Bound for Auvergne

Trip Start Sep 12, 2013
Trip End Sep 30, 2013

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What I did

Flag of France  , Rhône-Alpes,
Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bonjour everyone ! I am writing to you on this Wednesday – September 18 – from a beautifully restored 200 year old farm in the Lyonnais region, 50 some miles from Lyon – France's 3rd largest city [Marseille being the 2nd ] – where my wife Linda and I are spending some time with family on our way to St-Jean-La-Vêtre, our main European Feast site this year. We arrived in Paris Friday September 13 after an uneventful flight. Going through the customs however was an unusually long process – there were about a thousand people in the Immigration Hall and it took us roughly one hour to make it to the immigration officer – but since we had time to kill, we thought it was just fine. As we waited patiently, we saw next to us Caroline and Ryan Luecke also on their way to the Feast. A very pleasant surprise. Their plane was late. We enjoyed chatting while waiting.

Once in our room at the Ibis Hotel in Charles-de-Gaulle’s Airport, which was made available to us earlier than usual, we had a copious lunch, fought jetlag a bit, and then decided to take a well-deserved rest to be "functional" enough to make it to Atonement services in Paris where I gave the sermon on the meaning of the Day on Saturday. We used the Regional Express Railway and the metro to get to our destination. Not always very pleasant but it gives us a feel for the world around us, and make us appreciate, later, the Feast even more.

Attendance was 7 and we had a wonderful time. It rained outside, but there was plenty of sunshine in everyone’s heart, in view of the profound prophetic meaning of this sobering Day celebrating Christ’s Atonement for us and representing the time when the main cause of sin and this world’s evils will be removed, its main culprit restrained.

Sunday morning, we flew to Lyon to meet our hosts, spent some time to visit the town, especially the quays of the Rhone River and the downtown area, and – the day after had another good rest.

Monday, we took the metro, very clean and modern, to a funicular railway that took us to the hill of Fourvière, to the ruins of Lyon’s Roman Theatre, an impressive amphitheater built by the Romans still used for cultural events, plays  and concerts. Then slightly higher, we went to an esplanade where one can view the entire town and the pre-Alps in the background. Down to the old part of town through an interminable step of stairs, to the Place Belcour with the statue of Louis XIV on his horse.

In the oldest part of town, we visited several “traboules” (passages between buildings and streets with beautiful Renaissance stairs (secret passages connecting historical buildings several centuries old, and where members of the French Resistance were able to hide and evade the Gestapo during World War II) and the old city where the “canuts” (weavers) had their shops and habitations during the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance. The city of Peter Waldo has grown a lot since the time of the rich merchant and now boasts an excellent and modern public transportation system including a metro, buses and tramways (trolleybuses) – which we all took. We found the city thriving, very friendly, full of students, and rich in architectural masterpieces.

We walked a good part of the day and went back to our cousin’s apartment to gather our belongings and drove to their secondary residence in the countryside where we are now. Their old farm now entirely refurbished, is very rustic and cozy.

Yesterday, we visited an 11th Century priory in Champlieu. Many roofs had their tiles broken a few days ago, due to a violent storm with fist size hail. One may see parked cars severely damaged. We then visited  a goat cheese factory close to the farm. Two brothers there have about 60 goats which they milk to make goat cheese much appreciated in different parts of France. It was fascinating. They also raise beautiful horses.

We are living shortly for St-Jean-La-Vêtre. Our cousins offered to drive us there, since it is only 40 some miles east  from their farm. At the site, they were glad to finally meet Jeremy who arrived shortly after with the shuttle from the Clermont-Ferrand Airport with most of our American members.

I am now writing from our chalet at the Feast site in St Jean-la Vêtre. We had a good turn-out last night for the Opening Night. Mr Franks message – A Feast for All Nations – was dubbed in French for the French Brethren who listened to the translation on their headphones. Just before the last song, the lights went off twice. I shouted to  everyone: “Don’t let anything or anyone steal you joy”, as Mr Franks had said in his message. A warm laugh came from the group.

Now one day later. It was the 1st Day of the Feast. Enjoyed a not so early breakfast, a pleasant walk in the fresh air and admired the impressive scenery. From the site, there is a splendid view of the valley. Still a bit chilly, but the weather is supposed to be warmer and sunny from now on.

Services today were in French (we alternate). Daniel Harper did a fine job with his sermonette on “Sharing God’s Blessings”. Remembering French is not his native language, he did very well.

I gave the sermon on being Spiritual Archeologists deciphering God’s marvelous plan and being in His reality, remembering not the past but… the future. The attendance was 77. A good number. This evening the personnel of the VVF (the resort where we stay) welcomed us with a drink and we had another one of those copious and delicious meals with plenty of fellowship. The Feast had an excellent start. Hope it’s the same for you. Will keep in touch.
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Tess Washington on

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Hongerloot....thank you for giving us a description of your trip to the France Feast site in words and pictures. We will surely remember Mr. Franks' words throughout the year! Please extend our greetings to the rest of the brethrens there celebrating the FOT with you! We'd love to hear your sermon about being Spiritual Archeologists. Happy Sabbath and the rest of the FOT!

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