Well, it seems that I take breaks off and on. Here is a link to my Picasa Album containing the photos I took which includes the one from above. Click Here for Album
I walked nearly 3 miles to capture a good portion of these photos. I have been working with the University here in Strasbourg. The work here is quite different than anything I have been involved with thus far with my work. The differences are not just client based, but even the differences within our company's culture has made things quite interesting. The challenges associated with this project have been quite unique which has been cause for frustration for all involved in the project.
Liz and I chose to keep this as an assignment as opposed to transferring completely tot he French side of our E2AP segment. I think this bothered many involved but is the best decision as I am able to maintain my position in the States, and doesn't require us to re-locate yet again. We have done far too much of that since leaving my position at USU to pursue an opportunity at Yale. That being said, I have been traveling to France on the following schedule more or less: two weeks abroad in France and then two weeks remote at home in Utah. needless to say my body is so confused with all the travel. I am able to be quite active while abroad as I am not relying on public transportation, I walk everywhere. My usual walks to work are 3.5 miles round trip and that happens M-F. Then on the weekends, the walk to church is approx 2 miles each way depending on the hotel I am using. The hotel situation with this client has been a point of frustration, but I won't elaborate on that here.
Concerning the Ward of Strasbourg. It has been interesting to come back to France to find out that this city is included in the mission I served in : The Paris France Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I served as a missionary back in March 1994 - March of 1996. I served in 7 different ares including in the following Order: Le Vesinet, Laval, Rennes, Orleans, Caen, Coutances, Mante-la-Jolie, Sarcelles. When I showed up on Sunday I met the two new missionaries that were there. They just exchanged all missionaries. Since I showed up here in November, each month a new missionary has been here, and this time they were completely exchanged out. On the flight over here there were approx 30 new missionaries coming to the Paris France mission. This city is quite ripe for missionaries and could use another 2 Elders, and a sister companionship. One of the current dynamics of the ward here, is that there are no young couples. The one young couple that recently had a newborn is from Italy originally. the rest of the dynamics of this ward is good, but many are involved in international affairs given the nature of this city, that is the type of work found here so each time I show up it seems a completely new ward is present. It appears that they have about 110 or so unique attending meetings, which is quite impressive. According tot he Elder I spoke to yesterday, the branch in Rennes has exploded in the last 20 years to a full ward. That was great news to hear.
To be honest I have not kept in touch with many folks from my mission through the years. I think I have re-connected with many of my companions via Facebook, but Bolander and Hemingway are the only ones I have physically seen since mission days. The one reunion that I made at president Thompson's house, I did get to see a few others that shared the MTC experience with me.
Liz and I have started to plan Dennis' baptism in November/December. I find it interesting sometimes how people are engaged in this work. I will not be in the country the first weekend of December which has become a traditional time for Stake baptism's to occur. Reading through Guidelines and working with the local Bishopric and Stake Presidency we have found that it is not possible. What I requested early in February and March was that we would like to advance this date one week so that it would be the weekend directly after Dennis' birthday which coincides with thanksgiving and it so happens that we will have family in town so that they could see Dennis complete this first of many ordinances. The local leadership is adamant that we are to follow direction of Regional direction that we are not to have family oriented baptisms. The interesting thing about the way things work within the church is sometimes that dogma gets in the way of doctrinal truths. This happens to be one of the strongest reasons our faith is criticized by members and non-members alike. Sometime leadership (Men that are called and not remunerated for their stewardship) I sense does not listen to the whole story and forgets to include the Spirit in their decisions. The way in which the information was relayed to us was a comedy of errors and was quite displeasing, insomuch that Liz was quite disturbed and troubled. In some ways I feel as Abraham of Old who was requested to take his firstborn and only son upon the mount to deliver to God through direct sacrifice. The only difference is I don't see how we will be delivered from this. I do not believe to this point that our full situation has been considered. Sure, many time people can rearrange things and they are choosing for a date changed based on quite trivial things, provided the way things are lined up on this current project, as of today I will not be in the country the first of December, January and potentially until June. While speaking to my Father he quipped good thing you come from a line of stone-cutters in reference to sometimes people's understand of certain things and their innate belief that they are set in stone. Good thing this Gospel of Jesus Christ is based on modern revelation which sometimes means we learn that things are not understood as they should have been by man. Liz and I have a meeting with the Stake Presidency upon my return. I will be seeking clarification of the guidelines and we will assure that they understand two things: 1) I will not be in the country and we recognized this early and came to leadership seeking counsel (go figure the rebel following prescribed protocol), 2) that just because someone is asking for clarification it does not mean that they are challenging leadership. We are taught to weary the Lord and God with our wants, desires and pleadings. I do not believe that always what we want is what we should be asking for, however in this situation and looking at things best that we know them, we are seeking counsel. the interesting thing in all of this is my feeling that for some reason Liz and I have had the opportunity to rest after our Yale-driven experiences. We are grateful to be where we are, but just because It ravel doe not mean that leadership should pass me aside in promptings which I have come to be told has occurred directly by the Bishop.
To that end, I am grateful that I found my fireball of a wife, Liz. She has been trying to clean herself off of some of the prescribed medication she has been on as we work through our challenges with having another child. This last round of IUI's really was difficult for her and as much as I try to support her, I know of my shortcomings no matter how hard I try. I am a male and I will never fully understand what Mother's go through and why they have the innate sense and further the great privilege from God to bear children as we take them on loan here in this world. Don't get me wrong, I love being a Dad and Dennis is golden, but from my perspective I feel that should it occur Dennis is indeed a great blessing and that is satisfaction enough for me, which I know that my wife wants more which means that my point of view is shallow and not enough. We share different vantage points I believe. As often and she and I come together on most points, this is one i just see differently, and I suspect no matter which way I see it from I will be wrong. That is ok. That is why I love my wife, she stretches me at times, and although at times it is frustrating, we are quite great for each other. I am grateful that she withstands all the travel I have been doing since we took this new position and left Virginia to go back to Utah. We have seen our share of wild things. In a nutshell, we go where we are pushed by the 'Spirit' to go. To that end, given the current circumstances around Dennis' baptism, I can confidently say that the full measure of the Spirit has not yet been borne in what our options for his baptism are. I am quite sure that the Savior in his ministry didn't go to John the Baptist on a day prescribed other than that by the Spirit. In Fact, the scriptures state that the Spirit was there and was referred to as a Dove in text.
I think that is a good glimpse for now. I have received a few upgrades lately while traveling which is harder while flying internationally, and we will be trying to have Liz and Dennis come over to France with me in July or September or October. The last time I had set up for them to come to New England with me, I was transferred and we had to cancel all their travel plans. I hope we can find a way to make it happen and not miss the chance of having them come and visit some of this interesting part of the world. I think for Dennis it would be amazing. OK, that is all for now, until the next set of ramblings!