Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday thoughts

Going to church in Paris is a bit of a trial.

First of all, we have to take two Metros to get there. Secondly, the kids really don't enjoy it because they can't understand much of anything. They don't have any YM/YW, so Max went to Priesthood and Sunday School with Marc. I went to Primary, because Eva really didn't want to go.

I was surprised to see that, including my kids, there were 14 kids in Primary. In the past it has been more like 5. They did a pretty good job of interpreting everything -- most of what was said was repeated in French and English. The singing was in French, so Lucas opted out, but Eva tried to follow along with me (she already knows the tunes). They are seriously shorthanded, so during class time, I helped by taking a cute little girl to the bathroom and holding a crying baby.

Sacrament meeting was the hardest. We were sitting in the back of the room (it's not really a chapel) and we could barely hear a thing. There were two kids near us that were screaming their heads off, and no one took them out. They have some headsets for non-French speakers so that people can listen to a live translation. We got a set for Lucas, but they didn't work. He looked miserable just sitting there, not being able to understand a thing.

The current bishop of the ward is a young American man. His wife is either the Primary president or one of the counselors, I wasn't clear on that. They have one child, 5 months old. I'm amazed that, even though we've been going to this ward whenever we're in Paris for 13 years, it hasn't changed all that much. It is bigger now, but so much of the leadership is still American.

Whenever I go to church here, I am grateful for the easiness of the way back home. Everything here is more of an effort, whether it is physically getting somewhere, or struggling to understand and to be understood. I wonder if French people think of me as a dull, quiet person with nothing to say, when in actuality I just don't know how to say it much of the time.

I really enjoy blogging, where my thoughts can pour out with no language barrier. We will continue going to church (with the possible exception of stake conference next week) -- not because we are getting much out of it, but because it's what we do. And maybe, just maybe, we will be of help in some small way.

8 comments:

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Thank you for putting the clock on your sidebar! I can never remember how far ahead you are and always wonder, "Now is this today or tomorrow for Michelle."

I'm glad you reminded me of the ease and convenience of going to our home wards where the language is universal. It's a good reminder to focus on the little blessings of our congregations.

I think your line, "We will continue going to church -- not because we are getting much out of it, but because it's what we do" is wonderful. It reminds me of what Adam told the angel when he asked him why they were offering sacrifices. Adam replied (paraphrasing), "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." What a powerful teaching you are giving your kids in obedience, even when it (literally) doesn't make sense.

Here's to happy feet tomorrow that carry you to your next excursion.

Denise said...

I am also grateful for the sidebar clock (cute, too!). I needed your reminder about being grateful for our own ward, since I just came from an RS presidency meeting and left feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the various struggles of sisters in my ward.

Obedience rocks!

Jill said...

Church in Paris sounds so challenging, but being able to help sounds appealing.

What a contrast to read that there are only 14 kids in primary there compared to the 109 in our ward here! I just returned home after our first attempt at practicing the primary program and I am sweating and exhausted!

amy m said...

I can't imagine that you wouldn't be a big help to the ward and it's such a great experience for your kids to see that the church is the same no matter where you are, of course going to church in Paris is not new to them.

I'm glad you reminded me of the ease in which I have it to walk down the street to church and know for the most part I'm going to understand. I have definitely taken that too much for granted.

I'm glad you posted a clock. So you're probably asleep then?

rebekah said...

Church in an urban ward! It can be so unique, so challenging, so eye opening, humbling, frustrating, confusing, heartening/disheartening, entertaining, you name it. It's a good testimony of the strength of the Gospel message, and the Lord's desire to have all of His children have the opportunity to worship regularly in a Sunday meeting.

Two metro lines would kill me. That's a hard thing to deal with on Sunday.

melanie said...

I feel like that about church some weeks and I have all the ease and convenience you mention. Thanks for helping me see the other side, I need it with the needy ward I live in.

Since we're awake when you're sleeping, is it nice to wake up to comments and emails? I knew you'd pick a cute clock.

Hopefully a day of rest today will bring some fun for tomorrow.

Cecilia said...

First of all, I love the clock on your side bar....

What a great experience to be in Paris with the whole family again. I'm sorry church was challenging. Thanks for letting me see how easy we have it here!

I can't wait to read more posts about your adventures in Paris!

Natasha said...

A trial indeed, it sounds like but hooray for you for saying you will keep going. I'm sure there is a reason you are meant to keep attending and something will be gained spiritually.

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