of the day:

After the lunch, on our return, we took a few minutes to stop at the Louvre.  We did not enter into the museum but were able to enjoy the site as you can see in the following photos.  You can tell that Debbie loved the subway.

Upon our return, we had another video conference with a branch president in the Lausanne, Switzerland stake, held a phone conference with PEF HQ and finished with a wonderful meeting with the Area 70 over the French speaking stakes.  We shared our impressions from our trip and discussed some of his ideas to emphasize self-reliance with Priesthood leaders in his stewardship.

On the way back to our hotel, we saw some mimes that were incredible, they did not move the entire time that we watched them. I was able to stand and be one of them.  We then had another artistic ice cream treat and finished our evening with quiche lorraine.  The next morning we awakened early to go to the airport and continue our trip in Madrid, Spain.

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